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Like most things in 2020, school holidays have been somewhat, uneventful. But when it comes to the spring school holidays, (Monday, September 28 to Friday, October 9) Byron Bay in northern NSW, is the perfect family destination. It doesn’t require you to cross the border to get that warm beach vacation you’ve been craving. Just pack your mask and hand sanitiser, as Byron Bay is jammed packed with activities for yourself and the kids.

1. Learn to surf easy waves –

Byron Bay is renowned for its beautiful beaches. The Main Beach, The Pass, and Wategos’s Beach are just a handful of Byron’s best. Their clean waves and breaks make them the perfect place for beginners to learn how to surf. Floating around the Main Beach, you’re bound to pass a surfboard hire station where you can grab a thoroughly sanitised board and wetsuit. If you’re a little cautious about hiring and sharing, it’s best to bring your own.

(Image: The Pass, Byron Bay)

2. Farm Kids at The Farm –

From pigs to native bees, miniature cows, and planting seeds, The Farm kids workshops are a must-do. The Farm runs a variety of exciting programs aimed at teaching kids about topics such as: where food comes from, pollination, organic and ethical farming and there’s also plenty of opportunities to get up close and cuddly with the animals. There special School Holiday programs will return this spring and adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. While the kids are in a workshop, it gives you and your partner the opportunity to take in the serenity and grab some morning tea.

(Image sourced: The Farm, Byron Bay.)

3. Cape Byron Walking Track –

Pack your camera and water bottle and head up The Cape Byron Walking Track to the picturesque lighthouse. It is best to go in the morning before it gets too warm and be mindful, the track is not considered stroller friendly in some areas. However, you can access the track at numerous points along the boardwalk that are flat, and it is also possible to drive to the top. From the lighthouse, you may see dolphins, sharks, turtles, and luckily, it is also whale season, (June-Oct.)

(Image sourced: Creative Commons “Byron Bay Lighthouse” by Yortw is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

4. Crystal Castle in the Byron Hinterlands – 

The magical sanctuary brings your fairy-tale fantasies to life. They have a quest for the kids to follow that takes them through the gardens, crystals, and statues. Explore the ancient amethyst cave and the rare, Shambhala rainforest. There is also a giant, COVID safe, purple playground. It is a fascinating and alternative place to spend your day and leaves you feeling calm and happy.

(Image Sourced: Creative Commons “Crystal Castle” by La Lente Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

5. Horse Riding at Pegasus Park –

Beginners, nervous adults, and children are Pegasus Park’s specialty, as they cater for all standards of riders. You can find the horse riding center nestled in the tranquil hills of Bangalow, just a 15-minute drive from Byron Bay. They offer beach and trail rides so, saddle up and take the family on an outing to remember.

(Image sourced: PegasusPark.com.au)

Think summer is over? Well think again! Thanks to the hot weather lingering long after summer has officially ended, you can keep enjoying all the best that WA has to offer.

For a perfect summer break, Rottnest springs beautifully to mind. Just saying ‘Rotto’ brings up images of the beach, bikes and barbies (the food kind, not the doll!)

Every year families and friends head over to Rotto. The beauty of it is that you can go for a just day or stay even longer. Don’t forget your hat or sunblock though!

Highlights include

  • The beaches!
  • Family Fun Park and Mini Putt-Putt
  • Just 4 Fun Aqua Park (It has a section called Little Kids Knee Deep Park for 7 years and under)
  • Snorkelling
  • Fishing
  • Diving
  • Bike exploration
  • Wadjemup Walk Trail
  • Visit museums and galleries
  • Perhaps the most important one of all; have fun and relax!

For more information visit

www.rottnestisland.com

www.just4funaquapark.com.au

The Quokkas of Rottnest

The quokkas are probably the most well-known animal on Rotto. Kids love spotting them, and it can be quite competitive to see who spots them first! However, it is really important to teach children not to give them food or water, as this can be very detrimental to the quokka’s health. In fact, the Rottnest Island Rangers may issue infringement notices to anyone who does this.

 

Where to stay

Rotto has come a long way over time and now has accommodation ranging from camping and hostels to premium self-contained cottages. The camping area was renovated in 2013 and the ablution blocks now also have wheelchair access.

Top tip

If you’re planning a group booking at the campground, call Rottnest Island Reservations on 1800 11111 or 08 9432 9111.

If you like something a bit more private, then the self-contained cottages may be the way to go. Some are even heritage listed!

If you’re travelling with family and friends, they can be a great place to unwind at the end of the day while enjoying the barbie and a glass of wine.

Top Tip

Rotto is VERY popular and in the past had a ballot system for booking accommodation during peak periods. This system is no longer used, however, reservations are open approximately 18 months in advance and it is recommended to book as early as possible for any time of the year.

For more information visit

www.rottnestisland.com/accommodation

A couple of other options are the Hotel Rottnest and the Rottnest Lodge. Both offer different types of rooms as well as having a licenced restaurant on site. The Rottnest Lodge also has its own swimming pool.

Interesting fact

The Hotel Rottnest’s original building was the summer residence for the Governors of Western Australia from 1864. In 1912 Sir Gerald Strickland became its last tenanted governor.

For more information visit

www.hotelrottnest.com.au

www.rottnestlodge.com.au

Getting there

It’s very easy; you can travel by plane, ferry or even your own boat if you have one. The ferry is the most popular means of transport and you can leave from the city, Fremantle or Hillarys Boat Quay.

For more information visit

www.rottnestexpress.com.au

www.rottnestfastferries.com.au

www.rottnestairtaxi.com.au

www.ozwestaviation.com

If taking your own boat email the Rottnest Island Authority Administration at enquires@rottnestisland.com or phone 08 9432 9300

Interesting Fact

In 2014, Rottnest Island was a winner in the ‘Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards’. It won Gold in the ‘Major Tourist Attractions’ section plus silver in two other categories. Go Rotto!

Fancy some time away from the routine of daily life? Dreaming of some fun in the sun? Luckily Victoria has all of that, and more!

From its dramatic eye-catching coastlines, beautiful beaches, parks, skiing, wineries and amazing food there is plenty on offer for the whole family to enjoy in Victoria.

Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley

What a wonderful place to visit. So much to do! The Dandenongs and Yarra Valley are home to a multitude of fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Highlights include

  • Hedgend Maze Healesville
  • Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery Yarra Glen
  • Yarra Valley Dairy in Coldstream
  • William Ricketts Sanctuary Park
  • Binjarra Cultural Centre
  • Healesville Sanctuary
  • SkyHigh Mt Dandenong Restaurant and Attractions

 

For more information visit

www.skyhighmtdandenong.com.au

www.visitvictoria.com

Puffing Billy Steam Train

For all the little (and big!) train lovers out there Puffing Billy is a must. This well-loved steam train is over 100 years old and runs from Belgrave to Gembrook through the beautiful forests and gullies of the Dandenongs.

For more information visit

www.puffingbilly.com.au

Trees Adventure Glen Harrow Park

Fancy an amazing adventure? Ever felt like walking through the treetops? Then this is for you! Anyone from the age of four and above can enjoy this. Bookings are essential.

For more information visit

http://treesadventure.com.au/glen-harrow-park/

TOP TIP

We all love a good playground, so see the link below for a great list of playgrounds and parks!

www.visitdandenongranges.com.au/things-to-do/picnics-playgrounds

Wineries

Where to start? You could spend months exploring them! Several places are family friendly and offer playgrounds and other activities.

Accommodation

  • Big4 Dandenong Tourist Park
  • Quest Dandenong

 

For more information on wineries and accommodation visit

www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Yarra-Valley-and-Dandenong-Ranges

If you thought the snow fields were just for winter, you’d be wrong!

 

Mt Hotham

  • Horse Riding
  • Bushwalking
  • White Water Rafting on the Mitta Mitta River
  • Mountain Biking
  • Visit the Onsen Retreat and Spa at Dinner Plain

 

Accommodation

  • Davenport village in Hotham.
  • Dinner Plain, 10kms away, is a good alternative.

 

For more information visit

www.mthotham.com.au

Falls Creek

  • Canoe on Rocky Valley Lake
  • Horse Riding
  • Ride the Trails
  • Segway Tours
  • Golf
  • Wineries
  • Gliding

 

Accommodation

The Alpha Ski Lodge is open all year round. Self-catering, economical accommodation. 

For more information visit

www.fallscreek.com.auRenault Snowclub (3-6yr)

Mt Buller

An easy three hour drive from Melbourne, Mt Buller offers a perfect summer escape.

Highlights include

  • Mountain Biking
  • Bush Walking
  • Horse Riding
  • Chairlift Rides
  • Four-wheel Driving

 

Accommodation

Arlberg Hotel – Has a kids stay free offer and a kids area with a pool table and x-box. It also has a kids ‘chill zone’ with bean bags, meals and movies

For more information visit

www.mtbuller.com.au

Mt Baw Baw

  • Mountain Biking
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Bush Walking

 

Accommodation

For something different, why not try ‘Glamping?’

For more information visit

www.mountbawbaw.com.au

https://mountbawbaw.com.au/glamping

The Great Ocean Road

This is one of the most stunning ocean drives I’ve ever been on. Some of the amazing things on offer include:

  • Bells Beach
  • Apollo Bay
  • Kennett River Koala Walk
  • Cape Otway
  • Port Campbell National Park
  • The Twelve Apostles
  • Tiger Moth World, Torquay (Lots of fun!)

If you feel like a swim then head to the famous Bells Beach or take a stroll along the Surf Coast walk.

For more information visit

www.visitgreatoceanrd.org.au

www.travelvictoria.com.au/regions/greatoceanroad/

Accommodation

There are plenty of choices on this route, from caravan/holiday parks, B&B’s, apartments and resorts.

For more information visit

www.big4.com.au

www.topparks.com.au

www.greatoceanroadtrip.com

The Grampians

The Grampians have much to offer families, from camping, scenic walks, animals and more.

Highlights include

  • Little Desert National Park.
  • Grampians National Park
  • Mt Arapiles
  • McKenzie Falls.
  • The Stawell Gift at Easter

 

For more information visit

www.grampianstourism.com.au

Halls Gap Zoo

Halls Gap Zoo is Victoria’s largest regional zoo. It has a giraffe, water buffalo, meerkats, rainbow lorikeet and more. Why not consider ‘adopting’ one of their beautiful animals? How awesome would that be!

Accommodation

Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park. Here you can camp, stay in a cabin or rent a house!

For more information visit

www.hallsgapzoo.com.au

www.hallsgaplakeside.com

Phillip Island

What a gorgeous spot with lots of things to do. With everything close together you don’t have to spend ages in the car going from place to place.

Highlights include

  • Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. Yum yum!
  • A Maze’n’Things
  • Antarctic Journey
  • Churchill Island Heritage Farm
  • Wildlife Coast Cruises
  • Caldermeade Farm and Café

 

Penguin Parade

Who doesn’t love a cute penguin? Every day at sunset the penguins arrive and strut their stuff while waddling over to their burrows. Truly awesome.

TOP TIP

During peak times, pre-book tickets to avoid missing out.

Accommodation

  • A Maze’n’Things Holiday Park
  • The Waves Apartments

 

For more information visit

www.visitphillipisland.com

Mornington Peninsula

The Mornington Peninsula is renowned for being a popular holiday destination with lots to do.

Highlights include

  • Diving, fishing
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • The Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Park
  • Wineries
  • Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
  • The Big Goose
  • Visit village markets
  • The Enchanted Maze
  • Cape Schanck Lighthouse and Museum

 

* Special Mention *

The Bellarine Railway is having a ‘Day Out With Thomas’ 19-20 January 2019!

For more information visit

www.thebellarinerailway.com.au

www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org

TOP TIP

Follow the link below for a comprehensive list of food and wineries in the Mornington Peninsula.

www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org/foodandwine

Accommodation

  • Ocean Blue Coastal Retreats (Some of these are even pet friendly)
  • Trumans Cottages (Mostly pet friendly)

 

For more information visit

www.familyfriendlyaccommodation.com.au/mornington_peninsula

Victorian Goldfields

Gold was discovered over 160 years ago…will you be the one to make the next big find??

Highlights include

  • Ballarat – See the Lal Lal Falls
  • Bendigo – Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram Tours
  • Castlemaine – Old Castlemaine Gaol
  • Heathcote – O’Keefe Rail Trail,
  • Maldon – The Maldon Lolly Shop. An old time shop filled with sweet treats galore!

For more information visit

www.visitvictoria.com/regions/Goldfields

Sovereign Hill

Pan for gold at Sovereign Hill! Sovereign Hill is a living museum with working exhibits. It’s home to shops, schools, gold digging, underground mines and more. It’s been named Australia’s best ‘Major Tourist Attraction’ three times.

For more information visit

www.sovereignhill.com.au

Accommodation

For something different why not stay at Kryal Castle? It’s located approximately 8km’s east of Ballarat. Kryal Castle is a replica medieval castle with plenty of shows and attractions.

For more information visit

www.kryalcastle.com.au

The Murray Region

The Murray River is Australia’s longest river and a great place to visit. It’s home to wonderful wineries and gourmet food as well as many other exciting things.

Highlights include

  • Fishing
  • Watersports
  • Paddle steamers
  • Houseboats
  • River Cruises
  • Port of Echuca Discovery Centre

 

Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement

Swan Hill is a town that carries a rich pioneer heritage. The Pioneer Settlement will really help you to embrace Australian history. You can chat to people from a bygone era while cruising the Murray on the PS Pyap. In the evening, enjoy a light and laser show.

For more information visit

www.pioneersettlement.com.au

House Boating

Hire a houseboat and be your own captain! Kids and captains alike will love an adventure like this. You might just have to stop at one of the many wineries though!

Accommodation

Lots to choice! Houseboats, tourist parks, resorts, camping and more.

For more information visit

www.murrayriverhouseboats.com.au

www.visitthemurray.com.au

Staying at Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island is an ideal place to holiday for families. Offspring Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Kate Durack shares her family’s experience at the resort.

On occasion, I’ve taken my kids on a holiday, with Instagram ideals in mind – tropical sunsets, cocktails, reading a magazine by a sparking pool, and feasting on delicious food I haven’t had to cook – but the reality has been far different – think stress and hassle.

Holidays with kids can sometimes be tiresome, especially when traveling with them alone, as I do. A five and a nine-year-old have lots of energy!

However, this is why I loved staying at Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island. I had a holiday too – it was self contained and very relaxing. And, being English speaking and less than a four-hour flight from Sydney made it easy to visit with children.

Radisson Blu Resort Fiji was voted 2017 Number 1 Fiji Resort for families on Trip Advisor.

Many water activities were offered at the beach and the pool. The kids and I really enjoyed the water aerobics and water volleyball sessions, as well as our own fitness session whereby we challenged the five-year-old to swim unassisted to the Swim Up Bar, where they indulged in a slushie, and me, a Pina Colada.

The pool was excellent – sandy and lots of variety, including interesting little streams, waterfalls and a water slide.

We stayed in a One-Bedroom Suite close to the beach, which was supremely comfortable, spacious and fully self-contained (handy as Fiji can be expensive).

The Blu Banana Kids Club was fantastic – the Fijian people are wonderful with children. The kids went rock climbing, built and raced boats and had sandcastle competitions.

The hotel has six restaurants and the food was fantastic. The buffet breakfasts and dinners were very good value and the kids didn’t want to leave the hotel to eat.

I was impressed by the Radisson Blu’s sponsorship program, where they support 14 schools with educational tools such as technology, books, stationary and sporting equipment.

The hotel offers weekly school tours of the schools, which was a highlight of our trip – a great educational experience and exercise in Appreciation.

We gave a full suitcase of new books to the school we visited which seemed to be valued. Their reading resources are minimal compared to what our schools and homes offer.

On the way back to the hotel, we alighted the bus in the district’s main area, Nadi, where we roamed around the markets, before catching a public bus back to the resort. This offered a great insight into perhaps a more authentic Fiji, which further enriched our holiday experience.

Radisson Blu Resort Fiji is a wonderful place to take young families.

CREATE FAMILY MEMORIES.

STAY. PLAY. RELAX.