Thunderbird Park at Mount Tamborine is all about adventure. Surrounded by beautiful bushland, and offering many activities to challenge and excite, it is a popular destination in the great south east. But with so many activities geared towards school aged children, parents are likely to wonder if a visit to Thunderbird Park with a toddler or pre-schooler is worthwhile. Is there enough for them to do, or will they be too little to participate in the activities? Are the amenities suitable? Will you be overun by school groups? We visited Thunderbird Park with our two year old and here are our thoughts.
Accommodation options at Thunderbird Park
Thunderbird Park offers various types of accommodation within it’s grounds, including cabins and lodges, caravan and tent sites. We were there to camp so we booked a site and pitched our tent. The grounds are shady and our site was located within a short walk to the amenities, restaurant, adventure activities and bubbling creeks – all very convenient with a toddler. The bathrooms were decent – offering hot showers which we managed to use with our toddler without too much trouble.
Although it was a nice location, we were situated right next to a group of homeschooled teenagers. They were incredibly well behaved, but stayed up chatting past our ridiculously early 8 pm bedtime so the noise was a bit distracting. Fortunately our two year old is a champion (freak?) sleeper and it didn’t bother him – but if we were to stay again we would request a site a little bit further away from other groups, even if it meant a longer walk to the bathrooms.
Overall however, we were perfectly comfortable with a little one. For those seeking more convenience, the other accommodation options with a bathroom and kitchen would be perfect.
Adventure at Thunderbird Park with a Toddler!
So – what is there to do with at Thunderbird Park with a toddler? We were pleasantly surprised by all the options and were kept very busy. Here are our favourites.
Swim in the Rock Pools
Cedar creek runs along the property and two medium sized rock pools have been opened for swiming. These are perfect for cooling off in the summer months and are beautifully surrounded by rainforest. It is recommended that reef shoes are worn and caution is taken when swimming here.
The Tree Top challenge
The Thunderbird Park Tree Top challenge provides adventurers as young as three with the opportunity to get harnessed up to climb, walk and zip-line through the canopy of Mount Tamborine bushland. While most of the challenge is reserved for children over 7 years of age, Thunderbid Park also offers a juniors option for children from three years old. What I love about this facility is that it provides two courses close to the ground, perfect for giving little ones a chance to get aquainted with the challenge before progressing to the tree tops if they feel comfortable. If they’re happy to continue, the next two courses will see them suspended in the canopy! This activity involves entry fees.
Thunder Egg Fossicking and Crystal Panning
Lots of toddlers are obsessed with dinosaurs. At Thunderbird Park you can spark their imagination with the chance to search for prehistoric treasures created over 200 million years ago! Either use a pick and a bucket to fossick for thunder eggs, or use a panning tray in running water to find crystals. A fun activity that toddlers can enjoy with the help of mum and dad. Entry fees are applicable to these activities.
Bushwalk to Cedar Creek
This was one of our favourite adventures during our stay. The Cedar Creek track is close enough to set off on foot from the camp ground, as long as you have a carrier for your toddler. Take a picnic and enjoy a swim once you reach the falls. There are also bushwalking tracks within the 112 hectare park, so plenty of opportunity to explore the beautiful outdoors.
Completely free of charge and perfect for even the littlest adventurers – the local birds are fed in front of the cafe everyday at 2 pm. Watching the colourful rainbow lorikeets swoop in for a feed is such a simple but exciting experience for young children.
There are so many native wildlife species to be found at Thunderbird Park – and teaching your toddler to keep their eyes out for creatures is a great way for them to learn about the local environment. If you look closely enough you might even see the rare Albert’s Lyrebird, bowerbirds, butcher birds, wedge tailed eagles, butterflies and wallabies. We got a little too close to wildlife during our stay when we almost stumbled across a snake on the way to the showers one night. Like I said – keep your eyes out!
An activity the whole family can enjoy, the mini-golf course at Thunderbird Park is very impressive, and includes plenty of fun obstacles including water hazards, rock traps and bridges. It caters to all ages by providing three holes of varied difficulty for each green. Although they’re not going to be a fierce competitor, there’s no reason your toddler can’t have a swing and join in. Entry fees are included in this activity.
Eating at Thunderbird Park with a Toddler
Thunderbird Park offers a few options for dining. Either bring your camp stove for a casual cook up at your tent (or enjoy the convenience of a kitchen if you’re staying in the cabins or lodges), or eat at the kiosk and resturant. There are no communal barbeques or camp kitchens available at Thunderbird Park.
The casual dining kiosk has a range of food including healthy options and kids meals available, and is open 9 am – 3 pm Monday to Thursday or 7.30 – 4 pm Friday to Sunday. The Rainforest Restaurant is open from Thursday to Sunday and offers more formal dining (and a casual option in the lounge bar) as well as a breakfast buffet. Be aware the restaurant won’t be open if they are hosting an event, in which case there are a number of restaurants located a 10 minute drive away on Main Street.
Our overall experience at Thunderbird Park
We really enjoyed our time at Thunderbird Park and so did our toddler. He loved being outdoors, and despite all the incredible activities on offer his favourite pastime was simply walking along the creek and stopping occassionally to sit and throw pebbles into the water. We found the holiday park convenient with a toddler and would certainly return – particularly once he is old enough to tackle the high ropes on the junior treetop challenge!