THE CITY TO VISIT: Brisbane
Brisbane is cooler than ever, with new cafes, retail laneways and free family adventures. Register online to reserve a CityCycle at citycycle.com.au (from $2 per day, helmets included) and ride along the river towards South Bank.
Try brekkie at Gauge, then head to Streets Beach for a dip. Lock the bikes in a nearby bay to visit the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, where all current exhibitions are free. It’s also worth visiting Fortitude Valley’s Winn Lane for cafes and one-off shops, and Hamilton’s Eat Street Markets.
THE FAMILY CRUISE TO TAKE: Ovation Of The Seas
Cruising is more popular than ever in Australia. ‘It allows for all types of budget. We are seeing multi-generation holidays, with grandparents booking a suite and the family taking a mix of balcony and inside cabins,’ says Alastair Fernie of ecruising.travel.
'Resort-style ships offer water slides, rock climbing, ice-skating, surf simulators, poolside movies and all-day kids’ clubs,’ adds Meg Hill from cruiseexpress.com.au.
Royal Caribbean’s Ovation Of The Seas is headed our way next year, departing Singapore on November 30, 2016, and visiting ports in Fremantle, Adelaide, Hobart and Sydney. The ship has the incredible RipCord by iFLY, a sky-diving simulator, and North Star – a glass capsule which carries passengers 90m above sea level for spectacular views. Visit royalcaribbean.com.au.
THE PLACE FOR ADVENTURE: Airlie Beach, QLD
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef – the perfect base for a family adventure. Check out the Cruise Whitsundays’ Reefworld pontoon. ‘Snorkelling gear is included in the ticket price, and those who would rather stay dry can explore the underwater world in a semi-submersible,’ says Carmen White of Marine Tourism Management.
To discover all Airlie Beach offers, check out a map at airliebeachmap.com.
THE WILDLIFE PARK TO VISIT: Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, NSW
This park on the NSW Central Coast has been named as one of Lonely Planet’s Best Animal Adventures for Families. Stay overnight in a tent or private cottage on a Wild Sleep Out and meet nocturnal creatures, or visit by day to see emus, wombats, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, koalas and more. Visit walkaboutpark.com.au.
THE HOLIDAY PARK TO HEAD TO: Rawnsley Park Station, SA
Thinking of heading out on a motor home or camping holiday this year? You certainly won’t be alone. ‘There has been a big move back to traditional camping holidays in the family market,’ says Tony Smith, owner of multi-award-winning Rawnsley Park winning Station in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia.
He says Generation X parents are keen to recreate their childhood memories and to give their kids the same holiday experiences they had. ‘Today’s campers demand better facilities and tours and experiences, and may choose to combine camping with a night or two in more luxurious accommodation,’ Tony says. Rawnsley Park offers it all, from caravan park and bush camping sites to luxurious eco-villas. It also conducts several experiences including full-day guided walks and 4WD tours. Visit rawnsleypark.com.au.
Let’s face it: kids can be brutally honest! So who better to rate hotels and travel experiences than tweens? Website kidzcationz.com allows kids, their parents and carers to rate hotels, restaurants and attractions on how well they support the needs of younger members of the family.