YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST AUSTRALIAN HOLIDAYS
WHERE THE DUST MEETS THE SEA
camping adventures Australiaâ€™s best water holes
20 y l i m fa Top
Welcome to Family Travel magazine!
Hi and welcome to the 2018 issue of Family Travel, a magazine designed especially for families who love to explore.
The Family Travel team CEO Janeece Keller COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Natasha Keller EDITOR Tatyana Leonov STAFF WRITER Sarah Hinder DESIGNER Caroline Mackay
Contact @BoundRound @BoundRound email@example.com www.familytravel.com.au
I’m excited to bring you this issue for a number of reasons. Firstly, I’ve always wanted to create a magazine that is beautiful, interesting, and useful for anyone looking to travel at home or around the world with kids... and we’ve finally done it! I’m so proud of my team who have pulled out all stops to create Family Travel. I hope you love it as much as we do. In the last few years I’ve visited over 20 countries and travelled extensively around Australia. Home is where the heart is and I never tire of visiting my favourite holiday locations – and discovering new spots. I remember as a child I used to go away to Copacabana. I was torn about if we should include Flip Byrnes’ story (flick to page 20) because, despite all my travel, Copa is my favourite place in the world and I’m not sure that I want everyone to know about it. But, really, how can you not share a great story about your favourite place? For the record, my number two spot is Byron Bay and number three is Balmoral Beach in Sydney... I think you can safely call me a beach girl who loves to call Australia home.
Of course, although beach getaways are typical Australian family holidays, there are plenty of other ways to get to know this amazing country. Turn to page 32 for writer Stephanie Williams’ epic road journey tale, from Exmouth to Kalbarri in beautiful Western Australia. Also turn to page 54 to read Carla Grossetti’s take on what to do on a rainy day – trust us, the world is your oyster and all you need is a sense of adventure. At Family Travel, we are known for our comprehensive online guides, and we’ve got you covered with our top 20 family experiences, camping advice, best wildlife adventures, fascinating arts and culture experiences, annual events, foodie advice and so much more. I hope you enjoy reading this first issue of Family Travel as much as we enjoyed creating it. Happy reading.
Don’t want to travel too far afield? Explore hundreds of awesome family experiences all over Australia through the eyes of our Families of Australia.
74 City itineraries We’ve sorted out 48 hours of fun in all the capitals.
CAMPING FOR THE CLUELESS We’ve sorted out the hard stuff for you.
Top 20 These family experiences will blow your mind.
HOLIDAYS AT HOME Why staycations are the new vacations.
PINBOARD We’ve got you covered with our news bites and fun ideas.
IMAGE: BENJAMIN PUNZALAN ON UNSPLASH.
FAMILY TRAVEL QUIZ Think you know it all? Take our quiz and find out.
BEACH GETAWAY Escape to Copacabana for a dreamy coastal break.
FOODIE GUIDE Where to find the tastiest treats around Australia.
AUSTRALIA’S BEST WATERHOLES Escape to these water wonderlands.
SNOW HOLIDAYS Fun adventures in winter.
ROAD TRIP Take a drive from Exmouth to Kalbarri in Western Australia.
EASY ACCESS Holiday ideas for those with mobility restrictions.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS Bushwalking adventures around the country.
IN THE AIR Tips for flying with the kids in tow.
EVENTS GUIDE What’s on around Australia.
ASK THE EXPERT Your travel questions answered.
RAINY DAY ADVENTURES Weather woes don’t stop real holiday-makers.
CULTURE VULTURE Museums and galleries galore.
QUIZ ANSWERS How many questions did you answer right?
P I N B OA R D
TOUCHNOTE The innovative way to send postcards on your travels The TouchNote app converts your favourite holiday photos into printed personalised postcards. Simply choose your photo, personalise a message, then tap to send. The service prints and delivers your postcard to any destination worldwide, all for $3.TouchNote app is available on iOS and Android.
Welcome to our up to explore Australi -front pages to inspire you and do, so read o a. There is so much to see n for some of our suggestions. holiday
GARDEN PARTY The Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra is one of the country’s top patches of paradise, with a collection of over 6300 different native species (the largest collection of Australian native plants in the world) and a new Treehouse Gazebo. It’s made from recycled timber and is perched among paperbark trees. How is that for a green paradise? In Queensland, Bundaberg Botanic Gardens are all about sub-tropical plant species that attract plenty of birds, thanks to the warm and temperate climate. In Victoria, where it’s a lot cooler, different plant specifies will flourish and the Ballarat Botanical
Gardens house one of Australia’s most significant cool climate gardens. Australia is a huge country with many different climates and landscapes, and gardens around the country reflect this fascinating diversity. In Port Augusta in South Australia, the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden is an interesting place to admire plants that thrive in harsh conditions. And the Olive Pink Botanic Garden in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory showcases plants that flourish in Australia’s arid zones. If you’re in Tasmania don’t skip the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, home to a number of
historic plant collections and a large number of significant trees – with many dating back to the 19th century. In Perth, the Western Australian Botanic Garden has a diverse collection of plants endemic to Western Australia and great views of Perth City and Swan River. And Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden Sydney boasts wonderful views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House – plus these lush gardens are the oldest botanical gardens in the country. Come to simply admire the plant life, or pre-book for a Thursday morning Dandy Lions session, where kids can explore a new garden theme each week through fun activities, arts and crafts, and songs and dance.
WORDS: SARAH HINDER, TATYANA LEONOV. IMAGES: GOOGLE PLAY, TOUCHNOTE , SNAP INC, VISITCANBERRA: ROBERT COPPA.
Botanical gardens are a delight to explore with the kids – well-manicured grass, colourful flowers blooming, or native plants flourishing in their natural terrain – and then you’ve got the benefit of fresh air while taking all this beauty in. So, get out there and explore.
Y L I M A F 5 TOP S T E G D A G TRAVEL SPECTACLES BY SNAP Inc. Take snaps with your specs These multi-functional sunglasses record photos and short videos while protecting your eyes from the sun. The fashionable sunnies have a small camera built right into the frame, so when wearing them you simply press record to capture a 10-second clip – which automatically uploads to your personal ‘Snapchat memories’. Spectacles are available at www.spectacles.com/ uk and the required Snapchat app for iOS and Android.
SCRUBBA WASH BAG MAGISTO Create professionally-edited family photos and videos Magisto is a user-friendly video editing app that transforms family snaps and movies into creative, professional-quality photographs and films. The app can connect and publish to all your social media apps and is easy to use. At the end of your trip you will have a wonderful collection of professional-quality photos and videos documenting your family travels. Magisto app is available on iOS and Android.
This remarkable gadget is a pocket-sized washing machine The Scrubba Wash Bag is the world’s smallest washing machine, providing a machinequality wash in just minutes. Fill the lightweight bag with 2-4 litres of water and a bit of washing liquid, scrub your clothes for three minutes over the flexible interior washboard and – voila – fresh, clean clothes anywhere, anytime. There’s also the option of their pocket-sized complementary ‘dry kit’ – to speed up the drying and hang your clothes. Scrubba’s Wash & Dry products are available from thescrubba.com.au.
These top picks are all about enhancing your family’s travel through the latest innovative travel gadgets and technologies.
ANKER POWERCORE Your family’s gadgets will never run short of power This ‘super charger’ by Anker is unbeatable for charging speed and battery power. The portable power banks charge multiples devices at once and can last for over a week without recharge. The Anker PowerCore collection ranges from the lipstick-sized ‘mini’ to premium high-capacity ‘super chargers’. For families, our top recommendation is PowerCore+ 26800mAh – specifically for the charging multiple devices (3 USB ports), its compatibility with all Smart devices, and the long-lasting charging power. To give you an idea, this device charges the iPhone 7 10 times, the Galaxy S7 over seven times and the Apple MacBook over three times. Anker’s PowerCore range of devices are available at anker.com.
S ’ A I L A AUSTR BEST
Turtle-y awe some
Our 5 top Australian National Parks where kids love reaching for the remote and tuning into discovering. Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory
Australia is home to a diverse range of animals and there are plenty of opportunities to engage in environmentally-conscious encounters to get to know the cute critters. Here, our ultimate list of the best animal encounters for families across Australia.
Kids will love a trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park, in Sydney’s West. It’s home to Australia’s largest collection of native animals. Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital, a rehabilitation sanctuary for at-risk koalas, is another favourite for younger kids,
while Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures are known for their epic horse riding journeys. Mon Repos Conservation Park in Bundaberg is a great place to witness the sea turtles of Queensland’s coast and their tiny hatchlings. Cairns is also home to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, dedicated to the endangered turtles’ conservation. Standouts among Queensland’s superb dedicated wildlife sanctuaries include Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and David Fleay Wildlife Park on the Gold Coast, Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville, and the Save the Bilby Fund project in rural Charleville. Green Island, on the Great Barrier Reef, is fantastic for snorkelling and diving among unique marine life. At Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary it’s all about proactively protecting the surrounding environment and vulnerable animals. The daily wildlife tours and specialised animal
What a goose! Phillip Island Wildlife Park, Moonlit Sanctuary, as well as seal and whale watching.
encounters introduce young visitors to unique native species, including the elusive Tassie devil! Devils@Cradle is also wonderful for its devil tours and interactive feeding, while Trowunna Wildlife Park is committed to conservation and experiencing wildlife in their natural habitat. Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park and Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary make up a protected nature reserve home to sea lions, kangaroos, koalas, snakes, crocs and other natives. Swim among wild dolphins at Glenelg with Temptation Sailing or visit Cleland Wildlife Park outside Adelaide for its roaming mammals, reptile experiences and nocturnal walks. Healesville Sanctuary and Ballarat Wildlife Park are brilliant havens for Australian wildlife. Phillip Island has an amazing array of wildlife encounters, notably the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Centre, Maru Koala and Animal Park,
WORDS: SARAH HINDER. IMAGES: AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE JOURNEYS, TOURISM QUEENSLAND, TOURISM TASMANIA, VISIT VICTORIA: ROBERT BLACKBURN,
Australian Wildlife Journeys offers innovative wildlife tours across Australia that exemplify sustainable ecotourism – from diving among abundances of marine life, to a bushman safari through the untamed Kakadu.
Cuddly as a koala
TOP 5 NATIONAL PARKS FOR KIDS TO EXPLORE
With Rockingham Wild Encounters, swim with dolphins, whale sharks and sea lions, and visit Penguin Island. Take a whalewatching tour along the coast of Western Australia to witness the greatest whale migration on Earth, or visit Rottnest Island and its resident quirky quokkas. The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs is a dedicated rescue centre for educational and up-close experiences. The Northern Territory is bursting with thrilling and unforgettable animal experiences – try a Jumping Crocodile Cruise in Darwin, an Uluru Camel Tour through the outback, or a unique wildlife expedition through Kakadu National Park.
When the falls are flowing, this is a natural water park. There’s only one way for kids to explore these slippery delights – by jumping on a pool noodle and swimming in pristine waterholes, or sliding and slipping down smooth rocks into cascading pools.
Alpine National Park, Victoria Kids coo-ee over twisted treetops and marvel at mountain ranges that go on forever. Victoria’s alps are dramatic ancient mountain ranges, and in winter it’s a snowy wonderland. The tiny Mountain Pygmy Possum is found here, as are high country cattle huts with legends of stockmen, explorers and Indigenous camp sites.
Great Sandy National Park, Queensland Kids love swimming in the crystal waters of Lake Mackenzie, peering though portholes when the tide is out at the Maheno ship wreck, rolling down the sand dunes and into the icy cold water at Lake Wabby, snorkelling amongst volcanic rock at the Champagne Pools, listening to dingoes howl, and watching planes land on the beach as you drive alongside in a 4WD. And don’t get us started on
prehistoric rainforests – this is a true Jurassic Park adventure.
Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory Spirits dance and kids connect with ancient cultures in Kakadu. Watching sunsets from escarpments, discovering rock art and Indigenous stories and beliefs, and spotting crocs submerged in billabongs – this is one National Park they’ll never forget.
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia It’s all about close encounters with wildlife and the night sky here. Bounding kangaroos and wallabies, strutting emus, soaring eagles, waddling echidnas and wombats – you’ll meet them all. Then there are the shooting stars – they’re in a galaxy all of their own, away from city skies. There’s something pretty mystical about Flinders’ Ranges Wilpena Pound, a much-loved camping location and the centre for hosted ranger talks and walks. It’s a natural amphitheatre, an impressive ring of mountains that has the environment take centre stage.
AMAZING HOLIDAY PARKS
UMINA Adventurous beachfront camping On the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales, this park is perfect for families seeking activities galore. There’s fishing and water sports, bike riding, bushwalking, cinemas, pelican feeding, learnto-surf classes, horse riding, and of course, the stunning Central Coast beaches. The park features include their newly-renovated waterpark, jumping pillows and movie screenings. 10 / For families who travel
Want a memorable getaway? Look no further than a holiday park. Fun, communal and economical, holiday parks offer a great option for families.
BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park ALICE SPRINGS
In the outback of Alice Springs, resides the BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday park. With beautiful surrounds, dedicated wildlife sanctuaries, the magnificent Uluru, and a truly welcoming atmosphere, it is no wonder the park is the most awarded in the Northern Territory. Pancake breakfasts, games nights, stargazing, Didgeridoo shows and outdoor family film screenings are among the park’s activities.
NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park GOLD COAST Enjoy action-packed theme park adventures On the sunny Gold Coast, this award-winning park, just 15 minutes north of Surfers Paradise, is centrally located between the major theme parks – the perfect destination for an action-packed holiday. The park has activity programs for kids, four resort-style pools, jumping pillows, sports and an outdoor cinema. Choose from villas with a view or powered caravan sites.
Families go coconuts for this 5-star tropical oasis
Set in one of the most beautiful locations in Australia – on the coast of the Great Barrier Reef – this spectacular resort caters to all families with its condos, villas, cabins, camping and caravans. Cool off at the resortstyle waterpark, bounce on the biggest jumping pillow in the Southern Hemisphere, explore playgrounds, and play tennis, volleyball and mini golf.
Discover the rugged ‘Red Centre’
NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Park
Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut
IMAGES: NRMA HOLIDAY PARKS, TOURISM NT: SHAANA MCNAUGHT, TOURISM TASMANIA: ROB BURNETT, WAGGA WAGGA CITY COUNCIL: MATT BEAVER.
FAMILY TRAVEL QUIZ
FAMILY TRAVEL QUIZ Think you’re the brainiest one in the family? Test yourself by taking the quiz below and find out how much you really know. Flick to page 95 for answers.
The founder and owner of the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs is often referred to as?
Where in Queensland will the Commonwealth Games be held in 2018?
TWO Monkey Mia in Western Australia is famous for what?
THREE BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday & Native Wildlife Park TAMAR VALLEY The holiday haven between beachfront and bush Set in the beautiful Tamar Valley Region, Northern Tasmania, the park is set on 15 hectares bordering both the pristine Tamar River beachfront and Narawntapu National Park. A peaceful coastal refuge, nearby attractions include the Enchanted Forest wildlife, river cruises and Tamar Valley wineries. The park offers family cottages, camping and caravan sites.
What is the name of the lodge where you can sleep with the animals in Canberra?
FOUR What is the modern name for the geological structure formerly known as the sow and piglets?
FIVE What Australian capital city is closest to the MONA?
SEVEN Which town is home to the big merino?
EIGHT What animal is unique to Rottnest Island?
NINE What are the names of the late Steve Irwin’s kids?
TEN Where is the Boxing Day test played?
y l i m fa Our top 20
Australia is one huge and awesome playground, so get ready for an amazing year of fun. From epic island adventures, sleepovers at the zoo, through to camping on the beach with kangaroos (yep, it’s a thing), here are 20 ways for families to rock year round, writes Sheridan Rhodes.
Take a selfie with a quokka The Kardashians are so yesterday. What you really want is a selfie with Australia’s marsupial superstar: the quokka. Western Australia’s Rottnest Island (or ‘Rotto’ to the locals) is home to 63 gorgeous beaches, 20 secluded bays, as well as water crammed with fish, coral and shipwrecks. Best of all, the island is a mere 25-minute ferry ride from Perth’s Fremantle and is car free, so families can explore safely by bike, Segway, bus or on foot. Interest in taking a snap with one of Rottnest’s resident (and totally adorable) quokkas shows no signs of abating, with the island welcoming record visitor numbers last year.
Hurtle down the snow Pull on snow boots and make for the toboggan slopes at Falls Creek in Victoria’s alpine region. There’s nothing more fun than hurtling down the slope, laughing and screaming as you bump and fly over the snow. Falls Creek Ski Resort offers two toboggan slopes – a junior slope in the Village Bowl for littlies, or a more advanced (read hairier) run at Windy Corner. You can hire a toboggan, or BYO for some good old fashioned Alpine fun.
05. Camp with kangaroos
03. Weird science Young boffins will love Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. There are changing exhibitions, the chance to conduct your own experiments, experience weightlessness, watch fun science shows, and so much more. Come see why Questacon won gold at the 2017 Australian Tourism Awards.
04. Lunch with a superhero Meet daring stunt drivers, lunch with a superhero and access the country’s only roller coaster track walk on Movie World’s ‘Star Tour: Access All Areas’ on the Gold Coast in Queensland. The VIP tour allows participants to go backstage to meet the cast and crew, see the workings of the park’s roller coasters (tour varies depending on operational requirements), and watch how the park prepares for another fun-filled day. After lunch enjoy ‘Fast Track’ access to most rides and the parade.
IMAGES: COPYRIGHT SATC: ADAM BRUZZONE, MOVIE WORLD, SHERIDEN RHODES: RHODESWELLTRAVELLED.COM, VISITCANBERRA, VISIT VICTORIA: ROBERTO SEBA & ROBERT BLACKBURN.
Kids can play from dawn to dusk barefoot and carefree at one of Australia’s most special camping spots. Jervis Bay in New South Wales draws generations of families who return annually for school holidays, and one of the best places to camp is Green Patch Beach with its eye-popping white sand. Located in Booderee National Park, the area teems with kangaroos and wallabies, which often make their way down to the water’s edge. Book waaay in advance.
06. Take a ride on the world’s oldest rollercoaster Luna Park Melbourne’s worldfamous Scenic Railway is but one of many fun attractions set behind Mr Moon’s giant mouth. The historical, 105-year‑old park in the heart of St Kilda is reminiscent of Coney Island and offers a whimsical carousel, mirror maze, ghost train, carnival games and the Scenic Railway, the world’s oldest continuallyoperating rollercoaster. Afterwards, mum and dad can reward themselves with a glass of wine at The George, or head to Port Phillip Bay for a dip.
07. A bird in the hand The amazing Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland offers so much more than beautiful gardens and an aviary tour. The guided aviary walk allows kids to meet colourful and exotic birds from more than 60 countries. Meet the black cockatoo on an endless quest for romance, exotic macaws, colourful parrots, and many other feathered friends that will alight on your head and shoulders and feed from your hand. Afterwards, picnic in the magnificent gardens overlooking the Glass House Mountains.
08. Super human marble game The phenomenal Remarkable Rocks are weathered granite boulders – worn by wind, sea spray and rain over millions of years – and are an icon of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island. Suspended high above the crashing sea in Flinders Chase National Park, kids will love scrambling over the rocks of varying shape and colour. Look out for the seal colony that also lives in the park. www.familytravel.com.au / 15
Search for shy pademelons
Enter the cage of death
Search for pademelons, and listen for the screech of the green catbird and owllike call of the wompoo fruit dove in the glorious Mary Caincross Scenic Reserve in the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland. This wonderful 55-hectare remnant of sub-tropical rainforest offers easy walking trails (gold coin donation; some are wheelchair accessible) among soaring rainforest trees, including strangler figs and piccabeen palms. Inside, the Rainforest Discovery Centre offers interactive displays and cinemas, where you can experience life in the rainforest at night, while outside there’s an awesome playground.
Come face to face with crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin, Northern Territory. While smaller kids are exempt from the most confronting experience, the ‘cage of death’ (a perspex cage lowered into a pool with a large croc; limited to those aged 15 and over), there are numerous animal enclosures, croc and turtle feeding, reptile demonstrations, and a pool where they can swim with crocs. OK, the pool does offer an impenetrable glass barrier between swimmers and juvenile crocs, but you get the picture.
Meet the world’s most endangered big cats
IMAGES: SHERIDEN RHODES: RHODESWELLTRAVELLED.COM, TOURISM NT: SHAANA MCNAUGHT.
Dive into the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet See all the wonders of the Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef at the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, the award-winning Reef HQ Aquarium. Home to the National Education Centre facility for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Townsville aquarium is home to 120 species of incredible fish and reef creatures swimming about in 2.5 million litres of water. The underwater tunnel allows kids to see hammerhead sharks, black-tip reef sharks, giant trevally and large, gentle turtles. There’s also a turtle hospital which rehabilitates injured turtles and releases them back to the reef.
The fabulous Billabong Zoo at Port Macquarie in New South Wales offers families a fun day out, where you can see endangered snow leopards, check out the cheetah exhibition, and even view crocodiles in a special underwater viewing area. There are free talks by zoo keepers throughout the day so kids can learn about dingoes, meerkats, penguins, cheetahs, red pandas and, of course, the magnificent snow leopards. Visitors can also hand feed kangaroos and wallabies, while those aged 16 and over can go on a snow leopard encounter, where they will get to feed these amazing wild cats (additional cost).
13. Hike to one of Australia’s best beaches Sure, we all know about the iconic Wineglass Bay in Tasmania, but who knew its neighbour is the equally magnificent Bryans Beach? This incredible beach offers a long expanse of white sand lapped by sapphire‑coloured water. It’s a little harder to reach than Wineglass Bay (we’re talking a good five hours’ hike, unless you go by boat – so suitable for kids aged eight and over) but oh so worth it. You can even camp for the night (there’s a basic camp site) and revel in this magnificent, crowd-free corner of Australia.
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16. The ultimate sleepover Camping at Sydney’s iconic Taronga Zoo is the ultimate sleepover and it’s not just kids that love the experience. Explore the zoo by night, meet beautiful reptiles over cheese and wine, and sleep in a luxury dome tent with polished boards. Your tent offers expansive vistas of Sydney Harbour with its twinkling lights, while your alarm clock is the roar of lions or the trumpet of elephants.
Kids can become ‘junior ranges’ on Queensland’s Heron Island, a pristine coral cay 72 kilometres off the coast of Gladstone. Developed by marine biologists and naturalist guides, the junior ranger program (for those aged seven to 12) allows kids to explore and learn about their natural environment through bird watching, beachcombing and tree planting. They’ll even learn about what it takes to run their own island resort.
Swim with wild dolphins Kids aged nine and over can swim with wild dolphins in the waters of the beachside town of Glenelg, just 20 minutes’ drive from Adelaide, South Australia. Participants aboard Temptation are kitted out in wetsuit, snorkel and mask, hang on to a floatation line, and wait for both common and bottlenose dolphins to gather around to play – swimming both around and underneath swimmers. Thousands of dolphins call the Gulf St Vincent home, so dolphin sightings are virtually guaranteed. Kids under nine can stay on the boat and watch the cute critters frolic in the water. 18 / For families who travel
18. If the thought of camping with the family leaves you cold, the new Flash Camp on Queensland’s North Stradbroke Island could be your cup of tea. Think high-quality bedding, cotton sheets, fresh towels, bamboo chairs and power (so mums can still blow dry their hair). The 10 flash camp tents are set up in a sheltered site behind a native tea tree and pandanus forest, with the beach right out front. With hiking, whale, dolphin and manta ray watching, 4WD tours and fishing on tap, it could convert die-hard non-campers.
Imbibe with the kids Walk with giants How clever are the folk at Heifer Station in Orange in New South Wales? Not only does their cellar door in a converted wool shed serve up great wine from its cool climate vineyard, but there’s a petting farm (open every weekend and during festivals and school holidays) as well, so kids can play while mum and dad imbibe. The bucolic winery will also set families up with a picnic among the vines and come back and to collect the dishes.
Flash camp on North Stradbroke Island
Take a walk with towering trees 40 metres above the forest floor in the Valley of the Giants, fourand-a-half-hours’ drive time from Perth in Western Australia. The wheelchair-friendly Giants Tree Top Walk (including a lightweight bridge and boardwalks) in the Walpole Wilderness takes you high into the canopies, and through a grove of ancient, enormous tingle trees. Marvel in awe at these giants of the forest, some of which are more than 400 years old.
Explore one of Queensland’s oldest parks IMAGES: NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND, SHERIDEN RHODES: RHODESWELLTRAVELLED.COM, TARONGA ZOO, TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND: MIKE HILBURGER.
Let kids run their own island
Unleash the kids at Queens Park in Ipswich, Queensland, where they can burn off energy at the phenomenal playground with a flying fox, climbing wall and water pump play area. The park also houses a free nature centre, home to turtles, kangaroos, emus, wallabies, a bird aviary and farm animals. You can even see endangered bilbies moving about and sleeping in a clever nocturnal viewing area. Afterwards, visit 116 Laneway for a salted caramel freak shake!
Looking for more Australian travel inspiration? @BoundRound @BoundRound firstname.lastname@example.org www.familytravel.com.au
Beach ge taway at the Copa You don’t have to go all the way to Rio to shake your bon-bons. You’ll be doing the samba when discovering Australia’s Copacabana, a little-known hamlet just over an hours drive north of Sydney and one of Australia’s best-kept beachside secrets, writes Flip Byrnes.
And now there’s a new chapter, with our baby and toddler undergoing their own Copa Inductiotn. Is it the perfect place for the Next Gen? Oh yes, it is.
This reaction is, no doubt, some Pavlovian reaction to a lifetime of accumulated sunny recollections at my parents’ holiday house (hand-built back when ‘Copa’, as it’s fondly known, had no million dollar houses but vacant blocks going for a dime). In one sniff of ocean air, salt-soaked memories forgotten in the daily noise come to sit snugly beside me; sand between toes, skipping across melting bitumen in swimmers, tucking into hamburgers (with beetroot) perched on the car bonnet and falling asleep to the lullaby of crashing waves. It was school-time summers that never seemed to end with all the hallmarks of a free-range beach childhood and rites of passage. If I have a spiritual home, this is it. And now there’s a new chapter, with our baby and toddler undergoing their own Copa Induction. Is it the perfect place for the Next Gen? Oh yes, it is. Don’t be fooled by the bold and brash namesake – the four-kilometre-long Copacabana couldn’t be more different from the other one. 22 / For families who travel
The land called Tudibaring by Indigenous locals (meaning ‘where waves pound like a beating heart’) and subdivided in 1954 has lain mostly overlooked. If hunting music and passion it’s never been in fashion here, you’ll need to follow cashed-up Sydneysiders to the nearby hot spots of chic Avoca and uber-developed Terrigal (where the seven-storey Crown Plaza Hotel dominates the landscape). In summer, while Sydney’s Bondi Beach is bursting and Terrigal experiences traffic jams, you never have to look for a parking spot at Copa. Nothing much has changed. There’s a mini market, a hairdressing salon, a bottle shop, a date-night worthy restaurant, three coffee shops (Copacino does a smooth coffee) and a pharmacy. But it’s all you need for life in the slow lane. But when with babies or toddlers, the days are full. There are dawn walks along the sand (yes, the coffee shop opens at 6.30am), spotting seagulls, watching surfers and chatting to fishermen. With the sun up, families beeline to Mavis Pool, a sheltered rock pool built in the 1950s by two local women (both named Mavis), perfect for shell hunting while older kids take on the surf between the lifesaving flags nearby. We’re more fans of Cochrane Lagoon (the Nagoon as it’s named by smaller members of our family clan), demarking the boundary between Copa and McMasters Beach. The sandbar between Nagoon and beach is the site of cricket games, kite flying, SUP-ing and industrious sand castle building.
IMAGES: FLIP BYRNES
“Her name was Lola, she was a show girl...” Whenever cresting the hill into Copacabana, the imaginary maracas bust out and I can’t help but shimmy along to Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. Even after 30 years, that precise moment, when the ocean and drowsy village burst into view below, is when fingers relax on the steering wheel, my heart beat slows and those imaginary maracas get an extra little shake.
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Beach babes Are you a parent to a water child or two? Australia is the home of the iconic beach trip. Whether seeking to get off the grid, or a spot more seaside fiesta than siesta, we’ve got you covered.
CITY VIBES Manly Cove Beach, Manly, New South Wales For a babe-friendly beach within a city, Manly Cove Beach located nearby Manly Wharf is a stand out. The shadows from the pine trees fall on the beach to the water’s edge until midday (a blessing in high summer). There’s calm water, which on a sparkling sunny day is coloured impossibly Caribbean colors. Coffee nearby? Check. Head to this patch of paradise midweek and score the free two-hour parking beach-side.
FOR EXPLORERS Kangaroo Island, South Australia OK, so it’s not like you’re lost in the wilds, but Kangaroo Island (KI) isn’t on the typical tourist map. But it should be. Only 30 minutes by plane from Adelaide, it’s the food bowl of Australia (don’t miss the Ligurian honey found nowhere else), and is home to jaw-droopingly stunning beaches. The North Coast has the most family-friendly beaches, like Emu Bay and Snellings Beach. Our pick? Stokes Bay, not just for the protected waters (thanks to a natural breakwall), but the secret rock passage access. Very Indiana Jones.
THE CHILLED VIBE
There are dawn walks along the sand (yes, the coffee shop opens at 6.30am).
Tea Tree Bay, Noosa, Queensland The scent of tea trees seduces your senses even before the little bay appears. Located on the Noosa Heads Coastal Track, it’s an easy (pramfriendly) wooden boardwalk stroll from Main Beach. The five-minute walk will reward you with few people contending for the sand, calm waters and rock pools with crabs, shells and sea anemones – little person bliss, never far from your Noosa base camp.
LOCAL SECRET Seventeen Seventy, Gladstone, Queensland This is possibly one of Australia’s most underrated secrets. The tiny, family-friendly town surrounded on three sides by the Coral Sea and Bustard Bay, is packed with incredible wildlife, estuaries, coastal rainforests and national parks with Technicolor sunsets. Queenslanders have long known about it – it’s time everyone else did too. Hit up the surf beach or take to the still waters of Round Hill Creek.
STEP BACK IN TIME Rottnest Island, Western Australia It’s impossible to leave out Western Australia on any beach list. But which one? Car-free retro-style Rottnest Island, just a 20-minute ferry from Perth, is a kids’ paradise with wildlife and an exciting range of accommodation, from camping to historic stone cottages. Head to The Basin, protected by the reef, between Thompson and Longreach Bays.
McMasters is the village that time forgot. It’s been development resistant (boasting one corner store) and the 900 odd homes, bordered by bush, beach and a coastal lagoon, is an enclave of families, retirees and weekenders. A week here will have you as relaxed as a year of Sundays. Not nearly relaxed are the Nagoon ducks. Feeding them bread (at the park at Del Monte Place and Casa Place) can result in inadvertently recreating Hitchocks’ The Birds. You’ve been warned. So, what to do when not succumbing to the coastal vibe? Surf the left-hand break at Copa Point, catch a humpback whale migration, or push a pram up the steep hill to Captain Cook Lookout to get Olympic-level fit. There are also gems to tempt restless feet within a 20-minute drive. A Central Coast highlight is the daily 3.30pm pelican feeding at The Entrance boardwalk, rain, hail or shine. If the few souls on Copacabana Beach are a few too many, follow the Maitland Track through bush (off the Scenic Highway) to unpatrolled and deserted Maitland Bay (no lifeguards). Or do a rock pool switcheroo to Avoca Beach (and the adorable weatherboardhouse cinema). For shopping satiation, Hardy Bay’s Mooch Inside is an eclectic treasure trove of weathered wood chairs, stylish silver and billowing kaftans. But then you’ll come back to Copa. And like us, with our babies, find quiet in the chaos. The lagoon sandbar is the place where I’ve stolen quiet moments to be nothing but a mother. To watch the sun set, create fresh footprints in smooth-washed sand and whisper nothings into my babies’ ears. More memories added, to the uncomplicated tapestry of Copa.
Stay There are no hotels in Copacabana. Airbnb and Stayz are the best resources for finding the perfect beach house.
Fuel up Lazy days create lively appetites. For seafood bounty: follow the locals to SeaCoast Fishing, near the Copacabana turn off. Selling out the back of an (airconditioned) tin shed, this is the freshest catch of the day. To stock the holiday-house larder: follow local bell-bird’s song to George’s Fruit Barn, a one-stop-gourmet-shop. Fifteen minutes drive from Copacabana, this modest building gives cosmopolitan providores a run for their money, from French cheeses to organic meats.
Need more beach holiday inspiration? @BoundRound @BoundRound email@example.com www.familytravel.com.au
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FO O D
A scrumptious foodie guide to Australia Thanks to its many climates and huge size, Australia has plenty of delicious foodie finds that both adults and kids can enjoy. Here are just a few tasty finds you must try, writes Aleney de Winter. Dairy lovers rejoice and visit New South Wales
Are you a chocolate fiend? Head to South Australia To start this list with a bang, we couldn’t go past the old adage: nine out of 10 people love chocolate; the 10th is a liar. Why not go full Willy Wonka at Haigh’s Chocolate in Adelaide, where the whole family can enjoy a free guided tour of the factory? You’ll melt over the chance to learn about the history of Haigh’s and their cocoa plantations, witness artisanal chocolates being handmade, and (everybody’s favourite) splurge with some chocolate tastings.
Honey delights in Victoria Keep indulging your sweet tooth at Beechworth Honey. Sample their wide selection of this natural delicacy, from creamed honeys to eucalypt varieties. See a queen bee up close, watch videos about beekeeping and honey extraction, and discover different ways to cook with honey. The chance to buy honey and bees wax products also comes with an important lesson – read the displays, talk to staff, and learn about the environmental threat to our bees and the local conservation efforts to protect Australian honey.
Sugar highs aplenty in Queensland The sugar high does not end there. Further north in the tropical heat of Queensland, visit cane plantations and factories for a first-hand encounter with the processes bringing sugar to our supermarket shelves. Mackay boasts several operational sugar mills and tours, including this one at Farleigh, and more in Tully and Sarina. Be sure to visit during harvest and crushing seasons, from June to November. 26 / For families who travel
Moooo-ve back down south to New South Wales’ dairy country. Stop in at Bega, where they produce Bega cheddars, which have long been a familyfavourite Australian cheese. Pop into the Heritage Centre to brush up on your dairy-making history and see if you can handle the ‘strong and bitey’ Bega Vintage. Uralla’s Sunhill Dairy will also bring a cheesy grin to your face. Meet the resident goats on their small acreage, tour the farm and milking operations, and sample the cheeses and skin care products. Mayberry Farm in the picturesque Southern Highlands is also a favourite of ours.
TOURISM TASMANIA: MIKE PETERS
There’s nothing like a holiday and a good dose of exploring to work up your appetite. Why not make your lunch or snack time part of your itinerary? Learn where your favourite treats come from, watch them being made before your eyes, and if you’re lucky, sneak a taste. The sweet-tooths, connoisseurs and wouldbe agriculturalists in your family will salivate over this list of kid-friendly foodie trips across Australia – the perfect chance to gain an appreciation for local produce.
For fresh fruit, Western Australia has you covered There is something special about choosing and harvesting your own fruit. With so much on offer around Perth, you really have your pickings (pun intended) of fruit to sample. Collect some mangoes at Perth Mango Farm, or oranges at Golden Grove Citrus Orchard. And for the quintessential picking experience, go for the berries at Denmark Berry Farm. If you haven’t filled up on strawberries, try some of their famous ice-cream. Contact the farms before you go – that way you can secure a booking and make sure your favourite fruit is in season.
It’s all about salmon in Tasmania Swim upstream to the salmon farms of Tasmania. Try the self-guided walking track or listen to a guided talk on a bus tour of 41 Degrees South, an inland freshwater salmon farm. Not only will you enjoy the wetlands setting and get the chance to feed the fish, you’ll also witness a complex ecosystem at work. Swing by their ginseng plantation before stocking up on smoked salmon for dinner.
Hungry for more? Check out why nine-year-old food blogger Rafferty thinks trying new foods is so important for kids when they travel. @BoundRound @BoundRound firstname.lastname@example.org www.familytravel.com.au www.familytravel.com.au / 27
w o sn ays
Think you need to travel far for a great ski holiday? Think again. Australia is home to a variety of great ski fields perfect for families, writes Sarah Hinder.
d i l ho
Despite our international reputation for sun and surf, Australia is home to a (notso) secret winter wonderland, awaiting families with both the youngest of snow bunnies to adrenaline-junkie teens. Receiving remarkable snow coverage throughout the winter season (and the best coverage in decades just this season past), skiing in Australia is a unique and action-packed experience.
in new s ale w h t u so ria & victo
Whether it’s first-time family fun at the snow or you lead a seasoned pack of skiers and snowboarders, Australia’s snow season has got you covered, from the Snowy Mountains of Kosciuszko National Park to Victoria’s Alpine High Country. With so many off-piste activities, remarkable family entertainment, and accommodation that ranges from snug dorm-style lodges to Bavarian five-star chalets, staying and playing in Australia’s best alpine resorts will leave your family with fond memories… and probably plans to come back.
Read on for our favourite family ski resorts.
n e w so u t h w a l e s Thredbo In the charming foothills of Kosciuszko National Park, Thredbo is one of the best ski resorts for kids and families. While skiers, snowboarders and snow enthusiasts flock to Thredbo during winter, summer is just as busy with hikers and mountain bikers playing on the trails around Mount Kosciuszko. Wonderful for kids, Thredbo has a range of programs for little people, including Kids Club Night Adventure (a fun night out for kids with games and bush adventures), Family Fun Night (with a kids-only flare run and fireworks show), and twilight family skiing throughout July and August. For even more adventure, Thredbo has a Snow Play Park for building snowmen, tubing and tobogganing, Thredbo Leisure Centre is fit out with a swimming pool and water slide, and Christmas in July is a fun event for families. Thredboland Ski Program offers ski and board lessons for ages three to six, adventure programs and ski camps for ages seven to 14, and childcare from six months to six years of age. Kids Ski Free packages are available for families between 10 to 23 June and 28 August to season close. And at the friendly alpine resorts in vibrant Thredbo Village, families will have no trouble seeing why this is a top-tier family alpine destination.
Perisher & Charlotte Pass The biggest alpine resort in the Southern Hemisphere spread across four fantastic ski resorts, Perisher is a renowned and vibrant destination for skiing families. From beginners right through to advanced, Perisher has slopes for all ages and skill levels. Ski lessons for kids start at three years all the way to teens and adults, while snowboarding lessons start at five years, with group lessons from seven. Perisher has a superb program of après-ski entertainment – particularly great for keeping teens entertained – with night skiing, fireworks, great restaurants, behind-the-scenes tours, tubing, tobogganing and the only winter music festival in the Snowy Mountains – Peak Music Festival. Childcare is available for six months to six years, while accommodation ranges from cosy hotels and inns to Bavarian-style chalets. Nearby Charlotte Pass, only accessible in winter by oversnow transport from Perisher, has the best snow cover of the region, with tours, a flare run for kids, all-day ski programs for kids and onesie Wednesdays (where skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to join staff and dress in their favourite onesie).
V IC T O R IA Falls creek Victoria’s largest alpine ski resort (though a third of the size of Perisher), Falls Creek retains a charming European village look and feel. There are slopes to suit every skill level, but with a huge 80 percent of terrain suitable for beginner to intermediate levels, it’s a great destination for young and first-time skiers. The resort is family-friendly with tubing, tobogganing, snowmobiles especially designed for little people, snow biking, dog sled tours, snow play and Falls Creek Museum.
“Falls Creek retains a charming European village look and feel.” Twilight Tuesdays are a family party with fire pits, marshmallow roasting, markets and Pete the Snow Dragon appearances; Thursday nights see fireworks and thrilling ski-show entertainment; and Australia’s longest beginner run is perfect for family night skiing under sparkling lights. Catering to all experience levels, group ski lessons are available from three years and boarding
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Read on for our advice on how best to tackle the fun with different ages.
Top tip for families: All-inclusive deals that include accommodation, transport, lift passes, lessons, equipment hire, and off-piste activities can be very worthwhile (particularly at the larger alpine resorts).
from six years, with childcare available from 12 weeks to five years. Accommodation ranges from superb apartments and ski lodges in the surrounding region to comfortable family hotels in the heart of Falls Creek village.
Mount Hotham & Dinner Plain The ‘powder capital of Australia’ and the highest ski resort in Victoria, Mount Hotham boasts one of the longest vertical drops in the country and stunning vistas of Victoria’s Alpine High Country. With over 40 percent of the terrain suitable for experienced skiers, the resort is perfect for adrenaline-seeking teens, while also offering an array of off-piste activities for of all ages – snow play and toboggan parks, dog sledding, snow tubing, snowmobiles, night skiing, character dances for young kids and even scenic helicopter flights.
With Australia’s only indoor ski and board training centre, Mount Hotham is great for learning basic skills before hitting the slopes. Ski and board lessons are available for all skill levels and age groups, beginning from three years, and childcare is available from three months to five years, which includes an optional ‘introduction to skiing’ program from two years. Family-friendly accommodation can be found at Davenport Village in Hotham, or in nearby Dinner Plain – gentle skiing slopes and an alpine village ideal for families just 20 minutes from the Hotham slopes.
Mount Buller Modern and diverse, Mount Buller has the largest ski lift network in Victoria. There are slopes to suit all ski levels with pro skier black runs on the south side, intermediate blue runs on the north side, and the Discovery Pass option for first-time skiers – which includes a lesson and access to eight beginner slopes.
Great for families, the resort has two toboggan parks with snowmaking machines right near cafes and restaurants, meaning parents can take a break while kids have fun. Ski programs are available from three years, snowboarding from seven years, and private lessons for the whole family. For offpiste activities there’s indoor rock climbing, dog sledding, history tours, cinemas and the National Alpine Museum. ‘Kids Stay Free’ from June to September in the friendly Mount Buller Village.
Mount Baw Baw Just two hours’ drive from Melbourne, Mount Baw Baw is smaller, cheaper and easier to get around than most of the bigger resorts. With magic carpets, toboggan fields, three snow play areas and backcountry dog sled tours, the resort is always packed with young families having fun. It’s the perfect place to learn to ski, with short and smooth runs and affordable accommodation, all found no more than 100 metres away from slopes.
Taking the whole family to the snow? @BoundRound @BoundRound email@example.com www.familytravel.com.au
With young ones in tow, look for resorts that offer easy, close access between accommodation and the snow fields – walking in ski boots is difficult for young kids and for parents carrying them. Choosing a resort with childcare facilities in a convenient location is another important consideration, as well as a solid range of engaging off-piste activities – such as tubing, tobogganing and indoor activities – for when a break from chilly weather is needed. Young kids will also enjoy playtime in the snow, from snowball fights to building snowmen.
For older kids, look for resorts with snow sports programs that cater to all levels in ageappropriate groups. Older kids new to skiing will appreciate learning to ski away from the young ones, while eight to nine is a great age to begin learning to snowboard. Resorts with a variety of activities – such as dog sledding, snow tubing, indoor events, group and evening entertainment – are ideal to keep pre-teen kids entertained.
Young kids 4–7 YEARS For young skiers, choose a resort with a snow sports school that combines learning to ski with fun après-ski activities for when kids need a break. According to experts, four to five is a great age to begin learning to ski, but regular breaks are essential to keeping things fun. Resorts with tobogganing, snow play areas, kids’ programs and plenty of activities will keep young minds engaged and enthused throughout the trip.
Teenagers 13–19 YEARS Teens will appreciate resorts specifically geared toward their needs. After-dark entertainment, social events and all manner of aprèsski activities are essential components for teens to enjoy the whole stay when the skiing day is done. Australia’s bigger resorts, such as Perisher and Thredbo, offer great terrain parks and thrilling black runs for adrenaline-seeking teens, as well as age-appropriate lessons for teens new to skiing.
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There’s something incredibly special about road trip holidays... discovering new sights, drifting through sleepy towns, and stopping often to explore. Stephanie Williams takes the family on a drive, from Exmouth to Kalbarri in beautiful Western Australia.
IMAGE: AUSTRALIA’S CORAL COAST, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
where the red dust meets the sea
“WE’RE FLYING OVER THE SWIRLING TURQUOISE AND GREY RIVER MOUTH, PRETTY PINK SALT PANS AND DUSTY RED CLIFFS.”
If you were to drive straight to Kalbarri it would take eight hours, but we’re planning on exploring for the next 10 days, with a couple of nights to relax and enjoy each town. We pick up our hire car at the airport, having a booked a 4WD with a car seat for our three year old, ready to go. Driving into Exmouth, it’s flat, expansive and sits at the gateway to Ningaloo Reef, the world’s largest fringing coral reef, rivalling it’s more famous eastern cousin in the stakes for Australia’s best reef. It’s where you can swim with whale sharks from mid-March until July, and where emus rule – they have right of way on the streets. But we’re here to see the reef, so after coffee at The Social Society Exmouth we’re on our way to Cape Range National Park. Our son is too young to snorkel, so it’s a tag team effort in the water. We’ve snorkelled before, so we head for the Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel, where the current pushes me across vibrant coral gardens with colourful reef fish popping out to say hello. Beginners will be happy in 34 / For families who travel
the bay area, and our little man loves running in and out of the clear water, chasing the occasional fish. Lakeside is a more challenging snorkel, and I’m rewarded with a graceful turtle and much bigger fish. Sunset at the Vlaming Head lighthouse is a must on the return leg. Back in Exmouth, we enjoy an early dinner at Whalers Restaurant, but not too early to miss the live music. Hubby is a diver, so before we leave town he slips out for the Exmouth Navy Pier dive, often described as an aquarium with no glass. Burning down the highway, with cliched tumbleweed and termite stacks lining the way, I begin to really unwind – the red dust is getting under my skin (and nails). Coral Bay is a tiny hamlet 120 kilometres south of Exmouth, but well worth the diversion. We check into Ningaloo Reef Resort, then spend the day exploring Bill’s Bay, a lagoonlike beach right across from our hotel. Our little guy gets in on the underwater action in the glass-bottom boat, and Daddy skips out in the afternoon to explore the dunes on quad bike. Back on dry land, we head to the only pub in town for pub fare in the grassy beer garden with a sunset view to die for. We stop in Carnarvon, the food bowl of Western Australia, to pick up supplies. Half of Australia’s bananas come from here, so it’s a feast of local fruit and fruit leathers (awesome road trip snacks) for us. We ride the Coffee Pot train to the end of One Mile Jetty,
IMAGES: AUSTRALIA’S CORAL COAST, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
Now this feels remote. Having been out of bed at a time not seen since newborn days, travelling from Sydney, we’re flying into Exmouth over the swirling turquoise and grey river mouth, pretty pink salt pans and dusty red cliffs. Exmouth is on the far tip of Western Australia (about half way up if you’re looking at a map), just over 1200 kilometres from Perth. It’s postcard stuff as we descend into Exmouth ready to start our road trip adventure south to Kalbarri.
EPIC FAMILY ROAD TRIPS SURF SYDNEY TO MELBOURNE, VIA THE COAST ROAD
THEME PARK FUN FROM BRISBANE TO BYRON BAY
DRIVE 75-MILE BEACH ON FRASER ISLAND
If you’re travelling to Tasmania on the ferry, you’ll arrive in Devonport. Discover the maritime history at the Bass Strait Maritime Centre followed by a leg-stretching session at The Bluff Park. Head toward Launceston, stopping to taste local chocolate at Anvers Chocolate, cheese and milkshakes at Ashgrove, and raspberries and ice‑cream at the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm. Stop in Launceston to hike or swim at The Gorge, then forge further south to Evandale for lunch (if you can fit it in!) in this historic colonial town. The historic highway is dotted with heritage homes such as the World Heritage Convict Sites, Brickenden Estate and Woolmer’s Estate, to explore. Closer to Hobart, call into the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, a little off the main highway, but well worth it to cuddle Tasmanian wildlife and support endangered animals.
Even though there’s a more direct route along the Hume Highway, driving the coast road will take your family on a journey through coastal towns, national parks and surf reserves, with a few tasty treats along the way. Head south from Sydney toward Shellharbour and stop at the Killalea State Reserve for a swim or surf. Explore the quaint towns of Berry and Milton and enjoy tasty fish and chips at Innes Boatshed, fresh from the ocean, or Clyde River oysters at the Wray Street Oyster Shed, shucked for you on the spot. There’s more excellent surfing to be had at Moruya, Broulee, and pretty much all down the coast to Eden. Hitting the border, a diversion to Mallacoota will offer quality fishing, kayaking and more beautiful beaches. Within reach of the city, the coastline here is dotted with weekend holiday spots such as the tiny fishing village of Metung or pretty agricultural towns like Maffra. Getting close to the big smoke now, Traralgon is the Gippsland Region’s largest town, where little kids will love a ride on the local miniature railway in Newman Park, while bigger kids will love exploring the numerous state and national parks in the surrounding area.
Set the compass south from Brisbane toward Byron Bay, stopping in at the theme parks along the way. The first stop on this short road trip is Dreamworld, the largest theme park on the Gold Coast and home to rides like Giant Drop, Tower of Terror and Buzz Saw. Little kids will love ABC Kids World (try out another car, the Wiggles Big RedCar!) and the DreamWorks Experience. Hit up Wet’n’Wild to squeal on the thrill-seeking rides or splash about in the family-friendly pools and water parks. Licensed drives and their passengers can get muddy in the Buggy area, a purpose-built adventure park for mud-loving buggies. Bring the pace back a little and feel the sand between the toes at Main Beach on the Gold Coast. Stop at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to get up close and cuddly with Australian animals. Be sure to leave time to explore Byron Bay – there’s so much to do here, for example hike the Lighthouse Track, surf like a local, explore the hinterland towns of Federal and Bangalow, and get your hippie on at the markets.
One of the shortest road trips in Australia, the sandy highway of 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island would have to be one of the most unique. You can only drive the sandy road in a 4WD and your tyres must be let down in order to cope with the terrain. The speed limit is 80 kilometres an hour and the road rules are the same as normal roads. Enter the island via ferry from Inskip Point in the south to make the most of the highway, which runs along the eastern side of the island. World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is Australia’s largest sand island at 120 kilometres long and offers so much to do for families, young and older. Along the sand highway you’ll find shipwrecks to explore, swimming holes, coloured sandy cliffs and loads of Indigenous and maritime sites of significance. You can camp at one of the beachside campsites, or trek the length of the sand highway to reach the top of the island, far from the crowds. If camping isn’t your thing, stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort. Look out for the locals: dingoes are active here and all food – and small children – need to be protected.
IMAGE: TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA: PAUL FOWLER.
TASTE YOUR WAY FROM DEVONPORT TO HOBART
which dates back to 1897, and in the afternoon take a side trip to the famed Carnarvon Blowholes to see the seawater rip through holes in the craggy red cliffs to shoot 20 metres into the air – today they’re raging, an incredible show of force from the Indian Ocean. The promise of dolphins has lured us to Monkey Mia. Dolphins are the stars here at the RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort – they swim into the beach to say hello up to three times a day. We join the morning session and I’m chosen, along with our son, to hand feed one of the friendly dolphins. Score! After lolling around the beach most of the day, we book a Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Adventure in the evening with guide ‘Capes’. Around the campfire we eat red mullet cooked by Capes over the coals and listen to the history of the traditional owners of the Gutharraguda (Shark Bay) land. Shark Bay offers plenty of exploration – particularly the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites – the oldest and largest living fossils on the earth which you can see from a series of boardwalks and viewing platforms (young kids might not take in the wow-factor here, but explaining these have been living longer than dinosaurs might help!). The last stop on our epic red dust road trip is Kalbarri, an adventure hub and old fishing town. Laying our heads at Kalbarri Edge Resort marks our road trip being on its last legs. Older kids will love abseiling in Kalbarri National Park, and all kids will love the Rainbow Jungle Maze and Kalbarri Entertainment Centre. Unfortunately, I get struck down with a mystery infection and road test the local medical services, which are basic but effective. But back on track, we head to the national park to hike to the natural rock arch of Nature’s Window and Z Bend, a beautiful lookout over the gorge with a 150-metre drop. The coastline north and south of town is littered with craggy ocean lookouts and breathtaking views and Red Bluff is where we decide to spend the last sunset of road trip – with local fish and chips and a glass of local wine. Cheers.
Need more road trip inspiration? @BoundRound @BoundRound firstname.lastname@example.org www.familytravel.com.au www.familytravel.com.au / 37
CCamping for the
WHERE TO GO For those families who want an authentic experience with basic services, there are more than 500 national parks around Australia with campgrounds. But, if you’re a sucker for comfort, there are also hundreds of holiday parks that offer pools, playgrounds and other activities for kids, which can make life easier the first time around.
WHEN TO GO
For experienced campers, preparing for a family holiday under the canvas is a breeze. Then there are the rest of us. If your family needs a little camping coaching here’s Aleney de Winter’s guide to quality camping.
School holidays are the most obvious time to head off on a camping break, but remember that campsites are likely to be packed out, so you’ll need to book well in advance. The weather is another factor to consider. If it’s too hot you might struggle to sleep, too cold and you’ll be uncomfortable too. Choosing a random weekend (i.e. not the holidays) during spring or autumn is a great way to ease yourself into the camping lifestyle.
CREATURE COMFORTS If you like the idea of sleeping under the stars, but that all sounds like too much effort, some campgrounds include pre-erected ‘glamping’ tents complete with camp beds and blankets – so you can get back to nature in comfort without lifting a finger!
IMAGE: TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
IN THE BAG Choose sleeping bags that are rated to the climate you’ll be camping in or you’ll end up with frostbite or sweating up a storm. For a good night’s sleep, it’s also worth investing in a sleeping pad or an air mattress. Another top tip is to use a sleeping bag liner, as it will keep the inside of the sleeping bag clean for longer and adds an extra few degrees to your sleeping bag when needed. On balmy nights, a liner can act as a comfy alternative when you don’t need the full down cocoon!
A family of four should look at purchasing a five or six-man tent – at a minimum – to ensure a comfortable break. Tents with separate rooms or an annex are great for families, as you can allocate space for storage as well as maintaining a clean space for sleeping. Another top tip is to choose a tent that has a shelter over the entry way; this will make a handy spot to sit in the shade or out of the wet if the weather takes a turn. However, tents don’t come cheap – so consider hiring before buying to make sure camping is right for your family.
GET PREPPED It’s not enough to just have a tent and a sleeping bag, you’re going to need a bunch of other stuff to make your camping experience a memorable one for the right reasons. There are all the usual suspects (torch, food prep equipment, foldable chairs to sit by the campfire and so on), but there are also a few things that will make life just that little bit more comfortable – such as an extra piece of rope to create a ‘washing line’ for wet swimmers in the summer; a pack of cards for the longer evenings in your campsite; and a citronella lantern to keep the bugs at bay and also provide ambient light to your site.
Want to get even more clued up about camping? Take a look at our camp packing list. @BoundRound @BoundRound email@example.com www.familytravel.com.au
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AU ST R A L I A’ S B E ST
water hol es IMAGES: TOURISM NT: PETER EVE, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA: DIRK ROHRBACH.
Escape to these water wonderlands for an experience you’ll never forget.
ABOVE: Cool off under the falls at Fern Pool in Karijini National Park in Western Australia.
LEFT: Amazing views await at the top of Gunlom Falls in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory.
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THIS PAGE: Western Australiaâ€™s expansive Lake Argyle has plenty of space for everyone to take a dip.
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IMAGES: DESTINATION NSW, TOURISM & EVENTS QUEENSLAND, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
ABOVE: Enjoy the stunning secluded beach and lagoon at Wattamolla in New South Wales.
LEFT: Lake McKenzie in Queensland is a firm favourite with stunning sand, crystal clear water and beautiful scenery.
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ABOVE: Explore the rainforest, admire the tropical butterflies, and cool off under the falls at Cedar Creek Falls in Queensland.
LEFT: Multi-tiered Florence Falls is a firm family favourite in Litchfield National Park, the Northern Territory.
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IMAGES: TOURISM & EVENTS QUEENSLAND, TOURISM NT: SHAANA MCNAUGHT AND NICK RAINS, TOURISM NT, VANESSA PALMER.
ABOVE RIGHT: Nothing compares to exploring the cooling waters of the Googong Dam in Queanbeyan in the Australian Capital Territory on a hot summer day.
RIGHT: Walk through the lush monsoonal rainforest, and cool off in Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory.
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Holidays at home No need to venture out far away from home. Get ready to explore your own city for an adventure you and the kids will talk about for years to come, writes Sarah Hinder. One of the best things about a holiday is simply staying somewhere new. Kids get just as excited about staying at a hotel as they do about the location. It’s novel, exciting, the rules and chores of home are out the door, and – if staying at a holiday resort – there are usually extravagant buffet breakfasts waiting every morning where the kids can devour whatever they like. For parents, it means all the relaxation that comes with a holiday, but someone else washes the dishes, makes the beds and takes the bin out.
There is so much to see in every Aussie city. Sometimes we get so used to living a place that we don’t really take the time to explore it. And this is what the staycation is all about – discovering how our home cities are great places not only to live – but also to holiday.
IMAGE: DESTINATION NSW: ANNA KUCERA.
With so many city hotels having great amenities, like swimming pools and games rooms, a stay in a hotel of your home city could be just the ticket for a relaxing family break, without the cost or hours in transit. And if hotel stay is outside the budget, why not make your home a holiday destination in itself – set up a tent for the kids and get creative with how you approach your day.
VISIT VICTORIA: DAVID KIRKLAND.
VISIT VICTORIA : ARTIST: PHIBS, PHOTO: ROBERTO SEBA.
DESTIANTION NSW: HAN ROHLOFF.
Getting away from the bustle of everyday life is one of the greatest parts of any holiday. And this is just as possible for holidays at home. One of the greatest things about Australia is our surplus of great open spaces and natural landscapes, meaning there are so many wonderful outdoor escapes for the whole family waiting just outside all our major cities (and often inside our cities too!).
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SOME IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED Sydney: In Sydney, try the Entertainment Quarter – bustling with activities for kids every day with plaster painting, strike bowling, laser skirmish, rollerblading, and even a Hoyts cinema. For nearby outdoor adventures try the Royal National Park and Blue Mountains, or for an indoor activity Sky Zone indoor trampolining and climbing centre (locations in Alexandria and Miranda) is a heap of fun. Try the Powerhouse Museum, The Rocks Discovery Museum and the National Maritime Museum, or for some serious action visit Luna Park, Treetop Adventure Park (locations in Abbotsbury and West Pennant Hills), or catch a ferry across Sydney Harbour. Melbourne: Taking the time to traipse through Melbourne’s laneways, its interesting shops and graffiti art, is an activity that live-in families may take for granted, but with so many unique and ever-changing hip hangouts, this can be such a fun activity for kids to do too. For indoor days, visit the Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and the bustling Queen Victoria Markets.
ATTRACTIONS & EVENTS Make a plan to explore your home city as you’ve never done before. When a visitor asks you for the top things to see and do what do you suggest? Have you done them all? Chances are there are loads of activities, events and attractions right near your home that you’ve never experienced before, or even ones that you’ve loved but haven’t yet shared with your kids. Do some research on what your home-town has to offer and then go out and get among it.
Brisbane: Get the family outdoors in Brisbane among the city’s beaches and wildlife experiences – Walkabout Creek Wildlife Centre and Boondall Wetlands Reserve are great picks for kids. Queensland Museum, Sciencentre and the creepy Boggo Road Gaol are some museum ideas to get you started.
DINE OUT An exciting family night out to dinner can be just the thing to make you feel as though you’re miles away. A great idea is to let kids take charge for the ‘gastronomy’ journey of the day. Let the kids choose all the places that you’ll eat – it’s a lot of fun and autonomy for them – and you might be surprised with the options they go with.
Perth: In Perth, take advantage of living in one of Australia’s sunniest cities by getting outside – take the family to one of the city’s renowned beaches or on a cruise along Swan River. Visit kidfriendly museums the Old Perth Gaol and Western Australian Museum, or for something different try The Nostalgia Box or Rottnest Island Museum.
Adelaide: For a staycation in Adelaide check out the activities around Adelaide Showground, Adelaide Museum, Migration Museum, and Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens. For great animal experiences try Cleland Wildlife Park, Granite Island Park or even a dolphin-watching tour just off Glenelg Beach.
“The successful staycation begins with looking at your city from a different perspective.” Hobart: Top picks for families in Hobart include the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and the buzzy Saturday Salamanca Market. For outdoor adventures, take a walk over the forest at Tahune AirWalk, explore Hastings Cave and meet Tassie Devils at Bonorong Wildlife Park. Darwin: In Darwin, cool off at Leanyer Recreation Park, explore the exciting attractions around the Waterfront, discover the city’s fascinating history at Darwin Military Museum, and set off on an adventure to see crocs jumping out of Adelaide River. And importantly, get out into the wild Kakadu National Park – it’s right on your doorstep! In the end, the successful staycation begins with looking at your city from a different perspective. Using this fresh lens to view your home city, it’s guaranteed there is so much to explore and entertain right in your own city’s backyard.
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EASY ACCESS Travelling with a mobility restriction – or a wheelchair – is no barrier when it comes to enjoying Australia’s many diverse attractions and destinations, writes Julie Jones.
Whether adrenaline-fuelled escapades are your pick, or a relaxed holiday is more your style, there’s a holiday to suit. Floating in a hot-air balloon, discovering Indigenous rock art and glamping at a zoo, are just a few of the holiday experiences accessible to all. Here, some of the best around the country.
ACCESSIBLE BALLOONING: Global Ballooning Australia has an accessible experience over Melbourne in their speciallydesigned basket. Unlike traditional hot-air balloon baskets, the Easy Access Basket has a door, providing guests with a manageable way to enter and exit. As wheelchairs can’t ride in the basket, it has been fitted with customised seating, harnesses and a grab rail for a supportive ride.
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SYDNEY Sydney’s harbour is a magnet for locals and visitors alike, with the Opera House offering world-class entertainment (and an accessible behind-the-scenes tour), scenic foreshore walks, and the beach culture of Manly only a short ferry ride away.
Melbourne’s laneways and dining scene is renowned, but many visitors may not be aware it is home to Australia’s first Easy Access Basket hot-air balloon.
IMAGES: JULIE JONES, VISIT VICTORIA: ROBERT BLACKBURN.
BAY ADVENTURES: Many of Melbourne’s bay areas have beach wheelchairs and matting available to make access easier. Williamstown, Altona, Mt Martha and St Kilda Beaches all have these facilities during lifeguard patrol hours.
GLAMPING AT TARONGA ZOO: Taronga Zoo offers visitors the option of a sleep-over as the sun goes down. Roar and Snore is an overnight glamping experience, which includes sleeping in an accessible tent at the zoo, dinner, a night-time tour of the zoo, a hands-on animal experience and a behind-the-scenes tour. SYDNEY BEACHES: Some beaches offer a beach wheelchair that visitors can borrow. Bondi Beach in the east; Collaroy, Bilgola, Newport and Manly Beach in the north; and Maroubra and Cronulla in the south; all offer this service. Just see the lifeguards during patrol hours for assistance.
ADELAIDE Adelaide may be known for its wine country and food scene, but Adelaide Zoo offers unique animal encounters for all abilities. ADELAIDE ZOO: The zoo is accessible throughout with easy viewing of popular attractions, such as the pandas through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The variety of accessible animal encounters is extra special with giraffe feeding, the opportunity to interact with a hippopotamus, and a wheelchairaccessible squirrel monkey encounter. www.familytravel.com.au / 51
TROPICAL NORTH QLD
Tips for booking an accessible holiday • If booking through a travel agent, make sure they have a good understanding of your needs by providing clear information regarding your accessibility requirements. For example, tell them if you require a step-free shower and explain the assistance you’ll need if flying to your destination.
From the rainforest to the reef, Tropical North Queensland has a diverse range of accessible activities. SKYRAIL: Riding high in a gondola (suitable for most manual wheelchairs) for the 7.5-kilometre ride from the Smithfield Terminal to Kuranda Village on the Skyrail, allows visitors time to enjoy views to the coast while appreciating the World Heritage rainforest below. Free ranger-led talks are offered along the accessible boardwalk through the rainforest.
The spiritual heart of Australia is a must-see. Although Uluru is the headline act, the West MacDonnell Ranges are not to be missed. ULURU: With wheelchair-accessible paths and viewing platforms, everyone can get close to Indigenous rock paintings and spiritual sites. For motor-loving enthusiasts, a trike ride is a fast paced and comfortable way to tour Uluru with a guide. Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular here, so pack a picnic and watch the show with tourists from all over the world. ALICE SPRINGS: Alice Springs has a range of accessible attractions to explore – including the School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service – where visitors can learn about the challenges of providing schooling and medical services to people in the outback. Alice Springs Desert Park is a 10-minute drive from town and showcases three desert habitats and a variety of birdlife, plants and wildlife. Wheelchair accessible seating is available for the popular free-flight bird show. THE WEST MACDONNELL RANGES: This beautiful mountain range is easily accessible from Alice. The deep orange ochre colours of the peaks, the red soil, and the contrast of the blue sky makes for stunning scenery on the accessible walks at Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Big Hole and Ormiston Gorge. 52 / For families who travel
KURANDA SCENIC RAILWAY: The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a slower way to travel to Kuranda, but has a wheelchair-accessible carriage suitable for all wheelchairs and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rainforest. The train stops along the way so guests can appreciate views of the famous Barron Gorge.
Tasmania’s wealth of natural beauty draws visitors who want to explore a pristine wilderness. TAHUNE AIRWALK & CABLE HANG GLIDING: Here visitors can walk above the forest canopy or cable hang glide across the Huon River. The 600-metre accessible walkway ends at a spectacular cantilevered platform, 50 metres above where the waters of the Huon and Picton Rivers meet. For adrenaline-seekers, a 250-metre ride on the Cable Eagle Hang Glider will take you 50 metres above the Huon River before allowing you to glide back to where you started at a cracking pace of 40 kilometres per hour. Visitors need to be able to transfer from their wheelchair to the supportive harnessed seating.
GREEN ISLAND: Green Island is only a 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns. On the island you can swim at the lifeguardpatrolled beach, wander around via accessible pathways, or hop in a helicopter to see the Great Barrier Reef from the air. Speaking with Quicksilver (boat transfer to Green Island) regarding your mobility needs is recommended. Depending on tide levels there may be a few steps at the end of the gangway on to the jetty. PALM COVE BEACH: This beach wheelchair available to use for free from the lifeguard tower on The Esplanade.
Looking for more accessible travel ideas? @BoundRound @BoundRound email@example.com www.familytravel.com.au
IMAGES: JULIE JONES.
TASMAZIA: Although most of us aim to not get lost on holidays, the wonderfully whimsical Tasmazia is the perfect place to do so. With a total of eight mazes (most accessible) and the model Village of Lower Crackpot, adults and children can happily lose themselves in the fantasy world.
• Ask plenty of questions when booking a hotel and don’t be afraid to ask for a photo of a room or bathroom if you are unsure it will be suitable. Many hotels will provide a shower chair, but if you need specific equipment, travel with your own. • Speak with an airline’s special handling department before flying. Provide details of any equipment you’ll be travelling with and have your wheelchair’s dimensions handy (needed for manual chairs). The staff will need to know what type of battery your power chair has if you are taking one on the flight. • Choose a destination with a good range of accessible activities to ensure the whole family can enjoy the trip. • Get a quote for travel insurance prior to booking and paying for your trip to make sure any existing medical conditions will be covered.
Discounts & concessions • It’s worthwhile applying for the Australian Companion Card (if applicable) as it offers free carer entry to many shows, tourist attractions and theme parks. • The Qantas Carer Concession Card (must apply and purchase the card) offers discounts to passengers who need a companion to travel with. This includes discounts on domestic flights. • The MLAK key (can be purchased at a Master Locksmith on presentation of your accessible parking permit) provides access to locked accessible public bathrooms and Liberty Swings (wheelchair swing). • Most domestic airlines allow passengers with a disability to travel with the regular baggage allowance plus one piece of mobility equipment. • And lastly, make sure you pack a positive attitude. Travel does have its challenges, but a successful holiday creates memories which last a lifetime. www.familytravel.com.au / 53
RAINY DAY ADVENTURES
RAINY DAY ADVENTURES
CHASING RAINBOWS IN TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND Rain shouldn’t stop play. In fact, as former local Carla Grossetti discovers, there are many ways to have a happy holiday while visiting the Wet Tropics.
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But what I was also reminded of was that the warm air means you can choose between the romance of being outdoors when the tropical rain falls in torrents or remain high and dry under shelter. Many of my favourite childhood memories involve the sweet smell of wet earth and the feeling of being consumed by Jurassic foliage during my regular forays into the forest. Fast forward a few decades and I now have a husband and two teenage city boys in tow, who require a little more convincing to get out of their comfort zone and join me on
a jaunt into the jungle as the rain hammers down. We have been here a few days and there has been a deluge of rain, so we don our hiking boots and weatherproof jackets and dive straight down the boardwalk that snakes through the pristine swamp forest and melaleuca wetlands of Centenary Lakes. The boys are quick to agree: there’s no better place to be when it rains than in the middle of a rainforest. While the sky above has a depressing grey pallor, down here it’s a Dulux colour chart showcasing 77 shades of green. We spot green tree frogs, moss carpeted over every surface and fungi
sprouting out of fallen logs. The Tanks Arts Centre is nearby and, after wriggling out of our wet-weather gear, we lope around the exhibition space housed in concrete tanks, which the Royal Australian Navy built in 1944 to use for the storage of crude furnace oil. IMAGES: CARLA GROSSETTI.
In my hometown of Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland, you can distinguish the locals from the tourists because the locals don’t carry umbrellas. If rain is forecast, they know only too well that it is likely to be over shortly after it has begun. Even when the skies are truly chucking down buckets, said locals can be seen darting across rain-lashed roads minus an umbrella and raincoat. Of course, not everybody is a weather-hardened Ninja Warrior and, after a recent visit to my home town, I realised I’d outed myself as an outsider by choosing to wield a brolly during a downpour rather than resemble a drowned rat.
“Many of my favourite childhood memories involve the sweet smell of wet earth and the feeling of being consumed by Jurassic foliage during my regular forays into the forest.”
When we realise it is forecast to drizzle again on day three, we book a half-day trip to Fitzroy Island where we jump right in again, flippers first. As the clouds momentarily part,
the colours bloom: we see sea turtles, trigger fish, parrot fish, grey reef sharks and – my favourite – manta rays. Snorkelling in warm tropical seas is exhilarating. Over the next few days, we decide to take shelter from the rain, enjoying a decadent high tea at Coco’s Restaurant at the Pullman Cairns International and a visit to Cairns Zoom, where we join our fellow thrill-seekers zip-lining over resident wildlife, including the giant crocodile, Goliath.
Regardless of whether the sky is blue or grey, one of the hottest attractions in Cairns is Rusty’s Market, where you will find a hodgepodge of stalls, vendors singing in Italian, fruity smells wafting through the humidity, and a crush of backpackers, bikers and hippies. It’s here at the market that you’ll understand that a bit of wet weather in Cairns doesn’t stop play and the city is lovely, rain or shine.
www.familytravel.com.au / 55
RAINY DAY ADVENTURES
RAINY DAY ADVENTURES
AROUND THE COUNTRY
CAGE OF DEATH DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY
Australia’s only crocodile-dive experience will make you forget all about the grey skies.
Here are some great rainy-day activities around Australia that will help beat your weather woes.
SPRING HILL BATHS BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND
Conquer cabin fever with a few lazy laps at Brisbane’s first in-ground pool, built in 1886.
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Beat the rainy-day blues at this interactive science museum, which includes a planetarium.
Keep the family high and dry at this shrine to good food and coffee, which is housed in an old power station.
ADELAIDE CENTRAL MARKETS ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
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Rain, schmain. South Australia’s premier food hub is under cover and a great place to while away the day.
MONA HOBART, TASMANIA
Eat yourself stupid at The Source while watching the rain hit the wall-sized windows and then tumble down the rabbithole into the Museum of Everything.
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
The mood is always sunny during the Creative Play activities aimed at little artists held during the school holidays.
Keen for the kids to learn something while holidaying? Sarah Hinder narrows down the best museums, galleries and exhibitions to explore. Australia is a fantastic place to immerse kids in culture and the arts, with world-class familyfriendly museums and galleries found in all our major cities around Australia. Exposing kids to cultural domains at a young age is a wonderful way to foster inquisitive minds and creativity, to encourage experimentation, and is an all-round great way to get kids engaged with their learning. It’s clear that interactivity is key when it comes to engaging kids with arts and culture. This trend is strong and growing across Australia’s capital cities, with ever-increasing school holiday
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programs, workshops, and exhibitions that are dedicated to children’s interactivity. Here, we’ve collaborated some of the best options around Australia.
Mad scientist labs Engaging, informative and superchild-friendly, Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum is the quintessential hangout for curious young minds. The museum is home to learningcentric workshops ranging from robotics and coding, video editing and photography, to virtual reality simulation. Ages under 16 enter for free,
and courses are run during school holidays. The connected Sydney Observatory and Planetarium is an absolute delight for children and adults alike! A source of wonder and knowledge, the Observatory holds early night tours designed for families. The Questacon museum in Canberra is all about making discovery fun. It is one of the most innovative in Australia – simply because their exhibits are so much fun for kids (and adults too!). Permanent exhibitions focus on the
The Western Australian Medical Museum is a quirky haunt, where kids learn about all aspects of Western Australia’s medical history – Aboriginal medicine, nurses during wartime, The Royal Flying Doctor Service, early hospital artefacts and more. The Nostalgia Box is a video game and console museum where families learn about the evolution of video game consoles and get to play classic games.
Families will love a day at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney’s Darling
DESTINATION NSW: JAMES HORAN.
In Melbourne, this highlyinteractive museum is all about the kids. Free for ages under 16, Scienceworks hosts ever-changing exhibitions and workshops that excite young minds. Upcoming exhibits include LEGO robotics, coding, lasers, astronomy, sports and climate change. Incorporating a hands-on environment, kids can race a simulation of Olympic runner Cathy Freeman, attend exhilarating lightning shows, and enter a simulation of our solar system at Melbourne Planetarium.
was like in Sydney’s Rocks neighbourhood, from the time of its Aboriginal traditional custodians to the present day. Set in a resorted 1850s sandstone warehouse, the immersive museum is great for the whole family.
TOURISM NT: SHAANA MCNAUGHT.
elements, classic sciences and experimentation. School holiday workshops are run for young people – on rockets, 3D design, robotics and game modelling.
Darwin Military Museum
Get lost in history The family-friendly and free The Rocks Discovery Museum is home to archaeological artefacts and exhibits that demonstrate what life
TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND: DARREN JEW.
Questacon www.familytravel.com.au / 59
Harbour. Every exhibition is brought to life with activities for kids to learn through participation. Families climb aboard historic vessel replicas, escape from Pompeii, through self-led activity trails and receive activity backpacks to help them interact along the way. The school holidays bring new hands-on workshops and performances for families, or the option of vacation care programs for kids aged five to 12.
Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum features exact replications of the huts of Sir Douglas Mawson, the prominent Antarctic Explorer, who set sail from Hobart. The museum is insightful and interactive – a great exploration for both kids and parents.
DESTINATION NSW: NORTH SULLIVAN.
Darwin Military Museum captures the fascinating history of Darwin’s involvement during WWII. Encouraging all members of the family to learn about this important history, exhibits
Australian National Maritime Museum 60 / For families who travel
include the Japanese raids that were kept secret from the Australian public and dramatic footage of Darwin being bombed during WWII. The stories of Queenslanders, from dinosaurs to the present day, is made excellently entertaining at family-friendly Queensland Museum. Their Wild State Exhibition explores the unique habitats of Queensland’s animals through taxidermy. In the Discovery Centre, kids investigate all manner of critters and scientific discoveries. There are dedicated areas for young children and special events and programs for families run throughout the school holidays. In the remote town of Laura, Cape York, Jarramali Rock Art Tours connect families to the rich stories of Aboriginal history and culture. Led by a Kuku Yalanji traditional owner as guide, families take a 4WD tour and historical exploration of the important Quinkan Rock Art sites – an unforgettable experience surrounded by remote Australian landscape. The Railway Museum at Bassendean in Perth tells the story of all railway systems across the state through interactive exhibits, artefacts and photos. The Rottnest Island Museum, built by Aboriginal prisoners in 1857, has fascinating exhibits on island history, marine wrecks,
“IN THE REMOTE TOWN OF LAURA, CAPE YORK, JARRAMALI ROCK ART TOURS CONNECT FAMILIES TO THE RICH STORIES OF ABORIGINAL HISTORY AND CULTURE.” European settlement and the island’s Aboriginal prisoners. At the Migration Museum in Adelaide, kids learn about immigration and what life was like in the 19th and 20th centuries. A range of activities are scattered throughout the museum, and special programs are run during the school holidays.
Arts & crafts World-class art gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney, has wonderful programs aimed at engaging young people with art – their Art Baby ‘mums-and-bubs’ tours, Art Play interactive artwork room, Art Safari museum journeys and craft making are among what’s on for families. School holiday programs are run with workshops in art-making, writing and performance. There are always exhibitions and film screenings on at Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, designed with young people in mind. The first Sunday of every month is
‘Family Sunday’ – the perfect combination of learning and entertainment, with exhibits in filmmaking and animation, video making competitions and family films screened in the museum cinemas. The first Sunday of each month, The Art Gallery of South Australia holds their START at the Gallery, a free event that introduces kids to visual art through art activities, live entertainment and interactive tours. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) has dedicated programs for families on Indigenous culture, art, history and natural history. Kid‑friendly projects include the Young Collectors exhibition and Discovery Backpacks designed to help families explore the museum in an engaging way, as well as school holiday workshops and learning programs for kids aged under five.
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Not only is bushwalking a great bonding and memorable experience for the whole family, it equips young people (and older ones too!) with appreciation for nature and wildlife, writes Sarah Hinder. Spending time outdoors offers young people the opportunity to experience Australia’s unique, diverse and spectacular landscape. Plus, it provides a chance for families to spend time together, away from the bustling, screen-filled environment of everyday life. For kids and teens, the chance to get out of their fast-paced environments and surround themselves with the sights and smells of the Australian bush, is a grounding and worthwhile experience. Bushwalking offers an opportunity to unwind and to relieve stress – because sometimes we all need to take a step back, marvel at nature, and appreciate that this world is a huge place, bigger than us.
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0-4 YEAR OLDS ROYAL NATIONAL PARK, NEW SOUTH WALES Wattamolla is a lovely protected beach and lagoon, located an easy walk through the Royal National Park. It’s great for picnics and playing around the beach, with a shallow lagoon perfect for young kids.
LAKE ST CLAIR, TASMANIA The trails around Lake St Clair are a wonderful introduction to young bushwalkers. The moss-covered Enchanted Walk traipses along an easy boardwalk, has ‘kids-only’ tunnels with information, and beautiful waterfalls to ogle along the way.
TOURISM TASMANIA: JASON CHARLES HILL.
TOURISM NT: PETER EVE.
BEST BUSHWALKS BEST BUSHWALKS
5-8 YEAR OLDS BLUE MOUNTAINS, NEW SOUTH WALES There are countless trails and scenic lookouts from which to take in the spectacular Blue Mountains. One of the best ways to explore with kids is to embark on The Great Round Walk, for its sweeping views of the Three Sisters, Jamison Valley and Katoomba Falls, and a visit to Scenic World for a ride on the world’s steepest train.
NOURLANGIE ROCK ART WALK, NORTHERN TERRITORY Of the 5000 identified Aboriginal Cultural Rock Art sites in Kakadu National Park, Nourlangie Rock is one of the most pristine and important public sites. The trail around Nourlangie Rock encompasses a moderate two-hour walk featuring rare and fascinating Aboriginal rock art along the way.
TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND: DARREN JEW.
DESTINATION NSW: HAMILTON LUND.
9-12 YEAR OLDS CAPE TO CAPE TRACK, WESTERN AUSTRALIA Day hikes along the famous Cape to Cape Track are fascinating for older kids. For a great day hike along the Margaret River, the Redgate Beach to Boranup Forest track encompasses crashing waves, surfers, cliffs and forest.
KAKADU NATIONAL PARK, NORTHERN TERRITORY A highlight in the World Heritagelisted Kakadu National Park is the Bardedjilidji Walk along East Alligator River – an interesting track with woodlands, monsoon vine forests and wetlands, plus the option of a guided tour to learn about Indigenous Rock Art and Aboriginal people who once sheltered in the caves along the way. Jim Jim Falls is one of Kakadu’s iconic sites, a 200-metre high waterfall and great spot for swimming during the wet season.
TEENS THE GREAT OCEAN WALK, VICTORIA The Great Ocean Walk, along the south coast of Victoria, is an epic adventure. The Twelve Apostles, Great Otway National Park and the Grotto are major highlights. There’s the option of day walks – try Princetown to the Twelve Apostles – or multi-day walks and camping – Milanesia Beach to Gibson Steps and Shelley Beach to Cape Otway Lighthouse are among the best.
DAINTREE RAINFOREST, QUEENSLAND In Tropical North Queensland, the Daintree Rainforest is a world-class gem for naturelovers. It’s home to some extreme wilderness for hiking such as along the Mount Sorrow Ridge Trail, but also has various other walks for all bushwalking levels. Myall Beach to Cape Tribulation Beach, the Dubuji Boardwalk and Marrdja Botanical Walk are popular self-guided trails. www.familytravel.com.au / 63
GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK, VICTORIA The Grampians National Park has trained volunteers who can assist visitors with the TrailRider. The Grampians are an unforgettable hiking experience, home to rugged mountains, fern-filled gorges and spectacular waterfalls.
BUCHAN CAVE, VICTORIA Although most caves are inaccessible to wheelchairs, inside Buchan Cave their electric stair-climber allows children and light adults (up to 60kgs) to explore the magnificent limestone formations and underground rivers of the Fairy Cave.
MUOGAMARRA NATURE RESERVE, NEW SOUTH WALES During Spring, Muogamarra Nature Reserve comes alive with wildflowers in full bloom. Home to native animals, Aboriginal rock art and spectacular lookouts and scenery. The TrailRider and Hippocampe are available for hire in Muogamarra during this time.
KAMAY BOTANY BAY NATIONAL PARK, NEW SOUTH WALES Rich in Aboriginal culture, this historic walk encompasses coastal views and whale-watching opportunities in a TrailRider-accessible environment.
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The TrailRider is an innovative piece of equipment allowing people with mobility restrictions to access walking tracks that aren’t wheelchair accessible, even those with stairs. Between two to four people can use the handles to guide the rider along the tracks. The Hippocampe is another all-terrain wheelchair, great for use on the beach.
MT FIELD NATIONAL PARK, TASMANIA The renowned Russell Falls are an absolute highlight of the park, accessible by wheelchair. The trails throughout Mt Field National Park encompass scenic views and opportunities to spot wildlife.
WIRELESS HILL PARK, WESTERN AUSTRALIA Alive with wildflowers during spring, the trails around Wireless Hill Park boast terrific views of Swan River and the city of Perth.
BANROCK STATION WETLANDS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA These beautifully-restored wetlands are accessible by boardwalk, feature abundant wildlife and insights into the wetlands’ significant role in the River Murray system.
HALLETT COVE CONSERVATION PARK, SOUTH AUSTRALIA Recently renovated to allow all modes of accessibility, Hallett Cove is home to an outstanding Aboriginal cultural and geological site surrounded by impressive coastal views.
More great hiking options around Australia NEW SOUTH WALES Cliff Top Walking Track, Blue Mountains for heart-racing views across the Grose Valley, rare black cockatoo and king parrot sightings, wildflowers during spring and stunning waterfalls. Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park for its waterfalls and canyon views along The Falls walk and abundant wildlife. Kosciuszko National Park for snow, caves, spectacular views and Australia’s highest peak. Dorrigo National Park for some of the most diverse rainforest on earth, stunning skywalks and waterfalls.
QUEENSLAND D’Aguilar National Park for its diversity of subtropical rainforest, eucalypt woodlands and remote gorges. Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk to be entirely immersed in nature by Gondwana Rainforest and its mysterious ancient volcano. Tamborine National Park for incredible lookouts, waterfalls, swimming holes and kids’ playgrounds throughout.
NORTHERN TERRITORY Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park for absorbing the ethereal and sacred Indigenous landscape around Uluru. MacDonnell Ranges National Park for incredible bushwalks through quartzite rock chasms and Indigenous significance.
Narawntapu National Park for one of the best and most reliable places to view free-roaming wildlife in Tasmania and superb coastal views. Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park for stunning white beaches surrounded by lush green forests, pristine waters, bird‑watching, and diverse options for short or full-day walks. Tarkine Rainforest for day walks and boutique accommodation surrounded by ancient untouched rainforest. Overland Track for an epic six-day trek across some of the most spectacular and diverse landscapes on the planet, including glaciers, alpine and eucalypt forests, waterfalls and snow-capped mountains.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA Serpentine Falls Walk for a serene stroll around and above the cascades, and option to take a dip below the Falls. Bibbulmun Track for one of the world’s longest walking trails, across forest, coastline and heathlands. The Walpole to Denmark or Denmark to Albany sections are great picks for kids.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA Kaiki Walk, Granite Island for exploring the island home to penguins, whale-watching and iconic granite boulders, along an accessible trail. Southern Flinders Ranges for its rugged, dreamlike landscape, incredible views and magnificent wildlife. Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail for a five-day trek around the coastline and cliffs of Kangaroo island, wildlife encounters, or the Hanson Bay Hike for a day walk.
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TOURISM TASMANIA: DANIEL TRAN.
BEST BUSHWALKS FOR ACCESSIBILITY
TOURISM NT: MITCHELL COX.
COPYRIGHT SATC: ADAM BRUZZONE.
IN THE AIR
IN THE AIR
FLYING WITH KIDS
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Flying with a family has become the new norm, but that doesn’t mean your kids are going to make it easy. Jac Taylor shares some of her tips to make it easy for them to make it easy for you to fly like a (family) boss.
3–5 YEAR OLDS
6–8 YEAR OLDS
9–12 YEAR OLDS
As a general rule, under 2s don’t have a seat booked, but spend take-off and landing in their carer’s lap with a seatbelt extension and can travel in a plane-fitted bassinet when allowed. Check whether your infant needs their own ticket – rules can be different depending on the airline and whether it is a domestic or international flight. If you are happy to spend the extra money, consider booking an extra seat for your infant and bringing their rear-facing car seat/bassinet (which needs to be pre-approved with the airline). You also get exceptions to the liquids and gels security rules to bring baby food and drinks. Feed bubs on take-off and landing to equalise their ear pressure and minimise discomfort.
Now the fun begins! Invest in a pair of kids’ headphones (that limit volume so your child doesn’t get deafened by every captain’s announcement) and relax your screen-time/movie rules. A soft bag of new little mini-toys, each introduced at the first sign of chaos, is a lifesaver. For a longhaul flight, a journey-breaking stopover means a bed for the night, but also the whole check-in rigmarole – your choice. A whole range of foot hammocks, inflatable legs-up cube pillows and the very comfy-looking BedBox temporarily made flying with this age group so much easier, but don’t count on them as their use will depend on the airline’s discretion.
Time to kit them up: a cute neck pillow, eye mask and mini carry‑on, and they’ll be strutting (and you might even score some sleep – this age actually have a chance of sleeping on a red-eye flight). Look out for special frequent-flyer program passports and activity books, as well as on-board activity packs (of varying usefulness). Lounge access can be worth the money to combat extreme airport restlessness and big growing appetites, with some lounges offering special kids’ zones. A fully loaded iPad or tablet with headphones is a great idea, as is checking ahead whether your plane will have in-seat USB charging available – don’t forget to bring your charging cables and perhaps a powerbank. But keep in mind that rules do often change with flights, so get your Eye-Spy game on.
Have more than one child? Bring a headphone splitter for maximum peace and tranquility. Bring a swag of snacks to not only combat hunger but boredom, some sweets to suck on for their ears to equalise, and an extra plastic bag for rubbish. This age is fine with the bathroom, so encourage hydrating as much as you can, as well as a shoes-on policy for bathroom trips. Some airlines have a child-lock on inappropriate movies as well as use of the onboard paid wifi – worth exploring to avoid a $600 call to a mate. Even a pre-teen can get bored of movies, so bring some post-its and a pen to play Who Am I/20 Questions, a deck of cards for Fish, Rummy or Patience, and mini magnetic games such as Scrabble can burn up hours.
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9–12 MARCH, ADELAIDE
WOMADELAIDE WOMADelaide is a celebration in Adelaide’s Botanic Park showcasing the best of music, dance, culture and arts, with an entire KidZone of dedicated kid-friendly entertainment and a program of artists performing just for kids.
Australia is home to a kaleidoscope of wonderful family-friendly events. Check out this line-up to keep the whole family entertained.
29 MARCH–2 APRIL, CANBERRA
26 JANUARY, LATROBE
MONA FOMA (MOFO) All about music and the arts, this festival run by MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) will feature free events and street parties in Launceston, then moves down to Hobart for ‘Mofo at Mona’ event.
HENLEY-ON-MERSEY This family-fun Australia Day event in Tassie is home to Australia’s annual madcap ferret race, egg-throwing, cherry-spitting, triathlon and a novelty children’s fitness arena. It’s a festival steeped in tradition and fun.
CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL IN DARLING HARBOUR Live entertainment, interactive performances, competitions, and an evening lights and pyrotechnics show are just the beginning of what’s on at this free Australia Day event for kids in Darling Harbour.
RAINBOW SERPENT FESTIVAL Artistic and welcoming to all, the Rainbow Serpent Festival is suitable for the whole family. Along with its showcase of music, the arts and Indigenous culture, the Kids Space hosts fun activities and performances. There is even a family-friendly camping area away from night-time activities.
11 FEBRUARY, MELBOURNE
ST KILDA FESTIVAL 28 JANUARY, MELBOURNE
VICTORIA STREET LUNAR FESTIVAL At this vibrant, cultural celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, lion and dragon dancers parade the streets, Asian cuisines and culture are showcased at over 100 stalls, and there are free family activities around Victoria Street in Richmond.
13–21 JANUARY, ADELAIDE
BUPA FAMILY RIDE/ SANTOS TOUR DOWN UNDER The Bupa Family Ride invites families to ride together on the UCI World Tour tracks, while the Bupa Mini Tour is just for kids to ride the tracks on their own, just hours before the cycling pros of the Santos Tour. It’s all a part of the Santos Tour Down Under Family Day events dedicated to fun, cycling and families.
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WESTBURY IRISH FESTIVAL This traditional family festival celebrates all things Irish through interesting displays, market stalls, daylong entertainment, Gaelic Football matches, rides and games.
Australia’s biggest skateboarding competition will be held in Bondi over two days this February. Pro skaters from around the world will compete and there are also competitions for intermediate skaters, juniors and just for skater girls.
Australia’s largest free summer celebration with entertainment from Australian artists across multiple stages, sports, dancers, carnival rides, workshops, poster design competition, buskers and a whole range of family entertainment.
NATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL A celebration of traditional and contemporary folk life, this vibrant family festival is designed to inspire, enliven and entertain all ages, with a KidzFest area to keep young ones entertained.
15 APRIL, DERWENT VALLEY
17–18 FEBRUARY, BONDI
26–29 JANUARY, LEXTON 26 JANUARY, SYDNEY
17 MARCH, WESTBURY
Presented by Bamboozled productions, Stirling Fringe festival is set to run for its second year this coming March. The family-friendly event features live entertainment, performances, music, games, local food and craft stalls.
2–19 MARCH, COTTESLOE
SCULPTURE BY THE SEA Along Perth’s iconic Cottesloe Beach, a beautiful three-week sculpture park is created, featuring over 70 Australian and international artists from over 16 countries.
10–18 MARCH, CANBERRA
CANBERRA BALLOON SPECTACULAR At one of the best and longest running hot-air ballooning events in the world, more than 30 hot-air balloons take to Canberra’s skies each morning at sunrise.
DERWENT VALLEY AUTUMN FESTIVAL Celebrating all that Tasmania’s Derwent Valley community has to offer, the festival features four entertainment stages, market stalls, family attractions and carnival rides, all to the backdrop of Valley’s stunning autumn colours.
23–25 FEBRUARY, CANBERRA
ACTEWAGL ROYAL CANBERRA SHOW
16 FEBRUARY–4 MARCH, SYDNEY
SYDNEY CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL Traditional lion dancers and red fire crackers kick off the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, a 1000-year-old Chinese tradition. Originating in Chinatown, the free annual event now extends across Sydney Harbour in an international celebration of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean cultures.
17 FEBRUARY, MELBOURNE
WHITE NIGHT At this free event for all ages, the entire city of Melbourne comes to life for a night with light displays, musicians, street performances, film screening and extended open hours throughout the city.
The Royal Canberra Show is all about entertainment and education. With rides, show bags, trade displays, pavilions, animals, live entertainment and fireworks, there’s something for every age at the annual show. IMAGES: COPYRIGHT SATC, DESTINATION NSW, VISITCANBERRA.
12–2 JANUARY, LAUNCESTON & HOBART
2–12 MARCH, ADELAIDE HILLS
23 FEBRUARY–4 MARCH, STANTHORPE
APPLE & GRAPE HARVEST FESTIVAL STANTHORPE This iconic free festival, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Brisbane, is 10 days of colourful street carnivals, multicultural and harvest celebrations. Highlights include the Grand Parade, street entertainers, live music, fireworks and the annual Grape Crush (think Tomatina).
23 MARCH–3 APRIL, SYDNEY
SYDNEY ROYAL EASTER SHOW The country comes to the city at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Experience farm animal encounters, outback and wood-chopping demonstrations, arts and crafts pavilions, fresh produce displays, thrilling rides, sideshows and epic evening entertainment.
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7–22 JULY, BATHURST
3 JUNE, DARWIN
BATHURST WINTER FESTIVAL
TERRITORY TASTE FESTIVAL 20–22 APRIL, FAIRBRIDGE
FAIRBRIDGE FESTIVAL Western Australia’s most popular family camping festival celebrates folk, world and roots music. Featuring an entire children’s program and youth program, the inclusive event ensures that every age is a part of the fun.
22 JULY, DARWIN
SNOW TIME IN THE GARDEN
ULURU CAMEL CUP This exciting annual Northern Territory outback festival features camel races, fashions on the field, and an outback BBQ in a family-friendly environment.
4 MAY, GEELONG
GEELONG AFTER DARK Light installations, street performances and art light up the streets of Geelong in this annual artistic celebration.
25 MAY–17 JUNE, SYDNEY
VIVID SYDNEY The city of Sydney is set to light up again this coming winter for the brightest event of the season, with free events and light displays across the city and Harbour. There’s so much for families to experience, from silent disglows to colourful night markets to exotic light installation forests.
23 JUNE, KATOOMBA
VESAK FESTIVAL OF LIGHT
WINTER MAGIC FESTIVAL
A multicultural celebration of peace and harmony inspired by Buddha, the Festival of Light features traditional cultural performances, workshops, vegetarian cuisine, and a beautiful coloured light show projected onto the Great Stupa.
At this free annual event, families and artists dress in costume and head to the Blue Mountains for a day of festival food stalls, a spectacular grand parade and fireworks.
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29 JUNE–15 JULY, TASMANIA
HEART OF GOLD FESTIVAL This week-long celebration of arts and culture in Western Australia’s goldfields includes performances, workshops, theatre and a focus on community.
FESTIVAL OF VOICES The festival that transforms Tasmania’s towns into singing cities – this wintery event features choir and musical performances, workshops and lively events across the state, including the iconic City of Hobart Big Sing Bonfire.
The renowned can-and-milk container recycling event features kids’ competitions, races for all ages, a build-a-boat challenge and Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.
9–12 AUGUST, MOUNT ISA JULY, WARRNAMBOOL
FUN4KIDS FESTIVAL WARRNAMBOOL At this five-day children’s festival in regional Victoria, kids take part in themed workshops, games, activities and interactive performances.
20 MAY, BENDIGO
Skate the beachside ice rink, watch ice show performances and ride the 32-metre high Bondi Eye Ferris wheel at this pop-up winter event.
8–10 JUNE, BARUNGA
From rural displays and farmyard animals to motocross and monster trucks, this countrythemed family event has something to entertain all ages.
BONDI WINTER MAGIC
In the beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens, this pop-up winter wonderland comes to life for three weeks over the winter school holidays. Families skate on the ice rink, go ice tobogganing, build snowmen, play arcade games and brave the giant slide.
This celebration of Indigenous community life and history is all about music, sport and culture. With its didgeridoo competitions, storytelling, sporting competitions, musical performances and dedicated children’s activities – the festival is a much-loved Territory event.
18–20 MAY, BRISBANE
MOUNT ISA MINES ROTARY RODEO Four days of rodeo action, rock ‘n’ roll and outback competitions come to this mining town for their 60th Diamond Jubilee Rodeo event. Not to be missed are the glitzy Rodeo Ball, colourful Isa Street Festival and free community concert featuring notable Australian artists.
1 JULY, NORTHERN TERRITORY
IMAGES: EKKA RACQ ROYAL QUEENSLAND SHOW, TOURISM NT: PETER CARROL.
Family Day at the Sydney Writers’ Festival is a jam-packed program of creativity and storytelling with top children’s authors and the much-loved mobile book reading centre, Russ the Story Bus.
DARWIN LIONS’ BEER CAN REGATTA
JUNE, HUNTER VALLEY
30 APRIL–6 MAY, SYDNEY
SYDNEY WRITERS’ FESTIVAL
At Bathurst’s Winter Playground, families ride the giant Ferris wheel, magical two-storey carousel and skate around a pop-up ice rink. Every weekend spectacular light installations, and entertainment for the whole family light up the town.
On Darwin’s Waterfront, this annual event proudly showcases the best of local Territory produce with two days of cooking demonstrations, master cooking classes and family-focused entertainment.
This free state-wide event celebrates everything about living in the Northern Territory, with fireworks, market stalls, family activities, music and entertainment across most communities, and major events in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
9–26 AUGUST, DARWIN
DARWIN FESTIVAL The tropical city is transformed with free outdoor events, concerts, theatre, family activities and multicultural food stalls at the decorated Festival Park and venues across Darwin.
11 AUGUST, ALICE SPRINGS
DESERT FESTIVAL Opening with the annual family Mermaids’ Picnic, this upbeat festival showcases desert lifestyles, aimed toward bringing out the best that Alice Springs can be. With great family activities, workshops, performances and its positive atmosphere, the event is a fantastic experience for all ages.
10–19 AUGUST, BRISBANE
EKKA RACQ ROYAL QUEENSLAND SHOW At Queensland’s largest annual event, families wander through animal exhibits, check out incredible horticulture and fresh food displays, watch whip-cracking and country music competitions, and are entertained by all the rides and thrills of sideshow alley.
12 AUGUST, LATROBE
CHOCOLATE WINTERFEST Entirely dedicated to everything chocolate, this quirky festival holds sundae-eating competitions, chocolate chess, a KitKat tower challenge, wearable chocolate art, sled dog demonstrations, a community lantern parade and so much more!
18 AUGUST, ALICE SPRINGS
HENLEY-ON-TODD REGATTA Held on the sandy bed of the Todd River in Alice Springs, this fun ‘dry boat’ race event features under 12s egg and spoon, rubber duckies and three-legged races, as well as the exciting Build Your Own Boat event.
25 AUGUST–2 SEPTEMBER, BROOME
SHINJU MATSURI This ‘Festival of the Pearl’ is an exciting celebration of Broome’s multicultural history. Featuring a kaleidoscope of events – from the symbolic Floating Lantern Matsuri and long table feast under the stars to the multicultural float parade and finale concert – this unique festival is a tribute to the heritage and culture of Broome.
AUGUST–SEPTEMBER, MORETON BAY
REDCLIFFE FESTIVAL This family-oriented festival in Brisbane’s Moreton Bay offers three weekends of events and excitement. Highlights include the Redcliffe KiteFest, Jetty Fiesta parade and street party, historical and Indigenous celebrations, and Father’s Day afternoon events.
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KID I AM!
28 SEPTEMBER–7 OCTOBER, ALICE SPRINGS
Launceston’s largest family event brings together a day of fun activities for kids and families – singing, dancing, music, drama, sports, arts and crafts and more.
This free festival of light celebrates Indigenous culture and showcases the beauty of Alice Springs through storytelling and brilliant outback light displays.
29 SEPTEMBER-5 OCTOBER, ADELAIDE
PIRATES OF PORTADELAIDE This two-day Pirate Festival celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day incites imagination and adventure – two action packed days of everything pirate-themed!
23–29 SEPTEMBER, GOLD COAST
SURFERS PARADISE KIDS WEEK Family movie screenings, interactions with native animals from Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, jumping castles, rock climbing walls, iFLY indoor skydiving, face painting and dance parties are what’s on at this free school holidays event for kids.
3–4 NOVEMBER, WERRIBEE PARK
THE LOST LANDS This family weekend festival held in Werribee Mansion in Victoria is a celebration of music, the arts and the environment. Dedicated to bringing entertainment to every age, The Lost Lands is filled with performances, comedy, outdoor cinemas and great entertainment for kids.
LUNA PARK’S CHRISTMAS GALA LUNCH
23 SEPTEMBER–3 OCTOBER, MELBOURNE
Among the iconic rides and attractions of Melbourne’s Luna Park, their Christmas event will feature carols, a special visit from Santa and a classic Christmas roast buffet.
ROYAL MELBOURNE SHOW At the Royal Melbourne Show, see animals up close, learn about agriculture, discover dazzling art, craft and cooking exhibits, watch spectacular stunts and marvel at the fireworks shows.
CAROLS BY THE SEA, BONDI This annual community event features live local musicians and performers throughout the day, followed by a night of Christmas carol singing. At the free event, cash and non-perishable food donations are encouraged for local charities, and all the proceeds from the face painting, glow-stick sales and food stalls also all go toward local charities.
In the serene National Botanic Gardens, Sunset Cinema returns to Canberra, with a great collection of kids’ films set to screen.
DO YOU BEE-LIEVE?
In Old Petrie Town, this pop-up Christmas Wonderland exhibition takes kids on a magical journey through an Enchanted Christmas Forest, Lollipop Land and the North Pole.
CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND A winter Christmas Wonderland comes alive in the heart of Sydney at Sydney Showground. Wander through the magical Christmas village, enjoy laser and light displays, skate on the ice rink, build snowmen and watch magical stage shows.
1–30 SEPTEMBER, PERTH
KINGS PARK FESTIVAL Throughout the rambling riverside Kings Park, this spring festival presents a wonderful annual display of wildflowers, free art displays, outdoor exhibitions, live music and family activities.
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At this free event, you can find a variety of Christmas gifts, food and crafts for sale at the range of stalls. The event features live music, art displays, waterslides, Santa photos and face painting for kids.
RACV GREAT VIC BIKE RIDE
This fun, friendly and challenging camping-and-biking event gives families the opportunity to spend a week on their bikes riding across two of Victoria’s greatest destinations – the Grampians and the Great Ocean Road.
At this annual Christmas festival it’s all about street parades, live entertainment, food and market stalls, and spectacular Christmas light displays. Bring your camera!
PAGEANT OF LIGHTS
DECEMBER, SYDNEY IMAGES: SATC: JOSIE WITHERS., TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA: DANIEL PALETZ.
TERRITORY WILDLIFE PARK CHRISTMAS MARKETS
WOOLWORTHS CAROLS IN THE DOMAIN Sydney’s largest outdoor Christmas concert in the sprawling Domain kicks off entertainment from noon. With past years’ artists including Hugh Jackman, Jimmy Barnes, Delta Goodrem, Tina Arena and Human Nature, the event is a favourite for Sydney-sider families.
SANTA’S ENCHANTED WARDROBE Throughout December, this immersive children’s theatre in Fremantle blurs the boundaries between actors and audience. Children enter into the fantasy worlds of Narnia, enchanted forests, and the North Pole to meet Santa.
48 HOURS IN...
Are you ready to explore? Weâ€™ve got eight fun-filled itineraries to keep families entertained across all of the State and Territory capitals.
During summer, average temperatures in Sydney range from 18.6 to 25.8°C; autumn sees average temperatures between 14.6 to 22.2°C; winter sees temperatures drop to 8.8 to 17°C; and spring temperatures range from 11 to 23°C. Most rainfall is seen in January, February, March, April, June and November.
SYDN EY DAY 2
DAY 1 MORNING: Start your day with a visit to the Australian Museum in the city centre. There are plenty of exhibitions and kids’ spaces throughout; the permanent Dinosaur Gallery a popular choice with little ones. LUNCH: Head over to Sydney’s newest Harbour foreshore park – Barangaroo Reserve – for some lunch-time sun and burgers from Ume Burger. The burgers are Japanese inspired and the Hokkiado soft serve ice-creams are a great way to finish off a meal while taking in the views of the glistening harbour.
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AFTERNOON: Stroll over to Circular Quay to catch a ferry to Taronga Zoo in Mosman for the afternoon. There are close to 4000 animals from over 350 species to admire, and the enthralling Tiger Trek exhibit. Here, visitors can admire four critically endangered Sumatran Tigers as they go on an imaginary journey to Sumatra, home to one of the last remaining rainforests in the world. EVENING: Make your way over The Greens in North Sydney. The family-friendly bowling club has plenty of seating and kids can run amok on the greens (if no one is bowling). There’s a special menu for children aged 12 and under.
MORNING: Start your day right with a leisurely stroll along Bondi Beach. Then, if weather permits, go for a swim to cool down. There are also a number of playgrounds that boast the best water views in town, so take it slow and enjoy what Sydney does best – sun, sand and sea. LUNCH: Fish and chips on the beach never gets old, so pick up some takeaway to keep the whole family happy and find some shade to enjoy your seafood feast.
AFTERNOON: Visit WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo in Darling Harbour and lose yourself in the interactive displays, daily shows and enhanced walk-through habitats, including Koala Encounters, Kangaroo Walk-About and Butterfly Tropics. Then, explore SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium’s world-first Penguin Expedition, where you can raft through a colony of King and Gentoo Penguins! EVENING: Head to the trendy suburb of Newtown and let the kids choose something to eat (there are plenty of options!), then stop by and grab an award-winning gelato from Cow and The Moon in Enmore, just down the road.
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VISIT VICTORIA: ROBERT BLACKBURN.
Melbourne warms up in summer, with mean temperatures between 14 to 25.3°C; autumn sees average temperatures ranging from 10.9 to 20.3°C; in winter the range drops to 6.5 to 14.2°C; and spring sees temperatures range from 9.6 to 19.6°C. October is Melbourne’s wettest month.
MORNING: Start your adventure on an imaginative note at ArtPlay – a creative arts studio in the city for kids (babies through to 12-year-olds) and their families. Then, continue on with the artistic theme with a trip to Artvo in Docklands, an enticing art gallery where kids (and adults) are encouraged to touch and interact with the artworks, photographing themselves and becoming part of the art. LUNCH: Stick around Docklands for lunch and head to waterfront Cargo Restaurant for casual, hearty modern Australian fare. The menu is diverse and spans everything from pizzas and burgers to tacos and salads.
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AFTERNOON: Head to Family Fun Centres Black Light Mini Golf (also in Docklands) for an adventure the kids will talk about for days to come. The first of its kind in Australia, UV lighting has transformed traditional mini golf into a fun and unusual glow-in-the-darkexperience, featuring 18 holes of fun, in airconditioned and indoor comfort. EVENING: Leave the Docklands behind and take the kids to town for an Asian-inspired adventure at Tim Ho Wan on Bourke Street, the world’s cheapest Michelin‑star restaurant. If there’s a queue the staff give you a form you can fill out while waiting, so little people won’t have to wait long for their food once seated.
MORNING: When Scienceworks opened in 1992, the idea was to create a place for young people to play with science. Kids will love the hands-on exhibits and being able to push, pull, spin and bang things around. Scienceworks (which is located in the suburb of Spotswood) also features the Melbourne Planetarium, the Lightning Room and the historic Pumping Station. LUNCH: The lush green Riverside Park is located close by, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Grab some takeaway (or come prepared with your own pre-made sandwiches) and picnic in the park overlooking the Yarra River.
AFTERNOON: The Melbourne Zoo – located four kilometres from the city centre – is home to over 320 species of wildlife from around the world, so take your time this afternoon meeting as many of the cute critters as you can. Kids will love the zoo’s Close-up Encounters, that bring them face-to-face with some of our most popular personalities. EVENING: Finish your weekend on a high note with dinner at Chelsea Heights Hotel. Here, the adults can unwind with a drink while the kids explore the huge indoor playground and arcade games. The family bistro menu has plenty of choices (including kids’ meals) to suit all tastes.
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Summer heats up in Brisbane, with average temperatures ranging from 21 to 29.8°C; autumn temperatures drop between 15 to 25°C; winter in Brisbane is generally mild with mean temperatures between 11 to 21°C; and spring the sees the mean range between 15 to 25°C. Brisbane’s wettest month is February.
BRISBANE DAY 1
MORNING: To get your bearings, explore Brisbane with a Brisbane Greeter tour. These free two-hour excursions are run by experienced volunteers who know their home city inside out – so they can show you where to find the city’s beautiful public art, how best to navigate the winding river, or come up with a plan to explore Brisbane’s urban precincts.
AFTERNOON: Experience Australian and international art in its many forms at Brisbane’s Queensland Art Gallery and new Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). Located at South Bank overlooking the Brisbane River and city, admission to both buildings is free and the collection is Australia’s largest of modern and contemporary art.
LUNCH: Grab a meal the whole family will love – big burgers for the big kids and mini me packs for the little people from Grill’d. The kiddie packs include a mini chicken or beef burger, tomato sauce, a mini serve of chips, and water or juice, and are packed in a cute cardboard box with a 3D puzzle. Plenty of locations around town.
EVENING: Finish day one off at Eat Street, a cluster of mini restaurants located on Hamilton Wharf on the Northshore of Brisbane (every Friday and Saturday night from 4pm till 10pm). The diverse collection of local-chef run eateries are housed in specially-designed shipping containers, offering families a fun way to tackle dinner.
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MORNING: Queensland is all about beaches even in Brisbane! Streets Beach is Australia’s only man-made beach located in the middle of the bustling city. It boasts a sparkling lagoon surrounded by sandy beaches and sub-tropical plants, is free to use, and is patrolled by qualified lifeguards all year round. LUNCH: Stay on Streets Beach and make use of the provided barbeques by cooking up your own lunchtime sausage sizzle, then stroll to the shops for an ice-cream to enjoy true Queensland living.
AFTERNOON: Get up close with Australia’s native flora and fauna at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary with over 130 of the furry critters – located 12 kilometres from the city. Hang out with the koalas, watch eagles soar in the amazing Birds of Prey show, or experience what it’s like on an Australian farm during the sheep shearing shows. The Sanctuary is also home to three Tasmanian Devils and Barak the platypus. EVENING: For an Italian feast, you can’t go past Jamie’s Italian, so head back into town to feast. The adults have plenty of choices, as do the kids – with options such as secret seven tomato pasta and mini spaghetti and meatballs – to fill up tummies.
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Summer in Canberra sees temperatures range from 12.6 to 27°C; in autumn, the range drops to an average of 6.8 to 20°C; winter is cold with average temperatures between 1 to 12°C; and spring sees temperatures between 6 to 19°C. The wettest month in Canberra is March.
CANBERRA DAY 1
MORNING: Get straight into fun mode with a visit to Power Kart Raceway – an adrenalinecharged racing experience using electric go‑karts on a Formula One style indoor circuit. Then, tone it down with a visit to the Royal Australian Mint, where you can see one of the world’s strongest robots make Australian coins. LUNCH: Look out over the Manuka Lawns while the sun shines and the kids scamper about at Urban Pantry, a modern cafe with a relaxed vibe. The lunch menu includes amazing choices, like brioche French toast and smoked trout tortillas, to entice even the pickiest eaters.
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AFTERNOON: Kids and adults alike can get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures at the National Zoo and Aquarium. The Family Tour takes you behind the scenes to feed bears and meet monkeys, dingoes, kangaroos and emus. EVENING: Take a short drive to Snapper – on the Lake for a sunset dinner of fresh fish and chips with water views.
MORNING: The Pod Playground at the National Arboretum Canberra features acorn cubbies connected by rope tunnels and tube slides, as well as climbing nets for younger children and Banksia cubbies with music-making activities. With 94 forests of rare and symbolic trees planted across 250 hectares of rolling hills, there’s plenty of space for kids to run and roam.
AFTERNOON: Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre, can’t be missed. Budding scientists will love the ever-changing array of intriguing experiments, fascinating demonstrations and interesting displays. For those aged six and under, Mini Q is a custombuilt area designed for little people to explore science in their own way.
LUNCH: For a casual lakeside experience where the kids can still have a run around, Bookplate at the National Library of Australia is a great place to have a relaxed bite to eat with lakeside views.
EVENING: End the day in Kingston at the burger haven (and local favourite) Brodburger. From its humble beginnings as a red gypsy food van to a now-bustling eatery with indoor and outdoor dining, Brodburger serves up delicious flamegrilled gourmet burgers.
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During summer, Adelaide sees average temperatures range from 16.7 to 28.6°C; autumns are mild with mean temperatures between 12.7 to 22.7°C; winter sees temperatures drop to between 8 to 16°C; and spring sees weather warm up with average temperatures between 11.8 to 22°C. Adelaide is Australia’s driest capital city, with June the wettest month of the year.
ADELAIDE DAY 1 MORNING: Home to more than 2500 animals and 250 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, Adelaide Zoo is a great place to explore as a family. It’s Australia’s second oldest zoo and there are plenty of interactive animal experiences that allow visitors to get close to the animals, such as the opportunity to hand feed Giant Pandas or help healthy hippos with their daily mouth check. There’s also a playground for kids aged four an over, located just inside the zoo entrance. LUNCH: The Adelaide Central Market has more than 80 stalls, cafes and restaurants and is the perfect place to satisfy everyone’s huger! Plus, you can feast on free samples too after lunch, of course.
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DAY 2 AFTERNOON: The South Australia Museum has a wide range of interesting exhibitions spread out over five floors and kids are encouraged to get hands-on and learn about the world in an interactive way. EVENING: Take your pick from one of the many restaurants located on Rundle Street. From casual eating to fine dining, there’s plenty to choose from and buskers add entertainment to this shopping strip as you peruse where to eat.
MORNING: Adelaide metropolitan beaches are buzzing in summer and Glenelg is just a tramride away from the city centre. Kids will love the water features in the centre of Mosely Square and The Beachouse with waterslides, dodgem cars, carousel and arcade games. LUNCH: Try one of the many local cafes in the area or head over to Glenelg Surf Lifesaving Club for a sit-down lunch with views. Delicious pub fare presented beautifully will keep the adults happy and kids have their own nippers’ menu (with healthy choices starred).
AFTERNOON: Visit South Australia’s only aerial SkyMate structure Mega Adventure Adelaide. There’s something for everyone here, whether you want to do something a bit more laidback like the SkyWalk (83 steps to the top of the viewing platform to enjoy uninterrupted views across the Adelaide Hills and Western shoreline), or a bit more adrenalin infused (like take a leap of faith from the ParaJump). EVENING: The State Library comes alive at night (every night throughout the year) as stories about curious characters and hidden gems from the library’s collection are projected onto the exterior wall building. Get lost in the fantasy before strolling to Gouger Street, home to a range of multicultural eateries, for dinner to finish off the weekend. www.familytravel.com.au / 85
Summers in Hobart are mild, with a mean temperature range between 11.5 to 21°C; autumn average temperatures are between 8.9 to 17.3°C; winters in Hobart can be chilly with temperatures ranging from 5 to 12.3°C; and spring sees temperatures rise to a mean of 7.8 to 16.9°C. On average, December is Hobart’s wettest month.
HOBART DAY 1
MORNING: Start your Hobart adventure with a drive to the top of Mount Wellington for wonderful views of Hobart and surrounds below, stopping off for a babychino (and your latte, of course) in South Hobart at Ginger Brown. Then head back into town for a dose of shopping at Salamanca Market. The markets are a bustling hive or activity and you can pick up anything – from handmade clothing items and woodwork to beautiful local produce and tasty treats. LUNCH: The markets are open until 3pm and there are a number food stores offering tasty bites perfect for lunch.
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AFTERNOON: The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) can’t be missed, so dedicate the afternoon to the quirky-cool experience. Australia’s biggest privately-owned museum is like nowhere else in the world and the unusual exhibits incorporate light and sound, making it quite the interactive experience. The best way to get to MONA is to take the MONA ROMA from Franklin Wharf to the museum. EVENING: Catch the MONA ROMA back into town and grab fish and chips at Mures Lower Deck for dinner. There are also oysters, share platters, soup and pizza, plus over 30 flavours of ice-cream for a post-dinner indulgence.
MORNING: Rise early and head out of Hobart to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (about 30 minutes’ drive), where you can see wombats, koalas, birds, quolls and the famous Tasmanian Devils. Get a hands-on experience with your favourite furry and scaly friends – and know that your attendance is going towards conserving Tasmanian wildlife. LUNCH: Head back to Hobart via the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. With a number of cultural heritage landscapes and iconic trees, the gardens offer a lush place to stroll around and make for the perfect lunch spot. Pack some sandwiches and find a shady area or dine at the Botanical Restaurant while taking in vistas of the gardens and the river.
AFTERNOON: Visit the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in the city centre for an afternoon of active programs and explorations getting to know close to 800,000 objects as diverse as fossils and fine arts. Once a month the museum also holds a family day on Sunday, focusing on three -to eight-year-old children, with experiences designed to encourage creativity and imaginative thought. EVENING: Greek food is designed to be shared, so take the kids to Urban Greek for a feast of dips, salads and charcoaled meats. If you don’t want to dine in, they also offer takeaway service.
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Darwin has two distinct seasons – the ‘wet’ and the ‘dry’. The wet season (November to April) is characterised by high humidity, monsoonal rains and storms, with average temperatures ranging from 24.7 to 32 °C. The dry season (May to October) sees warm and dry sunny days, with temperatures typically ranging from 21.6 to 31.8°C.
DA RW I N DAY 1 MORNING: Days that begin with swims are always the best, so get ready for a morning of entertainment at Darwin’s two swimming lagoons – Wave Lagoon and Recreation Lagoon. Families can paddle, swim and play in these man-made lagoons, which have waves up to 1.7 metres created at regular intervals. LUNCH: Pick a cafe with a view at Darwin Waterfront for lunch. Curve Caf and Bar is a great casual option with alfresco dining; Il Lido barpizza covers your pizza and burger options; while Hot Tamale is great for taco cravings.
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DAY 2 AFTERNOON: Not far from the waterfront, Crocosaurus Cove is located in the heart of Darwin on Mitchell Street. You can get up close and personal to the largest reptile on the Planet – the saltwater crocodile – and learn about a variety of fish and reptile species. There are crocodile and fish feedings on twice daily, and brave souls can climb into the Cage of Death for a face-to-face encounter with a huge saltwater crocodile... if you dare.
MORNING: Start your morning with a dose of culture and get the whole family involved in learning about Indigenous art. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory is a great place to find out more about this ancient art form, and small boutique shops specialising in selling Indigenous art offer another perspective. Then, get amongst the interactive displays of the Defence of Darwin Experience at the Military Museum.
EVENING: As the daylight hours start to wane, return to the waterfront to board a historic pearling lugger or catamaran for dinner with a sunset view.
LUNCH: Head over to East Point Reserve for a picnic lunch. There’s a small recreational lake that’s ideal for swimming on hot days; a goodsized playground, picnic areas with barbeque facilities; a mangrove boardwalk; and if you’re lucky sometimes you can see wallabies hanging out nearby.
AFTERNOON: Head to George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens to admire the diversity of flora that flourishes in Northern Australia. There are monsoon forests, coastal dunes, mangroves and open woodlands to explore, with plenty of shaded areas for breaks along the way. EVENING: Finish your weekend off with fresh local fish and chips at Cullen Bay Marina and find a spot to watch one last iconic Top End sunset.
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PERTH DAY 1
MORNING: Start your Perth adventure at the Western Australian Museum. Wander through the interesting kid-friendly exhibits and be sure to allocate enough time for the Discovery Centre for hands-on activities with dinosaur fossils, meteorites and live jumping frogs. If you’re left with time, head over to explore the heritage Perth Old Gaol building behind the museum. LUNCH: In town, pack up a picnic and head down to the lush riverside Kings Park – a mustdo for families visiting Perth, with spectacular views over Swan River and the cityscape.
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AFTERNOON: After picnicking spend time walking the bushland trails and treetop walkways, climb around the Naturescape and Synergy Playground, visit the War Memorial, and take a tour through fields of wildflowers at the Western Australian Botanic Gardens. EVENING: Stroll back to the town centre where you’ll find plenty of family restaurants, from Jamie’s Italian and friendly sushi bars to the family favourite Outback Jacks. Let the kids decide – you might be surprised with what they choose!
Summers in Perth are hot, with average temperatures between 17.5 to 30°C; autumn sees a pleasant range between 13.7 to 26°C; in winter, the temperatures range from 8 to 19°C; and in spring the days warm up with average temperatures ranging from 11.7 to 23°C. Perth’s wettest month is June.
DAY 2 MORNING: Perth is renowned for its beautiful beaches, so start the day right and head off early to Cottesloe Beach. Arrive early to beat the crowds and get in all the swimming, snorkelling and surfing fun that you can at this famous destination – considered to be one of the best family beaches in the world.
AFTERNOON: Head down to Fremantle where the Convict Walking Trail reveals the town’s rich history of convicts and pirates. Wander through Fremantle Markets for its friendly atmosphere, local products and delicious food. And be sure to walk the iconic Cappuccino Strip for its interesting shops and street performers.
LUNCH: Home to some of Perth’s best cafes and restaurants, head into Cottesloe for a casual lunch. The Other Side Cafe is a great option and kids will go crazy for Mr Drummond’s delicious locally-made crumpets.
EVENING: Spend the evening around the Esplanade, where kids will love the Youth Plaza’s rock climbing, ping pong tables, skate boarding, playground and Ferris wheel. Then wander down to the Fishing Boat Harbour, for dinner at a delicious seafood restaurant to finish off your Perth weekend with a bang.
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Talk to the expert What is your number one tip for family travel?
How would you choose where to go for a holiday?
Don’t try to do too much and plan a rest day every few days, as sightseeing and day tours can be hard work for little feet.
Travel time is a big consideration. Little babies will sleep longer, so you can get further away from your home city. Toddlers, on the other hand, like to stop often and explore their surrounds, so closer-to-home destinations are more suitable for most families. If you’re travelling around Australia you don’t need to think about travel vaccinations, but if going overseas this is a consideration and some countries will be safer than others, medically speaking.
How far in advance do you recommend families book holiday accommodation and why? Book as far in advance as you can, as family rooms may be limited. This is particularly very important if booking a cruise, as the number of children per cruise is limited by age group on some cruise lines (which they work out around daycare and children-versus-staff ratio in kids’ clubs). Booking in advance also means you’ve got your dates sorted, so you can work out whatever needs to done at home in advance too, such as organising time off from work, asking someone to pick up the mail while you’re gone and so on. Of course, once a holiday is booked you are more excited too – so the earlier you book the more time you have to get excited about it.
What are your top destinations to visit in Australia for families and why? Hamilton Island is great because there are plenty of activities families can do – such as glow-inthe-dark bowling, wildlife visits, park days, beach adventures and reef trips – as well as many accommodation options ranging from apartments to hotels to holiday houses. The Gold Coast is a long-time favourite of mine as it suits most ages, there are plenty of accommodation options,
Jodie Payne is a Travel with Kidz specialist and personal travel manager. She’s been a family travel specialist travel agent for over 10 years and has created and managed holidays for thousands of Australians looking to travel domestically and internationally. Jodie is also a mum to two boys and her family’s favourite way to holiday together is on a cruise or relaxing together in Palm Cove.
EXPERT ADVICE & QUIZ ANSWERS
Do you have any packing tips for large families?
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“You can be guaranteed nothing will be totally smooth sailing, but try to relax and have fun regardless – holidays are for fun, after all.” and the many theme parks and beautiful beaches keep everyone happy. Cruises are another great option as they are fun, easy and excellent value. You just need to get to the ship and then meals, accommodation, kids’ club activities – it’s all sorted for you.
What about types of holidays? Are there any that you would recommend? When it comes to holiday style it’s really up to you. Big family-style resorts are designed to cater to families, so you’ll have plenty of options here to make a holiday easier to manage. Some of the options that will suit families may include the option to prebook babysitting and/or nannies; kids’ clubs; interconnecting rooms can be useful; apartmentstyle accommodation works for different sleeping arrangements and parents will appreciate the kitchen facilities and laundry facilities.
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What is one thing you never leave home without when travelling with the family and why? Your sense of humour! You can be guaranteed nothing will be totally smooth sailing, but try to relax and have fun regardless – holidays are for fun, after all.
What is your advice for travelling together with another family? Talk about expectations before booking. Discussing budget is important; you might only need one room, but your travelling companions may need two; you might prefer to see and do things at a different pace; talk about eating out versus eating in. Travelling with friends is great fun, but you need to make sure that you’ll work well together as a team. And if you do go on a holiday together, remember it’s fine to take time out and do some things on your own – you don’t need to spend every minute together.
I suggest that each bag is packed thematically. For example, one bag might have everyone’s swimsuits, underwear and pyjamas; another bag might be for shirts, shorts and the like; a third bag might be for evening wear and so on. Packing this way makes it easier when looking for things as you’ll be doing everything as a family – so wearing whatever clothing is appropriate for the activity planned at the time.
Many families have pools in their backyards or have friends who have pools. Ensure that pools are fenced as per regulations and working – and watch your kids! Of course, it goes without saying that everyone who is out in the sun should be wearing quality sunscreen and re-applying regularly, and insect repellant when required.
What should families look for in terms of safety when it comes to pools and water entertainment facilities? Safety is paramount any time of year, but even more so in summer when there are more people playing in the water. My first recommendation is to always look for a public pool or water park where there is a lifeguard (or lifeguards depending in the size of the facility) on duty. At minimum, all pool lifeguards must have a RLSSA Pool Lifeguard Award (or License in some States and Territories), which means they’ve studied and are armed with skills to handle incidents that may occur. Of course, it’s vital you watch your kids while they play too. When it comes to waterparks, I recommend that you choose facilities that are well designed, so that it’s both safe and comfortable for yourself and your children. Things to look for include soft-fall ground (so that when kids come off slides they don’t hurt themselves) and plenty of shaded areas.
What are some of the common travel items savvy families will always pack for a holiday? When flying with children, I always suggest parents pack a carry-on bag with new things the kids haven’t seen before, such as small toys, colouring-in books, stickers and so on.
IMAGES: CAPITAL COUNTY TOURISM: SARAH FIFE, ROTTNEST ISLAND AUTHORITY, TOURISM AND EVENTS QUEENSLAND: JASON HILL, TOURISM NT: PETER EVE, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA, VISITCANBERRA.
Look for natural shade as well as umbrellas – but don’t forget to check the UV rating as a lot of umbrellas are not UV rated.
When they start getting restless, parents can bring out another new surprise. I also carry lollies (such as snakes or lollipops) in a zip-lock bag, as they can be great for helping regulate ear pressure on take-off and landing. Lollipops keep the arguing to a minimum on long car drives too!
What is your favourite Australian winter holiday destination? My family love Palm Cove. We live in North Queensland and prefer warmer destinations year-round. Palm Cove is just north of Cairns and has many different accommodation options, so it’s great for all budgets. There are loads of family-friendly apartments located across the road from the beach or within walking distance, as well as plenty of lovely restaurants and cafes.
The main beachfront area is a great spot for kids to play, there’s a big sandy beach next to a playground, and an enclosed stinger net for swimming. My kids especially love the pier – a great spot for fishing day or night. The location is perfect, too. As you are in between Cairns and Port Douglas, you have so many activities at your fingertips. Head into Cairns if you want to see a movie, go shopping, or have a swim in the foreshore lagoon; Hartley’s Crocodile Farm is a short drive to the north; and all of the Great Barriers Reef day tours are easily accessible from Palm Cove.
Looking for more travel advice? @BoundRound @BoundRound firstname.lastname@example.org www.familytravel.com.au
TRAVEL QUIZ ANSWERS You’ve done the quiz and you’re here to see how many questions you got right. Read on for the answers. 1. Kangaroo Dundee (real name Chris ‘Brolga’ Barnes). 2. Swimming with wild dolphins. 3. Jamala Wildlife Lodge. 4. The Twelve Apostles. 5. Hobart, Tasmania. 6. The Gold Coast. 7. Goulburn in New South Wales. 8. Quokka. 9. Bindi and Robert. 10. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
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A bumper magazine filled with inspiration for a year of family adventures around Australia.