Free to do,  Holiday Guide,  Parenting

Winter bucket list for Gold Coast families

It’s that time of the year again, when the Gold Coast descends into darkness and we drag out our thermals in preparation for sub-arctic temperatures. For 11 months of the year, we Gold Coasters are accustomed to balmy days ranging from 25 to 35 degrees. So for 1 month when we drop to 15 to 20 degree days, we may as well be below zero! Winter on the Gold Coast doesn’t mean that the fun stops though.

With such a fleeting moment of winter, why not make the most of the cold weather and make your way through this mini-bucket list! There are so many great things on across the coast, pull out your winter woollies and get out there!

  1. Look out for the whales. Don’t feel like jumping on a whale watching cruise with the kids? There’s plenty of free and easy vantage points on the Gold Coast to spot these majestic beauties without stepping foot on a boat! Pull out the picnic blanket and bring the binoculars to Point Danger, Kirra Hill, Burleigh Headland or Miami Hill.
  2. Day trip to Lamington National Park. O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat has so much to offer day trippers and those staying for a little longer. Check out the treetop walk (the first of its kind in Australia, providing a bird’s eye view of the rainforest canopy as you walk along a series of suspension bridges 16 metres above the ground!!) and feed the wild birds of the rainforest including Crimson Rosella’s and King Parrots. On the way back, stop in at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards and have a picnic in the vineyards for lunch and feed the alpacas at Mount View Alpacas!
  3. Get into Show Season. While August is known for Brisbane’s Ekka, the Queensland Show Season also includes two shows on the Gold Coast: the Mudgeeraba show (June dates postponed, new date to be advised), and the Gold Coast Show (26-28 August). These are both great family days out and a chance to experience the Show atmosphere at a fraction of the price.
  4. Go on a beach getaway. While winter might not sound like the best time to go on a beach holiday, buck the trend and head to Kingscliff for a mini-break. The water will be too cold to swim in, but there is so much else to see and do in the surrounding areas that you won’t have time to miss swimming! I’m talking sunflower selfies at Farm & Co Kingscliff, lunch at The Farm Byron Bay’s Three Blue Ducks, sipping Ink Gin at Husk Distillers and whale spotting from the Byron Bay headland, just to name a few things.
  5. See a movie at the drive in. Pile the back of the car with blankets and pillows, pack the hot chocolate and marshmallows and pop on a beanie – why not watch the latest winter releases while rugged up at the drive in cinema in Yatala! As a bonus for those with young children, in wintertime the drive in movies start earlier due to the early sunset!
  6. Pretend you’re in a winter wonderland. We may not have snow here on the Gold Coast (or temps below 15 degrees), but you can always pretend you’re in an arctic country! Hit the Planet Chill rink at Paradise Resort Gold Coast, where you can skate under a disco ball and with under-ice lighting! Open to the public as well as in-house guests, kids as young as 3 years can skate here with the assistance of fibreglass penguins!
  7. Go on a crunchy leaf walk. The closest we can get to a proper cold climate is if we head to Tamborine Mountain for the day. Luckily, this is the perfect excuse to visit the Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens, where the trees turn a beautiful golden colour before dropping leaves everywhere and making for the perfect crunchy leaf walk! A must do is the Botanic Garden’s Sooty Owl Trail, and don’t forget to visit the Glow Worms too.
  8. Attend a Festival. Winter on the Gold Coast is the perfect time for festivals – warm, sunny days but not so hot you pass out from heat exhaustion! Some of the ones on our calendar include Cooly Rocks On (8-12 June), Scenic Rim Eat Local Week (25 June – 3 July), Big City Lights (7-10 July), and Botanical Bazaar (6 & 7 August).
  9. Drink hot chocolate. A family favourite, why not check out all the chocolate cafes and taste test your way through all the different hot chocolate varieties! Italian hot chocolate, cold hot chocolate, chocolate fondue – there are so many great options to try. Visit one of the Gold Coast’s Max Brenner cafes, Poppy’s Chocolate at Robina Town Centre, or Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar in Broadbeach.