Here are seven top picks to keep the family busy these winter school holidays, including a good dose of indoor fun for those few really miserable days. With an activity for each day of the week, you won't hear those dreaded words – "I'm bored" – again.
The Coast's newest indoor trampoline parks, Air Factory (5 Sunlight Drive, Burleigh Waters) and Bounce (10 Energy Circuit, Robina), house interconnected trampolines – both horizontal and vertical – allowing kids to bounce high and run up walls Spiderman-style. The acrobatically inclined can try out flips and turns, landing safely on large air bags.
Air Factory is a favourite with our kids, featuring 140 trampolines and different zones for slam dunk basketball (harder than it looks with the added less gravity effect), dodge ball and bubble soccer (extra cost). For the littlies, there is a dedicated mini zone for kids aged 3-5.
Time to Grind
Pizzey Park Complex at Miami is the Gold Coast's largest skate park
Feed the need to shred at one of the Coast's many skate parks, with ramps, rails, bowls and pipes for skateboarders, BMX and scooter riders of all abilities. Pizzey Park Complex at Miami is the Coast's largest (80 Pacific Avenue, Miami). Best known for its legendary 10 ft bowl, it also has plenty of smaller ramps to keep beginners happy. Gold Coast Compound (43-53 Days Road, Coomera) is a massive indoor park with ramps, jumps, wall rides and more. Featuring three huge foam pits, this is the place to go to try new tricks or just enjoy a cushy fall. Gold Coast Council runs free skateboarding workshops for those wanting to learn how to skate ramps and obstacles at various locations.
Off the Beaten Track
Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Crisp, winter days are ideal for exploring the "green behind the Gold" – the lush, tangled rainforest and diverse wildlife of the Coast's hinterlands. World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park offers 160 km of graded walking paths, with both short and full day bushwalks to choose from. Short walks range from the Tree Top Walk (800 m return), which offers stunning views from a 30 m high deck, to the trail to Lyrebird Lookout (8–10 km return), which crosses a bridge over a creek flowing to a waterfall.
Mt Warning, located between the Coast and Byron Bay, is famed for its spectacular sunrise and is definitely a hike to remember. This is a challenging and inspiring hike for fit families with older kids. Expect the climb to take up to five hours.
Ten-pin bowling is an old school holiday stand-by, and with good reason. Suitable for all weather and fun for all ages, be sure to book your lane ahead if possible as these places get packed, particularly on rainy days. We like AMF Bowling at Robina, which also has laser tag and offers a special deal for the school holidays – one game each of bowling and laser, plus five tokens for the arcade-style games for $17.90. Its location at the shopping juggernaut that is Robina Town Centre (Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina) means there are plenty of options for before or after snacks.
Go Get 'Em
Indoor go-karting track (photo courtesy Game Over)
Australia's first electric powered go-karting track is at Game Over Game Over (88-108 Siganto Drive, Helensvale). This huge indoor adventure park offers 22 adult and 12 junior go-karts that can each be programmed to suit varying skill levels. The interchangeable track means a constant element of surprise, with corners that change to add to the thrill of the race. Game Over also houses Clip N Climb, an exciting new take on indoor climbing with its brightly coloured course of 16 themed climbs for all levels.
Surf Groms classes run through winter at Currumbin Alley
Okay, so the wind chill can be nasty, but ask the locals and they will tell you it's still warm in the water. With surf schools offering lessons throughout the school holidays, a session in the waves during winter is certainly a viable prospect. Just be sure to put the kids in a steamer suit and have the hot chocolate handy for when they get out! Currumbin Alley is a great break for learners. We recommend the wonderful instructors at Surfing Services Australia, who run regular classes for kids aged five and up.
Play All Day
Indoor play centres are fun for primary school kids (photo courtesy Tabatinga)
Granted, indoor play centres don't make for a peaceful day out, yet provide a convenient and exciting place for younger kids to run wild when the weather's too wild to be outside. Particularly good for parents of primary school kids with younger siblings, as the best centres have dedicated zones for toddlers to play while their brothers and sisters climb the high obstacles.
Tabatinga at Tweed Heads (Seagulls Club, Gollan Drive) and 2BKids at Burleigh (151 West Burleigh Rd) are our top picks. Tabatinga has a huge, colourful jungle-themed soft play structure, while 2BKids also has trampolines. Both also have cafes; the latter does a decent cappuccino too.