Fly Jetstar Australia to the Gold Coast & do 3 theme parks in 3 days – includes full itinerary!

Is your family getting weighed down with work, school and the everyday? Then it’s time to take a trip to the Gold Coast together for some family theme park fun!

A Let’s Go Mum family, Destination Gold Coast and Jetstar Australia partnership feature

Fly Jetstar to the Gold Coast for a family holiday

Fly Jetstar to the Gold Coast for a family holiday

We’ve just returned home from a theme park holiday on Australia’s Gold Coast with Destination Gold Coast and Jetstar Australia, and we had an amazing time together!

The Gold Coast is one Australia’s favourite family holiday destinations for good reason – there’s so many fun things to do there!

The Gold Coast theme parks are so much fun! Taking a family photo with Yosemite Sam

The Gold Coast theme parks are so much fun! Taking a family photo at Movie World with Yosemite Sam

In addition to being home to some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, the Gold Coast also offers great entertainment, shopping and food. This makes it perfect for every family member – from toddlers to teenagers, parents to grandparents, the Gold Coast is a fantastic holiday getaway for all.

Fly Jetstar Australia to the Gold Coast & maximise your fun!

On our way home aboard Jetstar Australia!

On our way home aboard Jetstar Australia!

We flew Jetstar Australia to the Gold Coast, and it couldn’t have been quicker – or easier!

Getting the family to the Gold Coast is cheaper than ever thanks to Jetstar Australia. They offer direct flights to the Gold Coast with their low fares every day. As an added bonus, there are frequent Jetstar Australia airfare sales that make a Gold Coast holiday even more affordable for families.

Flying Jetstar Australia to the Gold Coast means you can do so much more in a much shorter amount of time. You can be at the Gold Coast in a matter of a couple of hours instead of a couple of days road-trip from the eastern cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Plus, with my action-packed 3 day itinerary, you can make the most of your time – and fit in as much of that Gold Coast family fun (and sun!) as possible.

The Big 3 Gold Coast theme parks

The highlight of our most recent Gold Coast trip for was exploring one of the Big 3 theme parks each day, so in this feature I’ll tell you the highlights of each park, and then list our 3 (and 5 day extension) itineraries.

Movie World has lots of fun DC characters to pose with

Movie World has lots of fun DC characters to pose with

The Gold Coast is Australia’s undisputed theme park central and plays host to the three biggest theme parks in Australia – Dreamworld, Movie World and Sea World.

All three of these theme parks cater to all ages, and are in the business of pure, old fashioned family fun. Each one is geared to give your family the best time away together, ever!

Only have a few days to getaway? Follow our 3 day theme park itinerary!

Dreamworld is full of fun characters to pose with!

Dreamworld is full of fun characters to pose with!

A Gold Coast theme park a day is the perfect recipe to have a great time together and make some very special family memories, but you don’t need a whole week or even two weeks to visit some of the best theme parks in Australia, and have a great time.

Gold Coast theme parks with kids planning list!

Gold Coast holiday list

Here’s my list of holiday essentials to ensure your Gold Coast trip goes as smooth as silk!

  • Book your Jetstar Australia flights – sign up to Jetstar Australia emails to receive the latest Gold Coast flight discounts and sales.
  • Book your departure airport parking if needed – airports often have mailing lists with seasonal specials too!
  • Book your accommodation – we stayed at and highly recommend both the Main Beach Tourist Park and Sea World Resort
  • Book your hire car – we drove an Avis rent a car – don’t forget to include enough room for your suitcases and any baby seats or booster seats in your hire car booking if needed.
  • Buy your theme park tickets online before you go so that you can enter the parks without queuing – Dreamworld, Movie World and Sea World are the three major theme parks on the Gold Coast.
  • Download the Village Roadshow park app to take advantage of the virtual queue system at Movie World and Sea World so that you can go straight to the front of the queue (once per ride) on several of the popular big rides.

Gold Coast essential packing list – don’t forget!

Gold Coast essentials packing list green tick

  • Swimsuits
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Comfortable shoes
  • A light jumper or jacket in winter

Three theme parks in three days – our 3-day itinerary!

Having fun on the Gold Coast is as easy as 1-2-3 with our Gold Coast 3 day theme park itinerary. Use it to do all three top Gold Coast theme parks in just three days (with a visit to the Australian Outback Spectacular too!).

Day 1: Dreamworld

Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast

Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast

9:00am Fly Jetstar Australia into the Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta (or Brisbane Airport) on a morning flight and pick up your hire car. Load the bags and the kids and drive to Dreamworld. You should be at your first theme park within the hour!

10:00am Arrive at Dreamworld – use your pre-purchased online tickets to be barcode-scanned into the park.

Dreamworld is famous for…

Rides, and lots of them, with a dedicated small children ride area. Dreamworks Popular characters appear for free photo selfie sessions around the park. There is a huge fairy themed, tiger, motor racing and LEGO shop, a dedicated native animal zoo walk through area and fun shows to watch.

How much time do you need to see Dreamworld?

Give yourself the entire day to fully explore this theme park.

Dreamworld Dorothy Tea Cup ride

Dreamworld Dorothy Tea Cup ride

Don’t miss…

For families with teenagers & thrill seekers: the Steel Taipan roller coaster – this 1.2km long triple launch roller coaster will have you racing back to do it all again.
For families with small children: ABC Kids World has lots of little kid rides that will delight.
For all ages: Tiger Island – the Tiger Island show is an amazing way to see tigers close-up performing natural behaviours such as swimming and leaping that will have the whole family gasping in wonder!

4pm Dreamworld closes. Drive to your villa accommodation at Main Beach Tourist Park. Drop by the supermarket on the way to grab some supplies for breakfast and dinner. Have a rest or swim in the resort pool before heading out to dinner just a five minute walk away at the Southport Yacht Club, or drive five minutes away to one of the masses of fantastic family friendly restaurants in Surfers Paradise – don’t forget to take a walk on the night-lit famous sandy beach!

Watch our day at Dreamworld video

Watch the video of our day at Dreamworld here!

Don’t miss another of our Australian family YouTube videos! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel here 

Day 2: Warner Bros. Movie World

Movie World theme park on the Gold Coast

Movie World theme park on the Gold Coast

Sunrise Swim, surf or take a stroll along gorgeous Main Beach just across the road from Main Beach Tourist Park for a great start to your day on the Gold Coast!

8:00am Cook breakfast or have breakfast at one of the cafes around Surfer’s Paradise.

9:00am Drive to Warner Bros. Movie World in Oxenford. The park opens at 9:30am and the rides start at 10am.

9:30am Arrive at Movie World – use your pre-purchased online tickets to be barcode-scanned into the park.

Movie World is famous for…

Being known as Hollywood on the Gold Coast, with themed areas and rides, many DC Comics themed. There are several large thrill rides and a dedicated ride world for small children. There is a stunt car show at set times each day, a 4D theatre, and several character shows throughout the day with numerous character appearances for photos and a main street parade.

The Movie World stunt car show is thrilling

The Movie World stunt car show is thrilling

Village Roadshow Theme Parks app

Village Roadshow theme park app

Use the Village Roadshow Theme Parks app to take advantage of the virtual queue system at Movie World (and Sea World) that you can use to go straight to the front of the ride queue on several of the popular big rides. You can only book one ride at a time. Aim to use this mostly in the first half of the day on the major thrill rides with the biggest queues like DC Rivals, Superman Escape and Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster. These rides tend to exhaust their virtual queue allocation by around lunch time. Alternatively, you can wait for your turn in line, or purchase an Express Pass/VIP pass at the photo booth at the gate to skip to the front of the ride queues. These can sell out, so don’t leave it until it’s too late.

Ride photos

Ride photos are great fun!

Ride photos are great fun!

Ride photos are a must to capture great candid family pics! Pick up a photo wrist band bar code (free) to scan any ride photos taken during rides. At the end of the day, you can pick and choose which photos you’d like to buy at the photo booth, or purchase a Fast Photo $50 all digital photo download package for ride photos at both Movie World and Sea World (we did this and it’s great value as you can end up with several really fun ride photos like the one above taken on the Spooky Coaster!)

How much time do you need to see Movie World?

Give yourself the entire day to fully explore this theme park.

Don’t miss…

For teenager families & thrill seekers: DC Rivals, Superman Escape, Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster and the Batwing – these super thrilling rides will have your heart in your mouth!
For families with small children: WB Kids World with a Mini Driving school, and more fun rides for the smallest thrill-seeker! You’ll also find the smaller but still exciting Road Runner Coaster
For all ages: The Stunt Car show and Scoob 4D movie theatre (several times daily) and Mainstreet character parade (at 3:30pm) are absolute must-sees during your visit.

5:30pm Movie World closes.

Suggested option one: Sea World Resort, Main Beach

The Sea World Resort Shoreline Buffet Restaurant

The Shoreline Buffet Restaurant

5:30pm Drive to your accommodation at Sea World Resort, Main Beach to check in. Perhaps have a pre-dinner swim in the resort pool and let the kids play on the Sponge Bob Square Pants splash pad. Have dinner at the resort’s family-friendly Shoreline Restaurant. It not only has every kid-friendly meal you can think of such as spaghetti, nuggets and chips, it also features live music for mum and dad, plus face-painting for the kids!

Suggested option two: Australian Outback Spectacular Heartland show

The Australian Outback Spectacular Show

The Australian Outback Spectacular Show

6:10pm Go to the Australian Outback Spectacular Heartland show. The whole family will love this unique family-friendly dinner show that tells a great Aussie outback story. An experience featuring a stunning light show with real animals – including horses, dogs and cattle. Everyone gets a free cowboy hat too! Enjoy pre-show drinks, live country music entertainment and photo opportunities with the animal stars of the show! Read more about the show in our feature here.

9:30pm After the show ends, drive to your accommodation at Sea World Resort, Main Beach.

Watch our day at Movie World video

Watch the video of our day at Movie World here!

Don’t miss another of our Australian family YouTube videos! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel here 

 

Day 3: Sea World

Sea World Marine Park on the Gold Coast

Sea World Marine Park on the Gold Coast

8:00am Enjoy the huge selection at the buffet breakfast in the Sea World Resort at the Shoreline restaurant

9:15am Check out of the Sea World Resort

9:30am Exit the resort to directly access Sea World via a door located near Reception, scanning your pre-purchased online digital ticket as you go. Walk up the ramp and straight into Sea World. It doesn’t get more convenient than that! You will find yourself near the Dolphin arena and Castaway Bay water play area. The park opens at 9:30am and the rides start at 10am.

Sea World is famous for…

Sea World Marine Park sealion show

Sea World Marine Park sealion show

Its sea animal shows and enclosures. There are also several large thrill rides and a dedicated ride world for small children. There are sea animal displays, extra animal experiences available to purchase, and a stunt show at two set times each day. There are several walk through aquariums, a water play area, and climbing structures for the more energetic kids. New feature rides are currently under construction, so stay tuned!

Village Roadshow Theme Parks app

Village Roadshow theme park app

Use the Village Roadshow Theme Parks app to take advantage of the virtual queue system at Sea World (and Movie World – the two parks are owned by the same company) that you can use to go straight to the front of the ride queue on the popular big rides. You can only book one ride at a time. Alternatively, you can purchase an Express Pass/VIP pass to skip to the front of the ride queues, or just wait your turn in line.

Ride photos

You can also use your Movie World photo wrist band at Sea World to scan any ride photos taken during rides.

Sea World also has thrill rides

Sea World also has thrill rides

How much time do you need to see Sea World?

Give yourself the entire day to fully explore this theme park.

Don’t miss…

For families with teenagers & thrill seekers: the Storm and Jet Rescue Coasters, and the Vortex will spin you into another dimension!
For families with small children: Nickelodeon World has a carousel, mini roller coaster and several more fun rides for little ones.
For all ages: The seal and dolphin shows are an absolute must-see, and the stunt show is also great fun. For $9 you can purchase a cup of fish to feed to the rays at set times. See the penguins who currently (September 2022) have a huge fluffy baby, neon-lit jelly fish, resident polar bears and the incredible underwater world of Shark Bay. Book a dolphin experience for life-changing memories – we’ll never forget ours!

5:00pm Sea World closes. Return to the Sea World Resort to pick up your bags and car and drive back to the airport to drop off your hire car and catch your Jetstar Australia evening flight home.

Add these two days for a 5 day Gold Coast theme park itinerary:

Day 4: Consider visiting Paradise Country – described as an authentic Australian farm experience with wildlife presentations and koala experiences available. See Shaun’s Aussie Adventure Show (Meet and Greets available), the Stock Horse Arena and Billy Tea Show. Stockman Show. There are also pony rides. Operating hours are 10am-3pm.

Day 5: Consider visiting one (or both!) of the Gold Coast water parks – Wet N’ Wild (year round – 10am-5pm or 4pm in the colder months) or WhiteWater World (WhiteWater World is a seasonal theme park closed for winter, reopening September 10 2022. Opening times vary 10am-4pm/5pm).

Gold Coast family accommodation

Whilst on the Gold Coast we were hosted by two outstanding family accommodation options.

Main Beach Tourist Park

Main Beach Tourist Park is a caravan park on the Gold Coast

Main Beach Tourist Park on the Gold Coast

Main Beach Tourist Park is an incredible Gold Coast holiday park located right across the road from Main Beach, next door to Surfers Paradise! You can read all about our stay at Main Beach Tourist Park in our feature article here.

Sea World Resort

Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast

Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast

The Sea World Resort is the famous family themed accommodation resort with direct access to the Sea World theme park! You can read all about our stay at the Sea World Resort in our feature article here.

Even more fun Gold Coast attractions and activities

Visit the famous Surfers Paradise sign for an iconic photo!

Visit the famous Surfers Paradise sign for an iconic photo!

Of course, the Gold Coast isn’t just about Australia’s biggest and best collection of theme parks. There’s so much more to do and see!

No trip to the Gold Coast would be complete without a visit to one of the many stunning white sandy beaches. There are multiple fun attractions all over the Gold Coast, with lots located in and around Surfers Paradise. Don’t forget to snap a photo under the iconic Surfers Paradise sign while you’re there!

Seasonal whale watching cruises always seem to find a whale or ten to see, and Sea World run their very own whale watching cruises so that you only have to walk out of your accommodation and onto the boat!

The Gold Coast has some of the best shopping in Australia with several massive shopping malls like the huge Pacific Fair, Robina Town Centre and Harbour Town outlet shopping centre.

Getting to the Gold Coast

Dreamworld's Kenny Koala

Dreamworld’s Kenny Koala

How long does it take to fly to the Gold Coast?

It’s faster than you think to fly to the Gold Coast, or alternatively to Brisbane.

To get to the Gold Coast Airport of Coolangatta is a 2 hour flight from Melbourne Airport, 1 hour and 20 minutes from Sydney Airport and 1 and a half hours from Canberra Airport.

To fly to Brisbane Airport is a 2 hour and 10 minute flight from Melbourne Airport, 1 hour and 30 minutes from Sydney Airport and 1 hour and 40 minutes from Canberra Airport.

So you’ll be arriving in the Gold Coast in no time!

Car Hire at Brisbane or Coolangatta Airports

Avis car hire rental at Brisbane Airport

Avis car hire rental at Brisbane Airport

There are numerous car hire companies available at both the Coolangatta Airport and Brisbane Airport, with competitive rates. We drove an Avis hire car from Brisbane Airport, and it was one of the closest hire car stations to the main airport terminal. The hire car was quick and easy to both pick up and drop off with a petrol station located next door to the airport to top up the fuel tank – everything went without a hitch.

How long does it take to get from the Coolangatta Airport to the theme parks?

It takes around 35 minutes to drive to the Coomera (Dreamworld) and Oxenford (Movie World) theme parks from Coolangatta Airport, and around 45 minutes to drive there from Brisbane Airport.

It takes around 30 minutes to drive from the Coomera/Oxenford theme parks to Sea World Gold Coast at Main Beach. It takes around 40 minutes to drive from Coolangatta Airport or one hour from Brisbane Airport to Sea World.

It’s time to book your Gold Coast family holiday and go have some fun!

Sea World dolphin experiences make amazing memories

Sea World dolphin experiences make amazing memories

So, there you have it! You can book for the Christmas school holidays now – but really, there’s no time like the present to fly to the Gold Coast.

Book now for your next Jetstar Australia Gold Coast holiday with the kids. It’s a great way to reconnect and spend time laughing and having fun together. The memories you make will be absolutely priceless – ours certainly are.

The DC Rivals roller coaster at Movie World

The Gold Coast memories you make will be priceless!

The Let’s Go Mum family partnered with Destination Gold Coast and Jetstar Australia for this Gold Coast visit

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3 Theme Parks in 3 Days - holiday on the Gold Coast of Australia

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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!