Queens Park Cafe, Ipswich
Where is it: 10a Merle Finimore Avenue, Ipswich QLD 4305 (within the Queens Park precinct)
What’s it all about: A perfect place to satisfy your hunger while relaxing (or playing) in Ipswich’s fantastic Queens Park!
Tell me more: One of the best things about living in Queensland’s south east is the fantastic weather, and there’s no better way to take advantage of this than by visiting the wonderful public parks and gardens! One of our favourites is Queens Park in Ipswich – it has so much to offer, including an awesome café right within the park. Choose from a light snack or a hearty meal, fantastic cool drinks and wonderful coffees! It’s open everyday (except for some public holidays) so it’s a perfect option if you forget your picnic! It’s also great to visit the café just to enjoy the peaceful surrounds of the park and right next door there is an awesome little environmental centre where you can learn about the local environment.
The Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich
Where is it: North Ipswich, only 10 minutes’ drive from Ipswich CBD
What's it all about: One of the great museums in Queensland's Museum Network - dedicated to rail workers and the history of rail in Queensland!
How can I join in: The museum is open daily and is an easy drive from Brisbane so head along at any time, or keep an eye on their website for special programs!
Tell me more: The Workshops Rail Museum is a really fun place to visit at any time, but for kids, it's especially fun when they have their special programs on, like Day out with Thomas! They also have special school holiday activities, Easter and Christmas events and many more throughout the year! The museum is situated on and in the actual workshops and rail yards that constructed and maintained much of Queensland's early rail network! There are a number of actual trains that you can get up close to, heaps of historical artefacts and lots of memorabilia. The kids will love the dedicated play areas, and the whole museum is really spread out so you can relax as you wander around at your own pace! A really fun day out for the whole family!
Amenities: Full amenities including a café - picnics are welcomed too! 👍👍👍👍👍
Cost: Reasonably priced and a good deal on annual passes! 👍👍👍
Parking: More than enough parking available - some of the event days do get busy though! 👍👍👍👍
Access: Access has been considered and ramps added to all areas of the museum! 👍👍👍👍
Entertainment: The special programs have some really good entertainment on offer! 👍👍👍👍
Best for: Little kids and adults should enjoy this one! 👍👍👍
Summary: We keep coming back to this museum! The kids always find something here to entertain themselves with, and we just love that there's so much space to wander around in - it just feels so relaxing! 👍👍👍👍
Hints: Look out for the special programs - they make the visit so much more worthwhile!
A day out with Thomas June - July
A Room for Wild Animals
Where is it: QUT Gardens Point Campus
What's it all about: A chance to see the robotics technology in use today as well as a view into the future world that our kids will inherit!
Tell me more: Ever wanted to see the advances in robotic technology? Or just wondered what robots could do for you? Well Queensland University of Technology’s Robotronica is your chance to see this world of robots! There are all types of robots on show here – from buildable and programmable Lego robots, fighting sumo robots and through to agricultural and aquatic robots! But our favourites are the Nao robots – they are so cute and they so close to what we imagined every house would have when we were kids! Robotronica is a great event for all ages – and especially good to introduce inquisitive kids into technology and programming!
Where is it: Various locations, Moreton Bay Region
What's it all about: A free event put on by Moreton Bay Regional Council - just for fun!
How can I join in: Come along to the park with your favourite teddy bear and be prepared to have fun!
Tell me more: Moreton Bay Region's Teddy Bears Picnic is a really fun and popular event for little kids! Aimed at kids under school age, there's lots of entertainment and activities on offer - it's a great way to get your little ones out and about in a safe and relaxed setting. The jumping castle was hard to get past - so much fun and it was great for the little kids to have one all to themselves without sharing with the older kids! There was more than just that on offer with a baby animal farm, face painting heaps of art and craft and of course teddy bears were everywhere, including a nice little teddy bear parade! There was even free teddy bear biscuits and fruit for our picnic! This annual event takes place in different locations so make sure you check out the details of the event - and make sure you check out what the theme is for the day! A really nice day out for the little ones!
Norfolk Lakes Park, Narangba 2019
John Oxley Reserve, Murrumba Downs 2018
Pine Rivers Park, Strathpine 2017
Jamieson Park, Scarborough 2017
Pine Rivers Park, Strahtpine 2016
Snow chasing from Brisbane
The thought of catching some snowflakes is really intriguing as a Queenslander, and here in Brisbane there is the temptation of having the possibility of seeing some snow only a few hour's drive away in Stanthorpe. There have been some really great falls in Stanthorpe at times, although it’s not too reliable or frequent. There's so much temptation to jump in the car and drive those few hours to see some of the magical snow. But there's also the thought of dread in the back of your mind that after 3 hour's drive at short notice with 3 little kids in the car, that upon arrival you will be greeted by a lovely sunny but cold day in Stanthorpe. And 3 cranky kids demanding to know where the snow is. So we like to focus on a spot with a higher likelihood of seeing the white stuff – the Northern Tablelands area of NSW, centred around the small city of Armidale.
One town in particular is Guyra. It has a consistent record of receiving a few decent snowfalls every year. It's at a reasonably high altitude (by Australian standards) being around 1300 metres above sea level so when there's a possibility of snow around, being high up good thing. Guyra is about five and a half hour's drive south of Brisbane, which even with little kids is do able, but we’ve also driven a little bit further to the south to the town of Walcha (pronounced ‘walka’), which also has a pretty reliable record of snow.
Our first snow chasing was in June 2016, All the stars seemed to align for us before we headed off on our snow chasing trip. We had been keeping a keen eye out on the forecasts - pretty much any snow in Australia outside of the Snowy Mountains region is news-worthy. There was the possibility of some cold weather hitting us just at the start of the school holidays, so we pencilled in some leave from work. We kept a close eye on the Bureau of Meteorology's 'MetEye' map which had some snow showing around Guyra intermittently over a period of a few days. One day in particular showed snow forecast from 1:00pm in the afternoon which was perfect for first-time snow chasers!
The thought of catching some snowfall through the daylight hours was too good to pass up, so on the morning of the predicted snowfall we packed the car up and headed off! The drive to Guyra was surprisingly easy. We're not sure if this was because of the anticipation of seeing our first snowfall, or perhaps the fact that we hadn't really planned this out too much - we just threw everything in the car and off we went! A bit of cloudy weather helped the kids sleep a lot of the way, which made a huge difference to our drive! We kept an eye on what was going on in our destination and saw that there were some brief snow flurries in the morning which got us even more excited, however the afternoon forecast was changing a bit which made us a little nervous! "As we had set off with no real planning, we had no accommodation booked which is something we have never done with kids! As Guyra sits half-way between Glen Innes and Armidale (both larger centres), we figured that if there were no options in Guyra we could stop at either of these towns (both of which had some chance of snow forecast as well). There are only a few accommodation options in Guyra (2 x motels, 2 x pubs and a caravan park) and we called them all before luckily finding somewhere! As it turned out, this was a real bonus for us on this trip as we were very close to staying in Glen Innes (we will explain later why this is not the best idea!).
We were about 5 kms out of Guyra driving through drizzling rain when we noticed some strange behaviour from the rain drops - could it be? Snow?! Yes! Right on cue, just as we were entering into Guyra, we witnessed our first snowflakes! We pulled over on the highway and got out to feel it! Our first time experiencing snow falling was really great, but we needed more." The snow was falling lightly as we checked in at our accommodation but there was not enough to settle. It was a bit stop start so we thought that we would go for a drive around and explore the area. The locals had told us that Ben Lomond (a little village about 10 minutes’ drive from Guyra) would be a promising spot so that’s where we went, and we can tell you, the locals were not wrong! It was freezing cold but we had to get out in the snow! Beautiful, rolling rural hills covered in a light dusting - we were so excited! We stayed for maybe half an hour before the cold got to us and the light started to fade, we wanted more, but regardless, we had seen plenty of snow falling and so we had satisfied our original goal! "After settling into our accommodation, we were delighted to see more snow falls early in the evening! By about 8:00pm, there was perhaps about 2cm of snow settled on the ground and still falling! We all went outside for a little play and snow fight - it was freezing cold, but we couldn't resist! We were really happy with our decision to chase the snow when we decided to settle in for the night even though it was hard to leave the still-falling snow.
The snow continued to fall through the night, and people continued to arrive into town to experience it - we could hear people arriving and snow fighting through the night- it was a real festive atmosphere! The next morning we awoke to see a real winter wonderland! The little village of Guyra was blanketed by about 5cm of soft and fluffy snow - as soon as we could get our warm clothes on we were back in amongst it, making snowmen, rolling up giant snow-balls and lots of snowball fights! I think we were having as much fun as the kids! The sun was out and it was a really beautiful day, although we were a little sad as we knew the snow wouldn't last much longer and we had to head back home to Brissy in any case. Reluctantly we snapped a few last shots of the snow and hit the highway, but we didn’t get too far – the highway was cut just north of Guyra because of snow and ice on the road! This is a good reason to get into Guyra before too much snow and to either stay in Guyra or south in Armidale.
Our second snow chasing attempt in August 2019 was also quite successful – snow forecast on Saturday afternoon in the New England region was just too tempting. Again, we set off on reasonable short notice and quite early in the morning to get into the region as early as possible. This time we went a little further south to the town of Walcha, another town with a reputation for good (for the region) snow falls, but with an 8-hour drive, it was probably pushing the limits for a weekend getaway.
As we arrived we were greeted with some small showers of sleet which was good enough for the kids – for them it was as good as snow! It wasn’t until nightfall that we saw real snow floating down and it was fantastic! Snowballs were quickly packed together and snowball fights broke out immediately! We all had heaps of fun but after an early start and a long drive we were quite happy to get back into the warmth of our accommodation.
Light snow continued to fall through the night and the next day we awoke to beautiful scenes as there was a light cover of snow over everything, plus a real festive atmosphere as heaps of families came out to make the most of this infrequent experience! We were so glad that we made the choice to drive down to Walcha, it’s a lovely and friendly little town and hopefully we can spend a little more time here on our next visit!
Even with a relatively tough drive (on the kids), these trips have been some of our most memorable little outings - the kids had a fantastic time and! We will 100% be keeping an eye out for more snow forecasts and will definitely be out snow chasing again!
Amenities: Good level of amenities typical of small rural towns and the locals are more than helpful! 👍👍👍 Cost: Free to visit and enjoy the snow, travel and accommodation costs of course! 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Plenty of space to park! All free too! 👍👍👍👍
Access: Easy to get to and get around! Be aware the highway just north of Guyra is subject to closure in bad weather! 👍👍👍
Entertainment: A little quiet on the entertainment front, however if there's snow around there's heaps of fun to be had! 👍👍👍
Best for: First time snow chasers! 👍👍👍👍
Wildlife: A few kangaroos on the drive! 👍👍
Summary: This is a lovely part of the world, nice and quiet little towns in a beautiful setting and really friendly residents! We’ve had get luck chasing snow so far and it’s definitely a worthwhile outing, but even if we didn’t see the snow I think that we would have loved visiting this region A really good option for Queenslanders trying to catch some snow! 👍👍👍👍
Walcha, August 2019
Guyra, June 2016
CliWhere is it: Iona Performing Arts Centre, Iona College, 85 North Road, Lindum, QLD
What’s it all about: Another fantastic production from a wonderful local performing group, Savoyards!
Tell me more: The Boy from Oz is a wonderful musical which tells the extraordinary life story of Peter Allen – a pop star and the writer of one of Australia’s most recognisable songs – ‘I Still Call Australia Home’.
Savoyards are an amateur theatre company and they put on fantastic performances. We’ve been along to a few of their shows (you find our reviews on this page), so we knew that we were in for a treat when we went along to the launch of The Boy from Oz! And it lived up to all our expectations – we can’t wait for late September when the season starts!
We love watching our little guys growing up and becoming more independent, but sometimes it can be a little nerve-wracking as you first let them push their boundaries. TicTocTrack Watches are a fantastic idea that gives a little bit of surety to the kids and gives us parents a little peace of mind. The watches work with a mobile network and GPS and connect to a secure network meaning that we can know exactly where they are – super handy when we are out exploring! The watches also function as a phone – limited to a small number of authorised contacts – and can both make and take calls.
The kids love their TicTocTrack watches as they are fantastic watches and they love being able to contact mum and dad as well as each other! They are also a great introduction to mobile technology before the kids make the step to their own mobile phone. The watches are great quality, look fantastic and the software platform that supports them is securely hosted right here in Brisbane. You can log on and track on your desktop or on a free mobile app (both for Android and iOS) and the tracking will work anywhere in the world!
Yatala Drive-in, Stapylton
Where is it: 100 Jacobs Well Road, Stapylton QLD 4207
What’s it all about: An old-school night out of fun for the whole family!
Tell me more: Once it would be a common pastime to go out to the drive-in theatre – now most of these theatres have closed down and getting along to watch a movie from your car might be a rare experience. Yatala Drive-in (just 30 minute's drive south of the city) has been operating here in the Brisbane area since 1974, and as it’s one of the last operating in the region, it’s well known and still very popular. And it’s still a treat to head along to for the family – just roll up in your car, get comfy and cosy and enjoy the movies! There’s also a fantastic 50s-style diner with traditional drive in foods – hot-dogs, hamburgers, chips, desserts and bucket-loads of popcorn (and not forgetting the classic Aussie snack, Chiko Rolls)!
We checked out Disney’s just released and amazing new re-make of its classic animated film ‘The Lion King’. It’s still much the same amazing and lovely story, music and it’s still animated, but this time it’s in a fashion called ‘photorealistic’, so it looks like a live-action movie and it’s simply amazing! It was the perfect movie for a family night out at the drive-in!
Brisbane Family Explorers