Now that Air Canada is offering direct flights to Brisbane, there’s never a better time to discover the region surrounding this beautiful city. And what better way to explore it than by campervan. From resort towns to the more secluded beaches, here are three destinations our family recently tried out that will make your trip to this part of Australia unforgettable.
Noosa National Park
We started our holiday up in Noosa, a town known for having it all. Located only two hours north of Brisbane, this is where the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean meet with world-class shopping and fine dining. The seaside town attracts people from all corners of the world and is a lively place to visit at any time of the year. And it’s not called the Sunshine Coast for nothing. Even in winter, the daytime temperatures usually stay above 20. While you may not see many of the locals on the
beach in their swimsuits then, Canadians used to much colder water will have a great time paddling about in the gentle waves at Main Beach.
With so many interesting boutiques just a minute away from the beach it is easy to be distracted by the shopping. But make sure you don’t leave town before having experienced the beauty of Noosa National Park as there are many fantastic walks to choose from. If your kids are fit enough I strongly recommend doing the full loop that follows the coast for a while before turning inland through the bush.
The only downside for us was how busy the caravan park was, even during what we thought was the slow season. It resembled more of a car park. If you are after something quieter, then a serviced apartment might be the way to go.
North Stradbroke Island
We intended to make it all the way up to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, but the stormy weather forecast enticed us to change our plans. Instead, we headed back south towards Brisbane and hopped on the ferry to the more isolated North Stradbroke Island. There are only three small townships on the island, and during winter there are far fewer people making the trip over. We ended up at Amity Point’s holiday park and set up camp right in front of the water. Koalas, dolphins, turtles…you name it! If seeing one of those is on your wish list, you won’t have to search very far to make an encounter.
It’s also an excellent spot to introduce kids to fishing. The water is so clear you can spot the hundreds of fish from the break walls, so much so that signs on the beach warning that swimming isn’t recommended due the high number of sharks around. It’s best to stay dry and enjoy the beauty of the water from the safety of the land.
On a nice day, take the kids to Point Lookout and walk the spectacular North Gorge Walk. Between June and November, if you are lucky enough, you might even spot a whale from one of the many vantage points.
Our last stop was Hastings Point, a coastal town an hour south of Brisbane, near all the big amusement parks the area is known for. There we splurged on a 5-star holiday park, which had all the amenities of a resort. After a week in the wild on North Stradbroke Island taking sand out of the camper van, the faux turf was very welcome – and so was the spa reserved for adults only. The waterpark and the indoor and outdoor playgrounds made it very easy to entertain our son, who by
then was less than excited by yet another beach.
There are many more things to do in the area, but we literally spent the 48 hours we were there just pottering around enjoying the facilities of the holiday park. While I love exploring the outdoors, this certainly was the most relaxing part of our trip. As it turns out, and I am sure many of you will agree, camping with a toddler can be pretty intense!
by Caroline Faucher
Caroline is a Canadian-Australian writer and the mother of a lively boy. Based in the seaside city of Newcastle in Australia, she enjoys exploring the world and going on adventures with her family.
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