So you’ve got your two, maybe three or four tickets to paradise, and now you’re looking for the best ways to spend them? Well look no further, because we’ve put together the ultimate family-friendly Fraser Coast bucket list (as voted by you on TripAdvisor) for your next visit- so all you have to do is start packing your bucket and spade.
1. K’gari, Fraser Island
Not surprisingly, the coolest place to be these school holidays is the same place that attracts most visitors to the region, K’gari (Fraser Island). Forget the iPad’s and leave the electronics at home because all the kids will need to bring with them is a pool noodle and a sense of adventure.
Ranked at the top of the family favourite list is, of course, the always-stunning Boorangoora (aka Lake McKenzie), as well as the rest of K’gari’s big six – The Pinnacles, 75 Mile Beach, Eli Creek, Champagne Pools and Central Station. If you don’t have the time or the 4WD pulling-power to get you there, there are plenty of kid-friendly tour options departing Hervey Bay daily. Find out more
2. The Charlton Esplanade, Hervey Bay
If you follow the red-brick road, a path that stretches 17km along the foreshore from Urangan Boat Harbour to Gatakers Bay (quite literally from one end of town to the other), you will be left wondering where all the hours in the day have gone. Channel your inner Hansel and Gretal as you make your way along a variety of playgrounds, green spaces and BBQ facilities. The bigger kids will love the Hervey Bay Adventure Playground, a short stroll away from Wetside Water Park featuring a multitude of slides standing over 7-meters off the ground, as well as climbing equipment, sandpits, swings, a native beehive, beautiful gardens and wheel-chair friendly playgrounds.
The Ernie Organ Train Park is a large, shady area featuring a train and the infamous ‘hampster wheel’ – as well as a see-saw, turn style, swings, beachfront access and pier. The park offers lots of undercover picnic tables, chairs and BBQ’s to feed the gang after burning off all that energy.
3. Wetside Water Park, Hervey Bay
Officially opened in 2019 as part of Queensland’s 150th Birthday Celebrations, and voted Australia’s #1 Amusement Park by TripAdvisor, Wetside Water Park is Hervey Bay’s coolest answer during the warmer months. The best part? It won’t cost you a thing – that’s right, entry into Wetside Water Park is completely free!
Located along the foreshore right in between Pialba Caravan Park and the Seafront Oval, the hectare of water fun includes hundreds of spouts, interactive equipment, slides, tipping buckets, music, a giant water screen, under-five play area, educational displays, amenities blocks as well as a pay-as-you-go wave rider.
Mum and dad can grab a coffee nearby and relax while watching the kids away from the splash zone around the various viewing decks and boardwalks. Wetside Water Park’s opening hours vary from day to day, so be sure to check out their website for an up-to-date timetable.
4. The Urangan Pier, Hervey Bay
The unofficial heart of Hervey Bay, most would argue that no trip to the Fraser Coast is complete until you take a lazy stroll down one of Australia’s longest piers.
With 868-meters of boardwalk to stretch your legs, it is the perfect place to blend in with the locals and throw a line in. Whether you have some budding fishermen on your hands, or you want to create special memories for the first time together, head to Fisho’s Tackle World Hervey Bay before you head out, to grab all your gear and check in with the tide times. Happy fishin’!
5. The Botanic Gardens, Hervey Bay
The best things in life are free, and the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens is set on 26 hectares of it for you and the family to explore. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre and spend the day bushwalking – without having to drive to a national park to do it!
The gardens feature an abundance of native and foreign flora alike. Explore local varieties that stem from 6000-year-old sand dunes, watch the turtles and ducks swim in the large pond, as well as some other favourites; The Bush Tucker and Chinese Garden. There is also an Orchid House, filled with over 15, 000 plants including several rarely seen varieties. The gardens are set smack-bang in the middle of town, located off Elizabeth Street in Urangan, so it is easily accessible via public transport or within walking distance from the Charlton Esplanade.
6. Queens Park, Maryborough
Queens Park in Maryborough is heritage-listed and one of Australia’s earliest dated botanic gardens. With over 5 hectares to explore, the kids will love playing the world’s best game of hide ‘n’ seek amongst the rolling green hills, river views and towering old Banyan Trees. There is a playground, amenities block and plenty of BBQs and picnic tables to take advantage of.
There is also Mary Ann Steam Train Rides manned by the volunteers from the Maryborough City Whistle Stop Inc. available every Thursday and the last Sunday of the month. Board the train alongside the platform located next the Mary River pathway from just $5 per adult and $3 per child (prices vary on weekends).
7. The Story Bank, Maryborough
Opened in 2019, just in time for P.L. Travers 150th birthday celebrations, The Story Bank will let the kid’s imaginations run wild. Time travel back to where it all began, and explore inside the beautifully restored building where P.L. Travers (the author who gave the world its most cherished nanny) was born.
That’s right, the Fraser Coast is not all whales and Fraser Island! Practically perfect in every way, the region shares a special connection to Mary Poppins. Author, P.L. Travers was born in the upstairs bedroom of the old Australian Joint Stock Bank on the 9th of August, 1899 in Maryborough, Queensland. The now heritage-listed building has been transformed into a supercalifr… you know the rest, story bank.
The Story Bank has beautifully preserved the memory of P.L. Travers and the magical legacy she left behind in Mary Poppins. Explore the restored upstairs bedroom and other interactive displays, including a Theaterette, Library of Inspiration, Cabinet of Curiosities and create your own story to be submitted into The Story Vault. There are even unique take-homes at the retail cottage.
Entry is just $10 per adult and $5 per child (group bookings and concession prices are also available). Find out more
8. Maryborough Mural Trail, Maryborough
Learn more about Maryborough’s colourful and quirky past, and walk The Maryborough Mural Trail with the kids (big and little!) during your next visit to the Fraser Coast. Officially launched back in 2015, the trail now boasts 37 large-scale murals and installations, bringing to life the heritage-listed buildings of the city’s Central Business District.
Inspired by local stories, history, culture, flora, and fauna, spend a day going back in time and posing with whale sharks, crocodiles, lions and more! Head to the Visitor Information Centre at Town Hall to grab a trail map. Find out more
9. Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, Maryborough
Welcome to the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary! Here, not only will you find Skippy, but an array of his closest pals including other macropods, emus, dingoes, reptiles and birds. Make sure you attend the daily feeding sessions of the kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos and emus. Be sure to arm yourself with plenty of grapes, Penelope the common wallaroo will be waiting (don’t say we didn’t warn you!).
Wildlife warriors will also love snake and reptile experiences, available daily (just ask instore!). Little chatterboxes will have a ball saying hello to the parrots – many who will even say hello back! With an abundance of native and exotic wildlife on display, the whole family will be taken on a wild guinea fowl chase they will never forget.
Completely run by a dedicated team of volunteers, the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary is a not-for-profit facility that will provide a tur-tally great morning or afternoon out for the whole family! With plenty of green space available (perfect for a picnic!), why not make it a whole day out of adventures. There are light refreshments available instore (including cold drinks, ice creams and chips), as well as a great range of souvenirs so the fun can continue once you have arrived back home.
Admission fees are very affordable, with adult tickets just $15 and children from $8 (group bookings and concession fees are also available). All the proceeds of course heading straight back into the preservation of the sanctuary. Find out more
10. Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum, Maryborough
The heritage streetscapes of Maryborough hold a unique connection to Australia’s military past, and history buffs of all ages will enjoy exploring the locally-owned and run Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum, off Wharf Street. Have a day spare? Don’t forget to add the Gallipoli to Armistice Trail at Queens Park to your to-do list while you’re at it.
With the largest collection of military memorabilia outside of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the not-for-profit Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum will captivate the imagination of the whole family, with the unusual, quirky and eclectic collection of 10,000 wartime items. Admission costs are just $12 for adults and $26 for a family pass. Find out more