If you’re looking for a place to take the family for a holiday, Queensland offers plenty of options. From the Gold Coasts’ theme parks to star-gazing in the Outback or staying at a farm there are plenty of fun places to visit in Queensland if you’re visiting with the family.
Queensland is a fun place to visit for kids of all ages and one of the good things about exploring Queensland with the family is there’s lots of different kinds of accommodation that won’t break the bank. Many families enjoy the social aspect of staying in caravan parks, which also have cabin-style accommodation.
13 Places to visit in Queensland
Looking for Nemo? Cairns is the gateway to the amazing Great Barrier Reef, which is a World Heritage wonder and the most iconic natural attraction in Australia.
Take the kids out for a day on the reef and snorkel or learn to dive, though you have to be eight years old for a PADI Bubblemaker experience. Cairns has lots of fun activities for kids.
North of Cairns, the family can learn to forage for bush tucker, throw a boomerang or play the didgeridoo. Get onboard a quad bike or a horse and explore the lush rainforest, bushland and waterfalls.
Check out the Cairns Tropical Zoo, Wildlife Habitat, Kuranda Sky Rail and tropical treats to be tasted in the Atherton Tablelands. Alternatively, you can swim closer to home at the Cairns Lagoon.
If you’re planning on spending more time in Tropical North Queensland, Port Douglas is a great place to base yourself and it’s not a bad spot to discover the Great Barrier Reef with the kids.
It’s smaller than Cairns and has a friendly vibe. Besides exploring the reef there are plenty of other attractions too. Check out these top 10 things to do in Port Douglas.
#2 Gold Coast
This is the land of theme parks, mini golf and places where you can learn to surf like Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta. The Gold Coast is a top spot to a beach vacation, with so many fantastic surfing beaches and there are several family friendly beaches too.
For a change of scenery, head for the Gold Coast Hinterland where you can be active with long walks and see eye-catching waterfalls in the lush green rainforest. And on a rainy day, there are lots of indoor attractions to keep the little ones busy. For more ideas read this Gold Coast guide.
The third most populous city in Australia, Queensland’s capital is the ideal place to ensure youngsters learn about the significance through the various collections of artifacts and other objects of historical, artistic, scientific, artistic or cultural importance at a gallery or a museum.
The first thing to do when visiting Brisbane with kids is to spend time exploring Southbank, which has the best man-made city pool and beach in Australia.
Then there’s rock climbing, kayaking and riding on Segways. Why not chill out at Southbank Pool or head across to Moreton or Stradbroke Islands?
The great thing about Brisbane is that it doesn’t matter where you stay, getting around Brisbane is much simpler than other Australian cities as you can catch a ferry on the Brisbane River to get where you need to go. Besides hotels, you can save money by staying in an apartment. Here are some excellent Airbnb accommodation choices in Brisbane.
#4 Sunshine Coast
If you love ice cream, then swim at kid-friendly beaches like Bulcock in Caloundra where you’ll find numerous varieties of ice cream after a dip.
Look out for koalas while walking through Noosa National Park and, of course, pay a visit to Australia Zoo. Here are some great ideas on how to spend a long weekend on the Sunshine Coast.
#5 Southern Queensland Country
Stay at farm and feed cows, chickens, pigs. Be adventurous be set out in search of waterfalls and waterholes.
Then when the hunger pangs strike, head over to Stanthorpe to pick fruit and eat to your heart’s content! Queensland’s countryside has plenty of attractions for families and there are lots of top spots to go camping.
#6 Outback Queensland
Star gaze at the Cosmos Centre, come face-to-face with a bilby, gain first-hand knowledge about rural living and stay on a farm, find ways to learn more about our heritage, dig for dinosaurs or climb Big Red near Birdsville.
Queensland’s Outback offers an adventure that all the family will remember for years.
#7 Fraser Coast
The Fraser Coast is one of the best places between Brisbane and Cairns for kids as there are plenty of outdoor activities for families to enjoy.
This is where you must be between June and November every year if you want to see the migrating humpback whales. While watching these impressive mammals is spellbinding, Fraser Island is also popular for camping and day tours for children of all ages.
Children can learn how to fish, so grab your reel and rod and make your way to the piers at the beach at Burrum Heads or Hervey Bay. Kingfisher Bay Resort has a Junior Eco Ranger program that incorporates star-gazing, campfire fun and bush and beach walks.
#8 The Whitsundays
Have oodles of fun at Hamilton Island resort’s kids clubs and reef ranger programs, along with heaps of snorkeling straight off the beach.
It’s also a wonderful place to learn to sail and get a photo for the family album of the Big Mango in Bowen.
If the weather gets humid, then one of the best places to cool down is the Airlie Beach Lagoon. For more islands, here’s our big list of islands in Queensland.
Home to the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, ReefHQ is a great spot to learn about the Great Barrier Reef.
Children will learn through active play through such inventive reef education programs as Reef Kids.
Visit the turtle hospital or hop on a ferry to Magnetic Island for koala encounters in the wild. If you go along the Strand, you are sure to find a variety of gelato options and terrific playgrounds.
Two things to light up the life of the young ones – ice cream and turtles. Head to Mammino’s and Nana’s Pantry for an ice cream.
Bundaberg is home to Mon Repos, where you can watch turtles hatch.
The turtles make their way to the beach, find a safe place to dig a nest and lay their eggs.
Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island are two more places for turtle encounters.
Here, you can snorkel and swim with friendly turtles.
#11 Gladstone Region
Get off the grid and go on horseback at Kroombit Tops National Park or snorkel right off the beach at Heron Island.
Take pleasure in luxuriating on a Great Barrier Reef family holiday on Heron Island. This is where you begin your day with stunning sunrises and end with dazzling sunsets.
The Junior Ranger curriculum is a hands-on program designed especially for seven-to-12-year-olds and includes walks out in the lagoon at low tide to learn about the reef.
#12 Capricorn Region
Create some vital family time to bond and escape and head to Great Keppel Island. Nestled among tropical gardens and a short stroll to the beach, it’s ideally located to offer secluded beaches, turquoise waters and great bush walking areas.
The Capricorn Region is often overlooked when planning a holiday in Queensland. There are plenty of fun things for kids to do, such as exploring caves and Byfield National Park. Here’s what Rockhampton photographer Nathan White has to say about his region.
#13 The Mackay Region
It will be an early start, but worth the effort if you head to Cape Hillsborough National Park at sunrise and make the most of the opportunity for a momentous meeting with kangaroos and wallabies.
If you want to meet a platypus, the right times are at dawn and dusk at the Eungella National Park. On the other hand, you can fly (like Tarzan) through the forest at Finch Hatton Gorge.
Where to stay in Queensland
Queensland has a range of accommodation, from Airbnb’s to luxury hotels. If you’re on a budget, save money check out these Queensland camps for accommodation that won’t break the bank.