with kids STATES OF WONDER Australia’s best hidden gems revealed
Issue 62 • RRP $7.95 62
VOTE IN THE 2020 READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS WIN A STAY AT A BIG4 HOLIDAY PARK POST-PANDEMIC TRAVEL TRENDS
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BARRINGTON COAST • BYRON BAY • COOK ISLANDS • FINLAND • GOLD COAST • MANLY MISSION BEACH • NEW ZEALAND • TASMANIA • THAILAND • VIETNAM
ONE OF TEN BIG4 HOLIDAY PARK VOUCHERS Vote in the Out & About with Kids 2020 Readersâ€™ Choice Awards for your chance to win one of ten vouchers for a two-night stay at any BIG4 Holiday Park in Australia
Out & About with Kids’ annual Readers’ Choice Awards recognise the best family travel experiences on the planet, including destinations, attractions, accommodation, tours and airlines. Help us choose the winners by voting on the Out & About with Kids website before 5pm AEST on Friday September 25, 2020. When you vote you’ll go in the running to win one of ten two-night accommodation vouchers for two adults and two children in a self-contained cabin at a BIG4 Holiday Park of your choice. With locations across the country, you will find the perfect option for your family. To vote, visit the Out & About with Kids website outandaboutwithkids.com.au For more information about BIG4 Holiday Parks visit big4.com.au/the-big4-experience * Terms and conditions apply Each prize has a RRP of up to $500. Subject to availability at individual parks. Not available during Christmas, school holidays, long weekends, or peak season. Voucher valid for 12 months from date of issue. Voucher is not transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash. BIG4 Membership Status Credits will not apply when using this voucher. Not to be used with any other discounts or special offers. Voucher valid for a single stay only, cannot be used at multiple parks. Cannot be used at BIG4.com.au affiliate parks. Booking is required for this prize; please mention the accommodation voucher (Roombank slip) when making your booking. Only original slips will be accepted; you must surrender the accommodation voucher to reception on arrival.
Double Island Point on Noosa’s North Shore
contents UPFRONT 6 Reader Instagram photos
Our readers share their travel adventures
7 Editor’s letter 8 Moments
Barrington Tops National Park
11 What’s new
The latest attractions, accommodation, experiences and more
The hottest offers to book your next family getaway
24 What’s on
Upcoming festivals and events
26 Post-pandemic travel trends
ANGELA SAURINE examines the ways coronavirus will change how families travel
34 Embracing life’s biggest adventure
Action woman FLIP BYRNES has found many new adventures with her kids in tow
39 Sowing the seeds
CATHERINE MARSHALL reflects on how road trips across the Nullarbor Plain and Route 66 set her children on their own paths to adventure
Erawan Waterfall in Thailand
AUSTRALIA 44 COVER STORY: States of wonder
ANGELA SAURINE reveals the best hidden gems in each Australian state and territory
66 Mindful moments in Manly
The coronavirus pandemic has given families the chance to slow down and spend quality time together, ANGELA SAURINE writes
68 Road trippin’ in Tassie
MEG LAW and her family board the Spirit of Tasmania ferry for a fun-filled road trip along the state’s west coast
74 On a mission for wildlife
Children’s book author EVA WELSH shares her love of Mission Beach in Queensland
The lobby of Elements of Byron at Byron Bay
Auckland-based travel writer ELISABETH EASTHER and her son Theo share their favourite New Zealand travel experiences
82 Cook Islands calling
After a lifetime of adventures to all seven continents, SHANEY HUDSON and her husband find the Cook Islands provide the perfect balance for a family getaway
86 Terrific Thailand experiences
Adventure travel company G Adventures reveals its top experiences for a family holiday in Thailand that mixes a whole lot of bona fide culture with a little bit of sand and relaxation
90 Backpacking with a baby
YAYERI VAN BAARSEN and her partner find taking their five-monthold daughter backpacking through Vietnam is a great way to meet the locals
96 Frozen fun in Finland
102 Celebrity Q&A
ELISA ELWIN reunites with her daughters in Lapland for the adventure holiday of a lifetime
Whakapapa in New Zealand
Image: Elisabeth Easther
76 Trans-Tasman temptations
EXTRAS Weekend Today and Australian Ninja Warrior host REBECCA MADDERN loves getting away and spending quality time with her husband Trent and their daughter Ruby
The OAWK team reviews Reflections Holiday Parks Forster, Elements of Byron and Inner Wilderness Hotel in Finland
110 How toâ€Ś avoid getting sick on holidays
PIPPA STRICKLAND reveals how to stay healthy when youâ€™re away
112 Must Haves
The latest products travelling families need to know about
114 Insider Interview
RACHAEL HARDING from Club Med shares her favourite family travel experiences 5
READER INSTAGRAM PICS Our readers have shared some awesome photos of their adventures on social media. Tag your family holiday snaps #oawk for the chance to see them republished here. 1. @dreamchasersabroad Litchfield National Park Northern Territory 2. @janinehallnz Bali 3. @ theotherpup Keith Longhurst Reserve, NSW 4. @Catherine_best_ Sandringham, Victoria 5. @stucrabb Canberra, ACT
EDITOR’S LETTER So, how are we all doing? The last few months have certainly been a rollercoaster (but not nearly as fun as those at Disneyland, unfortunately!). It’s been great to make our first tentative steps towards holidaying domestically again, before being hit with further outbreaks that have rattled our confidence, and led to further restrictions in some areas. Like it or not, this is the way things are going to be for the foreseeable future. My attitude is that I will still make plans, within reason, for domestic getaways. I believe it’s important to have something to look forward to in these challenging times, for our mental health. But I think we all have to be prepared that we may have to cancel things at the last minute, and the inevitable disappointment that comes with it. As I write this, I was meant to be on a tropical island as part of a cruise of the South Pacific. Oh, what I would give to be building sandcastles with my toddler on a white sand beach right now! But, if we are going to be stuck in our own country for a while, how lucky are we to live in Australia? There are so many amazing places to see, as you will discover in our cover story about the best hidden gems in each state and territory. Whether you are only allowed to travel within your own borders, or can venture further afield, we hope this gives you lots of ideas and maybe even lifts your spirits a bit. Of course, we live in hope of a COVID-19 vaccine, and continue to dream about overseas destinations as well. While this issue once again has a strong emphasis on Aussie holidays, we’ve also included some stories about international destinations that have done well in the fight against coronavirus and been touted as possible frontrunners for a ‘bubble’ with Australia (just loving this new lingo!), as well as bucket list destinations such as Lapland, which families are likely to plan years in advance. When talk of a bubble with New Zealand began, I immediately fired off an email to Auckland-based travel writer, Elisabeth Easther, requesting a story. I met Elisabeth and her adorable son, Theo, a few years back, on a French Polynesia cruise aboard the Aranui, a half-passenger-half cargo ship. I knew, with their adventurous spirits, they would have lots of great tips for exploring their homeland. While the OAWK team has been travelling less, we’ve also taken the opportunity to give our website a much-needed redesign. We’re super proud of the new-look site, and we’d love it if you logged on to take a look. Our website is now an even better resource to research your next family holiday, find the latest deals, great videos, and read back issues for free. While you’re there, make sure you vote in our 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards, to go in the running to win a stay at a BIG4 holiday park anywhere in Australia. There are ten to give away, so you’re in with a pretty good shot! Until next time, we hope you and your family stay safe and healthy, and keep on dreaming and planning. Angela Saurine, editor
Angela and her son Oliver enjoying a postlockdown picnic at Manly Beach in NSW
Out & About with Kids Print & Digital outandaboutwithkids. com.au Publisher Elisa Elwin email@example.com +61 413 770 550 Editor Angela Saurine angela.saurine@ oawk.com.au Advertising Enquiries: advertising@oawk. com.au
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 A family exploring Lake Gairdner National Park. Image: South Australian Tourism Commission
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.
BARRINGTON TOPS NATIONAL PARK Can there be anything more joyful than the sight of children running playfully in the snow? These little tykes certainly seem to be enjoying themselves as they frolic in Barrington Tops National Park, around 300km from Sydney, on the north coast of NSW. As the second highest area of Australia after the alps, the park receives a regular dusting of snow each winter, and celebrated its 50th anniversary of being gazetted as a national park last year. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia area, Barrington Tops National Park was shaped by volcanic lava flows millions of years ago. It rises from near sea level to 1586m, and protects one of the largest temperate rainforests in mainland Australia, along with a host of diverse habitats and a wide range of bird and animal species. Visitors can expect to find high altitude rainforests, tree ferns, snow gums and beautiful mountain views. The park and the adjoining State Conservation Area are the traditional land of several Indigenous groups, offering a wealth of resources, including edible fruits such as the native cherry, lilly pilly and figs. It is home to several culturally significant sites, including ancient campsites, scarred trees and sacred ceremonial places. The edges of the wilderness area are easily accessible, with some of the most dramatic views to be found from Careys Peak, and Devils Hole and Thunderbolts lookouts. Families who time their visit to the Barrington Coast region right, have the unique opportunity to build a sandcastle and a snowman in the same day.
WHAT’S New NATURE PLAY IN PORT STEPHENS
Climbing trees, rolling down sandhills and scrambling over rocks are just some of the joys that kids can experience with Tomaree Coastal Adventures at Port Stephens, NSW. Outdoor educator, walking guide and mum, Amy Robinson, launched the business to share her love of Tomaree National Park and its beaches, coastal forests, wetlands and ancient volcanic peaks. She creates structures and nature art and gives kids of all ages the opportunity to explore their surroundings. Options include twohour nature play sessions on weekdays for children aged one to six, and WILD family adventures during school holidays that may include bush walking, nature craft, bug hunts, exploring rock pools and survival skills, including starting fires and building shelters. tomareecoastaladventures.com.au
A DIFFERENT KIND OF GIFT A new gifting website aims to give parents and relatives a sustainable alternative to plastic toys. Sydney mum, Ashleigh Lieberman, came up with the idea for Wildlings after she became frustrated with the large volume of toys her sons were given every Christmas and birthday. “I always wanted to provide inspiration for gift alternatives that my kids actually needed and would enjoy, so swimming lessons were often my suggestion,” she says. “But I found there was no convenient place to send my relatives to buy these types of experiences, which was frustrating. I thought other mums must feel the same, so Wildlings was born.” The site partners with small businesses around Australia to create a marketplace for experiences, including dance and karate classes, swimming lessons, virtual character
play dates and public speaking and debating workshops, with more suppliers to be added in the coming months. Once an experience is purchased, the buyer is given a voucher that can be emailed straight to the recipient. Lieberman’s main mission is to keep plastic toys out of landfill by driving down demand, and creating a shift in the way society shops. “We want to minimise the value children place on toys and help them to appreciate memories, experiences and time spent with loved ones, first and foremost,” she says. “There’s quite a disconnect between consumers and the rates at which we purchase new things. We often don’t think about all of the implications we’re raising for the environment, and this needs to change.” thewildlings.com.au 11
WOLLUMBIN MT WARNING - AN ICONIC VISTA SWIM WITH TURTLES AT COOK ISLAND
Find your moment
There are family memories to be created in a place of sparkling seaside villages and sweet valley townships. From a morning surf lesson to a lunchtime river cruise (and yes; mud crabs are always a great idea). Sample fruits of the world and then browse galleries, hit the markets, or simply choose to unwind and take in the fresh green vistas at every bend in the road. Welcome to the Tweed.
TWEED REGIONAL GALLERY
Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre is a destination the whole family can enjoy. View the Galleryâ€™s dynamic exhibition program, take in the stunning views to Wollumbin/Mount Warning whilst strolling the grounds and relax in the cafe. Open Wed to Sun (see website for further details). artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au
Journey through the orchards by tractor train on our plantation safari and relax on our wildlife boat cruise. Meet our farm animal friends in the fauna park, sample and learn about the 500 seasonal fruits that we grow on our 200 acre farm. tropicalfruitworld.com.au
H O S A N N A FA R M S TAY
Six beautiful chalets nestled in the pristine Northern NSW hinterland. Our two storey chalets surround you in understated luxury and comfort, with a min.120 m2 of spacious living area. ecOasis resort is family friendly. The property is designed so you can experience a closeness with nature. ecoasis.com.au
TROPICAL FRUIT WORLD
Hosanna Farmstay is country hospitality at its best! Head out for the day and enjoy the fresh air, grab a coffee, see the animals and head for a swim in the dam. Or stay a while! We have plenty of campsites for campers, and huts and cabins for glampers. hosannafarmstay.com.au
HOTELS, RESORTS & HOLIDAY PARKS
VERDANT VIETNAM STAY
A high-end resort has opened between the towering limestone karsts and verdant island mountains at Lan Ha Bay in Vietnam. Accessible by ferry, Hôtel Perle d'Orient Cat Ba – MGallery is the first luxury international property on Cat Ba Island. With an open-concept layout, modelled after traditional Vietnamese homes, each of the 121 guestrooms are designed with neoclassical furnishings to encapsulate the spirit of the heyday Indochine era. They include high quality hardwood floors, claw foot bathtubs, rattan wicker chairs, traditional ceiling fans and intricate wall tiling patterns. The resort has its own private beach, an ocean-themed kids’ club with indoor and outdoor activities, a gym, two restaurants and three bars. There’s also a wellness centre on the rooftop, with an outdoor pool and a spa offering facial and massage treatments. Rooftop yoga classes are held at sunrise and sunset. Nearby Cat Ba National Park is home to a diverse range of plant and animal life, and is well-known for ecotourism, with many tour operators offering trek packages. all.accor.com
HOBART HOBBY FARM
Kids can raid the chicken pen for eggs to cook up at breakfast with their parents back at their villa, thanks to the new hobby farm at Ramada Seven Mile Beach near Hobart. Other residents include two alpacas, a cow and her calf, and goats, which children can meet during daily feeding and petting sessions. Part of the Club Wyndham South Pacific collection timeshare vacation club, the 22ha property is just steps from the beach and 20 minutes’ drive from the city. Echidnas and wallabies also graze throughout the grounds, and it has a playground, tennis courts and a heated pool and spa. The onsite restaurant and bar, Beaches, serves modern Australian cuisine with produce sourced from local Tasmanian suppliers. The property offers stylish, self-contained villa-style accommodation ranging from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom presidential suites. Guests can also enjoy starlit nights of damper, billy tea, and toasted marshmallows around a new fire pit. wyndhamhotels.com
HOTELS, RESORTS & HOLIDAY PARKS
ECO RESORT’S REFRESH
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has unveiled its upgraded eco cabins following its forced closure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Within 30m of the lagoon, the cabins have louvre windows and large glass sliding doors that lead out to a deck furnished with two large deck chairs. The low impact, environmentally sustainable glampingstyle tents were built by Eco Structures Australia and are the most affordable type of accommodation at the resort, with shared bathroom facilities. The 44-room resort is located at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, with flights available from the Gold Coast, Brisbane (Redcliffe), Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. ladyelliot.com.au
GRAND HOTEL EVEN GRANDER Fiji’s Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva is set to undergo a refurbishment after being taken over by InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG). The famous hotel will be renamed InterContinental Grand Pacific Hotel Suva by 2022. Built in 1914, it has played host to countless celebrities, politicians and royalty, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who has visited the hotel three times and even gave a speech from the balcony at a ball in 1953 as part of her first tour of the empire
as Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Harry and Meghan) also visited in 2018. The hotel even features on the Fijian ten dollar note. Overlooking the ocean on Victoria Pde, it has a pool, gym and spa. The new addition will be IHG’s fourth hotel in Fiji, alongside Holiday Inn Suva, InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa in Natadola Bay, which is co-owned by the Fiji National Provident Fund, and Six Senses Fiji. ihg.com
HOTELS, RESORTS & HOLIDAY PARKS
TIONA GETS A TOUCH UP
Tiona Holiday Park at Pacific Palms is undergoing a major revamp after being sold last December. As well as adding Wi-Fi, the new owners have upgraded rooms in The Lodge, added balconies to the Beach Villas and air-conditioning to most cabins. There are also plans to add eight more cabins. For those who love glamping, four new tree-house style safari tents should also be available to book by
late spring or early summer. Surrounded by Wallis Lake, Seven Mile Beach and Booti Booti National Park, the pet-friendly holiday park, 15 minutesâ€™ drive from Forster, is a great destination for families who love outdoor activities such as stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and hiking. It also has a pool, barbecue facilities, an outdoor playground and an indoor games room. tiona.com.au
Central Coast Holiday Parks Central Coast Council
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HOTELS, RESORTS & HOLIDAY PARKS
An artist impression of the new lobby and check-in area
PARADISE RESORT ready to RE-OPEN 16
HOTELS, RESORTS & HOLIDAY PARKS
The Superior Resort Room located in Captains Quarters
The revamped waterpark at Paradise Resort Gold Coast
Family favourite Paradise Resort Gold Coast is set to re-open in September after receiving a major revamp while it was closed during the coronavirus lockdown. Instead of standing down staff, the resort’s general manager, David Brook, offered them the opportunity to be repurposed throughout the resort, with chefs on paintbrushes, housekeepers working in gardens, and kids’ club attendants cleaning out the waterpark. “They all pitched in to work on everything from maintenance and cleaning, to engaging with local tradies and larger renovation projects,” Mr Brook says. When the doors reopen, guests will be welcomed into a refreshed lobby with a new check-in desk and an area to relax while the kids explore Dusty's Jungle Gym. The central resort area, which features two giant waterparks, a lagoon pool and spa, has been given a makeover, with both waterparks repainted, all safety netting replaced, a new soft floor and grass laid and the entire area resurfaced. The Adventure Playground has also been moved
next to the large waterpark to make way for the new 'Zone 4 Adults' area. On-site mini-mart, ‘Splashes’, has been completely gutted, and will return as a new retail and grocery store stocking a wider variety of essential holiday needs and boutique clothing. The Bistro is also undergoing a renovation and will waddle back as 'Penguins Restaurant'. The first 66 rooms in Dusty's Digs are also being refurbished from top to bottom, with new bathrooms, carpet, paint, flooring, beds and furniture. They are scheduled to be ready before Christmas 2020. All other rooms will be sanitised and given a general maintenance check prior to re-opening. The second stage of the accommodation renovation is set to begin in 2021, with all rooms due for completion in 2022. “Our team are as proud of their resort as I am, and cannot wait to welcome guests back soon and show them what we’ve been up to,” Mr Brook says. The resort is offering savings of up to 25 per cent off accommodation plus $150 resort credit when you book three nights, and $300 resort credit for five nights. The offer is valid for bookings on select dates between September 1, 2020 and November 30, 2021. Terms and conditions apply. paradiseresort.com.au 17
AUSTRALIA’S FIRST ALPINE GONDOLA AT THREDBO
NSW ski resort Thredbo has welcomed Australia’s first alpine gondola. The eightperson, 1.3km-long European-style gondola will operate in winter for snowboarding and skiing, and in summer for mountain biking. The resort also completed several other big developments in the lead-up to the snow season, including the installation of a fully-automated snowmaking system on Dream Run, a new car park at Friday Flat with 75 extra spaces, and an expanded grooming fleet. “We are committed to doing everything possible to drive visitation, not only to Thredbo but the wider Snowy Mountains,” the resort’s general manager Stuart Diver says. “We have no doubt that the gondola, which is now Australia’s highest and only alpine gondola, will provide just another driver for tourism to the area in both winter and summer.” thredbo.com.au/activities/gondola/
GO BANANAS IN COFFS HARBOUR
The Big Banana Fun Park has re-opened, with a range of improvements made during its enforced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including landscaping, painting and other refurbishments. The Ice Rink is the only attraction not to reopen as it is receiving a major revamp, while the waterpark will stay closed as usual in winter. Rides and attractions are individually priced, and tickets can be pre-purchased online. bigbanana.com 18
‘HUMAN ZOO’ TO OPEN IN CHINA A wildlife sanctuary and reserve with seven hotels and four trains is set to open in China in 2022. Worldwide China, also known as The Luxury Human Zoo, is the brainchild of Bangkok-based architect and designer Bill Bensley, who also created the Four Seasons Tented Camp and Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand and his own Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild luxury tented camp in Cambodia. Set on more than 800ha in southern China's Guangdong province, the attraction will touch on everything that Bensley is passionate about – sustainability, conservation, wildlife protection, education and unique design. Bensley was originally approached to design a zoo with more than 2000 hotel rooms, but he isn’t a fan of zoos and, after visiting many in China, he turned the concept on its head and proposed a wildlife sanctuary and reserve which dedicated 95 per cent of the land for animals to run free and five
per cent for people to observe and learn about the animals from the comfort of luxury hotels. “It is my dream that the mistreated animals of overpopulated zoos in China could run free there,” he says. “Of the 60,000 vertebrates worldwide, we are reassigning nonpredator animals from less fortunate Chinese roadside zoos, to create an ecosystem where they can all thrive. I am planning a wildlife reserve without cages or predators, as that simplifies the equations significantly. Instead of fences, we will use natural barriers to separate species which might not get along, such as rivers, mountains, forests or hahas (a recessed landscape design element that creates a vertical barrier while preserving an uninterrupted view of the landscape beyond).” The hotels will be spread across three zones representing the continents of Asia, Africa and Australia. Operated by Hyatt, Asia's hotels will be called Dzong and Dragon's Nest, while
Africa's will be called The Colony Lodge Hilton and Stone Town Conrad. Australia will have three hotels inspired by the gold rush and the settlers who flocked to the country: the Waldorf Astoria World Wild, the Fish River Settlement by Waldorf Astoria and the tented camp, Kamp Koala. The four trains will visit all three continents in the reserve. The three luxurious sleeper trains are named the Tasmanian Tiger, Oriental Expresso and the African Queen. Following the head conductor wagon, each train will have five cabin wagons with suites that can accommodate up to 40 guests, a restaurant wagon and an observation wagon. The fourth train, the Iron Horse, will wind around the park and take people to eight different whistle-stops. At each stop people will experience a presentation likened to a Broadway show, educating them on different aspects of wildlife, environmental protection and sustainability.
GARDEN OF LIFE
It’s one of the most beautiful islands in the world, but Bora Bora’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Moana Adventure Tours has launched a community garden project for its employees to plant fruit and vegetables for personal consumption, with the produce grown set to help improve the daily lives of around 40 families. FA’A’APU ORA, which means Garden of Life in Tahitian, will be free of chemicals and pesticides. The company is calling for donations to help buy seeds, tools and materials for the garden in the French Polynesian paradise. moanaadventuretours.com
BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO LINEN
Sheets and pillowcases donated by Shangri-La hotels will be used to make face masks for vulnerable people in communities across Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka under a new partnership between the hotel group and global hygiene solutions provider, Diversey. The Linens for Life Face Masks program will see 12,500kg of used linen, donated by 21 Shangri-La hotels, repurposed by non-governmental organisations into reusable fabric face masks. In some cities, the upcycling of masks will also generate employment opportunities for members in low socio-economic community groups. In Bangkok, Thailand, the duo has teamed up with Cedar Learning Centre, where local community members will turn the clean, but used, bedsheets, duvet covers and pillowcases into face masks and distribute them to refugees and asylum seekers in the city. Volunteers at WHY Loving Care in Penang will create and distribute the masks to vulnerable children in local schools and orphanages, while in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, with the help of the Kechara Soup Kitchen, disadvantaged women will receive an extra source of income from the sewing of face masks, which will be distributed among poor families and the homeless. The partnership builds on the successful Soap For Hope collaboration between the two companies, which has seen more than 400 tonnes of hotel soap slivers recycled into 3.5 million new soap bars for at-risk communities over the past three years. shangri-la-sustainability.com
Image: Lachlan Gardiner
WORLD OF HELP ON OFFER
World Expeditions has launched a Lend a Hand appeal to help raise desperately needed funds for communities across Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, India and Peru who are suffering greatly from the impacts of COVID-19. The company, which specialises in small group trekking and cycling adventure holidays, will distribute funds to guides, drivers, porters, cooks and the countless support staff who depend solely on income from travel and tourism. World Expeditions CEO, Sue Badyari, says COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the international travel and tourism industry, particularly those in poorer countries where safety nets were limited or non-existent. “With literally no government subsidies for people whose income has disappeared, these people are not only at a higher risk of contracting the virus, but are also deeply affected by the economic downturn,” she says. “The trickle-down effect on their families and broader communities is truly devastating. Sadly, there is no JobKeeper for these people. I am confident that many travellers who remember, with fondness, the guides and support crews who helped make their overseas adventures so memorable, will be keen to show support now.” The Lend a Hand Appeal is being administered by the company’s charity arm, the World Expeditions Foundation, with 100 per cent of the funds raised distributed to World Expeditions' local partners and their employees, with no administration fees withheld. worldexpeditions.com
G ADVENTURES’ GENOROSITY Adventure travel company, G Adventures, has created three separate funds to support its guides, porters, cooks and local community projects during the coronavirus pandemic. The CEO Wellbeing Fund enables travellers to express their gratitude by contributing to the CEOs (Chief Experience Officers) who have helped turn their trips into life-changing experiences. The fund will help promote the health, wellbeing and happiness of guides who may need financial support following an accident, natural disaster, or through illness or difficult circumstances. While G Adventures has always helped its CEOs on an ad-hoc basis, the current landscape has prompted the decision to create a more permanent, long-term fund, which will be managed by the company’s non-profit partner, Planeterra. The Porters Support Fund has been established specifically for Inca Trail porters, cooks and horsemen who have been unable to work due to COVID-19. It gives past travellers who have hiked the Inca Trail, Lares Trek, Salkantay Trail or Choquequirao Trek the chance to give back to the team that makes the trips possible.
The Planeterra Impact Fund will help people at its 85 projects around the world, which rely on travellers visiting to earn an income, with the organisation encouraging travellers to donate money to help these social enterprises weather the COVID-19 storm. G Adventures founder, Bruce Poon Tip, has been humbled by the outpouring of concern and compassion from travellers and will match the first $50,000 of donations to the CEO Wellbeing and Planeterra Impact Funds. “I've had hundreds, if not thousands, of letters asking me how to help,” he says. “This is what makes our community of travellers different – we transcend travel when our collective humanity extends support during difficult times. These funds all have been launched to answer requests to help people in need. It is one of the most heartwarming movements I've witnessed in my 30 years of building G Adventures as a leader in social enterprise and community tourism.” The company says 100 per cent of donations will go directly to the people impacted. planeterra.org/covid-19/
BIG4'S BIG BARGAIN
Book a stay at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort before September 18, 2020 and up to two kids will stay free. The deal applies for any cabin accommodation or powered camping site. The awardwinning resort at Airlie Beach has a large, lagoon-style heated pool, waterslide park, two giant jumping pillows, mini golf, a kidsâ€™ club and lots of fun activities. Children must stay with a paying adult. Maximum numbers in cabins apply. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Please note some restrictions may apply on facilities due to current COVID-19 regulations, guests will be advised prior to stay of restrictions. adventurewhitsunday.com.au/ kids-stay-free/
ELEMENTS OF BYRON WELLNESS PACKAGE
Fancy a rejuvenating Byron Bay getaway? Elements of Byron resort has introduced an Elements of Wellness Package, priced from $477 per night for a family of four. The package includes five nights’ accommodation from Sunday to Friday, daily breakfast, daily group outdoor beachfront yoga (weather permitting), three outdoor group exercise sessions, a return solar train ticket into town and five luxury bath amenities for use in your freestanding bath tub (which mum is sure to love). Guests will also be able to use the resort’s tennis court and 24-hour gym, and enjoy unlimited in-house movies and Wi-Fi. Elements of Wellness stays are valid for check-in on Sundays only. Extra nights are bookable at retail rates. Blackout dates apply. elementsofbyron.com.au/wellness/
Sage Hotels has launched its Rediscover the Road package, which includes a free room upgrade at selected hotels, a $25 fuel voucher and free parking. Prices start from $169 a night. Book now, for stays until September 30, 2020. The hotel group has properties in West Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Wollongong. nexthotels.com
KANGAROO ISLAND SELF-DRIVE PACKAGES
Enjoy an Australian wildlife safari on a self-driving holiday on Kangaroo Island with SeaLink South Australia, which is offering a range of weekend getaways, bonus accommodation offers and discount vouchers to use at attractions, cafes, adventure activities and cellar doors. KI Weekend Getaway packages include one-night’s accommodation, return ferry for passengers and their car, discount vouchers and other bonuses, including free breakfast. All packages can be extended to two nights. Prices start from $272 per person at Kangaroo Island Seafront Hotel in a Sorrento’s Room. Bonus accommodation offers start from $327 per person and include return ferry travel for passengers and their car and three nights' accommodation staying at either Emu Bay Holiday Homes in a Rustic Cabin or Kangaroo Island Cabins, Kingscote in a one-bedroom cabin. The offers are valid for certain dates until August 31, 2020. sealink.com.au
All deals are subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.
WHAT’S On SUMMER FESTIVAL OF LORD HOWE ISLAND, NSW
FEBRUARY 22-26, 2021 Bop away to performances by ARIA Award-winning singer/ songwriter/guitarist Jeff Lang, cooking classes with Rick Stein’s protégé Tom Kime, and guided snorkelling, diving, kayaking, fishing and hiking adventures during the Summer Festival of Lord Howe Island. Packages start from $2,883 per person twin share in a Palm Room, or $3,459 per person twin share in a Transit Hill Room. They include six nights’ accommodation at Pinetrees Lodge, full breakfasts, lunches (either at Pinetrees, or a gourmet BBQ hamper or picnic lunch), afternoon teas, four-course dinners (and Tom Kime’s five-course festival dinner) and island airport transfers. Prices do not include flights to the island, located 600km off the coast of NSW, and guided activities are extra.
Image: Vanessa Gillen
PARRTJIMA – A FESTIVAL OF LIGHT, NORTHERN TERRITORY
JUNE 11-20, 2021 Cooktown will mark the 251st anniversary of Captain Cook’s landing in the Endeavour River as part of the Cooktown and Cape York Expo 2021 – The Rising Tide. Originally planned for the 250th anniversary this year, the event will focus on reconciliation, regeneration and economic recovery to put the spotlight on the history, adventure, culture and natural beauty of Cooktown and Cape York. https://www.facebook.com/cooktown2021/ 24
Image: James Horan
COOKTOWN EXPO – THE RISING TIDE, QUEENSLAND
SEPTEMBER 11-20, 2020 See a dazzling light and art show in a desert landscape unlike anywhere else in the world at Parrtjima – A Festival in Light, in Alice Springs. Originally scheduled for April, the event was postponed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and will now be held over ten nights from September 11-20. Parrtjima 2020 is all about lifting the spirits from the work of artists – old and new – to the spirits of audiences who attend the festival in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). Each evening, nearly 2km of the beautiful MacDonnell Ranges will come to life with spectacular lighting effects, crowned by the brilliant star-scape above. parrtjimaaustralia.com.au
AROUND THE WORLD
Mums and dads who attended World Expo 88 in Brisbane as kids can continue the tradition with their own offspring, with the next global mega event to be held in Dubai next year. Dubai Expo was originally scheduled to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to coronavirus. It will now run from October 1, 2021 until March 31, 2022. A World Expo is a large international exhibition designed to unveil future-shaping innovations, showcase the achievements of nations and promote cultural exchange. Buildings and products revealed at previous World Expos include the Eiffel Tower, the Seattle Space Needle, the typewriter, the television and even Heinz Tomato Ketchup. To date, 33 cities have hosted a World Expo, from London to Osaka. Billed as ‘the world's greatest show’, there will be nearly 200 country pavilions showcasing game-changing innovations by the world’s brightest minds. Attendees will be able to see global superstars perform in the planet’s largest 360-degree projection dome, marvel at daily parades and taste dishes crafted by celebrated chefs. The expo will explore three sub-themes –the Sustainability Pavilion will feature extraordinary architecture that has been developed using the latest green building technologies; the Opportunity Pavilion provides a call to action, asking every visitor to become a part of a global mission to create a better future; and the Mobility Pavilion will focus on how people, goods, ideas and data move, from ancient exploration to artificial intelligence. expo2020dubai.com
A family looking for koalas at Cape Otway Lightstation in Victoria during a road trip
The emergence of COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our lives, especially when it comes to travel. As we adapt to a new way of life, we will also find new ways to holiday. And some of them will actually be pretty good. Here are some of the big trends and changes you can expect to see over coming months.
Image: Visit Victoria
1. ROAD TRIPS
ANGELA SAURINE reveals how coronavirus is set to change the way families travel
POST-PANDEMIC TRAVEL TRENDS 26
With flights still few and far between, and cruising on hiatus, the humble road trip is experiencing a major comeback. Now is the ideal time to pack up the car and explore your home state. Simone Scoppa from Stayz, which recently launched the #RoadTripPledge campaign to support regional Australia, says car journeys are going to be the main way to holiday for many Aussie families for the foreseeable future. “Road trips allow for family units to remain in their own little bubble and travel to one of the many great regional destinations our country is blessed with, book a holiday house all to themselves and then go out and spend within these regional areas while observing social distancing protocols,” she says. CamperMate CEO Nick Baker says there has been a big increase in downloads of the road travel experience app in recent months. “The triple digit growth rate in users of the app demonstrates there are genuine green shoots in the road back for tourism,” he says.
2. HOLIDAY PARKS
Going hand in hand with road trips, holiday parks are becoming even more popular than usual. With concerns over the economy, they are a more affordable option than, say, a five-star resort, and kids absolutely love them. BIG4 Holiday Parks spokeswoman Katie Cage says its properties are easily accessible across the country, and have everything from camping under the stars to resort-style cabins and glamping accommodation. â€œOur parks offer wide open spaces, loads of facilities, and unique experiences that can be enjoyed both in-park and in the surrounding region,â€? she says.
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3. SELF-CONTAINED ACCOMMODATION
As well as self-contained accommodation such as holiday houses, apartment hotels will also be more attractive in a post-COVID world. TFE Hotels spokeswoman Jodi Clark says Adina Apartment Hotels’ offer all the facilities families need to remain safe within their bubble – plenty of room to spread out and play, a kitchen where they can cook and eat all their meals in rather than sitting in cafés with others, and laundry facilities to do their own washing as and when they need.
Apartments hotels such as Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane will be popular in the new world
4. CUSTOM TOURS
5. BUY NOW, TRAVEL LATER
The economic downturn has led to concerns about finances for many people, but who wants to give up holidays? This has led to new payment options, such as Play Travel by Afterpay, which adopts a traditional layby model so customers are able to book a curated holiday package and pay for it in weekly instalments over a two-to 12-month period before they travel. The purpose-built website lets customers
More and more travellers are requesting custom trips, in which they can choose their own departure date and travel in a private group, World Expeditions CEO Sue Badyari says. “There has been a surge in bookings for custom itineraries, with families. Self-guided trips are ideal for the current times because they offer complete flexibility, allowing people to travel independently without a group and under their own steam, but with all our supports working in the background.”
Families walking with donkeys beneath Mont Blanc in France
choose how much they want to contribute to their ‘holiday fund’ each week and build an itinerary based on their budget. “Play Travel is a direct response to customer feedback,” the company’s managing director Andrew Paykel says. “Play Travel’s interest free payments open the door for many Australians who want to start travelling again, but also want to be in control of their personal finances and avoid coming back from a trip with debt lag.”
6. MULTIGENERATIONAL TRAVEL
It’s been a growing trend for a while, and taking holidays with grandparents will be more valued than ever as a result of the pandemic. “There is strong interest in multi-generational and family travel, especially after being separated for some months,” UTracks general manager Kate Baker says. “Families are wishing to spend quality time together.” Crown group chief operating officer Pierre Abrahamse says togetherness was emerging as the biggest trend for 2020 and beyond. “People want to reconnect with those they have been separated from for the past few months, and hotels are responding. Guests are calling to ask if they can book co-joining apartments so that they can enjoy a holiday with their kids and the grandparents in the one place, or so they can have friends who live in regional areas finally able to join them in the city for restaurant or gallery outings.”
Image: Tourism Tasmania
7. NATURE EXPERIENCES
After being cooped up inside during lockdown, fresh air and space to roam will be high on the agenda, with increased demand for outdoor adventures. “Travellers are looking for uncrowded and remote experiences that give them the chance to reconnect with nature and the natural world, at least partly in response to isolation and having been contained for so long,” Sue Badyari from World Expeditions says. “Active holidays are intrinsically safe because walkers or cyclists spend almost every waking moment outside, where it’s natural to practise physical distancing.” World Expeditions offers guided family walks in places such as Tasmania, including a three-day Cradle Mountain Family Adventure. In2thewild Tiny Holidays CEO Nic Chin says tiny houses also offer the A family hiking in Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain National Park
perfect antidote. “Being restricted to our homes made people realise just how much they miss being in nature, and its power to relax and rejuvenate you,” he says. “We’ve seen a significant increase in interest in tiny house stays since the restrictions have lifted. Each tiny house has self-check in and gives guests the opportunity to take a breath of fresh air, let the kids run wild, and stare up at the sky. It’s exactly what we need after being cooped up inside.” StayWell Holdings global director of revenue generation Fiona Godfrey says there has also been strong demand for country retreats and places that are more isolated and considered ‘safer’. “Families are seeking out open spaces, lesser populated areas, and places they can travel by car that still offer great experiences for their children,”
she says. “The likes of the Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains [in NSW] are examples of destinations that have a lot to offer, but feel less crowded than a city escape, even during peak periods.” 50 Degrees North and Nord Journeys CEO and founder Tietse Stelma agrees, noting travellers are veering towards remote stays and private cabins, which allow a greater degree of privacy and separation from others if needed. YHA Australia CEO Paul McGrath says it all depends on where you live. “Families in the cities are eager to get out of their suburbs and into nature, to escape their ‘iso’ bubbles,” he says. “On the other hand, families from regional areas may be keen to stay in the cities, to take advantage of museums, galleries, shops, cinemas and restaurants opening back up.”
Image: Majestic Whale Encounters
Every year thousands of whales migrate north from Antarctica to breed and give birth in the warmer waters off Australia’s coast. Humpback whales can travel as far as North Queensland and Western Australia’s Kimberley region, while southern right 8. can BUCKET LIST EXPERIENCES whales be sighted around the Great With the Australian human Bight race forced and to face is also a really great way to forge new up towards the issue Cape of mortality Byron onen themasse, expect friendships with like-minded adventure eastto coast. see aIfboom you are in lucky travellers you wanting travellers.” Trips to Disney resorts will may to even tickspot off bucket an orcalist or experiences. rare be more popular than ever, according blueTrips whale. like Here driving are some the Gibb of the River to family travel specialist agent bestRd places in the toKimberley, go to maximise Lapland and Rebecca Mason, from Mr Chocolate’s yourswimming chances ofwith a whaley whalescool in Tonga will Travel. “I’ve started receiving enquiries encounter be highthis on season. the agenda. Majestic for travel to Disney parks in Asia next Whale Encounters managing director year, so it seems Australian families Carmen Ellis says bucket list travel are plotting a return to ‘the happiest can be a way for people to gain a place on earth’ around mid-2021,” she sense of accomplishment. “The says. She says Disney parks will have greater the challenge, the more sense enhanced safety measures, such as of achievement we feel when we social distancing and temperature accomplish those goals,” she says. “It checks, limited capacity and increased
Passing through airports and travelling on planes will be very different from now on, with strict new procedures to improve the safety of travellers. The Qantas Group has introduced a range of measures, such as contactless check-in via the internet or phone apps, self-serve bag drop and self-scanning of boarding passes. It will also enforce social distancing at boarding and disembarkation to minimise crowding. Expect to see hand sanitising stations throughout the terminal and at departure gates and in lounges. Masks will also be provided to passengers on board. While not mandatory from a safety point of view, the airline recommends they be worn by guests, for peace of mind. People can also bring their own mask if they prefer. Sanitising wipes will be given to all passengers to wipe down seat belts, trays and armrests themselves, if preferred. They will also be asked to limit movement around the cabin after they are seated. The company says the air-conditioning systems on board all Qantas and Jetstar aircraft are already fitted with hospital-grade
HEPA filters, which remove 99.9 per cent of all particles, including viruses. The air inside the cabin is also refreshed every few minutes.
Image: Shangri-La Group
9. THE FUTURE OF FLYING
sanitisation practices. Ms Mason predicts zoo and safari stays such as those offered at Jamala Wildlife Lodge in Canberra, Roar & Snore at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, and Slumber Safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo in Victoria will also be in demand.
10. HEIGHTENED HOTEL HYGIENE
Hotels are upping the ante when it comes to hygiene in a bid to entice holidaymakers back through their doors. IHG Hotels & Resorts is among those using new, science-led protocols and service measures to give guests greater confidence, with hospital-grade disinfectants, reduced contact at check-in, touchless transactions, front-desk screens, sanitiser stations, sanitised key cards and paperless checkout. It will also reduce in-room furnishings and high-touch items and introduce new laundry protocols. The company is working closely with a team of medical experts from the Cleveland Clinic to develop guidelines and resources for staff to help keep guests safe. They may include such things as social distancing signs, guest amenity cleaning kits, and hand sanitiser and disinfecting wipes in rooms and at high-touch points in common
areas. Shangri-La Group has also introduced the ‘Shangri-La Cares’ commitment to improve its already rigorous hygiene and safety protocols worldwide. It includes cleaning air-conditioners more often to ensure optimal air quality, and training staff to clean and sanitise more frequently. Crystalbrook Collection’s luxury hotels and resorts in Sydney, Cairns and Byron Bay have gone cashless, and they are offering contactless and paperless check-in and checkout and optional free face masks, along with a range of other deep cleaning measures. 31
11. SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL It was already a hot topic before COVID-19 hit, but with the planet getting a chance to regenerate during the pandemic, many of us want to keep the momentum going by choosing more sustainable travel experiences. Australian Walking Holidays general manager Michael Buggy says experiences like off-grid farm stays,
PEOPLE ARE CHOOSING MORE SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES
Hear adventurer Jon Muir tell stories alongside his wife Suzy during a farmstay with Australian Walking Holidays 32
such as the Family Wild Farm Stay with adventurer Jon Muir and his wife Suzy in Victoria, will be popular in the future. The experience provides the chance to learn about organic farming and sustainable living through hands-on workshops on recycling, aquaculture systems, organic food growing and energy harvesting techniques, as well
as opportunities to hear some of Jonâ€™s legendary stories about his adventures across the globe â€“ from becoming the first man to walk unsupported across Australia, to his expeditions to Mt Everest and the North and South Poles.
Image: Destination Rotorua
Rotorua in New Zealand may be in the ‘travel bubble’
12. TRAVEL BUBBLES
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many new terms, including the phrase ‘travel bubble’. It refers to an agreement in which countries that are successfully containing the outbreak can open their borders to each other to allow
free movement between them. Also known as ‘travel corridors’, the concept was pioneered by three Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – and has gained traction worldwide. There’s been much talk of Australia forming
a travel bubble with New Zealand, closely followed by other South Pacific neighbours such as Fiji, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands and possibly countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Japan. Fingers crossed!
Explorer Dream is cruising again
13. SO, WHAT ABOUT CRUISING? While the cruise industry has been amongst the hardest hit by the coronavirus, many Australians have faith that cruise lines will make the necessary changes to ensure they can once again enjoy a holiday at sea. A recent survey by Your Travel & Cruise found that nine out of ten Australians would consider a cruise in the future, as long as there are stricter health and hygiene measures in place. “The consensus we’re getting from clients is that the cruise industry first needs to convince holidaymakers that they have made significant changes
to ensure passenger safety, including increased hygiene measures and more medical staff, and then travel insurers need to come to the party to give Australians the confidence to book their next cruise holiday,” Your Travel & Cruise managing director Les Farrar says. “As with many aspects of a postpandemic world, it will be baby steps for some, which means small ship cruising is set to be favoured over big ships and until the rest of the world can get their outbreaks under control, local and regional itineraries will be the preferred
choice.” Popular pre-pandemic cruise destinations such as Europe and the USA aren’t expected to bounce back for some time, with 56 per cent of respondents to the Your Travel & Cruise survey saying they wouldn’t feel safe travelling to these destinations until there was a COVID-19 vaccine. Dream Cruises became the first line in the world to begin cruising again, with its ship Explorer Dream offering an island-hopping itinerary in Taiwan after receiving the Certification in Infection Prevention (CIP) for the Marine industry (CIP-M).
Flip and her family toboganning on one of many European snow holidays 34
EMBRACING LIFE’S BIGGEST ADVENTURE After climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Blanc and descending Europe’s highest peak Mt Elbrus on a snowboard, some people wondered how FLIP BYRNES would adjust to motherhood. But she has found many new adventures with her kids in tow
Sitting on a windswept meadow in Zermatt at 2547m above sea level, the fingers of an alpine breeze tickle the lake, orchestrating dancing ripples before gently caressing and catching the fairy floss hair of my nine-month-old baby. Her little peaked hat comically mirrors the Matterhorn’s outline, looming large in the distance. When a fisherman sees us rolling where possibly no pram has gone before, his eyes grow large. “Une poussette?” (a pram?) he queries. Oh oui monsieur and, since then, my two under-fives have been hurtling down mountains, belted into airplane seats for 24 hours, and taken where many would baulk (a solo mother-daughter trip to Morocco comes to mind). But if there’s a commonality to these experiences, this conscious capturing of fleeting moments, and the arduous spider-web of logistics of travelling with small children it’s this: no regrets. Life pre-motherhood was overflowing with adventure. Kilimanjaro, Mt Blanc and, after climbing and snowboard descending Elbrus (Europe’s highest peak), suddenly the rest of the 7 Summits (the highest on each continent) started to look interesting. Likewise, a kite ski trip crossing of
Greenland, rudely interrupted halfway by a helicopter rescue (my own), only whet a polar appetite, like a sip of champagne. The adventures were becoming bigger, more technical, more niche and, sitting in a Russian airport post-Elbrus atop 80kg of equipment, I wondered… aside from a South Pole trip (to complete my greatgrandfather’s Shackleton expedition), and maybe a sneaky Aconcagua climb… what was next? The answer arrived in the form of my daughter, Lotte. This may be a spoiler alert, but travelling with small children has eclipsed earlier adventures in every possible way. Initially, however, it was understandable that observers would wonder how I would go swapping crampons and ice axes for nappies? (Loved it). Handle sleep deprivation? (Been training with jetlag for years). Above all, how would I go with adventure paused? But no, motherhood, for me, is the biggest adventure of all, and I dived into it headlong like an expedition – my favourite expedition, that will never end. New gear to handle, new routes to tread, and a little BFF as my travel buddy. And most excitingly, new ways to travel. 35
There aren’t many guides to travelling with young children, because not everybody does. Yet it’s the easiest age, albeit requiring some hard physical labour. But when else will your offspring spend ten minutes at lunch pretending there’s a giraffe in the sugar pot? So, it’s just a matter of finding a destination (formal French restaurant? No. Seashell hunting on the beach? Yes!) and making it work. Having moved to the French Alps for six months with a crawler in tow, the Zermatt trip was one of our first adventures. Most mountain areas, like Chamonix, sport single track goat paths. But hurrah for Switzerland! Not only does this chocolate box of a country boast 60,000km of hiking trails, but 67 are obstacle-free, accessible by wheelchair – and perfect for prams toting bubs too young for backpacks. And voila, the invention of pram hiking. After sending photos of our exploits to the pram manufacturer, they were thrilled their pram could actually do that. A top secret in the German-speaking world (Austria, Germany and Switzerland) is the Familotels – hotels set up for families with young kids. The best? The Allgäuer Berghof Hotel in Germany. Reception boasts a one-storey slippery dip to distract little runners during check-in, the ski room is heated and carpeted (ideal for little face-planters), and ski school (on the front doorstop) whips its charges into a frenzy with a warm-up disco. Kinder rave! Oh, and there are six waterslides downstairs. Sold? Adventure can also be had at a snail’s pace. In 36
Flip loved having a new travel buddy
Far left: Toddler gang in the Allgau, Germany Left: Hanging with Leni in St Gervais Below: Mountain adventures in St Gervais
Mallorca, in the quiet north west of the Spanish island, far from mass tourism, all is quiet. During a finca (farm) stay, the rhythm of the day is marked by the melody of cow bells on the move. But if you asked my four-year-old, the holiday highlight of her life is The Crab Hotel (aka Hotel Mar Playa & Spa). It features, yes, a crab waterslide and another exiting through a cow’s nose, spitting euphoric kids out like a phlegm-ridden bovine. While in the early mornings we’d sneak into deserted rocky-strewn coves before the crowds arrived, by afternoon those two waterslides kept the kids exhilarated for a combined 40 hours. Most unexpectedly, travelling with small children opens doors to new worlds. In Arab countries, children are welcomed with open arms into inner sanctums (like a day care in Marrakech). In Paris, men in sharp business suits stop to hoist strollers over narrow Metro turnstiles, a tattooed Polish weightlifter helped me spoon feed my daughter mid-flight and, in general, we’re now seeing the best
of Travel 2.0. It’s laced with kindness and invisible threads that connect cultures, at the pace these discoveries deserve to be savoured. Not that travelling with young bubs is all roses. No payment would be enough to replicate a journey from Frankfurt to Geneva with two toddlers, a stroller, bag and three train changes. At one point, as they sprinted in different directions through the carriage when the train paused, expectation reduced to arriving with at least one toddler and a hope they hadn’t decided to alight in Basel after all. And the logistics! How did that child hotel nirvana with the gigantic playroom in Abu Dhabi magically appear? Fifty solid hours of online searching (but the hour in the playroom was pretty epic). PreMorocco the distance from the hotel door to the souq was satellite mapped (257m) and mathematical gymnastics have been done matching nap times with flight routes. Because, as we all know, the devil in the details can produce a pitchfork and bust that holiday balloon with a bang.
Top: Kayaking at Mu Koh Rang in Trat Below: The spectacular Kaan Show 37
Travel has brought us that most precious of gifts
But above all, travel has brought us that most precious of all gifts – time. Hunting Edelweiss in lonely alpine meadows, splashing like mermaids in tepid waters, and rock hopping has allowed a laserlike focus on the here and now. I can easily recount the minutiae of that alpine lake day as if it was yesterday – my hand running over the sudden pop of goosebumps, the nostril-expanding smell of meadow grass, Lotte’s kicking little feet, and a mother’s worry about UV intensity and altitude effects on babies. And with growing realisation of time passing, a fear of losing these simple and love-filled days claws from somewhere deep and catches my breath. I’m trying to hold tight to a slippery ribbon with a finite tail and all I want is more. Lurking on the horizon is grief, not just of the passing of these wonder years, but of a slow and simple time that needs no justification. That loss will be replaced with other joys I’m sure, but travelling with my small children is how I’m capturing the here and now. Adventures don’t need to involve far flung destinations, exotic locales or an Instagrammable backdrop. Our favourite escapades? Bicycling around the block. Discovering beetles by the gardenias at our front door. Looting the mulberry tree. And the number one? Copacabana, the family beach house 90 minutes from Sydney, where they recreate neverending, slow summers with their gang of cousins. What it comes down to is this: what is adventure? Children allow us to view adventure in a different way. Being with someone at knee height whose heart flutters with the surprise of discovery at almost every single thing, draws you into its web (Tractor! Ants! Crack in the pavement!). And never underestimate the thrill of roadworks. One day a polar plateau might pull me back, but when I look at my children I often think this: you saved me. From that one mountain that was going to be too high, that slope that was going to be too steep. My adventuring spirit has never died but, for me, the irreversible shift of perspective of motherhood means physical adventures will never compare with the simple journey of love.
Top: Flip with her little Matterhorn gazing at the big Matterhorn in Zermatt Below: In front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Catherineâ€™s daughter Julia on Route 66
SOWING THE SEEDS With her kids all grown up, CATHERINE MARSHALL reflects on how road trips across Australia and the USA set them on their own paths to adventure
Clockwise from top: Catherine and her kids loved driving Route 66, Catherine’s daughter on the Nullarbor Plain, The Grand Canyon was a great detour on Route 66, The family at a diner along the famous route
After 700 kilometres my 12-year-old daughter finally pulls the plug. “I want to be left alone with my thoughts,” she says, turning her face to the window and watching the rusted landscape glide by. Her two younger siblings shift in their seats. No more ‘I spy with my little eye’; no more counting and cataloguing roadkill (“kangaroo, kangaroo, kangaroo – oh, is that a camel?”); no more listening to Seven Little Australians on the CD player or my reading of Tim Flannery’s young adult book Where is Here? 350 Years of Exploring Australia: just quietude, and the slow, rhythmic unfurling of Australia beneath our tyres. Before we’d left Sydney on our drive across the Nullarbor Plain, a friend had exhorted me to buy a DVD player for my children’s entertainment. “You can’t do that to them!” she’d cried. “Just stick them in the car with nothing!” “Why bother with a road trip at all,” I’d replied, “if all you’re focused on is a screen?” Besides, my children are already accomplished in this realm. While their friends fly off to Europe or America for the school holidays, we lash our camping gear to the roof-rack and head off into the great unknown. Immigrants to this country,
Our earliest exploratory journey had taken us northwest from Sydney to Bourke our earliest exploratory journey had taken us northwest from Sydney to Bourke, where we swung a sharp left and drove for hours along corrugated dirt in a sedan built for the city. Stopping at Trilby Station – 50,000ha of sheep and cattle scrub – we set up camp beside the oxbowing Darling River. We might have been the only people left on earth that night, for all we know, for it was just us five and the homestead, obscured itself by enfolding bush and impenetrable darkness. My five-year-old daughter, the roadkill scorekeeper, had spent the day collecting bleached bones, which she insisted on carrying home with her. Her older sister, who years later would demand to be left alone with her thoughts, had propped her feet too close to the campfire so that the soles of her shoes had melted; emerging from the tent next morning, we beheld ash fluttering up into the mulgas and river gums and red rubber pooled molten in the embers.
That same trip had taken us to Lake Mungo, where we’d pitched our little dome tent beneath ominous, bruise-purple clouds. The storm, when it struck, was pitiless, extinguishing our fire with sheeting rain, whipping the gas cooker from our camp table, lashing our tent so that it listed at an alarming angle. My daughters and I had pressed our backs against the flimsy nylon to prevent our shelter from collapsing; my son, just eight, had followed his father into the tempest and had held a torch while he pulled the tent upright with guy ropes. The baby of the family, the bone collector, had sobbed with fear and begged us to take her home; years later, straight out of school, she would sally forth on her own adventures, leaving behind her sobbing mother. We travel in silence today, Cobar, swallowed by the red earth, far behind us and the Nullarbor yawning wide open ahead. We will come this way again one day, when the solitude-seeking daughter is 16 and a learner driver; she will take the wheel most of the way to Uluru and back again at the requisite 80km per hour. Now crossing the Nullarbor’s 90-Mile Straight (146.6km) – the world’s longest stretch of dead-straight road – she asks us to stop so that she can sit in the middle of it and have her photo taken. This practice will become a ritual she re-enacts at 17 when, venturing further afield now, we drive Canada’s Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper and she seats herself on an empty, ice-crusted highway; and later that year in the US when we traverse that epic Mother Road, Route 66. Setting off from Chicago after a meal of deep-pan pizza, we’re certain we’ll eat nothing but Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups between here and Santa Monica. But the novelty soon wears off and we stop for burgers and shakes in neon-lit ‘50s diners, soups served in polystyrene cups at Wholefoods, and steaks, of course, in Texas. “Ten dollars these guys sing Walk the Line when they get to our table,” says my 16-year-old son as a band of crooners approaches us in a panhandle steakhouse. We smile knowingly at one another as they strike the opening chords to that very song. This is the year my older daughter turns vegetarian (her sister will follow). We’ve been stuck behind a reticulated truck overstuffed with live chickens; halting at the New Mexico border to use the toilets, she waits for the truck driver pulling in behind us. We come back to find her still out there, reproaching him for the inhumane treatment of his cargo. It takes effort to find a still-visible Route 66 road marker on the scattered remnants of this highway; by the time one appears, we all want to 41
be photographed beside it. We’re a changed family pulling up at the sign demarcating the end of Route 66 at Santa Monica Pier, each of us eight states and 4,000km wiser. Back in Australia, we reach the end of the Nullarbor and take a sharp left (decisive turns seem to characterise our wanderings) towards Esperance in southwest Western Australia. “This is the whitest sand ever – whiter even than Whitehaven!” chorus my children as they race across a deserted beach in Cape Le Grand National Park. Memory transports me back to the knoll at Hill Inlet overlooking that famous Whitsundays beach – said by some to be the most beautiful in the world – and the liquid swirl tie-dyed in
whipped cream and turquoise. It was a few years earlier and we’d chartered a motorised boat and sailed out from Shute Harbour, docking before sunset each day in a secretive cove. That night, we’d forsaken Whitehaven and had dropped anchor instead at the less-frequented Haslewood Island; after dinner we’d lain on the deck and reached out to touch the Southern Cross. But I’m standing on a different beach now. We must ground ourselves in the present, I remind myself, for our children will grow up and move away and their childhood will never be repeated. In a few days’ time we will reach Perth, make a sharp turn eastwards and retrace our steps to the anchor which tethers us all, for now: home.
Left: The family at Santa Monica Pier at the end of Route 66 Below: Catherine and her daughter on the Nullarbor Plain
With international travel on the backburner, now is the perfect time to explore your own backyard. ANGELA SAURINE reveals amazing hidden gems in each state and territory of Australia
states of wonder They may be places you have never heard of, or maybe they’ve been on your radar for a while, but you haven’t got around to visiting yet. It might be your favourite local hangout that most outsiders don’t even know exists. Whatever the case, Australia abounds with incredible places to be discovered. With international travel restrictions in place, it’s a great opportunity to tick some of them off your list. Whether it’s in your own state or territory, just across the border or on the other side of the country, here are some ideas for your next family holiday Down Under.
The lagoon at the Cocos Keeling Islands, off Western Australia 45
THE DRIP GORGE
Pack a picnic and head off on a beautiful bushwalk to The Drip Gorge, around 40 minutesâ€™ drive north of Mudgee, in the Central West, where clear spring water trickles from the magnificent towering sandstone walls above. Afterwards, have a swim in the Goulburn River and stop off at Hands on the Rock, an important Indigenous rock art site at Ulan, a couple of kilometres north.
CLEAR SPRING WATER TRICKLES FROM THE MAGNIFICENT TOWERING SANDSTONE WALLS 46
Image: Destination NSW
MUNGO NATIONAL PARK
If there’s one place in NSW that’s set to become a popular road trip destination, it’s this out-of-this-world national park, which lies nearly 900km west of Sydney and 400km south of Broken Hill. It may have seemed too far to travel before the pandemic, but now this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, close to the South Australian and Victorian borders, has become an attractive destination. The highlight of the park is, without doubt, the Walls of China, where erosion has sculpted sand and clay into fragile, yet imposing, formations.
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The Capertee Valley is just a few hours’ drive from Sydney
Who knew the world’s second-largest canyon, after the Grand Canyon in the US of course, is just a few hours’ drive from Sydney? Sandstone cliffs dominate the escarpment of the Capertee Valley, with the gigantic monolith, Pantoney’s Crown, rising in the middle. Go bushwalking, camping, 4WDing or use the money you’ve saved on overseas flights to splash out on a scenic helicopter flight, which is by far the best way to appreciate its grandeur.
Images: Destination NSW
YARRANGOBILLY CAVES THERMAL POOL
Around 100km from Cooma, in the northern part of Kosciuszko National Park, this thermal pool is a beautiful place to take a dip. Permanently heated to 27C by a natural spring, in winter it’s magical to float in the warmth, watching the steam rise from the surface of the water, with snow blanketing the ground around you. The main pool flows over into a children’s wading pool, and there’s also a picnic area and change rooms. Stay at the historic Caves House, and explore the impressive limestone formations on a guided tour while you’re there. 48
LITTLE BLOWHOLE, KIAMA
Kiama’s famous blowhole on the South Coast is the biggest in the world, but the lesser-visited Little Kiama Blowhole is arguably more consistent. While it can be a little hard to find, it is well worth the effort, as the spray reaches remarkable heights. It’s located just off Tingira Cres, 3km south of town. From there, you can walk south around the headland to Easts Beach.
The thermal pool at Yarrangobilly Caves
Kiama’s Little Blowhole
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Go fossicking at the Dinosaur Dreaming Fossil Site
VICTORIA BUNURONG COASTAL DRIVE
The Great Ocean Road may get all the attention, but the Bunurong Coastal Drive is also filled with delights. Dinosaur fossils, rock pools and caves complement the scenic views of rugged sandstone cliffs, rocky headlands and sandy coves. Covering 14km from Cape Paterson to Inverloch, this drive is rich in beauty and history, The Caves and Flat Rocks area, close to Inverloch, is home to the Dinosaur Dreaming Fossil Site. The first dinosaur bone to be discovered in Australia, the â€˜Cape Paterson Clawâ€™, was found in this area in 1903. Thousands of bones, teeth and footprints from small dinosaurs have since been discovered, and wannabe paleontologists can go fossicking here at low tide.
PINK LAKES, MURRAY SUNSET NATIONAL PARK Head to the northwest corner of Victoria to see the vivid colours of the Pink Lakes, which are given their hue by the red algae that grows in them. The water in the four lakes is crystal clear, with beds made up of solid salt. Keep an eye out for kangaroos, wallabies, emus and echidnas as you wander the walking trails, including the Lake Becking Nature Walk, the Kline Nature Walk and the Lake Hardy Nature Walk. Pitch your tent at campgrounds at Lake Crosbie or Lake Becking, cycle along Pioneer Drive, or visit in springtime to see thousands of wildflowers in bloom.
RAYMOND ISLAND, GIPPSLAND LAKES
This little island, which can be reached by ferry from Paynesville, offers some of the best koala spotting opportunities in the country. The clearly marked path along the Koala Trail leads you among the gumtrees. You can walk the trail in 20 minutes, and follow up with a scenic picnic lunch.
Visit the Pink Lakes
TARRA BULGA NATIONAL PARK, GIPPSLAND
With its lush gullies, giant mountain ash trees and tree ferns, Tarra Bulga National Park is one of only four major areas of cool temperate rainforest in Victoria. Have lunch at the Tarra Bulga Picnic area or the Tarra Valley picnic area, which are set amongst the giant trees and shady fronds of tree ferns, before setting off on one of the adjoining walking tracks. Meander through the forest, head south to Tarra Falls, or take the Fern Gully Nature Walk, which includes a suspension bridge. If youâ€™re lucky, you may see a lyrebird scratching the forest floor looking for food, or catch a glimpse of a wombat, swamp wallaby or a platypus. While camping is not permitted within the national park, Tarra Valley offers a range of accommodation, including a guesthouse and tearooms, country houses, a Swiss-style chalet and a holiday park with cabins.
See sleepy koalas on Raymond Island
Named after the rounded grains of quartz that make a squeaking sound when you walk, this stunning beach is lapped by turquoise water. Make your way through coastal scrub from the car park and jump over the little stream as you reach the sand to discover views of distant islands and granite-studded headlands. The kids will love exploring the maze of passages created by the large boulders at the northern end of the beach.
A waterfall in Tarra Bulga National Park
Images: Visit Victoria
SQUEAKY BEACH, WILSONS PROMONTORY NATIONAL PARK
Squeaky Beach in Wilsons Promontory National Park
Image: Hinterland Tourism Sunshine Coast
It lies at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, but Agnes Water has somehow largely managed to stay under the tourist radar. With its gorgeous empty beaches, the small town between Gladstone and Bundaberg is the perfect spot for a quiet seaside getaway. Be sure to visit neighbouring 1770, where Captain Cook first landed in Queensland, for a history lesson. From there, it’s just a 90-minute boat ride to the undeveloped Lady Musgrave Island. There’s also a butterfly walk and a kangaroo sanctuary, while Deepwater National Park, 15km south of Agnes Water, is the second largest nesting site in Australia for loggerhead turtles.
AGNES WATER HAS SOMEHOW LARGELY MANAGED TO STAY UNDER THE TOURIST RADAR 52
DOUBLE ISLAND POINT, NOOSA NORTH SHORE
Pack a picnic lunch and a cricket bat for a day trip from Noosa to this idyllic spot in the Great Sandy National Park, where you will find clear blue water, resident dolphins and an historic lighthouse. Despite its name, Double Island Point isn’t actually an island but a long sand spit, with a pair of large sand dunes that appear, from the distance, to be separated by the sea. The illusion of two islands prompted Captain Cook to name the sand spit Double Island Point when he passed by in 1770. Double Island Point can be reached two to three hours either side of low tide from Rainbow Beach or Noosa along the Great Beach Dr. Before you leave, you will need to purchase a beach-driving permit online from Queensland Parks, and check the tide times carefully because the beach isn’t accessible at high tide. Or just book a tour with Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours or Epic Ocean Adventures.
Double Island Point on Noosas North Shore See dinosaur footprints at Lark Quarry
Images: Mark Fitz/Tourism and Events Queensland
See the fossilised footprints of the only known dinosaur stampede on the planet at Lark Quarry Conservation Park, around 110km from Winton in Queensland’s outback. On the day the drama unfolded, 95 million years ago, herds of small two-legged dinosaurs came to drink at a lake. There were at least 150 dinosaurs of two different kinds – carnivorous coelurosaurs about the size of chickens, and slightly bigger plant-eating ornithopods, some of them as big as emus. A huge meat-eating theropod, smaller than a Tyrannosaurus, began to stalk them, then turned and charged. The stampeding herd of smaller dinosaurs left a chaotic mass of footprints in the mud as they ran to escape. There are more than 3,300 footprints scattered over the rock face, and you can watch animated recreations of the incident.
CONONDALE NATIONAL PARK, SUNSHINE COAST HINTERLAND
Pitch a tent at the campsite beside the pretty Booloumba Creek, and set off on hikes through the rainforest to discover waterfalls and wildlife in this national park, around 130km north of Brisbane and 60km west
The Strangler Cairn in Conondale National Park
of Maroochydore. Don’t miss the Strangler Cairn sculpture, which was made by British artist Andy Goldsworthy, in the middle of the park. It is composed of granite blocks shaped together with a strangler fig planted in the top.
Around 40 minutes’ drive north of the popular tourist town of Airlie Beach, Bowen offers an alternative Whitsundays base. It has eight beaches, and the inner reef is just metres from many of Bowen’s bays. At low tide you can walk towards the North Head Lighthouse, looking out for giant red starfish, feather stars and green sea turtles. There’s also a free waterpark with slides and a huge water bucket, and a market is held every Sunday.
Image: RACT Destinations
GORDON RIVER, STRAHAN
Take a cruise along the tranquil Gordon River, a 172kmlong waterway that flows through the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area before entering Macquarie Harbour. Cruise boats from Strahan explore several kilometres of the riverâ€™s wide, calm lower reaches, offering reflections of the surrounding riverside rainforest. Disembark at Heritage Landing and follow a short boardwalk track to see Huon pines that are several thousand years old. 54
CRUISE THROUGH THE WILDERNESS
Image: S Group
Witness the power of nature at this canyon, formed by the flowing Leven River, near Ulverstone. Two lookouts, Cruickshanks and Edge, can be accessed on the 1.2km circuit track. Along the ferny trail you can see smaller delights, including colourful fungi and wildlife. Enjoy a picnic or barbecue while you are there. Other tracks include Forest Stairs, Fern Walk and Canyon Floor Walk.
Experience an authentic taste of country Tasmania life at this historic sheep farm in the state’s Central Highlands. Stay in the shearer’s quarters or the heritage homestead on the property, which was settled in 1878 and offers the chance to see sheep, cows and ducks. You can row on the dam to spot platypus, take shearing shed tours, and enjoy dinner under the stars.
FRIENDLY BEACHES RESERVE
Friendly Beaches in Freycinet National Park
Spot platypus at Rathmore Farm
Image: Tourism Tasmania-Brian Dullaghan
Liffey Falls is the main attraction of this beautiful reserve, which is dotted with cascades, towering trees and wildlife. A 30-minute drive from Deloraine, near Launceston, the reserve can be found within cool temperate rainforest and is part of the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area. There are four sets of falls along the 45-minute return walk from the picnic ground downhill to the majestic Victoria Falls (commonly referred to as Liffey Falls), all of which can be viewed from sturdy observation decks. The area’s geological history is revealed in the river, where water has exposed the sandstone steps of the waterfall. Look out for tiny marine fossils among the river stones.
Image: Pete Harmsen
LIFFEY FALLS, LIFFEY FALLS STATE RESERVE
Image: Ash Thomson Photography
The dirt road that leads to the picturesque Friendly Beaches Reserve, just next to the more famous Freycinet National Park, can be found 26km north of the town of Coles Bay on Tasmania’s east coast. Expect to find crystal clear water, white sand beaches and soaring granite lookouts.
Image: Stuart Miller
Children running in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve 56
TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVE Spot koalas, kangaroos and emus in this protected area, just 45 minutesâ€™ drive from the Canberra CBD. There are 22 marked trails, ranging from a 15-minute stroll to full-day hikes. The kids will have a ball in the Nature Discovery Playground, and there are great picnic spots and barbecue areas.
A twilight tour at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary
Uriarra Loop Walk
Image: Justin Lalor
Majura Nature Reserve
The playground at Tallagandra Hill Winery
MULLIGANS FLAT WOODLAND SANCTUARY
With its predator-proof fence, this sanctuary in Canberra’s northeast is a haven for woodland animals such as the endangered eastern bettong and eastern quoll. On the two-hour guided Twilight Tour, you may also see sugar gliders and wallabies.
MAJURA NATURE RESERVE
Soak in the views of Canberra from the summit of Mt Majura, the highest peak in Canberra Nature Park at 888m above sea level. There are several walking trails to choose from – the 3.8km-long Casuarina Trail
takes you through various types of woodland and open forest, also offering impressive views from the Mt Majura ridge. It is suitable for families and takes about two hours.
It may not be as famous as the Barossa or Hunter Valley, but the ACT is an established wine region. There are more than 30 wineries within 35 minutes’ drive of Canberra, many of them family-friendly. Lake George Winery has giant games such as Connect Four, a small kids’ play area that includes colouring and a few games, a flying fox and a tractor to climb on. Tallagandra Hill Winery has a playground set for kids,
while Murrumbateman Winery has a ping pong table, chalkboard tables and colouring books. Clonakilla also offers colouring books, a basket of toys, and outdoor games such as quoits, and you can BYO picnic lunch.
URIARRA LOOP WALK
Meander along the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo Rivers as you discover a different side of Canberra on this 3.5km walk. You will find a forest of large river oaks before emerging into grazing country, where you can spy ducks and white-faced herons. There are also picnic tables and woodfired barbecues at Uriarra East and West recreation areas. 57
A child jumping into Little Blue Lake on the Limestone Coast
A POPULAR SPOT FOR LOCALS
Image: Joanna Rogers
LITTLE BLUE LAKE
Take the plunge in this beautiful sinkhole, which lies in the Kanawinka volcanic area between two dormant volcanoes, Mt Schank and Mt Gambier. Around 11km west of the city, also named Mt Gambier, it is a popular spot for locals to swim and dive, although the waters are now more green than blue, thanks to algae. 58
A family exploring Lake Gairdner
Umpherston Sinkhole on the Limestone Coast
LAKE GAIRDNER NATIONAL PARK
Explore the glistening white surface of Australia’s third largest salt lake, Lake Gairdner, 150km north west of Port Augusta. The lake has more than 200 islands, and the salt layer is almost one metre thick in parts. The park is also home to Lake Everard and Lake Harris. Camp under the stars and spot kangaroos, emus, wombats and goannas as you explore the park.
WILLIAM CREEK SAND DUNES
Halfway along the Oodnadatta Track lies the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ town of William Creek, best known for its authentic outback pub. Nearby you will also find windswept red sand dunes set against bright blue skies. While you’re there, check out Kati ThandaLake Eyre and the colourful Anna Creek Painted Hills.
KANYAKA WATERHOLE, FLINDERS RANGES
This permanent, spring-fed waterhole in the Flinders Ranges lies beside a large quartzite rock formation known as Death Rock, so named because Indigenous people are said to have brought loved ones there when they were dying. Along the walk to the waterhole you can also see the ruins of an old pioneering station.
Children running on sand dunes near William Creek
Images: South Australian Tourism Commission
This magnificent sinkhole at Mt Gambier was created when the top chamber of a limestone cave collapsed. It was beautified by local farmer and politician, James Umpherston, in the late 1880s, and is now also known as The Sunken Garden, with hanging vines cascading over its sides and plants growing in the terraces on the garden floor. At dusk, the area comes alive with possums as they venture into the floodlit gardens to feed.
NORTHERN TERRITORY LONELY BEACH, EAST ARNHEM LAND
Image: Tourism NT-Aaron Avila
Two beautiful beaches meet at a rocky island at this spot near the homeland of Bawaka, around a 1.5-hour drive from Nhulunbuy in East Arnhem Land. The waters here are teeming with marine life, and the top of the dunes provides a great vantage point. Lonely Beach can be visited on the Lirrwi Tourism Bawaka day tour, a 4WD adventure that gives visitors an insight into Yol u homeland life, including traditional spear fishing and crab hunting.
BARRAMUNDI GORGE, KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
Image: Tourism Australia
One of Kakadu’s lesser-known attractions, Barramundi Gorge (also known as Maguk) is a pristine natural waterfall and plunge pool at the base of steep gorge walls. Spot the spangled drongos and rainbow pittas in the rainforest, swim with the black bream and marvel at the majestic endemic Anbinik trees along the rocky slopes. Located an hour’s drive south from Cooinda, Maguk can be accessed from a 14km 4WD track off the Kakadu Hwy, followed by a 1km walk through monsoon forests, crossing Barramundi Creek.
Uluru and Kata Tjuta may get all the glory, but there’s a third major attraction in the Red Centre that is arguably just as impressive as its more famous cousins. The 300m-high Mt Conner is a flat-topped, sandstone-capped sand and rock mountain around 100km east of Ayers Rock Resort. As it lies on the privately-owned Curtin Springs Station cattle property, it can only be accessed on a private tour with SEIT Outback Australia. Children must be at least six-years-old.
Barramundi Gorge in Kakadu National Park
Thousands of years of massive floods have carved out this waterhole, which is fed by the West MacDonnell Ranges (Tjoritja) and surrounded by tall red cliffs and the sandy Ellery Creek. Recognised as an internationally significant geological site, the permanent water made it a special meeting place for the Aranda people on the fish and honey ant dreaming trails. Take the 3km Dolomite walk to see the surrounding formations.
Image: Tourism NT-Paddy Pallin
ELLERY CREEK BIG HOLE, WEST MACDONNELL NATIONAL PARK
Image: Tourism NT-Shaana McNaught
This stunning gorge and chasm, around 160km west of Alice Springs at the base of Mt Sonder, is a refuge for many threatened plant and animal species. Take the 2km return walk from the car park along the creek bed to the gorge to swim in the cold, deep water of the nearpermanent waterhole. Basic camping facilities are available at the Woodland and Ridgetop campgrounds.
Image: Tourism NT-Sarena Hyland
Ellery Creek Big Hole
DIRK HARTOG ISLAND, SHARK BAY
Image: Will Wardle
History, natural beauty and spectacular landscapes abound on this island in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shark Bay area. Look out for sharks, turtles, dolphins, whales and dugongs on the boat ride from Denham, ten hoursâ€™ drive north of Perth, or enjoy a scenic flight from nearby Monkey Mia. Once there, you can swim at secluded beaches, walk along the rugged coast, explore rock pools, see thundering blowholes, go fishing, and marvel at the brightly coloured Rose Lake. Visit on a day trip with Ocean Park Aquarium, or you can camp or stay at the rustic Dirk Hartog Island Eco Lodge.
Image: Tourism Western Australia
Hamersley Gorge in Karijini National Park
Kooljaman at Cape Leveque
KOOLJAMAN AT CAPE LEVEQUE, THE KIMBERLEY
Learn about Indigenous culture during a stay at this remote wilderness camp, owned and run by the Bardi Jawi communities. Camp or stay in a safari tent or cabin on native title land on the northern tip of the Dampier Peninsula, and take tours to learn about bush tucker, attend a ranger talk, go whale watching or fishing, or book a scenic flight over Horizontal Falls. Nature’s Window in Kalbarri National Park
Image: Tourism Australia
Image: James Fisher-Tourism Australia
Image: Tourism Western Australia
A family on the beach at Hellfire Bay
HELLFIRE BAY, CAPE LE GRAND NATIONAL PARK
One of the most beautiful beaches you are ever likely to see, Hellfire Bay is a highlight of a visit to Cape Le Grand National Park in Western Australia’s south. The bay, around 45 minutes’ drive from Esperance, is a lovely place to have a picnic or to swim when conditions are calm. The park abounds with white sand beaches, granite peaks and heathland that are home to pygmy possums, western grey kangaroos, and colourful wildflowers.
HAMERSLEY GORGE, KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK
With folded swirling bands of coloured ancient rock, and stepped waterfalls at its base, Hamersley Gorge is a sight to behold. In the northwest corner of Karijini National Park, it is the park’s most remote gorge. From the trailhead, it is a 400m walk down roughly hewn steps to the gorge floor, where you can swim in the pool and relax under the shade of the trees.
NATURE’S WINDOW, KALBARRI NATIONAL PARK
Formed from layers of sandstone, this natural rock arch provides fabulous views over Kalbarri National Park, around 500km north of Perth, and perfectly frames the Murchison River. It’s accessible via The Loop Walk, which is an easy 1km return hike from the car park. 63
See the red crab migration on Christmas Island
Image: Paul Robyn
DESCRIBED BY BELOVED NATURALIST SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH AS ‘ONE OF THE TEN GREATEST NATURAL WONDERS ON EARTH’
A family at Emily Bay on Norfolk Island
Swell Lodge on Christmas Island
It’s a well-known destination for retirees on bus tours, but Norfolk Island also has plenty to offer families. The Australian territory is an easy 2.5 hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane, so you may feel like you are travelling overseas without leaving the country. Once there, swim or snorkel in the lagoon at Emily Bay to see the colourful fish and coral, learn how goat’s cheese is made at Hilli’s Farm, and marvel at the rock formations on a guided sea kayaking tour. Wander around the ruins of the convict settlement and fascinating graveyard at Kingston, or join a guided trek to the outer island, Phillip Island. Be sure to raise a finger at passing cars when you’re driving, known as ‘the Norfolk wave’.
THE COCOS KEELING ISLANDS
Even further away than Christmas Island, the Cocos Keeling Islands are the epitome of paradise. Only two of the 27 islands that form the two atolls, 2,750km northwest of Perth, are inhabited. Relax on empty beaches, go island hopping by canoe, or catch the ferry to Home Island to stay at the historic Clunies-Ross residence and discover the culture and traditions of the Cocos Malay people who reside on the island. Please check websites to ensure attractions are open or operating before planning a holiday.
Image: Rik Soderlund
Notorious for being the site of an immigration detention centre, Christmas Island is also a fantastic travel destination for nature lovers. Located 2,600km northwest of Perth, the island is actually closer to Indonesia than it is to mainland Australia. Swim at deserted beaches named after the female relatives of the first settlers, go snorkelling in amazingly clear water to see glowing coral gardens, hike through rainforest, or go fishing or birdwatching. You can try to time your trip to coincide with the annual red crab migration, described by beloved naturalist Sir David Attenborough as “one of the ten greatest natural wonders on earth”. And there’s even more reason to visit now, with the luxury eco-retreat Swell Lodge a major drawcard.
The lagoon at the Cocos Keeling Islands off the coast of Western Australia
BABY AND TODDLER TRAVEL
MINDFUL MOMENTS IN MANLY For all its inconveniences, the coronavirus pandemic gave families the chance to slow down and spend quality time together, ANGELA SAURINE writes When I first heard the term Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, I could immediately relate. Coined by nutritional biochemist, Dr Libby Weaver, it describes the modern malaise of always being busy. The constant juggle of work, grocery shopping, housework, social commitments and getting children to and from day care or school, as well as sport and other extra-curricular activities, is something many of us struggle with. If there was one silver lining to the recent coronavirus-induced lockdown, it was the fact it gave us time. The rushing ceased. We were literally able to stop and smell the roses – and many other types of flowers in our case – and spend quality time with our closest family members, without the usual pressures Social distancing wasn’t an issue at North Head
of everyday life. Sure, at times it was hard. But I am confident we will look back at this unexpected period of our lives with fondness in the years, and decades, to come. My two-year-old son Oliver and I are extremely lucky to live in a beautiful locale – Manly in NSW. Set on a peninsula, with Sydney Harbour on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, I was well aware that there were many worse places in the world to be forced by the government to self-isolate. The area is blessed with lovely walking tracks, parks, bushland, and beaches. While I thought I knew the area well, I soon realised there were so many more places to discover. With playgrounds closed, and exercise one of the few reasons we were permitted to leave home, I was determined to find different places for us to go, within walking distance, and abiding by the social distancing rules. Some days I pushed Oliver on his scooter to North Harbour Reserve at Balgowlah, along the Manly to Spit Walk. Once there, we’d stop so he could climb on a rock and onto the branches of a big old tree with winding branches, and have an afternoon snack. We’d kick a ball around for a while so he could burn off some energy, or meander along the creek and over mossy rocks to get up close to the waterfall at low tide. As we strolled along the path back, Oliver would point out boats on the horizon, and sometimes cruise ships and planes, which became less common by the day. We discovered another large park, surrounded by water on three sides, on the site of the old gasworks at Little Manly Point, and ventured up the hill to North Head Sanctuary, where we found swamps and World War II military fortifications. On weekdays, when it was less crowded, we’d follow the sun to Shelly Beach, pausing to watch water dragons, and a cormorant that can often be seen standing on a rock drying its outstretched wings. Sometimes, we’d walk to Manly Lagoon, where dogs splashed about in the shallows. On warm days, we’d explore the rock pools at Delwood Beach at Fairlight, looking for fish in the water, touching periwinkles and playing with seaweed. On the way home, we might stop to see a cockatoo perched on the railing of our building’s front balcony, and look for strawberries and tomatoes growing in the communal garden. It was the ultimate staycation. It’s a shame, in a way, that it took a pandemic to make us more mindful. But I, for one, am grateful that the experience has given me a new, enlightened perspective, and I have vowed to incorporate some elements into our daily lives.
BABY AND TODDLER TRAVEL
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Enjoying lunch on a bench overlooking Sydney Harbour, Oliver loves crawling through the tunnel at the sculpture on the Shelly Beach Walk, Checking out the view at Manly Beach, Angela and Oliver stopping for a selfie during a scooter ride around Manly, Smelling a flower on the Shelly Beach Walk
MEG LAW and her family board the Spirit of Tasmania ferry for a fun-filled road trip along the stateâ€™s west coast
â€™ N I P P I R T D ROA
E I S S IN TA Dad and the kids riding a tinny on the Arthur River
WE DROVE UP THE RAMP AND BOARDED THE SHINY, BIG RED SHIP
Boarding the Spirit of Tasmania
“Ahoy me hearties! Let’s sail the high seas!” screeched our excited seven-year-old with her imaginary sword held up against her younger brother in the back seat. We drove up the ramp and boarded the shiny, big red ship, Spirit of Tasmania, ready for our twoweek road trip along Tasmania’s west coast. Once parked on the lower deck, we scrambled out of the car and loaded ourselves up like packhorses with day bags, snacks, pram and nappies. We had been forewarned by friends that when you do the day sailing with kids in tow, it’s best to head straight to the indoor playground area on the upper deck and bunker down by the café for the nine hour trip. Sage advice! Soon after, the horn sounded and we were off. We headed out onto the outer deck and waved goodbye to Melbourne as we sailed on our first family voyage to Tasmania.
FIRST STOP: HAPPY FEET
A couple of pirates on the deck
A short drive from the Devonport ferry terminal, we rested our weary heads in the quaint seaside town of Penguin. Sitting on the edge of the mighty Bass Strait, Penguin takes its name from a nearby penguin rookery. This town loves its little feathered friends, and even has a large penguin statue. The real thing can be seen each night at Penguin Point from September to March as hundreds of little penguins waddle up along the shoreline to nest. We begin our driving holiday on the coastal road between Ulverstone and Wynyard – a beautiful scenic drive with sweeping ocean views, great picnic spots and clean beaches for seaside walks and fun. 69
Meg and Daisy in Stanley
Dad and Jasper at The Edge of the World
Our days were spent swimming, kayaking, walking along the beach and 4WDing on the long stretches of sand. Each night after an early dinner, we would rug up and head down to the beach and wait for the little penguins to arrive and waddle ashore to their burrows. It was the most enchanting natural experience, with minimal crowds or fanfare, and the kids loved it.
THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
A two-hour drive from the town of Burnie you will find Arthur River and Gardiner Point, dubbed ‘The Edge of the World’ due to it being the most western point of Tasmania. Head west and you’ll encounter nothing but GOING NUTS FOR ocean until you reach the coast of Argentina. STANLEY Wild and rugged is an understatement The next stop on our itinerary was Stanley, here, with Mother Nature showing no mercy where we stayed in a cabin on the beach at by brewing a tempest as the Southern Ocean Stanley Cabin & Tourist Park for five days, meets the island state’s western river, the spoilt by magnificent sunsets each evening. Arthur. On our visit, it was a battle of the Stanley is famous for The Nut, an immense forces between the relentless wind and flat-topped volcanic rock rising 150m pounding waves, and I didn’t dare let go of straight up from the water’s edge. The old the arms of our intrepid three-year-old, out colonial town is lined with stone cottages of fear that he would get thrown off the dating back to the early 1800s. You can boardwalk into the treacherous whitewash climb the winding path to the top of The waves crashing below. We made our way Nut to soak up the view (and get an aerobic down feeling bold, adventurous and weatherworkout), or follow our lead and take the beaten. We were greeted with fallen trees and kids on the open chairlift ride to the top and log debris on the shoreline as nearby shrubs walk back down. and grasses held their roots firm and clung to life against the extremity that is Gardiner Point. It was exhilarating. Feeling adventurous, we decided to be 70
The kids waiting for penguins to come ashore at Stanley
spontaneous and ditch the car for a short tinny ride along the Arthur River. Minutes later, we were climbing into a small, rusty boat all rugged up and wearing life jackets when a wave of nerves washed over me as I saw the bearded, toothless boat owner chuckling at us from the shore as he swiftly untied the ropes and bellowed: “Good luck folks!” It wasn’t long before my husband was revving the motor and we were speeding along the river on our own, with the spray of water on our cheeks and squeals of laughter from the kids echoing across the water. They took turns to steer the boat, and we winded our way along the beautiful, remote waterway with nothing but the quiet dense rainforest either side. Kingfishers and white-bellied sea eagles soared above, and no doubt there were a few cheeky Tassie devils peering at us from the sidelines. An hour later, the weather turned,
and the wind started lashing fiercely against our cheeks, the water began to churn beneath us and it started raining… hard. This caused great excitement from the kids, who thought it was all a fabulous adventure, but with one quick, cautionary glance at my husband, I knew it was time to turn around before we were blown over The Edge of the World.
The next leg of the journey was the stretch of the coast exploring the Tarkine, Australia’s largest patch of temperate rainforest. The three-hour drive to the small settlement of Corinna feels as though you are cut off from the rest of the world – no Wi-Fi, no civilisation, just natural treasures including mountain ranges, wild river and cave systems, buttongrass moorlands and a rugged coastline. We passed blackened eucalypt trees that were burnt in the 2019 bushfires that swept through the area. Our two children were
MY HUSBAND WAS REVVING THE MOTOR AND WE WERE SPEEDING ALONG THE RIVER ON OUR OWN
Daisy in her tinny on the Arthur River
unusually calm on this leg of the journey, quietly staring out the window, as if sedated by Mother Nature.
To get to Strahan from Corinna, you need to catch the barge over the Pieman River. The drive is simply enchanting, with lush, green fern gullies and waterholes, and the kids entertaining each other in the back seat trying to spot Tinkerbell and fairies. Strahan is one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist destinations, and it’s easy to see why. It reminds me of a postcard, with old sailing boats lining the harbour, street lanterns lighting up historic cottages and fisherman unloading crayfish onto the docks. There are long stretches of wild ocean beach to explore, towering sand dunes to conquer, and forest adventures to be had. We packed our itinerary with a visit to Ocean Beach, Hogarth Falls, Huon Pine
Travelling besties and backseat bandits
Sawmill and of course, the whiskey distillery, as well as countless hours trying to spot platypus in Botanical Creek.
BOAT HARBOUR BEACH
Next stop was Boat Harbour Beach, which was voted by National Geographic as one of Australiaâ€™s top 10 beaches. The criteria included having natural appealing features, the ability to engage with the aquatic environment, and a sense of rawness and uniqueness. Tick, Tick, tick! Located between rocky headlands, this quiet bay was a big hit with our little family thanks to its kid-friendly waves, rock pools, sea creatures and dolphins and seals, which we spotted from the clean, white sand. It even had a playground right near the beach to run the rascals ragged. Nearby Rocky Cape National Park is also worth exploring, with a lighthouse, wildflowers, and some family-friendly bushwalks to caves tucked away in the rugged cliffs.
Spirit of Tasmania operates overnight car ferry services between Melbourne and Devonport, in Tasmaniaâ€™s north, with day sailings available between April and September. On days of single sailings, the voyage takes 11 hours. On days of double sailings, the voyage takes 9 hours. spiritoftasmania.com.au
As we sailed back, there was a noticeable difference in us all. I glanced over at my husband and noticed the newfound sense of playfulness in his eyes, as though his inner adventurous spirit had been awakened. As the children slept soundly on our laps, we were a couple of weary travellers with memories of dirt beneath our feet, sand in our hair and the fierce Tassie winds hitting our cheeks.
Wide open spaces in Stanley
Mission Beach is known for its beautiful beaches
ON A MISSION FOR WILDLIFE German-born author, illustrator and mother-of-four, Eva Welsh, moved to Mission Beach in North Queensland 16 years ago. Located between Townsville and Cairns, Mission Beach is surrounded by rainforest and made up of four villages linked by 14km of beaches. Daily wildlife sightings inspired Eva to write several children’s books, including Cassy’s Tale, Where is Croaky? and Nipper the Crocodile. She shares what she loves about the area with Out & About with Kids. WHY DID YOU MOVE TO MISSION BEACH? I love the tropics and the lifestyle. I was 74
living in Western Australia after I emigrated in 1989. I like Mission Beach because it’s smaller than Cairns. I’m not a city person, I’m more of a nature person. It’s a nice place for kids to grow up. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THE AREA? Warm weather, beautiful scenery and a slower pace of life. HOW HAS MISSION BEACH INSPIRED YOUR CHILDREN’S BOOKS? The wildlife of Mission Beach, and the beauty of their habitats, inspired me to illustrate and write about them.
Children’s book author Eva Welsh
WHAT KIND OF ANIMALS DO YOU SEE IN THE AREA? Cassowaries, crocodiles, goannas, kookaburras, flying foxes, sea eagles, bush stone curlews, parrots, cockatoos, wallabies, snakes … the list goes on. HOW OFTEN DO YOU SEE CASSOWARIES? I could see them daily if I wanted to. I used to live in South Mission Beach and they came from the rainforest down to my house every day. When I drive to Tully I see them quite a lot on the side of the road.
Images: Tourism and Events Queensland
WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO TRY TO SPOT THEM? In, or near, the rainforest. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO AS A FAMILY IN MISSION BEACH? Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, walking through the rainforest and picnics at the beach. WHERE DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE TOURISTS WHEN THEY VISIT? I take them to our many local, tropical,
I TAKE THEM TO OUR MANY LOCAL, TROPICAL, WALKING TRACKS
Lacey Creek at Mission Beach
walking tracks, such as the Licuala Fan Palm Walk, Lacey Creek Circuit or the Cutten Brothers Walk near the jetty. We would also do a boat trip on the Coral Sea to picnic on an island and go snorkelling, as Mission Beach is close to the reef. And, in winter, I take them to our local river, the Hull River, at low tide for crocodile spotting. When it’s sunny the crocs sit on the bank. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE FAMILY-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN MISSION BEACH? I feel all restaurants are great, depending on what you prefer. The diversity is great. Peppervine and The Garage are good for families. Mission Beach Resort has a play area for kids, while Castaways Resort has beautiful views of palm trees and the beach. WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO GO ON DAY TRIPS FROM MISSION BEACH? I recommend Etty Bay, about 40 minutes’ drive north, where cassowaries walk down to the beach daily. Also, the Atherton Tablelands has many amazing little towns, walking tracks and waterfalls such as Murray Falls, where you can camp, go swimming and slide down rocks into the water.
WHY SHOULD FAMILIES COME ON A HOLIDAY TO MISSION BEACH? To experience what life is really about. For me, it’s the love for the wildlife and nature. MORE INFO: evabooks.com.au or missionbeachtourism.com 75
Auckland at dusk
YOUâ€™RE BOUND TO FIND A HOLIDAY HERE YOU AND YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE
TRANS-TASMAN TEMPTATIONS ELISABETH EASTHER and her son Theo have travelled extensively throughout their homeland, New Zealand. They share some local insights ahead of the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble
Image: Chris McLennan
New Zealand. Until recently its main claim to fame regarding visitor safety was an absence of spiders, snakes and crocs, but now it is also being acclaimed worldwide for its success in eradicating COVID-19. And with talk of Australians soon being able to visit as part of a ‘transTasman bubble’, now is the time to plan a trip. Whether you want to explore 15,000km of pristine coastline, experience unique wildlife, from kiwi to kea, or experience the beloved New Zealand Cycle Trail, you’re bound to find a holiday here you and your kids will love.
The most densely populated city in the country, home to a not-especially whopping 1.6 million people, this harbourside haven is also known as the City of Sails, and is where you’ll find the landscape studded with 53 volcanic cones. For active kids, the islands of the Hauraki Gulf are an inspiring drawcard. Start with Waiheke, just 40 minutes’ drive from downtown by ferry, where you can soar over native forest on a zipline or try archery, skeet shooting or a segway tour. Neighbouring Rangitoto, the country’s youngest island, exploded onto the scene around 600 years ago and a clamber to the crater’s peak is always a thrill. Alternatively, 75 minutes by ferry, also from downtown, visit the pest-free paradise of Tiritiri Matangi. An island abundant with native bush, this open sanctuary is home to a wealth of wildlife including kiwi, penguins and the rare and inquisitive takahe bird, like a giant iridescent rainbow chicken. If time is on your side, take a trip to the Gulf’s largest and most remote island, because Aotea/Great Barrier is a revelation. Off-grid and comfortably rugged, the island is a Dark Sky Sanctuary and stargazing tours are out of this world. Or for a bird’s eye view of Auckland’s charms, take a short – and not too pricey – scenic flight with Auckland Seaplanes. Or stay down at sea level and enjoy one of a range of tours with Auckland Sea Kayaks, an extra special way to see the sea. 78
Image: Shaun Jeffers-Paroa Bay Winery
Northland is a region that brims with Maori and European history and, from the earliest Polynesian explorers through to whalers, sealers and missionaries, they all left their mark. Whether you set up camp in the pretty seaside township of Russell, around 230km north of Auckland, or the more modern Bay of Islands village of Paihia, there’s plenty to see and do. Enjoy golden beaches and birdlife, including one of the country’s only residential populations of kiwi. Parasailing is a literal highlight, and to view the Bay of Islands while being towed above a boat is simultaneously serene and thrilling. Dolphins are resident around these waters, so a wildlife cruise to discover some of the bay’s 144 islands is a must. For the more adventurous, enter the underwater world and discover scuba diving at one of the two scuttled wrecks residing in the warm waters of the Bay of Islands, HMNZ Canterbury in Deep Water Cove or the Rainbow Warrior in Matauri Bay. Gain insight into Maori history at The Waitangi Treaty Grounds,
where the cultural show and museum have won many awards. If you’re a family of cyclists, tackle some or all of Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail. It’s 87km from end to end, from Opua on the East Coast to Horeke on the West Coast, and there are plenty of places to rent bikes, ebikes and tagalongs. Stay overnight along the way and immerse yourself in rural New Zealand – and yes, your luggage can be Sherpa-ed. Be sure too, to make it over to the west coast’s Hokianga Harbour. Discover the mystical Wairere boulders in Horeke or take a Jet Ski tour, choose between fishing or a cultural tour with Lenny of Awesome Adventures. Follow up with a visit to the towering kauri tree Tane Mahuta on the Kauri Coast Highway – night tours are especially memorable. Kids also love the museums around this region, with exhibits beautifully pitched to visitors of all ages, from the Matakohe Kauri Museum, Dargaville Museum and Kaikohe Pioneer Village where you’ll discover everything from steam trains, fossils and maritime wonders.
Explore the Bay of Islands
When you enter the centre of the North Island you’ll discover more reminders of New Zealand’s volcanic past. Lake Taupō was formed by a super-volcanic eruption over 26,000 years ago, and it’s so vast you could fit Singapore inside it. One of the best ways to get to know the lake is by joining an expedition with Chris Jolly Outdoors, whether you try trout fishing, or simply go sightseeing. It’s an impressive body of water and the towering Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay are breathtaking. If you’re visiting for skiing or snowboarding, be sure to head up to Whakapapa Ski Field at the top of the Bruce Rd, where all gear can be hired and lessons arranged. Although if you want to enjoy snow less energetically, travel aboard the new Sky Waka and ride above snow, lava flows and waterfalls, before arriving at cosy Knoll Ridge Chalet. At 1.8km, this is the longest gondola ride in New Zealand, providing access to the mountain’s highest viewing platforms and dining venues. Back down at the Waikato River, find perennial kid faves including Huka Prawn Park, where you can catch your own lunch, and Huka Jet Boat, where you can release some adrenaline. Hot pools are also top-notch in this thermal wonderland. Tapau DeBretts Spa Resort is delightfully magical, with slides and pools lit up ethereally at night or, if you’re staying at Lake Taupō Holiday Resort, you can make the most of their giant lagoon pool, illuminated grotto, swim-up bar and in-pool movies. Huka
MAIN: Theo and Elisabeth skiing at Whakapapa CIRCLES: Suited up to go jet boating at Huka Falls, Theo skimming stones at Lake Taupo, Elisabeth and Theo showing off their catch at Taupo 80
Falls is another spectacular attraction and we always make time to marvel at the water being released from Aratiatia Dam. With three viewing platforms, the dam opens three to four times a day (Google for viewing times) whereupon 90,000 litres of water per second gushes through the magnificent narrow gorge. Seriously amazing, we once went three times in a single day. Cycling in this region is also well worth seeking out, with lake and river trails ranging from Grades 1-3. But if you’d rather ride something furry, book a trek with Korohe Horse Treks in Turangi where novices and qualified equestrians can saddle up and explore.
Image: Elisabeth Easther
Image: Destination Queenstown
Queenstown is popular with Aussies
QUEENSTOWN AND CENTRAL OTAGO
Picturesque Queenstown on the South Island provides rich pickings for family holidays. Walk to the top of Bob’s Peak or, if you’d rather, ride the gondola up – at the top, you’ll find luging on offer. Follow up with a hearty lunch at The Stratosphere Restaurant and Bar. We also love cruising across Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic coal-fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, with optional extras like farm tours and horse treks over the other side of the lake. Outside of Queenstown, skiing and snowboarding up Coronet Peak, The Remarkables or Mt Dobson is always a treat. Explore further afield and into Central Otago where dog sledding with Real Dog Adventures outside Ranfurly (around 170km from Queenstown) is an exhilarating adventure, or you can simply meet the impressive hounds in their kennels. How about curling? You’ll find that quirky Scottish sport in nearby Naseby, along with iceskating and ice luging. If petrol’s your perfume of preference, try some of many race car related activities at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell, from go-karts or a round of hot laps with a genuine racing car driver at the wheel. There’s cycling here too, whether you roll merrily along the acclaimed Otago Central Rail Trail, the Clutha Gold or Roxburgh Gorge Cycle Trails. You can even give gold panning a go at Goldfield’s Mining Centre outside Cromwell – who knows, perhaps you’ll find the nugget everybody dreams of, then you can go on holiday forever!. MORE INFO: newzealand.com 81
Image: Chris van Hove
COOK ISLANDS CALLING
After a lifetime of adventures to all seven continents, SHANEY HUDSON and her husband find the Cook Islands provide the perfect balance a familynumber getawayone with theirdestination for Australian families, Phuket may befor Thailandâ€™s holiday son, returning time and again but neighbouring provinces Krabi and Phang Nga also have a lot to offer 82
Image: Cook Islands Tourism
THE CHARM OF THE COOKS LIES IN ITS DECEPTIVE SIMPLICITY
At dusk, a ripple breaks the surface of the lagoon. There is no wind, and the sky fades from blonde to deep blue. Despite being fully clothed on the shore with my threeyear-old, I hoist him onto my shoulders, and we wade in. I inch in slowly, partly to avoid squelching the sea cucumbers underfoot, but also so as not to startle the green sea turtle in the shallows before us. Our patience is rewarded. Waist deep in water, the kiddo peers over my shoulder to get a better look at the turtle munching away, with its back fins manoeuvering first that way, then this way towards us, in search of dinner amongst the sea grass. As the darkness sets in, we watch quietly, until it feels like it is just us three and the sea. After two decades of adventures across seven continents, my husband and I first chose the Cook Islands for a much-needed family break following the birth of our son, assuming it would offer little in the way of adventure beyond sunshine and beach time. We were wrong. The group of 15 islands scattered between New Zealand and Hawai‘i swallowed my heart, and we’ve
begun to return every year. The charm of the Cooks lies in its deceptive simplicity: there are no big international hotel chains, no high rises, no tourist traps and, compared to other tropical destinations like Fiji and Bali, it’s just that little bit harder to get to, rewarding a more discerning kind of tourist. But once you’re there, it’s an easy place to be. Rarotonga, the main island, is surrounded by a 32km ring road and anchored by a volcanic interior filled with lush jungle. If you fancy driving around the whole island, it will take you less than an hour; if you stop for a fish sandwich at Charlie’s, a wellknown burger shack by the sea, or if a patch of palm-fringed beach catches your eye, it might take you a little longer. But it’s the kind of place where time melts, and the things that matter – family and being in the moment – centre your travel experience. It also helps that alongside blockbuster experiences, from trekking the island’s interior to diving shipwrecks and off-roading in the hills, there’s plenty of everyday adventure on
Image: Chris van Hove
Muri Lagoon and Rarotonga from the air
Pool fun on their first visit
hand. Staying on Muri Beach, I begin each morning with a paddle on the lagoon, setting off to round one of the four different motu (offshore islands of Muri Lagoon), each day. Using a stand-up paddleboard from my hotel, I glide over giant clams and watch as startled tropical fish flee into coral shelters, battling the wind one morning, and being pushed along 83
The family at Charlie’s
Image: Ariki Adventures
A green sea turtle
by a gentle sea breeze the next. As I pull into shore, one of the local beach dogs jumps on the nose of my board wanting a ride. My kiddo clambers on as well, and I find myself acting as gondolier for a scruffy mutt and a toddler, paddling across the shallows. The dog tucks his paws over the nose of the board, while the kiddo sits mesmerised. Defying expectations from everyone watching from the shore, none of us end up in the drink. What makes the Cook Islands special is its incredible underwater ecosystem. On my first trip, I had snorkelled in the Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve at night while staying at The Rarotongan Beach Resort. Donning wetsuits and using underwater flashlights, we spied moray eels and the
spectacular (if slightly formidable) lionfish – but it was floating under the stars, away from the light pollution, that embedded itself in my memory. This time, I was off to swim with turtles. There are series of tidal channels that break the reef surrounding Rarotonga, and one of these is a favourite with the creatures. I head out to explore it with Ariki Adventures, who not only donate part of their tour cost to the local not-for-profit Te Ara O Te Onu Cook Islands Sea Turtle Conservation Society, but also make use of one my favourite marine toys: motorised sea scooters. With the tide going out, we save our scooters for the journey back in, when it will be more of a battle. Before we dive in, our guide tells us we’ll see plenty of green sea turtles, but we’ll only see the rare, critically endangered Hawksbill turtle if we’re lucky. Naturally, the first turtle we spot is a Hawksbill. The ocean pulls us with the tide, and it’s as if we’ve entered a spa resort for turtles. There are so many green sea turtles that I stop counting when I get to 34. This is their realm – a place where they rest, recover and relax, and they are completely oblivious and indifferent to us bobbing above. Overwhelmed and grateful, I return to my family with a lighter heart. When we leave this time, it’s on the last direct flight out of Rarotonga to Sydney before the Cook Islands shuts it door to protect itself from the COVID-19 pandemic that consumes the rest of world. The island chain has no confirmed cases, but as I check out of my hotel the staff at the front desk process a sobering stream of cancellations and postponements. At the airport, I watch the last flight take off to the outer islands amongst weeping locals who have sent their elderly family members to outlying islands, in an attempt to keep them safe. I leave Rarotonga knowing how hard hit it will be by the economic impact of the coronavirus. But I am also determined to return to support the islands once the storm passes. The Cook Islands might have stolen my heart on my first journey, but on this trip, I left a little of it behind. And I know the islands will keep it safe.
Sunset on the beach in front of The Rarotongan
Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Air Tahiti fly from Australia to the Cook Islands.
The recently refurbished Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium at Aroa Beach offers everything from rooms overlooking the pool to interconnecting oceanfront family suites. It has a kids’ club, creche, gym and a restaurant, Captain Andy’s Beach Bar & Grill. therarotongan.com Centrally located on Muri Beach, The Pacific Resort Rarotonga has rooms, suites and villas to accommodate every family. Eat with your toes in the sand at Sandals Restaurant, or enjoy casual beachside dining at Barefoot Bar. pacificresort.com/ rarotonga/
WHEN TO GO:
Image: Chris van Hove
The Cook Islands is perfect year-round, but it is warmer, more humid and wetter from December to April. The trade winds run from May to October, when it is slightly cooler. The water temperature never drops below 25°C.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH G ADVENTURES AND TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND
TERRIFIC THAILAND EXPERIENCES
Why do some families go all the way to Thailand just to lie on the beach? We don’t know either. Adventure travel company G Adventures reveals its top experiences for a family holiday that mixes a whole lot of bona fide Thai culture with a little bit of sand and relaxation.
1. SWIM AT ERAWAN WATERFALLS
Thailand’s most beautiful waterfall, Erawan Falls, has seven tiers reaching up to 1,500m high, offering a unique experience at every climb. Swim in the turquoise pools, snap photos from the top tier, and go hiking through the jungle to spot monkeys.
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 86
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH G ADVENTURES AND TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND
2. TAKE A GUIDED TOUR OF WAT PHO IN BANGKOK
Families can immerse themselves in Thai Buddhist culture and visit the giant 46m reclining Buddha, which is covered in gold leaf. Whilst there, relax with a traditional Thai massage at the country’s leading school of massage.
3. LONGTAIL BOAT RIDE ON THE CHAO PHRAYA RIVER
Float along the busy Chao Phraya River, which flows through Bangkok and then into the Gulf of Thailand, and through the smaller klongs (canals) to see skyscrapers, temples and shops in the distance, and the densely populated waterfront settlements up close.
4. VISIT THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI
We’re sure most parents have seen or heard of the famous movie, Bridge on the River Kwai. Why not tour the real thing and take in a piece of World War II history? It’s massive, majestic, and imposing, offering fabulous views of the river below.
5. EXPLORE THE RUINS OF AYUTTHAYA
This UNESCO World Heritage-listed site served as Thailand’s capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, when it ranked as one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Late in the 17th century its population reached one million, and foreign visitors wrote awestruck accounts of its size and splendour. 87
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH G ADVENTURES AND TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND
6. DO A FAMILYFRIENDLY COOKING CLASS
Pick out the best ingredients at a local market and learn how to make delicious kid-friendly Thai dishes that you can add to your repertoire when you return home.
8. EXPLORE THE TROPICAL PARADISE OF PHUKET
Phuket is a perfect destination for families, where you can take boat rides, explore its many beaches, and participate in all the water sports it has to offer. It’s famous for its delicious, fresh seafood, so indulge in fresh fish, crab, and squid whilst you’re there.
9. CHIANG MAI CITY TOUR
7. VISIT WAT PHRA THAT DOI SUTHEP
This golden Buddhist temple lies outside Chiang Mai on the Mt Doi Suthep. Climb 300 steps to reach the temple and be rewarded with an unforgettable view. Admire the many Buddhist relics and visit the white elephant shrine (popular amongst younger travellers). Legend has it that the location of the temple was chosen after a white elephant carried a relic to the mountain and trumpeted three times, before dying on the spot. With a little luck, you may witness the chanting of the monks. 88
Enjoy a tour of this historic city in Thailand’s mountainous north, which has been an important Buddhist centre since the 14th century and is home to more than 300 temples. Explore its great cafes, shops and architecture of the old city. G Adventures’ 12-day Thailand Family Adventure is priced from $1,317 per family member, including accommodation, some meals (allow $250 for meals not included), the services of a Chief Experience Officer throughout, transportation and all activities listed above. Prices do not include flights. For more information or to book, phone 1300 853 325 or visit gadventures.com MORE INFO amazingthailand.com.au
T H E PLACE TO BE Something magical happens when you ﬁnd the place you truly belong, and are cared for sincerely with a gracious Thai touch. This is the essence of Centara Hotels & Resorts, where you are welcomed like family, no matter where you go. Whether travelling from near or far, for a family holiday or romantic escape, you’ll be greeted with a spirit of warmth and generosity like no other. Centara is a place to be inspired, to create memories with your loved ones – a place you want to be. From arrival to check-out, stay conﬁdently with Centara Complete Care, the cleanliness and wellbeing programme dedicated to your health and happiness. centarahotelsresorts.com/centara-complete-care THAILAND • MALDIVES • OMAN • QATAR • SRI LANKA • VIETNAM
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BABY AND TODDLER TRAVEL
BACKPACKING WITH A BABY
Images: Kyle Rodriguez
YAYERI VAN BAARSEN and her partner find taking their five-month-old daughter backpacking through Vietnam is a great way to meet the locals
BABY AND TODDLER TRAVEL
Walking across the Cát Bà Island bridge 91
BABY AND TODDLER TRAVEL
M Images: Kyle Rodriguez
LEFT: The family on Cát Bà Island, A visit to Backpacker St in Ho Chi Minh City RIGHT: Making new friends in Quy Nho’n, Exploring Ho Chi Minh City at night
y daughter got her second tooth on the night train from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang. Her first tooth came a week earlier, just after we’d booked our last-minute flight. Timing, it seems, isn’t her strong point. Teething isn’t either. Halfway through the night, the young couple in our sleeping compartment decided to never have children. Understandable. During the teasingly relaxed flight I’d found myself thinking: “Why didn’t we do this earlier?”. But during the ensuing 16-hour train ride from hell with dirty toilets and not enough bins to dispose of dirty nappies, this quickly changed to: “Why on earth did we do this?!” Our little monster finally fell asleep in the cab from the train station to Hoi An. That afternoon, when cycling over the bridges, around the temples and below the colourful lanterns that decorate the streets of Hoi An’s historic quarter, our daughter snoring softly in the carrier, I was reminded again of the reason we decided to go on this journey through Vietnam. Because travelling makes us happy. Pre-baby, I’d backpacked through Europe, Asia and India – why stop now I’ve got a child? Being a mother doesn’t mean I want to spend the rest of my life vacationing close to home in baby-proof holiday resorts, especially not now our baby is still so small and portable. She doesn’t need solid food yet and she can’t walk or talk. In other words: no worries about dirty salads in unhygienic restaurants, no heart attacks because she wants to cross the road by herself in the centre of Hanoi, and no whining that she’d rather visit a theme park than a rice field. It’s a shame she can’t carry her own backpack yet, otherwise she’d be the ideal travel companion. Not everyone shares this view. “How brave,” lots of people said. A few thought it was borderline child abuse and some, like my mother-in-law, declared us completely crazy. I have to admit, there were a few times when I wondered if maybe they were right. This started even before we left, when reading about the huge rise in measles in Vietnam – a disease babies usually get vaccinated against at 14 months. Dengue fever cases, for which there isn’t even a vaccination available, had
BABY AND TODDLER TRAVEL
increased by 249 per cent compared to 2018, other travellers told us. Not something you want to hear when discovering a mosquito bite on your baby’s leg, just after arriving in the country! We also thought “What have we done?” when our daughter decided to pee all over the bus seat – as we were still busy changing her nappy after a poo explosion that also soiled half her bodysuit. And when she wanted to play ‘peekaboo’ during nursing and, with a big grin on her face, pulled away the shawl covering her head. There I stood in front of the Buddhist Phuoc Lam Pagoda in Hoi An, my breast exposed and my head slowly but surely turning tomato red… Luckily, Vietnamese people love babies. Waitresses offer to babysit so we can enjoy our meal in peace; when I say I’d rather hold my daughter myself, they entertain her by making funny faces. Taxi drivers make animal noises or sing along with the radio when our daughter starts whining after a few
kilometres. “Cute baby, cute baby!” we hear frequently and, wherever we go, everyone wants to touch her. With her blue eyes and blonde hair, our daughter is a major attraction. In Huê, all of the hotel staff cover her in kisses. On Cát Bà Island, we find ourselves surrounded by a group of Chinese tourists with cameras. Instead of photographing the beach or ocean, they’re taking pictures of our baby relaxing on a beach towel. Backpacking with a baby does require some adjustments. This time we’ve decided to skip the full moon parties and avoid the Mekong Delta in the south of Vietnam. It’s a shame to miss the floating markets that have been on my bucket list for ages, but we don’t want to take any mosquito risk with the little one. Instead of rushing from jungle trek to museum to market before catching the bus to the next destination, not wanting to miss a single hotspot, we now spend at least three nights in the same place. Apart 93
BABY AND TODDLER TRAVEL
Images: Kyle Rodriguez
from a slower pace, we also travel in a bit more comfort. After reading reviews about holes in mosquito nets, air-conditioning only functioning three hours a day, and the resort being located on an island full of aggressive monkeys, we immediately cancelled the romantic beach hut we’d booked. What can I say; perhaps becoming a mum has made me fussier. Instead of dragging our daughter
LEFT: Street vendors in Hanoi, Sleeping through Ha Long Bay tour. FROM TOP: Joyful times on Cát Bà Island, Becoming a tourist attraction on the beach at Cát Bà Island
along for hours in the 34°C heat, we swap sightseeing with lots of breaks in cool cafes and stay overnight in hotels with a bathroom, air-conditioning and sometimes even a pool. It’s backpacking deluxe, but to be honest I get a better night’s sleep than on my last trip to Vietnam, when I shared a dormitory in a party hostel with nine other travellers. Actually, she isn’t too much of an obstacle, my 8kg pooping front pack. We travelled by plane, car, bicycle, boat and bus. Just like the Vietnamese, we crammed the three of us together on a small scooter. Not in busy Hanoi, but on Cát Bà Island, where the deserted roads surrounded by jungle make you think you’ve somehow ended up in Jurassic Park. Snuggled in the baby carrier, my daughter didn’t seem too impressed by our island scooter tour. She also managed to sleep through Pha. m Ngu Lão, Ho Chi Minh City’s chaotic backpacker street where Asia-pop is played at full volume from the speakers and you can’t walk a metre without someone offering you a massage or two-for-one happy hour cocktails. Not even the limestone islands in Ha Long Bay, so beautiful the archipelago has been recognised by UNESCO as a natural World Heritage-listed site, could grab her interest; she spent the majority of the boat tour sleeping on my lap. We change nappies in the weirdest places, such as the roof terrace of a Hanoi coffee bar and the benches in Huê ’s Purple Forbidden City. Soon I notice travelling with a baby actually reduces your stress level; I used to be annoyed when having to wait hours for a delayed train, now I barely notice as I’m too busy with my daughter. Another advantage is the contact with the locals. Instead of asking whether we want to buy a mango, pineapple or nón lá (traditional straw hat), street vendors ask the name of our daughter and how old she is. While waiting for the train in Quy Nho’n we meet a grandmother with her grandson of about eight months. In broken English, she explains that in Vietnam often three generations live together in the same house; when the parents are at work, grandma takes care of the children. Men sitting on plastic chairs on the side of the road drinking cà phê
BABY AND TODDLER TRAVEL
sua (coffee with sweet condensed milk) laugh when they notice I am carrying a baby in front of me instead of a money belt or camera bag like most tourists do. Fellow backpackers love her tiny hippy trousers with elephant prints. We also meet people backpacking with older children and learn that travelling through South-east Asia is perfectly doable with toddlers and pre-schoolers too. Of course, it’s not ideal when she starts to cry in a crowded restaurant just when our dinner is served, but hey, Vietnam’s famous noodle soup, pho’, also tastes great when it’s cold. Maybe we’re creating a little globetrotter – although I have to admit she was more interested in a water bottle than a water buffalo. In any case, we’ve created memories. Ho Chi Minh City isn’t just the place we watched the sun set through the smog from a rooftop bar; it’s also where our baby first rolled over. In Huê , she said something that resembled “mammamamma” for the first time (unfortunately, it was when looking at a coconut.) And if, later in life, our daughter ever wonders where she got her second tooth, we’ll happily tell her about the train ride from hell during which we asked ourselves why on earth we decided to go backpacking with a five-month-old baby. MORE INFO: vietnam.travel/home
I NOTICE TRAVELLING WITH A BABY ACTUALLY REDUCES YOUR STRESS LEVEL 95
FROZEN FUN IN
D N A L N I F ELISA ELWIN reunites with her daughters in Lapland for the adventure holiday of a lifetime
Elisa with her daughters Sam and Tori 96
I envisioned a January reunion with my daughters in Lapland as a beautiful adventure. None of us had been to Finland and, with both my daughters studying in Europe, I thought it would be a perfect, snowy winter escape. Like most families, we planned to meet Santa, ride in a reindeer-pulled sleigh, go husky sledding and, if we were really lucky, catch the spectacle of the Northern Lights. But were we really prepared for 22 hours of darkness each day and temperatures that plunged well below freezing point? As we touched down in the regional airport of Kittila, we were suddenly immersed in Lapland’s long, winter night. Met by our driver, we embarked on a 45-minute journey through metreshigh snow to Lake Jerisjärvi, where we would spend the next three nights. Hotel Jeris is one of several Harriniva Hotels and Safaris properties based in West Lapland’s Muonio-Enontekiö area, just a stone’s throw from the pristine wilderness of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park (boasting the cleanest air the world, according to the World Health Organisation). Perched on the edge of the lake, it’s a dream destination for nature lovers. On leaving the hotel, you can jump directly onto a cross-country skiing track or snowshoe trail and be surrounded by wilderness. Or our favourite: walking directly onto the frozen lake to gaze up at the night sky and wait for the mesmerising dance of the Northern Lights.
Leaving the warmth of the car, we crunched our way through thick, dry snow towards the hotel lobby, suddenly realising how underprepared we were for the freezing weather. At this time of year, temperatures in Finnish Lapland can get down to -30°C, with just two
Meet reindeer in Lapland
Image: Harriniva Hotels & Safaris
THE COLD REALITY HITS
Image: Harriniva Hotels & Safaris
IF WE WERE REALLY LUCKY WE WOULD CATCH THE SPECTACLE OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
hours of light each day. What on earth was I thinking? How were we going to enjoy a holiday exploring the great Lappish outdoors when the wind cut through our measly layers of clothing in mere seconds? Never fear! Our first stop was the hotel storage area, which was filled with complimentary (dare I say “lifesaving”?) outfitting options that ranged in size from toddler-friendly to extra, extra-large. We were kitted out in waterproof, skidproof boots (including a thermal boot layer), zip-up, full-body winter parka suits, balaclavas and lined gloves – all matching – so we were ready to head outdoors in style. Ahhh. That being said, it did take me a good 20 minutes to dress myself each morning, and I remain in awe of families wrestling toddlers into full, deep snow gear every day. After settling into our wildernessinspired cottage, we discussed our plans for the following day over a traditional Lappish meal. Most of the ingredients served at the hotel restaurant are organic and sourced locally, with a strong focus on reindeer meat (yes, you can eat them too), wild-caught fish and berries. We rapidly grew to anticipate each meal, with fresh salads and hearty stews to feast on and a hot chocolate ‘nightcap’ before bedtime.
ENCOUNTERS OF THE REINDEER KIND
Reindeers are common in these parts
Well rested and ready to explore, our first morning in Lapland was all about reindeer. Set around a 100-year-old farmhouse, the Torassieppi Reindeer Farm is just a 10-minute bus transfer from the hotel. We met the resident reindeer up close and fed them their favourite lichen, known as “reindeer moss”, taking special care not to let their antlers get too close to our eyes. One interesting fact about reindeer is that they are the only member of the deer family in which the females also grow antlers! It was a lot of fun, particularly when it came to throwing lassos to test our herder skills. But the ‘pinch me’ moment was hopping onto a sleigh for a 3km, reindeer-pulled ride through the majestic forest, along the edge of Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park.
Visit the local husky farm
A TRADITIONAL FINNISH PASTIME
As the ever-so-short light faded to afternoon darkness, we returned to Hotel Jeris for an afternoon spent thawing out in the new Arctic Sauna World – the brainchild of Antti Pietikäinen, one of the third-generation siblings who manage the family-owned Harriniva Hotels and Resorts. Pronounced “sa-oon-ah” in Finnish, the sauna is an integral part of life here. A remarkable statistic states that there are more saunas than cars in Finland. In fact, there are more than 2.5 million saunas in the country, which has a population of just five million! Offering five different saunas, spring water showers and an only-for-the-brave ice hole swimming area, Arctic Sauna World is the ultimate place to indulge in a massage or treatment. Needless to say, it was easy to spend a cleansing four hours popping in and out of the saunas and relaxing in the lounges while peering up at the stars and the green smear of the Northern Lights. Children are more than
welcome, as is a cold beer or drink whilst you warm up. In Finland, the sauna is a place to relax, connect and share the day’s adventures, or spend time alone in quiet mindfulness. I watched on as my fearless girls decided to brave the post-sauna dip in the icy waters of Lake Jeris, wiping snow over their steaming bodies before gingerly lowering themselves into the near-frozen lake. The health benefits of ‘cold therapy’ are widely known – reduced muscle inflammation, improved circulation and increased mental toughness, to name just a few. They shrieked upon entry before declaring how wonderful it was as they emerged, although not convincingly enough for me to try it myself.
IT’S A HUSKY DAY
Day two saw us at the local husky farm where a group of much-loved working dogs was housed. Energetic, excitable and noisy, these happy huskies are trained athletes, building strength at the beginning of autumn for longer runs as the winter
TIPS FOR A FINNISH SAUNA EXPERIENCE
• Take a shower before entering the sauna to remove any lotions or perfumes • Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated • Sit on the wooden boards or pefletti (small towels) that are provided • Don’t go naked - Finns wear bathing attire inside public saunas • Don’t be shy to take a beer inside!
Finland’s flagship carrier Finnair flies to Kittila via the capital, Helsinki. finnair.com/au-en
Harriniva Hotels and Resorts has several properties throughout Finnish Lapland, including Hotel Jeris near Muonio on the Swedish/ Finnish border. harriniva.fi
Nordic travel specialist 50 Degrees North, which has an office in Melbourne, can organise accommodation, activities, transport and flights. au.fiftydegreesnorth.com
MORE INFO: visitfinland.com 100
sets in. And make no mistake about it – the dogs love to pull the sleighs! As we arrived, the barking increased, with each dog communicating his or her desire to be included on a team. We began our visit with a tour of the farm, including the chance to meet some of their adorable puppies, before learning how to manage the sleds and care for the dogs. With my girls setting off in one team, I followed close behind as we flew across the lake and through the forest. After the noisy welcome we received from the huskies, the silence of being out in the wilderness was surreal, only broken by the gentle “whoosh” of the sleds being pulled through the snow.
SANTA’S SPECIAL HOMELAND
With our three-day stay at Hotel Jeris coming to an end, we saved the best for last: a private family visit with the man himself! The Finns claim Santa as their own – he was “born” there, lives there and makes his annual present-dropping journey around the globe using local reindeer. My eldest, Sam, was born on Christmas Eve (our very own Christmas present), so our family’s relationship to this festive holiday is strong. Each year, as her longawaited birthday came to a close, we would prepare for Santa’s arrival. She always felt a special connection with him and it was her
dream to meet this jolly, bearded man in his Finnish home. Snug in our snowmobile sleigh, we had to keep our eyes peeled for the elves who would show us the secret path to Santa’s cabin, which was lit by lanterns showing us straight to the door. We crunched our way through the snow to his beautifully illuminated timber cottage, and were met by a cosy room complete with a beaming Santa seated in his welcome chair. With an authentic beard and full costume, the picture couldn’t have been more perfect. Both Sam and Santa were laughing throughout their face-to-face encounter – Santa with his gentle “ho ho ho” and Sam with undeniable joy at meeting her Christmas Eve mate. Despite my initial concerns, we discovered far more than just Santa in this spellbinding corner of the globe. The Pietikäinen family shared with us their warmth, laughter and joyous pride in the glorious wilderness of the MuonioEnontekiö area, combining exhilarating outdoor experiences, responsible tourism practices and delicious organic cuisine. It turned out to be a wintry stay we’ll never forget, for all the right reasons. The writer was a guest of 50 Degrees North, Harriniva Hotels and Resorts and Finnair.
Womenâ€™s adventure & lifestyle magazine Travel Play Live is the only travel and lifestyle magazine in Australia written entirely for and by women. With a focus on adventure travel, sustainable tourism, luxury lodges, glamping, wellness retreats and expedition cruising, it aims to inspire readers with personal and meaningful stories about experiential travel experiences, and keep them up to date with information about new tours, high-end accommodation offerings and experiences. It also features profiles on inspirational women working in the travel and tourism industry and organisations that give back, as well as stories about the latest gear and gadgets, must-read books and upcoming events, such as adventure film and food festivals. BE INSPIRED
AWAY FROM TODAY WITH TODDLER IN TOW
Weekend Today and Australian Ninja Warrior host Rebecca Maddern loves getting away and spending quality time with her husband Trent and their daughter Ruby YOUR DAUGHTER, RUBY, IS TWOYEARS-OLD NOW. HAVE YOU DONE MUCH TRAVELLING WITH HER? We’ve done quite a bit of travel with Ruby. We took her to Los Angeles when she was five months old. I was nervous but it really was quite easy. She’s always been a good sleeper, so she slept like a dream on the way there and back and we were lucky enough to get a seat with a bassinet. She wasn’t eating solids then, which made it a lot easier. She was young enough that we could go out for dinner and she would fall asleep in the pram after a quick walk around the block. We also took her to Fiji when she was one, which wasn’t quite as easy. She was eating solids and it isn’t always easy to get what you need when you’re staying in a hotel. It’s also a bit limiting when they are still having two naps a day but, in saying that, the Fijians love kids so much that all of the staff at our hotel would pick Ruby up and take her for walks, and play with her all the time. She also came to Noosa with us when she was 15 months and, since our family has a beach house along the Great Ocean Rd, we love taking Ruby and spending time there during the week, both in summer and winter. HOW HAS THE WAY YOU TRAVEL CHANGED SINCE BECOMING A MUM? Travel has changed because when I used to pack I used to worry about putting my outfits together. Now I worry about what to pack on the plane for her, in terms of snacks or entertainment. I’m lucky if I remember to pack matching shoes! WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT TRAVELLING WITH A TODDLER? I wouldn’t say I love travelling with a toddler, because it can be hard work and stressful at times, but if you’re going to a warm place there is nothing better than splashing around 102
afternoon. My husband looks after Ruby over the weekend when I’m away working. Grandparents help out too. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER PARENTS TRAVELLING WITH A TODDLER? Be organised. Pack more than you need because you could just drop the baby formula all over the floor of the plane when you are trying to mix it up. Try to book flights that work around your baby’s schedule, if possible. Get to the airport early, because you can’t rush when you have a toddler. Pack spare clothes for you and your toddler for the plane. Invest in a good travel pram and travel cot or hire them. They are brilliant.
in the pool or the ocean with your baby. It’s a lovely special time with your family. DO YOU HAVE TO TRAVEL FOR WORK? HOW DO YOU JUGGLE IT? Yes, pre-COVID I travelled to Sydney every Friday for a weekend of work. Travelling for work is actually quite easy. My toiletries just stay in my carry-on luggage from week to week, and I wear clothes on the plane that can be easily matched and work again with what is in my bag. I stick to neutral colours and black and white so everything can be worn together. I like to travel with a trench coat because it’s light and gives you some warmth if you need it. I always pack leggings, as I like being comfortable in my hotel room. I have a nanny for Ruby on Fridays, which allows me to get on a plane mid-
WHY DO YOU THINK TRAVELLING WITH KIDS IS IMPORTANT? My parents travelled with me quite extensively when I was young, and I think it’s extremely beneficial. It’s great for your geography and in terms of history, if you can see it with your own eyes, it means so much more than just learning it from a textbook. You learn so much from being submerged into a different culture, even if it’s for just a short time. It’s an invaluable experience and we’ll be trying to travel with Ruby as much as we can. I believe it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children. WHERE WOULD YOU LOVE TO GO FOR YOUR NEXT FAMILY HOLIDAY? Post-COVID I’d be happy with just a trip to Queensland. In terms of overseas destinations, we look for more family-friendly destinations these days. I’d consider going back to Fiji, as I think it would be even more fun now that Ruby is a little older. Of course, when she is old enough to remember it, Disneyland will be on the list. I’ve never been, so I can’t wait!
FIJIANS LOVE KIDS SO MUCH THAT ALL OF THE STAFF AT OUR HOTEL WOULD PICK RUBY UP AND TAKE HER FOR WALKS, AND PLAY WITH HER ALL THE TIME
Rebecca and Ruby loved the friendly staff at their resort in Fiji
Rubyâ€™s first swim with daddy in LA
Rebecca pushing Ruby in the pram in Beverly Hills when she was a baby
A family enjoying the lagoon pool at Elements of Byron
ELEMENTS OF BYRON ANGELA SAURINE checks out a chic, environmentally-friendly resort set amidst native bushland at Byron Bay THE LOWDOWN
Elements of Byron has been wowing guests ever since it opened at Byron Bay four years ago. Set on a 20ha property covered with rainforest and interconnected tea tree creeks, lakes and ponds brimming with birds and other wildlife, it’s a hit with nature lovers who also appreciate a bit of luxury. The shape of the main pavilion was inspired by a windswept sand dune – one of four ‘elements’ that have influenced the resort’s design, along with eucalyptus, wetland and rainforest. There’s an inviting fire pit beside the large lagoon-style pool, and day beds hang over the water in the 104
adults-only section. The resort is also very environmentally conscious. Think paper straws, room service served in recyclable composting-friendly packaging, water filter systems in kitchens and large amenity pump bottles, instead of small plastic bottles, in the bathroom. It’s also super high tech – when a villa is inactive the power automatically switches off to reduce energy consumption and there are in-room iPads to order room service.
The resort is located on Belongil Beach, a few minutes’ drive north of the town. Just
down the road you can catch the solarpowered heritage train from North Beach Station into town, with the journey taking about eight minutes. The North Beach precinct is also home to a booming arts and industrial estate.
There are 193 villas dotted throughout the resort. The Standard 2-Bedroom Villa sleeps up to four people in king beds (or king singles), with ensuite bathrooms attached to each bedroom and a freestanding tub in the master bedroom. The Superior and Deluxe 2-Bedroom villas
A Botanica Villa
ELEMENTS OF BYRON
144 Bayshore Dr, Byron Bay. NSW. elementsofbyron.com.au | 02 6639 1500
Azure Bar and Grill Terrace
can accommodate a family of five. They have full kitchen and laundry facilities, and an enclosed deck that’s great for dinners in. The Deluxe Villa also has a private bathhouse and gas fireplace on the deck.
The resort has a Parkour-inspired, all-natural kids’ playground located among the native rainforest, where kids can test their agility across a range of obstacles, as well as an outdoor games area with giant chess or bocce, and an all-weather tennis court. During the spring, summer and autumn school holidays there’s also a Kids’ Club, giving parents a chance to enjoy a treatment at Osprey Spa, an outdoor yoga class, or lie by the adults-only pool. There’s also unlimited in-house movies in villas, including a great selection for kids, and board games for those who want to limit screen time.
The fire pit
FOOD AND DRINK
along the beach with Zephyr Horses, which is based in a restored shack built for a film set across the road. Learn to surf with Let’s Go Surfing, go on a dolphin watching kayaking tour with Go Sea Kayak, or try stand-up paddleboarding at Brunswick Heads. Younger kids will love riding the train through the park at Macadamia Castle, around 20 minutes’ drive south, and learning about the wildlife at the daily talks given by animal keepers, before a round of putt-putt golf. Head to the hinterland and stroll around the Buddha Garden, sparkling crystals and reflexology path at Crystal Castle, and learn about marine conservation at the sea turtle hospital tour in Ballina.
The writer was a guest of Elements of Byron.
Order a smoothie or pizza from Breeze Poolside Bar & Eats, or dine at the stylishly decorated on-site restaurant Azure Bar & Grill, which has a kids’ menu featuring pasta bolognese, fish and chips and pizza. Younger guests receive an activity kit with their meal, including a colouring book and pencils. Sun Bistro, just down the road, has two kids’ play areas, while beer-loving dads will also want to check out the Stone & Wood Brewery a bit further along. The resort is only a few minutes’ drive from The Farm, which has a cafe, deli, bakery and restaurant set on a 32ha property that celebrates sustainable, chemical-free approaches. Ride a horse through the rainforest and
REFLECTIONS HOLIDAY PARKS FORSTER BEACH
1 Reserve Rd, Forster. 2428. NSW. Australia reflectionsholidayparks.com.au/park/ forster-beach | 02 6554 6269
The jetty near the holiday park at sunset
Image: East Coast Photography
Reflections Forster Beach Holiday Park
REFLECTIONS HOLIDAY PARKS FORSTER BEACH Image: Destination NSW
ANGELA SAURINE instantly slips into holiday mode at Reflections Holiday Parks Forster Beach on the Barrington Coast THE LOWDOWN
If you are looking for a family holiday destination filled with simple delights, Reflections Holiday Parks Forster Beach, around 3.5 hours’ drive from Sydney on the Barrington Coast, is a great option. Once you drive through the boom gate, there’s no need to put your key in the ignition again until you’re heading home. The park is a short walk to shops and restaurants in the main street, the lake and the beach – everywhere you need to go when you are on holiday really. It’s a popular spot for fishing, which is reflected in the street names in the park, including Prawn Pde, Tuna Terr and Garfish Ave. I feel relaxed from the moment I arrive.
Without doubt, the biggest selling point for this holiday park is its central location – between the main beach, mouth of the Coolongolook River and main street – and metres’ walk from the bridge to Tuncurry, where a carnival is held over summer. Just across the road, John Holland Park is a great spot for picnics. I love pushing my toddler on his scooter along the breakwall passing the pelicans that gather there hoping for a feed from the fishermen, and racing each other down the dual slippery dip in the small, but super fun, playground just outside the park’s gates.
Our Economy cabin is basic but has all you need. This includes a kitchen with a full-size fridge, kettle, toaster, an iron and ironing board, TV and DVD player above the main bed, bunk beds and a separate bathroom. I find there’s something about having all the essentials in one room that just makes you feel like you’re on holidays. Other options include stylishly renovated Superior cabins, which sleep up to four
An aerial view of Forster and Tuncurry, with the holiday park at top right
people in two separate bedrooms, with a decent-sized deck. The Premium cabins have Apex ceilings, two bedrooms and water views from the deck. Families of five should err towards the Deluxe Cabins, while the trendy and modern Superior Villas sleep up to six people in three bedrooms. Plans are also afoot to redevelop the park, with five new modern two-bedroom cabins. Some cabins will be moved to new locations and some campsites and older cabins will be removed to accommodate them. There are also powered sites for caravans and RVs.
During school holidays, a range of fun activities are on offer, including outdoor movie nights, treasure hunts, bingo, face painting, craft, karaoke and live music.
FOOD AND DRINK
Pizza nights and pancake breakfasts are also offered at the park during school holidays. Otherwise, there are many eateries just a short walk away. Lobby’s Fresh Seafood, at the end of the main
street, is a great place to grab fish and chips for a picnic on the grass by the lake. You can also watch the sunset over the water from the verandah at modern Asian restaurant Spice Monkey, or dine at a booth inside. It serves its own Monkey Magic beer on tap, as well as a large range of international and craft beers and teapot cocktails. The historic Lakes & Ocean Hotel, established in 1872, also offers good pub grub. Located opposite the lake, the renovated hotel has large windows and doors opening onto the verandah, and a café on the corner that serves breakfast, cake, tea and coffee. Getting an ice-cream from one of the shops on the main street is a quintessential Forster experience.
Drop a line in at the lake, book a dolphin watching or whale watching cruise with Amaroo Cruises, or hire a tinny and frolic around Miles Island at low tide. Head to Main Beach, or walk to one of the other beautiful beaches nearby, such as Pebbly Beach or One Mile Beach (which has a sandhill the kids can roll down). 107
Majestic Lake Inari
Inari Wilderness Hotel owner Jouko Lappalainen
INARI WILDERNESS HOTEL This remote retreat in Finland makes an ideal base for adventurous families who long to see the Northern Lights, ELISA ELWIN writes THE LOWDOWN
When the Inari Wilderness Hotel opened a series of luxurious Inari Arctic Chalets in December 2019, we wanted to be among the first to stay, while catching a glimpse of the magical Northern Lights. This familyowned and run business exudes personal attention, under the caring watch of Jouko and Mari Lappalainen.
Inari is around 45 minutes’ drive from the Ivalo Airport, which has daily Norwegian Air flight connections to Helsinki (1.5 hours duration) during the winter season, and weekly flights with Finnair year-round. Alternatively, you can take the train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi (approx. eight hours), then continue by bus to Ivalo (an additional four hours). Hotel shuttles are available for the transfer from Ivalo.
The Inari Arctic Chalets are perfect for a family of four, with a double bedroom and a 108
convertible sofa where the kids can snuggle in. They’re smartly decorated in a Finnish style, with highlights including a cosy gas fireplace, panoramic north-facing windows and a private internal sauna where you can revive at the end of the day. Larger families can opt to stay in one of the Inari Log Cabins, which feature a downstairs double bedroom, and an upstairs loft with three to four single beds.
One of the main reasons we ventured to Inari was to see the Northern Lights, and what better place to experience them than the lakeside Aurora Camp? Beginning with a sleigh ride from the hotel, it’s an unforgettable evening sitting fireside with hot chocolates in hand as the Aurora Borealis seemingly dances in the sky above. It’s important to remember that there are no guarantees you will see the Aurora Borealis on your visit, and it really is a case of being there at the right time. But the hotel does everything it can to
Stay in a charming Inari cabin
ensure guests are not disappointed. An Aurora Alert device is offered at check-in, which makes a beeping sound when the Aurora Borealis has been spotted in the area. Another activity the kids will love is meeting and feeding the reindeer at the nearby Sámi reindeer farm, while learning about the culture and life of a reindeer herder. Try your hand at playing traditional Sámi sports, and jump aboard a sled for a reindeer-pulled ride.
FOOD AND DRINK
As well as offering panoramic views across the waters of Lake Inari, the hotel’s restaurant serves up traditional Lappish cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is included in the room rate, while the a la carte menu features dishes such as Reindeer Carpaccio, Arctic Fish ‘n’ Chips and Grilled Chicken & Halloumi Salad. For a culturally enriching dining experience, the hotel organises authentic Finnish meals with local Sami women, offering a unique insight into their way of life.
INARI WILDERNESS HOTEL
Inarintie 2, 99870 Inari, Finland nellim.fi/inari/
There are plenty of ways to explore the Inari Wilderness Hotel’s stunning surrounds in the winter months, with everything from ice fishing trips to husky safaris and snowshoeing treks on offer. But it’s important to be prepared, as temperatures regularly drop to around -18°C. If visiting in the summer or autumn, there are some magnificent hikes for immersing in nature and the opportunity to pick blueberries and cloudberries fresh from the forest. To delve into the region’s Indigenous culture, the Sami Museum in Inari reveals their deep connection with the natural world and how they’ve survived in Lapland’s freezing climate for centuries. The Inari Wilderness Hotel provides thermal overalls, boots and gloves in a variety of sizes. That being said, it’s best to pack your own thermal underwear, fleece jacket, beanie, scarf and woollen socks, as well as light layers for warmer days. Avoid cotton-based clothing as it easily absorbs water and takes a long time to dry. The writer was a guest of Inari Wilderness Hotel and 50 Degrees North. 109
HOW TOâ€Ś AVOID GETTING SICK ON HOLIDAYS As borders slowly reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic, some families may be cautious about the health risks associated with travel. PIPPA STRICKLAND reveals how can you avoid getting sick on holidays and enjoy a memorable trip
1. MAINTAIN GOOD PERSONAL HYGIENE
In the wake of recent global events, the importance of hand hygiene when travelling cannot be overstated. Itâ€™s a simple, preventative measure in stopping the spread of infectious diseases and can reduce your chances of contracting not only coronavirus and the flu, but also short-lived bugs that may lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. healthdirect Australia recommends that both kids and adults wash their hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds before preparing or eating food and after using the toilet (or helping a little one go to the toilet). Having a small bottle of hand sanitiser is a good backup plan in situations where running water is not available.
2. RESEARCH YOUR DESTINATION
Every destination is slightly different when it comes to the health risks you may face. The best way you can prepare is by being informed and putting in place preventative measures before your departure. A good first port of call is Smartraveller, a website operated by the Australian government that provides the latest information and
advice for staying safe overseas. It includes travel warnings and recommendations regarding personal safety, and has a dedicated health section for each destination. Here you’ll find information about infectious diseases that exist in the country, as well as the level of health care and quality of medical facilities you can expect in a worst-case scenario.
3. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
It’s important that you chat with your doctor at least six to eight weeks before your departure date and follow their advice regarding health precautions and vaccinations. Some vaccinations require several courses over a period of weeks, while others (such as yellow fever) are mandatory for entry into select countries, which may also require you to carry a vaccination certificate as proof. During your appointment your doctor may also prescribe other preventative medication (such as antimalarials) and recommend practical steps for reducing your risk of exposure to common diseases.
4. BE SAVVY ABOUT YOUR FOOD CHOICES
One of the great joys of travelling is discovering the local cuisine, but many families may be wary about the risks of food poisoning due to the lack of food preparation regulations in some countries. If possible, stick with food that has been freshly cooked and avoid dishes that have been sitting in a bain-marie for who knows how long. Some travellers steer clear of street food, thinking that a restaurant is a safer option. But if you can see the cleanliness of the cooking environment, how the food is being prepared and the hygiene practices employed, then it may be less risky than eating food that’s dished up behind closed doors. If you’re not sure where to eat, follow the locals. They will know all the insider secrets about where the most delicious (and safest) food is available!
5. TAKE OUT COMPREHENSIVE TRAVEL INSURANCE
While it might not prevent you from getting sick, travel insurance can be worth
its weight in gold if you do end up in hospital abroad. Some countries have reciprocal health agreements with Australia, meaning you will be eligible for their equivalent of Medicare benefits for some treatments. But in other destinations, you’ll be paying out-of-pocket for a hospital bed, or even footing the bill for a costly evacuation in serious medical situations. In addition to the loss of personal valuables and costs associated with travel cancellations /delays, a comprehensive travel insurance policy will cover you for overseas medical and hospital expenses, as well as repatriation if required. However, the Insurance Council of Australia warns that most companies will have exclusions for ‘known events’ and won’t cover claims caused by an epidemic, pandemic or outbreak of infectious disease. MORE INFO: smartraveller.gov.au; healthdirect.gov.au 111
All the latest products travelling families need to know about 1. BLUEY JUNIOR READYBED
Fans of the ABCâ€™s beloved blue heeler will love snuggling up in this portable, combined childrenâ€™s airbed and sleeping bag. Suitable for ages three and over, it is available in two designs and includes a handy carry pouch and easy-to-use pump. The soft and cosy cover is machine washable. Other Bluey products include a flip-out inflatable mini sofa and a bedside night light and torch buddy. RRP $65 bluey.tv/products 112
2. HOPSCOTCH DINOSAUR TROLLEYCASE
With a dinosaur print design, pull handle and spinner wheels, your little one will love wheeling this travel case. Features include a large inside compartment, compression straps and a durable outer shell. RRP $35 bigw.com.au
3. HIDDEN WONDERS
Packed with natural marvels and manmade oddities, this book for kids aged nine to 12 is a guide to the planet's wildest, weirdest places. Discover more than 150
extraordinary locations, from glow-worm caves to creepy-crawly food markets and hot springs full of monkeys. RRP $29.99 lonelyplanetkids.com
4. SPINIFEX SHARK CHAIR
This shark-inspired foldable chair for children will be a hit on your next camping trip. It has a built-in mesh cup holder and comes in a convenient carry bag. Other designs in the series include a crocodile, unicorn and a koala. RRP $39.99 anacondastores.com
5. PLANE PAL REUSABLE SQUIDGY STICKERS
These fun, reusable stickers will help keep the kids entertained on your next flight. Suitable for kids aged two and over, they feature many things your child will spot on the plane, sparking their imagination and inquisitiveness. Use them to explain to your little one the experiences they will have on their travels. The 11 stickers are durable and reusable, sticking to most surfaces and easily peeled and reapplied. RRP $8.95 planepal.com.au
6. KIDSâ€™ DOG WATER REPELLENT BACKPACK
For youngsters who love their fourlegged friends, this backpack is a super cute pick. Water repellent, easy to wipe clean and with padded straps, the bag has been designed for comfort, with the straps curved to sit comfortably on the body, and padding in the back. It has compartments for items such as water bottles, and an adjustable chest strap helps keep it securely on. RRP $42.50 marksandspencer.com/au/
7. CHEEKY CHICKADEE FLAMINGO RAINCOAT
This flamingo watercolour print raincoat has a double-breasted jacket and a built-in hood with hood snap to help keep it on. It has pleats for extra roominess and is colour-sealed and washable, so it won't fade over time. With a 100 per cent polyester outer layer with waterproof coating, this raincoat is guaranteed to keep your little one dry, but is still soft to touch and super comfortable to wear, with light polyester lining on the inside. RRP $44.95 cheekychickadeestore.com 113
RACHAEL HARDING CLUB MED GENERAL MANAGER – PACIFIC
Rachael Harding began her career in travel at Flight Centre in London during a post-university backpacking trip more than two decades ago, and has lived in Japan, New York and in a kibbutz in Israel. She has been in her current role as general manager - Pacific for Club Med for the past two years, and loves road-testing its resorts with her husband Justin and five-year-old son James.
FAMILY TRAVELLERS MAY NOT BE AWARE THAT… Travelling increases kids’ tolerance for discomfort. Many anomalies are experienced when travelling, both good and bad, and this will bring a level of discomfort, but it also allows kids to problem-solve, practise patience, and express gratitude in new ways.
MY IDEAL FAMILY HOLIDAY IS… A combination of ‘we time’ and ‘me time’. Let’s face it, holidaying with kids can sometimes be even more tiring than parenting at home and, believe me, the kids also want some time out. That’s why I love an all-inclusive resort holiday like Club Med (and I am not just saying that because I work for the company). Whether it be a beach or ski resort, it allows us to enjoy an abundance of activities together, but also gives us all time to re-energise individually, meet new friends and learn something new.
EVERY FAMILY SHOULD EXPERIENCE… An element of giving back on their holiday. Choose an amazing adventure while also supporting people, animals, and the planet. It’s the best way to ensure your travels are meaningful to the people and places you visit. At Club Med, we offer a range of programs from coral restoration in the Maldives and protecting wildlife at our turtle sanctuaries in Indonesia and Malaysia, to ecological walks to learn about the local wildlife and surroundings. Our Kids’ Clubs have a dedicated sustainability program, encouraging both multicultural exchanges and learning about plants, nature and nutrition.
MY FONDEST FAMILY HOLIDAY MEMORY IS… One was Club Med Kani (Maldives) – the daily routine of strolling from our bungalow into the crystal blue water, finding the most colourful of fish, eating and drinking what we wanted when we wanted and watching the sun go down with the most perfect backdrop was bliss. I have never felt so disconnected to the everyday and so connected with my loved ones. But I must also mention, in compete contrast, our holiday last year to Lapland and the home of Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, Finland. Nothing can ever beat a Christmas Day that starts with a reindeer ride through a fairytale forest, and ends with Santa delivering our son’s presents to our cottage door! 114
MY TOP TIP FOR TRAVELLING WITH KIDS IS… Get them involved in the planning. OK, you can guide them, but let them think they have a hand in choosing some, or all, of the trip. The anticipation then becomes much more exciting for everyone, and extremely rewarding when they arrive and see first-hand all that they have been working on. Also, accept things will go wrong – it’s all part of it, and often the part of the holiday you end up reminiscing about for years.
Rachael and her family visited the home of Santa Claus in Lapland last year
Rachael and James at Club Med Kani in the Maldives
PAC I F IC R E SORT R A ROTONGA R A RO T ONGA , C O OK I SL A N D S Laid back fun in the Sun! With a complimentary kids club and a wide range of water activity equipment, families often make use of the snorkelling equipment exploring the underwater sea life or venture out on a family kayak adventure together. With plenty of activities for children of all ages, and relaxing options for adults, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the award winning family friendly Pacific Resort Rarotonga. AU T H E N T I C B OU T I QU E pacificresort.com
R AROTONGA Âˇ COOK ISLANDS
PAC I F I C R E S O RT H O T E L G RO U P
COOK ISL A N DS
FANTASY IS THE BEST REALITY. With imagination in Anaheim’s DNA, our vibrant city has been bringing fun to families for years. Until we see you again, we’re calling all Uncommon Characters to dream a little brighter and little louder. We’ll be here to share our magical mojo with you and yours when you’re ready. Until we meet again, be safe and stay connected. Sunnier days are ahead.
Explore the unconventional at VisitAnaheim.org.
STINGRAY at SeaWorld TEXAS
MORE PARKS. MORE AMAZING.
TURTLE REEF at SeaWorld CALIFORNIA
At SeaWorld® experience up-close animal interactions, one-of-a-kind attractions and thrilling rides. Plus, every visit helps support animal rescue programs and conservation projects around the planet.
Visit Your Local Travel Agent for Specially-Priced Tickets
MANTA © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.
at SeaWorld FLORIDA
If youâ€™ve been longing for vast national parks, sandy beaches and cosy cabin getaways, nowâ€™s the time to plan your dream family holiday in NSW.
1300 654 262
THE HEART OF FA!L) F The Whitsundays is the ultimate family holiday paradise, from snorelling the Great Barrier Reef and meeting our colourful marine life, to exploring the ancient rainforest, there is a Whitsundays experience for everyone at any budget.
Airlie Beach Lagoon
Great Barrier Reef
Rose Bay, Bowen
m ahal o for p r ac t ici ng
808-661-0011 | w w w. k b h m a u i . c o m | m a u i , h awa i â€˜ i
Shane Bevel Photography
Plan your epic family adventure at Travel Gathering Place - Tulsa
America’s Best New Attraction in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards
Riversport Adventures –
Plunge through heart-pounding rapids at this Olympic training and recreation complex in the heart of Oklahoma City.
Robbers Cave State Park –
Relish horseback riding, disc golf, and hiking in Wilburton – at the world-famous hideout of Jesse James and Belle Starr.
Leonardo’s Children’s Museum – Watch the kids light up in Enid at this hands-on science museum and playground, featuring a three-story castle!
EXPERIENCE THE NORDICS BEFORE YOU GET THERE ENJOY UNIQUE NORDIC EXPERIENCES ON BOARD EVERY FINNAIR FLIGHT
Finnair, together with our oneworld partners, offers multiple routes from Australia to Europe via Asia and North America. Enjoy personal space, privacy and simplicity on board our flights. Book your flights at finnair.com/au
Book before Sept 30 2020 & F
FIJI DISCOVERY CRUISES Take the whole family on a voyage of discovery and fun around the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands or remote Northern Fiji aboard the 130-passenger, MV Reef Endeavour.
*Purchase 2 full price fares and get 50% off the 2nd fare. Valid for sale til 30 Sept 2020 with travel to 31 March 2022. You must quote promotion code FAM25 at the time of booking. Valid for porthole cabin and ocean stateroom only. Limited availability. Valid on new bookings only. **For a family of 4 (2A + 2C (5-17yrs) 7 nights.
2nd PERSON CRUISES 1/2 PRICE . Families save up to $2769**
See the world from another angle. Create your own family adventure in Kanazawa.
Image: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa