How to maximise the school holidays in Queensland in 2017

Print Friendly

School holidays are always a tough one – do you stay home or go on a holiday, and if so, where to go, what to do, and when to go?! It can quickly become overwhelming, but instead of letting it deter you, turn the school breaks into the #bestholidaysever.

With long weekends, public holidays and school holidays all on the playing field, each month has the potential to become the highlight of an envy-worthy calendar.

With some inspiration of our own, we’ve made it easy for you to make the most of the Queensland school holidays in 2017.


*Information and suggestions in the calendar and post are to be used as inspiration and a guide only as we acknowledge that everyone’s situation is different. It is based on the standard four weeks of annual leave and the standard working week in Australia. It also focuses on main school and public holidays for the Australian East Coast, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Our main inspiration for this post comes from this Skyscanner post from earlier this year.

January – Swim with the Fishes 

Lady Elliot Island

School Holidays: 1 January – 22 January

Where to go: Lady Elliot Island, Southern Great Barrier Reef

With over 1200 species of marine life, Lady Eliott Island houses one of the top underwater playgrounds of the Great Barrier Reef. With shallow and exceptionally clear water, the lagoons around the island are perfect for snorkelling beginners.

It’s no wonder why this island is regarded one of the best spots to explore the reef when you can swim along with turtles and manta rays and count every colour of the rainbow in the coral!

Must-see event: 1-8 January | Brisbane International in Brisbane

February – Where is the love?


Days to note: 14 February – Valentine’s Day

Where to go: Mudjimba Beach, Sunshine Coast

Spoil the ones you love this February by treating them to a relaxing trip to secluded Mudjimba Beach. Just across the river mouth from Maroochydore, this suburban beach is one of the Sunshine Coast’s best-kept secrets.

With patrolled swimming areas, a playground and plenty of picnic tables, this is the definition of a fun family beach day.

Must-see event: 16 February | Chinchilla Melon Festival in Chinchilla

March – City to Sea


Where to go: North Stradbroke Island, Brisbane

Get the kids excited for the next round of holidays by taking them on a weekend camping trip to North Stradbroke Island.

Only a short ferry ride from Brisbane, the family can easily savour the fading summer heat from a beachside camp on the snow-white sand of Cylinder Beach.

With paddle pools, nature walks, plenty of ice-cream stops and flash camping facilities, ‘Straddie’ (as the locals call it) is a no-brainer for a city getaway.

Must-see event: 9-20 March | Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro Gold Coast on the Gold Coast

April – Search for the Easter Bunny in the rainforest

daintree rainforest

School Holidays: 1-17 April

Where to go: Daintree Rainforest, Tropical North Queensland 

Before you stuff your tummy full with chocolate, go on an adventure through the jungle with a three-hour road trip from Cairns to Cape Tribulation to explore the Daintree Rainforest.

See why they call it the tropical north with a detour to Kuranda for a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest from– the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Drive a couple hours further north and go Jungle surfing, spot crocs, marine and wildlife, and see the rainforest meet the reef at Cape Tribulation.

Must-see event: 15 April | Vintage Easter Festival in Toowoomba

May – Welcome to the Sea Life


Days to note: 1 May – Labour Day (QLD Public Holiday), 14 May – Mother’s Day

Where to go: Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast

Start the month with a long weekend visiting the underwater animals at Sea Life in Mooloolaba.

Walk straight off the beach and into the aquarium where you can go through a tunnel that engulfs you into the sea, feel starfish and sea urchins in the touch pools, and find Nemo amongst the anemone.

Must-see event: 19-21 May | First Coast Festival in Toowoomba

June – We’ve Struck Gold!

Carnarvon Gorge

School Holidays: 24-30 June

Where to go: Sapphire Gemfields, Outback Queensland 

Escape to the country for a mid-year break to try your luck at the Sapphire Gemfields. Head west from Rockhampton out to Emerald on a treasure hunt, fossicking and sieving for gems.

If your luck runs out, stop by Carnarvon National Park and Blackdown Tableland National Park and see their natural hidden gems – the monstrous gorges and tumbling waterfalls that form this fun sandstone wilderness playground.

Must-see event: 4-11 June | Cairns Airport Adventure Festival in Cairns

July – Winter, what Winter?

Nara Inlet

School Holidays: 1-9 July

Where to go: The Whitsundays

Head north to the warmth and thaw out on one of the many islands in the Whitsundays.

From building sandcastles on pristine Whitehaven beach, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, learning about Indigenous heritage at natural historical sites at Nara Inlet, and bareboating and sailing around the rest of the 74 islands of the Whitsundays, this tropical paradise is synonymous with dream family holidays.

Must-see event: 27 May – 3 September | Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane

August – I seeeeeeeeeee you!

Hervey Bay

Days to note: 16 August – Exhibition Holiday (BNE)

Where to go: Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast

Just like Nemo and Dory, speak to whales and get up close to these majestic animals by spending a weekend whale watching off the coast of Hervey Bay.

It’s the only place in the world where the humpback whales stop for a break in their migration south to the Antartic, so there’s no wonder why it’s the best spot to catch these gigantic sea animals putting on a flippin’ good show!

Must-see event: 11-20 August | Royal Queensland Show (EKKA) in Brisbane

September – Moo-ve (temporarily) to the countryside

Southern Queensland Country

School Holidays: 16-30 September

Where to go: Southern Queensland Country 

Spring’s the time to get back to nature so head to Southern Queensland Country and find yourself in hinterland bliss at one of the many farm stays in the region.

Take time off from the business of daily life and recharge with incredible views, family memories, and experiences of life on a farm.

The kids can get involved and milk the cows and feed the animals as they learn how the food cycle works.

Must-see event: 15-24 September | Toowoomba Festival of Flowers in Toowoomba

October – City slickin’

Brisbane Sign

School Holidays: 1–2 October

Where to go: Brisbane City

End your holidays with a few extra days exploring the city streets of Brisbane.

Try your hand at putt putt, treat the family to a round of ice-creams at Streets Beach at South Bank, ride the giant Wheel of Brisbane, or stop by the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) for the latest children’s interactive displays.

Must-see event: 20-22 October | Gold Coast 600 in the Gold Coast

November – Ahh the serenity


Where to go: Currumbin Hinterland, Gold Coast

As the weather heats up, chill out in the fresh water at Currumbin Valley Rock Pools. Leave the bustling Gold Coast behind and drive along picture-perfect, tree-lined roads that will take you to this hinterland water wonderland.

Extend your nature escape and drop by the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to say hi to a few cuddly friends.

Must-see event: 1-5 November 2017 | Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival on the Sunshine Coast

December – Running on island time

Mackay Cay

School Holidays: 9-31 December

Where to go: Any island of the Great Barrier Reef

Celebrate a good year of family memories by adding a few more to the photo album – a round of island getaways. With 2300km of Great Barrier Reef goodness, no matter which region of the reef you choose there is an island holiday to go with it.

Camp and snorkel in the lagoons at Lady Musgrave Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, spend lazy days at Daydream Island in the Whitsundays, or snorkel along the fringing reefs of Lizard Island in the Tropical North.

Must-see event: 27 December – 1 January | Woodford Folk Festival in Woodford, Greater Brisbane

What do you have planned for the school holidays in 2017?