Big 4 Maroochy Palms | Family Friendly Camping THE REVIEW
Maroochydore Palms has since been shut down and only the pool remains. There are no accomodation facilities.
This was our second trip to Big 4 Maroochy Palms. The trip from our home, on the far north-side of Brisbane, to Maroochydore is normally around an hour, but Christmas holidays and the Bruce Hwy don’t mix, so it took us nearly two hours to get to the park.
In the Christmas holidays, the park requires that you have a full week booking, and that all entries/departures occur on Saturdays. I’m not sure why they have this rule in place, but it did lead to a bit of a traffic jam at the front gate as everyone went to check in and get their gate pass (which requires a $10 deposit), and then throughout the park as people tried to reverse their vans in, holding up everyone else trying to come through behind them.
On this trip, we were lucky enough to get a site up near the pool and other facilities. The last time we stayed, we were right down the back of the park, near the lake area, which is quite a hike for a two and four year old to the pool and jumping pillow and other facilities.
Big 4 Maroochy Palms has a great trackless mini replica train, called the JayJay Express, which runs throughout the holidays on weekdays at 11am and 3pm and on Saturdays at 3pm. After setting up the van, that was the first stop for our kids. The train takes the kids (and adults) for a long ride around the park. Our two rode every time they had the chance. If there are too many kids for one trip, the driver will reload the remaining kids and go around again, so no one misses out.
The camping ground also has a lovely large pool area. There is a toddler pool, a small water play area and an in-pool spa and waterfall. The pool has a range of depths, catering to all ages. Unfortunately, the pool doesn’t have any fixed shade, with only the trees and palms around the pool for shelter.
Across from the pool is the main entertainment facilities area. This includes a jumping pillow, unfortunately also not shaded, a half size tennis court, basketball hoop, soccer goal, a large undercover playground (which unfortunately had some damaged equipment when we were there in September 2013 and it was still damaged in December 2013) and a 9 hole mini putt course. Mini golf clubs, in both adult and child sizes, and balls are available from the office, for a $5 cash bond each. Bond is refunded on return of the equipment. This area is also where the nightly outdoor movies are played. Maroochy Palms also has a small gym; the key for which is available from the office.
Big 4 Maroochy Palms has a great Kids’ Club, running from 9am to 11am each weekday morning throughout the school holidays (excluding public holidays), at an additional cost of $5 per session. The Kids’ Club caters for 3 to 12 year olds and bookings must be made at the office prior to 4pm the day before.
During the cool of each evening throughout our stay, we would take our girls down the back of the park for a walk around the boardwalk and to feed the ducks in the lake. This trip, the water level of the lake was quite low. The previous time we went there was a lot more water and you could feed large eels as well as the ducks. Every evening you can also watch as hundreds of bats fly overhead. This seems to occur every night as the sun goes down.
If you asked my kids, the one downside of the Big 4 Maroochy Palms is the total ban on all bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc. None of these toys are allowed to be ridden in the park at all. A lot of the time we were there, our four year old kept complaining that ‘I haven’t made any friends this holiday’ and I personally believe that was because of this rule. In most parks, the kids are on their bikes, riding around socialising. Without this, they all tend to keep to their own sites more.
Because our girls like to ride their bikes, we would take them across the road from the caravan park, to the footpath along the river. This did give us the opportunity to take some nice walks; spotting pelicans, watching fisherman and seeing the boats going by.
On the Sunday of our stay, we took a short, five minute drive to Cotton Tree, where they have a craft market in the main street every Sunday. Cotton Tree also has a lovely, wave free, sandy beach for swimming.
Just up the road from the Maroochy Palms, in the middle of the Maroochy River, is Chambers Island. This island is connected to the mainland by a short walking bridge. The island has a playground for the kids, and some sand for the all-important sand castle building. A lot of the beach area is also shaded by the trees on the island, so you can spend quite a bit of time sitting in the water and on the beach. The island also has toilets and shower facilities.
Big 4 Maroochy Palms has a small store and a takeaway/café that offers daily specials. We only used the takeaway once to get some hot chips to go with dinner and found that the small size for $3.50 was plenty for the four of us.
Facilities at Big 4 Maroochy Palms
- Accommodation Types:
- 2 Bedroom Deluxe Spa Villas
- 2 Bedroom Deluxe Villas (no Spa)
- 1 Bedroom Villas
- Open Plan Riverview Villas
- 1 Bedroom Budget Villas (4-5 Berth)
- Ensuite Caravan Sites
- Caravan Sites
- Powered and unpowered camping sites – note that tarpaulins cannot be erected
- Swimming pool, with water play area, toddler pool and in pool spa
- Recreation room with pool table, ping pong tables, video games and television
- A nine-hole mini putt course
- Half size tennis court
- BBQ’s and picnic table areas near the pool, lake and golf course
- Camp kitchen
- A large, shaded playground
- Kids’ Club (school holidays only)
- Internet Access
- Lake with boardwalks, where you can feed the birds, fish and eels
- Outdoor movies
- Gym and fitness centre
- JayJay Express – a trackless mini replica train and carriages (school holidays only)
- On site shop and takeaway/café
- Jumping pillow
- Soccer goal
- Basketball hoop
- Dump station
- Laundry facilities and clothes lines ($5 per load)
Activities to enjoy at Big 4 Maroochy Palms
- Directly across the road is a boat ramp, for those who want to take boats or jet skis for use on the river.
- Plenty of people were also fishing from the side of the river.
- Only a two minute drive up the road to Chambers Island, for swimming, sandcastle building and a playground.
- It’s about 10 minutes’ drive to Sunshine Plaza, with movie theatres, restaurants, shops, supermarkets, etc.
- Around a 5 minute drive to Cotton Tree beach and Maroochydore surf beach.
How to make the most of your stay at Big 4 Maroochy Palms
- BICYCLES/SCOOTERS/ROLLERBLADES: Not allowed at all in the park. Can be used on the footpath along the river.
- WATER HAZARDS: There is a lake in the park which may pose a water hazard to small children or other non-swimmers.
- Discounts available for Big 4 members, although the park did announce that they have just been bought by Gateway group, so unsure how long they will continue to be part of the Big 4 group.
- We did notice at dusk that the mosquitoes tend to come out, so bring repellent or mosquito coils.
Big 4 Maroochy Palms is located at 319 Bradman Avenue in Maroochydore.
Please visit their website for more information – www.maroochypalms.com.au
Thanks to Amanda for this camp site review!
Take a look at the Brisbane Kids list of Your Favourite Camping Spots for lots more recommended family camp locations to explore, like Neurum Creek Bush Retreat in Neurum. We will have many more campsite reviews coming in the very near future.