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OUT&ABOUT WITH KIDS

FAMILY | TRAVEL | HOLIDAY | LEISURE | ENTERTAINMENT

53

No.

2017 INTERNATIONAL SKI SEASON GUIDE PLUS

WINTER 2017

RRP $7.95

WIN! ISSUE 53 | WINTER 2017

A family holiday to the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i worth $7,460 including airfares

Road tripping Mammoth and Utah

How to combine a road trip with a ski holiday

Bula Malolo Discover the magic of Malolo Island Resort

FA M I LY | T R AV E L | H O L I D AY | L E I S U R E | E N T E R T A I N M E N T

Australia Zoo

Find out what’s new at this Sunshine Coast zoo

In search of Orangutans

Geordie Torr takes his family to the wilds of Sumatra

ANIMALS! Our guide to the best wildlife encounters in Australia and overseas

Monopoly Hot Spots

Australia’s favourite holiday spots debut on the new Monopoly board

Meimei for me?

Find out all about Fiji’s wonderful nannies

COFFS HARBOUR | CANBERRA | DUBBO | GIPPSLAND | SUNSHINE COAST | FIJI | MACAO | SUMATRA | SOUTH AFRICA | USA


FOR MORE INFORMATION & THE LATEST SPECIALS TO MACAO

visitmacao.com.au For answers to any questions you or a traveller may have OR to order Guide Books, Maps and Itineraries contact our ofďŹ ce on;

Macao Government Tourism Office Australia

Level 17, Town Hall House, 456 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000 phone: (02) 9264 1488 or email: macao@worldtradetravel.com

@visitmacao


Out & About with Kids Print & Digital outandaboutwithkids.com.au Publisher Elisa Elwin elisa@oawk.com.au 0413 770 550 Editor Deborah Dickson-Smith deborah@oawk.com.au Digital Content Manager Lisa Monk lisamonk@oawk.com.au Social Media Manager Holly O’Sullivan holly@oawk.com.au Contributors Flip Byrnes Reggae Ellis Luke Hanson Julie Jones Phil Osborn Holly O’Sullivan Craig Sheather Yumi Stynes Geordie Torr Monique Van Tulder Sue White Art Director Jon Wolfgang Miller Advertising Enquiries: Wayne Stickle wayne@oawk.com.au Angie Chrisan angie@oawk.com.au Published by Elwin Media Pty Ltd ABN: 22 159 093 606

PO Box 4148, Balgowlah Heights NSW 2093 Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the editorials are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Publisher and Out & About with Kids. Information provided was believed to be correct at the time of publication. Copyright © Out & About with Kids 2017 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All reasonable efforts have been made to contact copyright holders. Out & About with Kids cannot accept unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If such items are sent to the magazine they will be returned.

W

elcome to winter… I don’t know about you but as I write this, I’ve got the gas heater on, I’m wearing Ugg boots and dreaming of somewhere warmer, or perhaps somewhere it’s actually good fun to be cold – like on the ski slopes. In this issue, we look at some of the best places around the world to take the family skiing, from Whistler in Canada, Steamboat Springs and Park City in the U.S. to Val Thorens in France and Nagano in Japan. Ski and snow experts Phil Osborne and Reggae Ellis tell us all about their recent family ski road trips and our new columnist, Adventure Mamma blogger Flip Byrnes, shares her top tips for skiing with toddlers. My personal favourite family ski holiday was to the French Alps, taking in Megève, Val D’Isère and Val Thorens. Not just for the skiing, but for the many off-piste attractions and (mainly) the food. An incredible dish was served up every night (and most lunches too) of hearty Savoyarde fare, with many evenings spent sharing a family-size fondue. That’s us in the picture getting ready to hit the slopes in Megève. This issue we’ve also gone wild about wildlife, searching out Australia’s best wildlife experiences and wildlife parks. We’ll show you where you can cuddle a koala, take a selfie with a quokka and swim with turtles and manta rays. PLUS! It’s that time of year! We open up nominations for the Best of Family Travel Awards. Help us choose the most family-friendly resorts and attractions both here and overseas, and you could win a family holiday in the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i flying Hawaiian Airlines. Visit our website to find out how to enter. Happy travels! Deborah

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contents

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WIN A FAMILY HOLIDAY TO HAWAI’I Help us choose the best family hotels, resorts and attractions both in Australia and overseas, and you could win a holiday to the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i flying Hawaiian Airlines.

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DID YOU KNOW…? Stay up to date with the latest family travel news in Australia and overseas, cruises, airlines and luxury holidays.

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HOLIDAY PARKS Why multi-generational camping trips are becoming more and more popular.

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ANIMALS! We search out Australia’s best zoos and wildlife parks, and show you where to find Australia’s iconic animals in the wild. Holly O’Sullivan goes in search of Fantastic Beasts in Komodo and Flip Byrnes has a sleepover at Dubbo Zoo.

us eum of Th e N at io na l M ers of Tomor ro w A us tral ia’s To w

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ta ke th e fam ily Fi ve re as on s to Co as t to th e Su nshi ne

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SKI THE WORLD Now’s the time to search out deals on family ski holidays in all the Northern Hemisphere mountain resorts. We take a look at what’s new and exciting in Europe, Japan and North America. PLUS: Reggae Ellis tells why he’ll be returning to Mammoth, Phil Osborn shares insights on his extended family ski-roadtrip and Flip Byrnes gives us some tips on skiing with toddlers (without going crazy).

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FAMILY TRAVELLER

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Join our family contributors as they share their travel experiences with us. Sue White discovers the magic of Malolo Island Resort, Craig Sheather explores Gippsland with the kids and Geordie Torr takes his family in search of orangutans.

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OUT & ABOUT WITH KIDS COLUMNS Families come in all shapes and sizes so we’ve asked a few specialist travel bloggers to share their tips. Sue White shares advice on travel with toddlers, Julie Jones writes about accessible travel and Monique Van Tulder shares her tips for luxury getaways.



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ia lis ts sh are O ur travel sp ec th ei r ho lid ay ti ps WINTER 2017 outandaboutwithkids.com.au

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The horses of Steamboat Steamboat Springs is one of America’s most popular ski resorts for families, and not just for the skiing and snowboarding. One of the off-piste activities on offer is horse riding through the snow on one of these beauties. Get a taste of Steamboat’s true western heritage by taking a horseback ride out from Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch. You can be a complete novice – they’ll loan you stetsons and chaps and the sure-footed horses will follow owner Ray Heid and his son Perk on their trusty steeds as you follow a trail through the majestic aspen covered landscape. steamboat.com 

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hottest destinations on the all-new Australian Monopoly The people have voted, and the hottest destinations to appear on the new Australian Monopoly board include some of our favourites – and quite a few surprises.

Orange, NSW

South Australia

A surprise partner for top spot (Park Lane on the UK version) is regional foodie’s paradise, Orange, NSW, renowned for its local wine and produce.

South Australia came third, with Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island featuring in the yellow section.

Victoria

Canberra

Victoria took out fifth place in orange, with the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne and Phillip Island.

In fourth place, the Australian Capital Territory, with Questacon and the Australian War Memorial winning more votes than the capital Canberra itself!

Local Aussie flavour on Chance and Community Chest Cards:

• You sell your State of Origin tickets in an online auction for 150. • Prepare for the bushfire season. Clean the gutter on all your properties. For each house pay 25 and for each hotel pay 100. • You sell your homemade lamingtons at the school fete receive 25. • Your horse wins the office Melbourne Cup sweep. Collect 100.

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Queensland

Queensland took out second spot on the board with the green property portfolio including the Whitsundays, Gold Coast and Tropical North Queensland.

Sydney Sydney cemented its position as Australia’s most expensive real estate, taking out the coveted blue Mayfair position with 6.3 per cent of the vote. The all-new Monopoly Australia edition is available at leading toy and game retailers – RRP: $39.99.



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The World’s Best Kept Secret

TE MANAVA LUXURY VILLAS & SPA Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands 5 Star With fully equipped villas and a range of guest services to tailor-make your family holiday, you can relax and spend quality time together at Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa. Explore the safe, shallow lagoon with complimentary kayaks and snorkeling equipment. Venture to our sister property, Pacific Resort Rarotonga, for family-friendly dining options and a daily complimentary Beach Hut Kids Club. Children can enjoy hands-on cultural and outdoor activities while you relax in the sun.

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PACIFIC RESORT HOTEL GROUP Cook Islands leading boutique resort operator www.pacificresort.com


And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street…

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new museum recently opened in Springfield, Massachusetts in the U.S., celebrating the life and works of one of the world’s most beloved children’s authors: Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr Seuss. Mulberry Street, which features in the title of his first ever book, is just around the corner from the museum, and not far from his childhood home, in Fairfield Street, which still stands. The museum is housed in a heritage-listed building in Springfield’s museum complex, which is home to five museums as well as the Dr Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. Downstairs is the fun part of the museum, where kids can draw on the wall, fish for virtual Seuss-styled fish and play with Lego in rooms that are painted to look like you are inside one of his books. Upstairs the curators have recreated his living room and studio with artefacts donated by his stepdaughters, who have also produced a video guide to the collection. There is also an extensive collection of his early drawings and gorgeous letters to his stepdaughters and nephews (he must have been a fun uncle!) Here you can learn a bit about the man and his inspiration. His characters, for example, which were possibly inspired by his father’s job, (he ran the local zoo), and his rhyming prose (his grandparents used to sing to him in rhymes as a child). springfieldmuseums.org 

FUN FACT His most famous book of all, the Cat in the Hat, was written as a challenge: to write a children’s book using only 225 words, including a list of mandatory words designed to help children learn to read.

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Win

A FAMILY HOLIDAY TO HAWAI’I! Mahalo! Help us choose the 2017 Best of Family Travel Awards for your chance to win a family holiday to Kaua’i flying Hawaiian Airlines.

2017 BEST OF

FAMILY TRAVEL AWARDS For more information on Kaua’i: gohawaii.com/kauai For more information on Hawaiian Airlines: hawaiianairlines.com.au


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he BEST OF FAMILY TRAVEL AWARDS nominations are open and we’d like you to have your say on the BEST family travel experiences for the chance to WIN A DREAM FAMILY HOLIDAY for two adults and two children, including airfares, to the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. Hawaiian Airlines fly non-stop from Sydney & Brisbane to Honolulu. Fares include meals, drinks, inflight entertainment and a 2 x 32kg baggage allowance. Experience the Aloha spirit the moment you step on board.

family holiday valued at over $7000! The Out & About With Kids 2017 Best of Family Travel Awards prize is valued at $7460 and includes: • 4 nights’ accommodation in a 2-bedroom garden view unit at the Kiahuna Plantation Resort Kaua’i by Outrigger. • Return airfares from Sydney or Brisbane to Lihue via Honolulu for two adults and two children with Hawaiian Airlines. • 5 days car rental from Alamo.

TO ENTER: OUTANDABOUTWITHKIDS.COM.AU TO ENTER: VISIT OUR WEBSITE, nominate your BEST family travel experiences and tell us in 25 words Terms and conditions apply. or less why your family would love to win this dream Visit outandaboutwithkids.com.au for details. 

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DI D Y OU KNOW...?

Did you know …? Get the kids cook ing wit h Jam ie’s Min istr y of Food Do you have a budding young chef at home? Teach your kids life-long cooking skills in a fun and engaging environment together, with Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia. Father and daughter team, Kurt and Olivia, recently decided to come along, to spend quality time together, learn some new things and have lots of fun along the way. Kurt loved seeing his daughter’s skills and confidence grow through the course. “Olivia really flourished in the kitchen, particularly improving her confidence and knife skills.” Kurt proved to be a great role model for 13-year old Olivia, doing all tasks with gusto and always being supportive and encouraging of her and everyone else in the class. New research released by the Dieticians Association of Australia has shown that dads who take on greater responsibility in the kitchen has a powerful positive influence on their kid’s health. Food has the power to bring families together, not only in eating but cooking and preparing it too. The 7-week cooking programs are offered by each of the Jamie’s Ministry of Food Centres: Geelong, Wetherill Park and Ipswich. The course is open to people aged 12 years and over, who want to learn the basics of cooking and have fun in the kitchen! Participants under the age of 16 need to be accompanied by a guardian. jamiesministryoffood.com.au/courses

This Christmas, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood will be transformed with a dazzling light projection show on Hogwarts Castle. Hogsmeade village will also shine brightly as the town celebrates Christmas with festive décor uniquely themed to each of the individual storefronts, along with holiday-themed food and beverages including hot Butterbeer. Get your Christmas shopping sorted at shops like Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Dervish and Banges™, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium™ of Confiscated Goods. universalstudioshollywood.com/ harrypotter/

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Harry Potter’s Wizarding World © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter


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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to continue as NYC’s family ambassadors New York loves turtles, especially of the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety, as the city has chosen Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo to represent the city as ambassadors for a second year in a row. Set in New York’s underworld, the Nickelodeon series was one of the 1980’s most popular animated kid’s series, and has now been translated into over 45 languages and is shown in over 170 countries. NYC’s Family Ambassador program was created in 2009 to help position the city as a family-friendly destination, with previous ambassadors including Dora the Explorer, Curious George, Sesame Street and Where’s Waldo (better known in Australia as Where’s Wally). The turtles used to fight crime in New York, but now they’re here to lead the way on the most family-friendly activities in the five boroughs. The campaign is tailored to each turtle’s personality, with itineraries that follow their interests. Michelangelo’s New York is all about food and fun. He recommends Coney Island, 5050 Skatepark and Gotham

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Comedy Club. If you’re hungry after an afternoon at the skate park and a night of laughter, go for some experimental cuisine at Momufuku Milk Bar or Oddfellows. Leonardo wants to show off New York’s landmarks and recommends checking out the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum, Empire State Building, Socrates Sculpture Park, and more. Donatello is the science buff, and will guide you through the scientific encounters New York has to offer. He recommends the Lowline Lab, an underground park built within an old trolley bus terminal on the Lower East Side, as well as the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Hall of Science. Raphael’s New York includes destinations like the Bronx Zoo, and Lefrak Center at Lakeside. Raphael understands the need to run around and play. If your kids are anything like this nature-loving turtle, spend some time rock climbing or taking batting practice at Chelsea Piers. For kid-friendly NYC itineraries and attractions: nycgo.com/family


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Guardians of the Galaxy’s Mission BREAKOUT!

All images (c) Disney/Marvel

In Disney California Adventure Park, there’s a rockin’ new ride that will excite all the superhero fans out there. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission BREAKOUT! follows a storyline based on the films, comics and animated television series, which rocks along to the films’ soundtracks including classic rock and pop hits from the ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s. The adventure begins as you enter a grandiose 56m tall fortress, discover the Guardians have been imprisoned by the evil Taneleer Tivan, known as The Collector. You then join a daring escape plan devised by Rocket, which involves stepping into the Tower’s gantry lift, shooting upwards and (of course) plummeting downwards while you listen to hits like Pat Benatar’s ‘Hit me with your best shot’, ‘Born to be wild’ by Steppenwolf and Elvis Presley’s ‘Burning Love’. Disney.com



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The Na’vi have arrived at Walt Disney World! Exciting news from Walt Disney World Resort Florida, Pandora – The World of Avatar is now open. When you enter Disney’s Animal Kingdom you’ll also journey into the world of Pandora in this new Avatar-themed land – a world that includes floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees. Rides in this new Disney ‘world’ include the 3D Avatar Flight of Passage which takes you soaring on a Banshee over a vast alien world. After you’ve bonded with your own personal Banshee, the flying experience will give you a birdseye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora. The Na’vi River Journey offers junior explorers the chance to glide through the magical, bioluminescent rainforest of the Valley of Mo’ana through a series of caves, passing by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures of the rainforest, until you find yourself face-to-face with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. We can’t wait to experience this! Disney.com

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All images (c) Disney

DI D Y OU KNOW...?


(c) Nintendo

Super Nintendo World comes to Universal Studios Imagine the fun of stepping into a larger-than-life Nintendo adventure. Gigantic Piranha Plants spring to life. Question blocks and power-ups surround you, and Mario and all his friends are there to pull you into a brand-new world. Super Nintendo Worlds are planned for the Orlando and Hollywood theme parks as well, but the first will open in Osaka, in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The creative visionaries behind Nintendo’s legendary worlds and characters are

working together with the creative teams behind Universal’s blockbuster theme park attractions, to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life. Mario and his mates have certainly stood the test of time, first appearing in Nintendo’s arcade game Donkey Kong as ‘Jump Man’ in 1981. Mario is the creation of legendary Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who is now one of Nintendo’s directors.

How to Tex-plore They say big things happen in Dallas, which is fast becoming a favourite gateway to the U.S. for Australian families. The city has 10 regions, 26 neighbourhoods, 12,000 places to eat, 77,000 places to stay, and plenty of reasons to do so. Here are six good reasons for families. Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Where else can you race against a virtual T. rex, touch a tornado, or battle your friends in a remote-control robot arena? Reunion Tower GeO-Deck. Experience breathtaking 360-degree views of Dallas from 470 feet up at the only indoor/outdoor observation deck in Dallas. The Sixth Floor Museum. 50 years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in downtown Dallas, this historic event continues to interest people from around the world. Dallas Zoo. Go on an urban safari at Giants of the Savanna, where you can witness elephants, giraffes and other African animals. George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum. Get an in-depth, interactive peek inside the presidency of George W. Bush. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Take time to enjoy the outdoors at this world-class urban oasis featuring 19 finely manicured gardens and seasonal festivals and activities. Be sure to grab the family a CityPASS booklet for Dallas, which will save you money on all these attractions. citypass.com

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Did you know …? Cruise

Carnival’s Dr. Seuss WaterWorks Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon, will have a Dr. Seuss-themed water park on the cruise line’s Seuss at Sea program which includes a range of Dr. Seuss-themed dining and entertainment experiences. Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will have a The Cat in the Hat slide, an enclosed raft slide with 137m of heart-racing twists and turns. The entrance resembles The Cat’s famous red and white hat, a colour scheme that is carried throughout the slide in alternating translucent and opaque sections. The Fun Things slide has an enclosed body slide with polka dots and special lighting effects, and the park’s tipping bucket

is also modelled on The Cat’s hat, along with a splash zone with dozens of water spray toys. Larger-than-life images of Dr. Seuss characters will greet visitors as they enter the park, with memorable Dr. Seuss phrases displayed around the park. Carnival Horizon will also feature a bike-ride-in-thesky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and the SportSquare outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course. The ship also has a Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading and play venue and Seuss at Sea activities like The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and the Seuss-a-palooza Parade and Story Time. carnival.com.au

Whale Watching and Taronga Zoo – the ultimate wildlife combo Captain Cook Cruises has partnered with Taronga Zoo to offer the ultimate Sydney wildlife package for animal lovers: a Taronga Zoo and Whale Watching Cruise Combo deal on offer daily until 1 November 2017. Start the day on a rocket ferry harbour cruise from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour to Taronga Zoo, and catch the Sky Safari Cable car to the top of the park for morning wildlife watching. The zoo is home to over 4000 animals, including a gorgeous new Asian

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elephant calf. Captain Cook will then pick you up from Taronga Zoo Wharf, so you can spend the afternoon on the Whale Watching Cruise. On board, a guide will provide expert commentary on the variety of marine life found in these waters including Humpbacks, Southern Rights, Orcas and Minke whales, and seals, albatross and fairy penguins. Dolphins nearly always accompany the cruise, with some pods numbering up to 100 individuals. captaincook.com.au


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Did you know …? Aviation Qantas Dreamliner fleet names announced Soon you’ll be able to take to the skies on planes called Waltzing Matilda, Boomerang and Quokka, some of the names chosen for Qantas’ fleet of eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. More than 60,000 suggestions were put forward and 45,000 votes cast in selecting the names of the aircraft that will fly routes including Perth to London and Melbourne to Los Angeles. The final names include Great Barrier Reef, Boomerang, Skippy, Waltzing Matilda, Uluru, Great Southern Land, Dreamtime, and the Out & About With Kids’ team favourite: Quokka The names will be painted beneath the cockpit window on each aircraft. The sequencing of names will be revealed as the aircraft are delivered, with the first to arrive in October this year. Qantas.com.au

Air New Zealan d’s Econom y Skycouch If you’re planning on taking the kids on a long-haul trip, it’s worth considering Air New Zealand’s Economy Skycouch. Skycouch is a row of three Economy seats that together create a flexible space for whatever you want it to be - an area to relax and stretch out in, or for the kids to use as a play area. It’s like having your very own couch on the plane. What is it? Basically, the seats are the same as an Economy seat, except you have an additional



footrest that folds up to form a couch. Each person can choose if they want their footrest up or down. These adjust to 60 and 90 degrees. The arm rest on the window side goes all the way up to create a comfortable lounge space. All the arm rests in the middle seats also disappear in the back of the seat. When it’s time to rest, call for a flight attendant, who’ll help you get your Skycouch set up. Airnewzealand.com.au

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DI D Y OU KNOW...?

Did you know …? Luxury

Long haul luxury with Air New Zealand Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy is now available on most of its 777-300 fleet, as well as its 787-9 and 777-200 planes, and there are some great deals being promoted at the moment well worth looking out for. Long haul will seem easier with loads more leg room (the largest seat pitch in its class) on luxury leather seats, but what’s really special (apart from the friendly Kiwi service) is the food. Gourmet dishes like Harissa lamb shank with sumac yoghurt dressing and seared hapuka in miso coconut broth. If you really want to travel in luxury however, keep an eye out for Business Premier deals. Each spacious capsule transforms from armchair to a lie-flat bed that promises ‘the best sleep in the sky’ and again, the menu is better than a lot of 5-star restaurants. Your menu may include dishes like za’atar wood roasted chicken with saffron-soused onions, or beef short rib with mashed mascarpone potatoes, cumin roasted carrots and radishes with parsnip chips. Airnewzealand.com.au

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Kid’s Club Daily Activity Schedule Outdoor Cinema Luxury Cabins Landscaped Sites Over 15 Onsite Activities Multi Award Winning Reservations 1300 640 587 reservations@adventurewhitsunday.com.au www.adventurewhitsunday.com.au Shute Harbour Road - Airlie Beach


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OAWK TIP: Ask about the sunrise ceremony, beach cruiser bikes, beach mats and toys, and complimentary Mai Tais available to guests.

Luxury cottages at Hilton Garden Inn, Kaua’i The Hilton Garden Inn on the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii has come up with a luxury accommodation concept that is ideal for families. The two-room Summer Cottages are nestled on the shores of the famous Wailua River, facing the island’s eastern shore overlooking one of Kaua’i’s safest and most swimmable beaches.

The Edge of Bali The Edge is one of Bali’s most luxurious boutique resorts, perched on top of a 150m cliff at the southern edge of Bali in Uluwatu. Your stay at The Edge includes 24-hour service from your own personal butler, trained at the prestigious Magnums Butler Academy, who’ll make your breakfast (exactly to your liking) every day, and take care of you and your kids’ every whim throughout your stay. The resort’s most luxurious villa, ‘The View’ has five bedrooms, a private cinema, two large living rooms and a children’s playroom.



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TEAM PLAYERS: why holidays with the extended family have so much appeal

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e’ve all heard the phrase ‘strength in numbers’, but as more and more Australians are demonstrating, there’s plenty of fun to be had in large quantities, too. Holidays with extended families are on the rise, and with good reason. While intergenerational breaks can

have their challenges, they also provide some of the most rewarding experiences for both young and old. To learn more from those in the know, Peter Burchill ventured into a BIG4 holiday park to speak with guests about their experiences travelling with an extended family, and we gained a few tips along the way…


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Pete r and Mau reen Barac, both 72, from Pert h, WA Group holidays have become a cherished tradition for Peter and Maureen, who regularly hit the road with their extended family that includes five grandchildren. “Each Easter and Christmas we go down south in Western Australia and usually spend about a week together down there,” Maureen said. “It’s great to have the time together.” Whilst retired, the couple understands that work and life commitments for the rest of the family make regular catch-ups difficult. So, when the opportunity for a family break does come along, Peter and Maureen make the most of it. “It’s really nice just to have a few days all together,” Maureen said. “We’re really close, we all get along really well. Every opportunity we grasp it, and we enjoy it.” Maureen has also holidayed with her four sisters over the years, explaining that their close bond made for memorable adventures. While there was some irony that we caught up with Peter and Maureen while they were travelling as a couple only, Maureen was quick to point out the catalyst for this most recent of travels: to visit other family members spread across the country.

Michelle and Geoff Yates, in their 40’s, from Mount Gambier, SA A win-win. That’s how Michelle and Geoff Yates view holidays with an extended family. The couple regularly travel with their two daughters, Daisy and Bethany, as well as Michelle’s parents, and agree that the benefits are tangible. “It’s good, particularly when you’ve got youngsters, because you can have a break”, Geoff said about travelling with three generations of one family. “They (the grandparents) get that holiday time with the kids and we get some couples time,” Michelle added. Having moved to Australia from England seven years ago, the couple are enjoying the opportunity to see plenty of their new home, with stints along the Great Ocean Road among the highlights. Having just purchased a brand-new camper trailer, the Yates are predicting that their travels are likely to increase, with a profound rationale for doing so. “It’s a chance to share what you see in life with your extended family,” Michelle said. “Having that time out with family is nice.” And when asked if they had any tips for those contemplating a holiday with the extended family, it was the couple’s 10-year-old daughter who was quickest to offer some practical advice. “Bring more food!” she said. You can’t argue with that.



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DI D Y OU KNOW...?

Cath erine and Gerr y Eeri nga, in thei r 60’s, from Pert h, WA Catherine and Gerry are big advocates of camping and being immersed in the great outdoors. They also reflect with fondness the time spent on the road with their grandchildren. Over the years, they’ve travelled with their children and two grandkids – a girl and a boy – and speak glowingly about how it’s been a big part of their lives. The Western Australians have tended to head north of Perth, aiming to lap up that magnificent turquoisecoloured coastline. “Just the look on their (grandchildren’s) faces when they see the ocean and beach makes the effort worthwhile,” Catherine said. “On the way back we always played this game where we would ask ‘what was the highlight?’ – each person was asked ‘what was the highlight?’ – and we’d talk about those highlights and try to get the holiday spirit extending until we got home.” The couple also has strong advice for those travelling with extended families, stressing the importance of the planning aspect to avoid a ‘mismatch of expectations’. “Set a plan,” Gerry said. “You’ve got to set an agenda otherwise after seven days or 14 days you think ‘what did we come here for?’” As part of that planning, the couple also advise spending some time apart to help to prevent any tension. After all, aren’t holidays about having fun?

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Front of house crew

Personal chefs

What will your next holiday stay give you? Imagine the perfect alternative to your standard hotel holiday. More personal and less predictable. A break for the whole family with everything you need in one place, that has you wondering why you didn’t do it before. Where front of house is your kids playing in front of your cabin. Where free-to-air entertainment comes on a pedal cart or jumping pillow, and where complimentary refreshments are something you can swim in.

Complimentary wake up calls

Your perfect family getaway is now easier than ever at BIG4.com.au…So if you are thinking of moving away from standard, maybe you should ask yourself the simple question…Isn’t it time?

E

OURIT ’S FAV IA L A R AUST

Let’s get connected!

BIG4.com.au Isn’t it time you visited?


DI D Y OU KNOW...?

Did you know …? Holiday Parks

Australia’s top pet friendly holiday parks named Caravan and camping magazine ‘Time to Roam’ has named Australia’s best pet-friendly holiday parks after a call out to the magazine’s readers for nominations. Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, so it’s no surprize that pet-friendly holiday parks is one of the fastest growing trends in tourism. The extensive list of holiday parks introduces a ‘four paws or more’ rating system, including parks that have added amenities for pets such as a dog-wash station, doggy do-do bags, dog poles to tie your dog to when you use the bathroom and leash-free doggy play areas. North Coast Holiday Parks Moonee was among those named on the list, something the owners are very proud of. “We now have nine dog-friendly cabins and dogs are allowed inside the cabins with their owners,” Kelly said. “All of Moonee Beach is wonderfully dog friendly, including the local Moonee Beach Tavern for meals, Moonee’s shopping centre which is a short drive from the park and the local Doggy Café which comes complete with play area. “Dogs at Moonee Beach can stay across the park with their owners and we have dog-waiting areas outside all amenities blocks, our camp kitchen and the main office. Our pet-friendly status makes Moonee Beach a great place for the whole family, especially for four legged members.” The full list of dog-friendly holiday parks can be found in issue 27 of Time to Roam. Timetoroam.com.au

What’s it worth? What’s a powered camping site worth? BIG4 Great Lakes at Forster-Tuncurry has taken the rather bold move of allowing guests to set their own price this winter. The ‘Pay what you Want’ promotion is valid during the month of August and also applies to cabins, with a floor price of $70 set as a starting point. There is no restriction on the number of nights or sites that guests can book, and is only available to guests booking direct with the property. According to manager Margaret

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Shannon, “While we believe most customers will pay a fair rate for their sites in recognition of the great service and facilities that we offer, we feel it is important to give people an opportunity to stay without feeling under financial pressure. Whether it be a family weekend away, or a couple stopping in for a week, the important thing is to relax and have an enjoyable holiday – hopefully this initiative will allow people to do that.” Greatlakes.com.au


See astonishing LEGO® skyscrapers of international building icons including Eureka Tower (pictured), Marina Bay Sands and the Empire State Building, some more than three metres tall! Create your own ‘tower of tomorrow’ with more than 200,000 loose bricks in our hands-on construction areas.

On show at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra

28 July – 8 October Admission costs and session times apply. Book online at

nma.gov.au/towers

Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO® Bricks is a travelling exhibition from Sydney Living Museums Image ©James Horan, Sydney Living Museums


D I D Y O U K NO W...?

Kinderling Kids radio presenter Shevonne Hunt rediscovered Canberra through the eyes of her kids. Here’s her pick for Top 5 for families. Canberra, it turns out, is the glittering jewel in a family’s travel diary. At least, that was my recent experience when we headed there on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. I had chosen Canberra as the spring board for our kids’ first experience of snow (our kids are 3 and 5 years old). I’d heard about Corin Forest, about 40 minutes outside of the city, where children could do ‘snow play’ and ride on toboggans… without the exorbitant cost of a full trip to the ski fields. But we discovered there was much more to do than just that.

Ways a weekend in Canberra will surprise you 

1

Questacon

2

National Arboretum

We started out at Questacon, a scientific exploration centre designed for children. I’d heard a lot about Questacon, and it didn’t disappoint. We could have spent the whole day there and the kids would have been happy. I’m not saying that it converted them into science geniuses, there was just way too much to absorb in one day, but it was fun for everyone. After filling our brains to almost exploding, we thought it would be a good idea to let the kids run around and get some energy out, so we headed to the National Arboretum with its amazing playground of huge acorn pods and connecting string walkways. WINTER 2017 outandaboutwithkids.com.au

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DID YO U K NO W...?

3

Cockington Green Gardens

If you speak to a local, they’ll tell you that the Cockington Green Gardens is naff and strange. I say “bah humbug!” What could be more enchanting for small children than a world full of miniature cottages, buildings, castles and ruins? And I say that as a mum who waited half an hour for a tiny train trip that lasted about 5 minutes. The kids loved it, and if I’m honest, I found it quite entertaining as well.

4

Corin Forest

When we went to Corin Forest it was the first ‘official’ weekend of their season. The car park was full, and there were small children and adults clumping about in ski boots and other snow paraphernalia. The ‘snow play’ sessions go for about two and a half hours, which is plenty of time for young children to hoon

down the small hill on a toboggan, or throw snow balls and make snow men in a separate area.

5

Australian Institute of Sport (AIS)

At Australia’s No. 1 sporting complex kids can test their skills in Sportex, an interactive sports experience, take a tour with an AIS athlete, try rock climbing, virtual rowing, football penalty shootouts, a range of winter sports and even see how they compare to our elite athletes by running races with virtual competitors. Canberra was so much more than I would have believed in my ‘prekid’ days. But travel now is as much about my children as it is about me, and this trip felt like it had something for all of us. Shevonne Hunt was hosted by Visit Canberra and Corin Forest.

FREE BREAKFAST PLUS $25 OFF EACH NIGHT WHEN YOU BOOK AT ACCORHOTELS CANBERRA

Canberra’s attractions are all just minutes from any of the AccorHotels properties in the nation’s capital city. A few minutes’ drive will take you to animal encounters at the National Zoo & Aquarium, treasure hunts at the Royal Australian Mint, the Pod Playground at the National Arboretum (one of the best playgrounds in Australia) and Patissez, the original inventor of the Freakshake, is a short walk away from the Novotel Canberra. Book a stay at any of AccorHotels Canberra this winter and they’ll take $25 off each night’s stay, and include breakfast for free.

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CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT:

Kids will love Cockington Green Gardens, snowplay at Corin Forest, fun at Questacon and early morning hot air balloon rides are always a spectacle to watch.


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.

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

@ExperienceAIS

ASC 34415

/ExperienceAIS


DID YO U K NO W...?

TOWERS OF TOMORROW at the National Museum of Australia

Twenty of the world’s most impressive skyscrapers from Australia, Asia, America and the United Arab Emirates have been recreated in miniature with LEGO® for a new exhibit at the National Museum of Australia. The mini-skyscrapers have been built with incredible architectural detail and accuracy by the Southern Hemisphere’s only certified LEGO® professional, Australia’s Ryan ‘The BrickMan’ McNaught. The travelling exhibition, presented by Sydney Living Museums, includes the world premiere of 10 new towers from UAE, Canada and USA, including Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Toronto’s CN Tower, Philadelphia’s Comcast Technology Centre, Los Angeles’ Wilshire Grand Centre, Chicago’s Willis Tower, Atlanta’s Bank of America Plaza and New York’s 111 West 75th Street as well as the city’s three famous landmarks, Empire State Building, Central Park Tower and Chrysler Building. Skyscrapers from Asia include Taiwan’s Taipei 101, Japan’s Tokyo Skytree, Kuala Lumpur’s twin Petronas Towers, Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and the amazing, self-contained city that is China’s Shanghai Tower. Australia is represented by the Eureka Tower in Melbourne, Infinity Tower in Brisbane and the Gold Coast’s Q1 building. It’s taken Ryan and his team over 2400 hours to build the Towers of Tomorrow exhibit, using more than half a million LEGO® bricks – that’s over 1.5 tonnes of LEGO®. With some structures over three metres in height, kids are likely to be inspired to create their own ‘tower of tomorrow’, and the hands-on construction area allows them to give it a good try with over 200,000 loose LEGO® bricks for kids to start building with. On show 28 July to 8 October, National Museum of Australia, Canberra. Check out admission costs and session times, and book online at nma.gov.au/towers

LEGO® TOWERS OF TOMORROW STATS • 577,000. LEGO® bricks are used in the exhibition. • 104,800. LEGO® bricks used in largest construction – Shanghai Tower • 400 billion. LEGO® bricks ever made since it was invented. • 40 billion. Stacked on top of each other, would reach the moon. • 915,103,765. Combinations possible using just six 2x4 LEGO® bricks.


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DID YO U K NO W...?

COFFS COAST TOP

for Kids The Coffs Coast has been a favourite holiday destination for families since your parents were kids, and while some of the same attractions remain, like the beautiful beaches and the Big Banana, there are plenty of new additions. Here are five of the best.

1

The Big Banana.

This icon is far more than just a large fiberglass banana these days. They still sell chocolate-coated bananas and recently the banana has found a mate, a large fiberglass monkey. Be sure to have a ride on the downhill toboggan and a game of laser tag while you’re here.

2

Dolphin Marine Magic.

This marine park still puts on a great display, showcasing the skill and agility of these clever marine mammals, but these days there’s a far greater emphasis on education and marine conservation with the daily Marine Discovery presentations and behind the scenes tours. The daily Marine Discovery presentation shows kids what they can do to help protect the world’s oceans and every visitor gets an opportunity to receive a free kiss from the friendly dolphins and cheeky seals.

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3

Sea Kayaking and Surf Rafting.

4

Snorkelling.

5

Surfing lessons.

Sea Kayaking is the perfect way to get up close with the dolphins and turtles that frequent the sub-tropical waters here, whereas if you want something a little more adrenalin-pumping, try surf rafting. It’s a bit like white water rafting except you catch waves instead of navigating rapids. Jetty Dive can take you out to the South Solitary Islands to explore sub-tropical waters, complete with pretty corals and plenty of marine life. You’re almost guaranteed to spot turtles, and if you’re really lucky, manta rays. In the winter months, the Jetty Dive boat transforms into a whale-watching boat, which gets you out to the whale-breaching action so fast you won’t have time to be seasick. There are lots of great surf beaches along the Coffs Coast, and if you need lessons, there are several surf schools to choose from, including Solitary Islands Surf School, Lee Winkler’s Surf School and East Coast Surf School.


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WINTER 2017 outandaboutwithkids.com.au

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DID YO U K NO W...?

A TOP for families on the Sunshine Coast

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The Sunshine Coast has long been a family favourite holiday destination. The long white sandy beaches are enough to satisfy most, but then there’s beautiful hinterland landscapes, delicious fresh produce and family attractions like Australia Zoo. Need any more reasons to book your next Sunshine Coast holiday? Here are five.

1

Yummy Berries

2

Take a hike

3

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

4

Did we mention the beaches?

5

Go whale watching

PYO (Pick Your Own) is the way to go. Winter is Strawberry Season on the Sunshine Coast and we promise you strawberries never taste better – or sweeter – than those freshly picked with your own two hands. Choose from Strawberry Fields, in Palmview, Rolin Farms in Elimbah or Cooloola Berries in Wolvi, all of which will also serve up scones with strawberry jam and strawberry ice cream. Strawberry season runs from June to November. Winter is a magical time for a walk in a national park or heading off on an adventure in search of the most epic waterfall; a bit of exercise is far less painful when it’s not in 98 per cent humidity. Breathe in crisp air (but not too crisp because it is Queensland after all) as you wander among open forests or spot platypus in crystal clear creeks. Buderim Forest Park Reserve, Mount Ngungun and Emu Mountain are all great choices for kids. There is a new whizz bang $4.7 million Discovery Centre at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve in Maleny, with a new elevated viewing platform, boardwalk and Rainforest Education Centre housing a great selection of interactive exhibits and multi-sensory experiences. The reserve itself comprises 55 hectares of sub-tropical rainforest overlooking the Glass House Mountains National Landscape, gifted to council in 1941 by the Thynne sisters, in honour of their mother, Mary. Take your pick, there are dozens. From popular patrolled surf beaches like Alexandra Headland, Noosa Main Beach, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba to hidden gems like Shelly and Castaways Beach. Most beaches are patrolled and equipped with grassy picnic areas, playgrounds and barbeque facilities. For something on the wilder side, head to Rainbow Beach, so-named for its coloured sands, and the entry point to the 41,000 hectare Cooloola National Park, a favourite for 4WD adventures. Take a whale watching tour from the Sunshine Coast to spot a humpback whale – the world’s largest and most majestic animal. The region also has some stellar viewing platforms and lookouts to watch these regal creatures frolic from, between July and late October. visitsunshinecoast.com



WINTER 2017 outandaboutwithkids.com.au

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DID YO U K NO W...?

TOP

for Families in Macao Why not choose Macao for your next family getaway? Get ready for a few big surprises. Macao is one of those well-kept secrets – it’s always been one of the world’s most exciting yet unseen destinations, and it caters to all styles of travel. For the historians and culture vultures, there’s the centuries old architecture and a unique blended heritage, for the foodies there’s delicious local cuisine, for entertainment-seekers, world-class hotels and resorts that provide incredible shows, and for families …? Macao is bursting with world-firsts in family attractions that cannot be found anywhere else. Truly. Need any more reasons to visit? Here are a few: Macao is Visa Free for most nationalities, getting around Macao is ridiculously easy (and in many cases, FREE), and for families, a big bonus is that almost all attractions are no more than 15 minutes

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from your hotel. FREE shuttle bus services connect travellers from the Ferry Terminals located on the Macao Peninsular and Taipa, and Macao International Airport to all major hotels and resorts. And on the Cotai Strip, you will find giant precincts with some of the world’s leading resort entertainment, attractions and shows. Here are our TOP SEVEN unique picks for families.

1

Monkey King – a truly spectacular Large Scale China Show

This is one of the most famous and enduring stories told in Chinese folk-lore and one of the most dynamic characters in world literature. This new production interprets the classic tale to appeal to a modern audience, and the sheer scale of the dance, acrobatics, drama, martial arts, and Chinese magic really are something to see.

The show also features state of the art 3D effects, LED screen projections, video mapping and full surround sound, together with creative lighting effects, choreography, music and spectacular, colourful costumes. monkeyking.cn

2

The DreamWorks All-Stars at Sands Cotai Central

3

Planet J Theme Park

So, who’s your favourite Dreamworks character? Kung Fu Panda’s Po? Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon? Maybe Shrek’s darling Princess Fiona or King Julian from Madagascar? No matter, they’re ALL here at Sands Cotai Central, for breakfast, Animation Character Meet and Greets and a daily All Star Parade. sandscotaicentral. com/dreamworks Planet J Theme Park at Cotai Central is the world’s first player-centric, live action


role-playing (LARP) theme park comprising eight gaming zones featuring more than 200 games, and is destined to become one of the most interactive entertainment experiences in Asia and beyond. planetj.com

largest skytop wave pool, waterslides, beach lagoons, white water rapids, geysers, waterfalls and a kid zone. galaxymacau. com/en/jw-marriott-macau/hotelamenities

4

Golden Reel Ferris Wheel

6

5

Giant Wave Pool & Skytop Rapids

Suspended between the twin hotel towers of Studio City at a height of 130 metres, the Golden Reel is Asia’s highest figure-8 Ferris wheel. It has 17 Steampunkthemed cabins, each carrying up to 10 passengers on a ride around its uniquelyshaped figure-8 track. studiocity-macau. com

Galaxy Macao’s new Skytop Adventure Rapids is the world’s longest skytop aquatic adventure river ride at 575 metres. Plus, there are tropical gardens, the world’s 

Warner Bros. Fun Zone

Occupying an area of 4000 square metres, the Warner Bros. Fun Zone is an indoor playground themed around characters from Warner Bros., DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera Productions and Looney Tunes entertainment franchises. studiocity-macau.com

7

Batman Dark Flight

Immersed in the flying theatre, adventure-seekers can virtually soar over Gotham City with Batman through the action-packed storyline. The 4D motion ride promises a thrilling experience. studiocitymacau.com WINTER 2017 outandaboutwithkids.com.au

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DID YO U K NO W...?

Reasons Why We Love Grootbos

It may be one of South Africa’s most luxe properties, combining exquisite suites with a spectacular setting, but Grootbos is also perfect for families wanting an all-inclusive eco-tourism experience. From its great choice of activities and responsible tourism initiatives to indulgent dining and a dedicated kids’ space, here are just ten reasons why we love it.

1

Pristine botanical setting

Situated en-route between Cape Town and South Africa’s worldrenowned Garden Route, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is a 2500 hectare paradise within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cape Floral Region. Its rolling hills swathed in

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fynbos heathland are home to more than 750 plant species (100 of which are endangered), including pockets of unique afro-montane species and ancient milkwood forests.

2

Luxurious accommodation

Grootbos’ 5-star accommodation exudes luxury, with three architecturally-impressive settings to choose from. Built from stone, thatch and timber, the Garden Lodge is surrounded by indigenous trees, with cosy fireplaces, private wooden decks and a distinctly African warmth where families can relax in the evenings. Choose from one of the contemporary suites at the Forest Lodge, complete with infinity


pool, or indulge at their exclusive Villa with your own butler, chef and guide.

close view of these unique animals, but conserving them and their habitats for future generations.

3

Dedicated kids’ space

7

4

Endless eco-activities

The Garden Lodge has its own Activities Room designed specifically for kids and a space where they can play and engage with one of Grootbos’ babysitters in the evenings. It’s an ideal escape after an early dinner to watch a movie and eat popcorn while parents enjoy the fine dining experience in peace. From pony rides in the paddock for little ones, to horse rides through the pristine fynbos for older kids and adults, Grootbos has a range of ecoactivities to suit all ages. There’s an outdoor play area with a petting zoo and an extensive network of walking trails to explore, as well as 4x4 Flower Safaris to discover the unique biodiversity.

5

Exquisite dining experiences

Featuring predominantly organic produce grown on the property, Grootbos serves up mouth-watering South African cuisine at its two restaurants. Delve into their full English buffet-style breakfasts and relax over a three-course lunch, including fresh seafood, artisanal meats and award-winning local wines. Young tastes haven’t been forgotten either, with a dedicated kids’ menu and dinner served extra early on request.

6

Spot the ‘Marine Big 5’

So, you’ve heard of the ‘Big Five’ on the African plains, but have you experienced the ‘Serengeti of the Seas’ at Gansbaai? Grootbos partners with Dyer Island Cruises for a oncein-a-lifetime experience on their ecofriendly vessel to glimpse the ‘Marine Big 5’. Look out for Cape fur seals and African penguins basking in the sun, bottlenose dolphins and whales, and search for sharks beneath the waves. Led by experienced marine biologists and guides, these cruises are not only about getting an up-

Responsible tourism initiatives

The team at Grootbos are committed to making a positive impact on the unique natural surrounds and people through the Grootbos Foundation. By participating in their ecotourism initiatives, you are helping to create sustainable livelihoods while conserving the region’s unique biodiversity. The Football Foundation helps cultivate young leaders through a love of sport, while their Siyakhula program helps develop enterprises and income for local communities.

8

Fabulous staff

From the child-minders working in their Activities Room to the highly experienced guides and ever-friendly waiters, the staff at Grootbos are simply fabulous. They go above and beyond to make your stay exceptional, with no request too difficult.

9

Indulgent spa

After an action-packed day exploring Grootbos’ spectacular surrounds, there’s no better way to wind down that at their spa. Fully qualified therapists offer everything from facials to shiatsu and full body massages, using locally-sourced natural products. You can opt to indulge within your own private suite, in the tranquillity of their spa or in the midst of the property’s ancient milkwood forests.

10

All-inclusive family packages

Perhaps the best part about staying at Grootbos is their allinclusive family packages, including accommodation, gourmet meals and a range of eco-activities for everyone. They offer three different packages specifically geared towards families, allowing you to select the activities that suit your interests and children’s ages or customise your own. Then once you arrive, you can forget about tallying up costs and concentrate on enjoying yourselves to the full. grootbos.com


WE REV IEW

The Maslow, Johannesburg, South Africa Location Situated in Johannesburg’s business district of Sandton, The Maslow makes an ideal overnight stop when coming or going from O.R. Tambo International Airport. It’s within easy access of the Sandton metro station, Sandton City mall and Nelson Mandela Square, with free hotel shuttles for sightseeing and shopping. It’s one of numerous hotels and resorts owned by Sun International, renowned for providing luxurious accommodation options across Southern Africa. Accommodation The Maslow offers stylish 4-star accommodation, with a range of wellappointed en-suite rooms and suites to select from. Free Wi-Fi, flatscreen TVs, minifridges and coffee/tea making facilities come standard, as does a delicious continental buffet breakfast. Activities The Maslow features its own on-site gym and outdoor swimming pool for kids to cool off in, together with the Africology Spa which offers a range of massages, facials, scrubs and therapeutic treatments. A sauna, steam room and traditional Arabian Rasul chamber offer indulgent relaxation for mums, together with a rooftop garden where you can kick back surrounded by the scent of lavender.

Explore Whether you’re overnighting in Jo-burg en route elsewhere or spending a few days, no visit is complete without a trip to Nelson Mandela Square for a family photo beneath this iconic six-metre tall statue. It’s located adjacent to the Sandton City shopping centre, famed as the ‘Rodeo Drive’ of Africa, and home to Johannesburg’s Hard Rock Cafe. Johannesburg is also packed with great family-friendly museums, including the historical displays at Museum Africa, the

James Hall Museum of Transport and the interactive Sci-Bono technology museum. Food and Beverage The Maslow’s on-site restaurant is the Lacuna Bistro and Bar whose menu features locally-sourced produce within a relaxed ambiance. Select from their range of South African specialties, accompanied by an outstanding selection of local wines, while the kids can feast on hearty sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes.

The Maslow, Sandton, Johannesburg Corner Grayston Drive & Rivonia Road, Sandton, 2031, Gauteng, South Africa Sales & reservations: +27 10 226 4600 maslow@suninternational.com suninternational.com/maslow/

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FRESH TOURISTS, DELIVERED DAILY FROM AUSTRALIA. More and more Australians are discovering the vast number of destinations on South African Airways’ ever growing network. Travel daily from across Australia* via Perth to Johannesburg and onto more than 65 destinations^ in Africa. Experience South Africa’s warm hospitality on every flight and understand why we have been voted the ‘Best Airline in Africa’ for 14 consecutive years. Go online to www.flysaa.com.au, call 1300 435 972 or visit your preferred travel agent and book your African Adventure today! *SAA Australian Domestic flights operated by our Codeshare partner Virgin Australia More than 65 destinations include destinations operated to by our partner airlines SA Express, SA Airlink and Mango Airlines.

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Nanuku Auberge Resort, Fiji

Location The resort is located on a white sandy beach stretching 3km along the shores of Beqa Lagoon on the south west coast of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. You can reach the resort in a 25-minute flight private plane transfer from Nadi to the resort’s private landing strip, or more leisurely by car from Nadi (2.5 hours) or Suva (90 minutes), through Fiji’s tropical countryside and local villages giving you an insight into the local Fijian way of life on the way. Accommodation Nanuku Resort and Spa is one of the luxury Auberge offerings and their only Fijian property. A relative newcomer to the Viti Levu luxury market the resort is the first all-villa boutique resort to be built on the main island. Accommodation is in large airconditioned living and entertaining areas, with private yoga bures, plunge pool, media room, expansive outdoor living room complete with daybed and private garden. The family villas also have a dedicated projection room with a roll down screen for evening movies, and even a popcorn maker to make that family movie night complete. Why we stayed there The beach front location, luxurious (and spacious) accommodation, delicious food and choice of activities all combine to

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provide a holiday to remember, and for a family, the most compelling reason to stay are the wonderful resort staff. They are there to assist with anything you require for the duration of your stay. You’ll have your own dedicated team to take care of you, including a Villa Mumma, a Nanuku Buddy and a Villa Nanny. Every child under the age of six has a dedicated nanny to attend to their care from 8am to 9pm daily. A dedicated Nanuku buddy is available from 9am to 9pm every day to take older kids on all sorts of adventures from spear

making, fishing and beach footy to sailing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and snorkelling. For younger kids there is the fabulous Lailai kids’ club which operates daily from 8am to 9pm for children 0 to 13 years, providing complimentary babysitting during these hours. OAWK TIP: For an additional fee, you can arrange an overnight nanny if you need a night of unbroken sleep.


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“A holiday at Nanuku is like a big warm hug.”

Activities The resort has a wide range of free activities, from non-motorised water sports to snorkelling, kayaking, sailing and fishing. Guests can also take part in organised activities such as stargazing, food safaris, herbal medicine walks, coral planting and Fijian arts, crafts and cultural workshops. OAWK TIP: Book a full day of adventure on Nanuku’s private island, just 20 minutes by boat in Beqa Lagoon. Spend the day exploring your own desert island and beautiful fringing coral reef. You will be supplied with a gourmet picnic lunch for a perfect 5-star castaway day. Explore If you can drag yourself away from Nanuku resort the Pacific Harbour region has many other adventures close by. Experience shark diving in Beqa Lagoon, surf the famous Frigates Passage or zipline through the tropical rainforest with the more adventurous in your family. This can all be



booked and arranged for you by the resort’s travel office staff. Food and Beverage You’ll be spoiled for choice with the range of fresh locally sourced produce on offer, and an internationally renowned chef to make something exquisite with it every night. Children’s needs are catered for, and nothing is too much trouble for the chef to keep young palates happy. Choose from the dining experience at The Kanavata Restaurant or the poolside Lounge. Main meals are included in the resort package, and there is currently a special where two children under 12 years stay, eat and play for free with the ‘Family Time Bonus’. OAWK TIP: Be sure to book a Nanuku Food Safari, which includes a guided tour sourcing fresh Fijian produce, crabs, prawns, fruits and vegetables to bring back to the kitchen, where chef will then prepare all your ingredients for a sumptuous family dinner.

Nanuku Auberge Resort 11 Nanuku Drive Pacific Harbour, Fiji Islands +679 345 2100 nanuku.aubergeresorts.com email: nan.reservations@aubergeresorts.com

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The Suttle Lodge, Central Oregon, USA Location This traditional timber lodge and surrounding log cabins are located on the shore of Suttle Lake nestled among tall pine trees in Deschutes National Forest. Suttle Lake is an easy three-hour drive from Portland Airport in Oregon. It’s a popular weekend retreat for Portlandians, being in ski country during winter and a beautiful lake-side retreat in summer. The drive to Suttle Lake takes you through the historic town of Sisters, the nearest town to pick up supplies, as well as miles and miles of evergreen forests. Accommodation Accommodation varies from basic selfcatered ‘Rustic Cabins’ and the more luxurious two-storey Lakeside Cabins to accommodation at the Lodge itself, a range of large rooms, each different, and some with loft beds (great for kids). While the Suttle Lodge itself is almost 100 years old, the décor is not. It’s a mix of antiques, retro fittings and state-of-the-art design, each room with an open fire and some with a large spa bath. There are two indoors communal areas, a games room upstairs and a large living area and bar downstairs, which opens onto a deck overlooking the lake. Why we stayed there The lakeside location, deep in the Deschutes National Forest is absolutely stunning. The rooms are large, there’s plenty of space for the kids to run around, indoors and out and usually a dog or two hanging around eager for someone to play with. Activities The deck opens up onto a large grassy area leading down to the lake and Boathouse. At the Boathouse there is a range of kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards for hire, and the Boathouse itself has been converted into a bar, café and grocery store, open to anyone camping nearby as well as guests. And it’s not your average country grocery store either, here you’ll find artisan cheeses and cured meats, craft beer and fine Oregon wine. Inside the café, which has booth-style

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seating, there’s an old juke box, and upstairs, a pop-up shop selling very cool Poler gear. Around the back of the Boathouse, a beer garden, with a range of lawn games scattered around for kids (big and little) to play with. Explore There’s an easy hiking trail around the lake, which winds along the shore, through tall pine trees and a few camp grounds along the way. You’re likely to see squirrels, chipmunks and woodpeckers along the trail, otters swimming in the lake and if you’re lucky, a bald eagle in the tree tops. Further afield the Deschutes Forest offers lots of outdoors activities including horse riding, mountain biking and more serious trekking (the Pacific Crest Trail passes through here). The nearby town of Sisters is well worth visiting, and not just to explore its ‘mom and pop’ shops, cafés and restaurants. It’s also known as a centre of arts and culture,



hosting a wide range of events, from the Sisters Rodeo to the Outdoor Quilt Show and Sisters Folk Festival. Hoodoo Ski Area, a 10-minute drive from the Lodge, is a small mountain resort and a favourite with locals in winter. As well as downhill skiing and snowboarding, the ski area is known for its Autobahn Tubing Park and Nordic trails. Lift tickets are about half the price of those in Australian ski areas and kids under five ski for free. Food and Beverage Dining at the Lodge is in the Bar or at the Boathouse, with both menus offering a range of gourmet American comfort food like hot dogs, burgers and curly fries and they are famous for their Fried Fish Sandwich. The bar also serves up great cocktails, and during cocktail hour, a range of artisan cheese and cured meats are laid out to nibble on.

Suttle Lodge 13300 US Highway 20 Sisters Oregon 97759 +1 541-638-7001 thesuttlelodge.com info@thesuttlelodge.com

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COME TO LIFE ON QUEENSLAND’S

SUNSHINE COAST Get eye-to-eye with some of nature’s most fascinating creatures and come to life with bucket list experiences dotted among the Sunshine Coast beach to hinterland paradise.

Plan your getaway visitsunshinecoast.com | Be inspired #visitsunshinecoast | Call a local 1300 847 481


ANIMALS Animals, animals, animals... where to find Australia's very best animal encounters.

contents 52 WILDLIFE PARKS

Where to find Australia's best wildlife sanctuaries and zoos.

59 ENCOUNTERS!

Where to see Australia's unique animals in the wild.

66 DRAGONS

Fantastic beasts and where to find them: Komodo dragons.

84 DUBBO SLEEPOVER

What it's like to wake up in the African Savanna - in Dubbo.


Australia’s Best Wildlife Parks A

ll over Australia you’ll find plenty of zoos and wildlife parks where you can get up close to animals, many of which have hands-on programs and even accommodation options. Taronga Zoo in Sydney has a great range of handson wildlife encounters and some pretty entertaining shows, such as the Free-flight Bird Show, and right now is a good time to visit to see their brand new Asian elephant calf, an adorable otter cub and a very cute baby pygmy hippo. There’s also the awesome Wild Ropes tree tops course that takes you above the enclosures and the ultimate sleepover offering ‘Roar and Snore’ in luxury tented accommodation. taronga.org.au An hour’s drive north of Sydney, the Australian Reptile Park has a great selection of hands-on experiences, and not just reptiles. As well as a great variety of lizards and freshwater crocodiles, there are also wombats, wallabies, dingos and devils. But it’s the hands-on informative keeper talks that make this wildlife park special – especially those presented by hugely-popular Ranger Mick. There are opportunities to wrap a python around your neck, take a Galapagos

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:

Meerkats at Mogo Zoo, Mogo's red panda, lorikeets at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, feeding joeys at Symbio Wildlife Park, Symbio's social media queen, Imogen and the popular Ranger Mick at The Australian Reptile Park.


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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:

Taronga Zoo's new otter pup, Symbio Wildlife Park's majestic Sumatran tiger Jalur, kids get to cuddle baby George the wombat at the Australian Reptile Park and at Featherdale Wildlife Park they can pose with baby joeys.

tortoise for a walk and even cuddle a dingo pup. reptilepark.com.au Hunter Valley Zoo also has good selection of Aussie animals as well as a few exotics, such as meerkats, monkeys, lemurs and lions. You can meet the wallabies and kangaroos in the interactive yards and get up close with dozens of endemic and exotic birds, including the very friendly lorikeets, rosellas and noisy macaws. Their hands-on experiences include a chance to go into the meerkat enclosure with the keeper and spend some quality time feeding them and watching them go about their busy family life. huntervalleyzoo.com.au An hour’s drive south of Sydney, Symbio Wildlife Park has transformed in recent years from a sleepy little country zoo into a social media super star. Its Facebook videos of cute koalas Imogen and Willow have been shared globally and people are flocking for a selfie these gorgeous girls. symbiozoo.com.au Mogo Zoo is a privately-owned zoo on the NSW south coast which has an amazing collection of endangered and exotic species – in fact the zoo has the largest collection of primates in Australia. There are a number of hands-on animal encounters at the zoo in which you can help the keepers feed lions, tigers and giraffes, or play with meerkats, squirrel monkeys and emperor tamarins. mogozoo.com.au Featherdale Wildlife Park, in Sydney’s west, has a number of hands-on encounters with Aussie

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favourites, including koalas, wallabies and Tassie devils. Especially exciting for kids is the new walkthrough koala sanctuary where kids can stroke koalas and even have their photo taken with them. Head there soon to see their seven dingo pups, recently born to proud parents Smudge and Bear. featherdale.com.au Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium has possibly the coolest accommodation concept out of Africa. Jamala Wildlife Lodge gives you the opportunity to sleep next to tigers, lions, grizzly bears, cheetahs and giraffes. The zoo itself has a number of great hands-on experiences including its Zooventure Tour, where you can hand feed the big cats, grizzly bear and giraffes as well as take a few dingoes for a walk. nationalzoo.com.au If you’re looking for a close encounter of the aquatic kind, SeaWorld Gold Coast has countless Animal Adventures: you can swim with dolphins, snorkel with reef sharks or take part in a Seal Safari. One of the more unique experiences is on the Penguin Antarctic Adventure where you can rug up and enter the Antarctic cool of the penguin enclosure to feed the king and gentoo penguins. seaworld.com.au Also on the Gold Coast is Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. With over 27 hectares of landscaped surrounds and bushland and hundreds of native Australian animals on display in natural bushland




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FROM TOP LEFT:

Taronga Zoo's new baby Asian elephant Jai Dee, one of Symbio's cheeky lemurs, and koala cuddles at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

and rainforest settings, you’ll need the full day to enjoy Currumbin. Hands-on experiences here include the opportunity to feed one of their huge saltwater crocodiles and there’s also a couple of fun ways to get around the grounds – through the trees on the Tree Tops Challenge or wheel around on a Segway Safari. cws.org.au At Melbourne Zoo, you can get up close with lemurs, meerkats, giraffes and squirrel monkeys, as well as a few locals such as kangaroos. There are also several fantastic ‘Behind the Scenes’ guided tours through the gorilla, orangutan and tiger enclosures, and once a month, High Tea in the Rainforest Room. Melbourne Zoo also hosts a Roar ‘n’ Snore sleepover in its historic Elephant House between the months of September and May. zoo.org.au Also in Victoria, Healesville Sanctuary has a range of very reasonably priced encounters with some Aussie favourites including kangaroos, echidnas, koalas, dingoes and pythons. In June, look out for Wine & Wildlife, a chance to combine a hands-on wildlife experience with wine tasting. On the Queen’s Birthday weekend, they team up with local producers to showcase a selection of Yarra Valley wines, some local craft breweries and a pop-up Gin Bar on the Tasmanian Devil Boardwalk. zoo.org.au/healesville Adelaide Zoo has all sorts of hands-on encounters, everything from squirrel monkeys and lemurs to hippos, big cats and even giant pandas. The zoo’s VIP Panda experience allows you to get close to Australia’s only Giant Pandas, and in summer the zoo hosts Wild Nights, a sleepover in a two-person tent on a rooftop garden overlooking the zoo. adelaidezoo.com.au

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KOALA CUDDLES You can only cuddle a koala in two states: Queensland and South Australia, and Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary – is a great place to do it. On the Gold Coast, get your koala cuddle fix at Dreamworld and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, and further north on Magnetic Island at Bungalow Bay Koala Village. In South Australia, head to Cleland Wildlife Park in Mt Barker, or Gorge Wildlife Park in the Adelaide ‘burbs.


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wild wildlife encounters at Australia Zoo B indi and Robert Irwin are following in the footsteps of their much-loved dad as they continue to inspire thousands of people around the world with their love for wildlife. This Sunshine Coast zoo has a number of hands-on wildlife encounters and continues to contribute to a wide range of conservation projects. You can get up close to cheetahs, lemurs, otters, wombats, koalas, red pandas, even rhinos, giraffes and zebras. Here are a few to look out for. Go on a walk with a baby wombat: enjoy a morning stroll with baby Wattle the wombat as she enjoys her favourite snack of sweet potato. Australia Zoo’s Waddle with Wattle encounters are offered for a limited time only. During school holidays check out the ‘Zoo Keeper For A Day’ programs, a unique way for budding wildlife enthusiasts to experience Australia Zoo. Mini zoo keepers can go behind the scenes for exclusive opportunities and find out what it's really like to be a zoo keeper. Programs are available for kids ages 4-15, with custom programs and special needs programs too. A new addition to the Australia Zoo family is the Gila monster, one of only two venomous lizard species. This gorgeous black and orange lizard grows to half a metre in length and is found in parts of Mexico as well as the southwestern United States. Australia Zoo is the first place in Queensland where visitors can see this unique reptile. Another new addition to the zoo is Lawrence the cheetah cub. He can be seen testing out his lanky legs on morning walks with guests and is the zoo’s official cheetah ambassador, helping to raise awareness and funds for the plight of wild cheetah. More information: australiazoo.com.au



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Out & About with kids Ad 2017 Winter.indd 2

27/6/17 3:19 pm


Australia’s Best Wildlife experiences

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he best thing about Australia’s wildlife is that it’s seriously unique, and it’s everywhere. Thanks to our relative isolation, much of our wildlife is endemic – meaning it’s not found anywhere else. So, where the rest of the world has just mammals, we have marsupials as well. We’ve also got some of the weirdest wildlife, like monotremes, the egg-laying, ant-eating echidna; and the platypus – a venomous, egg-laying, duck-billed amphibious mammal – acknowledged to be the strangest creature in the animal kingdom.



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In the reptile department, we’ve got a lot of lizards, from thorny devils, to blue-tongued lizards, and the saltwater crocodile – the largest living crocodile on the planet. We’ve also got over 800 species of birds, including flightless oddities like the emu and the cassowary. And that’s just on land. In the sea, you’ll find a wide range of creatures including whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, sharks, rays and of course, Nemo and Dory – and all their friends. Here’s where to find our iconic Aussie wildlife.

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Koalas, kangaroos and other furry beasts Though many of our marsupials can be found throughout Australia, some of the easiest places to get up close to koalas, wombats and kangaroos are in the south eastern corner of our continent: in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours offer one-day and multi-day trips throughout the region with guaranteed sightings of koalas and the most common marsupials. Koalas are also pretty much guaranteed on Magnetic Island in Queensland. Introduced to the island in the 1930s, they are free from natural predators here and so have thrived. If you want to see some of Australia’s rarest species, including Tassie devils, try a trip to Maria Island – often described as Tasmania’s Noah’s Ark – and for good reason. It is now an island sanctuary and one of the best places to observe wombats, devils, kangaroos and wallabies. Kangaroo Island is an obvious place for spotting kangaroos and wallabies but there is much more to see than just the big-footed macropods: spot koalas dozing in the trees and seals sunning themselves on deserted beaches. However, at 80 km wide, it’s a big place so if you’d like a local to show you all the best of it, check out Exceptional Kangaroo Island. While you can see kangaroos in most parts of Australia, there are a few well-known handy aggregation points. On the NSW North Coast, you’ll almost trip over the large groups at Look At Me Now Headland in Coffs Harbour, nearby Safety Beach and Hungry Head. On the South Coast, Depot Beach, just north of Bateman’s Bay is also a popular spot for ‘roos. Platypus, being quite shy, are not so easy to spot in the wild. One of the best places is Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains; or you can actually snorkel and scuba dive with them at Rainforest Scuba in Mackay, Queensland.

FRASER COAST Thar she blows! Hervey Bay, on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, is a well-known stopover point for migrating humpback whales. It’s where they come to eat, rest and play, and they usually stay for around 10 days. The best time to see the one-tonne babies is in August, before they return south with their mums.


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MONTAGUE ISLAND Montague Island, on the New South Wales south coast is a wildlife haven. You’ll find a colony of seals and sea lions here all year round and in spring, the island is overtaken by nesting seabirds including shearwaters, terns and little penguins. Over the winter months you’re also likely to see whales on your trip out to the island.

ROTTNEST ISLAND The quokka is fast becoming one of Australia’s most popular species, as people from all over the world flock to Rottnest Island in Western Australia to take a selfie with these adorable characters that seem to have a permanent smile on their little faces!



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Really out there, off the beaten track To see the most iconic Australian wildlife you really need to get way off the beaten track and head to ‘The Top End’. Kakadu National Park is around 20,000 km² of wetlands, rivers and sandstone escarpments. A paradise for birdwatchers, it’s also home to rock wallabies, bandicoots, wallaroos, quolls, dingoes, flying-foxes, ghost bats, goannas, pythons, frogs – and the world’s largest reptile – the saltwater crocodile. Exactly the sort of place you could lose yourself in for a week, though preferably with a guide. To experience the place properly and meet many of these classic Australian creatures, book a tour with Lord Safaris or Echidna Walkabout Tours.

Creatures of the wild watery world Australia’s coastal waters are home to a great number of amazing marine creatures. The Great Barrier Reef boasts its ‘Great Eight’, New South Wales has harmless grey nurse sharks, wobbegongs, seal colonies and dolphins, South Australia has seals and great white sharks and over on the West Australian coast,

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you can swim and snorkel with the world’s largest fish: the whale shark. Turtles are easy to find on Lady Elliot Island and Heron Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, and many other snorkelling sites, such as the Whitsundays and Magnetic Island. In season (November to March) you can also observe them nesting at Mon Repos near Bundaberg, Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island. Over on the Coral Coast in Western Australia, remote Gnaraloo is also a turtle haven. If you want to see dolphins there are a few great choices. Port Stephens on the NSW mid-north coast, has a large resident pod of dolphins that you can watch on any number of dolphin cruises, but Dolphin Swim Australia will get you in the water with them. Don a mask and snorkel and hold on to a rope stretched between the two bows of a large catamaran so you can swim with the dolphins as they ‘bow-ride’ the boat. At Tangalooma near Brisbane and Monkey Mia on Western Australia’s Coral Coast, you can meet the very tame bottlenose dolphins that visit these beaches and for a wilder experience, head over to Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling Islands to swim with

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Saltwater crocs in Australia's far north, the Flinders Ranges is one place emus can be seen, echidnas can be spotted throughout Victoria, turtles are plentiful on Heron Island.

FUN FACT The cassowary’s axe-like casque on its head is actually a listening device (and not a weapon to be used on annoying humans that cross its path – it has lethal dagger-like claws between its toes for that!).


OF THE

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* Subject to availability, block out dates apply. ** The Eco Rangers program is available for children aged 5-12 years during gazetted Queensland and New South Wales school holidays by O’Reilly’s experienced team of nature guides two times daily.


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Swimming with manta rays on Lady Elliot Island, whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef and Janine Duffy of Echidna Walkabout Tours - all part of the brand new Australian Wildlife Collection.

spinner dolphins. There are quite a few colonies of seals and sea lions in the cooler waters of Australia. On the south coast of New South Wales, you can snorkel or dive with the colony at Montague Island. In South Australia, you can snorkel with sea lions on the Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. In Tasmania, you can go seal-spotting on a cruise along Australia’s highest sea cliffs with Bruny Island Cruise, and in Victoria, Phillip Island is famous for its resident little penguins as well as seals. Sharks and rays can be found all around Australia in varying degrees of scariness and wonder. You’re likely to see sting rays in the shallow coastal waters, but it’s manta rays that are on most people’s bucket list. The best place to see these graceful creatures is Lady Elliot Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef or on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. In New South Wales, you’ll find harmless grey nurse sharks, wobbegongs and Port Jackson sharks in Sydney, Nelson Bay, South West Rocks and Coffs Harbour. On the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll likely see reef sharks while snorkelling on a day-trip with one of the many boats that visit the Reef such as Passions of Paradise, or Reef Magic, or even better, a three to four-day cruise with Coral Expeditions. If swimming with whale sharks is high on your bucket list, then Ningaloo Reef on Australia’s Coral Coast is the place to go. Exmouth Diving Centre offers daily tours in season (March to August). Over the winter months, the whole population of the east coast of Australia is on whale watch alert as humpback whales make their way up and down the coast. There are dozens of whale-watching cruises available in season (May to September) and the best places to see them: (from south to north) Narooma, Sydney, Coffs Harbour and Hervey Bay.

AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE COLLECTION This year, 12 of Australia’s leading wildlife tourism experiences have come together to form the Australian Wildlife Collection, to promote immersive ‘in the wild’ experiences around Australia. The Collection includes a wide array of landscapes, from coral reefs to woodlands and wetlands, to rainforests and desert sandplains. Their website has information about seasonal wildlife events and peak viewing opportunities. It’s a one-stop shop to find out where to swim with whale sharks, turtles or fur seals, where to spot emus, wombats, and Tassie devils, and the best time of year to do it. australianwildlifecollection.com

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THE PERFECT BEACH HOLIDAY DESTINATION! Our family friendly park has an array of accommodation to suit everyone’s needs from waterfront Beach Retreats and Villas to our Ensuite and Powered Sites. Relax and enjoy a swim or a game of beach cricket on our beautiful Easts Beach. The kids will love our 25m resort pool, toddlers wading pool and

children’s playgrounds. Kids activities and movies in our holiday periods will keep the kids busy. Our holiday park is the ideal location from which to explore the south coast, with popular tourist attractions such as Jamberoo Action Park and the Minnamurra Rainforest just minutes away.

For further information please contact: BIG4 Easts Beach Holiday Park 30 Ocean Street (PO Box 10) Kiama NSW 2533 Freecall: 1800 674 444 P: 02 4232 2124 F: 02 4233 1009 E: holiday@eastsbeach.com.au www.eastsbeach.com.au


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...and where to find them. Holly O'Sullivan goes in search of Komodo Dragons 66

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long, long time ago, when people thought the world was flat, wonderfully illustrated maps marked the edge of the world with a sign saying “Beyond here be dragons”. It turns out the edge of the world isn’t too far away. Komodo National Park is a hop, skip and jump from bustling Bali, but it’s like stepping back (a few million years) in time. Here be dragons: Komodo dragons. So, if the kids want to see real-life dragons, this is the place to visit. Komodo Island is on the eastern end of Nusa Tenggara in the Flores Sea. Apart from a few small fishing villages, it’s an unspoiled wilderness, with deserted beaches dotting the coastline and pristine fringing coral reefs. The journey here is one of the most exciting parts of the trip, as it is only accessible by sea. From the nearest hub of Labuan Bajo on the neighbouring island of Flores, jump aboard a phinisi schooner. It takes a few hours to get to Komodo Island, but along the way there are countless islands and beaches to explore, including the beautiful Padar Island and its famous Pink Beach.


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On arrival, you will be greeted by these prehistoric beasts almost immediately, as park rangers guide you around the island. They’re armed with long wooden sticks to keep the beasts at bay, but they hardly have a need for them as the large lizards are well fed in this protected environment. Depending on how much time you have, and how energetic you feel, there are a few different hikes you can do on the island, (the most popular being the shorter ones, due to the heat). There are various spots along the trails where the dragons are known to hang out, so you are pretty much guaranteed to see at least one. The views from the top are pretty spectacular, and well worth the effort – even in 90 per cent humidity. It’s hard to describe how it feels to see these threemetre long creatures for the first time. They appear quite docile, but as soon as one moves your heart beats a little bit faster knowing how fast they can move, and how deadly they can be. These guys can take down a water buffalo.

Fact File Fly to Denpasar and then direct to Labuan Bajo. You’ll need a boat to get to the islands which can be hired at the port or pre-booked through a boat hire company or tour operator. Flores Komodo Tours: flores-komodotours.com A National Park fee of AUD$10-15 per person can be paid in the National Parks’ Office in Labuan Bajo or on arrival on the island. The best time to visit is during the shoulder seasons of April to June and September to November, as it is cooler but still sunny, and less packed with tourists. If you visit between April to June you also have a higher chance of spotting whale sharks.



A FEW FANTASTIC FACTS… • Komodo dragons are the largest living lizards in the world, with rough skin, long claws and a large, muscular tail. They have good vision, able to see objects as far away as 300m and though they are also speedy, they prefer to hunt by stealth, waiting for hours until prey cross their path. Their sense of smell is their primary food detector. • The dragon has a unique way of killing its prey. First, it knocks the prey over with its huge feet, then uses its sharp, serrated teeth to shred its prey to death. If it escapes, it will die within 24 hours of blood poisoning because the Komodo's saliva contains 50 strains of bacteria. With its fantastic sense of smell, the dragon will find the dead animal and finish its meal. • And these dragons don’t make very good mums. At birth, baby dragons are only 30cm long, and as soon as they hatch, they run away and climb up trees to avoid being eaten by their mother (or other dragons).

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Dubbo Zoo: a night with the Party Animals Adventure Mamma and travel writer Flip Byrnes takes her cubs for an adventure at Dubbo Zoo

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he sun rises over the savannah, a golden burning halo, silhouetting majestic giraffes strolling with their leisurely, elegant gait just metres away. Our two year old screams excitedly, “GIRAFFE!”, while the 11 month old is transfixed, sitting on the deck of our luxury safari tent, rugged up against the morning Dubbo chill. Dubbo? Wait, this isn’t… Africa? It could be Africa. Certainly the night at Taronga Western Plains Zoo was dominated by the occasional wild cry and deep snores (and that was just inside the tent). Outside the Zoofari Lodge, comprising of 15 canvas covered lodges sitting behind an electric fence, lies the purpose-built savannah populated with giraffe, ostrich, blackbuck and antelope-looking eland. Yet the savannah last night was eerily mute. It was other party animals making the noise.

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Mysterious sounds echoed through the night as we lay in the four-poster mosquito-net shrouded bed, imaginations running riot. There was the bass of a guttural roar, (Lazarus, the lion), the siamang apes hooted in a gurgling treble but the rhythmic ‘thwack thwack’ remained unidentified. It turns out the elephants love banging their trunks against the railings, and recently have been given a football. The noise could also have been the random ‘pop’ of the electric fence’s current, but we agree that midnight football-playing elephants are far more exciting. Everything about Taronga Western Plains Zoo is exciting, including the drive itself. Over the Blue Mountains, the country opens its arms invitingly with vast space. There’s a cheeky nip in the early winter air, boundless blue skies and the vibrant punctuation of


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FROM TOP LEFT:

Sunrise on the Dubbo savanna, toddler-friendly bikes for hire, cabin accommodation, wildlife viewing, wheeling the kids to our tent.



orange leaves against black, wizened bark. This isn’t just a visit to the zoo, it’s a visit to country Australia and the beauty seduces my German partner. Our timing is perfect. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Dubbo branch of Taronga is experiencing a baby boom (so it’s not just us) – there are baby giraffes, a baby hippo, cheetah cubs, lion cubs, their first ever elephant calf and an extremely rare black rhinoceros. The zoo itself is big – the complete circuit is 5.5km in total. So after our sunrise giraffe tête-à-tête, we jump in a zebra-striped electric cart to find last nights’ wild things. There’s only one catch. We won’t visit the whole zoo as we’re prisoners to nap times. The consequence of a short one is clear when Cub #1 has a nuclear meltdown on the behind-the-scenes bus and

passengers have to step over her to disembark. We whizz around, are licked by blue-black giraffe tongues during their feeding, attempt to lure the other zebras with our look-alike cart (they’re not fooled) and head out onto the savannah in the new Savannah Safari Truck. But it’s on the behind the scenes tour where we learn most about the zoo’s machinations. Their sister zoo, Taronga Zoo in Sydney, boasts 1.7 million annual visitors, Western Plains has 250,000. With those numbers, entry fees barely cover wages and food. So the zoo relies on corporate sponsorships, some Government donations and visitors. When you stay, accommodation contributes around 30% of their total revenue. So have another champagne at dinner and know it’s for a good cause.  During the tour we meet some cranky animals – the

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OAWK TIPS Crowd Pleasers For smaller people, the otters and meerkats are the easiest to see. The audacious noises of the siamang apes are a toddler treat. FROM TOP LEFT:

Flip mucks around with her cubs, the cubs check out their neighbours, yummy breakfast at the lodge.

anti-social (and endangered) black rhinos and the equally cranky Asian elephant. Non-cranky animals include the giraffes. They’re not the smartest, but certainly the most sanguine and child-impressive. It’s after the lions, where Lazarus (yes, he of the nightroar) licks his lips when sighting our children, that the Toddler meltdown occurs. No one likes being salivated over. This doesn’t bode well for dinner, so let’s discuss the accommodation first. The romantic mosquito netting. The balcony with padded viewing bench. The deep tub, which fits four comfortably. Is this glamping tent-come-lodge suitable for children? Definitely (apart from the baby, Cub #2, attempting to dive bomb off the deck.) Aaaand then the meal. It’s an exquisite Africaninspired communal affair and there are three other toddlers. But semi-formal dining and kids keen to investigate the African artefact decorations? Not a good mix. We have a slight #mealfail and I retreat to the lounge with baby in tow (and bits of salmon in my hair, don’t ask).

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The next evening we move a hundred metres back to the Savannah Cabins. But what we’ve lost in giraffe views (now we’ve seen giraffes in all the motions, we’re OK with that), we’ve gained in smart, two-bedroom, two-bathroom cabins, complete with garden crawl space. Unfortunately, we’ve lost a chef (no meals are included), but Dubbo’s renovated ‘The Garden Hotel’ (with kids playroom) hits the pub food spot, followed by a night of running up and down our hallway in pyjamas. Kid utopia. Our second day we take on another morning session, but this time by bike. With Cub #1 & #2 in a twin caboose (my bicycle kids’ seat holding the nappy bag), we head off the beaten track where the carts can’t go and discover the otters, visit the siamang apes and stumble across the black and white ruffed lemur. There were times we doubted an active trip in this stage could happen – a baby and toddler with non-synchronized nap times, really? But with a little careful planning, a zoo weekend can be a roar (and snore) for all.

Skip the Morning Tour Skipping the behind-thescenes morning tour means missing the elephants bathing. But what you score instead is a gloriously relaxed morning of witnessing the savannah awake (and an empty breakfast room), the absolute highlight of the trip. Giraffe by our door? Yes please. Fact Box The Savannah Cabins start at $388 per night (optional extras are available. Zoofari Lodge low season rates start from $369 per person for an Animal View Lodge ($59 per child 1-4years, $159 for 5-15 years) including African inspired dinner and breakfast, 2 day zoo admission, 2 day bicycle hire, a morning and afternoon exclusive guided tour with a zoo guide, plus a pre-dinner wine tasting and nibbles. taronga.org.au/Dubbo


contents 71 SKI THE WORLD

Ten reasons to ski in the French Alps this ski season, plus everything that's new and exciting this year in North America's mountain resorts.

78 SNOW MONKEYS

Reasons to choose Japan's south island for a family ski holiday.

80 SKIING WITH TODDLERS

Adventure Mamma Flip Byrnes shows you how.

82 ASPEN SNOWMASS

Luke Hanson's Dads Guide to skiing Aspen Snowmass.

88 UTAH'S SKI CITY

Phil Osborn takes the extended family on a ski road trip.

92 MAMMOTH

Why Reggae Ellis will be returning to Mammoth with his family.

THE WORLD

Our round up of the best places to ski around the world


DI D Y OU KNOW...?

10 REASONS TO SKI IN THE FRENCH ALPS

(apart from the skiing) Beautiful scenery, a huge range of mountain resorts to choose from and a variety of runs to suit beginners to advanced skiers. The only valid reason you’d have for not skiing in the French Alps (assuming you are already there) is that there is something better to do. Here are 10 suggestions. Go dog sledding. Dog sledding is now available at a number of French mountain resorts, including Megève and Val D’Isère. Take a spin around a frozen lake on the go kart track at Val D’Isère or Val Thorens. Ice driving is also available at both resorts. Eat – try some of the mountain specialties such as Fondue, Raclette and Potée Savoyarde. These meals are designed to be shared with the whole family and cheese is usually featured. Go for a ride around the village in a horse and buggy. In the centre of the village of Megève you’ll find a selection of Gee Gees to choose from but be sure to rug up as it gets quite breezy! Strap on some snow shoes and work up an appetite (for all that cheese) with a hike through the mountains in the evening.

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Go fat biking down the mountain. A fat bike is a mountain bike with big tyres enabling you to ride in the snow with ease. After the runs have been closed to skiers, you can go into controlled skids at your own pace, or maybe give it your all with the more amped-up acrobatic version. Take a ride on the world’s highest zipline in Val Thorens. At a height of 3230m, La Tyrolienne reaches speeds of up to 100km per hour and delivers quite a few thrills along the way. Go for a Segway ride around the village at Val Thorens, France’s highest alpine resort on fat bike Segways designed for snow. Leave the skis behind and take a luge down the mountain at Val Thorens. Not for the faint-hearted, you’ll reach high speeds on the toboggan track – just watch out for passing skiers! Take in an Alpine cabaret halfway up the mountain at La Folie Douce. The first Folie opened in Val D’Isère several years ago, but you can now also indulge in Val Thorens, Megève and Meribel-Courchevel. For more information: france-montagnes.com

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D I D Y O U K NO W...?

SNOW HUNGRY... According to a recent study from Club Med, Aussies are hungry for snow – international snow, with 83 per cent of Australian skiers saying they want to ski overseas. In fact, 67 per cent of all Australians want to visit a ski resort in the near future, so even though we’re a sunloving nation, we must be snow bunnies at heart. And the destinations on Australia’s bucket list? Japan, America and France.

Club Med opens two new ski resorts Madeleine Clow-Suares, General Manager of Club Med ANZ, said the interest in Japan confirms Club Med’s decision to launch its second snow resort in Japan: “Club Med has seen a progression of 170 per cent in travellers to ski resorts in Asia Pacific in the past five years.” Club Med Tomamu will open its doors in December 2017 in the Shimukappu village of the Hokkaido province in northern Japan. Hokkaido is known for its freshly fallen snow and Tomamu opens in time for peak snowfall between December and April. The resort’s ski-in ski-out access leads to 28 runs across 21km, suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers. Other activities include snow 

sledding, snow rafting, snow mobile and a sled park. It’s also home to an ice village complete with ice-skating rink, and the largest indoor wave pool in Japan, Mina Mina. clubmed.com.au/l/tomamu Club Med will also open a resort this year in France, bringing their European offer to a total of 21 resorts. Club Med Samoens is located in the heart of the Grand Massif ski domain, with a 360° view of the mountains and an authentic French Alps experience. This is also Club Med’s first resort to offer Kids Club care for children between 3-months and 17 years old. clubmed.co.uk/l/grand-massifsamoens

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DI D Y OU KNOW...?

SKI USA

Park City is now officially the largest ski resort in the USA Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort recently combined to create the largest single ski and snowboard resort in the United States – Park City. Improvements to the combined resort include the new 8-passenger Quicksilver Gondola (connecting the two resorts), the brand-new Miners Camp restaurant, improved snowmaking on Iron Mountain, a new King Con Express six-pack and Motherlode Express Quad.

Aussies set a standard for coffee in Park City Park City is fast becoming a favourite for Australian skiers, all the more so with the opening of two new cafés, run by Aussies, which both promise coffee that will meet our discerning Aussie standards: Harvest and Five5eeds. Five5eeds claim “… a menu that screams nourishment almost as loudly as it does flavour, where dishes are crafted from the best in local, seasonal produce, with a definitive nod to the famed Australian foodie culture from where we hail.” Expect to find ‘smashed avo on toast’ on the menu, as well as ‘crumbed chook’. Five5eeds.com Emma Worsley, owner of Harvest, takes coffee seriously too, “We’re pretty fussy about our daily cup. We’ve travelled the world and tasted the best coffee on offer, and we won’t settle for anything less. We source the best fair-trade beans and they’re roasted locally to a formula that’s all our own. It’s been tried, tested and perfected, and we’re pretty proud of the result. “But getting the beans right is only half the job. Our team of expert baristas throw their love into every shot of espresso and every jug of frothy milk. They know your name and, more importantly, they know your order.” And yes, Smashed Avocado is on Harvest’s menu too, as well as toasted sourdough with vegemite. Harvestparkcity.com

Jackson Hole to become a whole lot more family-friendly The big news from Jackson Hole this year is the mountain resort’s huge investment in Solitude Station to enhance the beginner and family experience. Located at the Sweetwater Gondola mid-station, Solitude Station will be 4000 square metres of ski school, rental and dining facilities, and is due for completion in time for the 2018/19 season. With a covered carpet lift, top notch ski instructors and state of the art facility all accessed via a two-minute gondola ride from the base, this will be Jackson Hole’s new hub of learning. Jacksonhole.com

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THE SHINING

OLD FAITHFUL

Recognise Timberline Lodge? That’s because it featured in the blockbuster film The Shining, starring Jack Nicolson. But don’t let that put you off! In real life, the Lodge is a cosy alpine hotel, with lots of friendly staff and a resident St Bernard. And it’s open (and busy) all winter. Timberlinelodge.com

A must-do for families visiting Jackson Hole is a side trip to Yellowstone National Park with Scenic Safaris, who’ll pick you up from your hotel in Jackson Hole. Explore the park on a fleet of snowmobiles on a guided tour, see the world-famous geyser ‘Old Faithful’ in winter, and maybe spot elk, moose, coyote, big horn sheep and bald eagles along the way. Scenic-safaris.com

Ski with Olympians in Oregon’s Mt Hood Timberline Lodge & Ski Area in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory has been named Official Training Site for the U.S. Ski, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing Teams. Olympic athletes across disciplines including alpine racing, snowboarding, freestyle and freeskiing will be traveling from all over the country to participate in training at Timberline on Mt. Hood. The 2017 summer training season is especially important, since the 2018 Winter Olympics, taking place in PeongChang, South Korea, are only a year away. U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing will be training in High Cascade Snowboard Camp’s and Windells Camp’s world-renowned terrain parks, utilising some of the best freestyle terrain on Earth. Some of the features available to the team will be a full 22-foot halfpipe, 22-foot pipe with airbag, large jump to airbag, and every type of freestyle feature found in today’s top terrain parks. Timberline has the longest ski season in North America with skiing typically available Thanksgiving Weekend through Labor Day, and it’s also home to the largest night ski terrain in the country at Mt. Hood Skibowl. 

Steamboat’s Outlaw Mountain Coaster opens this winter

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Opening this winter in Steamboat Springs, in the Colorado Rockies, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster is the longest roller-coaster in North America at more than 1,914m. The track near Christie Peak Express descends more than 121m, rises 12m above the ground, and features dips, waves, turns and 360-degree circles. But of course, that’s not the only reason to visit Steamboat. The skiing and boarding are legendary, groomed cruisers, bumps, steeps, terrain parks, open meadows and the best tree skiing on the planet. There’s accommodation options to suit all budgets, ranging from 5-star luxury residences to humble lodges, with plenty of ski-in/ski-out options. Plus – kids ski free and rent free. Steamboat’s Kids Ski Free and Grandkids Ski Free programs enable children 12 years of age and under to ski free the same number of days as their parents/grandparents when parents/grandparents purchase a 5-or-more day adult lift ticket.

Two new cafes have opened in Park City, run by Aussies, both very serious about their coffee - and they both serve smashed avo on toast.

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DI D Y OU KNOW...?

SKI CANADA CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE:

Whistler at night, kids at Kimberley, Fatbiking Silver Star, dog sledding at Sun Peaks, Silver Star tubing. BELOW:

Nordic skiing at Sun Peaks.

Whistler’s Olympic Station area opens up new beginner-friendly terrain An Aussie favourite, Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America and a great choice for families with a wide variety of accommodation options, designated family-friendly ski areas on the mountains and fun off-mountain activities, entertainment and childcare options. Kids as young as two years old can join Snow School and there are special kids play areas on both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. New this year, a re-grading at Whistler Mountain’s Olympic Station area to open up more beginnerfriendly terrain and make the runs more accessible to novice skiers and riders. Two new covered magic carpet lifts at Olympic Station and 25 new energy efficient snow guns will ensure prime conditions all season long. Whistlerblackcomb.com

In Tatters - Sun Peaks newest advanced trail Sun Peaks has three mountains with enough runs to satisfy skiers of all levels. There are also terrain parks and of course, ski school for all ages. In the village the kids can enjoy tube runs, ice-skating in the National Hockey League-sized rink, sleigh rides, dog sledding and craft nights. Sun Peaks also has ‘For Teens Only’: a program that aims to instil confidence and skills with All Mountain and Terrain Park courses designed especially for kids aged 13-18. New this year, in addition to last year’s opening of new advanced trails in the ‘Laundromat’ section of

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West Morrissey, is the ‘In Tatters’ run, and a connection between ‘Spillway’ and ‘The Other Way’ on Mt. Tod. The new junction will create an easy and enjoyable skiing experience between these two long-time favourites. sunpeaksresort.com

Big White’s Kids Centre now even bigger with new expansion Big White is a great choice for families due mainly to the layout of the mountain. There are lessons for all ages – with programs designed especially for kids and teens. There’s even a ‘Mom/Dad & Me are Skiing’ program for kids anxious about being away from their parents, as well as teen freestyle programs. This year Big White has expanded its award-winning Kids Centre. The new space provides skiers aged 3-4 with much-needed room to play and prepare for the start of lessons. Children 5-7 years of age also have their own area. All kids will are equipped with complimentary helmets and GPS systems to track their lesson and results. A Door-to-Ski Shuttle Service is also on offer, with ski instructors arriving in the morning to pick up the kids directly from their accommodation before dropping them off again at the end of the day. bigwhite.com

Fat Biking now included on Silver Star’s My1Pass Silver Star mountain resort in British Columbia is totally focused on families, providing lots of activities


to keep the kids happy – even after the day on the snow has finished. Activities include; snow-tubing, ice skating, ice hockey, snowmobile tours, indoor rock climbing, movie nights, family bingo and fireworks shows. With ski-in-ski-out accommodation, visitors are able to access the various terrain parks via chairlift right from their doorstep. After a successful two-year trial period, the popular new sport of fat biking is now on Silver Star’s list of My1Pass free activities, which include downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, tubing, skating and snowshoeing. A selection of rental bikes and introductory sessions will also be available. The resort has added more than 15km of trails for guests to enjoy the hot new sport of cycling through the snow on bikes with oversized – or fat – snow tires. Skisilverstar.com

New Skate Rink at Kimberley Alpine Resort This small resort is known as much for its familyfriendly amenities as it is for its great skiing. Not to mention the quiet atmosphere and minimal lift lines. Kimberley will get a brand-new skating rink and Kidz Korner this year, where little ones can join dance parties, Wii nights, helmet decorating events, scavenger hunts and see live entertainment. skikimberley.com

New terrain park at Revelstoke Mountain Resort Although the town of Revelstoke has more than a century of skiing history, Revelstoke Mountain Resort is practically brand new. Last season Revelstoke opened a nearly 4.4-hectare terrain park beneath the Stoke Chair with 20 jib features and a range of jumps. Expect to see even more features this winter as the park expands by several acres.


DI D Y OU KNOW...?

POWDER, SNOW MONKEYS, RAMEN AND CRAFT BEER

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Japan is fast becoming Australia’s most popular ski destination. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Niseko and the North Island, but have you considered Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen, Myoko Kogen or Shiga Kogen? Deborah Dickson-Smith shares a few reasons to visit Japan’s Nagano region this ski season. Each of these Nagano mountain resorts is just a 90-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo (so you can add on a fun little Tokyo stopover along the way) and both nearby to other Nagano delights such as the Snow Monkey Park in Jigokudani. The village of Hakuba is surrounded by a total of five ski areas and on my recent visit I managed to explore four: Iwatake, Goryu, Hakuba 47 and Happo-one. Each has a great range of green, red and black runs, so suitable for skiers of all levels of fitness and ability, though some have more black runs than others, so it’s a good idea to check out the trail maps before choosing your mountain – equally so if you’re a beginner or an advanced skier. The mountain range here is extensive, and the ski resorts are not all connected by runs and lifts (or even tickets) so once you’ve picked your mountain, that’s yours for the day. My favourite mountain was the first one I tried, Iwatake. A great variety of runs and a couple of fun parks – Love Snow Park and Wood Park (my kids would love these). 50 per cent of runs are intermediate, so just about the right mix for me.


D I D Y O U K NO W...?

OAWK TIP: Shiga Kogen ski resort is about a two-hour’s drive from Hakuba, not far from the Snow Monkey Park. It’s a great choice for families, with a total of 19 ski resorts, most with a green, red and black route down the mountain, and most (except for Mt Yokoteyama) interconnected by lifts and runs as well as free shuttle buses. Hakuba47 and Goryu are connected over the mountaintop via gondola and between the two of them offer great variety, with mogul slopes, snowboarding parks, jumps and a half pipe at Hakuba47. They’re also both open early in the morning and are lit up for night skiing. At Hakuba47 you can take a spin on a skidoo – no experience or bike license required if you’re game, and if you’re not, an experienced driver will take you as a pillion passenger. Happo-one is the largest ski area with an 8000m long slope and an altitude differential of 1017m. The view from the top, of Happo Village far below and the mountain range beyond, is quite spectacular. While at Happo-one, it’s worth checking out the Hakuba Ski Jumping Site, built for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Grab a chairlift then elevator to the top and try to fathom how anyone with their wits about them could possibly think it was safe to hurtle down that track before becoming airborne for about 100 metres. Inside the building you’ll also find a small Nagano Olympics museum, with an interesting collection of medals, team uniforms and of course: the torch! OAWK TIP: Another special note for craft beer lovers, it’s worth visiting Shiga Kogen mid-March for their annual Snow Monkey Beer Live Festival, with live music and a great range of local breweries showcasing their range of craft brews. Another non-skiing activity to try out is snowshoeing. Snow shoes can be hired at most ski rental outlets and you have the option of joining a guided tour or just going it alone (be sure to check in first with the ranger at the top of the mountain). It’s incredibly peaceful walking through the trees, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot some wildlife – we managed to spot the rather odd-looking deer that frequent this area. They look almost like a cross between a deer and a pig or a small bear (seriously!) Hakuba Valley is lively in the evening, with a great range of pubs and restaurants selling everything from hamburgers and crêpes to sashimi and pizza. It’s worth sampling the soba noodles – the local specialty – while you’re here.

Where to Stay Hakuba: Hakuba Highland Hotel, in a western-style bedroom with panoramic views of the mountains. There is a wonderful indoor/ outdoor onsen that I soaked my ski-weary bones in every evening before tucking into their rather magnificent buffet dinner. Shiga Kogen: Villa Alpen, a family-run hotel in Sun Valley, the closest mountain resort to Yudanaka Station.



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READY, SET, SNOW.

FLIP BYRNES Flip Byrnes, ‘The Adventure Mamma’ is just that – a travel journalist who happens to be the first Australian woman to climb and snowboard descend Mt Elbrus (Europe’s highest), kite skied 500km across Greenland, walked across Spain and climbed Kilimanjaro. But now she’s on the biggest adventure of all, motherhood. Join her and her mountain munchkins as they make daily life an adventure, big and small. From navigating the wilds of the Paris metro with pram (many said it couldn’t be done!) to Xtreme pram hiking at altitude in Zermatt – the world is full of discoveries if you know how to look. @theadventuremamma

Adventure Mamma Flip Byrnes reminisces the family ski trips of her youth as she tackles one with her toddlers for the first time.

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even kids. Skiing. How my parents did it (and enjoyed it), I’ll never know. Of course I don’t remember logistics, just the excitement of riding the snow cat from Perisher to snowbound Charlotte’s Pass; that mechanical smoke breathing dragon meant only one thing: adventure. But the adventure started at home, with the joy of my three-year old self wearing plastic skis (‘Trackies’, I still have them) around the house, and continued in subsequent years with epic igloo building in front of the lodge, snow fights, family bonding time and being flung off pomas (lacking enough body weight to keep them grounded). The best lifetime memories were made against a backdrop of ice and snow. This year I finally asked mum and dad how they did it. “We had you all in a production line. Pants, pants, pants. Tops, tops, tops, Gloves, gloves, gloves. And there was usually a trip back to Perisher to pick up ski equipment from the 36 ski boots, skis and poles.” So frankly, a ski trip with a baby and a toddler should be a piece of cake. And with a former snowboard instructor mum and heli guide dad, there’s not much chance of our two escaping snow addiction. But how young is too young? There’s no age too young for snow play. Last Christmas we were in Chamonix. The snow wasn’t – seriously, not one ski run was open. However,

there were mini strips of snow runways, enough for tobogganing. And so I became Baby Sherpa, dragging the bubs up and down the snow runway. Just to see my babies on-snow was a thrill. And they loved it. Even the bit when they hit blue ice and were in peril of shooting into the carpark. But now we’re getting serious. So here are the nittygritty ins and outs of On Snow Toddler Management. Of my wider ski network polled (including ski pros,

Rugged up an d re ad

y fo r sn ow

Toddle rs on the loo se in Ch am

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oni x


S K I S EA S O N

instructors and the odd Olympian), some people advise: wait – hold out until they’re four or five, can carry their own skis and won’t get frustrated. And it has to be FUN. A Swiss friend once drove for two hours to do two runs before abandoning slope. If the toddler is more interested in picking the lint off the ski shop carpet than skiing, so be it. There’s a lot going on. We’ve all seen many who can’t quite handle the ski boot, ski pole, gloves, and neck warmer situation. And they’re adults. Add in actual skiing exertion and cue meltdown. So plan in lots of snowman building mid mountain. Carry a rubber-backed picnic rug in your backpack for spontaneous chocolate bar picnics (yes, sugar rules, a cheeky red frog in the pocket for chairlift rides does wonders). The golden ticket is to stay as close to the slopes as possible to make their day as short as possible. If there is a hot chocolate stop between you and the slopes, even better. Tips for you? Consider getting kids ready first to avoid having to remove your gloves and helmet to find a missing (insert ‘anything’ here). And while it’s great to have a break while kids are in ski school, stick around, they love nothing more than being watched 

and a ski after ski school with mum or dad (I know I did). Ahh, ski school. Group lessons are good (especially for older school-age, toilet trained, social animals), but for toddlers private lessons are best. And expensive. But you’ll save in other areas, as many ski resorts have free skiing for under-fours, so bank those bucks with a qualified instructor instead. If heading overseas, book into a chalet experience with nannies (check out igluski.com for European skiing with British trained and security cleared nannies. Big tick). Still not sure? Forgo the skiing completely. Grab some cross country skis, tuck the baby or toddler into a baby sled, and just enjoy the great outdoors knowing that one day, those slopes will once again be yours. Adventure starts not with a first step, but a slide. WINTER 2017 outandaboutwithkids.com.au

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S’MORES AND SKIS AT ASPEN SNOWMASS

Luke Hanson and his partner Dani own Pinetrees Lodge on Lord Howe Island, and having hosted hundreds of families on holiday, with kids of all ages, they’ve come to learn a few secrets about the ideal holiday for parents and kids. Luke recently tested that theory with a ski trip to Aspen Snowmass with his two young daughters.

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S K I S EA S O N

T

heoretically, the perfect family holiday destination would be somewhere close to home, in a warm comfortable climate, with safe and nutritious food options, multiple fun activities, other kids (and adults) to play with, and at least a bit of freedom from each other. The combination works every time – we’ve seen it, lived it, hosted it, and perhaps orchestrated it a few times for the families who needed some help. Experience and wisdom go a long way in family travel, and that’s why we ignored everything we know and had our recent family holiday 22 hours from home, in minus 20 degree temperatures, with copious amounts of fast food, only one activity per day, and mixed with a whole bunch of kids who spoke Portuguese. No, we didn’t visit a remote mountain village in Brazil – we went to Aspen Colorado. And you know what? We’re going again next year. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I swore that I’d never leave Lord Howe in summer again. It could have been the 2-hour immigration queue when we arrived at Los Angeles after a long night of limited economy class sleep, the refusal of my two girls – Pixie (age 6) and Elsie (age 8) – to eat anything other than French fries, the refusal of my wife to leave Australia at all (she’s a smart girl), or the 2 hour effort – every day – to get the jet-lagged girls out of bed, fed, dressed in multiple layers, undressed and toileted, redressed, and then delivered to ski school by 9.30am, as a sole parent. On balance though, these slight dips in our holiday experience were far outweighed by the positives. 

I’m a skier, and there was no place in the world that I wanted to share with my girls more than the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Kids tune into what’s important to their parents (and usually use it for evil), but in this case, Pixie and Elsie thrived on our shared enthusiasm and zeal for all things snow-related, and for 10 days, all we did was ski, and in the evenings, talk about skiing and watch the Weather Channel. Aspen Snowmass, where we stayed, has 58 ‘blue’ runs – up to 8km long over 1300 vertical metres – and the snow is so dry (thanks to the altitude), and the runs so empty, that both girls were skiing from top to bottom in perfect conditions without any crowds or hassle. This was real skiing in a stunningly beautiful place. You know how we lecture our kids about ‘effort

ABOVE FROM TOP:

Ready to hit the slopes. The daily S’mores ritual.

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FROM TOP:

Perfect powder all to ourselves. Apres ski hot chocolate. Family bonding on the gondola.

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and reward’ (and it mostly falls on deaf ears) well, the skiing at Snowmass was so good, and the effort was so quickly rewarded, that every time the girls skied down Sneaky’s, Sheer Bliss or Sandy Park – they got better – and they knew it. While Snowmass is known as the best North American resort for intermediate skiers and families (it’s the also second largest ski area in North America), it was the quality and immense size of the advanced terrain that was most impressive. There was a pattern, and I was part of it. Every morning, Australian, Brazilian and American parents dropped their kids to ski school and soon disappeared into glades, chutes, tight trees and the occasional unforeseen cliff band (yes, be careful on those roll overs, even in the trees). We had over 80cm of new snow during our stay in late January, and the powder was, at times, thigh deep. The tree skiing in the Burnt Mountain Glades and Hanging Valley was as good as anything I’ve skied at Jackson Hole, Alta, Red Mountain or Niseko. And this was a family ski holiday. Even the kids learnt to recognise at least three different types of powder snow, depending on the temperature, and could decide if they were game enough to venture off the groomed runs. Pixie always did – she’s that kind of kid. Another positive was our lovely apartment in Hayden Lodge, which was right next door to the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center, home to Snowmass ski school – and about 30 metres from


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SKI S EA SO N

BELOW AND CLOCKWISE:

Afternoons roasting marshmallows on the open fire. Taking the chair up the mountain. Another perfectly groomed run.

the base of the Village Express Chairlift. We didn’t need a hire car or shuttle bus, and at the end of the day, when the girls were pleasantly exhausted, we were only two minutes from a fireside S’more (a really healthy snack of Hershey’s chocolate and toasted marshmallow sandwiched between wholemeal crackers), three minutes from home, and 10 minutes from a hot chocolate in the spa. There were good restaurants in the village – we loved The Stew Pot – but we found an excellent supermarket (complete with mangos and peaches – it’s Aspen after all) a few minutes’ walk down the road and ate... muesli, jam rolls and spaghetti bolognaise. At least I got the safe and nutritious food bit right, some of the time. Aspen town has a famous reputation for fine dining, beautiful buildings, scenic walks and an endless procession of celebrities in private jets (a friend of mine had a drink with Clint Eastwood), but to let you in on a secret, we never went there. We had planned to go exploring through town when we needed a break from skiing, but that never happened, and that says something about the Snowmass experience to keep two young girls and their dad completely engaged for 10 days. Despite the normal hiccups with long-haul travel to the northern hemisphere winter, I remembered the point of ‘effort and reward’, and booked our next trip to Snowmass as soon as we got home. The girls are already talking about S’mores and powder.

Fact File More information: aspensnowmass.com Family packages: mogulski.com.au/specials/usa-specials Phone: 1800 335 724

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UTAH SKI MAGIC A road trip through Utah’s famous ski resorts and National Parks creates life-long family memories, writes Phil Osborn.

S

ometimes I wonder, were we brave or crazy to tackle a ski road trip with kids, Grace (aged four), Sienna (six) and Dash (nine), plus grandparents and a snowboarding uncle through seven ski resorts in Utah, USA over a twoweek period? The answer is probably both. I’ve always been a lover of snow road trips. The feeling of moving around the chance to explore and experience new ski resorts is really appealing. But tackling a road trip with kids and extended family, was this pushing the limits of being a responsible parent? Utah is almost purpose built for a ski road trip. With 14 world class ski resorts (nine within an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City) and jaw-dropping beautiful landscapes that vary from one end of the state to the other, selecting just one resort, and not seeing the National Parks felt crazier to me, than tackling the road trip with kids.

Planning makes perfect In the planning phase, the first hurdle was finding affordable flights during school holidays. While the back half of January is cheaper for flights to Utah, it put us on a collision course for the worldfamous Sundance Film Festival held in Park City. The festival transforms the picturesque mountain town to a Hollywood A list destination, which means accommodation in Park City is either booked out or seriously expensive. So, our road trip needed to be planned around this. We also looked at the resorts that had kids ski-free lift passes. The two girls were free in most resorts. Kids 10 and under, ski for free at Brighton Resort, and lift passes in some of the smaller resorts for kids were really affordable. A challenge in our planning was ski hire. Normally, I’d hire skis and boots for kids. But on this trip, I


S K I S EA S O N

thought it would simplify the task of getting ready at each resort by buying boots and skis in Australia before we left, so I wasn’t spending time at each resort getting the kids fitted for boots and skis. I purchased a pair of skis for Grace on eBay, and then bought the rest at Larry Adler, where I found a good mix of new and second-hand kids’ ex-rental stock in great condition. One of the benefits of travelling as a larger group, is that carrying gear was a lot easier with a few extra hands on deck.

The Road Trip

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP:

The extended family is ready for a ski road trip, heading through the arch into Bryce National Park Magnificent Bryce Canyon. LEFT

Looking out over Park City



Flying into Salt Lake City, you can really see this is a mountain city, surrounded by the snow-covered Wasatch Range. From the air, you get a bird’s eye view of the terrain and can see why they call Salt Lake City, ‘Ski City’. With two SUVs loaded up, we departed the airport following the GPS and around an hour later arrived at our condo accommodation in Eden, a small rural community blanketed in snow. Our first target ski resorts were located a short drive away at Powder Mountain and Snowbasin. Essentially, we started here because we were trying to avoid the Sundance Film Festival, but quickly realised we had just stumbled onto two awesome ski resorts. Powder Mountain’s slogan is #preservingthepow. With 8500 acres of skiable terrain, this resort lived up to its slogan on our trip. Within a couple of days snowboarding at Powder Mountain, I was pinching myself at how good the snow quality is in Utah. And riding fresh tracks all day is a reality at Powder Mountain. For the girls, lapping the beginner terrain was brilliant as they found their WINTER 2017 outandaboutwithkids.com.au

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ski legs. Grace, our youngest, was tucked into Mum’s legs and was flying down the mountain having a blast. Snowbasin has the most luxurious day resort facilities you could ever imagine, built for the 2002 Winter Olympics, and it’s here that we scored really deep snow. One of my favourite photos from the trip was of Sienna buried in snow and almost disappearing in the middle of a blue run. We were lucky enough to stay with a family friend in Park City for a couple of nights to experience the glitz and glamour of Park City during the Sundance Film Festival. Hollywood certainly takes over the town but up on the mountain, the slopes weren’t crowded (everyone must have been inside watching films). Our road trip included three nights at Salt Lake City, which provided easy access to Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude Resorts. Brighton is very kid friendly. It is a smaller resort (a favourite with locals) where kids 10 years and under can ski for free and it has the best terrain park in Utah. Alta and Snowbird are Utah’s high profile international resorts, located in the Little Cottonwood Canyon. On this trip, we focused on Alta. It’s a ski only resort, so I switched my snowboard for skis and had a blast flying around the mountain with the kids.

experiencing the majesty of the state’s National Parks. Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos covered in snow are spectacular. You view Bryce Canyon from above, and beware in winter it is really cold, so rug up. We drove from Salt Lake City to Bryce Canyon in four hours. With an early start, we had a great afternoon exploring all the various vantage points around the park. To break up the drive, we had a great ski day at Brian Head Resort. Targeting the family, beginner and intermediate market, Brian Head is a great choice for young families. The absolute highlight of our trip however, which left us completely spellbound, was Zion National Park. The scale of the park is almost unimaginable, and hard to capture even in photos. The way the Zion Canyon cuts through the tan-coloured Navajo Sandstone is breathtaking. With our weary ski legs and minds blown away by the incredible National Parks of Utah, we can safely say we experienced a ski trip of a lifetime in Utah.

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More information: parkcitymountain.com National Parks: visitutah.com/au Family packages: travelplanski.com Phone: 1300 754 754

Our final destination was focused on Zion and Bryce National Parks and skiing at nearby Brian Head resort. No visit to Utah is complete without

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Fact File ABOVE FROM LEFT:

Historic Park City, the girls on the chairlift at Brian Head resort, snow day at Park City.


THERE IS JUST AS MUCH MAGIC OFF THE MOUNTAIN. Can one town really have it all? Two world-class resorts — Park City Mountain and Deer Valley — award-winning dining and a vibrant nightlife, all within one historic mountain town? Filled with laid-back charm that makes you feel at home? Yes. All that. Only in Park City, Utah. Discover the wonder at VisitParkCity.com.

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ROAD TRIPPIN’ TO MAMMOTH AND BEYOND By Reggae Ellis

A

s we drove out of Mammoth Lakes, the consensus in the car was that we would be returning. A week earlier we had started a road trip that would take us from Los Angeles to Mammoth, up to South Tahoe, Kirkwood and Squaw Valley, and on to San Francisco. It was our first family ski trip overseas, and for our kids, Arkie and Joey, it was their first time ever overseas. For them the whole thing was a big adventure that started in the departure lounge at Sydney Airport and it was a holiday they will always remember. It was also the first time my wife Amanda had skied overseas in over a decade, our last trip being pre-kids to Japan way back in 2003. I reckon it’s fair to say she was as excited as the kids. After landing in Los Angeles, we picked up the car and negotiated our way out of the city with remarkable ease. The drive up to Mammoth Mountain is spectacular; the flat expanse of the Mojave Desert broken by the ghostly Joshua trees, with the shadows of the White Mountain range to the right and the spectacular Sierras to the left. For an eight and 10-year-old who have grown up in Thredbo, it was all very different – and not just the landscape but hearing American accents in the small-town

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S K I S EA S O N

The combination of the parks and terrain make it a freeskier’s paradise.

diners, and driving on the wrong side of the road. When we arrived in Mammoth and checked into our apartment at the Juniper Spring Resort, a 20-metre walk from the Eagle Express chair, they couldn’t contain their excitement - “Wow, how nice is this?” “Look at how big our beds are….” “Oh, my god, there’s a pool …” And then, as they took in the view, “Look how big and steep the mountain is …” And yes, Mammoth is a spectacular mountain. With a top elevation of 11,053 feet and a base of 7,953 feet, it is the highest resort in California. And with 3,100 feet of vertical, Mammoth is big and one of North America’s premier mountains. It has a huge variety of terrain from long buffed groomers, perfect beginner and intermediate runs, incredible tree skiing, a variety of parks, and some seriously steep in-bounds terrain. Of course, it always helps to have a local contact when you want to explore a resort the size of Mammoth as nothing beats local knowledge. Our contact was Bernie Rosow, who has been grooming at Mammoth since 2001 and also spent the past four winters grooming in Thredbo. He is one of Mammoth’s best skiers and knows the place like the back of his hand. Hooking up with Bernie on our second day made for an epic day’s skiing as he gave us the full tour of the resort. He knew exactly where to find the best snow and that information set us up nicely for the rest of the week. After a couple of warm-up runs on the groomers, we decided to hit the off-piste runs from the top of the gondola. We were standing at the top, about to drop in, when Bernie turned to Amanda and said, “I suppose this is Arkie and Joey’s first taste of real steeps. It should be fun.” It was definitely steep, with the outrun off one line straight through a tight chute that required a bit of commitment. Still, the kids followed Bernie without hesitation so Amanda and I had to do the



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same. While the snow was firm, it was dry and chalky and you could set an edge, and the six or seven top to bottom runs we skied from top of the gondola, each a different line, were definitely logged in as ‘runs to remember’. The Main Park and the intermediate Forest Trail Parks were also in great shape, with the Main Park holding a progressive jump line that was the focus of the top-end skiers and snowboarders. Bernie took us through the Forest Trail Park where the kids followed him into the jumps and features which, according to Joey, is “the best park ever”. Mammoth Mountain has long been a centre of the US freeride scene and its ‘Unbound’ parks have a reputation that attracts freeskiers from all over the world. The combination of the parks and the terrain make it a freeskier’s paradise and over the years some of Australia’s best skiers like Christian Sirianni, Charlie Timmins and Boen Ferguson have spent quite a few seasons training there with the Mammoth Freeski team. As we explored the mountain each day, we became more impressed and I can understand why skiers like Thomas and Cameron keep coming back. It is amazing; the variety of terrain leaves a lot of resorts that Australians typically choose for an overseas ski holiday for dead. While Mammoth has an obvious attraction for hard core skiers and snowboarders, it is also the perfect destination for a family with the huge amount of terrain offering great skiing and snowboarding

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regardless of your ability. The ski school caters for all ages and standards, and there are also a number of specialised freeriding and racing programs available for the more advanced kids who want to have fun while improving their skiing. The mountain is complemented by a cool central village that is well serviced with a gondola from the village centre to the base of the mountain at Canyon Lodge. Mammoth Village comes to life in the afternoon with live music, open gas fires and a variety of restaurants, bars and shops all within a short stroll of each other. The town of Mammoth Lakes is a few minutes away and with free shuttles running around the entire area from 7am until after midnight, it is

FROM TOP:

Exploring the ghost town of Bodie, grinding the terrain park at Mammoth.


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SKI SEA SO N

RIGHT AND BELOW:

Mono Lake and its ‘tufa towers’, snow play at Mammoth.

It is amazing, the variety of terrain leaves a lot of resorts that Australians typically choose for an overseas ski holiday for dead.

easy to get around without a car. That also makes it easy to access the huge variety of accommodation available, from large standalone luxury houses to apartment complexes, smaller condos and a number of hotels. We spent the first four nights in a two-bedroom apartment at Juniper Springs Resort. The wellappointed, self-contained apartment meant we could eat in, and the resort’s ski-in, ski-out location is perfect, especially when you have two kids insisting on first chair every day. If you don’t have a car, the resort also has a regular shuttle to take you into town or into the village, making it easy to head out for dinner or for an après. Our last few nights were spent in the village centre at the Westin Hotel, which is conveniently located across the road from the Gondola base station. Once again the room had a small kitchen, so although with the village restaurants and bars a stone’s throw away, we had to resist the temptation to eat out each night. The large, outdoor heated pool and two spas are located in a wind-protected courtyard – the perfect way to unwind after six hours of solid skiing. If you want a day off from skiing there is plenty to do with snowmobiling, tube parks and just taking in the Sierra’s incredible scenery. It’s worth taking a drive out of town to check out the surrounding alpine lakes and hot springs, including the spectacular

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Mono Lake, a salt lake that has strange ‘tufa towers’, calcium-carbonate spires, rising from its shallow aqua-coloured waters. Another side trip that the kids loved was a visit to an old ghost town called Bodie, which really captured their imagination. It’s only about an hour north of Mammoth and we dropped in there on our way to Tahoe. It was once a thriving gold mining town of 10,000 people and 62 saloons but was abandoned in the 1930s. There’s a lot of choice out there for Australian snow lovers but Mammoth rates highly as one of the world’s best ski resorts. Getting there is easy with the choice of twice-daily flights from LA airport, or the scenic five-hour drive from LA through the Mojave Desert. As I said at the start, one thing I know after our short visit is that we’ll be back. We are already planning for a longer stay next time.

Fact File A big thanks to our hosts: Mammoth Mountain and Mammoth Lakes, Juniper Springs Resort and the Westin Monache Hotel. For further details go to: Mammoth Lakes: visitmammoth.com Mammoth Mountain: mammothmountain.com Juniper Springs Resort Reservations: +1 800-626-6684 juniperspringsmammoth.com Westin Monache Hotel Reservations: +1 888-627-8154 westinmammoth.com


contents 98 MALOLO ISLAND RESORT

Sue White discovers the magic of Malolo Island Resort in Fiji.

104 GIPPSLAND

Craig Sheather takes his young family exploring Victoria’s Gippsland region.

108 SUMATRA’S ORANGUTANS

Geordie Torr takes the kids in search of orangutans in Sumatra.


FINDING MALOLO On the slice of Fijian heaven that’s Malolo Island Resort, it’s hard to know who is happier: the kids or the adults. Sue White does her best to find out.

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B

obbing gently in the sturdy tender transferring us from our South Sea Cruises ferry to the much awarded, Fijian owned, Malolo Island Resort, I ponder what lies ahead. It bodes well: a few hundred metres away there’s a band playing at the end of a long wooden jetty; the weather is utopian; and we are headed to a famously kid-friendly option. But my child, well, he likes his mum. It takes just 4.5 seconds of arriving on the jetty to realise that while I may know my child, I don’t yet understand Malolo’s real magic. One staff member takes our bags while another waves hello to me, swoops up my toddler, and starts cooing over him as they walk ahead of me towards land. I suck in my breath. Surely, it’s now that my 2.5 year old will do his usual protest: “Mummmm!” But no; he’s high fiving everyone, having his hair ruffled and practicing his newly learned “Bula”. He seems to have forgotten I’m even there. Located in the Mamanuca Island chain, Malolo Island Resort is an easy ferry ride from the main island Port of Denarau. During the two-hour journey our South Sea Cruises ship drops off and collects 

visitors from numerous islands, giving me a good sense of place. We share the boat with day trippers, couples headed to adults-only options like Likuliku, Malolo’s sister resort, and no shortage of families. That’s unsurprising. In many ways the Mamanuca’s are the ideal Fijian islands for families: their proximity to Nadi and Denarau makes it possible to leave the main tourist hub at 9am and be on a remote beach well before lunch. We're no t su re w ho's The next few days quickly ha pp ier he re on M al olo, adult s or kids? become a blur of what I Po ss ibl y a tie ... imagine most families travel to Fiji for: sun, sand, good food and a hefty dose of downtime. While the chilled out Beach Bar competes successfully for much of my spare time, our real home on Malolo is our beachfront bure. One of just 46 on Malolo, our bure keeps the island holiday dream alive WINTER 2017 outandaboutwithkids.com.au

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from dawn ‘til dusk: the sand just off the front porch offers hours of play time, in part thanks to a few mini metal cars I’ve brought for the trip; adults get swung on the nearby hammock by a toddler in the “I can do it myself” stage; and there is snorkelling in the marine reserve just a thirtyodd metre stroll away from our door. True, the sleeping arrangements throw me at first: it’s not separate rooms – suite style – but instead, the adults area is divided by a low t n’ do I , m y ch ild ow kn ay wall from my toddler’s cot in m I le ".. .w hi ol o’s re al m ag ic ." al M the lounge area (it won’t fit nd ta rs de ye t un anywhere else). It turns out to be a moot point: he’s so exhausted after a day of charming the staff; doubling on the front of my kayak (mini life jackets are provided); and ‘trying’ to snorkel (a hilarious effort I try to support, out of kindness) that he’s out cold by bedtime. Most parents I talk to on Malolo report

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the same phenomena: give a kid fresh air for twelve hours a day and they crash at bedtime, no problem. Apparently most adults here do the same. Food on the resort is fresh and varied. While I catch many parents looking longingly at the adults-only Treetops restaurant, the family-friendly Terrace offers a different kind of Malolo magic: on our first night, my jet-lagged son is entertained by the waiters before being scooped up by another staff member for a calming cuddle before I can say, “Here, I’ll get it”. However, in our family, lunch quickly becomes our favourite dining experience. My son has made a decision: he’s with the band that plays at the Beach Bar each day. He spends every lunch hour perched at the band members’ feet, thriving on his newfound freedom before periodically ducking back to our nearby table to eat calamari. I listen to the music, sip virgin Piña Coladas, read my book and count my blessings daily. Our few days on Malolo pass in a similarly relaxed haze. We play endlessly in the mid-sized pool; search for crabs on the beachfront opposite our bure; lie face down on the jetty looking at the fish swim below in the crystalline clear waters; and join a few offshore excursions.


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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:

Ready and waiting to serve up your favourite cocktail at the swim-up bar, plenty of familyfriendly waterpsorts to choose from, ALL the kids love Kids Club here, spacious bedrooms.

In the local village on the other side of the island, we drop in at the school supported by the resort. It’s so hot that, aside from our energetic guide Jesse, I’m the only adult to ‘Hokey Pokey’ with schoolkids. Emerging a sweaty mess, I give a cash donation to the school’s donation box, buy wooden trinkets in the community hall from the local women, and wish I’d remembered to bring something more than money and bad dance moves to donate. Memorable for different reasons is our Island Hopping breakfast tour. Zipping away from Malolo in a speedboat early one morning, we head across the open waters for a remote island picnic. On arrival, we have to jump off the side of the boat and wade to shore, something my 2.5 year old does with abandon: he has no hesitation jumping into the welcoming arms of Operations Manager Zac (and that’s even before Zac offers to build him sandcastles while I snorkel). There’s solo time too, thanks to the Fijian Meimei (nanny system). Malolo, like most family-friendly resorts in Fiji, has a Kids’ Club, though my son is too young to join, for a small hourly payment he gets access and one-to-one care. Given that the rest of our days here are so kid-friendly, I use this option just a couple of hours each day: once to have a massage in the tree-lined spa; once to lie by the seemingly underutilised adults-only pool (I’m not sure if that’s

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due to its proximity to the family pool, or the fact that it competes with so many other good options); and once to enjoy a long stint of snorkelling and paddle boarding. I quickly realise that the only difficultly in our holiday here is going to be leaving. It took 4.5 seconds to fall in love with Malolo Island Resort. I suspect it’s going to take a lot longer to forget it. The writer stayed courtesy of Malolo Island Resort.

Kids bo nd in st an tly w ith al l st af f at M al olo Isl an d Re so rt


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Craig Sheather and his family take a road trip to Gippsland in South East Victoria in search of wildlife, wilderness, walks and waterways.

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s soon as we step onto the sand at Wilson Promontory, my four year old daughter kicks off her shoes and starts running and jumping along the beach. “Listen Dad, it really squeaks” she screams with excitement. Squeaky Beach is just one of the many highlights of Wilsons Promontory which is situated at the southern-most point of mainland Australia. This 50,000 hectare natural paradise (also known as ‘The Prom’) provides the perfect combination of beach and bush fun for families. Squeaky Beach has rounded quartz sand that ‘squeaks’ when you walk on it. At the northern end of the beach the giant granite rock formations create a maze of passages, great for exploring and games of hide and seek. The Prom is a refuge for an array of native wildlife including kangaroos, emus, wombats, echidnas plus many bird species like rosellas, kookaburras and

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cockatoos. A network of walking trails pass through the park, ranging from short and easy trails with boardwalks to overnight treks of several days.

Next Port of Call From Wilsons Prom we head further east along the coast to Port Albert, one of Victoria’s oldest sea ports. Established in 1841, the town has a collection of historic buildings and an interesting museum that pays homage to the area’s rich maritime history. Walking tracks and picnic areas line the coast around the wharf and jetty area which is shaded by large Norfolk Pines. Our next stopover is the tranquil village of Metung, known for its scenic walks, good local food, monthly farmers market and excellent galleries. Nearby lies the popular holiday spot of Lakes Entrance. The landmark footbridge, which crosses the inlet, connects the town centre with the sand

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE:

Exploring Cape Conran, Wilson's Promontory, Fun on Squeaky Beach, the family at Lakes Entrance.




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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:

Buchan Caves, Rugged Cape Conran, entrance to Royal Cave, the beach at Lakes Entrance.

5 best places to stay with kids 1 Tidal River Campground, Wilsons Promontory parkweb. vic.gov.au 2 Hooked Inn Cottages, Port Albert hookedinncottages. com.au 3 Cape Conran Coastal Park Cabins conran.net.au 4 Buchan Caves 5 Vivere Retreat, Neerim South vivereretreat.com.au

5 best walking trails with kids 1 East Cape Boardwalk, Cape Conran Coastal Park 2 Loo-Errn Track, Wilsons Promontory 3 Ninety Mile Beach 4 Metung Boardwalk 5 The Entrance Walk, Lakes Entrance

5 best activities with kids dunes and windswept coastline of Bass Strait and the famous Ninety Mile Beach. This region is all about water activities – boating, fishing, sailing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking – you name it, it’s all possible!

Cape Conran Coastal Park Located in East Gippsland, Cape Conran boasts expansive coastal heathlands, banksia woodlands and 60 kilometres of isolated sandy beaches. This coastal park is teeming with a variety of plants, animals and marine life. During May to October whales and dolphins can be sighted off-shore. The East Cape Boardwalk is just one of a number of wilderness trails in the park. Along the way we explore rock pools, build sand castles, climb rocky outcrops and discover secluded coves. In the evening we watch a beautiful sunset from the West Cape.

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Buchan Caves Famous for its dazzling and elaborate limestone cave system, Buchan is a peaceful town at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. The caves were formed by underground rivers cutting through limestone rock. Tours are conducted daily into the Royal and Fairy caves. With young Morrison strapped to my chest in the baby carrier, we navigate the narrow cave passageways of the Royal Cave and discover fascinating calcite-rimmed pools and intricate stalactites and stalagmites. The Buchan Caves Reserve also offers impressive system of bushwalks and plenty of wildlife. Our home for two nights is Caves House. Every day a mob of kangaroos come to graze on the surrounding lawn and one morning some wild deer wander past the kitchen window as we eat our breakfast. We can’t wait to go back.

1 Exploring Buchan Caves 2 Wildlife spotting / hiking at Wilson Prom 3 Cycling one of Gippsland’s Rail Trails 4 Port Albert Maritime Museum 5 Gippsland Lakes Watersports

Getting there: Nearest airport: Melbourne Travel distances from Melbourne: Wilsons Prom: 200km, Port Albert: 220km, Lakes Entrance: 315km, Buchan: 350km, Cape Conran: 400km.


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Going ape in Sumatra Geordie Torr and his family delve deep into the jungles of Sumatra in search of the ‘old man of the forest’ – the critically endangered orangutan.

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alking slowly along the path, we stop regularly to scan the rainforest on the other side of the river. Nothing. We walk some more, stop. Nothing. And then a branch moves. I watch. And watch. It moves again. By now, my partner, Kate, our two daughters, Sarah (10) and Zoe (eight), and I are all watching the same patch of vegetation very closely. Suddenly, there’s a collective intake of breath as we catch a glimpse of something large and orange among the dark green leaves. We watch and watch some more, and then... there she is – a great big female orangutan, swinging by one arm from a tree branch, a baby attached to her side. Seeing an orangutan in the wild has been Kate’s dream since childhood, and with that dream finally coming

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true, she gets a bit teary – cue family hug. We stand and watch the two apes for ages – the female sitting quietly on a branch, the baby frolicking about in the trees around her – before finally tearing ourselves away and returning to our favourite spot on the river for another swim. Kate and I had brought Sarah and Zoe here to the village of Bukit Lawang on the Indonesian island of Sumatra because it seemed to offer us our best chance of seeing wild orangutans; we weren’t keen on doing the stage-managed rehabilitation-centre thing and the options in Borneo looked either too expensive or too tricky to navigate with children in tow. Although getting to Bukit Lawang was a bit of a chore – a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Medan, followed by a threehour mini-van drive and then a walk along a rough




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CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT:

Getting to know the locals, beautiful mother and baby 'of the forest', a great argus, the world's largest pheasant.

Th e mome nt we see ou r firs t orangu ta n in th e wi ld

path to our guesthouse – but once we had settled in, we quickly fell in love with the place. A charming little village strung out along one side of the steep-sided valley of the Bohorok River, Bukit Lawang is not too touristy, just the right amount of grungy. It boasts some nice restaurants, a glorious setting and possibly the most genuinely friendly people we met in Southeast Asia. And it’s great for kids as there’s no traffic – that rough path is the only thoroughfare. The village abuts the World Heritage-listed Gunung Leuser National Park, home to elephants, tigers, rhinos, gibbons, deer and, yes, one of the largest remaining wild populations of Sumatran orangutans. In 1973, a Swiss organisation opened a rehabilitation centre for captive orangutans near the village. Although the centre closed years ago, a group of semidependent orangutans continued to be fed twice-daily at a feeding platform near the national park office until quite recently. Many of these orangutans still hang out nearby, so sightings are almost guaranteed at the right time of year. You can’t enter the national park without a guide, and after much asking around, we choose a local guide called Sinar. Stocky, older, serious, Sinar was exactly what we were looking for – we’d heard stories about the younger guides feeding the orangutans, but Sinar has been guiding for 25 years and used to work in the rehabilitation program, so he doesn’t put up with any nonsense. Serious he may be, but he’s also cheerful

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and friendly, with a great sense of humour. We set out at about 8am the next day, crossing the river and climbing a steep path into the forest, past a rubber plantation and then into the national park itself. We all quickly accumulate our own personal cloud of mosquitoes, and Kate and the girls are soon being bitten. Sinar stopped to apply some repellent, which is when we realise that we’ve left ours behind (rookie mistake). Sinar kindly shares his with us and soon we were repelling the little biters, too. As we head deeper into the forest, Sinar points out abandoned orangutan nests high in the trees – they make a new one every night. Two hours later, as we were starting to wonder if we were ever going to see anything other than some old nests – Sinar motions for us to stop. He points up into the trees and says, ‘Gibbons.’ A shaking of branches and a flash of brown and we see our first white-handed gibbon, then another and another. All upper-body strength and unfeasibly long arms, the apes looked incredibly graceful as they swing from branch to branch. As we follow them through the forest, we come across some tourists watching a female orangutan and baby. Their guide was feeding her, using pieces of fruit and sticks of sugar cane to lure her closer. This is exactly the sort of thing we had hoped to avoid, so we quickly move on. It’s clearly a busy day; we soon pass several other guided groups, large and small, as we walk around the spider web of trails. We come across two more


orangutans, both with babies, both with a posse of spectators, both being fed by young guides. As we stand watching one of them, its baby – Junie – plucked off a small branch and made her way lower, towards our girls. As she dangled above, she reached out towards them and dropped the leafy branch – a gift that thrills the girls beyond measure. After lunch, as we make our way along a forest path, Sinar suddenly stops and points down the slope. ‘Peacock,’ he said. All I could see was a tangle of vines and saplings, and a large, dark log. ‘Peacock,’ he says again, pointing once more towards the log. Only it isn’t a log, it’s a very, very big bird. Not a peacock, we 

later discover, but a great argus – the world’s largest pheasant. Males can reach a length of about two metres, 140 centimetres of which is tail. As the afternoon drew on, Sinar gave us a choice of which way to go back – we opted for the longer way as it would take us back through the forest and give us a better chance of seeing more wildlife. And we do indeed see a few more orangutans on the way back – some we had seen earlier and a few new ones, taking our tally for the day to 13. Our visit to Bukit Lawang exceeded all of our expectations and was the highlight of four months’ travel in Southeast Asia. WINTER 2017 outandaboutwithkids.com.au

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GROWERS MARKETS

Yumi Stynes just loves growers markets, knows exactly how to navigate them with kids, how to find the best bargains and even how to find parking.

YUMI STYNES Yumi Stynes is a writer, broadcaster, keen traveller and mother to three daughters and one son. At the moment she’s completing her first cookbook ‘Zero F**ks Cooking’ – aimed at very busy people like herself. She hosts a national afternoon radio show on the KIIS network, and is experimenting with virtual reality storytelling. Despite having several snow-related melt downs, Yumi and her family still love a trip to the Snowy Mountains.

O

ne thing that freaks people out about shopping at weekend Farmers Markets is finding a place to park the car. I’m not kidding. This applies to just about every person thinking about shopping in any Farmers Market in the world. Frankly, I know TOO MANY people who lie in bed debating whether to leave their own suburb because they can’t bear the uncertainty around where they’re going to park the car. Car parking fear is real, and it puts people off doing the things they love. Taking kids to a growers market is one of my favourite family outings. Apart from the parking. The kids get some outdoor time in a safe environment, and I get to do a grocery shop. Here’s the tip: GET THERE EARLY. There’ll be heaps of car spots and you get first pick of the produce. (If you’re not an early riser, this does not apply to you because you’re probably dead from the exhaustion of having children anyway.) Australian growers markets are world-class. There’s a stringent accreditation process with many of them whereby the sellers have to prove that at least one staffer on the stall works on the origin farm. It means that they can genuinely inform buyers about their products, explain growing or farming processes, and best of all, the system helps to ensure that the profits

go back to the farmers themselves. Growers markets are not some lame middle-management operation. Even if you don’t care, the food is awesome. Tourists love it, and when I’m the tourist, I have a great time alongside locals who are just going about their business; both groups – locals and I – peacefully coexisting while buying excellent goods at market value. One of my favourites is the Slow Food Market at Melbourne’s Abbotsford Convent. (It’s not on every weekend so be sure to Google the details before

My daughter De e De e, we ar ing th e dres s sh e jus t bo ught

e from Some of the am az ing pro duc urne lbo Me in the Gro we r’s Ma rke t

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Th e app les are am az ing at Abbot sfo rd Con ven t

My older daughters he lpe d me ch oo se a sh irt fo r m y husb an d


Jus t a tee nsy bit exc ite d abo her pony ride!

ut

showing up.) Stallholders include brands you may have heard of, like Mount Zero Olives and Holy Goat Cheeses, but also small-scale egg producers, local coffee roasters, pistachio and other nut farmers, and all manner of bakers and sweet-makers. It’s an extraordinary array of craftsmanship and pride, and every time I go I’m filled with hope. (And also I’m filled with food, as the free samples are generous and everywhere!) The weekend I visit with my husband and two younger children, apples, blueberries and mushrooms are in season. Our daughter is radiant from the fresh air. I suss out the other shoppers who are a mixture of inner-city groovy and suspiciously neat with expensive haircuts – like Canberra politicians on a long weekend. We’ve arrived early, so find a parking spot easily, but the carpark is far enough away from the actual market that in a moment of softness you might wish a little for a pack-horse to help get your bags back. “That’s why you take me!” says my husband, who is one of those irrepressibly cheerful fellows. I stock up on Jerusalem artichokes. These are hard to come by in the city and usually sell for four or five times the price they are here. I’m particularly excited about the olive oil from Nicolas farms. The grower himself explains to me the history of the farm and their unique extraction process. He talks me through the different flavours while I gnaw on cubes of bread dipped in said flavours – and it quickly becomes clear which one is going to make my salad vinaigrette sing. The vibe at Davies Park Market in Brisbane, (known by everyone as ‘West End Market’) is completely different. There’s a sunny, fun atmosphere and the attitude towards produce is less reverential than in Melbourne. It’s messy, more human. And there’s parking galore on the surrounding streets, although locals all seem to stream in on foot, shamelessly wheeling granny trolleys. You’re more likely to bump into a juggler than a politician at this market, and

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the bounty created by Queensland’s warmer weather and fertile soil is so outrageous it could very nearly be obnoxious, if it were not so cheap and yummy. The hippy vibe also lingers at the Marrickville Market long after the spread of gentrification reached Sydney’s Inner West. This sprawling market retails enough gourmet food to satisfy a harem of hairy hipsters. (You’ll see quite a lot of those.) There’s a donation system for pay-parking and I promise, you can actually get a spot pretty easily if you get there early. As we load up on heavy bags of crunchy, lumpy apples and generous bunches of Asian greens, the kids stare up at the jumbo jets flying low in the sky above the market. (Marrickville famously sits under Sydney airport’s flight path.) Out on the oval we pay a couple of bucks for the babies to enjoy their first ever pony ride. It’s cuter than puppies! There’s no screaming or crying and the ponies have those gentle, soulful eyes that could start a lifelong equine love affair. My husband and I watch on, sipping barista coffee and congratulating ourselves on parking close enough to be able to load our shopping into the car without needing a mule.

ABOVE

The family rugged up for winter with our MB Mini allterrain stroller.


This Way There is dissention in the ranks when Monique books holiday Walking Tours, wanting her teens to discover more about a destination than the latest app and constant consumerism. Yet it results in kids downing devices to walk in the footsteps of locals, happily discovering the heart of a community along the way.

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slim handful of girlfriends and I enjoy strolling as a style of exploration, but my husband and sons do not. They require a start and a finish. For me a beginning is sufficient, and a definitive end misses the point entirely. So a compromise is reached: ‘quirky tours’ – affording elements of surprise to keep all the family happy.

Kyoto

MEET MONIQUE In the course of a fabulously full career in travel, this mum has been fortunate to have access to many of the world’s top destinations. Monique and her family, including two teenage boys, have experienced international cities, skiing, golf, resort beaches, and even shopping, together. Her advice and tips on ‘the good things in life’ are shared on her own luxury (family) travel site theurbanmum.com.au … and, as a coffee devotee, she knows where to find the best, around the globe!

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“How will we recognise Samurai Joe?” Henry asks. As I begin to explain a slight figure makes a beeline for us. Silver hair wound in topknot, posture perfect and flowing traditional robes stand out in sharp relief against Kyoto’s morning rush – he’s unmistakably our ‘Samurai Joe’ guide. We stand a little straighter for introductions. Then, trotting to keep up, the teens obediently follow 86 year young Mr Okada as he strides off. Dazzled by his stories (he has even been on the David Letterman show), we walk ancient streets and absorb awe-inspiring temples. The grounds of the Shinto Shrine deserted as we arrive for ‘ Samurai sword training’. Our 13 year old graduates to a razor sharp sword in record time, and wielding it like a pro, connects the steel squarely with the airborne apple. Joe inclines his head slightly, and recognising this as praise, Benjamin beams with achievement.

Ho Chi Minh City The cacophony of beep, beep and corresponding flash of scooters is phenomenal; sensing panic our Intrepid Urban Adventures guide grabs the youngest’s hand before walking confidently into peak hour traffic. If there was ever a city, that I am glad our walking tour is interspersed with a ride, then Ho Chi Minh is it. We visit landmarks (Notre Dame Cathedral, the

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP:

Samurai Joe guides us through Kyoto, exploring the markets of Ho Chi Minh City, the bamboo gardens of Kyoto.


After n oo n te a in



Ho Ch i M inh Ci ty's offic e famous ye llo w po st

H o Ch i M inh Ci

ty

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP:

Uluru in the early morning, enjoying a food tour of Shanghai and the city's famous 'The Bund'.

I confess to not being a ‘true’ Foodie. I enjoy new flavours, yet don't feel the need to understand the minutiae of ingredients, nor do I want to replicate recipes at home. Nonetheless I regularly book ‘food walking tours’ as a local meal is a snapshot of the community, and that is the sentiment I want the boys to absorb. Our party of six spans three generations, sixty years from oldest to youngest, presenting a challenge to find activities to suit everyone; but the 3.5-hour Street Food Breakfast Tour delivers. We walk, talk and glimpse into centuries-old homes (cheek to jowl with ‘new’ Shanghai). The boys marvel at lumps of dough becoming a bowl of noodles via sleight of hand – and yes, we eat.

Uluru

Walk This Way Tours Cool Kyoto Walking Tour with Samurai Joe runs every Saturday from 10am (private tours also available). coolkyoto.net Ho Chi Minh Discovery Tour we opt for the private tour. urbanadventures.com UnTour Shanghai breakfast, lunch, evening and cooking tours. untourfoodtours.com Uluru Morning Guided Base Walk aatkings.com

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unmistakable ‘yellow’ General Post Office and open air fresh produce markets) via Cyclo (three-wheeled bicycle taxi), the remainder of our tour is on foot. A stroll (yes the boys are getting the attraction) through Le Cong Kieu Street – fondly known as Antique Street – feeds Henry’s obsession for antique clocks. A pitstop to sample Vietnamese coffee (for the uninitiated it’s strong, iced with a liberal drizzle of condensed milk) feeds mine.

Shanghai We meet our UnTour Shanghai guide on a wet, freezing morning. Striking me as the perfect weather to have remained in bed, the lure of discovering oldstyle laneways (fast disappearing), and traditional ‘street food’ propel me on.

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It’s 6.05am and despite the icy chill, Uluru (shadowed and majestic), seems to glow in the pre-dawn. Collecting steaming drinks we make our way down a dusty red path to the ‘best viewing spot’, which according to our AAT Kings tour guide who has worked in the region since 1979 and brims with yarns and tips, is to go left rather than continue up to the lookout. His suggestion is spot on as we share the space with a handful of fellow walkers. Behind us on the ‘hill’ – as coral and pink skies herald sunrise – a crowd is silhouetted. Nature’s dramatic colour show dominates and time seems immaterial as we follow the track towards the monolith. From a distance Uluru appears smooth, yet close up black algae stains show the passage of waterfalls and porous sandstone reveals caves and ridges along the surface. “Walk this way”, calls our guide, and we happily follow to discover the heart of the local Indigenous community.


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Accessible Coffs Coast Is there anything more quintessentially Australian than a coastal road trip? For Julie Jones, travelling by car – their own car – is especially appealing because her son uses a wheelchair. The next challenge for Julie is finding a destination that can deliver accessible family-friendly activities even if the weather isn’t great. The Coffs Coast ticked quite a few boxes.

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TIP: Park Beach and Coffs Harbour Yacht Club have a beach wheelchair to loan for visitors with mobility restrictions. The wheelchair accessible Forest Sky Pier at Sealy Lookout offers panoramic views from the mountains to the sea. It’s a lovely spot for a picnic.

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hen we told friends we were headed to Urunga, many said “Where’s that?” Nestled just north of Nambucca Heads and only 20 minutes south of its better-known neighbour Coffs Harbour, we think Urunga is a hidden gem. The quiet seaside town allowed us to enjoy a break from city life with the conveniences of Coffs Harbour and its attractions close by.

For the energetic, go karts are available to hire, there’s a playground next door and a level pathway along the waterfront for walking or bike riding. Although we loved all on offer at Urunga Heads we use the location as a base to explore further afield. northcoastholidayparks.com.au/ park/info/urunga-heads

Accessible, family-friendly accommodation

Exchanging our thongs for walking boots, we left the coast behind for a day trip to Dorrigo National Park. We took the scenic one hour drive along Waterfall Way which climbs and winds its way to the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre. Once at the Centre we had two accessible options for exploring the rainforest, and keen to experience it all, we did both. The elevated Skywalk is wheelchair accessible giving everyone the opportunity to experience life on top of the rainforest canopy. The walks vary in distance and difficulty and there is a 2.5km loop which is ideal for families. We borrowed (for free) the TrailRider, an all-terrain alternative for wheelchair users or people with mobility restrictions. Although we visited midmorning, a light mist lingered in the rainforest adding to its mystical-like feel. Large trees, reaching up for their share of the sun, dwarfed us, while tangled vines and delicate moss created intricate rainforest patterns, providing a wonderful contrast to the coastal experience.

North Coast Holiday Park Urunga Heads has a waterfront location and provides accessible accommodation making it ideal. We spied The Urunga Boardwalk from our Easy Access Cabin and within a few minutes of check-in we were exploring the kilometre-long walk through mangroves to the beach. The boardwalk gave us the perfect vantage point to spot local wildlife, including a range of birds, iridescent blue crabs marching in groups across the sand and the odd wallaby grazing on the grass around the mangroves. It was lovely to see children so engaged by nature, excitedly pointing at the water dragons, birds and the hard to spot stingray hiding in the shallows. The Easy Access Cabin had all the facilities we needed, including ramp access, convenient parking and a wheelchair accessible bathroom. The park seemed to attract families who, like us, enjoyed the quiet location and simplicity of the natural wonders on the doorstep. 

Dorrigo National Park

MEET JULIE Julie travelled the world with her parents when she was a child and developed a life-long love for travel along the way. When Julie's son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 5 months, she determined to continue enjoying her love for travel and pass that passion on to her children. She shares the family's travels, tips and experiences at Have Wheelchair Will Travel.

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The Big Banana A visit to Coffs Harbour just isn’t complete without a stop at the Big Banana. Over the years the large fiberglass fruit has evolved to be more than a photo opportunity, although a photo with one of Australia’s famous ‘big things’ is still necessary for the family album. On arrival, the kids made a beeline for the café, enticed by freshly picked bananas served with pancakes, my daughter assuring me the bananas make this a healthy lunch option. Once their bananafuelled energy kicked in we hit the indoor ice rink to work it off. Not all ice rinks are wheelchair accessible so it was extra special seeing the kids having fun skating together. Our son had his heart set on fulfilling his need for speed by riding the Big Banana’s toboggan and his smile could be seen from far away as he whizzed down the hill with such joy, ensuring we didn’t have the heart to deny him “just one more ride.” Fortunately, tickets can be purchased either individually or in a bundle, which saves money. (NB: Some mobility is needed to access the toboggan.)

Dolphin Marine Magic It’s hard for our son to see animals or objects at a distance so it was lovely to have a close encounter with some of Dolphin Marine Magic’s beautiful animals. Feeding a penguin and seal is included in the entry price (check the schedule for times) and although the fish are slimy he was keen to give it a go. To allow the kids more time to learn about the animals and marine conservation, we booked a Meet the Stars experience. This gave our family one-on-one time with a trainer and allowed the kids time to ask questions and interact with the dolphins and Maxine the seal, creating an unforgettable experience.

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Coffs Harbour Butterfly House The combination of a butterfly house and a maze in one attraction guaranteed there’d be something to satisfy both our kids. We started our visit by learning more about the lifecycle of a butterfly with a staff member happily answering all our questions, before exploring the exhibits. Vases of flowers and pots of nectar ensured plenty of butterflies were easy to spot for young children keen to get a close look. After a stop in the café for some fresh scones we were off to the maze armed with a butterfly-themed questionnaire sheet. Answers are dotted around the maze adding another element to the quest to make it to the centre. Coffs Harbour and Urunga certainly delivered a varied and enjoyable coastal holiday for our whole family. So, although a road trip is often fraught with those dreaded words, “Are we there yet?”, it’s a flexible, budget-friendly way of exploring our beautiful country.

FROM TOP LEFT:

Coffs Harbour Butterfly House, sheer bliss on the toboggan at the Big Banana, fishy seal kisses at Dolphin Marine Magic.

Fact File The writer was a guest of North Coast Holiday Park Urunga Heads. coffscoast.com.au bigbanana.com dolphinmarinemagic.com.au butterflyhouse.com.au


TODDLER TR AVEL WITH SUE W HI T E

Fiji’s Meimei Fijian nanny… Meimei I?

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Our Toddler Travel columnist, Sue White, is a journalist, travel writer, founder of babieswhotravel.com and mum to an energetic, well travelled toddler. She’s also the moderator of a Facebook community where travel-keen parents talk tips and tricks for family travel: facebook.com/groups/ KidsWhoTravel (all welcome).

hen most parents think of a Fijian holiday there’s a fair chance they’re thinking three things: sun, sand and kids’ clubs. But if you’re travelling with a toddler, many of Fiji’s much-loved kids’ clubs are off limits. The rules differ between resorts, but generally children can’t be dropped at a kids club until they are three or four years old. That’s where Fijian nannies come in. Known as ‘Meimei’ (Fijian for ‘carer’), Fijian nannies are unsurprisingly popular with families holidaying with young children and toddlers. Not only can a Meimei give your child one on one attention anywhere in the resort (sometimes they can even take two kids for the same price), but they can play with them at the kids’ club, where sandpits, playgrounds and non-stop fun typically awaits. For families with older kids, this can be a winner too: all five children from the two families holidaying with us at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort on the Coral Coast were universally keen to get to Kids Club almost every morning, afternoon and evening. Hiring a Meimei meant their younger siblings could tag along, with a personal carer in tow. Meimei are available at many Fijian resorts, but Outrigger’s Meimei have a particularly good reputation. About 9000 children use Outrigger’s Meimei every year and more than 34 full-time nannies now work in this large, family-friendly resort. Across Fiji, Meimei services usually come with a price tag, unlike kids’ clubs (which are mostly free for resort guests). Outrigger’s Meimei are available for children from six months of age: for just AU$225 parents get four consecutive days of eight hours care between 9am and 11pm. By Australian standards, that’s great value. Thinking of hiring a Meimei for your toddler in Fiji? Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the experience.

Tip 1: Timing Some toddlers are used to day care, and will happily spend the bulk of their day with their Meimei, especially if they are around other children. My twoand-a-half year old? Not so much: he wants mum time first and foremost. But his mother also likes the odd bit of downtime: a few kid-free hours each day on holiday makes for a very happy parent! However, I had to be realistic. My

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Meimei is Fijian fo r ‘na nny’, oneon-o ne at ten tio n fo r yo ur kid s toddler isn’t used to day care, so eight hours away from me every day in a new location would have led to a mini revolt. Instead, I used my Meimei hours strategically, via a series of short stints spread across each day. Each morning, I joined my friends at the swimup bar at the adults-only pool for a couple of hours (they congregated here promptly at 10.05am, as soon as their kids were signed into Kids Club). During one of my son’s afternoon sleeps, I enjoyed a leisurely massage at the superb hilltop Bebe Spa (highly recommended); on my return, he and his Meimei were happily playing in the sandpit at Kids Club. I could definitely have stayed away


TODDLER TR AVEL WITH SUE W HI T E

longer without him even noticing. Then, every evening, I’d duck off for a kid-free dinner with my friends. The plan worked for everyone: my son and I still had plenty of time together each day to play in Outrigger’s gigantic pool; wander the leafy resort; or watch the local choir sing over a meal at a beachside restaurant.

Tip 2: Have realistic expectations It’s truly amazing to be able to travel with young children and get some downtime. Meimei schedules are flexible (usually you need to give about three hours’ notice), the Fijians are famously friendly, and I’ve never seen a cranky Meimei. But still, hiring a nanny in Fiji is different to hiring a nanny at home. At home, with a regular carer, I think it’s okay to have a laundry list of expectations: what my child eats and drinks are prime examples of areas where I’m not particularly flexible as a parent. But in Fiji, be aware that your toddler’s carefully monitored home-based habits may dissolve. As one example, healthy meals often turn into hot chips, sausage rolls and juice if you are hiring a Meimei to do meal times (at Outrigger, this is a popular part of the service: lots of toddlers are taken by their Meimei to the special children’s mealtimes). For most parents, this is no big deal: for me, I preferred to take him to meals myself so I could choose treats when they suited me and I could monitor what was happening.

Tip 3: Toilet training trials After trying Meimei at three resorts with my newly (aka: mostly) toilet-trained toddler, I learned this:

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relax about toilet training while your child is with a Fijian nanny. If your toddler is still in nappies fulltime, no problem. But let’s face it: the nuance of dealing with an ‘almost’ toilet-trained toddler is difficult for any parent, let alone a carer who only has them for a few hours over a few days. (Just one reason many parents decide to delay toilet training until AFTER a big trip.) After explaining repeatedly at other resorts: “He needs to be Ch oo se wh en yo u wa nt to sp en d taken to the toilet in one hour. time wi th yo ur kid s He won’t tell you this, but take him anyway and he will go,” and getting lots of nods (but no results) from the Meimei in question, by the time I got to Outrigger I knew what would happen: they’d just let him keep happily playing until it was too late. Instead, I sent him off in a nappy, or, if he protested, with a couple of extra changes of pants and chalked it up to ‘what happens on the road, stays on the road’. Overall: would I use Fiji’s Meimei again? Yes: particularly those at Outrigger, where the system is really well setup – this is a core part of their business. Would I recommend Meimei services to others heading to Fiji? With the above caveats in mind – definitely: it’s one of the most relaxing holidays you could probably have with a toddler in tow – something I don’t say lightly!

FROM TOP LEFT:

Most staff at Fijian resorts are great with kids. Meimeis also look after their pint-size charges at kids club.


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TH E LA ST WOR D

Hal Caldwell, Tourism Fiji Where do travel professionals take their kids on holiday? This month we ask the new regional manager Australia for Tourism Fiji, Hal Caldwell. Hal came into his role at Tourism Fiji recently in April and prior to this, he was with Qantas for seven years, responsible for the entire Qantas brand portfolio before heading up marketing for Qantas Asia based in Singapore. He and his wife Clare have an eight-year old son called Thomas.

My ideal family holiday is… The ideal holiday is where all of us get to do things we like. Surfing’s my passion, and my son is an active water boy, but my wife loves to have rest, so the perfect holiday is something that suits us all.

My fondest family holiday memory is… This last January we went to Hakuba in Japan, skiing with friends who had twin boys the same age as Thomas. Really fun for everyone as we are all keen skiers. While there, a day trip to see the snow monkeys was a fabulous adventure. It was a holiday that ticked all the boxes. We also loved the onsen in the lodge as cleansing family time at the end of each day. Every night after skiing, all the boys went to the men’s onsen, and the girls went to theirs, for a bit of peace and quiet.

My top tip for travelling with kids is … Try to book somewhere with a separate bedroom for the kids. It’s no fun sitting in a dark room while they sleep. If that’s out of your budget, ensure the room has a balcony, or if you’re staying in a small hotel or ski lodge for example, a communal area separate to the bedroom.

What makes a great family holiday? A destination where you are made to feel welcome the moment you land, and no one does this better than Fiji – especially for families. The Fijian people are genuinely interested in talking to and interacting with the kids. You inherently trust the Fijian people who will be caring for your children.

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Out & About with Kids #53 Winter 2017  

Take you family skiing around the world! From Whistler in Canada, Steamboat Springs and Park City in the U.S. to Val Thorens in France and N...

Out & About with Kids #53 Winter 2017  

Take you family skiing around the world! From Whistler in Canada, Steamboat Springs and Park City in the U.S. to Val Thorens in France and N...