>  Attractions   >  Gold Coast wet weather activities

Sure, we all love a sunny day at the beach but sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t play fair. When the weather is less than perfect for sunbathing or making sandcastles, the following Gold Coast wet weather activities will keep the fun factor high for the whole family.

Strike a pose at ArtVo Illusions

Strike a pose at ArtVo Illusions at Robina Town Centre for some Insta-worthy holiday shots with a difference. This immersive Trick Art gallery is a lot of fun and there are scenes and photo scenarios to suit everyone. Before you get started on your photo adventure, a staff member will show you how to get the best results such as remembering to stand on the ‘photo spot’ for each scene and holding your phone or camera up high for extra perspective. Our family had a ball taking photos of each other here.

ArtVo Illusions
ArtVo Illusions at Robina Town Centre

Get Wet Surf School

The Gold Coast is famous for surfing and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining as you’re going to get wet anyway. If your enthusiasm is greater than your level of experience, a lesson with Get Wet Surf School is the way to go. Small waves breaking close to the beach make their lessons at the Southport Spit ideal for beginners. It’s a fun atmosphere as everyone practices their surf moves on the beach before the instructors charge into the water with the class. It won’t take long before you’re riding your first wave to shore. 

Surf school
Learn to surf at Surfers Paradise

Racecentre Surfers Paradise

Get your motor running with a high speed chase down the streets of Monaco in the middle of Surfers Paradise. Confused?  Don’t be. Racecentre, Australia’s most advanced racing simulation centre, is decked out with the same simulators used by professional racing car drivers which means you can race on any track in the world. Each simulator comes with surround sound, full motion and a wraparound windscreen so you can see other drivers trying to pass you on the straight.


Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has been operating for over 60 years and still has the world’s largest collection of Australian native wildlife. Cuddling a koala and feeding the lorikeets is as popular now as it was back in the 50s but the sanctuary has since added many new attractions. Drape a (friendly) snake around your shoulders or zoom high above pristine Australian bushland and the occasional crocodile on the TreeTop Challenge which includes 11 different ziplines.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Feeding the lorikeets

Whale watching on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast’s pristine waters have Australia’s longest whale watching season which lasts from June and November. You can join a whale watching tour with Whales in Paradise or see whales from the shore. One of our favourite places to do this is Point Danger on the border of Queensland and New South Wales.

Whale watching on the Gold Coast
Whale watching on the Gold Coast

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Mount Tamborine wine

Less than 30 minutes drive from the bustling coastal strip, towering high rise give way to the sleepy villages, hobby farms and boutique vineyards of Mount Tamborine. Visit the charming township of Eagle Heights to window shop along Gallery Walk, a pretty street filled with arts and crafts shops and delicious places for morning tea. If you feel like something stronger than a cup of Earl Grey, head to Mount Tamborine Brewery or the Queensland Wine Centre.

Taste some wine and have a chat
Taste some wine and have a chat


Great weather for ducks? No problem. A little rain doesn’t stop the amphibious Quack’r’Duck making its way through Surfers Paradise and splashing into the Broadwater for a bit of sightseeing along millionaires’ row. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for dolphins and dugongs as you cruise along the scenic Nerang River. Tours takes around an hour and operate 7 days a week.

Get ready for fun with Quack’r’Duck


This is the world’s largest Timezone with 5000 sqm of games, rides, attractions and things that light up and go ‘bing’. We took a retro trip to the 80s with pinball and Pac Man before going high tech with some of the latest action games. You can pay by the game but it is better value to buy a flat rate card which allows unlimited play from two to three hours depending on the option you choose. Whether you are travelling with teens or a toddler, this place has plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

Fun for all ages can be found at Timezone
Fun for all ages can be found at Timezone

Wonderful Worlds in the Wet

Scare yourself silly on some of the most extreme waterslides on the planet at WhiteWater World which is home to The Wedgie, a super-fast drop and loop slide that lives up to its name. You can also slide your way around Wet’n’Wild, Australia’s largest water theme park.  Seaworld has a great family attraction, Castaway Bay, which features a pirate-themed battle boat and water cannons perfect for spraying parents (a great reason to go on a rainy day as you’ll probably be wet already). Unless the rain is torrential, most of the scream machines at the Gold Coast theme parks continue operating.

Pacific Fair Shopping Centre tips

Pacific Fair Shopping Centre at Broadbeach is home to over 100 shops and a resident fashion stylist who can help transform your look. If you’re looking for a bargain, check out Harbour Town, a huge outlet shopping mall where out of town visitors can access a VIP lounge serving complimentary refreshments.

Hit the shops at Pacific Fair or Harbourtown
Hit the shops at Pacific Fair or Harbourtown

King Tutts Putt Putt

What kid can resist the lure of putting a glow-in-the-dark ball inside a fluoro Egyptian tomb? With three novelty courses to choose from there is plenty of fun to be had at this indoor/outdoor putt putt centre which is equally good rain, hail or shine. We spent over an hour playing the Ancient Egypt course which kept us entertained without being too difficult. Provided your children are old enough to swing a club King Tutt’s Putt Putt is a winner.

King Tutt's Putt Putt at Surfers Paradise
King Tutt’s Putt Putt at Surfers Paradise

Infinity Surfers Paradise

Imagine Alice stumbling down a rabbit hole, smoking the Caterpillar’s hookah pipe and then spending up big to create a freaky, futuristic maze – welcome to Infinity. Visual illusions abound at this family favourite which is best suited to over 8s. Hang out on a suspended walkway above the Light Canyon, swirl around in a psychedelic Kaleidoscope or be surrounded by a fractured haze of light in the Eclipse Chamber.

Infinity will keep you entertained
Infinity will keep you entertained

Surf World Gold Coast

Surf World Gold Coast has Australia’s largest surfboard collection and celebrates the history of surfing and its impact on popular culture with an impressive array of boards, trophies, clothing and other memorabilia. You don’t need to be a surfing fan to appreciate this unique museum. Photography lovers can browse photos of today’s champions in action and historic images showing the Gold Coast’s early surf scene and movie buffs will enjoy the collection of iconic film posters. Surf World brings back fond memories of the ‘Goldie’ from days gone by.

Go back in time at Surf World
Go back in time at Surf World

Hire a Gold Coast cinema

After all this excitement a relaxing afternoon at the movies is just the ticket (although you won’t be needing one of those). Peppers Broadbeach offers luxurious self contained apartments in a great location plus something special for in-house guests – a private movie theatre. Grab a new release DVD from the hotel and hang out with a movie star for a couple of hours as the rain comes down.

Hire the private cinema at Peppers Broadbeach
Hire the private cinema at Peppers Broadbeach

Soak up the vibe at Main Beach

Tuck into some of the best fish and chips on the coast or blow your mind (and your budget) with a designer shopping experience, at Main Beach the choice is yours. Check out stylish Tedder Avenue, one of the Gold Coast’s top eat streets, or follow the laid back locals to Peter’s Fish Market at Fisherman’s Wharf. Next door there is Vanitas, a silver service restaurant renowned for its degustation menus matched with rare and impressive wines. You will find all the big names nearby at Marina Mirage – think Hermes, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein.

Vanitas at Palazzo Versace

Go Karting Gold Coast

There’s no age limit at Go Karting Gold Coast, you just have to be 120cm tall and able to reach the pedals, something that delights kids and scares their parents to death. It’s the only indoor track in South-East Queensland and has (adult) karts which have been de-governed so they pump out close to 14hp. Dual karts are available for scaredy-cats who don’t want to drive and parents with children under the minimum height for going it alone.

Discover the best Gold Coast markets

Currumbin Sanctuary is also home to a lively Friday night market. After you’ve met the animals take a delicious journey around the globe with cuisine from Japan, Brazil, South Africa and Italy washed down with beer from Burleigh Brewing.

For great ocean views and quirky souvenirs, head to the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets. Whether you fancy a cane toad purse or an elegant necklace, this market has you covered. Keen bargain hunters (and their kids) will love Carrara Markets where you can see everything from bric-a-brac and antiques to fashion, face painters and the world’s most venomous snakes. Thankfully these aren’t for sale.

Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets
Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets

Enjoy a superb local brew

Grab a seat on the deck at one of the Gold Coast’s surf lifesaving clubs where you can enjoy a cold brew, watch swimmers take on the waves and seagulls strut their stuff on the sand. Away from the beach, boutique beer lovers can visit the Burleigh Brewing Company, home of Duke Beer. Tours include 45 minutes with a brew master to learn the tricks of the trade, and the chance to drink beers with the guy who created them, before sampling four of Duke’s best including the infamous My Wife’s Bitter. To sample more Burleigh brews, head to Black Hops Brewing which has eight beers on tap.

Looking for some accommodation on the Gold Coast? Read our reviews of Oaks Calypso Plaza, the Surfers Paradise Marriott, The Star Gold Coast, voco Gold Coast and the retro La Costa Motel. Or you can check out this Gold Coast accommodation roundup.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.