Tag: travel

Over“Seas” Island Adventures in North Queensland

You might not be able to travel overseas right now, but you can have a local over-“seas” adventure at one of North Queensland’s fantastic islands! Each island below is the perfect family getaway to witness the beauty of the tropics, both on land and sea.

Cairns

Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Island is a lush, thriving Island on the Great Barrier Reef. The majority of the island is National Park, a beautiful scenery of mangroves, tropical rainforests and coral beaches that you can view by following one of the walking trails on the island.

The island is 29Km’s south-east of Cairns and offers hiking trails, snorkelling, swimming, sea kayaking and an ocean trampoline. There’s even a viewing of the reef through a glass bottom boat! One of the best parts of the Island are the packages, tours and specials available, to suit each individual and family. Kids of all ages can learn to snorkel right off the beach and there is plenty of nature to explore throughout the day. You can also visit the turtle rehabilitation facility on the Island. Please check availability.

If you want to stay instead of taking a day tour, resort accommodation offers affordable, relaxing spaces. These includes studios, beach cabins and both one and two bedroom apartments. Families will also be entertained by the kids play room, games room and cinema. After a day in the sunshine, go for a cooling swim in the pool and spa, where adults can even grab a drink at the swim-up pool bar.

Local discounts available.

Visit by ferry services aboard the Fitzroy Flyer or with Fitzroy Island Adventures departing from Marlin Marina. You can also take your own boat.

Find out more and book your stay HERE and HERE.

Fitzroy Island adventures offers half day and full day tours.

Green Island

Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises have been operating for over 29 years, offering spectacular half day and full day tours. The half day tours allow you to enjoy the beauty of the island for a couple of hours while the full day tours let you enjoy the tropical island at your leisure.

For an extended experience you can stay at the luxurious Green Island Resort, filling your day with either relaxation or adventures. There you can dive, snorkel, explore the island, windsurf, kayak, tour the outer reef and much more! Additionally, the spacious rooms are ideal for a tropical island escape for the family. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway instead, then the suite rooms are perfect. 

Vibrant birds can be seen and heard through the rainforest walk, and the gorgeous coral reef quietly waits to be experienced. The fantastic packages include the Family Escape Package and Island Experience Package. These let you take the family on an affordable voyage of discovery.

27Km’s east of Cairns.

Visit by boat transfers. Green Island Resort also offers helicopter transfers.

Learn about Green Island Resort HERE.

Get to Green Island with Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises 

Townsville

Magnetic Island

This island has a range of palm-fringed gorgeous beaches, cute koalas, hiking trails, snorkelling adventures and so much more. Luckily, t’s just a short 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville. It offers accommodation from backpacker hostels to holiday homes, luxury resorts and quaint BnB’s to suit everyone’s style.

Take a walk on the wild side to get up close with Aussie wildlife at the Bungalow Bay Koala Sanctuary. Or, sail into the sunset, enjoying the scenic journeys through Big Mama Sailing or Pilgrim Sailing adventures. The famous Forts Walk combines WWII history, koala sightings and stunning ocean views.

The family will never get bored of the tours, beautiful bays, diving sites and delicious food. Scallywags Café is pirate themed and family friendly and perfect for a break with refreshments. Then there is also Sandi’s – a relaxed venue where you can unwind and enjoy Horseshoe Bay.

SeaLink Queensland specialises in day tours, accommodation, transport and activities in Townsville and Magnetic Island. The award-winning ferry service can help you plan your ultimate holiday. They offer air-conditioned comfort, a bar to relax at and grab a drink, and they are even pet friendly! SeaLink has a variety of specials and deals so make sure to check out their website!

Magnetic Island Ferries travel daily.

A Roughly 14Km from Townsville

Visit by SeaLink Queensland or Magnetic Island Ferries, operating daily from Townsville.

www.townsvillenorthqueensland.com.au

www.visitmagneticisland.com.au – For accommodation and things to see & do

Mackay & Whitsundays

Hamilton Island

Here is where your island escape awaits. You’ll be surrounded by white beaches and bustling coral and marine life. Enjoy the bars and restaurants, a variety of activities and water sports along with exhibitions and performances. There are six levels of accommodation to suit everyon. This includes family-friendly holiday homes and apartments, along with golf and sailing!

Overall the island offers over 60 exciting activities overall and a range of family-friendly activities are available during school holidays. A massage and spa are perfect for when you’re in the mood for some relaxation time. Once the exploring is over, accommodation guests of all ages can have fun in the resort pools, games and Kids Fun Zone all for free!

A Roughly 27Km’s from Airlie Beach.

Visit by commercial and private flights, ferries and private boats.

Daydream Island

Located in the heart of Whitsundays Islands, this tranquil island offers modern rooms and suits with a view of garden landscapes or ocean views. Food and beverages are plentiful along with non-motorised water activities. In addition, the Living Reef in the centre of the island is home to over 80 species of coral and 100 species of marine fish.

The spectacular attractions are sure to stun you. There are also great deals and packages available. This includes the Queensland Locals Winter Escape. This deal offers a full buffet breakfast each morning, complimentary WiFi and use of non-motorised water sport and recreational activities. Plus, kids under 12 stay FREE using existing bedding and eat FREE from a special kids menu. On top of this, locals receive 25% off food and beverages (T&C’s apply).

You can visit by boat from Hamilton Island, Proserpine Airport, or Port of Airlie.

How to get there:

Cruise Whitsundays. Offering Island Transfers to Hamilton and Daydream Islands and the chance to visit the world-famous Whitehaven Beach.

 

Another Whitsunday Island to check out: Hayman Island, Long Island and Camp Island. Each of these have beautiful resorts to stay at with stunning scenery.

 

Find more things to do HERE. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Laurance Family’s Ultimate PakMag Holiday

In 2019 the Laurance Family, Jess, David and five-year-old Bellarose, won a Paradise Resort Holiday from the PakMag expo and giveaway. Now they share with PakMag readers how the trip went for the three of them.

“Words can’t describe how much fun we had on our Paradise Resort holiday! It was so perfect and we are ever so thankful for the opportunity given to us. it was a privilege to win the amazing holiday to the value of $2,000, which was first prize in the PakMag giveaway in December.

We planned our holiday for February, right around the time when the horrible Covid-19 first dropped to Australian Waters.

At first we were very hesitant going to the Gold Coast during this time, but so thankful we did in the end. All we wanted was a nice relaxing holiday and Paradise Resort certainly provided that! Our daughter is 5 years old and had the time of her life. She enjoyed daily craft activities, very suitable for her age, with helping hands from the resort facilitators. This included cupcake making, mug making, build-a-bear, magic shows, discos, kid’s trivia, sing-alongs, and so much more.

Then, there was the really cool stuff with the resort.

There were many different playgrounds throughout the centre to explore, multiple fun water parks and a pool. In addition, there was also an ice skating rink, virtual reality facilities, game centre and a rock climbing area. We just couldn’t fit it all in! Plus, included in all accommodation stays with the centre was a free, daily four-hour child-minding session, either morning or night. This was amazing for any parents to have a little break at the pool for some cocktails or enjoy some of the adult trivia. It was easy to just chill out while the little ones got entertained.

 

 

 

 

 

Best of all, our daughter was the one begging to go there, as it was so much fun. We loved the bright, colourful and fun rooms. It was also great that the kids sleeping area had its own private TV area with play-stations and video games. The hotel is also very close to shopping centres and popular Surfers Paradise attractions. Right after our stay we heard news that this place is getting renovated and I was shocked, could this place even get any better? I can’t wait to return and finish exploring the many activities we didn’t fit in and to see the brand-new look of the centre.

I can see why people named it ‘the best family resort in Australia.’ Overall, a must do, family holiday destination! It will not disappoint you” 

 

 

 

 

TAS Students Challenge Themselves in India

In 2019 a group of Trinity Anglecian School (TAS) students travelled to India. Now Lexie, a year 12 student, explains what the experience was like for them and what they accomplished. 

On November 29, 2019 a group of 29 Year 10 and 11 students and four staff from Trinity Anglican School embarked on the journey of a lifetime. It was a 26-day student-led World Challenge expedition to India. We travelled in two independent teams of separate year levels and over a quarter of the Year 11 cohort at TAS, were in attendance. 

Our journey however began almost 18 months ago when we made the commitment to join the team as a “challenger”. Fundraising began, not only for ourselves, but also for the group’s community service project.  It would be an extensive expedition, and preparation included a myriad of student and parent meetings, training expeditions, physical conditioning sessions. Group fundraising initiatives raising around $5000. Initiatives included school fete stalls, running a student disco, event catering, social media promotion and bake sales. 

India

The student-led team collected our entire expedition budget before arriving in Delhi.  For the next 26 days we took ownership of our budget. It was used to pay for our accommodation, transport, food, guide tips, sightseeing and relaxation activities. 

As teams we compiled for ourselves hectic and bespoke itineraries. Our itineraries included some trek acclimatisation and preparation days in Mussoorie and Nainital. Next we began travelling further north into the Himalayas for our 8 days of trekking. Trekking in the Himalayas in winter was certainly a huge challenge. Several days were spent walking and camping in the snow, at temperatures down to minus 12 degrees Celsius.  Tents were what we slept in and altitudes up to 3850 metres above sea level were reached. We learnt to cook various Indian dishes and were inspired by the people who made the remote and rugged mountains their home.

We then enjoyed a short period of rest and recovery at Rishikesh and Haridwar. Here we rode in tuk-tuks, visited markets and temples, touched the sacred River Ganges. We also participated in various cultural ceremonies.

Our Community Service Projects

Not long after, we began a long journey southward. First on a day train to Delhi and then an overnight sleeper train to Udaipur. This was the location of our four-day community service project. In teams we worked in a community centre and a government school. A highlight for me was the interaction with the local children. With them we taught English, shared in games and activities and learnt some Hindi ourselves!  We also continued to refine our Yoga techniques, watched traditional dancing and practiced Bollywood dancing. Additionally we learnt pottery, other arts and crafts and played against a local football team.

As part of the community service project, it took us several days to complete various projects, including painting buildings. We designed and painted several murals, including one for hand sanitation, one for use in teaching geography and several for a new senior science classroom. The classroom murals included the periodic table and water cycle. Our fundraising efforts at home also enabled us to contribute around $5000 to various worthy causes. These funds supported further technical building work, buying educational supplies and sporting equipment for various organisations. We were also able to sponsor students to attend school for a year and donating to Sheroes, an endeavour looking after acid attack victims. 

More Exploration 

After we left Udaipur, further bus travel took us to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.  Here we visited the Amber Fort, the Water Palace and the Pink Palace (Jal and Hawa Mahal respectively). There was also time spent doing some serious market shopping for souvenirs and Christmas presents. The final destination was to visit Agra to experience the majestic Taj Mahal, which was done early one foggy morning.  Over the trip we also spent time doing various student debriefs to cement our learnings. Lastly came the long trip home, to arrive back in Cairns late on Christmas Eve.

What We Took Away

As students, we have taken away transferrable skills that will last us a lifetime from our 26-day visit to the country of India. Through the experience we learned a great deal about leadership, teamwork, managing budgets and the Indian culture. I am also extremely proud of the improvements we made during our Community Service project.

This was the fifth successful world challenge expedition conducted by our school, with previous destinations being Borneo, Ecuador, Tanzania and Nepal.  The next group of potential students are now keen to learn where the next trip will be going to in December 2021.

 

COVID-19 Restrictions Will Be Eased Further on May 16

COVID-19 restrictions are being rolled back gradually as cases of the virus dwindle throughout Cairns. From May 16 a number of public facilities and venues will be reopened, but there will still be conditions in place in order to ensure public safety. Signage will be placed around public places so that the guidelines on the new restrictions are easy to find and follow.

These public spaces include dining at restaurants, clubs, cafes and pubs, with a maximum of 10 patrons allowed at one time. There should be no more than 10 people in a gathering that takes place in any public place. Gaming and bars will remain closed for the time being.

Bob Manning, Cairns Mayor, understands that it’s exciting to have popular facilities and venues reopened, however he reinforces that people need to follow the rules in order for restrictions to continue to be eased. “Council officers will be monitoring facilities, and if the rules are being blatantly disregarded, we will close the facilities again. In the interest of public health and safety, people are asked to maintain appropriate social distance and practice good personal hygiene at all times.”

Other Council services, facilities and venues that will be opening from May 16

Cairns Libraries – All eight branches of Cairns Libraries will open from Saturday however this is for borrowing only. They will operate within their normal hours and will also have the 10-person limit. Continue to use their online services where you can, but if you do go to one of the libraries then you should expect some level of queues outside and extended waiting.

  • Muddy’s Playground (wet and dry areas)
  • Centenary Lakes Nature Play
  • Fun Ship playground
  • Bouldering Park
  • Botanic Gardens Conservatory
  • Barlow Park (open for casual athletics only)
  • Public basketball courts
  • Public tennis courts
  • Lake Morris
  • Outdoor gym equipment
  • Playgrounds, skate parks and bump tracks.
  • Green Space Our Place program will resume from Tuesday 19 May.
  • Public barbecues at Cairns Esplanade, beaches, Babinda Boulders, Lake Morris. Other public barbecues will be opened by Sunday

Pools

  • Smithfield, Woree and Gordonvale pools will open with restrictions.
  • Babinda pool will open on Monday.
  • Tobruk Memorial Pool remains closed at this stage.

Further Social Distancing Restrictions to be Vigilant of:

  • You can travel within a 150km radius from you house for fun. Feel free to get out and take a road trip, day trip, have a picnic or go for a hike!
  • Some nail salons and beauty therapies will be open for up to 10 people at a time.
  • The number of wedding guests you can have has increased to 10 people – funerals can be attended by 20 people inside, or 30 people if the service is outside.
  • Open homes and auctions can be attended by 10 people at any time.

For more information you can visit the Cairns Regional Council’s website.

To stay informed on the latest health advice and coronavirus updates, visit the Queensland Government’s coronavirus page.

Travel on the Daintree Ferry for Free

From this Saturday 16 May non-residents will once again be able to access the Daintree Ferry. It will all be for free, as Douglas Shire Council lifts the visitor travel restrictions. The usual ferry fees will be waived until 30 June. In addition, multi-day passes that were due to expire on 30 June will get an extension until 31 December. Included in the free travel offer are commercial tour operators, in hopes of supporting local tourism.

This free travel comes after the Queensland Government decided to ease road travel restrictions, allowing up to 150km of travel for day trips. Douglas Shire Mayor, Michael Kerr, says, “There are plenty of people in Cairns and Mareeba looking for an excuse to get out of the house.”

“Although it is quieter than we are used to, many shops in Port Douglas have re-opened. Restaurants are selling great food and the coffee is strong as ever.”

Everyone should continue practicing good hygiene habits of course. Yes, this does include staying home if you are sick and social distancing! But for those who have been waiting for the day to come when they can truly get out and about again and go exploring, it has arrived. Daintree Rainforest is beautiful and the perfect place to have a family road trip to. Why not pack a picnic and enjoy the nature and wildlife? Many of their playgrounds and picnic tables are also open again – so the kids can get that energy out while you relax.


 

Find more things to do HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 ROAD TRIP ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS

4 ROAD TRIP ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS

Road trips mean sitting in the car for long periods of time, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun. The best way to keep tempers from rising is by keeping the little people in the backseat occupied.

Here are some games that can be played anywhere and anytime, with no need for any money spent on additional equipment.

1. The Alphabet Game

A group game that’s great for kids who know their ABC’s.

How to Play:

  • Player 1 looks around to find something visible that starts with the letter ‘A’.
  • Player 2 then searches for something else visible, that begins with the letter ‘B’.
  • This continues until you have gone through the entire alphabet.
  • For extremely tricky letters like ‘Q’ and ‘Z’, you could use the license plates on passing cars that contain the needed letters.

2. I-Spy

This is a fairly simple game that could be played anywhere.

How to Play:

  • Decide if your spy the objects colour or the first letter of its name.
  • Pick the first ‘spy’
  • The ‘spy’ picks the object, and says the traditional “I spy with my little eye… something colour or beginning with the first letter of the objects name.”
  • Each of the players take turns in guessing at the ‘spy’s’ chosen object.
  • The first player to guess the object becomes the next ‘spy’, and the process repeats.Rock, Paper, Scissors

3. The Name Game

This is an amazing game for kids who have learned to read and can spell an assortment of different words. The difficulty of this game is dependant on the chosen category, time limit and the amounts of repeat each item said has.

How to Play:

  • Decide on the category (e.g. animals, cities, food, TV shows, etc). The time limit for each person to answer and the amount of times that an item can be repeated, if at all.
  • Player 1 says an item that belongs in the previously specified category.
  • Player 2 must then come up with a different item that fits in the same category, and starts with the last letter of the previous word.
  • This repeats for as long as you can come up with words that fit in the guidelines that you decided at the start of the game.

4. Who Am I?

This game requires some general knowledge and some deductive reasoning. The difficulty of this game depends on the chosen category.

How to Play:

  • Chose a category (e.g. celebrities, fictional characters, athletes, etc).
  • Player 1 picks a person from the agreed upon category. After they decide, they ask “Who am I?”
  • Other players take turns asking yes- or- no questions to narrow options. Player 1 will probably have to remind the other players to stick to yes-or-no questions.
  • Encourage the younger kids to ask good questions, to narrow down the option before guessing.