With thanks to guest blogger Jennifer Adams of Places We Go.
Planning a family break can be a lot different to the kinds of holidays we used to organise pre-kids.
There are so many more things to consider: affordability, entertainment, meals, transport, and so on. All these factors have to suit the entire family.
Having planned and been on our share of family breaks, we now have a great mental checklist of what we need and want; always a mixture of relaxation and activity. That includes:
Holiday parks tick so many boxes on our checklist. Self-contained family cabins and villas or the option to camp or caravan means we have total control over meals, plus enough space for the whole family.
The growth of child-friendly amenities such as jumping pillows, pedal karts, playgrounds, pools, games rooms, and more are making holiday parks a paradise for kids. And their locations are often second to none.
Driving holidays are our very favourites. Whether we take our own car, or rent one at our destination, we find driving holidays the easiest option when it comes to travelling with kids and having complete flexibility over our time.
Here are some of our favourite locations around the country for the good old-fashioned family holiday:
Just 1.5 hours west of Melbourne, where Port Phillip Bay meets Bass Strait, the Bellarine Peninsula is growing each year as a tourist destination. And we have found that much of that growth is due to families like us.
We love the Bellarine Peninsula for its laidback charm, choice of seaside villages to visit and browse, beautiful beaches, fabulous eateries, and top-notch wineries. There are so many things to do here, and most are geared towards families.
There’s the farmers’ market at Ocean Grove where you can stock up on local goodies to cook and feast on back at your accommodation, or the local blueberry farm where the whole family can pick berries then enjoy live music, ice-cream, and drinks on the sunny deck.
You have your choice of amazing beaches, from peaceful bays to more exhilarating surf beaches. And as you would expect, the peninsula has its fair share of great fish and chip shops – a must for an Aussie family beach holiday.
Our time here revolves around our accommodation at BIG4 Bellarine Holiday Park. One of Australia’s newest holiday parks, it has been cleverly designed and built to revolutionise the way you holiday with children. The park is at the heart of the peninsula, surrounded by some of the region’s most beautiful towns, and has easy access to the plethora of beaches.
The holiday park features nothing less than a brand new indoor pool with slide, fitness centre, BMX track, cinema room, flying fox, indoor toddler playroom, jumping pillow, pedal karts, adventure playground, full-size football goals, a 1.2km walking track, tennis court, croquet lawn, and a coffee bar. If that is not enough to keep the entire family happy (and caffeinated) I am not sure what is!
It is also close to one of our favourite attractions on the peninsula, Adventure Park. Victoria’s biggest water-theme park, Adventure Park is a must for all families. It has rides for the whole family and is the perfect place to keep cool during summer.
Our daughter Charli has described Kangaroo Island as her ‘favourite place in the whole world’ on numerous occasions. And having travelled around much of Australia, we feel she has some experience to back up her claim!
Kangaroo Island is quite simply a pristine paradise that we are lucky enough to have located in our part of the world. An easy drive and ferry ride from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is like another world.
With a small but fiercely proud and passionate population, Kangaroo Island makes the very most of its natural features and offers visitors an amazing experience exploring its landscape, tasting its gourmet goodies, and meeting its wildlife.
Must-do experiences include a visit to Flinders Chase National Park – home to the famous Remarkable Rocks; and Seal Bay Conservation Park, the only place in the world where visitors can enter a wild sea lion colony.
The whole family will also love a visit to Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. It is home to more than 150 species of Australian animals and is the most incredible place to get up close and personal with some of our most beloved species such as koalas, kangaroos, and even reptiles. The highlight of Charli’s experience was hand-feeding a baby joey – something we will never forget.
We highly recommend a stay in the Fleurieu Peninsula on the way to or from Kangaroo Island. You simply can’t drive past this amazing part of the world and not stop – it’s right on the path to Cape Jervis where you access the ferry to Kangaroo Island.
We stay at BIG4 Port Willunga Tourist Park – just 10 minutes from the famous vineyards of the McLaren Vale wine region. With some of the country’s best beaches at your doorstep, not to mention the incredible food and wine options available, this makes your Kangaroo Island adventure complete.
The park features a giant jumping pillow, playground, giant chess board, games room, swimming pool, tennis court, go karts, and more. Couple that with the options available outside of the park and you have a very happy family on your hands.
For us, one of the ultimate family holidays to be found in this country has to be on Phillip Island. Many Victorians will have grown up taking their annual holiday to the island, and for good reason. It is simply teeming with attractions and activities for the whole family, plus it is blessed with unbelievable natural beauty.
Phillip Island is famous for its population of little penguins that return to the shores every evening as the sun goes down. The Phillip Island Penguin Parade is a rite of passage for many Victorian children, and the whole family delights in watching the groups of gorgeous little penguins arrive from the surf.
Down the road, the Koala Conservation Centre allows you to get your fill of cuddly little creatures via a network of boardwalks through the eucalypt trees. And for an adventure on the water, a boat trip to Seal Rocks is a must for everyone to see the largest colony of Australian fur seals.
I must also mention the incredible surf and swimming beaches that surround the island, plus the attractions of the Churchill Heritage Farm, the Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm, the Cowes Night Markets, and Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. The list simply goes on and on.
And this is all if you are able to bring yourself to leave your accommodation at BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Phillip Island! A destination in itself, it is the perfect place to base the family while you explore the island.
Located perfectly to access the local attractions, the park boasts a jumping pillow, playground, games room, pedal karts, and much more to keep the kids entertained.
The most famous family-friendly holiday destination in Australia is one you can never go past. The Gold Coast is known for its theme parks, sandy beaches, beautiful hinterland, and great climate. You know the kids will love it, and there is plenty to entertain the adults as well.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary allows incredible opportunities to get up close with Australian wildlife by cuddling a koala or feeding the kangaroos or even a saltwater crocodile!
We took the guided Segway safari through the park and couldn’t help but test out the tree-tops ropes course. It’s a place where adults become kids again, and the whole family is entertained from start to finish.
We also recommend bringing your walking shoes and trying out one of the bushwalking tracks in Burleigh Head National Park. The park is situated on a natural headland in the heart of the Gold Coast and the Rainforest Circuit, which we took, led us to the highest point in the park where we were lucky enough to spot whales.
The other attraction here is BIG4 Tweed Billabong Holiday Park. It has a water park that has to be seen to be believed, it’s very own billabong where you can enjoy all kinds of water sports, adventure playgrounds for all ages, a luxury camp kitchen, and resort pools. Forget the theme parks up the road, your kids are simply not going to want to leave!
For more travel information and inspiration visit placeswego.com
Isn’t it time you escaped with the family? Book your next BIG4 break now.