The Whitsundays has many hidden secrets, but for parents, somewhere to relax, eat, drink, and play all at the same time, this is the most important to uncover!
The time of year (season) will play a big part in your decision making as a parent in the tropics. The heat in the summer entices water-play and aircon! Whilst during the winter months, picnics in the park and lunchtime BBQs are a favourite.
My little one is an action-packed wild child! A perfect summers day for us starts with the Proserpine Waterpark to slip, slide, jump, and splash! Once we work up an appetite, off we go to the Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation. The Coffee plantation has an indoor soft play centre, farm animals and menagerie. The little ones can run and play whilst you enjoy a coffee and lunch in the aircon. The Whitsundays Visitor Information Centre is located just next door, pop in and see the friendly team for local tips and information, they can also assist with all your bookings and help plan the perfect holiday.
Reef Gateway Hotel in Cannonvale also has an indoor soft playroom next door to the dining area, with play stations and a few arcade games, and outside there is another play area, both enclosed.
Not much can beat takeaway and a lagoon chill in the afternoons. There are many restaurants throughout the main street of Airlie Beach that provide takeaway options. Grab your picnic blanket, slip slop slap and spend the afternoon at the famous Airlie Beach Lagoon with sushi, fish and chips, burgers, sorbet or whatever your flavour.
Rather than walking around town, tuk-tuk around! Get all the local insights from the amazing and extremely fit Just Tuk’n Around team.
There are many parks and playgrounds in The Whitsundays where the kids can burn their energy while the adults enjoy a cheeky drink. The Airlie Beach Foreshore and Lagoon have numerous BBQ picnic spots that overlook the bay out to the Coral Sea. There are a number of amenities as well as a huge playground on the foreshore. This park is targeted at the older kids who love climbing and flying foxes.
On weekdays, PCYC Whitsundays holds an adventure play from 9am-10:30am with coffee and local pies and pastries.
Cedar Creek Falls is a brilliant place to take the family for a morning or afternoon picnic and swim. Continue onto the small township of Conway and grab a milkshake at the 1950s inspired George’s Diner, located at BIG4 Conway Beach Tourist Park. The caravan park also has a fully operational kids train that travels around the park, toot toot!
Halpannel Park in Proserpine off Hansen Drive has a fantastic playground, to the locals it’s known as the ‘Ninja Park’ along with BBQ facilities; the playground is shaded with a large grass field for ball games.
BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has 13 waterslides at their mega water park, pools, mini-golf, jumping pillow, playground and farm animals. If you’re looking for accommodation that is the ultimate wonderland for the kids, your search is over!
Playground finder – this is a brilliant app for parents! Type in your location, and recommended playgrounds near you will appear.
Looking to get up close and personal with the local and native wildlife? Whitsunday Crocodile Safari delivers the ultimate Australian wildlife experience, which will blow you and the kids away! See estuarine crocodiles in the wild and explore flora and fauna in the freshwater wetland habitat of Goorganga Plains, on a tractor-drawn wagon train. Enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch onsite at the base camp; you will even learn about the history of damper and billy tea!
Dive underwater and play amongst the magical marine life of the Great Barrier Reef at Daydream Island’s world-famous Living Reef. The Living Reef is the main centrepiece of the island, a unique free form coral lagoon wrapping 200m around the resort’s central building. The Living Reef lagoon is home to over 100 species of local marine life. Get up close and personal, either on a guided snorkel experience or join in on a few of the living reefs activities, including feeding the stingrays, Banded Bamboo Sharks, and Epaulette sharks. There is something for the whole family, namely pool bars, restaurants, playgrounds, bush walks, underwater observatory, and marine life encounters. Don’t be surprised if the kids go to bed wanting to be marine biologists when they grow up! A day at Daydream Island will really enrich the holiday feels.
Hamilton Island has a large range of activities and places to dine, accommodating the whole family. Firstly, during school holidays, be sure to collect a School Holidays Island Passport, a booklet packed with exciting activities for the kids to get stamped off each time they complete one. The activities include games like sandcastle building competitions, beach volleyball, art classes, crazy bingo, glow-in-the-dark bowling, and a table tennis competition, just to name a few.
Is there a strong sense of competition in the family? Well, head to the go-kart track for the ultimate family competition! The pool bar and surrounding restaurants are a great place to chill after the healthy competition; there is also a mini-golf course just in case you need to settle the scores.
Hydeaway Bay is home to the beachfront Cape Gloucester Eco Resort. With direct access to play on the beach and a saltwater swimming pool, this is the perfect place to enjoy some fresh seafood and have an afternoon of beach fun. Drive a little further and you land in the small township of Dingo Beach, famous for the local live music and delicious food at the beachside pub, also a great spot for the kids to run around and play whilst you enjoy the music with a beverage and a side of chips.
Head a bit further north to Bowen, home to incredible tropical beaches with some of the best fringing reefs lying just a few metres offshore. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Big Mango at the Bowen Visitor Information Centre and pop in to see the friendly staff. While at the Big Mango, make sure to taste the famous mango sorbet and snap a selfie with the biggest mango in the world! Stretch your legs and let the kids run wild at the Bowen Foreshore with a waterpark, playground and skatepark, the perfect trio to help burn off some energy. Be sure to catch a movie at the Bowen Summergarden Cinemas. Built in 1948, modern facilities merge with old-world charm and is a perfect way to wind down and devour some popcorn!