It's a familiar thought process that happens among all parents of school-aged children: “No, it can’t be… didn’t we just start another term?” Then. That moment. The moment you realise school holidays are upon you and you’ve got around 14 days of fun family time ahead with your little
terrors angels. The next moment quickly brings the thought, “What on earth will we do with them?” Before you start speed-dialling grandma, we've lined up 12 fresh ideas for having fun with your kids these school holidays – that's one new activity for every day – to banish the “I’m bored” blues. At least for this round of holidays.
Well, when it’s fun it’s not really 'working', but every school holidays the team at Wildlife Habitat open their gates for school-aged kids to fulfil their inner ‘Wildlife Warrior’ dreams, where they become a ‘Junior Keeper’ for the day.
From feeding the animals to caring for the injured at the animal hospital, it’s a fun day out for them (and a great way for you to enjoy some alone time!).
Tucked behind the main street in Mossman you’ll find a special soul named Binna, who, apart from being a renowned Aboriginal artist, runs classes from his studio, Janbal Gallery, each day Monday to Friday.
Paint your own burnie bean or boomerang and take it home.
A day trip to Low Isles is a must-do for families, here’s why: It’s close to Port Douglas, with a sailing time of about an hour. You can get off the boat to explore the island and hang on the beach like a real-life pirate. And the biggest plus, you can snorkel right off the beach and find Nemos, reef sharks, star fish and sea turtles. There are plenty of cruises for a half day to Low Isles, including Calypso, Sailaway, or the spectacularly striking Chinese Junk, Shaolin.
Not just any park, Rex Smeal Park in Port Douglas offers parents a stunning vista of the mountains of the Daintree Rainforest to enjoy a sunset picnic while the kids play on the pirate-themed playground, or burn up their remaining energy with a ball and their imagination.
Okay, this may not sound too child-friendly, however, the folks at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures have ensured that feeding a croc actually can be.
The sound of this ancient beast’s jaws snapping shut around a chicken carcass will stay with you forever, but your kids will really get a kick out of it.
If hand-feeding isn’t your thing but a leisurely boat cruise with an experienced local guide leading the way sounds spot on, we suggest heading north to the Daintree River. That way you can meet Scarface, Lizzy and her babies from afar. Everybody wins. Check out tours with Solar Whisper Wildlife Cruises, Bruce Belcher's Daintree River Cruises, or Daintree Boatman Nature Tours to get up close and personal!
Building sand castles, riding bikes, hiring segways, or playing beach cricket on Four Mile Beach will keep them entertained all morning, before a short venture into Macrossan Street for lunch.
Back in the day, Port Douglas was covered in sugar cane and today the rail network that serviced farms still works, largely due to volunteers with a passion for coal engines.
Our little ‘engine that could’ is called the Bally Hooley, which has now been turned into the perfect spot to enjoy a treat, thanks to Choo Choo’s Café at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina. Sit inside the carriages, order an epic milkshake and watch the world and the boats go by.
Glass-bottom boats, underwater observatories and life jackets make visiting the reef possible with kids of all ages. Plus, Quicksilver’s pontoon is perfect for a gradual water entry, as well as spreading out and catching some glorious sun.
The Daintree Rainforest is more than a day trip – it’s a whole world of wonder ready to explore. The Daintree Discovery Centre will keep your kids busy for hours alone (check out their neat headsets explaining all the cool facts about the rainforest in a language they get) before checking into the Cape Trib Beach House and sitting by the bonfire.
Sure, Port Douglas has some delicious gelato options on Macrossan Street (we're lookin' at you Capinina...), but for ice-cream worth driving for you need to go north.
The Daintree Ice Cream Company produces a whole range of flavours you haven’t even heard about, let alone tasted, straight from their fruit orchard.
Some days just call for water play - so grab your sunscreen, hats and towels and head out to BIG 4 Glengarry in the picturesque Mowbray Valley. With oodles of space to run, swim, jump and just have some good old fashioned wet-and-wild fun, your kids are going to sleep well tonight!
Tourism Port Douglas Daintree acknowledges the custodianship of the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef by the local Kuku Yalanji and Yirraganydji people whose rich cultures, heritage values, enduring connections and shared efforts protect our natural assets for future generations, and we pay our respect to elders past, present and emerging.