7 of the best active family holidays in Queensland
We’ve known for a long time that Australian’s are an active bunch, but now a Stayz study has confirmed it. Apparently, 87% of Aussie’s believe it’s important to exercise while travelling, making us some of the world’s most active travellers.
No longer are we content to holiday just to rest and do nothing. Quite the opposite! It’s pretty clear that these days our family holidays tend to be packed full of adventures, adrenaline and fitness.
Luckily for us, Australia’s most diverse state has enough active holiday options to keep you and your family busy.
So, where should you go next? Here’s a handy guide to help you decide.
For families who love…nature
Want to start your holiday with a spring in your step? Well, hop to it at Causarina Beach a.k.a “Cape Hillsborough” in the Mackay region, must-do for Kangaroo and Wallaby lovers. On dusk and dawn mobs of roos and wallabies venture onto the salty sand to feed, play (and sometimes box). And, you can join them to watch the sun rise or set over the water.
Before you arrive, book your Wallaby Tour with Ranger Sam because she’ll get you as close as possible to the dining wallabies. Sam will take you the best spot on the beach to capture that incredible shot and teach you about the Cape Hillsborough natural eco-system and the resident wallabies and kangaroos that visit daily.
For families who love…beaches
Queensland’s beaches rank among the best in the world and it’s not hard to see why.
Our top picks for family-friendly beaches are:
- Main Beach, Gold Coast
- Currumbin Estuary, Gold Coast
- Suttons Beach, Redcliffe
- Golden Beach, Caloundra
- Bulcock Beach, Caloundra
- Scarness Beach, Hervey Bay
For families who love… hiking
Often overlooked, lush Carnarvon Gorge in the Capricorn Region is a hiker’s paradise. Perfect for families, the easy hikes in and out of the gorge pass by shaded swimming spots, fern valleys and swaying ancient trees.
And if you make it to the very tip of the gorge, a hike of around 10km, you will be met with some of Australia’s oldest Aboriginal wall art, estimated at being over 3650 years old.
If the budget allows, a helicopter ride over areas that are inaccessible to hikers is a must. The best option for the evening is a safari-style tent at the Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge, where kangaroos and kookaburras will share your porch.
*Note: The national park closes for the wet season, from 1 November to 1 March.
For families who love… adventure
‘Adventure’ and ‘Brisbane’ are two words not often grouped together, but as well as the capital’s art and cultural appeal, there are an array of adventure activities that even the most smartphone-obsessed teenager will love.
For a start, the Story Bridge is one of only three in the Southern Hemisphere you can climb on a nerve-wracking guided tour. If your legs make it, the extensive views from the top are your reward.
For something closer to the ground, get waterborne on a whale watching adventure where you’ll explore the Brisbane River then hopefully spot some southern rights where the river meets the sea.
To see a little more of the city, take your tribe on an easy-paced guided bike tour, including a half-way picnic stop.
Brisbane has a huge amount of family-friendly hotels and a good central choice is the Adina Apartment Hotel Anzac Square as it’s close to everything.
For families who love… fitness
The Sunshine Coast is one of Queensland’s most well-known destinations, and in recent years it has garnered a reputation as the fitness capital of Australia.
Apart from a range of sporting events, most of which are open to everyone, the past few years have seen a swathe of active tours and activities launch.
Noosa Running Tours are a great way for families to explore the national park and coastline, no experience needed. You can also break a sweat on a tandem kayak with Blue Water Kayak Tours – crossing the passage over to windswept Bribie Island is a definite workout but well worth the effort.
The perfect base for these adventures is the Novotel Twin Waters, where self-contained apartments overlook the lagoon (perfect for a stand-up paddleboard lesson), and the beach is just a short walk away.
For families who love… snorkelling
While Tropical North Queensland and The Whitsundays are popular choices for a snorkelling adventure, there are many other destinations where you can experience the Great Barrier Reef. One of which is just off Townsville.
Magnetic Island (or Maggie to the locals) is a relatively small tropical island with over 20 beautiful beaches accessed by a short ferry from the mainland coast.
It’s filled with great restaurants, horse-riding tours and lookouts with almost 360-degree views, but the most stunning side to it is all under water. You can also snorkel off the beach at Arthur Bay, or you might prefer to dive into crisp, blue waters from a 58-foot yacht with Pilgrim Sailing.
The highlight, though, is the two snorkelling trails just off the beach at Nelly Bay and Geoffrey Bay. Set your own pace, hire a bodyboard for rest-stops and see some of Australia’s most vibrant marine life.
Maggie is a great place to camp as most sites are close to the beach, or for a self-contained option try the Beachside Magnetic Harbour Apartments.
For families who love… adrenaline fixes
Sure, you can visit the Daintree region for hiking, snorkelling, green tree frogs and markets galore, but it’s also a fantastic place to go for heart-pumping adventures!
For human monkeys, Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours will test even the sturdiest of hearts. They offer a different perspective on the jungle, as you sweep through the canopy on zip lines and enjoy treetop ‘pit stops’.
For rev heads, hop on a Jungle Rumble quad bike adventure at Daintree Station and carve your own tracks through the old logging trails throughout the Daintree.
And for real adrenaline-junkie families, you can’t go past the Minjin Jungle Swing at AJ Hackett in Cairns, which allows up to three people to swing from a distance of 45 metres to a distance of one metre in 3.5 seconds! It’s the world’s fastest swing, Australia’s only multi-person swing and is guaranteed to produce one of the best family photographs you’ll ever have on your mantelpiece.
A great place to stay up in the rainforest is the Tea Tree Daintree, which is a gorgeous wooden tree-house inspired property, which sleeps up to five.