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20 ways to make memories these school holidays!

20 ways to make memories these school holidays!

20 ways to make memories these school holidays!

Tags: rainforest | charters towers |

04 March 2024
By Townsville Enterprise

Holidays with kids (of any age) isn't about the holiday - because let's face it, it can be a little exhausting....holidays with kids is about making memories! Now more than ever, making fresh memories to last a lifetime are what matters most, and what better setting for those memories than Townsville North Queensland. 

Whether you and your littlies explore the magic of the Great Barrier Reef, encounter the wonder of the rainforest or discover the awe of the Outback, our natural experiences are waiting, and the local characters who help tell our story are good to go!

So, get ready to load up the car, pack the snack box, and turn up the volume to your favourite family tracks with our top 20 things to do this school holidays, that will keep the kids entertained and help you create amazing family holiday memories in Townsville North Queensland!

1. Go totally wild at Billabong Sanctuary!

Wombats at Billabong Sanctuary
Opening just in time for school holidays, this local attraction is a family favourite and has been entertaining and educating the young, and the young at heart, for over 35 years. With natural bushland to explore and a 2-hectare billabong at its heart, the Australian native animal wildlife park is home to over 50 native species including kangaroos, koalas, wombats, emus, parrots, and even a snappy variety that will really croc your world!

∇ 17km South of Townsville, Bruce Highway 

2. Rock wallabies by the sea

Rock wallaby, Geoffrey Bay, Magnetic Island

It doesn’t get much cuter than watching the kids interact with our furry little friends at Geoffrey Bay, Magnetic Island. Arm yourself with a bag of rock wallaby feed from the nearby newsagency and make sure you have a camera on hand - these little guys love getting up close and personal!

 ∇ Geoffrey Bay, Magnetic Island

3. Outdoor history lesson on the Forts Walk

One of the most popular tracks on Magnetic Island, the Forts walk leads to fascinating historic WWII fortifications and infrastructure - not to mention the stunning 360 views making the 4km trek to the summit worth every step...even if it means the odd piggyback to get the kids there! And if that's not enough to get the kids ready to run, then the lure of a chance to see a koala in the wild will certainly do it, as the Forts are one of their favourite places to eat and sleep on the island!

 ∇ Forts Walk, Magnetic Island 

4. Have a 'fly' time on the Butterfly Walk

A seasonal treat, and just in time for the Winter school holidays - the annual Blue Tiger Butterfly migration sees thousands flock to the island for their winter rest (or 'dispause'). A magical stroll through the melaleuca forest will set your heart aflutter! A chance for a quiet pause in the cool of the forest, and a magical moment to cherish.

∇ Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island

5. A Day on the Water

From sailing adventures with Big Mama or Pilgrim Sailing to snorkelling the fringing reefs with Aquascene Charters – there is a water-based activity for every age on Magnetic Island. Not forgetting the thrill seekers, visit Horseshoe Bay where you can experience every childhood desire with jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards, tubing and more! 

Top tip - Stay a few nights and experience it all, the kids will thank you that's for sure!

∇ Magnetic Island 

6. Alma-zing Bay

Perfect for families, this sheltered bay is the ideal place for a picnic and sand castle-building. Complete with a playground, soft grassy knolls, shady trees and sea breezes, you'll welcome the shift to island time whiling away the hours delighting in family bliss. 

∇ Alma Bay, Magnetic Island

7. Tick your Bucket List - Visit the Great Barrier Reef

It's nature’s greatest gift to the world and it’s right on our doorstep! The Great Barrier Reef is a majestic underwater playground, a mosaic of colour and life, and a living treasure. Give your kids a once in a lifetime experience and go snorkelling or diving for the older kids on the Great Barrier Reef. Take a a full day tour straight from Townsville with Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive who will not only show you the magic of the ocean but provide with some amazing North Queensland hospitality and lots of food.

∇ Great Barrier Reef, Townsville 

8. Picture-perfect Pioneer Park

Located on the banks of the Ross River, Pioneer Park is the ultimate in kid-friendly outdoor fun. With sporting fields, BBQ areas and two large swimming lagoons, you can spend the whole day enjoying this picturesque spot. Still have energy to burn, then hit the trails that follow the meanderings of the Ross River, and keep your eyes peeled for painted pebbles - part of a new community movement #TSVRocks 

∇ Village Boulevard, Thuringowa Central - Riverway, Townsville 

9. Go for gold

Charters Towers struck gold in 1872 making the Venus Gold Battery one of the first true gold diggers! Reopening on 1 July, see how the ore was processed with the original machinery, and learn the nitty gritty of Charters Towers' gold rush history. Do the kids love a spooky story? Your tour guide will fill you in on all types of tales - even those of the ghostly variety. As the largest surviving Battery relic in Australia and the oldest surviving Battery in Queensland, this stop is not to be missed and the perfect chance for an outdoor history lesson!

∇ Millchester Road, Charters Towers 

10. Nature meets art at TYTO

TYTO Wetlands in Ingham is a great place to relax and unwind with the kids. With local art installations, and hectares of wetland wilderness to explore, absolutely brimming with unique flora and fauna - including the precincts namesake, the Eastern Grass Owl (Tyto capensis)! Ingham is also home to some pretty amazing delis - so make sure you stop by one to top up your picnic basket.

∇ Cooper Street & Bruce Highway, Ingham 

11. Chasing waterfalls

If nature is your family's things, then you can't beat Mother Nature's playground in Hinchinbrook. Boasting some of the world's oldest rainforests, the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is sprinkled with trails to explore, often leading you on a scenic adventure through the trees to a watery oasis. One that should be on top of your list is Wallaman Falls - the southern hemisphere's largest single-drop waterfall! You'll be forgiven for saying "WOW" for this one!

∇ Wallaman Falls, Girringun National Park, Ingham 

12. Park play the 'Centenary' way 

Step back in time to the days of the gold rush when you visit Centenary Park in Charters Towers. The park features a gold discovery monument as well as picnic tables, a children's playground, liberty swing and lit walking tracks. 

∇ Hackett Terrace & Gregory Hwy, Charters Towers

13. Do a 'Strand-y'

You’ll be hard pressed to find any ‘must do’ list for Townsville without this local hot spot! The Strand, is a thriving beach foreshore. With 2.5km of walkway, stunning views across to Magnetic Island, outdoor gym equipment, and more playgrounds than the kids will know what to do with, The Strand is a guaranteed winner. Enjoy the shade of the palm trees with a gelato and a good book, whilst the kids swim and splash at the patrolled beach. 

∇ The Strand, Townsville 

14. Take on Towers Hill

Look out over the Outback metropolis that is Charters Towers. While you're there explore the WWII fortifications (now with an AR experience that will satisfy the tech-savvy next gens), and even meet some friendly locals at sunset with rock wallabies also calling this location home.

∇ Towers Hill, Charters Towers |

15. Camping country-style

Create lasting memories in one of the most beautiful riverside locations in Outback Queensland, and only an hour's drive from Townsville - Bivouac Junction, Charters Towers! Make a weekend of it and pitch a tent, and truly get back to nature. With prime freshwater fishing along the mighty Burdekin River, campfire cooking and toasting marshmallows, and taking time to pause with your loved ones - camping at Bivouac is a must do this school holidays!

∇ Bivouac Junction Road, Charters Towers 

16. Make a splash at Crystal Creek

A favourite swimming spot for locals, both Big and Little Crystal Creek - that's right two-for-one! - offers up all you would expect of a picture-perfect family picnic spot. Little Crystal Creek bridge is not only heritage-listed, but is also surrounded by pristine waterfalls with small pockets of water making perfect swimming holes. Further up the road is Paradise Waterhole on Big Crystal Creek, which is just as spectacular.

∇ Paluma Range Road (off Bruce Highway), Townsville

17. Art, art...trail, baby!

Looking for a way to take in some of the local arts, but have the kids actually enjoy the process? Maybe even find a new appreciation for the arts? Then look no further than the Burdekin Art Trail. A truly unique collection of murals, sculptures and installations which depict stories of the region’s culture and heritage, repurposing some of region's unassuming spaces and transforming them into vibrant works of art by a number of renowned and emerging artists from across Australia. Print out the map, get the kids to navigate, and let's Gough!

∇ Burdekin district 

18. Ayr Nature Display will leave you buzzing!

As adults, we may never understand a child's fascination with bugs and creepy crawlies but you can't deny the intrigue! Let their minds explore (and a bonus is they may learn a little something in the process) at the Ayr Nature Display. One of Australia's finest, preserved collection of butterflies, moths, beetles, crustaceans, sea shells, reptiles, rocks, timber, and fossils, especially ammonites, all under one roof. See the Well of Butterflies containing 1,220 specimens all collected in the Burdekin district. 

∇ 119 Wilmington Street, Ayr 

19. We're gonna catch a big one..... maybe?

The Hinchinbrook region is well known for it's amazing fishing spots but you don't need a boat to get to all of them. Grab the kids and the fishing gear and head out to Lucinda, a favourite for many locals, to drop in a line and try your luck. With views over to Hinchinbrook Island and a great playground for the kids why not pack a picnic and make a day of it.

Don't forget to stop at the Lucinda Jetty, which at 5.76 kilometres long, is the longest service jetty in the Southern Hemisphere

∇ Lucinda, 20 minutes North of Ingham 

20. Movies under the Stars

Take a step back to the 50's and show the kids the perfect way to enjoy a movie at the Stardust Drive In Theatre in Ayr. Pack the blankets and pillows and climb into the boot to enjoy the latest movies or even a good ole classic whilst enjoying the stunning big sky views. The best part is they have a Snack Bar on site to grab all the essentials like a Burger, Chips and Lollies - maybe even a coffee for Mum!

∇ 27 Kilrie Road, Ayr

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