The Gold Coast boasts a plethora of cafés, popular not only for their coffee but also for their fabulous food and atmosphere. But when you’re travelling with kids, the choices diminish. Sometimes you feel the need to don combat gear to even venture outside the house, let alone go dining!
We set out to find you the best family-friendly cafés where the whole family is welcome; places that have a separate kids’ menu as well as a fenced shaded play area so that everyone can relax and enjoy the experience.
NOTE: Check with the cafe you are visiting to see whether play equipment is available for use due to Covid-19.
First Fruits Coffee, Southport
Highlights: Kids’ menu, fenced undercover play area, regular play group
Beside the Church of Christ and diagonally opposite Parkwood Plaza, First Fruits Coffee overlooks a huge fully fenced undercover playground housing gym equipment, climbing castles and slides suitable for under 8s. Daniel and Anna Smith serve up their own coffee roast, First Fruits, together with cakes and treats. They can also do kids’ party catering. Playgroup is held at the centre every Thursday from 9.30am – 11.30am.
Dune Café, Palm Beach
Highlights: Kids’ menu, playground nearby, children’s parties
Voted the ‘Most Kid-friendly Café’ on the Gold Coast, the area around Dune Café is wildly busy on weekends and holidays. The family-friendly café looks out across an open grassed area to a sandy beach and boardwalk, with a pirate-themed playground located nearby. Dune offers plenty of kids’ choices, including hosting children’s parties.
The Fish Shak, Southport
Highlights: Kids’ menu, Water playground nearby
Fresh Australasian seafood and burgers form the highlight of The Fish Shak’s menu, making it a great choice for family fish and chips night. The Shak Espresso window faces out to the Broadwater serving coffee, cold drinks, ice creams and snacks to eat under shade overlooking the Broadwater Parklands. There’s wide open space for older children to play and the Rock Pools water playground is just around the corner.
Pasture & Co, Currumbin Valley
Highlights: Kids dishes, weekly storytime and craft, children’s party options
At the entrance to Currumbin’s eco Village, this gorgeous café opens out at the back to an extensive grassed area where children can wander in clear view of their parents. Kangaroos visit each morning and late afternoon, and on Wednesdays there’s story time at 9.30am followed by children’s craft. The café menu contains several kids’ items such as scrambled eggs and ricotta pancakes as well as allergy-friendly cakes.
Sunlight Drive Café, Burleigh Heads
Highlights: Kids’ menu, fenced play area – CHECK play area details post Covid-19.
Realising a gap in the market, Aneta and Dennis Eilmann recently opened the coast’s most child-centric café. The main feature of the café is a huge fenced children’s play area fringed by dining tables and lounges so that parents can easily supervise their children. While parents and carers are well catered for with burgers, bowls and keto plates, kids can chomp down on housemade pancakes, picnic ‘plates’ and babycinos. NOTE: The play area has been changed since Covid, however this is still a child-friendly cafe.
BSKT Café, Mermaid Beach
Highlights: Kids’ menu, fenced undercover play area
Why not bring up your kids to appreciate good food? BSKT Café has its own fully fenced undercover kids’ play area including a cubby house backing onto the restaurant. There are five menu items ‘For the Kids’ including Berrylicious Pancakes, Tacka Tacos and Flatbread Ham and Cheese Toastie. Every Friday, kids eat free and there’s kids’ entertainment on the big screen in the playground.
Café Tahbella, Oxenford
Highlights: Kids’ menu, fenced undercover play area, child meal free on Sundays
Aimed squarely at its surrounding demographic, this family-friendly café offers well-priced made to order meals at very competitive prices. A small but well-equipped fenced-off play area takes up one corner of the café, complete with toys, books and a playhouse, its theme changing annually. There’s a separate kids’ menu on an activity sheet, and kids eat free every Sunday (one child free with every full-priced adult meal).
Cadence Café, Nerang
Highlights: Kids’ menu, fenced undercover play area
Catering primarily for locals, runners and cyclist-centric clientele, Cadence Café has a fully fenced play area under shade sail. Play equipment includes a boat and slippery slide. There’s also a separate children’s menu of breakfast and lunch items including waffles and calamari and chips. Meanwhile, for Mum and Dad, there are brekkies, bowls, salads and sandwiches with gluten-free and vegan options.
Historic Rivermill Café, Mt Nathan
Highlights: Kids’ menu, animals, children’s parties
Located beside a river at Mt Nathan, this historic property has spacious grounds leading down to a river. Llama and deer are housed in a large fenced-off area beside the barn, and there are plenty of turtles and ducks in the river. Animal food is available for purchase in the café. The café is available for children’s parties with a separate menu.
The Henchman, Miami
Highlights: Kid’s menu, Jumping castle on Saturdays and school holidays
Stones Throw – taking up the venue formerly housing Neighbourhood Espresso, the owners assure us that the yard play area and caravan will remain. Soon to open.
Crema Espresso, Pacific Fair, Broadbeach
Highlights: Located beside ‘Play Street’, takeaway available.