Looking for the best of Whitsundays for kids? With over 70 islands scattered across the warm waters of the Coral Sea, and the Great Barrier Reef a short hop away, the Whitsunday Islands are one of Australia’s most idyllic getaway destinations. The year-round tropical climate is perfect for active families wanting to explore both above and below the water, and with a wide range of activities and accommodation, there’s something for everyone.
Here are a few reasons to choose the Whitsundays for your next family holiday.
Set across 26 acres of sub-tropical gardens in Airlie Beach is the award-winning BIG4 Adventure Whitsundays holiday park, with everything from unpowered campsites to powered caravan sites and luxury cabins. They have the largest resort pool in the area, a kids playground, tennis, mini golf and a jumping pillow, and a brand new water park.
The water park has 13 slides of different heights and speeds which are geared towards kids (and adults) of all ages, together with water features for toddlers and a 30cm splash pool, coloured to reflect the kaleidoscope of corals in the Great Barrier Reef. There’s also an on-site Kids Club and outdoor movies screened during the school holidays. adventurewhitsunday.com.au/
No trip to the Whitsundays is complete without time spent beneath the water’s surface exploring the Great Barrier Reef. “Reefworld” is a permanently moored pontoon on one of its most beautiful stretches, Hardy Reef, and an ideal spot for fun and safe family snorkelling excursions. Better still, extend your day trip to a sleepover, and get some private time on the reef once the day visitors head home.
After an unforgettable sunset over the water, a whole range of nocturnal animals come out onto the reef, including octopus, fire urchins and crayfish, which you can observe on a night dive, or opt instead for a spot of star gazing, with an incredible display of stars illuminating the night sky overhead. Bunk down in cosy swags for the night, then wake for a barbeque breakfast and morning snorkel before the day visitors arrive. NB: Minimum Age 15.
One hour north-west from Airlie Beach is the historic town of Bowen, established in 1861 and one of North Queensland’s undiscovered gems. Palm-fringed beaches line the coastline in places such as Horseshoe Bay, and there are some great short walks to take in the coastal views. It’s also the birthplace of the much-loved Kensington Pride mango.
Stop at Le Sorelle Coffee House for the best coffee in the Whitsundays, then feast on freshly-caught fish and chips for dinner at the Birds Fish Bar, perfectly finished off with locally-made mango sorbet. To really explore all Bowen has to offer, spend a night or two at the beachfront Rose Bay Resort. One and two bedroom apartments are ideal for families.
Where to eat at Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach is a bit of a foodie haven, taste flavours from a different country every night, not to mention Queensland’s greatest selection of seafood, craft beer and fine rum.
In downtown Airlie Beach, Fish D’vine is an award-winning seafood restaurant and rum bar, famous for a relaxed atmosphere and fantastic seafood. Located at the Boathouse complex at Port of Airlie, Denman Cellars has a range of over 200 beers from around the world as well as a great tapas menu to nibble on. It’s a family favourite, with outdoors seating and plenty of room for kids to run around.
The Fat Frog Beach Café is known for great coffee, and house-made meals, while the stunning location at Cannonvale Beach makes for the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the views and gentle sea breeze. A great place to catch a drink around sunset is the Whitsunday Sailing Club. You can also enjoy buffet dinner on the waterfront balcony known to have ‘the best view in Airlie Beach’.
Find out more: tourismwhitsundays.com.au
Whitsundays 2 Everywhere
Meeting every flight which arrives at the Whitsunday Coast Airport, Whitsundays 2 Everywhere offers airport transfers and charter services in and around the Whitsunday Coast area. whitsundaytransfers.com
Cruise Whitsundays is an award-winning marine operator based in Airlie Beach, offering a range of day cruises and island resort connections. cruisewhitsundays.com