Once you have children, there is no doubt you’ll become well acquainted with playgrounds! Whether it’s a meeting point with friends or a place to enjoy the Gold Coast sunshine, playgrounds are the best form of free entertainment for kids.
Playgrounds these days are more than your old-fashioned swing and slide. Children can experience a wonderland full of fun, adventures, and activities. If you are searching for the ultimate playground, here are some of the best playgrounds on the Gold Coast from North to South.
The main park at Pacific Pines is top-notch for kids and one of the favourites for those living North Gold Coast. You can easily spend most of the day at this playground with several areas dotted around the nearby lake. There are swings, slides, a super flying fox, climbing nets and spinning wheels. The younger children have also been catered for with a separate gated area, including a swing, slide and cubby house - perfect to keep them safe and amused.
Parents will love the great picnic areas that are adjoining to the playground with lots of shady seating and free BBQ facilities. There are great paths for a scooter ride or stop by the lake and say hello to the local ducks.
It may seem unusual for a shopping centre to be among the list of the best playgrounds on the Gold Coast, but this one at Helensvale is not to be missed for many reasons. The playground resembles that of the adventure wonderland in Southbank Brisbane with soft landings and a gigantic slide. The large area outside the shopping centre had the space to build a kid’s haven, and this is what they created when it opened in 2016. The main focal point of the playground is the two-storey slide that you reach via an enclosed rope canopy. There is an array of fun features suitable for children from as young as 12 months old. A four-person seesaw, a mini play tower structure with three slides and lots of climbing options, colourful play panels, along with a fun spinning carousel.
As the playground is located directly outside the food court area, there are many tables and chairs in an alfresco setting perfectly positioned next to the playground. For all those children who like to eat, play and then repeat this is the ideal place.
Once your young ones set their eyes on Paradise Point Parklands, you won’t be leaving any time soon. The main playground with soft bark matting is the perfect location for the young adventurers in the family. A giant tangle net, slide, seesaws, spinning rotators, swings and a miniature horse merry-go-round all add to the attraction of this playground. With the recent upgrade to the parklands, you will find plenty of shady seats, picnic tables, and barbecue areas along with an abundance of cafes nearby to grab something to eat.
Bonus: The playground is just across the road from a natural swimming enclosure. The calm waters are perfect for a dip or take the buckets and spades to play in the soft sand. Parents can sit back under the shade and enjoy the Broadwater vista.
Harley Park is located on the Broadwater in Labrador. Close to Charis Seafood if you are feeling like some fish and chips by the water side, or it’s in easy walking distance to other restaurants and cafes. There are two playgrounds, a Broadwater lagoon if you fancy a swim, flat pathways perfect for those with bikes and scooters, and free BBQ facilities. Both playgrounds are near each other, fully fenced and sheltered. Inspired by the location one of the playgrounds has a nautical theme and elements include, ladders, a long bridge, a slide, sliding poles and, of course, a swing.
For those children who love to climb, the playground towards the north will be their paradise with a canopy of plastic ropes, and ladders for them to weave around. The climbing fort is all connected and leads kids to the feature slide and flying fox.
The fun doesn’t stop there in this area, adjacent to this park; you will find another larger flying fox.
Nestled in the center of the Gold Coast is the serene botanical gardens. Green parklands, floral garden beds & sprawling lawns are bordered by pathways, an open lake, and large shady trees.
The perfect place for celebrating a birthday or special occasion, with a vast amount of space you will easily find an area to pitch a marquee or lay down a picnic rug.
On the western side of the gardens is the new fully shaded playground, which opened in 2016 and incorporates lots of wooden features to blend in with the natural surroundings. The two showstoppers in the playground, suitable for the older children are the large slide and wooden climbing fort. Catering to the younger children is a small tree house structure and slide, a seesaw, wooden balance beams and the old favourite swings.
Don’t forget to take along your ball or frisbee, and the meandering paths on the outside of the gardens are perfect for a bike or scooter ride.
With all that energy being exerted, chances are you may want a bite to eat or something to drink. Coffee at the Gardens is a cafe on the northern side of the parklands and can help with your coffee or ice cream fix.
Tip: Keep an eye out for local fun events and food trucks picnics that are hosted in the gardens.
Don’t expect to visit the Broadwater Parklands and have this playground to yourself, particularly if you visit on the weekend. I am always under the impression though that if you find a venue that is busy, it must have great qualities. Well, this is true for Broadwater Parklands - known as one of the best playgrounds on the Gold Coast. It’s hard to miss this playground which is across the road from Australia Fair shopping centre and only 6 km from Surfers Paradise.
Once you visit the area, you will understand why it’s the location that holds many of the Gold Coast’s major events, and special attractions.
At one end of the parklands is the Rockpools – a man-made creek that twists and turns with a current of flowing water. Water fountains, pop jets, wading pools, a giant water bucket are surrounded by concrete steps, astroturf, and giant umbrellas. The rockpool is a popular area for the younger children and a perfect place to cool off on a hot Gold Coast day.
Closer towards Surfers Paradise is the playground of all playgrounds. As well as your everyday fun equipment there are also lots of main attractions to be found here. The huge fully fenced bouncy pillow is one of those, along with the pedal monorail that runs around the edge of the main playground, with an epic flying fox inside. The playground has been created with accessibility in mind as there is also a special liberty swing for children of all abilities.
Along with many others, these parklands have been designed with the Gold Coast weather in mind and are set on the beautiful Broadwater which gives you to access the natural enclosed swimming lagoon and sandy beach, directly across from the playground.
Parking: Broadwater Parklands parking area is paid parking seven days a week.
Macintosh Island is a gem that can sometimes be forgotten as it’s tucked away amidst the high rises in Surfers Paradise. Located over Sundale bridge on the Gold Coast 600 track it’s separated from the Surfers Paradise beaches by the Broadwater. There are pathways around the island perfect for kids to take their bikes and scooters. Macintosh Island has a serene atmosphere with the running streams, natural elements, and lush greenery. It’s a good chance you will meet the peacocks, ducks, and birdlife that have come to call this place home if you take a wander along the pathways.
You will find two play areas: north of the island is the main playground with swings, a few slides, monkey bars and a seesaw. One of the favourite zones by kids is the nearby cave - cross the wooden bridges surrounded by trickling streams to visit the home of ‘Big Foot.’
Towards the Surfers Paradise end close to the BBQ facilities and picnic tables is another sand-based playground which features a climbing fort with two slides.
Both playgrounds are fully shaded and are also surrounded by large shady trees, making them the perfect place to escape the elements and still enjoy the outdoors in the middle of summer.
Bonus: The large building on Macintosh Island is where they hold the Queensland Theatre of Puppetry show during the school holidays. These playgrounds are the perfect place to go before or after the show.
Just South of the Kurrawa Surf Club is Kurrawa Park, an extremely popular playground providing fun and entertaining facilities in a large open area, that’s fully fenced. This 'All Abilities Playground' has been separated into three zones – a sandcastle, large green hill and undersea area which incorporate physical, imaginative and educational elements of play.
There will never be a dull moment in this playground with the integration of a flying fox; hillside slides to climb up and slide down and climbing nets providing entertainment for older children. There are numerous swings, a sand castle fort, imaginative play areas, bouncing and spinning contraptions. These elements ensure the younger children are not left out, and due to the array of features and the prime location of this park, it is one of the favourites on the Gold Coast.
When it’s time to leave you are a short walk to the beach for a change of activity as well as lots of cafes and restaurants for something to eat.
Stop off on your family cycle, scooter ride or walk along the Esplanade for a play at Justins Park; known to many as the playground with one of the best views! Located beside one of the finest beaches on the Gold Coast Justins Park is a popular family-friendly area. The playground may be smaller compared to others in this list, but the location is its major drawcard. Children can be playing on the swings, slide, and monkey bars while you enjoy the picturesque views.
Justins Park is one of the areas where you can easily stay for the day, with many surrounding cafes in walking distance to dine-in or grab a takeaway and roll out your picnic rug on the lawns.
Ahoy There Matey! All your young pirates will love this playground with the centerpiece being a large adventure wonderland shaped like a pirate ship. The large pirate ship has hit a sand bunker and is a place to be active and have fun through imaginative play. Children can embrace their roles as pirates as they ‘walk the plank,’ escape down the slides, scuttle across the rope bridges, climb the fort or hideaway in the nearby cave.
You will find this shipwreck just off the Gold Coast Highway set on large open grassy parklands overlooking Palm Beach, a popular swimming area as the shallow, calm waters and sandy beach are perfect for young children.
If your pirates are searching for a drink, something to eat or an ice-cream The Dune Café is located north of the parklands. Dine on the alfresco seating or grab a treat and take it back to the playground.
There is more to the Gold Coast water supply than you may know! In fact, it is a place that you need to visit as it is pleasantly surprising. Venture out towards the hinterland along Advancetown road, approximately 30 minutes from the Gold Coast. Separated into three areas, the Hinze Dam has pathways for a walk or bike ride, BBQ facilities, along with brilliant views. Stop off at The View Café to tantalise your taste buds, and of course, there’s the children's playground. Positioned in a tranquil setting the playground is set in a spacious open grassed area. Fully shaded with soft rubber matting underfoot the main play attraction is a ship like fort with slides, tunnels and lots of climbing features. Included under the sizable playground is a large round swing, bouncy rocker, and spinning seat.
As you can see, there is no shortage of great playgrounds on the Gold Coast, and we have been to many in our short time as parents. We all know that kids love playgrounds and they are a great form of screen-free amusement so the next time you are wondering what to do or how to kill a few hours, maybe venture out to one of the above.