The round up: some of the Gold Coast’s best kid-friendly restaurants
Anyone with little humans in tow knows how challenging it can be to eat out at an actual restaurant. Sure, you will probably spend most of your meal trying to get your offspring to stop mashing miscellaneous food into the table, or making a speedy bee-line for the nearest exit, but you don’t have to do the cooking or washing up so it’s still a win. Whilst most restaurants do their best to accommodate tiny tribes with the addition of high chairs and kid’s menus, some places have kid-friendly dining down to a fine art. To help make things a little easier on parents and carers, we’ve compiled a handy list of family-friendly restaurants and cafes that make eating out a breeze. Okay, maybe not a breeze, but breezier perhaps.
Bella’s Wonderland, Southport
While lunch at a play centre may seem unconventional, hear us out. Bella’s Wonderland in Southport is not just any play centre, it’s the largest indoor play centre on the Gold Coast, so there’s plenty to keep the wee ones amused. While the kids are skipping between the slides, the ball pits, climbing walls and dress-ups, you can be sipping coffee and making the most of the cafe menu that meanders from next-level sandwiches to scrambled-egg topped croissants and crisp karaage. There’s also some super-cute little sweets and treats for the kids in the cabinet.
Currumbin RSL, Currumbin
If your tribe is of an age where you can watch them from a little further afield, Currumbin RSL’s deck area is ideal. There’s a playground right out the front that is fully fenced – just be sure to book a table close by so you can keep your peepers peeled as it is creekside. There’s also colouring-in kits for when you need to bribe them back to the table to eat. Live tunes, tasty food and cold drinks? We’re in!
Stones Throw, Currumbin
If you’re on the hunt for a kid-friendly cafe with top-notch brews of the caffeinated kind, make haste to Stones Throw at Currumbin. Order inside and then make your way down the nearby driveway and you’ll be greeted with a leafy outdoor seating area with plenty of room for the kids to roam – there’s even a caravan and a sandpit for the little ones to play in. The coffee and imaginative menu of all-day eats is a winner in our books. Oh, and it’s dog friendly, so that’s a bonus!
Located in Cornerstone Stores in Currumbin/ Tugun, Stable also boasts a grassy area that made it an instant hit with parents. There are a couple of picnic tables, but just as many people prefer to roll out a rug. The menu changes with the seasons, so there’s always something delicious to take your fancy as well as a kiddie plate for under 12s.
Custard Canteen, Tallebudgera
Long, salty, sun-kissed days at Tallebudgera Creek are a fave for many, so this one is a no-brainer. Custard Canteen enjoys prime position at the front of the Tallebudgera Leisure Centre, shaded by greenery and eye-catching red-and-white striped umbrellas. There are picnic tables sitting pretty alongside sun loungers and plenty of space to sprawl. Eat in or grab your Portuguese custard tart to go – either way, Custard Canteen is a treat for kids and grown-ups.
Dune Cafe, Palm Beach
If you’re not yet across Dune Cafe in Palm Beach, you are missing out! There’s a massive Pirate Park just a hop, skip and jump away, a huge open lawn to burn off excess energy and kick a ball, and when you’re in need of a dip to cool down, the creek is right there. It’s the perfect family friendly day out.
Nobbys Shack, Nobby Beach
From the roadside, Nobbys Shack looks like an ordinary cafe. Those who venture through, however, are rewarded with an expansive open-air deck area lined with tables as well as a kid’s play area. It’s the perfect place to bring the fam, soak in some sunshine and enjoy a fresh juice or coffee and a bite. Of an afternoon, the team are scooping delicious gelato and ice-cream.
Southport Sharks, Southport
We have three words that are guaranteed to make any parent or carer’s ears prick up – supervised. play. area. The Wobbygongs Kids Fun Zone is a purpose-built fully supervised play area for children aged three to 12 years, complete with a rock-climbing wall, mini basketball court, PlayStations, theatrette, home corner play area and drawing tables – the hardest part is getting them to come back to the table to eat. It’s $4.50 per kid per hour and bookings are essential. There’s also a free kids show every Sunday from 5:00–7:00 pm.
Burleigh Town Hotel, Burleigh Heads
It’s been an old-faithful watering hole off Tsipura Drive in Burleigh Heads for yonks, but if it’s been a minute in between drinks, the hotel has been transformed into a family-friendly destination. The kids will be entertained in the playground, which means parents can relish some rare moments of peace without constant (and repeated) requests for snacks. It’s a tried and tested winner in our books.
Miami Marketta, Miami
Those who are looking to venture out after dark with the tribe in tow should look no further than Miami Marketta. Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night from 5:00 pm, the Gold Coast’s original street-food market comes alive with food stalls, local artisans and bands from up and down the coast. The kids can dance while you sip a margarita, which is always a good vibe. Just get there early as it’s been known to get busy.
Pasture & Co, Currumbin
Forming part of Ground at Currumbin, Pasture & Co is popular among the parent folk thanks to its expansive grassy outdoor area. Hang out under the towering fig trees or roll out a rug and sip your latte as the kids explore. The all-day menu has been designed to suit all tastes, from grab-and-go bites to nourishing sit-down meals. Pasture & Co is open daily from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm (kitchen closes at 2:00 pm).
Currumbin Community Markets, Currumbin
Held every Thursday from 7:00–11:00 am, the markets were started by a couple of local mums who didn’t fancy dealing with weekend crowds. Pick up some fresh produce direct from local farmers while the kids play merrily at the colouring table. There’s live music (for kids and grown-ups) as well as a handful of food vendors if you’re feeling peckish.
BSKT, Mermaid Beach
Every parent knows the pain of dropping dollars on food only to have their little one refuse to eat it. At BSKT, there’s a menu filled with dishes that kids will actually eat. The house-made waffles with vegan chocolate sauce are a guaranteed winner. There’s also a little fenced section for the kiddos to have a play while you eat. Win-win!
The Sanctuary Markets, Currumbin
Feeding time at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary takes on a new meaning every Friday evening as The Sanctuary Markets roll in from 4:00–8:30 pm. The Market operates on The Village Green’s deck section and incorporates a wide variety of international foods including Thai, Japanese, Brazilian, Mexican, Balinese, Greek, Tibetan, Dutch, German and Filipino. The venue is also fully licensed, there’s live music and free off-street parking available. The Market is very family orientated and, for over nine years now, the Sanctuary Market has provided financial assistance favouring the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and many other charitable causes.
Robina Pavilion, Robina
If you’re yet to check out Robina Pavilion, consider this the sign you’ve been waiting for. There’s a dedicated kids area but The Lakeside is also super family (and doggo) friendly so you can bring the whole kit and cavoodle – see what we did there?
The Historic Rivermill, Mount Nathan
This one is more of an all-day kind of outing rather than a quick catch-up over coffee, but it’s definitely worth the trip. Nestled in Mount Nathan Shire in the Gold Coast Hinterland, approximately ten minutes inland from Nerang, you’ll find this sprawling family-friendly gem. Spread across 6.4-ha, there’s plenty of room to roam – you can even feed the turtles down by the lake and feed the alpacas. There are ponies every Saturday from 9:00 am to midday. Oh, and did we mention there’s a cafe?
Cadence Cafe, Nerang
The back of a bicycle shop may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of family-friendly dining, but Cadence Cafe (behind Just Ride in Nerang) dishes up a mouth-watering menu of cafe-style nosh as well as some top-notch brews. There’s also a gated playground. As a rule, if there’s a fence surrounding it, we’re here for it.
Coomera Lodge Hotel, Coomera
Found on Maudsland Road in Oxenford, the Coomera Lodge Hotel has plenty of space for the whole family with an undercover pavilion and expansive beer garden overlooking the river. There’s also a $10 kids menu filled with faves (including fettuccini pasta with garlic bread, ham and pineapple pizza, cheeseburger and chips, and nuggets and fish) as well as $2 kid’s desserts including dixie cups with topping and sprinkles, and Frog in a Pond.
Cafe Catalina, Southport
Overlooking Broadwater Parklands, Cafe Catalina is perfect for a bite with your parent pals. Once you’ve made your way through coastal menu, you can wander the expansive parklands or have a splash in the Rockpools water play area.
A few south of the border
Okay, we know we said the Gold Coast’s top family-friendly restaurants, but it would be remiss of us not to mention these places. So here we are breaking the rules because these are 100-percent worth the drive. Thank us later.
It’s known as ‘the sunflower place’, but Cudgen’s Farm & Co is so much more than an Instagrammer’s haven. The fully operational family-owned-and-run Kingscliff farm has a beautiful onsite restaurant. Once you’ve finished feasting, stroll around the farm and pick some sunflowers, zen out in the hammocks beneath the trees, crack open macadamia nuts and, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch Hank (the resident pig) and the chickens at feeding time (it’s quite a sight).
Cubby Bakehouse, Chinderah
If you’ve been to Cubby, you might be raising a curious eye at this inclusion given it’s directly fronting the main road, but hear us out. If you do manage to peel yourself away from the treats cabinet (a truly impossible task), there’s actually quite a spacious grassy area to the side of the cafe, which is lined with picnic tables. It’s semi-fenced but if you’ve got a runner or explorer on your hands, this one may not be for you. If, however, your offspring responds to a bribe of baked goods, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg! The Gold Coast and its surrounds are filled with family-friendly venues so if your favourite has been overlooked, give us the hot tip at [email protected]
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.