If there’s one thing better than fun school holiday activities, it’s free and fun school holiday activities. But free fun can be hard to find, so haven has done the hard work for you and found the hottest spots around town. When the prospect of a play in the park or a day at the beach feel less than inspiring, try these fabulous (free!) activities between Brisbane and Byron.
1) Have you ever thought about diving into the history of one of your local landmarks? It’s about time you explored the Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower with a tour that lets you see Brisbane like never before. Take the old-school elevator up to the 76m-high viewing platform and look out over the city, before exploring the tower and all of its bells and whistles. If you’re looking to explore further south, you can learn all about the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse while climbing to the top to enjoy panoramic views from the most easterly point of Australia. OK, OK, it’s not exactly free, but we’re pretty sure this is the best thing you’ll spend a gold coin on.
2) QUT’s Gardens Point campus is home to 10 life-sized, prehistoric beasts. Don’t believe us? Head to the Dino Zoo at the Cube – a free, all-ages installation featuring dinosaurs that can see, hear and respond to you in real time. Developed by video game experts using artificial intelligence, the Dino Zoo is the closest you can get to Jurassic Park.
3) Get up close with our cuddliest compatriots at the Daisy Hill Koala Centre, where you can witness these marvelous marsupials in their natural habitat. Observe the koalas from two different observation decks as they go about their daily business, or climb the tower to get a koala’s eye-view of the world. There’s plenty of information about their unique biology and life cycle, plus you can learn all about how to care for a koala should you come across one in the wild.
4) Get ‘art and about’ with a trip to the art gallery – it’s free, fun, and did we mention free? Be sure to catch Kate Beynon’s ‘Friendly Beasts’ workshop at GoMA, which introduces littlies to four hybrid figures that they can dance with, draw with and adapt into their own masks.
5) Baby book worms (and their mums and dads) will be pleased to know that there are plenty of story time sessions popping up during the school holidays. Relax with a good book and even a song or two at Brisbane Square Library for their ‘Children’s Storytime’ or ‘Babies, Books and Rhymes’ sessions. For the more hands-on kids, there’s plenty of fun to be had at the State Library of Queensland’s ‘The Corner’ – whether it’s reading, a digital exhibition or tons of online games.
6) And while we’re on the topic, Gold Coast libraries are the place to be these school holidays. They’ve seriously got something for everyone. Pop into Broadbeach library for ‘Baby Rhyme Time’ and morning tea, or ‘Mums and Bubs Pilates’ at Robina to see for yourself. For the older kids, checkout ‘Stardust Junior Astronomy Club’ at Runaway Bay or the ‘Magic Club’ at Robina.
7) If you’re keen to adventure a little further west, the Ipswich Art Gallery is hosting a free event for all ages. Make a soft sculpture or a shiny splat wall piece, and then head out to see what else the city has to offer, whether it’s the Rail Museum or the exciting animals and play spaces at Queens Park. Be quick – the exhibition ends July 9!
8) The tempting goodies mean that they’re technically not free, but markets are pretty much guaranteed to be a great way to spend the day – and tire out little legs! The Mullumbimby Farmers Market is a local favourite for their organic fresh produce, useful workshops and kid-friendly activities, like ‘Grow Your Own Lunchbox’ and the Kiddie’s Plot. The Bangalow Market is another popular Sunday spot, with rides and entertainers to occupy the kids – and the adults! Don’t miss the extra school holiday activities on offer at both markets.
9) You may not know it, but the popular seaside town of Brunswick Heads is also a favourite destination for some of our favourite magical creatures. Take your kids on the enchanting ‘Fairy Trail’ and see the many fairy houses set up by the local Fairy Grandmother. Follow the clues to find all of the houses and ‘airy fairy BnB’s’, and even leave your own homes behind for some teeny tiny travellers to visit. Head to byron4kids.com.au to find the clues.
10) If your nightmares about broken arms and skinned knees are getting in the way of your son or daughter taking up skating as a hobby, fear no more. Ramp Up offers plenty of beginner’s skateboard and scooter sessions in the first weeks of the school holidays. Sessions are delivered by experienced skateboarders and skooter-ers (is that a word??) so you can feel confident that your tiny Tony Hawke is in capable hands. Google Ramp Up to find out more.