Not another Bali trip: 8 perfect spots for a Queensland holiday with kids
You don’t have to go all the way to Fiji or Bali to shout the kids – and yourself – an awesome family holiday. While a Bali trip is nice, Queensland has a tonne of fun, sunny and budget-friendly destinations to pick from – all without the international flight headaches.
From north to south, here’s our picks for the best spots for a Queensland holiday with kids.
If you’re a family of foodies, you’ll be in heaven among the huge range of cafes, bars and restaurants in Port Douglas – and plenty are family friendly. Our picks are Mocka’s Pies for something easy (fancy a croc laksa pie?) and IronBar for somewhere quirky and fun (get more ideas here).
It’s not all eating, though. Swim at the gentle and patrolled Four Mile Beach, and, for older children, consider a boat trip out to the Great Barrier Reef or a swim with minke whales.
Stay at… nearby Thala Beach Nature Reserve. It’s not a typical family resort, which is why we love it. With tiered pools, a private beach and bungalows that look like treehouses, kids will adore it.
- Use this list of the best things to do with kids in Tropical North Queensland to your advantage
- Get well acquainted with Daintree National Park
With its long esplanade, beautiful beaches and numerous playgrounds, Townsville is a fun choice for a holiday with kids. Plus, it’s a great alternative to Cairns for heading to the Great Barrier Reef and nearby Magnetic Island.
Walk, cycle or skate along the 2.5-kilometre Strand before enjoying the free Strand Water Park. If the kids like fishing, the jetty is a popular spot to cast a line.
It’s also worth spending a couple of hours at the award-winning Museum of Tropical Queensland and Reef HQ Aquarium.
Stay at… The Ville, the city’s new-look and child-friendly casino resort. Enjoy live music as the kids play lawn games and swim in the pool.
- Check out these 7 natural wonders around Townsville
- Save your spending money with this list of free and cheap things to do
- Find out why Magnetic Island offers one of the best family holidays ever
It’s long been a holiday favourite for Mackay and Gladstone locals, and it’ll only take one visit to Yeppoon to understand why. This seaside suburb has the right amount of sleepiness to be relaxing, with enough activities to keep you entertained.
The free, patrolled lagoon is its selling point and it’s easy to while away the hours splashing about in the sapphire water as you watch the waves roll in on the adjacent beach. A stroll away is a playground, skatepark, and splash park (The Keppel Kraken) that’s perfect for toddlers.
You’ll also find a handful of top-notch eateries, and there are more casual dining options at Emu Park (and a great beach) to the south. If you’re all mad surfers, keep your eyes on Australia’s first full-scale artificial wave pool at Rockhampton to see if it opens to the public.
Stay at… Yeppoon Surfside Motel, opposite the beach and splash park, and a walk from the lagoon.
- Check out the street art around town
- Saved heaps by not doing that Bali trip? Why not rent your own island just offshore?
Surfing families, eat your heart out. Agnes Water is home to the northernmost surf beach in Queensland and, as a result, is an idyllic seaside getaway that oozes a hang-10 vibe. Surf schools set up in the sheltered southern corner of the main beach, while more experienced riders hit the breaks further up the six-kilometre stretch.
The beach is also patrolled, there are great picnic areas with barbecues in the foreshore park, plus a playground and nearby casual café (which doubles as a surf school’s HQ).
Further north is the Town of 1770, where you’ll find more playgrounds, a lovely cycle path, and a calm estuary for kayaking and paddle boarding. Take a day trip out to Lady Musgrave Island for snorkelling fun.
Stay at… one of the numerous holiday rentals or pitch a tent in the rugged and secluded Deepwater National Park (4WD access).
Stunning beaches, fun day tours, cool cafes and a great range of budget to luxury options make The Whitsundays one of Queensland’s best family destinations.
Airlie Beach is great for kids, with the always popular free Airlie Beach Lagoon, however, the selling point is the region’s 74 islands.
Hamilton Island is a long-time favourite, with paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing and reef tours available. Plus, the kids will love the island transport – buggies. If you want somewhere more low-key, check out Airlie’s quiet northern neighbour, Bowen, where you can cycle to palm-fringed beaches.
Stay at… BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, on the mainland in Cannonvale, for hours of waterslide and jumping-pillow fun.
- Follow this list of tips for the best-ever Whitsundays family holiday
- Take the family on a 5-day sailing adventure
- Work your way through this list of 100 things to do in the Whitsundays
Families who like to go off-road will love the adventure of a holiday on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island – the largest sand island in the world.
Load up the 4WD and spend a week hitting the soft tracks of this iconic destination. You’ll want to spend time at the impossibly clear Lake McKenzie and Eli Creek, where you can float downstream on a pool noodle.
After a swim, check out the rusting hulk of the S.S. Maheno and grab an ice-cream in Eurong.
- Skill up on 4WDing and camping on Fraser Island
- Follow this 48-hour itinerary
- Extend your stay and check out the other two biggest sand islands in our waters
Sign the kids up for a surf lesson in one of Australia’s most famous towns, Noosa. Pandanus trees line an esplanade that skirts the sand in front of upmarket hotels and restaurants. But don’t be fooled by the ladies who lunch.
Although Noosa attracts a resort crowd, it still very much has a family clientele, with ice-creameries, burger joints and acai shops butting up against exclusive eateries.
Active families will want to rise early to tackle the coastal track into Noosa National Park or kayak, paddle board and go fishing along Noosa River.
Stay at… Noosa Lakes Resort, in Noosaville, featuring two-bedroom townhouses and three lagoon-style pools.
- Time your visit for when the Noosa Festival of Surfing is in town. Surfing dogs, anyone?
- Use this itinerary we prepared earlier
- Tick off this list of 17 things to do with kids in Noosa
The Gold Coast
Whatever your theme-park style, you’ll find one that’s perfect for your tribe, with Dreamworld, Wet ‘n’ Wild and Movie World among the favourites. If you have small children, you might prefer checking out the animal shows at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and David Fleay Wildlife Park.
Forget Legian Beach, the Gold Coast is world-renowned for its beaches and there are plenty of spots for safe swimming and surfing.
Stay at… Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise so you’re amongst all the action.
- Enter the whole family in the Gold Coast Marathon and make a bucket list trip of it
- Eat your way through this list of kid-friendly cafes
- Use this seven-day itinerary we prepared earlier