With July school holidays just around the corner, it’s time to load up your winter camping gear, compile your best winter camping recipes and get ready to hit the road.
If you want to experience true winter caravanning (as in, snow camping) then it’s best to head south. But if camping in the cold isn’t your thing, you’re in luck—there are countless family-friendly caravanning adventures to be had in Queensland.
Here are just 10 of the best family winter activities to be found in the sunny state.
1. Go whale watching in Hervey Bay
It turns out that we’re not the only ones keen to travel to warmer climates during the colder winter months. From June until November are the best months to see humpback whales frolicking with their young in the calm waters near Hervey Bay. In fact, chances of seeing them are so great that more tour operates even offer a money-back guarantee at this time of year!
Perennially popular with the international crowd, there are lots of reasons for Aussies to head to the Whitsundays, too. In 2019, the Heart Pontoon off Hardy Reef is set to re-open, including to day-trippers. It’s also the season for Airlie Beach’s most significant public event, the Festival of Sailing. Held annually in August, this is when thousands of sea-faring types from all over the world converge on the waters, while there’s daily entertainment and activities on-shore.
Since its launch in 2009, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair has only grown in size and diversity. It’s not just about celebrating the visual arts of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, though; the three-day program in July also includes art, dance, music, talks and workshops that are bound to appeal to the whole family.
In July 2018, a much-loved decades-old campground was reborn as a world-class eco-tourism facility. Habitat Noosa is located in the Great Sandy National Park, which is only a short boat ride from the Noosa Everglades. Located right on the Noosa River, the 65-acre site offers direct access to the Noose Everglades, with canoes kayaks and stand-up paddleboards available for hire. Nature might be the top attraction, but the real reason we think this spot is perfect for winter camping in QLD? There’s a micro-brewery right on-site.
Brisbane isn’t the only place to taste Queensland’s freshest flavours. The Sunshine Coast has plenty to offer in this department as well (and we’re not talking about the Big Pineapple, here). In August 2019, a new four-day food festival is launching. The Curated Plate will bring together the region’s best producer with the area’s most acclaimed chefs and focus on organic and sustainable practices. Looking for a spot to park up for the night? A favourite area campground has recently been re-imagined. At the Alex Beach Cabins and Tourist Park, there’s a new playground and luxury resort-style pool—not that you’ll need it only since the site is less than 200 metres from the beach.
If you’re concerned about the effects that the drought has had in Australia, one of the best ways to support communities is simply by visiting them and spending money locally. If you’re looking for a unique getaway, head out towards Carnarvon National Park. A longer break is also the perfect excuse to mix up your sleeping arranging at the brand-new Wallaroo Outback Retreat. Book yourself into one of the eight teepees; the kids can sleep in the van. It’s an idyllic spot from which to explore the 71,000-acre property, which features incredible rock formations and gorges, as well as Aboriginal rock art.
Find a van in Roma As there are not many vans in the Roma area yet, you may decide to hire one from elsewhere and make it a road trip!
7. Have a spoonful of sugar at Maryborough’s Mary Poppins Festival
If a foodie festival or glamping isn’t quite up your kids’ alley, we guarantee this event will be. Every year for two weeks at the start of July, Maryborough’s streets are transformed into scenes from Mary Poppins. Picture: Nannies racing prams, chimney sweeps wandering the streets, and the lady of the hour herself appearing amongst the crowd.
8. Attend the biggest bash of the season in Birdsville
Don’t let the word “bash” mislead you—Birdsville’s Big Red Bash in July is another great family-friendly event, with around 600 children in attendance every year for the festival. If you make it in 2019, you’re in for a treat: Midnight Oil are headlining. If the kids don’t know who Midnight Oil is, they need an education—or, you can just send them to surf down the nearby sand dunes. Best of all, the event can be book-ended with the nearby Bedourie’s Gymkhana & Rodeo or Pig & Camel Races.
Did you know that the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the southern hemisphere? This year, it celebrates its 60th year of bull riding, bareback riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, and roping. Be sure to check out all the sideshow acts, including concerts (“the Voice” himself, John Farnham will be performing in 2019) and Fred Brophy’s boxing ring.
Find a van near Mount Isa As there are not many vans in the Mount Isa area yet, you may decide to hire one from elsewhere and make it a road trip!
10. Sample the best strawberry sundae ever at the Ekka
If there’s only one wintertime event that’s more exciting than the State of Origin, it’s gotta be the Ekka. The Royal Queensland Show is spread over 10 full days every August. It’s not just about the iconic strawberry sundaes, though; there’s also music, wood chopping, and thousands of animals to see.
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