Looking to escape the city for the weekend, explore somewhere new or just get the kids out of the house? With so much to offer, the Burdekin makes for a great weekend getaway for Townsville families this school holidays!
Just a quick drive south and you will find yourself in the Burdekin, the sugarcane capital of Australia. The region boasts a range of attractions and activities for your family to discover from pristine beaches, world class fishing, unique cultural attractions to boutique shopping, there really is something for everyone.
Check out some of our top picks for your perfect weekend in the Bountiful Burdekin!
With so much on offer in the one area, Plantation Park is the perfect place for a road trip pitstop or an afternoon with the family. You can grab a coffee, breakfast, lunch or sweet treat at the Gudjuda Deck Café in the park whilst also immersing yourself in their indigenous history at the culture display. Kids will be entertained for hours with plenty of space for riding bikes and scooters or playing at the Plantation Nature Play. The new state-of-the-art nature-based play area includes; all abilities swings, a fortress-themed lookout, water play area and rock and rope climbs. To wind down you can enjoy a stroll through the Juru Walk at the end of the park which signifies an important link to the region’s indigenous history. The walk winds its way along the flowing creek and through what is believed to be the Burdekin’s last remaining rainforest. Don’t forget a photo with the giant carpet snake, Gubulla Munda, before you leave!
A quick 20 minute drive from Ayr you will find yourself at the Township of Alva and the stunning Lynch’s Beach. At low tide Lynch’s Beach makes for excellent exploring, with hundreds of solider crabs, endless shells and an abundance of birdlife. The large outer sand bar creates an inshore lagoon which is popular amongst kite surfers and paddleboarders on the weekends. The beach is also a hotspot for fishing and crabbing, with many anglers bringing in decent catches to show off. The beach is open to four-wheel driving if you are keen for a joy ride on the long stretch of beach or just need to get that bit further to the best fishing spot.
On weekends during summer, the beach is patrolled by members of the Ayr Surf Life Saving Club, one of North Queensland’s oldest surf clubs. Alva’s Yongala Dive operates a Dive Shop and accommodation, specialising in PADI dive courses, with day trips out to the SS Yongala wreck. The SS Yongala is one recognised as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world and Alva offers the most direct access with only a 30 minute boat ride to the wreck. There are shady areas on the beach perfect for a picnic, or alternatively you could head up to the lookout or the park near the surf club to make the most of the BBQ facilities.
Ayr Nature Display
We promise your family will be wowed by a visit to the Ayr Nature Display. The display has been a part of the community for over 53 years and is one man’s collection of Australian Nature. You could spend hours viewing their kaleidoscopic collection of sea life, butterflies, reptiles, stones, native timbers and much more!
Following the Burdekin Art Trail will enable you to experience a truly unique collection of murals, sculptures and installations which depict stories of the Burdekin region’s culture and heritage. In recent years unassuming spaces around the towns have been transformed into vibrant works of art by a number of renowned and emerging artists from across Australia. The trail currently stretches across four towns and can commence from either Giru in the North or Home Hill to the South. Keep an eye out – new murals are popping up all the time!
Stardust Drive In
The Stardust Drive In Theatre in Ayr is one of the last drive in theatres in Queensland and a truly unique experience during your stay in the Burdekin. Get out the blankets and settle in for a double feature which plays every Friday and Saturday evening from 6:30pm. The ‘Silver Screens & Coffee Beans’ café will provide you with all your movie snacks, meals and drinks while you enjoy your movie experience under the stars.
The café is also open Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings where you can enjoy a coffee and treat in their unique setting. Check the Stardust Drive In Facebook page each week for the weekend’s movie announcements.
For families wanting to experience a truly secluded beach, Wunjunga Beach (Beachmount) is an absolute must. You will be spoilt for options when choosing the perfect location to set up for the day with 14km of coastline accessible by four wheel drive. There are plenty of great fishing spots along the beach and the unique funny dunny campsite is nearby offering a one-of-a-kind camping experience.
The town of Ayr offers great boutique shopping that attracts people from all over the region who are looking for something unique. There are an abundance of specialty stores offering fashion, homewares and gift ideas that you won’t find anywhere else.
Food and Drink
The Burdekin boasts a buzzing food scene with a number of cafés, pubs and restaurants for you to choose from. Some of our favourites include Dal Santos Deli, Chill Café, Q Street Grill, Burnt Sugar Restaurant, Tosh’s, Kalamia Hotel, Claredale Pastures and Parkside Motel Restaurant. For those looking for a fresh produce fix, Mt Alma Organics offer small, medium and large fruit and veg boxes that will feed your family for weeks.
Fishing & Crabbing
Fishing in the Burdekin is second to none with numerous creek and river systems, offshore reefs and an abundance of fish. There are 10 public boat ramps in the region which provide access to fantastic fishing locations both inshore and offshore. No boat? No problem! There are many great land-based fishing spots including Groper Creek, Alva Beach, Wunjunga Beach, the Burdekin River and many more.
If you’re looking for the best view in the Burdekin, head south of Home Hill to Mt Inkerman. The lookout will provide you with a panoramic view of the region including the sugar cane farms, the Burdekin River and Cape Upstart. Why not combine some exercise with nature during your visit with a walk up the Mount Inkerman Nature Trail (MINT). The 30-minute hike winds its way through the bushlands of Mt Inkerman where you may encounter rock wallabies and bush turkeys amongst the native Australian fauna.
It is hard to fit all that the Burdekin has to offer in just one day, so why not stay a night or two to make the most of your weekend away? With a large range of accommodation options from motels and Airbnbs to camping and caravanning there is sure to be something that suits your family. For that authentic Burdekin experience we recommend Burdekin Cane Farm stay which is open for fully self-contained caravans and motorhomes. Owner Greg Miller is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cane fires and is more than happy to take you to experience one in person!