The best kid-friendly events for 2018
See the adventures of a 19th-century nanny come to life; toss in Australia’s favourite historical re-enactment, and add the world’s biggest science festival and you’ve got the start of a year-long line-up of Queensland events set to captivate the young (and young at heart!).
Here, we’ve whipped up the ultimate ankle biter’s event bucket list for 2018 that are well worth ticking off!
Woodford Folk Festival: 27 December 2017 – 1 January 2018
If you and your family love art, music and camping, head to Woodford to bring in the new year with a family festival like no other. From bubble painting workshops to face painting, puppeteering and dance classes, your little ones will have an amazing time.
There’s a lot to learn as well; Uncle Herb Wharton will teach your kids about the Kooma Aboriginal Culture and history, Amelie Vanderstock will share her passion for insects in a fun science lesson and Jean-Marc Hero will run a session about frogs and their importance to our planet.
Noosa Festival of Surfing: 10-17 March 2018
Got a budding Stephanie Gilmore or Mick Fanning in your midst?
Boys and girls 15 years and under can compete in the amateur divisions of the Noosa Festival of Surfing (aka the biggest surfing event in the world by competitor numbers). If they’re too shy – or nervous – to get out there on their lonesome, you can sign up as a family team and battle the waves together.
(Psst, don’t forget to check out the action on shore too, with free movies and live music adding to the gnarly action of this week-long beach party.)
World Science Festival Brisbane: 21-25 March 2018
The World Science Festival Brisbane returns in 2018 to spark curious minds and introduce kids to awe-inspiring realms and connect them with concepts and discoveries that are shaping our world.
While it’s still under wraps what exactly will be on the science activity menu (stay tuned as the festival program unfolds in the coming weeks), we do know you can expect a lineup of excitement and luminary guests from around the world.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games: 4-15 April 2018
The biggest event in Queensland’s history will be on the Gold Coast and although there’ll be a lot of action inside the official sporting venues, get ready to see as much action outside as well.
There’ll be a lot of celebration when the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games arrive and the biggest to look forward to is Festival 2018. Held across 12 days, you and your kids will be spoilt with highly acclaimed theatrical productions, musical performances, art and Indigenous cultural acts across the Gold Coast, Brisbane Townsville and Cairns.
Captain Cook 1770 Festival: 25-27 May 2018
History class is in session! Get their noses out of the textbook and into a real-life re-enactment of Captain James Cook’s landing at the Town of 1770, the very spot where Europe’s greatest explorer first set foot on Australian soil some 500 km north of Brisbane.
Wrap up the commemoration with a colourful float parade, live entertainment, and a fireworks display and pair all that with a trip out to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, and you have a recipe for the best family weekend, ever!
Goomeri Pumpkin Festival: 27 May 2018
Ever wanted to throw a pumpkin? Well, there’s a place where they’ll give you a prize for doing so.
The Goomeri Pumpkin Festival opens up with an entertaining Outback and Heritage Street Parade that you and your kids can get involved in. There are prizes up for grabs for pumpkin shot put, pumpkin pull and the legendary Great Australian Pumpkin Roll.
Mary Poppins Festival: 29 June – 8 July 2018
“Anything can happen if you let it!” said Mary Poppins. And in the charming town of Maryborough, that’s exactly what they do. Let it happen.
Every year in the June/July school holidays, the birthplace of PJ Travers – the author of Mary Poppins – celebrates the life of their “practically perfect” nanny in full colour with a 10-day festival of art, culture and fun.
Watch the historical streets of this charming town come alive with scenes straight out of storyland including the Great Nanny Challenge and the Chimney Sweep Dash. It’s supercalifragilistic fun for everyone!
Quandamooka Festival: 1 July – 30 September 2018
Encourage your kids learn about the vast Aboriginal culture of the Quandamooka people. From tasting traditional cuisines to watching dancing performed by Indigenous Australians of all ages, your kids will be entertained.
The festival extends the NAIDOC celebrations beyond a week and includes interactive workshops that your kids can get involved in from storytelling and weaving to arts, crafts and poetry.
Birdsville Big Red Bash: 10-12 July 2018
This iconic festival in the dunes of Australia’s best-known desert is both a journey and a destination. Settle the family in for a three-day camping adventure that starts with dune surfing by day (tip: use an Esky lid if you forget the boogie board) and ends with spectacular lighting and live music each night.
Set in the middle of the Simpson Desert, the festival is the only way to say, “I’ve rocked the Red in the Simpson”.
Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival: 19-29 July 2018
Show the kids a real Queensland winter with the added bonus of yarn bombing at Jumpers and Jazz in Warwick. What’s that you say? It’s the wooly version of graffiti, using leftover yarn to add splashes of personality to just about any object in sight.
If that’s not enough, then roll out the crochet blanket and put on a spread at Picnic in the Park, decorate a mini tree with yarn at Warwick Art Gallery or check out the Killarney Fire Drums and Bonfire. Thinking of exploring further afield in Southern Queensland Country? Check out this top list.
Royal Queensland Show (Ekka): 10-19 August 2018
Show bags, carnival rides, fairy floss, dagwood dogs, fireworks… seriously, what kid isn’t in heaven at Brisbane’s annual Ekka?
But this year it’s even more special as they celebrate 140 years of culture, entertainment and overall show-awesomeness.
You might want to stretch out your fun over the 10 days, as there’s just SO much to see and do from the live shows and award-winning food and wine to taste-test (including the iconic strawberry ice-cream), to educational activities and the many visits to the animal nursery (because baby animals).
Hervey Bay Ocean Festival: August 2018
Celebrate the home of the humpback whale at this annual seaside celebration.
Encompassing all things ocean, the main events include a Blessing of the Fleet, Paddle Out for Whale, and seafood festival where you can go to town on the unbelievably fresh local seafood Hervey Bay is renowned for.
But the piece de resistance is when the esplanade lights up with whales, dolphins, octopus and mermaids as they take to the streets – a la motorised floats – during the Whale Parade and Concert to welcome the return of the whales to the bay’s pristine waters each year to rest and play.
Brisbane Festival: September 2018
When a program bursts at the seams with world-class acts that also targets teens and tots, then it’s time to introduce the kids to culture. Brisbane’s annual festival of arts, entertainment and culture offer awesome displays of acrobatics, fun outings like Library on the Lawn, light shows transposed on iconic landscapes and theatre for young thespians.
But it’s the 15-minute explosion of colour in the sky from the SunSuper Riverfire that no youngster will forget.
Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers: 21-30 September 2018
If you think the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is all mature-aged audiences and horticultural nuts, guess again.
The mammoth 10-day celebration is all about welcoming the change of season with good food and good vibes, and that extends right down to the little ones, with their very own pimped-out Play Space at the Ergon Energy Flower, Food and Wine Festival, running for the first three days of the carnival.
Expect a super-sized sandpit, arts and crafts, cute farm animals, and DIY candles and mini planter boxes to keep them on their toes.
Bundaberg Crush Festival: October 2018
Celebrate art in the Southern Great Barrier Reef at the Bundaberg Crush Festival. From interactive street art, poetry slams and circus acts to ceramic workshops, theatre and writing classes, you’ll reignite your creative passion.
Kids will love watching live performers and musicians as they grace the stage and participating in the contemporary circus.