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Adventure, Brisbane and beyond

From beautiful beaches to high life in the city, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast offer a feast of fun activities suitable for families.
Surf and turf

It’s the ultimate romantic image for any pony-mad kid (or adult) – the roar of the surf beneath pounding hooves, salt spray in your face and the sheer exhilaration of speed. Now you can fulfil this fantasy at beautiful Noosa, with beach rides offered by Equathon, a horse trekking company owned by triple Olympian Alex Watson. Bush rides through the hinterland and overnight tours with stays at local accommodation are also available, with beach and bush rides conducted twice a day. All level of riders are catered for on the rides, but there is a minimum age of 10 years. Rides are priced from $85 for a 90-minute ride. www.equathon.com

Paddle and slide on Straddie

North Stradbroke Island has plenty to offer the adventurous visitor of all ages. The award-winning tour company Straddie Adventures specialises in sea kayaking, sand boarding, four wheel drive tours and snorkelling adventure for visitors to the island. One of the biggest hits with kids is sandboarding, laugh-a-minute fun as you hurtle down the sandy slopes of massive sand dunes. You can also hit the water in two-person kayaks, stopping for snorkelling in the pristine waters – a great way to see Straddie’s incredible marine life. A full-day 4WD tour departing from Brisbane combines the thrill of driving along the beach with at least one activity – a great way for the whole family to experience the best of the island. www.straddieadventures.com.au

Hit the trail

The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is one of three new regional recreation trails in south-east Queensland which can be explored on foot, on horseback or by bicycle. This 148-kilometre trail follows the old Brisbane Valley rail line from Ipswich to Blackbutt, taking in the history and rural landscape of the Brisbane Valley River. Due for completion in 2012, it will be one of the longest rail trails in Australia, with accommodation and facilities to be incorporated along the route. There are currently four sections open to the public, so get in early and get a taste of what will be a world-class leisure track. www.brisbanevalleyrailtrail.org.au

Under the boardwalk

Caloundra’s waterfront has had a facelift, and it is now seriously gorgeous and perfect for families. Overlooking the northern tip of Bribie Island and Pumicestone Passage, the Esplanade has enjoyed an $8.5 million makeover and now features a seaside promenade, boardwalk, parklands and alfresco dining. There are now nearly a dozen restaurant choices including an English-style pub and family favourite Hog’s Breath Cafe to tempt the palate, and underground parking is available at Rumba Beach Resort - Spa. www.caloundratourism.com.au

Climb the bridge

The Story Bridge Adventure Climb is one of a swathe of new soft adventure activities being offered in Brisbane. Climbers are supplied with all the bits for the climb — special headsets, a cap if required, custom made overalls, fleecies for the cold, wet weather gear if it’s raining and an experienced guide who will take you to the summit and back again, photograph you on the climb and all the while check you are enjoying yourself. At the summit you are 75 metres above the ground, and as you’d expect, the views are just spectacular. The climb is constant but not difficult, and is open to children over 12 years old. www.storybridgeadventureclimb.com.au

Magical Moreton

Every night as the sun sets over beautiful Moreton Bay, something magical happens – a pod of dolphins swims into the jetty at Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort, much to the delight of excited tourists who have gathered on the shore. Tinkerbell, Fred, Bobo, Rani, Shadow and baby Zephyr show up punctually and play around in the shadows of the jetty; then guests are invited down to feed fish to the pod. Guests at the resort can also spend time with marine scientists at the Marine Education and Conservation Centre and learn about whales, dugongs and dolphins that make the pristine waters of the bay their home. Dolphin feeding is suitable for all ages, and is an experience your children will remember forever. www.tangalooma.com

Sleep under the sea

If you’re looking for a new and exciting family adventure for the next school holidays, check out UnderWater World’s new Sleep under the Sea Packages. See what the creatures of the ocean get up to at night as you and your family camp out in the aquarium. The package includes an exclusive seal show, a night tour of the complex with head lamps, a Behind the Scenes Tour, a Rocky Shore Ramble at Mooloolaba Beach, and dinner, supper and breakfast. Bring your PJs, toothbrush and a sense of adventure. Children must be aged between 5 and 14 years and be accompanied by an adult. www.underwaterworld.com.au

Crikey, that’s tall!

Giraffes are the tallest land animal in the world, reaching a height of 5.5 metres. But now even little folk can get up close to these gentle giants at Australia Zoo, in a new behind-the-scenes tour of the giraffe compound. You can even pat and feed the long-necked beauties! The tours are held daily and cost $95 per adult and $75 per child. For more information, visit www.australiazoo.com.au





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