Holidays are the perfect time to try something a little bit different, even if it is on your doorstep. Take the plunge and try stand-up paddle boarding (see www.oceanaddicts.com.auor
goldcoastsup.com.au), hire a boat (see www.swanboathire.com.au or brisbaneboathire.com.au), or try your hand at tennis (see hotshots.tennis.com.au) or archery (see www.goldcoastarchery.com). Here are some other ideas.
Kanu Kapers offers guided or self-guided kayaking adventures in the Noosa Everglades. You can choose a half-day guided tour suitable for all levels of fitness, or a longer tour (up to three days) that includes camping beside the Noosa River. More seasoned kayakers can opt for a self-guided three-day experience, allowing you to take things at your own pace and choose where to camp. Half-day guided tours cost $155 for adults and $80 for children (16 and under). The cost for a family (two adults and two children) is $450. The self-guided three-day tour costs $175 per person, plus $15 each for the camping permit and fees, or $680, plus camping fees, for two adults and two children. Visit www.kanukapersaustralia.com for details.
Mount Coolum stands 208 metres high and offers spectacular views of the coast… once you reach its summit. But the walk is surprisingly easy and there are lots of areas to rest on the way up. A gorgeous little smoothie bar awaits you in the car park off Jarnahill Drive when you’ve made your way back down, or take a picnic and enjoy it atop the 26 million year old volcanic dome. Visit www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/mount-coolum.
Unleash your inner daredevil with a visit to Australia's first adventure theme park in the trees. The adventure park has two locations, Mount Tamborine and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. At Mount Tamborine you can enjoy Australia's largest guided zip line tour with over 100 TreeTop Challenges spread over six courses. At Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, 80 amazing TreeTop Challenges await you, with 12 massive ziplines, including the huge Croc Shock course where you (literally) ride flying foxes over crocodiles! Adult tickets cost $49 and children’s tickets (14 and under) cost $39. Find out more at www.treetopchallenge.com.au.
Fraser Island is a World Heritage site known for its natural beauty and pristine white beaches. It is Queensland’s largest island and home to an abundance of wildlife including dingoes, rays, dolphins, sharks and whales (in the spring). Take it all in at your own pace by doing the island’s Great Walk. It is 90km long and will take about eight days to complete, or you can just pick a section you’d like to explore for a shorter hike. A whole range of campsites are available en route. See www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/fraser/pdf/fraser-island-visitorguide.pdf for more information.
We all know we live in a pretty special place, but have you even seen it from the air? Take a different view of the coast with a ride on a seaplane. Flights cost from $149 a person for a bird’s-eye view over Mooloolaba and Point Cartwright and longer flights are available all the way up to Double Island Point. Flights depart from the Maroochy River. See www.paradiseseaplanes.com.au for details.
Moreton Island is home to the world’s tallest coastal sand dune, making it the perfect spot to try your hand at sandboarding. You can reach speeds of 60 km/h as you make your way to the bottom! Find out more at www.moretonislandadventures.com.au/playing-there/sandboarding.
If you have horse-mad children then you have to put this one on your to do list. Take in the stunning surrounds of the Noosa North Shore as you ride along the beach. There are horses for all levels, but children must be over the age of nine and fairly confident on a horse to take part. Rides start from $155 for two hours and a maximum of two riders are allowed. See www.noosahorses.com.au/beach-rides for details and to book.
Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island
Cook Island, Coolangatta, Gold Coast
Flinders Reef, Moreton Island
North Stradbroke Island, Brisbane
Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast
Yep, it seems tourists can’t get enough of our ‘big things’, and who are we to judge? Make a fun day trip out of a tour round these icons of South East Queensland. Try and tick these ones off your list (and don’t forget the obligatory selfie):
Big Boot, Gympie Road, Chermside
Big Pineapple, Nambour Connection Road, Woombye
Big Cow, Ayrshire Road, Kulangoor
Big Pelican, Gympie Terrace, Noosaville
Big Kangaroo, Kybong Service Station, Bruce Highway
Big Ned Kelly, Gympie Road, Maryborough
Established in 1921, the Majestic Theatre is Queensland’s longest continuously operating picture theatre and the oldest authentic silent movie theatre in the world. The wonderfully quaint theatre
still hosts plays, silent films and musical acts and there is a restaurant that operates during shows. For a list of upcoming performances, visit www.themajestictheatre.com.au.
Don’t let a drop of rain spoil a day of your holiday. Head inside for some fun at Colour My Pot in Cleveland. You can select from a wide range of pottery pieces to paint any way you like. Then it is glazed and fired, ready for collection a week later. Pieces start from $5 and a daily studio fee of $9 per painter applies. Find out more at www.colourmypot.com.
Forget the stresses of modern life and take a trip back in time at the Beenleigh Historical Village and Museum. Browse the early Australia memorabilia and explore the 20 historical buildings which have been lovingly preserved and restored, each one filled with original items from the 1860s onwards. The buildings include the St George Anglican Church, The Beenleigh Council Chambers, Willkie’s General Store, the old Dodge fire engines, family homes, the Loganholme One Teacher School and the Post Office. Finish the day with a walk round the onsite art gallery and enjoy a bite to eat at the café. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $4 for children. See beenleighhistoricalvillage.com.au for details.
Have your photo taken with Kylie, shake hands with John Howard and then say ‘G’day’ to Crocodile Dundee—all in one day! Head to the Wax Museum in Surfers Paradise for a taste of the bizarre as you come face-to-face with life-size wax models of your favourite— and not so favourite—celebrities, royals, presidents and influential figures from history. See www.waxmuseum.com.au for details.
For a truly cultural day out, the Queensland Museum is the perfect starting point. A mix of permanent and changing exhibits the museum covers natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement. After you have finished exploring there, take a short stroll to the Gallery of Modern Art. The Gallery of Modern Art has a physical space called the Children’s Art Centre which hosts events, workshops, exhibitions and programs for children, including installations by local and international artists. If you have the stamina for one more stop, make it the Queensland Maritime Museum. The museum is home to the HMAS Diamantina, a large World War II frigate you can actually board, and also the heritage listed South Brisbane Dry Dock, one of the last remaining remnants of the colony of Queensland, built in 1876.
Motorheads, this one is for you! Drive out to the scenic Mount Mee, just an hour from the Sunshine Coast, and look out for the awesome collection of motorbikes and cars, with a café tucked behind. The Pitstop Cafe is all about the quirky motorsport memorabilia that decks the walls and is displayed out front, but it also offers good food and fantastic views. It has local crafts and collectibles for sale too. Visit www.pitstoponmtmee.com.au.
Walk off your lunch with a trip to the nearby D’Aguilar National Park.
Fancy a change from your local cinema for your next family movie night? Try the Yatala Drive-in Theatre. It’s a set-up straight out of Grease, with an onsite snack bar modelled on an authentic 1950s American diner serving all your favourite drive-in delicacies: think burgers, hot dogs, hot chips, donuts, popcorn, choc tops and more. You can listen to the movie in the car via the radio, or set up camp next to your vehicle and gaze up at the stars. You can even bring your dog! So, put the kids in their pyjamas and settle in for a drive-in movie experience you’ll want to revisit time and again. Tickets cost $14 per adult and $8 per child, with kids under six going free, or get two movies for $9.50 each (per adult) or $6.50 each (per child). See yataladrive-in.com.au.
The kids will love foraging and it’s a great opportunity to explain about local produce and how it gets from field to plate. If you’re unsure where to start, there are a few websites that can help you locate local produce in your area. Check out Falling Fruit, a global collaborative map of food sources for foragers. You can type in your address to find out what is growing near you, or search for a specific food. A foodie from Brisbane has also created a Google map listing the location of fruit trees and herbs in the city and its surrounds. Simply google 'Brisbane Public Harvest' and head to the interactive Google map to find local produce fresh from the trees, perhaps even just down your street! Happy foraging!
Tour the operating workshops of a Heritage Railway, test your skill inside a diesel cab simulator, find out more about the people who used to work on the railway, enjoy the largest model railway layout in Queensland and so much more! A trip to the Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich will keep the family entertained for hours. A family ticket for two adults and up to four children costs $63. Find out more at www.theworkshops.qm.qld.gov.au.
Queensland Zoo - www.whqzoo.com
Australia Zoo - www.australiazoo.com.au
Underwater World SEALIFE Mooloolaba - www.underwaterworld.com.au
Currumbin Wildlife - www.cws.org.au
Lone Pine Koala - www.koala.net
SeaWorld - www.seaworld.com.au
More than 2,000 performers and 438 events make up this music festival, now in its 31st year. The programme features concerts, street theatre, dances, writers’ panels, a film festival, acoustic jams, comedy sessions, debates, folk medicine, an environmental programme featuring talks, films, art and craft workshops, circus performances and workshops, late night cabarets, parades and special events including a spectacular fire event. There is also an entire children’s festival. Campers can relax in the tree-filled campgrounds after a busy day at the festival and the children will enjoy the butterfly walks, ponds and wildlife. The festival runs from December 27 to Jan 1. Tickets with camping cost $713 per adult, $506 for children aged 13 to 17 years and $32 for children aged 6 to 12 years. Children under 6 go free. Find out more at www.woodfordfolkfestival.com.
On the second Sunday of every month, the delightfully artsy Peregian Beach becomes host to the Peregian Originals music concert. Featuring local performers playing music from folk to hip hop to rock (and everything in between), this free family-friendly event makes for a great afternoon. Unpack the picnic rug and Esky and settle in for some great entertainment. See www.facebook.com/PeregianOriginals for details.
While all the activities and great days out we’ve covered here can easily be done in a day, you might be thinking of prolonging your stay to fit in more, or to mix the go, go, go with a bit of R&R. Southern Queensland Tourism has a comprehensive list of accommodation available on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane—see www.brisbaneairportvic.com.au. Here are some of our favourites.
Just an hour from Brisbane, or 40 minutes from the Gold Coast, lies the wonderful Clandulla Cottages and Farmstay. Set on a working farm, you are free to join in with the day’s activities, such as collecting the eggs and feeding the animals, or simply explore the tranquil setting at your own pace. They also offer ‘Breakfast with the animals’ and a ‘takeaway’ service, where the kids play and you can relax with a bottle of wine while your wood-fired pizza or fish and chips are prepared. For more details, visit www.clandullacottages.com.au.
You have to see this place to believe it! Each of the 13 luxury villas are named after Disney princesses or Snow White’s Dwarves and are set in the ‘enchanted rainforest’ of a World Heritage Listed National Park. Relax to the max in the spa bath with views of the forest after a day’s bushwalking and enjoy a visit each night from the resident possums. Visit www.mouseshouse.com.au for more information (and get ready to drool!).
The huge waterpark is the main draw for most of the families that visit Oaks Oasis, but the putt-putt course, sandpit, climbing frame and jumper pillow also guarantee worn out (but happy!) kids at the end of the day. A short walk from the beach, the resort offers apartments and villas and is well placed to enjoy all the attractions on the Sunshine Coast. See www.oakshotelsresorts.com/oaks-oasis for details.
A resort where kids come first. Jam-packed with a huge selection of facilities for the children including a waterpark, playground, putt-putt course, arcade games room, tennis court and 22-seat cinema, it also has its own kids activity club for ages four to 12. If the kids want to leave the resort (doubtful!), it is a short stroll to the beach. See www.turtlebeach.com.au for more information.