Did someone say school holidays?! Dreaded by some parents but loved by all kids, they are synonymous with 49 days of no homework and an endless amount of energy to burn.
Who needs an iPad and video games when you’re spending the Christmas holidays in Tropical North Queensland? Yes, we know, it’s summer, and that means it’s hot but don’t let that stop you. Discover the wide range of activities that’ll will keep you COOL and keep kids and parents entertained! Here’s eight to get you going.
1. CAIRNS LAGOON
The Cairns Lagoon is great place to cool down and chill out and, even better, it’s FREE. The area attracts many local musicians and every Saturday between 8am-5pm you will find the Esplanade markets in full swing. There’s also a skate park, beach volleyball courts, tennis courts and a heap of playgrounds to keep the rug rats entertained all day.
If your littlies are extra little, plonk yourself down at Muddies Playground, a waterfront waterpark perfect for toddlers & under 5’s! Check out all the facilities on the Esplanade here. Are you after more free activities? Check out 8 free ideas for family fun in Cairns.
2. FITZROY ISLAND DAY TRIP
Fitzroy Island has heaps of activities to keep the kids busy all day long – snorkelling, ocean trampoline, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, glass bottom boat tours, turtle rehabilitation centre… the list goes on (there’s even a bar to keep the adults busy with a few cocktails).
If you’re feeling active, how about dragging the family up the Fitzroy Island summit (2.6km/3hrs return) for amazing views of the Great Barrier Reef. If one day isn’t enough, stay overnight in a tent or a hotel room – whatever suits your style and budget!
3. WATERFALLS, LAKES & SWIMMING HOLES
Tropical North Queensland has an abundance of waterfalls, lakes and swimming holes to choose from across the region. Chasing waterfalls on the Atherton Tablelands is a good place to start – follow the famous waterfall circuit which includes Millaa Millaa Falls, Ellinjaa Falls and Zillie Falls. For a printable Atherton Tablelands waterfall map, click here.
Have you done that already? How about taking a refreshing dip in the blue, cool waters of a volcanic crater lake at Lake Eacham or maybe a swim in a cascading rainforest pool at Crystal Cascades. For more ideas check out 10 waterfalls worth chasing on the Atherton Tablelands.
4. GRANITE GORGE NATIONAL PARK
Get up close and personal with cute little wallabies at Granite Gorge Nature Park in Mareeba. Make sure to bring some rolled oats to feed the cuties! Alternatively, you can buy wallaby food there and get the wallabies to eat straight out of your hands.
Afterwards you can cool off in the refreshing waters of Granite Creek, so don’t forget to bring your swimmers and a towel. Admission for the day: adults $10, high school $5 and primary school $3. Camping is also available for tents, caravans and motor homes.
5. SUNLOVER REEF CRUISE
Head out with Sunlover Reef Cruises to a large pontoon located at Moore Reef. Sunlover offers activities specifically designed for families, including a marine life touch tank, guided snorkel safari, underwater observatory, semi-submersibles and glass bottom boat.
If you want to be more adventurous, go scuba diving or get a view of the reef from above on a scenic flight. If your kids are over 12 years old, treat them to an overnight glamping experience (camping in style) with Sunlover by Starlight. Wake up with the locals of Moore Reef and jump in for a morning dip with the marine park all to yourself.
6. KURANDA DAY
Catch the Kuranda Scenic Railway for a scenic journey up to Kuranda. Tthere is plenty of photo opportunities on the way so make sure your camera is fully charged! Once you arrive at Kuranda you can choose to cuddle a koala, visit a butterfly sanctuary, see some of the world’s most venomous snakes, see a traditional dance performance, do some shopping at the markets, watch candy being made or just relax with a coffee and some good food.
Once your day in Kuranda is complete, glide back down the mountain just metres above the rainforest on Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. The experience takes approximately 1½ hours one way if you hop off and walk around the two stations, Red Peak and Barron Falls, which is definitely a must-do!
7. JUNGLE SURFING
Heading to Cape Tribulation? Why not try Jungle Surfing? Where else can you zip line through the treetops of the World’s oldest rainforest!
Available to ages 3 and up and for all abilities, rain or shine you are guarantee to have a good time. Big or small, every member of the family is sure to get their adrenalin fix!
8. CAIRNS WAKE PARK
Need somewhere to tire the kids out… we mean, keep the kids happy? Kids Club runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at Cairns Wake Park from 8:30am-10:00am for kids aged between 6-12. At $35, kids will learn the essentials and get comfortable on a wake board.
The cable is run at a slower speed and a buggy comes around to pick up the ones who lose their grip. If they’re not keen on perfecting their boarding skills just yet, there’s always the Aqua Park to expend some energy and give mum and dad a break! Open 10am-4pm daily from the 10th of December until the 22nd of January 2017 (closed Christmas day), the Aqua Park is only $15 for a 50 minute session.