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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)

Who doesn’t dream of some time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life? Whether it’s for a weekend or a few weeks, NSW has it all. From the beautiful beaches to the Snowy Mountains NSW has it covered!

Snowy Mountains

The Snowy Mountains have long been a favourite for snow enthusiasts and are perfect for both summer and winter holidays.

Highlights include

Summer

  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Water sports – kayaking, canoeing, sailing, boating, fishing, swimming
  • Cycling
  • Kosciusko National Park

Winter

  • The annual Peak Festival which celebrates the opening of the ski season at Perisher (normally early June)
  • Cross Country Ski Week for all levels (normally early August)
  • Skiing and Snowboarding
  • Kosciusko National Park
  • Snowball fights!

For more information visit

www.snowymountains.com.au

www.peakfestival.com.au

Perisher

Perisher is a great snow spot for families because it caters to the new and experienced as well as the young and old. Perisher has a fantastic Snowsports School which offers lessons to all levels and starts as young as 2 years old.

Another option is the ‘Snowy Daycare’ which takes children from 6 weeks to 3 years and is available for full and half days.

Accommodation

The first step is deciding where you want to stay! The most popular style of family accommodation is a self-contained apartment, however, there are plenty of other styles to choose from as well.

For more information visit

Getting there

Cooma is the largest town in the region and is approximately 400km from Sydney. Jindabyne is closest to Kosciusko National Park and is roughly 465km away and Perisher, and Thredbo and Charlotte Pass are also close by.

For more information visit

www.perisher.com.au

South Coast

The South Coast sure is home to spectacular scenery and exciting activities.

Highlights include

  • Kiama Blowhole
  • Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk
  • Minnamurra Rainforest
  • Mogo Zoo
  • Batemans Bay
  • Jervis Bay
  • Beach fun

Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk

This is a great activity for the whole family. Its beautiful views take in the rainforest canopy, Lake Illawarra and the South Pacific Ocean. A big bonus is that it’s both pram and wheelchair accessible.

It’s located approximately 1.5 hours south of Sydney so could even be a day trip.

For more information visit

www.illawarrafly.com.au

Jervis Bay

Known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters and national parks, it’s also famous for its dolphins and whales. There are 80-120 dolphins in Jervis Bay all year round, which gives you plenty of opportunity to see them. The whale season is from June to October and is a truly  magnificent sight to see. 

For more information visit

www.jervisbaytourism.asn.au

www.dolphinwatch.com.au

www.jervisbaywhales.com.au

Accommodation

Batemans Bay is a good spot to base yourself in if you want to stay in one spot. From backpackers to luxury, there is plenty to choose from.

  • Big4 Batemans Bay Beach Resort (cabins, caravans and camping)
  • Chalet Swisse Spa at Surf Beach Retreat

Getting there

Follow the Grand Pacific Drive and take your time. Batemans Bay is about 280km from Sydney.

For more information visit

www.batemansbay.com.au

www.visitnsw.com

www.grandpacificdrive.com.au

Hunter Valley

Most of us love a good winery and Hunter Valley doesn’t disappoint! With roughly 150 wine producers and breweries a plenty, you’re bound to come across one you like! However, there are some that are more ‘family friendly’ than others and include kids’ menus, playgrounds and large grassy areas for the kids to enjoy. This then allows the adults get onto the serious business of eating and drinking!

Highlights include

  • Ballooning
  • Horse riding
  • Hunter Valley Gardens Aqua Golf & Putt Putt
  • Extreme Go Karting
  • Drayton’s Family Wines
  • McGuian Cellars (it also has cheese, chocolate and fudge – yum!)
  • Wyndham Estate
  • Potters Hotel, Brewery and Resort

Accommodation

  • Potters Hotel, Brewery and Resort
  • Bellbird Cottages and Swallows Homestead (pets welcome here)

Getting There

The tourist route T33 is a lovely drive. Another option is taking the train.

For more information visit

www.winecountry.com.au

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains has a lovely laid back feel and is perfect for a quick getaway.

Highlights include 

  • Leuralla Toy & Railway Museum NSW
  • Jenolan Caves
  • The Three Sisters
  • Hop on Hop off Trolley Tours
  • Megalong Valley Heritage Farm
  • Horse Riding

Accommodation

  • Owls Cottage Katoomba
  • Jenolan Caravan Park
  • Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa (for a bit of luxury)

Getting There

Glenbrook is roughly 75km away and the Jenolan Caves are nearly 200km so driving is the most practical option. However, the train or bus is also another way.

For more information visit

www.bluemts.com.au

www.stayz.com.au/accommodation/nsw/blue-mountains

Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie is still close enough to Sydney for a quick trip, or you could make this a stopover on your way up north.

Highlights include

  • Whale watching (June to October)
  • Water fun – swimming, surfing, fishing, kayaking,
  • Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park
  • Timbertown Heritage Theme Park (on 87 acres of natural forest!)

For something a little different, why not visit the Observatory? Imagine what the kids will be thinking when they look through the telescope! It’s open on Sunday and Wednesday nights throughout the year.

Accommodation

I stayed with my family at the Mantra Quayside Apartments and found the location good and apartment to be a reasonable size.

Other spots are

  • The Observatory Resort
  • Marina Holiday Park

For more information visit

www.port-macquarie.net/

www.portmacquarieinfo.com.au

www.pmobs.org.au

Getting there

The distance from Sydney is approximately 380km so no need to rush.

Flying is with Qantas and Virgin.

Coffs Harbour

How can you not enjoy a place that is home to The Big Banana??

Coffs is a great spot to break your journey if you’re on a road trip from Sydney.

Other highlights include

  • Dolphin Marine Magic Show
  • Helicopter Scenic Flights
  • Sky Diving
  • Water fun

Accommodation

We stayed at the Breakfree Anuka Beach resort and loved it. The water slide was a big hit in our family! Other options are:

  • Smugglers on the Beach (I love that name!)
  • Park Beach Holiday Park
  • Aqualuna Beach Resort

For more information visit

www.coffscoast.com.au

Getting there

By road the distance is approximately 540km, so allow enough time if not stopping on the way. From Port Macquarie it is roughly 150km.

Flying is with Qantas, Virgin or Tiger Air

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is such a melting pot of people and ideas. It’s a good spot to base yourself in as there’s plenty to do in the area.

Highlights include

  • Amaze’n’Place – Alstonville
  • Macadamia Castle – Knockrow
  • Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens – Mullumbimby
  • Art
  • Ballooning
  • Hang gliding
  • Loads of water activities

Accommodation

  • Lennox Beach Resort (baby-sitting services for a fee)
  • Ballina Lakeside Holiday Park

For more information visit

www.visitbyronbay.com

www.byronbayaccom.net

Getting there

Being 800kms from Sydney there are a few options to consider.

Driving is one of them, as is also the train and flying.

Flying into Ballina is with Jetstar, Virgin and Rex.

Helpful driving tips

  • Make sure you have plenty of water with you
  • Don’t get low on petrol
  • Keep mobiles charged
  • Keep first aid kits topped up and carry essential medication
  • Tell someone your itinerary, especially if travelling to isolated areas.

For travel information visit

www.virginaustralia.com.au/en

www.qantas.com.au

www.jetstar.com

www.rex.com.au

www.tigerair.com.au

www.sydneytrains.info/

http://www.nswtrainlink.info/

www.dubbobuslines.com.au