F A M I LY T R A V E L
Issue 01 | Winter 2018
HAWAIâ€˜I holiday dreaming ISSUE 01 | WINTER 2018
Why everyone flocks to this island paradise
News & ideas to turn your holiday dreams into reality
Amazing overseas adventures to inspire your travels
Reviews, tips & insider interviews to help with your holiday planning
Mountains OF CHOICE
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The best in snow from around the world! 57
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
Best camping spots across the country + the most awesome indoor adventures
O V E R S E A S A D V E N T U R E S : F I J I + B A L I + TA I W A N + U S A + B O R N E O + T H A I L A N D
BUY ONLINE AND SAVE
PAC I F IC R E SORT R A ROTONGA R A RO T ONGA , C O OK I SL A N D S Children are easily entertained at the award winning family friendly resort, Pacific Resort Rarotonga. The little ones can cool down in the kids pool, at only 35cm deep, they can splash and play in safety. The more adventurous older kids can make use of the large swimming pool or complimentary water activity equipment available at the Beach Hut. When it comes to family fun, Pacific Resort Rarotonga is the place to be. AU T H E N T I C B OU T I QU E pacificresort.com
R AROTONGA Âˇ COOK ISLANDS
The Family Travel team familytravel.com.au outandaboutwithkids.com.au CEO Janeece Keller Communications manager Natasha Keller Executive editor Elisa Elwin firstname.lastname@example.org 0413 770 550 Editor Tatyana Leonov email@example.com Digital editor Alison Godfrey firstname.lastname@example.org Sub-editor Sarah Friggieri Contributors Carolyn Beasley Flip Byrnes Daniel James Clarke Tiger-Jane Cleary Sophie Cullen Deborah Dickson-Smith Elisa Elwin Alison Godfrey Carla Grossetti Cath Johnsen Julie Jones Janeece Keller Natasha Keller Tatyana Leonov Joanne Marriott Ian Lloyd Neubauer Angela Saurine Jac Taylor Penny Watson Sue White Art director Jon Wolfgang Miller Cover image: ©Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU; editor’s photo: Evan Dickson
Advertising enquiries Suzanne Bailey email@example.com 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.
Welcome to the first issue of Family Travel magazine. We’ve worked long and hard on our launch issue and we’re very proud of how it’s come together. It’s jam-packed with amazing travel features, plenty of tips, ideas, reviews, itineraries, events and so much more. Let me tell you a little bit about the magazine: it’s a new travel title designed for… you guessed it, families. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel. In fact, it’s a great time to travel because seeing new places and experiencing new cultures with little humans by your side offers a whole new perspective. Of course, this magazine is also for families who are planning to travel and families who are thinking about it. For myself, the planning part of the holiday can be (almost) as fun as the trip itself. We’ve separated the magazine into sections. The Plan section up front is for all your planning needs, with news, views, kids’ picks and our new travel with special needs section. The Holidays part of the magazine is where you’ll find our long features, focusing on international destinations. This issue we’ve narrowed down the best international
ski and snowboard destinations around the world; we’ve gone on a journey across to the best movie locations in Hawai‘i; then there’s Fiji, Borneo, California, Bali… the list goes on. We’ve included more tips to help with your holiday planning in our Navigate section. And last but not least, Out & About With Kids is our Australia travel special. It’s the former magazine you know and love (and thank you to our Out & About With Kids readers for the readers’ letters), but presented as its own special section inside Family Travel magazine. This is where you can read about great Australian holidays, events, camping trips, city adventures and more. And, of course, plan your own getaway. Recently I travelled to Kakadu with my husband and daughter and we were just astounded by the sheer beauty of the region. Australia is such a diverse and fascinating country! Talking about amazing trips, we’ve had so many entries into our Best of Family Travel awards and we can’t wait to share the results with you in our next issue, on sale October 1. Tatyana Leonov and the Family Travel team
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Readers’ letters EXPL ORE AU STRAL I A: GOL D CO A S T
EXPLORE AUSTRALIA: GOLD COAST
E X P L O R E A U S T R A L I A : A C C E S S I B L E T R AV E L
E XPLORE AUST RALI A: ACCE SSI BLE T RAVE L
E XPLORE AUST RALI A: W HALE WAT CHI NG
EX P L O R E A U S TR A L I A : W H A L E WATC H I N G
A humpback whale breaching in Hervey Bay.
GO FOR GOLD
Weaving our way between the rocks and exploring Caves Beach was the highlight of our weekend. As the name suggests, this beach is home to a series of interconnecting sea caves that can only be accessed at low tide. Kids could be heard excitedly calling out as they crawled and squeezed through the rocky openings. Caves are generally not wheelchair-accessible, so there was immense joy in exploring a cave with our son in his beach wheelchair. He was delighted, both with the experience and sharing his joy with us. Visitors can borrow a beach wheelchair during patrol hours from Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club. Given Lake Macquarie is Australia’s largest permanent coastal saltwater lake, there’s a strong focus on water-based activities, but we also discovered a few land-based gems.
A trip to Australia’s theme-park capital doesn’t have to break the bank! Deborah Dickson-Smith shares her tips on how to get great value.
he allure of the Gold Coast and its theme parks is one that you’re bound to succumb to at some point (or two) in your family life. Much like Disneyland, it’s on most kids’ bucket lists, so even if you’re averse to thrill rides yourself, the pester power will likely get to you eventually – but it can be expensive. A single ticket to each theme park costs between $70 and $90, which can be pricey for a family of four. Then there’s the accommodation, eating out, and don’t get me started on the cost of soft drinks inside the theme parks and the cruel temptation of frozen Coke and sugar-loaded churros. That said, it’s an unmissable experience, so here are a few tips to enjoying the Gold Coast on a budget.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
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Meeting the locals at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. BOTTOM
Movie World's DC HyperCoaster. OPPOSITE PAGE
Family fun on the sun on the Gold Coast.
Repeat visitor Lake Macquarie had more activities than we could pack into a weekend, so it was the obvious choice when I was looking for somewhere to book for a girls’ weekend with my daughter and friends a few weeks later. The area once again delivered fun for us mums and our gaggle of kids ranging from four to 15 years old – and that’s no easy feat!
AUTUMN 2018 outandaboutwithkids.com.au
Dear editor, I am new to the magazine and wondering what took me so long! To find such an easy read that focuses on my family, what is possible and what others are doing gives me some confidence that travelling with three daughters won’t be such a challenge. We recently hit the Gold Coast, the theme parks, the beaches and playgrounds – and we couldn’t have done it without you. We loved Currumbin and swam at Main Beach most days. It is great to explore our own backyard. Maybe with your help I can get offshore. I’m looking forward to the new-look mag and what you have to tell me next. Cheers, D. Jackson, NSW Dear Out & About With Kids, I loved the ‘Best in Bunbury’ article. Bunbury is not too far, and this feature made it sound like the perfect stay – I had no idea there is so much to do there! With the playgrounds, dolphins and accommodation enticing me, I’ve just booked a trip there for the next school holidays. K. Chaudhry, WA
Lake Macquarie Variety Playground at Speers Point Park is an incredible all-abilities playground. Although a giant nine-metre spiral slide and 12-metre climbing structure are the centrepieces, there are plenty of activities for children who are less mobile or using a wheelchair. The playground is home to a Variety Liberty Swing (wheelchair swing), accessible water features, musical instruments, a supportive high-backed swing seat and a quiet zone. Within the fenced playground, there are shady spots to picnic under the canopy of the trees, or nearby Sal’s By The Lake (run by the Salvation Army) offers eat-in or takeaway dining if you want a break from food prep.
WHALE OF A TIME!
CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT:
Lake Macquarie is an ideal getaway for families with plenty to see and do; Exploring Caves Beach; Enjoying the Variety Liberty Swing at Lake Macquarie Variety Playground.
AUTUMN 2018 outandaboutwithkids.com.au
AUTUMN 2018 outandaboutwithkids.com.au
Don’t spend hours searching on Google – Sarah Friggieri has narrowed down the best whale-watching vantage points right here!
Dear Out & About With Kids, I want to express my thanks as a long-time reader and parent for creating a publication that makes the daunting idea of travel with three little ones easy. Your recommendations on close-to-home stays and exotic delights have offered great inspiration for our next family holiday. I love the convenience of knowing the magazine will show up at my door with the latest activities, films, attractions and exhibitions, which means I've got great entertainment and activities for the kids to enjoy on weekends and school holidays. I look forward to receiving the next issue and the many more to come. Kind Regards, L. Shuhin, NSW
SNOW SE ASON: SE ASON RUNDOW N
SNOWTIME! Whether you’re pointing your skis towards Australia or New Zealand, you’ll find there’s mountains of choice, writes Flip Byrnes.
o matter where you choose to schuss – a small resort with a community feel or a big-hitter with razzle-dazzle features – each trip will be as unique as a snowflake and create memories to last a lifetime. If you know where to look, the ski fields are blizzarding with kids’ activities and deals, from ‘kids ski free’ (hello, Mt Hutt) to excellent kids’ clubs and unbeatable ski programs. So what are you waiting for? This is the season to say ready, set, SNOW!
THREDBO, THE UNDERSIX UTOPIA Thredbo is the glamazon of the New South Wales ski fields and nirvana for getting littler kids sliding. With more than 30 bars and restaurants clinging to one side of the valley like shimmering snowflakes, the other valley slope featuring the lifts, there’s an easy transition from ski time to home time. For kids: There’s just one word you need to know: Thredboland. It’s a complete entertainment arena where kids aged three to six will get hours of snow time, be fed a hot lunch and snacks, and do fun activities indoors. It’s seamless. All you’ll need to do is choose between two key ski programs: Burton Riglets – Snowboard (from $173) and Thredboland – Ski Program (from $173). thredbo.com.au Don’t miss: Mission Inflatable pool inflatable course at Thredbo Leisure Centre – it’s only an additional $5 a day when booked with a Thredboland class.
Dear Out & About With Kids, I just want to thank you for taking the guilt out of travelling with a young family. My daughter was nervous about building a family because she was worried about losing sight of her other love: travel. I bought her a subscription to your magazine and she, her husband and their almost three-year-old daughter have now seen almost as many places as I have – and there’s no sign of them stopping any time soon. So, thank you, for encouraging the young explorers among us all. E. Coppini, SA
access, wide doorways and a large accessible bathroom, it was the perfect base for our twonight stay. The park’s family-friendly activities were nearby, with a solar heated resort-style pool opposite our villa. A gentle ramp into the water makes entry into the pool easier and safer for children and guests with a mobility restriction. And just through the back gate is the lake with a lovely level waterfront walk. The shallow water and shade of the trees make it a haven for families taking advantage of the calm swimming conditions. Although settled in our accommodation, we had itchy feet knowing low tide was coinciding with sunset that night. A visit to Caves Beach was at the top of our to-do list, so we grabbed some fish and chips for a picnic on the beach while we waited for the tide to drop.
Images: Julie Jones
Dreamworld is Australia's largest theme park.
Images: Thredbo Resort
t’s easy to overlook destinations close to home, but, as we found out, you may be missing out on something great. Lake Macquarie is just 90 minutes from Sydney and was an ideal weekend getaway for our family. With accessible beaches, walks and caves to explore, our only problem was prioritising what to do in the time available. First stop was our accommodation, a twobedroom poolside villa at Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park (lakemacholidayparks.com. au/park/Swansea). I’ll be the first to admit to being a five-star-loving gal, but in recent years we’ve found the practicality of holiday parks suits our family; the increasing availability of accessible facilities and accommodation provides us with all we need for a comfortable stay. With parking beside the cabin, ramp
SPEERS POINT PARK
Choose the right destination and a staycation will bring unsurmountable joy, writes Julie Jones.
Image: Tourism & Events Queensland
Images: BIG4, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary; Deborah Dickson-Smith
Theme parks If you’re spending a week or so on the Gold Coast, it’s definitely worth buying a multi-day pass. Single-day adult entry to a single park is $79, but a 7-Day Super Pass (which gets you multiple access to Movie World, Wet’n’Wild and Seaworld for seven days) costs $149. Similarly, the Dreamworld 3-Day Ticket starts at $79 and gives you access to Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint Observation Deck. If you need more than three days to pack it all in, pay $6 more for a 7-Day Ticket, which also gives you a 7-Day Photo Pass. If you’re planning to visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, it’s worth considering becoming a National Trust member. Annual membership costs $65, and not only will it get you discounted entry to the park, it comes with a heap more benefits, including 15 percent off food and beverages and Segway Safari tours, as well as free or discounted admission to more than 180 properties across Australia. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of helping the National Trust to protect and conserve our environment.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Every kid loves Thredboland; The Thredbo snow play area is a blast for all.
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Top tip: Thredbo Alpine Hotel is great and it’s the closest hotel to the lifts, but if you book early enough, you’ll be able to score a family room at Thredbo YHA Hostel – just a short walk from the ski fields and easily the best value in the Snowy Mountains. yha.com.au AUTUMN 2018 outandaboutwithkids.com.au
To the editor, I had to write and thank you for the wonderful ‘It’s Snowtime’ feature in your latest magazine. I grew up on ski holidays, but since having a family of my own, I have always been apprehensive about venturing back to the slopes with two kids – however you’ve inspired me! I’m going to head out of NSW and hit the Victorian slopes. Mt Buller, here comes the Fernandes family! Thank you! A. Fernandes, NSW
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Dear Out & About With Kids, I really enjoyed the story on whalewatching. I love these big creatures. It’s the perfect time to read up on them and watch them play in their natural habitat, too. Thanks, and keep up the great work! K. Buckley, Vic
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 09 for answers. 01 How many time zones are there in Russia? 02 Which is the only continent to cover all four hemispheres? 03 True or false: Every inhabited continent in the world has a city named after Rome. 04 Who wrote the adventure novel Around the World in 80 Days? 05 Of what nationality were the first known Europeans to discover Australia? 06 What old Spanish word for ‘large tortoise’ is also the name of tortoiseinhabited islands? 07 What country are you in if you wear a ‘toque’ instead of a beanie when it gets cold? 08 What animal joins the hordes of wildebeest on their Great Migration in Serengeti? 09 Where do Komodo dragons come from? 10 What country is home to the biggest cattle ranch in the world?
Write to us for the chance to win a Coles voucher valued at $200! firstname.lastname@example.org
34 MOUNTAINS OF CHOICE
94 WHAT’S ON
The best in snow from around the world.
Top events around the country.
98 WHAT’S HOT
45 FIJI FOR FAMILIES
The best in Australian travel news.
Culture, cruises and crystal-clear water.
14 PERFECT PAIR
A tour through Tokyo Disney Resort and Tokyo city.
16 NEWS & VIEWS
The latest and greatest from around the world.
24 KIDS’ PICKS
Young explorers talk about their holiay highlights.
Dreamworld’s Trolls Village is now open.
48 HAWAI‘I HIGHLIGHTS
Why filmmakers flock to this island paradise.
60 10 REASONS FAMILIES LOVE KHAO LAK This Thai resort town is a family favourite.
64 THE ISLANDS OF TAIWAN
Celebrating the Year of Bay Tourism.
66 A ROAD TRIP THROUGH CALIFORNIA A 10-year-old’s perspective.
NAVIGATE 84 EAT & DRINK
Family foodie adventures in Sydney.
86 WE REVIEW
Oaks on Market, Cape Codder Resort & Spa and Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa.
90 IN THE AIR
26 ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL
70 A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Borneo wildlife adventures.
Tips on flying with the whole family in tow.
74 BALI FOR BEGINNERS
91 TALK TO THE EXPERT
Travelling with special needs.
Why you should definitely travel with a toddler.
Experience Broadway as a family.
Surfing the best breaks.
78 STOPOVER SPOTLIGHT
How to spend two days in Hillarys Boat Harbour.
When only the best travel advice will do.
92 TALKING TRAVEL With Aimee Cadan
107 RUBY COLLECTION
A complete family experience.
In Canberra, Adelaide and Darwin.
112 THE INSIDE SCOOP
Indoor fun around Australia.
116 A JAUNT IN JINDABYNE A family snow adventure.
119 COOL CAMPERS Where to pitch your tent this winter. 127 REFLECTIONS
The holiday parks you can’t miss.
129 WINTER ADVENTURES How to ace a winter holiday.
130 HAPPY SNAP
Families of Australia happy snap. WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
WE REVIEW Oaks on Market, Cape Codder Resort & Spa and Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa
A ROAD TRIP THROUGH CALIFORNIA A 10-year-oldâ€™s perspective
MOUNTAINS OF CHOICE The best in snow from around the world
COOL CAMPERS Where to pitch your tent this winter
PERFECT PAIR A tour through Tokyo
BALI FOR BEGINNERS Surfing the best breaks
PLAY What to do and see and where to eat and sleep in Canberra, Adelaide and Darwin
Keen to see how many of the questions you answered right? Read on to find out. 01 11 02 Africa 03 True – Italy’s capital of course, Roma in Queensland, Roma in Lesotho, Roma in Texas, La Roma in Ecuador and even Roma in Indonesia 04 Jules Verne 05 Dutch 06 Galapagos 07 Canada 08 Zebras and gazelles 09 Indonesia 10 Australia. South Australia’s Anna Creek Station clocks in at roughly 6 million acres
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Take me there Whenever someone tells me Bali is spoilt, I tell them there are 800 incarnations of Bali – most of which are pristine. One of my favourites is West Bali National Park, a conservation area protecting the mountains, mangroves, coastal waters, reefs and islets of Bali's little-visited northwest. The coastline is dotted with Hindu temples and little viewing salas or pavilions like this one overlooking Menjangan Island and the distant volcanoes of Java's east coast. West Bali is also a great place for family snorkelling. “The water in this part of Bali is very calm so it's very good for beginners who've never been snorkelling before,” says Saif of the Werner Lau Diving Centre in the resort village of Pemuteran. Ian Lloyd Neubauer.
WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
T H E
R A R O T O N G A N
B E A C H
R E S O R T
S P A
KIDS STAY & PLAY FREE!
and feeding the reef fish? Snorkelling + swimming with the colourful tropical fishes in the famous Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve? Stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, trying out scuba diving in the swimming pool? Racing your crab in the Crab Races? Learning to husk a coconut, make a flower lei, dance the hula or play the ukulele? Hanging out in the Kids Club? Eating fresh tropical fruits? Sound like fun? The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa is the perfect place for your family to make fun new family holiday memories together. And only a few hours from Sydney or Auckland! Check out our latest fantastic deals: TheRarotongan.com Aroa Beach + Lagoon Marine Reserve Rarotonga | COOK ISLANDS | P (+682) 25800 email@example.com | www.TheRarotongan.com
Plan NEWS BITES & TRAVEL IDEAS
PERFECT PAIR We take you on tour through Tokyo Disney Resort and the city of Tokyo.
NEWS & VIEWS We’ve narrowed down latest and the greatest news, tips and ideas.
KIDS’ PICKS Kids chat about their favourite holidays and where they want to go next. ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL We focus on travelling with special needs, with stories, tips and ideas.
OPINION Travelling with a toddler will be one of the best experiences of your life.
EXPERIENCE BROADWAY Expose your children to the magic of theatre.
WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
A tour through Tokyo If ‘the Japanese way’ is what you seek, you must be willing to blend polar opposites. WORDS SOPHIE CULLEN
Reality didn’t set in until I saw Cinderella. Granted, she was half my height and too small for her costume, but I couldn’t stop smiling as I followed her in to ‘the happiest place on Earth’. I’d landed in Tokyo that morning. The Disneyaffiliated hotels in Urayasu operate free shuttles to Tokyo Disney Resort, so it's easy to get to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. For Disney first-timers or anyone with younger kids, Tokyo Disneyland is the way to go. Of the two parks, it features more traditional favourites, including it’s a small world, Splash Mountain and the recognisable Cinderella Castle of Disneylands worldwide. That said, I also got a taste of Japan’s quirk factor and dedication to innovation – it’s possible to buy soy- or curry-flavoured popcorn from park vendors! Right next door, Tokyo DisneySea is an innovation in itself – the only one of its kind worldwide, tailored to older families. Rides like Tower of Terror and Indiana Jones Adventure are more thrilling, and shows like Fantasmic!, set on the Mediterranean Harbor themed land, are simply spectacular. After two days, I’d become a complete Disney fan – but also ready to check out the ‘real’ Japan. By the time I’d jumped on the JR (Japan Rail) to the city centre, I was eager to encounter authentic Tokyo and get my hands on some good gyoza (dumplings). tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/
TOKYO DISNEY RESORT
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Images: ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau
I ate that first gyoza from a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Shibuya – and I loved every bite. Tokyo Disney Resort had all manner of pizza, hot dogs and ice-cream, but I was after the real Japanese deal. Sashimi sliced in front of me at the Tsukiji Fish Markets. Yakitori skewered on a smoky side-street in Shinjuku. Even supermarket sushi from 7-Eleven is delicious in Tokyo. Japanese tradition and history were certainly more palpable outside Tokyo Disney Resort, particularly in interactive cultural hotspots such as Meiji Shrine, Tokyo National Museum and The National Museum of Modern Art. The open, grassy spaces of Imperial Palace East Gardens are perfect for both running around and immersing in Edo- and Tokugawaera Japan. Spotting a regal swan in the Imperial moat, I couldn’t believe I’d been immersed in the world of Disney just the day before. My highlight was spending sunset in the Shitamachi, or ‘old town’ district of Asakusa, where kids can relish in a hands-on experience of local culture. With its painted roller doors and the ancient rituals of Senso-ji Buddhist temple, Asakusa felt far removed from the western vibe of the previous couple of days. Different though they seemed, many aspects of the theme park did carry through into Tokyo. The same efficiency on public transport. The same sense of the surreal was inescapable when I explored tech-crazy Akihabara, took photos with Harajuku girls on Takeshita Street and found a pond in Mohri Garden containing the descendants of fish born in space. Everywhere I went, inside and outside Disney, I was greeted with unbelievable hospitality. When I looked lost in Ueno Park, an old woman took me by the arm and walked me all the way to the train station. When I asked why she did it, she said simply “It is the Japanese way”. Combine a Disney dalliance with a stroll through the city centre to get a sense of both ends of Tokyo’s spectrum: the futuristic and the ancient, the wacky and the ordered, adrenaline and serenity. Perhaps this intriguing merge of polar opposites – admired by travelling families from all across the world – is the most Japanese way of all. gotokyo.org
news & views
HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY, LEGOLAND!
Words & images: Cath Johnsen
Fifty years ago, the first LEGOLAND opened its doors in Billund, Denmark, the home of the celebrated plastic brick. Now there are nine LEGOLAND theme parks dotted across the world, just waiting to be explored by your family of minifigures. Here are three of the highlights.
01 DISCOVER THE FIRST LEGOLAND Built next to the original LEGO factory in 1968, the 18-hectare LEGOLAND Billund has recently been upgraded with new LEGO models and new rides to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Master builders will love the nine themed areas, including DUPLO Land, Knights’ Kingdom and Polar Land. Nearby is LEGO House, a building that is filled with 25 million LEGO bricks for the most incredible LEGO play experience. Before you reach the land of LEGO, register online for the Inside Tour. If you’re lucky enough to be granted a ticket, you can expect to meet LEGO designers, watch LEGO being made and
take home a limited-edition set. You’ll also view an exhibition of retro and rare LEGO sets from 1934 onwards. And because ‘everything is awesome’ when it comes to LEGO, you can even dream about the colourful bricks when you rest your head at the LEGO-themed rooms of Hotel LEGOLAND, just a stone’s – or should we say brick’s? – throw away from LEGOLAND itself. The only downside? LEGOLAND Billund is closed from November to March, so plan accordingly to avoid disappointment. legoland.dk/en/ 02 CIRCUMNAVIGATE THE LEGOLAND WORLD Not limited to Denmark, LEGOLAND theme parks are connecting fans the world over in the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Japan, Germany, USA and UK, and could be the inspiration for your next family holiday destination. All LEGOLANDS feature a 4D cinema to experience the latest LEGOLAND films, colourful LEGO play areas,
towering LEGO models and themed rides that are best suited to children between the ages of two and 12. Some LEGOLANDS also have LEGO-themed water parks and hotels, to extend the LEGO experience. legoland.com 03 CHECK OUT LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTRE IN MELBOURNE It may not be a full-blown LEGOLAND, but LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Melbourne is a lot closer to home and a helluva lot of fun. LEGO fans will love the 12 attractions, including MINILAND (a LEGO township constructed from more than 1.5 million bricks), a 4D cinema, a LEGO factory tour and two rides (Kingdom Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice Ride), while the parents will appreciate the play areas, cafe and shop. melbourne. legolanddiscoverycentre.com.au Congratulations, LEGO – here’s to the next 50 years! President Business would be proud.
Tired of searching for a great family deal amongst a sea of holiday options that donâ€™t cater for the kids? Check out familytravel.com.au where we put families first.
familytravel.com.au/deals Search by destination, kids ages, family size and holiday style
T O P T O D D L E R T R AV E L T IP S
Words: Flip Byrnes
Read Travelling with a toddler?
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WANT TO BE A PILOT WHEN YOU GROW UP? OR A WORLD TRAVELLER? Qantas has released a dress-ups range to help your kids’ imaginations go sky high. If they’re aged three to eight, they can strut their stuff as a Qantas pilot or cabin-crew member in their very own mini uniform. The design is inspired by those worn by the real-life crew, so they’ll fit right in. The Qantas Captain outfit includes a navy jacket with the special embroidered stripes reserved for the senior rank, plus there’s a hat embroidered with the iconic Qantas kangaroo. Dedicated female cabin crew wear a navy dress and pink scarf, while for males it’s a navy vest and tie. Qantas wants all aspiring aviators to “let their imagination fly and embrace the magic of travel”, hoping to inspire future pilots and long-term customers. The fun uniforms – which can be ordered online through Qantas Store – are one of many initiatives the airline offers as part of its Qantas Joey Club. The kids’ program responds to the rapidly increasing number of children signed up for Qantas Frequent Flyer membership. Qantas offers family-friendly inflight entertainment, an interactive Kinderling audio program, and a kit containing activities and comforts for the plane journey. qantasstore.com.au
y. morable (and easy) holida on for our advice for a me yground, nearby – coffee shop, pla transport – you’re set. of plane • When babies grow out pause the bassinets, it’s tempting to ising cru rs dle tod as ck, travel clo ctions will the aisles in different dire ng actually seem challenging. But flyi able to are y becomes easier, as the dler tod a h wit n Eve ds. watch iPa long-haul and a baby, don’t rule out ertained – when toddlers can be ent it’s s, tion and take some instruc le. manageab window • You know that magic ‘fly’ infant an en wh rs yea before two g? Pick your travels for almost nothin plane ideal (and most expensive) of it while route and take advantage you can.
An enchanted frozen kingdom has sprung up in New Zealand this winter, and kids are super excited about it. Utah-based entertainment company Ice Castles just launched its first Southern Hemisphere attraction, at Coronet Peak, a familyfriendly ski resort in Queenstown. Each attraction involves an interactive network of tunnels, slippery dips, caves and arches made entirely out of ice. Professional ice artists build the magnificent structures daily, by hand, using 10,000 icicles. Better yet, it is environmentally sustainable, as all ice is returned to nearby lakes and water sources as it melts away. Make like Anna, Elsa and Olaf as you walk and slide through the frozen realm. Keep your eyes peeled for sparkling LEDs embedded into the walls and listen out for fairytale music. It may be a winter-only attraction, but Ice Castles CEO Ryan Davis says the long-lasting magic of the experience is what it’s all about. “We are excited to bring the magic of Ice Castles to New Zealand and give more people around the world an inexpensive way to enjoy the outdoors together and freeze time with their families.” Ice Castles also has winter wonderlands at six locations across North America. icecastles.com/new-zealand
Words: Sophie Cullen
CENTARA OF ATTENTION A little slice of family-friendly heaven awaits in Thailand. Centara Hotels & Resorts operates no fewer than 33 hotels and resorts, many of which are designed with families in mind. Roomy accommodation makes kid-friendly stays a breeze (most resorts have rooms with two double beds, where up to two children can stay and eat brekkie for free), as does the proximity of the accommodation to a variety of major sites and cities, such as Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. A range of kids’ activities are offered across Centara’s Thai resorts. Depending on where you stay, you can access complimentary arts and crafts, games, Thai dancing, Thai language lessons, movies and water games. For an extra charge, some resorts offer Camp Safari and E-Zone. We love Centara Kata Resort Phuket. The family resort is an easy 600-metre stroll or complimentary shuttle ride to the sandy expanse and crystal waters of Kata Beach.
Soak up the soft poolside glow when you enjoy dinner at the restaurant (or make it yourself in the suites that are kitted out with a fridge, toaster, microwave and stove top), make a splash in the waterslide and spa, sign up to one of two fantastic agedependent kids’ clubs (free for four- to 11-year-olds), and book exciting family excursions (think island-hopping, snorkelling and hiking) at the on-site activities desk. An hour’s drive from Phuket International Airport is all it takes to land in this corner of paradise, as luxurious as it is kid-oriented. Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket is another favourite. Right on the sands of Karon Beach, it’s set around its own water park, which means the kids will be kept busy for hours while you bask in the sun, watching on, cocktail in hand, from your deck chair. With all the offerings, you’d be wise to base yourself at Centara all across the world – in Vietnam, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Oman. centarahotelsresorts.com WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
TEN CRUISE HACKS THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL EASY Cruising can be wonderful – the unbounded sea offering time to relax and reconnect; the ability to tick off multiple destinations and only unpack once; the activities (there really is something onboard to keep everyone of every age entertained). It couldn’t get any better, or so we thought… Here are 10 top tricks that will make your cruise even cruiser. 01 PACK DUCT TAPE On occasion, the cruise may hit rough seas. If drawers begin to open or cabin items go rolling, grab your duct tape and secure them. 02 STEAM YOUR CLOTHES Most cruise ships don’t have irons – fires and cruising don’t go together – but what are you to do when you need to wear a fancy shirt or dress to dinner and it’s wrinkled from being packed? Use the steam from the shower. It will smooth out your clothes in no time flat. 03 BRING A MULTI CHARGER OR POWER BOARD Most cruise cabins only have a few power points, but many families travel with multiple devices. The solution? Grab a multi-charger or power board so you can plug multiple devices into the one power port.
04 PACK BALLOONS Most cruise ships only have one or two hooks, and the door handles don’t have surfaces on which you can hang things. If you plan on doing washing in your room, blow up the balloons and drape clothes over them to dry. 05 PACK MAGNETS Another way to get organised is to take magnets. Many cabin walls are made of metal; grab a bunch of magnets from your local hardware store so you can attach hooks or even stick up important notes and your itinerary on the walls. 06 PUT YOUR BAGS UNDER THE BED Normally when you travel you’ll stow the suitcases in the cupboard. Experts tell us that on a cruise you should stow your bags under the bed. Wardrobe space is limited, so putting your luggage in there will reduce the much-needed space for clothes and shoes. 07 BUDGET FOR EXCURSIONS It seems obvious, but many first-time cruisers forget to factor in the added extras. Make sure you know what excursions you want to do and how much they cost, then factor that in to your budget.
08 PACK A FIRST-AID KIT Yes, they have first aid on the ship. Yes, there are shops onboard. But save your money and pack medicines you may be likely to use (Panadol, Gastro-Stop, antihistamines, antiseptic cream) in a first-aid kit. If you’re worried about sea sickness, make ginger your friend. 09 BOOK EXCURSIONS IN ADVANCE A huge part of cruising is getting off the ship once it’s docked. If you plan on cruising on a large boat, make sure you book your on-shore excursions early – that way you can be sure that you’ll be going. There would be nothing worse than getting off the boat only to find out that the tour you want to do is already sold out. 10 CHOOSE YOUR CABIN WISELY Worried about seasickness? You’re better off booking a lower-deck room in the middle of the ship. Want a great view and never feel sick? Go for the upper-deck edges. Whatever room you choose, think long and hard about what you really want to get out of the cruise and how long you’ll actually spend in the room.
Words: Alison Godfrey
H A C KS
DISCOVER FAMILY FUN HOLIDAYS Centara Hotels & Resorts oﬀers great value family-friendly accommodation in gorgeous, tropical Thailand including Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket, Samui, and Krabi. Relax in the comfort of our top-quality rooms, suites and pool villas, with glorious beaches, exhilarating water activities, relaxed beachfront dining, local culture and endless entertainment just moments away. Meanwhile, kids can go wild at our sensational waterparks and at our fully-supervised, multi-age Kids’ Club.
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TOP FIVE EXPERIENCES FOR KIDS ON ROYAL CARIBBEAN SHIPS Cruising offers something for everyone in the family, and the Royal Caribbean ships are known for their fun and exciting offerings.
RIPCORD BY IFLY Adventure-lovers can discover the thrill of skydiving in a completely safe and controlled environment with RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving simulator at sea. Suitable for those aged three and older. Ovation of the Seas
FLOWRIDER Grommets can try their Mick Fanning moves on the FlowRider, a 12-metre-long surf simulator. Explorer of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas
SPLASHAWAY BAY It’s Royal Caribbean’s biggest splash park for kids, featuring slides, water cannons, a tipping bucket and a dizzying whirlpool to keep everyone entertained for hours. Ovation of the Seas
SEAPLEX It’s the largest indoor activity space at sea, complete with bumper cars, a roller-skating rink, a full-size sports court, a circus school with trapeze, and the first food truck at sea (SeaPlex Dog House, serving up delicious American-style hotdogs). Ovation of the Seas
WONDERLAND An Alice in Wonderlandinspired restaurant, where chefs twist their culinary kaleidoscope to invent an elaborate dreamscape of never-before-seen fare. Ovation of the Seas
The happiest year ever including a Happiest Memory Maker keepsake that sends out special messages from Mickey and friends at certain locations throughout the parks. A new parade, Dreaming Up!, also features on the daily schedule. Tokyo DisneySea has also quite literally put on its best show for the occasion. The ‘Happiest Celebration on the Sea’ involves a barge packed full of singing and dancing Disney characters. Performances on the harbour after dark incorporate pyrotechnics and waterworks. Duffy and ShellieMay, Tokyo DisneySea’s unique teddy bears, can be purchased in 35th anniversary marching band outfits. Tokyo DisneySea is next door to Tokyo Disneyland and accessible by monorail. It is ideal for older families.
Excitement levels have certainly risen, but for those of you who are afraid of change, fear not: the familiar Disney tradition prevails. You’ll still find Mickey-shaped bread, the spires of the recognisable Cinderella Castle and classic thrill rides such as Splash Mountain and Space Mountain. And to keep up with the times, the muchloved it’s a small world attraction found in Disney parks worldwide has been revamped to include Frozen, Brave and Moana. A two-day pass to Tokyo Disney Resort, offering access to both Disneyland and DisneySea on two consecutive days, is JPY13,200 for adults, JPY11,600 for kids aged 12 to 17, and JPY8600 for children aged four to 11. tokyodisneyresort.jp/en
Words: Sophie Cullen | Image: © Disney
Every day at Tokyo Disney Resort is like a party. Walk through the gates and you’ll be met with bunches of balloons, the aroma of caramel popcorn and music from a marching band. What’s it like, then, when there really is a party going on? This year, Tokyo Disneyland turned 35. The ‘Happiest Celebration’ kicked off in April 2018 and will continue until March 25 next year, so if you’re planning a visit, now is the time to don the Mickey ears. Special decorations adorn World Bazaar, playing a birthday soundtrack in time with a light show. Thirty-five Mickey Mouse statues are hidden throughout the park. Limited-time memorabilia and menus can be found at merchandise stores and cafes,
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Why we love to travel
There is no greater learning experience than physically exploring the world. Six young travellers share their holiday highlights with us here.
Keira, 10 The best holiday I’ve had was a trip to the USA and the Caribbean. It was great because Mum packed in loads of kid-friendly stuff, including trips to Disneyland and Universal Studios. It was very special when it snowed on Christmas Day when we were in the USA. In the Caribbean, I loved making new friends and visiting different islands and doing fun stuff like climbing waterfalls and zip-lining in to cenotes (sinkholes). We were able to experience a lot of fun first things, such as snow, a Broadway show and Las Vegas at night. My favourite experience was cruising around the Caribbean islands. My top tip for other kids is to always make the most of it. The next holiday I’m dreaming of is a trip to Italy. The thing I like the most about holidays is having lots of pool time and being with my family.
The best holiday I’ve had was a trip to Fiji. It opened up my eyes to how privileged we are in Australia. One of my highlights was when we went on a tour to a village and met local children on my 12th birthday, because I learnt heaps about Fijian culture. We also enjoyed the weather and spent time at a nice resort.
The best holiday I’ve had was a trip to the Hervey Bay. It was amazing because I went swimming with sharks and turtles – it was fun and scary at the same time. I really enjoyed the holiday because I spent lots of time with family and went to the beach. The next holiday I’m dreaming of is going to Cairns and staying at Green Island Resort.
Julian, eight Charlotte, 11 My best holiday was a trip to the Gold Coast. We stayed at Sea World Resort and we could just go into Sea World whenever we wanted to. I loved being able to see dolphins and polar bears up close. There are also lots of cool rides and shows. It’s amazing on the Gold Coast because there are plenty of theme parks and there’s a Sizzler! I was surprised by how much fun stuff there was packed into the resort – and we got surprised with showbags in our room! My highlights include going to Sea World, Movie World and Wet’n’Wild. I’m dreaming of going to New York City next. The reason I love holidays is because it’s an escape from everyday home life and always fun.
I loved my trip to America. It was the best because I got to see a real orca at SeaWorld San Diego. We were even able to dine next to the orcas and they swam right up next to our table. We also went to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park and they were better than in my dreams. Another highlight was going to Cars Land at California Adventure Park. And visiting the Grand Canyon was great too. It’s pretty cool to say I’ve seen something so amazing! I hope my next holiday is to LEGOLAND! I really hope to visit because I’m obsessed with LEGO. My suggestions to other travelling kids is save up all your pocket money to buy cool souvenirs and make YouTube videos of the places you visit.
The best holiday I went on was a trip to the Philippines. I loved it because it was my first time overseas. The people were really kind and I was surprised they could speak English. The Philippines is beautiful. In particular, I loved the island of Boracay. One of my favourite activities was island-hopping. We travelled on a traditional boat and went snorkelling, which was amazing. I hand-fed fish and the fish were very colourful. I also really enjoyed going on a motorbike taxi and trying a Filipino snack called taho. It was delicious. I love holidays because it means more family time. The next holiday I’m dreaming of is Fiji.
Image: Julie Jones
Sydney staycation The Harbour City delivers a variety of accessible travel options for families.
Image: Julie Jones
WORDS JULIE JONES
FAMILY TRAVEL TIP The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (mca.com.au) 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.
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.
THE HOSTEL EXPERIENCE
When booking to stay at Sydney Harbour YHA (yha.com.au), I had no idea it would be such a novelty in our kids’ eyes. I find it fascinating 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
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.
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.
THE HOTEL EXPERIENCE Just a short ferry ride across the harbour is another favourite with our family: Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific (novotelmanlypacific.com.au). 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.hyatt.com), we were immediately won over by the
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 (anmm.gov.au) 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 WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Image: Julie Jones
Image: Julie Jones
screen giving visitors an insight into the speed of the destroyer Vampire and stealth of the submarine Onslow. Madame Tussauds (madametussauds. com) – our kids love heading there to get their Hollywood fix. We’ve visited many times, but with wax figures updated regularly to reflect the current popular celebrities and performers, there’s always someone new to meet. Over the years, Madame Tussauds has evolved to be an interactive attraction where visitors can head in to the recording booth, dress up to strut their stuff on a catwalk or simply sing alongside their favourite popstar. Madame Tussauds is a place where adults are just as inclined to take part, evidenced when my husband sidled up to Elle Macpherson for a snap! We love all of the city’s attractions, but we also enjoy exploring some of
the offerings further afield. Featherdale Wildlife Park (featherdale.com.au) has been a much-loved animal arena since it opened in 1972. We love it for its excellent wheelchair access, easyviewing enclosures and knowledgeable keepers. Each time we visit, we learn more about the individual animals, but the Private Mammal Encounter is one of our favourites. The encounter is held in a wheelchair-accessible room that is escape-proof. Just as well, because when keeper Cecilia arrived, she was carrying three pouches, one with a particularly wriggly resident who seemed keen to get the show on the road. It didn’t take long before we were introduced to Merlin, a rock-wallaby joey, who had loads of spunk and was keen to meet us. Merlin happily allowed us to cuddle and coo at him as we would a baby. When it was my turn for snuggle,
Clockwise from top Manly Beach is one of Sydney’s most popular beaches; a water dragon on the Manly to Shelly Beach walk; Manly Beach has plenty of accessible pathways; Manly Wharf.
I found myself reverting to when the kids were babies, gently rocking and patting his bottom. Merlin did his best to steal the show, but Owen the ringtail possum was also adorable, and we were totally smitten by Squeak the sugar glider, who happily sat at my daughter’s hand while delicately munching on the tiniest pieces of corn. Cecilia shared the animals’ back stories and many fascinating facts. We were all amused to learn that sugar gliders wiggle their bottom like a boat rudder before flying, and fascinated by the fact that Squeak’s little body runs at 300 heartbeats per minute. These interactions are priceless and a wonderful way of ensuring children and adults are aware of the threats to our wildlife. Featherdale’s Private Reptile Encounter and Private Mammal Encounter are both wheelchairaccessible.
THREE WAYS TO MAKE TRAVELLING WITH A DISABILITY EASIER
THE WHEELS ON THE PLANE
Travelling with a wheelchair has its challenges, but there are several things you can do to make the process easier.
01 PLAN AHEAD
Before booking your flight, ensure you have the dimensions and weight of the wheelchair on-hand.
02 EXTRA TIME Allow additional time for check-in and security clearance.
Write instructions for operating the wheelchair, then laminate and attach them to the chair so they can be easily seen by baggage handlers.
Virgin Australia has introduced a Disability Assistant Concession fare. The fare offers a 50 per cent discount for an assistantâ€™s airfare on all domestic travel, including business-class fares. Read more about eligibility at virginaustralia.com. The National Companion Card provides free or discounted entry for a companion or support worker of a person with a lifelong disability. This often applies to attractions, movies, activities and major shows. Each state and territory has their own card. You can read about eligibility, and apply for the card, at companioncard.gov.au.
04 TAKE OFF
Take any items off the wheelchair that are removable (for example, the cushion and armrest).
05 STICK ON
Bubble-wrap or strap anything delicate on the wheelchair, to avoid damage.
A Master Locksmiths Access Key (MLAK) is an innovative system that allows people with a disability to access certain facilities across Australia. People who meet the criteria can purchase an MLAK, which will unlock all toilets, the Liberty Swing (wheelchair-accessible swing) and any other facilities fitted with this specially designed lock. masterlocksmiths.com.au/mlak.php
Making travel possible for people of all abilities and needs. Travel with Special Needs makes what youâ€™ve dreamt about possible.
For more tips on travelling with a wheelchair, visit travelwithspecialneeds.com.au
Value for Money
travelwithspecialneeds.com.au WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Why you should travel with a toddler Taking the travel leap with a mini human by your side will be one of the most culturally satisfying experiences of your life. “Oh, j'ai besoin de te câliner! Tu es irrésistible!” In a high-end boutique in the Marais, a saleswoman – coolly sophisticated, as per this chi-chi quartier of Paris – was absolutely losing her biscuits. She clearly intended on delivering her promise to cuddle, so she reached forward, arms quivering, lips pouting, her entire being electrified with desire. I’ve lived in Paris and visit annually, but this reaction is a first. Oh, wait, it’s not in response to me, it’s about nine-monthold Lotte, who, in a moment of utter Parisienne coquettishness, giggles on cue. Mon dieu. I had grave misgivings about spending a week alone with my baby in Paris – there were so many reasons not to go. Internet forums full of dire predictions of the metro whose turnstiles don’t fit prams (true, but surmountable). The cobblestones versus small wheels. Could I find an organic baby-food shop? What about change rooms? Would she sleep somewhere new? But with my partner away working, and based in Europe, I booked a flight, did some research and hoped for minimal disasters – and it was one of the best weeks of my life. On our mini-break, a city I thought I knew intimately opened like a flower, and the shop assistant’s reaction was not an isolated incident. Travelling the metro became a team effort when workers in business suits hoisted the pram over turnstiles. A policeman posed with Lotte after tickling her chin (“He did what?!” a French friend asked, disbelieving). Strangers struck up conversations in cafes, forging connections. One morning, early in Père Lachaise cemetery, pausing for crawling practise on the grass, we were caught by a gardener. Instead of admonishment, he waved, yelling “Beeebeee!”. He also let us know that security guards would suggest we move on, but, he winked, they never come until 9.am. “It’s so beautiful,” he sighed “to see new life in a place of death.” Had it been me commando-crawling across the grass, that story would be different. I realised I was experiencing The World 2.0. This was travel at kneecap level – slower, more detailed. Where the big picture is skipped and tiny, enthralling details emerge, seen through tiny eyes. I can now tell you the way the trees wave in the Place des Vosges when lying on a pram rug, of a secret walled communal vegetable
FLIP BYRNES Meet our baby and toddler writer.
Opposite page, clockwise from top: Surf checking at Copacabana beach, NSW; orchestrating the waves at Avoca; heart-ing Paris; hiking to the glaciers in Chamonix, France.
garden near the Musée Rodin that I never would have found unless focused on finding two new parks daily, and that, when it’s raining, the kind folk at Musée Picasso Paris will pull you to the font of the queue, offer a towel and usher you downstairs to the most state-of-the-art change room that will make you think ‘Picasso who? This is the most exciting discovery of the day!’. By taking the leap into toddler travel, you won’t just find new experiences but new destinations too. There’s a season for everything, and for a few years travel is more about prams than cocktails. Previously, a hotel with a buffet and Frozen performances at 4pm couldn’t be anything other than hell. Now? Show me the dotted line! As a travel writer, much of the globe had been rigorously explored, but now it’s injected with a new type of thrill, where a decent playground is as exciting to me as a 4th Century Khmer ruin. In Zermatt, Switzerland, the mountains were gorgeous, but the highlight was the family of ducks we would feed before breakfast. Life is... simpler. If you find that showing your toddlers the world becomes one of your great loves, grab the travel bull by the horns and make the most of the wonder years by immersing them in different cultures. With work opportunities, we’ve lived in the French Alps and Germany, and a friend is intending to head to Spain’s San Sebastián for a year with a six-month-old. I’ll readily admit, the temporary loss of my mothers’ group, friends and family initially hit hard – but when again will these opportunities present themselves after toddlers hit school? Now with two under three, life would generally be easier staying in one postcode. But I think back to the week in Paris, the week as a new mother, alone with my girl, time not quite standing still but stalling in the most delicious way. Nowhere to be, no distractions, no timeline. I conveniently forget the challenges – catching Lotte licking the wheel of the stroller (and surviving germ-splattered Paris sidewalks), that special hell that is baby jetlag, and the Olympic sport of baby and toddler suitcase-packing. Should you do it? Is it worth it? Yes. As even when my firstborn is 21, I’ll look at her and think “We’ll always have Paris”.
Images: Flip Byrnes.
THIS WAS TRAVEL AT KNEECAP LEVEL – SLOWER, MORE DETAILED
When my firstborn is 21, I’ll look at her and think “We’ll always have Paris”
Image: Steve McNicholas
Image: Matthew Murphy
Image: Deen Van Meer
set the scene
How to experience Broadway as a family
There is no better place to expose your children to the magic of theatre than Broadway in New York City. While not every Broadway show is appropriate for children, there are a number of shows and experiences that will delight, inspire and entertain the whole family. Here, our tips to prepare for your family visit to Broadway Anastasia.
1: SELECT THE RIGHT SHOW Take a little time and utilise available resources to choose the right show. Many shows feature adult themes, so it’s essential to select a show that is suitable for kids and with an appropriate storyline. Suggested shows include: The Lion King, Aladdin, STOMP (off-Broadway). 2: SELECT THE RIGHT TIME Many shows are closed or only perform once on Monday and Tuesday, whereas shows can be booked out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday and Thursday are a good option for booking. Some performances also have dedicated family or afternoon screenings, which may work better for children.
3: SELECT THE RIGHT SEATS Book seats close to the aisle for easy exits for any needed bathroom breaks, and also consider location within the theatre for children so that they are able to see the stage. 4: BOOK IN ADVANCE Book in advance - tickets for the most popular shows – and many that are popular with kids such as The Lion King and Wicked – can sell out fast. Pre-booking with your preferred travel provider is the best way to make sure you get to see the show you want, when you want and without paying premium prices. 5: BE PREPARED Be organised with your tickets, and make sure to find out in advance if you have to pick up tickets at the box office or print them. And be aware of curtain times; theatres generally open for seating 30 minutes prior to curtain time, so avoid any last-minute stress by giving yourself plenty of time for a toilet stop and to get in and find your seats before the curtain goes up. broadwaycollection.com
Holidays OVERSEAS ADVENTURES
10 REASONS FAMILIES ARE LOVING KHAO LAK Why this Thai resort town is fast becoming a favourite for families.
THE ISLANDS OF TAIWAN Get to know Taiwan’s beautiful islands and celebrate the Year of Bay Tourism.
MOUNTAINS OF CHOICE Want to know where to ski and snowboard this winter? Read on for the best in snow from around the world. FIJI FOR FAMILIES It’s all about the culture, cruises and crystal-clear water. HAWAI‘I HIGHLIGHTS With amazing dramatic scenery, it’s no wonder filmmakers flock to Hawai‘i.
A ROAD TRIP THROUGH CALIFORNIA A wide-eyed 10-year-old explores the coastline with her mum.
A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Get ready for a journey filled with wonderful wildlife and vital lessons in conservation.
BALI FOR BEGINNERS It’s always possible to catch a lucky break in Bali.
STOPOVER SPOTLIGHT Stop in Perth and head to Hillarys Boat Harbour for two days of family fun. WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON
Mountains OF CHOICE THE BEST IN SNOW FROM AROUND THE WORLD. WORDS FLIP BYRNES 34
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.
HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON
All images ©Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU
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.
HOSHINO RESORTS TOMAMU
THE ‘ONE’ HOSHINO RESORTS TOMAMU 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.
NEED TO KNOW JAPAN
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. snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/ WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON
CALIFORNIA DREAMING Lake Tahoe calls for a road trip. It’s a fly-drive kind of destination – fly to San Francisco, then swap the trams for chairlifts and continue on to the 13 resorts nestled around the aquamarine shores of Lake Tahoe. This slice of ski heaven is ideal for families who like spontaneity. Wake up, then choose where to go. When the weekend warriors are out in force, opt for lesser-known resorts such as Diamond Peak (which has killer lake views, by the way). On the weekdays, you’ll score empty runs at big hitters like Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Northstar. Make time for a post-ski walk by the lakeside, complemented with the alpenglow. visitinglaketahoe.com
The Ikon Pass – it will give you access to 26 of the most iconic mountains in North America, including Squaw Valley, Mammoth, June Mountain and Big Bear in California. The first two are the most enticing to families. In addition to progressive terrain parks, Squaw Valley hosts ice-skating, a craft studio, mini snowmobiles and snow tubing, while 65 per cent of Mammoth’s runs are for blue- and greenlevel skiers, and it stays open well into the springtime. With access this good, you won’t even need to think about leaving Cali! ikonpass.com
Nevada LAKE TAHOE California
GIVE IT A PASS
Images: Jack Affleck
The Epic Pass is, well, epic, covering 64 mountains across eight countries. If planning a double-hemisphere ski trip or an incredible USA road trip, sign up for the Epic Australia Pass, tailored just for the Australian market. You’ll miss out on some resorts (like Telluride), but it includes unlimited skiing at Perisher. epicaustraliapass.com.au
WHERE TO GO ON THE EPIC PASS
Zero in on Vail. It’s big. More than 2100 hectares of riding, in fact, and the thirdlargest single-mountain ski resort in the United States. But what makes it supersized is its proximity to Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. So base yourself in Vail and hit a different world-class resort every day. vail.com For a more intimate resort, chi-chi Beaver Creek boasts exclusive extras. Escalators through the public areas ensure you don’t have to take the stairs in ski boots, heated sidewalks eradicate ice, there are cookies handed out at the base of the slopes every day at 3pm, and The Osprey is the closest skiin, ski-out hotel to a ski lift in North America – no schlepping, just skiing. beavercreek.com
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HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON
04 Nevada Utah
Colorado ASPEN SNOWMASS
Travelplan Ski is Australia's leading operator of snow holidays to the world's best ski resorts, and one of the most successful and respected specialty travel wholesalers internationally. Whatever your snow holiday dream, the staff at Travelplan Ski can customise a holiday that suits your style and budget. travelplan.com.au
SKIERS WITH SOUL There aren’t many ski resorts keen to step in to the political arena – enter stage left Aspen Snowmass, whose motto for the 2017 season was ‘Love. Respect. Unity. Commit’, a direct disassociation from the current flavour of Trump’s USA. This original silver-mining town tucked in a corner of Colorado has always maintained a little rebel edge, despite its glitterati image. Another constant is its popularity – it’s a true crowd pleaser with something for everyone, from top restaurants, galleries and art trails for non-skiers to four mountains for avid sliders. aspensnowmass.com
BEST FAMILY FEATURE
The Hideout at Buttermilk and the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Centre are award-winning child facilities with ski schools, rockclimbing walls, a (pretend) fox den and butterfly room.
Try Telluride. There’s a little magic in the air in Colorado’s Telluride, also a former mining town. Tucked in to a box canyon and surrounded by 4000-metre-tall mountains, it’s like being cradled in a snow globe. Stay in Mountain Village, above the historic town and slope-side for easy ski-school transitions for younger riders –it’s a free 13-minute gondola ride into the canyon. tellurideskiresort.com
Image: © TVB Innsbruck Christian Vorhofer
HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON
Image: © TVB Innsbruck Christof Lackner
No ski wrap is complete without taking a small parallel turn towards Europe. Switzerland? France? Austria? It’s impossible to put a ski boot wrong in Switzerland, studded with chocolate-box ski villages such as Zermatt and St Moritz. For more bang for your buck, downhill into France, where hidden gems such as St Gervais and the guaranteed snowy heights of Val Thorens, will see your dollar snowball further. For a mix of it all – charm, delicious food and history – make a beeline for Austria’s Innsbruck.
Image: Courtesy of Sun Valley Resort
SUN VALLEY Idaho
06 TOP TIP
If you want to ski and not bump in to any Australians (who often get caught en route by California resorts or Colorado), Idaho will be your best-kept secret.
GET LOST An easy flight from San Francisco, Sun Valley in Idaho is arguably the first ski resort in North America – their chairlift started spinning in 1936. However, don’t be misled, the locals like to think of their home as a ski community, not a resort, and that’s what you’ll find here. That’s despite its glamorous visitors – you may run in to Oprah Winfrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Justin Timberlake and longtime homeowner Bruce Willis. sunvalley.com WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON
Image: Jonathan Selkowitz
CHILE Our left-of-field family paradise suggestion is allinclusive Portillo in the Chilean Andes, which has featured in a multitude of Warren Miller films. Imagine a cruise ship marooned on a mountain, and there you have the big yellow resort with a slope-side pool, stocked with fine wines, friendly staff, four meals a day (including high tea) and reliable snow. Unless your children walk over into Argentina, they can’t escape. With numbers capped at 450, you’ll be saying ‘hola’ to everyone by week’s end. skiportillo.com/en
A BIT DIFFERENT
For something completely off-track (and technically off-snow too), why not try Ski Dubai (theplaymania. com/skidubai)? It’s the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East.
08 CANADIAN COOL
Each Canadian resort is like a snowflake, eh – unique and perfect in an individual way. But it’s a blizzard out there, with BRITISH an avalanche of choices. Our favourite COLUMBIA may surprise: the lesser-known ski-in, ski-out, 118-run Big White Ski Resort. With 18 per cent beginner and 54 per cent intermediate, it’s perfect for little BIG legs to ski all day. Plus you’ll find a green WHITE run option from the top of every chairlift. CANADA British Columbia’s third-largest resort also has a plethora of non-skiing activities, such as ice-skating and dog-sledding. bigwhite.com
SNOWBOARDERS IN TOW?
Follow the likes of Sophie Monk, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman to Silver Star Mountain Resort. You’ll find a community atmosphere, authentic Canadian vibe and ‘Toonie Tuesdays’, when skating, tubing and hot chocolates each cost a toonie ($2). skisilverstar.com
SKI ASPEN SNOWMASS
BEST EVER DEALS TO SKI ASPEN
NOT LE A V A IL ABRT! O S E IN-R
SKI10 Adults US$589* Child/Teen (7-17) & Senior (65+) US$379* SKI SKI30 Adults US$699* Child/Teen (7-17) & Senior (65+) US$399* 30 Unlimited 30 day lift pass. Includes 2 days of skiing in Thredbo! Includes a 10% dining discount at on-mountain Aspen Snowmass restaurants. KIDS SKI FREE (7-12 years) with purchase of equipment rental*. *Valid 1 Jan to 21 Apr 2019. Must be purchased in conjunction with discounted accommodation packages. Kids Ski Free – receive free lifts for same amount of days as ski rental purchase, minimum 2 days. Converted at current exchange rate (as at 25 June SKI10 Adults AU$788 Child/Teen/Senior AU$486, SKI30 Adults AU$928 Child/Teen/Senior AU$512). Pay by 31 August 2018 and other conditions apply.
Up to 40% Off Luxury Aspen Hotels & Apartments BOOK NOW for great fares to the USA with Delta/Virgin!
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email deals@TravelplanSki.com.au visit www.TravelplanSki.com.au
Offices in Sydney and Melbourne. ATAS Accreditation No: A10479.
HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON
A LOTTE ON OFFER It’s time to head back to Japan, to an old player with a new face: Lotte Arai Resort. Formerly Arai Mountain Resort and Spa, it reopened at the end of 2017, when new owners Korean Lotte Group catapulted it to ‘the new kid on the block to watch’ thanks to its 200-plus rooms, extensive spa and onsen facilities, swimming pools, library cafe and restaurant offerings. It’s as though it was designed for families, with drawcards including its proximity to Tokyo (less than two hours
on the bullet train), an English-speaking ski school (Myoko Snowsports), in-house equipment rental, a fully decked-out kids’ room with daycare facilities, and a range of activities for the whole clan (the longest zipline in Asia at 1.5 kilometres), Japan’s largest tubing course and a trampoline park). The cherries on top? Fifteen metres of annual snowfall, 157 kilometres of skiable terrain and Lotte-brand he:on beds that are as soft and fluffy as powder. lottehotel.com/arai/en/
JAPAN LOTTE ARAI Tokyo RESORT
HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON
10 THE WILD WEST
Jackson Hole! It’s wild. Literally. Surrounded by national parks and forests, this is a ski town smackbang in the wilderness. It’s the type of place where moose and some of the thousands of elk from the nearby National Elk Refuge appear on the ski runs. If that isn’t extreme enough, the slopes are steep and deep, with 50 per cent of the mountain rated ‘advanced’. So, where do families fit in? Jackson Hole is undergoing its biggest investment in history in beginner skiing, creating Solitude Station. Hop on the new Sweetwater Gondola in street shoes, meet your instructor, have lessons and rent equipment all at the one-stop shop. It’s hassle-free with not a black run in sight. jacksonhole.com
Jackson’s ‘intermediate’ blue runs differ from blues elsewhere. Let’s call them dark blue. Take a complimentary on-mountain tour (meet beside the gondola at 9.30am or 1pm) to find your favourites.
JACKSON HOLE Wyoming Nevada Utah
Steamboat, for the overwhelmingly friendly people, trademarked ‘champagne powder’ snow, eightmetre average annual snowfall and mid-mountain Western BBQ Buffet night (adults US$45; teens US$32; youth US$22; kids under five eat free). steamboat.com
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HOLIDAYS: SNOW SEASON
THE BIG KAHUNAS With 3306 hecatres plus zip-lining, snowmobiling, dog-sledding and more than 250 shops, restaurants and bars, Whistler Blackcomb is a well-oiled family pleaser, and the largest ski area in North America. And it’s just going to keep getting bigger and better, with parent company Vail Resorts plugging in CA$66 million for upgrades – so you’ll see a new gondola scaling Blackcomb, increasing upload by almost 50 per cent. Likewise, the Catskinner chair is being replaced with a high-speed quad to access the terrain park (and a cluster of blue and green runs). Choose more laidback and cruisey Whistler or buckle up for Blackcomb and find the chutes – whether you go hard or slow, you’ll find your place on the slopes. whistlerblackcomb.com
Park City in Utah, with a gondola joining the Canyons and Park City and almost 3000 skiable hectares. With dry Utah snow, easy access from Salt Lake City and skier-only Deer Valley nearby, it’s a family winner for ease and options. parkcitymountain.com
Sun Peaks Resort, also in British Columbia, is the second-largest ski area in Canada. We love its traffic-free main street and its vague Tyrolean feel.
ACROSS THE DITCH Just a three-hour flight from Australia’s east coast, skiing in New Zealand is a must-do for any snow-loving family. The 2017 winner of the World Ski Awards best ski resort in New Zealand – Mt Hutt – is the field to visit. Ninety minutes’ drive west of the South Island gateway city of Christchurch, the 365-hectare ski field is built for everyone – from beginners through to advance skiers. It’s also touted as the ‘most family-friendly mountain in New Zealand’, with an onmountain, fully-licenced early childhood centre for babies and toddlers and free skiing for children 10 and under.
Mt Hutt also participates in the Kids 4 Free initiative in the nearby town of Methven, where participating businesses offer accommodation, activity and dining products free of charge for children 10 and under. nzski.com/mt-hutt
FIJI IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CULTURE, CRUISES AND CRYSTAL-CLEAR WATER ON THIS ISLAND PARADISE.
Image: Daniel James Clarke
WORDS DANIEL JAMES CLARKE
“Bula! Another rum punch?” It was just enough to stir me from my paradiselike state, lounging by the pool. The children of the group were lighting the resort lanterns under the watchful eye of the kids’ club director, the sun had begun slowly setting behind the azure waters, and I was confident my next words would be “Yes, please”. Fiji sets itself up as the perfect long-weekend escape from the bustle of Sydney. Close enough for a four-day getaway, yet far enough to lose myself in another culture. Glamorous enough to feel royally pampered, yet affordable as an alternative to interstate travel. We’d found the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure just four hours from the city. Ziplining through the nearby Garden of the Sleeping Giant provided enough adrenaline to warrant a relaxing mud-pool hot-spring session. A day of snorkelling and kayaking around a private island ensured a great excuse to indulge in all of the seafood and Indian-infused cuisine the archipelago has on offer. Flying into Nadi, nearby Denarau Island hadn’t required any expensive transfers or long waits to allow my feet to dig into the soft sands. A multitude of sailing boats supply ample day
NEED TO KNOW
BEST TIME TO VISIT Cyclone season generally occurs in summer (between November and April), when the days can be humid. May through to October (also known as the dry season) provides ideal conditions for families, as the weather is still suitable for sunlounging and swimming.
BEST FOR KIDS AGED... While kids’ clubs and activities are suitable for most ages, children aged six and over will be granted a more significant opportunity to enjoy the unique cultural experiences on offer.
GETTING THERE Fiji Airways offers departures from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Townsville. fijiairways.com
trips from the nearby marina to far-flung islands complete with spa tents and those three magical words: all-inclusive bar. I’d been mistaken into thinking palm-fringed beaches and the odd paddle would complete a trip to Fiji, but the Fijian culture – with broad smiles, infectious laughter and strong family traditions – was equally captivating. As the world grows closer connected, introducing the children to other cultures has become more critical than ever. While the likes of Thailand and Bali may be cheaper alternatives, Fiji feels like a fantastic first step into a foreign land. The warm, relaxed welcome provides a less overwhelming experience. Ideal for the children’s first trip abroad, and perfect for us to switch to relaxation mode the second we stepped off the flight. Local children danced with ours as we debated with the tour group who loved or hated kava, the national drink. Traditional weaving methods are a skill we will all return with thanks to our dedicated teacher, though I’ll admit they make it look much easier than I can. In a local village, we joined a community for a family style meal. We laughed together, cooked together and, when the time came, feasted enough to warrant my expensive inner-city gym membership back home. Home, it seems so far away from this beachside pool. ‘Fiji time’ isn’t just a saying here, it’s a way of life. A way of life I had settled in to far too easily. Away from the tourist resort – ‘our new home’, as the kids were affectionately calling it – the Fijian landscape stretches into lush-green farming fields and small mountains. The hour-long journey to
Image: Meagan Hurst
Image: Daniel James Clarke
Previous page: Savala Island is a great day trip. Top right: Learning traditional Fijian dance after a fire show performance. Bottom right: Authentic local cooking classes provide unforgettable memories.
Local speciality Be sure to try Kava (adults only), a local speciality drink made from crushed plant roots.
Beach trips Taking a boat trip to one of the many private islands, such as Savala, makes for a great family day out.
Under the sea Beqa Island is renowned for its diving and is a staple stop on most liveaboard adventures across the archipelago.
Image: Daniel James Clarke
Fiji THE GRAND TOUR
Hands On Journeys runs five-day tours through Fiji with two nights at Nadi and two nights at Denarau Island. Tours include a trip to Savala Island, a Fijian cultural day, some meals, and entrance fees to Garden of the Sleeping Giant, hot springs and mud pools. Prices start at $1150 per person. Family packages (two adults and two children under 8) are available for $2995 (flights excluded. The next departure date is September 28, with further departures planned for December, January, April and June. handsonjourneys.com
The Garden of the Sleeping Giant contains a vast collection of local plants.
Fire dancing evening entertainment.
Image: Daniel James Clarke
the local village, where we were just a handful of tourists to visit, had been a rewarding experience. Supporting the locals is a real force for good in travel, and it allows a window into the true soul of a country. Nadi provided further insight into the island’s life. A small, ornate Hindu temple, Sri Siva Subramaniya, stands proudly at the end of the high street, and we were captivated by the colourful exterior. Later, we headed to the markets for another fresh coconut, a staple drink of the weekend. Everywhere we turned, smiling faces and calls of “Bula!” greeted us. Laughter, coconut, repeat – it was proving the perfect recipe, and one I felt quite qualified to get behind. Sunsets were always a special time of the day. Fire lanterns were lit, the ocean stayed a mysterious blue until the last rays had faded away, and then the sky would catch fire with orange and pink hues. We are spoilt in Australia with incredible beaches, something we have in common with our new friends in Fiji. By day two, I was already planning a return trip in my head. Perhaps an island cruise to some of the destinations further afield. The postcards of the Yasawa Islands, a stretch of sandbars and star-lit skies, particularly pulled on my heartstrings when I saw them in a souvenir shop. With so many resorts offering kids’ clubs from sunrise to sunset, it surprised me that many of my friends were convinced Fiji is just for honeymoons and lavish romantic retreats. We had met countless families on this trip, many who had returned time and time again, won over by the safe and inviting vibe for families and the charm of the Fijians’ welcome. Closing my eyes, I pictured private Savala Island, one of the more than 300 islands that make up Fiji and where we had spent the perfect day sipping on sauvignon blanc, finding Nemo while snorkelling and getting the obligatory family kayak photo for Instagram. The therapist would softly call out for us when it was time to step into the bure on the beach to be gently massaged into relaxation, before the two-second stroll back to a towel nestled in the whitest sand I had ever seen. Guitars and traditional singing roused us all back to life as a beachside buffet feast was served up and continued while seconds were scoffed down. So, lost in the dream that was Savala Island that I almost didn’t hear the very important question that was being posed to me: “Bula! Another rum punch?” I smiled up at the beaming waiter. Dinner was just a few moments away on the soft sands of the beach, and Fiji time seemed the perfect excuse to be a few minutes late. It was essentially a rhetorical question. “Yes, please, I’d love one.”
Sunset vistas Denarau Island is known for its colourful sunsets.
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LOOKING FOR AN ISLAND PARADISE THAT HAS IT ALL? WELCOME TO HAWAIâ€˜I... A FAMILY DREAM DESTINATION. 48
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: Safari Helicopters
Lights Camera Action!
WITH 11 OF THE WORLD’S 13 CLIMATE ZONES AND SOME OF THE MOST DRAMATIC SCENERY IMAGINABLE, IT’S NO WONDER FILMMAKERS FLOCK TO HAWAI‘I. As our helicopter lifts off the ground, the triumphant theme song from the Indiana Jones movies pumps through our headphones, and I feel my adrenaline rising. Within minutes we are soaring past the same volcanic peaks the loveable archaeologist flies through after escaping natives who are chasing him with poison darts by swinging from a vine into the river, where a floatplane is waiting, in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It may have masqueraded as the Peruvian jungle in the film, but the scene was actually shot on the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i. The scenery is gobsmacking. On our 45-minute Safari Helicopters flight, we glide over deep green valleys peppered with hundreds of towering waterfalls and the astonishing rippled cliffs of the Nāpali Coast, which acted as a natural fortress for the first Polynesian settlers who arrived in Hawai‘i from the Marquesas Islands. Director Steven Spielberg was so taken with Kaua‘i’s lush landscapes, he stored it in his memory bank and returned more than a decade later to shoot another blockbuster, Jurassic Park. The first views audiences see of movie’s fictional Central American island Isla Nublar are also the Nāpali Coast. Our tour also
Above: Hanging out in front of the Jurassic Park sign at Kualoa Ranch on O‘ahu. Right: A movie sites tour through the Ka‘a‘awa Valley, where Jurassic Park was filmed at Kualoa Ranch.
Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority-Daeja Faris
WORDS ANGELA SAURINE
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NEVER A DULL MOMENT AT K ‘ANAPALI BEACH HOTEL Bask in the sun and sand of world-famous Kā‘anapali Beach, at ‘Hawai‘i’s Most Hawaiian Hotel’. Located oceanfront and spread across 11 acres of tropical gardens, Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel welcomes you with authentic Hawai‘ian hospitality. Hale Ho‘okipa, the new Hawaiian cultural centre, offers daily cultural activities such as hula, ‘ukulele and Hawaiian language lessons, lei making, and lauhala weaving, to engage the entire family. The complimentary Aloha Passport program for kids 12 and under allows them to participate in activities that are both educational and fun in 12 different destinations. The staff of experienced alaka‘i is eager to share their knowledge of Hawaiian history, traditions and culture with guests of all ages. Hale Huaka‘i, the ocean activities centre, is the place to try snorkelling or stand-up paddle boarding, or simply relax in a cabana on the beach for a day. Plus, coming soon, the new six-person wa‘a (canoe), Kaleopo‘okela, will offer guests the opportunity to venture out on the ocean with the assistance of experienced Maui watermen as guides. Group and private tours will be offered daily for adults and children aged five to 12. Hale Huaka‘i extends the genuine aloha and Hawaiian hospitality of the hotel out onto the beach and ocean while providing memorable and safe experiences for guests. The open-air Tiki Terrace restaurant showcases Hawaiian regional cuisine by executive chef Tom Muromoto, integrating traditional Hawai‘ian flavours, fresh island fish and local favourites. Enjoy the complimentary Hawaiian entertainment, featuring music and hula dancers, offered Tuesday through Sunday evenings in the Tiki Courtyard while you dine. The legendary
Sunday Champagne Brunch offers selections, from omelettes to carving stations to Hawaiian specialties. For lighter lunchtime meals or snacks, try the poolside Tiki Bar and Tiki Grill. Experience The Legends of Kā‘anapali Lu‘au, held every Monday evening in the Tiki Courtyard. After feasting on traditional Hawaiian cuisine, guests are led through the history of Kā‘anapali, told through song and dance, concluding with an exciting fire walk. All rooms feature complimentary wi-fi and there are no resort fees. Children aged 17 and under stay for free in the same room with a paying adult. Connecting rooms, suites and cribs are available to meet your family’s needs. In Hawai‘i, we value ‘ohana (family) above all else. Make yourself at home at Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel and let us welcome you as part of our ‘ohana!
kbhmaui.com +1 800 262 8450
Images: Hawaii Tourism Authority, Tor Johnson
flies over Manawaiopuna Falls – where a group of scientists landed on a helipad built especially for the film, which has now been washed away – in the Hanapēpē Valley. Since the waterfall is on private property, this is the best way to see it. With more than 60 Hollywood movies filmed in Kaua‘i (also known as Garden Island), film sites can be found all over. Hule’ia National Wildlife Refuge doubled as the jungle in Raiders of the Lost Ark, while Hule‘ia River at Kipu Ranch, just south-west of the island’s main town of Līhu‘e, provided the location for the temple. Kipu Ranch Adventures offers 4WD tours where you can also see filming locations from Outbreak, The Descendants and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The national tropical botanical garden, Allerton Garden, also featured in the latter, when Captain Jack Sparrow – played by Johnny Depp – was searching for the fountain of youth. Meanwhile in the movie Jurassic Park, Sam Neill’s character, paleontologist Dr Alan Grant, found hatched raptor eggs under its giant Moreton Bay fig trees – but when Hurricane Iniki hit Kaua‘i partway through production in 1992, Spielberg was forced to look elsewhere to finish shooting. Flying over the most populous Hawaiian island,
Image: Safari Helicopters
Right: Rainbows on Kaua‘i are regular occurrences. Below left: Kaua‘i’s famous Moreton Bay figs featured in Jurassic Park. Below right: Hanapēpēē is the town that inspired Lilo & Stitch.
Five fast facts
Hawai‘i has six major islands that tourists can visit: O‘ahu, Maui, Island of Hawai‘i (Big Island), Kaua‘i, Moloka‘i and Lana‘i.
The main entry point is Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, O‘ahu. From there, inter-island flights operate between the islands.
Hawai‘i became the 50th state of the United States in 1959.
The average daytime temperature ranges from 29.4°C in summer (May to October) to 25.6°C in winter (November to April). Temperatures sit about 12°C cooler at night.
Most Australians are eligible to travel to Hawai‘i via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), as part of the USA’s visawaiver program. WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
the beautiful west side of Oahu.
The new Embassy Suites® – Oahu Kapolei is located on the other side of the island from Waikiki, but it feels like a world away. Experience the more relaxed lifestyle of Oahu’s west side at our all-suite hotel.
• The premier place to stay on Oahu’s west side • 180 spacious suites with Hawaiian decor • Free, cooked-to-order breakfast & complimentary drinks and snacks nightly* *Subject to state and local laws. Must be of legal drinking age.
808-674-8222 | oahukapolei.embassysuitesbyhilton.com
Image: Safari Helicopters
EMBASSY SUITES BY HILTONTM – WAIKIKI BEACH WALK® ‘ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE’ PACKAGE
The Nāpali Coast on Kaua‘i.
O‘ahu, Spielberg came across the dramatic Ka‘a‘awa Valley at Kualoa Ranch. The crew spent just three days here, but it starred in one of the most famous scenes, in which Dr Grant and the children run from a herd of dinosaurs and hide under a log. The valley was also home to Hurley’s golf course in the TV series Lost (which filmed every season here), the ATV jump from Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and Godzilla’s footprints, which can still be seen. Officers were also playing golf in the valley on the morning of the Japanese attack in Pearl Harbor. Plus, bones from Kong: Skull Island lie not far away. In addition to a 90-minute movie tour, the 1600-hectare working cattle ranch also offers ATV tours, ziplining, food tours and cruises. About a 30-minute drive away, on O‘ahu’s north shore, the family-friendly Turtle Bay Resort played a starring role in the romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and the beautiful mermaid pools
Embassy Suites by Hilton™ – Waikiki Beach Walk® welcomes travellers to Hawai‘i with absolute aloha, world-class hospitality and more complimentary services and amenities than any other hotel. Located on Waikiki Beach Walk and just steps away from iconic Waikiki Beach, the resort is perfect for families and multi-generational groups. For travellers seeking added value, Embassy Suites by Hilton™ – Waikiki Beach Walk® offers future guests its ‘Another Day in Paradise’ package. Book a four-night stay at the iconic suites-only hotel and get your fifth night free. With an extra day in Hawai‘i to indulge, explore and embrace the aloha surrounding the islands, take the time to enjoy all the amenities and scenic views of Waikiki that Embassy Suites by Hilton has to offer. Embassy Suites by Hilton™ – Waikiki Beach Walk® complimentary amenities include all-you-can-eat breakfast on the Grand Lanai, where guests are invited to start each day with a complimentary breakfast buffet at the hotel’s open-air Grand Lanai. For those looking for an evening display, watch the sun dip beneath the Pacific with Embassy Suites’ Cheers to the Evening Reception. At sunset, guests are welcomed to gather at the Grand Lanai for a complimentary poolside evening reception from 5.30pm to 7.30pm daily. Enjoy complimentary tropical drinks and cocktails, light snacks and live Hawai‘ian entertainment. To reserve this package, enter promotional code DY4 atwaikiki.embassysuites.com or call +1 800 EMBASSY. There is a four-night minimum stay and seven-night maximum stay for this package. Bookings must be made at least three days in advance, tax and gratuity are not included. Rates and specials cannot be combined with other offers and are subject to availability and change.
waikiki.embassysuites.com +1 808 921 2345
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NEED TO KNOW In the air Take to the skies to experience views that will leave you in awe.
Kaua i ‘Jurrassic Park’ Experience first-hand the scenery that inspired Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster franchise.
Live music Almost everywhere you turn, someone is strumming or singing here.
that featured in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides were built on its grounds. Jennifer Lawrence and her co-stars filmed arena scenes for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at the calm, crescent-shaped Kawela Bay near the resort, in a scene in which the tributes appear on top of the lake, ready for battle. Little ones may be more impressed by a visit to Hanapēpē on Kaua‘i, which provided the inspiration for the town that Hawaiian girl Lilo and stray alien creature Stitch live in the animated Disney adventure Lilo & Stitch. The main street is lined with colourful plantation-style buildings that house art galleries and gift stores selling Hawaiian handicrafts. The town is famous for its swinging bridge, which sways when people walk across it. The best time to visit is on Friday Art Night, when it comes alive with live music and food trucks selling Hawaiian specialties – and you can chat to local artists in store. Speaking of kids’ films, did you know that an underwater film crew was sent to Kealakekua Bay on the Island of Hawai‘i (colloquially known as the Big Island) to collect footage of the pristine reef, which has a sharp drop-off, to inspire the animators of Finding Nemo? Visitors can snorkel among the bright tropical fish and coral on a tour with Fair Wind Cruises, which also takes in the monument to explorer Captain Cook that marks his final resting place for a bonus bit of history.
Watefall warriors The force of these towering natural wonders is astounding.
On the road You’ll want to hire a big SUV to tackle this terrain.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT Hawai‘i is a great year-round destination. December to March is a good time to visit as it’s peak whale season. Visit an ocean lookout or take a boat tour to get a peek at these amazing creatures.
BEST FOR KIDS AGED... To take advantage of the many outdoor activities the Hawaiian Islands have to offer, it is best for children to be aged five and over.
GETTING THERE Fly to Hawai‘i with Hawaiian Airlines’ direct flights out of Sydney and Brisbane. hawaiianairlines.com
ADVENTURE ABOUNDS FROM EMBASSY SUITES BY HILTON O‘AHU KAPOLEI TM
Arise well-rested from the comfort of a two-room suite in which you spent the night noshing on free snacks and drinks, enjoy a complimentary cooked-toorder breakfast, then hop on Embassy Suites by Hilton O‘ahu Kapolei’s courtesy shuttle to nearby White Plains Beach – the perfect spot for a picnic lunch, a chill in the sun, a spot of surfing or an afternoon of snorkelling. Kahe Beach Park is also a wonderful area for the latter, thanks to its clear, warm waters and incredible scenery. Looking for more of a culture hit? Ka Makana Ali‘I shopping centre, less than 10 minutes from the hotel, hosts the Ka Makana Ali‘i Farmers Market every Wednesday afternoon, where families can enjoy locally made treats and purchase handmade merchandise. While you’re there, be sure to catch live Hawaiian entertainment – you’ve never seen hula dancing or heard island music like this! Adrenalin-fuelled families will love Wet’n’Wild Hawai‘i, six minutes from Embassy Suites, with more than 25 rides and attractions. Or experience the beauty of O‘ahu from the sky on a scenic helicopter ride from Kalaeloa Airport, also just six minutes away. Overcome by the need for speed? Head over to K1 Speed in Kapolei, five minutes from base camp. Electric karts, authentic racing memorabilia and a pit café are sure to please the revheads in the family. When you want to venture a bit further, take in the beautiful Wai‘anae Range with amazing views of the ‘Ōhikilolo valley while horseback riding at ‘Ōhikilolo Adventure Park, an hour from Embassy Suites. Also located in Wai‘anae is EO Wai‘anae Tours, offering a catamaran adventure that explores the unforgettable ocean adventures of marine creatures such as dolphins, turtles, whales and fish. With countless activities and adventures surrounding the hotel, you’re in for an exciting stay!
oahukapolei.embassysuitesbyhilton.com +1 808 674 8222
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STAR IN YOUR NEXT WAIKIKI HOLIDAY Spotted in Waikiki: internationally recognised Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites as featured in the opening shot of the hit TV show Hawaii Five-0. Let the family be the leading stars in your next picture-perfect Waikiki holiday with a stay at this iconic symbol, featuring luxurious suites that offer all the comforts of home. This luxury serviced apartment complex features full kitchens with stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops, spacious bath facilities with massage-jet showers, premium bedding outfitted with sumptuous linens, and technology-laden living spaces decked out with large HD televisions, wi-fi access and climate-controlled air-conditioned systems. And don’t forget the furnished balconies with jaw-dropping ocean and skyline views. Countless amenities will help fill your days with plenty of fun under the sun. Hit the beach with daily use of custom beach towels and chairs, plus an exclusive walkway to the start of Waikiki Beach. Delight in the flavours of island dishes at Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai, such as the Guava Chiffon Pancakes – voted one of the top 10 pancakes in America; the Ilikai Poke Bowl – fresh ahi poke on a bed of rice with dynamite sauce, crispy rice crackers, fried onions and a side of tossed greens; or Loco Moco – a homemade beef patty over rice with gravy and topped with two eggs of your style. Or take a dip in one of our two newly refreshed pools with envious ocean views. There’s a daily shuttle for easy access to the rest of Waikiki and Ala Moana Center for dining, shopping just a few blocks away, or take a leisurely stroll through Ala Moana Beach Park to view breathtaking sunsets. No matter what you have planned, the Ilikai is the perfect base for your family adventures.
BOOK THE OCEAN VIEW SUITE SALE AND RECEIVE UP TO 20 PER CENT OFF! ilikaihotel.com +1 808 954 7417 Promo code: sunset
HOTELS FOR Hotels as diverse as our guests ÂŽ From family-friendly suites to stylish hotels, from extensive resort amenities to incredible locations with fun activities for everyone, we offer the perfect fit for any family visiting Hawaii. Isnâ€™t it time to vacation better together? Sign up for exclusive A-List Insider member deals and instant perks for your next stay. aqua-aston.com | +1.808.564.7603
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REASONS FAMILIES ARE LOVING KHAO LAK WORDS DEBORAH DICKSON-SMITH
NEED TO KNOW
BEST TIME TO VISIT The best time to visit Khao Lak is from December to April, which is outside Thailand’s monsoon season with slightly cooler temperatures.
BEST FOR KIDS AGED... Khao Lak is a great family destination, with many activities geared towards kids who are aged five and over.
GETTING THERE Fly to Thailand with Thai Airways directly from Sydney or Melbourne. thaiairways.com
SO MUCH MAJESTY, SO MANY MEMORIES… The Thai resort town of Khao Lak is fast becoming a favourite for families. Just over an hour’s drive north from Phuket Airport on the Andaman Coast, this oncesleepy seaside town is growing in popularity for its uncrowded white sandy beaches as well as its close proximity to the stunning Similan Islands and Khao Sok National Park. While the town isn’t quite the busy hub that Koh Samui and Phuket have become, it has a wide selection of open-air (kid-friendly) restaurants and bars to grab a cheap pad Thai and Singha beer. And there are plenty of activities outside your resort to keep active kids happy – here are 10 of the best.
VISIT ELEPHANT SEASIDE RETREAT
BAMBOORAFT DOWN KHAO LAK RIVER There are few better ways to spend a hot, steamy day than floating down a shady river on a bamboo raft. No effort involved, just be prepared to sit back, relax and get wet (especially around the bum area). Along the way, your Thai gondoliers will point out wildlife hiding in the overhanging rainforest as they guide your raft through slow- and fast-moving water. ecokhaolak.com
VISIT SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION CENTER
There are actually two turtle sanctuaries in Khao Lak. The closest is a short drive from the town centre, inside the grounds of the Royal Thai Navy’s Third Fleet, and is home to about 1800 turtles of varying sizes. Most are hatchlings, which are kept here until they grow to a size where their survival is greater. From March 1 to 10 each year, Khao Lak hosts a Turtle Festival, when visitors are able to help release the hatchlings to the sea. WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Images: Deborah Dickson-Smith
Visit a family of elephants at their seaside home. This former elephant trekking ‘camp’ has reformed, these days allowing its elephants to retire, favouring education and conservation over tourist rides. Visitors are given a lesson in elephant conservation before being allowed to feed them a few banana snacks. Then it’s a stroll to a nearby stream, where you can get into your swimmers, hop in the water and give them a scrub. After your elephant spa, you are given the option to contribute to the sanctuary’s mangrove conservation by planting a mangrove seedling, followed by a snack of Thai coconut pancakes and rosehip tea. ecokhaolak.com
TAKE A THAI COOKING CLASS Learn how to make a few local specialties at one of Khao Lak’s cooking schools. There are several to choose from, and Pui’s is a good one for families as you get to choose what you cook. Take a trip with Pui to the local market to pick out your fresh ingredients, learn how to prepare and cook your favourite Thai dishes, then feast with your fellow students. puicooking.com
SEE TSUNAMI MEMORIALS Khao Lak was almost wiped off the map when the 2004 tsunami hit Thailand’s east coast. More than 4000 people were killed, and boats were washed far inland and left as reminders (there’s one at the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre). The main memorial, Baan Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park, consists of two walls – one curved, wave-shaped one and another covered in name plaques.
KAYAK IN LITTLE AMAZON Go kayaking through the expansive mangrove forests north of Khao Lak, known as Little Amazon, on a guided fullday tour that also takes in the morning markets at historic Takuapa Town, a guided walking tour through the lush rainforest of Si Phang-Nga National Park and a visit to Tam Nang Waterfall. khaolaktourplan.com
SNORKEL IN THE SIMILAN ISLANDS
Khao Lak is the closest port to Thailand’s Similan Islands, famous for their beautiful coral reefs and resident turtles. Sea Bees Diving takes snorkellers and divers to visit different islands each day of the week on their high-speed catamaran, by far the comfiest ride around. Monday and Wednesday itineraries to islands four, five, six and seven are better for snorkellers and beginner divers, while on Saturdays and Sundays divers can look for manta rays at Koh Bon, and only on Sundays swim with reef sharks and turtles at island nine. Kids as young as 10 can learn how to dive in Thailand. Keep in mind that the Similan Islands are usually closed from May to October, so travellers should check similan-islands.com for more information to plan their trip. sea-bees.com
WHERE TO STAY
ZIPLINE AT ELEPHANT FLY ZIPLINE
Fly through the lush rainforest canopy in the sloping hills behind Khao Lak on this sometimes challenging, sometimes exhilarating treetops course. Zip downhill on 11 ziplines, tackle five sky bridges, test your balance on bicycle and skateboard tightropes, and finesse your broomstick flying skills on the Harry Potter course. zipline-khaolak.com
HAVE A SLEEPOVER AT KHAO SOK LAKE RAFT HOUSE
VISIT KOH PHRA THONG
This hidden treasure is an hour’s drive north of Khao Lak and another hour by long-tail boat through expansive mangrove forests. It’s worth spending at least two nights here, to explore the nearby savannah, go snorkelling on pristine reefs at the nearby islands Koh Pling Lek and Koh Pling Yai, or simply laze about in one of the resort’s hammocks while the kids play on the beach (which they’ll have all to themselves).
Take a day trip to Cheow Lan Lake, a huge reservoir surrounded by tall limestone mountains. Explore the lake by long-tail boat or kayak, or just enjoy a swim. The kids will love searching for monkeys, gibbons and hornbills in the treetops. Kids aged seven and older can even stay the night in one of the lake’s floating raft houses (with their parents, of course) and fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle. elephanthills.com
THE MOKEN ECO VILLAGE This quiet hideaway is on Koh Phra Thong, with access to the mainland via long-tail boat. The resort consists of 11 bungalows, each with its own unique design, and is powered entirely by solar panels. The resort runs a dawn savannah tour, so you can watch the sun rise over Thailand’s version of an African savannah and then watch it set in the evening back at the resort, which is located on a picture-perfect wineglass-shaped bay facing the setting sun. mokenecovillage.com Visit amazingthailand.com.au and facebook.com/hugthailand for more information.
Images: Tourism Authority of Thailand
THE SANDS KHAO LAK This enormous 4.5-star hotel has family rooms and two-bedroom Teen Suites, so it’s great for families of all ages and sizes. Situated right on beautiful Nang Thong beach, the resort has two large lagoon pools, a playground, kids’ club, gym and day spa. There are two restaurants to choose from inside the resort grounds, and plenty more at the end of the driveway. thesandskhaolak.com
EXPLORE THE ISLANDS OF TAIWAN Looking for a family holiday that’s a little bit different? The island nation of Taiwan offers everything – from city dynamism and fascinating cultural activities to a rich history, incredible food and adrenalin-filled adventures. Its capital, Taipei, is a vibrant metropolis where old is new and tradition and tranquility sit side by side with innovation and buzz. It’s a beautiful mishmash, and families will love soaking up the urban culture. On the other side of the scale, the natural wonders of Taiwan are magnificent – deep forest-filled gorges, huge cliffs that tower over the sea, and some of the best hiking and cycling trails in Asia. Then there’s the food (dumplings, meat
soups, oyster omelettes and so much more), the rich culture and the hospitable nature of the Taiwanese people. For an unforgettable adventure, fly into Taipei and soak up the hustle and bustle for a few days. Then make a beeline for one of the smaller outlying islands. This year has been coined the Year of Bay Tourism, an initiative of Taiwan Tourism Bureau and the Penghu County Government. What this offers travellers is an opportunity to explore Taiwan’s lesser-known archipelagos, enjoying activities that are focused on eco-tourism, marine conservation, sustainability and ecology. Here are just some of the island highlights.
Located a short ferry ride from Taitung, Green Island was formed by an undersea volcanic eruption. It boasts lush mountains and pristine beaches, and is home to the Zhaori Hot Springs (pictured opposite), one of only three seawater hot springs in the world. Thanks to its location in the tropics and its proximity to the Kuroshio Current, the island attracts about 50 fish families and boasts more than 300 species of coral, making for fabulous snorkelling conditions.
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 of algae called dinoflagellates gathers at the shorelines – is best seen at night between June and August. Matsu is also home to traditional eastern mountainside Fujian villages and military-built fortifications.
This traditional fishing island located off the coast of Donggang in Pintung County is Taiwan’s only large coral island – and the only island off Taiwan that has a significant human population. It’s home to plenty of temples, beautiful coastal views and breathtaking rock formations – the most famous being Vase Rock. Locals are religious and there are more than 100 temples scattered across the little island, each with its own unique features and special attractions.
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Biking to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Through a child’s eyes A 10-YEAR-OLD’S PERSPECTIVE OF CALIFORNIA.
Whoosh! There I was, looking out the window, and all I could see was America. There were planes everywhere; I was so excited to have finally arrived! There was so much on our list to see and do, but the first thing we did was go to our hotel. We were staying at Argonaut (argonauthotel.com) and it was
WORDS TIGER-JANE CLEARLY
the best hotel ever! Mum said it was ‘nautical-themed’ – I just liked the cool details; the room had all these round ship holes, and it was blue everywhere. Blue is my favorite colour. People love riding bikes in San Francisco and Mum really wanted to go for a bike ride. We went to a place called Blazing Saddles (blazingsaddles. com) and they had a few different bikes to choose from. Eventually we got one we could both ride together. Mum wanted to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and I was pretty excited too as it was featured in my favourite shows – Full House and Fuller House. That night we had dinner at Capurro’s (capurros.com), which was across from our hotel. I had spaghetti carbonara.
HOLIDAYS: ROAD TRIP
It’Sugar had the best lollies ever!
They didn’t have free wi-fi, but the hotel did. We slept really well that night. Mum and I slept in a little bit the next morning then went to Starbucks. Unfortunately they had stopped serving the Unicorn Frappuccino, so I got the Crystal Ball Frappuccino instead and it was nice. We had bought tickets for a hop-on, hop-off bus around San Francisco. I really wanted to see the painted ladies (In American architecture painted ladies are Victorian and Edwardian houses), so we walked to the closest bus stop, where there was a lobster-roll café called Crabsters (crabsters. com). Mum tried one and I had a buttered roll – it was the best thing in the world! Mum really liked her lobster roll. The bus wasn’t leaving for a while, so we walked around and found the huge lolly shop It’Sugar (itsugar.com). They had massive packets of Nerds and so much other stuff. Everything was huge and delicious! Then we caught the bus, first stopping at Haight-Ashbury and bought Doc Martens and ate guacamole. Then we ran for the next bus to take us to see the painted ladies. It was the one thing I really wanted to do in California: to see the houses that were in Full House. We walked for a block to Alamo Square, through the park where the Tanners have their picnics. It was so fantastic! We decided to walk along Divisadero Street to get our next bus to the Marina District. Along the way, we walked past a small church. We could hear what I thought sounded like opera, but Mum said it was gospel music. We peeked through
Golden Gate Bridge is much bigger than I thought.
We stayed right here, at Argonaut Hotel.
the window and a lady saw us and waved for us to come in. There were a lot of people there who were very good singers. We stayed for two songs, then mum said we had to go because we were wanting to clap after the songs, not during like everyone else. We finished our adventure in Chinatown, where Mum bought me some awesome Squishies. I’m a little obsessed – okay, a lot obsessed – with Squishies. We were really tired after all that, so we went back to the Argonaut and tried to watch Pitch Perfect 3. Mum was asleep before it ended. WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
HOLIDAYS: ROAD TRIP
Mission Beach had some interesting stuff.
This is a churro!
The next day we got up really early to fly to San Diego. It was a tiny plane, but I could charge my iPad on it. We landed and got on a bus to where we could hire a car. Mum had never driven in America before. I was a bit scared knowing that, so I stayed in the back seat and watched YouTube; the car had wi-fi! Mum drove us safely to Paradise Point Resort & Spa (destinationhotels.com/paradisepoint) where I jumped in the pool straight away – they have three pools! My favourite pool was the warmest one – it was actually a spa. After a quick swim, we went to Mission Beach Boardwalk. There was a carnival there – it was really cool. I started getting hungry again, so I got churros, which are Spanish donuts. My favourite part of the day was when we found a shop where we could hire hoverboards to use along the Boardwalk. They were called i-Go Robots and, even though they were really hard to steer, they were awesome. When we’d had enough of the hoverboards, we went back to the resort. Our room was cosy but comfy – there was a really big bed, a
table, a huge TV that had Disney Channel, a bathroom, a fridge and a couch. The whole hotel is built to look like a movie set and it’s really awesome. For dinner, Mum made me walk to the hotel restaurant – I had salmon and veggies, which I really like. There was a pond there where we could feed fish, and there were even a couple of sharks in there too! The next day, we went to the San Diego Zoo (zoo.sandiegozoo.org). They had an Australian outback experience that was pretty cool but a bit weird, considering there’s a big mob of kangaroos living in our yard at home. I really enjoyed seeing them, but it made me feel a bit homesick. The first thing we saw at the zoo were the birds. They were so, so, so cute. There were different types of birds – my favourite were the scarlet-chested parrot and the diamond dove – they were both so pretty! My next favourite was the bobcat – I’d love one of those. Right next to them were the flamingos – they were amazing! These ones were more orange than pink, though – apparently they’re that colour because of the shrimp they eat. And their feathers are actually grey. I learnt a lot at the zoo.
The next day, after breakfast in the city of San Diego, we met a cool little fluffy dog called Ali Rasta Pup. He had dyed hair and his own Instagram page, and now my dog Poppy and he follow each other. We drove up the coast to Huntington Beach and we got a hotel room at The Waterfront Beach Resort: A Hilton Hotel (waterfrontresort.com) with an awesome view. This place also had a really great pool – I didn’t want to leave it, but I was pretty tired, so we went to the restaurant there. The food was delicious – it was so good that I ordered two things: chicken
tenders and pasta. We went back for breakfast and ate there again the next night (and again the next morning). They have a great kids’ menu. We hired another tandem bike at a shop opposite the hotel – one with giant handlebars – and rode down to Huntington Beach Pier. That evening, Mum and I hired a s’mores cart and headed to the beach to start a fire. The wagon comes with everything you need – chairs, firewood, marshmallows, everything. We watched the sun set and made s’mores – they are so delicious. It was such a beautiful ending to the day.
LOS ANGELES HUNTINGTON BEACH
HOLIDAYS: ROAD TRIP
A swim, a sweet and a sleep at Hilton Los Angeles Universal City.
It was time to head to Los Angeles. Mum drove straight to Santa Monica Pier. They had a carnival on and we won a unicorn cat (aka Caticorn), a water frisbee and an emoji plushy. I wanted to keep playing games but Mum said our luck was so good that we wouldn’t be able to fit everything on the plane going home. So we went to our hotel: Hilton Los Angeles Universal City (hilton. com)! We were going to go to Universal Studios (universalstudios.com) the next day – I was so excited! The hotel had a really nice pool area and Mum and I had a great swim. By now I really needed some alone time, so I just chilled and watched some TV. We ordered room service for dinner later.
Universal Studios is the best. When we walked in, there was an Animal Actors show on, so we hurried in and saw all the beautiful animals. The animal stars put on a great show – it was really funny – and we even saw two owls from the Harry Potter movies. I was a bit scared about going on The Simpsons Ride because I thought it was a real rollercoaster, but because it’s mostly animation it didn’t have those lump-lumps that toss you around. It was really fun! Mum went on the Harry Potter ride and I didn’t, but I did have a Butterbeer and go into Ollivanders wand shop in Diagon Alley. Mum bought me Hermione’s wand, and we want around all the stores to cast the spells. I was magical! We also went on Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem (it could’ve gone longer) and Mum bribed me to go on Jurassic Park: The Ride. I found it really scary, not because of the dinosaurs, but because of the massive drop. I loved California, but after all of this adventure I was ready to fly back home to Melbourne. WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
A walk on the wild side ON THE ISLAND OF BORNEO, THE MALAYSIAN STATE OFÂ SABAH TAKES FAMILIES ON A JOURNEY FILLED WITH WILDLIFE AND LESSONS IN CONSERVATION.
Image: Carolyn Beasley
WORDS CAROLYN BEASLEY
Image: Sabah Tourism Mewot
W Main image: Enjoying the view at Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Clockwise from top: Proboscis Monkeys relax together; a Bornean Sun Bear at the Conservation Centre; a Sepilok Orangutan at the Rehabilitation Centre.
Image: Sabah Tourism Clement Liew Ket Hin
e have hiked uphill to visit an ancient burial site, but a sudden movement in the adjacent treetops catches my attention. Our guide, Adzal, gasps “Shhh – Bornean gibbons!”. As he motions for us to sit, he explains that this shy and endangered species is normally only glimpsed swinging through the canopy. My family watches the gibbon family as they munch on wild figs, the mother cradling a fluffy baby. I glance at my own babies – aged seven, 11 and 13 – and each is completely engrossed in the gibbon action. We are in spectacular Danum Valley, in Malaysian Sabah on the island of Borneo, and this is one of several wildlife hotspots on our itinerary. Thankfully, great tour operators and comfortable hotels mean families do not need to rough it to learn about and experience Sabah’s precious wildlife.
After flying in to Kota Kinabalu, we jump on a flight to Sandakan and meet our Borneo Trails (borneotrails.com) guide, Jame Marajan. We check in to Sepilok Nature Resort (sepilok.com), constructed around lakes and trees, with an open-air restaurant twinkling with fairy lights. Over dinner, we are serenaded by frogs and crickets.
Image: Sabah Tourism Tsen Lip Kai
Early in the morning, we hit Rainforest Discovery Centre (forest.sabah.gov.my/rdc), and as we glimpse exotic birds from the canopy walkway, my kids excitedly spot a giant one-metre-long Giant Squirrel. Next stop is Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, where animals rescued from the pet trade or agricultural conflict are rehabilitated. From an airconditioned viewing room, our kids laugh with delight while young orangutans in their nursery tumble, wrestle and climb. Next door is the fascinating Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (bsbcc.org.my), a care facility for the world’s smallest bears, all 42 of which in these forested enclosures were formerly pets. Education Officer Risnayati Lammu explains that bears are hunted for claws and canine teeth, with cute babies being captured for pets. Inevitably, problems arise.
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Image: Carolyn Beasley Image: Borneo Rainforest Lodge Image: Bunga Raya Resort
Image: Gayana Marine Resort Image: Sabah Tourism Azahari Reyes
Image: Bunga Raya Resort
Clockwise from top left: Studying a giant clam; Bungaraya Resort views; an almost-smiling orangutan; luxury at Bungaraya Resort; the Canopy Walk at Bungaraya Resort; a Whitehead's trogon at Rainforest Discovery Centre.
“When you put a bear in your living room, they start climbing up and destroying your sofa, and hurting you,” she says. “They end up in a small cage and a terrible life begins.” My kids wince when they learn that some bears are caged for the harvesting of gallbladder bile for use in Asian medicines. Risnayati identifies that sustainable tourism helps: “The pictures you share back home – that is spreading the word.”
A two-hour drive brings us to Kinabatangan River. Jame explains, “Here we have 10 species of primates, plus the chance to see Bornean pygmy elephants”. Excited kids jump into our small motorboat for the 10-minute up-river journey to Borneo Nature Lodge (borneonaturelodge. com.my). The lodge has a green ethos, including stationary bikes that my kids peddle to generate power. A wildlife corridor allows elephants safe passage to the river, and the lodge organises tree planting. Minutes in to our first boat tour from here, we spot a huge orangutan in a spindly tree. Puttering downriver, we encounter 12 nimble silver leaf monkeys; upon seeing their bright orange babies, our kids reach cuteness overload. Next up is the proboscis monkey, famous for the male’s pendulous nose, and many family groups relax in the trees. Chugging down a tributary, we gasp as one family daringly leaps across the river between treetops. We are amazed by the animals here, despite the rare elephants eluding us.
Driving two hours south to Lahad Datu, we meet our driver from Borneo Rainforest Lodge (borneonaturetours.com) for a two-hour transfer to Danum Valley, which contains some of the best primary rainforest in Southeast Asia, 500 wild orangutans and a superb luxury lodge. Borneo Rainforest Lodge is owned by the Sabah government, and profits help support disadvantaged communities. Rooms have passive ventilation and lighting, and our private spa overlooks the magnificent river valley, teeming with iridescent birds. Kids love the international buffet, especially the burger station, while the dessert bar ensures overindulgence. In pre-dawn greyness, we grab our binoculars and sleepy kids and climb the treetop canopy walkway, becoming immersed in the local birds’ sunrise chorus. Our jaws drop as huge rhinoceros hornbills glide through misty forest. Guide Adzal’s radio crackles with orangutan news, and we hurry to meet research assistant Eddy observing a large male and collecting DNA. “We want to know who is related, the mums and dads,” he explains. After an
Wildlife sanctuaries Learn about conservation while meeting the animals being rehabilitated.
Beach activites Go snorkelling, kayaking and jungle zip-lining at Gaya Island.
River safaris Get up close with monkeys and look out for elephants. Rainforest adventures Trek through ancient rainforest finding orangutans and swimming in waterfalls.
hour of fleeting glimpses, the orangutan shifts to a clearing. My daughter’s eyes widen. “He’s as big as a hippo!” she exclaims. Following our hike to the tribal burial cliff, we descend via Fairy Falls. Butterflies rest on my son, and Adzal laughs: “Welcome to my office!” Later, we take a dip in a natural ‘jacuzzi pool’, squealing when fish come nibbling at our feet. Adventure here continues after dark, when we pile in to the back of an open truck. Our guide spotlights a possum-sized colugo clinging to a tree. Surprisingly, it takes flight, spreading its limbs to reveal gliding membranes. Next, we spot sambar deer and, fleetingly, a porcupine. On night walks, we discover enormous stick insects, chirping frogs and a gargantuan tarantula.
Reluctantly leaving the rainforest, we fly to Kota Kinabalu and join our 20-minute boat transfer to Bungaraya Island Resort (echoresorts.com/ bungaraya) on Gaya Island. Our two-bedroom villa is up a hill in the leafy canopy. Lazily, we travel in golf buggies, and our driver lets the kids have a turn of driving. After a naturalist-guided tour of the canopy walkway, my junior adrenaline junkies try the zipline, yahooing through treetops. We snorkel with corals and nemo fish and take a free boat ride to Gayana Marine Resort, where biologists are breeding endangered giant clams. Kids love patting starfish in the touch tank. Like so much of Sabah, Gaya Island has amazing wildlife. Mischievous macaques, native bearded pigs and majestic hornbill birds entertain us, and the kids chat about the best ways to protect wildlife for the future. After all we have seen, it is impossible not to be inspired.
NEED TO KNOW
BEST TIME TO VISIT December and January are the wettest months (although rain in the rainforest is quite possible all year) in Sepilok, Kinabatangan and Danum Valley, so try to avoid this period. On Gaya Island, the driest time is December to August.
BEST FOR KIDS AGED... Adventures that include wildlife-spotting and jungle trekking are best for children aged five and over.
GETTING THERE Various airlines fly from Australian capital cities to Kota Kinabalu, with a stop in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. Malaysia Airlines has one direct flight weekly from Perth to Kota Kinabalu. malaysiaairlines.com WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
FOR BEGINNERS IT’S ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO CATCH A LUCKY BREAK IN BALI, EVEN IN SURFING’S SO-CALLED ‘OFF-SEASON’. WORDS CARLA GROSSETTI
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.
Talented Cronulla surfer Kalani Vandepolder is a regular at Keramas.
Booties are advised when surfing Keramas. Fin, 14, and Marley, 13, walk along the black-sand beach to the break.
A FIVE-STAR SWELL
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.
THE KOMUNE TRIBE
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.
NEED TO KNOW
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.
GETTING THERE Qantas flies direct to Denpasar, Bali from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. qantas.com
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION Jambuluwuk Oceano Seminyak Hotel Bali jambuluwuk.com/ seminyak The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali westinnusaduabali.com Holiday Inn Resort® Bali Benoa balibenoa. holidayinnresorts.com Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta fourpointsbalikuta.com WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
BALI’S FAMILYFRIENDLY SURF SPOTS
Keramas Keramas is located on Bali’s south-east coast. It is a worldclass right-hander reef break that is suitable for micro grommets (aged 12 and under) who want to improve their surfing. When it’s cranking, it’s considered one of the best highperformance waves in the world. Night surfing here is one of the novelty options on offer. Nusa Dua ‘Chicken Wings’ is mellow in a low swell and a few feet smaller than the main peaks at Nusa Dua. It’s at the end of the reef and is fantastic for long walling righthanders.
Seminyak There are plenty of surf schools here aimed at everyone from beginners to intermediate surfers. Get up early to take advantage of morning glass. baligreensurf.net Padang Padang Beach During high tide, the long Padang Padang Right is perfect for beginners who want to practise their surfing manouevres. It’s also a nice place to hang out and enjoy local seafood.
Luxe living There are plenty of family-friendly hotels in Bali
Coconut dreams A cocktail made from fresh coconut cream? Yes, please!
Under the sea The best places to snorkel in Bali are readily accessible, just off the shore.
Cheers! The island’s best cocktail bars can be found in Seminyak.
Catching waves Be sure to choose a beach that’s right for your family – the waves can get pretty gnarly out here.
MAKING A SPLASH
Our beachfront suite is one of 38 newly opened rooms at the resort, which contributes to a total of 104. When we are not lounging around the shared infinity pool out the front of our family suite, my husband and sons have access to a wide range of clean, safe breaks within walking distance of Komune. There is also a skate park and trampoline on site, where groms can practise their airs and 180s, and a wifi connection to track the best waves across the island. During our 10-day surf trip to Bali, we also choose accommodation that marries chasing the swell with a comfortable base to chill. On our radar is Anantara Seminyak, just metres away from the shifting Seminyak sand banks, which pick up twice as much swell as nearby Kuta Beach (best-suited to beginners). We also bunker down at sister property Anantara Uluwatu, which overlooks ‘Impossibles’ and is close to breaks such as ‘Chicken Wings’ as well as world-class waves such as ‘Padang-Padang’, ‘Bingin’, ‘Uluwatu’ and ‘Nyang-Nyang’. Although it’s my boys’ first trip to Bali, they are already devoted pilgrims, dreaming of a return visit well before our footprints have faded behind us in the sand. “Mum, can we come back to Bali on another surf trip?” asks my 15-year-old son Fin. “As long as the surf ‘camp’ includes an infinity pool, spa, yoga and cocktails,” I reply, while swanning around in the pool at Anantara Uluwatu.
Marley surfing Keramas.
MORE FAMILYFRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN BALI
Image: Carla Grossetti
Eating breakfast with orangutans surrounded by lush tropical jungle is one of the most popular experiences on offer at Bali Zoo. Other animals worth marking on your map include the fierce false gharial crocodile, Asian forest tortoise and Bornean orangutan, the only genus of great apes native to Asia. bali-zoo.com
There’s no better way to appreciate the fast torrents of water rushing down Ayung River than by pinballing down through the wild jungle on an inflatable raft. A white-water rafting trip with Mason Adventures includes a gourmet lunch and complimentary hotel transfers. masonadventures.com
Asia’s ‘No. 1 water park’ has over a dozen water slides that are sure to get the adrenalin pumping. Little ones can play in the Funtastic waterplay park, while big kids can scare themselves silly on the ‘Extreme’ level rides. You can also hone your surfing skills on the Flow Rider and have a water fight with the Water Blaster. waterbom-bali.com
It’s worth the pre-dawn start to arrive on Bali’s north coast and catch an outrigger canoe to the sea to encounter resident dolphins and observe their acrobatic antics. The tour includes a swim at Banjar hot springs, a visit to Gitgit Waterfall and lunch at a restaurant on the shores of Lake Beratan. baligoldentour.com/ bali-dolphin-tour.php
WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
HOLIDAYS: STOPOVER SPOTLIGHT
48 hours in...
HILLARYS BOAT HARBOUR IT’S THE PRECINCT THAT OFTEN GETS OVERLOOKED IN FAVOUR OF ITS BIGGER WEST AUSTRALIAN COUSINS – BUT THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT ALL THE MORE SPECIAL.
Image: Rottnest Island Authority
WORDS JANEECE KELLER
Qantas launched its Perth to London route in March 2018, marking the first direct passenger service between Australia and Europe. For Perth locals, it’s a no-brainer to jump on the flight if travelling to Europe. For East Coast Australians, the route offers a new stopover city to explore – why not spend a few days in Perth before or after your London jaunt? And what better place to base yourselves than Hillarys Boat Harbour (hillarysboatharbour.com.au)? I was first introduced to Hillarys while filming for the Family Travel YouTube channel (@boundroundguides), showcasing destinations across Australia and the world through the eyes of kids. For each destination, the kids would plan their favourite activities and experiences and then – accompanied by their parents and myself (armed with a video camera and mic) – off we would go to film them having fun and explaining why they thought the destination was so great. So, on a sunny weekend in January, I was scheduled for a weekend of fun at Hillarys with a local family of four: Mum, Dad and two girls aged 11 and 15. Coming from the East Coast of Australia, I expected the weekend to include lots of time on the road (because, compared to NSW, Western Australia is so vast), but from the time I met the family at my hotel in central Perth, it was a mere 30 minutes in the car to Hillarys. The following weekend itinerary covers what the kids loved about the destination, and some of the favourite picks from us adults too. Pinky Beach, Rottnest Island
HOLIDAYS: STOPOVER SPOTLIGHT
Schools of fish amaze at AQWA.
Image: Hillarys Harbour Resort
You can’t get closer to the action than Hillarys Harbour Resort.
Guests can buy a breakfast basket at reception so they don’t have to leave the apartment with empty stomachs.
Start the morning with a coffee at Over Board Café. From the carpark, it calls for a stroll through Sorrento Quay (sorrentoquayboardwalk.com.au) – the restaurant and shopping area – a great way to get a feel for what’s around. Try to nab a table that takes in view of the marina to the Indian Ocean and beyond. Next, head to AQWA (aqwa.com. au), Australia’s largest single aquarium. It features five discovery zones
Make time to wander through the shops at Sorrento Quay. Willie Creek Pearls is a top find, not just because of the beautiful Broome pearls on sale for reasonable prices, but also because of the friendly nature of the staff and their expert knowledge. If you’re ever in the Broome area, be sure to take a daytrip to Willie Creek Pearl Farm to learn about pearl farming and see the different stages of a pearl being cultured. The tour is very interactive, with lots of opportunities for them to get involved. Plus there’s a playground on site for afterwards.
showcasing the diverse marine life that can be found along Western Australia’s 12,000km coastline. If the kids are keen to get wet, they can swim with mermaids or learn to dive or snorkel. Those aged 15 and over can even swim with sharks. After a couple of hours exploring the underwater world, head back to Sorrento Quay for lunch. From fast food to fine dining, there are options to please everyone in the family. Spend the afternoon letting the kids burn off energy at Stillwater Beach – they’ll love swimming in wave-free water to the pontoon, from which they can practise their best bombs or swan dives without worrying about getting anyone else wet.
Kids and adults alike will love AQWA’s underwater tunnel, where it feels like you’re walking among shipwrecks surrounded by schools of fish. Visiting during the Western Australian school holidays? Kids aged seven to 12 can spend a night camping ‘under the sea’, complete with a movie screening and popcorn.
Hillarys Harbour Resort (hillarysresort. com.au), located on the marina, is perfect for families. Choose from one-, two- or three-bedroom apartments, each fitted out with a fully equipped kitchen and laundry as well as dining and lounge areas. Can’t decide which room is best for you? Hop on the website for virtual tours. There’s also a pool, spa and sauna at the resort, and with Sorrento Quay right next door, there are dinner options aplenty.
WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
HOLIDAYS: STOPOVER SPOTLIGHT
Jump on Rottnest Fast Ferries (rottnestfastferries.com.au) for a day trip to visit the famed quokkas and explore Rottnest Island (rottnestisland. com). Rottnest Fast Ferries operates daily high-speed ferries from Hillarys Boat Harbour to Rottnest Island, which sits 19 kilometres off Perth’s coastline. Getting to the harbour is easy with a courtesy return coach transfer from your Perth or Scarborough hotel, which is included in the ferry ticket price. Or, for those with a car, free parking is available at the harbour. Rottnest Island is a no-cars zone, so the best way for families with young children to explore is on foot, as all the key attractions and popular beaches are within 10 minutes’ walk of each other. To explore the island’s more remote bays and scenery, the islands hop-on hopoff bus is a good option. Families with
If driving: From Perth, head north up the Mitchell Freeway for about 20 minutes. Take the Hepburn Avenue exit and drive west. When you see the ocean, you will see the harbour; it’s about 10 minutes from the freeway. If catching public transport: From Perth, take the Joondalup Line train and alight at Warwick or Stirling stations. Transfer to the 423 bus, which will take you directly to Hillarys Boat Harbour.
older kids could consider exploring the island by bike. Book the bus, as well as daytrip extras like bikes and snorkelling equipment, through Rottnest Fast Ferries and you’ll have everything you need for a fun family day out. For the self-guided cycling families, once you’ve got your bikes, grab morning tea at the Rottnest Bakery and then head out on the cycle path to explore the beaches and bays. Little Salmon Bay is one of the best places to snorkel – keep your eyes peeled for the underwater information signs. If you’re looking for guided activities, book a marine adventure tour with Eco Express, where you’ll get the chance to see New Zealand fur seals, dolphins and whales. For the older adrenalin seekers, there’s skydiving, joy flights and helicopter rides on offer too. And for kids who can’t get enough of the water, there’s the Just 4 Fun Aqua Park, complete with slides, giant see-saws, water volleyball, an obstacle course and so much more. At the end of your day, jump back on the ferry for the trip back to Hillarys Boat Harbour. Enjoy a sunset here for a beautiful finish to a weekend.
WANT TO SEE THIS TRIP IN ACTION?
Head on over to our YouTube channel (@boundroundguides) for videos from the Hillarys Boat Harbour and Rottnest Island excursions.
Fishing at Hillarys Boat Harbour.
Image: Tourism Western Australia
Traverse the see between Hillarys Boat Harbour and Rottnest Island with Rottnest Fast Ferries.
Rottnest Island got its name from the Dutch – when they landed there, they thought the quokkas looked like giant rats, hence ‘rats’ nest.
Image: Willie Creek Pearls
Get your hands on some real precious pearls at Willie Creek Pearls.
FIVE REASONS WE LOVE HILLARYS BOAT HARBOUR 01 Free parking all day, every day. 02 Swimming at Stillwater Beach and jumping off the pontoon. 03 Fishing off the jetty. 04 The BBQ area and park, where you can BYO food to picnic under the trees. 05 Shopping!
A 91 Southside Drive, Hillarys 6025 T 9447 7500 | W aqwa.com.au We are open everyday 10am â€“ 5pm
williecreekpearls.com.au Shop 66 Sorrento Quay Boardwalk Hillarys Boat Harbour, Western Australia lateralaspect.AQW2576
WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
7-day Pandamonium + Yangtze River Cruise family holiday in China
2 Adults & 2 Children
Give the kids a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the famous Pandas of Chengdu Sanctuary International flights included from Australia Travel with an English speaking guide Cruise the magnificent Yangtze River with lots of optional excursions available so you can choose your own adventure Multiple departure dates in 2018 including school holidays 7 days for $4,149 for 2 Adults and 2 Children ex SYD/MEL We have multiple packages for families of all sizes, up to 2 Adults and 5 Children
$4,149 per family
Visit familytravel.com.au or call 1300 404 100 to book Find a holiday deal that works for your family
NAVIGATE NEWS, REVIEWS & EXPERT OPINIONS
WE REVIEW: CAPE CODDER RESORT & SPA A family-focused hotel.
EAT & DRINK Fun family foodie adventures in Sydney.
WE REVIEW: OAKS ON MARKET A superb Melbourne stay.
WE REVIEW: SOFITEL FIJI RESORT & SPA Luxury and location.
IN THE AIR Get the whole crew flying like a boss.
TALK TO THE EXPERT We have all your travel questions answered.
TALKING TRAVEL With Aimee Cadan, the Trade and Industry Marketing Manager for Tourism NT.
WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Navigate: Eat & drink
FOODIE ADVENTURES IN…SYDNEY
Eating together as a family is a hugely satisfying experience, made even better when everyone in the family enjoys their meal. Each issue we’ll shine the spotlight on a few key restaurants doing it right in one foodie hotspot. Here, our Sydney lowdown.
SPAGHETTI & SPRITZ
It sounds too good to be true? Pasta for the kidlets and pasta and spritz for the kids at heart? Mark + Vinny’s opened to high acclaim early April 2018 in Surry Hills and everyone is still talking (and we’re confident will be for a while yet). At the modern and airy eatery families can enjoy old-school pasta classics alongside modern takes traditional dishes,. The menu evokes the comfort of home cooking, encouraging family-style sharing, but with the innovation and buzz all adding to the experience. Old-School classics use fresh pasta – made both in-house or exclusively by awardwinning pasta maker Joe Cassaniti of Peppes Pasta. Traditional dishes include cacio e pepe spaghetti with pecorino romano, and modern variations include vegan carbonara made with vegan egg yolk. For mums and dads, the drinks menu includes around 50 spritz options (with one named after Vince’s close friend Delta Goodrem called The Delta Spritz) and an extensive cocktail selection, wine and beer. markandvinnys.com
Words: Tatyana Leonov
PUT THE SOCIAL BACK IN SOCIAL GATHERING
Televisions, phones, iPads, tablets… sometimes it’s hard to get away from the digital world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could lock away all your devices for a short while? At Contact Bar & Kitchen, located in the back-streets of Woolloomooloo, meal times are all about ‘digital detoxing’ – the idea being that families and friends are there to connect with the food and the people around them. When guests arrive at the restaurant, phones and all electronic devices are locked away in a secure compartment, ensuring that the dining experience really is digital device-free. Then, it’s all feasting on beautiful Italian- and Japaneseinspired cuisine. contact-sydney.com.au
Why not take the family on a multicultural foodie adventure right in Sydney? Taste Cultural Tours Inc. is a social enterprise charity running ood tours the whole family will enjoy. Led by local guides, the tours are designed to take visitors on a journey into an area of Sydney they might not otherwise be familiar with, but also on a journey into another culture. There are plenty of tours to choose from, including a tour of Merrylands focusing on Afghan, Turkish and Iranian food, a tour of Harris Park indulging in Indian and Pakistani food, and a Vietnamese and IndoChinese food walk through the streets of Cabramatta. All food is included on the tours and no-one ever goes hungry. tastetours.com.au
Oaks Hotels & Resorts feature seven properties spanning the CBD, Southbank and South Yarra, offering spacious, self-contained accommodation, well suited to families travelling for leisure.
Visit oakshotels.com to book and join MyOaks to receive 10% OFF, early check-in, late check-out and kids eat free!*
13 62 57
*Terms and conditions apply. Kids eat free is valid at Oaks on Market, Oaks on Collins and WRAP on Southbank. One child eats free per one full paying adult. Valid from the dedicated kids menu for kids 12 years and under. OAK3080
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WORDS ELISA ELWIN
Boasting a superb CBD location, Oaks on Market is just a short stroll from Flinders Street Station and Bourke Street Mall, together with all the restaurants, cafés and bars that bring Melbourne’s legendary laneway culture to life. It’s within walking distance of the lively Southbank Promenade and the museums of Federation Square, as well as the Eureka Skydeck. A 30-minute tram ride will see you on the sands of St Kilda, and Melbourne Airport is just 40 minutes to the north.
WHY WE STAYED HERE
Having just put the finishing touches on their multimillion-dollar refurbishment, we were eager to experience the stylishly upgraded studios and apartments of Oaks on Market. Its central Melbourne location is second to none, making it the perfect setting for families to base
FAMILY TRAVEL TIP When those little legs start to get tired towards the end of the day, just jump aboard Melbourne’s free City Circle tram service – it runs every 12 minutes and accesses most of the city’s tourist attractions.
themselves while exploring everything this cultural and artistic hub has to offer.
Oaks on Market has 280 air-conditioned guest rooms set within its striking tower complex, combining modern studios with spacious one- and two-bedroom apartments. For those travelling with kids, the two-bedroom apartments are ideal, with spacious living and dining areas as well as a kitchenette where you can prepare meals and snacks. Getting ready each morning is made that much easier with the inclusion of the recently revamped bathrooms, and you’ll be one of the first to enjoy the newly laid carpets, contemporary lighting and interior design features of the impressive facelift.
FAMILY TRAVEL TIP
If you need some downtime from sightseeing, Oaks on Market boasts its own heated indoor lap-pool, sauna and spa, as well as a fully
Want a room with a view? Opt for one of Oaks on Market’s two-bedroom ‘View’ apartments to wake up to glorious outlook of Melbourne’s city skyline. Want 10 per cent off? Enter promo code MYOAKS when booking.
equipped gymnasium for parents who don’t want to miss their daily workouts. You can also take advantage of the free wi-fi that’s available throughout the property to stream kid-friendly TV shows and movies online.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
You don’t have to go far to experience Melbourne’s famed gastronomy, with on-site restaurant Oak & Vine serving up an innovative menu that draws on Victoria’s award-winning wine and food makers. Relax in the alfrescostyle eatery with a drink at the end of a day’s exploration, or take a short stroll to a whole host of eateries in the immediate surrounds, from cheap and cheerful to fine dining and everything in between.
A 12-minute walk will see you in the heart of Federation Square, home to Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), which always has something engaging for families to discover in the world of film and digital culture. Head to Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium to get up close to crocodiles, penguins and sharks, or get a bird’seye view of the lively Docklands entertainment precinct while riding the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. Delve into Melbourne’s culinary culture at Queen Victoria Market, or spend an afternoon discovering the city’s vibrant street-art scene on a self-guided walking tour.
OAKS ON MARKET
60 Market Street, Melbourne, Victoria 03 8631 1111 oakshotels.com WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
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CAPE CODDER RESORT & SPA WORDS JANEECE KELLER
CAPE CODDER RESORT & SPA
Located off a main highway as you drive on to the Cape Cod peninsula between Barnstable and Hyannis, Cape Codder Resort & Spa is a 10-minute drive to the beach in either direction. Nearby Main Street is full of restaurants, shops and home to John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, and self-drive families will be happy to hear the resort has easy access to Highway 6, which runs the length of the Cape. For those flying in, Barnstable Municipal Airport is just over three kilometres away.
WHY WE STAYED HERE
1225 Iyannough Road, Hyannis, MA +1 855 861 4370
On a road trip from Boston to New York to appreciate the autumn hues and movement, we wanted to base ourselves centrally on Cape Cod to explore America’s favourite east coast summer family holiday spot. And when you’re travelling with active kids, it’s hard to resist staying at a place with an indoor-outdoor waterpark with waterslides, rapids and a wave pool. Add to that a 24-person jacuzzi and an array of dining options and you’ll soon realise Cape Codder Resort & Spa is a truly family focused hotel.
FAMILY TRAVEL TIP One of the best ways to explore Cape Cod with kids is by bike. The 40km Cape Cod Rail Trail is one of the most scenic routes around the cape. The route is paved and mostly flat, so it's great for kids who can cycle.
We booked an accessible family suite that can easily sleep up to six guests. The master bedroom boasts a large ensuite with twin sinks and a roll-in shower. The oversized living room is equipped with a large L-shaped sofa, which converts to a queen bed, and big windows overlooking the waterpark. The kitchette has a four-person dining table, and the second bathroom makes the morning ‘get ready’ routine faster than at home. The whole resort is nautical-themed and the artworks in the rooms are all by local artists.
The waterpark – with its three-storey lighthouse, lazy river, waterslides and fountains – is open all year. During the cooler months, the roof is closed and the warmth and fun draws you in after a day on the windswept beaches of the Cape. Over summer, the roof opens to create an outdoor waterpark and a great place to cool off after adventures at the Cape Cod National Seashore or taking the Hyannis Kennedy Legacy Trail (kennedylegacytrail.com). There’s a second heated pool outdoors and an arcade full of games for the kids. For adults, there’s live music in the evenings and, over summer, bonfires to roast marshmallows over.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Try traditional New England fare at the Hearth’n Kettle restaurant, which is also a great breakfast choice. It’s a casual dining establishment, so the kids won’t feel out of place. We spent a Saturday night at Grand Cru Wine Bar & Grill, eating wings, drinking beers and relaxing to the vocal stylings of a local jazz singer. During the summer season, you can eat outside on The Deck or sit around a bonfire.
Cape Cod is the perfect holiday destination for families who love nature and history. Head to Martha’s Vineyard to see the island’s oldest one-room schoolhouse, then settle in for a coastal sunset. The Cape is so oddly shaped that it had to be decorated with more lighthouses than usual, all in different shapes, sizes and colours. Hop aboard a ferry tour and see how many you can spot; the oldest – Highland Light, built in 1797 – can be accessed on land and climbed between April and October.
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SOFITEL FIJI RESORT & SPA WORDS ELISA ELWIN
Encompassed by lush tropical gardens and overlooking the sparkling waters of Nadi Bay, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa boasts a prime setting on Denarau Island – it’s just a short stroll to Denarau Marina and its island-hopping day trips.
WHY WE STAYED HERE Sofitel Fiji’s innovative design offers the best of both worlds: a dedicated family section with its own pool, and the adults-only Waitui Beach Club, where parents can escape for some ‘me time’. Plus, the lobby boasts the Pacific’s very first resort check-in service, so if you’re flying with Fiji Airways, just leave your bags at the designated counter in the leadup to your return flight and enjoy everything the resort has to offer for that little bit longer.
Sofitel Fiji has just shy of 300 luxurious rooms and suites overlooking the ocean, each with super-comfy signature Sofitel MyBeds and indulgent Pure Fiji amenities. Family rooms feature spacious master
bedrooms and a separate kids’ area that’s creatively equipped with two bunk beds and a PlayStation 3.
From fish feeding and coconut painting to beach soccer and basket making, there’s a jam-packed program of kids’ activities every day at Turtle Club. Parents can join in the fun for pottery making and woodcarving demonstrations or get active during friendly games of touch rugby and pool volleyball. Settle in with a bag of popcorn at Sofitel Fiji’s very own outdoor cinema, or experience a traditional Fijian lovo feast and dance performances come nightfall.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Whether you’re craving Frenchinspired treats, pizzas by the pool or Fijian fusion cuisine, Sofitel Fiji has an abundance of dining options to suit all tastes.
FAMILY TRAVEL TIP Leave the kids in the capable hands of the Turtle Club staff and enjoy an adults-only break at the aforementioned Waitui Beach Club. The all-inclusive free-pour cocktails in the evenings are more than worth the day-pass price tag!
SOFITEL FIJI RESORT & SPA Denarau Island, Nadi +679 675 1111 sofitel-fiji.com
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Navigate: Flight tips
IN THE AIR Flying with a family has become the new norm, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here are our tips to getting the whole crew flying like a boss. WORDS JAC TAYLOR
As a general rule, under-twos don’t have a seat booked – they spend take-off and landing in their carer’s lap with a seatbelt extension, and travel in a plane-fitted bassinet when allowed. Check whether your infant needs their own ticket – rules can be different depending on the airline and whether it is a domestic or international flight. If you are happy to spend the extra money, consider booking an extra seat for your infant and bringing their rear-facing car seat/bassinet (which needs to be pre-approved with the airline). You also get exceptions to the liquids and gels security rules to bring baby food and drinks. Feed bubs on take-off and landing to equalise their ear pressure and minimise discomfort.
TWO TO FIVE
Now the fun begins! Invest in a pair of kids’ headphones (that limit volume so your child doesn’t get deafened by every in-flight announcement) and relax your screen-time rules. A soft bag of new little mini-toys, each introduced at the first sign of chaos, is a lifesaver. For a long-haul flight, a journeybreaking stopover means a bed for the night but also the whole checkin rigmarole – your choice. A whole range of foot hammocks, inflatable legs-up cube pillows and the very comfy-looking BedBox temporarily made flying with this age group so much easier, but don’t rely on them, as their use will depend on the airline’s discretion.
FIVE TO EIGHT
Time to kit them up: a cute neck pillow, an eye mask and a mini carry-on and they’ll be strutting (and you might even score some sleep – this age group actually has a chance of sleeping on a red-eye flight). Look out for special frequent-flyer program passports and activity books, as well as onboard activity packs. Lounge access can be worth the money to combat airport restlessness and growing appetites, with some lounges offering kids’ zones. An iPad or tablet with headphones is a great idea, as is checking ahead whether your plane will have in-seat USB charging. Don’t forget to bring your charging cables and perhaps even a powerbank, but keep in mind that rules often change with flights, so keep your I Spy game as a back-up.
NINE TO 12
Have more than one child? Bring a headphone splitter for maximum peace and tranquility. Bring a swag of snacks to not only combat hunger but boredom too, some sweets to suck on to help their ears equalise, and an extra plastic bag for rubbish. This age group is fine with the bathroom, so encourage hydration as much as you can as well as a ‘shoes on’ policy for bathroom trips. Some airlines have a child lock on inappropriate movies and offer paid wi-fi onboard – worth exploring to avoid a $600 call to a mate. Even a pre-teen can get bored of movies, so bring some post-its and a pen to play 20 Questions, a deck of cards for Go Fish, Rummy or Patience, and mini magnetic games such as Scrabble to burn up a few hours.
Navigate: Expert advice
TALK TO THE EXPERT When only the best advice will do.
Melanie Whyte is a Travel With Kidz (travelwithkidz.com.au) family travel specialist based in Devonport, Tasmania. With more than 18 years of experience as a travel agent, Melanie is passionate about helping families plan their perfect trip. She has visited 42 countries (and counting), and loves exploring her home state with her family. Here are her hot tips for travelling with yours…
destination; all phone and tablet chargers; noise-cancelling headphones; a spare full set of clothes, for spillages; and, of course, wipes. Let the kids get involved in packing their own hand luggage so they have a say in what they can’t do without.
WHAT OVERSEAS DESTINATIONS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR A FIRST OVERSEAS FAMILY TRIP, AND WHY? Fiji is one of my top recommendations. It’s close to Australia with access via direct flights from every major east coast city and Adelaide. It’s a quick flight, too – so easy to manage with little people. In Fiji, holidaying is generally a comfortable experience for families. There are no language barriers, there’s a decent selection of food on offer – ranging from hotel buffets to casual eateries on the street, and the people are just divine – considered by many to be the friendliest in the world! WHAT ARE YOU FAVOURITE OVERSEAS FAMILY DESTINATIONS, AND WHY? I love to cruise! You only need to unpack once, budgeting is easy as everything is included, there are no long-haul flights involved because most Australian cruises leave from Sydney, and parents get a break thanks to the fantastic kids’ clubs on many of the big ships. Apart from the comfort and convenience of living on a huge ship, another big plus is that many cruises visit a number of overseas destinations, so families get to experience a range of cultures while on the one holiday. South Pacific cruises are especially popular with Australians, as many of the island countries are easily accessible by cruise ship. WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN POINTS OF ADVICE FOR FAMILIES VENTURING OVERSEAS? Always talk to the children before leaving to make sure they know what they’re up for, to avoid any potential problems. If you’re doing a lot of travelling on your trip rather than a ‘flop and drop’, schedule in rest days to recuperate. DO YOU HAVE ANY GREAT TIPS FOR PACKING HAND LUGGAGE? Always pack the things you can’t live without in hand luggage – special teddies or blankies; the one snack you know your kids will be happy with, in case you can’t buy it at your
WHAT KIND OF PLANNING DO FAMILIES NEED TO DO WHEN IT COMES TO TRAVELLING ABROAD? Get a good travel agent! Take copies of everyone’s passports and email them to an email account that can be accessed overseas if need be. Ensure global roaming has been set on your phone. See a qualified travel doctor about immunisations, as the recommendations differ for children. Take schoolwork if you’re away for a significant length of time during term. Register your stay with Smartraveller and ensure someone at home has a detailed copy of your itinerary. Speak to your bank to ensure they will allow overseas transactions, and give someone at home the authority to act on your behalf (this can usually be done with a signed letter before you go). WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE WHEN IT COMES TO CHOOSING TRAVEL INSURANCE? Always get travel insurance! Many credit cards have insurance attached if you paid for the holiday using that same credit card, but make sure you have read the Product Disclosure Statement, paying particular attention to medical evacuation, coverage of family members, standard policy excess, and coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE WOULD YOU SUGGEST FAMILIES BOOK OVERSEAS TRAVEL, AND WHY? As far in advance as possible, but not too soon because often the special rates aren’t released more than 10 months in advance. Booking early ensures that you’ll get the pick of the bunch with availability, as opposed to having to settle for what is left. It pays to plan Smartraveller ahead with thinking about holidays. (smartraveller.gov.au) is a brilliant resource to WHAT IS ONE THING YOU NEVER LEAVE consult prior to making HOME WITHOUT WHEN TRAVELLING WITH plans. On it, you can get THE FAMILY, AND WHY? travel advice, check the The kids! [Laughs] No, apart from the obvious safety of destinations and things like passports and ariline tickets, register your itinerary so the it’s always my phone. With that I can take Australian Government can pictures, access my itinerary, and keep family easily get in touch with you, members posted on our progress. And I never if need be. forget Teddy! WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Navigate: GET TO KNOW
TALKING TRAVEL with Aimee Cadan
What better person to promote the Northern Territory than someone who has spent almost her entire life there? Aimee Cadan is Trade and Industry Marketing Manager for Tourism NT and she knows her home state better than most! She now lives in Alice Springs with her husband, Shane, and their two precious girls, Madelyn, four, and Chloe, two, and couldn’t wait to chat to us about her favourite family holidays. MY IDEAL HOLIDAY INVOLVES… getting the girls exploring the outdoors. Work, childcare and school make it hard to find the time to enjoy it; we’re tired, the kids are tired and there’s always something more important that we think needs doing. So, often, screen time becomes the easiest downtime! Holidays are the times to get outside. ONE OF MY FAVOURITE FAMILY HOLIDAY MEMORIES IS… actually something really simple. It was Adelaide last year; Maddy was three and Chloe was just 10 months old. We stayed in Glenelg, right across from the beach. There was nothing in particular we did on that holiday that made it such a favourite, besides making a point of having no plans. We went to the beach every day and the girls collected shells, built sandcastles and looked out for dolphins. WHAT REALLY MAKES A GREAT FAMILY HOLIDAY IS… staying close to the action – and by that I don’t mean a hotel above the
nightclubs! I mean if you’re going to the beach, stay within walking distance of the beach. If you’re going for a country escape, stay near the town centre or a park. Stay somewhere you don’t have to constantly load up the car to find something to do. What makes a great family holiday is making it easy to keep the kids entertained at short notice. If you’re relaxed, the kids will be too. EVERY FAMILY SHOULD GO TO... the Red Centre. I know I’m biased because I grew up there, but Alice Springs is honestly a fantastic place for young families. The weather in winter is perfect, but even in summer it’s easy to plan your days around the heat. On those scorching days, I take the girls to Alice Springs Desert Park in the morning for the 10am Birds Of Prey Show with a quick tour of the Nocturnal House, and make it home in time for lunch and naps before it gets too hot. There’s also a great indoor Aquatic & Leisure Centre, so you can wear the kids out at any time of the year. When the weather is cooler, there ar many walking tracks close to town to explore. I’ve lost count of the number of times the girls have seen kangaroos and wallabies in the wild here . OUR NEXT HOLIDAY WILL BE TO… Townsville. Shane and I lived there for a few years before we had kids, and we’re looking forward to taking them back for a tropical holiday and a friend’s wedding. MY TOP TIP FOR TRAVELLING WITH KIDS IS… plan your days around the kids and their routines. Don’t try to cram too much in, because everyone will
just get tired and grumpy and all you’ll remember about the holiday is how hard it was. As an example, in Alice Springs, the closest waterhole – Ellery Creek Big Hole in the West MacDonnell Ranges – is a 45-minute drive away. Often we pack a picnic for the morning and time our drive home for when the girls are due for their midday sleeps. It’s all about working within your means. THE BEST THING ABOUT LIFE IS… being our kids’ best friends. They can be exhausting and needy, but they are also genuinely so excited to spend time with us. Soon enough they’ll be teenagers and won’t want to know us, so I’m trying to remember to enjoy it while I can.
WHAT’S ON We’ve found the top events around the country.
WHAT’S HOT The best in Australian travel news.
DREAMWORLD Put your hair up in the air and get ready to stroll – Dreamworld’s Trolls Village is now open!
RUBY COLLECTION A complete family experience.
PLAY... IN CANBERRA Canberra is the perfect spot for a getaway.
PLAY... IN ADELAIDE Adelaide is a thriving hub of entertainment.
PLAY... IN DARWIN This tropical harbour city has plenty to do and see
THE INSIDE SCOOP This indoor activities are sure to inspire your next rainy-day adventure. A JAUNT IN JINDABYNE Snow, sleep, repeat – what more could a family want? COOL CAMPERS The best spots around Australia for winter camping fun.
REFLECTIONS Get outdoors this winter at a Reflections Holiday Park. WINTER ADVENTURES How to make this season’s getaway your best one yet.. HAPPY SNAP Get to know the Families of Australia.
WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
JULY 22 MINDIL BEACH, NT
Darwin Lions’ Beer Can Regatta Believe it or not, the sandcastle-building and thong-throwing competitions are not the highlight of this true-blue event. Crowds flock to Mindil Beach to see best boats made out of beer and soft drink cans. beercanregatta.org.au
Don’t miss a beat! As the temperature plummets, Australia’s family-focused calendar turns up the heat. July, August and September bring everything from floating lanterns and food trucks to beach sculptures and boats made out of drink cans. While away the winter with this kid-friendly collection of festivals, sports events, concerts and more. JULY 6-8 TOWNSVILLE, QLD
WATPAC TOWNSVILLE 400 This high-octane car race celebrates its 10th anniversary with John Farnham and the Daryl Braithwaite, who are set to perform at the event. supercars.com/townsville JULY 7-22 BATHURST, NSW
BATHURST WINTER FESTIVAL This fortnight of fun in regional NSW includes a Ferris wheel, dance party, large-scale projections on local buildings and even an ice rink. Don’t forget your winter woollies! bathurstwinterfestival. com.au
belly-dancing, rickshaw racing, rides and food stalls at Blatherskite Park. alicesprings.nt.gov.au JULY 13-22 MARGARET RIVER, WA
Get cosy and enjoy chocolate, cheese, coffee and a food-truck frenzy in front of a bonfire and live music. cabinfeverfest.com.au JULY 27-AUGUST 5 TOWNSVILLE, QLD
AUSTRALIAN FESTIVAL OF CHAMBER MUSIC
This celebration of all things orchestral includes a special family concert called Ahoy!: Sing For The Mary Rose, which tells the story of King Henry VIII’s battleship through music and interactivity. afcm.com.au AUGUST 2-5 HOBART, TAS
AUSTRALIAN ANTARCTIC FESTIVAL JULY 14 ALICE SPRINGS, NT
The short-tempered twohumped stars of the show make this racing event all the more entertaining. The program also features
March with the penguins and discover what life is like in Antarctica, the coldest, driest place on Earth. Lectures, workshops, photography competitions and even a peek onboard a research vessel showcase the secrets of the icy continent. antarcticfestival.com.au
AUGUST 8-12 MOUNT ISA, QLD
AUGUST 9-12 ADELAIDE, SA
The biggest rodeo in the southern hemisphere includes a street party, sunset parade and concert – and that’s just on opening night! Stick around for bull rides and barrel racing. isarodeo.com.au
Whether you’re a fan of rock, jazz, folk, country, classical or just love a little live music, you’ll enjoy the City of Music’s finest offering. FYI, The Family Bushdance is a must! adelaideguitarfestival. com.au
MOUNT ISA MINES ROTARY RODEO
ADELAIDE GUITAR FESTIVAL
JULY 26-29 DEVONPORT, TAS
Devonport Jazz Festival
The top picks from this year’s musical mayhem include gospel singing from local choirs, reimagined nursery songs from Django’s Tiger and an all-ages mini food-truck festival. devonportjazz.com
AUGUST 24-25 CONDOBOLIN, NSW
Condobolin Show The catalogue of competitions makes this event an awesome showcase of Condo’s best – from livestock and fresh produce to cooking, floral displays and photography. agshowsnsw.org.au
AUGUST 18 ALICE SPRINGS, NT
hands-on workshops, seminars and storytelling. mwf.com.au
Under-12s will love the egg-and-spoon and three-legged races, but the grand finale is the Battle Of The Boats, a boat race conducted entirely on land! henleyontodd.com.au
AUGUST 25-SEPTEMBER 2 BROOME, WA
HENLEY ON TODD REGATTA
AUGUST 18 SYDNEY, NSW
Australia’s Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks meet head-to-head at the opening game of this legendary rugby tournament. anzstadium.com.au AUGUST 24-SEPTEMBER 2 MELBOURNE, VIC
MELBOURNE WRITERS FESTIVAL
Littlies and teens are catered for in equal measure with author meet-and-greets,
Broome comes alive for this ‘Festival of the Pearl’, which includes a multicultural parade and floating lantern ceremony at Gantheaume Point. shinjumatsuri.com.au AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 1 BIRDSVILLE, QLD
The most famous races of the outback began in 1882, and have since added a fun run and live performances to the exciting agenda. birdsvilleraces.com AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 9 ADELAIDE, SA
ROYAL ADELAIDE SHOW Things have certainly
changed since Adelaide’s first livestock show in 1843 – but you’ll still be able to see cattle, sheep, pigs and horses in a parade of more than 700 animals. theshow.com.au SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 13 ALICE SPRINGS, NT
DESERT FESTIVAL Music, dance and more of the creative arts are enjoyed indoors and in the open air at this annual arts festival. desfest.com
SEPTEMBER 1 BENDIGO, VIC
WHITE NIGHT BENDIGO
A worldwide celebration of things that light up and go bump in the night, this quirky festival includes film screenings, sculpture installations, live shows and projections after dark. FYI, the local food and wine scene is pleasantly surprising. whitenight.com.au/bendigo SEPTEMBER 5-9 LAUNCESTON, TAS
JUNCTION ARTS FESTIVAL
The catchcry of this unique event – “extraordinary experiences in unusual spaces” – sums its up perfectly. Tassie artists, musicians and foodies showcase their works and wares in churches, car parks, shopfronts and halls all over town. junctionartsfestival.com.au
SEPTEMBER 21-30 TOOWOOMBA, QLD
TOOWOOMBA CARNIVAL OF FLOWERS
SEPTEMBER 8-29 BRISBANE, QLD
Brisbane hosts drama, music, opera and circus events as part of this major international arts festival. The merry-making reaches its pyrotechnic climax with the Sunsuper Riverfire display at South Bank’s Cultural Forecourt. brisbanefestival.com.au SEPTEMBER 14-23 GOLD COAST, QLD
SWELL SCULPTURE FESTIVAL
Currumbin Beach turns into an outdoor art gallery with this free sculpture exhibition featuring interactive large-scale masterpieces, children’s workshops and a music stage. swellsculpture.com.au
Huge flower displays are planted by volunteers citywide (more than 150,000 seeds and bulbs are sowed each year), with Queens Park and Laurel Bank Park being the showstoppers. The Grand Central Floral Parade and Night Garden light installation are great fun, too. tcof.com.au SEPTEMBER 22 COWRA, NSW
SAKURA MATSURI CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL Watch tai chi and bonsai demonstrations, tea ceremonies, taiko drumming and martial arts in Cowra’s peaceful Japanese garden as it transforms into a sea of pink blossoms for spring. visitcowra.com.au SEPTEMBER 22-29 PERTH, WA
PERTH ROYAL SHOW
You’d be hard-pressed to see everything on offer at this event – there’s a woodchopping arena, familyfun stage, milking station, sheepdog demonstrations and even diving pigs! perthroyalshow.com.au SEPTEMBER 28-OCTOBER 7 ALICE SPRINGS, NT
SEPTEMBER 15-OCTOBER 14 CANBERRA, ACT
Our nation’s capital turns into a kaleidoscope of colour when a million tulips bloom for this annual festival. Sculpture displays, twilight concerts, garden-gnome painting, circus shows and a fairy visit are all on the cards. floriadeaustralia.com
PARRTJIMA: A FESTIVAL IN LIGHT
The name of this Northern Territory festival comes from Arrernte language and means ‘shed light and understanding’. A new light is indeed cast on Aboriginal storytelling and tradition through the multimedia works of collaborating artists. parrtjimaaustralia.com.au
SEPTEMBER 13-30 MELBOURNE, VIC
Melbourne Fringe Festival You’ll find a circus show, puppetry performance, dinosaur time-machine and BMX bike tricks on the kid-friendly line-up of this weird and wacky festival. melbournefringe.com.au
OAWK: News bites The call of the wild If you’re looking for an awe-inspiring experience like no other, one that will give every member of your family a thrill, then look no further than a visit to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. Spanning 300 hectares, this open-range zoo is globally recognised for its commitment to conservation, as well as its breeding and care programs for endangered species. In March 2018, the newest exhibit (and the largest investment in the zoo’s history) opened. Lion Pride Lands is a 3.5-hectare immersive safari precinct; focused on the conservation and breeding of lions, it offers an unrivalled opportunity for families to get up close to these magnificent creatures. Make time for an adventure through the savannah in the purpose-built Pride Lands Patrol and marvel as lions stalk over to get a good look at you through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows of the vehicle. The cubs love to play cat and mouse with smaller kids in particular, and will playfully swat at them through the glass. It’s amazing to stand so close to these apex predators with your hand pressed to the window and their fur and noses pressed to the glass, mere millimetres between you. With a 6km circuit throughout the zoo to explore, there are plenty of animals to see and opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the huge importance of the zoo’s programs and the role we can all play in animal and environmental conservation. If you’re keen for a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience, make sure you book a night at the on-site Zoofari Lodge. Overlooking a paddock where giraffes, elands and zebras roam, the 15 luxurious African-style lodges provide the perfect arena from which to observe the animals awaken at sunrise in tranquil silence. All who stay at the lodges are given the opportunity to participate in exclusive behind-the-scenes animal encounters not available to general visitors. Go on a night safari and watch the cheeky antics of two resident Asian elephants as they are fed their evening meal, then follow it up at dawn when you get to hand-feed the giraffes. These experiences take your breath away and leave an imprint on the kids that will last a lifetime. taronga.org.au/taronga-western-plains-zoo
50 years young Australia’s biggest urban park is celebrating its 50th birthday with an awesome array of free events and activities. Western Sydney Parklands, known affectionately as Sydney’s biggest backyard, is going ‘on show’ from July 20 to August 4. The ‘Parklands On Show’ party kicks off with a special open day on Friday July 20, involving food trucks, dog walking, tree planting and cycling in the Wylde Mountain bike park. This is a nice taster for Going Wylde Day on August 4, a bike-riding event hosted by celebrity riders on the mountain trails. Other events during ‘On Show’ include Aboriginal stargazing, birdwatching and the chance to do a lap of a Sydney Motorsport Park circuit in the family car. westernsydneyparklands.com.au/ about-us/celebrating-50-years/
Natureadventures Arkaba (Wild Bush Luxury’s almost 25,000-hectare sheep station turned private wildlife conservancy in South Australia’s Ikara-Flinders Ranges) is a place for preserving nature, restoring habitat and protecting rare and endangered species. Luckily for us, it’s also the perfect place to share family time in beautiful surrounds of nature and wildlife. There’s a guest-toland ratio of 1:3035 hectares, and the only things you’ll bump in to are big red kangaroos bouncing about, wedge-tailed eagles soaring overhead and young emu chicks wandering around their fathers’ feet. Watch wildlife on the move from the comfort of a safari vehicle, share stories around the old wool-classing table at
Arkaba’s historic homestead and soar above mountain ranges in a helicopter for a private picnic your family will never forget. Spend time on country with Pauline McKenzie, who shares stories of her Adnamatna culture, Australia’s first people. Learn how to track wildlife using their habits and behaviours, create your own sundial and make string with native rice flowers. However you do Arkaba, your family will be on the receiving end of a fully guided, passionately shared outback experience. Better still, your Arkaba experience means giving back; by staying here, your family is directly contributing to Arkaba’s conservation mission. arkabaconservancy.com
Calling all cricket fans! If anyone in the family is into cricket and sport (there’salways at least one in every family), the behind-the-scenes guided walking tour of the Sydney Cricket and Sporting Ground Trust Precinct will provide for a fun day out. The tours (which run most days of the year, generally at 10am) cater to all ages and may include checking out the Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting’s and even Don Bradman’s old spot in the change area in the Australian Cricket Team dressing room. Get up close to the SCG’s famous field of play, visit the television commentary box and the press rooms, soak up the views from the top of the SCG and Allianz Stadium grandstands, and get exclusive entry into the SCG Museum where you can see sporting treasures of all sorts. Kids and adults will enjoy hearing about Australian sporting heroes right among where the action takes place. It’s an exciting tour for everyone – locals, tourists and of course sports lovers! scgt.nsw.gov.au/visit-us/tours/
Living the luxe life
Be among the first to experience this family oriented five-star Gold Coast escape. An eight-minute hop, skip and jump to Surfers Paradise Beach, Ruby Apartments will open its doors to holidaying families in November 2018, so now’s the time to book one of its 230 apartments or 13 ground-floor villas for groups of up to eight. Chill out in spacious one-, two- or three-bedroom abodes and enjoy the convenience of your own kitchen (to prepare yummy beach picnics) and laundry (to wash off all that sand and sunscreen). It may be kid-friendly, but Ruby Apartments also amps up the luxury factor for grown-ups wanting some ‘me time’. A fully supervised kids’ club for three- to 12-year-olds will be launched at the start of 2019. Known as the Rocket Club, it be nestled in its very own space station featuring a 3D movie theatre, multi-purpose sport court and science lab. therubycollection.com.au
ily Famgetaway Kingfisher Bay Resort blends active with environmentally friendly, stirs in a relaxing resortstyle getaway and adds a dash of Fraser Island’s unique flavour to cook up the ideal family holiday. The showstopper is Kingfisher’s Junior Eco Rangers program for five- to 14-year-olds. Run by experienced rangers during school holidays, the daily activities include fishing, treasure hunts, craft, stargazing, bushwalks and beach games. Kids will return home as mini eco-warriors after exploring the world’s largest sand island. Want to venture out as a family? Book one of Kingfisher’s selfguided or group tours – think
a canoe paddle tour, a bush tucker walk, an eco walk and a night tour. Make the most of the on-site tennis courts, swimming pools, restaurants, games room and play equipment. Kick back on the balcony of a self-contained villa or enjoy the perks of an interconnecting family room. Kingfisher has set itself up as a great starting point from which to immerse yourself in the natural spectacles that earned Fraser Island its UNESCO World Heritage listing. Check out the famous Champagne Pools, Cathedrals cliffs, Maheno shipwreck, Lake McKenzie, 75 Mile Beach and sand dunes. kingfisherbay.com
5TH T H NIG
Fun on Fraser Island for the whole family at Kingfisher Bay Resort! The kids will love the Junior Eco Rangers program, outdoor adventures, and day-trips to the scenic spots on the island. Plan your picture-perfect moments now and ‘Stay 5 Pay 4’ in a Villa for your next family getaway.
PER VILLA PER NIGHT
☎ 1800 072 555 or book online www.kingfisherbay.com *Terms and conditions apply.Valid for stays until 31 March 2019. See website for details.
WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Under the sea
Want to swim among southern bluefin tuna and other marine life? Located approximately one hour’s drive south of Adelaide, on the spectacular Fleurieu Peninsula, you’ll find Oceanic Victor, a new in-sea aquarium that opens up a fascinating and diverse underwater world to visitors. Guests are transferred via catamaran to a platform where they are fitted out in wetsuits (the smallest wetsuit fits a two- to three-year-old and the largest wetsuits are XXXL super-stretch), gloves, masks and booties. Then it’s into the water to swim with the Ferraris of the ocean (southern bluefin tuna are among the fastest fish in the world; they’ve been clocked at 72 kilometres per hour). For those who want to stay dry, the underwater viewing area under the aquarium is where the action is at. oceanicvictor.com
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 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. AIS Aquatic & Fitness Centre Dive into our world-class swimming pool or try out our fully equipped gym. Visitors welcome. Fees apply.
With Wyndham’s Ramada Resort Shoal Bay, it’s all about location, location, location. A 30-minute drive from Newcastle Airport or two-and-a-half hours by car from Sydney, the lush bush and sandy beaches of Shoal Bay scream ‘school holiday break’. Nearby, you can wander the trails of Tomaree National Park, take surfing lessons, go horseriding, try kayaking and, a bit further out, embark on a sandy adventure at Stockton Sand Dunes. You can even make use of Ramada’s bike-rental service and venture out on a day trip. Dolphin- and whale-watching cruises are also very popular in the region, thanks to the large numbers of the mammals passing through each year. Moonshadow – TQC Cruises charter groups with a tour-guide commentary, morning or afternoon tea, and waterslide or boom-net activities. The Hunter Valley region, with wine-tasting for adults and the fairytale-themed Hunter Valley Gardens for kids, is a scenic 90-minute drive away. As much fun as you’ll have out and about, you’ll also savour staying put. Unwind in roomy one-, two- or three-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes (some come with balcony views). Cool off in the resort’s lagoon-style swimming pool with a specially designed children’s wading zone, then feast on delicious dishes at the on-site restaurant or neighbouring Shoal Bay Country Club. ramadashoalbay.com.au
Leverrier Street, Canberra, ACT Phone: (02) 6214 1010
a HighWith ate twist First Edition Canberra, the mezzanine restaurant of Novotel Canberra, has partnered with local kids’ entertainment experts MollyCoddle Parties to bring a unique experience for both mums and bubs – a high tea with a twist! This isn’t your conventional high tea – instead, this event encourages parents to relax for two stress-free hours, with a glass of bubbles on arrival (of course!), while the kids are entertained with an array of interactive activities, such as face painting, arts and crafts, music and dancing. Continuing the First Edition food philosophy, Head Chef Jenni Tressler concocts a sharedstyle grazing table of bite-size savouries and treats for both big and little mouths to enjoy. The uniquely themed monthly high tea will run from 11am to 1pm on July 30 (sensory play), August 27 (winter wonderland), September 3 (Father’s Day), October 29 (Halloween), November 5 (superheroes) and December 17 (Christmas). Tickets available through Eventbrite. firsteditioncanberra.com.au
Animal adventures Take a walk on the wild side and come face-to-face with some of the world’s most fascinating creatures at Dreamworld. Home to more than 500 animals, this special haven – which, by the way, is Australia’s largest theme park – is sure to amaze. Experience the incredible opportunity to pat and feed wildlife, such as crocodiles, snakes and many others. Or get close to iconic Australian animals, such as kangaroos and koalas. You can even meet Dreamworld’s three inquisitive dingoes, and you’ll no doubt fall in love (and want to have your photo taken) with tiger cubs Melati and Mya. For an unforgettable adventure, be sure to add an animal experience to your new season pass at Dreamworld today. dreamworld.com.au
Dreamworld’s Trolls Village is now open Kids, get excited! The biggest, loudest and wildest party has arrived at Dreamworld! Put your hair up in the air and get ready to s-troll down Dreamworld’s very own sparktacular glitter strip at DreamWorks Trolls Village. As the newest exciting addition to Australia’s largest theme park, Trolls Village adds an extra dimension of sparkle and flare to Dreamworld. This precinct reflects what Dreamworld is all about: happiness. Bursting with a vibrant rainbow of colour, glitter and pizzazz, you won’t be able to resist the urge to sing and dance as you’re immersed in this walk-through attraction. Skip through Trolls Village and explore Poppy’s Funhouse, where you’ll be transported into a world of Trolls. Join the party with Poppy and Branch when they perform live on stage at the precinct. Between shows, give them a generous dose of Trolls hugs and help Branch find
his true colours while they’re doing their special guest appearances. And it doesn’t stop there – Trolls Village is set to tantalise your tastebuds at Cooper’s Cupcakery. Glitter-fy your own creation or buy a ready-made troll-tastic cupcake. Then step into Dreamworld’s exclusive disco-themed merchandise shop, Guy Diamond’s Glitter Store. For the full experience of Trolls Village, you can become a VIT (Very Important Troll) simply by booking a Get Trolled Up makeover. Two groovy stylists – Mandy Sparkledust and Grandma Rosiepuff – will transform you into a Trolls character, with a magical hairdo, hug-time watch and much more sparkle. DreamWorks Trolls Village will bring your favourite Trolls characters to life. There’s a world of adventure just waiting to be explored. For more information go to dreamworld.com.au and book your Get Trolled Up experience today.
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Gold Coast Luxury Holiday Apartments
Opening November 2018
DISCOVER THE RUBY DIFFERENCE Where family-friendly facilities and innovative features meet subtle elegance and understated style. The Ruby Apartments, the first tower of The Ruby Collection, is set to open this November on the Gold Coast offering stylish yet spaciously designed one, two and three-bedroom apartments, villas and sky suites catering perfectly for families, couples or even single travellers. The 24-hour arrival experience, personalised service and resort style amenities immediately sets Ruby apart. Awaiting outside your room is a swimming pool, children’s splash zone and waterpark, kids club, daily activities program and more to keep the younger ones entertained as well as a selection of dining and entertainment options for the adults which offers all guests a place to relax and unwind without ever having to leave. Driven by the philosophy ‘We Don’t Do Ordinary’ The Ruby Collection offers a complete holiday experience in a place where you can expect the unexpected.
www.therubycollection.com.au @therubycollectiongc firstname.lastname@example.org
A complete family holiday experience! Set on two-and-a-half hectares in the heart of Surfers Paradise, and nestled midway between the picturesque Nerang River and Surfers Paradise Beach, The Ruby Collection comprises four towers ranging from 30 to 69 levels, with more than 1600 stylish one-, two- and threebedroom apartments and villas. Stage One of The Ruby Collection will grace the Gold Coast skyline in November 2018, paving the way for work to commence on Stage Two, Three and Four over the next five years. The first of the four towers will comprise 230 apartments and 13 ground-floor villas, combining family appeal with five-star facilities. The apartments and sky suites will come with views of the Pacific Ocean and Gold Coast Hinterland, and cater to the modern family with spacious living areas and full kitchen and laundry facilities – perfect for up to eight people to come together comfortably.
RELAX AND UNWIND IN COMFORT AND STYLE
The first tower of The Ruby Collection will offer spacious apartments complete with elegant furnishings. The one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, villas and sky suites will come in multiple configurations, all with expansive living areas, full kitchen and laundry, private ensuite with shower and thoughtful extras, such as USB charging points, bluetooth speakers, complimentary wi-fi and easy access to Ruby’s own digital concierge. Just outside each room is a range of resort-style amenities, with dining and entertainment options offering a place to unwind without ever having to leave.
A HOLIDAY THE WHOLE FAMILY WILL ENJOY
The Ruby Collection towers will have ample entertainment and leisure amenities, with family friendly facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, children’s splash zone, daily activities program, outdoor movie nights and more to keep the younger ones entertained. Adults too will relish the opportunity to escape and unwind in stylish surrounds with delicious food and beverage offerings, entertainment, boutique bars and quality retail stores.
EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES
Boasting year-round sunshine, world-class theme parks, stunning beaches and a relaxed outdoor lifestyle, the Gold Coast is a thrilling destination for all ages. Kids will love being so close to Gold Coast attractions such as Sea World, Movie World, Dreamworld and WhiteWater World, and exciting shows like Australian Outback Spectacular. Adults can explore shopping destinations such as Pacific Fair and Harbour Town, and enjoy the convenience of being within walking distance of the cafés, bars and cultural experiences Surfers Paradise and the surrounding areas have to offer.
THE RUBY DIFFERENCE
The Ruby Collection is not just a place to stay, it’s an experience. While offering apartment-style accommodation, the team at Ruby recognise a holiday is just as much about the experience – and the 24hour welcome and resort-style amenities immediately set Ruby apart. In an Australian first for serviced apartments, The Ruby Collection has incorporated the option to use self checkin desks. While Ruby Ambassadors will remain on hand 24 hours to assist, the new service offers guests the flexibility and peace of mind knowing they can arrive at their own leisure and enjoy a fast and efficient service. Driven by the philosophy, ‘We don’t do ordinary’, Ruby Ambassadors will offer a personalised service while creating a fun and casual atmosphere. You will find Ambassadors dressed up as their favourite character on ‘Fancy Dress Fridays’ and eager to play hopscotch and sing their hearts out at the family karaoke night – how every holiday should be. For the tech-savvy traveller, the Ruby Concierge app provides the freedom to connect with Ruby Ambassadors around the clock – to order room service, fresh towels or even a new teddy bear. This interactive service will be available from prearrival and during each stay, both on and off the property, offering a complete holiday experience. therubycollection.com.au WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
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Spread across eight galleries, Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre will leave you saturated in science and thinking outside the box. Compare your perception of colour with your family and friends and learn what it’s like to experience colour as sound, in the Colour exhibition. Visit Q Lab to catch a changing array of intriguing experiments, explosive demonstrations and displays. And in Excite@Q, freefall down a six-metre slide. Little scientists and their carers will enjoy Mini Q as they play, discover and learn in a gallery for zero to six-year-olds. questacon.edu.au
At Agostinis located at East Hotel, you’ll dine on authentic Italian cuisine from a fun-loving family. Pasta lovers will salivate over the fresh varieties made daily, and pizza connoisseurs will be very impressed by the Marana Forni pizza oven. Sweet-tooths are well and truly catered for too, with a delicious range of desserts and gelato made on site. easthotel.com.au/eat-and-drink/ agostinis/
The name of our national capital comes from the Ngunnawal word for ‘meeting place’. Jam-packed with attractions that offer something for everybody, Canberra is the perfect spot for a family getaway.
Mercure Canberra sIts nearby many of Canberra’s most important sights, including the Australian War Memorial and Questacon. The hotel offers a Questacon Package for families that includes a stay in the Deluxe Loft, buffet breakfast, parking and family tickets to Questacon. The Deluxe Loft is the Mercure’s most spacious room option for families. Four-legged friends can join the fun too, with the Pampered Pet Package and pet-friendly accommodation options (in specific rooms) when booked directly with the hotel. mercurecanberra.com.au
To visit the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport), you have to join a guided tour, where AIS Tour Guides take you behind the scenes to see the world class gyms, courts, pools and more. The highlight of the tour is Sportex, an interactive exhibit where you can conduct your own medal ceremony on an Olympic podium, get your heart racing on ski and sled simulations, and try out wheelchair basketball. Public tours depart from the AIS Visitor Centre at 10am, 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm daily. experienceais.com
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Few people can say they’ve played with a dolphin in the wild. Graceful, intelligent and social, the beautiful creatures are a sight to behold. Temptation Sailing operates dolphin-watching and dolphin-swimming cruises from Marina Pier, Glenelg, on its 58-foot high-performance catamaran. The dolphin swim is available to children aged nine and older who can swim and manage snorkel equipment; wetsuits, snorkels and masks are provided. Anyone can book in for the dolphinwatching cruise. dolphinboat.com.au
Nothing reflects Adelaide’s diverse population more than the incredible number of places to eat around the city and suburbs. Families should check out Gouger Street, Peel Street, Leigh Street and Hutt Street for buzz and plenty of delicious food options. If pizza is the firm favourite, Mozzarella e pizza is a great choice, with mozzarella plates and pizzas (naturally) on the must-eat list. pizzaemozzarellabar.com.au
Home to great food and cultural events, Adelaide is a thriving hub of entertainment and the perfect place to share experiences with loved ones.
Fancy a visit to the Adelaide Central Market? How about a trip to Rundle Mall? A bike ride in the Park Lands, maybe? The perfect launching point for many of Adelaide’s attractions, Sage Hotel Adelaide is a kidfriendly accommodation choice. Overlooking the picturesque South Parklands in the heart of the city, the hotel offers a 41sqm spacious family rooms, complimentary wi-fi, while the hotel’s Zouk Restaurant boasts an enticing menu, including tapas such as Moroccan salad, chicken skewers and pulled pork taquitos. sageadelaide.com
A half-hour drive from the CBD, lies Cleland Wildlife Park. Keep an eye out for kangaroos, wombats, potoroos, echidnas and native birds, while special keeper presentations show off Cleland’s celebrity lorikeets, snakes, dingoes and more. Purchase some pellets and hand-feed kangaroos, emus and potoroos, or embark on a night walk to meet the resident nocturnal critters. You can also share a special koala experience, holding one of the cute creatures under staff supervision. clelandwildlifepark.sa.gov.au
Images: Darwin Tourism & Evan Dickson
This tropical harbour city has plenty for families to do and see, with swimming, dining, shopping and soaking up the amazing sunsets all on the must-do list.
Soak up Darwin’s tropical lifestyle at Darwin Waterfront. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes at which adults can relax, while kids (and kids at heart) will love the Wave Lagoon, where 20-minute bursts of simulated waves (followed by 10 minutes of calm conditions) adds up to hours of fun. Next, the Recreation Lagoon beckons. Here it’s all about cooling down and relaxing, enjoying the sunshine, tree shade, soft sand and lagoon swimming (mesh screens and a stinger net provide protection from marine stingers). waterfront.nt.gov.au/darwinwaterfront-precinct/
Located metres from the water, The Precinct is one of Darwin’s hottest places to indulge. The wide-ranging menu features plenty of seafood, meat and vegetarian options and changes seasonally, so whatever you order, you can be sure it’s fresh and usually sourced from a local provider. For parents who are in to craft beers and cider, The Precinct has 46 taps to choose from. The all-weather outdoor deck is The Precinct’s newest addition, offering diners a lovely alfresco space to enjoy their food with Wave Lagoon views. theprecincttavern.com.au
Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront is located smack-bang in the middle of the action, close to the Wave Lagoon and all the waterfront restaurants, bars and shops. The hotel has 121 wellappointed rooms, with the option to interconnect two rooms for large families. There’s also a gym, pool, on-site restaurant and parking available, making it one of the most convenient stays in the city. vibehotels.com/hotel/darwinwaterfront
Darwin is known for its epic mango-coloured sunsets, and there are plenty of spots around town to enjoy the fabulous views. Darwin’s alfresco dining is perfectly placed to take in the nightly natural show, so you can stay put at the waterfront to watch the sky’s changing hues. Or take a short drive to Mindil Beach for an epic sunset. On Thursday and Sunday afternoons from April to October, you’ll also catch the Mindil Beach Sunset Market here, with shops to peruse, international food, and jumping castles, clowns and children’s entertainment to keep the young ones happy. mindil.com.au
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Now that’s safe flying!
Inside Scoop 01
DON’T LET THE WET WEATHER DAMPEN YOUR SPIRITS – WE KNOW JUST HOW TO LEAVE THE MOST ACTIVE ADVENTURERS FEELING ENCHANTED AND EXHILARATED. WORDS JOANNE MARRIOTT Whether you’re soggy and soiled from jumping in puddles or contemplating yet more play dough while the elements pummel down on your roof, the fun-fuelled list of indoor activities we’re about to reveal is sure to inspire your next rainy-day adventure. It’s loaded with sensory experiences, physical challenges and problemsolving that will keep your kids active while building their resilience, confidence and creativity. Just add some curiosity and imagination to the mix and you’ll be in for a wild and wondrous winter.
You might not be totally comfortable with your three-yearold jumping out of a plane to skydive 4200 metres, but at iFly in Sydney, Perth and the Gold Coast, they can do just that, in the safety of an indoor skydive centre, with the help of a 13-metre-high wind tunnel and a qualified instructor. Dressed as a superhero, they’ll lean into the breeze and float inside the tunnel to feel the thrill of flying. If they love the sensation, book them in to the Junior iFlyer Club, a membership that will allow them to visit weekly to learn new flying tricks. iflydownunder.com. au; for ages 3+
Image: WA Museum
Learning the ropes at the WA Maritime Museum.
Shiver me timbers
Round up your scallywags and head to Fremantle to join the fearsome band of marauding pirates who have commandeered WA Maritime Museum in Horrible Histories – Pirates: The Exhibition. Upon entering their pirate lair, young sea rovers can learn the ropes, design their own flag, captain the ship and take part in swashbuckling adventures armed with cannons and cutlasses. The exhibition will be in Fremantle until August 12. museum. wa.gov.au; for ages 3+
Trick or treat
Sit in the palm of King Kong, transform into a mermaid, get mauled by a kitten or jump into the gaping jaws of a crocodile – at ArtVo, Australia’s first trick art gallery featuring 100-plus unique 3D artworks. Most art museums operate a tight ‘do not touch’ policy, but at ArtVo your curious creatives can sit, stand on or, yes, even touch the life-size murals to create their own art. artvo.com.au; for all ages For more hands-on interaction with art installations, head to the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art, where you’ll find tactile and immersive toddler experiences and sensory tours for babies. qagoma.qld.gov.au; for all ages
Behind the scenes
It’s easy enough to be swept up in the glamour of Sydney when you’re chugging past the Opera House on the ferry, but the most magical experience can be found behind the sails. Take the Junior Adventure Tour, for example – a fast-paced, action-packed journey through the theatres, studios and backstage areas of the iconic structure. It demystifies the inner secrets of the cultural epicentre, revealing how a performance comes together using set design, stage markings and props. Theatre buffs and drama queens will love the opportunity to dress up in costume and become anyone or anything they can imagine. sydneyoperahouse.com; for ages 5+ WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Image: The Perth Mint
Shoot for the stars
Your amateur astronomers will be dazzled by the stargazing opportunities at the Sydney Observatory. They’ll be able to climb up into the telescope dome to explore the stars and planets of the southern sky, and experience the wonder of the universe in the Planetarium and 3D Space Theatre. Tours run day and night. maas.museum/ sydney-observatory; for ages 3+ OUTDOOR OPTION: Wrap up warm and head to the hills for a spectacular winter night tour of the southern sky at the Perth Observatory. Your cosmic crusaders will be rewarded with a hot chocolate at the end of the night. perthobservatory.com.au; for ages 8+
Strike it rich
Inspire junior geologists with a visit to The Perth Mint for an interactive tour of this working precious-metals exchange. Mini metallurgists can experience a live gold pour in the old melting house, jump on to the scales to find out what their weight is worth in gold, and create their own medallion with a real stamping machine. Have them take part in The Perth Mint Challenge, a 10part quiz designed to help little gold diggers explore the grand heritage building and discover the magic of the Mint’s golden past. Top it all off with a traditional Devonshire tea at the cafe. perthmint.com; for ages 5+
Image: Phoebe Powell
Pouring real live gold
Harness up and take to the ziplines for a Tarzan flight at The Reef Hotel Casino, Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome is the first place in the world to offer a challenge ropes course in a wildlife immersion exhibit. The ZOOM course integrates climbing walls, ziplines, cargo nets, tunnels and swings for an invigorating rainforest adventure combining close encounters with the parrots and an aerial confrontation with Goliath the Croc. Snap! cairnszoom.com.au; for ages 6+ OUTDOOR OPTION: If you’d prefer to bask in the warm winter sun, head to Cape Tribulation for a ziplining canopy tour through the majestic Daintree Rainforest. junglesurfing.com.au; for ages 3+
Into the rabbit hole
Imagine a world where nothing is impossible, if you simply take a tumble down the rabbit hole. It’s time to follow Alice’s journey into Wonderland at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image at Melbourne’s Federation Square. This immersive exhibition celebrates the timeless stories of Lewis Carroll and reveals how Alice has been reimagined on screen over the years. Little ones can get curiouser and curiouser as they bring their own playing-card soldier to life and join in the fun at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. The exhibition runs until October 7. acmi.com.au/ wonderland; for ages 6+
Reading up on the exhibition.
Long way down
When the clouds part in Melbourne, soak up the panoramic city views from the heady heights of Eureka Skydeck. You’ll be catapulted up to 285 metres in no time in the fastest elevator in the southern hemisphere, and from the 360-degree observation deck you can get your bearings and test your geographic knowledge by searching for your favourite landmarks. Step out onto The Edge for a dizzying look down. eurekaskydeck.com.au; for all ages OUTDOOR OPTION: The Sydney Tower Eye offers a 360-degree view at 258 metres high and a 45-minute guided SKYWALK tour around the outside of the tower. sydneytowereye.com.au; for ages 8+
Get the girls together for a shark sleepover.
If camping out under the stars sounds a bit brisk, try camping out under the sharks at The Aquarium of Western Australia. Underwater explorers will be mesmerised by the marine life as they gaze up at the sharks, stingrays, turtles and hundreds of fish gliding gracefully above their beds. aqwa.com.au; for ages 7-12 Alternatively, snuggle up with a woolly mammoth and dine with the dinosaurs at the Australian Museumâ€™s DinoSnore sleepover on October 5. It includes a torchlight tour of the museum, wildlife show and a movie screening. australianmuseum.net.au; for ages 6+
Outdoor option Take a walk on the wild side with a night safari, up-close animal encounters and a sleepover in the Taronga Zoo campsite overlooking Sydney Harbour. taronga.org.au/taronga-zoo; for ages 5+
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A jaunt in
SNOW, SLEEP, REPEAT – WHAT MORE COULD A FAMILY WANT?
e n y b a d Jin images
A perfect family weekend getaway involves ski adventures in Perisher, lake jaunts and relaxing at NRMA Jindabyne Holiday Park.
It’s 5.45am and my seven-year-old daughter Amelie is jumping on my bed, grinning from ear to ear and shouting “Snow!”. Her 10-yearold brother Callum is rubbing his eyes while he searches for his snow gear. Clearly they are snow mad – they’re never up this early! We’ve come to NRMA Jindabyne Holiday Park for the opening weekend of the NSW ski season. The cabins are toasty and warm and they have their own kitchen, so they’re great for families. After check-in, we make a quick trip across the road to the local supermarket and stock up on
WORDS ALISON GODFREY
breakfast and snacks. With early-risers, this is a sanity-saver. A quick bowl of cereal later and we’re on our way to The Base Ski & Snowboard Centre to get kitted up (you can pick up a discount card from the park reception desk to save on ski gear here). Plan ahead and book your gear online before you come – owner Jason will let you pick it up the night you arrive so you can maximise your time on the slopes on your first full day. The biggest advantage of staying in Jindabyne is you can choose where you want to hit the
NEED TO KNOW BEST TIME TO VISIT Snow season usually starts June long weekend and finishes in September.
BEST FOR KIDS AGED... Kids who can walk can learn to ski and snowboard.
GETTING THERE Jindabyne is located in NSW’s Snowy Mountains, a six-hour drive south of Sydney. Or you can fly to Snowy Mountains Airport and hire a car from there. slopes, based on the conditions. Jason hands us the snow report with an almost apologetic look. “Snow is coming in three days,” he says. “Perisher is the only resort with snow.” Perisher it is, then. We toss the gear into the Toyota Landcruiser Prado and hit the road. Anyone travelling to the NSW ski slopes must carry snow chains at all times, unless you have a 4WD. Thankfully our Prado ticks that box, so we don’t have to worry. Perisher is packed, largely with snowboarders, learners and families like us. I jump in the queue for lift tickets while my husband takes the kids to play in the learner area. Callum has decided to switch from skiing to snowboarding, and with limited snow and only one run open, it turns out to be a great time to teach him. Neither my husband nor I have FOMO – we’re happy to take turns helping him learn to leaf and turn. Lift tickets secured, Amelie and I take the eight-person chairlift to the top of the mountain. She’s small for her age so the attendant helps her on to the seat. Once at the top, though, she needs no assistance. She’s off the chair and down the hill, dodging fallen snowboarders faster than a cheetah. She spots small kicker jumps and heads straight for them, getting air and smashing her skis back down. After four visits to the
slopes, it’s not so much about helping her as it is about keeping up with her. I’m being schooled by a seven-year-old. We call it a day at about 3pm and head back to the warmth of our cabin. We left the heater on all day so it’s lovely and toasty inside. The kids throw themselves on to their bunk beds and my husband and I settle in with a cup of tea in the lounge room. The moment doesn’t last long, though. NRMA Jindabyne Holiday Park has the most fantastic location – right on the lake – and the kids are keen to explore the “beach”. So we head out as the sun sets to climb boulders and throw stones in the lake. Another family gathers on the beach to build a bonfire. They have eight fishing rods hooked up and pointed towards the water. Lake Jindabyne is full of rainbow trout – I wonder if they caught any for dinner. For our dinner, we take advantage of our discount vouchers from the park reception desk and tuck in to pizza from the local shops. After a full day of snow play, the kids crash out early. The next morning they’re up before the birds again. As we exit the boom gate of the holiday park, I gaze up at their ‘What’s on’ sign. Today it says ‘Snow, sleep, repeat’, and that’s exactly what we plan to do.
STAYING THERE NRMA Jindabyne Holiday Park is right on Lake Jindabyne, close to the village shops and Nugget’s Crossing Shopping Centre. The Deluxe Snow Gum Cabins sleep five and overlooks Lake Jindabyne. nrmaparksandresorts. com.au/jindabyne/
PLAYING THERE The Base Ski & Snowboard Centre can kit you out with skis, boots, snowboards and snow clothes. Both Perisher and Thredbo have retail stores at Nugget’s Crossing Shopping Centre, so you can book lift tickets before you go.
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Park your Winter blues. Thinking of a Winter escape? Want to switch off, unwind and reconnect with your family? Well now you can get cosy with a chance to WIN one of five, two night Winter cabin getaways at the BIG4 Holiday Park of your choice!
We’re about making lasting memories where your stay is more relaxed, less scheduled and more you. For details on how to be in the running this Winter, simply head to BIG4.com.au/win. T&Cs apply. With so many locations in the best destinations all over Australia, maybe you should ask yourself the question...Isn’t it time?
RIT AVOU LIA’S F
Let’s get connected!
BIG4.com.au Isn’t it time you visited?
Cool pers cam THANKS TO AUSTRALIA’S DIVERSE CLIMATE AND SCENERY, PITCHING A TENT IN WINTER DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN BRAVING THE COLD.
Camping under the stars at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort.
The mere suggestion of a winter camping trip can emit a cold shiver down Dad’s spine and send Mum scrambling for the beanie, blanket and latest edition of ‘A Complete Hermit’s Guide to Parenting in Winter’ – but it doesn’t have to be so. The width and breadth of our incredible continent makes it a multi-seasonal outdooradventure haven. At any one time, campers can be vigilantly keeping the
esky topped up and walking around in boardies, or making snow angels and learning to ski. Luckily for us, it gives scope for a range of family-friendly activities, such as whale-watching along the coast, trekking national parks up north or strolling through wineries in Victoria. Ready to load the car? Here’s our guide to camping in winter, be it under blue skies or around a roaring fire.
WORDS PENNY WATSON
Clockwise from top: Toasting marshmallows is a big part of winter camping; Eden’s Reflections Holiday Parks is idyllically positioned on the shores of Lake Curalo; aerial view of Eden’s Reflections Holiday Parks; BIG4 Easts Beach Holiday Park is located near Kiama Blowhole.
One thing you won’t be able to do when camping in summer is whale-watching. The whale season along the NSW coastline runs from April to November, when more than 20,000 whales, predominantly humpbacks, make the journey north from Antarctica to tropical Queensland waters for breeding. Then, from September to November, the southern migration sees mothers and calves closely following the shoreline on their journey back to Antarctica. BIG4 Easts Beach Holiday Park (big4.com. au/easts-beach-kiama) in Kiama, NSW, has a stunning beachfront location that will keep you close to the action, and winter-fun facilities including a games room, jumping pillow and kids’ playground. It’s also just a short drive from a number of land-based viewing points, including Blowhole Point, Bombo Headland and Marsden Headland, which is just past the famed Little Blowhole. BIG4 members will benefit from discounted local whale-watching cruises. Watch the whales as they migrate past your tent, caravan or cabin at NRMA Merimbula Beach Holiday Resort (nrmaparksandresorts.com.au/ merimbula-beach/) on the Sapphire Coast. You can see the whales on their northern migration during winter, however, it’s the migration from September to December where you’ll see more species including Orcas, Minke, Bryde and Blue Whales, and the less common Sei Whale as well as Humpbacks and Southern Rights. Up north, on the Central Coast, Norah Head Holiday Park (norahheadhp.com.au) is also in a
prime location, with access to Lakes and Soldiers Point beaches and a short drive to historic Norah Head Lighthouse, touted as one of the best local whale-watching spots. On the Victorian border, Eden’s Reflections Holiday Parks (reflectionsholidayparks.com.au) is idyllically positioned on the shores of Lake Curalo, with the warm blue waters of Aslings Beach at its back doorstep. Eden is one of few places in the world where humpback whales feed during their southern migration – and they can be spotted during the winter months too. If you’re not glimpsing as many as you’d hoped, head on over to the Eden Killer Whale Museum and the Killer Whale Trail.
Blue skies, white beaches
Some destinations are blessed with travelbrochure blue skies all the time – or at least that’s what it looks like to southern folk. Yes, we’re talking about you, Queensland. Airlie Beach, for example, enjoys wonderful winter weather, with maximums of about 24°C and minimums around 16°C. If your idea of winter camping is a heated pool and an outdoor cinema, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort (big4.com.au/adventure-whitsunday) is the place to pitch your tent. It has a massive water park featuring 13 slides and a tipping bucket, as well as an animal park, mini-golf course and a kids’ club. Another destination with guaranteed winter sunshine (surely, given the name) is
Top: Fishing in winter is a great family activity for all. Right: Exploring rock pools can make for a great game of discovery.
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For further information For further please information contact: please c BIG4 Easts Beach BIG4 Holiday Easts Beach Park Holiday 30 Ocean Street 30 (POOcean Box 10) Street Kiama (PONSW Box 10) 2533Kiama NSW Freecall: 1800 674Freecall: 444 P: 1800 02 4232 6742124 444 P: F: 02 4232 4233 2124 1009 F: 02 4233 E: email@example.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.eastsbeach.com.au www.eastsbeach.co
southern Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The sunny subtropical climate averages a mild 20°C in winter, meaning you can leave your woollies at home. Dicky Beach Holiday Park (sunshinecoastholidayparks.com.au) reaps the tourism benefits of the region’s weather, as it boasts direct access to Dicky Beach (one of Caloundra’s top beaches). With average water temperatures of 21°C, swimming at the patrolled beach is a highlight. Stroll, swim and surf along 16 kilometres of breathtaking coastline at NRMA Woodgate Beach Holiday Park (nrmaparksandresorts.com. au/woodgate-beach/). Just south of Bundaberg, it’s one of Queensland’s best kept secrets. The small town of Woodgate is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a coastal escape all year round.
Okay, so what if you don’t think camping is camping without marshmallows and an open fire? Never fear – some of the best winter getaways involve cool-climate camping, and the southern states offer the best of that. BIG4 Deniliquin Holiday Park (big4.com.au/ deniliquin) in NSW is a multiple award-winner with an all-weather undercover water park that comes complete with a heated waterslide and giant tipping bucket. It’s backed by cosy and comfortable family cabins, many of which sit beside Edward River, which you can explore year-round aboard the park’s pontoon. Also in NSW, Kangaroo Valley’s Holiday Haven Tourist Park (holidayhaven.com.au) sits on the edge of Kangaroo River. The beautiful escarpment surrounds feature cool nights and
From left to right: Kayaking is a great family activity yearround; golf rounds at NRMA Darlington Beach Holiday Resort.
misty mountain mornings. Head out on a kayak or canoe adventure if the weather prevails. If not, the charming village offers cooking classes and fireside food. Be nurtured by nature at Reflections Holiday Parks Lake Keepit, a year-round haven from the everyday and the ideal setting for cherished holiday memories. Take out the boat, drop in a line, enjoy the skate park and BMX track or get active on the tennis and volley ball courts. For activities that will keep the whole family entertained, look no further than NRMA Darlington Beach Holiday Resort (nrmaparksandresorts.com.au/darlingtonbeach/), just north of Coffs Harbour. Try your luck at the archery range, practice your backhand on the tennis court, challenge the family to a friendly game of barefoot bowls or play nine-holes on the golf course. Did we mention its pristine beachfront location and 110 acres of coastal forest? When it comes to freshwater fishing in NSW and a memorable camping experience to go with it, it’s hard to go past Reflections Holiday Parks Copeton Waters. There’s more fun here than you can poke a fishing rod at. From boating, kayaking and bushwalking, to a jumping pillow, there are endless outdoor winter adventures just ready for the taking. WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
cycling near the town of bright
In Victoria, pack the ski gear and base yourself at BIG4 Porepunkah Holiday Park (big4.com.au/porepunkah) near the picturesque alpine town of Bright. Here you can enjoy easy access to scenic walks and cycling trails, and day trips to Falls Creek and Mount Buffalo for skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing.
Did somebody mention mulled wine for the parents? For some untold reason, red wine tastes better when it’s cold. Embrace it at BIG4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park (big4.com. au/yarra-valley) in Healesville, Victoria, where you can spend a night or two under the stars in a family belle tent – glamping style – and sit around a good ol’ campfire. By day, the kids will love rugging up for a visit to Healesville Sanctuary, where kangaroos, koalas and echidnas are a sure thing, and Mum and Dad can enjoy a heavy red at one of the many Yarra Valley vineyards. Similarly, Ingenia Holidays Mudgee (ingeniaholidays.com.au) in NSW caters to big kids and little ones, with easy access to local wineries and their line-up of winter foodie activities, including a kids’ cooking school, outdoor open-grill restaurant lunches and Mudgee Farm Walks, which aim to show kids where their food comes from. In South Australia, the award-winning NRMA Victor Harbor Beachfront Holiday Park (nrmaparksandresorts.com.au/victor-harbor/) is the perfect place to explore the Fleurieu Peninsula. Drop in at Mount Jagged Wines to sample premium cool climate wines by the roaring fire. The kids will love playing with the cellar dogs, Buster and Jerry.
With daytime temperatures that reach up to 30°C, it’s a wonder they even call it winter in Australia’s outback – but who are we to argue? BIG4 Cania Gorge Holiday Park (big4.com.au/ cania-gorge) in Queensland, with its expansive water playground, is an antidote to winter blues and, given its location (in the middle of a national park), a remedy for cabin fever too. Scenic walking tracks suited to all ages and abilities are a highlight by day, and at night, when it does get cold, woodfired pizza is a winner before lighting your own wood fire under a starry sky. Another good base for national park exploration is the Top End; the peak time to visit is during the dry season, from May to October, when the temperatures are up and the humidity is lower than usual. The Northern Territory’s BIG4 Howard
Springs Holiday Park (big4.com.au/howardsprings) has an array of great family facilities, including three saltwater pools, three spas, a giant jumping pillow and a new water park with a giant tipping bucket. Day trips to Kakadu and Litchfield national parks are also on the agenda, of course. In the southern part of the Northern Territory, Alice Springs (in the Red Centre) is another destination with warm, sunny days and cool nights – typical, given the region’s location in incredible desert surrounds. At BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park (big4.com.au/macdonnellrange), families can take advantage of the water slide, jumping pillows, BMX track and pedal go-karts, and, for good measure, the delicious pancake breakfast served every Sunday morning. Explore the diverse attractions and choose your travel dates to coincide with unique winter events: Camel Cup (July; alicesprings.nt.gov.au) and Rotary Henley On Todd Regatta (August; henleyontodd.com.au). Winter never looked so good!
Top to bottom: Luxury at BIG4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park; exploring BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park with the whole family. WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Nature never felt so good Weâ€™re preserving 37 of the best coastal and inland reserves so your family can recharge the way nature intended. Relax at a camping spot, caravan site or cabin just right for you. Experience a break youâ€™ll all remember for a lifetime.
Winter camping at Reflections Holiday Parks Get outdoors this winter at a Reflections Holiday Park. Perhaps surprisingly, winter is one of the best times to enjoy what is on offer at the 37 Reflections Holiday Parks across NSW, with a range of all-season activities to keep the whole family happy. Enjoy an authentic camping experience in country NSW. Pitch a tent in the bush and truly enjoy nature – just remember to bring a sleeping bag, beanie, a warm pair of socks and stay rugged up! Or book a few nights in one of Reflections Holiday Parks’ fully equipped cabins and enjoy all the creature comforts of being at home, but in a stunning bushland setting. With nine incredible inland locations to choose from, you’re sure to find somewhere that suits – from beautiful Burrinjuck Waters in South West NSW to Lake Glenbawn in the Upper Hunter right up to Copeton Waters near Inverell. The coast also has plenty of appeal in winter time, with Reflections Holiday Parks’ 28 coastal parks offering an abundance of opportunities for exploration. A number of the parks, such as Jimmys Beach and Moonee Beach on the North Coast, have fire pits, allowing for cosy nights by the campfire toasting marshmallows. All the coastal locations are in prime position for days spent exploring the surrounding bushland and strolling along the beach. And with three parks on the Sapphire Coast, Reflections Holiday Parks offers holidays in some of NSW’s best whale-watching locations. There’s no better time than winter to spot a whale! Reflections Holiday Parks is preserving 37 of NSW’s most iconic holiday locations, reinvesting back into their parks, public reserves, recreational areas and local communities, ensuring the sites are kept pristine for generations to come. To plan your winter getaway visit reflectionsholidayparks.com.au
WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Say hello to a fun-filled family escape.
With an abundance of natural attractions and unique wildlife experiences, Phillip Island is the perfect holiday spot for making memories with the family. Set across 65 acres of stunning countryside, Ramada Resort Phillip Island is the ideal base to explore everything the destination has to offer. After a day of exploring, unwind at the resort and enjoy excellent onsite facilities, including swimming pools, tennis courts, a playground, outdoor barbecue facilities and seven kilometres of walking and cycling tracks. Two and three-bedroom cottages, complete with kitchens and outdoor decks, offer enough space for the whole family to kick back and relax. Travelling with kids? Save 10%* off accommodation and enjoy our special offer of 1 FREE kidsâ€™ meal with any adult main meal purchase. Simply call (03) 5952 8000 at QUOTE 18KIDS.
*Terms & Conditions apply. Subject to availability. Minimum night stay and blackout dates may apply. Free Kids Meal available for children under 12 years old only. Not available in conjunction with any other offer. On sale for bookings and travel before 31 December 2018. ÂŠ COPYRIGHT 2018 RESORT MANAGEMENT BY WYNDHAM PTY LTD ACN 099 634 830. WHG12595
Ramada Resort Phillip Island 2128 Phillip Island Road Cowes VIC 3922 RAMADAPHILLIPISLAND.COM.AU
EACH ISSUE, WE’LL TELL YOU WHERE, WHEN AND HOW TO ACE A HOLIDAY ADVENTURE. HERE, HOW TO MAKE A WINTER GETAWAY YOUR BEST ONE YET. WORDS SUE WHITE
For swimming, go north (really north) images
From top to bottom: Yulefest in the Blue Mountains runs for the whole season – and there’s plenty to eat; Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade; Field of Light at Uluru starts while the sun is still out.
Destinations like Darwin, Broome and Queensland’s Top End are all very swimmable in winter, but head south along either coastline and your tolerance for a winter dip usually depends on where you’re from. Few Queenslanders seem willing to dip their toes in the waters of Bryon Bay in winter, but southerners often enjoy a swim here on a windless, sunny winter’s day.
Check if your destination has a winter festival; these abound in the southern states and usually include child-friendly options. In NSW’s Blue Mountains, Yulefest runs for the whole season (Santa often makes an appearance), while in August the Tasmanian town of Latrobe hosts every kid’s fantasy: a one-day chocolate festival.
Use short days to your advantage Winter’s shorter days make it an easy time to take younger kids to certain evening
activities. In the Northern Territory, most tours of Uluru’s solar-powered Field of Light installation (running until December 2020) start an hour or two before sunset, while Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade naturally takes place at a very kid-friendly hour in winter (about 6pm versus 8.30pm in the summer months). Hint for penguin fans: rug up!
Camp out, inside
Don’t ditch national parks just because the weather is chilly. It may not be the ideal time for camping, but winter sees off-peak rates for cosy cabins in many of our national parks. Think marshmallows toasted on sticks, kid-friendly bushwalks without the flies and family time over a board game.
Dress for the occasion
It’s hard to pack light for a winter trip. We all know that if you’re visiting the southern states, it’s not worth skimping on winter coats and hats. But even if you’re heading north, remember that desert locations like Uluru can get cold at night, so pack accordingly. WI NTER 2018 familytravel.com.au
Families of Australia happy snap
Watch the Families of Australia web series on YouTube @boundroundguides for great travel ideas and inspiration â€“ like this holiday snap of the Soliman family that shows father and daughter blissfully sandboarding in Tangalooma.
Questacon â€“ The National Science and Technology Centre King Edward Terrace, Canberra Phone 02 6270 2800 Open 9 amâ€“5 pm every day. Closed 25 December. Admission fees apply.
Go somewhere great With holiday parks and resorts across Australia, wherever your next getaway takes you, thereâ€™s a park not far away.
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In this launch issue, Family Travel tackles Tokyo, cruising, the best snow destinations around the world – from Japan to the US, Europe to C...
Published on Jul 11, 2018
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