Thursday, 10 July 2014

Queensland for Kids: 7 Recommendations for a Free & Easy Holiday

This travel post is written by Angie who blogs at Life's Tiny Miracles. She travelled to Queensland on a self-drive holiday with her petite traveller, Dana (then 2 years). This holiday is suitable for families with petite travellers (10 years and below) who enjoy the flexibility of travelling free and easy, love a fun adventure and want to enjoy the great outdoors.

1. Lone Pine Sanctuary, Brisbane

Lone Pine Sanctuary is Australia's first and largest Koala sanctuary with over 130 koalas. It's also rated one of the Top 10 Best Zoos in the World. We took a direct bus there from our serviced apartment in the city. At the sanctuary, kids get to cuddle koalas and meet many other local Australian native animals like the Kookaburra (a terrestrial kingfisher native to Australia) and the Dingo (a free-roaming wild dog mainly found in the outback and unique to the continent of Australia) which we don't get to see elsewhere in Asia. We saw also wombats, kangaroos, lorikeets and snakes.

There is also a small patting zoo where kids can feed baby lambs and seek shelter from the rain (when it tends to get a bit wetter in December). For a relaxing and educational farm experience for the kids, don't forget to dedicate a full day at the Lone Pine Sanctuary!

Lone Pine Sactuary

Tip: Kids who colour a page from their interactive webpage and bring along on your visit will be given a small gift! Visit its website here for more details.

Address: 708 Jesmond Road, Fig Tree Pocket, Queensland
Contact Number: +61 7 3378 1366

2. Sea World, Gold Coast

From Brisbane, we hired a car and drove to Sea World in Gold Coast. Driving in Queensland is a breeze with the aid of a GPS. We booked 2 nights' stay in the newly refurbished Deluxe Room at Sea World so that we can hop back for short rest whenever we needed.

Right at the doorstep of the Sea World Resort is the Monorail which is one of the oldest rides in Gold Coast and is actually the first monorail to be built in Australia. It's a great way to get around the Sea World as it stops at convenient places within the huge theme park.

Dana had fun at the Marine Touch Pool and Shark Bay where we saw sharks, stingrays and a range of exotic tropical fish. We also saw polar bears! The IMAGINE Dolphin Show, an interactive and education programme on marine life preservation, was a crowd favourite too.

Kids would love the Sesame Street Beach where trains and helicopter rides, merry-go-round, bird bouncer, and a splash zone await. Dana tried every thrill ride available - Bert & Ernie's Big Dive, Elmo's Sea Subs and Big Bird Bounce!

Sea World, Gold Coast

Our favourite memory of Sea World was the Bert & Ernie's Island Adventure Stage Show where we were entertained by the whole host of Sesame St friends like Big Bird, Ernie, Zoe, Grover, Cooking Monster and Elmo. For a fun-filled day out in Gold Coast, a visit to Sea World is a must!

Address: Seaworld Dr, Main Beach, Queensland 4217, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5588 2222

3. Dreamworld, Gold Coast

We visited Dreamworld, Australia's largest Theme Park because it houses 'Wiggles World' - home of Dana's favourite Aussie preschool Music group - The Wiggles!

Besides meeting the characters, Dreamworld has a fantastic array of thrill rides designed for the entire family – from kids to teenagers to adults. We discovered a Wildlife Section in Dreamworld that not many people are aware of. You can go close to Koalas, Kangaroos and even crocs! We missed their newest attraction 'Madagascar Madness' which only opened after our trip. This is a good reason for us to return someday!

Dreamworld, Gold Coast

Address: Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera, Queensland 4209, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5588 1111

4. Surfers’ Paradise Beach and Anzac Park

Singapore’s coastline is dotted with silhouettes of oil refineries and ship tankers. Here at Surfers Paradise, the emerald sea meets the azure sky as far as your eye can see. It's truly a beautiful and spectacular sight to behold! We built sandcastles on the beach and ran against the surf during our stay.

Surfers' Paradise Beach

At Surfers Paradise, we chanced upon a lovely outdoor sand playground at Anzac Park. Dana did her first ever Giant Flying Fox here and we spent hours just indulging in unstructured play! Isn’t that what holidays are supposed to be about? Making happy memories and depositing these into the kids’ memory banks.

Anzac Park Playground

Tip: The Anzac Park Playground is situated opposite the Australian Fair Shopping Centre.

Address: Marine Parade, Southport, Queensland 4215, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5581 6984

5. Eumandi Market, Gold Coast

We timed our trip to visit the Eumandi Market on a Saturday. Eumandi Market is a local weekend 'crafts' market where you’ll find original artworks, sculptures, furniture, handmade toys, fashion, jewellery and other knick knacks by local designers. We spent the morning soaking in the artsy vibes, enjoying tasty bites and admiring the handiworks of the talented stallholders here.

Eumandi Market, Gold Coast

Address: Memorial Drive, Eumundi, Queensland 4567, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5442 7106

6. Strawberry Field Farm, Sunshine Coast

A stopover at Strawberry Fields gives kids an authentic PYO (Pick Your Own) strawberries experience right from the ground patch! The farm has lush landscaping and is very scenic. Dana spent an hour harvesting the strawberries under the hot sun. For her hard work, we rewarded her with freshly made strawberry ice-cream which was truly out-of-this-world yummy! We could not stop feasting on freshly picked sweet strawberries on our way out.

There is a watermelon plantation within the premises where kids can see how watermelons are grown and
harvested. Truly a highlight of our Queensland trip that Dana remembers till this day.

Strawberry Fields, Sunshine Coast

Address: 133 Laxton Road, Palmview, Queensland, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5494 5146

7. The Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast

The Australia Zoo is big on conservation, making it such an amazing place for the little ones to understand more about the animal kingdom. Here, one can cuddle a koala, hand-feed Asian elephants, walk with a Sumatran tiger and watch a crocodile launch from the waters edge.  The Zoo is the brainchild of the famous "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 in a freak accident at the Great Barrier Reef.

We spent a fruitful afternoon watching the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Show at the Crocoseum, visiting the Tiger Temple and Asia Elephant habitat. We found the Animal Wildlife Adventure Show educational. The zoo keepers highlighted some world’s conservation issues and taught the kids how to protect wildlife. During the show, we saw giant snakes, majestic elephants, colourful, soaring birds and huge prehistoric Saltwater Crocodiles!

Dana was an intrepid little explorer who went trekking around the spacious Zoo with her mini binoculars. We love the Australian Zoo for its well-planned layout, its beautiful landscaping, the
interesting Aussie wildlife exhibits and the interactive animal zones! The highlight of our visit was the 'Bindi Pony Ride' where each kid get to ride the pony into a forest trail! No wonder The Australia Zoo has won so many tourism accolades and awards. It is the perfect destination for an educational and fun outing.

The Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast

Address: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah, Queensland 4519, Australia
Contact: +61 7 5436 2000

Queensland has proven to be such an enjoyable one-stop holiday destination for families with its fun theme parks, gorgeous beaches, wildlife parks and well-designed playgrounds. We find it a breeze to drive everywhere with the help of a GPS. The advantage of a free and easy holiday is that you are in control of your time. We could chill out at a cafe in the mornings, grab a cuppa and catch up on latest news (or FB updates with the free Wifi) before heading out.  We then end each day with a stroll against the gorgeous Australian sunset. That's why we love holidaying in Queensland!

Hop over to this post to read our interview on our Gold Coast Holiday with the Petite Travellers' Team! 

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