See & do

Family-friendly adventures for the long weekend

Charntel Cleveland | April 27, 2022

It’s always nice to have a long weekend to look forward to.

There’s so much to see and do on the Gold Coast that it’s hard to know exactly how to make the most of that extra day off.

Here we’ve rounded up some long-weekend activities that will help make that bonus time with friends and family even more worthwhile.

Head to the Historic Rivermill

The Historic Rivermill in the Gold Coast hinterland was originally a working mill for arrowroot, which was grown on the site in 1910. Since then, it has become a quaint and picturesque family-friendly venue.

Explore the grounds and petting zoo where kids can feed the resident alpacas, deer, ducks and chickens, as well as the hundreds of turtles that live in the creek.

There are also pony rides on offer every weekend.

When it’s time to feed your own brood, the Rivermill Café has everyone covered with delicious breakfast, lunches and snacks.

The original part of the Rivermill also stands as a museum, where you can check out some of the agricultural machinery that was used back in the day.

Peace out at Pasture and Co

Located in the Ecovillage at Currumbin, Pasture and Co offers organic café fare in lush surroundings.

While you enjoy brunch or coffee taking in the stunning views of Currumbin Valley, the kids can play on the lawn or among the 100-year-old fig trees.

Keep an eye out for the local wildlife too—kangaroos, finches and rosellas frequent the area, but you might also catch a glimpse of wallabies, echidnas and platypus.

The venue also hosts live music on weekends, as well as raw cake workshops on the first Saturday of the month.

Hit Hinze Dam

While providing drinking water and flood mitigation for the Gold Coast, Hinze Dam is also a revered daytrip destination.

Pack a picnic to enjoy waterside and let the kids loose on one of the nearby playgrounds. The View Café next to the Visitor Centre also provides a perfect perch to take in the sweeping views of the water and hinterland while dining.

The site also sports a range of hiking, trail-running, horse riding and mountain biking trails, while the dam is ideal for watersports such as fishing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing, sailing, rowing and electric boating.

Walk the dam wall and take in the views.

One of the picnic areas at Hinze Dam.

Enjoy the sweeping views of the surround Gold Coast Hinterland.

Walk Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge forms part of the Springbrook National Park and whether you visit day or night, you’ll see something truly special.

By day, the basalt rock arch looks ethereal as the sun streams through a waterfall into a gleaming pool below. By night, thousands of glow worms glimmer to make the cave just as magical, twinkling like tiny stars in a distant galaxy.

Simply follow Natural Bridge’s sealed walking track—a 1km clockwise circuit that leads from the car park, through the rainforest to the arch cave and back again.

Nearby Bochow Park is perfect for a picnic, while Two Pines Café offers breakfast, lunch, cakes and snacks.

A waterfall falling into a cave
The Natural Bridge is an easy walk for young families to explore

Explore EcoPark

Feeling outdoorsy? EcoPark at Luscombe offers a range of open-air activities as well as camping and farm stays.

Here you can partake in a range of animal and bird encounters, go catch-and-release fishing in the lake, or try your hand at mini golf, paddle boating, water tricycling or pedal go-karting.

There’s also an on-site café, picnic areas and playgrounds, a jumping castle and jumbo board games, not to mention guided 4×4 buggy tours.

Bask at the Botanical Gardens

An inner-city oasis, the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens at Benowa features a range of natural attractions.

Stroll the boardwalk and take in the serenity of the lake or meander the many walking paths that snake through the scenery. Here you can explore various habitats including butterfly and rose gardens, freshwater wetlands, open woodlands, araucaria and blackbutt forests.

There are plenty of playgrounds, barbecues and picnic areas too, as well as on-site café and expansive off-leash dog area.

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An inner-city oasis, the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens at Benowa features a range of natural attractions.

One of the many walks at the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens.

Stroll the boardwalks while the kids can bike or scooter.