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Published June 27th 2014
Family time doesn't have to be expensive
With regular offers of affordable airfares and accommodations abroad, many families are having vacations in popular Asian destinations like Langkawi, Phuket, Bali, Boracay and Singapore. There are also plenty of family holiday destinations in Australia. You can also head over to Victoria and Melbourne or Sydney and New South Wales. But family time doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. There is still plenty to see and do in Brisbane and Queensland that won't break the family piggy bank. To help you get started, here are 9 free and affordable family holiday activities a drive away.
Queensland's premier youth circus offers circus workshops and performances to families. You can enrol your kids into a circus program to suit ages and budgets. Children up to 5 years can learn the basics including co-ordination, climbing, tumbling, acrobatics, aerials and juggling and more with parents, while ages 6 and up can pick up all the skills of the circus such as tissu, static trapeze, lyra, juggling, hoops, tumbling, acrobatics, mini tramp, tight wire and trampoline. There are also school holiday workshop programs and contemporary circus performances. For more information on classes and performances, check out their website.
Blain Park in Gladstone is transformed into an evening open-air cinema for families every month. You and your kids can enjoy a different FREE movie under the stars at CQ Starlight Cinemas at 6pm. 'Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2' is the featured movie on 28 June. There's also a jumping castle for kids and food, drinks and bar service are available. Just bring your chairs and blankets and make sure you arrive before 6pm. Check the CQ Starlight Cinemas Facebook page for movie schedule and changes In the event of bad weather
Your kids can join FREE art workshops every Saturday between 1pm to 3pm in Rockhampton organised by Creative Capricorn. Creative Capricorn is a partnership between the Australia Council, Arts Queensland and Rockhampton Regional Council. The children workshops are held at the Walter Reid Cultural Centre and the family workshops are hosted at the Botanic Gardens behind the Tearooms. Check out the website for details and the workshop schedule.
Located in the Gladstone region, Boyne Island offers attractive beaches, riverside walkways, parklands, recreational activities and a picturesque coastal community. The 4th Friday of each month from June to October is Communities for Children day. Your kids can enjoy playing in a different location each month with activities including face painting, arts, story time, toddler gym, water play, books, bubbles, playdough and more. They can also learn the art of Rhee Tae Kwon Do for FREE on Tuesday and Thursday during the school holidays from 6pm - 7pm at the Boyne Tannum Community Centre. Check out the website for dates and locations.
Located just minutes walk from the heart of Surfers Paradise is Australia's only family friendly resort with a waterpark, ice-rink and kids club all under one roof. To take away your headache of entertaining the kids, Paradise Resort Gold Coast has an entertainment program with more than 25 FREE daily activities to keep your children occupied all day. The stay package offers access to the daily activites and entertainment, a Zone 4 Kids Club session per child (up to 12 years) per day, unlimited use of the Zone 4 Kids Waterpark and a $400 Resort Credit. For more information, check out the Resort website.
The Redlands IndigiScapes Centre is Redland City Council's environmental education centre. It's native bushland surrounds provide an ideal day out for the family. you and your kids can enjoy an outdoor picnic or barbeque, take a walk on the trails and botanical gardens, take the FREE audio tours and play in the sandpit, maze and flying fox. The Centre also runs many FREE and affordable events throughout the year to help bring children and the natural environment closer together. Check the Centre's website for the latest happenings.
An easy 14km drive from Bundaberg or five minutes drive north from Bargara will bring you and your family to the largest loggerhead turtle rookery in the South Pacific. From November to March each year, Loggerhead, Flatback and Green turtles come ashore to the Mon Repos Conservation Park. Many people visit Mon Repos each year to watch nesting and hatchling turtles. The Park operates turtle watching tours from 7pm nightly from the information centre for a small fee during those months. Your family can enjoy watching turtles crawling up the beach to lay their eggs at night. In the day, you can take a walk or cycle to explore the park from Kelly's Beach Bargara to Burnett Heads Harbour. Check out the Park's website to book the tour.
Just 10 minutes from Surfers Paradise is 31 hectare of gardens overlooking the Gold Coast Hinterland. The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens offers a day of FREE fun for the whole family. You and your kids can take a stroll on the boardwalks around the lake or book a guide walk, visit the Butterfly Garden, smell and touch flowers in the Sensory Garden or just enjoy a lazy picnic or barbeque. There is also a off-leash area for the family dog. Your family can also participate in the children's programmes organised by Friends of the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens over the year.
Where can you find a FREE swimming facility all year round? In Mackay's city centre, you and your family can enjoy a three-tiered lagoon. Overlooking the Pioneer River, Bluewater Lagoon offers a day of fun for the whole family including a waterfall connecting 2 main lagoon areas and a children's water playground where kids can enjoy a drop-bucket and wading pool.