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Roll up to the Fraser Coast
by Carla Adams

For family travel between July and November put Queensland’s Fraser Coast on your itinerary. With everything from one-on-one whale time to the world’s largest sand pit (err…island), the Fraser Coast is a must-do destination.

It’s an easy four hour drive from Brisbane to Hervey Bay, heart of Fraser Coast family adventures, but the towns of Gympie and Maryborough make interesting stop off points to stretch little legs. It’s a perfect road trip for a motorhome such as the ones rented through Apollo, but you can also fly straight into Hervey Bay with QantasLink or Virgin Australia.

Make Discovery Sphere your first stop. This unique tourist information attraction is bursting with visual, audio and tactile experiences for all ages to immerse themselves into the history, natural wonders and unique experiences of the region. Kids will love a chance to touch and feel marine life, say hi to ‘Nemo’ fish and watch baby turtles hatch on the big screen. We won’t give the rest away – but don’t miss it.

Time to hang out with the whales

The Fraser Coast has at least six operators running a variety of full, half or three-quarter day tours between July and November each year and they’ll pick you up at the gates of your accommodation bright and early. Note: there is plenty of parking if you decide to drive your own vehicle over to the marina at Urangan.

Hervey Bay is THE whale’s playground – mums and bubs, teenagers, old folks, they all hang out here for days at a time and you’re guaranteed to see them on any day.

Forget toddler-speak, whale watching has its own language and you’ll learn to spot a spyhop, breach, roll, and mugging before the day is out. For mum and dad, there’s even a chance to slip over the sides of the boat and swim with the Humpback Whales with the Whale Watching 2.0 program. Quick Cat II, Blue Dolphin, Tasman Venture and Amaroo Cruises are all offering the interactive experience to travellers who can book and confirm a place on the day of their tour if weather conditions and whale behaviour allow. Bring your swimmers just in case!

Adventures ahead

On day two, pack the sandbuckets and spades and head to Fraser Island. Fraser Explorer tours will pick you up right from your holiday park doorstep and also have child seats available for their comfy 4WD buses. (Seat belts are strictly enforced for safety).

The day is long but kids can snooze in between stops which include Central Station, a former forestry camp, the rusting wreck of the Maheno, and Eli Creek and Lake McKenzie – where mum can give herself a silica sand skin scrub and the kids can splash out to their heart’s content. The lunch at Eurong Beach is fresh and family friendly.

A little plug here for award-winning eco-friendly Kingfisher Bay Resort, which really knows how to keep families happy. If you decide to stay a few extra nights, we don’t blame you.

Play where you stay

Big 4 Fraser Lodge Holiday Park is a superbly managed secure park with its own lagoon, two sparkling swimming pools, a jumping pillow (for the kids of course) gorgeous family cabins and excellent facilities for campervan and motorhome travellers.

Eat up kids

Great kid-friendly options on the Esplanade include fun and friendly Badger & Brown’s Burgerie or Paolo’s Pizza Bar.

If you’re cooking in a motorhome or at a holiday park BBQ, support the local IGA – these tireless locals will deliver to your accommodation.

For a splurge (especially if a babysitter is available!) try COAST on the Esplanade – winner of the exclusive Diners Choice Awards in the Queensland Good Food Guide. Sensational local seafood stars here, paired with exotically flavoured sangria’s available by the litre jug (relax, chances are you’re in walking distance back to your accommodation).

For breakfast Enzo’s on the Beach, offers sparkling bay front setting, coffee made with love and a classic holiday breakfast menu.

2013’s My Kitchen Rules winners have opened EAT @ Dan & Steph’s – their baked goods and semolina rolls are the perfect way to say goodbye to the Fraser Coast.

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