32 of Queensland’s best family-friendly resorts
School holidays are just around the corner (aren’t they always) and while staycations are great, if your family really needs a holiday, you’ll want to find a family-friendly resort. And stat.
We’ve done the hard yards and have found 32 of the best family resorts. Whether your kids are part dolphin and wear their post-swimming water wrinkles like a badge, or they’re looking to meet the reef on an island resort stay, this round-up will give you resorts and kids club inspiration to help you plan your family holidays from now until they’re travelling with their own kids!
For the water babies: resorts with slides & pools
For lots of kids, the perfect holiday is spent whizzing down endless water slides and bomb diving (I mean, calmly stepping) into epic pools. If this sounds like your crew, check out these resorts where they can #justkeepswimming all day long:
1. Paradise Resort, Gold Coast
Kids all over have given Paradise Resort five stars not only for their water park, but their other kid-friendly activities including an ice rink, multi-level playgrounds, inflatable rock climbing and kids club.
The Junior Bunkhouse room has bunk beds, a children’s play desk, TV and XBox 360. Game on!
2. Sea World Resort and Water Park, Gold Coast
Want a theme park to go with your resort and a monorail to get you there and back? Well, Sea World Resort and Water Park might be just for you! To break up the rides and animal encounters, take a dive into the 50-metre lagoon pool and waterfall at the resort.
The SpongeBob SplashBash and Aquaplay is a hot spot for the little ones as well with a giant tipping bucket, slides and water jets. Don’t miss the musical water fountain show on each night. There’s a kids club for four to twelve-year-olds, too.
3. Oaks Oasis, Caloundra, Sunshine Coast
There’s a water park within the 500m2 play zone at Oaks Oasis which is perfect for kids up to 12 years. We’re talking slides, interactive activities and fountains!
4. RACV Noosa Resort, Sunshine Coast
At RACV Noosa Resort, the wetland surroundings make you feel like you’re officially off the grid, but the good news is that when you’re ready for more of a buzz, Hastings Street and Noosa’s Main Beach are only a 10-minute free shuttle bus ride away.
They have pools for all ages with shaded and shallow toddler pool, lagoon pool with beach entry, and a pool complete with water slides and splash park. The Noosa Kids Club Program is in full swing during school holidays.
Stay on the reef: Great Barrier Reef Island Resorts
The Great Barrier Reef can be glimpsed in a day, but if you have more time, the best way to get to know it better is with a sleepover on an island resort.
Your family can explore the island with an early-morning nature walk, cool off with a snorkel or scuba, then learn all about the epic ecosystem.
And if that all gets a bit much, these island resorts have the perfect mocktail and cocktail combo to match with the sunset and palm trees. These resorts also have fabulous eco warrior, junior ranger or free activities where kids can get meet marine wildlife face to face:
5. Lady Elliott Island, Southern Great Barrier Reef
Lady Elliott is a natural playground with over 1,200 species of marine life. Walk straight off the beach to meet your first manta ray and turtle in the lagoon, join a snorkel safari, or lead your own beginner snorkel trail.
During school holidays, the team at Lady Elliott run a Junior Reef Rangers program where kids aged from five to 12 can learn about the reef and conservation. Accommodation ranges from eco cabins (aka tents) to two-bedroom island suites.
6. Heron Island, Southern Great Barrier Reef
Heron Island is accessed from Gladstone and is a great spot for the kids to experience the reef. During school holidays, seven to 12-year-old visitors can take part in their Junior Rangers program.
Qualified marine biologists take the Junior Rangers around the island to learn about the reef, marine life and birds. But the biggest bonus? Kids under 12 eat and stay for free.
7. Daydream Island Resort and Spa, The Whitsundays
There are loads of free things to do with the family on Daydream Island. There’s shark and stingray feeding shows at the world’s largest open-air aquarium known as the Living Reef, educational marine talks with marine biologists, open-air cinema, mini golf and playground.
Kids Club is also on offer with a program for littlies from six weeks old to five years, and a separate program for six to 12-year-olds. The older program includes treasure hunts, nature walks, coconut bowls, fish feeding, mini golf and group games.
Don’t forget to do a holiday snap with the little mermaids!
8. Hamilton Island, The Whitsundays
Hamilton Island’s Clownfish Club is a childcare and kids club for those aged six weeks to 14 years. There’s a variety of activities on offer across the island including golf clinics, water sports, ten pin bowling and even art classes, as well as visits to Wild Life – Hamilton’s very own wildlife centre and home to koalas, kangaroos, lizards and snakes.
Hamilton Island is the perfect place to pool and beach hop and you can snorkel right off the beach as well.
9. Fitzroy Island Resort, Tropical North Queensland
From Cairns, Fitzroy Island Resort is a 45-minute boat ride on the Fast Cat. Once you’ve arrived, there are loads of ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef – snorkel the fringing coral reefs, go on a glass-bottom boat tour or hire a sea kayak.
Make sure you pop into meet one of the recovering turtles at the Rehabilitation Centre. When you need a break from the outdoors, head to the cinema or games room. The two-bedroom apartments are perfect for family stays.
Looking to go high-end on your family island adventure? Try one of these resorts where the kids are pampered as much as the adults:
10. One&Only Hayman Island, The Whitsundays
Just because it’s a little bit posh doesn’t mean the kids are forgotten on One&Only Hayman Island. These special guests can join the KidsOnly (for four to 11-year-olds) and Teens Club (for 12 to 17-year-olds).
Highlights include fish feeding, craft workshops and the butterfly trail. The whole family will love spending time in the epic Hayman and Aquazure Pools or exploring the ocean from Coconut Beach or Blue Pearl Bay.
Budding divers will love the PADI Bubblemaker Program designed to introduce the younger ones to scuba diving. For more One&Only Hayman inspiration, take a look-see here.
11. Lizard Island, Tropical North Queensland
If you’re looking to pamper as a family, introduce your little ones to the day spa at Lizard Island with a special kiddie’s menu for mini facials, manicures, pedicures and hand or foot massages for 10 to 16-year-olds.
Babysitting is also on the menu at Lizard Island. That means you can order a gourmet picnic hamper and sneak away for an afternoon on one of the islands deserted beaches.
Lizard Island’s Junior Ranger program gives the young ones a chance to explore the island with snorkelling lessons and tours, glass-bottom boat cruises, star gazing and guided walks. They can even become a marine biologist for the day.
If sleeping on the Great Barrier Reef sounds like your thing, take a look at these alternate-resort spots in the Whitsundays or Tropical North Queensland.
Resorts on Island Time
There’s something about getting on a boat, leaving the mainland and arriving on the sandy side that makes you feel like you’re officially on holidays.
Here’s a few kid-friendly resort ideas that will switch your body clocks to island time toot sweet:
12. Tangalooma Island Resort, Brisbane
You can reach Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island within 75 minutes from Brisbane. Book your wild dolphin feeding experience or head to the dunes for some sandy sliding or quad biking.
The beach is fabulous for swimming, kayaking or snorkelling around the wrecks for the older kids. Make sure you’re back on the beach for sunset – it’s usually spectacular!
13. Anchorage Beachfront Island Resort, North Stradbroke Island, Brisbane Region
If you want direct access to the beach at Point Lookout, check out Anchorage Beachfront Island Resort. They have studios, one, two and three-bedroom units to cater for different sized families.
You can access North Stradbroke Island with or without a 4WD with a water taxi (25 minutes) or ferry (50 minutes) from Cleveland.
14. Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Coast
On the world’s largest sand island, your would-be wildlife warriors can join the Junior Eco Rangers program at Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Here, kids will learn all about mangroves and the tidal zones, take bush and beach walks, listen to Aboriginal legends, sing campfire songs, and go stargazing. There’s also spotlighting for bats, sugar gliders and frogs, plus plenty of environmental games, a ropes course, canoeing, sand sculpture and arts and craft.
Holiday Park Resorts for Families
If you’re looking for value for money, these holiday park resorts give you the flexibility to have an amazing time with the family with all the sprinkles on top (including pools, slides and giant jumping pillows) and still bring your campervan, caravan, tent or go for cabin-style accommodation.
15. Big4 Adventure Whitsundays, Whitsundays
Boasting a 32-metre lagoon pool – the largest in Airlie Beach – tennis court, adventure playground and two jumping pillows, the temptation for your kids not to leave this resort could be too great!
The Kids Club here ramps up the fun in the school holidays with goo and gunk parties, mini golf tournaments, discos under the stars and Wii nights on the giant outdoor screen. Big4 Adventure Whitsundays makes for a great base to do some serious Whitsundays island hopping from as well!
16. Big4 Treasure Island Holiday Park, Gold Coast
Shiver me timbers! Your family will love the Shipwreck Shores waterpark, three pools and pirate themed mini-golf at NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park.
Before you take part in the Kidz Korner Activity Program’s treasure hunt, bounce the day away on the giant jumping pillow. There’s also a Kids Club room with year-round activities like chocolate and soap making, plaster painting and sand art.
17. Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort, Tropical North Queensland
Jump in your Nemo Buggy for the official welcome tour at Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort to check out Splash Waterpark, playgrounds, and the giant jumping pillows. Yes please!
There’s accommodation to suit most families with camping and caravanning sites as well as cabins and condos.
18 Broadwater Tourist Park, Gold Coast
Make the most of the Southport locale at Broadwater Tourist Park with beaches and theme parks close by or let the little ones loose on the bouncing pillow, playground and cool off in the pools. Outdoor movies and trikes are on the menu, too.
19. Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park, Gold Coast
Water babies will love Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park with glorious beaches, pools, fishing and boating, water-skiing and canoeing close by.
Beach within reach
All resorts have a pool, but if you’re looking to step up your sand castle game or teach the kids to surf on your next family holiday, look no further than a resort by the beach. Here are our beach resort picks:
20. Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast
This resort is 100% beachfront. You can time the kids as they quickly migrate from the epic pool to the beach and back to the pool again. From the
From the Sheraton, walk to the east side of Main Beach for waves or the west side for calmer waters, perfect for the littlies.
21. Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa, Gold Coast
If you’re nervous about snorkelling in the open ocean then try the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa’s pool complete with tropical fish and an artificial coral reef.
The Marriott’s aquatic playground features a five-metre deep saltwater lagoon that’s home to more than 400 fish, including moon wrasse, blue and domino damsel, surgeon and trigger fish. You can also scuba dive, snorkel and swim through waterfalls into rock grottos and spas.
When you’re ready for beach action, head to Surfers Paradise.
22. Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast
If you’re looking for six-star luxury close to the beach, look no further than Palazzo Versace. The kids will love the epic pool and it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to Sea World. New mums can also recuperate in luxury with the Pindara Hospital’s Palazzo Platinum package.
23. Turtle Beach Resort, Gold Coast
Turtle Beach Resort is 300 metres away from Mermaid Beach and four to 12-year-olds will love Club Turtle activities from discos to craft.
Their Splash Zone Waterpark has four slides, two toddler slides, dumping bucket and water cannons. Plus four swimming areas. You beauty!
The general facilities are totally family-friendly with putt putt golf, games room, cinema and playground.
24. Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast
If you thought taking kids of varying ages on holiday was a bit of a juggling act, don’t despair. Novotel Twin Waters Resort has everything from segways, jet packing and laser skirmish for the older ones while kids aged between two and 12 are catered for at KidzCove through a range of activities such as sand art, woodcraft, face painting, climbing wall, fairy house and beach activities.
The resort also has a games room, Aqua Fun Park, fish feeding, sailing lessons and pool noodle javelin! If you need a break from all of these activities, head to the beach for waves and a bit of ahhhhh time.
25. Rumba Beach Resort, Caloundra, Sunshine Coast
You’ll find the ultimate beachfront accommodation in Caloundra with the one, two or three-bedroom apartments at Rumba Beach Resort.
Take an afternoon walk or ride along the waterfront boardwalk and coastal pathway and cool off at Bulcock, Golden or Kings Beach.
Resorts for big kids and the WHOLE family* (*grandparents included)
You may not personally feel like the perfect travel accessory as your kids grow up, but it’s still good to holiday as a family.
Whether you’re looking for places to suit your teenagers or you’re bringing along grandma and grandpa for the ride, these high-tech resorts might hit the spot:
26. Q1 Resort and Spa, Gold Coast
This mega 78-story complex is home to one, two and three-bedroom apartments, perfect for family breaks of the extended kind. Q1 Resort and Spa has two lagoon pools, a heated indoor lap pool and the beach across the road.
There is also a games room and theatrette onsite. For the adrenalin junkies, head to SkyPoint Observation Deck and Climb.
27. Peppers Broadbeach, Gold Coast
This deluxe beachside resort is split into two towers, right in the heart of Broadbeach. Each tower at Peppers Broadbeach is fit out with outdoor and indoor lap pools, game areas for the kids and other exclusive guest zones for the adults (where you can store your special vino).
The private cinema is great for a bit of family bonding after a meal at one of the communal Teppanyaki barbeques in the Zen Garden.
Choose between one, two or three-bedroom suites with Wi-Fi, full kitchen and Nespresso machine. If you prefer your coffee barista-made, head down to one of the many cafes or restaurants in the Broadbeach precinct.
28. QT Gold Coast
QT Resorts are known for their unique design and glam fit out. From the rooms to the restaurants and pretty much all touch points, you’ll notice QT does the detail well.
Make time to try the delights at BAZAAR restaurant before borrowing one of their retro bikes for a family ride along the Gold Coast beaches. If the kids are happy doing their own thing at the beach or the pool, parents can recharge their batteries at spaQ designer spa and work through the cocktail list in Stingray Lounge.
29. Peppers Beach Club and Spa, Palm Cove, Tropical North Queensland
In between Cairns and Port Douglas, Palm Cove is a great place to plant your family for a Tropical holiday.
Peppers Beach Club and Spa is right on the beach at Palm Cove and has one, two and three-bedroom apartments perfect for small and large family holidays.
Head across the road to the palm-fronded beach or spend the day poolside at either the rainforest rock pool or photo shoot-friendly lagoon pool. For parental indulgence, head to the onsite day spa.
30. QT Port Douglas, Tropical North Queensland
Tropical cool meets deluxe design at QT Port Douglas. Stay in a resort room or make the most of their one and two-bedroom apartment villas fitted out with lounge room, kitchen and daily service to keep the place looking schmick throughout your stay.
Walk or bike your way to Four Mile beach or reserve your cute duck floatable in the lagoon style pool. Parents should make the most of the swim-up bar and spaQ.
If you’re in town during the winter months, grab your popcorn and catch a family flick at the Moonlight Cinema.
Retreats in the Rainforest
For something off the beaten track with an eco vibe, recharge your real life batteries and take the kids into the lush green rainforest to really get away from it all. Here are a couple of leafier options:
31. O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Scenic Rim, Brisbane
If you’ve got a couple of budding wildlife warriors, then O’Reilly’s is just the place. O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in the middle of Lamington National Park has designed an Eco Rangers Program to educate children between the age of five and 12 about the environment.
Activities in this paid program include bush walks and rainforest adventures, bush survival skills, arts and crafts, nocturnal scavenger hunts and campfire cookouts.
32. Takarakka Bush Resort, Carnarvon Gorge, Capricorn
Get off the grid with the kids at Takarakka Bush Resort in Carnarvon Gorge. You’ll have one of Queensland’s best national parks on your doorstep so take a family walk to spot wildlife (your best chance to spot a platypus is early in the morning or around dusk along the 1km Nature Trail), snap the natural amphitheatre and moss garden, swim in the rock pool and take in the rich Indigenous landmarks.
Explore Carnarvon’s darker side with sunset and astronomy tours.
PS. If treehouses are your thing, you should also check out these leafy hot spots.
Where are you heading on your next family holiday? Tell us in the comments below.
Some of the businesses listed above have been impacted by recent weather events in Queensland. Please make contact with the operator or visit their website for information regarding bookings and travel plans.