East Shores on Flinders Parade, Gladstone offers something for the whole family to enjoy and plenty to keep the kids occupied this holidays.
East Shores on Flinders Parade, Gladstone offers something for the whole family to enjoy and plenty to keep the kids occupied this holidays.

Seven things to do with the kids this holidays

KEEPING the kids occupied during school holidays can be a challenge for even the most resourceful of parents.

The wind-back of COVID-19 health restrictions has seen a number of businesses and locations reopen to the public.

With the current beautiful weather we are enjoying in the Gladstone region, here are some things to do with the kids, that won’t break the bank.

Tondoon Botanical Gardens – 672 Glenlyon Rd, Gladstone – FREE

Located off Glenlyon Road, the gardens are one of Australia’s top ten regional gardens according to Australian Geographic.

Their tropical, subtropical and dry rainforest plants come from the Port Curtis, South East Queensland and Far North Queensland regions.

A tranquil balance of natural gardens overlooking Lake Tondoon, the gardens are situated on a site at the base of Mount Biondello.

Entry is free and more than 200,000 people come through the gates every year to enjoy walks, picnics or special events.

Tondoon botanic Gardens
Tondoon botanic Gardens

East Shores and Gladstone Marina – Flinders Parade and Bryan Jordan Drive, Gladstone – FREE.

Located on the beautiful Port Curtis foreshore on Flinders Parade, East Shores is the jewel in the crown of Gladstone parks and recreation areas.

East Shores includes a water play park (currently closed due to COVID-19), waterfront boardwalk incorporating a viewing platform, barbecues and an abundance of green, open space to play, plus the renowned Feast on East Markets.

Whether you’d like to walk the dog, have a picnic on the grass, enjoy the views from the top of Auckland Point Hill, East Shores has it all.

Across Auckland Inlet is the Gladstone Marina, with luscious green parkland, BBQ facilities, walking paths, fishing spots, kids playground, cafes, tackle shops and the Gladstone Visitor Information Centre.

Lake Awoonga Recreation Area – Awoonga Dam Road, Benaraby – FREE

Lake Awoonga was formed on the Boyne River by the dam located 30 km from Gladstone.

Framed by the rugged peaks of Mt Castletower National Park, Lake Awoonga is situated a short drive from Gladstone or Boyne Island/Tannum Sands and is only minutes from the Bruce Highway.

Lake Awoonga has specially designated parking bays, and selected picnic areas that are accessible to the disabled.

Two walking trails suit people of different fitness levels.

Around 25% of Australia’s bird species can be found in the Lake Awoonga region, and a leisurely walk may provide you with a good viewing vantage.

The lake is renowned for its excellent fishing, with Barramundi, Bony Bream, Eastern Rainbowfish, Agassiz’s glass Perch, Banded Grunter and various types of catfish.

Lake Awoonga from the air.
Lake Awoonga from the air.

Curtis Ferry Services – Gladstone Marina, Alf O’Rourke Drive, Callemondah.

Curtis Ferry Services is the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, along with a daily ferry service to the Gladstone Harbour islands.

Enjoy a fantastic day out by planning to catch the ferry in the morning and return to the mainland in the afternoon.

Alternatively, plan a nice quiet break by staying on one of the islands.

Curtis Ferry Services lands at South End, a small village on the southeastern tip of Curtis Island.

South End has a number of units and holiday homes available for rent.

Capricorn Lodge has accommodation and a licensed bar, as well as food, fuel, ice, and bait.

Transfers are available to the major coral cay islands in the stunning Capricorn and Bunker Group including North West, Masthead, and Lady Musgrave Islands.

Agnes Water and 1770 – Captain Cook Drive via Bruce Highway

The coastal towns of Agnes Water and 1770 are beloved by the country’s fishing enthusiasts, and considered some of the state’s best kept secrets.

The area is also firmly on the map for surfers, with the sleepy seaside villages home to a series of breaks.

Laze about on the sand at Chinaman’s Beach, or explore a little further from a comfortable seat with a ride on the 1770 Larc Tour.

Christiane Geissler shared this photo of Chinamans Beach at Agnes Water.
Christiane Geissler shared this photo of Chinamans Beach at Agnes Water.

Rockhampton Zoo – 100 Spencer St, Rockhampton – FREE

Discover more than 60 species of native and exotic animals and meet the newest member of the zoo’s chimpanzee family, who was born in February 2020.

Stop by the Australian Wetlands zone to marvel over our giant saltwater crocodile “The Colonel”.

Spot the colours of the rainbow in the aviaries, or overload on cuteness in kangaroo country and watch the otters play like children in the water.

The zoo is open seven days, currently from 10am till 4pm due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Explore National Parks

Broadwater Conservation Park is on the coast between Baffle Creek and Deepwater National Park. This small diverse coastal remnant contains casuarina woodland on the foredunes, mangrove-lined creeks, and mixed eucalypt open forest and paperbark woodland further inland.

Deepwater National Park protects sandy beaches, diverse coastal lowland vegetation and the catchment of near-pristine Deepwater Creek, one of Queensland’s few remaining undisturbed coastal freshwater streams.

Joseph Banks Conservation Park is botanically rich, and the park protects areas of wind-sheered coastal plant communities, tropical rainforests and mangroves.

Enjoy fishing, lookouts, picnic areas, walking trails and the picturesque environment.

Lieutenant James Cook, with botanist Joseph Banks, made his first landing in Queensland on this picturesque coastline.

Wild Cattle Island National Park is easily accessible from the mainland and offers a relaxed and remote island experience.

It’s low vegetated islands, long sandy beach and rich estuaries are a quiet escape where visitors can enjoy picnicking, boating, fishing and wildlife watching.

Kalpowar State Forest in the foothills of the Burnett Range protects a mosaic of forests. Patches of dense rainforest with towering hoop pines remain between open eucalypt forests and hoop pine plantations.

More than 150 plant species occur in the hoop pine rainforest which was first logged in 1918.

Enjoy camping and caravan sites, picnic areas, walking trails, horse riding, trail bike riding and cycling.

There are also other national parks in the region accessible by four-wheel drive including Kroombit Tops National Park, Baffle Creek Conservation Park and Bulburin National Park.