Five top things to do with kids in Queensland, Australia
By: Sarah Pye, author of Kids Welcome to Queensland
Don’t miss the turtles hatching!
Where: Mon Repos, Bargara Beach, Bundaberg
It’s a natural wonder to match the whale migration and the march of the penguins. Each year turtles nest and hatch at Barbara Beach near Bundaberg in huge numbers. There are two seasons: The laying (November to January) and the hatching (January to March). For both, and a few miniscule dollars, you can join rangers for an evening watching this natural marvel. The hatching is our favourite – watching tiny turtles battle the waves is sure to crack the hearts of even monosyllabic teens and ignite adult’s paternal instincts.
Fossick for sapphires
When you get away from the coastal strip in Queensland, it’s rather like stepping back in time. The dirt is red and streets dusty. Even the locals in towns like Rubyvale and Sapphire seem crusty and old-fashioned. This is the backdrop for a treasure hunting adventure and, as you approach these towns, signs offering ‘clean wash’ abound. These are buckets taken from sapphire mines and, with a little instruction, they provide hours of fun washing, sifting and exclaiming!
Parts of Queensland’s outback region used to be an inland sea which makes it the best place in Australia to find fossils. Richmond boasts the Kronosaurus Korner with a working lab and theatre and a fossil digging sandpit for the little ones. The Flinders Discovery Centre in Hughenden houses Hughie, the 7m muttaburrasaurus replica of the first entire dino skeleton found in Australia. And Lark Quarry in Winton is the site of a dino stampede. If you have dinosaur nuts in your family, the dino trail is a must!
Just off the coast of Townsville, Magnetic Island sits like a jewel in the crown of the Coral Sea. Accessible by quick ferries 19 times a day, Maggie is best explored by mini moke. These small, jeep-like vehicles are open on the sides and instantly transport your family into holiday mode. More than 50% of Maggie is national park and one of the most famous walks (4km) is The Forts walk where it’s common to spot koalas in the wild. Maggie boasts 23 beautiful beaches and holiday accommodation options cover all styles and budgets.
Swing through the trees
In the Gold Coast hinterland, only a short drive from the famous theme parks, the quaint Tamborine Mountain awaits and Thunderbird Park combines inexpensive accommodation with numerous kid-friendly activities. Choose from horse-riding, thunder-egg mining, swimming in clear mountain streams or our favourite: swinging from the trees. Height restrictions apply and generally mean this adventure is for upper primary and teens. With Tarzan swings, suspended beams, bridges and flying foxes, it’s possible to stay in the treetops for three hours! Different colour courses are designed for varying abilities.
About the blogger:
Sarah Pye’s life reads like an adventure novel. Her parents took her out of school at the age of 13 to sail around the world. Travel is in her blood and she wasn’t about to stop when she had a family. What Sarah found, however, was a lack of information about what was suitable for children at various ages. She decided to create family-friendly guidebooks to encourage parents to explore with their own kids.
The first in a state-by-state series, Kids Welcome to Queensland is jam-packed with around 1000 age-appropriate activities, attractions, tours, restaurants and places to stay. Each is rated for its suitability for three different age groups – preschool, primary and teen. Destined to be a staple on the family bookshelf, this colourful A5 reference comes complete with Hema maps. It fits in the glove box on a road trip, or slides easily into a handbag. The book retails for $24.95 and is available from major bookshops and tourist information centres or online at www.kidswelcome.com.au. Sarah’s second guidebook Kids Welcome to New South Wales & ACT will be available in June 2011.
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