School’s out and with temperatures set to sizzle around 28 degrees in the Sunshine State these school holidays, kids can cool off at Queensland’s best aquatic playgrounds.Out with the iPad, get them diving into an aquarium full of sharks, stingrays and Nemos, commandeering a pirate ship, or whizzing down a waterslide at Queensland’s newest waterpark.
The Great(est) Natural Aquarium
It doesn’t get much bigger than this. Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world (it stretches over 2,300 kilometres!) and is home to over 1,500 species of colourful fish and 4,000 stunning coral reefs, cays and islands. Skilling up the next generation on Australia’s greatest natural asset is as Aussie as vegemite on toast. So, pack your bags and dive right in. Swim alongside turtles, watch parrot fish chomp on coral and then poop out sand, hold a sea cucumber and find out why Nemo’s mum, Coral, started life as a Carl. Whether you opt for a stay at one of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef islands or a day tour to the reef, an underwater adventure in Australia’s biggest aquatic playground is nothing short of incredible. Take a sneak peek.
Got a budding Attenborough in your midst? Then we’ve got good news for you: The world’s greatest natural documentary is cruising right into the Fraser Coast, right now as more than 12,000 humpback whales (and their cute two tonne calves) take time to stay and play in the calm waters of Hervey Bay before their big migration south. This whale watching season kids can leave their binoculars behind, and go swimming with the gentle giants with Remote Fraser Island and Whale Experience Tour with Tasman Venture, a tour that combines zoology with geography and also explores the world’s largest sand island, K’gari (Fraser Island) on a kayak, on a beach or in the clear water.
Make a Splash on the Gold Coast
Take physics to new speeds and throw the kids into a world of water-filled fun at Wet ‘n’ Wild on the Gold Coast. Lose control racing down a halfpipe on Kamikaze then float down the lazy streams at Calypso Beach. Families not ready to swap white-knuckle rides for waterslides, should head to WhiteWater World at Dreamworld where the two theme parks sit side by side. Start at one for the big thrill, then walk next door for a relaxing chill.
Be a Pirate for a Day
If your kids are more Jack Sparrow than Batman, sign up for the eco pirate adventure on board the Derwent Hunter in the Whitsundays. Parents can relax on the historic tall ship decks while little superheroes learn to hoist the sails and set course for Langford Island. Once the anchor is dropped, the marine biology class kicks in: kids can dive in and spot turtles, sting rays and other colourful marine life.
Already boasting a 32m lagoon pool, an adventure playground, two giant jumping pillows and an animal park, the temptation for your kids NOT to leave BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort just got bigger with a mega new waterslide park that’s tuned for toddlers and tweens. Water babies can ride the mini slides and splash in a toddler pool while bigger kids can hit the mega waterslides and huge tipping buckets. And psssttt…there’s poolside massages for the parents! The waterslide park is set to open in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out on the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort Facebook page for more details.
The World’s Biggest Wave Pool
Bond over a board these school holidays and get the whole family hanging ten with a learn to surf session. Nothing says “family fun” more than cheering them on as they paddle onto the little peelers, or picking them up after falling off the foamie. With hundreds of kilometres of sun-kissed beaches hugging Queensland’s coast and several dozens of surf schools, the family that surfs together stays together! Not sure? Then check out this small surfer who is making big waves.