Our kids have just nailed another 10-odd week of looking at books and screens and being cooped up in classrooms. Let their sense of adventure take over and head outdoors to indulge in nature these school holidays. Fresh air. The sunshine on your back. There’s nothing more rejuvenating! Here’s how…
If you’re looking for something unique to do during these school holidays, try whale watching. Australia’s eastern seaboard plays host to some pretty spectacular displays by those truly majestic humpback whales right through the spring school holidays which is super convenient for us families, right?! The best thing about this activity is that you can tailor your experience to any budget. There are plenty of public vantage points along the South-East Queensland and northern New South Wales coastline where you might be lucky enough to spot whales, or you can jump on board one of the many tourism operators’ boats that will take you right up close to these amazing animals. Yalingbila Tours are the newest kids on the whale watching block and offer Australia’s first and only indigenous owner-operator whale watching tour, right here in our backyard. Tours depart from Brisbane, Cleveland and Dunwich, on Stradbroke Island.
Quokkas, capybaras and koalas collide at the Gold Coast’s most beloved wildlife sanctuary. Feed the rainbow lorikeets out the front in the morning or afternoon, then head into Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary itself for a journey through the Gondwanan rainforest, the tallest treetops and the Australian outback. Top experiences include the Segway Safari, koala nursery and bird training, while the Dingo Walk and a visit to the crocodile enclosure are not for the faint of heart. When you’re all animal’d out, refuel at one of the many on-site food joints – but not before spotting one of literature’s favourite monsters on the Gruffalo Trail.
Go Creek Combing
If you’re looking for good, old-fashioned fun, you’ll find it down at your local creek. Keep an eye out for everything from critters to creepy crawlies as you navigate the creek bed or sit on the rocks and watch as the wildlife go about their day – keep your eyes peeled for everything from birds to guppies, and maybe even turtles. If you’re keen to see them up close, fashion a tadpole trap out of a clear, empty water bottle, by putting a small piece of bread inside. Turn the bottle on its side and watch as tadpoles and other small fish swim inside and eat the bread – just be sure to tip them back into the water (gently) when you’re finished.
Just like surfing, maybe your little one would love to learn a new skill that will have them off their iPad and wanting to head out on to the driveway, or into your street, or even down to the local park instead? Maybe it’s time to get them into skateboarding? Because it can be a nerve-wracking experience for a parent to watch their young offspring jump on a skateboard for the first time, you should call in an expert – and the spring school holidays are the perfect time to do just that. Skateboarding lessons will have your kids up and confident in no time. Skate All Day runs skateboarding lessons in various local parks across the Gold Coast, Brisbane, the Tweed Coast and beyond. Think of all that fresh air and sunshine while you keep the kids busy and active! Perfect.
Pat a Stingray!
On a nondescript road in a relatively non-descript part of Loganholme, on Brisbane’s southside, there’s a solid gold nature experience awaiting your family these school holidays. The Shark and Ray Gardens are within Nielsen’s Native Nursery and offer visitors the unique chance to get knee- or waist-deep in water and interacting with real sharks and stingrays! Described as “Brisbane’s coolest marine experience” this is sure to be one fun, exciting and educational visit. Tickets are $60 per family (two adults, two children), $20 adults, $15 children. If you make a purchase from the nursery, Marine Mates aquarium or Lorikeet’s Café, you will receive a discounted entry.
Sure, school is done for another term, but that doesn’t mean your kids should stop learning – and this is one lesson plan they’ll be happy to get on board with (pun intended). Get salty and sandy with a round of surfing lessons at one of the Gold Coast’s world-class breaks. They’ll pick up a new skill and plenty of confidence along the way, as well as some much needed vitamin D and exercise after a long, cold winter. You never know – you may be raising the next Owen Wright or Steph Gilmore. There are tonnes of surf schools dotted along the Gold Coast, and even more surf stores to visit if your kids catch surfing fever. Maybe you’ll even throw on a leg rope this summer?
When it comes to memorable school holiday activities, horse riding pretty much tops the list. Don’t stress if your children aren’t quite up to ‘Saddle Club’ standard – there are a bunch of horse riding schools around town that will ease them into the sport. Fancy a trail ride along the beachfront? Tassiriki Ranch at Ballina is a short drive south of Byron, making it an awesome day trip or overnight activity for Brisbanites and Gold Coasters. If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, try Cherbon Waters Equestrian Centre in Burbank or the Gold Coast Equestrian Centre.