SCHOOL holidays. Love them, dread them. It all depends on your stage of life and the age of your children - but they come around too quickly and can sometimes leave you unprepared and frustrated as to how to occupy the children for the next two weeks.
There is a host of things to do in south-east Queensland.
Aussie World, north of Brisbane, has long been a family favourite. With new rides and entertainment, a visit should be on the cards. Try the Wasp - it flings you around wildly but you stay in control with a joy stick.
The Bombora Bounce ride can rise to 10 metres before dropping and twisting. It sounds forceful but it is okay even for little ones.
The older kids (and you) will enjoy being frightened in the Mayhem Maze, a horror maze with nine rooms and extensive props, sounds, smells, special effects and hidden chambers with live actors and life-like animatronics.
The Gold Coast - a Mecca for families - is always going to provide the goods, with theme parks and accommodation options from the high-end to the budget and activities from kid-friendly skydiving to water sports.
The Sunshine Coast with its long beaches and village-like destinations holds a wealth of choices for kids and parents, from roller-blading to beach fun, to the never-let-you-down aquatic excitement at Sea Life Sunshine Coast at Mooloolaba.
Australia Zoo is a winner for the entire family and its school holiday program has more activities than you could fit into a day.
There is even a mob of meerkats, which recently joined the African animal factory.
The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers (on until September 24) may be popular with parents, but it also has plenty of family-friendly activities for the kids, from entertainment to colourful parades and exciting rides.
A Brisbane city day could include a visit to GOMA where free entry to the Children's Art Centre will keep the children happy and unleash their creativity.
The centre works with artists on projects aimed at young ones. You browse the galleries and exhibitions while the kids are fully occupied and culturally educated.
There is no stuffiness at this gallery.
After all that creativity and culture, the kids could work off their excess energy with a swim at the artificial beach in the 17ha of parklands at Brisbane's South Bank.
Fraser Coast delivers a lot all year but excels during school holidays with kids' workshops at Hervey Bay and Maryborough and free entry to the WetSide Water Park in Hervey Bay.
If you really want to get away for a few days or the full two weeks, a camping holiday can still be arranged.
Discovery Parks is Australia's largest operator of lifestyle parks and has caravan and cabin parks nationwide - and the sites are often in some of the country's most picturesque locations.
If budget restraints and time limitations are a problem, pitch a tent in the backyard and have a staycation camping holiday. Get the kids involved with making a picnic for lunch or dinner.
Your local library and art gallery will have a host of free school holiday activities.
Keep the activities going at home with an arts and crafts table. You'll be surprised how much glitter and paint and stickers you can buy for just a few dollars at your local thrift shop and if you sit down with the kids and get crafty yourself, the reward is satisfying.
Perhaps the most important thing about school holidays is to spend time fun with the kids, which means everyone is a winner.
For more go to annrickard.com
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