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with kids

ISSUE 40 AUTUMN 2014 AUS$6.95 (inc gst)

SKI downunder


“Having a child with a disability doesn’t have to close the door on dreams of travel”


Visit Vanuatu plus KIDS SCUBA

Magic miles



A holiday to VANUATU for a family of 4 valued at

$6250 includes airfares

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and for you!


Escape the everyday Escape Travel are here to help your family take a break away from the everyday. Say goodbye to work, school and housework and say hello to all the special moments that can only be shared on a family holiday. Your local Escape Travel consultant can look after all your family holiday needs – leaving you with time best spent with your family. Take advantage of our: • 6 months interest free finance • Exclusive discounts on child airfares up to 17 years old • All inclusive holidays for children of all ages • Cruising for families • Kids Stay, Play and Eat FREE packages • Advice on accommodation with child minding & kids clubs You can also travel with confidence knowing you’re backed by our 24-hour customer assist program wherever you are in the world.

Discover more family holiday inspiration and the best value deals at or call 1300 559 864 Over 145 stores nationally.

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*Terms and conditions apply. 6 months interest free provided by applying for the Lombard 55 Visa Card and is only available to approved applicants, it is subject to further terms and conditions contained in the Lombard Visa Card Account Conditions of Use and Lombard Visa Card Product Schedule. An application fee $60, monthly account fees $2.90 and other fees and charges are payable. The Lombard Visa Card is a credit facility provided by Lombard Finance Pty Limited (ABN 31 099 651 877) (Australian Credit License Number 247 415). Flight Centre Limited (ABN 25 003 377 188) trading as Escape Travel. Licence Number: ACT 18800224, NSW 2TA002719, NT 008, QLD TAG262, SA TTA254, TAS TAS031, VIC 31089 & WA 9TA 589. ETMARK55472


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autumn | 14 Welcome T

research and sharing experiences and recommendations with others. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and travel review sites have helped to open up ‘real’ family travel stories and provide first-hand knowledge and advice. Thanks for your continued support. Our next issue will have the results of your votes for our Best of Family

his year marks the 10th anniversary of Out & About with Kids and since our first issue in 2004 we’ve seen the world of family travel grow significantly, with more and more Australians embracing everything from weekend getaways to overseas holidays. Thanks to the internet, families are finding great deals, doing

Travel Awards and more wonderful, new and exciting family travels in our magazine and online. The Out & About with Kids team

This is the last issue from our long-standing editor Aleney de Winter. We wish her well and look forward to hearing from her as she continues to explore the world with her two gorgeous children.

W W W. O U T A N D A B O U T W I T H K I D S . C O M . A U

Let’s get social

Facebook friends share their tips for travelling with kids on long haul flights… outandaboutwithkids

Kylie says: “I’ve got four kids and love to travel. My tip is expect the worst and it will only be better!! Try to avoid night flights and if you can, take a direct flight.”

Abyna says: “Buy triangular crayons as they don’t roll off the tray table during the flight. Check out my ebook on Amazon for travel tips.” Travel Made Fun With Your Kids Brenda says: “Buy new colouring books, sticker books and stories, along with some small toys and lollies. Don’t give them out all at once ... spread them out over the flight.” Amanda says: “Usborne Holiday Doodles Activity Cards are great for younger kids. A pack of 50 wipe clean cards with a pen for decorating and colouring.”


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Debbie says: “Be prepared for anything! Lollies or gum are good for take-off and landing when the change in air pressure can hurt little ears.” Sarah says: “iPads are really great - fill them with your child’s favourite shows, games and learning games and I save them for that stage of the trip when they’re over everything else.” Charisse says: “Try to book a morning flight so that the kids have had a good night’s sleep and they’re less likely to be grizzly.” Have wheelchair will travel says: “I think long haul flights are a bit like labour ... a day of pain for great gain! Try to check in early to avoid the long queues, then you can spend time having a drink at the cafe instead of standing in line with bored children. Happy travels!”

Visit our website and subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter, for all the latest family holiday, leisure and entertainment news delivered to your inbox - and for the chance to win some fantastic family prizes.

with kids


f o t r a e th t h g i l g travellin first class travel in a satchel nano is the ultimate travel companion that promises convenience, longevity and an authentic Mountain Buggy experience of ease, and first class award winning innovation. Weighing at just 5.9kg, this compact buggy is built tough, ensuring Mountain Buggy’s DNA runs through with manoeuvrability, simplicity, adaptability and durability. The sophistication of its engineering, means that nano’s

built in car seat safety belts accommodates the Mountain Buggy protect car seat capsule (and many other capsule brands), and then transforms into a super compact, functional buggy with a maximum load of 20kg. nano promises all that you would expect from Mountain Buggy; the original all terrain premium brand.

available from selected retailers

Publisher Elisa Elwin 0413 770 550

Assistant Editor Lisa Monk 0414 707 494

Editor Aleney de Winter

Design Magnesium Media

Contributors Richard Bunting, Deborah Dickson-Smith, Karen Edenborough, Helen Hayes, Mark Hodgson, Christine Kane, Patrick Kinsella, Lisa Monk, Amanda Smyth, Aruna Sokol, Jennifer Vandekreeke

Art Director Louise Summerton

Director of Sales & Marketing Richard Bunting 0424 138 806

Cover image: © Warren Goldswain

Published by Elwin Media Pty. Ltd. ABN: 22 159 093 606 4/18 West Street Balgowlah 2093 0413 770 550

National Sales Manager Colleen Hinch

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

Digital Editor Christine Kane 0412 559 363

Copyright © Out & About with Kids 2014 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All reasonable efforts have been made to contact copyright holders. Out & About With Kids cannot accept unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. If such items are to be sent to the magazine they will be returned.

It's school holIday tIme! Spacious apartments in a range of fantastic locations.

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*Terms and Conditions apply. Subject to availability. Minimum 2-night stay. All offers are valid for travel between 4 Apr – 5 May 2014. WHG8986 Out and About with Kids Press Ad.indd 1





24/03/14 10:53 AM




12 What’s Hot for the holidays

See page 50 for Ski Downunder

The latest travel products for kids

14 What’s Hot technology Travel apps & gadgets


24 Camping News Camping, caravanning & holiday parks

26 Suite Life Tried & Tested – Australia’s best family stays

68 Australian Holiday News Travel news and offers from around Australia

106 International Holiday News


Travel news and offers from around the globe

114 Wish You Were Here Waikiki Why Not?

116 Cruise News News from the world of cruising

121 What’s Hot baby The latest products for tots

122 What’s Hot books We review the latest books for families


124 Dad’s Word The Biggest Loser trainer Shannon Ponton shares family travel tips & memories

features 8

Reportage Travels with children with disabilities

18 Motorhome Holidays Your home away from home on wheels

50 Ski Downunder Everything you need to know about the season in Oz & NZ Includes the latest Ski News and Kids Snowboarding special

48 Running Free in the Red Centre Holidaying in the shadow of Uluru – and an Outback Half Marathon!

78 Under The Sea Top tips and the best spots for snorkelling & scuba diving kids plus Visit Vanuatu – your chance to Win a family holiday!

118 Baby & Toddler Friendly Resorts Our favourite family breaks with tots in tow



contents 30

australian destinations

international destinations

28 Mudgee NSW

84 Fiji

Foodie-friendly and familyfriendly fun

30 Blue Mountains NSW Lil’s 8th birthday dream destination

32 Murramarang NSW Holiday Park heaven on the south coast


34 Canberra ACT Why the capital is cool for families

38 Sunshine Coast QLD So much more than sun and surf

42 The Whitsundays QLD Exploring the islands in our reef paradise

46 Phillip Island VIC Picture perfect for a family day out

Exploring the simple life in the Yasawa Islands

90 Bali Three of our favourite blissful Bali spots

94 Thailand Beyond Bangkok for families

98 Hong Kong Super stopover for kids

100 Dubai The dazzle and the desert

102 San Diego, USA Rancho Valencia combines luxury and fun

112 Cruise Hawaii Outside Oahu – the best way to see all the islands

84 win 14 Navman MY450LMT

90 6


80 Family holiday to Vanuatu including airfares 122 Goal! Football Around the World books

WgrIeNats prize

with kids

For the best family travel deals, latest news, tips, blogs and competitions visit Out & About with Kids website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Visit and sign up for our monthly newsletter


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t was less than a week before our greatly anticipated trip to southeast Asia. Tickets had been purchased, hotels booked, adventures planned. Having moved here from the US, we knew our time in Australia was limited and we were trying to see and do as much as we could in this part of the world. We had roughed it on a two-week camping road trip, made it to Kangaroo Island, snorkelled at the Great Barrier Reef and even driven around Tasmania, but this was our first overseas holiday and we were excited. Our youngest son, Tarin, had been in hospital with pneumonia a month before and we were going to have a ‘fitness to fly’ test to see if his lungs could handle the lowered oxygen environment on the flights. He was so much better, but Tarin didn’t pass. When he was only a few months old, Tarin was hospitalised for several months with a severe case of RSV pneumonia, had open heart surgery at six-months-old, and was back in hospital with flu and pneumonia right after he turned one. We’re no strangers to the hospital bedside, but this latest stay took us by surprise because, since our move to Australia, his health had been great. Doctors said that he needed oxygen for the flights, and we were encouraged to postpone our trip because it would be difficult to sort out oxygen supply with airlines so close to departure. I told my husband the bad news, but he rose

to the challenge and called Qantas to find out how to get oxygen for the flight to Bangkok. They were helpful, but it was expensive and we could not arrange it for the flights planned on other carriers. There were forms to get signed, more doctor visits; it was down to the wire and I saw obstacles at every turn. I was ready to throw in the towel but Nik found Independent Living Specialists, a local place where we could rent a portable oxygen concentrator at a weekly rate, which Tarin could use on all the flights. And a few days later, we were winging our way to Bangkok.

Opening Minds Margalit Francus, founder of Autistic Globetrotting, says of travelling internationally with children with disabilities, “In order to promote a better world, it’s our obligation to expose them.” And expose them we did - it was by far one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. We walked in the ruins of ancient Buddhist temples, went to a Cambodian wedding, took a train ride through the Thai countryside, rode a boat through a lake village and rode tuk-tuks. It was eye-opening for our six-year-old, Suriyan, to take in the sights at Angkor Wat, juxtaposed with the extreme poverty of kids his own age peddling trinkets on the street. Every day was filled with wonder and amazement, as well as thought-provoking conversations about privilege. Tarin enjoyed

    A U T U M N  2 0 1 4


TRAVEL TIPS TRAVEL TIPS FOR TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN WHO HAVE DISABILITIES: Prepare – Preparing before your trip with books and videos is a great way to get kids excited about the holiday, but it is also helpful to think about each day. While on holiday, preparing your child for the day ahead with a plan and pictures can help make the day more manageable. Medical Essentials – It’s important to find out about hospitals and facilities at your destination. Having good travel insurance can help put your mind at ease for emergencies, but packing a good medical kit is vital. In addition to the usual travel items, such as anti-diarrhea medication and first aid kit, make sure to take a course of antibiotics in powder form (it won’t need refrigeration until mixed with water), rehydration packets, prescriptions, and antibacterial hand gel. Disinfecting surface wipes are great public toilet seats, and even trays and seats on the plane or train. Carry-on – Anything that cannot be easily replaced or will be needed right away should be in carry-on, such as medication, extra sets of clothes and eye glasses. If luggage is lost or delayed, you have with you what you absolutely need. If travelling by car, keep these things with you up front. Consider siblings – Make sure to incorporate the needs and likes of siblings from early on in the planning. Ask for their input and make sure there is an activity that each child likes every day. Advocate – Always ask how something can be worked out for your child to participate rather than if it can. This small distinction can help others work with you to find creative solutions, rather than assume that something just isn’t possible. Educate – Many parents say they aren’t bothered by stranger stares or comments, but for others, it is difficult to take. Some parents carry small cards with information about their child’s disability to hand out if needed (by the way, this is a great job for a sibling). It can help explain a situation to an onlooker while parents can maintain their focus on the child.



the attention of strangers everywhere while basking in the security of doing everything with us. He was enchanted with the temples, taking the time to bow before Buddha at every shrine we passed! While we were all enriched by our travels, I like to think we also opened some minds. Aside from health issues, Tarin has Down Syndrome. From boarding the airplane in Sydney to the Elephant Sanctuary in Laos, Tarin got many curious stares. Even in Australia or the US, despite strides in disability awareness, people don’t always know how to react when presented with a child with a disability… often because they haven’t had enough exposure. It is not typical to see families travelling with kids who have disabilities, because there are so many obstacles. Travelling by air means long lines at airports, security checks, lots of walking, waiting, and crowds, not to mention sitting and being confined on the plane. This is stressful enough without the added component of a child who uses a wheelchair or a child with sensory integration issues or a child who has difficulty communicating or a child who wanders or… the list can go on. Some families who have children with special needs face such enormous obstacles daily just going to nearby places like parks or the grocery store that a holiday may feel beyond reach. But travelling anywhere, near or far,

means exposing your kids to the world and exposing the world to them.

Keeping it local Jacob El-Hacham has never travelled by air, so the family’s car, which they fondly call the “grismobile” is their mode of travel. Jacob (13), who loves being outdoors, has physical and significant intellectual disabilities. This adventure-seeker uses a wheelchair and requires support for most of his basic needs, so it is difficult to find accommodation to meet requirements. But on a holiday at the BIG4 Holiday Park in Kiama, the family enjoyed time together in what Jacob’s mother, Siham, says was “one of the best planned and laid out accessible places” they’d stayed in. Wheelchair accessibility isn’t just about ramps, but includes things like large dining areas, wide hallways, and large bathrooms with shower seats and rails – something that many of us might not think twice about when seeking accommodation. There was a balcony where “Jacob could just sit and watch the water” across the street. Beaches are often inaccessible for Jacob, with stairs leading down to the sand, crowds of people and Siham points out, “you can’t wheel a wheelchair on the sand.” But from their villa in Kiama, they were able to take Jacob right across the street to an uncrowded spot in the sand. The whole family was at the beach and Jacob was



“beside himself with joy, sitting on his low chair, the water lapping over him, and digging his feet into the sand.” For Siham and the rest of the family, watching Jacob experience the outdoors in this way was magical.

wanted new experiences in life. The choices we make are certainly different with kids in the picture, and even more so with a child who has a disability. But, it doesn’t have to close the door on dreams of travel.

Overcoming obstacles

Hope for the future

Many parents spend a lot of time trying to ensure that services and therapies are in place for our children to develop and grow. Lifestart is an organisation in Sydney that works with families and young children, providing early intervention services, so children with disabilities can reach important developmental milestones. But, as Suzanne Becker, CEO of Lifestart, puts it “It is okay to let go of everyday routines sometimes and just have fun as a family. Forget about the therapies – it’s a time-out for families to build relationships and just have fun together.” Getting children used to the different rhythms and routines of travel can be rewarding. One of my favourite things about travelling with our kids, whether it is local or to a different country, is that we find a kind of ‘togetherness’ that is quite different from home – a break from daily life that often finds me saying “In a minute, I just have to…” or “Hurry, we’re late!” We talk and gaze at the view and in today’s fast-paced world, this stillness and contentment with the moment is something I cherish. I have always sought adventure and

As Taleb Rifai of the UN World Tourism Organization says, “Accessibility is a central element of any responsible and sustainable tourism policy. It is both a human rights imperative, and an exceptional business opportunity.” The first World Summit on Destinations for All will bring the international travel and tourism community together in Montreal in October 2014 to explore various topics related to improving travel and tourism for persons with disabilities.The summit aims to “identify and implement the necessary measures to establish international tourism that is inclusive and accessible.” People with disabilities and their families travel for many different reasons: business, recreation, to visit friends and relatives, and to experience different places and ways of living – just like everyone else. As a special educator with a passion for inclusion and now a mother of two, I can think of nothing better than a world that values access for all people to experience life to the fullest and pursue their dreams, wherever they may take them.

NEED A HAND? There are some great organisations that can support travelling families with special needs. Websites and organisations to consult for travel planning, support and information: Australia for All Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality Autistic Globetrotting NICAN Autism on the Seas Disability Services Australia Children with Disability Australia House with No Steps Independent Living Specialists

    A U T U M N  2 0 1 4



WHAT’S HOT for the holidays DoubleNest Portable Hammock The amazing DoubleNest Hammock is a light, ultra-portable hammock that packs down to the size of a grapefruit and is crafted from soft and breathable nylon durable enough for family fun. Perfect for stowing in a day bag, coat pocket or the back seat of a car, the DoubleNest will double the fun of your next outdoor family adventure. www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc. com RRP: $US69.95

Mini Kimochis Help make those long trips more fun with this adorable range of kids’s toys. Each of the seven adorable Mini Kimochis characters has its own unique personality designed to help kids better express their feelings rather than just complainin. The perfect size for travel, the cute plush toys comes with a feeling keychain and fun comic book - perfect to pass the time and stop the “are we there yets?” RRP: $29.95

Cleansui Premium Water Purifying Jug Enjoy fresh filtered water on the road with the Cleansui 1.5L Premium Water Purifying Jug. The compact Cylindrical Jug comes with Cleansui’s super high-grade filter, to remove all those unwanted chemicals and contaminants, including bacteria, leaving you with nothing but clean, tasty water. Designed to sit either horizontally or vertically without spilling means it’s perfect for packing, as well as saving door space in your fridge. RRP: $39.95

Gastrolyte for kids It’s vital to be prepared for illnesses, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, colds and flu on the road as children can dehydrate quickly. Gastrolyte ready to eat Jelly-Ice Blocks, available in orange or strawberry flavours, are ideal when rapid rehydration is needed as they can either be eaten straight from the pack or after being frozen, offering parents of sick children a quick, easy and portable option that is appealing for children. RRP: $16.95.



Kathmandu Paddle Set Kids can stay top of their game with the fantastic paddle set from Kathmandu. The Paddle Set is a holiday must-have and is ideal for activities in the water or on dry land. Durable and water resistant, the set includes two paddles and one ball. RRP: $29.98


WHAT’S HOT technology USB Portable Charger

Logitech UE Boom

Who hasn’t had their smartphone battery die just at that crucial moment? Sony’s affordable USB Portable Charger means you can now power up your smartphone anywhere and anytime. Available in heaps of stylish colours, it’s compatible with most smartphones for emergency, back-up power. RRP: $39.99

The awesome UE Boom is guaranteed to get the kids dancing wherever you go. The UE Boom is a portable speaker that weighs just over 500 grams. The rechargeable speaker comes in six cool colours and uses Bluetooth to pair with your phone or tablet devices in a single tap and offers bold, immersive sound in every direction. It’s also water resistant thanks to the acoustic skin it’s wearing, meaning its perfect for your next beach break or for a little twisting by the pool. RRP: $198

App, app and away Looking for the best price for your next flight? Skyscanner searches over 600 airlines on 200,000 routes to 5,000 airports to find the cheapest flights and budget deals. You’re booked now it’s time to pack. Packing Pro assists the organisationally challenged with pre-trip to do lists and sample packing lists. At the airport iFly Pro can help you quickly find services and amenities, from bathrooms to Wi-Fi hotspots, near your location or a gate. Plus there’s also a sleek real-time flight status, tracking utility and itinerary management utility for over 700 commercial airports across the globe. If you’re holidaying at sea Ship Mate lets you start exploring your ship before you hit the high seas. Available for Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America, Costa, MSC and Disney Cruises, you can even plan excursions and set up a daily schedule. Planning your break in the bush? WikiCamps Australia offers the biggest and most comprehensive list of camp sites, caravan parks, back packer hostels, day stops, information centres and dump points in Australia. If you’re off the beaten track and need to know what to do in an emergency the free First Aid by Australian Red Cross app has all the information you need on how to handle a variety of medical situations at your fingertips. Share your experiences with friends and families while you’re travelling with Off Exploring which allows you to update your free online travel blog and upload photographs. In a hurry to update the family on your adventures but desperate to avoid high global data roaming charges? Use the Free WiFi Finder app to locate the closest free Wi-Fi hot spot in over 100 countries.




Navman MY450LMT

This latest offering from Navman is packed with loads of features to keep you and your family safe on the roads and is, from our personal experience, extremely user-friendly and reliable. The MY450LMT car navigation system not only has a big 5” screen but it boasts some of the best GPS features of any sat nav in the market, including voice destination warnings for speed, red light cameras and school zones and live traffic updates that ensure you avoid busy roads or incidents. Plus new Landmark Guidance makes navigation simpler by providing spoken directions using identifiable visual cues. The clever folk at Navman have also incorporated bluetooth hands-free accessibility and Voice Destination Entry so you can keep your hands on the wheel at all times and world-first Rapid Map Refresh - monthly map updates that are verified at no extra cost to you making it a must have for your next road trip. RRP: $229 Out & About With Kids has one Navman MY450LMT valued at $279. For your chance to win visit


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now Fantastic discount coupons for accommodation and attractions available now at Macleay Valley Coastal Holiday Parks Save up to $125 with these legendary deals and book now to explore the Macleay Valley Coast on the North Coast of NSW. Macleay Valley Coastal Holiday Parks are located halfway between Sydney and Brisbane at five unique coastal locations; Crescent Head, Horseshoe Bay at South West Rocks, Hat Head, Stuarts Point and Grassy Head. Families Have water fun in protected shallows, build sandcastles from endless, pristine sand, picnic in shady spots. Rat Race Escapees Kick back and rejuvenate with simple camping or a luxury cabin. Forget the washing up, have scrumptious cooked breakfasts at a local cafe. Active People Go snorkelling, diving, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, body boarding, jet skiing or boating. Play golf, tennis or bowls. Nature Lovers Drive, walk or sit to enjoy unsurpassed views of pristine beaches, sparkling coastline and rainforest hinterland. Spot wildlife whales, dolphins and turtles.


! E R E H E D A M E AR


S L A E D !





Grab the kids and hit the road with the FREEDOM of a campervan. Whether your dream family roadtrip is the spectacular beauty of the Legendary Pacific Coast, the true outback experience of the Red Centre or the picturesque Wildflowers of WA, explore it at your own pace in a Britz Campervan. Britz have Australia’s largest range of 2WD and 4WD campervans, so you’ll find one to suit your needs, and your budget. To book simply call 1800 331 454 or visit our website: JOIN OUR ONLINE COMMUNITY


Campervan. 4WD. Car Rentals

Eurong Beach Resort. © Eurong Beach Resort

australian holidays









ould there be any greater sense of fun and freedom than buckling yourselves and your kids in each morning, and asking “Where to next?” A motorhome holiday allows your family to get back to basics and discover the diversity of Australia at your own pace, staying where you want, when you want and for how long you want.

Endless options A motorhome is the ultimate for a family road trip. Easily available to rent they are, effectively, a mobile house. All you need to do is pull up to your allocated site at one of the hundreds of excellent holiday parks and campgrounds around the country - we are spoiled for choice here in Australia with an abundance of great parks to choose from - and plug into the power. There’s no setting up or packing up camp, no searching for a place to cook and clean everything up – it’s already there and good to go, leaving you to take advantage of all the great activities at your chosen holiday park. Most vans have all the mod cons like kitchenettes, TVs and bathrooms, albeit very small ones. When hiring a motorhome be sure to pick one that’s right for your family and your plans - choose from two to six berths with optional 4WD. And remember, by law, everyone needs to occupy their own seat within the motorhome when you’re driving, including little ones (who will need the appropriate approved restraints).





Appy Trails The truth of a motorhome holiday is that you and yours are going to be cooped up in confined spaces for a lot of the time and as the kms add up so can the cabin fever. But the good news is that with careful planning you can avoid having children, or parents for that matter, bouncing off mobile walls. There are some great apps available to help make your holiday road smoother. The Australian Road app has all the info you need to hit the road, including maps, where to go, what to do, where to stay and filters to help you plan the perfect family-friendly road trip while the WikiCamps Australia app offers a comprehensive list of camp sites, holiday parks, day stops, points of interest and information centres. Another must is the Car Butler app, which will help locate nearby petrol stations, find a decent mechanic or even find somewhere to park. It even has a parking alert to prevent fines and will let you know what the local traffic and weather is doing. There are also fantastic holiday apps available that the kids can use to help you find everything from toilets to playgrounds and food stops along the way. Once on the road give the kids a good old fashioned paper map and let them navigate. You might have a GPS but learning to read a map is a great skill and it



is amazing how much more cooperative kids can be if they know they’ve been included and are being trusted with the responsibility of getting you there.

Make it fun

Bunks of fun!

It can be a struggle to keep kids entertained on a road trip but with a bit of forward planning you’ll be there before the kids can ask “are we there yet?” A motorhome holiday offers your kids the chance to truly get involved in the adventure. Let them help plan the route with plenty of stops at attractions and places that interest them. Before you leave get them to search the internet for fun places to visit along the way - great beaches, parks, wildlife areas, bike tracks, horse riding or whatever takes their fancy. Be realistic. You may want your kids to enjoy the view but on longer trips children will need other distractions. Download the Road Trip Bingo app which is a fun way keep the kids entertained.



Home on wheels FAST FACTS WHERE TO HIRE Apollo Britz Jayco Kea Campers Maui Rentals



Simply shake to start a new card and watch out for signs, animals, vehicle, less and more. And be sure to pack an entertainment bag with the obligatory iPad or portable DVD player, books, toys and games for the back but save them for when the fidgeting starts to get the better of them. Take plenty of breaks and take turns behind the wheel where possible. Not only will this reduce the chances of driver fatigue but it will also give the kids an opportunity to stretch their legs and release a little pent-up energy. A ten minute break is a far better option than hours of whinging. For more helpful hints visit Camping for Kids, an information and activity hub dedicated to promoting the camping lifestyle to children under the age of 18 years.

Take it easy Give yourself plenty of time, aim for at least a week to get some good kilometres done and new sights seen without any rush. The aim is to have a good time not a fast one. Plan to stay at each stop for a few days to break up the driving. You can also consider hiring at one end and dropping off at the other as a fly-drive option to maximise your time. Take the scenic route, whenever possible. Stopping at quaint local towns for meals rather than the highway’s fast food outlets is not only healthier but you’ll discover some amazing places along the way.

Give them a holiday they’ll never forget!

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Victoria Albury/Wodonga Geelong Echuca/Moama Melbourne

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camping, caravanning and cabins Ocean Beach Holiday Park makes a splash A fantastic new waterpark at NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Park is proving a hit for holidaymakers. With its sea creatures, toddler zone, big splash buckets, spirals, arches, shaded areas and even a BBQ area, the Splash Away Bay waterpark is designed to suit kids of all ages and abilities, while mum and dad relax under the shade. Surrounded by natural bushland and set on the stunning beachfront at Umina Beach on the NSW Central Coast, NRMA Ocean Beach Resort & Holiday Park offers you the perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy a great family holiday offering families the ultimate city escape just 1.5 hour’s drive north of Sydney.

Victoria’s Junior Rangers Parks Victoria’s Junior Ranger program is an exciting environmental program encouraging primary-aged children and their families to explore and have fun in Victoria’s parks and reserves by participating in a wealth of activities during the school holidays. Aimed at kids aged six to 12 who like getting outdoors to explore nature, The Junior Rangers program offers a range of fun self-guided and ranger-led activities that educates participants about the importance of preserving parks for the future, and what they can do to do help. For a list of participating parks and downloadable activity sheets visit

Cool little campers FieldCandy’s super cute new tents have been created just for kids. The new range is available in six different designs, including a spaceship, a fairground carousel and a circus tent, all modelled on a traditional tepee. UV fade resistant, fire resistant and 100% waterproof, the Little Campers tent can even be assembled inside for a holiday at home. RRP: $350,



Camp cooking made easy with BIG4 Planning meals to cook in an unfamiliar camp kitchen can be daunting, especially if you’re trying to err on the healthy side and keep your food budget down at the same time. To help their guests fill up after a full day of adventuring, BIG4 Holiday Parks have released their very own recipe book packed full of simple, delicious meals that can be easily replicated in the kitchens of all 180 BIG4 Holiday Parks across the country. To create the recipe book, BIG4 asked their fans and loyal customers to submit tried and tested camp recipes for the chance to win a family holiday. It turns out that Aussie campers have more than a few family favourites up their sleeves with more than 670 recipes submitted for the book, 70 of which made the final cut and all have been tried and tested in camp kitchens, cabins and motorhomes around Australia. Printed copies can be ordered for $15.50 for BIG4 Loyalty Club members and $18.50 non-members (includes postage) and is also available for free download at

Central Coast Holiday Parks offer a unique holiday experience for the whole family. Located at Budgewoi, Canton Beach, Norah Head & Toowoon Bay, the Parks' prime locations offer the best of the lakeside and beachside haven that is the beautiful Central Coast. Keeping the kids entertained won't be a problem with facilities that include:   

Scan here!   

Resort style pools at Norah Head & Toowoon Bay Jumping pillows at all four parks Outdoor amphitheatres at Norah Head & Toowoon Bay where families can watch a blockbuster under the stars FREE wireless internet Foxtel in all cabins FREE school holiday activities

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Australia’s best family stays – tried & tested


A grand beach resort

RENDEZVOUS GRAND RESORT, SCARBOROUGH, WA Talk about location, location! Rendezvous Grand Resort Scarborough is located by the beachfront in this trendy part of Perth and has a lot to offer adults and kids alike. After a major $60 million refurbishment, the property now features the latest technology and modern amenities, with swish interiors that give it a real wow factor. All 336 rooms and suites have been renovated and six brand new executive suites boast large private balconies and sweeping views over the Indian Ocean. The Resort’s Club Rooms can access the Club Lounge, which is on the very top floor, with a large terrace giving gobsmacking views over the 32 kilometres of coastline, ranging from Hillarys to Fremantle. Our room gets the thumbs up because my son can check the surf from our balcony and be out on the beach in about two minutes flat. We dined at the Lobby Bar – tapas style - and in Straits



Café, which is more formal but still child-friendly. Both were sensational. In fact, we didn’t bother dining out anywhere else the whole time we were there. Being so close to the beach, there is so much for families to do. Swim or surf in the ocean, people watch in one of the beachfront cafes and maybe hire a bike across the road from the hotel and go for a ride on the Scarborough Trigg Island Heritage track that takes you all the way up to Hillarys, or as far as little legs can go. ✸ HOTEL HINT: “Families love the pool area on Level 10 with its tropical lagoon-style pool, children’s wading pool, waterfall and Cascades Pool Bar. For easy pool access during your stay, request a room on the same level when making your booking.” Matthew Richardson, Hotel Manager Rendezvous Grand Hotel Perth Scarborough

Family’s the focus

NOVOTEL TWIN WATERS RESORT, QUEENSLAND SUNSHINE COAST Located on the Sunshine Coast, an hour’s drive north of Brisbane and five kilometres from the Sunshine Coast Airport, Novotel Twin Waters Resort offers parents an economical holiday option with free breakfast as well as free accommodation for up to two children under 16 years of age using existing bedding. The resort also offers parents a 50 per cent discount if they book a second room and late, 5pm checkout subject to availability. Welcome gifts, healthy children’s menus and play areas are designed to make younger guests feel at home, while Kidz Cove provides experienced and professional care for children while parents relax and enjoy the resort. The Kidz Cove hosts themed sessions each morning and afternoon as well as an evening session on Friday and Saturday nights for children aged two to 12 years. Older children can try state of the art Laser Skirmish or learn high wire and trapeze skills with Circus Espace in a safe learning environment with trained professional staff. And, exclusive to Novotel Twin Waters Resort is the All Terrain Segway Xperience which allows guests to explore the entire resort property on two wheels. Guests can enjoy water sports on the resort’s lagoon, making use of the catamarans and kayaks provided while there is a white-sand surf beach a short walk from


the resort. The resort is also adjacent to the Maroochy River which can be fished or explored using hire boats while golfers are drawn to the championship 18 hole Twin Waters Golf Course and mums can relax at the Lagoon Day Spa. As for kids, well, they absolutely love the chocolate fountain! ✸ HOTEL HINT: “My advice to guests is to make the most of the unique location of our resort. We have the lagoon and the surf beach for watersports and swimming, the Maroochy River for boating and fishing, the surrounding native bushland for walking and the Twin Waters Golf Course for golfers. Australia Zoo and Aussie World are also nearby. It’s ideal.’’ General Manager, Warwick Kahl.

Central stay

MERCURE SYDNEY CENTRAL Sydney’s Central/Broadway area is undergoing a remarkable renaissance with new residential, commercial and educational buildings transforming the precinct and The Mercure Sydney Central, the area’s most prominent hotel, has also undergone an exciting revamp. The four-star, family-friendly hotel, located in the south of Sydney’s CBD by Railway Square, boasts one of the city’s most convenient locations, within easy walking distance of the city centre, Chinatown, Central Station, Capitol Theatre, The Powerhouse Museum and all of Darling Harbour’s great family attractions. The hotel also has an undercover rooftop swimming pool, sauna and gym, with views of the city skyline, plus a very family-friendly restaurant for guests, serving sensational food. Their spacious, newly refurbished family rooms feature a king-size bed and a sofa bed that sleeps two. The family rooms are designed for flexibility and the bedroom and living area can be separated with a partition plus a convenient microwave (handy for those travelling with littlies), 32” LCD screen and dining table in each room add a home away from home vibe for families. ✸ HOTEL HINT: “During the day the kids can explore the Powerhouse Museum, or take a wander down to Darling Harbour where they can visit Wildlife World or Madame Tussauds. Otherwise relax around the hotel at

our indoor rooftop swimming pool. We love our family fun offer including car parking and a movie for the kids… we may even have ice cream on the room service menu!” Kirsty Forbes, Director of Sales & Marketing

Boutique apartments THE SEBEL NOOSA

The Sunshine Coast is famous for family fun, and nowhere does it better, or with more style, than Noosa. The Sebel Noosa is a favourite with families or all ages and sizes, just minutes from Noosa’s Main Beach and boasting a prime Hastings Street address. With just 80 luxurious and spacious one- and two-bedroom self-contained apartments, the resort is much loved by families for its boutique accommodation feel, while still offering the trimmings of a mid-size, four-star hotel. Designed to cater to families, each apartment offers a combined lounge and dining area to maximise its space, and also offers a relaxing spa bath that both kids and mum and dad will enjoy. In meeting the practical needs of families on the go, every one of The Sebel Noosa’s apartments feature private laundry facilities, furnished balconies, entertainment systems and broadband internet – a modern travel must. Built around a series of courtyards the hotel is perhaps most famous for its extensive water features and lush landscaping, with a centrally heated swimming pool making it a great destination no matter what season it is. And the Sebel provides a separate children’s wading pool, perfect for younger members of the family. An outdoor spa and BBQ area are popular with families who want to make the most of the hotel’s great outdoors together and build memories while soaking up the scenery. ✸ HOTEL HINT: “Noosa is definitely a place to escape and relax, but it’s also a great destination for active families. I always recommend getting outdoors and soaking up the surf and great weather, either by picking up a surf board for hire at the beach or hiring a bike, which you can do directly from The Sebel. Tuckering the kids out during the day at the beach and Noosa national park means more down time for mum and dad in the evenings too.” Cameron Jeffery, General Manager

From far left: Rendezvous Grand Resort, Scarborough, WA Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Queensland Sunshine Coast Mercure Sydney Central The Sebel Noosa

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Moo much fun My kids love a driving holiday and when it comes with a promise of 526 hectares of farm at the other end, the result is one very excited family. After a scenic four-hour drive from Sydney to Mudgee, slowed somewhat by the extra stops required by a toilet-training tot, we find ourselves testing our car’s dirt-handling skills as we cruise down several kilometres of dirt track past posses of suspicious cows to Old Bara Guesthouse, a stunning working cattle farm located about 30 minutes from Mudgee’s pretty town centre. Happily our car passes the test. And the kids “love the bumps”. The guesthouse itself is a spacious fully selfcontained four-bedroom homestead surrounded by verandas that take in the spectacular view of the surrounding property… and the curious bull in the neighbouring paddock. The gorgeous kitchen is so well-equipped I want to take it home with me, while my husband is smitten with the outside BBQ area. More so when we find a platter of Old Bara grass-fed beef rissoles, steaks and sausages in the fridge. As dad barbecues and I sip on a glass of Mudgee wine, the kids play happily on the swing and slide in our huge private garden area. In fact, we’re all feeling pretty at home here. After our delicious


dinner, we’re visited by Tippo, the farm’s resident quad-bike riding kelpie, who becomes five-year old Rafferty’s instant BFF.

Big day out Morning starts with a quick cuddle for Tippo, before we head to Mudgee Honey Haven. The kids, being big fans of Bee Movie, demand to know where Barry Bee is. Luckily, he’s right there playing on the screen in the kids’ corner, allowing us a moment or two to sample the Cellar Door’s Mead and fresh organic Mudgee honey. Also present are several thousand other bees not called Barry, who I’m happy to note, are safely behind glass. After sampling the sweet treats inside we head outside for a round of mini-golf but not before stopping to feed and pat the horses. With children whose greatest desire is to fondle as many animals as possible, we drive the short distance to Leaning Oak Dairy where, after sampling the luscious sheep and goat cheeses made fresh on the property, the kids meet some of the much-loved animals they came from. Baby goats are petted, the resident dog pounced upon and a couple of teeny tiny kittens came out for a cuddle, winning serious brownie points with my pet-loving pair.

At Lowe Wine, one of the most family-friendly and inspired vineyards I’ve come across, we’re keen to sample a drop or two of their grownup grape juice at the cellar door, but that’s not happening until the kids get to take on the wine walk and cycle trail to molest more unsuspecting animals including Luis, a rambunctious sixweek-old puppy who accompanies us. There are donkeys to ride, chickens to meet and eggs to gather, a job two-year old Marlo takes very seriously. Only then are we allowed to sit down with a glass of shiraz and devour a tasting platter packed with fresh local produce prepared to sublime perfection … with little Luis sitting at our feet. An afternoon visit to neighbouring Gulgong, an old Gold Mining Town that’s so perfectly preserved it’s like stepping back in time, means a lesson not only in history but also folk music as the quirky Gulgong Folk Festival is also visiting town. We take in a band and enjoy a milkshake and cake chaser at the delightful Delumptious Café before we’re back on the road to Old Bara for the dusk drive of a lifetime. As we reach the dirt road back to the farm hundreds of kangaroos, wallabies and wallaroos bound past the car, wily foxes scarper between

the trees, dozens of wild hares pop their ears out of the long grass to greet us and an old man wombat stops to say hello, turning a drive that should have taken ten minutes into an hour long DIY Australian wildlife documentary.

Stolen hearts Our final day in Mudgee sneaks up on us and we decide that it will be best spent exploring glorious Old Bara. The kids have fallen in love with the farm, the cows, the view, the dogs, the space, the swings and the backyard cricket so we spend the day embracing its simple pleasures. It’s an emotional farewell to Tippo and the farm, as we pack our teary kids in the car for the drive home via the winding and wonderfully scenic Bells Line of Road. We factor in a quick pit stop at historic Rylstone for lunch at 29 Nine 99 Yum Cha. If there’s one thing guaranteed to put a smile on my kids faces it’s a big bowlful of dumplings! And it works a charm as we relax under bold red umbrellas nestled amongst historic sandstone buildings and devour plates and plates of some of the most delicious yum cha I’ve eaten this side of Hong Kong. And we all fall a little more in love with this fabulous, fun, foodie and family-friendly region.


GETTING THERE Mudgee is an easy four hour drive from Sydney. WHERE TO STAY Old Bara Guesthouse WHAT TO DO Mudgee Honey Haven www.mudgeehoneyhaven. Leaning Oak Mudgee Lowe Wine MORE INFORMATION



Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains ©James Horan; Destination NSW







Lil’s bit My name is Lil. For my 8th birthday I asked my parents if we could go to the Blue Mountains. Yay - they said yes! So Grandpa ‘Davo’, Mum and Dad, my older sister Audrey, little brother Felix – and me - packed into the car for our long weekend adventure. We had the best time! It only took an hour and a half to drive from our home in Sydney to the hotel. Our first night was at the Fairmont Hotel. We tumbled out of the car straight into the foyer and then checked out the pool and indoor merry-go-round - and that was just the start. This place is cool! We went to Scenic World and rode on the skyway, the cableway and the scenic railway … over and over, just because we could. We must have ridden the railway at least eight times. My big sister Audrey (11) loved the miners’ hut as she’s been studying mining at school this year and really learned a lot. The first time down was SO exciting. Dad figured out each ride cost us only $1.50 or something like that, as he bought the Family Pass for $88.00. We were there early, so there were no crowds. Then lots of big buses arrived with groups of tourists from overseas. It was a really great day!

Davo’s grandparent stuff The Fairmont Resort has been recently refurbished and is glorious. All the staff encountered along the way were genuinely enthusiastic about their region, their job and the product they offered, and it was clear that these very professional and knowledgeable people sincerely loved what they did. The general manager Thomas Brand is a consummate professional – he has a lovely European flair and is popular with both staff and guests. There are a number of great room options for families and age-defined activities rooms for children, including KidsZone in holiday periods, junior golf and Segway tours. The Segway rides in the grounds were great fun. Thanks to expert tuition, Audrey and I soon mastered the Segways. Great fun and highly

recommended – from 9 years old to an infirm grandfather like me! We then moved on to the Wolgan Valley for our last Blue Mountains night and what a way to finish! It’s an easy drive through various villages that offer all the shops and stops that children appreciate, with the everpresent spectacular scenery for the passengers. The Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is a very special place and a glorious finish to our Blue Mountains long weekend. We have booked one of the Wollemi suites, which offer three bedrooms. There is so much that is right about this divine resort - the environmentally sympathetic architecture, the attention to detail in the suites and family lodges, which include your own (child-safe) pool, the vast choice of TV channels to enjoy as you relax by the fire in the lounge or bedroom … you really have to experience it all! Just the valley walls alone will keep us oldies enthralled, with the day’s light playing along the cliffs and hills. Streams, bike riding, horse riding, the staff and guides really know and love their environment … most of them live on site and they consider themselves lucky to do so. All credit to general manager Joost Heymeijer- who has a long history with the development of the resort – and his wonderful staff. Now – how about children in this exquisite place? There is so much to do and learn, but this is no classroom and the learning is easy – children don’t even realise they are learning while they have fun. There’s a wonderful children’s menu with locally sourced food all day and a sophisticated dining experience for parents. The Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa offers so much that I can’t tell you all about it here, but is a must for those who want to appreciate the ultimate in a location like this … the Australia everyone has read about and should experience at least once, no matter how brief the visit. What a wonderful way to celebrate my lovely granddaughter Lil’s birthday!

Top from left: Scenic World, Blue Mountains © James Horan, Destination NSW

Scenic World, Blue Mountains Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa © James Morgan, Destination NSW

FAST FACTS WHERE TO GO Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains Segway Blue Mountains www.segwaytours Scenic World Blue Mountains Australia Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa









Accommodation Our Beach villa was very comfortable with a sizeable balcony offering an uninterrupted view of the Pacific Ocean – the sunrise was sensational! Within two minutes of our villa door, we were walking on shell-laden sand and taking dips in the clear blue waters of the park’s beach. Beach villas can sleep up to six people and each has a queen-sized bed, double bunks and a sofa bed. The resort offers many different options to accommodate different sized families and all linen is supplied (byo beach towels) The Ocean and Garden villas are the best option for larger family groups as they provide extra living space and two bathrooms. The resort also caters for families who are camping or in caravans and provides clean communal bathrooms and shower facilities and plenty of barbecue and recreation areas.

Activities The park offers an abundance of activities to keep the whole family entertained. With a resort road policy of ‘Kids have right of way’ bikes, skateboards and roller skates are all welcome. During school holidays, Saturdays and public holidays the Umbarra Kids Club is open am and pm. It caters for 4 to 12 year olds with a variety of arts, crafts and outdoor fun. Programs are tailored to different child age groups. Park manager, Nealle even runs an Xbox competition and, weather pemitting, screens a movie in the evenings at the resort’s Outdoor Cinema. Beyond the holiday park, you can get back to nature on one of the many walks and trails in this beautiful national park location. You can also explore other beaches and stroll to the headlands.

way for mum to relax while dad tends to dinner on the barbecue!

The region Located 15 minutes north of Batemans Bay, Murramarang sits in an idyllic coastal bay, surrounded by beaches and gum trees. You’ll even have the chance get up close to one of my favourite animals – kangaroos are everywhere! Head into Batemans Bay and you’ll find a shopping centre, medical practice and more activities for the family.

Recommended visit Birdland Animal Park 55 Beach Rd, Batemans Bay This hands-on wildlife park is home to many of our iconic animals and you can even pat a wombat during one of the live shows. It’s easy to spend three hours here before heading back to the resort for an afternoon swim!!

Water fun Bay & Beyond – Kayak tours 38 Lakeside Dr. South Durras Just a 5-minute drive from Murramarang Beachfront Nature Resort you’ll discover a different vista – a tranquil lagoon nestled in bushland that’s ideal for a spot of kayaking and a picnic! Bay & Beyond makes it easy for all ages to enjoy gentle watersports and children from the age of 2 years can double with a parent in one of the enclosed kayaks. The lagoon is protected from the winds so you can happily and safely kayak all year round.

Location Approx 2 hours drive from Canberra, 4 hours from Sydney.

Food & beverage

Did you know

The villas all have kitchens, which is great for rustling up a meal but it’s definitely worthwhile, and affordable, to eat out when you stay at Murramarang Resort. The Beach Bistro restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner and Skippy’s Takeaway has all the kids’ favourite including pizza, fish and chips and even healthy salads. Wasphead Bar & Grill is the spot for a relaxing pre-dinner drink (while the kids have a swim) with a $4 happy hour beer and $10 cocktails – a great

Captain James Cook first sighted the indigenous people of Australia at Murramarang in 1770. The first white settlers arrived in the late 1820s and introduced cattle to the region. Murramarang Beachfront Nature Resort Mill Beach, Banyandah St, South Durras Phone: 02 4478 6230 Email:









Enlighten at Questacon © Questacon

Touchy feely technology

The very definition of hands on, Questacon is one place every kid will love. Here they can experience science in extraordinary ways, with over 200 exhibits across eight kidfriendly and extremely interactive themed galleries. In fact, there’s so much to do you could give Questacon the best part of the day and still struggle to squeeze everything in. It’s a case of love at first sight for my kids, Rafferty, five, and Marlo, 3, as they enter Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, straight into the arms of a computer-controlled humanoid robot. Both kids are entranced as RoboQ follows their every command, answering questions and waving its arms about. At every turn there are more interactive, hands on activities to complete and the kids grow more and more excited. At Questacon’s newest exhibition, Measure Island, they explore monuments and statues built by a long-lost civilisation, hidden deep in the jungle of a mysterious island, with interactive exhibits that highlight the importance of measurement skills in daily life. My daughter spends a hour or two exploring Mini-Q, a custom-built gallery where little kids can play in a netted maze, dress up in the role play areas, get busy in a construction site and experiment with water, using levers, pulleys and buckets to explore basic science concepts - with waterproof aprons provided to keep them relatively dry. It is Excite@Q that gets my son’s vote and

where we happily lose several hours. The high impact neon room has an awesome freefall slide, 360 Swing and Robot Air Hockey to keep us busy while little Marlo is happily entertained shoving pieces of bright cloth in a hole and watching them get sucked along its wall of tubes to be spat out again … to peals of giggles. From May visitors will also be able to shake, rattle’n’roll when the refurbished Awesome Earth exhibition reopens. A favourite with visitors for over ten years, the revamped exhibition features more than 30 experiences, including old favourites such as the ‘Earthquake House’ and ‘Caged Lightning’, along with new experiences that are guaranteed to wow.

More hands on science For real science presented in an entertaining and educational setting for kids, head to the CSIRO Discovery Centre where you’ll find fantastic interactive exhibits, hands on experiments and role play. There’s plenty to expand young minds in the centre’s OptiPortal theatre and 3D@Discovery experiences. My kids loved watching scientists and technicians at work in their glass-fronted laboratories, and donning lab coats to conduct real experiments for themselves at the DiscoverLab. If your space cadets are looking for something a little more out of this world, head to Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex to look at real moon rocks, discover the foods that astronauts eat on the space




Mini-Q at Questacon. © Questacon Discovery Zone helicopter at the Australian War Memorial. © VisitCanberra

shuttle and space station and watch a movie on the history and future of space exploration. You can take a hands on trip around the solar system or across the galaxy, admire what the well-dressed astronaut wears, marvel at the largest communications dishes in the southern hemisphere and even checkout a replica of the Mars Rover.

Into the trenches The Australian War Memorial’s kid-friendly Discovery Zone is an excellent learning centre where children can experience the trials and tribulations of war. At the Canberra landmark, kids can see, touch, listen, and smell their way through different environments to give them a feel of wartime living conditions. My kids don trench warfare clobber and duck into a First World War trench, climb into a real Vietnam War era Iroquois helicopter, scurry through a Cold War submarine to peer through the periscope (while their claustrophobic mother quietly hyperventilates outside) and learn a little about peacekeeping.

Talk to the animals At Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium, Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium, hands-on opportunities abound. The Family Tour, for kids aged four and over, takes you



behind the scenes to meet and feed some of the zoo’s favourite animals; while bigger kids, 10 and over, can hand-feed lions, tigers and bears on the Zoo Venture tour or play ball with a cheetah on the Meet-a-Cheetah tour. Our kids still err on the side of bite-size, so we stick with the Family Tour where we go behind the scenes to see and feed the animals up close. And we’re talking lions, bears, snakes and sharks here. Though the shark is kept at a distance, Rafferty cuddles up with a snake, supervised by a watchful zookeeper. While feeding a giraffe, my food-loving boy is fascinated to learn that a giraffe can consume up to 60 kilos of food a day - almost as much as he can! - and challenges one to an eating contest. Luckily, the giraffe doesn’t take him up on his offer.

Looking for more hands on fun? Why not have the kids mint their own $1 coin at the Royal Australian Mint or dress up and head back in time in the interactive family rooms at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. If your kids are the creative kind, let them watch glassblowing at the Canberra Glassworks ‘hot shop’ and make their own glass bead or tile, or let them design a vehicle of the future at Kspace at the National Museum of Australia.

FAST FACTS WHERE TO GO Australian War Memorial Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex Canberra Glassworks CSIRO Discovery Centre Museum of Australian Democracy National Museum of Australia National Zoo & Aquarium Questacon Royal Australian Mint TRIPLE THE FUN Grab a 3inFun pass for a 10 per cent discount on entry to Cockington Green Gardens, the Australian Institute of Sport and Questacon The National Science and Technology Centre. 3inFun also gives you a free return visit to your favourite attraction. MORE INFORMATION



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

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he Sunshine Coast is a fabulous spot for a family holiday - the weather is idyllic, the beaches spectacular and the locals are lovely … though I may be a bit biased given I’m one of them! One thing is certain, a holiday on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast will have your whole crew smiling.

Zoo much fun A trip to the zoo is a must for visitors to the Sunshine Coast. Forget the zoos of the past, Australia Zoo is a world-class modern facility. Owned and operated by the Irwin family, the zoo’s focus is conservation through exciting education. Once you’ve walked through the gates, you’ll be greeted by Animal Rovers and have the chance to get up close and personal with birds, possums, wombats, lizards, alligators and snakes. Kids are welcome to pat the animals and parents are welcome to snap their offspring with their new-found furry or scaly friends. Don’t miss the midday Wildlife Warriors show in the Crocoseum. The 20-minute display showcases the best of Australian wildlife, with a few exotic inclusions. The show is fast-paced, informative and often hilarious. The free-flight bird display is always the highlight of our many visits to the zoo. If you’re visiting during the school holidays, you’ve a chance to see Bindi perform a few dance numbers, before Terri and her team put a saltwater crocodile through its paces. Fair warning though, the songs are infectious. There’s a good chance you’ll leave with an ear worm about Indian elephants. The many playgrounds, the free teacup ride and jumping castle are there to remind you Australia Zoo is run by a mum. Belted kids seats are installed in some of the toilet stalls, so you can go without your little one peering underneath the partition to see what’s in the next ‘enclosure’. The ‘Safari Shuttle’ - a guided transfer service - has dedicated pram seating and the staff are on hand to assist you on and off at your destination. Older kids are catered for too. Bindi’s Boot Camp Playground proved a hit with my panel of experts, Rose (8), Madeline (7) and Lillian (5), during our most recent visit. The playground is inspired by Bindi’s latest television series and includes a climbing wall and interactive games. If you’re the proud parent of your own Wildlife Warrior, check out the ‘Zoo Keeper for a Day’ program. During the school holidays Australia Zoo runs four different programs, targeting kids between seven and 15 years. ‘Junior Keepers’ get a glimpse into zoo life, plan enrichment activities for animals and learn the secret to keeping animals healthy and happy.

Sleep underwater If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, pack your toothbrushes and pyjamas and have a sleepover at Underwater World. The aquarium at Mooloolaba Wharf hosts ‘Sleep Under the Sea’ events several times a year. Guests enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour, special seal show and guided search for sea life on the Mooloolaba foreshore before enjoying an evening meal. Once the exploring is finished, guests change into their PJs, climb into sleeping bags and pop off to sleep in the newly-renovated underwater tunnel. If sleeping with sharks isn’t your cup of tea, visit during the day for a chance to kiss a seal, touch and feel an array of aquatic life in the tidal touch




pool and see the rehabilitation work that keepers do with rescued turtles before being released back to the ocean.

are $20 for the first child, $10 for subsequent children. Supervising adults are free.

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Right: Beach cricket

Fruity fun

Escape the crowds Should the crowds get too much and you’re looking for some quiet family time, slip over to the northern tip of Bribie Island. Bill’s Boat Hire at Golden Beach has a range of vessels including pontoon boats for hire - no licence required. After the staff give you a quick boating lesson, cross the Pumicestone Passage and find a quiet spot to drop anchor. From there it’s an easy 50 metre walk to the surf side of Bribie Island. This part of the island is inaccessible by vehicle, so there’s a good chance you’ll have the place to yourselves. Once you’ve enjoyed this side of the island, you can explore the passage or dangle a line. Keep an eye out for flocks of black swans, they’re a startling and unexpected sight on the sea. Currimundi Lake is another perfect spot to relax for a few hours. The lake offers flat water for paddling and surf at the mouth of the lake - the best of both beach worlds. Skydiving companies use the beach as a landing zone at different times during the day, which makes for fabulous (and free) entertainment. A small cafe nearby offers cheap and cheerful meals … and it has to be said that enjoying a feed under the shade of the coastal hibiscus makes fish and chips even tastier.

The iconic Big Pineapple is once again open for business. On Saturdays the Big Pineapple morphs into an all-weather market. The markets offer something for everyone - kids can roll their own oats and munch on slow-grown bananas. Adults can browse the wide range of clothes, crafts and great tucker on offer. Don’t miss the unwaxed apples or an omelette made with salmon from a smokehouse on the Noosa River. After climbing the 16m pineapple, the kids will love a ride on the miniature cane train to visit the animal farm. The train runs on weekends from 9am - 4pm.

Splashing around It’s clear that loads of thought went into the construction of the water park at Oaks Oasis Resort. The result is a safe and fabulously fun spot for under 12s. The park boasts slides, fountains and a tipping bucket that has visitors holding their breath with anticipation as it dumps its contents at 15 minute intervals. Parents haven’t been forgotten either, as the edges of the water park are well-appointed with day lounges and shaded chairs and tables. Two marquees provide an escape from the sun. When we visited, the marquees had big screen TVs showing the Ashes. Being able to check the score immediately transported my husband to his happy place. The kiosk sells snacks, drinks, ice creams and alcohol. The water park is for the use of resort guests and day visitors. Day use passes



On her blog, Cooker and a Looker, Sunshine Coast local Amanda Smyth serves up great tucker and ordinary parenting, with a side of farm life. When she’s not writing, she’s earning badges from her eldest daughter’s imaginary natureteer club, distracting her youngest while unpacking the dishwasher and helping her husband on the farm.

© Australia Zoo

Left: Big animal fun at Australia Zoo © Sunshine Coast


GETTING THERE The Sunshine Coast Airport is located just north of Maroochydore. Daily flights are available from Sydney and Melbourne. GETTING AROUND To make the most of all the Sunshine Coast has to offer, you’ll probably need a car. Most major car rental companies are represented at the airport. WHAT TO DO Australia Zoo Oaks Oasis Resort oaks-oasis/ The Big Pineapple Bill’s Boat Hire Underwater World MORE INFORMATION



Whitsundays WOWS! THE




n the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays is home to 74 stunning islands in the Coral Sea and the coast centred around the vibrant beachside town of Airlie Beach. From sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving to exploring the amazing natural wonders the Whitsundays has to offer, this is a truly magical holiday destination for families.

Adventure Whitsunday If you choose to stay on the mainland, Airlie Beach is the gateway to tonnes of family fun and the award-winning BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is the ultimate home away from home for visiting families. BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort offers accommodation ranging from camping and caravan sites to luxury two and three-bedroom condos and everything in between. With two fabulous waterslides, a swim-up spa and a toddler splash area, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is home to Airlie Beach’s largest resort-style pool. But the fun doesn’t stop there with a jumping pillow, pedal karts, an 18-hole mini-golf course and adventure playground. And after dark, you can grab a blanket and pillows to enjoy a movie under the stars. BIG 4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is the only one on the mainland to offer a Kids Club, for kids aged four and over.

Reef Stretching over 2000 kilometres, the Great Barrier Reef protects the Whitsunday Coast and Islands from ocean swells and is home to tens of thousands of species of brilliantly coloured fish, coral and other marine life. You don’t need to go far, or even get wet, to experience the magic of the reef. Cruise Whitsundays has great cruise options for families with high-speed catamarans that even feature a waterslide and swimming enclosure for younger guests. The journey to and from the reef is all part of the experience, passing spectacular islands and bays. At certain times of the year you might even be lucky enough to spot a whale! Snorkelling is a fantastic family activity and the warm, shallow waters of the Whitsundays provide some of the most colourful fish and coral formations anywhere in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. At the Cruise Whitsundays Reef Pontoon, there is a choice of areas to relax in and a great range of activities to enjoy. There are also numerous ways to explore the reef including an underwater viewing chamber, a semi-submersible submarine and if you do want to get wet, why not try a guided snorkelling Reef Safari with one of Cruise Whitsundays’ marine biologists.


The ultimate sweet fix for the school holidays BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort’s famous ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ presents Chocolate Week these July school holidays. A week of wicked indulgence and great gooey fun for kids including chocolate coin treasure hunts, chocolate cooking demos and classes, chocolate-theme movies, chocolate fountains in reception, local businesses showing their chocolate craft, plus more. If you’re craving the sweetest fix for the best ever school holiday,

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort adds the yum factor, big time. Book now 1300 640 587.

Reservations 1300 640 587 Shute Harbour Road - Airlie Beach


Great re-opening offer at One&Only Hayman Island Hayman Island has long been a favourite getaway and it will attract many new fans when it reopens on 1 July this year as the first One&Only resort in Australia. New management, new accommodation, new dining options and new activities will give families a truly unique One&Only signature experience – and to celebrate, the resort is offering a special re-opening deal, saving you 25% on bookings made by 31 July 2014, for travel between 1 July 30 September 2014. Visit hayman.

Barrier Reef Meet Nemo on the Great Dream a little Daydream A day trip to Daydream Island with Cruise Whitsundays is a top pick for families. Renowned for the variety of activities it has available, from leisurely island strolls and bushwalks to mini golf or relaxing by the pool, a day in Daydream offers families the chance to do as much, or as little, as they please. Regardless if you’re there to splash or relax, Daydream’s Living Reef is unmissable. The huge man-made coral reef lagoon is home to more than 140 species of marine fish and 83 species of coral. Here the kids can feed the fish, pet baby sharks and even paddle with de-barbed stingrays (for kids over six). There’s also the opportunity to become a reef ranger for a day and assist the marine biologist prepare food for the marine animals and help with other biologist duties throughout the lagoons.

Main attractions The natural beauty of The Whitsundays

doesn’t stop at the reef and islands. The laid back resort town of Airlie Beach has plenty of beaches and beachfront parks, including the fabulous Airlie Beach Lagoon. With a children’s pool at one end and stingerfree sandy beach area this is a perfect family swimming spot. About half an hour from Airlie Beach is beautiful Cedar Creek Falls, a natural waterfall and swimming hole set amongst lush tropical rainforest that’s perfect for kids. There are also beautiful calm waterways at Shingley Beach next to the Abel Point marina. It’s a great spot for stand up paddle boarding, the world’s fastest growing water sport. Whitsunday Stand Up Paddle offers customised paddle experiences for families. Airlie Beach’s Main Street has undergone a multi-million dollar makeover with great new shops and restaurants with fabulous alfresco dining options that make the whole precinct buzz. Head to the Port of Airlie fashion and dining precinct and grab lunch at the kid-friendly Denman Cellars and Beer café, one of Airlie Beach’s hottest spots where they specialise in hard-to-find brews. Given there are more than 700 of them on the menu there should be plenty to keep dad occupied while mum checks out the latest fashions in the stores … after all it’s mum and dad’s holiday too.

Previous page: Family swim off seaplane © Tourism Queensland

Above: Airlie Beach © Mike Hilburger, Tourism Queensland

FAST FACTS WHEN TO GO Year-round, but autumn through to late spring is the best time to visit as the humidity is extreme in the summer months. GETTING THERE There are two airports servicing the Whitsundays – Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island and Whitsunday Coast Airport in Proserpine, just 25 minutes by car from Airlie Beach. Cruise Whitsundays operates a water taxi service from Hamilton Island to transfer passengers to the Whitsunday Coast. WHAT TO DO Cruise Whitsundays Daydream Island Whitsunday Stand Up Paddle WHERE TO STAY BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort MORE INFORMATION


Phillip Island





hillip Island boasts some very well-known locals. And though they do have a tendency to set hearts racing, we’re not talking about brothers Liam or Chris Hemsworth, who are indeed from the tiny island, but the 20,000 Little Penguins who inhabit the island.

Happy feet Every evening thousands of people eagerly await the arrival of its most famous residents. It’s not unlike watching a red carpet parade of very small celebrities as the ‘tuxedoed’ penguins waddle, trot and run from sea to dunes as their thrilled fans look on. It’s an incredible spectacle as thousands of the little comedians head home after a busy day of fishing and their antics will have the family entertained for hours. For those who can’t get enough penguin action, the award-winning Penguin Parade Visitor Centre enhances the experience with an audiovisual display, simulated underwater environment and plenty of interactive games for the kids (and their penguin-loving parents).



Seal of approval But these little guys aren’t the only entertainers on the island, as Phillip Island boasts Australia’s largest breeding colony of Australian fur seals. Around 12,000 of the aquatic acrobats call the eponymous Seal Rocks their home. Visitors can watch the cute and curious critters as they lounge and loll about on the edge of the wild waters of Bass Strait from the fantastic Nobbies Centre, where you’ll also find Australia’s unique marine life showcased in a free exhibition. But the ultimate experience for wildlife fans is to head out on a seal watching cruise with Wildlife Coast Cruises, to watch as the adorable animals dip and dive from the shore to the sea in their thousands.

Farmyard friends For families seeking even more animal action, Churchill Island Heritage Farm is a historic working farm. A stroll through the cottage gardens and heritage farm offers visitors a fascinating glimpse of the lives of the early settlers in the region and kids will love meeting the

© Phillip Island Nature Park

On a high

farm animals in the hands on animal nursery and watching farming activities including cow milking, sheep shearing and blacksmithing. During the school holidays there is a fantastic line up of kidfriendly fun that’s not to be missed. The tiny island also boasts world-class wetlands and an abundance of native birds, spectacular coastal walks with views of Phillip Island and Western Port Bay and a café that offers an idyllic venue for a leisurely lunch.

Something fishy The Rhyll Trout & Bush Tucker Farm is one of Phillip Island’s best family attractions. Here you can enjoy trout fishing either by a picturesque tree-lined lake or at the all-weather indoor Rainforest Pool in a relaxed and safe environment. Enjoy your freshly caught fish on the barbecue or, if the DIY lunch option isn’t your style, have the chef prepare it for you. After lunch head out on the Bush Tucker Trail to learn how indigenous

Churchill Island Her itage Farm

Australians harvested and used these traditional plants from the wild.

© Tourism Victoria, Phographer Robert Blackburn

Out & About With Kids recommends purchasing a Three Parks Pass for admission into the tiered viewing stands at the Penguin Parade, farmyard fun at Churchill Island Heritage Farm as well as the fabulous Koala Conservation Centre, at one discounted rate. Phillip Island Nature Parks run all three not-forprofit attractions with a commitment to protecting the island’s wild inhabitants.

See the penguins atPark illip Ph Island Nature

For a real high, why not strap the family in and hover over Phillip Island on an exhilarating eight-minute joyflight with Phillip Island Helicopters. The thrilling flight will take you over the island past stunning Smiths beach and Surfers Point, before heading inland for a circuit around Phillip Island’s famous racetrack for a fantastic perspective you can only get from a chopper.

Chocolate central Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate is a must-do for chocolate lovers of every age. A celebration of all things chocolate, you’ll find amazing interactive chocolate displays with buttons to push and levers to pull, the world’s largest chocolate waterfall, sideshow games and a life-size chocolate wonderland display where visitors can stand amongst the chocolate and have their photo taken. Learn all about how chocolate is made or make your own chocolate on the spot. And since too much chocolate is never enough afterwards you can head to Panny’s Chocolate Cafe and Chocolate shop for more chocolatey treats.

A place to call home While Phillip Island boasts a range of familyfriendly accommodation from sprawling resorts to apartment-style stays, Out & About With Kids loves OAK Tree Lodge, Phillip Island’s newest luxury B&B. Located in lovely Rhyll, the spacious lodge offers luxurious period style self-contained suites all with their own lounge areas, kitchens and bathrooms plus private outdoor areas overlooking a pretty garden. Several of the suites have interconnecting doors enabling families to spread out and enjoy their stay.


GETTING THERE Phillip Island is an easy 90-minute drive from Melbourne. WHERE TO STAY Oak Tree Lodge WHAT TO DO Rhyll Trout & Bush Tucker Farm Phillip Island Nature Parks Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate www.phillipislandchocolatefactory. Phillip Island Helicopters Seal Watching Cruises MORE INFORMATION Phillip Island Tourism Association







omeone smarter than me once said, “We travel to experience something different from our normal lives”. So, after quite a few Aussie beach holidays (all of them delightful) we decided to try something different and packed up our twins, Chase and Phoebe, and our running shoes to participate in the Outback Half Marathon in Australia’s ‘Red Centre’.

The colour of the outback As we looked out the window on the flight, we left the green and blue of Sydney Harbour and flew over miles of farmland and grape vines. The farmland gave way to grassland, which became more arid as we travelled. Finally, the trees and grasses gave way to the renowned red dirt of the outback. We even flew over the magnificent rock formation that is Uluru as we came into land. Along with Kata Tjuta, just 40 kilometres from Uluru, it’s pretty much the only remarkable land formation for hundreds of miles of rolling hills and scrub brush. Used to the landscapes of our native America, we expected everything to be similar to Phoenix, Arizona, but it wasn’t. There wasn’t a cactus in sight, the sand is soft and the dirt truly is deep red. No camera filters needed here. The combination of the red earth, the bright blinding blue sky and the green brush was mesmerising and since it had been raining more than usual, surprisingly green.



Immersed in culture Having spent so much of our time in Australia in Sydney, we’ve experienced very little of the Aboriginal culture. Fortunately, our trip provided plenty of opportunity to immerse ourselves. We read some of the legends, learned the meanings of the symbols in the paintings, tried our hand at painting, were treated to some traditional dances and my son, Chase, got to play a didgeridoo. It was the first place that we’ve been to where we could get a good understanding of what life was like in Australia before the Europeans settled here. Aboriginals have been living in the Uluru area for 22,000 years.To put that in perspective, the ancestors of the Mayas and Aztecs were still hanging out in Asia and not a single human had stepped foot in the Americas when the first Aboriginals arrived at ‘the Rock’.

Solid rock From afar, Uluru appears relatively flat and uniform, but nothing could be further from the truth - there are crevices, cracks, pits and lines that tell wonderful tales. Each of them play a role in one of the many Anangu, or local Aboriginal, stories - including the story of Kuniya, the python woman, who left behind many marks when she fought Liru, the poisonous snake. On our first morning, we watched the sunrise over Uluru, and it was terribly, terribly cold – about 1 degree.

© Stanislav Fosenbauer,

But it slowly warmed up as the rock turned from chocolate brown to a muddy pink at first light. As we headed over to hike around the rock, it changed to an indescribable red that somehow manages to be bright and deep at the same time – a magic feat that adds to the allure of Uluru. The twins were incredibly good natured as we made our way around the rock, peeking into caves when we could, respectfully not taking pictures when asked and trying to make up our own stories about how this, that or the other crack came into being. As you can imagine, the kids had their own rather specific ideas about the origin of the cracks but I would argue the Aboriginal explanations were more creative.

Off and racing The next morning was the race and it was spectacular. There were only 309 people racing, between the marathon, half-marathon, 11k and 6k. I had planned on doing the full marathon but life got in the way of training and I happily settled for the half, particularly after I realised that 90% of the course was off-road. And when I say off-road, I mean that some of it was actually on, deep, soft, red sand with a few little hills thrown in for good measure.I have to say,

however, that the energy of Uluru carried me through the entire race. It was so beautiful and spiritual and the race flew by in no time.

Camel capers We spent the following morning on a camel ride. They’re pretty funny creatures who, surprisingly, don’t smell that bad. They protested a bit as they had to stand up with these unwieldy humans on their backs, but once we were on our way, were quite entertaining. Connor, the camel behind me, was constantly coming up and requesting a head scratch, and I happily obliged. Chase and Phoebe had a blast riding high over the scrub and the 45-minute ride filled our minds with memories. Covered in red dirt and smelling of camel, we arrived home well rested and happily recounting our adventures to each other. We’re already thinking about going back for the race next July, it was a delightful weekend filled with nature, culture, family and sport… just the way we like it.


GETTING THERE Virgin, Jetstar and Tigerair fly direct to Uluru WHERE TO STAY Ayers Rock Resort has accommodation to suit any family budget, including the Campground, Outback Pioneer Hotel and Lodge, Emu Walk apartments, Desert Gardens Hotel and Sails in the Desert. MORE INFORMATION: Northern Territory Tourism









inter is not far away and it’s time to start thinking about where to go for a magical snow holiday with your family. In Australia we have a number of fantastic resorts in NSW and Victoria, while in New Zealand you can take your pick of some great ski fields in the South Island. Out & About with Kids has done the research for you, with a round up of resorts to help you choose the best one for your family.


In Australia, the major ski resorts are located in the Snowy Mountains in NSW and the Victorian Alps and most offer accommodation on snow, or in nearby towns. Staying on snow means less lugging of gear, easy access for tired children, more time on the snow and the excitement of waking up to see a landscape covered in white from an overnight snow dump. Or you can stay in a nearby town to benefit from cheaper accommodation and more dining choices.


PERISHER Perisher is the biggest alpine resort in the southern hemisphere, with seven mountain peaks, 1245 hectares of terrain and 47 lifts. There are so many areas to explore, with four ski resorts to choose from – Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes, Perisher and Guthega - and the big news that the new Freedom chairlift will open at Guthega this season. Ski lessons at the Snowsports School start for kids at age three, while private snowboarding lessons are available from age five or group lessons from seven years. Daycare is available. There are five terrain parks – one with lights, a superpipe and halfpipe. Other things to do: Tubing, tobogganing, night skiing and fireworks. More information: Perisher

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THREDBO Thredbo has something to suit everyone – first timers, seasoned pros and families, ensuring a most enjoyable snow holiday for all. Thredboland is brilliant for kids from three to six, with Freeriders teaching skiing and boarding for kids aged seven to 14. Beginners start at Friday Flat and move up the mountain as they progress. There is plenty of choice, with runs from gentle greens to scary double black, a new terrain park on the Supertrail and a new moguls course. Look for great bargains with ‘kids ski free’ packages (17 years and under) from 8 - 21 June and 2 September - 7 October. Other things to do: Go tobogganing or tubing in the new snow play area, swim at the Thredbo Leisure Centre and watch the flare run on Saturday nights. More information:

CHARLOTTE PASS Charlotte Pass is perfect for families and offers plenty of accommodation options, reliable snow cover as well as exciting on and off-snow features. Perfect for beginners and intermediates, there are no queues and no crowds, making the intimate resort very child-friendly. The all-day kids program for



children from three to eight, Kosi Kids Club, is designed to get your kids comfortable on the snow. Kids love the play park and more experienced kids are sure to spend many hours in the freestyle terrain park. Another great activity is the weekly standard race, where everyone can see how far they have progressed in a fun race. Other things to do: Snowshoe tours, kids flare run and the Winter Festival from 17 - 24 August. More information:

Charlotte Pass

SELWYN SNOWFIELDS Selwyn Snowfields is a great introductory snow option for families and offers mostly beginner and intermediate terrain. It’s open for day visits but also has plenty of family-friendly accommodation nearby – even some fun farm stays. The Snow Sports School has group lessons for kids seven to 15, with Snow World catering for kids from 18 months to seven years. Kids from two to four can enjoy the ‘See Me Ski’ private lessons. The Park Program for little shredders on snowboards is new, with kids able to learn how to ride the features in the Mini Terrain

Above: Selwyn Snowfields

Nothing compares to...



This winter


FREE at The Station

 Perisher Blue Pty Limited ACN 061 232 488 ATF Snow Trust ABN 29 420 214 757.

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Four dedicated kids’ centres (tiny to teens)* EASY drive or bus ride from Queenstown or Wanaka * including fully licensed Under 5’s centre for children 3mths+ 35 Shotover St, Queenstown / 18 Dunmore St, Wanaka p: +64 3 443 7411 e: WWW.CARDRONA.COM




Winter Special: Enjoy 5 nights and receive 3 dinners as well as 10% off most facilities*. 0 2 6 4 51 3 0 0 0 P E



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Take the kids to Mt Hutt for free with Skimax

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KIDS 10 YEARS AND UNDER STAY, SKI AND EAT FOR FREE! Includes: - 7 days Compact Car hire - 7 nights in Downstairs Room - 3 day Ski Pass

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KIDS 10 YEARS AND UNDER STAY, SKI AND EAT FOR FREE! Includes: - 7 days Compact Car Rental - 7 nights in a Deluxe Room - Daily Continental Breakfast - 3 day Ski Pass

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per adult

KIDS 10 YEARS AND UNDER STAY, SKI AND EAT FOR FREE! Includes: - 7 days Compact Car Rental - 7 nights in Lodge Room - Daily Continental Breakfast - 3 day Ski Pass

*Conditions apply. Valid for travel 15 June - 30 September 2014. Prices are subject to change and availability and may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Book & pay by 20 May 2014. ^Included in package price. Kids 4 free is only valid for children 10 years and under per paying adult. A credit card fee of minimum 1.5% will apply. Airfares are not included. Lic No. 2TA4787. Image courtesy of Mt Hutt.


Park. Selwyn is fabulous value for money and is a firm favourite with many families. Other things to do: Tubing and tobogganing. More information:


FALLS CREEK Falls Creek is Victoria’s largest ski resort, with 14 lifts delivering skiers to 92 runs. One of its best attributes is its European-style village and another is the Kids Snowsports School. The innovative school is located within Pete’s Paradise at the top of the Falls Express chairlift and has purpose-built beginner terrain that makes learning fun. Wednesday and Saturday nights feature night skiing and there’s an all new ‘Pete the Snow Dragon’ show, new kids trails and snow tubing. Ask about the ‘Mum Skis Free’ program and the 1234Ever Pass. Childcare is available for kids from 12 weeks old. Other things to do: Snow shoeing, tobogganing, snow biking and snowmobiling. More information:

MOUNT HOTHAM Above: Mt Buller


Hotham has a lot going for it, with outstanding ski and snowboarding terrain for all abilities, first


class resort facilities, extensive ski-in, ski-out accommodation and scenery that will take your breath away. Younger children will love Harry the Snowdragon’s all-singing, all-dancing shows at the Big D. The Snowzone ski school has programs for kids three - 14 years, with group boarding lessons from age seven and daycare is available. Purchase your Snow Pass before you go and load up everything on it, including lifts, lessons and ski hire. Make sure you visit Dinner Plain while you are there and go dogsledding! Other things to do: Night skiing Wednesday and Saturday, snowmobiling and tobogganing. Contact:

MT BULLER Mt Buller is oh so pretty under a coat of white and there is plenty of ski-in, ski-out accommodation so you can spend every minute possible enjoying the slopes. Just three hours from Melbourne, there are 22 lifts accessing 300 hectares of terrain as well as five terrain parks. Be sure to head to the summit for amazing views. The kids will be well looked after with a crèche for little ones from three months to three years and ski school programs for kids from three – 14 years. For first timers, there is one free two-hour

3 nights Snow Season accommodation from $601pp for a family of 4 • Choose from over 50 quality Thredbo apartments • Real time secure online booking 24/7 • • Onsite Managers who care about your family holiday • Mention this ad for a $50 bonus when you book •

Book online or call now on 1800 020 598 

    A U T U M N  2 0 1 4



Above: Snowboarding at Mt Baw Baw Right: Mt Baw Baw

Frosti with kids at Mt Baw


lesson with a lift ticket. There must be lids (helmets) on kids! Other things to do: Tubing, tobogganing, snowshoeing, the Gnome Roam, indoor rock climbing and night skiing. More information:

MT BAW BAW Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort is just 2.5 hours from Melbourne and is fantastic for the first-time skiing family, with half of its terrain suitable for beginners. It has seven lifts covering 35 hectares as well as the brand new Kicker Park, the Painted Park and the Big Air Bag. Kids from six to 15 years can learn to ski at the ski school, with snowboard lessons for kids from eight to 15 years. Helmets are compulsory for kids having lessons. For something special, visit during Christmas in July, from 28 June – 6 July, with Santa roaming around, decorations and fairy lights. Other things to do: Cross-country skiing,



snowmobile tours, snowshoeing, guided walks and dog sled tours. More information:

LAKE MOUNTAIN ALPINE RESORT Just two hours from Melbourne, Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is perfect for families who want to introduce kids to snow play, or for cross country skiers. It is Australia’s premier cross-country resort, with over 37 kilometres of groomed trails that cater to all levels – from absolute beginner to advanced. Facilities include the ski school, ski hire and an excellent bistro for growling tummies. There are also three toboggan slopes. Go on up for the day - or stay overnight in beautiful Marysville - and throw a snowball, build a snowman, go tobogganing and do a cross-country ski lesson. There are some very good family packages available online. Other things to do: Snowshoeing More information:

Booking your next snow holiday is child’s play at Victoria’s best alpine resorts.

Falls Creek fro m $ per day!


Mum skis free, kids ski free, half-price packages, multi-day lift pass deals, discounts for buying early and bundling online… There are so many ways to ski more and save more at Hotham and Falls Creek this Winter. Make this the year you take the family to Hotham and Falls Creek, Victoria’s highest, largest and friendliest alpine resorts. With reliable snow, breathtaking alpine scenery, ski-in ski-out accommodation, brilliant snowsports schools and uncrowded slopes, it’s no wonder Hotham and Falls Creek are home to Australian skiing’s biggest smiles. Buy and load your Snow Pass smartcard online and use it at either or both resorts. Save 15% when you buy your lift passes online 14 days in advance and 10% when you buy them online 7 days in advance. You can also save on your lift passes when you buy and bundle lessons and hire equipment online too. Buying online couldn’t be easier, visit to buy and save now. And if you want to talk about your options, and package and save on accommodation as well, call Hotham Holidays or the Falls Creek Reservations Centre and we’ll take care of everything for you.

Includes: 5 Ni ghts in a 2 Be droom Premier • 5 Day Adult Apartment. Lift Pass or 5 Day Kids Lift Pa • 5 Adult Grou ss. p Lessons OR 5 Days at Kids Snowports Sc hool. • 5 Days Ski or Board Rental. FR

OM: $757 pe r adult & $721 per child (3-14 Valid 7-19 Jun e & 12-28 Se yrs), 4 Share pt 2014. Subje . ct to availabilit y. Code SSA50W S

Hotham from $ per day!


Includes: 5 Ni ghts in a Schn apps 1 bedroo • 5 Day Adult m Apartment. Lift Pass or 5 Day Kids Free • 5 Adult Grou Lift Pass. p Lessons OR 5 Half Days at Kids Snowzone . • 5 Days Ski or Board Rental. FR

OM: $758 pe r adult & $623 per child (3-14 Kids Ski Free - Per Paying Ad yrs), 4 Share . ult - Lift Only. Subject to ava Valid 7-21 Jun ilability. Code e & 7-28 Sept SCHVAHR. 2014.

For information on accommodation, travel, lift passes, lessons, equipment hire, all-inclusive packages & more… Call Falls Creek Reservations Centre: 1800 45 35 25 

Call Hotham Holidays: 1800 hotham (1800 468 426)     A U T U M N  2 0 1 4



New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand is a little different to Australia in that most of the major resorts don’t offer accommodation. Stay in spectacular Queenstown to ski at The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, Wanaka to tackle Treble Cone or Cardrona (which does offer some accommodation) or Methven to ski Mt Hutt. The towns offer great dining, a huge selection of things to do and wonderful family-friendly eateries. As for the skiing and boarding – it’s incredible.


Fly direct to Rotorua and then it’s a two-hour drive for some of the best skiing in New Zealand. Mt Ruapehu is an active volcano with two ski areas - Whakapapa is on one side and Turoa on the other. Whakapapa’s Happy Valley is New Zealand’s biggest beginner area and for those who like it black, there’s no shortage of runs. Both resorts have ski schools. Accommodation is offered at Whakapapa Village or National Park Village. Turoa has skiing for all abilities with intermediate and advanced skiers sure to have a blast. There’s a terrain park … and you can even ski on a glacier! Other things to do: Indoor rock climbing, tobogganing and tubing. More information:



Cardrona is located between Queenstown and Wanaka and boasts wide, open beginner trails, pristine groomers, fun free-ride terrain and world-class parks and pipes. Cardrona has 15 apartments on snow – a rarity in New Zealand – so


big DAYS AND The kIDS SkI4free

Only one hour from Christchurch International Airport is where kids 10 years and under stay, eat and ski for free*. *kids 10 yrs & under also get free airport transfers & daily mountain transfers. Go to for all the info and participating businesses.



EArly lEArnIng CEntrEs 3 months – 5 years. 3 dAy sChOOl hOlIdAy PrOgrAmmEs 5 – 15 years. Full and half day options available. Find out about the big mountain at

you don’t have to do the extra driving to and from the field. Cardrona also has a world-class ski school. There are four separate kids centres for varying ages, starting with a nursery and kindy for kids three months to four years, Ski Kindy for three and four year olds, a week long ski and snowboard school for five to 14s or choose one or more day or half-day lessons. Other things to do: Have a meal at the Cardrona Hotel; go on the T.S.S. Earnslaw in Queenstown. More information:


© Coronet Peak. Photo Camilla Stoddart

Coronet Peak is just 20 minutes from Queenstown - the closest ski field to this stunning, lakeside town. Coronet has excellent facilities for people of all abilities – for beginners the Big Easy area is fantastic and this year will have a brand new Funzone. The Skiwiland Early Learning Centre looks after kids from three months to five years with their Skiwi Kids and Kiwi Kids programs, while for older children, the Kea Club ensures fun and learning for kids up to 15 years. The views from the top of the Coronet Express Chair are awesome and the runs down from the top are exhilarating! Night skiing is a big drawcard on Fridays and Saturdays, with more runs under lights this season. Other things to do: First tracks. Visit the Onsen Hot Pools on the way back to town. More information:

Opposite: Cadrona Left: Coronet Peak

Queenstown, New Zealand

closest ski areas to queenstown Free day liFt passes kids 10 & under at The Remarkables, kids 6 & under at Coronet Peak.

early learning centres 3 months – 5 years. school holiday programmes 5 – 15 years. 3 and 5 day programmes available.

kids ski & snowboard lessons 5 – 15 years. Full and half day lessons available.

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© Mt Hutt. Photo Camilla Stoddart

MT HUTT Even the drive up to Mt Hutt is fun, giving magnificent views over the patchwork of the Canterbury Plains. The skiing and boarding is equally spectacular, with four lifts accessing 365 hectares of white magic. Skiwiland has great programs for kids from three months to five years while the Kea Club caters to older kids. This season there is a brand new terrain park – Sky High – as well as a new and improved triple chair. Stay in Methven, which has spectacular deals for families - offering free travel, free accommodation, free meals and free skiing at Mt Hutt for kids 10 and under – if accompanied by a paying adult. Other things to do: First Tracks. More information:

OHAU SNOWFIELDS Ohau I love you! Ohau is a small skifield in the Mackenzie High Country, but teamed with a stay at Lake Ohau Lodge, will turn a snow holiday here into a family tradition. The Lodge is a special place for families and it’s just a 20-minute drive to the ski field. It may look small but there is plenty of fun on offer. The Mountain Goats ski school caters to kids and absolute beginners are looked after with the Never Ever package. It’s worth the trip up just to sit on the café deck and take in the views. Spectacular. Others things to do: Have a spa, a drink, play pool and enjoy fantastic meals at the Lodge. More information:

TREBLE CONE Treble Cone is ‘cool for cats’ with its rolling off-piste terrain, long groomed trails and spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. But it is also a great place for kids to learn with TC Cat Club offering ski lessons for kids aged 3 - 15 and snowboard lessons from age six. Lessons are capped at five per class. Childcare is available. The Jazz Fun Park introduced last year has been extended this season, with more mini rollers and jumps, making it even more fun for kids. Watch out for the keas when you’re having lunch at the café – the naughty parrots are very entertaining. Other things to do: In Wanaka, visit Puzzling World and experience a Wanaka River Journeys jetboat tour. More information:

The Remarkables From top: Mt Hutt Ohau Snowfeilds



Photo Camilla Stoddart

THE REMARKABLES It’s going to be a big year at The Remarkables, with the brand new 1.2km six seater Curvey Basin lift opening up new terrain and new trails, as well as linking up with the Sugar Bowl chair. Exciting stuff! The Remarkables has something for everyone, with beginners using Alta, intermediates loving the Sugar Bowl - and for advanced skiers and boarders, the Shadow Basin chair takes you to paradise. The resort has a crèche, ski school and a café with a sunny deck. The coolest thing is the Terrain Parks – The Stash, The Dirty Dog and the Beginner Park. Kids under 10 ride the lifts for free. Other things to do: Tubing and the great trek up to the lookout. More information:


MEMORIES START HERE The South Island’s larg est and most spectacular ski area WINNER New Zealand ’s Best Ski Resort 2013


Treble Cone is known for spectacular views, innovative family Snow Sports School programmes, family lift passes, free kids helmet rental, free beginner lifts, the 3km long Easy Rider beginner trail, the Jazz Kids Fun Trail, and so much more. Treble Cone is the closest ski area to the picturesque lakeside township of Wanaka and an easy 90 minute drive from Queenstown. Daily buses operate to Treble Cone from Queenstown, Wanaka, and the base of the mountain.

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Ski news Freedom at Perisher There is big excitement at Perisher with a new chairlift on the cards for the upcoming season. The Freedom quad chair is being built at Guthega, one of the four resort areas at Perisher, the others being Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Perisher. CEO of Perisher, Peter Brulisauer, said “Guthega is my favourite of the four areas, with such terrific wide, groomed runs like Karl’s, Schnaxl and Bloody Mary and top off-piste runs like The Screw. With the best snow views in Australia and great snow quality, I just love it. The Freedom Chairlift will unlock these runs and new terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.” The Freedom chair will carry 2400 people an hour and build on the exceptional snow experience Perisher delivers to skiers of all levels.

Ski to the max in New Zealand

Photo Miles Holden

Skimax has a sensational deal for families wanting to ski at Mt Hutt this winter. Accommodation is at Ski Time Lodge and Villas, one of the best places to stay in beautiful Methven, just 40 minutes away from the mountain. There’s a good range of accommodation at the property, with the villas perfect for families, with full kitchens and a washing machine and dryer – a must with kids. The deal includes seven days compact car hire, a three day ski pass and seven nights accommodation in a downstairs room, or pay a bit extra for a two-bedroom villa. The packages are valid for travel 15 June to 30 September, with prices starting from $779 per person twin share, or from $799 per person quad share for the villa. Book and pay prior to 20 May. Kids 10 years and under stay, ski and eat for free at Mt Hutt.

Photo Miles Holden

Remarkables on the move



The Remarkables is going to be even more remarkable this season, with a brand new lift adding access to new terrain. The new Curvey Basin six-seater lift will carry skiers and boarders 1.2 kms up to the top, adding two new runs as well as linking up with the bottom of the Sugar Bowl chair and down to the base. The learners area has also been expanded, giving 20 percent more area for kids to learn in and work has begun on sealing the road up from Queenstown. The Remarkables lives up to its name, with great terrain for all levels. Alta is mostly for beginners, with Sugar Bowl catering to intermediates and Shadow Basin for more experienced skiers and boarders. The new Curvey Basin will appeal to beginners and intermediates and will have amazing views over the valley below.


Sun Peaks surprise Interschools is a massive event for snow-loving families in Australia, with various championships attaining huge numbers of kids from beginners to experts. Anyone who loves Interschools, will love Family Cup at Canada’s Sun Peaks Resort, The 8th Annual Sun Peaks Family Cup, fully endorsed by Interschools Austalia, is on from January 4- 11, 2015. Kids will love the gate training sessions, race series, The Kookaburra Cup Cross-Country Ski comp, Obstacle Course, Mountain Marathon and the big one, the Family Cup, where families don their national colours and race for their country. Plus there’s moonlight snowshoeing and s’mores, an evening descent by lantern, first tracks breakfast, tubing and more. Kids of all levels and ages can take part, with the expert training ensuring everyone goes home a much better skier or boarder. If you want to stay a bit longer, the Winter Okanagan Wine Festival is on from January 17-25, 2015. Visit next season and be the first to see the new expanded terrain – taking the skiable area to 1400 hectares!

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Mt Hutt © Camilla Stoddart



hile most parents like to ski, a lot of kids like to snowboard and the age for learning is getting younger and younger. Learning to snowboard at 18 months old? Most people would think that was impossible but there was footage of a gorgeous little girl named Aspen all over YouTube and Facebook in March, squealing with delight as she had her first lesson. That is a little extreme, but it goes to show that younger kids can do it. In the past, it was thought that kids should start learning at age seven, with some even saying 12 was the ideal age. However there are some learning programs in place that make it easier for kids to strap on a snowboard and give it a go. The Burton Riglet program lets young children aged 3-6 learn to snowboard in a fun environment, using gear designed to make it easy. Instructors use a Riglet Reel, which allows them to tow the kids, ensuring more control and helps the kids find their balance. Plus the kids use smaller, softer, flexing boards, boots and bindings that are easier to get in and out of. Falls Creek and Hotham will be the first resorts in Australia to introduce this program – coming this winter. All the big resorts in Australia and New Zealand have great learn to snowboard programs for kids, with



The Stash Park at some even featuring mini terrain parks for kids so they can start learning how to handle rails, jumps and other features. Burton’s Kids Learn to Ride programs are well-established at The Remarkables, Mt Hutt and Coronet Peak in New Zealand, while older teens and adults can sign up at Falls Creek, Perisher, Hotham and Mt Buller in Australia. Terrain parks are all the rage for kids who love sliding and jumping over things on their boards. There are some fantastic features in our parks, for instance at Mt Baw Baw you can jump over a VW beetle and at Falls Creek you can slide over a bus. Treble Cone has expanded its Jazz Fun Park for younger kids this season, with mini rollers and jumps ensuring many happy hours are had. At The Remarkables in New Zealand expert snowboarders head straight for the Burton Stash Park – the only one of its type in the southern hemisphere and one of only six in the world. The Stash Parks are all about freestyling through a natural environment, creating an organic experience that is hard to beat. More information Burton

The Remarkables

© Miles Holden

Shredding IT UP

BURTON RIGLET PARKS CREATE A SAFE, FUN AND EFFECTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR KIDS AGED 3-6 TO LEARN HOW TO SNOWBOARD. With the help of the Riglet Reel tow cable, 80cm snowboards and a few small snow features, kids are discovering the sensation of riding all on their own.


Burton Riglet Parks – Pulling kids in the right direction. 

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Australian holiday

NATIONAL Rent-free holiday accommodation? Accommodation in some of Australia’s most sought after holiday locations can be had rentfree with Mindahome, an Australian-owned house and pet-sitting service that connects homeowners with house and pet-sitters across the country. This means astute holidaymakers are sourcing house and pet-sitting opportunities and saving significant money. House-sitters register with au for just $49 per year and browse as many or as few properties as they like at their chosen destination, while holidaying homeowners and specify house and pet care requirements.

NSW Vivid Sydney set to dazzle It’s back! Sydney’s 18-day festival of light, music and ideas Vivid Sydney - will bring magic to the start of winter when the city celebrates creativity with light installations and colourful projections across the canvas that is the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, The Rocks and Walsh Bay. From 23 May- 9 June 2014, nightly from 6pm- midnight, Sydney Harbour will join in the festivities like never before with Harbour Lights, featuring ferries and vessels decked out in LED lights, which will change colour as they move around the harbour. In another first this year, Destination NSW has commissioned five artists to design brand new light installations for the Vivid Light Walk. Now in its sixth year, Vivid Sydney is a family-friendly event and the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Named Australia’s Event of the Year in 2013, last year Vivid Sydney attracted record crowds of over 800,000 people to see the illuminations, enjoy free music performances and family events and to share creative ideas in a bountiful burst of colour and movement across the city. For the full what’s on program visit



Port Macquarie’s new ‘must dos’ Greater Port Macquarie Tourism has released a list of ‘new must dos’ for travellers that go beyond the beach. People will be tempted to explore the hinterland’s wilderness, food farms and picturesque drives - all in one of Australia’s favourite family holiday spots. A new 4WD adventure goes off the beaten track to have breakfast with the birds, go horseriding through the vineyards, and enjoy high-tea in a hip hinterland café. Go glamping at Bonny Hills, stay in the refurbished Mid Pacific Motel or on a 3,000 acre farm in the hinterland. Plus there are new events at an organic farm that allow people to participate in farm activities with a paddock to plate lunch. Best of all, Port Macquarie’s stunning natural attractions are closer than ever, just four hours’ drive from Sydney on the newly upgraded Pacific Highway.

Indoor skydiving in Sydney iFLY Downunder in Penrith is Australia’s first state-of-the-art indoor skydiving centre and offers the latest, most exhilarating and rewarding activity imaginable for all ages, as they experience the thrill of flight in a fully– controlled and safe environment. Enjoy the ultimate adventure experience in the biggest and most powerful indoor skydiving centre in the southern hemisphere. Suitable for people of all skill levels, from first-time to advanced flyers, iFLY Downunder’s 5 metre wide glass chamber is one of the world’s largest vertical wind tunnels and comfortably holds up to 8 flyers at a time. There are four 450-horsepower fans powering the tunnel, with speeds up to 250kms per hour. The iFLY experience simulates skydiving from a height of 14,000 feet - without jumping out of a plane!

Murramarang joins NRMA Holiday Parks Murramarang Beachfront Nature Resort has recently rebranded and has now joined the four existing resort parks in the NRMA Holiday Park stable. Located on a pristine section of absolute ocean frontage, surrounded by national parks and just 18 kilometres from Batemans Bay, Murramarang is a unique destination perfect for families to build precious holiday memories in a glorious natural setting. Accommodation is available for all tastes and budgets from luxury ocean spa villas with spectacular views of Mill Beach, to standard cabins and powered and unpowered camping sites. There are fantastic family-friendly facilities that include a licensed bistro, poolside bar and grill, resort pool, kids club and a playground.

Funland gets Harpoon Lagoon

© Pyrmont Festival

Funland Ulladulla has introduced its newest family attraction - Harpoon Lagoon, a crazy new fishing game the whole family can play. Use your skills to harpoon fish on the giant screen as you watch for the jellyfish to come out of the treasure chest for big bonuses. There are hundreds of other games and great rides including dodgems, jump star drop ride, super tube slides, slot cars, simulators, Laser Skirmish, Fun Putt, soft play, a photo booth and more, just a 2.5 hour drive from Canberra or the outskirts of Sydney. Funland offers a money-back fun guarantee, so you know you’ll have a great time.

Mudgee magic in Sydney The Pyrmont Festival is a 10-day event celebrating the best wine, food and art from Pyrmont and the Mudgee region. The family-friendly festival kicks off with a free two-day outdoor fair in Pirrama Park on Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 May and brings together food-loving families and the renowned talents behind the produce from Mudgee. The whole family will be entertained, with parents able to sip and taste from more than 50 stalls, enjoy the sculpture garden and live music, while the kids will love the huge variety of free children’s rides.




Australian holiday

ACT Discover the smarter way to have fun at Questacon! Families can experience science in extraordinary ways at Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre. With over 200 interactive exhibits to explore across eight themed galleries, plus some great new exhibitions, there’s something for visitors of all ages to enjoy. At the family-friendly Perception Deception exhibition you can surprise your senses and challenge your mind with over 60 handson and multimedia activities. After a complete refurbishment, visitors can enjoy the shake, rattle’n’roll of the Earthquake House or the crackle and buzz of Caged Lightning, along with loads of great new exhibits to explore.

Make your own $1 coin 2014 marks the 30th Anniversary of the $1 coin in Australia and the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra is the place to visit if you want to see, first hand, how our coins are made. Step into the Observation Gallery and watch Titan the robot and then mint your own $1 coin and perhaps start your own collection.

Canberra QT The funky and family-friendly QT Hotels & Resorts group is excited to announce a new QT in Canberra, in the emerging cultural precinct of New Acton. Set in the iconic Canberra Lakeside Hotel, the building will embrace new technology, distinctive art and cutting edge design, with a mix of quirky artefacts, bespoke furniture, a daring use of colour and art, as well as the ultimate food and beverage offerings.


EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR OUT & ABOUT WITH KIDS READERS Enter the code OAK2014 in the booking button to receive 10% off accommodation

Man, you think your room’s untidy If you are under 3 then you are FREE at ‘Wow-bray Park Farm’ Come say G’day to Chloe, Chester, Scooter & friends The days are full of fun at Mowbray Park Farm, Kid’s Club, ponies, camp fires, hay rides & more Day visits, birthday parties & weekend escapes Mowbray Park 745 Barkers Lodge Rd Picton Call us 02 46809 243 for that special holiday


Just 45 minutes from Cairns by Fast Cat, Fitzroy Island is nestled on a slice of tropical island paradise, positioned where the reef and rainforest collide. The 4½ star resort is the ideal location for discovering the Great Barrier Reef, come for the day or stay overnight. ACTIVITIES INCLUDE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT • DIVING SNORKELLING • KAYAKING • TOURS OF THE TURTLE CENTRE Ocean Suite from $255 per room per night. Day trips on the Fitzroy Fast Cat from P 07 4044 6700 $72 per person w E

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QLD Eurong Beach’s perfect family deal World Heritage-listed Fraser Island showcases some of the best natural attractions that Queensland has to offer and Eurong Beach Resort, on Fraser Island’s eastern side, is a great base from which to explore the world’s largest sand island. The family-friendly property is only accessible by four-wheel-drive and has just released a ‘Stay 5 and Save’ package with prices from $175 per self-contained apartment. Eurong Beach’s absolute beachfront position means access to Fraser Island’s eastern attractions. Huge sand blows, coloured sands, fast-flowing Eli Creek that spills into the ocean, the Maheno shipwreck and Indian Head and the Champagne Pools are all within a short driving distance. The resort is also centrally placed for visits to the southern lakes, as well as the sub-tropical rainforests around Pile Valley, Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek. Two-bedroom self-contained apartments can accommodate up to four people and have spacious living areas, balconies and a bathroom.

Diamond Views at Skyrail The award-winning Skyrail Rainforest Cableway provides guests with the unique opportunity to experience Australia’s World Heritage-listed tropical rainforests, with negligible impact on the environment. Travelling 7.5km, the cableway has comfortable six-person gondola cabins, which glide just metres above the canopy and provide spectacular views of the rainforest, tropical Cairns, the Coral Sea and the lush Cairns Highlands. Skyrail has added to the magic with the launch of the amazing Diamond View Skyrail Gondolas, featuring reinforced glass floors that offer guests an amazing view directly down onto the canopy of World Heritage-listed Barron Gorge National Park.

Cycle Sunshine Coast The missing link in the Caloundra Coastal Path is now complete, allowing visitors a continuous journey that takes in some of the Sunshine Coast’s most spectacular foreshore scenery. Starting at Golden Beach and ending at Tewantin, the Caloundra Coastal Path hugs the shores of the Pumicestone Passage before arriving at the Bulcock Beach boardwalk on the way to Happy Valley, Kings Beach and Moffat headland. The system of pathways connects visitors of all ages and abilities with the natural scenic beauty of the region and offers families a great day of exploring the great coffee shops, eateries, picnic and swimming spots along the way.




Australian holiday


VIC DreamWorks the exhibition

Sleep under the stars on the reef Reefsleep, the only overnight accommodation on the Great Barrier Reef, has been refurbished and re-opened with a different style of accommodation - sleeping under the stars in swags! The swags are fully weather and waterproof, with a comfortable mattress and a clear panel to look up to the stars above … or unzip and leave the top open for a true ‘under the stars’ experience. An air-conditioned private double room is also available for guests who do not want to sleep in swags. Located at Hardy Reef - one of the most spectacular stretches of the Great Barrier Reef - 40 nautical miles from the Whitsundays coast, Reefsleep guests are offered a full range of activities, including snorkelling, swimming, exploring the reef via semi submersible and exclusive use of Reefworld’s facilities after the day trip guests leave and before they arrive the next morning. Kids as young as ten are able to accompany their parents on the most amazing sleep over they’ll ever have, making Reefsleep a memorable experience for people of all ages.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat gets spooky Join Lantern Ghost Tours on Friday 13 June to discover the lost world of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, as the mountain comes alive with activity of the supernatural kind when darkness falls. Older kids will delight in being spooked as the playful min min lights emerge out of the midnight shadows, enticing unsuspecting victims to follow them … and the ghosts of O’Reilly pioneers emerge from strange, chilly fogs.



Melbourne’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is hosting a world premiere event from the studio that brought you the animated classics Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda. Running until Sunday 5 October 2014, DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition is ACMI’s largest ever exhibition, featuring over 400 items, including never-seen-before concept drawings, interviews, models and original artworks, and interactive experiences for children and adults. Visitors will lose themselves in the extraordinary worlds created by DreamWorks’ award-winning artists and travel with beloved characters, from original sketches through to grumpy ogres, friendly dragons and Kung Fu-fighting pandas.

Family entertainment goes large at Point Cook WYNCITY is raising the curtain at its new state-of-the-art family entertainment centre in Point Cook. Offering the latest in tenpin bowling, world-class Laserforce laser tag, bumper cars, pool tables, mini golf and an amazing range of arcade games, WYNCITY is Australia’s newest venue for action-packed indoor recreation. WYNCITY’s 24 lanes of AMF tenpin bowling features 42-inch monitors, iPad scoring systems with Facebook check-in, latest PlayStation-like bowling games, builtin cameras and the lanes are serviced by virtual waiters. A Laserforce arena provides adrenaline-packed adventure and Australia’s first ever Time Freak attraction, a thrilling race against the clock in a vibrant UV-coloured room is another new addition sure to get the kids excited.

Grape fun in the Grampians The Grampians Grape Escape brings together foodies and families for an indulgent epicurean weekend among the spectacular Grampians National Park. From 3 to 4 May visitors can discover over 125 food and wine artisans and devour the culinary secrets of guest celebrity chefs as they demonstrate entertaining recipes using fresh and local ingredients. Children and the young at heart will revel in the thrill of barefoot grape stomping! Or enjoy family fun with live music, roving entertainment and free activities such as rock climbing and face painting. All festival entry tickets include access to cooking demonstrations, live music and the free kids activities.



Perth’s newest apartment hotel The new Citadines St Georges Terrace Perth - just a street away from the Esplanade overlooking the Swan River - has opened after a five-month refurbishment of the former Somerset St Georges Terrace Perth. With 85 studio and one-bedroom apartments located in the centre of the vibrant city of Perth, Citadines St Georges Terrace makes a perfect base for families visiting the Western Australian capital. The spacious apartments offer fully equipped kitchen/kitchenettes and great living spaces, modern amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, a home entertainment system comprising a DVD player and flat-screen television with cable channels. Its prime location, within walking distance to art galleries, restaurants, bars, department stores and the many quality boutiques at Murray Street and Hay Street Malls, mean entertaining the kids couldn’t be easier.

Ultimate Tassie wilderness escape Get off the beaten tourist track and unwind with the family in an authentic and unforgettable oasis. Corinna is a historic mining town set in pristine rainforest on the banks of the beautiful Pieman River in western Tasmania, 60km north of Strahan, 70km west of Cradle Mountain and 18km from the Southern Ocean, at the southern end of the Tarkine, the largest temperate rainforest in Australia. The Corinna Escape Experience is offering an exclusive early bird special during winter this year. Guests stay three nights for the price of two, receive a scrumptious breakfast hamper, free half day of kayak hire, and a discounted rate on Arcadia II River cruises. The three night value packages start at $540.00 for Corinna’s Queen Cabins up to $760 for family cabins.

Port Douglas Kids under 12 stay & eat free Rendezvous Reef Resort offers affordable one, two and three bedroom self-contained two storey villas, each offering an enormous 110 square metres of space, each with a garden or pool view, balcony or patio, fully self contained kitchen and laundry. Choose from a great range of resort facilities, relax by one of 4 swimming pools, cook up a delicious bbq while the children explore the new children’s playground, or enjoy alfresco dining at Straits Cafe and Bar.


$144* per night

Your own villa for the price of room! *Price valid 01 Oct 13 - 31 Mar 15 (excludes School Holiday and Peak periods. Minimum 4 night stay) Offer based on 1 child per adult, in existing bedding.

Tel: 07 4087 2790 email:




Australian holiday

NT Voyages Uluru Weekend Packages Victorian families can experience the spiritual heart of Australia faster and easier with Alliance Airlines offering a direct three-hour flight from Tullamarine to Uluru, flying until the last weekend of June 2014. Voyages Uluru Weekend package is designed to make the most of the new weekend flights and includes return flights from Melbourne, return airport transfers and two nights’ accommodation at the Ayers Rock Resort with full buffet breakfast. It also includes an indigenous activities program featuring a cultural dance performance, guided garden walks, spear & boomerang throwing and indigenous story-telling experience, with children 15 years and under staying free (including breakfast) using existing bedding. The return service is the ideal break from the city - leaving Melbourne on a Friday morning and departing Ayers Rock after lunch on Sunday – allowing plenty of time for families to relax and rejuvenate in Australia’s Red Centre.

10th anniversary for The Ghan New Tigerair daily service from Brisbane to Darwin April has been a big month for Tigerair Australia with the introduction of new direct services from another eastern state to the top end. Queensland families now have access to daily return flights between Brisbane and Darwin, making it a whole lot easier to plan a Northern Territory holiday. The launch of the airline’s new Queensland base, it’s third in Australia, and the new route to Darwin, come with the arrival of brand new aircraft in Brisbane too and the launch of Web Check services across the entire Tigerair Australia network.

In 2004 The Ghan made its first trip into Darwin from Adelaide - a one way rail journey covering a mighty 2979 kilometres of amazing Australian landscapes. Through the Adelaide Plains and the majestic Flinders Ranges into the heart of the Red Centre at Alice Springs and right up to the top end, there’s something about a trip on the Ghan that stays with you forever. Choose from Red Service, Gold Service or Platinum Service to suit your family’s needs and budget and tailor your journey - you can travel from Darwin to Adelaide, or Adelaide to Darwin and even break the trip and spend a few days In Alice Springs. You can also jump onboard one of Great Southern Rail’s fantastic Ghan holiday packages that combine accommodation, sightseeing, transfers and, of course, your train travel. The relaxed, easy pace of The Ghan’s journey is great for families - a truly unique Australian holiday experience in this spectacular part of our country.

SA Barossa Resort turning bubbles into basil The Novotel Barossa Valley Resort has given new life to the bathtubs that were replaced in their recent multi-million dollar refurbishment, by converting them into a thriving kitchen garden, meaning the hotel has fresh herbs all year. Novotel Barossa Valley Resort’s refurbished guest bathrooms feature new walk-in showers, floor to ceiling glass walls, rain showers and the signature Novotel halo mirror. In addition to the new bathrooms, the recent upgrade also added new poolside facilities and a brand new gymnasium. From the great outdoors to inhouse movies, recreational activities and facilities at Novotel Barossa Valley have been designed to keep the kids entertained, with an outdoor heated swimming pool, tennis, basketball and volleyball, bike hire, giant chess and a flying fox just some of the kid-friendly fun on offer.




My ideal family holiday is My family loves to travel. Since we had our son, travelling has entailed less off-the-beaten-track adventure and much more time spent enjoying one location. Our favourite holiday is flying somewhere we haven’t been before, staying in a fantastic resort and playing in the pool. After a few days, we generally get itchy feet and hire a car to get out and about. That first drive on our own around an island or city is when my husband and I feel like we reconnect with our more adventurous side. My fondest family holiday memory is The first time my son went on an A380. We flew Melbourne - LA, then onto New York and Barbados. On the way home, we flew straight through from Barbados (a 36 hour trip) with him – then aged 3. Despite the jetlag, when he clambered off the A380 onto home soil, the little trouper wanted to know when we were getting on another one! Watching an A380 take off still makes him squeal with delight. My most memorable family holiday meal was Dinner with friends at La Lucciola in Bali. 6 adults, 5 children and a lot of spaghetti! The fabulous food was only beaten by the cocktails and the view, which has to be seen at sunset. Many family travellers are not aware of How great a short break in your own city can be! We often talk about not having the time to explore our own backyard. With no need for a long drive or flight, a ‘staycation’ means there’s more time to spend enjoying yourself when you get there - and Mum and Dad still get a break from washing and cooking. My friends love hopping on the ferry to Manly and staying at the Novotel Manly, with the beach right across the road. A bonus for parents taking their families to Novotel hotels and resorts is that kids under 12 stay and eat free and a second room for kids can be booked at 50% off. Every family should experience A family show at the Sydney Opera House. The ‘Kids at the House’ program offers a great mix for budding little thespians and musicians each year. We have enjoyed everything from the antics of ‘The Cat in the Hat’ to getting up close to a trombone at ‘Swing Baby Swing’. My top tip for travelling with kids is Plan long haul flights in sections. Broken into 1.5 hour timeslots: 1.5 hours of DVDs, 1.5 hours of colouring in, 1.5 hours of eating … and repeat until fatigue finally sets in. Oh, and sultanas for making sure those ears pop on descent. Bridie Commerford Vice President, Marketing & Communications Australia Accor









Photographers: Joann oa e Buck + Paul Osta l www w.TheRaro rotong tongan.c n om


Now your family can feel the freedom of Paradise with the NEW DIRECT FLIGHT from Australia to the heart of the South Pacific, Rarotonga! At the 4-star Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa your family can enjoy the island’s best beach and lagoon, including ALL-TIDE safe swimming in the Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve, the island’s best snorkelling lagoon protected by a natural coral reef from the open ocean (no stingers or sharks to worry about!). KIDS STAY FREE! KIDS PLAY FREE @ the amazing Moko’s Kids Club – includes KIDS NATURE & CULTURE DISCOVERY PROGRAMME! FREE Snacks & Drinks at Kids Club sessions! FREE Kids Welcome Pack! NEW Banana Beach Playland crèche (0-3 years; charges apply). NEW Teen Zone! Extensive FREE Activities Programme for all the family with snorkelling, kayaking, tennis, beach sports, games room, learn to dance the hula, play the ukulele & log drums, make a lei, husk a coconut + much more. Around Rarotonga enjoy 4WD Safari Tour, Glass-Bottom Boat Lagoon Cruise, rainforest trek to see one of the world’s rarest birds, Saturday Market, cafes & restaurants – all minutes away! The tropical island family holiday of your dreams awaits you at The Rarotongan!

Aroa Beach + Lagoon Marine Reserve l Rarotonga l COOK ISLANDS P (+682) 25800 l F 25799 | S I S T E R

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international holidays








Clown fish colony at Hideaw

ay Island


cuba diving is becoming more and more popular the world over but many underwater fans give up diving when they have kids, finding it too hard to combine their love of diving with looking after the kids but, with a bit of planning it’s possible to keep diving with kids in tow. Introduce your kids to the world under the water at an early age and hopefully they’ll come to share the passion. Snorkelling is a good place to start your kids’ underwater adventures with many kids starting to show an interest in snorkelling somewhere between five and eight years of age. You can start their snorkelling lessons in the bath so they can get the hang of breathing through the snorkel and to make sure their facemask fits well. On your holidays give the kids a few practise turns in the pool before they snorkel with the fish. It’s also advisable to try lagoon snorkelling until they get their confidence. Stick closely by their side and point out things of interest like fish and underwater rock and coral formations, and be sure to teach them to be careful around coral. Your little fish will be fans of the deep blue sea in no time.

The deep end How old should kids be to learn how to dive? There are several schools of thought on this, but ultimately it needs a certain level of maturity to pay heed to the safety precautions and a certain amount of strength to carry the equipment. Kids as young as eight can try scuba diving on a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Bubblemaker Experience, which takes place in a swimming pool with depths not exceeding four metres. PADI recommends a minimum age of 10 years old to complete a Junior Open Water certificate, however an Australian Standard has increased the minimum age here to



Win a family holiday to...

Vanuatu! To enter visit vanuatu-competition

Win a week-long family holiday to Vanuatu and spend your days snorkelling over coral reefs, ziplining through the jungle, abseiling down cascades or even dining with the locals at a welcoming cultural village. This family prize includes flights for two adults and two children with Air Vanuatu from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne and 5-7 days accommodation in one Lagoon Superior Family room with full daily buffet breakfast.

Situated on 75 acres of exotic tropical gardens on the edge of Erakor Lagoon in Port Vila, Vanuatu, Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa is an enchanting vacation destination that oozes South Pacific charm. With gorgeous landscapes, white sandy beaches and mesmerizing views of the Pacific Ocean, this spectacular resort offers a peaceful escape for everything from family holidays to romantic getaways.

Flying to Vanuatu is easy with Air Vanuatu offering direct flights seven days a week from Sydney to Port Vila, three days a week from Brisbane and once weekly from Melbourne during peak season. Air Vanuatu also operates domestic air services in Vanuatu between the islands. It is a full-service airline serving complimentary hot meals, alcoholic and other beverages and inflight entertainment.

Vanuatu is the perfect family escape, only a short flight from home. 80



a more sensible 12-years old. Junior Open Water divers are only allowed to dive to a maximum of 12 metres and must be accompanied by a certified parent or guardian. If you are planning on diving overseas with your kids, play it safe. Before you book your trip, ensure that the dive resort you are booking into is at least a five-star PADI certified operator, especially if you’re planning a trip to a developing country.

It’s far better to stay in a dive resort than try to organise accommodation and diving trips separately. This makes arrangements much easier, especially if you have younger kids. Family-friendly dive resorts will usually be able to take divers and snorkellers out together on a glass-bottomed boat, meaning even non-swimmers can enjoy the underwater views, and many also have kids clubs and nanny services for younger kids.

blue waters, the capital Port Vila, on the island of Efate, also provides plenty of spectacular diving and snorkelling opportunities. Efate also boasts great family-friendly resorts that make it easy to combine a diving holiday with a family holiday. Hideaway Island Resort is a great choice for families. It sits in the middle of a crystal-clear lagoon surrounded by pretty corals and brimming with colourful fish. You can snorkel and dive straight from the beach or go out on the glassbottomed boat to explore the reefs a bit further afield. Most dive sites near the resort can also be snorkelled, so while older kids and adults can dive, make time to take younger kids for a snorkel afterwards to explore the anemone gardens. Hideaway Island is also home to the world’s only underwater post office, which is attended between 2pm and 5pm. There are waterproof postcards for sale in the gift shop and it’s great fun watching the kids diving down trying to reach the post box.



Vanuatu, a chain of 83 tropical islands in the South West Pacific, is only a few flying hours from Australia and an extremely popular destination for divers. Surrounded by clear waters, great coral reefs and an abundance of wrecks to explore, there are plenty of great opportunities to get the kids under the sea. While Espiritu Santo to the north is renowned for its wreck diving and startlingly

Many Fijian resorts have fantastic kids clubs and nanny services, giving mum and dad the opportunity to head off for a dive, knowing they are in safe hands. And there are plenty of snorkelling opportunities for younger kids. The Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa is a good choice, being located on possibly the prettiest stretch of coastline on the Coral Coast, Natadola

Best destinations for families

Previous page: Snorkeller off beach at Wakatobi. Photo: James Watt

Above: Malolo Red fan with diver



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Bay. The resort has its own private beach and coral reef so you can swim and snorkel straight from the beach, or take a trip with the kids in the glass-bottomed boat for a combination of snorkelling and scuba diving. Malolo Island Resort in the Mamanucas offers easy snorkelling straight from the beach and a dive boat to take you further afield to explore a wide range of nearby reefs. The dive boat usually goes out every morning for a two-tank dive, returning in time for lunch, and each afternoon for a single dive. Lots of kids learn to dive here in the shallow lagoon that circles the resort.

INDONESIA Wakatobi Dive Resort is a purpose-built dive resort offering great facilities for divers and families of all ages. Kids can be taken care of with nannies for littlies, kids club for kids aged 5-12 years and discover scuba and PADI Bubblemaker Experience introductory dives for older kids. Certified junior open water divers can join their parents on the dive boat and those who just want to snorkel can go for a supervised snorkel on the house reef.

SABAH The Shangri-La Tanjung Aru resort is well-positioned on the west coast of Sabah to explore Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park. The resort runs guided snorkel tours and PADI Discover Scuba experiences for kids,and at this resort the kids come first, with priority check in, babysitters on hand and kids club. The Mabul Beach Resort is on the east coast of Sabah, within easy reach of the famous Sipadan Barrier Reef. Kids as young as 10 years old can take part in a PADI Discover Scuba experience and younger kids can snorkel on the home reef.



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Top spots to stay for

UNDERWATER ADVENTURES Hideaway Island Resort, Vanuatu Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, Fiji Malolo Island Resort Fiji Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Malaysia Mabul Beach Resort, Malaysia accommodations


Left: Wakatobi – kids with parents ready for snorkelling.

Remember that you must not fly within 12 hours of doing a dive, or 24 hours if you do more than one dive in a day.

Photo by Didi Lotze

Right: Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Learning to dive

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he hermit crab wants nothing more than to reach the safety of the surf; Alice will do anything she can to prevent the poor creature from escaping. This power struggle is the basis for a game that occupies my youngest daughter and me for an entire morning during a spectacularly lazy day on Barefoot Island in the Yasawa archipelago. This scene could be happening anywhere in Fiji, except we’re the only people on the beach – apart from Ivy, Alice’s elder sister, who is face down a few metres off shore, occasionally punctuating the peace with a squeal of excitement through her snorkel. Of course there are others on the island, but nowhere near as many as you’d encounter in the bigger resorts. And this morning everyone is either off exploring elsewhere or like my wife, they’re lazing in hammocks strung between palm trees outside the beachfront bures.

Littlest hobo Devoid of people, the beach is nevertheless full of life. Alice learned this earlier in a delicious moment of discovery when, to her total surprise, the shell she

tried to pick up suddenly sprouted legs and dashed off towards the sea. This little girl currently has much in common with the unfortunate crab she’s now tormenting. Midway through moving house, just after she’d witnessed everything in her known universe being packed into cardboard boxes, we picked her up and dropped her here, to go island hopping through the Yasawas. While it’s hard to read a two-year-old’s mind – it’s a delicate age where they perceive much but can articulate little – I’m guessing she thinks this beach bumming existence is our new life, and that we’ll keep swapping bures like a hermit crab changes shells until we find one that fits. She seems quite content with the situation, though. And I’d be happy with it too – if only it were true. Sadly, we’re here for only two weeks, and I’m torn between making the most of every minute by doing all the activities on offer (spectacular diving, swimming with manta rays, kayaking and abseiling) or capitulating completely to the indolence of island life. My wife is wrestling with no such dilemma – this trip is the perfect antidote to the stress fest that has accompanied the sale of our house and impending move.




Ivy, who is seven and has absolutely no problem articulating her thoughts, simply wants to snorkel. The water right off Sunset Beach – directly outside our bure – is as clear as chilled lemonade and permanently fizzy with fish. Ivy is obsessed. I keep a watchful eye on her always, but pretty much all I’ve seen of her in daylight hours for the last three days has been the back of her head, as she flippers around the sheltered cove.

The Friendly Isles Children are always a barrier-breaking common denominator when you’re travelling – but in Fiji this is taken to a whole new level. Everyone here loves kids. Even burly looking officials (as burly as one can look in a skirt) at the airport instantly swap frowns for funny faces when they see children arriving. Since stepping off the small boat that brought us ashore from the Yasawa Flyer (a passenger-carrying catamaran that ferries travellers up and down the archipelago) both girls have been constantly showered with affection. Alice’s cheeks appear to have assumed some sort of magnetic quality and Fijians seem quite unable



to stop squeezing them. It doesn’t seem to faze her and she has formed a particularly strong bond with a girl called Po. Like little birds, they sing out to one another across the small island throughout the day. While there’s no Kids’ Club here, it’s not unusual to discover that one of your children has momentarily disappeared and you’ll usually locate them deep in the embrace of a maternal Fijian lady.

Hidden Fiji Geographically, the Yasawas are close to heavily visited places like the Mamanuca Islands, but they’re worlds apart. Arrangements are far less neatly organised here and you need to pack your imagination along with your swimmers, but the experience is all the richer and less predictable for it. Accommodation is still in lodges and resorts – rated via a coconut-based grading system (three coconuts being the best, one coconut the most basic) – but many of these are village-owned and run. Our trip began near the top of the archipelago on Nacula Island. Our bure at Nabua Lodge was a basic one-coconut affair, with no electricity during the night, but Nacula’s Blue Lagoon delivered a truly sensational beach experience, with no crowds. From there we’d hopped across to Botaira Beach Resort on Naviti Island – a far fancier threecoconut joint where we could enjoy world-class reef snorkelling ten metres from the door of our bure. Each resort has someone in charge of entertainment

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Be free at Malolo! The newly reopened Malolo is about a bure near the beach, surrounded by the world’s friendliest people with a living and authentic culture. Perfect for families and couples alike, you can fill your day with a myriad of activities or simply unwind and do nothing at all.




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The 4 star Naviti Resort is cocooned on 38 acres of tropical gardens alongside golden beaches and tropical palms. Situated on Fiji’s famous coral coast the Naviti Resort is a famous All Inclusive resort. where guests can enjoy all meals, unlimited drinks, free golf green fees, Sunset Cruise, nightly entertainment, and many other activities. For more information or to make a reservation Ph. (679) 653 0444 Fax. (679) 653 0099 Email : Website:





and at Botaira that person was Moses – a multi-talented all-singing, guitar-playing, facepainting legend, who accumulated kids like the Pied Piper wherever he went. On Barefoot Island however, our cultural experience really began. Here a voluntourism project called Vinaka Fiji places visitors into local communities to help with schooling and engineering projects. To demonstrate, program leaders Fran and Mike took us by small boat to several villages around the coast of Drawaqa Island.

Village life We participated in a mother and baby clinic one day and toured a secondary school hosting a sports day the next. At Kese village we visited the local school where Vinaka Fiji volunteers have built a playground that was being noisily appreciated when we arrived. Instantly we were surrounded by a gaggle of chattering children, all around Ivy’s age. The classroom was a hut surrounded by palm trees and the textbooks were ancient, but the kids seem happy and extremely eager to learn. We talked to the class and they peppered us with questions about Australia. Mike showed us around the village,



where the helping hand of the project was apparent everywhere, from the installation of a rainwater collection tank to the planting of new trees. By the time we arrived back at the boat, school had finished and the children were on the beach, swimming and cavorting under the late afternoon sun, with grandparents happily looking on. Ivy and Alice soon joined in, splashing and squealing with the local kids. I could see them communicating but I couldn’t hear what they were saying – whatever it was, it was obviously funny. This place is poor, but there’s no shortage of laughter to share around. These are priceless experiences and I hope Ivy will remember them throughout her life. Back on Sunset beach, the hermit crab has finally managed to escape as Alice’s attention wanders. Ivy joins us and we start to sculpt a giant sand turtle while discussing the fish she’s seen. Looking back over the last few days, I’m beginning to wonder whether we should rethink where we’re moving to. Do we really need anything more than a bure and beach? I haven’t worn a watch or shoes for a week and I’m not missing them one bit.

WHEN TO TRAVEL The months between May and September are typically the driest and this is the best time to visit, but the Yasawa Islands can be enjoyed all year round. Cyclone season is November to April. Manta Rays visit regularly between May and October. GETTING THERE Fiji Airways and Virgin Australia fly daily from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Nadi. Awesome Adventures Fiji operate the Yasawa Flyer from Denarau to the islands and have a range of options for travel and accommodation, from tickets to one destination through to the multi-day Bula Pass. WHERE TO STAY Barefoot Island Botaira Beach Resort Nabua Lodge MONEY The currency is the Fijian Dollar (FJD). At the time of writing, AU$1 buys you FJD$1.84 MORE INFORMATION Tourism Fiji Fiji Airways

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Seminyak shines Blessed with some of the most glorious beaches in Bali, Seminyak is paradise for families. From sunrise to sunset you can head to the beachfront to buy drinks, hire a surfboard, rent a sun lounge, take a dip or simply pull up on a stretch of sand and watch the beautiful people go by. Seminyak’s sunsets are stunning, so an evening stroll to watch the sun dip down over the Indian Ocean is a must. Seminyak’s sophisticated spas and high-end boutiques may distract you from its beautiful beaches. Fashionistas big and small will love the shopping in Seminyak. Jalan Laksmana is the place for the latest fashions, with great stores for children. The cool kids will want to head to The Corner Store where they can grab a milkshake, check out the toys and then shop for hot fashion items from brands such as Coco & Ginger and Deus ex Machina. We also liked We Love Retro’s vintage take on swimming costumes for girls of all ages and Ciara Mia for beautiful French fashions for the girliest of girls from two to 10. A villa stay is ideal when you are holidaying with the kids, offering extra room and much-need privacy on your break. The award-winning Serene Villas in Seminyak will take your family holiday to a whole other level with one-, two - and three-bedroom villas with all the features of a five-star hotel and the added luxury of your own private pool, garden and your own staff. You will even have a personal Family Butler who’ll be on hand daily to provide suggestions and expert local knowledge. Your butler will also plan and organise a variety of activities, meals and excursions to suit your family’s interests including amazing “in-villa” Spa

treatments provided by the Manori Spa’s professionally-trained staff. Seminyak boasts a great food scene with a choice of local and international cuisines but one spot not to miss is Family Dayze on a Sunday at Seminyak restaurant Ku De Ta. There’s great food, live music and drinks plus a tempting children’s menu, kids barbecue and a choice of arts and crafts in the activities tent to keep the kids entertained. Nearby is the fantastic Waterbom Bali, a fabulous water park that offers world class water slides and rides for a single all day entrance fee. We love the lazy river but the park offers something for kids of every age, and parents will love the choice of dining outlets plus the kid-friendly day spa. Bali Safari and Marine Park, just 15 minutes from Seminyak is another must for families. Set in 40 hectares of land, safari vehicles cruise the park so you can get up close and personal with over 50 species of animals from around the word. If you want to get really close why not take a ride on an elephant or a camel or, meet a friendly orangutan? Entry includes two rides on the Safari Tram and unlimited time getting wet and wild in the awesome Funzone amusement park.

Jimbaran Bay Bliss If you’re after a more laid back Bali beach break, Jimbaran Bay is the place to stay. The Ayana Resort and Spa Bali at Jimbaran Bay offers hotel-style accommodation as well as luxury private villas. Relax and enjoy the Thermes Marins Spa while you let the kids loose on the resort’s kids pavilion or enjoy one of the many amazing pools dotted around the resort. Ayana’s new sister resort, the

five-star Rimba Jimbaran is all about sustainability with recycled material, water conservation and natural lighting central to the resort’s design. Multi-tiered swimming pools, including a children’s pool adjacent to the Kids Club, plus tree plantations and an organic fruit and veggie garden set this place apart. While both resorts offer ample opportunities for swimming and eating, it’s worth a visit to the safe white sand beach at Jimbaran Bay at sundown where local families congregate to watch the sun go down and fill their bellies with fresh fish from one of the seafood shacks that line the beach. An early morning visit to the Jimbaran fish market on the beach at the northern end of the bay is a great spot to watch as the local fisherman bring in their catch. For a little culture, 11th Century temple at Uluwatu, is about half an hour away. Perched high on a steep cliff that overlooks the ocean, the location is as remarkable as the temple itself and the perfect spot to view a spectacular Bali sunset and watch a traditional kecak dance. While you’re at Uluwatu, go and watch as locals and visitors alike try to master the awesome waves that this break is famous for. Sit in the Single Fin café up the top of the cliff and be mesmerised by the view, and go for a stroll down amongst the cliff-side stalls and to see the cave where surfers enter the water. There are plenty of other beaches to check out on the way to Uluwatu, including beautiful Belangan, where you can sit in a deckchair and have a massage, Bingin, Padang Padang and, for quite a different experience, Dreamland, which is a tourist attraction in its own right.

Uluwatu temple, Bali. © Efired,




Ubud escape While beaches may be Bali’s biggest drawcard, Ubud, located at the base of the mountains about an hour’s drive north east of Denpasar, is its cultural and creative heart. Ubud has plenty for families and its location amongst fields of rice paddies dramatically spilling down mountainsides offers a laidback and beautiful alternative to Bali’s busier beachside towns. The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, just minutes from Ubud’s centre is ideal for families. Nestled between green hills and a river and surrounded by small villages with working farmers, the luxurious resort allows visitors to get a feel for the real Bali. Their Pici Pici kids club for kids aged five – 12 offers plenty of creative and culturally enriching entertainment in the colourful play centre and the ultra cool Rice Barn Tree House, tucked into its own jungle wonderland. Just a 25-minute drive from Ubud is Bali Bird Park (Taman Burung) and a great day out for the family. The park provides sanctuary to almost 1000 birds of 250 different species - including exotic toucans and colourful birds of paradise – in walk-through landscaped aviaries. For fans of more ferocious fauna, the



neighbouring Bali Reptile Park has all manner of cold blooded critters on display including venomous snakes and giant lizards plus kids can get up close and personal with tame iguanas, crocodile monitors, water monitors or maybe a tortoise. Mischievous wild monkeys inhabit the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, which is home to hundreds of Long-tailed macaques. The kids will enjoy watching the resident monkeys scampering about but beware, the pilfering primates will steal anything not tied down and they are wild animals that bite, so carry nothing loose and keep kids at a safe distance as a rabies shot does not make for an ideal holiday memento. What child, or mum for that matter, wouldn’t love a visit to Ubud’s Bamboo Chocolate Factory? South East Asia’s first ‘bean to bar’ factory, allows visitors to watch as the cacao seeds are turned into delicious chocolatey treats… if they can keep their eyes off the samples. Older kids will also love whitewater rafting down the Ayung River past isolated villages and amazing jungle scenery. Be sure to ask your guide to take pictures as you go through the rapids.

Long-tailed macaques in Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud. © nvelichko, Terrace rice fields in morning sunrise, Ubud, Bali. © szefei,

FAST FACTS WHEN TO GO Bali’s dry season is from April to October GETTING THERE Garuda Indonesia, Virgin Australia and Jetstar offer direct flights from most Australian capital cities. WHERE TO STAY Serene Villas Bali Rimba Jimbaran Ayana Resort & Spa VISAS Australian and New Zealand travellers can apply for a visa on arrival at the airport in Bali. The cost is US$25 for up to 30 days. MONEY The Currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). At the time of writing, A$1 = IDR10637 MORE INFORMATION To help plan your perfect holiday, call Escape Travel on 1300 556 885 or visit








Southern delights Southern Thailand’s clear blue sea and dramatic landscapes are sure to weave their magic on everyone. Stunning scenery, secluded beaches and amazing snorkelling in the warm coastal waters are just the icing on a very pretty cake, with so much to see and do. Less than 200 kilometres south of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand is picturesque Hua Hin. Its powdery sand beach, seemingly limitless beach activities, lively night market and delicious seafood restaurants make for a perfect family playground. Home to the King of Thailand’s summer palace, Hua Hin also caters to non-regal visitors with great guesthouses, kid-friendly resorts and some of the best spa retreats in the world. Krabi is an otherworldly paradise where islands erupt to spectacular effect from the sparkling turquoise water of the Andaman Sea. Families can visit the famous Tiger Cave Temple mountain shrine, head out on an elephant camp adventure, take a hike in one of the many national parks or a leisurely bath in Klong Thom hot springs. It is also an ideal base for island hopping and the day trip to Koh Phi Phi and the jaw-dropping Maya Bay is a must. Koh Samui, another island paradise, beckons families seeking sand, sea and sun. Sparkling white sand beaches with crystal clear waters are on the doorstep of most resorts and are ideal for younger children with safe snorkelling and swimming. If you’re prepared to head a bit further afield hop on a speedboat and head for the Ang Thong National Marine Park, about an hour from Samui, for stacks of kid-friendly fun. Of course, southern Thailand is also home to perennial family favourite, Phuket. It’s the perfect location to pack a picnic lunch, some snorkelling equipment and hit one of the many beaches. But beyond its stunning beaches the kids can also try jungle trekking, rafting and elephant riding, experiences that will stay with them long after the journey is over. A leisurely day trip cruising through the dramatic limestone islands and sensational beaches of Phang Nga Bay, home of the famous James Bond Island, is a lovely way to spend a day. If the kids need further diversion, Phuket FantaSea is a great family evening. The dazzling cultural show incorporates traditional Thai dance, elephants, acrobatics and magical illusions. Luxurious family-friendly resorts abound in and around Phuket, with many offering such fantastic entertainment for the kids that you may struggle to even drag them out of the hotel. Older kids might prefer to take a break from the water at the brilliant Elephant Hills in Phuket’s Khao Sok National Park for an incredible interactive elephant experience where you can learn all about Asian elephants right in the middle of the rainforest. Those wanting to make a night of it can even stay in the luxury tented campsite or on floating tents on Cheow Larn Lake.

Heart and soul

Railay beach in Krabi Thailand © Iakov Kalinin,

The UNESCO World Heritage listed ruins of the capital of the ancient Kingdom Ayutthaya are only 90 minutes from Bangkok in central Thailand, an area rich in nature and culture. The concentration of ancient ruins, temples and colossal Buddhist monuments in and around the city offer visitors a mix of Khmer and early Sukhothai architectural styles that are the stuff of childhood adventure fantasy.



THE BEST THING IN LIFE Watching the kids have fun.

There should always be a special magic for the children when you go on holiday. Like exploring the underwater world with a snorkel, playing on a silky-soſt beach, riding water slides, catching a glimpse of an exotic culture, or enjoying the novelty of staying in a seaside villa. And did we mention eating great food? With Centara, the best things in life are there to be discovered.

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Around two hours from Bangkok, rural Kanchanaburi is another idyllic spot for families who enjoy getting back to nature. Best known for its river, the River Khwae (Kwai), and the notorious bridge that crossed it, it is also a place of incredible natural beauty. While you can still visit the reconstructed bridge and WW2 monuments, there are plenty of less sombre activities more likely to appeal to kids including canoeing, rafting, mountain biking, elephant and jungle trekking. There are plenty of accommodations for families but for a true escape from everyday life why not try a floating raft hotel surrounded by thick jungle, where you’ll almost certainly spot an elephant or two having a splash with their mahout.

Northern exposure Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city and is home to more than 300 temples, fantastic food and colourful street markets. The city offers families plenty to see and do and while the charming moated city offers visitors history, culture and tradition, its growing tourism industry means that it is also home to some of Thailand’s most luxurious

and modern resorts, expansive shopping malls and sublime spas. Chiang Mai is also a great base for visiting the surrounding mountains, neighbouring forests, rice fields, quaint villages and national parks and an idyllic spot for elephant riding, trekking and rafting. Chiang Rai, with its minority hill tribes, is a more culturally diverse region and a wonderful place to introduce your children to old Thailand (Siam). There is plenty of accommodation available for every budget and while the more adventurous family might prefer a homestay with a hill tribe family, those looking for amazing animal encounters and a whole lot of luxury should visit the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort and Spa, a resort that supports an elephant and mahout community by providing hands-on experiences with the resident pachyderms. Elephant ride tour of the ancient city in Ayutthaya. © apiguide,

FAST FACTS WHEN TO GO Thailand is generally hot and humid, particularly between March and May. November to February is cooler and dry and offers ideal tropical conditions. WHERE TO STAY Centara Hotels and Resorts GETTING THERE Jetstar and Virgin offer daily flights to Phuket from many major Australian capital cities, with connecting flights easily available to the rest of the country. MONEY The currency is the Thai Bhat (THB). At the time of writing, AU$1 buys you THB29.16

Chedi at the Tiger Cave Temple , Krabi , south of Thailand. © Ivanukh,

VISAS Australians don’t require a visa for stays shorter than 30 days.

Akha girl with traditional clothes and silver jewellery in akha hitt tribe minority village, Chiang Rai, Thailand.


© momopixs,






ong Kong was the last leg of an amazing family adventure visiting relatives in Europe during the festive season. With our two young sons aged six and seven in tow, we knew that flying straight through from Europe to Australia was not feasible and chose to break up the trip with four days in Hong Kong. We saw it as the perfect place for us to refresh before arriving home and to explore a diverse city packed with exciting experiences that appeal not only to my wife and me, but to our kids. The fact that our stay would fall over New Year’s Eve made it even more appealing.

Checking in On arrival at the airport, we were grateful that we had booked a private transfer. Having someone meet you at the gate and offer a full escort is a godsend after a long-haul flight. Within no time, we had reached the first of the two hotels that we were staying at, The




Hotel Icon in Kowloon. I have been lucky to stay in many hotels around the world and The Icon exceeded my expectations, blending the personal attention of a boutique hotel with the modern conveniences and services of a large-scale hotel. With young children and New Year’s Eve a big part of the stay, we chose to stretch our budget and book a Club 80 Suite that featured panoramic harbour views, so we could hold a NYE party in room. Being able to sit and watch the fireworks and lighting display with a glass of wine, versus fighting the crowds to ring in the New Year, was the ultimate in balancing the challenge of travelling with children, while still having a meaningful holiday.

Getting around We kept our first full day free to explore the city at our leisure. In Kowloon, most places are within easy walking distance and the MTR

Main image: A Symphony of Lights is the spectacular light and sound show at Victoria Harbour. © Nattee Chalermtiragool, Above: Market in Hong Kong

Escape Travel General Manager, Mark Hodgson’s, top tips for travelling with children

1 Owen and James at the steps to the Big Buddha in Hong Kong

Giant panda in Hong Kong Ocean Park

underground rail system is clean, efficient and cheap. The boys loved taking the iconic Star Ferry across the harbour to Hong Kong Island and this simple experience proved to be a highlight of the trip, with the boys completely enthralled by the city skyline. The hustle and bustle of a major city is part of the experience and in Hong Kong, the blend of the old and new world is a feast for the senses. Travelling with children in big cities can be tiring so it’s important to be realistic about how much you can explore as a family.

enough, but a Fast Pass ticket meant we could maximise our time and skip the queues. The Lion King show is not to be missed and the It’s a Small World ride was a favourite with the boys. As a family, the Disney parade in the afternoon was a great chance to rest the legs, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the amazing floats, dancers and characters.

Disney dreaming On day three of our stay we transferred to the Marriott Sky City Hotel ready for our much anticipated visit to Disneyland Hong Kong the next day. The park is still relatively young, but a good size and more than enough to keep the kids occupied. We only had one day to explore the park, which wasn’t

Five great things for families in Hong Kong n Catch the tram to The Peak for awesome views over the city, a meal or a hike. n Visit Stanley markets for some great shopping and to see a different part of Hong Kong. n Visit Ocean Park for some fun rides, a big aquarium and to see giant pandas. n Stroll through the Temple Street Night Markets. n Watch the Symphony of Lights – it’s on the harbour every night.

Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day Plan your ideal day then cut it in half! It is okay if you don’t cover everything, sometimes the memorable parts for the children are simple things like a swim at the hotel pool. Book a hotel with a good pool A swim is a great time for parents to relax and the children to keep occupied. Plan for meal times If you have fussy children and are in a new city, you don’t want to be caught out with an overhungry child while you frantically search for something they’ll eat. Be ahead of the game and bring snacks with you and investigate suitable restaurant options with the hotel concierge. Stop and smell the roses Travelling is amazing as we get to see and experience different places and cultures. Step back and ensure you reflect on how lucky you are to be on holiday. To plan your next family holiday, call Escape Travel on 1300 799 783 or visit

© mary416,

© BlueOrange Studio,










mazing, kaleidoscopic Dubai was visited by over a quarter of a million Australians in 2013. The new hub for Qantas flights from Australia to Europe (in partnership with Emirates) is a fascinating destination that’s increasingly high on Aussie holidaymakers’ must-visit wish lists! Family-friendly, safe and clean, Dubai has been designed to dazzle. This ultra-modern city is full of contrasts.

Magic malls for kids The shopping malls in Dubai need to be seen to be believed. Dubai Mall holds the title of the ‘World’s Biggest Shopping Mall’ and welcomed a whopping 75 million visitors last year alone. There are a squillion reasons why the kids will be happy to take a shopping excursion to Dubai Mall – it’s also home to SEGA Republic, a very noisy but fun ‘arcade’ on a truly grand scale, and an Olympic-sized ice rink that can be viewed from three levels of the mall. There’s also Kidzania, an entire make-believe city within the Mall, where kids can take part in elaborate role-play and earn ‘pretend money’ that they can later withdraw from the ‘bank’ and spend on other activities within Kidzania.



At The Mall of The Emirates the 500 shops are almost incidental to Magic Planet, an out-of-this world family entertainment centre with theme park–style games and rides, 14-screen multiplex cinemas and Ski Dubai, the indoor ski slope where you can toboggan, go on various ring slides and ride the ski lift.

Gold and frankincense A visit to Dubai is also a chance for the family to experience the city’s heartbeat at one of the many colourful souks (traditional markets). The narrow streets of Dubai’s famed Gold Souk are full of shop windows laden with gold ornaments and jewellery. At the Spice Souk, the heady and intoxicating aromas of cinnamon, saffron, cloves and cardamom vie for your attention, while the shops in the Perfume Souk emit their sweet and exotic scents - from oil-based Arabian delights, including Dubai’s most popular perfume, frankincense, to designer fragrances.

City Dubai Dubai has some of the most incredible hotels and resorts you’ll see in any city in the world! From the outside many of them are simply outof-this-world in design and architecture and



the choice is wide and varied – from hotels and self-catered apartments around the city to luxurious desert resorts, with something to suit every family and all budgets and tastes. From the glitzy and opulent (including the most expensive and only seven star hotel in the world) all the way through to the very affordable, hotels in Dubai are typically located either along the beach fronts of Jumeirah, Umm Sequeim or Al Sufouh, the central business district, around the creek or in the various business parks, free zones and the convention centre. Most are within a 30 minute drive from Dubai International Airport. The larger hotels offer airport shuttle services and minibus services to the main tourist and shopping spots around the city.

Desert Dubai Before Dubai became a spectacular metropolis, it was a sleepy village with a huge expanse of desert surrounding it, stretching from the coast to its hinterland. A few settlements of fishermen and pearl divers and traders lived mainly round Dubai Creek. A visit to Dubai is not complete without experiencing the mystique of these vast sands

and the traditional hospitality of the desert people. Dubai’s tour operators offer a whole range of tours into the desert and, if you have the time, also into the neighboring emirates of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, the northern Emirates tour and the east coast. Choose from half-day to full day or overnight tours: take a glimpse into the village life of Arabia as you walk through the narrow alleys of a traditional Bedouin village. The village is famous for its qahwa (Arabic coffee), labneh (cheese) and its exquisite silver Bedouin jewellery, which make excellent souvenirs. Explore the wadis (dry river valleys) that are formed by streams flowing down from the Hajjar mountains. Within the enclave of the dry desert, you will suddenly notice rock pools that are filled with water and surrounded by greenery all year round. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, stay at one of Dubai’s two exotic five star resorts in the heart of the desert - Emirates Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa and Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa. For everything dazzling Dubai, visit

• Dubai has more skyscrapers than any other city – check out The World’s Tallest Building – Burj Khalifa. • Atlantis, the Palm has one of the largest open air marine habitats in the world. • Stroll The Walk in Jumeirah, a pedestrian-only area full of family-friendly restaurants. Dubai dining covers an astounding range of world cuisines and kids will find all their favourite fast food outlets here too! • Head to the desert – ski, camel ride or 4 x 4 across the spectacular dunes on one of the many day tours. • The currency in Dubai is the Emirati Dirham (AED). At the time of writing AUD $1 buys AED 3.35 • Tipping is not expected but is common practice. Most restaurants add 10% service charge to the bill. • Grab a pink top taxi – these are designated for women, children and families. Drivers do not expect to be tipped. • Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour around Dubai • Keep skimpy or revealing clothing for the resorts, hotels and private beaches. When out shopping or sightseeing, women should cover bare shoulders and midriff and avoid wearing mini skirts and shorts.




San Diego

© Sea World






ust 30 minutes’ drive north of San Diego, tucked away in leafy Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Valencia is an oasis, with luxury, style, fine dining and fun for kids all bundled up in one stunning package. It’s the only Relais & Chateaux property in southern California and is sparkling after a US$30million, 10-month renovation. There are 49 suites (casitas) and villas on the property, including a three-bedroom hacienda complete with private pool, located on 45 acres of eucalypts, landscaped gardens, olive groves and citrus trees. We are in an Agave Suite and like kids in a veritable candy store, we ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the sophisticated, elegant and welcoming features. All of us love the Toto toilet seat – as bizarre as that sounds. It lifts on approach, is heated and has all kinds of buttons for this and that. The kids spent an extra-long time in there! The suite also has an opulent bathroom with palatial spa bath, sunken living room with pushbutton fireplace and an impressive bedroom. Our favourite part is a private garden with outdoor fireplace and jacuzzi. The kids ask why we can’t have one of them at home … I wish! In the morning we wake to freshly squeezed orange juice and a newspaper outside our door – one of many thoughtful touches. In fact, that is one of the highlights of a stay here – the staff are so friendly and thoughtful and nothing is too much trouble.




Have a hit...

and professional coaches. Kids are welcome and lessons are fun, even if you’re very, very rusty – as I prove to be. The resort also has bikes for guests to use and it’s lots of fun to ride through the resort or even around the area. We also attempt croquet, plus table tennis and spend many, many hours just playing in the family pool. The resort can also organise childcare, which offers an opportunity to check out the spa, which is just incredible, with stunning interiors, a yoga pavilion, adults-only pool, spin bike room and gym. Or, if dad wants to play golf at the prestigious Farms course, he can – complete with a set of Callaway clubs.

San Diego out and about The dining is out of this world. Head chef Eric Bauer dishes up incredible food using the freshest of local produce - and don’t worry about the kids; the kids’ menu has things like ‘Ants on a Log’ (celery logs filled with peanut butter), cheese quesadillas (with no funny stuff inside), macaroni and cheese, steamed rice and spaghetti, with giant chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Veladora is the main dining area or you can eat in the beautiful courtyard. In the afternoon, while the kids have a tennis lesson, we sip cocktails in the Pony Room, which has the cutest stools with hooves on the legs.

Tennis anyone? Rancho Valencia is the best tennis ranch in the USA – Bill Gates is a regular here – with 18 courts



San Diego is close by with fantastic family attractions such as Sea World, the Safari Park, San Diego Zoo, Legoland and stunning beaches. Sea World is famous for its incredible Shamu show called ‘One Ocean’, which is amazing and beautiful. Be warned – sit in the blue zone and you could get wet! At Safari Park, you will feel like you really are on an African safari, with plenty of close encounters included, while at the world famous zoo, the giant pandas, snow leopards and cheetahs are just some of the animals you can see. The new Legoland is a must for kids! Here you can enjoy 60 interactive attractions, amazing family rides and shows as well as more than 22,000 models that have been built out of Lego. The kids will love it.

Rancho Valencia


GETTING THERE United Airlines flies to Los Angeles with easy connections to San Diego. WHERE TO STAY Rancho Valencia MONEY The currency is the US dollar. At the time of writing, AU$1buys you US$1.03 VISAS Most Australian residents holding an Australian passport do not require a US visa, providing the duration of stay is not more than 90 days and travellers hold a valid outbound ticket. MORE INFORMATION San Diego Tourism



Visit SeaWorld® San Diego as the park kicks off a 50th Celebration with a year-long Sea of Surprises.™ Be inspired by our biggest star, Shamu.® Go on thrilling rides and get up-close and personal with dolphins, beluga whales and other amazing animals. See your local travel agent to purchase tickets.

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World travel

Polynesia in a day Now in its 50th year, the Polynesian Cultural Center has unveiled fantastic value family pricing packages, so families can enjoy a full-day schedule of presentations and interactive activities in the island villages, including canoe paddling, spear throwing and underground cooking. Renovations costing $100 million are due for completion in February 2015 and include the Aotearoa (New Zealand) Village, Hale Aloha, home to the award-winning Ali‘i Lü‘au experience; and Samoa Village, with its exciting presentations, tree climbing and coconut husking demonstrations. A new marketplace - providing visitors to Oahu’s North Shore additional options for dining, live entertainment and shopping at Polynesian-themed specialty shops - will open early next year.

Centara Grand introduces butler Service The high-end luxury brand Centara Grand has introduced a new service to better accommodate the needs and requirements of guests, 24 hours a day. Guests staying in the topmost tier suites and villas will now have their own personal suite and villa host, who will be available around the clock to look after their well-being and all special requests. Each host has completed a training program provided by Paul Brown, former butler to Queen Elizabeth II.

Jellystone smarter than the average park North Texas’ famous Jellystone Park, which offers visitors 235 campsites as well as 34 cabins and 24 park model cottages, is expanding its Pirate’s Cove waterpark with nearly $1 million worth of new features, designed to appeal to teens. Due to open in May, the new Pirate’s Cove attractions will include a Kamikaze Slide that provides a nearly vertical slide, as well as an 18 metre ‘fast track’ with six side-byside lanes. The park is also installing two 12 metre high Corkscrew Slides, as well as a paintball play area and food court. Other new features will include a lazy river and stage area for concerts and ‘dive in’ movies, which can be seen from a swimming pool. There’s a huge family entertainment centre called Pirate’s Cove Fun Zone, with a climbing structure, mini bowling, laser tag, froghopper ride and more than 40 games. The campground has plenty of other fun family activities scheduled throughout the year, including appearances by Yogi Bear and Ranger Smith.



Wet and wild fun in Hawaii For families that love to be active together, the recently re-launched Waikiki Ocean Club promises tons of adrenaline-packed fun in beautiful Hawaii. Managed by Roberts Hawaii, this lively ocean playground is moored off Waikiki Beach and offers 10,000 square feet of outdoor deck space and a variety of thrilling dives, slides and rides. Guests can dive from three platforms of different height, blast down a water slide, zip across the waves on a tandem or solo jet ski, ride a banana sled, swim in the ocean, snorkel or just relax in the sun with a cold drink or lunch. The largest tour, transportation and entertainment provider in Hawaii, Roberts Hawaii also offers an extensive menu of fun things to see and do, including the spellbinding Magic of Polynesia show in Waikiki, the scenic Ali`i Kai catamaran dinner cruise along Waikiki’s shoreline and the blockbuster Hawaii Movie Tour on Kauai, showcasing the island’s many beautiful locations used in television and film.

Heritage Auckland loves families

Heading to Auckland and bringing the kids? The stunning Heritage Auckland, set in one the city’s most recognisable and historic buildings, offers a luxurious accommodation experience where kids are welcomed with open arms. The Heritage Auckland allows up to two children (under 14 years old) to stay in your room for free - with cots provided - and free breakfasts at weekends and during school holidays (one child per paying adult), childrens menus for lunch and dinner, and discounts on standard menus for bigger kids, while meals for kids under five are free with one paying adult. And the kid-friendly love doesn’t end there, with an outdoor pool, tennis court and oversized chess set to keep them amused. Younger guests receive a kids travel journal and the school holiday program includes kids cooking classes and a high tea for kids.

More fun for kids at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is boasting a fresh and fabulous new look as it undergoes continuing refurbishments, but it’s the new activities that have families buzzing. There’s a fantastic new eco-friendly treehouse play area just for children, made from a very old raintree that was knocked over in a cyclone many years ago, but continued to thrive. The treehouse has been built from local sustainable timber and designed to blend into the fallen tree without harming it, and incorporates multiple access points, as well as a timber slide exit and swings, and is surrounded by park benches built from fallen coconut trees and a timber seesaw. There is also a new weekly activity for six-12 yr olds and teenage guests with traditional Fijian “Billi Billi” (bamboo raft) making. The rafts are constructed with bamboo poles lashed together with string from local vines. And mum and dad haven’t been forgotten, with the resort introducing stand-up paddle boarding for adults.

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World travel Into the blue at Hideaway

Barefoot experiences for kids at Malolo The Yanu Yanu program – Fijian for island – allows kids to live like local Malolo islanders during their holiday. Filled with quintessential barefoot Fijian experiences, the Yanu Yanu program is run by the Malolo Kids Club. While mum and dad take advantage of the island paradise, Yanu Yanu immerses their kids in island life in a fun and culturally interactive way. Kids can learn about the Fijian language, coral reef care, how to build and race traditional Niu boats, Fijian food preparation plus traditional arts, crafts and costume making. There are also visits to the local island primary school and neighbouring islands. Malolo has also just completed a new ‘Teenage Retreat’. Filled with bean bags, music, table tennis and entertainment, it’s a place where older kids can comfortably hang out away from the crowd and meet new friends. At Malolo, kids eat for free when parents book a minimum five-night stay and Malolo’s Kids Club and Yanu Yanu program is free for children aged four-12 years.

With 20 dive sites, two wrecks, coral reefs and a huge variety of tropical fish, Hideaway Island Resort in Vanuatu has it all. The PADI fivestar dive facility offers professional instruction in the calm, pristine waters of a marine sanctuary and provides free use of snorkelling equipment. Feed thousands of fish or join a daily escorted snorkel safari to the fringing reef to view a variety of coral and marine life. Kids will love swimming the short distance from shore to post an underwater postcard from Hideaway’s famous underwater post office. Another option, great for the littlies, is to join one of the resort’s daily glass-bottomed boat trips around the surrounding reef to view the marine life through clear glass panels. For those who’d rather rely on muscle power, there are ocean kayaks and pedal boats available free of charge for houseguest use while sailors will love the Maricat catamaran.

Sofitel Fiji’s luxury family appeal The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa has launched a new ‘Luxury Family’ room category for families looking to stay in style and upgrade on their next Fijian holiday. The new rooms are ideal for families who enjoy outdoor living and offer extra space, freedom and entertainment options. The 16 new ‘Luxury Family’ rooms are on the ground floor with direct access to the beach, lawn and the lagoon pool. Sofitel’s lagoon-style pool area has also been enhanced, with new shade sails keeping the kids protected from the sun’s harmful rays.

Bali bonus for families at Rimba The brand new five-star Rimba Jimbaran Bali is all about families and has great family packages (for stays of four days or more) with connecting rooms, complimentary dinner and daily breakfast for children under 12, plus complimentary Wi-Fi and priority access to the awesome Rock Bar … making it the perfect spot for a holiday where mum and dad can relax and play as much as the kids. Rimba Jimbaran is all about sustainability, with recycled material, water conservation and natural lighting central to the resort’s design. Multi-tiered swimming pools, including a childrens pool adjacent to the Kids Club, tree plantations and an organic fruit and veggie garden set this place apart. The family packages are available until 23 December 2014. Conditions apply.



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World travel

Berjaya family breaks Enjoy the ultimate four-star family break with Berjaya Hotels & Resorts in magical Malaysia. Berjaya Langkawi Resort will enchant you and your little ones with family-friendly accommodation, including spacious chalets sleeping two adults and two children. Nestled in Burau Bay, 420 beautifully appointed classic Malay Chalets are set among the ancient rainforest, some with sea views and some on stilts over the water. Berjaya Times Square Hotel leaves nothing to be desired for parents and kids. Atop the Berjaya Times Square shopping complex are the hotel’s 650 beautiful rooms and suites, and great leisure facilities including an indoor theme park and IMAX cinemas.

Tokyo Disney Resort celebrates the northern spring

Sunwing shines Located in the picturesque bays of Kamala and Bangtao, with prime beachfront teamed with family-focused quality, value for money and friendly service, Sunwing Resorts are the perfect choice for those looking for an idyllic family getaway in Thailand. Escape the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in the relaxing, peaceful atmosphere of the four-star Sunwing Resorts, located on the white sand of Bangtao Beach – on the west side of Phuket Island, or Kamala Beach – a fishing village set in a beautiful bay on the west side of Phuket Island. Both resorts offer family-friendly accommodation options, from ‘Happy Baby Studios’ to ‘Family Suites’ that cater for families of all shapes and sizes. Family-friendly facilities include everything from swimming pools, restaurants and entertainment, to fun daily scheduled activities for different age groups - including treasure hunts, face painting and magic shows. There’s plenty of fun for mum and dad too - with a swim-up pool bar (and one on land!), evening shows, outdoor massage pods and baby-sitting services.

Tokyo Disney Resort will celebrate the northern spring with a series of special events at Tokyo Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea Park. Until 23 June 2014, guests at Tokyo Disneyland will be able to celebrate ‘Disney’s Easter’ with visits to a secret Easter garden; a new parade called ‘HippityHoppity Springtime’, that will feature Disney friends and a bunch of Easter bunnies; and for a separate fee, they can challenge themselves to the ‘Egg Hunt in Tokyo Disneyland’. While at Tokyo DisneySea, visitors can enjoy ‘Mickey & Duffy’s Spring Voyage’ as Mickey and Duffy together with Minnie Mouse and Shellie May embark on a cruise from Cape Cod to see how spring is celebrated around Tokyo DisneySea. Disney Ambassador Hotel, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel and Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta will also host events in line with the spring celebrations, so guests can continue the fun of the park in their hotels.

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ith three kids of varying ages we found it a little tricky to plan a holiday that would keep everyone happy! But a seven-day Hawaiian cruise ticked everyone’s wish list of things to do. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America is the only ship that offers round-trip cruises from Honolulu all year round. The main attraction for us was being able to see four islands in a short space of time, island-hopping from Honolulu to Maui, Big Island and Kauai while learning about Hawaiian culture. The ship’s 18 restaurants, nine bars and lounges, fantastic family accommodation and plenty of places to just sit and enjoy the amazing Hawaiian coastline proved a very happy bonus.

Cruising The accommodation on board was great – we had our own private balcony - and the entertainment



catered for all ages. Our teens particularly loved the late-night American diner and nightclubs. They also met many other teenagers from both Australia and America and hung out together in the hot tubs, pools, fitness centre and sports areas. Younger children were also well catered for with a kids club for kids from two years old. As for the food, it was excellent; we enjoyed everything from American, Italian, Japanese, French and Brazilian cuisines.

Island time We did our own thing in each port, but we also had the option of joining organised tours through the ship. In Maui, we hired a car and drove through the island which was wonderful and very easy to get around. In Hilo, we enjoyed a helicopter tour over the volcanoes, including Kilauea and Mauna Loa. It was simply spectacular – like nothing we


verandah as we cruised back from Kauai to Honolulu. It was so special to share that with our kids.

Opposite: Surfboards at Lumahai beach in Kauai Hawaii Above left: Anini Beach Park

Waikiki wonders

have ever seen before. In Kona, we snorkelled and wandered around the main town on the island. Kona is famous for hosting the biggest iron man event in the world. And in Kauai, we hired another car and drove along the coastline to Princeville which was absolutely stunning. The richness of the colours and the experiences was awe-inspiring and the time we spent together, priceless.

Hawaii Highlights There were so many highlights – from the beauty of the Napali Coast to the incredible power of the volcanoes, from the bluest of blue water to snorkel in to the quirky shops in the little towns and, of course, the happy nature of all the Hawaiians we met but the absolute high point was the amount of humpback whales we encountered while sitting on our stateroom

Once we were off the ship, we spent a few days in Waikiki to shop, swim and just relax. We swam with the turtles out the front of our hotel, tried plenty of activities, from stand up paddle surfing to sailing on a catamaran, and enjoyed a few cocktails at beachside bars and restaurants – non-alcoholic for the kids of course. The shopping was unbelievable, from the array of shops at Ala Moana to the discount world of Waikele and the glamorous shops in Luxury Row. Even the boys were into it, picking up several pairs of sport shoes for an absolute bargain. We also visited the Polynesian Culture Center with Roberts Hawaii to learn a bit about the history of the islands, and the traditional ways of the people. We even made it up to the North Shore to see some of the legendary surf breaks such as Pipeline and Sunset, saw the turtles at Laniakea beach, tasted pineapples at the Dole Plantation and loved poking about in Haliewa, a quaint little town with surf culture oozing from every pore. While Waikiki was beautiful, there was certainly something special to being on the ship, watching whales play and witnessing some of nature’s best work slide past our balcony. We would most definitely recommend a Hawaiian cruise to other families as it has proved to be such a hassle-free, value for money and fun holiday.

FAST FACTS GETTING THERE Jetstar and Hawaiian Airlines fly to Honolulu.; WHEN TO GO Hawaiian weather is consistent all year round, with the average around 25°C to 29°C. WHERE TO STAY Embassy Suites www.embassy-suites. WHAT TO DO Roberts Hawaii MORE INFORMATION





ach day in paradise is a beautiful one when staying at Embassy Suites -Waikiki Beach Walk. The resort is just steps from worldfamous Waikiki Beach and in the heart of Waikiki Beach Walk, home to more than 40 of Hawaii’s most stylish restaurants and shops. The complex’s free Hawaiian cultural activities, live island entertainment, torch-lit evenings and vibrant nightlife offer fun for everyone. At the all-suite resort, holidaymakers can look forward to extra room for relaxation inside spacious one and twobedroom apartments. The resort serves up plenty of extras, including free breakfast. Start the day with a full, cooked-to-order brekkie, including a great omelette bar, and end with a nightly poolside reception




that offers complimentary coldies for adults, soft drinks for kids plus snacks and weekly entertainment. GETTING THERE Embassy Suites – Waikiki Beach Walk is just a 20-minute drive from Honolulu Airport. MORE INFORMATION Embassy Suites -Waikiki Beach Walk’s specials and packages give travellers more for their Hawaiian vacation, like the family-friendly ‘Fun, Sun and Trolley Run Package’ including stress-free sightseeing with Waikiki Trolley passes, beach gear and a ‘suite’ movie night, including movie rental and pizza pack. Visit


Š Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk






cruise Oh, the places you will go with Carnival Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean’s game changing Quantum class

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class of ships will introduce many gamechanging ‘firsts at sea’ such as a skydiving experience and the North Star - an engineering marvel featuring a jewel-like capsule that extends more than 91 metres above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver 360-degree views for guests. Cutting edge venues include the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever. Anthem of the Seas will call Southampton, UK, home in April 2015 and offer cruises to the Mediterranean before being based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the northern hemisphere winter. Sister ship, Quantum of the Seas, will debut in the northern hemisphere Autumn of 2014 and sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape

Get on board with Qantas cruises Qantas customers can now book cruises online through, using the unique technology of Cruise Choice, powered by Cruise Guru. Unique to Qantas Cruises is the ability for customers to access a full range of cruise lines and ships, with live cabin availability, instant confirmation and new ways to earn Qantas Points.

One ship, two ships, Dr. Seuss on cruise ships! Carnival Cruise Lines have launched an exclusive new partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which will see the beloved children’s brand and favourite characters aboard the cruise line’s fleet of 24 ships. The Carnival ‘Seuss at Sea’ program will offer a variety of exciting and immersive youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences, featuring the amazing world and words of Dr. Seuss. There will be a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast where guests can dine with popular Dr. Seuss characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two and Sam. Every ship in the Carnival fleet will also have a selection of classic Dr. Seuss books, toys and themed activities for children to enjoy, plus special showings of Dr Seuss movies such as ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ will be shown onboard. On Carnival Freedom, which is undergoing a major refurbishment in May, and Carnival Vista, which debuts in early 2016, there will be a unique and dedicated Seuss-themed play space featuring iconic décor, colours, shapes and funky furniture inspired by the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. And kids will have the chance to meet and interact with Dr. Seuss characters and participate in special photo opportunities and events. Roll-out of the ‘Seuss at Sea’ program has begun with Carnival Splendor already ‘Seussified’ and will be across the entire fleet by 2015. The program will be offered on Carnival Spirit in spring 2014, and on Carnival Legend in summer 2015.

Family staterooms on A-ROSA Luxury European river cruising has been made easier for families with A-ROSA Flora launching new family staterooms in 2014. A-ROSA already offers one of the most inclusive river boat experiences in Europe with complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, open dining, a selection of shore excursions, gratuities, ground transfers and taxes all included in the cost and the new family staterooms will offer families a true sense of luxury, comfort and a feeling of home-away-from-home. A-ROSA’s sleek ships have been designed to gracefully cruise some of Europe’s most scenic rivers. See beautiful riverside cities, villages and landscapes and enjoy a variety of shore excursions, perfect for kids; from exploring castles and museums, to discovering some of Europe’s most exciting cities.

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re-family, holidays were mostly about finding a great deal and flying off to explore exotic locales or simply enjoying cocktails by the pool at a glamorous beach resort. Once baby comes along, with all the associated equipment and routines, it’s easy to feel like that ship has sailed, but it’s actually a great time for a little “globe totting”. Until your baby turns two, most domestic flights (for your child) are free and international flights are just 10% of adult fare. And what better way to catch up on some family bonding time. The really good news is that forward-thinking resorts and cruise lines have realised that a family holiday should be a holiday for every member of the family, including the smallest ones, and are offering special services geared towards their youngest guests. Baby equipment, special meals and babysitting services through to designated baby and toddler kids clubs that offer mum and dad time alone to reconnect, or simply catch up on some much needed sleep, are just some of the options Out & About With Kids shares a few of our favourite tot family breaks.

The Gold Coast is a great family destination and Paradise Resort is the place to stay for young families, with a choice of family-style accommodation. The resort offers a whole lot of fun in the Zone 4 Kids, a veritable kiddie utopia. The kids club caters for babies through to 12 year olds and children are separated into nine themed play areas to ensure ageappropriate care and activities. Meanwhile mum and dad head to the Resort’s day spa knowing the children are in safe hands. As well as a raft of baby- and toddler-friendly activities the resort offers two waterparks and, for bigger kids, an ice skating rink called the Chill Zone and an adventure playground.



Play Baby

Urban Baby

Snow baby

The sassy and stylish QT Sydney is offering the ultimate package for new parents who want to indulge in an upmarket city break with bub in tow. Their two-night BabyQ package includes a complimentary bottle of French champagne for mum and dad and an amazing iiamo Go designer self-heating bottle for baby – perfect for when you’re out and about exploring. You don’t need to lug all that baby equipment around either as the hotel provides baby gear including a stylish Scandinavian designed Leander Cot. The package also includes indulgent SpaQ treatments for mum and dad. www.

Think you have to hang up your skis once baby comes along? Think again! The Perisher Valley Hotel is a fun, family-friendly hotel located right in the heart of Perisher. The ski-in, skiout hotel is only minutes from ski lifts and offers extensive views over the resort plus easy access to all resort facilities including Snowy Daycare where your tots will have as much fun as you do while you’re on the slopes. The centre offers three playrooms for children from six-weeks to three-years old with a separate sleeping area and a wide range of indoor activities including art and craft, story time, music and stimulating outdoor activities to enhance their snow


experience. Perisher Snowsports is also offering a groundbreaking Ski & Play program where eager two-year olds can enjoy a one hour private lesson before playtime at Snowy Daycare.

Cruise baby Fancy family time at sea? Royal Caribbean Cruises make it easy for families of younger children with their Royal Babies and Tots Nursery now available on Australian cruises. Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas have fully-staffed nurseries that offer little guests aged six-36 months care day and night, while enjoying specially-designed programs. Families also have a chance to play and create together with

a variety of interactive playgroup sessions developed by early childhood experts at Fisher Price and littlies can borrow and exchange development toys from the Fisher Price toy lending program, specifically created for infants and toddlers. Royal Caribbean also offer a convenient Babies 2 Go service where you can pre-order nappies, wipes and organic baby food to be delivered straight to your stateroom.

Eco baby The award-winning five-star Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort is one of the most celebrated in the South Pacific, renowned the world over for its dedication to conserving the environment. It’s also one of the best for new parents. The




exclusive resort is particularly friendly to little ones with their Lei Lei Bula kids club, available to children from infants to five years old, where children can explore and learn about Fijian culture, the environment and the natural world around them. There are several pools, including one dedicated to families, as well as a day spa, scubadiving, water sports and sumptuous dining that will appeal to mum and dad. Best of all, the resort also offers a dedicated nanny for every child under five so mum and dad can catch up on all important couple time.

Thai baby

Brit baby Fancy a break in the old country? The Bedruthan Hotel in beautiful Cornwall offers inspired facilities for babies and toddlers to ensure every family holiday is relaxing. The funky hotel has all the gear you need on site, from cots to nightlights and everything in between, plus toddler-friendly play areas, toys and games, paddling pools and even a learners’ pool for budding water babies. Plus, The Bedruthan offers kids clubs as well as babysitting and baby monitors so you can enjoy relaxed time together knowing your little ones are safely sleeping.


Phuket’s Sunwing Resort and Spa, Bangtao Beach and Sunwing Resort, Kamala Beach offer an idyllic sanctuary for young families with their incredible Happy Baby studios. The ground floor self-contained units offer gated shady terraces and come fully equipped with a cot, high chair, baby bath, potty, bathroom stool, nursing mat, baby resting chair, Bumbo baby sitter, children’s dinnerware, safety drawer locks and even a stroller for when the family wants to get out and about to enjoy Phuket. Both resorts cater beautifully to the family market with comprehensive kids’ entertainment programs and activities ensuring you’ll enjoy a blissful break with your bub. If your little one is mobile, be sure to childproof your hotel room. Keep an eye out for unfenced balconies, unlocked windows, curtain ties, venetian blind cords, stairs, sharp corners and any accessible power sockets or power cords. Overseas travellers should keep in mind that local socket covers probably won’t fit in international power points but some heavy duty tape will do the trick!

Pa r e n t s d r e a m h o l i d a y w i t h t h e k i d s Pay for 4 nights or more & receive

2 free nights plus bonus massage & diving *conditions apply.

Remember pre children exclusive holidays?

Best family resort in Fiji 2012

as voted by readers of Luxury Travel Magazine

The goods news is that there is a special place that offers you a romantic, restful, rejuvenating experience with fine dining whilst enjoying a family holiday. The resort views children as the future caretakers of the earth & its oceans and has created fun educational programs for age groups 0-5 yrs & 6-12 yrs. Each child under 6 has an exclusive nanny 8am-9pm & children 6-12 yrs have a Fijian buddy on 1-5 ratio. Enjoy couples time out or fun times with your family.

Call Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort office to enquire about our inclusive family packages. 1300 306 171 - 03 9815 0379 - -




WHAT’S HOT for baby Dreambaby Adjustable Car Window Shades

Sensitive skin QV Kids Balm provides safe and effective moisture for children with dry skin. The lowirritant formula is also gentle enough for sensitive baby skin and effectively seals in natural moisture by acting as a protective barrier for little bottoms. RRP: $8.99

Keep your baby cooler and sun-safe in the car with Dreambaby’s new range of adjustable car window shades. Not only will the easy-to-use shades keep children protected from sun and glare, but the cute jungle animal designs will add to the fun of being out and about while on safari in the car. RRP: $13.95 (for pack of two)

Cushie tushies Hot wheels Intrepid parents who are after an everyday pram that also makes life’s little journeys that much easier, look no further than the Britax Bob Motion. Thanks to the compact design of the high performance jogging strollers, the pram caters for kids from birth to four years and, having been designed for arange of terrains, makes it perfect for active parents. www.britaxbob. RRP: $499

Sleep easy The ultimate portable sleep solution, the easily transportable phil&teds nest stows everything a holidaying baby needs in one compartment and pops out into a ventilated comfortable infant bassinet (with mattress) in seconds to ensure baby enjoys a safe night’s sleep wherever you are. RRP: $99.95

Compact and extremely portable, our toilet training tot loved the BabyU Cushie Traveller. This soft cushioned folding seat fits regular toilet seats and helps keep training routines on course when you are out and about, making toilet training on the go a breeze. RRP: $13.99

Designed for Dad The new Ergobaby X-tra Carrier includes all the highperformance features of the Ergobaby Carrier with the benefit of extralong shoulder straps and extra waist belt length for larger body frames. Made of 100 percent peached cotton, the Original X-tra Carrier comes in black or grey and is designed to provide maximum comfort for both babies and parents. www.babesinarms. com. RRP: $159








Catherine Anholt

Salvatore Rubbino

Mark Wilson


An introduction to children from nine different countries, this lovely story about friendship across nations and cultures follows one small child as he visits nine different countries to find a friend - and ends up becoming friends with all the children he meets. Frances Lincoln RRP: $27.95

Join a young girl and her grandfather as they stroll around Paris through a bustling market and to its iconic landmarks, indulging in tasty treats as they go in this visually stunning, childfriendly walk through the city of lights. Walker Hardback RRP: $27.95

This story of an Afghani schoolgirl fighting for her education, an Aussie soldier fighting to survive and an abandoned puppy gently introduces young readers to the realities of war and, for our little reader, opened discussion on how hope can be found even in difficult situations. Hachette RRP: $24.99

Perfect for exploring a first experience of skiing with pre-schoolers, this fun Peppa storybook follows everyone’s favourite pig and her friends as they learn to ski with Madame Gazelle, the skiing world champion. Ladybird RRP: $7.99





(Second edition)

Lonely Planet

Before you even think of hitting the road, setting sail or taking off on your next family holiday, be sure you have a copy of this fantastic, completely up to date, full-colour travel guide detailing the very best places that Australia has to offer travellers. RRP: $34.95

This annual collection highlights the must-see places to go and things to do around the world. As well as the hottest countries and cities to visit the guide contains inspirational ideas by Lonely Planet’s travel experts, to get your feet itching and your family moving. Lonely Planet RRP: $24.95




Celebrating the world’s most popular game, this book takes us around the world to see how and where it is played, whether on a quality football pitch, in the desert or on the street and shares the joy of football and its ability to unite children across the globe. Harper Collins RRP: $27.95 Out & About With Kids has TEN copies of Goal!:Football Around The World each valued at $27.95. For your chance to win visit

A U T U M N  2 0 1 4





QUICKFIND ACCOMMODATION - OVERSEAS Ayana Resort & Spa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ayanaresort .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Berjaya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . berjayahotel .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Centara Hotels & Resorts . . . . . . . . . . . . centarahotelsresorts .com . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Embassy Suites Waikiki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . embassysuiteswaikiki .com . . . . . . . . . .116 Hideaway Island Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . hideaway .com .vu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Jean Michel Fiji Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . fijiresort .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Malolo Island Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . maloloisland .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Naviti Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . warwicknaviti .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Raratongan Beach Resort & Spa . . . . . . theraratongan .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Rimba Jimbaran Bali . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . rimbajimbaran .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Sunwing Bangtao Beach . . . . . . . . . . . . . sunwingphuket .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IBC Sunwing Kamala Beach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sunwingkamala .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IBC Taveuni Island Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . taveuniislandresort .com . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa . . . . . . lelagonvanuatu .vu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80 Westin Nusa Dua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . westin .com/bali . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110


Where is your favourite family holiday spot in Australia, and why? I’m a sucker for a ‘Goldie Getaway’. There is so much to do on the Gold Coast. An early morning run, a surf, breakfast with a view, Sea World for Max and then it’s beer o’clock for Mum and Dad. But late last year I was introduced to the family-friendly, fun times onboard a Carnival Cruise! There’s a gym, kids club, restaurants, running track, spa, three pools, bars, singing, dancing and something fun happening full time. It’s everything you travel miles for on holidays in one place!

Where is your favourite family holiday spot internationally, and why? Bali! I have been over 40 times. We stay at an amazing place in Seminyak, The Dusun Villas. We have our own pool, driver and chef. The thing I love most about Bali is you can do it any way you like, from 50 cent Nasi Bucas on the beach to a decadent $1000 5 course meal at Bulgari Resort.

What’s your fondest childhood holiday memory?

Time your flights around your littlie’s sleep patterns. With luck, as you take off the bub will finish their bottle and fall asleep. Max has had over 30 flights and he’s yet to crack it. We have been blessed but the flight from hell is always just around the corner …

Do you prefer resorts with kids’ clubs? It’s a nice option, but usually we find we want to spend time together on holidays.

Describe your biggest family holiday disaster? As we were checking out of our Phuket hotel, Kylie ran up to me and said “Hold Max, I’m going to be sick!” She looked so poorly going through customs they escorted her to the sick bay. For the nine hour flight home she repeatedly hit the toilet hard. From all directions! With Max asleep on my lap all I could do was watch on sympathetically.

Describe your funniest holiday moment? Please read above! No, no just joking.

Staying in holiday flats at Forster with mum and dad. As a kid it was the ultimate holiday - fishing, surfing and swimming in the hotel pool, more surfing and snorkelling then finish off the day with fish and chips at the RSL. I never wanted those days to end.

Describe your favourite family holiday photo?

What is your top tip for a family driving holiday?

We just love Bali and would love to get to the ‘Big Apple’ - it’s one of those destinations om my ‘bucket list’. Then there’s the game parks of South Africa, the Antarctic, skiing in Vail...

In-car entertainment! No more Spotto or I Spy … Max has Wiggles, Pingu, iPad and DVDs!


Any hints for flying with kids?


This picture captures the essence of why we love Bali so much. A beautiful sunset, a cold Bintang and heartfelt smiles all round.

Do you have a dream family destination?

ACCOMMODATION – AUSTRALIA Aspen Parks & Resorts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aspenparks .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort . . . adventurewhitsunday .com .au . . . . . . . 44 Central Coast Holiday Parks . . . . . . . . . cchp .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Eurong Beach Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . eurong .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Fitzroy Island Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . fitzroyisland .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Macleay Valley Coastal Holiday Parks . legendarybeachesandbush .com .au . . 15 Mowbray Park Farm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . farmstayholidays .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . 70 NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park . . . nrmati .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Paradise Resort Gold Coast . . . . . . . . . . paradiseresort .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Rendezvous Reef Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . rendezvoushotels .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Wyndham Resorts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . wyndhamvacationresorts .com .au . . . . . 4 TRAVEL Britz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . britz .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Escape Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . escapetravel .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IFC Taj Voyages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . tajvoyages .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Vanuatu Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vanuatu .travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Air Vanuatu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . airvanuatu .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 TOURISM ORGANISATIONS India Tourism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . incredibleindia .org . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Vanuatu Tourism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vanuatu .travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80 ATTRACTIONS Aussie World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aussieworld .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Mowbray Park Farm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . farmstayholidays .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Questacon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . questacon .edu .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Sea World Gold Coast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . seaworld .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OBC SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment USA . . seaworld .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 PRODUCTS Evomed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . evomed .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Mountain Buggy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mountainbuggy .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 SKI Burton Riglet Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . burton .com/riglet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Cardrona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . cardrona .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Falls Creek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . skifalls .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Hotham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . hotham .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Lake Crackenback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lakecrackenback .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Lake Mountain Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lakemountainresort .com .au . . . . . . . . . 57 Lantern Apartments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lanternapartments .com .au . . . . . . . . . . 57 Mt Ruapehu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mtruapehu .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 NZ Ski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nzski .com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 & 61 Perisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . perisher .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Skimax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . skimax .com .au . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Treble Cone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . treblecone .com/families . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

What will you discover today?

The RED HOT HOLIDAY offers accommodation at the amazing Sea World Resort, unlimited entry to Sea World, Warner Bros. Movie World and Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast during your stay, and 25% off Kids Club and all food and beverage purchased at the Resort. With the brand new Storm Coaster at Sea World, the action-packed Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 now open at Movie World, and a whole lot of fun to beat the heat at Wet’n’Wild, there’s never been a better time to stay.


T HSO ALE Includes unlimited Theme Park entry! From

Visit 1300 139 677

The heart of fun and adventure *Terms and conditions apply & price subject to change. Visit for full terms & conditions. 1402291 SEA WORLD © 2014 & TM Sea World Property Trust.




per night, twin share

Kids only $20 each per night

Out & About with Kids - Issue 40 Autumn 2014  

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Out & About with Kids and since our first issue in 2004 we’ve seen the world of family travel grow s...

Out & About with Kids - Issue 40 Autumn 2014  

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Out & About with Kids and since our first issue in 2004 we’ve seen the world of family travel grow s...