Free to do,  Water play

Where to swim on the Gold Coast

Suffering through another Gold Coast summer without a swimming pool at home? Don’t worry!! Aside from the obvious beaches, there are so many amazing options, whether it be swimming pools, splash zones or swimming enclosures. I’ve rounded up a great list of both paid and free options to keep your cool this summer!

Free entry:

Broadwater Parklands Rockpools

This is an exciting, sculptural water playground located within the Broadwater Parklands precinct. The water play area is designed with cool water fountains and vibrant marine-themed equipment. It includes a creek bed and several tidal rockpools for children to splash and explore. The Rockpools are manned by lifeguards during opening hours and are completely free. Nearby is the Southport swimming enclosure as well.

The Backyard, Coomera Westfield

Alongside the playground at Coomera Westfield lies one of the best water play areas on the Gold Coast. Designed to resemble a billabong, waterways weave around interactive play stations and children can pump water, dodge squirting frogs and jump across stepping stones. No lifeguards on duty, but excellent change room facilities available.

Paradise Point swimming enclosure

The Paradise Point swimming enclosure is located alongside the parklands and is a large netted enclosure on the foreshore. Keep the kids sunsafe under the shade sails over the sand, and bring along a picnic and stay for the day. BBQ facilities available nearby, as well as toilets.

Jacobs Well swimming enclosure

Jacobs Well swimming enclosure is beside the Jacobs Well Air Sea Rescue, off Jacobs Well Road. The enclosure consists of approximately 150 metres of netting suspended from floating pontoons. The enclosure has a beach area, and barbeque and picnic facilities are also available.

Home of the Arts (HOTA) swimming lagoon

Visiting HOTA? Why not take a dip in the lagoon while you’re there? The HOTA Parklands swimming lagoon is located off Bundall Road. The lagoon offers a sheltered swimming environment with adjacent beach and recreational areas. Surrounding amenities include toilets and showers, picnic areas with barbeques and shaded seating.

Pirate Park, Palm Beach

Pirate Park at Palm Beach is a firm favourite. The playground is partially fenced (being that there are no gates so the access points are open), there is a cafe and toilets on site, and heaps of shade. Pack the swimmers, the kids will be begging for a dip in Currumbin Creek which has the perfect conditions for youngsters.

Schuster Park, Tallebudgera

Schuster Park is set alongside Tallebudgera Creek and is part of a larger parklands. There is a small sandy beach beside the playground, that in summer time is bound to be popular with little ones wanting a splash so make sure to pack a change of clothes. There is also a toilet block right beside the playground, and four picnic tables under shelters with 2 bbqs available.

Ian Dipple Lagoon, Labrador

Ian Dipple Lagoon is a great place to go for a swim. Protected by a large sandbank, this lagoon is wave free and perfect for little ones. There are shower and toilet facilities along the shore as well, making the pack up easy. In the evenings, the lagoon is floodlit, so it’s also a great spot for dinner time fish and chips. For those who are more interested in playing in the sand, at the northern end of the lagoon there are a couple of play boats to hop in and pretend you’re sailing off to go fishing!

Charles Holm Park

For those who are looking for some water play, there is a small sandy stretch next to the boat ramp where you can splash your feet, however swimming is in the designated area about 300m down the pathway. This is probably one of the few downsides about this park – the swimming area is quite removed from the picnic and play areas unfortunately, however don’t let this stop you from making a day out of it! There is a small picnic shelter next to the swimming beach, but you’ll need to head back to the main picnic area to access the toilets, BBQs and carpark.

Jabiru Island, Paradise Point

Emerging from the shade of the trees, you’ll find plenty of space to set up your picnic blanket right by the water. The kids will love splashing about in the swimming enclosure, and there is a nice stretch of sand to play on. Perched just beside the beach is a small playground – while it won’t be winning any awards for design, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a day by the water! The facilities available at Jabiru Island Park include picnic tables under shelters, electric barbeques, a modern toilet block and plenty of bike friendly paths. If your kids are interested in dropping in a line to see what they can catch, there are plenty of sheltered shoreline spots and a few jetty and boardwalk options to try.

Cabbage Tree Point

The beach is perfect for small children, but even those who are bigger will still enjoy their time here. Best visited during high tide if you plan on swimming, you’ll find calm water just begging for splashing about on. The small sandy beach allows for sandcastle building and a nice spot to put down a picnic blanket. If you happen to visit during low tide, don’t let that put you off. Little minds will love exploring the tidal mud flats, digging for crabs and running around by the water! There’s a fabulous playground here, and a fish and chip shop across the road.

Paid entry:

Pimpama Sports Hub

The aquatic centre includes a 50m outdoor swimming pool, a 25m indoor swimming pool, learn to swim pool managed by Gold Coast City Council, and a hydrotherapy pool. There is also a children’s splash zone, and a fully equipped fitness centre with creche. The splash zone is well designed, with water fountains, bubbling brooks and a knee deep pool making it great fun for toddlers and primary aged children. There are lots of shade umbrellas and seating options throughout the splash zone and around the outside. During school holidays they also have an inflatable waterpark set up in the 50m pool for older children.

Miami Aquatic Centre

Featuring a 50m heated outdoor pool and an indoor learn to swim pool, Miami is one of the Gold Coast’s largest aquatic centres. The facility offers group fitness classes and birthday parties, and also includes volleyball courts, children’s water play area and tennis courts.

Upper Coomera Aquatic Centre

Featuring a 25 metre heated outdoor pool with beach entry, suitable for casual lap swimming (three lanes) and recreational swimming. Children’s water play area including sprays and tipping buckets. Onsite café serving light meals and coffee.

Gold Coast Aquatic Centre

Gold Coast Aquatic Centre (GCAC) is a state of the art facility that hosted the swimming and diving events during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The centre has six heated pools including a 50 metre, 10 lane competition pool and a children’s wading pool. A number of programs and classes are available including aqua aerobics, deep water running, diving and learn to swim.

Mudgeeraba Aquatic centre

The Mudgeeraba Aquatic centre is only small compared to some of the big ones mentioned above, but still has some great facilities. There is a 6 lane outdoor heated 25m pool, and a perfect splash pad for toddlers. There is an indoor pool, but it is reserved for rehabilitation and pool program use.

Nerang Aquatic centre

Nerang Aquatic Centre offers general lap swimming, aqua aerobics, squads and learning to swim. There is a children’s play area with special features for the younger ones to cool off on during the long hot summer.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Wild Island Adventure Splash Zone

The Wild Island Adventure Splash Zone offers kids up to the age of 12 a range of timed water jets, streams and waterfalls to run through. Where else can you get up and close to native and exotic wildlife and then cool off in a water park this summer? Set amongst a stunning landscape of sub-tropical flora and fauna and surrounded by sculptures of Australian wildlife and natural features, Wild Island Playground offers plenty for kids to climb and explore – including adventure play, spiders web and more!

Whitewater World

For those with Dreamworld Annual Passes, a trip to Whitewater World can’t be missed. With something for everyone, there are two awesome kids pools – Pipeline Plunge and Wiggle Bay. Pipeline Plunge features an enormous ‘tree fort’ in the middle of a water playground, creating the ultimate play space – watch out for the splash bucket! Wiggle Bay is complete with mini slides, interactive sprays, colourful water cannons and giant instruments – so little ones can splash, play, and create their own Wiggly music all day.

Wet N Wild

Chances are, if you haven’t got a Dreamworld Annual Pass, you’ve got a Village Roadshow Theme Park pass! That means entry to Wet n Wild, and their perfectly designed Wet n Wild Junior Zone that is reserved for children under 10 years of age. Featuring eight kid friendly water slides (including miniature versions of the larger thrill slides), it incorporates a shallow children’s pool and a multi-level interactive adventure play area with tipping bucket.


The Reef at Castaway Bay is a fully accessible interactive splash area that features an array of water cannons, spouts and life-sized animal sculptures, and will provide hours of entertainment for the little ones. It is the ideal attraction for the entire family to sit back and relax during their day out at Sea World.