Family Travel #2 (Spring 2018)

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Issue 02 | Spring 2018

EXPLOre THE USA The best family adventures


Where to go beyond the beach


News, tips & ideas to turn your holiday dreams into reality


Overseas jaunts the entire family will love


Reviews & industry expert interviews

in australia

AUST $7.95

ISSN 2209-4237

9 772209 423003 >


F A M I LY | T R A V E L | H O L I D AY | L E I S U R E | E N T E R TA I N M E N T

An epic road trip, camping holidays & heaps of domestic travel inspiration


Nature escapes among the mountains and sea

A L S O I N S I D E : F I J I + N O R M A N D Y + TA I W A N + C A L I F O R N I A + L O A D S M O R E !

Tired of searching for a great family deal amongst a sea of holiday options that don’t cater for the kids? Check out where we put families first. Search by destination, kids ages, family size and holiday style

The Family Travel team CEO Janeece Keller Communications manager Natasha Keller Executive editor Elisa Elwin 0413 770 550 Editor Tatyana Leonov Digital editor Alison Godfrey Sub-editor Kylie Baracz Contributors Michele Bigley John Borthwick Chez Chesak Jason Cooper Sophie Cullen Elisa Elwin Sarah Friggieri Alison Godfrey Luke Hanson Julie Jones Janeece Keller Tatyana Leonov Andrea Rowe David Thorndike Geordie Torr Sue White Art director Jon Wolfgang Miller Advertising enquiries Leonard Mastapha 02 9904 4111 Published by Bound Round Pty Ltd 431 Warringah Rd Frenchs Forest NSW 2086 Disclaimer The opinions expressed in the editorials are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Publisher and Family Travel. Information provided was believed to be correct at the time of publication. Copyright © Bound Round Pty Ltd 2018 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All reasonable efforts have been made to contact copyright holders. Bound Round Pty Ltd cannot accept unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If such items are sent to the magazine they will be returned.


Here we are, issue two of Family Travel magazine. We hope you enjoyed reading our launch issue – and that you enjoy this issue just as much. Our spring issue is packed with great features, tips, interviews and news bites that will have you planning your next trip (or three) in no time. Our huge USA story (page 36) covers the best things to see and do for families… grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable, as it’s a detailed feature. We spotlight Hawai‘i beyond the beach (page 52), explore the lesser known regions of Chiang Rai and Trat in Thailand (page 62), enjoy a resort stay at Malolo Island Resort in Fiji (page 70), and go off the grid in Normandy (page 66). Travel is about all kinds of experiences, so each issue our goal is to cover a wide breadth of holiday styles and locations. Families come in all shapes and sizes and one of our key objectives is to create content to inspire everyone. We have our regular accessible travel section (page 28), and we have also incorporated accessible and special needs travel tips throughout the magazine. Travel should be accessible to all!

The Out & About with Kids section is all about Australia, and in this issue we go along on an epic road trip around our vast nation. If this story doesn’t inspire you to at least toy with the idea, we don’t know what will. I’m already thinking I’ll do something similar when my daughter is a bit older. Camping and staying at holiday parks is, of course, popular with Australian families – even more so as we head into warmer weather. We’ve summarised the most common camping styles and hope our guide helps you work out what’s best for your unique family. There’s plenty on offer, so it’s worth trying a few options to see what works. We’ve been glamping, camping and stayed in a holiday park and each offer a wonderful and unique way to experience the destination. Many large holiday park companies also offer special deals to their loyal customer base, so we’ve got a story that talks you through the various memberships available and the benefits of signing up. Enjoy Family Travel issue 2 and start holiday planning! Tatyana Leonov and the Family Travel team



Readers’ letters HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON




accessible travel

Sydney staycation



The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia ( runs a free art program for people of all ages with a disability. With the motto ‘Art is for everyone’, the Bella Program involves a range of workshops designed for schools, families, groups and individuals, helping participants to connect with contemporary art.

When booking to stay at Sydney Harbour YHA (, I had no idea it would be such a novelty kids’ eyes. I find it fascinating in our seeing what appeals to them, and at the YHA they loved meeting guests from across the world and cooking in a communal kitchen. It’s a shame that cooking

at home isn’t as novel to them! Built among the archaeological remnants of early Sydney and in the heart of the historic Rocks area, Sydney Harbour YHA is no ordinary hostel. The rooftop terrace, with views to the Sydney Opera House, is one of its most appreciated features. It’s the perfect spot to perch for an evening barbie while the sun goes down, and if the kids need more entertainment than watching boat traffic on the harbour, there’s a TV room right beside it. Not wholly content with just seeing the Sydney Opera House (sydneyoperahouse .com) from afar, we booked the accessible Opera House tour, on which we learnt the history of the design and construction of one of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks. As a Sydneysider who’s proud of this beautiful building, it saddens me to think of the controversy surrounding the design and the exclusion of architect Jørn Utzon upon its completion. Now it’s a building that houses everything from



Hello Family Travel team! First of all, I love the variety in the magazine. From places a few hours away to overseas trips, the recommendations are invaluable – especially activities to book with the little ones. My favourite feature is the Play section, which focuses on what to do and see in cities. It has inspired me to start planning our next family holiday and visit a new city! Thanks for enticing me to dream about all the places my family can go. Sarah Hodge, NSW


Image: Julie Jones

WORDS JULIE JONES Our family feels totally spoilt living in Sydney. It’s a wonderfully accessible city with a range of attractions, outdoor experiences and annual festivals that provide inclusive experiences for all abilities. Each weekend and school holidays, we have plenty to explore right in our own backyard, and although we live close to the city centre, we’ve indulged in many staycations. Over the years, we’ve road-tested a variety of accommodation options, including a youth hostel, luxurious city hotels and beachside getaways – and here are our thoughts on each.

Play School concerts to world-acclaimed performers. When at the Opera House, we always stop by the northern VIP steps to see if ‘Benny’ the seal, named after Bennelong Point, is in residence. He loves nothing more than sunning himself on the steps after a swim.


Just a short ferry ride across the harbour is another favourite with our family: Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific (novotelmanlypacifi The hotel embraces its seaside location with a casual, playful vibe – there’s table tennis in the foyer and buckets and spades available to borrow for epic sandcastle building. Cafes and restaurants are within a short walk and

Manly Beach is opposite, which is why it’s a winner with kids aged toddler to teen. An abundance of accessible pathways makes it easy for guests of all abilities to explore the area. Our personal favourite is the coastal walk between Manly and Shelly Beach, which offers spectacular ocean views. It only takes about 20 minutes to traverse, but bribery options – by way of ice-cream shops – are available at either end, if needed, and spotting the water dragons is always fun. Darling Harbour is a hive of family fun; with so many attractions in close proximity, it’s an ideal base for a Sydney staycation. Walking into Hyatt Regency Sydney (sydney.regency.hya, we were immediately won over by the



Mountains OF CHOICE

luxury at every turn, including huge vases of spectacular blooms, a club lounge overlooking Darling Harbour and excellent accessible facilities. Nearby, the Australian National Maritime Museum ( engages the whole family with Action Stations, a hi-tech and immersive journey into the inner workings of the Australian Navy. Our kids love the many hands-on interactive displays, their favourite, Mission Strategy, which allows them to launch missions and watch the outcomes of their choices unfold. Hubby’s interest in maritime history leaves him lagging behind reading boards jam-packed with historical and technical facts. We finished our visit with a short film projected on a giant WINTER 2018





and all I could looking out the window, Whoosh! There I was, ; I was so were planes everywhere see was America. There much on our list arrived! There was so excited to have finally go to our hotel. first thing we did was to see and do, but the and it was Argonaut (argonautho We were staying at




m), House and Fuller House. at Capurro’s ( That night we had dinner carbonara. our hotel. I had spaghetti which was across from

It was so fantastic! to get our next along Divisadero Street We decided to walk past Along the way, we walked bus to the Marina District. sounded like hear what I thought a small church. We could We peeked through it was gospel music. opera, but Mum said


Ba i

Booties are advised when surfing Keramas. Fin, 14, and Marley, 13, walk along the black-sand beach to the break.


The skies above us are iron grey and it matters not. We’re in Bali and life is good. Summer and autumn are generally regarded as the off-season for surfing around the mountainous Indonesian island and, as a result, the resorts – and waves – are a lot less crowded than if we were here between April and October. We arrive in Bali late at night during a rainstorm blasting water down in sheets and rattling the rooftops. By morning the rain has retreated and the noise of the waves has risen, filling our family suite at Hotel Komune with an almighty roar from Huey, the mythical surf god. When my husband and sons trudge off for a pre-dawn surf, I can’t see them but I can hear them move through the resort, their booties squelching on the sodden earth and crunching on the volcanic sand and rock underfoot. With all that water coursing from the roofs and palm fronds overnight, the ground is swollen and the air is sweet. As they paddle out into the line-up, they become neoprene shadows, like a deeper shade of night.



Come mid-morning the sea is a flat metallic grey and I’m sitting in a pool of sunshine at the horseshoe-shaped bar at Beach Club at Komune. I’m joined by several burly surfers, their partners and kids all slurping down kopi (coffee) and nasi goreng (fried rice) and commentating on the conditions. How lucky we are to have timed our arrival to this black-sand beach with a five-star swell (as rated on the MagicSeaweed website). After three hours in the water, my husband and sons come out burnished and breathless, shovel down a plate of mee goreng with spicy sambal and sit and chill until the tide comes in, the waves jack up and they do it all again. “Sleep. Surf. Eat. Repeat,” raps my 13-year-old son Marley. The last time I was in Indonesia was about 20 years ago, at the start of a two-year honeymoon travelling to surf breaks dotted across the globe. And what is abundantly clear to me on this trip to Bali, two decades on, is that the surf resorts on this island east of Java are now better designed to cater to everyone in the family, regardless of whether you surf or not.


Talented Cronulla surfer Kalani Vandepolder is a regular at Keramas.

While moons ago I happily camped in a tent pitched on one of the Hinako islands off the coast of Sumatra, these days I’ve become rather partial to the Hotel Komune option of morning yoga, meditation and Buddha bowls. The resort also includes a Health Hub and adults-only lap pool, as well as a salon offering hair crème baths designed to fight the frizz for when I emerge from the infinity pool attached to our five-star suite. The fact that this resort has been oriented around a killer break and fashioned into a place where guests mingle while paying meticulous attention to the ocean makes it a very congenial place for nonsurfers to stay, too. From my Beach Club vantage point, just metres from the silvery gleam of sand, I watch fat bees drone in and out of flowers, observe staff jamming incense into the sand and proffering flowers to the Hindu gods, and watch children running barefoot up and down the beach.

Imagine sliding down a frozen slide into an Ice Village, featuring a gallery of flowers frozen in cubes, an Ice Chapel, Ice Hotel, a frosted Maze, ice-skating rink (what Ice Village is complete without one?) and then discovering a specifically constructed bonfire for marshmallow toasting. This fairytale fantasy is reality at Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU, making this lesser-known gem the ichi-ban in our family-friendly Snow List. This Japanese resort located in central Hokkaido taking the trophy is almost a nobrainer – nice price points, minimal jet lag, relatively short flights, and the famed Japowder. Rated the best family-friendly ski resort in Japan by Powderhound, this isn't the last time you’ll hear about this comprehensive entertainment resort in central Hokkaido. It’s not just the dry air creating the powder snow, it’s also the 20-plus other activities to get families plugging into nature, from snowmobiling, banana boat snow rafting, evening winter picnics and dog sledding.


There are multiple access points from New Chitose Airport and families can reach Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU by local bus, shuttle bus or train. Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU is the closest major ski-in, ski-out resort from New Chitose Airport. WI NT ER 2018

We slept really wi-fi, but the hotel did. They didn’t have free well that night. then went little bit the next morning Mum and I slept in a serving the ly they had stopped to Starbucks. Unfortunate Ball Frappuccino , so I got the Crystal Unicorn Frappuccino instead and it was nice. bus around for a hop-on, hop-off We had bought tickets to see the painted ladies wanted really I and San Francisco. painted ladies are Victorian (In American architecture closest bus stop, so we walked to the (crabsters. Edwardian houses), café called Crabsters where there was a lobster-roll roll – it was the and I had a buttered com). Mum tried one lobster roll. Mum really liked her around best thing in the world! for a while, so we walked The bus wasn’t leaving ). They had lolly shop It’Sugar ( Everything and found the huge stuff. other Nerds and so much massive packets of was huge and delicious! Haight-Ashbury bus, first stopping at Then we caught the Then we ran for and ate guacamole. and bought Doc Martens ladies. It was the us to see the painted the next bus to take see the houses to do in California: to one thing I really wanted to Alamo We walked for a block that were in Full House. have their picnics. Tanners park where the Square, through the


med’ – I just Mum said it was ‘nautical-the the best hotel ever! round ship holes, the room had all these liked the cool details; colour. . Blue is my favorite and it was blue everywhere Mum really in San Francisco and People love riding bikes ride. dles. wanted to go for a bike Saddles (blazingsad Blazing called We went to a place to choose from. a few different bikes Mum com) and they had we could both ride together. Eventually we got one and I was pretty Golden Gate Bridge, wanted to cross the shows – Full featured in my favourite excited too as it was



Dear Tatyana and the team at Family Travel, Thank you so much for your article Mountains of Choice in your Winter 2018 edition of Family Travel. I loved it so much! I have two daughters and my oldest, who will be 5 in December, had her first experience of the snow and skiing at Perisher resort this year. I always thought that the best family holidays were had chasing the sun, beaches and endless tropical destinations, but your article has inspired me to see the beauty and wonder that a winter holiday has to offer. Thank you! Susanne, NSW


Biking to the Golden Gate Bridge.

ild’s eye Through a ch OF CALIFO RNIA.


Whether you’re seeking the metropolis experience with bells and whistles or would prefer the quieter achievers, we’ve found a resort to suit your family – for teenagers who like their skiing steep and deep, and even small beginners who are still finding their feet. Here are our top finds, in no particular order.


It’Sugar had the best lollies ever!

Write to us for the chance to win a Coles voucher valued at $200!

To the editor, Thank you for your magazine about family travel. We have an infant and an 11-year-old, so trying to figure out where to go that is suitable for both of them is very daunting. I bought your magazine for inspiration and now I’m busy planning our Christmas holiday! I’m still a little scared about how my baby will travel, but I guess the earlier he starts the better. After reading about Fiji I think it’s going to be the winner. Cheers Rebecca, Qld


The Harbour City delivers a variety of accessible travel options for families.



All images ©Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU

Image: Julie Jones

Clockwise from opposite top: Enjoying the exhibits at the Australian National Maritime Museum; taking in the Sydney views; cuddles with Merlin at Featherdale; holding Squeak the sugar glider at Featherdale.

Image: Julie Jones

Dear Family Travel team, I want to say thanks for your new mag. The Sydney Staycation article was great. I have never heard of the MCA’s ‘Art is for everyone program’ and this makes me love them even more than I already did! I also enjoyed the article Through a child’s eyes. Tiger-Jane was so refreshing with her view about her trip to California. I was interested to hear her take on San Francisco and San Diego; I would have liked to have known what she thought of Balboa Park (maybe they only had time to visit the zoo, but there’s so much there for kids to enjoy). Thanks for all the info and tips. A Azeem, NSW


Check in and tune out at Tomamu’s most luxurious accommodation option, RISONARE Tomamu. Rooms are family oriented – more than 100 square metres of luxe equipped with in-room saunas and hot tubs. And don’t miss the Instaworthy Terrace of Frost Trees, a view of pure white-coated trees, sparkling like a field of diamonds until the magnificent Hidaka Mountains.


Golden Gate Bridge is much bigger than I thought.

We stayed right here, at Argonaut Hotel.

us to come in. saw us and waved for the window and a lady good singers. there who were very There were a lot of people to go then mum said we had We stayed for two songs, not during to clap after the songs, because we were wanting like everyone else. where Mum Chinatown, in adventure We finished our obsessed Squishies. I’m a little bought me some awesome really tired were We Squishies. – with – okay, a lot obsessed and tried to went back to the Argonaut after all that, so we ended. it before 3. Mum was asleep watch Pitch Perfect





BEST TIME TO VISIT May, June and July are the best months to travel to Bali in terms of the weather. However, during the dry season, from May to October, the western side of the peninsula creates some of the world's best waves. In the offseason (rainy season) there are sill plenty of waves for keen surfers though.

The infinity pool at Hotel Komune overlooks the line-up.

BEST FOR KIDS AGED... Kids ages six and older will enjoy the surf culture and experiences.

Think you’re a know-it-all? Test yourself by taking the quiz below and find out how much you really know. Flick to page 07 for answers.

GETTING THERE Qantas flies direct to Denpasar, Bali from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION Jambuluwuk Oceano Seminyak Hotel Bali seminyak The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali Holiday Inn Resort® Bali Benoa balibenoa. Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta WI N TE R 2 018


Dear Family Travel team, From a first-time mother to beautiful twin girls, it is wonderful to find a magazine of this genre. We live in a rural area and magazine choices are limited, but this is one I enjoy reading as soon as I can get my hands on a copy. It’s so nice to be able to take five and sit down with a cup of tea, dreaming about all the places we can visit on our first family holiday. The winter issue covered many topics and has helped me feel more at ease about venturing out on a long overdue holiday. We are thinking a cruise, but also love what Bali and Taiwan have to offer! There are so many great stories and it’s hard to decide! Thanks for giving me the motivation to keep going, knowing our dream of a family holiday is possible. M Vale, Qld

01 The people of which country were lucky enough to be the first to taste ice-cream? 02 True or false: Unicorns are the national animal of Scotland? 03 Where in Australia was previously called Van Diemen’s Land? 04 How many volcanoes are on the Indonesian Island of Java? 05 Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican Holiday celebrated in which month? 06 In which country is the thumbs-up gesture deemed an insult? 07 The 2020 Olympic games will be held in which city? 08 What is the name of Richard Branson’s private Caribbean island? 09 The ao dai is the traditional garment of the Vietnamese, what is it made out of? 10 What is the name of the Dutch dessert made up of waffles and caramel sauce?












Top events around the country.


The best in Australia travel news.

100 PLAY




Flying with bub? Read on for our top tips and check out the packing list.


Get to know Mandurah and Peel’s George Walley and Mayor Rhys Williams.


Nine young travellers share their holiday highlights.


The latest and greatest from around the world.


Soak up the sun on the Gold Coast.


Travelling in low season.


How to explore Hong Kong as a family.

Spotlight on the Sunshine Coast, Hobart and Alice Springs.



Our favourite finds for families in the USA.

Our huge and successful video campaign.



Fun adventures for all.

50 SHOP ‘TILL YOU DROP A family of four takes on The Outlets at Orange.




THE SAND AND SEA Family adventures beyond the shoreline.

62 THAILAND TRAVELS Idyllic escapes from the mountains to the sea.

66 NORMAN CONQUESTS A quiet family break away from hustle and bustle.


Malolo Island Resort getaway.


Why the Taiwan Lantern Festival is great for families.

Smartraveller tips on how to travel smart.


The Peninsula Tokyo, Amatara Wellness Resort, Fraser Suites Perth, Pan Pacific Melbourne, Prince Waikiki, Karma Kandara and Karma Jimbaran.


Canna Campbell talks about holiday budgeting.


With Anne Madison, Chief Strategy and Communications Officer for Brand USA.

TERRITORY FOR FREE For families on a budget.


AROUND AUSTRALIA The holiday you’ll talk about for years to come.


The brand-new Ruby Apartments are opening soon.

117 GETTING CLOSE TO NATURE Camping styles to suit every family.


129 CAMP LIKE A PRO How to ace camping.


Families of Australia snap shot. SPR I NG 2018





NORMAN CONQUESTS A quiet family break away from hustle and bustle.


KIDS IN AMERICA Our favourite finds for families in the USA.


HAWAI‘I BEYOND THE BEACH Adventures beyond the shoreline.


© Disney


THE EPIC AUSTRALIAN ROAD TRIP The holiday you’ll talk about for years to come.


CITY BUZZ How to explore Hong Kong as a family.


THAILAND TRAVELS From the mountains to the sea.




Keen to see how many of the questions you answered right? Read on to find out. 01 China 02 True 03 Tasmania 04 45 05 October 06 Iran 07 Tokyo 08 Necker Island 09 Silk 10 Stroopwaffles

SPR I NG 2018



Take me there Canada’s most easterly province, Newfoundland and Labrador, is a picturesque mix of craggy coastlines, seaside villages and pristine national parks. It’s the perfect destination for a family road trip, with endless outdoor activities, from zip-lining and hiking to fishing and sailing.

SPR I NG 2018



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BABY ON BOARD Flying with a baby? We’ve tips, ideas and your packing list sorted.



PERFECT PAIR Meet Mandurah and Peel’s George Walley and Mayor Rhys Williams.


KIDS’ PICKS Kids share their holiday highlights and tell us where they want to go next. NEWS & VIEWS We’ve narrowed down latest and the greatest news, tips and ideas.


ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL Our travelling with special needs section, featuring the Gold Coast and theme parks around the world.


OPINION Why travelling in low peak season could make for the best family holiday.


CITY BUZZ How to explore Hong Kong as a family.

SPR I NG 2018



01 02





Baby travel 01 Nano – Lightweight Travel Buggy; $399;


02 Koala - Wood and Silicone Teether; $25; 03 Subo – The Food Bottle; $29.95; 04 My Little One Happy Bottom Nappy Barrier Cream 100g; $13.95; 05 Sinchies Reusable Pouches 150ml (10 pack); $18; 06 Gumtree Buddies Cloth Book; $30;


07 Attipas Rainbow in White; $39.95; 08 Parade – Lightweight Child Carrier; $149;




top tips

for flying with a baby WORDS TATYANA LEONOV Every big trip starts with the planning stage. Where to go? For how long? My husband and I travel often, but now with a baby in tow, our decisions take a little more thought and time. Japan, we decide, will be a great first overseas destination for our family. It’s considered to be one of the safest countries in the world; the infrastructure is top notch; attractions are easily accessible with a pram; the people are lovely, and the time difference from Sydney is just one hour. The next big decision is flights. We opt for night flights both ways, hoping that our daughter will sleep. It could be that we have a chilled-out kid, or it could be her age (six months old on her first flight), but all works out smooth sailing. Here are my tips for flying with a baby: 01 FLY AT NIGHT If you are flying for five or more hours, choose a night flight so bub can sleep. Long day flights generally mean more awake hours, which can be challenging for everyone. 02 BASSINET BABY? Check the bassinet rules on your airline of choice. Travel while bub is still allowed in the bassinet if you can. Rules and regulations vary across airlines and plane types, but generally, babies are only permitted to use bassinets up until a certain age (usually ranging from 6 months to 1 year) and weight (11 to 14 kilograms is the norm). If your baby is over the age, weight or both you’ll have to hold him or her.

03 BOOK EARLY If the baby can go in a bassinet, book seats beside a bassinet well in advance. Then the baby has a space to sleep (and you can relive your arms). Children up to two travel free (excluding taxes) on most flight carriers, as long as they sit in the carer’s lap. 04 SLING & STROLL Have a collapsible stroller and/or sling ready for airport strolls. Strollers are good if you have additional hand luggage as they free you up a bit more. Slings take less space and often babies are calmer when held close by Mum or Dad. Or have both on you! 05 FOOD PREP Baby eating solids? Bring what you need, plus a little extra (surprise spillages are no fun) in your carry-on. Generally, liquid and gel restrictions don’t apply to baby milk and baby food. 06 IT’S ABOUT LAYERS Have layers ready, as it can feel hot or cold depending on where you are sitting on the plane and what temperature the cabin is set to. 07 FEED & FLY Breastfeeding or bottle feeding during take-off and landing helps the little one to equalise the pressure between their ears. We know how to pop our ears, but babies don’t and the sucking motion helps them deal with the pressure. Try to time feeds so bub is a little hungry at these times, otherwise, it’s easy to get distracted by all the goings-on.

08 TRAVEL IN TWOS Try to travel with another adult. If bub doesn’t want to settle, you can take turns eating, holding, playing and sleeping (here’s hoping anyway!). 09 SLEEP TIGHT If baby sleeps in a sleep sack, bring it on board to mimic the at-home scenario. 10 PLAY TIME Pack favourite toys so baby has something to fiddle around with. 11 DON’T FORGET THE DUMMY If your baby uses a dummy, don’t forget it. 12 PACK THE SPARES Be sure to pack enough nappies and wipes in the carry-on bag, as well as a spare set of clothes for those rare and badly timed emergencies. 13 UP & DOWN Walking up and down the aisle can help soothe bub. 14 CHANGING TIME The nappy change tables are located in the toilets, but it can get pretty tight in there. Avoid changing nappies when it’s turbulent… if you can. 15 ASK FOR HELP And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Generally, airline staff are happy to wash bottles and dummies and just lend a helping hand when you most need it. SPR I NG 2018



perfect pair

George Walley & Mayor Rhys Williams WORDS TATYANA LEONOV

GEORGE WALLEY, 58 George was born in Pinjarra and grew up in Mundijong and Serpentine. He fondly talks about his time growing up in Mandurah and the Peel region, an idyllic neighbourhood located less than an hour from Perth, which encompasses the coastal city of Mandurah and the inland Shires of Serpentine Jarrahdale, Murray, Boddington and Waroona. “My fondest childhood memories include bike riding, playing football, swimming at Serpentine Falls, schooling at Mundijong, family life and the inner strength of my mum,” he reminisces. Mandurah is an amazing place to visit – and for George it’s his home. “This is my homeland. It is home for an ancient people and an ancient culture,” he explains. “My cultural knowledge is of this land, people and spirit. I have permission to talk for this land, people and spirit. So, in everything that I do here, I continue to have a voice as my ancestors have had in their time – as should our descendants – the leaders of the future.” For George, launching his touring business Mandjoogoordap Dreaming in 2017 was a natural evolution in sharing his knowledge and love for his home with a wider community. George explains that: “Mandjoogoordap Dreaming continues to grow with its bus tours, walking tour and the Dreamtime Cruise with Mandurah Cruises.” George is also involved in cultural awareness training, cultural education in schools, and acts consultant on heritage and historical matters. He enjoys spending time with those who are equally as passionate about the region and everything that it offers. George can’t remember the exact moment he met Mayor Rhys Williams, but speaks very highly of him and his work. “Mayor Rhys Williams has always impressed me with his insights into what he could see that would benefit Mandurah and his work with youth leadership,” George says. “We have spoken about how opportunities can be made more real from the resources that are available.”



MAYOR RHYS WILLIAMS, 29 Rhys Williams was born in Western Australia and spent his childhood years in Mandurah. “It was the best community to grow up in,” he says “Fishing, building cubbies in the national park, or hanging out at the beach – I got to grow up in the place other people come for holidays.” Passionate about his home town and interested in fostering a strong community, Rhys first became interested in the role as Mayor at 23, mid-way through his term as a local government councillor. “I wanted to be Mayor because I believe in the role of local government to build a stronger community – and the opportunity to play a leading role in that is really a privilege,” he says. “Mandurah has always been a meeting place. In fact, the Noongar translation for Mandurah – Mandjoogoordap – literally translates to meeting place of the heart. The Noongar people would meet on the banks of our estuary for celebration, recreation and to catch a feed of fish for dinner, and those traditions remain true today,” he says. “With this context in mind, the council and I are determined to make sure that Mandurah’s new story as a creative, aspirational city continues to play its role as that West Australian meeting place.” This aspect of storytelling is an important part of sharing the culture of Mandurah, and Rhys explains that the city is fortunate to have community members such as George who are passionate about sharing their stories. “George works hard to make a real difference in the lives of many, whether it be in the indigenous health area, as an advisor on protocol, a teacher of history, a singer and song writer or a tour guide. George and I share a passion for storytelling, and for ensuring that our community is strong and sustainable.” Together with George, the Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation, and a wider team of community-minded individuals, Rhys is working on promoting Mandurah to the world. “There is so much to love about Mandurah. Our city is surrounded by some of the most beautiful environmental assets in Western Australia, from the Estuary to our coastline, and the Yalgorup National Park. In recent years too, a new story has emerged; a story of creativity, with a booming arts and culture scene; a story of great food, great coffee and a vibrant night life; a story of play, with an abundance of waterbased tourism activities.”

For more information about Mandurah and Peel head to

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kids’ picks

Why we love to travel

There’s no greater learning experience than physically exploring the world. Nine young travellers share their holiday highlights with us here.

Joshua, 9 I love holidays because you get to have time off school and you get to chill out with friends and family. Family holiday time is special because you get to hang out with your family. I’ve always dreamt of going to Japan because there is a Pokémon Centre and there’s a Pokémon Go tournament with three gyms and Mewtwo. After seeing the movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and reading the book Diary of a Wimpy Kid I really want to visit the robot dinosaurs from the movie because it would be so good to see them in real life. The next theme park I want to go is WhiteWater World because I have never been there in my whole entire life. The next camping adventure I’d like to go on is to the Outback because it would be amazing to sleep over in nature and sleep under the stars. I can learn how to cook over a fire and fish with a hook and string. The next beach holiday I’d like to go on is in a 4WD and go on the beach in it. My favourite place in the world is Universal Studios in California, because we got to see a lot of movie sets. My favourite part about Universal Studios was seeing Jaws. I got a big fright.

Amelie, 8

Family holiday time is special because you can spend time with your family. I’ve always dreamt of going to Paris because it is beautiful. After seeing the movie The Martian I really want to visit space because you can float around like you are flying. The next theme park I want to visit is Legoland because you can build so much Lego. The next beach holiday I’d like to go on is to Fiji because it’s tropical. My favourite place in the world is Nozawa Onsen because you can ski in winter and it has fun jumps.


Callum, 10

Family holiday time is special because you can enjoy things with your family. I’ve always dreamt of going to Europe because of the football. After seeing the movie Harry Potter and reading the book I really want to visit Harry Potter World – any of the locations! – because it looks cool. The next theme park I want to go to is Harry Potter World because it’s fun. The next beach holiday I’d like to go on is to Fiji because it’s tropical. My favourite place in the world is Portugal because that is where Ronaldo is from.


Grace, 14 I love holidays because I can sleep in and do lots of shopping. Family holiday time is special because we are all together and in a different environment where we learn new things together. I’ve always dreamt of going to Paris because I would love to experience the culture, architecture and especially the shopping. After learning in class about Chinese culture and the landmarks I really want to visit China because it seems really interesting and a new experience. The next theme park I want to go to is Disneyland because it is very well known and sounds really fun and exciting and like nowhere I have been. The next camping adventure I’d like to go on is to Kangaroo Island… or a tropical place. The next beach holiday I’d like to go on is to Bali or Hawai’i, because my parents and friends love these places and I would like to see them for myself. My favourite place in the world is my big fluffy and cosy bed because it is relaxing and comfy.

Sophie, 9

Annemarie, 7

I love holidays because they’re sooooooooo fun! Family holiday time is special because I get to spend time with my family. I’ve always dreamt of going to Fiji because when I went on the Soarin’ Around the World ride at Disneyland, Fiji looked so beautiful and ‘smelt’ so good. It smelt like water and flowers. After seeing the movie Leap! (also known as Ballerina), I really want to visit Paris, France because I want to see the Eiffel Tower. The next theme park I want to go is Luna Park because my cousin Grace said it’s really fun and she thinks I will like it. The next camping adventure I’d like to go on is to the Grand Canyon, Arizona because I want to see all the different colours in the rocks and see just how grand this canyon is. The next beach holiday I’d like to go on is to Copacabana, NSW because it is so beautiful, and I love swimming in the rock pools. My favourite place in the world is Whistler, Canada because you can go skiing in the winter.

I love holidays because I love discovering new places. Family holiday time is special because I am with the people I love. I’ve always dreamt of going to Paris because I want to see the Eiffel Tower. After seeing the movie American Girl: Isabel Dances into the Spotlight , I really want to visit New York City because I want to go shopping and see a Broadway show. The next camping adventure I’d like to go on is Yellowstone National Park because it has half of the world’s geysers and I want to see them. The next beach holiday I’d like to go on is Maui, Hawai‘i because I want to go snorkelling with a turtle. My favourite place in the world is Hawai‘i because I like the waterslides at the resort pools.


Olivia, 13

I love holidays because I get a break from all my school work and I get to hang out with family. Family holiday time is special because we get to be with each other without having to worry about anything else. I’ve always dreamt of going to Hawai‘i because I hear it is really beautiful and all you do all day is swim. After learning in class about liveability in geography I really want to visit Greece because it looks really beautiful and relaxing. The next theme park I want to go to is Disneyland because all the rides and attractions look really fun and interesting. The next camping adventure I’d like to go on is to Cockatoo Island because last time I was there I had a really good time. The next beach holiday I’d like to go on is to Bora Bora because it looks really pretty and warm. My favourite place in the world is home because that’s where my everything is.

Abigail, 8 I love holidays because they’re really fun and I get to be with my parents and it means I have a good time. Family holiday time is special because we have lots of time with our family. I don’t have lots of friends at school, but I have lots of friends in my family. I’ve always dreamt of going to France because I’ve always wanted to try the good bread there, especially the cupcakes. After seeing the movie Beauty and The Beast I really want to visit France because they have all kinds of bread, and really cool furniture, and different unique places and shops, and the Eiffel Tower – which is really important to the people in France. The next theme park I want to go to is Legoland because of the Legoland Hotels, which I saw on YouTube and they look really cool. The next camping adventure I’d like to go on is the beach because many beautiful animals are there, like dolphins. The next beach holiday I’d like to go on is the Dead Sea because it’s filled with no creatures and it’s filled with salt which will make you float. My favourite place in the world is Disneyland because there are so many great rides and a really great hotel with a really cool pool.


Jaxon, 12

I love holidays because I get to spend extra quality time with my family. Family holiday time is special because disabled kids sometimes need a break from hospital appointments, like how you do from work or school. I’ve always wanted to go to England, because I love watching the soccer, and England is one of the most passionate countries out there when it comes to the sport. Since starting high school this year I have been learning French. Because of this, it would be awesome to visit France due to my ability to speak parts of their language. If I were to choose my next beach holiday I would say Legian in Bali. It may seem sketchy at first glance, but once you get to know the locals and know which sights are accessible, then you are pretty much good to go. One of my favourite places in the world is Bali. This is because of how friendly the locals are, the stunning beaches, and the nice, warm temperature.

$1999.00* pp Delhi | Agra | Jaipur | Udaipur | Varanasi


news & views

5 GREAT REASONS TO VISIT INDONESIA WITH WYNDHAM HOTELS & RESORTS From heart-pumping surf to soul-soothing spirituality; from traditional local villages to bustling cities and everything in between, Indonesia is a kaleidoscopic country with something for everyone. Need a great place to stay? Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has the goods



Kuta Beach is hugely popular (for good reason!), so be prepared to share the beautiful sea, sand and sunset views with fellow beach-lovers. Wyndham Garden Kuta Beach combines a perfect beachfront location with everything you need to escape the action (family and rooftop pools, bar, spa and gym). Newly refurbished guest rooms and pool-access suites are airy and beachy-chic; and with further renovations this year (more swimup units and a new restaurant are on the hit list) it’s the perfect base for exploring the best of Kuta and beyond.



Ready to explore a different side to Bali? A dramatic black-sand beach, one of Indonesia’s best surf breaks, and a centuries-old palace are just some of the highlights of the eastern region of Klungkung. Here, overlooking Lepang Beach and surrounded by peaceful rice paddies, you’ll find the luxurious Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort Bali. The resort encourages total immersion in this unique environment: think indulgent relaxation in Tirta Spa’s luxe beachside huts, and Indonesian seafood dishes at Bumbu Restaurant, which can also create gourmet lunchboxes for a day exploring local culture and sights.


Heading to Surabaya? You’ll need some respite from the non-stop activity of this buzzing city. Wyndham Surabaya City Centre hotel’s deluxe rooms and suites are designed to maximise the mesmerising views from its fantastic central location. A free local shuttle service is the perfect way to explore Surabaya’s nightlife, shopping, dining and culture.



Explore the amazing scenery of Indonesia’s tropical Lombok, while staying at the brand-new Wyndham Sundancer Resort Lombok. Located on a white-sand beach, this spacious all-suite, five-star resort comes with views over the calm sea and the Southern Gilis. On a clear day you can see Mount Rinjani in Lombok – and even Mount Agung in Bali. The resort comprises of 66 spacious one- and two-bedroom suites complete with kitchen facilities, expansive living and separate bedroom areas and spacious bathrooms. In addition to the Sundancer Beach Club, the resort features an array of facilities, including a resort swimming pool complete with swim-up pool bar; the Sundancer Health Spa; and three separate dining venues.

SURF AND SWIM IN THE SOUTH OF BALI Nestled in nature among luxury beach clubs, an award-winning golf course and Dreamland Beach, Wyndham Dreamland Resort Bali is the perfect launch pad to experience the wonders of Bali. Located on a tranquil stretch of coastline between Kuta and Uluwatu, close to Bingin Beach and Padang Padang Beach’s surf breaks, it’s in a great location for surf-loving families. There are 177 one- and twobedroom villas with private swimming pools, as well as deluxe rooms and suites. The resort also has a number of swimming pools, a children’s pool, tranquil gardens and, for dining, a poolside café, Rayunan Restaurant and Ulu Bar.

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LEGOLAND New York will open in 2020 The new 150-acre park is scheduled to open in April 2020. LEGOLAND New York will have more than 50 rides, shows and attractions designed for children aged 2 to 12. “LEGOLAND New York is coming and it’s time to get excited,” says LEGOLAND New York’s PR manager Matt Besterman. “This will be the ultimate must-see destination for families in the Northeast.” LEGOLAND New York will take visitors on a journey through eight themed lands. The first land guests step into is called The Factory. This world is built entirely from LEGO bricks and will house the Great LEGO adventure ride. Step on board and you will feel what it is like to be a LEGO Minifigure, as you travel through the manufacturing process, into a box, and into the hands of a child just waiting to build. The second land is Bricktopia. This is a land with no rules. Families can work with Master Model Builders to build and test LEGO creations. See if your tallest tower can stand up against the Earthquake Table. You

can also take a spin on the Imagination Celebration ride or jump on the Stepping Tones to trigger crazy LEGO instruments. Ninjago fans will love LEGO NINJAGO world. Aspiring ninjas can master the ancient art of Spinjitzu here. Kids start in Training Camp, where they will learn to spin, climb and become a master of the elements. Then put your training to the test on NINJAGO: The Ride, where you’ll help defeat the Great Devourer using just your hands as weapons. The LEGO friends all live in Heartlake city. Friends fans can meet Emma, Olivia, Stephanie, Andrea and Mia. Take a balloon ride over Pinefall Woods and sample some delicious Granny’s Apple Fries. Knights Kingdom is the home of the LEGO castle. In this land you’ll find the Dragon Coaster – not too big or small, but perfectly sized to give kids their first roller coaster experience. Younger knights can help a new flock of baby dragons learn to fly at Dragon Rider School.

LEGO City is home of the Minifigures. Kids can learn to be a LEGO City firefighter and help save the day at Rescue Academy. They can attend LEGO Driving School and get an official LEGOLAND driver’s license. Or just chill out in the restaurants, shops and theatre. Head to Pirate Shores for a swashbuckling adventure. Young buccaneers can climb aboard a galleon and say, “Anchors aweigh”. But be careful as the storm picks up and tosses you from side to side. On the Rogue Wave Riders ride, little pirates can battle water spouts and hungry beasts. At the heart of LEGOLAND New York is Miniland. This will include an interactive panorama of LEGO-built American cities. LEGOLAND New York will open from April to November each year. Australian guests should look at staying in the 250-room LEGOLAND hotel. Families can choose from pirate, castle, LEGO Friends and Ninjago themed rooms. Words: Alison Godfrey



Hawaiian Airlines now flies direct to Boston USA Hawaiian Airlines has recently announced flights from Hawaii to Boston direct. The new route will operate five days a week from April 4 2019. Boston is one of America’s great sports cities; It’s the home of the famous Red Sox baseball team, the Celtics basketball team, the New England Patriots American football team and the Bruins ice hockey squad. A Hawai‘i stop-over allows families travelling to mainland USA time to rest and slow down the pace. In Hawai‘i, you can do as much or as little as you want. Relax on the beach or by the pool. Tour the Dole Plantation and devour pineapple treats, or surf the North Shore.


THE LAST STRAW FOR VIRGIN AUSTRALIA PASSENGERS Virgin Australia has banned plastic straws and stirrers from all its planes and lounges. The move will see more than 260,000 straws and 7.5 million stirrers removed from its operations each year. Virgin will replace the plastic with paper straws and bamboo stirrers. “This is part of our focus to improve the sustainability of the packaging we use as a business and to reduce the amount of single-use plastic across our inflight and lounge offerings,’’ Virgin general manager of group sustainability Rob Wood said in a statement. “As an airline, we have a responsibility to contribute to sustainable initiatives

that will benefit the environment and removing plastic straws and stirrers is an important step in the right direction. “We know there are still improvements to be made, but we are committed to continuing to look for ways to improve the environmental footprint of our operations.” Plastic straws have come under fire in Australia, especially since the War on Waste documentary. Research from the CSIRO shows that 71 per cent of seabirds and 30 per cent of turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs. Plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found in beach clean-ups.

Families travelling through Sydney International Airport will need to keep a close eye on the boards. As of Monday 17 September, the airport has become a ‘quiet terminal’. Only essential announcements will be broadcast beyond gate areas. “Passengers will now be able to relax without being interrupted by constant announcements,” Sydney Airport chief executive Geoff Culbert said in a statement. “We’re always looking at how we can make the airport experience even more enjoyable for our passengers. This initiative leapt out as one that would make an immediate and material difference and would align us with the practices of the best airports globally.” Airline staff will tell passengers their gate number at check-in. Sydney Airport will display up-to-date flight information on screens around the terminal. Passengers will also be able to ask staff present at information counters for their flight status or check the airport website, Facebook and Twitter. Other international airports that have gone quiet include Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong.

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KIDS HAVE IT MADE ON DISNEY CRUISES Did you know that Disney were the first cruise line to feature almost an entire deck dedicated to children’s activities, and that their kids’ clubs have some of the longest operating hours at sea? With dedicated areas and interactive activities that inspire, entertain and spark the imagination of children aged 6 months to 17 years, it’s great to be a kid on a Disney ship. Here’s how children can let their imaginations set sail. DEDICATED CLUBS FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES For little ones up to age 3, there’s a nursery with specially trained counsellors. Kids aged 3 to 12 have exclusive access to two immersive clubs, Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab, where they can choose to dive into their favourite Disney stories, take part in arts and crafts or science experiments, and so much more. Tweens aged 11 to 13 can hang out at Edge, a super chill place just for them, while teens ages 14 to 17 have a hip club of their own called Vibe.

Words: Jonathan Frontado

UNIQUE ACTIVITIES On all Disney ships, children can personalise their cruise vacation by selecting activities and events based on interest. Disney’s youth clubs transport kids to magical


lands filled with toys, costumes, arts, crafts, games, storytelling, musical fun, dancing and more, with special activities like Toy Story Boot Camp, Become Iron Man and Jedi Training: Experience the Force. Teens and tweens can set their own vacation agenda – whether socialising with new friends, playing the latest video games or just chilling out. Plus, organised activities such as dance parties, trivia games and sports contests keep teens and tweens entertained. WATER FUN Every Disney ship has special water areas the kids will love. For their littlest cruisers up to 3 years old, there’s a whimsical splash-and-play area, and for bigger kids, there’s a children’s pool, family pool and slide aboard each ship. Plus, depending on the ship, kids can enjoy the AquaDuck water coaster, the AquaDunk thrill slide, the AquaLab water play area and a teen-exclusive pool area at Vibe. CHARACTER ENCOUNTERS Only aboard a Disney cruise can children spend this much quality time with favourite characters from classic and modern Disney stories, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. Whether they have a hoedown with Woody

or enjoy a coronation ceremony with Anna and Elsa, hone their spider senses with Spider-Man or use the Force to battle First Order Stormtroopers, kids are sure to have a blast with characters in the youth clubs. Plus, surprise encounters roaming the ship and scheduled photo opportunities onboard and at Castaway Cay are guaranteed to create lasting memories for the entire family. MAGICAL MAKEOVERS Little princesses, princes and pirates can live out their fantasy with makeovers in Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique onboard all of our ships. Aspiring young royalty and buccaneers receive the full fairy tale treatment with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers at this very special salon. Thanks to the Fairy Godmothers-in-training of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the ‘first mates’ of the Pirates League, kids can look the part with ‘looks’ exclusive to Disney Cruise Line, including their favourite Star Wars characters during Star Wars Day at Sea.


Fun for the whole family At Centara Hotels and Resorts kids stay and play for free! There is a huge range of kids’ club activities and free access to water parks, multi-level pools, slides and more at Centara Hotels and Resorts in Thailand for the ultimate family holiday! The kids’ club (ages 4-11 inclusive) has professional supervisors and activities including treasure hunts, beach and pool games, kayaking, rock climbing, archery, Thai boxing and Thai football. Every day the action-packed program is provided at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya, Centara Karon Resort Phuket and Centara Seaview Resort Khao Lak, while parents can relax by the pool, at the spa, or however they please! Many rooms have two double beds, which is ideal for two adults and two children (who stay and eat breakfast free). Many resorts, too, have a babysitting service available – Centara really takes the concept of family holiday destinations to a whole new level!


DID YOU KNOW? The hamburger as we know it was first made in a restaurant called Louis’ Lunch! The New Haven, Connecticut diner served steak trimmings between two slices of toast in 1900 to a customer that was in a hurry and wanted something to eat on the go. The restaurant is still in operation today, and you can visit it as part of the Central Connecticut Burgers and Brews Trail.

RUNNING ON GAS Carnival Cruises has just launched the AIDAnova, a 337-metre-long ship that can hold 6600 passengers. This huge $1.1 billion vessel will be run solely on liquefied natural gas instead of diesel, which is a world first. No wonder she has a big smile on her bow – that is one very big step in the right direction for the environment.

Fluff, a sugary marshmallow concoction made using egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and vanillin, has been an American favourite for over 100 years. Not only do they love it on bread with peanut butter, they now dedicate a whole festival to the sugary goodness! Held in September in Somerville, Massachusetts, said to be the birthplace of Fluff, the What the Fluff festival features live music, cooking contests, Fluff-themed activities and more.

GOATS GO NUTS FOR ARGAN In Morocco, there’s a village where goats regularly climb more than 10 metres up trees to eat the Argan berries. This delicious pulp is digested easily by the goats, but the Argan nuts pass directly through them, which are then gathered by the locals, cracked open and turned into (yes, you guessed it) Argan oil. So next time you’re enjoying your face serum, just think about the crazy process it takes to get it to you!

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SWITZERLAND’S PLAYGROUND Take young kids to Zurich or Lucerne and you’ll all have the longest holiday of your life. Take them to Grindelwald and you'll never want to leave. If you’re

ready to venture to Europe, check in to Aspen Alpin Lifestyle Hotel and explore Switzerland's playground. Here are the top four activities your family will love!


Words: Sarah Friggieri

When it comes to capturing the stunning views of Switzerland, you can’t beat First Glider. From Grindelwald-First, a cable car will take you almost 2000 metres above sea level to Schreckfeld, where up to four of you can fly 83 kilometres per hour under the wings of an eagle. Hop back on the cable car to climb to First summit, where you can all freefall on to the Bagjump (don’t worry, it’s not that far down) and take a family selfie on the glass-bottomed platform overlooking the valley and mountainside (if you’ve got a Samsung S9, put it in ‘Wide Selfie’ mode to get the best shot) before settling in for lunch in undeniably one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes.


TREAT YOURSELVES While the kids and their other carer are indulging in Aspen Alpin Lifestyle Hotel’s complimentary afternoon tea from 3pm to 5pm (or if they’re hitting the slopes; in winter, this becomes a ski-in, ski-out lodge), treat yourself to some self-care time in the ultra-modern day spa. Book a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure, or simply let your worries drift away in the sauna, whirlpool or chill-out lounges.


Image: Switzerland Tourism, Rob Lewis

An hour’s train ride on Jungfrau Railway, through snowy mountains on one side and lush foliage on the other, will take you to the top of Europe. Get some snaps 3454 metres above sea level on the Sphinx observation deck, throw snowballs at each other in minus temperatures, sneak back inside for a hot chocolate, then take a self-guided tour of the tunnels that make up Jungfraujoch, featuring an ice palace and even a Lindt store.



It’s likely you flew in to Bern (it’s the closest main airport to Grindelwald), but if you didn't, take a daytrip there to meet the three cutest bears in their urban home of BärenPark. If you’re lucky, daughter Ursina will be ignoring her parents Finn and Björk (presumably because they didn't let her go out – typical teenage drama). Once you’ve had a good laugh and shared several ‘naw’ moments, turn to your left to find Eiswerkstatt gelateria, for the best ice-cream in town.

Making travel possible for people of all abilities and needs. Travel with Special Needs makes what you’ve dreamt about possible.

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accessible travel

Soaking up the sun Winter on the Gold Coast provides a variety of accessible adventures. WORDS JULIE JONES

Images: Julie Jones

Like the whales we spotted breaching in the warm waters off the Gold Coast, we migrate north to escape winter’s chill. Although not warm enough to entice us into the water, the area delivers a memorable week of entertainment and relaxation. With theme parks, pristine beaches and a hinterland to explore, we discover there’s plenty of accessible activities for the whole family on the Gold Coast.



Leaving the high rises of the city behind, we cruise for 30 minutes to South Stradbroke Island. After a short instructional video, we swap our

thrill-seeker’s wheelchair for an offroad buggy. In convoy, we follow our guide to explore the rainforest and the beach. We spy wallabies grazing near mangroves before driving up a sand dune and making our way down to the water’s edge. With only the occasional piece of driftwood to avoid on the deserted beach, we feel relaxation settle in and the shackles of city life melt away. Our son’s smile from the front seat fills the rear-view mirror as he glances back to see if we are enjoying the ride as much as him, taking particular delight in the squeals from the back as the buggy plunged into a large puddle. The Gold Coast Island Buggy tour

includes cruise, buggy tour, Segway use and free time for lunch at Couran Cove Resort.


The promise of an accessible tree top walk lures us to the Gold Coast Hinterland. Perched at the top of the mountain is O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat which greets us with crisp air and uninterrupted views of the western McPherson Range. Lamington National Park contains over 320 kilometres of walking tracks, of which two are wheelchair accessible and easily enjoyed by visitors of all abilities. The Tree Top walk consists of nine suspension bridges which are elevated up to 16 metres above the ground. Suspension bridges are rarely wheelchair accessible, so there is joy in sharing the thrill of a new experience with our son. When heavy-footed walkers cause a more severe bounce and wobble of the bridge, it only adds to his excitement. Birdlife is plentiful in the National Park, but it seems the birds were intent on playing a game of hide and seek. I can report they are expert on the hiding portion of the game.




Clockwise from left: Beach wheelchair; Gold Coast Island Buggy Tour; Fire Engine Tour, Fun Car Gold Coast; Birds of Prey show at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Fortunately, O’Reilly’s offers other opportunities to interact and see birdlife in action with their Birds of Prey Show. We sat in the natural amphitheatre admiring O’Reilly’s large feathered friends including Twinkle the Barn Owl, Conan the Kestrel and one of their Wedge Tail Eagles.


Like a couple of circus clowns, the boys squished their long limbs into a fun car to tour the Esplanade. Loving anything with a motor, our son embraces the car (and the celebrity-like status he attracts!) as people wave and point as they pass by. Only 10 fun cars operate in Australia and they’re all on the Gold Coast. With a top speed of around 50 FAMILY TRAVEL TIP Kurrawa All Abilities Playground at Broadbeach has a range of inclusive play equipment including supportive swings, high-back seated flying fox, picture communication boards and a hoisted bathroom facility with adult-sized change table.

kilometres an hour, it certainly wouldn’t replace a hire car, but with an open-top it’s a novel way of touring and fun for the whole family.


Kids go through many phases with many enjoying a transport loving stage, but others, like our son, continue with their passion. That’s why a Fire Engine tour is a must-do for us while visiting the Gold Coast. Retired authentic fire engines are used for the tour and tour guides are usually ex, or current, fire fighters. We share the tour with a family celebrating their son’s 6th birthday which creates a lively atmosphere in the cabin as the fire engine weaves its way from Surfers Paradise, along the beachfront to The Spit. We are all invited to operate and experience the full power of the fire hose on the oval. Feeling the weight of the hose and the kick-back as the water pumped through the hose, it is clear why firefighters are so muscly! The tour is educational, with Geoff explaining the workings of a fire engine, its capacity and the methods used by fire fighters to put out different kinds of fire. He also sets the record straight

on a few scenarios from Fireman Sam, after questions from our 6-year-old travel companion. Our son can manage a few stairs with assistance and being an authentic fire engine, this was necessary.


Our movie-loving family always has a fun day at Movie World. For our son, meeting the characters and watching the parade is a highlight. His day is made when he looks up to see Superman striding across the road, complete with superhero aura, to admire our son’s Superman-themed wheelchair. SPR I NG 2018



Guests with a disability should visit Guest Services on arrival to discuss the accessible facilities and suitability of rides. Wheelchair accessible seating is available for the adrenalin-fuelled stunt show and for the parade.


Sea World’s accessibility ensures a fun day for visitors. Easy-to-view exhibits, reserved wheelchair seating for shows, and a special needs dolphin experience, complete with hoist access, are just a few reasons we’re repeat visitors. My personal favourite is Polar Bear Shores where I can stand watching the bears for hours. Knowing we’ll find them at their most active early in the day, this is our first stop. On this occasion we are lucky to find mum and her bub taking a morning stroll and swim. I could relate to the mum doing a little dance of reluctance at the edge of the pool before taking the plunge with a look of parental resignation. The special needs dolphin experience is available for a maximum of four people, including one carer/companion, to assist the person with a disability (the dolphin experience is free for the carer). Bookings need to be made in advance, direct with Sea World’s Guest Relations.

Images: Julie Jones



While swimming in winter wasn’t on our wish list, we couldn’t wait to get our feet in the sand and take a long walk on the beach. Fortunately, after an extensive and successful trial, the City of Gold Coast has implemented a permanent accessible beach program. This includes a range of beach wheelchairs, beach matting and information about accessible facilities. Understanding there’s no one-sizefits-all approach when it comes to accessibility there are several styles of beach wheelchair including the Hippocampe, Sandcruiser and Water Wheels chairs. Our winter getaway on the Gold Coast is everything we needed it to be, and it certainly proved it’s a destination for all abilities.


Clockwise from top Superman at Movie World; Sea World Aquarium.


Five disability-friendly theme parks 01 LEGOLAND FLORIDA RESORT Legoland Florida Resort prides itself on its diversity and inclusivity, and has recently dedicated time and money to making the park as accessible as possible for children with autism. Working in close consultation with Autism Speaks, it has developed the Blue Hero Pass (available from Guest Services), which entitles holders and their family to bypass long queues at attractions. A specially developed virtual walkthrough of each ride and show can also be viewed to assist guests with what to expect, including periods of extended darkness, loud noises or bright lights. 02 SESAME PLACE On the outskirts of Philadelphia, is the first theme park in the world to be designated a Certified Autism Center. It offers a selection of rides, parades, shows and water attractions for kids to enjoy. The staff at Sesame Place are trained in autism sensitivity and awareness. The theme park includes quiet rooms, low sensory areas to unwind, and noise-cancelling headphones. philadelphia 03 DISNEYLAND RESORT Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, has extensive services available to guests with disabilities. The Disability Access Service card is designed for those who are unable to tolerate extended waits at attractions; they can schedule a return time that is comparable to the current queue wait for that ride or attraction. Multiple quiet areas are also located within the two on-site parks – Disneyland Park and Disney California

Adventure Park. For guests with a visual impairment, Disneyland Resort provides audio description devices, braille guidebooks and digital audio tours. Guests visiting with a hearing impairment can use assistive listening systems, reflective captioning, signlanguage interpretation (specific days), handheld captioning, video captioning and written aids. 04 MORGAN’S WONDERLAND Located in San Antonio, Texas, this was the first accessible family fun park in the world. Developed by the parent of a child with a disability, the parks were designed with inclusion and access as a must. Guests can swap their electric wheelchairs for the park’s waterproof wheelchairs powered by compressed air, and waterproof wristbands with RFID technology are available for parents who are worried about getting separated from their children. Many of the rides are wheelchair-accessible. 05 SEA WORLD Sea World on Australia’s Gold Coast has services in place to assist guests with disabilities. Upon presentation of the Companion Card, one person is admitted free with the person with a disability. For guests who have difficulty waiting in long queues, parentswap and queue-proxy services are available. For guests with a hearing impairment, the park has an assisted listening service that amplifies sound through headphones or an induction loop. Guest services is able to assist with information regarding access to rides for visitors using a wheelchair.

Morgan’s Wonderland Wheelchair Swing

Sensory Village at Morgan’s Wonderland.

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Why you should travel in low season Escaping the madness of a school holidays’ trip may not only save you some cash, it may save your family’s sanity. School holidays are the pits. Snotty kids, pushy tomatoes. A few weeks later, when the school parents, cranky guests and frustrated staff make holiday crowds were around, we’d never have for a few weeks of fast-paced misery. I should seen those people. know because I’ve hosted over 100 weeks of Family travel during school time doesn’t have school holiday delight at our hotel, Pinetrees to deliver worldly experience and education Lodge on Lord Howe Island. Yes, sometimes the to justify the time off. You may just want to stars align and we have happy families who play spend some quality time together. We often see nice, but mostly, we have bloody noses, tantrums families holidaying in a kind of parallel existence, and the occasional bout of gastro. And to be with the parents on holiday from parenting and LUKE HANSON honest, I think we host school holidays better the kids on holiday from any rules-based order. Co-owner of Pinetrees than most places. Am I selling you on Lord Howe The one thing they have in common is that Lodge on Lord Howe Island Island? Hopefully. Am I selling you on school they’re all on their devices, communicating with holiday travel? Absolutely not. anyone other than each other. It may surprise the staunch school holiday traveller that We’ve kicked the device addiction by going to places despite the pink lemonade, second scoop of ice-cream, and without power and wi-fi (and other families with devices) preloaded iPad to ensure a blissful romantic dinner for two and share some serious quality time. Our annual trip, in the (and sometimes three or four depending on the battery), first week of December, to Mount Aspiring National Park in there is a better kind of trip. And it’s not to any particular New Zealand involves a helicopter flight into the heart of the place, but during a particular time – school time. mountains and a few nights in a backcountry hut surrounded Granted, leave from school can be hard to come by, by enormous mountains and glaciers. Despite the location particularly for high school kids, but think of the families and mode of transport, the kids are most excited about the you know who’ve disappeared for a term or two on a top bunk and the freedom they have to explore the nearby circumnavigation of Australia, only to return with kids who forests without the risk of snakes. At night, we play games seem worldly beyond their years. ‘School of life’ trips are by candlelight and talk to each other. It’s amazing how one of the best school time holidays and even the grumpy developed the brains of kids are when you talk to them about headmaster gets it, at least off the record. We had a latethe big stuff – life, death, love, betrayal and the best fart jokes. July escape to Austria last year and walked through the At the end of our backcountry hut experience, we always Otztal Alps from Innsbruck to Merano. Along the way, our stay in Wanaka and enjoy another benefit of school-time kids discovered some startling facts about climate change travel – no crowds. Wanaka is the Byron Bay of New Zealand (melting glaciers), anthropology (Otzi the Iceman), history and if you dare to visit during school holidays, you’ll share (bullet shells and barbed wire from World War I) and the the place with tens of thousands of people. Instead, if you quirks of religion (wayside shrines draped in Buddhist prayer visit just a week before school holidays, you’ll have the place flags). Before our walk, we stayed with family friends in to yourself. You’ll get a table at the cafe, a 6.30pm booking Innsbruck and watched their kids go to school each day, after at your preferred restaurant, front row standing space next drinking chocolate milk for breakfast, and then picked wild to the busker, and without the hordes of children around, blueberries together after school. There were no kids’ clubs, the locals will be nice to you. You’ll also get discounted shopping malls or theme parks in sight, but we still had the accommodation and cheap flights. best holiday. The kids even learnt a bit of German. But you don’t have to travel to New Zealand, Austria or On the same trip, we extended our leave from work and Croatia to share an educational experience in an affordable school, and went sailing around the islands of Croatia. and friendly destination. Try Hobart in April, Eden in May, While Split and Dubrovnik were nothing short of feral, the Uluru in June, Lamington National Park in July, Byron Bay in island towns and villages were deserted. We walked around August, Albany in September, Kosciuszko in October, Lord cobble-stoned medieval streets without the circus of T-shirt Howe Island in November. You can even camp in your local stalls, gelato vans, Roman soldiers touting for photos and national park and sit around a campfire every night. There’s other purveyors of useless junk. Instead, we watched locals richness in the experience that you won’t get from a 9am to going about their daily routine and talked to everyone from 5pm itinerary of commercial activities, side-by-side with a old ladies sweeping the streets to local businessmen who thousand other stressed out families. If you break the routine had cousins in Melbourne (“Ivan – do you know him?”). of school holiday travel, despite the collective frown of the The engagement was wonderful, and their interest in us – people who don’t, then you may just have your best family an Australian family – was as authentic as their backyard holiday, ever, and still come home with spare change.



Clockwise from top: The melting Similaun Glacier on the Austrian-Italian border; picking blueberries near Innsbruck; family portrait at Top Forks Hut in New Zealand; morning hot chocolates in Mount Aspiring National Park; gelatos in the medieval streets of Stari Grad in Croatia.


city buzz

How to explore Hong Kong as a family The city’s diverse culture means that there is plenty to keep all ages entertained year-round, whether it be exploring the bustling streets, getting to know the locals, discovering iconic sites or tasting local dishes. STAR FERRY The Star Ferry boats have been transporting passengers from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and back since 1888. While the two sides of Victoria Harbour are now connected by a world-class infrastructure system of road and rail tunnels, tens of millions of people still climb aboard the humble Star Ferry vessels each year. Jump on board and take a ride for an up-close (and inexpensive) look at one of the world’s most photographed harbours. Don't forget your camera. TRAM-TASTIC The original Peak Tram held only 30 passengers when it first opened 130 years ago, but in 1989 the Peak Tram underwent a major refurbishment. The carriages were replaced with the iconic red ones still in use today. From its earliest days, The Peak Tram has been one of Hong Kong’s most visited attractions. Over two million people a year take the journey up to The Peak for spectacular views of the skyline and beyond.


CABLE CAR Take the NP360 cable car to visit Hong Kong’s iconic Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, impress the daredevils with a glass bottom gondola for hair raising views of Lantau Island. Then explore the nearby Ngong Ping Piazza and Wisdom Path, before venturing out to the other parts of the island by bus. Take the bus to Tai O fishing village and from there you can take a boat to see Hong Kong’s unique stilt houses. TASTE TOUR Get more bang for your bucks by creating your own mini foodie tour. For selfnavigate foodie trails, pick up a neighbourhood guidebook from a visitor information centre (the guidebooks also include must-try dishes). If you’re looking for a fun dinner venue try Yum Cha HK, home to the most adorable dim sum creations and the famous ‘vomiting’ custard buns. HISTORIC HIKING Escape the crowds and tire out the kiddies by heading to the outer islands for some hiking. From spectacular cityscapes and remote beaches; to rustic villages and or historical landmarks, Hong Kong’s hiking trails have so much to offer. For more hiking tracks pick up a Great Outdoors guidebook from a visitor information centre.

The iconic Peak Tram.

Sai Kung Geopark.

NP360 cable car.

Hong Kong eats.

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KIDS IN AMERICA Our favourite places for families to romp and roam in the USA.

HAWAI‘I BEYOND THE BEACH The islands of Hawai‘i have plenty to offer beyond the shoreline.





THERE’S A TOY IN ALL OF US Enjoy the fun and adventure at Toy Story Land. SHOP ‘TILL YOU DROP A family of four takes on The Outlets at Orange at Orange County in Southern California.


FROM THE MOUNTAINS TO THE SEA Exploring Thailand’s provinces of Chiang Rai and Trat. NORMAN CONQUESTS A quiet family break away from hustle and bustle is just what this family needs.


FIJI FOR FAMILIES A trip to Malolo Island Resort for this family is everything they imagined and more.


TAIWAN LANTERN FESTIVAL Why you should travel to Taiwan next year and experience this amazing celebration.

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Before arriving in San Francisco, get your free PIER 39 Fun Pack, which includes various discounts to many of the shops, restaurants and attractions on the pier, as well as one hour of free parking. You can print a coupon online before you go, and then redeem for your coupon booklet at the California Welcome Center. fun-pack





San Francisco is located at the entrance to a large natural harbour – the San Francisco Bay. The hip, progressive, techy and very hilly city was born on the waterfront and consequently this area is home to some of its best attractions. But the entire ‘Bay Area’ region is chock full of adventures for families – and there are direct flights from Melbourne and Sydney right to its airport.


PIER 39 is a great place for families to kick off their California adventures. Located in the heart of the waterfront, there are two levels of dining, entertainment, shopping and attractions, plus it’s the launch point for many activities in the bay, such as catamaran charters, whale watching excursions, power boat rides and Zodiac boat tours. The pier is home to San Francisco’s world-famous sea lions, who lounge across the docks and even have their own webcam. New at PIER 39 is the world’s first 3D flying theatre experience, aptly named ‘The Flyer’. The fun indoor ride combines motion seats, live-action and computer-generated 3D imagery to simulate flight around the region. You’ll dip, dive and soar across the city, over the Golden Gate Bridge, up the coastline, and through Redwood National Park. The riveting ride is also a fabulous introduction to the city’s best sites. And don’t miss the Aquarium of the Bay, which is home to some 20,000 marine animals, including sharks and rays, octopodes, jellyfish, darting schools of sparking anchovy,

San Francisco

river otters and many more. There’s a Sea Lion Center, plus feedings, animal encounters, talks and other daily programs.


From various points around the waterfront, you can spot the former island prison, which is accessible by ferry. Allow at least three hours for cruising to the island, taking the cellhouse audio tour, exploring the historic prison’s exhibits, and the return trip. It’s worth noting that Alcatraz provide a Sustainable Easy Access Transportation (S.E.A.T) Tram for access to the top of the former prison facility for those that need it and the rest of the top is wheelchair accessible. There’s also a Braille transcript for visitors with a vision impairment.


Less than four hours’ drive east from San Francisco is the renowned Yosemite National Park. One of the States’ mostvisited parks, it’s famed for its giant, ancient sequoia trees and the iconic towering granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. Yosemite Village offers shops, restaurants, lodging, a museum and a photographic gallery. For a real treat, stay at the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. The elegant lodge offers tours of the park, a spa, a kids adventure course, mountain biking, nature and nighttime torch hikes, archery and more. SPR I NG 2018




ANGELIC FUN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA The ‘City of Angels’ is relatively easily accessible from Australia with direct flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles. Speaking of flights, Visit California President & CEO, Caroline Beteta notes, “For Australian families in particular, now is an amazing time to visit, as the cost of flights to California is trending down, making it easier than ever for families to afford the trip.” She also adds, “We have kid-friendly road trips, museums, eateries and even wineries, so I encourage families to think outside the box and add something unexpected to their next vacation in what we call ‘Kidifornia’.

Running tours since 1935, the oldest sightseeing company in Los Angeles showcases the opulent estates of the world’s most successful and famous stars. They also offer tours of the studios and local theme parks. The Movie Locations Tour explores LA locations from Transformers, Iron Man, Blade Runner, The Fast & The Furious and Star Trek, all from the comfort of a custom bus that plays related movie clips on a large HDTV.


This world-renowned theme park actually started as a small berry farm. First known for its famous fried chicken dinners, boysenberries and an Old West Ghost Town, Knott’s Berry Farm now bursts with attractions and entertainment for all ages, including roller coasters, stage shows, interactive experiences, and delicious food. Additionally, there’s also Knott's Soak City Waterpark (Orange County’s largest waterpark) and Knott's Berry Farm Hotel.




While in the USA, save time and money on the best attractions with CityPASS. Available for a dozen destinations, including Dallas, Denver, New York City, San Francisco and Southern California, it allows you to pre-purchase a booklet of discounted tickets to all the best local attractions. Highly recommended as a way to both plan your city experiences in advance – and save dollars while you’re there.


Enjoy a three-hour visit inside a real Hollywood studio, exploring the sets for productions like Batman, La La Land and Friends, with access to original props, costumes, vehicles, and sets. You’ll also stop at the DC Universe: The Exhibit, which gets you up close to characters like Wonder Woman, Superman and The Flash. The exhibit also displays the original comic book issue of each character. Studio tour carts can accommodate most wheelchairs.


All things Pixar have invaded the Disney California Adventure Park with the opening of Pixar Pier. Your favourite Pixar characters and stories abound in this new area that features the Incredicoaster and Pixar Pal-A-Round attractions, imaginative neighbourhoods, Pixar-inspired food, the Lamplight Lounge and a variety of exciting entertainment. disney-california-adventure/pixar-pier/


Full of parks, beaches and the Santa Monica Pier, there’s plenty for families to do here. Check out the Pier’s historic carousel, seasonal festivals, souvenir stands, arcade and aquarium. There are free historical walking tours and even a trapeze school, as well as plenty of dining options. SPR I NG 2018




New York

‘THE CITY’ NEW YORK, NEW YORK New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, and for good reason. It’s the mecca of US business and a melting pot of American culture. There’s something for every style, taste and budget in what locals often refer to simply as ‘The City’. With all the options of things to see and do here, it’s important to do your research beforehand. Just a few suggestions to consider are: Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History, Coney Island, Broadway, the High Line (a park residing on an old elevated railroad line), the decommissioned naval aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, a skyscraper observatory (Empire State Building, Top of the Rock in the Rockfellar Center, or One World Observatory), and a plethora of activities in the rivers surrounding buzzy Manhattan. Father and 20-year resident Mike Flynn notes, “The way to see New York City is on a bike. That’s just the most efficient and most effective way to really see the city. It lets you cruise at a pace that’s effective for getting around, but in a way that allows you to stop and take in things as you like. I definitely recommend biking – particularly on Governors Island. You take the ferry out, have a great ride in a park-like setting, and get a fantastic view of the skyline of Manhattan.” Flynn also suggests the Staten Island Ferry, which takes you past the Statue of Liberty and is free on weekends. Another recommendation from the father of two teens is fishing in Central Park as a unique activity, especially when combined with a bike ride there. Note too that the ferry system, as well as both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, is an excellent option for those families with any accessibility issues. The grounds on Liberty Island are fully-wheelchair accessible and a wheelchair-accessible lift is available to the top of the massive pedestal. The interior of the top of the pedestal, which offers views of the Statue's inner skeletal structure, is also wheelchair accessible.



Starline offers 17 NYC tours, each of which is uniquely tailored to highlight a particular aspect of the city. There are loop tours of Manhattan, night/holiday lights tours, a Harlem gospel tour, and one to shop premium outlets. They also offer helicopter tours and an array of boat tours around the island of Manhattan.


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THE OTHER NEW YORK – UPSTATE ROCHESTER, NEW YORK Don’t forget that ‘New York’ is not just a city, but an entire state. And the state is the size of France, no less. While some 60 million tourists descend upon the city itself, they too often neglect the rolling mountains, lakes, and natural beauty of what’s called ‘Upstate’. Greg Marshall, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Visit Rochester, notes, “The wonders of upstate New York are virtually unknown by most international visitors, yet we’re a safe, accessible and affordable family travel destination.” Father, family travel writer, and local resident Dave Parfitt adds, “It’s a very family-friendly region with world-class museums, gorgeous lakes and rolling hills. It’s really just a great getaway for families.” Parfitt also suggests checking out the brand-new National Comedy Center, a museum dedicated to the art and history of comedy.


There are more than 70 family-friendly attractions within a 50-mile radius of Rochester, but perhaps the pinnacle of them all is the National Museum of Play. ‘The Strong’ is the world’s first collections-based museum devoted solely to the role of play. It is the world’s largest collection of materials related to play and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, and more. The museum has worked in collaboration with Autism Up to provide opportunities for visitors with a family member on the autism spectrum to experience the museum before it opens to the general public. Downloadable social stories and designated quiet areas with sensory friendly toys are provided as part of the program.

05 Rhode Island


A FAMILY RHODE TRIP NEWPORT & PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND The smallest of all the US states, Rhode Island is known for sandy shores and seaside Colonial towns. It includes the city of Newport, which is famed for its dozens of massive and elegant ‘Gilded Age’ mansions and sometimes referred to as the sailing capital of the world. The state’s capital of Providence is home to Brown University, a variety of landscaped and riverfront parks, the Providence Children’s Museum, and the WaterFire art installation. Check out the lighthouse and seal tours at Newport’s Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium. For something truly unique, Rail Explorers offers scenic rides along the bay on custom built pedal-powered cars that run on old railroad lines. And the Rhode Island website includes pages and search tools for family-specific attractions and beaches.


06 Central Florida


Orlando is the gateway city to Florida’s world-famous Walt Disney World Resort. It is also host to some 72 million tourists per year. After your visit to the Magic Kingdom (or perhaps in lieu of), get outside the city to discover the wilder side of Florida. Check out the delightfully kitschy Gatorland, the live mermaid shows at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, or Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park for airboat rides, swamp tours and animal attractions. “We’re located right in the heart of Florida,” notes Kris Keprios, Senior Tourism Sales and Marketing Manager for Visit Central Florida. “We tell people that a vacation here gives their family the chance to ‘choose everything,’ because we’re an hour from the beaches, down the street

from Orlando, and have the LEGOLAND Florida Resort and Safari Wilderness Ranch right here. You can just unpack once and see it all."


Travel writer and regular visitor Dave Parfitt suggests visiting Give Kids the World Village. This 84-acre, nonprofit resort provides cost-free vacations to children with critical illnesses. Parfitt regularly volunteers there with his family. He says, “Volunteering there is just a great way for families to bond and give back a little. It also really makes you appreciate so many things, from your own health, to that of your kids, to our ability to get to travel freely and regularly. Plus, it provides your kids some serious perspective too.”


To save money and get far more for your dollar, Parfitt recommends lodging options in Kissimmee, Florida. He says it’s not only cheaper than Orlando lodging, you can also rent beautiful homes there, some with their own pools – or even their own movie theaters. He says, “You get a lot more for your money and the town has tons of options.”

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Denver & Colorado Springs


Families will certainly stay busy in the Mile High City of Denver (so named because of its altitude of over a mile above sea level). Walk the 16th Street Mall, which includes the newly renovated, historic Union Station, visit the Denver Mint or Denver Art Museum, or take the trolley to the Downtown Aquarium or Children’s Museum of Denver. Red Rocks Amphitheatre is arguably one of the most popular outdoor venues in the world. Located just outside Denver, this stunning outdoor venue offers a range of services for visitors with a disability, including wheelchair-accessible seating and reserved seating close to the stage for those who are deaf, hard of hearing, vision impaired or blind.


The little Colorado city of Colorado Springs boasts more than 55 family-friendly attractions, including iconic Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods geological park, plenty of whitewater rafting for all comfort levels, and the Santa’s Workshop amusement park. Notes Chelsy Offutt from Visit Colorado Springs, "A lot of families who travel to our area are seeking exceptional outdoor experiences – and we’re very fortunate to have some truly unique ones, from a wolf sanctuary to waterfall hikes. Visitors should absolutely take a scenic train trip through the Royal Gorge or Cripple Creek, wander the trails of Paint Mines Interpretive Park and of course visit the summit of Pikes Peak, known as America’s Mountain.” Don’t miss the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, a 360acre amusement park that includes one of the world’s highest suspension bridges. When you cross, you’ll be able to look down nearly 300 metres to the wild Arkansas River. Mundt says, “One of my family's favourite spots to spend a few days, Colorado Springs is a lesserrecognised destination that offers a ton of fun for kids, especially outdoors. The city is an underrated destination, yet a great way to sample some of Colorado's natural wonders.”




While in the Rockies, take the altitude seriously. Exerting yourself, such as during a hike, at these higher altitudes can leave you breathless or possibly with a serious headache. Prolonged issues can develop over time that can lead to serious medical conditions. Stay hydrated in these dry environments, go easy on alcoholic beverages, and dial back some of your ambitions (if you run marathons in Sydney, don’t try to run more than a few kilometres here, until you acclimatise).


The Rocky Mountains are home to some of the most stunning natural scenery in all of North America. So, it’s no surprise that the region is chock full of iconic national parks such as Bryce, Death Valley, Zion and Grand Canyon National Park. A comfortable way to see them is by renting an RV (Recreational Vehicle). Be sure to plan your routes carefully though, as western states are large and distances between some parks could make for long driving days. hot_deals

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This central Texas city, also known as the Big D, has the whole family covered with activities for kids, parents and anyone else that wants to tag along. View the brilliantly illuminated skyline from the GeO-Deck at Reunion Tower. Look across the city from a height of 150 metres, and learn about local landmarks, light shows, milestone events and more. Or enjoy some fresh air at Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden, where you can wander the trails to learn how wetlands clean the water and see alternative


energy in action. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science has a popular earthquake simulator, another simulator that allows you to race a cheetah, and the towering skeleton of Alamosaurus, an indigenous planteating dinosaur who towered over the T-Rex. The Visit Dallas website has a host of family-friendly suggestions, as well as family guides and suggested itineraries for you and your kids.


Great Wolf Lodge is a fabulous chain of family-focused resort hotels with indoor water park that kids and adults alike love! There are 16 of these hotels spread across the nation, with many providing accessibility and inclusivity options. Some resorts feature family suite accessible accommodation, which can sleep up to six people. Some lodges, too, provide wheelchair access to their water parks and pools.



San Diego

A CITY WHERE KIDS GO FREE SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA San Diego has been rated one of the top family destinations in America. And with a panoply of theme parks, state parks, water parks, kid-friendly museums and hiking trails, it’s easy to see why. There are 113 kilometres of beautiful beaches and plenty of budget-friendly hotels and dining options. But the city took it one (big!) step further by celebrating Kids Free San Diego each October. During that month, there are free admission at select attractions, complimentary meals for kids, and other great perks – more than 100 offers in all!

SEAWORLD SAN DIEGO SeaWorld San Diego theme park offers roller coasters, rides, shows,


tours, and family-friendly activities for both thrill seekers and animal lovers. The Electric Eel will soon be the tallest and fastest roller coaster in San Diego, offering high-energy twists, electrifying loops and inversions. Seaworld San Diego has a range of accessible services for visitors. Guests with a visual impairment may request a guide to accompany them around the park for the first two hours of their visit (this service must be requested with a minimum of two weeks notice); Show scripts are available for hearing-impaired guests; For guests with a mobility restriction, there’s detailed information online to decide the suitability of rides and to plan a visit.


AN UNDISCOVERED WESTERN FLOWER FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA Flagstaff is a high-altitude city surrounded by mountains, desert and ponderosa pine forests. It’s a gateway to the San Francisco Peaks, home to Arizona’s tallest mountain (Humphreys Peak) and the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort. Nearby, Wupatki National Monument has Native American pueblo sites, and Walnut Canyon National Monument is dotted with their cliff dwellings. Plus, it’s well off the radar of the mobs of tourists you might find in other destinations.


Be sure to check out the Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was discovered in 1930. Other notable contributions of the observatory include the first detection of the expansion of the universe, moon mapping for the Apollo program, the rings of Uranus, the atmosphere of Pluto, and scores of others. There are exhibits, regular tours, a museum, evening programs, a gift shop and a Junior Astronomer Program.

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Left to right: Buzz Lightyear; Slinky Dog Dash; Woody tips his hat; alien-swirling saucers; meet Jessie.




The highlight of Toy Story Land is the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster, which dominates the park. The idea is that Andy built the rollercoaster and placed Slinky Dog on top instead of a cart. Rex the Dinosaur can be seen teetering on a pile of Jenga blocks in the middle of the ride as you zoom past and Wheezy gives a breathtaking performance of the song ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ as you finish. The Slinky Dog Dash takes about two minutes to ride and covers rollers, twists, turns and hills. It is suitable for children, but it has a few little surprises that will get your stomach moving, including a pause in the middle (for Slinky to catch his breath). My favourite ride at Toy Story Land is an oldie but a goodie – Toy Story Mania. The game is set inside the house, under Andy’s bed. Participants enter the 4D world in two-person swirling carriages with laser guns attached to the front. Each participant must use the laser gun shoot down targets worth differing values – just watch out as the balloons swoosh towards your head! At the end of the ride, you find out which player on the ride scored the highest total. So far the top score is more than 500,000 points. Toy Story Land is easily accessible. Wheelchair parking is provided, and assistance is available on and off the rides. Although Andy may have grown out of his toys, kids and grown-ups alike will love the exciting rides, funny characters and immersive attention to detail in Disney’s latest attraction.

GETTING THERE Virgin Airlines fly from Sydney to Orlando via Los Angeles.

PLAYING THERE Toy Story World is located at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando Florida.

STAYING THERE Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers families the chance to sleep in the African savanna.

BEST FOR Kids of all ages and every family type. Images: Alison Godfrey

“Howdy toys,” says a Disney cast member smiling as we take our first steps into the new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World. Those two words set the scene for what is about to happen. In front of me a huge shoe print has been moulded into the footpath. It’s Andy’s footprint. So, I must be the size of a toy. Behind me I hear a call, “Get marching soldiers”. I turn to see three toy green army men led by Sarge striding through the park. He stops, pointing a megaphone at another toy and says, “Congratulations on getting out of gaol maam.” This is the most wonderful thing about Disney’s theme parks – they play with your senses, immersing you effortlessly into an amazing imaginary world. Toy Story Land looks and feels like Andy’s backyard. The details are incredible. The green army men even have the circles on their backs where they were once attached; the seats are made from sucked paddle-pop sticks; and the fences are made using connecting straws. The restaurant is an overturned child’s lunch box with a drink bottle attached. All around me I recognise the toys of my childhood – Jenga, checkers, Uno and even Dominos. Buzz Lightyear beeps as a I walk past the brandnew Alien Swirling Saucers ride. “Oops, it must be time to change my battery,” he says to giggles from the crowd. This colourful ride is fun for all ages. You hop onto an alien saucer and spin around and around. It’s actually based on a game Andy won at Pizza Planet that has come to life in his backyard.

BEST TIME TO GO Avoid big holidays such as July 4. March to May are the coolest months. SPR I NG 2018






If your family likes to shop, Simon Shopping Destinations are fun-filled centres with plenty to see, do (and eat!) for families. Sure, shopping is key, but when it comes to Simon Shopping Destinations, it’s also about the various attractions offering hours’ worth of entertainment. There are over 100 world-class shopping locations found in the USA, including Simon Premium Outlets, Simon Mills and Simon Malls. One popular shopping destination for families is The Outlets at Orange, located in Anaheim, California. This open-air shopping centre is only a few minutes’ drive from Disneyland and is home to over 120 outlet and retail stores, as well as great places to eat (there are over 25 restaurants to choose from), and plenty of entertainment, including a bowling alley, a games centre and one of the largest indoor skate parks in Southern California. There’s even a day spa for when mum (or dad!) needs a rest. We sent a family of four – mum and dad Meredith and Donovan and their two girls, Abigail aged 8 and Matilda aged 3 – to explore. HAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BEEN TO ANY SIMON SHOPPING DESTINATIONS PREVIOUSLY? Donovan: I have been to Ontario Mills before. The Outlets at Orange I used to visit when it was called The Block at Orange. I was keen to see how the complex has changed.

Meredith: I haven’t been there before… and as an Olympic-level shopper, I was very enthused, although jet lagged. WHY DID YOU WANT TO GO TO THE OUTLETS AT ORANGE? Donovan: It’s conveniently close to Disneyland, a must-go for our family when we are in Orange County. It’s also central to many things in Orange County, being at the intersection of three major freeways. Meredith: Outlet mall. Enough said. HOW LONG DID YOU SPEND THERE AND WAS IT ENOUGH TIME? Donovan: We spent about two hours there on Tuesday. It was not nearly enough time. We plan to go back and have some fun at Lucky Strike Bowling. Abigail: We wanted to stay at Dave & Buster’s Arcade forever! WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE STORES AND WHY? Donovan: My favourite shop is Guitar Center. I am a musician and the collection of guitars and music equipment is fantastic! Meredith: Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Banana Republic Factory Store, The Children's Place Outlet and the Vans Skate Park are all great. Abigail: Dave & Buster’s and Lucky Strike were both super fun.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE ATTRACTION AND WHY? Donovan: Dave & Buster’s is a ton of fun for everyone! I love playing video games with my girls. Meredith: Watching the kids have fun at Dave & Buster’s – it’s like a giant Time Zone! WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT AND WHY? Donovan: I liked the Market Broiler. It’s pleasant and up-market. Meredith: I had the most amazing Wild Alaskan King Crab legs at Market Broiler. And super delicious American ice tea. Abigail: I liked Buffalo Wild Wings. The people that work there are super nice and the food was yummy. IF YOU HAD MORE TIME AT THE OUTLETS AT ORANGE WHERE WOULD YOU GO? Donovan: I’d spend more time at Guitar Center and Dave & Busters. Meredith: I would spend more time in all of the department store outlets. Abigail: I'd like to learn to skateboard at the Vans Skate Park. WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY? Donovan: Playing video games with my kids at Dave & Busters. Meredith: Spending the day shopping with the whole family!

Five more great malls to check out


Waikele Premium Outlets in Honolulu, Hawaii is the only outlet centre on the island of O’ahu. Mums and dads will love the new 3500 squarefoot Armani Outlet.


Ontario Mills is California’s largest shopping destination, with over 200 stores. The whole family will love the Rainforest Cafe and Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre. Kids will love the LEGO store and the Disney Store Outlet.


Sawgrass Mills is the largest outlet, retail and entertainment destination in the USA, home to over 350 stores. The Oasis at Sawgrass Mills is an exciting array of themed restaurants, entertainment venues and specialty retailers.


Grapevine Mills in Dallas, Texas is located about 30 minutes north of Fort Worth and Dallas. There are plenty of shops to peruse and highlights for families include the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium and the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre DFW.


The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, Nevada is a luxury shopping experience unlike anywhere else. There are over 160 specialty shops and restaurants, featuring the world’s most exclusive brands. Another one for mums and dads to enjoy!

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Hawai‘i Beach bliss. Shopping sprees. Jungle trails. Scenic drives. Lie your holiday cards on the table and Hawai‘i will trump them all. Six islands are at your fingertips in this tropical region of the Pacific, so make a play that will suit your family. Home of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, O’ahu is one for resort-lovers and shopaholics. Adventurous Kaua‘i offers up Waimea Canyon and the dramatic Napali Coast. The Island of Hawaii is the largest and also the youngest Hawaiian island in the chain, and Maui is renowned for its colouredsand beaches. Jump off the beaten track onto Molokai or Lanai for encounters with local tradition.

Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Daeja Fallas

H images

Left: Kids take an ice-cream break. Opposite page: The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum; family time at the Honolulu Zoo.

ere’s a secret that few share – many of Hawai‘i’s best family activities occur on land. In fact, it is entirely possible to have a beachfree holiday in the Aloha state. Whether it’s rain or a wicked sunburn that makes sandy toes unappealing, we’ve scavenged the islands for our favorite family fun beyond the beach. And guess what? We’ve found farm visits, zip-lining through jungles, museums that will blow your minds, and even some fun, kid-centred boutiques at Ala Moana Center and the Waikele Outlets. Those stunning sands of the islands stay the same, but this ever-evolving archipelago always has some new adventure to behold. Birthed from a series of volcanoes, Hawai‘i stretches over 2400 kilometres, and, thanks to the goddess of fire, Pele, the chain is still growing. Most travellers opt to visit one or two islands on their journey, with cosmopolitan O‘ahu, lush Kaua‘i, chilled out Maui, and the adventurous Island of Hawai‘i all great family options. For those looking to get off the beaten path, small Lana‘i and Moloka‘i have a few hidden adventures along their backroads as well.

There’s no place like home. Away from home. 888.805.8703



Honua Kai Resort & Spa on Maui’s Kaanapali North Beach is known for its incredibly spacious studio, one, two and three-bedroom suites with all the comforts of home. A full gourmet kitchen. In-room washer/dryer. Large lanai (balcony). And a private bath in each room. But unlike your home, there’s a 3-acre aquatic playground with towel service. A luxurious spa. Housekeeping every other day. And assistance from the front desk or concierge is just a phone call away. If only home was this amazing.

The most populous isle lures those hunting for Hawaiian culture and outstanding food. The finest museum in the state, the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (, acquaints guests with the natural and cultural history of Hawai‘i. But the real star of the museum, deep in Science Adventure Center, is the Meet Me at the Hot Spot theatre where you can watch hot molten lava in motion without burning your britches. Afterwards, pick up breezy island gear for the keikis at Ward Center’s Hopscotch ( Wander through Ala Moana Center’s ( 350 stores and cheery kids’ area – making it the state’s biggest shopping mall. Be sure to pop into the mall’s newly revamped Shirokiya Japan Village Walk for top notch ramen, sushi and takoyaki. Cap your cultural day off at the Polynesian Cultural Center ( for an entertaining luau, complete with fire dancers. Over in Waikiki, at the Waikiki Aquarium (, kids can learn how to pronounce the state fish – it’s humuhumunukunukuāpua’a – while viewing native reef fish in the beachfront tanks. Just a short stroll through nearby Kapi‘olani Park gets you to the Honolulu Zoo ( – bring an umbrella and go on a rainy day when the elephants become active. Later, sit under the tiki torches at Eating House 1849 (eatinghouse1849. com) to dine on traditional plantation fare like smoked pork or butterfish, while the kids devour burgers and poke bowls. Hiking into jungles without predators or snakes is one of the best kid-friendly perks of the islands. On O’ahu, the nearly two kilometre round trip Judd Memorial Trail and Jackass Ginger Pool leads you through banyan, mango and ginger to a small swimming hole fed by a three metre


HIKING Wandering the island trails are great year-round, but rainy season (NovemberMarch) might make some trails slick and impassable.

SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE HOTELS… O‘ahu At Alohilani ( chill by the pool overlooking the Pacific, stand in awe in front of the floor-to-ceiling fish tank, and then enjoy the resort’s proximity to Waikiki’s shops and restaurants. Prefer to stay right on the beach? Head over to Disney’s lovely Aulani (disneyaulani. com) where you can meet Moana, float down the lazy river, and get the kiddos makeovers after a day of playing in pools. We also love the Embassy Suites Waikiki and the Embassy Suites Kapolei ( for their spacious family-friendly rooms and affordable prices.

STARGAZING As with all night sky watchers, the only way to see the planets is with a clear sky. Best viewing is with a new moon and during their summer season (June-September).

FARM TOURS With a perfect climate, Hawai‘i grows produce year-round. However, if you want to sample dragon fruit, the best times are late summer/early fall. To see the goat kids on Maui’s Surfing Goat Dairy, come in the spring.

Kaua‘i Located near Lydgate Park, the Aqua Kaua’i Beach Resort ( offers family-centred pools, complete with a shave ice stand, a waterslide and a waterfall.

Images: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson


The Island of Hawai‘i Perched on the edge of the Kohala Coast, families can swim with dolphins, snorkel or SUP (stand-up paddleboard) in their saltwater pool, zoom down the waterslide, ride the canal boat to watch fire dancers, and much more at the splashy Hilton Waikoloa Village ( – check out their new family-friendly restaurant, Nui Italian. Maui Over at the impressive Grand Wailea (, kids can hang at The Rock to learn lei-making and hula, slide down the waterslides into one of the many onsite pools, and enjoy the spacious landscaped grounds for a good ole game of hide and seek. Fronting one of the island’s most stunning beaches, the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel ( features a whale-shaped pool, an onsite luau and ukulele lessons.

Waikiki Aquarium adventures.

waterfall. For families with older kids, take the Ka‘ena Point trail from the North or South shores. Either way, the hike is long and hot, so bring lots of water. The scenic overlook at the westernmost point of the island is a sacred space for Hawaiians, so make sure to pack up all rubbish. Some say the Hawaiian night marchers, spirits of the ancients, populate the trail after dark – sounds like a good way to keep your teenager moving.

Images: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson



For kiddos who want a peek at the rich sea life living offshore, pop into the Maui Ocean Center ( Stand in awe before the living reef, walk through the shark tunnel, or learn about the local marine mammals. Afterwards head to Lahaina to let the kids climb the massive banyan tree before they sit down to enjoy a fabulous presentation of Hawaiian dance and culture at the Old Lahaina Luau (oldlahainaluau. com). Not into all the song and dance? Then head up to the Maui Brewing Co (mauibrewingco. com) for coconut shrimp and burgers in a festive atmosphere. At Maui Dragon Fruit Farm (mauidragonfruit. com), kids five and up can zip-line over the budding pink fruit, play in the aqua ball and then sample the local produce. Pop into artsy Droplets ( in Makawao to

Sunrise atop Haleakala.



Embassy Suites by Hilton™ - Waikiki Beach Walk® beckons travellers to the heart of Waikiki for an actionpacked escape. Beyond building sandcastles at the renowned Waikiki Beach, located steps away from O‘ahu’s only all-suite resort, families can shop and dine to their heart’s content at locally owned boutiques and a wide range of restaurants nearby. For nighttime fun, guests can enjoy the Waikiki Starlight Luau®, including an outdoor buffet and lively Polynesian entertainment. Book the resort’s ‘Another Day InParadise’ package, where when you book four nights you get the fifth night free. The room rate (including tax) quoted includes the free night. Discount applied to daily room rate provides equivalent of one free night. Requires a minimum five-night stay non-refundable prepayment due when booking. No cancellations or changes. Visit or call 1 800 EMBASSY.

wake up to

oceanfront bliss

newly renovated breathtaking remarkable On the shores of Waikiki Beach, experience the perfect blend of an exclusive private residential condominium with attentive resort-quality service on your next Waikiki holiday.

+1.808.670.3999 |

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WAIKIKI’S NEWEST OCEANFRONT EXPERIENCE Located directly across Waikiki Beach, experience Waikiki in a resort unlike any other. Ideal for family and friends, The Residences at Waikiki Beach Tower offers newly renovated one-and-two-bedroom residences with remarkable ocean views, separate bedrooms, chef-inspired kitchens, spacious living rooms and the option to upgrade to spa-like, inspired master bathrooms. The views from every suite are simply breathtaking. Enjoy views of the surfers skimming the waves or the stunning reddish-pink sunset as the red glow of the sun disappears in the gleaming ocean, all from your private lanai. You can also pack light since each suite is equipped with a washing machine and dryer. The resort’s amenities include a brand-new fitness centre overlooking Waikiki Beach featuring cardio and strength equipment, a hospitality lounge, two heated swimming pools including a kiddie pool, a jet spa, a motion studio for yoga along with spin classes, weekly hula fitness classes and ukulele lessons.


Dining out daily with kids could be tiring, so why not dine in? The recreation area now includes an area for entertaining including deluxe commercial-grade barbecues with outdoor dining area and prep station. Kids can splash around in the kiddie pool while dinner is being prepped for a spectacular sunset barbecue overlooking the beautiful Waikiki Beach. Pool cabanas are also available, so mum and dad can relax after a long day. Ideally located, just steps away, there are family attractions abound. Spend a day at the Honolulu Zoo and have a picnic at Kapi’olani Park with views of Diamond Head. Or if you’re ready for more adventure, check out the sea life of Hawai‘i at the Honolulu Aquarium, all within walking distance. Along with the newly renovated International Marketplace and other shops and restaurants just steps away, a stay and The Residences at Waikiki Beach Tower will give you a new experience of Waikiki.

Experiencing the taste of nature.

shop for made in Hawai‘i kids’ clothing and toys. Afterwards head up to Haleakala, the dormant volcano, to watch the sunset, or hike through the lunar landscape – bring jackets, it gets chilly up there. For dinner, the keiki menu at Bev Gannon’s Hali‘imaile General Store ( offers dishes like grilled teriyaki fish kebabs.

WHERE TO GO IF YOU HAVE… BABIES AND TODDLERS While O‘ahu charms most visitors, one flight with a baby, or new walker, rather than making a connection, seems a do-able way to start immersing yourself in paradise. Basing yourself in walkable Waikiki or over at one of the Ko Olina resorts makes exploration a breeze. Easy hiking trails, the aquarium, Bishop Museum and the zoo, plus plenty of food options make The Gathering Place an easy escape for families with babes in arms.


With only three per cent of the island inhabited, the Garden Isle promises plenty of natural adventures. Whether you want to kayak along the Wailua River to try and spot Kaua‘i’s endangered birds, or hike along the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge to spot albatrosses, budding naturalists will find plenty of excitement. Families with youngsters over 9, can zip-line through the north shore jungles and swim in waterfall pools with Princeville Ranch ( Nearby in Hanalei purchase youth-sized aloha shorts and dresses at Kokonut Kids ( Over at Lydgate Farms (, kids under 12 get a free tour of the chocolate farm. Afterwards let the littlies run off that cocoa energy at Lydgate Park, where local kids designed and helped construct the wooden playground. Grab hearty burgers at Duane’s Ono Char Burger – if the kids are starved, call and order ahead.

Wheelchair users have a unique opportunity in Hawai‘i to tour the islands from the air, with easy access to a helicopter. Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tours offers accessible tours with a custom-built chair lift to assist passengers into the helicopter.

PRE-SCHOOLERS Kaua‘i’s low key atmosphere make this a top choice for parents of pre-schoolers. Use nap time to motor up to far reaching parts of the island like Waimea Canyon, Poipu or Hanalei, and then spend the afternoons hiking through Koke’e State Park, shopping in Hanalei, or exploring the otherworldly trees at the botanical gardens in Poipu. KIDS 6-10 Zip-lining, farm tours, a fab aquarium, plus the zig-zaggy Road to Hana packed with waterfall sightings – Maui safely turns up the heat on adventure for daring youth. Kids interested in where their food comes from will love the tours at the Maui Pineapple Tours and Surfing Goat Dairy.

Kayaking in Kaua‘i.

TWEENS AND TEENS The Island of Hawai‘i, commonly known as the Big Island, might be the best outdoor classroom on the planet. Beyond Kilauea volcano, young people can view all stages of land development from lava to tropical vegetation. Plus, the large distances around the island are better suited for more patient young people. SPR I NG 2018


Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Kirk Lee Aeder


THE ULTIMATE GETAWAY Located on world-famous Ka‘anapali North Beach, Honua Kai Resort & Spa provides the perfect blend of luxury accommodation with first-class service and amenities. The 38-acre beachfront property includes an aquatic playground – featuring a network of pools, hot tubs and a meandering lazy river. Enjoy ample room for friends and families travelling together, as each suite opens-up to a generous lanai with gorgeous views. Suites feature top-of-the-line appliances, washer and dryer, wireless Internet and flat-screen TVs. Housekeeping is provided every other day, as well as a full-service concierge. On-property dining includes the casually elegant, oceanfront Duke’s Beach House and ‘Aina Gourmet Market, offering a relaxed environment for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Ho‘ola Spa provides opportunities for added relaxation and a complete Fitness Center provides the latest equipment for a variety of workout needs. Book today at or 888 845-6907.


HAWAI‘I GETTING THERE Fly to Hawaii directly from Sydney or Brisbane with Hawaiian Airlines.


Top: Lana‘i’s Munro Trail on UTV. Middle: A couple exploring beautiful Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i.

Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Kirk Lee Aeder

Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Dana Edmunds

Bottom: Horseback riding in n of orth the Island of Hawai‘i

The state’s largest island is still growing – and the Big Island, as locals call it, is worth a visit. It’s again possible to visit sections of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku Unit or see the remnants of lava flow from above with Paradise Helicopters ( Families with older kids, can volunteer at Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative (waikoloadryforest. org) to learn about the island’s native dry forest. Also, for teens is the Waipi‘o Valley trail – a tough trek down to the sea, and then back up a steep ascent. Short hikes to Rainbow and Akaka Falls get you up close to some of Hawai‘i’s most stunning waterfalls and can easily be tackled with little tykes. Here’s a fun fact: astronauts train on the Island of Hawai‘i. And while your keikis might not be ready for dehydrated food and space suits, they’ll love the chance to explore the Imiloa Astronomy Center ( or motor up Mauna Kea to Onizuka Center for International Astronomy ( for epic stargazing adventures with trained guides. On the north side, hitch a ride with Kohala Ditch ( to ‘go flumin’ on kayaks through the waterways (kids need to be over 5 to participate). Pretend to be a classic Hawaiian cowboy, called a paniolo, to ride horses through the Waimea countryside with Paniolo Adventures ( Don’t leave Waimea without sampling the amazingly delicious Kahua Ranch Wagyu Beef Burger at Village Burger (


New mums and dads surely need some pampering. On the privately-owned island of Lana‘i, the posh Four Seasons at Manele Bay (fourseasons. com) promises plenty of relaxation. Swim in the family-friendly pools and rest with epic views of the sparkling Pacific. If you’ve got older kids, book the bumpy ATV off-roading adventure through the resort to explore the former pineapple fields. Up in Lana‘i City’s centre square playground, the shady cook pines make a nice place to escape the warm coast.


The state’s least developed tourist destination proves exciting for adventurous families. Hike along the Halawa Valley’s waterfalls and travel back in time to when the first settlers planted roots against the stark cliffs. Over on the east side of the island, pick up massive kites at the Big Wind Kite Factory ( Travelling with kids 16 and up and looking for an adventure? Book a mule ride down to Kalaupapa, a National Historic Park ( The path scales 26 switchbacks down (and later, back up) the highest cliffs on the planet. Prepare to ice those sore bums afterwards.

10 things you didn’t know about Hawai‘i:


The aloha shirt’s origins come from the Japanese kimono fabric, Chinese silks and the Filipino barong tagalongs that the plantation workers brought from their homelands.


Hawai‘i has 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones.


A new island is being created right now. It’s called Lö‘ihi.


O’ahu’s ‘Iolani Palace had electricity and telephones installed before the White House.


If you measure from the sea floor to the summit, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on earth.


The Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters, which is why some of their location names may be hard to pronounce!


It sometimes snows on the Island of Hawai‘i.

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Locals used to surf on wooden boards.

About 200 of the 680 types of fish in Hawaiian waters can be found nowhere else in the world.


Hawai‘i is the only US state with a tropical rain forest. SPR I NG 2018




Chiang Rai, Doi Mae Salong


“Sydney or the bush,” goes the old Australian adage that defines two vastly different places. Its Thai equivalent would be ‘Mountains or the sea’. The northern Thailand province of Chiang Rai and its south-eastern, Gulf-side cousin, Trat, perfectly illustrate this contrast. But which one is best for a family holiday? The too-easy answer is – see both. The main attraction in Trat, Thailand’s most eastern province, is Koh Chang Archipelago with its wreath around 50 islands. But before jumping on a ferry, don’t overlook mainland Trat. Coastal villages like Ban Nam Chiao, not far from Trat town, have good homestay facilities and a fascinating Thai-Chinese-Muslim cultural mix. Meanwhile, at the far mainland tip of the province is a curiosity. The coastal strip between the Gulf and the Cambodian border is so narrow – only around 500 metres – that your kids can proudly declare, “We walked across Thailand in 15 minutes.” Koh Chang (Elephant Island) is the superstar of the archipelago and the Kingdom’s second largest island. Much of it consists of jungle hills and unspoiled beaches, although the resort-heavy west coast has been badly developed in places. The aptly named White Sand Beach is the main mecca here for a seafood-eating, hair-braiding,



Temples The elaborate Wat Rong Khun will delight the senses.

Cycling Cycle around Chiang Saen Ancient Town to see the sights.

Kayak Take a gentle kayak trip to the Nam Tok Khlong Chao waterfall.



This page, clockwise from left: Smooth sailing in Koh Mak Katueng Bay; picnic time at Koh Mak Ao Nid Pier; Koh Kham snorkelling. Next page, clockwise from top left: Cycling in Chiang Rai; the incredible Wat Rong Khun; amazing views at Phu Chi Fa; traditional hill tribe life.


Sandy beaches Head to White Sand Beach for a delectable assortment of seafood.

massage-loving holiday while the southwest shores like Lonely Beach and Bailan offer a quieter, family alternative. Bang Bao pier to the south is your jumping-off point for island hopping to Koh Laoya and other islets. Koh Chang used to be where you got away from all the others who were also getting away from it all. These days you go straight to neighbouring Koh Kood, aka Ko Kut. As a ‘last frontier’ and the country’s easternmost island, it still doesn’t have ATMs. Instead Koh Kood promises good snorkelling in its bays and diving on offshore islands like Koh Mak and Koh Rang, as well as gentle river kayaking and jungle walks to the hidden Nam Tok Khlong Chao waterfall. Accommodation-wise, this island of fireflies and mangroves has numerous guesthouses, small hotels and several luxury resorts, mostly along the west coast’s calm, sandy beaches. The ferry from Trat mainland docks at Ao Salad (Pirate Bay), where a fishing village with rustic restaurants (try the fresh crab and grilled squid), but no Captain

Jack Sparrow, overlooks the bay and, in turn, is observed by a giant golden Buddha. The only ‘beaches’ in hilly, jungle-clad Chiang Rai Province are beside rivers, not the sea. Kick back here in Thailand’s far north and relish a tranquility too often drowned in the south’s hectic towns. The capital, Chiang Rai City, founded in 1262, is rich in both Lanna and Thai history and culture. Which might give rise to anticipatory sighs of “NABT –Not Another Buddhist Temple” from your youthful entourage. If so, the extraordinary White Temple, Wat Rong Khun should muffle them. This elaborate, all-white, crystalline, Disney-like structure, seemingly spun from ceramic and mirrors, has become the town’s main attraction since opening in 1998. There is much more, of course, for visitors, including Thai cooking classes, hot springs, golf and cycling. Check out the mid-town Hilltribe Museum that celebrates the north’s hill tribes. Here you can book an authentic hill-tribe tour.


The writer travelled courtesy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.


BEST TIME TO VISIT Visit Thailand in the dry season from November to April. However, if you’re planning to go south, the climate changes from east to west. So, check your destination’s weather before you go.

BEST FOR KIDS AGED... All ages! Young children will love the resorts and beaches and older kids will enjoy exploring nature on a hike or tuk tuk. Make sure to try a cooking class!

GETTING THERE Thai Airways flies from Sydney to Bangkok, with onward connections to Chiang Rai with Thai Smile and connections to Trat with Bangkok Airways. SPR I NG 2018

Images: Tourism Authority of Thailand

The Mae Kok River flows through town, offering cruises out to rural areas and villages. It’s a taste of what the province offers further afield. Consider a self-drive exploration – the roads are good and Thailand drives on the same side as Australia. And with a family in tow, setting your own pace is helpful. Head to Sop Ruak and the once infamous Golden Triangle, where the mighty Mekong borders three countries. Burma (aka Myanmar) is unmistakable: amid a riddle of river flats and channels, it is marked by a large casino. Directly opposite you is Laos, while on the Thai side, a huge golden Buddha of course oversees affairs. Nearby, the impressive Hall of Opium museum recalls the area’s history of warlords and smugglers and cycling around Chiang Saen Ancient Town (the old Lanna Thai capital) can also be a good fun. Many families will want to meet some elephants while here or elsewhere in Thailand. Please choose wisely and support the operators that treat the gentle giants well. Chiang Rai’s Mekong River ‘coast’, from the Golden Triangle down through Chiang Saen, Chiang Khong and further, is one of the most rewarding regions of this country. Here, Thailand is at home to itself and to family travellers seeking authenticity.




A VISIT TO THESE HISTORIC VILLAGES IS NEVER ENOUGH FOR THIS FRANCOPHILE FAMILY. WORDS GEORDIE TORR France was the first overseas country that our two daughters, Sarah, 12, and Zoe, 10 visited when they were each 9 weeks old. Both of their visits were to Provence. Since then, we’ve been all over: Burgundy, Brittany, the Dordogne, the Loire, Carcassonne, Paris, Bordeaux, Alsace, Champagne – the list goes on. But the region we keep returning to is Normandy. The reason we return is partly down to convenience – from our base in Winchester in the southeast of England it’s a shortish drive to Dover, a quick ferry or train ride across the English Channel and we’re virtually there – but we’ve also developed a real affection for the region. We love its authenticity; it doesn’t feel as though it has been overrun by Brits, as places such as the Dordogne and Brittany can. The villages of Normandy have been unaffected by tourism and the countryside is beautiful, with its undulating


This page: The stunning Mont Saint-Michel. Opposite page: Life at a beautifully slow pace.




Images: Geordie Torr

Regularly returning to the same destination offers numerous potential benefits: 01 Y ou get to know the rhythms of a place – when the best markets are on, when the local festivals take place, the times of day when everyone comes out to socialise, when the crops are harvested, and so on. 02 Y ou learn about the local specialities – the dishes, produce and products that make a place, well, special. 03 Y ou slowly stumble across the hidden gems – the best restaurants and cafes, the sweet little parks, the quirky museums. 04 Familiarity breeds serenity – knowing where things are and how things work takes a lot of the potential stress out of a holiday.


cow-dotted fields, quaint villages and collections of stone cottages clustered around an ancient church, its spire pointing heavenwards. Although Normandy was hit hard by the two world wars – the second in particular – many of the smaller rural towns and villages were spared and still retain some of their classic half-timbered Medieval buildings. And, of course, the food is heavenly – it is France, after all. We ate very well on our travels.

Sainte-Mère-Église A pretty village made famous during the American Airborne Landing in 1944.

American cemetery As the first American cemetery in Europe in WWII, it contains 9385 military grave sites.

Normandy 68


Left to right: Hanging out in the garden; smiles from the window; fun on the Honfleur Carousel; playing pétanque; French food is delicious; a sombre visit to the American cemetery.

Honfleur Carousel This colourful carousel first opened in 1900 and operates in spring and summer.

Patisserie You can’t visit France without a stop to an authentic French patisserie.

Like much of rural Europe, Normandy is economically depressed. This has both been caused by, and led to, a flight from the countryside over the past few decades. One of the more noticeable effects of this is that the villages are awash with abandoned farm buildings. The beneficial side effect of this for visitors is that many of those buildings have been bought up by Brits and restored and turned into holiday accommodation. So, it’s possible to rent, relatively cheaply, a wonderful stone-built farmhouse that dates back to the 16th century or before. And there’s plenty to keep visitors occupied. The girls loved the Bayeux Tapestry when we took them to see it when they were 5 and 3 years old – walking slowly along its length marvelling at the intricately embroidered details. There are forests for leisurely walks and placid lakes for swimming. There’s the majestic Mont Saint-Michel and the D-Day landing beaches – fascinating and poignant but also bleak and windswept (don’t bother to bring your swimmers). Indeed, World War II history is ever-present in Normandy. Concrete pillboxes dot the coastline, many shop windows display black-and-white photos of liberating Allied troops, and you’re never far away from a war memorial or cemetery. Particularly impressive is the American Cemetery and Memorial, with its sweeping rows of stark white crosses and Jewish stars (and a very good museum).


over a puppy, duckling, chick or a plait of garlic at a market stall; visiting a tiny bar tabac in a tiny village and sipping an excellent espresso at the bar as the racing plays on a TV screen in the corner; wandering a cavernous hypermarket scoping out the unusual food products – and then taking some back to the farmhouse to cook for dinner. As both of the girls are learning French at school, the visit was a welcome chance to immerse them in the language. During our trips, we take every available opportunity to get them to interact with the locals – buying food at the market, asking for the bill in restaurants and so on – encouraging them to practice their French. Because we tend to just take it easy, these trips offer us a rare opportunity to reconnect as a family. The farmhouse in which we stayed recently was particularly favourable as it lacked any connection to the internet. In fact, while we stayed there, the girls didn’t even turn the television on. Instead, in between our exploratory drives and market visits, we played pétanque on a purposebuilt terrain while the farmhouse’s horses looked on, went for walks in the forest adjacent to the farmhouse or just sat by the open fire and read. Our love affair with Normandy has grown so intense that we’re now contemplating buying one of those crumbling farmhouses ourselves. The only thing stopping us right now is the thought that we would be tying ourselves to one village when there’s so much more to see.


BEST TIME TO VISIT To avoid the crowds, visit in April, September and October. However, if you want to enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather, June to September is perfect for beach hopping.

BEST FOR... Kids of all ages. Besides the beautiful historic sites, families can go on adventures such as rail biking, seaside boat trips, mazes, theme parks and even mini golf.

Images: Geordie Torr

In Sainte-Mère-Église, the first village liberated by the US Army on D-Day, there’s even an effigy hanging from the church tower of Private John Steele, a US paratrooper whose ‘chute got stuck on the church’s pinnacle. But mostly, when we visit, we just take it easy and hang out. Travelling to France from Australia, the temptation is to see everything: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Versailles, Provence and the Cote d’Azur and so on. However, a much better way to experience the ‘real’ France is to hire a farmhouse in a rural backwater, so you and the children with a chance to kick back and get a proper feel for how life is lived there. On our most recent visit, as with most such trips, our days followed a regular routine: breakfast from a local patisserie; a visit to an outdoor market; coffee in a little bar tabac and a wander around town; the plat du jour at a small brasserie or auberge for lunch; a visit to a hypermarket in the afternoon and then back to the farmhouse for some cheese, ham, bread, wine and relaxation; and finally dinner, made from ingredients bought at the market and/or hypermarket. Some of our favourite experiences on these trips revolve around every day Normandy village life: standing in a crowded boucherie, boulangerie or fromagerie as the locals order their meat, bread and cheese; buying a sugar-and-lemon crepe or a grilled sausage in a baguette, or a crisp-skinned rotisserie chicken from a van in the market; cooing

GETTING THERE Emirates flies from Sydney to Paris via Dubai. Then it’s a three-hour drive to Normandy. SPR I NG 2018




The last time I holidayed in Fiji was as a family of three – travelling with my wife Karen and then 7-month-old daughter Ashley – and it was a blast! We made the decision to return this year, now as a family of four, with the addition of our almost 5-year-old daughter, Roxy. Ashley, now 7, has no memories of her first holiday here except for her mum and dad’s holiday snaps, so we are very excited to show her this beautiful place again. Our destination for seven days is Malolo Island Resort in the glorious Mamanuca Islands, but first we experience a night at the 5-star Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa at Denarau, on the main island of Viti Levu. Our room’s windows offer a direct view of the inviting and awesome waterslide – the little ones know where they want to hang out! Despite the resort’s beachfront position – and our 5am wake-up before our flight from Sydney – the girls make it clear there is absolutely no time to waste, and it is a case of ‘cozzies on, pronto, and straight to the pool’. By dinnertime we are all happily relaxed, seated at a beachfront table watching the sunset. The kids play in nearby hammocks, before heartily tucking into spaghetti and fish and chips. Departing Port Denarau Marina the next morning for a one-hour ferry trip to Malolo Island Resort does not preclude an early morning pool swim at the hotel before we bid farewell – yes, our two excited young girls are insistent! “Fiji is fun, isn’t it dad?” says Roxy. And who am I to disagree?



Fiji is a family-friendly paradise, featuring more than 300 islands.

The aptly named, family-friendly Malolo Island Resort is located on Malolo Island and is part of the Ahura Resorts, a 100 per cent Fijian-owned company whose other property is the adults-only Likuliku Resort, also on Malolo Island, and the first resort with overwater bungalows in Fiji. Family owned and committed to sustainable tourism, Ahura Resorts has an active membership of the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES) that provides resort staff training and guest education to ensure the preservation of the environment. MES is also involved in preservation projects, including coral transplanting and turtle conservation and – unique to their resorts – a special project involving very rare Fijian iguana! Getting to know the amazing, caring and amiable resort staff begins early in our holiday –

with Jesse, who is in charge of safely transporting us in the tender from the ferry to the resort. It doesn’t take us long to feel like Malolo family. Over the next few days we make friends with many of the staff, such as Bill, our resident gardener, who teaches us to say “ni sa yadra’, which means good morning; Tila, who helps Ashley make an amazing grass skirt for the Saturday night dance; Pita, the friendly host at the adults-only bar and pool (who makes a great cocktail); and Andy, who the kids love and who makes great coffee at the Beach Bar. We also make some new friends from Queensland – James and Debbie – who have a love affair with espresso martinis. Home for us on Malolo is a relaxing open plan bure with a cosy


Hammocks These relaxing, outdoor ‘beds’ are perfect for lazing around and r eading a book.

Paddleboard You can hire paddleboards for free on Malolo Island to enjoy the peaceful serenity of the surrounding ocean.

Kayak There are complimentary kayaks available for hire around the island.

Images: Malolo Island Resort and Jason Cooper

Malolo Island


Snorkel The beautiful island is surrounded by a protected, fringing coral reef full of marine life.

balcony. A queen-sized bed, and a lounge that is turned down to become beds for the girls every night, makes for very comfortable family holiday digs for our stay. Day one at Malolo Island Resort is surprisingly pleasant, given our girls’ timetables begin on ‘Fiji Time’, so we saunter off late morning to a lovely and leisurely buffet breakfast. Breakfast is plentiful, and I know I will really miss the omelettes once I return home. Some days the girls head to Tia’s Treehouse kids’ club. Roxy is always up early in the morning, keen to get ready and off to kids’ club, with Ashley not far behind her. The varied activities keep children of all ages and interests entertained, and we are very impressed with our girls’ skills, weaving baskets from coconut palm leaves! Every night the kids have dinner at kids’ club, so us adults can spend time with Pita at the cocktail bar, followed by dinner at the adults-only restaurant, which constantly impressed us with its quality. On other days we choose to adventure as a family. From the Beach Bar there are great views of Wadigi Island, owned by the Johnston family from Queensland. Between Malolo Island and Wadigi is another small island with an exposed reef at high tide, and this is perfect place for



Opposite from top to bottom: Malolo Island Resort; the luxury resort accommodation; family time at the beach; Roxy climbing a tree. This page clockwise from left: Having fun at the kids’ club; learning about Fiji’s culture; hammock time for Mum and Dad; everyone loves burgers; sweet and icy treats.

kayaking out with the kids to snorkel safely and explore the colourful reef and abundant fish life. There is never a shortage of free activities for the kids, with stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and snorkelling gear all available. Each day we head for the water to experience the beautiful little reef and its hidden treasures. Karen and I take turns looking after the kids in the water, having their own fun. We all build up a good appetite for lunch, which we usually enjoy at the Beach Bar. The chicken ‘wing dings’ are a treat and the pizzas are delicious – we always end up ordering so much food we can barely move after lunch! In the afternoons, the girls go to kids’ club to enjoy more activities – everything from coconut and watermelon-cracking to games such as ‘Crocodile, crocodile, can I cross the river?’. The club certainly keeps them entertained and it is easy to get the kids into bed at night as they are so tired and quickly drift off to sleep. Remember the iguana project mentioned earlier? The resort became involved when, in 2011, three rare juvenile Fiji Crested Iguanas were discovered on its grounds. Listed on the endangered list (IUCN 2006), the discovery, understandably, was heralded as a major find – both in Fiji and internationally – and led to the establishment of a captive breeding facility that now hosts four pairs of the iguana and is aided by specialists from Taronga Zoo in Sydney and San Diego Zoo in the USA. It’s no small achievement, and Ahura Resorts’ Sia is a commendable ambassador promoting the value and significance of the breeding program. She does an excellent job presenting this amazing story to Malolo guests and it is a real treat for Ashley and Zoe to learn about these creatures. A real treat for Dad, however, is a three-hour jet ski safari to Fiji’s world-renowned surf spot Cloudbreak. Surf boards can be hired from the Funky Fish Beach and Surf Resort. And with Jonah’s expertise to guide us on the safari,

I’m sure all on board will be reliving this dream experience long after their last wave. I’m an average surfer and had an awesome time, with enough energy leftover to go snorkelling afterwards (my tip: take plenty of water). At the end of our stay we are sad to leave. Incredible people, stunning location, fabulous food and relaxation in abundance… it is with heavy hearts that the four of us bid our farewells to Malolo Island Resort and our new friends. We will be back.


BEST TIME TO VISIT Fiji is the perfect destination all year round; however, May to October is perfect for snokelling as the water is nice and clear. November to March is Fiji’s wet season so expect daily rain showers and a chance of a hurricane, but these months will also provide the best travel deals and water that is perfect temperature.

BEST FOR... Children of all ages. Kids’ clubs provide a well-deserved break for parents, and many resorts have ‘kids eat free’ deals.

STAYING THERE Malolo Island Resort is a tropical haven for families.

GETTING THERE Fiji Airways fly from Sydney to Nadi and then a ferry operates daily from Port Denarau Marina to Malolo Island Resort. SPR I NG 2018





This archipelago of 90 islands is renowned for its picturesque white-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. The landscape is characterised by basalt rocks, coral reefs, sea-eroded formations and beaches. In the main city of Magong, mustvisit sights include the Tianhou – Taiwan’s short ferryTemple ride from Taitung,oldest Greentemple, the architectural work formed byfeaturing an undersea volcanic of famous Tangshan artists – and t boasts lush mountains and pristine which dates nd is homethe to Four-Eyed the Zhaori Well, Hot Springs back to the Ming dynasty. n opposite), one of only three seawater s in the world. Thanks to its location ne ics and its proximity to the Kuroshio ngs e island attracts about 50 fish families The Matsu islands are famous for ster more than 300 species of coral, towering cliffs, sand-and-pebble nfabulous snorkelling conditions. beaches, and terrain formed io from millions of years of sea and ilies wind erosion. In the summer months, the waters off Matsu’s coast with a magical There’sglimmers something magical about dark nightsglow, transformed by bright lights; blue a phenomenon even more whenTears’. the illumination known asso ‘Blue This is a beautiful handiwork made up of ethereal display – which occurs thousands of lanterns, ranging from when a special of children algae to small lanterns heldtype by local called dinoflagellates huge floats ornamented ingathers lights that flash and flicker in time music. The at the shorelines – istobest seen Taiwan Lantern Festival is one of the at night between June and best light festivals in the world, held August. Matsu is also home to on the night of the first full moon of traditional eastern the lunar year. In 2019, mountainside the festival will Fujian and military-built be held villages from 19 February to 3 March in the town of Pingtung. fortifications. annual national festival is onal fishing The island located off the held in a different city each year onggang inand Pintung County is Taiwan’s is a highlight for both locals coral island – and the only island off are and international visitors. There many activities heldpopulation. all over Taiwan t has a significant human this festive time, including o plenty ofduring temples, beautiful coastal the legendary Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival an’s breathtaking rock formations – the renowned for its sky lantern displays. ff us being Vase Rock. Locals are on. nd there are more than 100 temples Facebook Facebook stal across the little island, each with itsTourism Taiwan Taiwan Tourism ee features and special attractions. ––Australia and Australia and New New Zealand Zealand s s 74



This archipelago of 90 islands is renowned for its picturesque white-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. The landscape is characterised by basalt rocks, coral reefs, sea-eroded formations and beaches. In the main city of Magong, mustvisit sights include the Tianhou Temple – Taiwan’s oldest temple, featuring the architectural work of famous Tangshan artists – and the Four-Eyed Well, which dates back to the Ming dynasty.

MATSU The Matsu islands are famous for towering cliffs, sand-and-pebble beaches, and terrain formed from millions of years of sea and wind erosion. In the summer months, the waters off Matsu’s coast glimmers with a magical blue glow, a phenomenon known as ‘Blue Tears’. This ethereal display – which occurs when a special type algae Lanterns have long heldof a place incalled traditional Taiwanese culture, and dinoflagellates gathers the Taiwan Tourism Bureau launched at the shorelines – is best seen the festival in 1990 to help celebrate at night between June and folklore and foster tourism growth. August. isto also home to Families Matsu travelling experience traditional eastern mountainside the Taiwan Lantern Festival will have plenty see and do. Lanterns are the Fujiantovillages and military-built highlight, with traditional and modern fortifications.

Huge lantern floats line the streets.




fused together. Folk art performances are also part of the festival program. The result is a colourful and light-filled extravaganza combining old and new, technology and culture, creativity and imagination.

Lanterns have long held a place in Taiwanese culture.

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CLEVER CRUISING Ready to set sail? These top tips from Smartraveller will help you get planning.

WE REVIEW: THE PENINSULA TOKYO A luxurious family stay in Japan.

WE REVIEW: AMATARA WELLNESS RESORT Health and wellness is at the forefront of this amazing resort.

WE REVIEW: FRASER SUITES PERTH A serene city escape in Perth.

WE REVIEW: PAN PACIFIC MELBOURNE This new hotel is a great base for families exploring Melbourne.

WE REVIEW: PRINCE WAIKIKI A recent refresh has transformed this centrally located property.



TALK TO THE EXPERT Canna Campbell talks us through how best to approach holiday budgeting. TALKING TRAVEL Anne Madison, Chief Strategy and Communications Officer for Brand USA, shares her travel highlights. SPR I NG 2018


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CLEVER CRUISING Ready to set sail? Cruising is a great holiday option for families. You can kick back and relax while ticking off multiple destinations – and you only need to unpack once! There’s also plenty of entertainment on board to keep all ages happy and entertained. Did you know that in 2017 almost one in 18 Australians took a cruise? And that most Aussie cruisers come from NSW? These are some of the interesting stats about the state of the cruise industry according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia. Australians are increasingly choosing a cruise as their holiday of choice, especially in the South Pacific. Asia remained the most popular long-haul fly-cruise destination for Australian cruisers (accounting for 7.3 per cent of travellers), followed by the

Smartraveller helps Australian travellers take personal responsibility for their overseas travel decisions, including on cruises. See for more.


Mediterranean (4.6 per cent) and Alaska (2.8 per cent). It sounds like a dream holiday – and it usually is – but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Last year, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade managed more than 1700 cases where Australians were hospitalised while travelling overseas. The cost of medical treatment overseas can be very high – an intensive care bed in Noumea could cost over $5500 per day, while the costs of being medically evacuated could exceed $40,000. Without the right travel insurance policy, these bills can be crippling. Simply by preparing before you set sail on the high seas, you can minimise any risks. Thinking about what to pack comes naturally to most travellers, but safety and security is often the last thing on

their mind. If you make sure to do your ground work before you plan to travel – such as researching the places you will be visiting and ensuring you have appropriate, comprehensive travel and medical insurance booked – your holiday will be smooth sailing from here on in. Smartraveller is a free service by the Australian Government to help Australians avoid difficulties overseas. Travellers and soon-to-be travellers can access travel advisories for more than 170 destinations and useful tips on general travel safety and travel insurance. The advisories cover security and threats, safety, health, local laws, or natural disasters for each destination. They also list areas that are clearly not safe for travel. Here, are some of our tips to get you safely travelling.

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Plan and prepare well before your departure date so that you really can enjoy your time on board without any hassles. • Check that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you plan to return to Australia. You need a passport to enter a foreign country’s waters, regardless of whether you plan to disembark in that country. You may also need to arrange visas for shore excursions, so check with your travel agent. • Research your destination and grow your understanding of local culture and customs before you get on the ship. The law of each country is the law, and this also applies at sea. • Book travel insurance before you sail. It’s an essential part of any holiday. Do your research and book a policy that is right for the whole family. Ensure it includes suitable coverage for accidental injury,

hospitalisation while overseas, and medical evacuation at sea. Check that your policy covers you and the whole family on board, as well as during onshore activities and excursions. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Travel health planning should ideally start at least six weeks before departure, but it’s never too late to seek good advice. Make sure you know the Medicare rules and get the right insurance. Cruise passengers are only eligible for Medicare benefits if travelling between Australian ports and, if provided by a doctor registered in Australia, under Medicare. When booking a cruise, contact the cruise operator to find out whether an appropriately registered doctor will be available on board. Subscribe to for the latest travel advice and practical health information.


Did you know that it’s illegal to take Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medication out of Australia, unless it’s for personal use? If you need to take PBS medication with you: • Check with the embassy, consulate, or high commission of the countries you plan to visit during your travels to make sure your medication is legal there before travelling. • Carry a doctor’s letter detailing what the medication is, how much you'll be taking and stating it’s for your personal use or the personal use of someone with you (for example, a child). Don’t forget to include your doctor’s contact details so that information can be verified if needed. • Leave the medication in its original packaging so, if need be, it can be easily identified. • Keep the medication and the doctor’s letter together in a safe spot for the duration of the trip. SPR I NG 2018


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This luxurious hotel is located in the thick of it, opposite the Imperial Palace and next to the buzzy precinct of Ginza. There’s so much to see and do within walking distance and plenty of mini-marts around for necessities. Hibiya subway station is located directly below the building and the hotel is easy walking to Yurakucho train station.


Family travel isn’t always about budget options… sometimes you just want to luxe it up, especially in a buzzy city such as Tokyo. The Peninsula Tokyo is one of the city’s most luxurious hotels – and it’s also family friendly. A stay here will forever be memorable as there is just so much wow factor. From the outside the building looks like a dazzling lantern. Inside, the lobby is most guests’ first impression of the hotel and it astounds, with a massive glittering chandelier as the focus.



The huge rooms (the hotel has 314 guest rooms, including 47 suites) all come with floor-to-ceiling views of the city, the Imperial Palace East Gardens or Hibiya Park. Even the smallest rooms (deluxe rooms start at 54 square meters) are more than adequate for a small family. The interior design scheme of the rooms is a mix of traditional Japanese design fused with modernity, with a palette of earthy colours making for a calm ambience. Concealed buttons and gadgets are used for all kinds of conveniences, from electronic weather displays and an inbuilt hairdryer to a hidden Lavazza machine and a TV screen embedded in a mirror in the bathroom. Everything is thought of!


Service from one the largest concierge teams in the city is impeccable. Whatever your activity enquiry, a concierge

member will point you in the right direction. Depending on availability, guests can book one of the chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce (one-way within a radius of two kilometres) complimentary of the hotel. The hotel also has a customised and luxurious car fleet, including Rolls-Royce Extended Wheelbase Phantoms, 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, BMW, Tesla, Mini Coopers and bikes. We took up the offer and the staff ensured that our Mini Cooper was fitted out with a baby seat for our daughter. The Peninsula brand is known for its Pen Academy program. This is an overarching brand initiative and each hotel offers a highly-customised program to bring local culture to life. At The Peninsula Tokyo, some of the activities for families include origami for kids (children are taught to create shapes in the Japanese art of paper folding), fun with faux food (kids learn to craft their own food models using plastic and wax at a family-run business), wind chime making (families are taken to a family-owned glass studio where they make their own Furin wind chime by blowing the glass and painting the bell) and karate lessons conducted by professional Shihan Masamitsu Kudaka.

FAMILY TRAVEL TIP Families of all shapes and sizes will find a configuration to suit. There are 32 interconnecting rooms which can configure up to five bedrooms. There are also eight rooms which can connect with outside doors, forming a private corridor. ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL TIP Seven rooms at The Peninsula Tokyo have been designed for guests with disabilities.


With six dining options (including room service) you don’t need to even leave the hotel. A la carte breakfasts in the elegant lobby are divine. Afternoon coffees and sweets from The Peninsula Boutique and Cafe provided us with a new burst of energy each day. The cafe is also open on weekends for buffet breakfasts (it’s not comparable to a typical hotel breakfast buffet; here guests point at beautifully arranged fruit cups and order hot items off menus). The room service menu features the usual roster of international staples, as well as the option to order Cantonese from Hei Fung Terrace. Peter is the elegant international restaurant. Kyoto Tsuruya offers traditional Japanese cuisine in sophisticated surrounds.


There is so much to see and do in Tokyo and regardless of how long you stay, you will still need more time. Cultural highlights include visiting Meiji Shrine, Sensō-ji Temple, Asakusa, and Yanaka. Shopping fans will love Ginza and Harajuku. Then there’s just the hustle and bustle of the city. Waiting to cross the Shibuya Crossing is a must. Alleged to be the world’s busiest intersection, this massive crossing is as hectic as they come. Takeshita Street in Harajuku is great for people watching (think Japanese youth dressed in all kinds of cool and wacky). The best views of the sprawling metropolis are from Tokyo Skytree, Japan’s tallest building. Adults will definitely want to chill out in an onsen at some stage (there are plenty around). Kids won’t want to miss Tokyo Disney Resort.


1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0006 Japan +81 3 6270 2888

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On the tropical Thai island of Phuket set on the idyllic Cape Panwa, Amatara Wellness Resort is a 55-minute drive from Phuket International Airport. An easy 15-minute drive to the Central Festival Phuket shopping mall for some serious shopping, or head to Patong Beach only 30 minutes away for markets and street vendors in the thousands.

WHY WE STAYED HERE FAMILY TRAVEL TIP The meandering paths through the resort can be steep and tiring for little legs. Amatara has a fleet of buggies to pick you up and drop you off.

Having recently rebranded and on the radar for its serious and considered approach to wellness, this divine destination offers family fun and a healthy holiday in one. We were eager to experience the spacious, stylish beachfront private pool villas with a butler and all the amenities. Keeping everyone happy with bursts of time in the kids’ club whilst we spoiled ourselves to treatments after health and exercise classes in the zen of Amatara’s wellness sanctuary. Oh, did I forget to add how much we love Thailand and her beautiful people?


Amatara Wellness Resort offers two distinct accommodation options. There are 48 suites and five pavilions in the top section of the property near the infinity pool, wellness sanctuary and lobby. Each with stunning design and private balcony or terrace. Signature amenities, tropical fruits and a complimentary espresso machine are in each room, with complimentary wi-fi keeping you connected should you need. Winding pathways lead to the beach front where the 17 pool pavilions and 35 pool villas, each with its own private pool, are set in tropical gardens dotted along the ocean front. The bathrooms are a vision with a freestanding spa bath holding court in the centre of its atrium surrounds. Each spacious, stylish villa comes with additional luxury value in the form of complimentary mini-bar, up


to eight pieces of laundry each day, a dedicated butler from 8am until 10pm daily, complimentary daily afternoon tea in The Library and complimentary sunset drinks from 6pm to 7pm overlooking the Andaman Sea at the stunning rooftop Sun & Moon terrace. The Instagrammable star of the resort is the breathtaking 55-metre infinity pool. If you can drag yourself away you will find a beach with direct access from the resort offering nonmotorised water sports, tennis courts and a children’s club with its own wading pool and a variety of daily activities.


Sunrise yoga, a sweat-inducing Muay Thai boxing session, or a supervised gym class or a pilates reformer session are just a few of the exercise options on offer. The Amatara really comes into its own with its comprehensive range of spa and holistic treatments, all offered in the breathtaking tranquil setting of the Wellness Zone.


With seven dining options to choose from there is something for all the family from including local Thai and international specialties with fresh fruit and seafood in abundance. Breakfast is a treat in The Restaurant with the groaning buffet providing healthy options and family favourites in abundance. The Grill and The Grill Lounge have more formal fine dining, while The Pool Terrace has lighterstyle Western and Asian snacks with a selection of juices, soft drinks and a pool-side cocktail for mum or dad. If you want a little private family time, you can always order from the extensive room service menu for a relaxing night in.

AMATARA WELLNESS RESORT Phuket, Thailand +66 7631 8888

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FAMILY TRAVEL TIP Parents in need of a nightcap can head down to the elegant Lobby Bar whose drinks menu includes an extensive wine selection, local beers on tap and sweet indulgences like cognac-spiked hot chocolate.


Surrounded by leafy parks near the legendary WACA, Fraser Suites Perth is located in a quiet end of town to the east of Perth’s city centre. It’s an ideal base for families attending sporting events at the cricket ground and well connected to destinations in and around Perth by public transport, as well as being just 20 minutes’ drive from the Perth Airport. A short walk through the adjacent Ozone Reserve takes you to About Bike where you can hire family-friendly quad bikes (think pedal-powered cars) to explore the Swan River in style. Kids need to let off some steam? Fraser Suites Perth is just a stone’s throw from the Lake Vasto Playground, which boasts stunning views of Perth’s city skyline.


Offering all the comforts of home, the Fraser Suites are beautifully designed with sophisticated furnishings and decor touches that reflect the essence of Perth. They boast laundry facilities and well-equipped designer kitchens where you can prepare your own meals, as well as family-friendly extras such as cots and external daycare on request.


Each of the spacious suites features floor-to-ceiling windows capturing panoramic views of the Swan River, with separate bedroom, living and dining areas that create a homely feel. You can select from their one or twobedroom suites, depending on your family’s needs, with the apartments cleaned daily on request and manned around the clock by a 24/7 reception.


Despite its self-contained apartment setup, Fraser Suites offers the leisure facilities of a hotel, including an indoor heated swimming pool, bubbling spa and sauna. Never miss a workout in the 24/7 gym or head next door to the Bali Beautique Spa for ‘me time’. You can also take advantage of complimentary wi-fi throughout the property to stay on top of emails and stream your favourite children’s shows in the evening.


If you want to sample locally sourced and seasonal Western Australian produce, be sure to dine at the inhouse Heirloom Restaurant & Bar whose menu features signature dishes such as macadamia-crusted schnitzel

and options for those with all kinds of intolerances. Begin the day with a hearty breakfast at Heirloom or stroll down Adelaide Terrace to enjoy the homestyle fare at Infinity Cafe, with mild Indian dishes available in the evenings at nearby Aachi Indian Cuisine.


Watch gold being poured into gleaming solid bars at the Perth Mint whose award-winning exhibition brings Western Australia’s mining history to life or travel across town to get handson with the kid-friendly exhibits at the Scitech discovery centre. Perth also boasts its own Gold Coast-style theme park at Adventure World, which nestles in landscaped gardens overlooking Bibra Lake to the south of the city. Cool off at Australia’s largest water playground, Kahuna Falls, enjoy the tame rides of Dragon’s Kingdom and get up close to native animals at the Aussie Wildlife Experience.


10 Adelaide Terrace East Perth, Western Australia, 6004 Australia +61 8 9261 0000 SPR I NG 2018


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FAMILY TRAVEL TIP The family package in a two-bedroom suite includes tickets to the Polly Woodside, a roast dinner delivered to your room, as well as a movie and popcorn.


Sitting on the banks of the Yarra in Melbourne’s South Wharf precinct, the Pan Pacific Melbourne is an ultraconvenient base for families. Located halfway between the CBD and the Docklands entertainment precinct, the hotel is a flat 15-minute walk in either direction. The shops, restaurants and shows of Southbank and Crown are less than five minutes’ walk along the river and the trendy South Melbourne shops and markets are a short tram-ride away.


Family-friendly, 5-star hotels can be tough to find and we wanted to road test the newly refurbished Pan Pacific Melbourne for ourselves. We were looking for a hotel that made the kids feel welcome – and also let the adults enjoy a grown-up, Melbourne mini-break.


With floor-to-ceiling windows in every room, the views from Pan Pacific Melbourne are spectacular. The rooms are generous in size (the smallest are 38m2) and all rooms have a separate bath and shower, as well as electric blackout blinds, which are a considerate


touch. Designed for families, the twobedroom suites comfortably sleep two adults and three children and have two bathrooms and a kitchenette, which makes self-catering a breeze. In the panoramic rooms, you can watch the city lights come on from the bath, the sofa in the lounge area or from bed.

in the menu. My favourite was the Singapore chilli crab, and while it’s an Aussie take on the original, it’s super tasty and always a fun meal to eat with your fingers and bib. For the adults, the floating wine gantry is spectacular and is a visual demonstration of the extensive wine list.



For families with young kids, the Polly Woodside tall ship is right on the doorstep of the Pan Pacific and is a great way to learn about Victoria’s maritime history as you explore the ship. For shop-loving tweens and teens, a DFO (Direct Factory Outlets) is right outside. Within the hotel, there’s a full gym (kids need to be supervised) and the Pacific Club Lounge is a thoughtfully designed haven in the city. Think airport first-class lounge meets designer living room, and it’s available for the exclusive use of panoramic, Yarra suites and club guests.


The Pan Pacific’s main restaurant is Dock 37 Bar & Kitchen – and its name and styling pay tribute to the maritime history of the location. At dinner, the hotel’s Asian heritage comes through

SEA LIFE Melbourne aquarium is a flat, 10-minute walk along the river; Etihad Stadium is less than one kilometre away; The Crown complex is a short stroll along the river towards the city; a similar distance in the opposite direction is Melbourne’s Docklands, with shops and activities such as the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, ice skating and ArtVo. For the foodies, South Melbourne markets and the Queen Victoria Market are easily accessible by tram, and the vibrant laneway cafes of the CBD are a gentle stroll away.


2 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf, Melbourne Vic 3006 Australia; 03 9027 2000 pp-melbourne

Navigate: WE REVIEW



Overlooking Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, the Prince Waikiki lies at the centre of Honolulu. It’s within a stone’s throw of Waikiki’s famous beaches, walking distance from the fabulous shopping at the Ala Moana Center, and just 25 minutes’ drive from Honolulu International Airport.


Having recently undergone an extensive 55-million-dollar renovation, this luxury resort features an infinity pool, refurbished guest rooms with ocean views, and contemporary art installations that bring the cultural heritage of the area to life. We couldn’t resist the seafood buffet, while being within easy access of family-friendly restaurants and many of Oah‘u’s most popular attractions.


Prince Waikiki features spacious guest rooms and luxurious suites, with both one and two-bedroom options that are ideal for families. All rooms offer panoramic views of the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and the Pacific Ocean beyond, with front-row seats to an unforgettable Hawaiian sunset. There are separate lounge areas where kids can play and blackout remote-control blinds for trouble-free naps, with extra touches like Keurig coffee makers, bathtubs and balcony cabanas.


In addition to Prince Waikiki’s new infinity pool, where you can soak up

the sweeping ocean views, you can splurge on pizza and cocktails in one of their private poolside cabanas. Rise early for a beachside Tai Chi class or get a taste of Hawaiian culture during their family-friendly Hula dancing lessons and Pua Mau Loa lei-making workshops.


Feast on the delicious seafood buffet at 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar while soaking up the harbour views, or select international favourites from their a la carte and small bites menu. High-quality sushi is crafted each day at Katsumidori Sushi Tokyo, while the Honolulu Coffee offers farm-tocup brews accompanied by savoury pastries and cakes. If you want to eat out, Prince Waikiki is within a short stroll of the New England-themed Red Lobster restaurant and the surfinspired eatery, Goofy Cafe & Dine.


100 Holomoana St, Honolulu 96815 800 168 622 FAMILY TRAVEL TIP Got a keen golfer in the family? Prince Waikiki is the only hotel in Waikiki with its very own golf course, set across 27 dramatic holes, backed by the rugged Wai’anae Range.


Prince Waikiki is within walking distance of Duke Kahanamoku Beach and across the canal from the Ala Moana Center – the largest open-air shopping centre in the world. Head to the southern end of Waikiki to spend a day at the Honolulu Zoo or Waikiki Aquarium, then soak up the coastal views from the nearby summit of Diamond Head. Venture further afield to get a glimpse of Oah‘u’s windward side from the Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout or enjoy a scenic drive to the North Shore that’s famed for its big-wave surf beaches and Dole Plantation. SPR I NG 2018


Navigate: WE REVIEW FAMILY TRAVEL TIP Cure your inner shopaholic at the on-site K Boutique at Karma Jimbaran, featuring a curated selection of beautiful artefacts, works of art, local designer clothing and jewellery.



Discover the essence of Karma Group, an award-winning international travel brand designed for five-star travellers with resorts around the world. Karma Kandara and Karma Jimbaran, both located in Bali, offer some of the most stunning scenery in Indonesia. Karma Jimbaran is perched on Bali’s soughtafter southern peninsula and is minutes from famous Jimbaran Bay, known for its glorious sands, mellow surf and celebrated seafood restaurants. Karma Kandara is located just 20 minutes away from the Uluwatu Temple and is the perfect place to take in sensational clifftop views.


Karma Kandara and Karma Jimbaran make the best properties for travelling with the extended family. They have managed to blend everybody’s needs into two great resorts. Gourmet dining, sumptuous spa treatments and a dedicated kids’ club are among some of the extras making Karma Kandara and Karma Jimbaran the ultimate destination for large family gatherings. Experience what sets Karma Resorts apart from the rest. Karma’s virtual concierge service will contact you before you visit and will be on-hand during your stay. They will help you plan your ideal itinerary upon arrival, making things easy for the whole family.



With one, two, three and four-bedroom villas available, families of all sizes can be accommodated. Both resorts manage to blend traditional Balinese architecture with luxury amenities. Inside the villas, you will find modern kitchens, spacious living areas and free wi-fi among the many features. All villas at Karma Kandara and Karma Jimbaran have private pools meaning you can lounge around in tropical paradise while kids enjoy the pool.


From grandparents and their grandchildren to mothers and daughters, there is an activity for everyone on offer at Karma Kandara and Karma Jimbaran. There’s no such thing as a bored or restless child at The Three Monkeys kids’ club. Adventures and activities await as kids aged 3 to 12 years can participate in beachcombing, kite making and swimming, as well as other activities. You can take a moment to relax and wind down with exclusive spa treatments or learn some new skills at a Balinese cookery class. Teens and parents are able to explore Bali with a range of exciting, guided excursions available. With swimming, snorkelling and other adventure activities on offer, extended families can bond over some incredible memories that will last forever.


Karma Resorts’ restaurants take pride in showcasing fresh ingredients and exotic flavours of European and Asian cuisines. Karma Kandara has four restaurants to choose from and Karma Jimbaran restaurant, The Bay, is renowned as one of Bali’s top destination restaurants. With fantastic dining at your fingertips, Karma Resorts Bali has made dining with the family an easy experience. For larger families staying in two or three-bedroom villas, Karma offers fully equipped kitchens allowing for the whole family to enjoy meals in the privacy of their villa.


Enjoy a blissful family holiday to Bali and create an amazing bonding experience for all. The whole family will enjoy visiting the Uluwatu Temple, an ancient temple located on top of towering seaside cliffs and one of Bali’s oldest religious relics.


Jalan Villa Kandara, Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan, Bali 80362 Indonesia 02 8355 7602 |


Jalan Bukit Permai, Jimbaran Bay, Bali 80362 Indonesia 02 8355 7602 |

Navigate: Expert advice

TALK TO THE EXPERT When only the best advice will do.

Canna Campbell is a consumer finance expert, founder of SugarMamma TV and Sass Financial and mum to Rocco, aged 5. WHY ARE HOLIDAYS IMPORTANT? Holidays are where we create memories, connect and bond as a family, and recharge our batteries. Personally, I believe they are worth the investment, and with the right tools and planning, they shouldn’t add extra stress on the household budget. HOW CAN WE MINIMISE FINANCIAL BURDEN WHEN IT COMES TO HOLIDAY PLANNING? This is a question I get asked a lot, and I’m not surprised after seeing recent research from NRMA Blue that claims 72 per cent of Australian families felt holidays put a greater financial burden on the family budget. My top two tips are: 01 Research and plan – plan your days out so you can organise your budget. Prioritise where you want to go as a family so additional costs don’t creep in. 02 Join a member benefits program like NRMA Blue – this will give you the tools you need to plan for the entire holiday, along with exclusive discounts on those big-ticket items that often blow the holiday budget: fuel, accommodation, car hire, transport, entertainment and attractions (such as the zoo, aquarium, movie tickets and theme parks). Blue is also easily accessed through the My NRMA app, so it travels with you.

values and compare this to the benefits of a family holiday. Research and see if you can replace any of the services you are paying for with one that is better value for money. Then, increase your savings to your holiday savings account by that amount of money. WHAT ABOUT BIGGER CHANGES? Look at your budget and determine what is necessary and what is something that is just nice to have. If there are unnecessary lifestyle expenses, be honest with yourself. Look at what you value and what is best for the family longer term. WHEN IT COMES TO THE PLANNING STAGE, WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND FAMILIES DO TO KEEP COSTS DOWN? Have a budget and review it regularly as new expenses can easily sneak in. Plan as much as possible and set up a separate savings account for the holiday. Make it a challenge and get the whole family on board with the new goal. Look at membership programs that give you special discounts which are quick and easy to access and be open to ways of earning some extra cash beyond your current income (for example, sell unwanted goods you have at home), and immediately deposit the funds into your holiday saving account.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS FOR A BUDGET-CONSCIOUS FAMILY AND WHY? WHEN SHOULD WE START SAVING FOR HOLIDAY? I find beach holidays rewarding as building a sandcastle and The research shows that families spend at least 12 months going for a swim cost nothing, but there are a few critical saving up for a holiday. But, I also like to elements to consider when booking a make sure people understand that it’s never budget-conscious holiday – and it’s less too late to start. The sooner the better I about destination. Book somewhere that say, and I always recommend setting up a has kitchen and laundry facilities – this separate savings account named ‘holiday means the family can fill up on a big saving’ so you can visually see the financial breakfast before you head out for the day goal you are working towards. Try adding and you can use the facilities for evening NRMA Blue is a new member small amounts over a longer period of time. meals. Barbecues are a cost-efficient way benefits program that gives of feeding a family. Also, stay somewhere Australians access to discounts WHAT ARE SOME SMALL CHANGES where you can easily do a load or two of on fuel, transport, insurance, FAMILIES CAN IMPLEMENT? washing without a huge laundry bill. NRMA travel and accommodation, Start with reviewing your budget. Write Blue has great deals on accommodation entertainment and experiences down your living expenses, how much options with these types of facilities around all over the country. Blue is they cost and when they are due to be Australia. Overseas, I love Queenstown accessed via the my NRMA app paid – match these expenses to your diary, in New Zealand as it is breathtakingly and is free for NRMA members so that you are prepared for them. Go beautiful. Lift passes for children are free or $5 a month for non-members. through each expense and look at ways for under 5-year-olds, and if you book your For more information visit that you can either reduce or cut them ski hire equipment online, some places offer out. Assess what your family uses and 50 per cent off.

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Navigate: GET TO KNOW

TALKING TRAVEL with Anne Madison

Anne Madison is Chief Strategy and Communications Officer for Brand USA. Since joining the marketing organisation in 2012, Anne has established the strategic foundation on which Brand USA pursues its mission and has developed compelling communications strategies that have raised awareness of Brand USA’s marketing successes, which has increased international visitor numbers to the US. MY IDEAL FAMILY HOLIDAY INVOLVES… two things: the outdoors and at least one unexpected ‘stretch’ experience. The outdoors because it’s open, constantly changing, and varies so greatly from place to place – and therefore guaranteed to surprise and delight every age. At least one stretch experience is important because pushing ourselves to do something we’ve never done before keeps our minds fresh, agile, and stimulated. ONE OF MY FAVOURITE HOLIDAY MEMORIES IS… spending long summer days in upstate New York at one of the beautiful Finger Lakes when our kids were younger. There’s something for everyone there. We would take a giant float out on the lake just off the shore of the cabin we rented and anchor it to the bottom of the lake. We spent every day on the water on that float, either boating or water skiing, and nearly every waking hour outdoors. When we first started going to the lake, technology wasn’t able to invade us (no mobile phone/cell service and not even an overnight delivery truck could make its way to our solace). Now we do our best to keep technology to a minimum when we’re on holiday – which can be pretty easy when you’re spending most of your time on the water.

St Mary Lake, Glacier National Park.


WHAT MAKES A GREAT FAMILY HOLIDAY FOR ME IS… no pre-set agenda (besides how to get there!). Work involves so much planning and forethought. It’s such a nice break to see what the day brings you. That’s a gift. Also, kids help you reprioritise and keep you young at heart. When you take on the day from the eyes of a child (even though ours are now in their 20s!), it makes you focus on what’s really important while keeping you young at heart.

Anne with her family. Mary with her fiancé, Alex; Ana; Ryan; Anne; Jon; and Anne’s husband, Dave

EVERY FAMILY SHOULD GO TO… the US National Parks, because they offer something for everyone – no matter what age or ability. The parks are particularly great for younger kids because there’s so much to experience – even on a simple hike, such as spotting wildlife and wildflowers. The gift of exploration is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids. It keeps them interested and passionate. MY FAVOURITE DESTINATION IS… anywhere in the USA! My husband and I are on a quest to visit all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five USA territories. Between the two of us, we still have nine states and two territories to go! While I have the privilege of promoting the USA to international travellers all over the world, it’s also made me realise that there’s so much more to see and do in the USA than I realised. That’s part of the fun – there are so many surprises and hidden gems as you explore to, through, and beyond the gateways of the country I’m proud to call home.

Canyonlands National Park.

Yosemite National Park.

OUR NEXT HOLIDAY WILL BE TO… Connecticut for our daughter’s wedding. Then we are considering a trip to Alaska, because we’re on a journey to visit the entirety of the USA. After that we’re considering a road trip across the country (making sure to make Route 66 a central part of that journey). THE BEST THING ABOUT LIFE RIGHT NOW IS… I’m the happiest I’ve ever been – and there’s so much more to see, explore and experience. The average number of days a person has to live is 30,000 (hopefully more!), which translates roughly into 4,300 weeks. Yet, we only spend about 240 weeks on holiday during a lifetime. I want to make the most of that time with my family – and that means travelling as much as possible.







WHAT’S ON We’ve found the top events around the country.


WHAT’S HOT Read up on the best in Australia travel news.


PLAY: ON THE SUNSHINE COAST Beaches and hinterland make up this paradise.


PLAY IN HOBART Original, offbeat and quirky fun.










PLAY IN ALICE SPRINGS Experience diverse heritage, wildlife and culture. FAMILIES OF AUSTRALIA Read about our video campaign and meet the winning family. THE NORTHERN TERRITORY FOR FREE For families on a budget, there’s so much to see and do.

THE EPIC ROAD TRIP This Aussie family packed their bags for a trip of a lifetime.

BEACHSIDE FUN The brand-new Ruby Apartments are opening in November and here’s why they are great.

GETTING CLOSE TO NATURE From camping and glamping to holiday parks and caravanning, we’ve got you covered.

HOLIDAY PARK ACCOMMODATION How joining up to a membership program can save you money. CAMP LIKE A PRO How to ace camping with the family. HAPPY SNAP Each issue we share one Families of Australia happy snap.

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what’s on


Parrtjima Festival of Light

Spring BEAT

For the first time, this indigenous festival will include a dedicated children’s play space among its five large-scale light projections. The 2018 theme is ‘cultural freedom,’ set against the MacDonnell Ranges to ramp up the wow factor.

What's On

Don’t miss a beat! Once spring has sprung, even the flowers know it is time to come out and party. The months of September, October and November blossom with events of all kinds, all around the country. Whether you’re a serious sports spectator, avid art lover, market maven or festival fanatic, your calendar will be in full bloom this season. SEPTEMBER 30 BOOROOWA, NSW

BOOROOWA IRISH WOOLFEST Amazing Celtic music and Irish dance performances are surprisingly not the best bits about this festival. Neither are the rides, market stalls or shearing shack! The show-stopper is the famous Running of the Sheep down the main street.

Albany’s rugged coastline will be a fitting backdrop to this immersive art installation created by internationallyacclaimed artist Bruce Munro. Lining the Avenue of Honour at Mount Clarence, 16,000 shining spheres will pay homage to the 41,000 troops who departed from Albany for the Great War. OCTOBER 12-13 SYDNEY, NSW




With indoor and outdoor venues along the beach, the ocean will be singing backing vocals at this red-hot music event over the October long weekend. There’s funk, swing, Latin, gospel and all that jazz. things-to-do/whats-on/ manly-jazz OCTOBER 4-APRIL 25 ALBANY, WA


Teams from across the globe rev up the ante at this two-day motorsport event which includes the Turbosmart Flying 500 and the largest outdoor car show in Australia. OCTOBER 13 GEELONG, VIC


Also known as Nuit Blanche, this international movement, which started in Paris in 2002, has arrived in Geelong, bringing with it an array of art installations, light projections and street performances for free under the stars. geelong/



Ignite your inner music lover with 12 hours of non-stop entertainment, including food and wine tasting, produce and arts stalls, a kids’ zone and a fireworks display. The festival aims to raise awareness of and funding for Motor Neurone Disease.



dancer cross paths with an armoured knight. This ye olde festival also has jousting competitions, archery demonstrations and sword-fighting. event/ OCTOBER 1-31 SYDNEY, NSW


Yummy treats are on offer all October, but your tastebuds will be tingling for the main event in Hyde Park. The family-friendly Night Noodle Markets is packed with buskers, food trucks, and cultural performances. sydney

There are few places where you’re likely to see a belly


Melbourne International Arts Festival Spread over two delightful weeks, this world-class event is a mixed bag of dance, theatre and music, with a good dose of free and outdoor events.

Gundaroo Music Festival.

what’s on



Sculpture by the Sea The Bondi to Tamarama seaside walk is transformed with a smattering of more than 100 large-scale sculptures in the scrub and on the sand. Expect large crowds!

entertainment, farm animals, food and wine, antique and modern farm machinery, shearing, wood-chopping, live music and more.



Splash out and strut to this festival celebrating Australian and international fashion. A series of runway shows, fashion masterclasses, shopping and live music will keep your little fashionista entertained. adelaidefashionfestival. OCTOBER 18-28 DUBBO, NSW


Last year’s Macquarie Credit Union DREAM Festival welcomed more than 18,000 recorded visitors. The dazzling lights, lanterns, music, Indigenous dance and stalls are set to inspire even more imaginations this year.



SUPERCARS VODAFONE GOLD COAST 600 Gear up for Queensland’s biggest street racing event. You’ll see the cars whizz around and hit speeds of up to 265 kilometres an hour to the tune of headlining international music performers. OCTOBER 20-21 MURRUMBATEMAN, NSW



Prince Harry is the patron of this international sporting event which brings together servicemen and women from 18 nations. You can expect to have right royal fun spectating events such as wheelchair rugby, sitting volleyball and yacht races in Sydney Harbour. OCTOBER 20-NOVEMBER 6 BRIGHT, VIC

BRIGHT SPRING MURRUMBATEMAN FESTIVAL FIELD DAYS Bright knows how to Drink in the country at the region’s premier small farm field day. Enjoy children’s

markets, art exhibitions, garden walks and, of course, a fireworks display.

welcome the spring warmth in style, celebrating the 30th year of street markets, river



The oldest agricultural show in the country celebrates all things Australian. It has all the usual suspects – farm animals to meet, food stalls, show bags and live performances, and there are also baking classes, sheep-shearing demos, a vintage machine display and equestrian events. royal-hobart-show/

Image: Elements Margaret River



This has got to be Australia’s biggest and best event on two wheels – enjoy a highoctane long weekend of races at the country’s most scenic circuit.

This alternative festival is an expression of contemporary Indigenous culture through music, dance and art. Entry is free for kids under 12 and there is a dedicated children’s area.




The modified rules of this international championship (five players a side and threepointer shots) guarantee fast-paced, thrilling action from the six-best netballplaying nations.



Stop and smell the roses at this laidback, no-fuss festival celebrating all things floral. The program of open gardens, workshops, demonstrations and performances is ideal for a lazy Sunday afternoon. NOVEMBER 2-5 DELORAINE, TAS


Humble Deloraine hosts this arty affair, which counts sheepdog demonstrations, craft stalls, gallery exhibitions, artisanal foods and a Young Artist Award in its line-up.

Image: Caitlin Nelson




Get back to the ‘good old days’ in the centre of the historic town of Yass. See cars from the early 1900s through to the 70s, vintage memorabilia, enjoy music from the 50s, 60s and 70s, watch the Rotary Billy Cart Derby, Yass Railway Open Day and more.




This family-friendly festival in Port Phillip Bay shines a spotlight on some foottapping class acts. The kids’ program features Teeny Tiny Stevies, and the grownups will recognise names such as Sarah Blasko and Courtney Barnett.


Margaret River Gourmet Escape Nigella Lawson will return to Western Australia to host a series of events over the weekend’s festivities, including the iconic Gourmet Beach BBQ and Nigella’s Tea Party at Howard Park Winery. Nigella will be joined by other returning culinary stars Rick and Jack Stein, Tetsuya Wakuda, Matt Stone, Jo Barrett, Mitch Orr, Guy Grossi and Guillaume Brahimi – plus an impressive lineup of new talent. Kids can test their culinary skills at The Gourmet Village’s kids cooking class.



Wild koalas near Melbourne need help, and little hands can help in many ways. There are weeds to remove, trees to plant and nature education to be absorbed – and Koala Clancy Foundation welcomes families of all shapes and sizes. The not-for-profit organisation offers short days (five hours) with experienced guides and researchers. Participants meet wild koalas in their natural habitat and learn about each koala’s social life. Researchers show kids how to identify each koala by their unique nose pattern, how to recognise different species of eucalyptus and how to protect wild koala populations for future generations. Each day is a gentle blend of volunteer participation in a koala protection project, and educational walks through the bushland of the You Yangs Regional Park. The koala protection project usually takes up about one-and-a-half hours of the day, and is structured to the needs, abilities and interests of the group. From June to August the koala protection project is koala tree-planting, and from September to May invasive weed removal is the focus. Kids of all ages can make a difference. There are tiny weeds to remove for 2 year olds, and waist-high ones are challenging enough for 16 year olds. Koala trees can be planted by all ages. Most importantly, kids make a real contribution, and can see the results immediately. This is real nature – no fences, no crowds, no gift shop. They will get their hands dirty, they will be challenged physically, they will find insects and animal scat – and they will love it. Kids will be safe, under constant watch by guides who know the area intimately. Koala Clancy Foundation runs Koala Conservation Days in the You Yangs near Melbourne on the first and third Sunday of every month throughout the year.


The Australian Institute of Sport. The AIS. Australia’s premier elite sporting precinct. Only minutes from Canberra’s CBD with plenty of free parking. AIS Visitor Centre Everyone’s welcome. Pop in and purchase exclusive merchandise at the AIS Shop and enjoy great coffee & café-style food at the AIS Café. AIS Tours

For 30 years, Australians have been discovering the smarter way to have fun at Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. This spring is the perfect time to visit – whether for the first time or the 100th time – as Questacon celebrates this milestone anniversary! There’s something for everyone as you experience science in extraordinary ways. Free-fall down a six-metre slide, freeze your own shadow, experience an earthquake, or challenge a robot to a game of air hockey. Or visit Q Lab to catch an ever-changing array of intriguing experiments, explosive demonstrations and interesting displays. Little scientists and their carers will enjoy Mini Q as they play, discover and learn in a gallery specifically designed for 0 to 6 year olds. Questacon’s eight interactive galleries feature over 200 hands-on exhibits, designed for visitors of all ages to touch, play and explore. Questacon’s immersive exhibitions cover a range of science topics, from astronomy to zoology and everything in between. No visit is complete without watching – and perhaps taking a starring role in – a Spectacular Science Show. Questacon is located in Canberra’s Parliamentary Zone, adjacent to several other national institutions within this premier tourist precinct. Questacon is only a short walk from the centre of Canberra, and is in an ideal location for visitors to enjoy some of Canberra’s best tourist experiences. Questacon is open daily between 9am and 5pm (closed 25 December) and features an onsite cafe, Megabites. The Q Shop also offers a range of science-themed toys, gifts and souvenirs so you can continue the Questacon experience after you leave.

AIS Aquatic & Fitness Centre Dive into our world-class swimming pool or try out our fully equipped gym. Visitors welcome. Fees apply.

Leverrier Street, Canberra, ACT Phone: (02) 6214 1010



ASC 34415


Go behind the scenes on an award-winning guided AIS Tour. Challenge yourself in Sportex, offering fun and interactive sporting exhibits. Daily 10am, 11.30am, 1pm & 2.30pm. Fees apply.

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th Coast Souadventures

New South Wales’ South Coast offers plenty of options for thrill-seeking families. Incredible mountain biking tracks, treetops challenges and wildlife encounters – these are the South Coast adventures you need to try.

Jamberoo Action Park This is one day out the kids won’t forget. Jamberoo Action Park has plenty to keep the kids entertained. Thrill seekers should try the Perfect Storm. The ride makes you feel like you are being pulled into the vortex of a twisting tornado, taking you from dark to light, through moments of zero gravity, twisting and turning before spitting you out into a pool of water. Little kids will love Banjo’s Billabong, a four-level waterplay area with a tipping bucket and slides. Fire the water cannons, scramble over bridges and dodge the water sprays. On hot days, there’s nothing better than the Rapid River. Jump onto a rubber raft for a leisurely river ride… well, until you hit the rapids, waterfalls and waves. If you’re not keen on getting wet, you can play putt-putt golf, ride the toboggan or take a scenic chairlift ride for a spectacular view over the park.


MTB Tathra

If anyone in your family loves to mountain bike – you need to take them to MTB Tathra. Flow Mountain Bike rated the Tathra single track a must-ride. Australian Mountain Bike magazine rates it as the most fun in the South Coast. In Tathra, you can surf in the morning and mountain bike in the afternoon. Bliss for adventure lovers. mountain-biking


Wing Walk

Ever wondered what it is like to walk on the wings of a plane? If you’re over 14, you can find out at the HARS Aviation Museum. A 747 Wing Walk tour takes you 16 metres along the right wing of a 747-438. This is a fabulous museum and well worth a wander. Volunteers affectionately call it ‘The Tardis’ – a Dr Who reference meaning you have no idea how large it is inside. At this museum, you can walk through operational hangars and get up close to the aircraft. All tours must have a guide. That’s also a big tick for this museum. The volunteers are retired Qantas pilots, maintenance engineers or cabin crew. Working aircraft on display include the PBY-6A Catalina, designed in the 1930s. The Catalina is best known for its service in WWII and for flying the Qantas Double Sunrise service. The HARS museum also has a working Tiger Moth, Cessna 310B and Lockheed AP-3C Orion. In 2017 John Travolta donated his Boeing 707 to the museum saying he hoped the volunteers would be able to keep it flying.

Merimbula Marina Whale watching season is now in full swing. What better way to see the whales than on a cruise? From mid-August to mid-November the humpback whales travel past Merimbula on their way to the southern ocean. The Sapphire Coast one of the few places in the world where humpbacks can be observed lateral lunge feeding. At Merimbula, families can spot humpback whales, Southern rights, minke, blue whales and orcas. The tour operators are so confident that you will spot a whale, they offer a 100 per cent whale sighting guarantee. Dolphins, turtles, fur seals and penguins are also regularly seen on tours.

Mogo Zoo

Trees Adventure

Mogo Zoo is a privately-owned zoo with a focus on endangered and exotic species. Sally Padey established the zoo in 1989. It is one of the most successful private zoos in the world. Head to reception on arrival to get your ticket for the giraffe feeding. It costs $10 but it’s worth it. Watch the kids’ excited faces as they feed these incredible animals. Kids can get up quite close to the animals at Mogo. We recommend the keeper talks, which allow kids to learn about the natural behaviour of the animals. Keeper talks are available for the silvery gibbon, the white lion, the gorillas, the rhinos and the tigers. The kids will love the sound of the monkeys at this zoo. Trust us, they will be making monkey noises for hours.

At Trees Adventure kids can zoom through the forest on flying foxes, scramble up cargo nets and climb over rope bridges. Trees Adventure runs along the banks of the Shoalhaven River, inside Shoalhaven Zoo. It has six long courses, more than 70 challenges and 13 flying foxes. The yellow courses are suitable for children aged from 4 to 7. These are two metres high and include a few flying foxes. Adults can supervise children from the ground. Kids aged over 8 can take on the green, blue to red challenges. These range from six metres high to 12 metres high. One adult (per four children) must participate in the course. Adventure-seeking teenagers can try the black course, once they have completed the red. This is the extreme course, with 21 challenges up to 15 metres high.

Kiama stingrays If you are planning a trip to Kiama, make sure you head down to the boat ramp at 10am on Sunday. That’s when Darren from Into the Wild Nature Tours presents the Kiama Stingray show. Into the Wild Tours offers small group (maximum of six people) guided wildlife tours around Kiama and the south coast. But the 20-minute stingray show is free. Watch in fascination as the world’s largest stingray species swims around the boat ramp. These creatures can be the size of dinner tables.

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Image: South Australian Tourism Commission



Auswtrinaelriiaes's... with kids

Australia has some of the best wines in the world, but did you know that its wineries also cater for kids? Here are some of our favourites.

The Barossa, South Australia

With over 750 wine-growing families, there are many places for families to enjoy. Operating out of their family home since 1938, Linke’s Bakehouse &

The Barossa is a great place for families.

Pantry is an iconic Barossa destination. All pastries and breads are freshly baked in-house. A Barossa must-visit is Yalumba, the most-historic, family-owned winery in Australia, and you can’t visit the region without stopping at Whistler Wines. Not only is the wine delicious, there is a treasure hunt, cricket pitch and a play area to entertain the kids.

Be sure to stop at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop in Nuriootpa at some stage too. Here the cook, writer and television personality features her limited edition produce and full product range and, if you’re hungry, you can order lunch at The Farm Eatery, just across the deck. barossa

Mudgee food is delicious.

Hunter Valley, NSW

The Hunter region is the perfect weekender for Sydney families. Hot air balloons dot the sky and kangaroos graze in the grass. Plus, there are amazing activities to enjoy, such as the Hunter Valley Zoo and Hunter Valley Horse Riding & Adventures. The stand-out is undoubtedly the Hunter Valley Gardens. The park has 10 permanent-feature gardens and seasonal activities such as The Christmas Lights Spectacular in summer and Snow Time in the Garden in winter. Year-round, kids will love the nursery-rhyme themed garden with character statues. We love the sound of Pokolbin’s Scarborough Wine Co and its open, grassy spaces for kids to roam. Winetasting is made family-friendly with the kids’ pack, which includes juice, colouring activities and puzzles. The outside Kids’ Zone contains hula hoops, giant Jenga and chalkboards. Wandin Winery has a cricket ground to explore and an activities table right outside, so you can keep an eye on the kids while enjoying a cheeky sip or two. hunter-valley

Mudgee, NSW

Mudgee jostles with the Hunter for the title of best New South Wales wine region. This suits us just fine – the north-western town is pulling out all stops to offer families unique experiences at its cellar doors.

At Yarra Valley Chocolaterie kids can run and play in the grounds

At Robert Stein Winery & Vineyard, this special something is a side-serving of motorcycle madness. Grown-ups can sip five-star wines while the kids explore the Motorcycle Museum and rare collectibles. Lowe Wines provides an artist-drawn map of a walk or cycle trail passing by a compost area, picnic spots, chook palace and other points of note on the property. Burnbrae on Hill End Road hosts pizza lunches on its large lawn on Sundays, and Rosby Wines & Guesthouse holds the huge annual Sculptures in the Garden festival every October. The childhood home of Australia’s best-loved poet and author, Henry Lawson, Mudgee will make you want to wax lyrical about its farmlands, vineyards and the fact that your kids will have run so ragged that they won’t make a peep on the way home.

Yarra Valley, Victoria

Location is everything in the Yarra Valley. It sits less than an hour from Melbourne on the Yarra River, in the shadow of the Dandenong Ranges. It is just as well-known for its cabernet blends as its kid-focused offerings. TarraWarra Estate winery has art activities for kids during the school holidays, and a museum next door. At St Huberts, you can bring your own picnic or cook lunch on the BBQ, and even bring your dogs to run around on the grass. Undercover tables and a playground place De Bortoli Wines on the family-friendly map, and Five Oaks

Image: Tourism WA


Margaret River Farmers Markets.

Wines and Vineyard provides kids’ toys inside the cellar door. While you’re in the area, stop by the Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley Railway, Seville Water Play Park and the yummy Yarra Valley Chocolaterie... because eveyone loves chocolate.

Margaret River region, Western Australia

The first grape of the Margaret River wine region was planted in the 1830s, so they know their stuff. The Tuscan-style Credaro Family Estate has been family owned and operated for nearly 100 years. Half an hour from Margaret River in Yallingup, you can round off your cellar door experience with a picnic. In Rosa Glen, about 15 minutes from Margaret River, lies The Berry Farm. Here, they specialise in the sweet stuff, which includes ports, fruity wines and liqueurs, as well as jams and preserves. Grown-ups can have a free wine-tasting session while the rugrats go wild in the adventure playground. The Berry Farm also host kids’ birthday parties and fruit-picking. Margaret River has also become famous for its burgeoning brewery scene. Excellent craft beers are coming out of locally owned microbreweries such as the Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery with its fenced playground and the Brewhouse which has live music on Fridays and Sundays. SPR I NG 2018



Images: Luke Hanson

lidISLANDays Family ONhLORDoHOWE Imagine a subtropical island without snakes, crocodiles, stonefish and stingers. Imagine if the same island was totally crime free and the hotels had no locks on doors, no keys, and no security guards. Imagine this safe and benign island on its hottest day of the summer – 28 degrees Celsius – with a pristine shallow lagoon, perfect beaches, off-shore breeze, dramatic rainforest-clad mountains and no crowds. Sound appealing? If you had to point to such a place on a world map, you’d be forgiven for aiming at Tahiti or somewhere in the Caribbean, but the reality is much closer to home – Lord Howe Island. Lord Howe is the ideal family escape. The World Heritage listing in 1982 capped the number of visitors at any time to 400, and they spread out remarkably well over 16 beaches, seven mountains and 12 square kilometres of coral reef and lagoon. The snorkelling, diving, swimming, surfing, fishing, hiking, bird watching and kayaking are all world-class, and each activity is only 10 minutes from your door. This allows for multiple activities every day, and perhaps an afternoon

nap – for everyone. Lord Howe’s best family accommodation, Pinetrees Lodge, is TripAdvisor’s No.1 Hotel in Australia for 2018. Pinetrees provides three beautiful meals each day (plus afternoon tea), kids’ dinners, babysitters and plenty of other kids (and parents) to explore the island with. The lodge has no wi-fi or phone signal, and believe it or not, families adjust in about five minutes. Instead of sharing a table to communicate with people online, families communicate with each other – they’ll even play a board game together. The highlight of Pinetrees, particularly for mums, is that there’s no need to shop, cook or clean for your entire stay. Imagine that. Pinetrees still has space available during January 2019.

AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SPORT Imagine yourself as an Olympic athlete, speeding to the finish line. Now you can at Sportex, a leading sports exhibit covering fun and interactive displays and sporting memorabilia. Create goal-scoring opportunities in the Performance Football experience; control a sled in the Skeleton Run; or challenge a friend to a wheelchair race in the Wheelchair Racer. After the tour, you can head to the public swimming pool to do some laps. There’s so much to do and explore at the iconic AIS. sportex


Say hello to a perfect spring escape.



Treat the family to a getaway that will put a spring in your step! Experience thrilling theme parks on the Sunshine Coast or an adrenaline-pumping descent down sand dunes at Port Stephens. FAMILY TRAVEL READER SPECIALS! Simply call or email the resorts and quote “FAMILY TRAVEL” RAMADA MARCOOLA BEACH: Stay 5 nights and save

30%* off


15%* off our best available

all room types PLUS free unlimited DVD hire, free bike hire, sparkling wine and chocolates on arrival and complimentary 12pm late check-out.

rates PLUS complimentary bike hire.



*Terms and Conditions apply. Subject to availability. Minimum night stay applies. Offers can only be redeemed by quoting the promo code FAMILY TRAVEL. Blackouts apply at Ramada Marcoola Beach between 21 September 2018 to 7 October 2018 and 21 December 2018 to 21 January 2019. Not valid in conjunction with any other offer, coupon or voucher. Inclusions subject to availability at time of booking. Copyright 2018 Resort Management by Wyndham. RMBW13182


t s a o C e Sunshin

There’s far more to the Sunshine Coast than just sunshine and coast, and it all adds up to an unforgettable family holiday.

For more info on the Sunshine Coast head to visitsunshine


Learning to surf becomes even more fun when the water is warm, the sun shining and the waves gentle. Coolum Surf School has been teaching adults and children to surf for over 15 years and specialises in introducing first-timers to the sport. Using soft learner boards to start, the passionate surfing team firstly builds confidence, then skills and generally within an hour has the novice surfer standing triumphantly, riding their first wave into shore. Coolum Surf School offers small group lessons, holiday camps and private family sessions suitable for all ages.



Ricks Garage is like walking onto the set of Grease or Happy Days – it’s pure retro fun that both parents and children will love. Located in the historic village of Palmwoods, Ricks Garage captures the 1950s from the moment you arrive. Decor and memorabilia is straight out of an American diner, Elvis is likely to be playing on the music system, and the milkshakes and burgers are huge. In fact, if you are able to eat ‘The Big One’ you get to write your name on the ceiling! There is an attractive outdoor area with umbrellas, and on weekends live music creates a great vibe.


Winner of many accolades for its kid-friendly accommodation and facilities, Oaks Oasis Resort is brilliantly designed for families. At the centre of the resort – located in the beautiful coastal town of Caloundra – is a massive water park and resort pool, along with a climbing frame, putt-putt golf course and Kangaroo Jumper. The beach is a short stroll away. Stylish accommodation options include family rooms, serviced apartments and villas. The resort’s lush grounds and lotus lakes provide a tranquil backdrop for the on-site Reflections Restaurant. oaks-oasis-resort


Exploring the Hinterland is a must – and one way of capturing the best of the region in one location is Maleny Botanic Gardens & Bird World. The gardens are spectacular (as are the views across the Glass House Mountains to the coast), but the children will probably want to head straight to the Bird World aviary, where the large parrots and macaws will become their instant friends. There is a small farm-style zoo, ideal for younger children. The vast grounds are perfect for BYO picnics, or Devonshire tea can be ordered in one of the atmospheric pavilions.




The Port Arthur Historic Site offers a captivating glimpse into our convict past. Explore the ruins of the notorious penal colony and discover the compelling stories of the convicts, soldiers and settlers who lived there. Meet cunning and criminal characters on the Escape from Port Arthur Tour. Complete the free kids’ activity book and the characters will be vividly brought to life as your little historians search for answers, solve puzzles and collect stamps. School holiday activities include making a convict love token, letter writing and wax sealing, and creating a (temporary) convict tattoo.


Mona is a must do when visiting Hobart – as much for the food as for the art! Catch the ferry to the museum, have a gander, then treat yourself to a sensational meal and marvel at how cultured your children just became. The cafe is a safe bet, with tasty grub, coffee and treats. Enjoy shared plates featuring seasonal, local produce at The Source Restaurant, and relax outside with a glass of wine while the kids play on the lawn (during summer, there’s often live music). Expand your family’s palate in Faro, the shiny new restaurant overlooking the water.

Hobart is jam packed with family fun activities – original, offbeat, quirky and fun – we’ve got you covered!

Head to hobartand for more inspiration.


The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel has an interesting history as a turn-of-the-century wool storage and treatment facility. Today, this National Trust-listed gem blends timeless charm with modern comfort. Their spacious one-and two-bedroom apartments offer an ideal base for a family holiday. Perks include onsite carparking, free kids’ channels and complimentary passes to swim at the Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre. The location is close to the city’s attractions – and the kids will love staying close to the fresh fish and chips at the wharf.


A family excursion to Hastings Caves State Reserve in the wild Far South is an unforgettable experience, millions of years in the making. Descend underground on one of the regular tours and be awestruck by the giant dolomite cave and its spectacular subterranean formations. Adults and kids alike will enjoy swimming in the 28 degree Celsius pool, fed by thermal spring water, surrounded by lush ferns and forest. Make use of the BBQ and picnic facilities and make a day of it. Explore the forest walks and keep an eye out for the local wildlife. hastings

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s g n i r p S e c Ali

Head north to Alice Springs and step back in time to experience our diverse Indigenous heritage, wildlife and culture.

For more info on the Alice Springs, visit northern


At Alice Springs Desert Park you can get up close to many of the birds, reptiles and creatures that inhabit the Red Centre – and what’s best is that many of the enclosures are interactive. You can walk among the kangaroos and sit in an aviary full of birds that are native to the desert. The Desert Park is one of the only places in the world where you can stand right next to a wedgetailed eagle as part of their Eagle Encounter. For nature lovers and the animal curious of all ages, Alice Springs Desert Park is a fun and educational place to spend a day in Alice Springs.



Sip your morning coffee while being entertained by the antics of western bowerbirds at the Bean Tree Cafe in the Olive Pink Botanic Garden in Alice Springs. Vegetarians, vegans and meateaters are all well catered for thanks to a contemporary menu. And while there is no specific kids’ menu, there are child-friendly options such as toasties available. While the adults linger longer and soak up the relaxed garden vibe, the kids can run around, and littlies playing in the sandpit will be clearly in view.


BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park is one of the biggest and best in Australia and can accommodate up to 1700 guests in the full range of styles – from camping, powered sites for caravans to two-bedroom cabins. The kids will love the variety of onsite activities, including three pools, a water slide, jumping pillow, go-karts, bike hire and night-time activities including stargazing. Grownups will enjoy morning yoga classes, newly upgraded communal kitchen facilities, and a well-stocked convenience store and a cappuccino van. holiday-park


Spend an evening with the Falzon family at their Earth Sanctuary Observatory. Kids and adults alike will be encouraged to try their hand at making damper. As the outback deliciousness is cooking, the Falzon brothers keep everyone entertained with stories about life in the Red Centre. Once the sun has set, you can use the telescopes to look closely at the surface of the moon and ogle at Saturn and its spectacular rings. Once the damper is cooked, you’ll happily munch away while being regaled by stories of the stars and information about the constellations above.

Families of Australia


If you haven’t heard of the Families of Australia mini web series it’s time to get clued up. Launched in March 2017, the series focuses on sharing Australia’s top familyfriendly experiences with travellers via Virgin Australia’s inflight entertainment system, on and on YouTube and on the Families of Australia site ( Designed to deliver useful destination information to families dreaming about travel, planning travel and travelling, the series consisted of unique videos of everyday families exploring top family-friendly destinations Australia. “Australian families are seven times more likely to travel domestically than internationally,” said Janeece Keller, CEO of Family Travel and Creative Director of the Families of Australia Series. “With so many families travelling around the country, we knew how important it was they have access


to great content that helps them decide how to spend their precious family time. These video stories provide a great way for us to connect with travelling families, and show them the great depth and breadth of experiences available around the country.” The Families of Australia campaign saw 18 local families visit over 140 of the best family attractions and destinations around the country over 12 months, resulting in over 275 individual videos being created and shared across Virgin Australia’s inflight entertainment system, Family Travel's website, the Families of Australia microsite, YouTube and on partner websites. A total of 20 episodes have aired so far on Virgin Australia’s e-channel, accounting to over seven hours of unique content. Families participating in the campaign became the face of their local region on Virgin Australia’s In-flight Entertainment

meet the hills Throughout the campaign, consumers were encouraged to watch and vote for their favourite family destination videos, with monthly prize draws of $250 Family Travel vouchers up for grabs. All the families are winners... but our official winning family award goes to the Hills. The Hill family come from the Central Coast and followed our film crew to Newcastle for the Families of Australia mini web series. Read on to learn about their adventures across the globe, and what they love most about living on the Central Coast. Watch their videos on the Families of Australia microsite. TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. We are a family of five who love to explore our local area and the world. We have done some pretty amazing things as a family, from feeding reindeers and seeing Santa in Finland to learning traditional Navajo games with a local guide in Monument Valley. We always find travel makes us closer as a family. system and on, sharing the top familyfriendly attractions and destinations around the country. In addition to destination experts, one family was also selected to share the best of accessible and inclusive travel in Australia. Curious to know where they visited? Destinations highlighted throughout the exciting series include: Albury/Wodonga, Ballarat, Bendigo, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, the Central Coast, Geelong, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle, Outback Queensland, Perth, Phillip Island, South Australia, the Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Tasmania, Townsville and Wollongong. This library of amazing content is now available for all families to enjoy and get inspired by for their next getaway somewhere around the country. Make sure you check it out at the Families of Australia microsite:

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE ADVENTURE? Our last overseas holiday is pretty hard to beat. We explored stunning Iceland in a campervan for 10 days, walked behind waterfalls, tasted 1000-year-old-ice on a glacier lagoon, explored lava caves underground and saw the Northern Lights. We had fun with family in England we haven’t seen for a long time, then explored amazing places in Scotland like the Isle of Skye and The Orkney Islands.

WHY DO YOU LOVE THE CENTRAL COAST? If you are looking for somewhere with a laidback pace, lots of stunning beaches and fun outdoor activities, then the Central Coast is a must-visit. There’s easy accommodation for all budgets, from camping right on the beachfront at Umina and Toowoon Bay to beautiful hotels like Crown Plaza at Terrigal or Oaks Waterfront Resort at The Entrance. Activities vary from adventure, like kite surfing, to toddler-friendly activities like visiting Vera’s Water Garden and The Japanese Gardens. There is plenty for animal lovers too, with horse riding, pelican feeding at the Entrance, and the Australian Reptile Park. We also recommend Bouddi National Park Coastal Walk, Maitland Bay shipwreck and Sommersby Falls. If it is beaches you’re after, our favourites are Spoon Bay, Lobster Beach and Frazer Beach, and our favourite beachside towns are Avoca, Terrigal and Ettalong. IF YOU COULD VISIT ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? We all have different bucket list destinations. Kian would love to see the Amazon, Tehya would like to go on an African Safari, Jude would like to see a Kiwi bird in New Zealand, and Kirsty would love to visit Bhutan. As a family, we all agree an adventure to the Galapagos Islands would be an experience of a lifetime – and hopefully one we get to do.

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northern territory


01 Berry Springs, Nature Park, Darwin

things your family can do for free in the NT

Nature is always as it should be: free as a bird. So, after a hot day, take a refreshing dip in Berry Springs. The Monsoon Forest or Woodlands Walk is the perfect way to enjoy the native bird life and scented flora.

02 Buley Rockhole, Litchfield National Park

Plunge into the cascading pools of Buley Rockhole, one of many popular swimming spots in the magnificent Litchfield National Park. Stay overnight to take in the spectacular display of stars.

03 Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles, Tennant Creek

This remarkable site is a sacred place to Aboriginal traditional owners. The precarious piles of huge granite boulders make Karlu Karlu an unforgettable place to visit, or camp the night. Enjoy from afar, as these boulders are not meant to be climbed.

04 Leanyer Recreational 05 Katherine Park, Darwin Hot Springs Entertain your kids with free, safe and clean fun with playgrounds, swimming pools, water slides, skate park and basketball court. These 14-metre tall and 100-metre long waterslides are perfect for hot days.


Situated on the banks of the Katherine River, these natural, thermal pools are fantastic relaxation spots, with picnic grounds and scenic walking tracks too.

Looking for more tips on how you can plan your family holiday to the NT? Visit drive for the latest information.

09 Bush Yarns, Garden Walks & Theatre Performances, Ayers Rock Resort Join a bush yarn, with a local Aboriginal storyteller, or one of the free cultural performances operated daily. Visit Wintjiri Arts + Museum to see local Anangu products.

10 Cultural ranger-guided activities, Kakadu National Park Experience a captivating Kakadu with daily art talks at Ubirr and Nourlangie, and bush tucker experiences with experienced rangers, all for free. You can even learn about the history and behaviour of the 'kinga' saltwater crocodile.

accessible adventures 06 Mataranka Thermal Pool, Elsey National Park Soothe all your aches and pains in the warm waters of the natural Mataranka thermal pool, set in a paperbark tree forest. The thermal pool’s warm springs are around 30 degrees Celsius and pump out 30.5 megalitres of water each day.

Uluru Watching sunrise and sunset at Uluru is a rite of passage for visitors. If you have your own transport, both experiences are free and accessible. The sunrise viewing platform is the ideal spot to capture that perfect snap. Understanding the enormity of Uluru is best done by walking or wheeling around the base. A series of concrete and compacted natural pathways makes it possible for visitors of all abilities. Alice Springs The West MacDonnell National Park stretches 161 kilometres west of Alice Springs and provides a lovely day trip. Take a picnic and enjoy one of the many stops along the way. Simpsons Gap, Ellery Creek Big Hole and Ormiston Gorge are all accessible. Ormiston Gorge has the best facilities for wheelchair users.

07 Window on the Wetlands

Found on one of the highest points of the Adelaide River floodplain, you’ll find interactive displays and learn about the area’s history and local flora and fauna. Head to the top floor of the centre for 270-degree views of the wetlands below. During the wet season, lightning can be seen lighting up the sky.

08 Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory The museum’s fantastic Discovery Centre is perfect for interactive hands-on learning. It is also the home of the significant annual Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.

Darwin Surrounded by bush, with natural swimming pools fed by crystal clear spring water, Berry Springs is popular with locals and visitors for swimming and picnics. Wheelchair access is available to the pools. Visitors to Litchfield National Park can enjoy wheelchair accessible pathways and ramping to get close to the tall termite mounds, accessible viewing at Florence Falls and access to picnic facilities at Wangi Falls.

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n a i l a r t s u A road trip The epic



Family travels take you to a place where family memories are the destination

Tip your hat to the majestic waterfalls of Litchfield National Park.


A images

This page: Hitting the road and making tracks by car, camel and foot. Opposite page: Making memories at Movie World, Kings Canyon and the Captain Cook monument at 1770.


round countless Australian kitchen tables today there is a conversation playing out, “Should we, or shouldn’t we?”. “Let’s hit the road and travel Australia” is whispered in our house, and as much as we try to shut them out with schedules and mortgage repayments, the voices can’t be silenced. We’re motivated to take the leap with long service leave on the horizon and the knowledge that our two primary school kids still want to hang out with us. My own nostalgic childhood memories of travelling Australia in a Holden station wagon, collecting Golden Fleece passport stamps with my brothers is the stuff of family folklore. Now it’s time to create our own. Once we make the decision to hitch the camper trailer and hit the road, the decisions come thick and fast: What about schooling, the pets, insurance, illness on the road, petrol and mechanical expenses? Should we rent out our house? Is our 4WD outback ready? We soon discover we’re not alone. Many Australians put off travelling till the ‘grey

5 tips that will help the kids get more out of it 01

Give them tasks – from petrol account keeping, scouting a caravan park for the camp kitchen or hammering in the tent pegs.


National park visitor centres and museums often have kid-friendly activities to enhance the kids’ learning (and yours).

nomad’ years, but there’s something to be said for hiking trails while we still have health and energy; and exploring places with the same sense of wonder as our kids. We decide to join them with our own six-month, two-kids-and-acamper marathon trip. We join Facebook travel sites, read tourism blogs for weather and road conditions, consult maps and national parks websites, and record finance and vehicle preparation goals. The kids join in the excitement – ears pricking up at the mention of snorkelling and theme parks, camel rides and outback camping, and the hint of no school for months. We quickly enlist the help of experts and opt for enrolling them in distance education with fortnightly lesson packs and support teachers. A sense of adventure consumes us all the minute the map is unfolded on the kitchen table. My 9-year-old runs his finger along the seam of coastline. He’s exploring Captain Cook’s journey in his mind – and we are fast to pick up on that enthusiasm, adding 1770 and Cooktown to our must-visit list. Little do we know he will become the family expert.

A love of birds and native animals for our 6-year-old has us researching koala sanctuaries in Brisbane and adding bird books and binoculars to her personal travel pack. She becomes our official wildlife spotter. Like most Australian dream trips, ours includes the Red Centre and the Outback, as well as waterfalls, rainforests and reefs. Our route, however, quickly becomes less of a lap of the map, and more a zig zag of exploring World Heritage sites and iconic outback tracks. We feel both exhausted and exhilarated as we squeeze the last of the camping gear into the LandCruiser and hightail it up the highway. “Where are you headed?” becomes the preferred greeting as you seek out other travelling families at petrol stations and picnic spots, in camp kitchens and shower blocks. New faces bring updated advice, instant friends for kids and reassurance about road conditions. The campground chatter often turns to stories of how these trips started for other families. Health scares, work changes, yearning for an escape from the grind, or the drive to see natural attractions before they change.


Involve them in planning routes and destination visits so they have a sense of ownership.


Make sure they know where the First Aid kit is and have bush safety knowledge.


Create kids’ travel packs with binoculars, compasses, maps, diaries and games. SPR I NG 2018




This page: Loving the Flinders Ranges; snorkelling in The Great Barrier Reef; howling at Kiama’s Blowhole. Opposite page: Canoeing Adele’s Grove; coo-eeing across Kakadu’s waterfalls; stand-up paddle boarding in The Whitsundays. Time and time again we hear our own motivations echoed – so many of us wanting time to stand still and just enjoy making memories with our kids without distractions. Our bucket list starts to look like a Vegemite jar of Australian landmarks as the kids record it all in their diaries. My newly minted 7-year-old records her birthday at the Dampier Peninsula’s Cape Leveque: “We had hermit crab races by torch light and visited a Trochus shell and fish hatchery that the Aboriginal people take care of.” One for the family vault that is. We are bringing the kitchen table map to life and the experiences are coming in thick and fast. Thrill-seeking adventures have us shrieking on rides in Movie World, tree surfing canopies on the Mornington Peninsula’s Enchanted Adventure Garden Tree Surfing Tour, snorkelling with 1500 fish species from Reef HQ, canoeing the canyons of Katherine Gorge and sliding down ski slopes at Falls Creek. We gobble up history in epic portions gazing at Captain Cook’s giant anchor from the Endeavour at the James Cook Museum, following the footsteps of Burke and Wills, surviving the Cyclone room at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) and panning for gold at Sovereign Hill. Close encounters with animals have us eyeballing emus at Ballarat Wildlife Park, swapping fishy kisses with seals at Sea World, riding camels in Broome and picnicking with pelicans at The Entrance. We howl at the Kiama Blowhole, step onto secluded beaches at Rottnest Island, and swim at sunset in Australia’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Argyle. And we just can’t beat the natural wonder of a starry night in the Flinders Ranges,


NEED TO KNOW BEST TIME TO VISIT Depends what you want to see – spring-summer is great for exploring and beach fun, and autumnwinter is perfect for skiing and long hikes. If heading north, be aware of the wet season (December to March) as this can lead to road closures and very humid weather. or floating down waterfalls in Litchfield National Park. Our connection with culture grows. We watch the sunset throw its light on rock art at Uluru, hear Dreamtime stories from Indigenous rangers in Kakadu, and join in dot painting and digeridoo lessons at Ayers Rock Resort. We watch our kids just as much as we watch the scenery. I am captivated by my daughter gazing at ghostly ochre handprints on a Kakadu escarpment, and my son ‘yahooing’ at the circle of life as a crocodile rises from a billabong to snap at a bat along the Gibb River Road.

They are moving their minds beyond the pages of books and glass cabinets displays – and connecting first hand with the landscape and the people who shaped Australia. These are priceless learnings beyond the classroom, and we fast realise that we are right there beside them learning together too. Australia is quite simply a sensational classroom and playground to explore together as a family. When we examine the contents of this trip in year to come, we will be sifting through precious memories of time spent together exploring. That’s reason alone to put the key in the ignition and hit the road.

BEST FOR KIDS AGED... All families big and small, as long as you fit in with the luggage.

GETTING THERE Find maps and guides at your local National Parks & Wildlife Centre or visit them online.

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Fun at the Water Park.

The iconic Surfers Paradise.

Cuddles at Bear & Friends.

Beachside fun for the whole family Whether you choose to relax on your holiday or get out and explore, the brand-new Ruby Apartments opening in Surfers Paradise this November are perfect for the whole family. Adults have plenty of entertainment options, including live music, cocktail-making classes, wine and cheese tasting and cooking demonstrations; but it’s the kids that will have the most opportunities for fun. Read on for ways to keep your little ones busy at this postcard-perfect destination.

MASCOT MADNESS Keep your eyes peeled and your cameras ready for resident rock stars Ruby Rocket and William the Bear making special appearances throughout your stay.

WATER FUN The Water Park is three storeys high with a myriad of slides, water cannons and climbing frames designed to entertain the whole family in aquatic fun. Topping it all off is a giant bucket that fills with 600 litres of water before emptying every few minutes over guests below in one enormous splash. The Ruby Apartments also features its own 21-metre swimming pool and interactive splash zone. The splash zone is a shallow area with water spouts, perfect for little swimmers to cool off and have some fun with their newfound friends.

COOKIE DECORATING Kids can decorate their own edible version of William the Bear shortbread biscuits.

JUST FOR KIDS The Ruby Collection Kids’ Club will open in early 2019 and offer a range of daily sessions for children 3 to 12 years.

ARTS & CRAFTS Create a masterpiece, learn new crafts or make a special souvenir to remember your holiday.

BEAR AND FRIENDS Create your very own cute and cuddly bear in the Teddy Bear workshop. Customise your own William the Bear or one of his many friends to keep forever.

FAMILY TRIVIA Hosted by William the Bear and Ruby Rocket, get ready to test your knowledge covering all topics – from places around the world to music, cartoons and local trivia. GIANT BOARD GAMES Test your skills and outwit your opponent with our giant board games including Connect Four and Jenga.

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Great Australian breaks start here E


AUST Connect & Share


Outdoor adventures

g n i tt Gcelose to

e r u t na


It is surprisingly dark sleeping underground. Naturally, I didn’t expect to see sunlight. But the snug, inky blackness of our underground campsite in Coober Pedy was striking. You could close your eyes and open them again and struggle to tell the difference. I was 15 and road-tripping around South Australia with my family. I was used to seeing the bright night sky through the fabric of our tent. We’d spent a week camping with zero light pollution in the remote Flinders Ranges and had clearly grown accustomed to the company of the moon and stars.

You instantly connect with the natural environment and the spirit of a place if you camp there. For families, camping is a good value, flexible and self-sufficient ticket to awesome destinations around Australia. I’ve been lucky enough to pitch a tent on the sand of Moreton Island, string up my wet clothes in a hut on Tasmania’s Overland Track, and zip up my swag in a tent village beside Undara’s lava tubes. Whether yours is a family of luxe lovers, adventurers or homebodies, you will love camping and caravanning on our wide brown land. Here’s our wrap of the best Aussie camping for families:

Holiday Parks A camp or a cabin stay in a holiday park could not be better suited to families. Holiday parks know how to show kids a good time, with swimming pools, jumping pillows and plenty of onsite activities. From a grown-up’s perspective, they are also budget-friendly and convenient, with camp kitchens, laundries and shower blocks. Big families or multigenerational groups can sprawl in multiple tents across a campsite or mix it up with adjacent cabins. Keep your eyes peeled for holiday park chains such as BIG4, Top Parks and Discovery Parks. We especially love BIG4 in the MacDonnell Ranges, which probably has a lot to do with their free pancake breakfast every Sunday. They also host games nights, didgeridoo demonstrations, stargazing talks and have their own water slide, climbing pyramid, BMX track, bike hire and pedal go-karts. Nearby, you can swim in the ‘Bottomless Waterhole’ of Ellery Creek, or at the Ross River Resort. You can also explore Glen Helen Gorge, the famous Simpsons Gap, and segments of the hot and dusty Larapinta Trail. Make a sea change and opt for BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut, a five-star tropical holiday park on the Great Barrier Reef coast. The two jumping pillows (essentially colourful



Clockwise from top left: Water park fun at BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut; giant chess at BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park; adults can relax with a round of beach badminton; water cannon games at BIG4’s NRMA Merimbula Beach Holiday Park; trying out the pedal go-karts, available at many of the BIG4 parks; who doesn’t love a pancake breakfast?

trampolines) are enormous, and there are three pools, tennis courts and volleyball courts. You can also cool off at BIG4 Merimbula Tween Waters. It has a waterslide, resort-style pools and access to Pambula Beach, which you will share with local kangaroos. Head inland and you will arrive at Discovery Parks Dubbo, which has a BMX track and is walking distance to Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Big4 Easts Beach Holiday Park Kiama is in a wonderful beachfront location (perfect for the whale-watching season) and the huge on-site water park has undergone a huge refresh. Our other favourites are BIG4 Adventure Whitsundays Resort, BIG4 Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park, NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort, Umina and BIG4 Aussie Outback Oasis Holiday Park in Charters Towers, the gateway to a road trip on the Outback Way. For northern New South Wales, we recommend Reflections Holiday Parks in spots such as Hawks Nest. The Central Coast is a great place for family holidays, just an hours’ drive from both Sydney and Newcastle. Here, Central Coast Holiday Parks have four options – Budgewoi, Canton Beach, Norah Head and Toowoon Bay – all in prime locations and perfect for caravan, cabin and camping accommodation.

Outdoor adventures

Central Coast Holiday Parks Central Coast Council

Central Coast Council

Central Coast Council

Central Coast Council

FREE CALL 1800 241 342

Outdoor adventures



From top to bottom: Glamping on Cockatoo Island is one of Australia’s best experiences; why not give ring toss a go?; Mum and Dad can enjoy a relaxing meal while staying at Barossa Valley’s eco-luxe tents.


Many a camping trip begins with an argument because someone forgot the marshmallows. Or the matches. Or worse, the tent poles. I have slept in a tent held up by an umbrella and a car door for that reason. Campers who are keen but want to skip the stress and fuss will love glamping. If you don’t have the gear or the time, this is the perfect way to test out the experience. You can expect the same novelty factor and immersion into nature, but with the creature comforts of home. A ferry from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour is all it takes to arrive on Cockatoo Island. All tents are set up with bedding, toiletries and picnic chairs in view of gleaming Sydney Harbour. There is access to hot showers and an excellent camp kitchen. A two-bedroom glamping extravaganza sleeps a family of four (with two adjoining tents containing two beds each) and starts at $310 per night. Kids can follow the Convict Clues activity trail or roam free through the old convict prison and shipbuilding machinery. Karijini Eco Retreat offers the only glamping experience available in Karijini National Park, the second largest national park in Western Australia. There are 40 eco-tents with ensuites, as well as 10 dorm-style tents. Onsite bonuses include BBQ facilities, a school holiday Kids’ Club, kiosk and a lovely alfresco restaurant. You can even grab a packed picnic lunch for your day exploring the

park’s gorges, waterfalls and desert. An overnight stay in a zoo is about as exciting as it gets for kids. Taronga Western Plains Zoofari experience in Dubbo offers guests lodges for four to six people. In Victoria’s Werribee Open Range Zoo, you can stay in a tent looking out across the African savannah exhibit. Other popular glamping experiences include Sal Salis in Western Australia, Paperbark Camp on the south coast of New South Wales, Paradise Country eco farm-stay and the tent city at Undara. I can vouch for Undara’s special bush breakfast experience, surreal lava tubes tour and delightful restaurant, where I first tasted crocodile. Or for those who let their tastebuds decide the destination, you can’t go past glamping in the Barossa Valley. Just launched, Discovery Parks – Barossa Valley’s eco-luxe tents share a private pool and heater spa and lounge area. With vineyard views as far as the eye can see, you have one of the world’s best wine regions on your doorstep (literally). Prices start at $250 and the tents can be configured with either a king or two twin beds. You can even book out the entire 12-tent section of the park for special events; think hens weekends and special birthdays. Or, with no kids allowed, it’s the perfect excuse for a romantic getaway for two. Glamping spots tend to be more limited than your average camp booking so get in fast. Expect a higher price tag to match the luxury.

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Outdoor adventures



From top to bottom: Beach camping is a must-do for adventurers; jumping pillows are a bit of fun, available at some Central Coast Holiday Parks’ locations; take your camping to the next level with a hike through nature.


Prefer the real deal? Does pitching your own tent, cooking damper on a camp fire and exploring the bush sound like the ultimate family adventure? It certainly allows you access to untouched corners of Australia and gives the kids the chance to get their hands dirty. Camping doesn’t have to be tricky. Australia has more than 500 national parks, many with camp areas that include toilets and even water and BBQ facilities. Basically, you can choose somewhere as remote or as comfortable as you like and get comfortable. Jervis Bay’s Booderee National Park on the New South Wales south coast was one of the first places where I camped as a kid with my family. We stayed alongside the resident rosellas and lorikeets at Green Patch campground, which has fresh water, hot showers, sheltered BBQs and beach access. The two other stunning unpowered camp sites nearby are Bristol Point and Cave Beach. Keep an eye out for humpback and southern right whales off the coast in June, July, October and November. You’re bound to find unpowered, off-thegrid camping near you, so get researching. To start you off, have a look at Carnarvon Gorge and Deepwater National Park in Queensland, as well as sites in Victoria’s Grampians National Park such as Jimmy Creek Campground. In the Flinders Ranges, I’ve camped at Arkaroola and at Rawnsley Park Station, which was 10 to 20 minutes from Wilpena Pound and the Great Wall of China rock formation. Of course, Fraser Island is a must for any outdoor enthusiasts, although Moreton Island is an equally beautiful alternative. For the ultimate escape, camp on Lady Musgrave Island on the Great Barrier Reef. You need to be completely self-sufficient as you won’t see anyone… except perhaps passing tour groups. Of course, that’s part of the attraction. If you have adventurous teens, you might want to try overnight hikes. Tasmania’s Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair is a good introduction as there are huts, toilets and plenty of water along the way. I love the scenery on hikes in New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains.


Step it up a notch and hire or invest in caravans, campervans, motorhomes and camper trailers. They are fully kitted out with the essentials and save hours of packing and repacking every time you hit the road. Give the experience a test run on the Apple Isle. Stay in BIG4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park when you arrive, conveniently located over the road from Apollo campervan and motorhome hire. Hire a campervan and set off along Tasmania’s roads. If you’re in it for the long haul, a popular itinerary is the ‘rim route’ around the outside of Australia. Experts recommend going anticlockwise, starting in Melbourne or Sydney in spring or summer. You should try to avoid peak season in populated areas and should prepare for pricey fuel in remote locations. Shorter, manageable bursts are made easy by caravan-friendly holiday parks. Take your time getting from Sydney to Brisbane, stopping in at

one of the three BIG4 parks in Port Stephens and the three BIG4 parks in the Coffs Harbour area. I would love to one day follow BIG4’s recommended touring route from Adelaide to Darwin, making use of BIG4 Stuart Range Outback Resort, BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park and BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park. The beauty of a caravan is that you have everything you need right there with you. You can avoid holiday parks altogether and go for free camping instead. No matter where you rest your head, the point is that getting out and getting active on a camping holiday is great fun as a family. Road trips with my parents and brothers in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and central Australia gave me my fondest childhood memories. There is a special kind of magic to sleeping under the stars (or under the ground, as the case is in Coober Pedy), whether you pitch a tent, tow a caravan or glamp it up.


Left to right: Enjoy holidaying under the stars in a caravan; sandy beaches are just a few steps away when you can pitch a tent right near the beach. SPR I NG 2018


Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre King Edward Terrace, Canberra Phone 02 6270 2800 Open 9 am–5 pm every day. Closed 25 December. Admission fees apply.

How-to guide

How to save money on

park holiday n o i t a d o m m acco

HOLIDAY PARKS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A CHEAP FAMILY HOLIDAY OPTION, BUT DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN SAVE A SMALL FORTUNE IN ACCOMMODATION COSTS WITH A LITTLE BIT OF HOMEWORK AND BY JOINING UP TO THEIR MEMBERSHIP PROGRAMS? WORDS DAVID THORNDIKE If you are not a member of one of the holiday park clubs that have sprung up recently, then you are missing out on some serious savings. Nearly every one of the major chains offers a range of benefits, not the least of which is a discount on accommodation. In some case’s there is a small membership fee involved, but you can often get more than this back in what you save with your first booking! There are several major chains that have holiday parks across the whole of Australia, so it doesn’t matter where you live, you will be able to find a holiday park group membership that will suit your needs. There are also

a handful of regional holiday park groups, most often run by the local councils, that also offer great discounts if you join up to their email database. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular membership programs.

NRMA Holiday Parks

The NRMA has been steadily expanding their holiday park chain around Australia and now have 32 parks across six states. Proudly family focused, the parks offer a wide range of accommodation options plus many fun family activities and attractions including water parks, jumping pillows, go-karts and heated pools.

Play time at BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park.

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Pool time at BIG4’s NRMA Merimbula Beach Holiday Park.

entertainment and a whole heap more, thanks to the many business links that the NRMA has across Australia. For more details, visit their website at

BIG4 Holiday Parks

To get access to their discounts, you must be an NRMA member, with their Blue membership starting at just $60 per annum. The great thing about this membership is that it doesn’t just unlock accommodation discounts at the holiday parks, but also discounts on fuel, car maintenance, insurance,


Probably the best-known holiday parks group in Australia, BIG4 have parks in every state and offer a wide variety of benefits with their BIG4 Holiday Perks+ membership. This includes a 10 per cent saving on all accommodation booked (up to $50 per stay), possible early check-in and late check-outs, free wi-fi and even free go-kart hire – and that’s just at the park! Outside of the parks they have partnered with a whole host of businesses and have linked special deals with companies including Nissan, Pedders, Britz, Apollo Motorhomes and many more. The cost of membership is $50 for two years and well worth it for holiday park-loving families.

Discovery Parks, Top Parks & Central Coast Holiday Parks Discovery Parks and Top Parks have recently joined forces and launched the G’DAY Rewards membership program, which gives families access to over 200 parks right around Australia. Top Parks have also been proactive in splitting their parks into three categories – Top Caravan, Top Holiday and Top Resort Parks, with all three having to meet a specific level in terms of facilities and attractions so that families can not only save money, but also choose the most suitable park for the type of holiday experience they enjoy. The G’DAY Rewards membership will give families 10 per cent off all site and cabin bookings up to $40 and they are currently working on a rewards system for frequent customers that they will announce soon. Cost for membership is $40 for two years. If you are looking to holiday on the Central Coast of NSW, their four

How-to guide

holiday parks located from Toowoon Bay up to Budgewoi can all have a discounted rate accessed through the G’DAY Rewards program mentioned under Discovery Parks as they have recently taken over the day-to-day management.

Ingenia Holiday Parks

Ingenia are another of the holiday park groups that have been growing rapidly and now have 21 parks across New South Wales and Queensland. While they don’t have a membership program in place, they do have special offers that they send out regularly through their e-newsletters that can save families during off-peak times.

Holiday Haven Holiday Parks

Holiday Haven are a small group of 12 parks on the NSW South Coast, owned by the Shoalhaven Council. They are family friendly and you can save 10 per cent on bookings by joining up for a two-year membership at only $20.

As well as the standard discount, they send out regular e-newsletters to all members that contain exclusive offers and specials, including late check-outs.

Relaxing at Central Coast Holiday Parks.

Sunshine Coast Holiday Parks & Family Parks You won’t get a more popular family holiday location in Australia than the Sunshine Coast. With six parks in fantastic waterfront positions, families can enjoy some classic Queensland sunshine while saving money on the normal rates just by signing up to their e-newsletter. There is no fee to be on their email list and the specials usually apply to the non-peak periods, but this is when real savings can be made. hot_deals All six of their parks belong to the Family Parks group, so all discounts from there apply. Family Parks Travel Rewards Membership costs $40 for

two years and members get a 10 per cent discount (up to $20 per stay on sites and $40 per stay on cabins) per visit, as well as other seasonal rewards including third-night-free vouchers (conditions apply). For more details, about the various offers visit:

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How-to guide

p m a C


Borrow gear to begin

The volumes of secondhand camping gear available online exist partly because new campers get wildly enthusiastic about camping – then they try it. It’s wise to borrow equipment to start and build up slowly. After each trip you’ll realise what else would add value to your camping kit.

Have a wet weather plan

Camping in the rain is suboptimal, to put it politely. The saviour is a dry indoor space. Create it with large tarps between tents, or a tent with an extra room. Smart campers put older kids on their own in a large family-sized tent and sleep in a tiny dome tent nearby. The annex of the larger tent then functions as a play space on rainy days.

Early to bed, early to rise Unfortunately, sleep-ins are rare when camping. The new ‘blackout’ style tents are excellent at keeping things cooler and darker, but they can’t stop late-night fireside revellers or crunching tyres when the fisherman on the next site heads off at dawn.

Counter the unavoidable early mornings with early nights – think of it as a good chance to catch up on your reading.

Take some mates

When camping with kids, most parents agree the more the merrier: kids entertain other kids. Larger campgrounds like Holiday Haven Tourist Parks or Big Four Holiday Parks are usually packed with families if you can’t convince your existing friends to come along.

Car camping? Forget packing light


From top to bottom: Camping with the whole family just takes a little planning; camping is not all about the ‘stuff’, but it pays to pack well; kids enjoying a beachfront location.

It’s easy to pack half your house when heading off camping, but some things are worth their weight. Children’s bikes are usually worth the hassle (scooters are even better as they fold), while a folding table is worth the space (even a small one). Don’t forget that even younger kids value having their own folding chair or high chair. Want to keep your camping “bedroom” sand-free near the beach? A $2 dustpan and broom will save your sanity. SPR I NG 2018



Families of Australia happy snap

Image: Janeece Keller

Watch the Families of Australia web series on YouTube @boundroundguides for great travel ideas and inspiration, like this holiday snap of the Ephraims family that shows them soaking up the history of Australia’s best-preserved convict site, Port Arthur Tasmania.

PAC I F IC R E SORT R A ROTONGA R A RO T ONGA , C O OK I SL A N D S Laid back fun in the Sun! With a complimentary kids club and a wide range of water activity equipment, families often make use of the snorkelling equipment exploring the underwater sea life or venture out on a family kayak adventure together. With plenty of activities for children of all ages, and relaxing options for adults, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the award winning family friendly Pacific Resort Rarotonga. AU T H E N T I C B OU T I QU E





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