Tag

fun in the sun

Browsing

Planning your next trip with family to NSW? Let us make the getaway list together! Hunter Valley, The Blue Mountains, Coffs Harbour…there’s plenty of places for you to explore! Get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and spend some fun time with your family!

Snowy Mountains

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

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 three years old.

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, Thredbo and Charlotte Pass are close to it.

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 Adventures

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

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 truly is a magnificent sight to see.

 For more information visit

www.jervisbaytourism.com.au

www.dolphinwatch.com.au

www.jervisbaywhales.com.au

Mogo Zoo

Mogo Zoo is home to rare and endangered species from around the globe. The kids could be ‘Keeper for the Day!’

For more information visit

www.mogozoo.com.au

 

Batemans Bay

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 children’s menus, playgrounds and large grassy areas for the kids to enjoy. This then allows the adults to 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
  • Gundog Hunter Cellar and Gourmet Pantry

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.huntervalleyvisitorcentre.com.au/wine/child-friendly-wineries

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 One & Only (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

Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

For something a bit different why not stay a night at the zoo? For many families, this is a one-off opportunity to get up close and personal to the animals while creating magical family memories.

Accommodation

  • Billabong Camp
  • Zoofari Lodge
  • Savannah Cabins

For more information visit

www.taronga.org.au/taronga-western-plains-zoo

Getting there

Dubbo is an hour’s flight from Sydney or you can drive, train or bus it. The distance from Sydney to Dubbo is just under 400km.

For more information visit

www.dubbotourism.com.au

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

The Mantra Quayside Apartments are suitable for families with a central location and well-sized apartments.

Other spots include:

  • Mantra 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 Annuka Beach Resort and loved it. The water slide was a big hit in our family! Other options are

  • Smugglers on the Beach
  • 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 and it’s a good spot to base yourself.

Highlights include

Accommodation

  • Lennox Beach Resort (baby-sitting services for a fee)
  • Discovery Parks Ballina

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 traveling to isolated areas.

For travel information visit

www.visitnsw.com/destinations/nsw/transport

 

 

 

To let your kids’ play in dirt, or to not let your kids’ play in the dirt; that is the question. Maggie Dent, an acclaimed parenting guru, suggests that kids should be getting back to playing in nature as there are so many benefits for kids’ playing outside rather than their lives’ being dominated by technology.

If you were to mention the name Maggie Dent in parenting circles chances are someone would have subscribed to her values, heard her on radio, attended a seminar or read one of her five books in the quest for answers on how to survive in the world of parenting.

Maggie could never be accused of tiptoeing around the truth. She holds strong on her values and isn’t afraid to voice them. And while her work touches a vast array of issues across the parenting spectrum, from homework and education, emotional development, bullying and suicide, gender differences, play, crisis management and building resilience, her heart never wavers from its true ambition of helping parents raise happy and healthy kids in the modern world.

When Offspring spoke with Maggie she straight up offered to let us in on a secret. A little secret about raising children. All ears tuned in and we waited with baited breath. She may have ensnared a copy of that mythological user manual that failed to be handed out to us when our children were born.

“The secret is dirt,” Maggie quips. And we suspect she quite enjoyed our initial state of confusion. “Dirt, and lots of it.”

“The secret is dirt, and lots of it.”

Could it really be that simple? In her familiar, passionate, banter Maggie went on to explain through her seventeen years of teaching in Western Australian schools and then working as a counsellor, as well as raising four boys into happy and well rounded young men, that the real secret to raising kids is to let them play, explore and have fun while allowing them the chance to make mistakes, get dirty and occasionally get hurt.

“Today’s modern lifestyles, full of game consoles, social media and television is having a consequence on our children’s development and kids as young as five are suffering clinical depression and anxiety disorders,” Maggie explains.

“We have created a world so busy, so competitive and an education system so focused on academic results that we are providing our children with fewer and fewer opportunities for unstructured play. We are diminishing their freedom to just be kids.”

Without hesitation Maggie finger-points NAPLAN testing as well as compulsory starts to pre-primary years as some of the main catalysts.

“We now have a world full of information available at our finger tips but we rely on Google instead of instinct.”

“The irony is that 20 years ago children were turning up to Year One better prepared and with less learning delays, stress and anxiety related illnesses and hyper-sensitive behaviours than the children of today. We now have a world full of information available at our finger tips but we rely on Google instead of instinct and sweeping national standards of achievement rather than tuning into the individual child,” she says.

“We spend so much time trying to safely guide our children and prevent bad things from happening to them that we are dissolving their ability to judge risk for themselves which ironically sets them up for disaster in this unpredictable world.”

Buoyant with enthusiasm, Maggie divulges how play teaches us to learn to wait, to take turns, to develop the art of strategy, to lose and to win graciously. It’s also fantastic exercise and can reduce stress.

 

Perhaps most importantly, unstructured play stimulates our curiosity, our “seeking mechanism”. An under-active seeking mechanism in adulthood can contribute to a person staying stuck in an unloving relationship, or a boring and soulless job. And no one wants to sign their child up for that!

“If we, as parents, teachers, indeed, as a society, don’t start taking play more seriously and allow our children to take a few risks, we are denying them the opportunity to be resilient human beings,” and the sense of urgency in her voice is clear.

Sadly, the problem doesn’t discriminate – country or city, outback or coast – somewhere over the last ten years parenting became a competition with the perception of having to be a perfect parent and also having the perfect child. This in turn is increasing anxiety in our kids.

“I have never met a perfect human being so why do we pressure our kids to be exceptional and perfect? There is no perfect child, parent or teacher. There never was nor will be. Humans have flaws,” she says.

“If we, as parents, teachers, indeed, as a society, don’t start taking play more seriously and allow our children to take a few risks, we are denying them the opportunity to be resilient human beings.”

So are we doomed or is there a solution? Maggie assures us all is not lost.

“Children need to know they are valued and loved. Feeling invisible or unloved causes enormous stress to a child’s nervous system. Often children can become emotionally needy and anxious about getting the love they yearn,” she says.

 

“Remember, children do not see all the cooking, washing and cleaning as signs of love and connection. To feel loved, children need to hear the words, have loving touch and know that you are ‘present’ to them.”

It sounds easy. But in reality parents are busy people. Many parents work or have a litany of demands upon them and limited capacity to play without time constraint. An excuse maybe, but for many, this is reality.

“Anyone with young children in their household needs to make play a priority,” Maggie is staunch on this point. “Spontaneous moments of connection are more valuable to a child than timetabled quality time.”

You can put your diary down.

Somewhere over the last ten years parenting became a competition with the perception of having to be a perfect parent and also having the perfect child.

Often the only time in our busy days, when we can really relax, focus and connect with our children is at bedtime. Perfect. Maggie describes how following a loving bedtime ritual every night is an extremely powerful way of anchoring your love for your child and reducing anxiety.

Maggie gives the tip that the last thing your child should hear every night before entering the land of nod is how much you love them and fostering the concept of a love that transcends all boundaries and absences. A concept she has aptly named a love bridge.

“I always told my boys ‘I love you more than all the grains of sand on every beach, more than all the stars in the night sky and more than all the hairs on all the bears’ and they still remember it,” she says.

“It’s about creating a sense of connection even in absence. For children, particularly under four years, repeating the concept nightly and planting the idea of the enormity of your love can create an almost tangible sense that you are always with them.”

 

“Spontaneous moments of connection are more valuable to a child than timetabled quality time.”

The love bridge can do wonders for anxiety in children (and alleviate some parental guilt for times when you can not be with them).

Are you ready for another secret? It’s about presence not presents. With Christmas just around the corner, Maggie reminds us that children are naturally creative thinkers and don’t need the latest fancy toys to predict and channel their play, instead the best gift would be spending time together discovering, playing and making magical memories. That might mean going away on holidays together or just spending time at home.

“It’s important not to be swayed by advertising and commercial pressures and enjoy a little of the magic that comes but once a year.”

Maggie’s best piece of advice?

“Have fun and spend as much time as you can with your child in the first three foundation years because children who experience joy and delight through free play are psychologically stronger and a have greater capacity to overcome adversity in the adolescent years.”