It’s not hard to see why Queensland is a popular destination for family holidays. Warm weather year-round, beautiful beaches, family friendly attractions and activities – what is not to love? There are so many Queensland holiday destinations for families to choose from – that it may be difficult to decide!
In this post you’ll find a comprehensive list of great Queensland family holiday ideas so you can start exploring and planning your next family holiday now!
When to visit Queensland
Any time of the year is a great time to visit Queensland. As the climate varies so greatly between regions, you will want to time your visit depending on the destination you choose.
North Queensland has a tropical climate – and you will experience high humidity and monsoonal weather including the risk of cyclones from December to February. You will experience the nicest weather in winter and spring, from around May to August.
The Capricorn Coast (mid way up the coast of Queensland) is a subtropical region. You can expect a milder version of the north Queensland weather – with mild winters and warm summers. Winter and spring is still a good time to visit – but you will experience more sunshine year round here with less risk of cyclones.
South East Queensland can get very warm in summer between December to February. Winter is cooler – so if you’re seeking sun and surf you may want to aim for a visit between February and April or October and November.
Southern Downs is quite hot in summer and very cold in winter. But winter is a popular time to visit – as it is a lovely time to enjoy the region’s fantastic food and drink around a warm fire. If you’re looking for milder weather when visiting with the kids you’ll want to visit in spring. September and October is a particularly special time when wildflowers are blooming.
Outback Queensland is most popular between March and October when the temperature is cooler. This is also when more attractions will be open – as some will close after the September school holidays.
Travelling to Queensland
There are numerous major airports in Queensland – making it easy to get to your chosen holiday destination. Major airports include Cairns (best for travel to far north Queensland including Cape York, Port Douglas and Mission Beach), Townsville, Propserpine (for travel to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays), Hamilton Island, Brisbane (for travel around South East Queensland and up to Capricorn Coast), and the Gold Coast.
Queensland is also a great state to take a road trip through! With so many fantastic places to stop at you will never be bored. It’s a great way to see more of the state. Drive along the Pacific Highway for a coastal tour, or inland to visit the outback. If you decide to drive – don’t forget to keep an eye out for all of the ‘Big Things’ in Queensland – print out a list here and check them off as you go!
Queensland Rail also offers a number of excellent journeys. The Spirit of Queensland travels from Brisbane to Cairns, stopping at the Capricorn Coast, the Whitsundays and Townsville along the way. The Spirit of the Outback is a popular tour from Brisbane, stopping at Nambour, Emerald and Longreach. There are plenty of other options with the Inlander, Westlander, Kuranda Scenic Railway and The Gulflander.
Best Queensland Family Holiday Destinations
Jasmine from Kiwi Talks Travel
The Sunshine State of Australia is home to stunning beaches, large tropical rainforests, and endless activities that make it one of the most popular family destinations in Oceania. However, the most common destination for a family holiday is the Gold Coast, and for good reason!
With over 50km of beaches lining the coast, wonderful rainforests, wildlife sanctuaries, and the best theme parks in the country, the Gold Coast isn’t just one of the must-see places in Australia, it’s also the best place to bring your kids for a fun-filled family holiday!
Located in South East Queensland, the Gold Coast is a year-round holiday destination. With its warm weather, bountiful activities, and family-friendly vibe, no matter what time of year you visit, you’re bound to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Although you can holiday in the Gold Coast year-round, the best time to go on a family holiday is when it’s not peak season. Travelling to the Gold Coast between March-May, or September-November will mean that prices are cheaper, there are fewer people, the weather is still warm enough to swim, and the activities are still open!
The family-friendly activities on the Gold Coast are endless and are what attract so many families each year! Some activities include:
- The beach. Some of the best beaches are Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads, and Currumbin!
- Australian Outback Spectacular
- Mount Tamborine
- Theme parks (Dream World, Movie World, White Water World, Sea World, Wet n Wilds)
- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Since the Gold Coast is such a popular family holiday destination, you aren’t short of choice when it comes to accommodation. Some of the best family-friendly resorts on the Gold Coast are:
- Paradise Resort (Surfers Paradise)
- Turtle Beach Resort (Mermaid Beach)
- Sea World Resort (Main Beach)
- Paradise Island Resort (Surfers Paradise)
Have you started packing your bags yet?
Sharee from Inspire Family Travel
Noosa is a destination guaranteed to entertain everyone of all ages, filled with natural splendour, and mixed with a laid-back atmosphere. It is the perfect cocktail for a family-friendly destination and draws many new and returning visitors to its coastal location.
Only a two-hour drive north of Brisbane, this east coast holiday destination is the perfect distance for a long weekend or extended stay.
There are many things to do with kids in Noosa to fill the days, and being a Queensland destination, several of those are spent enjoying the great outdoors, as it is here where you will discover Noosa’s true beauty.
There are 15 kilometres of walking tracks within Noosa National Park, where you can walk through lush rainforest and open woodland. Noosa Main Beach is one of the best Queensland beaches and is ideally located within walking distance of the famous Hastings Street, Noosa Heads’ heart.
Surfing enthusiasts from beginners to professionals will enjoy the numerous point breaks, or for a unique water experience, visit the “river of mirrors,” also known as the Noosa Everglades, where you can explore the stunning ecosystem on a kayak or boat tour.
Noosa is known as the food mecca on the sunshine coast, with many top-rated restaurants and casual eateries calling it home. On a Sunday, the Noosa Farmers Markets is a great place to stock up on local produce.
Noosa is a popular destination year-round, but particularly during the school holidays, so if you prefer your locations a little less crowded, try booking off-peak. There are many accommodation options along the Noosa Street beachfront, which are in a prime location and sometimes have a higher price tag attached. Noosasville is another option for accommodation; it is a short drive from the main street in a quieter area and is typically less expensive.
Holly from Four Around the World
Cairns is the ultimate tropical getaway in Queensland, located in far north region, approximately 1 hour south of the Daintree Rainforest. Cairns is the perfect family-friendly option for a combined city and beach break, with many fun things to see and do.
Cairns is the ultimate adventure destination for families who love the outdoors, with the Great Barrier Reef on your doorstep. Take a snorkelling or island tour and spend the day exploring together.
Green Island is a great option for families with younger children since the snorkelling is right off the beach and relatively shallow.
The Esplanade Lagoon is a free public swimming pool with lifeguards, open daily until late. Or visit Muddy’s Playground for a splash and play with kids.
There are so many things to do in Cairns with kids, such as the Aquarium, Zoom Wildlife and Dome where you can zipline over the indoor wildlife park.
Daytrip options are endless too, sitting approximately 2 hours south of the Daintree Rainforest and even closer to Port Douglas or Palm Beach. Head up to the mountain Village of Kuranda or discover the history behind Paronella Park in the south.
We recommend hiring a car so you can easily visit all the incredible surrounding places near Cairns, without relying on public transport or tours each day.
There is no bad time of year to visit North Queensland, since even the wet season has its perks, filling the waterfalls. However, the shoulder seasons are ideal, with smaller crowds and slightly cooler weather than summer.
Either way, be sure to bring your hat and sunscreen any time of year!
There are resorts for every budget to suit visiting families. The Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina is perfectly located in the centre of town, 1 minute from the cruise terminal and just a few minutes from the Esplanade. Or try Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort, with fun facilities the kids will love, including a waterpark.
Christina from Travel2Next
One of the best Sunshine Coast beaches for a family holiday is Mooloolaba Beach, which was voted by TripAdvisor as the 7th best beach in Australia. Mooloolaba is more than a beach. It is a beach and summer holiday destination with two other beaches within walking distance, lookout points, parks, shops and Mooloolaba Wharf is an entertainment precinct that is only a short walk away. One of the main reasons Mooloolaba is such a great holiday destination for families is that it has a beautiful main beach patrolled, with playgrounds and barbecue facilities right at the beach. The Esplanade is a strip packed with cafes, restaurants, bars, and serviced apartment accommodation options across the road from the beach. Another reason to choose Mooloolaba is it is 30km closer to Brisbane than Noosa, and it’s closer to Maroochydore Airport.
Mooloolaba Beach and Alexandra Headland, within walking distance, are both excellent spots to join a surfing lesson. Besides surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are popular activities. Around the corner, the Mooloolaba Wharf Precinct is home to SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast where kids could easily spend the entire day. The aquarium is home to over 10,000 creatures, including Australia’s most extensive jellyfish collection, educational talks. It offers fascinating behind-the-scenes tours and experiences such as diving with sharks and seal and penguin encounters.
Accommodation in Mooloolaba is also generally cheaper than in Noosa. If you can afford it, book a serviced apartment with a beach view such as Mantra Zanzibar or Mantra Sirocco for easy beach access. It is also convenient to pop back to your apartment while enjoying a day at the beach. The best time to visit Mooloolaba for fun in the sun is in summer, but it’s also the busiest time, especially during the school holidays. If the kids are old enough to surf, you can visit any time of the year as the water temperature is relatively mild (compared to other places) 24C.
Melissa from Queensland Camping
Fraser Island is the perfect place for the family looking for an adventure! With loads of stunning places to swim, sand dunes to climb, wildlife to spot and some great fishing to be had – kids of all ages will have a blast on Fraser Island.
Unfortunately you can’t swim in any of the beaches on Fraser Island, however there are plenty of gorgeous places to take the kids swimming. Lake McKenzie is the most popular place for a swim – and with good reason! With its white powdery shores and crystal clear waters, it is absolutely stunning.
There is however a stack more stunning lakes on Fraser Island for swimming. Some of our favourites include Lake Birrabeen, Lake Wabby and Ocean Lake. Getting to Lake Wabby is an adventure, as to reach the lake, you’ll need to cross a massive sand blow, where the kids will think they’re in the desert!
Another favourite with the kids is Eli Creek. The kids will love walking down the boardwalk which takes them inland, then jumping into the cool crystal water which gently floats you out to the beach. Definitely bring some inflatables for this one!
Other things to do while on Fraser Island, include swimming in the Champagne Pools or at the tidal lagoon at Waddy Point, eating at the various little pubs like Orchid Beach or Happy Valley and of course spotting loads of wildlife like gigantic goannas, stacks of birdlife and of course the island’s dingos.
There are loads of options when it comes to where to stay on Fraser Island. A popular choice for families is to camp on Fraser Island, but there are some great resorts (Eurong Resort, Kingfisher Resort), private holiday homes and more.
Unless you plan on staying at the Kingfisher Resort, you will need a 4WD to holiday on Fraser Island. If you don’t have your own, you can hire them at Rainbow Beach. You will also need to arrange a vehicle permit for the island. To reach the island, there are vehicle barges at Inskip Point or River Heads. River Heads also has a passenger ferry that goes across to Kingfisher Resort.
The best time to visit Fraser Island is anytime! Although my personal preference is to come in the warmer months so you can spend your days swimming. However if you’re not keen on hot days, then best to avoid the months of December to February. A bonus of coming in the cooler months is you might even spot whales as they migrate south.
Keri from Our Globetrotters
Port Douglas is our exact idea of paradise. Surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef and the gateway to the Daintree Forest it’s a wonderful place for a family holiday, away from the bustle of Cairns but still within easy reach of many top end attractions and the convenience of Cairns airport only an hour away.
Our kids loved feeding kangaroos at Wildlife Habitat (go early though as they are full up and not as interested in the afternoon!), try the Bally Hooley train from the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina to St Crispins, or simple enjoy the stunning 4 Mile Beach or sunset over Rex Smeal Park.
Further afield on day trips, experience the magic of Kuranda in the mountains, taking either the historic train or epic Kuranda Skyrail. There are also plentiful spots for croc-spotting tours nearby or take in the spectacular walks and watering holes of Mossman Gorge. And not to forget you are on the door step to the Great Barrier Reef, a day tour to Agincourt Reef or with little kids try the Low Isles will be unforgettable experiences.
You can easily fill a full week in and around Port Douglas, but do make plenty of time in your itinerary to simply relax and enjoy your surroundings.
There’s a wide range of accommodation choices in Port Douglas from hostels and caravan parks through to luxury resorts, motels, backpacker lodges, holiday parks and everything in between. On a tight budget try Coral Beach Lodge with private family rooms, or spoil yourselves at Peppers Beach Club.
Port Douglas is best visited during the cooler winter months where days are wonderfully mild and for the most part sunny. With a tropical climate you can still visit in the summer but expect higher humidity. Be mindful of stinger season from October to May, the Surf Life Saving Club on 4 Mile Beach have nets and warning signs at this time.
Sharon from Tasmania Explorer
If you are looking for a fabulous family holiday destination in Queensland, look no further than Townsville. Townsville is a very easy and fun place to visit with kids! Located in far north Queensland, south of Cairns, Townsville is the major city in this part of Queensland and as such is a transport hub making getting here relatively easy.
There is a range of attractions here including some great kid focused places, like the free Strand Waterpark by the waterfront where kids can splash and play and the Barra Fun Park which is an inflatable waterpark, as well as some fun family friendly attractions like the Museum of Tropical Queensland which has plenty of information about what it’s like to live in the tropics, exhibits focused on the Great Barrier Reef, rainforests and this region of the country. It’s very kid friendly and it was one of our kids favourite places as well as ours. There’s also the Billabong Sanctuary, a wildlife park and Reef HQ, the world’s largest living reef aquarium. When you are ready for a change, a day trip to Magnetic Island across the water is quick and easy.
Townsville is on the coast and it’s easy to reach the Great Barrier Reef from here. It also feels like it’s in the Outback which big rocky mountains and orangey red rocks. It’s a pretty combination.
The best time to visit Townsville is during the dry season which runs from May to September. The rest of the year is hotter and wetter although we have still enjoyed visiting during this time.
A good place to stay for families is the Park Regis Anchorage. This hotel is in a good location within walking distance of many attractions. There are two pools and apartment style accommodation in townhouses with plenty of room for family.
So what are you waiting for? Kids are sure to love the combination of activities and fun in Townsville!