Get back to nature for a total recharge this weekend. Think walking, climbing, fishing, swimming and wildlife spotting. With so many areas of natural beauty in our region, we are truly spoilt for choice. Here are some of our favourite spots to reconnect kids with nature in south-east Queensland.
The Enoggera Reservoir is the oldest reservoir in Brisbane, built in 1866. Head out for a picnic, stopping to watch for birdlife along the way. The tracks are great for walkers and mountain bike riders alike, and there are good spots to fish, too. Nestled next to the dam is Walkabout Creek. Here you will find a wildlife park – look out for the platypus and sugar gliders – a playground with massive sandpit and more walking trails.
There’s a reason why it’s called a scenic reserve – the 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest overlooks the magnificent Glass House Mountains and is the perfect spot to reconnect kids with nature. The visitor centre offers a great insight into the native wildlife. Once you’ve swatted up on the local creatures including snakes and little potoroos, enjoy a walk through the rainforest, then stop for a picnic (the visitor centre and café is undergoing a complete renovation at the moment). There is a great wooden playground for the kids and loads of grass for them to run around, or kick a ball about. The visitor centre offers a great insight into the native wildlife.
The 12 metre tall Cleveland Point Lighthouse stands proudly on the edge of Cleveland Point Reserve. Come and admire the beautiful views out to the water, watching the boats drifting by, and then enjoy a picnic or BBQ in the park. There is a small playground and loads of room for the kids to burn off their lunch.
The Toohey Forest Park covers 260 hectares. Enjoy a BBQ or picnic after a walk along one of the bush walking tracks, or a cycle on the bike path. Climb up Mount Gravatt and you will be rewarded with a kids’ playground and a restaurant plus awesome views of the Moreton Bay Islands, the D’Aguilar Ranges and the Glasshouse Mountains.
Explore 82 hectares of forest with lagoons, creeks and walking tracks. One of the highlights is the Whipbird Village – search for hidden artworks and an abundance of wildlife then enjoy a quiet picnic in one of the many peaceful spots among carved tree trunks and timber platforms. Its Arts and Ecology Centre offers a variety of workshops for children over the school holidays.
North Stradbroke Island
If you want to escape from it all, take the family to Naree Budjong Djara National Park on North Stradbroke Island. It offers stunning scenery and an absolute peace and quiet that will make you feel as though you are a world away. There are a number of walks for all levels of ability – try the Gorge Walk for fantastic views over the ocean where you might spot a turtle or dolphin. You can swim, surf or fish, or go wildlife spotting for koalas, frogs and parrots.
A delightful garden to visit with the whole family and an easy way to reconnect kids with nature. Explore local plants during a walk along the Mangroves to Mountains walk, smell and touch plants and flowers at the Sensory Garden, enjoy the roses in the Rose Garden, and visit the native Butterfly Garden. You can also take a stroll along the boardwalks surrounding the lake and let the kids blow off steam at the playground. Take a picnic, or enjoy some refreshments from the café at the Friends Centre.
Popular with tourists and locals alike, Ewen Maddock Dam offers boating, kayaking and fishing opportunities. The trails around the huge dam can be used by walkers and horse and bike riders. There is also a playground and plenty of picnic and BBQ stations to help you make a day of it. If you fancy a dip, there is a swimming area at Maddock Park, near the playground.