Page 1



Issue 58 • RRP $7.95 58 9 771832 331006 >

with kids A FIJI HOLIDAY


Culture & carefree fun


contents UPFRONT 6 Reader Instagram photos

Our readers share their travel adventures

7 Editor’s letter 8 Moments

A magical moment at Vivid Sydney

10 What’s new

The hottest attractions, tours, hotels, resorts and experiences around the globe

24 What’s on

Upcoming festivals and events

An aerial view of Forster on the NSW Mid North Coast

24 AUSTRALIA 30 Best familyfriendly Indigenous experiences

46 Go green on the Great Barrier Reef

35 Coastal dreaming

49 Top holiday parks for winter

44 Five places to visit in Gippsland

56 Five reasons why you should visit Broome with kids

35 4

Help give your kids a greater understanding of Aboriginal culture

Discover the NSW Mid North coast, including the Barrington Coast, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour

Top attractions in SouthEastern Victoria

Fantastic eco-experiences in Queensland’s natural wonder

Great cabins and campsites for the cooler months

Family fun in Australia’s North West

WORLD 58 Family-friendly Fiji resorts

Where to stay at this favourite holiday destination

66 Fiji holiday giveaway

Win a trip to Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island thanks to Hoot Holidays and Fiji Airways

68 Step aboard

The Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Racing

86 One island, two tales

78 Awesome New Zealand adventures

88 Get the snow on the road

Why neighbouring provinces Krabi and Phang Nga in Thailand are drawing more families

A boy with his nanny at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

The best family travel experiences across the ditch

Give your kids an experience they will never forget at these extraordinary wilderness retreats

84 Loving Long Island

Off the coast of New York, Long Island is the place to go for family fun

Flip Byrnes and her toddlers find a charming escape, far from the tourist hordes, on Spain’s largest island, Mallorca

Meg Law checks out some of the best ski resorts in the USA and Canada on a family driving holiday

92 Mountain playgrounds

Colorado’s family-friendly ski resorts are each as unique as a snowflake

96 Doing Big White Right

In British Columbia, Canada, Big White is convenient, memorable and magical

EXTRAS 98 Celebrity Q&A

South African-born comedian Urzila Carlson reveals why she loves returning to her homeland with her family

100 Baby & toddler travel

OAWK editor Angela Saurine heads underground with her oneyear-old at the Jenolan Caves near Oberon in NSW

104 Reviews


The Hawaiian Islands abound with awesome animal encounters

82 Amazing Africa

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has opened at Disneyland Park in California

70 Beyond Phuket

74 Go wild in Hawai‘i

The OAWK team reviews Crown Towers Perth, Six Senses Fiji and Bluey’s Motel on the NSW Mid North coast

110 How to … be a greener traveller

Zero Waste Tasmania founders Lauren and Oberon Carter share their tips on how to enjoy a waste-free holiday

113 Must haves

The latest products travelling families need to know about, from inspiring books to matching luggage

114 Insider interview

UTracks general manager Kate Barker’s family holiday memories







Our readers have shared some awesome photos of their adventures around the globe on social media. Tag your family holiday snaps #oawk for the chance to see them republished here. 1. @lets.go.that.way Nullarbor Station, South Australia 2. @wanderlust_with_my_kids Bathing a rescue elephant in Thailand 3. @kidstravellibrary Five-year-old twins Harry and Charlotte at the Louvre in Paris 4. @nico_strange85 Werri Beach NSW 5. @meghannsinclair Aitutaki Lagoon in the Cook Islands 6


Angela and her son Oliver out and about on the Manly Ferry

EDITOR’S LETTER When I think back to my childhood, some of my fondest memories were of family holidays. Long road trips from Sydney to Queensland, detouring off the highway to build sandcastles on beautiful, empty beaches en route. Our annual trip to the snow at Perisher, in which we would venture out after dark following the pawprints of the fox that hung around the lodge hoping for food scraps in a vain attempt to find its den; building snowmen and forts and having large-scale snowball fights against neighbouring lodges. The excitement of firecracker night, since banned, and bonfires at my uncle’s farm at Mudgee. I have vivid memories of my first plane ride. We were supposed to go to Disneyland – every child’s dream – but it was the year Continental Airlines went bust, so we went to Norfolk Island instead. We stayed in a tiny log cabin and I spent much of the week playing with a local boy – simple pleasures such as fishing, giving way to cows on the road and running away from waves at the pier. Now I am a mum, I eagerly endeavour to create similar joyful moments for my son, and as a travel writer I love encouraging others to explore this big, wide world. So, it’s exciting to become editor of a magazine that will (hopefully!) provide untold inspiration for likeminded families. In this new-look

issue, we have loads of ideas for your next family getaway. Fiji is one of the best family holiday destinations on the planet, and how lucky are we to have it right at our doorstep? We hope you like our cover story on the island nation’s best places to stay with kids. The irrepressible Flip Byrnes takes her toddlers to the Spanish island of Mallorca, while Meg Law shares her road trip tips in her feature about visiting ski resorts across the USA and Canada. The OAWK team is passionate about eco-tourism, so we are particularly proud of our stories on environmentally friendly experiences on the Great Barrier Reef, and a guide to being a greener traveller, by Zero Waste Tasmania founders Lauren and Oberon Carter. While I’ve mostly been tied to my desk editing OAWK, I have managed to escape for a couple of long weekends. You can read about our adventure exploring the Jenolan Caves near Oberon and our review of Bluey’s Motel on the NSW Mid North Coast in this issue. Lastly, we love hearing from you and seeing photos from your travels. Shoot us an email to let us know what you’ve enjoyed and what you’d like to read more of, and be sure to tag your shots #oawk on Instagram. Till next time! Angela Saurine, editor

with kids Out & About with Kids Print & Digital outandaboutwithkids. Publisher Elisa Elwin +61 413 770 550 Editor Angela Saurine angela.saurine@ Advertising Enquiries: advertising@oawk.

Art Director Jon Wolfgang MIller Print Spotpress +61 430 060 700 Published by Elwin Media Pty Ltd ABN: 22 159 093 606 PO Box 4148, Balgowlah Heights, NSW 2093 Cover image Marli and Ziggy Morris walking along the beach at Nanuku Auberge Resort, Fiji. Image: @TheBlondeNomads

Copyright © Out & About with Kids 2019 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission isstrictly 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.

Disclaimer The opinions expressed in the editorials are those of the writers and do not necessarily refl ect the views of the Publisher and Out & About with Kids. Information provided was believed to be correct at the time of publication.



VIVID SYDNEY Children dance joyfully at the Under the Harbour Lights projection at Customs House during Vivid Sydney 2019. Inspired by the idea of what’s in the water in Sydney Harbour, LA-based design director of creative studio Spinifex Group, Ben Alpass, created the multi-coloured display using the architecture of the historic building as a canvas. This year’s festival of light, music and ideas, which ran for 23 days during May and June, drew more than two million visitors out and about in the NSW capital. The Vivid Light Walk featured more than 3km of light art installations by over 100 artists and collaborators from 17 countries. Among the most popular displays were the Pixar exhibit, which showcased how movies such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo were brought to life through projections of images, from the early stages of a film’s development to the finished product, including pencil drawings, digital paintings and final film frames. The sails of Sydney Opera House were also illuminated each evening, along with the iconic Harbour Bridge. Light for the Wild at Taronga Zoo included large multimedia light sculptures of a Sumatran tiger and her cubs, a turtle and a family of gorillas. Families also loved the electro-automotive super-bots at Robot SPACEland at Darling Harbour, and the accessible playspace, Tumbalong Lights, which honoured the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Vivid began in 2009 to entice more visitors to the city, and Sydneysiders to get out and about, during the cooler months. 8

Image: Destination NSW




See traditional Fijian stories being told in modern and innovative ways with Fun Hub Fiji’s new evening show, Fiji Untold. Performed by the acclaimed VOU Dance Company, the circuslike spectacle takes place each evening in the 450-seat Big Top Arena just minutes from Denarau Island in Nadi. The experience begins with acrobatic displays in the trees as you are led into the foyer, before the story of a young girl of chiefly Fijian heritage, who is plunged into a journey of selfdiscovery that takes her far from home, is revealed. The brainchild of husband and wife duo Sachiko and Edward Soro, who also founded VOU, Big Top Fiji is the first of five unique arts venues they plan to create. Fiji Untold is staged at the Big Top Arena every week Wednesday to Sunday from 8pm to 10pm.



SOAR OVER SYDNEY Fly through the air at speeds of up to 65km per hour on a new wave swinger ride at Sydney’s Luna Park. The first new permanent ride since the Hair Raiser opened five years ago, Volaré (which means ‘to fly’ in Italian) was specially handcrafted by an Italian ride manufacturer. Its artwork was designed with Luna Park’s heritage in mind, with hand-painted cityscapes, clouds and a starry sky. It also has more than 3,500 LED lights.


Melbourne Star is offering discounts of up to 25 per cent on family tickets when booked online. The only giant observation wheel in the Southern Hemisphere, the Melbourne Star has warm cabins to snuggle up in during winter to take in the 360-degree view of the city. As you glide serenely through the sky, audio commentary gives insights into the city’s sights, history and culture. With its stunning light shows and striking scale, Melbourne Star is a glittering jewel in the sky above Melbourne’s Docklands. It’s a great way to enjoy half an hour of uninterrupted family time.

ROBOT EXHIBITION COMES TO CANBERRA Uncover the increasingly blurry line between humanity and technology in Questacon’s newest exhibition, Born or Built? Our Robotic Future, in Canberra. As machines become more humanlike and we continue incorporating technology into our lives, important questions and choices are raised. How we answer them will help create our future, but what will that future be? In Born or Built? you can use your brain signals to create unique artworks in real-time, or assemble DNA in different configurations and see what kind of human results! Then explore the amazing array of technologies we can implant or replace in the human body. It is one of more than 200 interactive exhibits across eight themed galleries at Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre.


Australia’s top cultural attractions have joined forces to showcase their offerings. The new Cultural Attractions of Australia collective includes 22 products, including Adelaide Oval in South Australia, the Australian War Memorial and Australian Parliament House in Canberra, Fremantle Prison in Western Australia, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sovereign Hill in Victoria, the Qantas Founders Museum in Queensland and the Port Arthur Historic Site in Tasmania. Each offers one or more premium experiences, including behind-thescenes or after-hours tours, most of which have been newly created for Cultural Attractions of Australia.



LEGO AQUARIUM IN MALAYSIA LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort has opened SEA LIFE Malaysia - the country’s first interactive LEGO®-themed aquarium. The two-storey aquarium has 25 tanks, with stingrays, zebra sharks, black tip reef sharks and seahorses among the many and varied sea life on display. The Ocean Tank features fun experiences that introduce visitors to the marine life and marine conservation. There are also interactive displays, hands-on encounters at the rock pool zone and special habitat zones. Guests should keep a lookout for special LEGO® mini-figures and other LEGO® sea creatures as they embark on their educational journey at the aquarium.


Explore Bali Zoo under the stars and discover the sights and sounds of its animals in their nocturnal habitats with the new Night at the Zoo experience. From 5pm to 9pm each evening, guests can enjoy a guided tour of the zoo on a double decker bus, with the opportunity to feed deer and elephants, before heading to WANA Restaurant for a Brazilian barbecue dinner, next to the lion habitat, and a thrilling fire dancing performance. 12


Entrepreneurial mum, Melissa Blumenthal, has opened a children’s museum in which kids can take on different roles within a mini-city in Melbourne. Interaxcity at Malvern includes an airport, construction site, florist, house, medical centre, post office, restaurant, service station and supermarket. Children can explore and engage in hands-on exhibits, which have been especially designed in conjunction with early childhood educators, with their parents and caregivers. Melissa said the space was designed around the importance of learning through play and letting imaginations run free. “We invite children to be any community hero they like, depending on what they feel inspired by that day – a chef, a flight attendant, a doctor, a postie – the choice is theirs,” she said. Bookings are recommended.


A third tower will open at Atlantis Aquaventure waterpark at Atlantis The Palm in Dubai next year. The 34m-tall Trident Tower will add 12 new slides to the park, which already has more than 20 rides and rivers spread across 17ha at Palm Island. Families can race each other down the ProSlide® RallyRACER™ 32, drop 34m at stomach-churning speeds on the two Leap of Faith slides, and zip down the world’s longest allnew ProSlide® MammothBLAST™ – a 449m family adventure water coaster. A new kids’ area will also combine with Splasher’s Island and Splasher’s Mountain to give families even more to enjoy, with nine waterslides designed specifically for young thrillseekers. If you need somewhere to stay, The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences is also set to open in late 2020. The 43-storey property will be home to 231 luxury apartments, 795 luxury hotel rooms, more than 90 pools and a rooftop Skypool 90m above the ground.

Only minutes from Canberra’s CBD with plenty of free parking. Only minutes from Canberra’s CBD with plenty of freeCentre parking. AIS Visitor

Everyone’s AIS welcome. Pop in and purchase Visitor Centre exclusive merchandise at the AIS Shop and enjoy Everyone’s welcome. Pop in and purchase great coffee & café-style food at the AIS Café. exclusive merchandise at the AIS Shop and enjoy great coffee & café-style food at the AIS Café. AIS Tours Go behind the scenes onTours an award-winning guided AIS AIS Tour. Challenge yourself in Sportex, offering Go behind the scenes on an award-winning guided fun and interactive sporting exhibits. Daily 10am, AIS Tour. Challenge yourself in Sportex, offering 11.30am, 1pm & 2.30pm. Fees apply. fun and interactive sporting exhibits. Daily 10am, 11.30am, 1pm &&2.30pm. apply. AIS Aquatic FitnessFees Centre Dive into our swimming pool or try out AISworld-class Aquatic & Fitness Centre our fully equipped gym. Visitors welcome. Fees apply. Dive into our world-class swimming pool or try out our fully equipped gym. Visitors welcome. Fees apply. Leverrier Street, Canberra, ACT Phone: (02) Canberra, 6214 1010ACT Leverrier Street, Phone: (02) 6214 1010 /ExperienceAIS




ASC 34415 ASC 34415


The Australian Institute of Sport. The AIS. Australia’s premier The Australian Institute of Sport. elite precinct. The AIS.sporting Australia’s premier elite sporting precinct.



INTREPID FAMILIES GO EXOTIC Adventurous families can sleep under the stars in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, go island hopping in Turkey and visit archaeological sites in Greece, in new trips being offered by Intrepid Travel. The company’s family product manager, Dyan McKie, said people were becoming more curious and confident to visit exotic destinations with kids. “We are seeing families become so adventurous that they are even tubing in caves in Belize – talk about giving the kids bragging rights for show and tell!” she said. “These trips take the stress of logistics out of travel, so parents can relax and enjoy the trip, while kids learn about a new culture from a local and make instant friends with other children in the group.” Ten-day tours in Morocco start from $1,220 per adult twin share and $1,098 per child twin share, and include a camel ride, a visit to a village in Midlet and free time to explore spice markets in Fes and Marrakech.




Explore the gorges, waterfalls and caves of Western Australia’s remote North West, with Kimberley Wild Expeditions’ new Kimberley Family Safari. The five-day outback 4WD adventure gives families the chance to discover the rugged Kimberley region, with activities including swimming, wildlife spotting, hiking, campfires and stargazing.


National Geographic and adventure travel company G Adventures have paired up to offer 12 family trips from March 2020. These special family trips will feature National Geographic-inspired experiences for children and adults designed around four themes – photography and storytelling, history and culture, wildlife and conservation, and exploration to connect. The smallgroup tours span five continents and range from eight to 13 days in length, with reduced pricing available for children aged 12 and under. They include wildlife spotting in Alaska’s national parks, sumo wrestling lessons and samurai swordplay in Japan and ziplining through the rainforest canopy in Costa Rica. The expanded partnership follows the success of National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures, launched in 2015. or 15


DAYDREAM ISLAND REOPENS Daydream Island has opened in the Whitsundays after an extensive redevelopment, with classic Queenslander heritage architecture, an outdoor cinema overlooking the beach and three restaurants and bars, including Asian fusion noshery, Infinity, and modern Australian eatery, Inkstone Kitchen and Bar. The resort has 277 modern rooms and suites with the choice of interconnecting rooms for families. A 200m lagoon holding 1.5 million litres of water, known as The Living Reef, is home to coral, tropical fish, starfish, sea cucumbers, crabs, stingrays and sharks, and wraps around the main building. The Living Reef can be explored, with the island’s marine biologists, on a guided snorkelling experience. Kids can also become eco-warriors at Kids Club as they learn about the Living Reef while playing and feeding the marine animals. A new underwater observatory allows guests to view 4m below the water’s surface.


Kimberleyland Waterfront Holiday Park in Western Australia’s North West has added deluxe waterfront cabins to its accommodation offering of powered and unpowered sites and self-contained cabins. Set on the banks of Lake Kununurra, the cabins provide uninterrupted waterfront views of the waterway from a private deck. Fully self-contained with modern furnishings, cabins include a fully-equipped kitchen, coffee pod machine, dishwasher, full refrigerator, deluxe bathrooms, queen size bed, plus an alfresco dining area with private barbecue and outdoor day bed. 16

SUSTAINABLE SINGAPORE RESORT A sustainable new environmentally-friendly resort is being built in Singapore’s Mandai precinct, which is also home to familyfriendly attractions including Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari. Set to open in 2023, the 338-room resort will be designed to integrate the buildings with their natural surroundings. It will feature 24 treehouses in the shape of seed pods, as well as standard and family rooms with rainforest views. Wherever possible, the Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts property will be elevated several metres above the ground to allow native wildlife to move

across the site. The design will incorporate a host of energy-saving measures including natural ventilation, mixed mode air-conditioning and solar panels. The treehouses will also feature passive displacement ventilation, that cools air using chilled water rather than traditional air-conditioning compressor units. Guests will also be encouraged to reduce energy and water consumption in their rooms, practice recycling, dispose their food waste responsibly, and be respectful of the surrounding flora and fauna.



Pullman Nadi Bay Resort & Spa has opened at Wailoaloa Beach on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. Just a 10 minute-drive from Nadi International Airport and Port Denarau’s restaurants, bars and shops, the Resort has been designed by Fijian and Singaporean architects, with an Asian flavour combined with a dash of Palm Springs-inspired design ‘cool’. The Resort is built around four pools – an adults-only pool, a separate children’s pool and two family pools. All 236 rooms and suites, including 36 deluxe interconnecting rooms and four accessible rooms, have balconies or patios and offer Pure Fiji toiletries and high-speed WiFi, which is also available throughout the resort. The Resort boasts a lobby bar, noodle bar and a barefoot bar and grill serving wood fired pizzas and Indian tandoori. The day spa, Veikau, has six bures which are named after Fijian flora totems, and there’s also a gym, two tennis courts, a beachfront water sports centre, a Kids Club and a separate teens retreat.





Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island has emerged, after two years, from a USD$50 million makeover. All 443 rooms, three pool areas and many public areasave been upgraded, as has the resort’s spa and casual dining spots, including Beach Bar & Grill and Bilo Bar. The revamp includes an upgrade of the family-friendly two-bedroom Lagoon Bures, and the new Reef Wing private adults-only precinct, which has an infinity pool, with complimentary sunset drinks and canapes served daily, Reef Café & Dining, and the oceanfront Reef Bures (villas). Less than an hour’s drive from Fiji’s main international airport in Nadi, the resort is spread across more than 100ha on its own private island connected by a causeway to the main island, Viti Levu. It is home to the largest inflatable water park in the South Pacific and a private Peter Thomson-designed nine-hole golf course, and has an indoor and outdoor kids’ club segmented into age groups, and a separate entertainment zone for tweens and teens. Restaurants include Takali Asian Kitchen, Golden Cowrie Coastal Italian and the main eatery, Lagoon Terrace.


Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel on Maui has unveiled a new program of Hawaiian cultural activities; lengthening the times of many classes to allow for more in-depth experiences. Activities at its Hale Ho‘okipa cultural centre include Mo’olelo storytelling sessions, Hawaiian language lessons and weaving classes. Guests can also learn to make and play Hawaiian instruments, take part in kapa cloth-making workshops, lei-making, hula lessons and a new Wa‘a (canoe) paddle tour on a traditional outrigger canoe. Several classes have grown from 30 minutes to an hour or more, and more than half are complimentary.


HAYMAN ISLAND RETURNS InterContinental Hayman Island Resort has opened in the Whitsundays following a multimillion-dollar renovation, with new restaurants and bars, a new boutique, a gym and a spa with 13 treatment rooms. Established by tourism icon, Sir Reg Ansett, in the 1950s, the property had been operated by One&Only before being severely damaged by Cyclone Debbie two years ago. Accessible by boat, helicopter or seaplane, it is the only resort on the 400ha private island and has 166 rooms across three wings, ranging from lagoon and poolside rooms to beachfront villas. The newly-built Beach House has three suites each with its own pool. In addition to the hotel, there is also a new collection of private residences perched on hilltops available to rent, with full resort access. The resort is only supplying reef-safe sunscreen to guests and has banned single use plastic across the island.


Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger has undergone a refurbishment, giving it a fresh, contemporary Hawaiian vibe. All 498 rooms have been renovated as part of the USD$35 million upgrade, as well as public areas including the pool deck and lobby. Rooms now feature 55-inch flat-screen TVs with the ability to stream from mobile devices and use personal YouTube, Netflix and Hulu accounts. The hotel’s design was inspired by everything from the beach and the sea to local tattoo artists and other Hawaiian elements, incorporating driftwood cedar, sea glass tiles, native puka stone and basalt lava rock. The work of 12 artists, including an extreme-surf photographer and a Hawaiian fibre artist, is showcased throughout. Located beside the International Market Place, steps from the beach, the hotel is also home to Maui Brewing Co. and Hawaiian Aroma Caffe.




Little ones aged two-to-five will discover a world of fun at the new DUPLO Farm Adventure zone at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Melbourne. Located within Australia’s only indoor LEGO® playground, toddlers can run behind the giant barn doors and explore a multi-level farmhouse where they can build with DUPLO and climb, crawl, slide and swing. They can also see a life-size DUPLO cow, calf, goat, pig, chicken and hare, which make animal noises, and develop their fine motor skills at the new DUPLO brick building tables. The DUPLO Kids Club program takes place every weekday from 10am to 1pm (except public holidays and school holidays) and teaches kids about numbers, letters, colours and animals through interactive play-based workshops, including games, build challenges and interactive story time. DUPLO Kids Club tickets are available for $32.50 for a family of two, $48 for a family of three and $64 for a family of four. Children under three are free. LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is also home to two rides, a 4D cinema and 11 LEGO build and play zones.


The thought of flying with a baby can fill parents with dread, but Air New Zealand has made things a lot easier with its new Skycouch infant harness, belt and pod. Available to passengers who book the airline’s Economy Skycouch – a row of economy seats that can be booked together – on long-haul flights on its Boeing 777 and 787-9 aircraft, the harness comes in three sizes. The belt loops through the harness and is secured by a clip in the window seat of the Skycouch, and can be tightened for a snug fit, which will secure the baby if there’s turbulence. When seated in an upright position, mum or dad’s seatbelt can be fed through the back of the harness to secure the baby on their lap. 20


DREAM CRUISES COMING TO AUSTRALIA A new ship will enter Australian and New Zealand waters in October 2019, with the arrival of Dream Cruises’ Explorer Dream Down Under. The 1,856-passenger ship, previously called Superstar Virgo, has had a USD$50 million makeover, and will embark on a series of sevennight cruises with the option to sail north from Sydney along the coast of Queensland, or south to Tasmania. Alternatively, guests can set sail from Auckland and navigate the scenic shores of New Zealand. Explorer

Dream will have seven cabin categories, ranging from affordable Interior Staterooms through to the decadent Palace Villas. There will also be a kids’ club for Little Dreamers, with a year-round program including educational LEGO workshops, dress up parties and music jams. Parents, meanwhile, will be able to dine under the stars at Seafood Grill - the signature restaurant of internationally-acclaimed Australian chef, Mark Best.


Voyager of the Seas will be sailing from Sydney to the South Pacific over summer following a USD$97 million makeover. New additions include a duo of racer waterslides – Typhooon and Cyclone (known as The Perfect Storm) – laser tag and redesigned kids and teens spaces. Children will also love the FlowRider surf simulator, rock climbing wall and mini golf. Battle for Planet Z laser tag is a glow-in-the-dark adventure in which aliens and robots go head to head to claim the last planet of a far-flung galaxy. The award-winning Adventure Ocean, for kids aged three to 12, has a new modern and open layout and, for the first time, a nursery for babies and toddlers will open its doors. Teens can make the most of an exclusive, updated hangout with a new outdoor deck. The ship has 72 new inside and balcony staterooms, and guests will be able to check in and plan their day’s activities via the new Royal Caribbean International mobile app.

GREEN LIGHTNING DOWN UNDER The Green Thunder waterslide has been a hit with Aussie families since the arrival of Carnival Spirit to our shores, now its sister ship, Carnival Splendor, will have its own thrilling waterslide when it arrives in December 2019. Towering 50m above the waterline – the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Green Lightning will have a 11.3m free-fall drop as the capsule floor opens, followed by a slingshot curve, twisting and sliding guests into a giant green swirling bowl. It will join its sister slide, the yellow 104m-long Twister Waterslide™,

in Carnival Splendor’s green and gold WaterWorks, alongside MiniRacer slides, splash toys and tipping buckets. Passengers on both Splendor and Spirit can also now order pizza anywhere on board, with the introduction of the Carnival Cruise Line Hub App. They can even take a selfie so the waiter can easily identify them! Launched on its North America ships in 2015, the Carnival Cruise Line Hub App has become the leading app in the cruise industry.



MUMS & BUBS RETREATS LAUNCH IN BALI After more than a decade running women’s wellness retreat Escape Haven, New Zealandborn entrepreneur and mother-of-two, Janine Hall, has introduced new pop-up Mums & Bubs Retreats in Bali, to commence during select weeks from August 2019. The six-night retreats at boutique child-friendly villa The Palm Tree House, in the hip resort village of Canggu, are suitable for mums with littlies

aged from three months to six years. In addition to daily yoga classes, massages and spa treatments, the retreats include eight hours of professional nanny service every day, allowing mums to rest, relax, rejuvenate or explore, knowing their child is in safe hands enjoying their own miniretreat experience. Mums will feast on healthy cuisine throughout the week, enjoy

sunset cocktails or mocktails and can take part in a women’s wellness workshop with a theta and reiki healer, and cultural excursions to explore the beaches of Uluwatu and Ubud and its rice paddy fields. Prices start from approoxiamtely AU$2,990, including airport or hotel transfers and unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi.

VANUATU VILLAS White Grass Ocean Resort & Spa on Tanna Island in Vanuatu has introduced three gorgeous new plantation-style family villas to its range of accommodation. The two-bedroom, two-ensuite, villas have a kitchenette, dining area, lounge and large verandahs. Designed for a family of up to four, they feature furniture crafted from local hardwood, designer soft furnishings, ceiling fans, ceramic tile floors, laundry facilities and WiFi. Just 2km from Tanna Airport, the resort has a pool, pitch ‘n’ putt golf course, bocce field, bicycles, a guest library, and the Nabisa Day Spa. It is home to the only PADI-certified diving operation on Tanna Island, and you can do tours to the magical Blue Cave, illuminated by a shaft of light from a hole in the cave ceiling, and the world’s most active volcano. Accommodation in the new family villas starts from around $400 per night, including a tropical breakfast. 22



The much-anticipated new Leichhardt Quad Chairlift has launched at Perisher this season. The more user-friendly lift replaces the steep, advanced-only Leichhardt T-bar, opening the area up to children and beginners. The move increases lift capacity by a whopping 75 per cent, giving guests more time to ski and board popular runs including The Cleft, Powder Ridge, Snowy Trails and the Leichhardt Terrain Park.


Families heading to Victoria’s Mt Buller this ski season can benefit from two new pass partnerships that allow them to ski or ride at dozens of other resorts around the world. The Ikon Pass includes seven days at Mt Buller plus either unlimited or select access at resorts including Thredbo in NSW; Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt in New Zealand; Niseko United in Japan; Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise in Canada; and Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park, Mammoth Mountain and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in the US. A fiveday option, the Ikon Base Pass, is also available. The Victorian resort has also joined The Mountain Collective Pass, which includes two days riding at 17 resorts, plus additional days at half the single day pass price. Terms and conditions apply. or


Fun-seekers will be guaranteed snow in the toboggan park at Mt Baw Baw this season with the addition of a new snow-making machine. The Victorian resort, which is less than three hours’ drive from Melbourne, is also offering free taster snowboarding lessons for kids under six, so they can get a feel for the sport before committing to a three or six-hour session. Mt Baw Baw is the first alpine resort in Australia to offer organised snowball fights, with the launch of its National Snowball Fighting Championship. Participants are encouraged to enter with a group of friends or family in a bid to take home the trophy, with lessons and snowball fighting sessions taking place throughout the July school holidays and during peak periods before the main event on September 14 and 15.



CORIN FOREST, ACT UNTIL EARLY OCTOBER Build a snowman, get into a snowball fight, learn to ski and go tobogganing at Corin Forest in Tidbinbilla Mountain Ranges, just 45 minutes’ drive from Canberra. This year a new snowmaker called Yeti is extending the snow on the slopes. Afterwards, warm up with a hot chocolate, and toast marshmallows in the roaring open fire in the lodge.





Also part of National Science Week, the country’s largest astronomy festival is held in West Ulverstone on Tasmania’s north coast. It will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, live streaming from Houston and talking with the NASA team about the Apollo mission. Find out what it was like to be an Apollo 11 astronaut in virtual reality, get your photo taken with a Stormtrooper, see live science shows and attend talks on how the moon was formed and whether it’s possible to grow plants on other planets.

Head to Tara in Queensland’s Western Downs for this three-day event, which includes camel racing and lots of other fun activities. Held every second year at Tara Showgrounds, 3.5 hours’ drive west of Brisbane, the festival includes a street parade on Friday, with camel races on Saturday and Sunday, as well as yabby races, bush poetry, market stalls, multicultural food stalls, Showtime FMX motorbike displays, helicopter flights, country music and street performers such as stilt walkers. There’s plenty for kids to do, including amusement rides, camel rides, whipcracking demonstrations, horse-drawn carriage rides, campfires every evening and fireworks on the Friday night. Festivalgoers can camp on the site, which is within walking distance of Tara’s main street. For the first time in 2019 a Ticket & Tent Stay Package is being offered, giving visitors the option to stay in a fully set up tent with stretcher beds, bedding and a few other camping comforts. 


Climate change and the future of space travel are among the topics to be explored during this annual festival produced by the Museum of Arts and Applied Sciences. High school mathematics teacher and museum trustee, Eddie Woo, is the ambassador for the 2019 program. One of the highlights is Science and Music in the Park - a special evening where visitors can stargaze while enjoying a performance of Planets by Gustav Holst by the Sydney Youth Orchestras at Centennial Parklands. The Science of PlantBank is an opportunity to join PlantBank in their labs at the Australian Botanic Garden. A new virtual reality exhibition, ​Apollo 11, will premiere at the Powerhouse Museum to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Visitors can watch the moon landing from the perspective of Michael Collins, the third astronaut who remained in orbit aboard the Command Module. The ​Museum of the Moon installation combines detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface alongside moonlight and a surround sound composition created by award-winning composer Dan Jones.


See pigs diving into a pool, lumberjacks racing up a 15m pole and dagwood dog-eating competitions at this annual agricultural show. Affectionately known as Ekka (short for exhibition), The Royal Queensland Show is held at Brisbane Showgrounds and is the state’s biggest annual event. The show has been running since 1876 and attracts more than 21,000 competition entries, from woodchop to giant vegetables, and features around 10,000 animals, ranging from cats and dogs to beef cattle, as well as carnival rides and showbags. Before the spectacular

fireworks show each evening there will be a performance of A Drover’s Tale, and the Comedy Bush Buggy Great Race. Jet engine-fired monster trucks and FMX bikes doing front flips will rev up the crowd, and stunt V8 cars will amaze in their set celebrating Australian movies. On August 13, the new Ekka Children’s Day will boast a bumper kids entertainment program on the community stage – think Dora the Explorer, Jimmy Giggle and PJ Masks! There’s also a two for one ride deal from 9am-5pm.



THE COLOR RUN LOVE TOUR, QUEENSLAND AUGUST 18 Put the fun into fun run at this event, which is making its Australian debut at Broadwater Parklands on the Gold Coast this year. Participants will be doused head-to-toe in clouds of colour at dedicated zones each kilometre over the 5km course. Look out for the Bubble Zone - a pink and purple colour-clash - at the 7-Eleven Super Zone, and a dream-land Foam Zone. Limited edition unicorn medals will be awarded at the finish line to complete each runner’s participant pack, which includes a tie-dye buff, love t-shirt and stick-on tattoos. The Color Run Australia encourages participants to raise funds and awareness for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which brings joy and laughter to sick kids and their families throughout the country.


SEPTEMBER 14-OCTOBER 13 Patterned flowerbeds will tell the story of different cultures and regions at Australia’s biggest flower festival at Commonwealth Park in Canberra with this year’s theme, World in Bloom. The event wraps up on Sunday October 14 with the popular Dogs’ Day Out. All pups, big and small, are invited to soak up the sunshine and explore Floriade with special pup-friendly activities and entertainment throughout the day. Dress up with your pup to go in the draw to win the best dressed award. 26


OUTBACK FESTIVAL, QUEENSLAND SEPTEMBER 24-28 Head to Winton, north west of Longreach in Queensland’s Central West, to celebrate the Australian Outback, with everything from whip cracking to wool bale rolling. The crowning competition for the festival’s young attendees is the Outback Iron Junior event - a test of strength and strong will for boys and girls alike. Split into two age group categories, 10 to 12 and 13 to 15, competitors take part in a range of fun-filled activities over three days including the swag toss, opal miners’ dash, mini marathon, whip cracking and tug a mini. For the 7 to 9 years group the Little Swaggies event gives a taste of the Outback Iron Junior with fun events linked to the story of Waltzing Matilda. Activities include tossing the swaggie’s hat, running the tucker bag relay, sprinting the billy can dash and dodging the jolly jumbucks.



CAMP BESTIVAL, UK JULY 25-28 The young and not-so-young can boogie to some great acts at the annual Camp Bestival event at Lulworth Castle in Dorset, England. Adults can catch acts including Jess Glynne, The Human League, Nile Rodgers, Annie Mac, The Wailers and Vengaboys on the castle stage, while kids can get down and dance with Big Fish Little Fish, Mr Bloom & His Band and Shaun the Sheep’s Vegetable Orchestra.  A new area in 2019, Wild Tribe, is powered entirely by solar and alternative technology and features screenfree activities such as bushcraft, mudslides and drumming circles. There will also be fireworks, a bouncy castle, a science tent, face painting tent, fancy dress parade and a beard and moustache competition. 


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission at The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC in July. Educational activities and events will centre around the first moon landing on July 20, 1969, including displaying Neil Armstrong’s original Apollo 11 spacesuit for the first time in 13 years. There will also be interactive initiatives allowing visitors to retrace Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s steps. They include a route in the museum approximately equivalent to the distances the astronauts walked, which takes visitors to stations staffed by scientists and historians, showcasing photos and maps to illustrate the area the astronauts traversed. 28

SEPTEMBER 20-29, 2019

Kids love puppets, and this festival held every second year in France’s north is the ultimate celebration of the art. Founded in 1961, the World Puppet Theatre Festival, held in Charleville-Mezieres, attracts around 250 troupes from five continents and more than 150,000 spectators from across the globe. The 10-day festival includes around 200 shows as part of the main event and fringe festival, street shows, meetings, exhibitions and other festivities. Techniques range from the traditional, with glove and string puppets, to more contemporary innovations via marionettes portées (puppets controlled by rods at the back) and shadow theatre.


FEBRUARY 7-16, 2020

See artists compete to create giant, fantastical snow sculptures, watch a dogsled race through the narrow, snowy streets of the Old City and get a furry bear hug from event mascot Bonhomme at the world’s biggest winter festival in Quebec, Canada. The 10-day event includes night parades, a canoe race, ice palace, carriage rides, fiddle music, ice skating, light shows, snow tubing, a board game night and tasty treats such as maple syrup.



DECEMBER 25, 2019-FEBRUARY 25, 2020 If you’re willing to brave teeth-chattering temperatures, head to northern China to see the world’s biggest ice sculptures at the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. The largest event of its kind sees works by sculptors from around the world built throughout the city in Heilongjiang province. First celebrated in 1985, the festival was inspired by traditional lanterns, which were carved out of ice and illuminated by candles.





Help your kids get a greater understanding of Aboriginal culture Learn about Indigenous culture during the with one of these awesome activities Phuket may be Thailand’s number one holiday destination for AustralianDreamtime families, Walk at Mossman Gorge but neighbouring BY ANGELA SAURINE provinces Krabi and Phang Nga also have a lot to offer 30


Boomerang painting at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park


CAIRNS, QUEENSLAND This cultural park offers loads of fantastic Indigenous experiences all in the one place. You can see a traditional corroboree performance, try throwing a boomerang or spear and learn to make jewellery from materials found in the rainforest. You can also hear a traditional warrior explains how tools and weapons were used by Aborigines for hunting and survival in the cultural village, paint a boomerang in traditional Aboriginal style, and taste food cooked in a Bayngga underground oven. In the evening, the Nightfire experience provides the opportunity to meet the Indigenous rainforest people, Bama, who paint your face to link you to their traditional land. It also includes a corroboree and ceremonial fire.

TANDANYA NATIONAL ABORIGINAL CULTURAL INSTITUTE ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA See a yidaki (didgeridoo) being played or a performance by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancers and hear their stories at Australia’s oldest Aboriginal-owned and managed multi-arts centre. Tandanya is a Kaurna word for ‘place of the Red Kangaroo’. The galleries play host to at least 12 exhibitions a year.

WAJAANA YAAM GUMBAYNGGIRR ADVENTURE TOURS COFFS HARBOUR, NSW Paddle along a creek with the descendants of the world’s first standup paddle boarders with Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours at Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast. Don’t worry if you’ve never

Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours

tried SUP before - no experience is necessary. The 2.5-hour tour begins with a brief demonstration. Guests will hear stories about the area from an Indigenous guide, learn about the local language and collect and try bush tucker. The tours are held at three locations depending on guest requirements and the tides, including Coffs Creek, Red Rock and Moonee, with the latter also offering kids the chance to backflip off a rope swing into the water. 31

AUSTRALIA Catch mud crabs with Brian Lee’s Tagalong Tour

Image: Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia

A guided garden walk at Ayers Rock Resort


AYERS ROCK RESORT, NORTHERN TERRITORY Sit with Anangu Indigenous artists and learn about the different symbols depicting Creation Time (Tjukurpa) stories before creating your own dot painting. The Maruku Arts Dot Painting Workshops are held every morning and afternoon near the Town Square Lawn Area at Ayers Rock Resort. After the class, check out the Indigenous Art Markets to see local artists at work and perhaps buy an authentic piece of art or craft to take home. Other free cultural activities at the resort include didgeridoo workshops, a native food experience, and bush yarns learning about weapons used for hunting and gathering bush tucker.


PORT DOUGLAS, QUEENSLAND Go mud crabbing and gather food from the mangroves with brothers Linc and Brandon Walker at Cooya Beach, around 15 minutes’ drive north of Port Douglas, during this authentic tour. They will also teach you how to spear fish and share stories from their 32

traditional land before returning to their family’s home to showcase Kuku Yalanji artefacts as they prepare the morning’s catch.


NAROOMA, NSW Spend the weekend visiting sacred and significant sites in the area around Narooma on the NSW South Coast with Indigenous guide Dwayne ‘Naja’ BannonHarrison to learn more about the Yuin people’s creation stories, history and culture. The immersive tour also includes the rare opportunity to take part in traditional Aboriginal sunrise and beach ceremonies and yarning circles.


THE KIMBERLEY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA Colourful Indigenous guide Brian Lee teaches kids how to spear fish, hunt for mud crabs and use shells as a whistle as they stroll along the banks of Hunters Creek at Cape Leveque in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. As well as learning the traditional ways of the Bardi people, guests on his tours, based out of the remote Kooljaman wilderness camp, will also hear stories of white settlement on the Dampier Peninsula before gathering under the shade of a tree to cook up their catch on an open fire.



KATHERINE, NORTHERN TERRITORY Try throwing a spear at a fake kangaroo target and learn how to light a fire by rubbing two sticks together at the Top Didj Cultural Experience at Katherine in the Northern Territory. Aboriginal artist Manuel Pamkal plays a traditional welcoming tune on the didgeridoo before sharing stories about growing up in the bush, living off the land, tribal life and his family tree. He also teaches the technique of Rarrk painting (cross hatch), with guests able to join in and take home a souvenir. As a bonus there’s always wallaby joeys hopping around! The twohour experience happens twice a day.


Image: South Australian Tourism Commission


Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute

Families can learn about Indigenous culture during the Dreamtime Walk at Mossman Gorge


ACT If you’re keen to see Aboriginal rock art, the Canberra region has some easily accessible options. Dharwara Cultural Tours takes you to sites of cultural significance, including places where you can see grinding grooves, a canoe tree and a shield tree. Experiences range from two-hour tours to full day tours which include a swim at Flea Creek in Namadgi National Park. They also offer the chance to learn how to speak the Ngunawal language, take part in a traditional weaving workshop or join a bush tucker cooking class. Some tours are only suitable for children 12 and older.


MOSSMAN GORGE CENTRE, QUEENSLAND Learn about traditional plant uses and Kuku Yalanji culture during a guided walk through Mossman Gorge in the UNESCO 34

World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park. The 1.5-hour tour begins with a traditional smoking ceremony that cleanses and wards off bad spirits. The walk then meanders through rainforest and takes in traditional huts or humpies. An Indigenous guide demonstrates traditional plant use, identifies bush food sources and provides an enchanting narrative of the rainforest and their special relationship with it. Also learn how to make bush soap and find out about ochre painting before enjoying traditional bush tea and damper.


MANDURAH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA If you find yourself on Western Australia’s South-West coast, don’t miss a tour with Indigenous guide George Walley from Mandurah Dreaming. The experienced educator, who grew up living with extended family in bush shelters, leads guests on the Mandjoogoordap Dreaming Tour along the foreshore as he shares his stories. The tour starts and finishes at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre and operates Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays on demand. Other tours, including canoe tours and cruises, are also available.


THE GRAMPIANS, VICTORIA Experience everything from didgeridoo workshops to boomerang painting and throwing and bush food tasting at this cultural centre. You can also see two award-winning presentations in its Gariwerd Dreaming theatre. The Gariwerd Creation Story depicts the Aboriginal legend of Tchingal the giant emu and Waa the crow and the formation of the Grampians/Gariwerd mountains, while Gariwerd a Cultural Landscape illustrates the geology, flora and fauna and Aboriginal and European history of the region.


MARIA ISLAND, TASMANIA Aboriginal people have been caring for Maria Island (Wukaluwikiwayna) for more than 50,000 years, adapting to changes in the landscape. Now on select dates throughout the year families can join Indigenous guides for a cultural tour on the island, on Tasmania’s east coast, to hear the stories of the Tyreddeme people. The one-hour tour starts at the Commissariat Store, which is located between Darlington Jetty and Darlington. Tickets are available to buy on the ferry or at the Triabunna Visitor Information Centre.

A holiday on NSW’s Mid North Coast will create memories that last a lifetime


Seven Mile Beach at Forster 35

Image: Aquabumps




When it comes to good looks, this region has it in spades Pristine beaches, national parks, stunning lakes – it’s little wonder the Barrington Coast region on NSW’s Mid North Coast has been a favourite for generations of Aussie holidaymakers. Stretching from the mountains of Barrington Tops to the sea, the area covers destinations including Pacific Palms, Myall Lakes, Forster, Tuncurry, Tea Gardens, Hawks Nest and Seal Rocks, and is ideal for families.

Image: Destination NSW

FORSTER-TUNCURRY The twin towns of Forster and Tuncurry sit either side of the entrance to Wallis Lake. The towns are defined by their unique triple lakes system – Myall, Wallis and Smith – and the seemingly endless opportunities they afford for fishing, boating, sailboarding, paddle-boarding and kayaking. The crystal-clear turquoise and

aqua waters surrounding the many islands of Wallis Lake are particularly popular for swimming and watersports. Forster-Tuncurry also boasts several beautiful rivers, including the Wallamba, a popular waterway for waterskiers, and a treasure trove of white sandy beaches covering 40km of coastline and including surf beaches and secluded coves, as well as ocean baths and rock pools. Many of the towns’ beaches are patrolled, making them safe for swimming and great for young families. The most popular are Forster Main Beach and One Mile Beach, while the unpatrolled Pebbly Beach also gets the thumbsup from surfers. Wallis Lake is an angler’s delight – especially for flathead. Bream, whiting and tailor are all on the menu for beach fishermen and women. Take a deep sea charter and venture out into the clean clear waters of the Pacific Ocean and you may just haul in a catch of yellowtail kingfish, or try your hand in the estuaries and inshore reefs – the latter bound to net you mackerel, blue fin tuna or even a black marlin. If you prefer to watch, not catch, the abundant marine life, hop onboard one of the regular whale cruises (between May and November) or a dolphin watching cruise.


An aerial view of Tea Gardens and Myall Lakes National Park


Known for its stunning beaches, laidback villages and friendly locals, Pacific Palms is perfect for families. Blueys, Elizabeth and Boomerang comprise the trio of neighbouring surf beaches that attract keen boarders from all over Australia. Consistent breaks mean a suitable wave can be found year ‘round, for everyone

Children at One Mile Beach at Forster

Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse in Seal Rocks

Image: The Legendary Pacific Coast


Image: Destination NSW

Built in 1875 on the headland at the northern end of Myall Lakes National Park, the lighthouse boasts an external staircase


from beginner to pro. But you don’t have to be a surfer to chill out or indulge in adventure in Pacific Palms … Elizabeth Beach is patrolled during summer and provides the perfect oasis for families, and at Smiths Lake enjoy waterside picnic amenities, a kids’ playground and the Frothy Coffee Boatshed. A short drive south from Pacific Palms along The Lakes Way, the seaside village of Seal Rocks is known for its beautiful beaches and Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. Built in 1875 on the headland at the northern end of Myall Lakes National Park, the lighthouse boasts an external staircase (one of only two in Australia) and is a great place from which to spot migrating whales as they journey along the coast.

TEA GARDENS AND MYALL LAKES Tea Gardens sits on the southern end of the protected wetlands of Myall Lakes, an immense, freshwater system comprised of three lakes – Myall Lake, Boolambayte Lake and The Broadwater – together covering an area of almost 6,000ha (14,000 acres), and surrounded by Myall Lakes National Park. An abundance of experiences await, across diverse picnic spots like the popular boat access-only Black Oaks on the Myall River; gentle waters ripe for kayaking and boating; bushland to traverse and wildlife to meet; indigenous sites of significance to the Worimi people, like the 4,000 year old Dark Point Aboriginal Place; all manner of places to cast your fishing rod; and beautiful sandy beaches for sunning and swimming. Enjoy a beautiful meal at the water’s edge in Tea Gardens at eateries including Tea Gardens Boatshed, Mumm’s on the Myall, and Tillermans; join the Yacaaba headland walking track; hire a kayak; take a short ferry trip across to Nelson Bay, on the southern tip of the Port Stephens peninsula, for a great day out. Tea Gardens Hotel – which recently underwent a major refurbishment – is a great place for families to eat and stay. MORE INFO: and 37



Introduce the kids to the great outdoors with a visit to these beautiful national parks

A beach in Myall Lakes National Park, Mungo Brush with White Tree Bay in the backdrop Image: Destination NSW

Encompassing long swathes of unkempt beaches, extensive coastal lake systems, wetlands and rainforest, the National Parks of the NSW Mid North Coast offer a spectacular and diverse backdrop to family adventures. Far enough from big population centres to offer tranquility and space, but easily accessible, these four national parks are ideally placed for memorable camping, hiking and wildlife-spotting visits.

MYALL LAKES NATIONAL PARK With its four coastal lagoons, 40km of sweeping surf beaches, coastal campsites and offshore Broughton Island, Myall, which means ‘wild’ in the local Worimi language, is the Mid North coast’s most varied park. It can be explored by kayak and on lazy houseboating weekends, launching from Bulahdelah; while on land, the 21km Mungo walking track threads behind the coastal sand dunes, taking 38

in areas of Aboriginal significance like Dark Point. Several shorter trails, including the Treachery Headland track to the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse, provide more bite-sized walks, while the flat, 20km-long Mining Road to Old Gibber Rd cycling trail is excellent for families on bikes. For those with younger children, there are safe, shallow swimming spots, like those beside Neranie campground.  Other attractions include the state’s tallest tree, the 400-year-old, 76m-high ‘Grandis’, the Bombah Point car ferry (8am-6pm daily) linking the park’s southern and northern sections and Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse, overlooking Seal Rocks. Camping options range from rustic seaside spots like Yagon and remote lakeside locations like Shelly Beach, to larger sites such as Mungo Brush, sandwiched between the lakes and mountainous coastal dunes.

BOOTI BOOTI NATIONAL PARK Booti Booti takes in several enviable beaches, including the long sweep of Seven Mile Beach, family-favourite Elizabeth, with its usually gently rippling waves, and secluded, clothes-optional Shelly. Occupying a thin peninsula between oyster-filled Wallis Lake and the sparkling Tasman Sea, south of the resort town of Forster, it’s bookended by chunky headlands - to the north by Cape Hawke, and to the south, by Charlotte Head, overlooking popular surfing spot, Boomerang Beach. At Cape Hawke, a trail leads uphill to an elevated lookout with dramatic coastal views. In the southern section, a lovely 7.3km loop walk climbs up steep steps from Elizabeth Beach, running along the clifftops and down to Seven Mile, before returning via an easy trail beside Wallis Lake. For longer visits, The Ruins campground, tucked behind Seven Mile Beach, has unpowered sites (with

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH DESTINATION NSW Melaleuca forest in Myall Lakes National Park

Broughton Island in Great Lakes National Park

Ideally placed for memorable camping, hiking and wildlifespotting visits Image: Brett Gregory Destination NSW

power point available in the amenities), toilets and showers.

CROWDY BAY NATIONAL PARK ‘League after league the headlands curve up the coast of the continent’, wrote author Kylie Tennant (1912-1988) of Crowdy Bay, ‘the white fingers of the sea play on them, each bluff giving out its unique note, making its own unique music’. Inspired by the coastal setting, Tennant lived in a hut here during WWII, writing the novel Man on the Headland about her experience. Her legacy lives on in the relocated hut, set in a clearing, a clifftop lookout, and the calm Kylie’s Beach and its adjacent familyfriendly campground, where koalas and kangaroos are regular visitors. Kylie’s Beach is one of four drive-in camping areas within the 10,000ha park, which hugs the coast, south of Port

Image: Great Lakes Tourism

Macquarie. Two others, at Diamond Head and Indian Head, are linked by a 4.8km loop walk, which runs through forest, coastal heath and traverses the 100m cliffs, affording views of a craggy shoreline full of rock formations like the Arch, assailed by the sea. The headlands, heaths, rivers and beaches that make up Crowdy Bay provided a bountiful supply of food to the Birpai people, with campsites and shell middens dating back 6000 years found throughout the park.  

HAT HEAD NATIONAL PARK Reaching north from the surfing resort of Crescent Head to Smoky Cape, with its 1891 lighthouse, Hat Head is a narrow, coastal national park, comprising long spans of empty beach backed by wetlands, creeks, heath and littoral rainforest. Over thousands of years, this area supported one of the coast’s largest Aboriginal populations, the Dunghutti

people roaming these shores and river valleys, feasting off fish and shellfish and plentiful land-based food. These days, Hat Head provides the perfect environment in which to introduce children to the Australian bush, with coastal walking trails ranging from 600m to the 6km loop Connors Track, which winds through forested gullies to two secluded beaches. Views from that trail, and from the shorter Korogoro track (3.2km loop), include the shimmering coastline and, in spring, wildflower shows and, out to sea, migrating humpback whales. Other excellent vantage points, at Smoky Cape, are Captain Cook’s lookout and the lighthouse - worth climbing on a tour. With safe swimming in Korogoro Creek, and campgrounds at Hungry Head and Smoky Cape, Hat Head invites a longer stay. MORE INFO: and 39



Image: Destination NSW

From cuddly koalas to creepy crocs, if your kids love animals Port Macquarie is sure to satisfy

Children running through Bago Maze near Port Macquarie 40

The maze features lookout towers, bridges, boardwalks and musical instruments

children and adults alike can get lost in the largest hedge maze in NSW. With 2000m of pathways covering 10,000sq m, the maze features lookout towers, bridges, boardwalks and musical instruments. Located at Bago Vineyards, the design of the maze takes inspiration from the surrounding vineyard, bushland and the influences of earth, air and water, represented in two interlaced spirals. If mixing mountain bike riding, cafés and maze challenges is more your style then the 7km loop track around the Bago Vineyard and Bago Maze is for you. It has tabletops, step downs and berms all set in a unique country paddock and rainforest feel. Other must-do family attractions include camel rides on Lighthouse Beach, picking your own strawberries at Ricardoes Tomatoes, horse riding at Bellrowan Valley, Sea Acres Rainforest Centre and surf lessons.  When it comes to food, Port Macquarie’s iconic seafood restaurant, Whalebone Wharf, is hard to beat. It recently completed a $1 million renovation, with new interiors, furnishings and a refreshed menu. Established in 1971, Whalebone Wharf is perfect for a long lunch, and children can feed the fish while parents enjoy lobsters from the tank and a seafood platter. The family-friendly 4.5-star Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges has also recently had a multi-million dollar refurbishment, capitalising on its riverside location with Hamptons-style architecture. It has 92 guest rooms and suites, a pool with an entertainment terrace, private jetty, The Boathouse Bar & Restaurant, The Cape Ballroom, waterfront wedding chapel and event pavilion and tennis court. A standout feature is its impressive three-storey atrium, which has glass elevators the kids will love and an atrium bar for parents. MORE INFO: and   

A koala at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Tacking Point Lighthouse at Port Macquarie

Image: Destination NSW

Within four hours’ drive north from Sydney, on the Mid North Coast of NSW, the region of Port Macquarie covers more than 3,500sq km of spectacular coastline and hinterland, with the CBD located on the water between the Pacific Ocean and the Hastings River. Port Macquarie’s accommodation capacity is amongst the largest in regional NSW, offering a range of quality accommodation to suit every taste and budget, from boutique B&Bs to farmstays, small motels, 4.5-star resorts and luxury apartments. There are myriad ways to fill your time on a family holiday in the area, starting with a visit to The Koala Hospital - the world’s first hospital dedicated solely to the care and preservation of koalas, and the only one of its kind in Australia. Join the Feed, Walk and Talk tour, held every day at 3pm, and find out about the adopta-koala scheme which helps to save the lives of around 300 furry friends every year. The hospital also has a viewing area for the operating theatre. Billabong Zoo Koala & Wildlife Park is another great option for animal lovers. The recently renovated attraction provides the chance to see rare and endangered animals including snow leopards, red pandas and koalas along with a 5m-long crocodile called Shrek, meerkats and penguins. Shows run on the hour all day and you can book an up-close encounter to feed and meet the animals. At heritage theme park Timbertown in Wauchope, around a 20-minute drive from Port Macquarie, there are also farmyard animals, Clydesdale horses and bullock demonstrations. In winter, Port Macquarie is also a great place to spot humpback whales as they make their way along the coast during their annual migration. PortJet’s whalewatching Ocean Blast cruise offers some of the best up-close sightings in NSW, just metres from the coast. Bago Maze is a magical escape where

Image: Destination NSW





Expect big things out of a trip to Coffs Harbour

Surrounded by mountain escarpments, rainforests and more than 90km of uncrowded beaches, the Coffs Coast offers a nature-based getaway with plenty of family adventure fun. The Big Banana Fun Park is one of the most famous attractions in Coffs Harbour. The giant fruit was built in 1964 when John Landi, inspired by a ‘Big Pineapple’ he had heard about in Hawaii, wanted to encourage passing traffic to stop at his roadside banana stall. It is now home to the largest water park between Sydney and the Gold Coast, a laser tag arena, ice-skating rink, toboggan ride, giant slide, a Go Bananas fun zone with a toddler play area, 36-hole minigolf course and a 4D simulator ride, as well as a café, gift and souvenir shop. There is also a theatre where you can learn everything there is to know about bananas, and a plantation tour that includes a look inside the packing shed. The attraction is also home to the Cheesemaking Workshop, the Opal Centre and a Reptile World. Visit TreeTop Adventure Park, where you can climb across over 100 elevated obstacles and fly along a zipline through the trees for an exhilarating bird’s eye view of the stunning bush landscape. A gentler connection with nature, at Coffs Harbour Butterfly House, invites you to stroll amongst hundreds of Australian butterflies in an indoor subtropical rainforest setting. See them fly, court, mate, sip nectar 42

or rest in the light showing off their pretty patterns and colours. If possible, time your visit for between 10am and 2pm, when the butterflies are at their most active. You can also see dolphins, seals, penguins and turtles at The Dolphin Marine Conservation Park, while learning first-hand about the importance of marine conservation. Sample some sweet treats at Carobana Confectionery – take a tour of the factory, which produces carob buttons, coconut rough, rocky road, fudges, honeycomb and Easter eggs. Coffs Harbour’s deep waterways are perfect for fishing and snorkelling around the harbour, and the protected waters of the Solitary Island Marine Park are ideal for whale watching and diving tours. Take a short walk along the break wall from Coffs Harbour Marina to the nature sanctuary, Muttonbird Island. It’s a steep hike past breeding nests for wedge-tailed shearwater birds to the lookout, but worth it for spectacular views of the coast and hinterland.

The Big Banana Fun Park is one of the most famous attractions in Coffs Harbour

The region also has some exciting mountain biking trails, while the beaches and estuaries of the Marine Park are ideal for swimming, surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. There’s also the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk - a string of golden beaches, rocky headlands and lush rainforest tracks along the coast. A lovely section of the walk, from Sapphire Beach to Emerald Beach, passes through the Moonee Beach Nature Reserve with the ‘Look at Me Now Headland’. The trek along the headland and sandy beaches has spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Solitary Islands. You may spot sunbathing kangaroos on the beach, while the headlands are also a great vantage point to watch playful humpback whales on their annual migration Considered one of the best scenic drives in NSW, Waterfall Way takes you from Coffs Harbour through the quaint township of Bellingen, past lush green paddocks and UNESCO World Heritage-listed rainforests to Dorrigo National Park. See the Newell and Sherrard Falls cascading next to the roadway, and the spectacular Dangar Falls, just 2km from the township of Dorrigo. The 50m Skywalk at Dorrigo Rainforest Centre provides panoramic

Image: The Legendary Pacific Coast


views, or venture on the bushwalking trail through the ancient Gondwana Rainforest to Crystal Shower Falls. When it comes to places to stay, the Coffs Coast has a range of options families will love, including resorts, motels, beach houses, cottages and holiday parks. Many properties have child-friendly facilities, including pools and playgrounds, to keep the little ones further entertained. MORE INFO: and

Left: Waterslide fun at the Big Banana Fun Park Top: A girl at the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour Bottom left: Coffs Harbour Butterfly House Bottom right: Carobana Confectionery at Korora.





Discover ancient and modern history in south eastern Victoria 1. WONTHAGGI STATE COAL MINE

Image: Parks Victoria

Head underground for a taste of what life was like as a miner at Wonthaggi State Coal Mine, which operated from 1909 to 1968. The site, managed by Parks Victoria, has been lovingly restored by the local community. Entry is free to the above-ground site, where you can climb aboard the old steam locomotive, meet Cobber the pit pony, follow the heritage walk and watch a film in the theatrette. Then go underground to explore the network of tunnels where the miners extracted the ‘black gold’ which powered Victoria’s industries and railways. Wonthaggi is just 15 minutes’ drive from the popular seaside town of Inverloch and the same distance from the Bass Coast Rail Trail, making it a wonderful location for a winter family getaway.


With its Georgian and Victorianstyle buildings, the waterfront village of Port Albert is an intriguing place for families to visit and learn about the state’s history. As Victoria’s first port in the mid-1800s, Port Albert berthed ships from Europe and America and welcomed thousands of Chinese immigrants on their way to the goldfields. See fascinating artefacts at the Port Albert Maritime Museum in the 1861 Bank of Victoria building, and the John Irving Archives in the former CBC bank office 44

next door. Kids will love the old cannon from Cliffy Island, the large shell collection and the findings of an archaeological dig. Follow the Old Port Walking Trail, take a scenic boat tour or fishing charter and enjoy fish and chips from Port Albert Wharf, Port Albert Café and Wine Bar, or Customs House Inn. There is no shortage of options when it comes to accommodation, including Port Albert Motel, Hooked In Cottages and Anglers Arms and Fisherman’s Cottages.

Image: Destination Gippsland


3. OMEO Step back in time with a stroll through this high country town, which boomed after gold was found in the creek that runs through it in the mid-1800s. Start at the visitor information centre, housed in the German Cuckoo Clock Shop in Day St displaying a range of handcrafted clocks. The Historical Park and Justice Precinct includes the police cookhouse, stables and old courthouse (now a museum), and you can see mining relics at the Oriental Claims, which


was once one of the largest gold sluicing operations in the world. Take a scenic drive along the Mitta Mitta River and check out the heritage-listed Hinnomunjie Bridge before stopping for lunch at The Blue Duck Inn at Anglers Rest, a traditional country pub at the confluence of three rivers. Back in town, the family-friendly Golden Age Hotel is a great place for dinner, and there are plenty of cosy cottages to stay in nearby.

The only privately-owned town in Victoria, Licola lies beside the meandering Macalister River. Most of the town, which is owned by the Lions Club, is occupied by the Licola Wilderness Village, which offers activities including canoeing, abseiling, trampolining, archery and mini golf. There’s also an obstacle course, flying foxes, a giant swing and a climbing tower. The town is the gateway to the Alpine National Park, and makes a great base for 4WD and fishing adventures. Grab a bite at the General Store and stay in a cabin or pitch a tent at Licola Caravan Park.

5. BUCHAN CAVES See the spectacular limestone formations created by underground rivers that flowed beneath the region almost 400 million years ago at Buchan Caves. Royal Cave and Fairy Cave have year-round temperatures averaging 17C, and guided tours operate daily. Royal Cave is known for its calcite-rimmed pools, whilst Fairy Cave has elaborate stalactites and stalagmites. You will find lovely picnic spots in Buchan Caves Reserve, as well as a stream-fed pool. Pitch a tent under a shady tree, stay in a self-contained cabin, or opt for a safaristyle tent at Wilderness Retreats Buchan Caves Reserve. Beautiful bushwalks abound in the surrounding area and the nearby Snowy River National Park, where you can spot wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and more than 60 species of birds. MORE INFO:




Help protect Australia’s greatest natural wonder with these eco-experiences 46


A boy snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef

Clownfish were made famous in the film Finding Nemo

The Great Barrier Reef is not called ‘great’ for nothing. Stretching for more than 2,300km, it’s the size of 70 million football fields and bigger than two thirds of the countries on the planet. What’s more, it’s the only living structure that you can see from outer space. But there’s no hiding the fact that this Aussie icon has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, including back-to-back bleaching events that took place three years ago as a result of rising ocean temperatures (a scenario that’s affecting reef systems around the world). So, how does the reef look today? And, is it still worth taking the family? Chief scientist for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority – and the ultimate caretaker of the reef – Dr David Wachenfeld believes that while the reef is under immense pressure, it is still incredibly valuable and a great place to visit. “The reef is still an amazing, beautiful vibrant eco system,” he says. “It’s part of Australia’s identity, part of the spirituality of first nation’s people. It’s a global environmental icon and a World Heritage site. Just ask any eight-year-old – it is also the inspiration for Finding Nemo.” Dr Wachenfeld says the best way to get the most out of a trip to the reef is to travel with expert guides with eco operations. “Just like tourists anywhere, if you were to turn up with no guide and no guidebook you could have an average time,” he says. “You need local knowledge. You need a local guide to take you to the best places. You would not go to the Serengeti, jump in a hire car, drive aimlessly and

expect to see all areas filled with animals. Nor should you do that on the Great Barrier Reef.” Here are five green ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef that will make family friends green with envy.


CAIRNS AND PORT DOUGLAS Quicksilver Cruises has been championing the reef protection and sustainability cause since day one, offering outer reef cruises, snorkelling, diving, semi-sub and ocean floor walking tours, plus an underwater observatory (all accredited by Ecotourism Australia). Quicksilver Cruises is so dedicated to keeping the reef beautiful it has its own reef biosearch environmental division, employing the largest team of marine biologists outside of government. Its logbooks of environmental data stretch back 30 years!


SOUTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has been on #teamGBR for more than 15 years. The carbonneutral resort was the first on the Great Barrier Reef to build a large hybrid power station to reduce reliance on diesel generators, and the team was instrumental in pushing for both a ‘Green Zone’ and ‘No Anchor Zone’, which has helped increase marine biodiversity. With a tidedependant lagoon in front of the resort, which is  47


ideal for novice snorkellers at high tide and reef walks at low tide, it’s one of the greatest spots for families to explore the wonders of the GBR, and to watch seabirds and turtles nest and hatch.


SOUTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF Aside from sitting right on the outer Great Barrier Reef (fun fact: it is not an island but a cay, and there are no herons, the birds are egrets!) and snorkelling with creatures that come straight from the imagination of Dr Zeus, Heron Island is also home to a super fun research station. For $10 per adult and $3 per child, visitors can datamine the brains of real scientists over a 90-minute station tour. For the kids, there’s also a touch tank where you can get up close with Barbara the hermit crab, a variety of corals, and a funky pincushion starfish that shapes itself according to the pressure of your hand.

An aerial view of Lady Elliot Island Heron Island Research Station

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland


TOWNSVILLE Aside from the kudos that goes with being the largest living coral reef aquarium in the world, this research hub is also home to the Australian Government’s national education centre for all things Great Barrier Reef and the site of a special turtle hospital. It’s also the perfect prepper for underwater reef adventures.


Not ready to go to the reef? No worries. Entertainment giant Nickelodeon Australia has launched a new ocean conservation program for kids – Junior Citizens of the Reef – starring SpongeBob SquarePants. Co-ordinated in partnership with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, the program talks directly to kids, teaching them about the wonders of, and threats to, the reef as well as the simple, everyday actions they can do to help protect it.



SpongeBob SquarePants with the crew of Quicksilver VIII

WHITSUNDAYS Too scared to snorkel in the open water? Daydream has brought The Living Reef back to the newly reopened resort with a raft of activities to see, touch and learn about the reef, all under the watchful eye of marine biologists, in an enclosed lagoon. The Living Reef also holds the record for the most ticklish of all experiences: stingray splash – a chance to go ankle-deep in the lagoon and giggle as baby rays dash between your feet hoping for a bite to eat! MORE INFO:




Beat the blues with a stay at one of these family favourites


SOUTH AUSTRALIA Toast marshmallows over the open fire pit at this beachfront holiday park in the Adelaide suburb of West Beach. The holiday park has a range of of sites and self-catering cabins, as well as a jumping pillow, play equipment, go karts, a games room, tennis court, on-site café, lagoonstyle pool, toddler’s pool, Splash Zone and a kids’ club during holiday periods. You can also hire bikes, and cots are available for hire on request. greater-adelaide/west-beach-parks




WESTERN AUSTRALIA Stay in one of 83 luxury eco-tents at this exciting new glamping resort on Rottnest Island, a short ferry ride from Perth or Fremantle. Nestled behind the dunes of Pinky Beach below the Bathurst Point Lighthouse, it has an open-air restaurant, Pinky’s Beach Club, which offers sensational views at sunset. Games are also available, and it has a graduating depth swimming pool which is great for kids. Don’t forget to follow Chris Hemsworth’s lead and get a quokka selfie while you’re there! discovery-rottnest-island

NRMA JINDABYNE HOLIDAY PARK NSW Within a 30-minute drive of both Perisher and Thredbo resorts, NRMA Jindabyne Holiday Park is a great base if you want to teach the kids to ski or snowboard. On the foreshore of Lake Jindabyne, the park has beautiful views over the Snowy Mountains. There’s also a ski tuning table and drying room, children’s playground, library, recreation TV room and free WiFi. For a bit of fun, you can cook your own dinner in the outdoor pizza oven when it is lit three times a week during school holidays. jindabyne 50


NSW Take in amazing beach views with a steaming cup of cocoa as you watch whales pass by on their annual migration, from one of the new waterfront cabins at Clarkes Beach Holiday Park in Byron Bay. As well as a range of architecturally-designed, environmentally-sensitive cabins, there are also powered and unpowered camping sites available in a lush setting. The park also has a camp kitchen, children’s facilities and offers school holiday activities.


VICTORIA Between Mt Hotham and Mt Buffalo National Park, discover the perfect winter adventure with your family at NRMA Bright Holiday Park. Head to the nearby alpine regions for tobogganing with the kids or challenge the family to a round of mini-golf in the park before spending the night roasting marshmallows around the campfire. The park has a heated pool, children’s playground, camp kitchen, lounge and TV area, a mini mart on site and free WiFi. bright

Experience the difference with Australia’s favourite* holiday parks.

Save 20%

off the membership that’s packed with perks! Save 10% (up to $50) on every stay when you book direct^ Access to exclusive member holiday deals Great member in-park Perks at every BIG4 Holiday Park Save on hundreds of activities and attractions Get great deals on vehicle safety checks, car hire and campervan hire.

Go to and enter code 20PERKS for 20% off your Perks+ Membership *BIG4 Market & Brand Assessment Q2 FY 2018 ^Member discounts do not apply for bookings made through online travel agents (ie., or

Australia’s No.1 Holiday Park Booking Site




Connect & Share




QUEENSLAND Head north for some sunshine with a stay at this Airlie Beach holiday park. Even in winter, Airlie Beach enjoys a moderate climate, and the park is perfect for families with a raft of child-friendly facilities. They include a water park with slides and giant tipping bucket, a heated pool, mini-golf, two undercover jumping pillows and a playground. qld/whitsunday/adventurewhitsunday-resort


QUEENSLAND As the nearest holiday park to the Gold Coast theme parks, this is the ideal place to stay if your kids are nagging you for a visit. It’s just across the road from MovieWorld, Wet’n’Wild and Outback Spectacular and only a couple of minutes’ drive from Dreamworld and White WaterWorld. The pet-friendly park has a resort-style pool with a waterslide, giant jumping pillow and a family restaurant. It hosts outdoor movies at night and there’s a kids’ club during the school holidays. gold-coast/gold-coast-holiday-park



CRADLE MOUNTAIN DISCOVERY PARK TASMANIA Stay in a cosy cabin or cottage with a fireplace at this park at the edge of UNESCO World Heritagelisted Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park, where the famous Overland Track begins. Go horse riding, hiking through the wilderness, and meet resident Tasmanian devils. The park has a communal activity room, camp kitchen and barbecue area.


NSW Spot humpback whales as they head north on their annual migration during a stay at Norah Head Holiday Park on the NSW Central Coast. Near Soldiers Beach and heritage-listed Norah Head Lighthouse, around an hour’s drive from Sydney or Newcastle, the park has a resort-style pool, amphitheatre, camp kitchen, free WiFi, free Foxtel in cabins, free school holiday activities, a jumping pillow, playgrounds and sheltered

barbecues. It’s around seven minutes’ drive to Toukley, which has plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants and around 15 minutes’ to popular tourist spot, The Entrance, which also has a cinema. There’s some lovely cycling and walking tracks nearby and other Central Coast tourist attractions, including The Australian Reptile Park and Treetops Adventure Park, are a short drive away.

Central Coast Holiday Parks Central Coast Council

Central Coast Council

Central Coast Council

Central Coast Council

FREE CALL 1800 241 342 53



NSW Sure, Kiama cools in winter, but this pretty town on the NSW South Coast still sparkles at this time of year - without the summertime crowds! BIG4 Easts Beach Holiday Park has been attracting families for generations, and it’s easy to see why. Located on a 14ha site just a few kilometres from the centre of town, it’s filled with kid-friendly attractions that continue to evolve, including a games room for those cooler days. There’s also a massage studio for parents to indulge. Its extensive cabin range means there’s something to suit most budgets.





NSW Alongside the Evans River in northern NSW, just two hours from Brisbane, Reflections Holiday Park at Evans Head is one of the most unspoilt and natural seaside sanctuaries you will find. Families looking for a luxury getaway can choose from new premium villas which combine solar, Tesla batteries and the use of recycled timbers. There are a range of comfortable accommodation options to choose from, including caravanning and camping. Winter is a perfect time for watching whales migrating north, fishing, kayaking and having fun with your pup at the nearby dog-friendly Airforce Beach. Dogs are permitted on sites in the River Reserve area of the park during off peak and shoulder seasons.


NORTHERN TERRITORY The winter months are the perfect time to visit the Top End – it’s just like summer everywhere else but without the humidity! It’s become even more attractive with the opening of a new glamping village at Cooinda Lodge & Camping Ground, next door to Yellow Water Billabong in Kakadu National Park. The new permanent tents allow families to enjoy the great outdoors with the creature comforts of luxury bedding, a private balcony, electricity and air-conditioning. The lodge has a large pool and is the perfect base for exploring Kakadu and its beautiful waterholes and waterfalls.

Happy Kids = Happy Parents

Kids stay FREE during selected school holidays*

Mega waterslide park

2 giant jumping pillows

Outdoor cinema screen

Cabins & camp sites

Over 15 onsite activities! Airlie’s largest resort pool

18 hole mini golf

25- 29 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach • Ph: 1300 640 587 Email: #adventurewhitsunday

*Kids stay FREE during the winter school holidays, valid for travel 28 Jun - 20 Jul 2019 in all cabin styles, not valid on powered sites. Kids stay FREE during summer school holidays, valid for travel 06 Dec - 19 Dec 2019 and 03 Jan - 01 Feb 2020 in all cabin styles and powered sites. Conditions apply. Subject to availability. Not valid with any other offer or discount. Children must utilise existing bedding in the same cabin.




REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT BROOME WITH KIDS Elisa Elwin has the low down on the best family experiences in this vibrant town

Serving as the western gateway to the spectacular Kimberley region, the historic pearling town of Broome has evolved into one of Australia’s most loved getaway destinations. A combination of Indigenous heritage, multiculturalism and an iconic landscape

lures countless visitors each year to this true tropical oasis. Broome is an ideal destination for families who want to revel in the natural beauty of Australia’s North West, without having to compromise on luxury or gourmet dining experiences. Seasoned

1. TO STAY AT CABLE BEACH CLUB RESORT & SPA As its name suggests, this luxurious resort is located smack bang on Cable Beach, backed by those Insta-worthy sunsets over the Indian Ocean. A fusion of Asian and colonial influences that perfectly reflect Broome’s history, the Resort offers a diverse selection of villas, suites and rooms nestled amidst tropical gardens. There’s a family swimming pool, a water playground and a mini-golf course that will be a hit with the kids, as well as a tennis court that’s open day and night. If you’re after a little indulgence, you can book in for a treatment at the Chahoya Spa by L’Occitane, before ending your day with sundowners at the famous Sunset Bar & Grill. 56

local tour operators are experts at bringing the town’s fascinating history to life in ways that will delight everyone. So, if you’re tossing up where to take the kids on your next holiday, here are five reasons why Broome should be at the top of the list.

2. TO LEARN ABOUT THE AREA’S INDIGENOUS HISTORY WITH NARLIJIA CULTURAL TOURS Broome’s Indigenous history stretches back thousands of years, and local Yawuru man, Bart Pigram, shares his deep knowledge and love of country during unique tours through the region. These engaging and family-friendly tours will see you visiting ancient shell middens, walking in the footsteps of dinosaurs and learning about the native food sources for the Djugun-Yawuru people. Aside from day excursions, you can also join Bart on a sunset cruise through the waters of Roebuck Bay, while listening to traditional music and discovering the local Dreaming stories.

Image: Tourism Western Australia


3. TO RIDE A CAMEL ON CABLE BEACH AT SUNSET Riding a camel along the white sands of Cable Beach as the sun slowly sinks below the horizon is a quintessential Broome experience, and there’s no better team to ride with than Broome Camel Safaris. For over 30 years they have worked with these endearing creatures, bringing up orphaned calves and

training wild camels to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Aside from sunset tours, they also offer morning and late afternoon excursions, with most kids comfortable riding tandem with mum or dad!

5. TO EXPERIENCE ‘GLAMPING’ AT THE RAMADA ECO BEACH RESORT 4. TO LEARN ABOUT HISTORY ON A WILLIE CREEK PEARL TOUR Broome abounds in natural, cultural and historical riches, which are celebrated by the team at Willie Creek during their awardwinning tours. This renowned pearling company not only runs excursions to explore their state-of-the-art hatchery and discover what makes the perfect pearl, but also guided tours that tick off the town’s major sights. Learn about the colourful heritage that has shaped this multicultural community, while visiting ancient rocky outcrops and architectural landmarks, before ending at the fascinating Pearl Luggers museum in the heart of Chinatown.

For a perfect getaway and family reconnect, complete your North West adventure by making the 130km journey down the coast to the award-winning Ramada Eco Beach Resort. Its safari-inspired eco-tents offer a back-to-nature ‘glamping’ experience, surrounded by the pristine Kimberley wilderness with uninterrupted ocean views. Despite the remote setting, there’s plenty to do here with kids. Spend your days whale watching, kayaking and

monitoring sea turtles in this natural wonderland, then fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping just metres away. The Resort’s gourmet cuisine and fine wines at Jack’s Bar & Restaurant, plus massages and yoga classes at the Dragonfly Day Spa will keep everyone in the family happy. The writer was a guest of Australia’s North West and Tourism WA. 57


A child a blowing conch shell at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

With more than 50 resorts spread across its islands, deciding which Fijian resort is right for you can be a challenge. Angela Saurine has done the hard work for you and narrowed it down to these family favourites

i j i f resorts FAMILY-FRIENDLY



VITI LEVU With flights from Australia arriving at Nadi International Airport on the main island Viti Levu – often referred to as the mainland – its resorts are easily accessible

On a calm lagoon ideal for introducing kids to water sports such as kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is designed like a Fijian village, with thatched roof bures and palm trees dotted throughout. The fivestar resort, which has more than 200 hotel rooms and 47 bures, is just over an hour’s drive from the airport at Sigatoka, on the Coral Coast. During the day girls sit by the pool having their hair braided while watching their siblings swim, and at dusk staff blow conch shells (and often let the kids – or their Dads - have a go). Daily activities include coconut bowling, coconut husking demonstrations, guided reef walks, storytelling sessions and spear throwing for teenagers. The Vale Ni Kana restaurant has themed dinners and live entertainment each night, with a special lovo night one night a week where you can watch a traditional performance and dine on tender chicken and pork cooked in an underground oven, kokoda (raw fish) and the starchy root vegetable taro. The poolside restaurant Bavari is ideal for a relaxed meal of Asian offerings such as curries and Pad Thai, and the kids can play in the pool while their parents eat. There are a variety of room types, ranging from oceanview hotel rooms to family bures (bungalows) that sleep up to six people. It’s also just across the road from Kula WILD Adventure Park, where you can see green Fijian crested iguanas and exotic birds, go ziplining through the rainforest canopy and play on water slides, including the 106m-long Splash Jungle Mountain Slide. 59

Image: Outrigger Hotels and Resorts




A luxury boutique resort near Fiji’s adventure capital Pacific Harbour, on Viti Levu’s southern coast, Nanuku offers a range of experiential experiences for kids. On a 222ha estate with a 3km-long beach just over two hours from Nadi International Airport, or 90 minutes from Suva, it has 37 spacious suites, villas and residences. It can also claim its own white-sand island only a 20-minute boat ride away, which is great for day trips and overnight

Children with warriors at Nanuku Auberge Resort in Fiji


camping. As well as offering complimentary babysitting from 8am to 8pm, every child under six is allocated a nanny for the duration of their stay (including newborns). Children six to 14 years are allocated a nanny or buddy per family. Children under eight also stay, play and eat for free, while children aged nine to 14 pay half the price of normal children’s meal plans. Nanuku’s Lailai Adventure Club has a focus on nature, mindfulness,

education and cultural experiences. Activities include traditional cooking, dancing, moonlight cinema nights, water sports, sandcastle building, zip-lining, crab racing, volleyball, rock climbing and crafts. The resort also has an on-site marine scientist who educates children about conserving the local ecosystem with activities such as coral planting to build up the local reef and mangrove tree planting to improve water quality.



FIJI MARRIOTT RESORT MOMI BAY Opened in 2017, this five-star resort is the only one on the main island to offer overwater villas. But there is still plenty to entice families! As well as its 22 overwater bures it has 136 Deluxe Rooms, which can be interconnected. It has a designated children’s pool with water guns, and its Turtles Kids’ Club has indoor and outdoor play areas where children can enjoy slides, swings, climbing and a sand pit. Activities include a mini-Amazing Race, Fijian

language lessons, pirate ship making, coconut husking, basket weaving, crab races, a talent quest and marine life education. Dine on the terrace at Lagoon Lounge and Bar, try Fijian-Indian fusion dishes at Goji Kitchen & Bar or indulge in seafood at Fish Bar. Or grab a sandwich to take on tour from on-site deli/café Fiji Baking Company. The resort is around 45 minutes’ drive from the airport on Viti Levu’s west coast.

This recently-refurbished resort is on its own private island, Yanuca Island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway, less than an hour’s drive from the airport. The 443-room resort is spread across more than 100ha and boasts the largest inflatable water park in the South Pacific. As well as an indoor and outdoor kids’ club, it has a separate entertainment zone for tweens and teens. At the Little Chief’s Club, activity coordinators entertain children with a variety of fun experiences. Many of the activities also take place at the children’s pool, located in the main pool area, on the beach or at the playground. They include collecting shells, origami workshops, Fijian dancing and dress-up, basket making, climbing contests, crab hunts, grass skirt making and fish feeding, as well as movie nights and disco nights. Its Marine Education Centre is a great place for kids to learn about the environment, with activities such as mangrove and coral planting. It has six restaurants and bars. The Lagoon Terrace is the resort’s main dining restaurant, with a huge variety of a la carte and smorgasbord options that change daily, as well as the casual Beach Bar & Grill and Asian and Italian offerings. fijianresort 61


DENARAU ISLAND Around 25 minutes’ drive from the airport, this man-made island is attached to Viti Levu by a short causeway. It has a row of resorts lining the beach you can easily hop between dining at different restaurants. Port Denarau, which is home to more restaurants and shops, is a short walk or shuttle bus ride away


The waterslide at Radisson Blu Fiji Resort Denarau Island

The fun begins as soon as you arrive at Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island, with the Blu Banana Kids Club activities team checking children in with their new Blu Banana passports. The resort has four climate-controlled lagoon pools and Fiji’s only white-water tunnel slide. It has 135 spacious hotel rooms with either a balcony or courtyard overlooking the tropical gardens, lagoon-style pools or 18-hole golf course. The kids’ club is located near the resort lobby on the ground floor. The morning Roroqo Club for littlies aged one to three provides fun and engaging activities for toddlers along with their own nanny. Babysitting charges apply. The kids’ club is divided into age groups: four to seven and eight to 12 (seasonal). Three sessions are offered daily as well as a torch-lighting ceremony at sunset and three themed nights a week.

SOFITEL FIJI RESORT & SPA This five-star resort hotel revealed its new Waitui Beach Club for kids – the first of its kind on the mainland - in time for the July school holidays. The club is part of a major refurbishment the property is currently undergoing. For children over three, the Nui Kids Beach Club has six interactive play areas. They include Wet & Wild, Splash & Play, Artist in Residence, The Chill Zone, Simple Pleasures and the Islander Cabana, as well as a climbing wall and trampoline area on the beach. It also has a new children’s cafe within the complex. A new adolescent zone for 12 to 16-year-olds with foosball, air hockey and video games is also set to open later this year or early next year. All five restaurants at the 296-room resort are also being upgraded, including its main restaurant Lagoon; beach restaurant, Salt, and a new beach bar, to be called Rum Shak, which will serve more than 150 types of rum and Fijian tapas. Its family pool and waterslide will not be impacted by the renovation, which is set to be complete in early 2020.


An artist impression of a Waitui Family room at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa Denarau Island


MAMANUCA ISLANDS Less than an hour’s boat ride from Port Denarau, the Mamanuca Islands are the closest group to the mainland. The Tom Hanks movie Castaway was filmed at Monoriki Island and can be visited on day trips from its many resorts

PLANTATION ISLAND RESORT On the second largest island in the group, Malolo Lailai Island, accommodation at Plantation Island Resort ranges from poolside rooms the kids will love to beachfront bures. As well as the Coconut Kids Club, it has a creche and indoor activities centre and two outdoor playgrounds. Activities include pineapple cracking, coconut boat making, toy weaving, limbo, talent quests, crab hunting, crab races, dance lessons, tie-dye t-shirt making, scavenger hunts, beach

Malolo Island Resort

Six Senses

soccer, shell and necklace making, fish feeding, nature walks and face painting. Families can enjoy a meal by the water at the Ol’ Copra Shed, dine on Pacific Rim cuisine at a la carte restaurant Black Coral or grab a burger, hot dog or pizza at the beachfront Snack Bar. The Cocohut Espresso & Frappe Bar also sells fresh coconuts and there’s a mini-mart selling ice-creams and snacks. Babysitting services are available.


With its teenage retreat, complete with bean bags, music, table tennis and entertainment, this resort is ideal for adolescents. The Fijianowned property has colonial and plantationstyle architecture and two pools. Dine at main eatery Terrace Restaurant, the thatched roof Beach Bar or at signature restaurant Treetops if your kids are aged 13 or over. Malolo Kids Club, which is free for children aged four to 12, has themed. Marine Environment Day teaches kids about coral reef care with snorkelling lessons, fish identification and fish feeding, while the Coconut Tree Day teaches kids to husk and scrape coconuts and build and race traditional Niu boats. Other activities include traditional arts and crafts, herbal medicine and endangered species tours, face painting and Fijian language lessons. Visits to the local primary school and neighbouring islands can also be arranged. There are 46 bures in five categories, including four Family Bures which can sleep up to seven people.


This luxurious resort on Malolo Island has 24 spacious private pool villas plus 60 two to five-bedroom residences. Its Grow With Six Senses kids’ club, open daily from 9am to 9pm, is complimentary for children aged four to 12. Activities include yoga, tree planting, bracelet weaving, zumba, tie-dye t-shirt making and pizza making. Nanny services are also complimentary for Residence guests between 9am to 5pm, and available to villa guests at a cost. Families can organise picnics, take part in cooking classes, sailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, snorkelling, waterskiing and stand-up paddleboarding. Other options include village tours, island hopping and sunset cruises. Junior spa treatments are also available. In the middle of the resort, Tovolea Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests at TeiTei Pizzeria, near the outdoor cinema, can interact with the resort’s chefs as they prepare meals. RaRa Restaurant and Bar has views of the marina and offers classic cafe dishes and ASEAN specialties, while RaRa Café is a great place to grab a coffee and a pastry. 63


VANUA LEVU With flights from Australia arriving at Nadi International Airport on the main island Viti Levu – often referred to as the mainland – its resorts are easily accessible


Previously a dive resort favoured by French explorer and film producer Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau) this resort is near Vanua Levu’s largest island Savusavu. Designed like a Fijian village, it has just 25 bures made from natural materials, with thatched roofs and timber louvre windows. The waters that surround the resort are part of a marine reserve, so the marine life is impressive. Each week it hosts a

charity crab race to raise money for the Savusavu Community Foundation, set up to improve health, education and transport for locals. Each child five and under is assigned a dedicated nanny during their stay, while children six to 12 are in groups of five led by a ‘buddy’. The resort’s kids’ club Bula Club is open from 8am to 9pm daily. It has two pools with waterslides and a toddlers’ pool, as well as a jungle gym, zipline, trampoline, sandpit and

arts and crafts centre. Parents are encouraged to participate at any time. The Lei Lei program is for children up to five while the Marau program is for those aged six to 12, who are also encouraged to take part in the Junior Chef’s Program in which they visit the resort’s organic garden to pick vegetables and help make lunch or dinner. There’s also lots of fun games and educational activities.

KORO SUN RESORT Stay in one of 50 air-conditioned villas or bures overlooking the garden, lagoon or rainforest at this resort, which is a 15-minute drive from the airport at Savusavu. There are two pools (one with a waterslide) and stays include continental breakfast daily, the use of non-motorized water sports and cultural activities. The Jungle Kids Club offers a complimentary Bula Buddy service for children aged four to 12, as well as a nanny service for children three and under. Activities include rainforest hikes, Fijian arts and crafts, tidal pool exploration, snorkelling (for children seven and older), t-shirt painting, coconut 64

leaf weaving, hair braiding, sandcastle building, shell collecting, coconut bowling, sulu tying, balloon dancing, crab races, fish feeding, t-shirt painting and a disco. There’s also educational games including quizzes and games about Fiji’s history and native plants. The Palm Grove Restaurant in the central clubhouse is the main place to dine. The casual Edgewater Beach Club offers burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and other light bites directly from the infinity-edge pool. Waterfront restaurant, Latitude 17, specialises in Asian-fusion cuisine and is adults only after 7pm.

Visit a waterfall during a stay at Koro Sun Resort


TAVEUNI ISLAND Known as the Garden Island, Fiji’s third largest island is the place to go to immerse yourself in nature. The island is to the east of Vanua Levu, less than 1.5-hour flight from Nadi


Owned and operated by Australian couple Allan and Terri Gortan, whose three children love playing with younger guests, Paradise Taveuni is a great option for scuba divers and adventure lovers. It’s a one-hour scenic 4WD drive from Taveuni Matei Airport – half on sealed roads and half unsealed – to the resort at the southern end of the island. Or you can book a speedboat transfer! There are 16 bures and vales to choose from – all with outdoor showers in a lava rock garden – and a lovo feast is held every Friday night. Activities include hikes to a cannibal cave and waterfalls, fishing charters and island hopping day trips, as well as snorkelling, kayaking, villages tours and the opportunity to attend church services.


Fijian Airways, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia are among the airlines that fly to the capital, Nadi.


The dry season coincides with Australia’s winter, when temperatures are in the mid-to-high-20s, low rainfall and little chance of cyclones. The wet season is from November to April, when you can expect short tropical downpours. Accommodation is usually more affordable, but it is still hot and a great time to see waterfalls flowing. MORE INFO:





An aerial view of Radisson Blu Resort Fiji



A child with a nanny at Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island

A drum welcome at Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island

Fly Fiji Airways

Feeling inspired to take a Fiji holiday? Thanks to our friends from Hoot Holidays and Fiji Airways, one lucky family of four will enjoy a fun-filled getaway at the Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island.

Valued at $11,000, the prize includes return airfares for two adults and two children from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Fiji’s Nadi International Airport, return airport transfers and five nights’ accommodation in a

two-bedroom suite, including breakfast daily. To enter, go to the Out & About with Kids website outandaboutwithkids.

* Terms and conditions apply Travel from October 24, 2019 to March 31, 2020. Black-out dates apply from December 26, 2019 to January 11, 2020, and over public holidays. Accommodation is in a Garden View Suite, and is subject to availability. 67


See the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge


Image: Richard Harbaugh-Disney Parks

Take control of the Millennium Falcon at Disneyland’s hottest new attraction “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts”. Ever since Han Solo uttered the immortal line in the original Star Wars blockbuster, the Millennium Falcon has held a special place in the hearts of fans. Now, they can get behind the controls of the much-loved starship in the highlyanticipated new Star Wars-themed land at Disneyland Park in California. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened in late May at a spectacular event attended 68

by Star Wars icons including creator George Lucas and stars Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. The largest and most technologically advanced single-themed land expansion ever in a Disney park, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge stretches across more than 5ha. Guests can explore the remote planet of Batuu, sampling galactic food and beverages and perusing eclectic merchant shops before stepping aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is set on a planet never before seen in the Star Wars universe to give everyone a chance to step into the story at their own level – whether they are a lifelong fan or have never seen a Star Wars film. The land was designed with sightlines that evoke cinematic angles. Guests begin with views of wide vistas, then as they explore deeper into the land, their field of vision narrows into tighter spaces – like zooming in for a close-up. In developing


Guests can take control of the Millennium Falcon at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Stormtroopers at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Image: Richard Harbaugh-Disney Parks

“She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts” props and other décor for the land, Imagineers also tried wherever possible to use pre-1980 materials to best capture the look and feel of the first movie, Star Wars: A New Hope, which was released in 1977. Following the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Chewbacca brings the Falcon to Black Spire Outpost for repairs at this spaceport, on the edge of the galaxy. In exchange for some much-needed replacement parts, Chewie loans the Falcon to smuggler Hondo Ohnaka. It is at this point that guests 96.5cm or taller enter the story of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and settle into the cockpit to operate “the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy”. First Order Stormtroopers, who patrol Black Spire Outpost under the command of Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, may snap the occasional order at guests or question them about the presence of the Resistance on Batuu. Several times daily, Kylo Ren may appear at the First Order encampment at Docking Bay 9. With Stormtroopers in his wake, he will then march through Black Spire

Outpost in search of the Resistance. Rey, a hero of the Resistance, may be seen near the ancient ruins outside Black Spire Outpost, where she is recruiting Batuuan locals and visitors alike to the cause. Loveable wookiee, Chewbacca, may also be spotted in Black Spire Outpost or just outside the Resistance encampment in the ancient ruins of Batuu, rounding up recruits. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is also the first land within a Disney park designed to integrate with the Play Disney Parks mobile app, in which guests can choose to aid a smuggler, join the Resistance or pledge their loyalty to the First Order. In phase two, opening later this year, guests will also be able to take part in a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. A near-identical Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will also open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on August 29. MORE INFO:

Image: Joshua Sudock-Disney Parks

MUST DO EXPERIENCES 1 Take control of the Millennium Falcon as pilots, gunners or flight engineers on a mission to deliver smuggled goods


Stroll the Black Spire Outpost marketplace, where vendors showcase wares from across the galaxy. Pick up authentic Batuuan attire, with a stop at Black Spire Outfitters; start a collection of rare artefacts at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities; or peek into the cages in the Creature Stall

3 4 5

Taste Blue Milk like Luke Skywalker drank in Star Wars IV: A New Hope


Enjoy a drink at Oga’s Cantina, where guests gather to share tales from around the galaxy as they enjoy exotic beverages and listen to spirited musical entertainment from DJ R-3X, the former droid pilot from Disneyland’s previous Star Tours attraction


Scan the contents hidden inside containers, translate languages, and tune into communications happening throughout the land with the Play Disney Parks mobile app. Support either the Resistance or the First Order by hacking the blinking light panels next to doorways throughout Black Spire Outpost. The faction that controls the majority of these panels first wins the game and demonstrates their allegiance to their side’s cause. The conflict plays out multiple times each day


Meet Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, Resistance fighter Rey, Millennium Falcon co-pilot Chewbacca and other Star Wars characters

Craft a Lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop Build a droid inside the Droid Depot - an interactive experience inspired, in part, by young Anakin Skywalker tinkering with C-3PO in Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace



An elephant calf at Phang Nga Elephant Park


t e k u h P

Phuket may be Thailand’s number one holiday destination for Australian families, but neighbouring provinces Krabi and Phang Nga also have a lot to offer 70


Koh Poda has beautiful white sand beaches

Its beautiful beaches, mouth-watering food and value for money make Thailand an obvious choice for a family getaway overseas, with Phuket drawing the bulk of international tourists. But savvy holidaymakers are increasingly turning to nearby Krabi and Phang Nga provinces as alternatives to the island hotspot. Just to the east on the other side of Phang Nga Bay, Krabi is around nine times bigger than Phuket but attracts less than half as many visitors. Famous for its sheer limestone cliffs, it has more than 150 offshore islands to explore on day trips, including Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park. With its large selection of hotels, shops and restaurants, the resort town of Ao Nang makes an ideal base. Kids will love dining under coconut trees with their feet in the sand at thatchedroof eatery The Last Fisherman, which holds a barbecue dinner nightly (not to mention its yummy ice-cream sundaes!). Seafood St is a row of waterfront restaurants at the northern end of Ao Nang Beach Rd, offering fresh, cheap seafood. Or for authentic Thai cuisine head to the colourful KoDam Kitchen, which also has a designated kids’ menu. Catch a taxi or local bus, called a songthaew, to Krabi Town to check out the large and bustling night markets. Held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, the bazaar has dozens of stalls selling clothes and accessories, as well as delicious street food which can be eaten in the large open-air plaza. It’s also a great place to see cultural performances and artisans at work making Thai handicrafts. One of the best things to do from Krabi is to go island hopping. Koh Phi Phi is the main drawcard but there are plenty of other islands in the archipelago to discover. Boat trips

Go kayaking at Koh Hong Lagoon in Krabi

also go to Koh Hong, where you can swim or kayak on a beautiful lagoon, while the Krabi Four Island tour takes you to the Poda Islands group. The 1km-long Koh Poda is the largest in the group and has a coral reef around 20m offshore, while the islets of Koh Tup and Koh Mor are known for their crystal-clear waters, which are great for snorkelling. They are linked by a sand bar and at low tide you can walk to Koh Gai, also known as Chicken Island after the shape of the rock that forms its southern tip. A short boat ride away is the island of Koh Klang – a rural Muslim enclave where you can enjoy authentic local experiences such as learning how rice is harvested and how batik is made, as well as kayaking through mangroves to explore hidden caves. Back on the mainland, the boat-

access only Railay Beach is a mecca for rock climbing, thanks to its soaring limestone cliffs. Krabi Rock Climbing School offers courses for beginners, in which you learn how to tie knots, about rope security and safety and climbing techniques. Its instructors are fluent in English and great with kids. In the south of the province in the middle of the jungle in Klong Thom district, Krabi Hot Springs is a must-visit. As well as astonishingly beautiful, naturally formed, tiered rock pools, there’s also larger manmade pools so there’s enough room for everyone. While you’re there, take a dip in the striking Emerald Pool in nearby Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve. Another impressive sight is the Wat Tham Sua, or Tiger Cave Temple, near Krabi Town. A large golden Buddha  71


statue sits at the top of the temple complex, which features a maze of caves where monks live and worship. Many ancient artefacts have been found in the caves, and what appears to be tiger paw prints can be seen in the stone. If you are feeling fit, you can climb more than 1,200 steps to see a moulded replica of Buddha’s footprint, and admire the view over the surrounding countryside towards the Andaman Sea. Adrenaline-loving families will enjoy the Krabi Kart Speedway, where you can race each other around the track, surrounded by jungle and soaring escarpments. For those looking for a quieter option, the Koh Lanta island district, 70km south of Krabi, is an undeveloped paradise known for its long beaches, inviting waterfalls and family-friendly resorts. The largest of the islands, Koh Lanta Yai, is accessible via car or passenger ferry. To the north of Phuket, the Phang Nga province has plenty to entice those who prefer a slower pace. Just a 1.5-hour drive from Phuket International Airport, Khao Lak is a cluster of easily-accessible beachside villages surrounded by lush mountains. Eco Khao Lak Adventure offers day trips, tours and excursions to all the area’s major tourist attractions, including Khao Sok National Park in Surat Thani province, the Surin Islands and Khao Phing Kan – also known as James Bond Island because a scene from The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed there. The Similan Islands are often considered the most beautiful in Thailand thanks to their white sand beaches, crystal clear water and colourful coral reefs ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving. The island group is part of the Similan Islands National Park, 72

Discover an underwater wonderland in the Surin Islands

which is open from November to April. Another lovely day trip is canoeing through the ‘Little Amazon’ - a peaceful Banyan tree forest near Takuapa, around 30km north of Khao Lak. Keep an eye out for snakes, monkeys, lizards and birds as you paddle through the mangroves. En route visit Takuapa Old Town - a traditional town established before 500BC, which has a strong tin mining history. Many Chinese migrants came here to work, which led to a mix of building designs from the east and west which became known as SinoPortugese. Don’t miss a visit to Phang Nga Elephant Park, where the same family has been caring for Asian elephants for more than 150 years. Its ethical tours include the Family Elephant Experience, where you get to see an elephant health check, feed bananas to the gentle giants and help bathe them in a rock pool before meeting a playful elephant calf. Animal lovers should also check

out the Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center on Thai Muang Beach, around 30km south of Khao Lak. Here you can see sea turtle hatchlings which have been brought there to live until they are eight months old because they have a better chance of survival away from predators. For a small donation, visitors can also help release a turtle into the sea. More than 500 green sea turtles are released in early March during the annual Khao Lak Turtle Releasing Festival. There are rehabilitation tanks for sick or injured sea turtles, as well as a large tank that houses a saltwater crocodile, found in a nearby village. The centre also has an anemone fish breeding program, where kids can see the cute clownfish made famous by the animated film Finding Nemo. MORE INFO: Many national parks in Thailand open seasonally. Before visiting check



Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi

An exclusive hideaway for families and couples alike, this resort is set in a private and secluded bay amongst a background of towering green limestone cliffs and has an extensive of facilities.  FOR FAMILIES:  • Kids’ club (Camp Safari and E-Zone) and daily activity programmes  • Most room categories offer family-friendly options with two double beds sleeping up to two adults and three children  • 500m of private beachfront  • Swimming pools include a children’s pool and jacuzzi  • Complimentary boat shuttles running to and from Ao Nang  • Complimentary WiFi  • Complimentary non-motorised water sports including sailing, windsurfing and kayaking are suited to guests of all ages

Centara Seaview Resort Khao Lak 

With its prime oceanfront location, approximately a one-hour drive from Phuket International Airport, accommodation in spacious rooms, family residences and private villas, this beautiful garden setting resort offers activities and facilities galore. It is a fabulous resort for family groups, couples and those longing for a tranquil holiday. FOR FAMILIES:  • Immediate access to the centre of the Kkao Lak resort area and its shopping and entertainment opportunities. Easy access to a myriad of natural parks and natural sites  • Beachfront pool, second pool with a children’s pool and waterslide plus jacuzzi and third pool set alongside the Family Residences  • Full range of health and wellbeing facilities  • Kids’ club (Camp Safari & E-Zone) and children’s playground 

Centara Anda Dhevi  Resort & Spa Krabi 

Centra by Centara Phu Pano  Resort Krabi 

Centara Ao Nang Beach Resort & Spa Krabi 

FOR FAMILIES: • Large pool with a waterslide, a swim-up bar and children’s pool  • A wide range of room types including those with direct pool access  • Facilities for guests of all ages  including a supervised kids’ club (Camp Safari and E-Zone) and daily programs and activities  • Complimentary WiFi 

FOR FAMILIES: • Family residences are equipped with bunk beds and are suitable for teenagers and adults  • Stunning views of limestone mountains from rooms and balconies in all room types  • An infinity-edge pool  • Complimentary WiFi 

FOR FAMILIES: • Camp Safari Kids’ Club  • An elevated beachfront pool with ocean views  • A wide selection of accommodation options, family residences complete with bunk beds and rooms with a private lunge pool

This family-friendly resort is ideally located close to the shops and restaurants of Ao Nang and a short stroll to the beach.  

Contemporary yet exotic, this relaxing and intimate resort is a 15-minute walk or a short drive from Ao Nang and close to Krabi’s restaurant entertainment areas. It’s suitable for families and small groups.

At the quieter end of Ao Nang Beach, just a short walk from local eateries and bars, this resort opens in September 2019. It is a fun place for families and offers great opportunity to discover Krabi’s striking scenery and offshore islands. 





Image: Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau-Tor Johnson

The Hawaiian Islands abound with awesome animal encounters. Here are five of the best


Sea turtles have an important place in Hawaiian culture. The most common, the green turtle, is known locally as honu and is considered a symbol of good luck. It is one of five species found throughout the Hawaiian Islands, along with hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley. When snorkelling throughout the Hawaiian Islands you are likely to find them at ‘turtle cleaning stations’ – places where they gather to find fish who nibble the algae off their shells. You can also see them resting at places including Ho‘okipa Beach Park on Maui, which has a protected area for turtles who come ashore to sleep at night, and around Black Rock at the northern end of the island’s Kā‘anapali Beach. Turtles are also abundant along the Island of Hawai‘i’s Kohala Coast, including Pu‘uhonua O Hōnaunau Historical Park, and the black sand beach at Punalu‘u on the southern side of the island. On O‘ahu, try Hale‘iwa Beach or Laniakea Beach on the North Shore or Kahe Point Beach Park (also known as Electric Beach) at Kapolei. When you see turtles it’s important not to touch or feed them, and to stay at least 3m away.

Image: Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau-Kawika Singson



The Island of Hawai‘i’s Kona Coast is home to more than 200 manta rays. Wildlife lovers have the chance to swim with these gentle giants, which have wingspans of up to 5m, each night when they come out to feed on plankton. Snorkelling and diving tours depart from various ports around the town of KailuaKona. You can watch them from the comfort of resorts including the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, which even has a special manta ray lookout made from a circular lava outcropping.


Image: Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau-Heather Goodman

Feel like part of the pod as you swim with wild spinner dolphins (including calves!) and hear their playful, high-pitched calls. As their name suggests, the species is known for jumping out of the water in a twisting motion. They spend their nights hunting fish in deep water and return to the coast during the day to rest. On O‘ahu, dolphin swim cruises depart from Wai‘anae Boat Harbor, around one hour’s drive from Waikīkī. They also leave from Kona on Island of Hawai‘i and take you to Kealakekua Bay, which boasts a monument to explorer, Captain Cook. 75

Image: Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau-Kirk Lee Aeder


4. WHALE WATCHING Marvel at humpbacks breaching and spy-hopping on a whale watching cruise! Each year, from December to May, thousands of the majestic marine mammals travel from Antarctica to the warm waters of the Hawaiian Islands to breed and give birth. The shallow, protected ‘Au‘au Channel, between Maui, Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i, is one of the best places to see them on a boat tour, which departs from Lāhainā Harbor on Maui. You can also spot them from the Maui shores at places including McGregor Point, Kā‘anapali Beach, Kīhei and Wailea. Tours also depart from various ports along

the southern and western harbours on O‘ahu, including Honolulu. Also try the seaside lookouts near Lē‘ahi (Diamond Head State Monument) and Makapu‘u Lighthouse. On the Island of Hawai‘i - also known as The Big Island – the best spots to try on land include the beaches along the Kohala Coast, Hilo Bay on the east side and the Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, near Kawaihae Harbor. On Kaua‘i, book a cruise along the magnificent Nāpali Coast or head to Po‘ipū Beach on the South Shore, Kīlauea Lighthouse or the Kapa‘a Overlook between Kapa‘a Town and Keālia Beach.

Hawai‘i’s state bird the nene

Image: Ka‘anapali Alii Resort


A whale breaching in Hawai‘i


Tiny twitchers will find plenty to excite, with colourful and interesting birds found on every island. Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kaua‘i is a great place to view sea birds including red-footed boobies, great frigatebirds, shearwaters and albatross, as well as the endangered state bird the nene (also known as the Hawaiian goose). On the Island of Hawai‘i, try the Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge, or for forest birds head to Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge. The area around Makapu‘u Point and Manana Island in O‘ahu’s south-east, and Ka‘ena Point State Park in the northwest, are also great for sea birds, while white terns can be found in Honolulu. You can easily spot trees they nest in as they are marked with blue tape around the trunk. On Maui, the number one place for birdwatching is Hosmer Grove in Haleakalā National Park, which has an abundance of endemic honeyeaters. MORE INFO:

no resort fees. ever. 2018

voted best hotel in hawaiĘťi

maui, hawaiĘťi 808-661-0011


Fun times with Ziptrek Ecotours in Queenstown




A world of fun awaits just across the ditch. Here are our picks for the most epic experiences in the Land of the Long White Cloud 78



Find out what it feels like to soar through the sky at iFLY Queenstown – New Zealand’s first and only indoor skydiving centre. With the simulation of true free-fall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel, the dream of flight can become a reality for anyone aged five and up. All first-time flyers have two instructors – one to help you in the tunnel, and one to control the air speed. The experience starts with a pre-flight briefing an hour before take-off. Participants go through the basic flying position as well as learning a couple of hand signals to use in the tunnel. Highdefinition cameras capture the whole flight, guaranteeing an awesome new Facebook profile pic!

SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING New Zealand is a popular destination for Aussies looking for a Southern Hemisphere ski holiday, thanks to its great value, towering peaks and gobsmacking views. Around 20 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, Coronet Peak is a terrific option for families. It has extensive beginner facilities, modern and easy to use chairlifts, progressive terrain and packages for all ages, as well as night skiing on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Its ski school, Skiwiland, takes bubs from three months up to kids aged five years, and there’s lesson and gear hire packages for kids aged five and up. Coronet Peak’s snow play area is ideal for making snow angels, throwing snowballs and sledding. Closer to Wanaka, Cardrona also has wide, open runs, a designated beginners’ area, a licensed childcare centre and kids’ ski & snowboard school. Children will love having snowfights and having their

Kids with mascot Pengi at Cardrona Alpine Resort

photo taken with the resort’s mascots, Pengi and Frosty. And Mt Hutt’s Kids 4 Free campaign gives children aged 10 and under free lift access during the 2019 season! It also includes free accommodation for kids at selected properties in the Methven area, free

travel to and from Christchurch Airport and meals, activities and board and rental hire at selected businesses. Terms and conditions apply. 79




For the ultimate adrenaline rush, look no further than AJ Hackett Bungy in Queenstown. Inspired by Vanuatu’s land diving ritual, AJ Hackett founded the world’s first commercial bungy jump site here in 1988 – a year after he bungy jumped off the Eiffel Tower. The Kawarau Bridge Bungy takes you back to where it all began. Confront the original 43m-high leap, either solo or in a pair. For that extra rush, try a dunk in the mighty Kawarau River. You can also roll or jump from the 47m-high Ledge Bungy freestyle bungy site, or take on New Zealand’s highest bungy – the Nevis Bungy – 134m above sea level, with a free fall of 8.5 seconds. And if that’s not enough, it now has swings, catapults, ziprides, climbs, skyjumps and skywalks!

There’s no better way to take in the view over Queenstown than ziplining with Ziptrek Ecotours. The award-winning company offers a spectacular and fun adventure through the forest canopy high above town, on Skyline Gondola hill. On the North Island, catch the ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island where EcoZip Adventures offers state-of-the-art flying fox ziplines and an eco-immersive forest walk. Siblings can fly side-by-side on dual cables that are over 200m long. Zip One provides a gentle introduction, soaring above a beautiful working vineyard. Zip Two increases the tempo – taking you higher and faster and providing magnificent views of the city, some 25km away. Then it’s time for Zip Three which zips along at speeds in excess of 50kmh – faster than you can legally drive on Waiheke’s roads! and

Image: Sera Orme



Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies can’t miss this magical experience near Matamata on the North Island. A tour of the only set that remains intact from the blockbusters takes you past Hobbit holes and The Mill on the Alexander family sheep farm, which was chosen by acclaimed director Sir Peter Jackson as the site for The Shire. A guide will point out the intricate detailing and explain how the movies were made. There’s also a tour that includes a banquet feast at the Green Dragon, with tables laden with traditional Hobbit fayre.

Images: Rafting New Zealand

SOUTH PACIFIC Have a whitewater adventure

A family hits the rapids

RAFTING AND KAYAKING Get back to nature rafting or kayaking down one of New Zealand’s picturesque waterways. River Rats Rafts and Kayaks offers rafting experiences across grades two to five. Children aged five and up can join the Rangitaiki grade two scenic expedition in the Bay of Plenty on the North Island, while thrill-seeking teens will love getting white knuckle thrills on the Kaituna Waterfall or Wairoa experiences. The company also offers lake kayaking and river sledging activities, with guided kayak trips to the Manupirua Springs Hot Pools. Rafting New Zealand runs rafting for kids aged three and up in the alpine village of Turangi and in Taupo township. The Thermal Float Rafting Adventure travels down New Zealand’s longest river, Waikato, as it departs Lake Taupo. The grade two Tongariro Family Fun adventure is ideal for families with younger children, with more than 20 fun rapids and an optional cliff jump. and




Give your kids an experience they will never forget at one of these extraordinary wilderness retreats

Lemala Cubs on a walking safari

LEMALA CAMPS AND LODGES Travelling to Africa with kids may seem a daunting prospect, but Lemala’s camps and lodges in Tanzania offer a wide range of fun, educational and interesting activities to help children discover the wonders of the African bush. Nothing can prepare a parent for the experience of seeing their child’s reaction as they catch sight of a lion, giraffe, or the pure delight on their face as they catch creepy crawlies that lurk in the grasslands of the camp. Lemala aims to show future generations the importance of conservation and the preservation of Africa’s wildlife. Small children can get bored and restless on long drives or around camp if they are not entertained, but Lemala Cubs offers kids under 12 a wealth of interesting experiences, while Mum and Dad get some well-deserved downtime. They can learn how to throw blunt spears and use bow and arrows with the help of Maasai guides, track animals around the camp, and make plaster casts of their footprints (known as spoor). They can also sit under Acacia trees listening to African fables, help chefs in the kitchen as they prepare their favourite childhood meals, and roast marshmallows around the campfire in the evening. 82

Lemala Cubs toasting marshmallows

See wild animals on safari during a stay at Lemala Lodge


Children riding ponies at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

GROOTBOS PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE Tucked between mountains, forest and sea, this luxury eco-reserve near the southern tip of Africa is set within 2,500ha of natural shrubland and heathland known as fynbos. Its Garden and Forest lodges, which each have their own fine dining restaurants, offer breathtaking views over Walker Bay from their 27 impressive suites. There are also two exclusive private villas which come with their own staff, including a private chef, and an infinity pool. Itineraries are curated for each guest and offer anything from on-water safaris glimpsing the marine big five (whales, sharks, seals, penguins and dolphins), to exploring the botanical world of the Western Cape. The culinary team specialise in creative dishes comprising fresh, organic ingredients and locally-sourced produce. Most recently the team has worked to create innovative vegetarian and vegan menus. Tailor-made adventure packages encourage kids to learn about the symbiotic relationship between animals and plants in a gentle, non-intimidating manner - a dedicated playground with paddocks, petting zoo and trampoline, guided daily horse rides and lazy days cuddling a bunny, feeding a piglet, and collecting free-range eggs for breakfast. More than a luxury experience, Grootbos is deeply committed to the conservation of the Cape Floral Kingdom, sustainability practices and helping local communities.

Enjoy time by the pool at the luxury lodge

A family on safari



As the home of the Hamptons – a string of seaside villages where New York’s rich have summer holiday homes – Long Island has starred in countless movies and TV shows. But it also has a range of enticing attractions that make it a great option for families visiting America’s east coast, including beautiful beaches, award-winning wineries and Gatsby-era mansions. Accessible by bridge from the mainland, the 190kmlong island is an easy addition to any New York itinerary. For views of New York City, climb the 182 steps to the top of Fire Island Lighthouse, off the southern coast. At the easternmost point of the island – known as ‘the end’ – you can also visit the Montauk Lighthouse, commissioned by former president George Washington, and take a scenic hike on the bluffs of Montauk Point State Park. At the Parrish Art Museum in East Hampton, adults can peruse the collection of works from famed master and contemporary artists, while children take part in interactive art classes, build creations, and enjoy film nights. Housed in a former airplane hangar, the interactive and fun Long Island Children’s Museum is a must for visitors with kids. Children can create and play in the bubble exhibit, learn about herbivores, carnivores and omnivores in the live animal habitat, and explore 84

LOVING LONG ISLAND Off the coast of New York, Long Island is the place to go for family fun

Image: Alexander Gordon


Go stargazing at Vanderbilt Museum A family on the Lazy River at Splish Splash Waterpark

Travel back in time with a visit to Old Westbury Gardens

the 14 interactive exhibits with daily activities. Check out the Gold Coast mansions for a glimpse into the elegant and opulent lifestyles of the elite. Owned by past presidents, artists and aristocracy, many of these homes once hosted royalty, heads of state and stars including Charlie Chaplin. Often the backdrop for Hollywood movies, the homes also served as inspiration for The Great Gatsby. Open for tours and events, travel back to a bygone era visiting OHEKA Castle and Old Westbury Gardens. The Cradle of Aviation Museum,

Planetarium and Dome Theater is home to one of the largest air and spacecraft collections in the world, taking visitors through a journey of more than 100 years of history. Experience a Lunar Module Simulator and view one of three lunar modules on display in the world, the Apollo Lunar Module 13. Stroll the 3.5km-long Long Beach Boardwalk and step out on the sand for ultimate beach town fun and West Coast vibes. Surf the waves and take on the Atlantic Ocean when learning from the pros at Skudin Surf. Then, set free at I.FLY Trapeze to learn circus tricks for extreme adventure. The Long Island Aquarium has more than 100 exhibits, including coral reef displays and a 120,000-gallon (454,000 litre) shark tank where you can dive with the creatures of the deep. There are year-round sea lion shows, touch tanks for a stingray interaction, a colourful butterflies exhibit, and a penguin meet and greet. Kids and adults alike will love Splish Splash Waterpark, which has more than 20 slides and attractions spread across nearly 40ha, including wave pools, lazy rivers and a pirates’ cove. Become a spy for the day at the Brewster House, which was built in

1665. During the American Revolution, Joseph Brewster operated the house as a tavern and general store, entertaining British troops inside. American patriot Caleb Brewster, a frequent visitor to the house, was a member of George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War. Join the fantastic ‘Become a Spy’ and ‘A Day in the Life of the Colonial Child’ educational tours. At night you can go stargazing at Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium, which has a rooftop observatory. It also offers tours of the mansion, exhibits from the former owner’s oceanic expeditions and futuristic science exhibits. MORE INFO: discoverlongisland. com/family

The bubbles exhibit at Long Island Children’s Museum



ONE ISLAND, TWO TALES Flip Byrnes and her toddlers find a charming escape, far from the tourist hordes, in Mallorca, Spain

Standing by the pool in balmy twilight heat, finca (Spanish farm estate) owner, Carlo, and I pore over some documents, careful not to blot them with our dripping bathers. “Ochocientos años!” he exclaims, eyes wide. 800 years! We may not be sharing the same language, but we are sharing the same enthusiasm, as the proud farm owner tells me about the history of his family’s slice of paradise in Mallorca. The house of the documents in question is behind us, ancient stones glowing gold in the final throes of the dying day. My two toddlers pat the cat lolling on the expansive terrace, my husband reads, cicadas sing and sheep bells tinkle.  This is the blissful European summer escape I had dreamed about, far from the madding hordes in one of the many centuriesold finca that dot the countryside. But it had taken some luck and a gamble to find it. Every now and then you stumble across a spot that isn’t just great, but magical. You won’t find Can Guillo, located in the quieter northern island pocket, in any other magazine, or in guidebooks, and it only has a handful of TripAdvisor reviews written in English. Yet arriving up the little road, stepping through the gate and into a garden dripping with bougainvillea and heady with the scent of pine and lemon trees, heartbeats immediately slowed. Leave luxury expectations at the door – 86

Hitting the water at Formentor Beach


Watching the sunset in Cala dOr

Can Guillo is a working farm with rustic charm to the ritual, weaving a masterpiece of towels, in nine guest rooms. There are no minimalist spades and my hat as an ownership exclamation international designer touches here, just simple mark to would-be invaders. When I returned the Mallorca at its very best. We renamed it ‘Rancho sunhat was gone. I accepted this as clear (and Relaxo’ and, by the time we arrived, we were deserved) punishment from the Karma Gods for primed for some Mallorca – of the right kind. joining the nabbing ranks. Spain’s largest island is many things to many So, by the time we arrived at Can Guillo, people. Athletes love it as a springtime triathlete booked as the ‘lottery’ part of the trip, it was a training hub, with cyclists gripping hairpin turns tired family – including one who had stooped on carbon fibre bikes. The hillside areas of Deiá to new sunbed lows. But here there were and Fornalux have long been artists’ enclaves. sunbeds galore! Silence, except for our own Mallorca lures celebrities, from Richard Branson joyful splashing. In the morning we feasted on to the Obamas, and its capital, Palma, takes the homemade jams on a patio overlooking the cake in terms of gastronomy. Tramuntana Mountains, and by night drove 10 But, in short, it is a tale of two siblings; the minutes to charming Pollença, for gelato in the demure Mallorca – the internal island areas square. We’d hit the jackpot. unchanged by tourism – and the boisterous This part of Mallorca is dramatic, with can-can kicking show-girl of the beach clubs, spiked mountain peaks resembling slumbering all-inclusive resorts, built up areas crammed with stegosaurs. For real excitement, experience apartments and pay-through-the-nose parasol the twisting, high road to the white sands and sunbeds. Caribbean-esque waters of Formentor Beach. If you are after a beachfront hotel on an We’d adhere to the same rule as at Cala D’or – indescribably pretty bay, then Inturotel Esmeralda early to the beaches to avoid the crowds who Park in Cala D’or hits all the high notes. Travelling would arrive around 11.30am, then retreat to the with toddlers means a long list of requirements – finca for siestas. strolling distance to sea, pool and Life settled into this loose food, plus a bedroom with door for framework until time slowed to STAYING THERE midday naps. The mission was even the brink of stopping, like that Can Guillo is 60km narrowed down to room number delicious hovering moment from Palma airport. (Block I, 217 – never guaranteed but between wakefulness and Rooms start at 80 Euros can be requested; we got lucky), dreamtime. It was born from per night. It suits the independent traveller with glorious ocean views which the earthing of bare soles on a who is fine with self made my Australian heart sing. The finca floor, worn smooth over check-in and catering – night time kids’ disco, spotlessly centuries, witnessing our nappya rental car is advised. clean grounds and nearby familyonly clad kids making friends with friendly pizzeria were the cherries farm animals and exploring the on the cake. And then everyone exquisite garden of succulents and GETTING THERE Mallorca is one of the else arrived. heaven-scented florals. Yes, there cheapest destinations Each day became a strategy were other people there, but to fly to in Europe – you around mass humanity – mobilising everyone seemed to have their can get one-way fares the kids to the small cove by 7.30am favourite nook. from as low as 16 Euros pre-breakfast and pre-hordes. Then Most of all we that realised on budget carrier Ryanair from cities including breakfast. Then to the pool, only to that when travelling with young London and Frankfurt. find the special breed who ‘reserve’ children, simplicity and nature sunbeds with their towels had make the best companions. And pounced. This is the Mallorca I met for adults, one meeting with the WHEN TO GO first, where I became acquainted demure Mallorca could result in a The shoulder seasons of with ‘Sunbed Nabbers’. life-long love story. May, June and September. On our fifth and final day I caved MORE INFO: 87



Meg Law checks out some of the best ski resorts in the USA and Canada on a family driving holiday The crunch of fresh snow underfoot, giant crisp snowflakes landing gently on my cheek, the rugged snow-capped mountains glistening in the afternoon sun … it was in this moment that I knew precisely why we had crossed two countries, nine US states, and driven more than 6,200km in search of perfect powder. We had long dreamt of taking the kids on a road trip around the US and Canada to tick off some of the best snow destinations on our travel list. Now here we were! Taking out the highest travel insurance cover we could get (including off piste), we embarked on a sevenweek adventure. Nothing compares to hitting the open road and creating lifelong memories with your favourite people. The fresh mountain air, feet on the dashboard, tunes on … all the hallmarks of a good old-fashioned road trip – albeit with a six-year old and two-year-old in tow and in temperatures as low as -18C! We drove through wildlife havens that would rival a David Attenborough documentary, witnessed countless sunsets 88


and admired granite mountain outcrops sprinkled with a coating of crisp white snow. This was a family road trip like no other – sidesplitting belly laughs and cabin fever antics due to long drives; car sing-alongs and the occasional back seat bickering; snowball fights and squeals of delight (OK, sometimes terror and fear!) as you watch your daughter conquer the US ski slopes like a boss. What we quickly learnt was you don’t have to be an expert skier to enjoy these resorts. Sure, there is enough terrain to keep the elite satisfied, but there are also some excellent ski schools and beginner runs for those hitting the slopes for the first time. Each day we would ski as much as our aching muscles would allow, but also ensure we indulged in the après-ski activities, including soaking in hot tubs under the stars, toasting s’mores in front of an open fire, making snow angels, ice-skating on frozen lakes and even a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow – something the big kids will never forget!

ski village with snow-capped rooftops and streets lined with fairy lights. During our visit we were lucky to catch the annual torchlight parade on New Year’s Eve, with a team of expert synchronised skiers cascading down the mountain carrying lanterns and torches and lighting up the sky like a sprinkling of fairy dust!



STOWE MOUNTAIN RESORT, VERMONT At the foot of Vermont’s tallest peak, Mount Mansfield, Stowe Mountain Resort has quality terrain and some of the longest ski runs on the USA’s east coast. Accessible on Vail Resorts’ Epic Season Pass, it is a good option for intermediate and expert skiers. It also has a picture-perfect

Left: Jasper and Daisy playing in the snow at Jackson Hole. Centre: Meg, Daisy, Jasper and Matt on their journey Right: Daisy in the Canadian Rockies

A 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City International Airport, Park City is the USA’s largest ski resort – home to an impressive 7,300 skiable acres. Also accessible on the Epic Pass, Park City has more than 340 trails to explore and is great for families. The Park City Village is a great base, with ski and snowboard rental, shops, restaurants and cafes to stop for lunch or grab a hot chocolate.  89


Jackson Hole


Daisy wildlife spotting in Grand Teton National Park

• Eat healthy snacks on the road to avoid bickering, hyperactivity and headaches • Drink lots of water to avoid altitude sickness • Be mindful of ice on the road, especially driving early morning • Drive during the day to avoid collisions with wildlife such as moose, deer, elk and bison • Take regular pitstops to stretch your legs and burn some energy • Have a flexible itinerary and be prepared to change depending on the weather • Pre-order ski rental equipment online to save queuing up and allow more time on the slopes • Pop the kids in ski school or make use of the daycare services on the mountain to allow time for you and your partner to ski together • Get outside and rug up – the snow villages at night are pure magic! • Ski Monday to Friday as there are fewer crowds than on weekends, particularly at resorts close to major cities • BYO ski clothing including ugg boots, mittens, beanies, pants, jackets and goggles, and hire skis and ski boots at each resort • Buy a car seat on arrival in the USA from Walmart (approx. AUD$60) rather than paying a daily rental fee


JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING Jackson Hole is one of our favourite destinations in the US. Its name derives from the 80km-long valley that runs along the eastern side of the Teton Mountain Range. It is the ideal family skiing destination, with a heavy focus on teaching the kids how to tear up the terrain. There is even a Kids Adventure Map, which has exclusive trails mapped out with runs including Transformer Bumps, Stokeville and Princess Woods, as well as hidden playgrounds. For the big kids, there is plenty of intermediate and advanced terrain (albeit steep) to keep you satisfied for a solid five days. Don’t forget to cast your eyes sideways for views of the majestic Grand Tetons!

HEAVENLY SKI RESORT, CALIFORNIA AND NEVADA Get up in the clouds with unmatched panoramas of Lake Tahoe and the High Sierra Desert at Heavenly Ski Resort, also accessible on the Epic Pass. We hired a babysitter for our youngest as the snow was just too good! Our daughter mastered the double blue runs in a matter of days in stunning bluebird conditions. Skiing all day with the fresh mountain air, topped off with an epic sunset, cold local beer, outdoor hot tub, a cheeky schnapps (or two) and a log fire … suffice to say we adjusted very well to this mountain life.

BANFF AND LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA Arriving in Banff, Alberta, is like stepping into a children’s storybook of oversized gingerbread houses, with snow-capped peaks, enchanting chateau-style boutiques, bars and restaurants … all set against the Canadian Rockies. We quickly headed off along one of our all-time favourite drives, the Icefields Parkway. With our toddler in a carrier on dad’s back, we hired snowshoes and went exploring in the off-road terrain. A visit to Lake Louise in winter is a must to take the kids ice-skating on one of the prettiest ice-skating rinks we’ve ever seen, surrounded by majestic peaks, and to visit the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. As night falls, it becomes a choice of an outdoor hot tub, a glass of red whilst resting weary feet in front of your own log fire in a rustic cabin, or sitting by the outdoor fire pit stargazing under a blanket of stars. Magic.


N I A T N U O M S D N U O R G Y A L P Colorado’s family-friendly ski resorts are each as unique as a snowflake. Find out which one is right for you!


Shooting stars scar the sky and a bonfire crackles as you roast s’mores (marshmallows and chocolate). Live music plays and the kids unleash their energy snow tubing. This is the template for a perfect winter evening, delivered by Ullr nights, at Snowmass. Snowmass is one of four Aspen Snowmass mountains – its siblings include Buttermilk (with cruisy greens), Highlands and downtown glamour-puss, Aspen Mountain. But 92

this season, Snowmass prances centre stage thanks to a USD$600 million base development, including the ski in-ski out Limelight Hotel Snowmass, complete with indoor five-storey climbing wall. Check-in at The Hideout at Buttermilk or the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Centre at Snowmass – award-winning child facilities with ski schools, rock climbing walls and a butterfly room.


Image: Jack Affleck

Snowmass offers great views

Top: Go ice skating in Vail Village Right: A family enjoying a fire pit in the village at Winter Park


VAIL If Goldilocks had to pick a resort, it would be Vail. It has everything, from steep and deeps to the wilderness of

seven back bowls, to mountain-top beginner areas (so everyone gets that ‘mountain summit experience’). There’s even a dedicated area for family learning, with designated slow zones. But when it comes to families, it all boils down to two words: Adventure Ridge. This is a football stadiumsized snow park with ski bikes, a kids’ snowmobile track, a slippery slope of rip-roaring tubing lanes, bungee trampoline, and snowshoeing. There’s also two ice-skating rinks and a bowling alley. Or head to Imagination Station in the Lionshead Parking Structure for experimental play, including a Mad Scientist Lab.

WINTER PARK Winter Park is the quiet achiever of the Colorado area, but has serious pedigree. With a 75-year history, Winter Park is Colorado’s longest continuously operating ski resort. A huge drawcard for parents is that there is no need to drive, thanks to the Winter Park Express that travels from downtown Denver to the resort slopes in two hours. Upon arrival, you’ll discover a brimming basket of activities. Cuddle up on a sleigh ride with a hot chocolate pause, meet Siberian and Alaskan huskies while dogsledding, rev up with snowmobiling and tubing or slow down with snowshoeing. Activities amp up on the weekend with free ice-skating  93

Image: Aspen Skiing Company

With a Wild West cowboy vibe and snow so light they’ve trademarked it – Champagne Powder® – this is family central with unexpected added extras. Instead of rolling out the red carpet, Steamboat rolls out the little red wagons – letting you pull gear, skis, and even kids around Gondola Square when dropping them at the Kids Vacation Club, a Western-themed kiddie haven. On-snow, while exploring fun kids runs (56 per cent of terrain is beginner and intermediate), keep an eye peeled for the new Taco Beast, an on-mountain roaming snowcat serving healthy Mexican eats to hungry tummies. Thaw out in the natural springs at Strawberry Park Hot Springs, or on the waterslides at Old Town Hot Springs.

Image: Larry Pierce


lessons and live music at Sunset Après. There’s also a train-shaped jungle gym playground in the village, and kids – and their gear – can be pulled around on one of 200 wagons available for guests’ use.

COPPER MOUNTAIN Ski in-ski out condos, an excellent ski school and long, wide open runs make this laid-back resort a great choice for families. One of Colorado’s hidden gems, Copper Mountain Resort is around two hours’ drive west of Denver. The award-winning trail system and naturally divided terrain means it is super easy to navigate. There are 94

three peaks, with the easiest green runs on the right above West Village, intermediate blue runs in the middle above Centre Village, and advanced black diamond runs to the left above East Village. There’s also a tubing hill, snowplay area Critterland, and iceskating.

TELLURIDE Ahhh, we’ve always had a crush on Telluride, that box-canyon town with serious soul. Under the big-name reputation runs the throb of a tight knit ski town with a quiet sophistication. Meanwhile, above town, the ski slopes sing with options. Beginners

Left: Children skiing at Steamboat Ski Resort Top right: Riding the Rocky Mountain Coaster at Copper Mountain Bottom right: A family at Telluride Ski Resort

score this season with The Meadows, Telluride’s popular starter area, upgraded with a new 97m covered surface lift. And if you are a keen spring skier and lover of warmer temperatures for cold-resistant kids [I don’t understand the context of this in this statement-– I think if your kids are cold-resistant you don’t need warner temperatures??], you’ve found the sweet spot – Telluride’s slopes excel late season, when its high elevations and northern exposures preserve snow for an extended Rocky Mountain high. Ski in-ski-out is up in Mountain Village, or stay downtown with a free gondola to the slopes.



SKI 10 SKI 30

SKI10 10 days 4 Mountain Pass

Adults AUD 832* Child/Teen (7-17) & Senior (65+) AUD541*

SKI30 Unlimited 30 Consecutive Day Pass

Adults AUD 985* Child/Teen (7-17) & Senior (65+) AUD 568* Includes 2 days of skiing in Thredbo! 10% Discount Aspen Snowmass on-mountain restaurants

Kids S FREE*ki

7 to 1 2 equip yrs with m renta ent purc l hase

Unbeatable Airfares Sydney to Aspen

BOOK NOW for great fares to the USA with Delta/Virgin!

Up to 40% Off Luxury Aspen Hotels & Apartments

*Valid 1 Jan to Mar 2020. Must be purchased in conjunction with discounted accommodation packages. Kids Ski Free – receive free lifts for same amount of days as ski rental purchase, minimum 2 days. Pay by 31 August 2019 and other conditions apply.


DOING BIG WHITE RIGHT Looking for a ski resort that’s the perfect mix of convenient, memorable and magical? Look no further than Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. With something always going on in this incredible resort, here’s our guide to making the most of each hour of the day as a family 8am: WAKE UP IN PARADISE Get to Big White by flying direct to Vancouver, followed by a 45-minute connecting flight to Kelowna and a 55-minute shuttle up to the mountain. Big White is Canada’s largest ski-in ski-out resort village, making for some great accommodation options for families looking to get comfortable in a snowy home-away-fromhome. Top picks include Sundance Resort, just above the Bullet Express chairlift, which features a heated outdoor pool, waterslide, hot tubs, kids’ room, movie theatre and a gym. Copper Kettle Lodge has luxe units with stone fireplaces, granite benchtops and private hot tubs, while Trappers Crossing has modern multi-level townhouses that offer ski-to/ski-from access from Perfection Run, as well as easy access to the village centre just across the road. For the ultimate parenting hack, order your groceries online at Vacation Foods before you arrive on the mountain, and have them delivered directly to your condo.

Big White has an award-winning kids’ centre

8.45am: HAVE THE INSTRUCTORS PICK THE KIDS UP Parenting hack number two, coming right up! Big White has an award winning ski school, and instructors will come and pick the kids up from your accommodation for their lesson. While the children are enjoying the Kids Centre (they may never want to leave), grownups can explore the mountain. Sign up for adult lessons, join a complimentary Snow Host tour at 10.30am daily to get the local down-low on the best runs, or hop on a chairlift and see where the runs take you. With 119 trails across the mountain and a green run from the top of every chairlift, it’s easy to explore a whole lot of terrain regardless of ability level. And did we mention Big White gets more than 7m of natural snowfall each season?

12.30pm: LUNCHTIME! When it’s time to have lunch with the family, head to any one of the resort’s 18 on-mountain eateries. A favourite is Globe Cafe & Tapas Bar for Tabletop S’mores. Think graham crackers, a chocolate ganache and homemade giant marshmallows delivered to the table with your own personal tabletop fire pit.

2pm: FUN TIMES IN HAPPY VALLEY Work off the sugar rush at Happy Valley, which is paradise for kids. Accessible throughout the day and night thanks to the complimentary Lara’s Gondola, it’s a hub of activities including 96

Ski among the signature ‘Snow Ghosts’


MORE INFO: has accommodation packages, including Kids’ Ski Free packages for children aged 12 and under, from $4450 per family

Enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride to dinner - an authentic Canadian experience

dogsledding, tubing, snowmobiling (there are also kid-sized mini snowmobiles), snowshoeing and ice skating/little hockey games on Canada’s highest outdoor skating rink. There’s even an ice-climbing tower, where all ages can strap crampons to their boots and attempt to ring the bell at the top.

5pm: GO NIGHT-SKIING – OR HORSE SLEIGH RIDING Five nights a week, the lights come on and the lifts start spinning for night skiing at Big White. With access to 2,569m of terrain, it is Western Canada’s largest night skiing area, with the longest vertical drop in North America. When it’s time to settle in under the starry winter sky, opt for a magical experience with the onmountain horse sleigh rides at night. Cosy up under a blanket and enjoy hot chocolate while gliding through snow-covered forest trails. You can even take the entire family to a gourmet dinner in a cabin in the middle of the woods for a unique dining experience.

7pm: CARNIVAL NIGHT AND FIREWORKS Big White hosts a huge range of free activities throughout the week for families – including a family games night, bingo night, free hot chocolate nights and twice-weekly carnival nights, along with fireworks every Saturday evening. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day … until you wake up and do it all over again! 97



SOUTH AFRICA When did you move to New Zealand and why?

I moved to New Zealand in 2006 because my partner (at the time) and I decided we wanted to raise kids near the ocean and where it’s a different pace to South Africa.

How often do you return to South Africa?

I try and get back at least every couple of years because it’s my home and will always be, regardless of where I live. I love South Africa and it’s in my blood. I take my kids every time because I want South Africa to be part of them too and ensure they understand the culture and the language/s. South African-born Urzila Carlson is a stand-up comedian who regularly performs at live events including the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Just for Laughs at the Sydney Opera House, and appears on television shows such as Spicks and Specks and Have You Been Paying Attention? She lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with her wife and two children, aged six and two.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Benoni, which is the same place Charlize Theron is from. It’s 30 minutes east of Johannesburg.

Where did you holiday in South Africa with your family as a child?

We would go to a game farm called Ingwelala and we spent most school holidays and long weekends there. It was some of the best times as a child because we had so much freedom, and could just run around in the bush to our hearts’ content. 98

Can you recommend any family-friendly restaurants in South Africa? You can take your kids to Spur Steak Ranches - they have a playground and child minders in every restaurant. In saying that, I took my two to all the restaurants I wanted to eat at and the kids were catered for every time.

What makes South Africa a great destination for a family holiday?

The exchange rate! Kid friendly! Activities up the wazoo! Amazing food! Great coffee! Amazing sights! And have I mentioned the exchange rate?! South Africa is the most beautiful country in the world and it’s super easy to get there!

How has South Africa changed over the years? Do you have any tips for flying Culturally it’s a much richer place now, to South Africa with kids? and it has become more arty too. Maybe it’s always been arty, but when I was in Johannesburg I visited a few art centres and I was blown away.

You took your kids to South Africa earlier this year. What did you do?

We did everything! Game watching, ocean swimming, we went to the Palace of the Lost City in the North West Province and we even did side car tours in Cape Town.

What are the top attractions for families?

You cannot go wrong ever, in all time as long as time exists, if you take your family to a game safari. You can go to the Eastern Cape and see the big seven (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo on land; Southern Right whales and Great White sharks in the ocean).

There are no tips, even flying short haul with kids can be a pain, but what I find easiest is to book the later flight out of Perth and that way they at least sleep part of the flight because it’s night time. We were very lucky, both of ours slept the entire way from Perth to Johannesburg, but when flying back they slept 20 minutes combined. So my suggestion is to book nothing to do the day after landing –give yourself the chance to eat comfort food and recover from the flight.

Any other advice for families considering or planning a holiday in South Africa?

Just go. Don’t overplan, try to go with the flow. Hire a 4x4 because some of the best restaurants/experiences/views are off road.. Urzila Carlson is the Australasian Ambassador of South African Tourism.


See the big seven including leopard on safari in South Africa

Urzila spots an elephant at a waterhole

Urzila’s children on safari




Angela Saurine finds plenty of surprises during a trip with her toddler to the Oberon region of NSW 100

Image: Jenolan Caves

A tour of the Jenolan Caves

Jenolan Caves House

Oliver’s eyes dart from side to side as he leans back in his baby carrier taking in the limestone formations that surround us. They stare up at the ceiling of the chamber before coming back to mine for reassurance. It’s understandable. The sparkling crystal compositions are astonishing for an adult – I can only imagine what a oneyear-old must think. I had been a bit nervous about taking a toddler underground for a tour at the Jenolan Caves, around a three-hour drive from Sydney in Central NSW. But when a family reunion in Oberon brought us to the area, I thought it was a great chance to revisit one of the places I loved from my own childhood. I have vivid memories of driving through the large cave tunnel on a bus during a school excursion and coming across a gorgeous, Swiss-style village on the other side. And with trips to Europe off the cards for the moment, surely this is the next best thing? There are nine caves to explore, and it’s tough deciding which one to go

Image: Destination NSW

BABY AND TODDLER TRAVEL Angela and Oliver ready for their big tour

with. In the end I opt for the 1.5-hour Diamond Cave tour, which includes the easiest, most accessible cave, the Imperial Cave, and the Diamond branch. When I call to book, the most-visited Lucas Cave, which offers great variety, also sounds appealing. “Maybe we can do that one the next day,” I say optimistically. “Maybe see how he goes with the first one...” comes the reply. Fair point. Oliver is due for a nap around the time our tour starts, and I envisage him sleeping in his carrier for at least part of it. But he is far too enraptured in the spectacle for that. He cries at times, and I retreat to the back of the group so other guests can hear the guide’s explanation. I find myself wishing I had booked a shorter tour. But then there are magical moments that make me glad I am giving him this early taste of adventure. Fortunately, our guide, Geoff – a Qantas pilot who is so passionate about the caves he moonlights there once a month – is understanding. “I’ve been there,” he says, empathically.

The Imperial Cave follows an ancient river passage and is mostly level. The Diamond branch is lined with pure white crystal formations. “It’s like stepping into a jewel box,” Geoff says, and he is right. The tour includes an optional visit to the northern Jenolan Underground River via a 66-step spiral staircase. Despite my handicap – if I can call my adorable offspring that – I suffer severe FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and I must check it out. I am glad I do as seeing the clear, turquoise water turns out to be one of the highlights. For both of us, I think. Oliver giggles when I bend over to go through low tunnels. He loves seeing the lights flick on and off and running his hands along the chicken wire netting which has sadly been installed to protect some sections of the cave. While he is too young to appreciate it, other kids in our group are fascinated to see the skull of an extinct Tasmanian devil, found in the cave, on display. All up we conquer 386 steps during the tour, and I am feeling beat. But  101


Oliver enjoying the delights of Mayfield Garden

“Seeing the clear, turquoise water turns out to be one of the highlights” 102

The Blue Lake at the Jenolan Caves

there is much more in store. Next, we head to Mayfield Garden – Australia’s largest privately-owned cool climate garden. Around a 15-minute drive from Oberon, 16ha of the garden is open to visitors for 363 days a year. The Hawkins Family Garden – encompassing an extra 49ha – is also open four times a year during seasonal festivals, including on the day we visit. That means we have a total of 65ha to explore! We catch the bus to the top of the hill and meander back along the accessible gravel pathway that cuts through the middle. While it’s impossible to explore every nook and cranny with a pram, we get a pretty good taste. Oliver sings in his pram for much of the way, so I figure he is enjoying it. We stop to watch swans and ducks paddling on the lake, and he laughs uproariously when we take a wrong turn and have to carry the pram down some stairs. He also gets a

kick out of the rusty old Bedford truck near the kiosk where we enjoy woodfired pizzas cooked in an outdoor oven for lunch. It is a great vibe, in glorious sunshine with live musicians performing nearby. The Oberon region is also popular for foraging and fossicking. The area’s pine forests provide ideal conditions for exotic wood mushrooms, which are prized in Europe and served at some of Sydney’s best restaurants. My uncle, aged in his 70s, remembers finding sapphires on the side of the road when he worked as a woodchopper at Vulcan State Forest at Black Springs with my grandfather 50 years ago. Consi Gaiser, from Oberon Visitor Centre, says people still find gems every weekend, including the odd diamond. “It’s just a matter of patience and not giving up,” she says. You can hire fossicking kits, which include a large sieve, small

Image: Destination NSW



Oberon is around three hours’ drive from Sydney in Central NSW. Be prepared for a long, steep and winding descent to the Jenolan Caves.


Choose from a convenient room in Jenolan Caves House, the motel-style Mountain Lodge, the self-contained Binoomea Cottage or Jenolan Caves Cottages, a short drive from the caves. MORE INFO:

sieve, shovel and gold pan, from the centre and have a go in the beginners’ luck noodling patch outside, for a gold coin donation. Consi shows us how to separate large rocks from small rocks before washing the dirt off and spreading them out in the sun, looking for shiny rocks. We come away with a few small treasures, which will go into Oliver’s box of special things. Before we return to our accommodation at Jenolan Caves House, Consi also tips us off that you can often see the resident platypus at Blue Lake, on the other side of the cave arch entrance, at dawn and dusk when there are fewer people around. But Oliver falls asleep in the car on the way back, and it is dark when we arrive. Instead, we head straight to dinner at the grand Chisolm’s Restaurant. When we enter, the waitress kindly fetches a highchair and gives Oliver crayons and

Oliver tries his hand at fossicking in the beginner’s luck patch at Oberon Visitor Centre

paper, which he promptly tries to eat. Fortunately, the food from the buffet is ideal for adults and toddlers, including roast chicken with polenta, succulent braised lamb shank, risotto, chick peas and creamy mash potato. Oliver spends much of the evening pointing at the high ceiling. Combined with the grand piano and large draped curtains, it is about as different to where we usually eat in the kitchen at home as you can get. Built in an alpine Federation-style in the late 1800s, Caves House is on the NSW Heritage Register. While it’s looking a bit tired, with paint peeling from the walls, it is soon to be transformed under a $10.4 million funding commitment from the NSW Government which will see all 36 guest rooms refurbished, including ensuites in every room, as well as upgrades to the restaurant, the reception and

entry areas and improvements to the heating, cooling and power systems. It follows an $8.5 million grant announced last year to upgrade the gift shop and guides’ office, build a theatrette and add improvements to the existing walking tracks and boardwalks around the Blue Lake. We walk down to the lake the next morning. Again, it’s too late to see the platypus and, even if it wasn’t, Oliver’s happy chattering would no doubt scare it away quickly. But it’s lovely seeing the reflection of fern trees in the still blue water, and having it pretty much to ourselves before the tourist hordes arrive. I vow to return when Oliver is a few years older, and set the alarm early to catch the platypus then. The writer was a guest of Oberon Tourism, Jenolan Caves and Mayfield Garden. 103


CROWN TOWERS PERTH Great Eastern Highway Burswood, Perth. WA



CROWN TOWERS PERTH Perth’s largest hotel has everything a family could wish for BY ELISA ELWIN



Forming part of the Crown Perth entertainment complex, this luxurious hotel overlooks the Swan River, just a stone’s throw from the CBD. It’s a five minute walk from the Burswood railway station, with trains whisking you straight into the city centre, and around 15 minutes’ drive from Perth Airport.    

Escape the West Australian heat in summer with a splash in the huge, lagoon-style pool (with plenty of plush daybeds where parents can kick back and relax), or head to the gorgeous onsite spa by acclaimed interior designer Blainey North. The spa has a Roman hot tub, sauna and aqua-themed treatment rooms where you can indulge in a massage, plus a large fitness centre and private training programs. After a big day of exploring, settle in on The Great Lawn with a tub of popcorn during one of the hotel’s family-friendly film nights under the stars, or head next door to catch a show at the Crown Theatre.  


“Fancy” is an understatement when describing the Crown Towers Perth, and after taking out the top gong for Best Luxury Accommodation at the 2018 WA Tourism Awards, we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It really is like a city within a city, with countless restaurants, beautiful leisure facilities and entertainment venues, making it ideal for a family holiday when only the best will do.    


From studios to one-bedroom villas, the Crown Towers offers a diverse selection of rooms and suites (with 500 guest rooms it’s actually the largest hotel in Perth!). If you’re travelling with kids, the Deluxe Twin Room ticks all the right boxes, with two Queen-size beds, a spacious ensuite with double vanities, and a state-of-the-art entertainment system. Get your caffeine fix from the in-room Nespresso coffee machine and take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi to stream all your favourite kids shows at a time that suits them. Crown Towers Perth regularly offers family specials (including free breakfast for kids and in-room movies), so check the website to snap up the best deals.  

FOOD AND DRINK Whether you want to dine on sophisticated Japanese cuisine, fine French fare or rustic Italian, there’s no shortage of places to eat at the Crown Towers Perth. The diverse culinary stations at Epicurean are a good choice for families, with something to satisfy everyone (think salads, dim sum and a decadent dessert spread), while the relaxed Merrywell gastropub will do the trick if burgers and buffalo wings are in order. Head to the Rockpool Bar & Grill to savour its signature steak and seafood, or feast on multiregional Chinese dishes at the awardwinning Silks restaurant. Those with a sweet tooth beware! The breakfast buffet at Epicurean has no less than three (yes three!) chocolate fountains … that’s if you fancy chocolate for breakfast. 

EXPLORE  If you can draw yourself away from the Crown Towers’ leisure facilities, jump aboard a train into central Perth to get hands-on with the Scitech Discovery Centre’s interactive exhibits, or see gold being poured into bars at the engaging Perth Mint. You can picnic amidst the natural wonderland that is the Kings Park and Botanical Garden, or cruise through the Indian Ocean’s turquoise waters to Rottnest Island, home to quokkas and idyllic white sand beaches. If the kids need to burn off some energy, then a day at Adventure World will do the trick. Aside from letting loose at Kahuna Falls (Australia’s largest water playground), they can also come face-to-face with koalas, wombats and emus at the Aussie Wildlife Experience.  MORE INFO:   The writer was a guest of Crown Towers Perth. 105



This new resort combines luxury with family fun BY ELISA ELWIN

Image: Jeremy Austin and Angie Villa

LOCATION Surrounded by crystal clear waters and framed by prehistoric Baka trees, the Six Senses Fiji is a newly opened resort that sprawls across 48ha on Malolo Island. It’s situated in the spectacular Mamanuca archipelago, which is just a 35-minute ride from Port Denarau Marina on a dedicated Six Senses speedboat with other guests, or can be accessed by helicopter from Nadi International Airport.

WHY WE STAYED HERE Despite being so easily accessible from Nadi, the Six Senses Fiji has that remote, Robinson Crusoe 106

feel, with white sandy beaches and swaying tropical palms that are the epitome of paradise. We love that it combines luxurious facilities with a strong commitment to sustainability, and one of the largest off-grid solar installations using Tesla Battery packs in the Southern Hemisphere. The resort has implemented numerous programs to conserve energy and reduce its environmental footprint, including the establishment of a large fruit and vegetable garden, so you can holiday knowing that Fiji’s natural beauty is being preserved. They also have one of the best children’s programs in Fiji!


ACCOMMODATION The two-bedroom Hideaway Suite has been designed with families in mind, with these stunning, thatched-roof villas with outdoor bathrooms (with tubs) and plunge pools. They also come complete with in-room coffee machines featuring biodegradable coffee pods, and complimentary Wi-Fi, not to mention on-demand movie channels to keep the kids entertained. Alternatively, you can opt for one of the divine multi-room residences with breezy living areas, private pools and fully equipped kitchens, where you can prepare your own meals.


ACTIVITIES There’s plenty to do at the Six Senses Fiji without even leaving the resort, including daily yoga classes at the purpose-built pavilion and Fijian cooking classes. Stretch your legs on the family-friendly hiking trail, enjoy a hit on the tennis court or see what’s happening beneath the water’s surface while snorkelling on the house reef. The Grow With Six Senses kids’ club (complimentary for kids aged 4-12) is a hive of activity throughout the day, with tree planting, bracelet weaving and pizza making all on offer. While children are in the capable hands of the resort staff, parents can have some ‘me’ time at the Six Senses Spa. Spoil yourself with a deep tissue massage or experience a singing bowl meditation session, before sweating it out in the sauna and steam rooms. You can also

experience your own mini-retreat at the Wellness Centre, which offers personalised programs for boosting your current lifestyle.

FOOD AND DRINK Begin the day with a hearty breakfast buffet at the Tovolea Restaurant, where you can feast on fresh, organic ingredients from the resort garden, with local seafood and Fijian-inspired dishes also available throughout the day. Sustainably sourced cafe-style fare is served overlooking the marina at the RaRa Restaurant, or you can grab mouth-watering pizzas at TeiTei, which is situated beside the outdoor cinema. If you’re just after snacks or ingredients to prepare a meal in your villa, the Gourmet Deli is well stocked with everything you need (as well as housing an ice-creamery where homemade sweet treats are available).

EXPLORE The Experiences Centre at the resort organises a host of waterbased activities around the island, including fishing, diving, sailing, SUPs and kayaking. Take your kids to visit a local Fijian village as part of an island-hopping day trip, or charter a catamaran for a family sunset cruise. Older kids can take their first scuba diving steps with a junior certification course, or learn to surf in the gentle waves breaking in the lagoon. End the adventure with a movie under the stars at the KaloKalo outdoor cinema. Also available are boat trips to Fiji’s legendary Cloudbreak surf spot, for more experienced wave riders. GETTING THERE: The writer was a guest of Six Senses Fiji. 107

Kombi vans are a common sight at Bluey’s Beach


Surfing families will love this chic boutique accommodation on the NSW Mid North Coast BY ANGELA SAURINE

LOCATION Bluey’s Motel is conveniently located in the heart of the village at Bluey’s Beach in the NSW Barrington Coast region, a three-hour drive north of Sydney and 20 minutes from the twin towns of Forster and Tuncurry. The motel is just a 200m walk from the beach, with a newsagency, mini supermarket and bottle shop directly across the road.

WHY WE STAYED THERE I have fond memories of family holidays in Forster and waterskiing at nearby Smiths Lake as a teenager, and have been keen to return to the region after having a child of my own. When I was looking for accommodation for an event in the area, I came across Bluey’s. I’ve long been a fan of boutique hotels and fell in love with its cool, beachy vibe in photos.

ACCOMMODATION Bluey’s has the feel of an old-school motel, with a stylish, modern design. There are 10 refurbished rooms, and you can choose which one you want when you book via the website. We stayed in the Boomerang room, (Room 4), which has a king bed, plenty of room for a 108

portacot, a kitchenette with a microwave and bar fridge, a huge flatscreen TV mounted to the wall and a patio overlooking the pool and spa. I love the timber headboards which were made from an old railroad bridge, the tree trunk bedside tables and rain shower in the bathroom. I have two key requirements in a hotel room – hooks on the back of the bathroom door and power points beside the bed so you can charge your phone overnight. Bluey’s ticks both boxes. The unbreakable, chip-and-scratch-resistant Corelle dinnerware made of tempered glass is a bonus when you have a toddler! There are also bright and colourful coastal paintings by local artist, Nicole Bramble, in every room. There’s a BBQ in the courtyard at the rear, and old jetty pylons from Tuncurry dotted outside. The selfcontained two-bedroom unit, Wallingat (Room 10), which has two single beds and a queen, is popular with families, and adjoining rooms are also available. The motel is set to undergo further renovation, which will see awnings and balconies on each room.

FOOD AND DRINK There are some great options for food in the village including Huey’s at Bluey’s pizzeria and

Image: El Rattray



bar across the road, which opens at 5.30pm seven days a week. The casual eatery is decorated with surfboards hanging from the roof, paintings of kombi vans and vintage beer posters, with a framed Rip Curl rash vest worn and signed by Sunny Garcia on the wall. There’s also a fish and chip shop just down the road, while Drift Café has great food and coffee. But the real surprise is Kembali Café, which serves Indonesian dishes including nasi goreng and a breakfast of coconut rice with peanut and herb salad served with fried eggs, bacon and chilli, plus excellent fruit smoothies. Surf movies play on a TV in the corner and there are signs for Bintang beer and a wooden carving of gecko, making you feel like you could be in Bali or Lombok.

ACTIVITIES The area’s biggest drawcard is its beaches, and it’s the ideal location for parents who surf. It’s just a 200m walk to the uncrowded Bluey’s Beach, with Elizabeth and Boomerang beaches to the north and Sandbar, Cellito and Seal Rocks to the south. Mums can also do a yoga or pilates class or get a facial at Bluey’s Beach Natural Health Centre.



186 Boomerang Dr, Blueys Beach. NSW

The area is also known for its beautiful lakes, and you can go kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, boating and fishing at both Wallis and Smiths Lakes. Hike along the Booti Hill Lakeside Walking Track or the Cabbage Palm Loop Walking Track in Wallingat National Park, keeping an eye out for birds including wonga pigeons, king parrots and glossy black cockatoos, as well as wallabies, kangaroos, goannas and echidnas. It’s worth taking a drive to Seal Rocks to check out the view from Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. Forster and Tuncurry have plenty of shops to peruse and a cinema. Kids will love rolling down the sand dune at One Mile Beach, swimming at the natural rock formation – The Tanks – and enjoying an ice-cream in town. The writer was a guest of Bluey’s Motel. 109


HOW TO BE A GREENER TRAVELLER Love to travel but want to do so in a way that has the least possible impact on the environment? Lauren and Oberon Carter share their tricks on how to holiday sustainably 110


In an age where we are all becoming more and more conscious of our impact on the planet, travelling can be a dilemma. Think of all those tiny sachets of jam and vegemite and singleserve plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles you are likely to encounter, let alone the plastic cutlery, take-away food, packaged snacks and bottled water… and that’s after you’ve travelled the long distance to get there. Zero Waste Tasmania founders Lauren and Oberon Carter believe that just because you expect to see some waste whilst on holidays does not mean you have to accept excessive waste. They say with a little forward planning and preparation you can enjoy a waste-free holiday without taking all the fun out of it. Four years ago the couple, who live in southern Tasmania with their three daughters - Audrey, 15, Xanthe, 12, and Maisie, 8 - decided to get serious about minimising their ecological footprint, successfully reducing their energy

consumption by more than 60 per cent and transitioning to living completely waste and recycling free. They wrote A Family Guide to Waste-free Living to help and encourage other families do the same. Here are their travel tips:

ON HOLIDAYS • Explore travel destinations closer to home, to avoid the fuel consumption brought about by travelling long distances • Look into transport methods, such as train, boat, bike, bus and carpooling to reach your destination • Choose accommodation options where you can self-cater and bring food along with you or find lowwaste food suppliers nearby • You may find items that are free to take in hotel rooms or other holiday locations. But you know, you don’t have to take them just because they are being offered! If you know that you’re going somewhere that offers

free sample-size offerings of toiletries and so on, you might like to come prepared with your own products from home, in a reusable container • If you’re staying somewhere that happens to offer a self-serve buffetstyle breakfast, then look for the options that do not involve excess packaging or single-use plastics. Note that laid-out spreads of bread and cheese and cereals in selfserve canisters may have been decanted from regular store packaging • Take along your waste-free outings kit so you’re prepared for eating out • Look for a local market or greengrocer and buy fresh food snacks, such as fruit and veggies, that naturally come without packaging • Check if there are composting and recycling facilities where you’re staying and make the most of them, or if it’s feasible, come prepared with your own container to collect them for composting when you get home  111


IN THE AIR • Take your own snacks in your own home-bought container. If you are in a rush to get to the airport, take your empty container and ask a food vendor at the airport to put food into it (we recommend something non-leaky like a nice bit of lemon tart). Choose foods that don’t require utensils, as you’re unlikely to be permitted to take your own on the plane. Check your airline’s restrictions with regards to this • Carry your own reusable drink bottle. Free water can be found at the airport in the bathrooms or water fountain stations • Carry your own fabric napkin or serviette, for those turbulence spills • Say ‘no thanks’ to wasteful airline food. You have the power of choice • Utilise on-board recycling facilities, if available. Otherwise, keep your waste with you until you find a suitable recycling location for it afterwards • Keep food scraps for composting later, but only if you’re allowed to bring those food items into your destination location – check local quarantine laws • You may want to carry on a lightweight bag or container for storing food scraps • Take your own headphones, because really, why does anyone need those free in-flight ones? • Take your own reusable cup for your warm drink of choice. You may like to check beforehand whether these will be accepted by your airline. However, most cafes in airports should accept them. • Carry lighter luggage, because a reduced load will mean less fuel required and fewer greenhouse gas emissions 112


Before you go away, make sure you’ve popped these essential items in your reusables kit. • Thermos • Reusable chopsticks • Drink bottle • Reusable coffee cup • Reusable cutlery • Enamel plates and cups • Reusable straws • Cloth napkin • A lunchbox or container

• Offer solutions to your airline – you may want to let them know that you would like them to reduce their food and packaging waste and provide in-flight recycling or composting facilities • Support airlines that are accountable for the waste they produce and that demonstrate significant positive actions to reduce waste • Carbon offsetting is a widely promoted action that is intended to address the greenhouse gas emissions produced by flying. This involves paying money for someone to plant enough trees or undertake clean-energy projects that offset the emissions from your flight. However,

there are criticisms of this approach; for example, that offsetting somehow absolves people of their wasteful or environmentally harmful actions and effectively allows people to pay for their complacency around waste. We recommend that people give priority to their own behaviours and try to reduce waste through their actions. This is an edited extract from A Family Guide to Waste-free Living, published by Plum/ Pan Macmillan Australia.






Keep food and drinks fresh with Thermos FUNtainer® drink bottles and food jars. Suitable for toddlers to kids aged 12, with fun designs including Cars 3, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Star Wars and Frozen. Food jars can keep food hot for up to five hours and cold for up to seven hours, while liquids can be kept cool for up to 12 hours in the drink bottles. RRP: Bottles $27.99-$31.99; food jars $29.99-$34.99


It will be easy to identify your luggage on the baggage carousel with these matching suitcases for mum, dad and kids. The soft roller suitcases come in small, medium and large. The affordable bags are at TK Maxx stores. RRP: Small $79.95 Medium $99.95 Large $119.95



The latest products travelling families need to know about

3. LONELY PLANET’S 4. GAMES ON THE GO ULTIMATE TRAVEL QUIZ BOOK Get ready to hit the road and fight What capital city is closest to the Equator? Which three countries border Africa’s Lake Victoria? From what French city does the fish stew, known as bouillabaisse, originate? Pit your worldly wits against family and friends with this travel trivia book, which is split into three chapters. Day-tripper is a gentle introduction to the world of travel quizzing; Traveller is a bit more challenging, while Explorer takes it up another notch. There are 100 quizzes in all, most of which have 20 questions. There’s also a few themed rounds to test readers’ expertise of a particular subject, including books, museums, film locations, landmarks, sports venues and wildlife. Perfect for any social gathering, rainy days and road trips. This family-friendly quiz book also makes a great gift. RRP: $14.99

boredom with Lonely Planet’s Games on the Go cards. Aimed at kids aged 9-12, the colourful activity set includes 40 cards and an erasable pen housed in a small, compact box. Choose from a fun, creative range of games including brainteasers, bingo, word searches, maze races and drawing activities. RRP: $19.99  


The latest book from New York Times best-selling author, Aaron Blabey, is sure to be a winner among little wannabe travellers. When Pig, the world’s greediest Pug, ventures off on holiday, he causes chaos wherever he goes. This is the latest in a series of books including Pig the Fibber, Pig the Elf and Pig the Grub. RRP: $13.50 113

EXTRAS Kate and her family on a hiking holiday in Corsica in the Mediterranean

Insider Interview


After being exposed to many different cultures travelling with her parents as a child – from trekking in the Himalayas when she was 12 to climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania at age 15 – Kate Barker now loves sharing adventures with her own kids, Lachlan, 17, and Georgiana, 15. The general manager of World Expeditions brand UTracks, which offers guided and self-guided walking and cycling holidays in Europe, takes her children on trips at least a couple of times a year. The lucky teens have experienced everything from seeing the northern lights in Lapland to climbing volcanoes in Sicily; cycling through tea plantations in Kerala, India; crossing Corsica on foot and canoeing through the jungles of Borneo. MY IDEAL FAMILY HOLIDAY IS… one which is active and engaging. MY FONDEST FAMILY HOLIDAY MEMORY IS… walking around Mont Blanc with my kids (then aged 8 and 10), leading the donkeys, and later at the refuge (mountain hut), seeing them play UNO with the other children, none of whom had English as their first language. MANY FAMILY TRAVELLERS ARE NOT AWARE THAT… kids are the best icebreakers and open doors to different travel experiences. THE THING THAT MAKES A GREAT FAMILY HOTEL OR RESORT IS… one that has a good vibe. For example, the Downtown Camper in Stockholm has a movie room, suspended nets to listen to music, yoga sessions, table tennis on every floor and my teens’ favourite: the best breakfast buffet, which runs until midday. EVERY FAMILY SHOULD EXPERIENCE… dogsledding in the Arctic, trekking in Nepal, cycling in Spain … I can go on. MY TOP TIP FOR TRAVELLING WITH KIDS IS… keep things fun, active and eye-opening. 114

The clan in Iceland

with kids For the best family travel deals, latest news, tips, blogs and competitions visit Out & About with Kids new website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

VISIT US and sign up for our monthly newsletter



Imagine. A place where nemo hides and mermaids dive.

Daydream Island Resort is now open. With a range of dining options and even more activities, this island paradise gives you the chance to breathe in the ocean air and explore one of the Whitsunday’s most unique destinations with the famly!

Kids under 12 eat and stay free*. Book your stay at

1800 075 040 | | Daydreaming? Join the Club - *Terms and conditions apply. Up to four children under 12 years stay free using existing bedding. Meals available at participating outlets from special kids menu.

Profile for Out & About with kids

Out & About with Kids #58, Winter 2019