Don’t go into hibernation this winter – 4 wonderful winter escapes for families close to Sydney

In winter it’s tempting to hide away inside the warmth of our own home but getting out in the fresh air can really awaken the senses. Some of the best holidays happen in the colder months when the crowds of summer and the high-season prices disappear. Keeping the kids outside and active in winter also helps them to build immunity to fight off the nasty bugs that seem to go around at this time of the year.

Here are four great trips to consider for the winter holidays, perfect for families and within easy reach of Sydney.

Jenolan Caves

Jenolan Caves

Blue Mountains

Don’t run away from the cold, embrace it. The cool climate of the Blue Mountains is perfect for adventure with many children’s activities on offer that you can enjoy too.

Jenolan Caves showcases some of the most spectacular caves in Australia. Dramatically lit and expertly guided daily tours will have the kids feeling like they’ve entered another world. For older kids, check out Trees Adventure at Grose River Park. Climbing, swinging and leaping through the trees will release their inner Tarzan or Jane and burn off loads of energy.

On cool sunny days, there are number of amazing bush tracks to explore but make sure you take some extra water, warm clothes and let someone know where you are going. Or rest your legs and view the mountains from a different angle as you ride the scenic railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world. Get up close and personal with the native animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park.  In rainy weather, the Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum can be educational and fun at the same time.

Hunter Valley Wildlife

Hunter Valley Wildlife

Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley Gardens are stroller friendly and the little ones will love finding their favourite fairy-tale characters in the Storybook Garden. There is also horse riding, Hunter Valley Zoo, Richmond Vale Railway Museum and even hot air ballooning to try. Get back to nature at the Hunter Wetlands Centre with trail walking, canoeing and a children’s discovery playground. You can even warm up on a cold day with a tour of the chocolate factory.

Choose an accommodation option that is close to all the attractions and offers family friendly accommodation facilities and packages such as Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Resort.

Pacific Coast Drive

If you have a bit of time up your sleeve why not take a few days, the car and the kids, and experience the legendary Pacific Coast Drive from Sydney to Brisbane.

Make your first stop off at Australian Reptile Park in Gosford where the kids can make new friends, of the scaly and furry variety. By Port Stephens you will all be in the holiday mood. During the cooler months of June and July you can spot the annual whale migration and pods of bottlenose dolphins here.

Port Stephens

Port Stephens

Then you’ve got a continuous line of surf beaches, national parks and rolling green hills to explore up the coast. Highlights here include a visit to Ellenborough Falls near Taree and of course The Big Banana on your way through Coffs Harbour. Byron Bay has a chilled out beach vibe and in winter there are less backpackers and more families. Be sure to take the kids on a walk to the lighthouse.

Queensland – Gold Coast

Add on an extra week after your Pacific Coast Drive and take some time to relax and explore the Gold Coast. Or fast track your trip, skip the drive and pick up some cheap airfares to the winter warmth of Queensland.

With the fun of the theme parks and myriad coastal activities, the Gold Coast is the ultimate family destination. Even in winter it’s warm enough for the kids to run wild on the coast and play in the sea. Be sure to check out Drax for Kids, if they are old enough to visit this gothic park without having nightmares. Glow Worm Caves are amazing and instructive too. Then experience dinner with a unique show the whole family will love at The Outback Spectacular. For a better deal on your family theme park packages visit themeparks.com.au

Instead of moping about the place waiting for summer to show its face make the most of the cooler months and your next holiday. Keep a lookout for the special deals advertised to pull in tourists at this, off peak, time of year and make the most of them. Winter is the time for serious family fun; so pack your bags, strap on some boots, pull on your hats and coats and get out there.

This post was provided by Anna Johnson, a busy mum of 2 boys, a freelance travel writer who still enjoys spending her time-off travelling with her family and loves sharing her experiences with others. Follow Anna on G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AnnaJohnsonOToole

10 Places to Take the Kids in the Second Half of 2013

Now that the first half of 2013 has passed (and how fast did it go?!), it’s time to start thinking about where you can take the kids on holiday in the second half of the year. Have you been on holiday already this year? If so, perhaps something relatively local will appeal. If you are yet to take a break, maybe something a little further from home is on the agenda. Regardless of the type of holiday you’re looking for, here are 10 great places to take the kids on holiday for the rest of 2013.

The Great Barrier Reef

1. The Great Barrier Reef
The large majority of kids have the same thing in common: they love swimming and they love wildlife! Where is the best to combine the two? The Great Barrier Reef. Known for its colourful coral and abundant wildlife, this is one of the most spectacular natural attractions on the planet. This is a great place for your first scuba lesson, and the kids will have great opportunities to learn such as those at Green Island. June to December is also the peak time for whale watching!

2. Magnetic Island
Magnetic Island rests just offshore of North Queensland and is a popular holiday destination because of its natural beauty, entertaining things to do, and picture-perfect weather – escape the cold! Besides the sailing, fishing, walking & water sports that you and the family can enjoy, the kids will especially love swimming in the sheltered waters of Horseshoe Bay. You won’t be able to wipe the smile off the kids’ faces!

3. Melbourne
Although it is winter in Melbourne, the city is at its vibrant best during this time of year. The AFL season is in full swing, with blockbuster games being held at the MCG every week. If the kids are new to the sport, they’ll be amazed at the huge crowds that gather every weekend. Head to Luna Park for a day of thrills, and be sure to catch the fireworks in the Docklands precinct that happen at 7:00pm every Friday night in July!

4. Surfers Paradise
Yes, it’s an oldie but a goodie! If you can manage to take the kids out of the school holidays period, then you’ll find the usual hustle & bustle of Surfers Paradise to be less than usual and far more relaxing. Clearly, the big drawcards for kids are the themeparks – Dreamworld, Seaworld, Movieworld and Wet’n’Wild. During peak periods, the lines to get into these parks can be enormous – head there during the quieter periods and spend the day laughing your way through the rides all day with the kids!

5. Ayers Rock
Locals in Alice Springs say that the best time to visit Ayers Rock is during September. Take the kids to see this natural wonder (the largest free standing monolith in the world!) and it will be sure to take their breath away. Make sure you climb Ayers Rock with them and when you get to the top, call someone special. Grandma would love a call from her grandkids while standing on top of Australia’s most iconic attraction!

6.  Mt Buller
Not fussed about the cold? Think the kids can handle it? Then why not take them to one of Victoria’s best ski resorts for families – Mt Buller. With over 300 hectares of ski fields and a huge variety of beginner trails, it is the perfect place to introduce the younger ones to the thrill of skiing or snowboarding. You’ll have them asking to come back every year!

7. Phillip Island
This popular tourist destination just 90 minutes from Melbourne is choc-full of kid’s activities! The big one is the Penguin Parade, where you can sit and watch hundreds of fairy penguins waddle their way up the beach to their sand burrows. A guaranteed kid-pleaser! Phillip Island also boasts a wildlife sanctuary, as well as a well renowned maze that will keep the kids busy trying to find a way out! Mini golf is also available with the maze

Dolphin at Monkey Mia

8. Monkey Mia
This world famous attraction in Western Australia should be high on the list of places to take the kids. It is famous for its dolphin interaction experience, where you get the chance to get up close and personal with wild dolphins. If you’re lucky your child will be picked to feed the dolphins as they come up into the shallow waters. An unforgettable experience that they will remember the res t of their lives!

9. Sydney
If you’re stuck for ideas and you want somewhere easy to visit, Sydney is the answer. Australia’s most popular tourist destination has an amazing variety of activities to keep the kids entertained. The Sydney Observatory will take your children on a journey to the moon and back, while the Sydney Aquarium features all-Australia sea life that will have them fascinated for hours. If your littlies have a favourite celebrity, visit Madame Tussauds and see a perfect wax version of their idol!

10. Port Arthur
Port Arthur in Tasmania is an historic site and is an important part of Australia’s history. Educate the kids with the amazing stories & events that have taken place here. A kids activity book is provided for the young ‘uns on arrival, to help them understand what has happened in the past and how it affects them today. There are many displays that allow children to interact – their knowledge of Australian history will double after a day at Port Arthur.

Authors note:
Matt Pruys manages the Holiday Ideas section for HomeAway.com.au, the world’s leading online holiday rental accommodation network.     

Taking family time out in Newcastle and still educating the kids

As far as successful family holidays go, the beautiful beachside town of Newcastle has to be one of Australia’s best kept secrets.  Easy to get to and situated close to both Lake Macquarie the Hunter Valley, and only a few hours from Sydney, this tranquil city is surrounded by natural beauty, world class beaches and packed with things to do including museums, dining, shopping and sight-seeing.

Better still, being Australia’s second oldest city, Newcastle is steeped in colonial history with plenty of attractions to educate and entertain the kids while you are away!

Fort Scratchley

•    Start with Fort Scratchley Historic Site, an imposing structure standing guard over Hunter River Estuary; it affords stunning views of the city and coastline.  Built over 200 years ago to guard the coastline from attack, kids can learn about Australia’s colourful military past on a fully guided tour of the site and underground tunnels.
•   Then head to the Convict Lumberyard, a historically significant site for convict workers and industry.  The site also contains archaeological evidence of indigenous life prior to 1804.
•    Get back to nature at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, a sanctuary for over 200 species of wildlife with activities including trail walking, canoeing, feed talks and a children’s discovery playground, there is plenty of fresh air and space for the kids to run around.
•    In the heart of town you will find a heritage listed police station converted into a museum and art space at the Lock-Up Cultural Centre.  The kids will love visiting cells occupied by some of Australia’s most notorious bank robbers.  With tours starting at $3 per head, it’s a steal.

Blackbutt Reserve

•    Also check out Newcastle Museum.  They have activities and exhibits targeted directly at children, including under-5s.  Check online for the latest events.

•    Pack lunch and head a short 6km out of town to Blackbutt Reserve to relax and unwind.  This vast nature reserve contains walking trails, picnic areas and open spaces.  Perfect for spotting animals.  Kids can also learn about local wildlife and ecosystems at the excellent Blackbutt wildlife exhibit.

Newcastle Ocean Baths

•    For something fun and when it’s time to stretch the legs, take a stroll up to Newcastle’s famous lighthouse to enjoy some spectacular views.  If it’s warm, bring your bathers for family fun at historic Newcastle Ocean Baths and Merewether Baths.  They are open all year round!

To really make your time in Newcastle easy and enjoyable, find centrally located accommodation.  There is plenty of accommodation that will suit your family and budget and the Newcastle Crowne Plaza is a good place to start if you are travelling with kids.  From here you can easily access all of Newcastle’s most interesting activities.  You can also take advantage of the free (yes, free!) inner city bus service to avoid the stress of bundling kids into a car every day.

Newcastle is definitely a surprising holiday destination for keeping the kids busy and entertained, while having some fun and learning.  Newcastle shares all of Sydney’s natural beauty, beaches and historical sites, but at one-tenth the size, it is easier to get around, more relaxing and cheaper – making it the perfect place to spend time with family.  It’s hard to believe that it is still a secret from anyone!  With so many interesting activities to stimulate the senses and blow off some steam – the whole family will be sure to enjoy a memorable holiday.

Carla C. Burton is a self-employed Travel and Hospitality writer with a BBA in Business Administration from Bond University.  Although a Gold Coast native, Carla moved to Melbourne in 2008 to further her writing career in the Travel industry.  Carla has become a top contributor to many Travel blogs world-wide and thoroughly enjoys the freedom that self-employment has provided her.  To find out more about Carla or to follow her other posts, follow her on Twitter @CarlaCBurton.

Top 5 Day and Weekend Trips from Sydney for Kids

Cheerful, cosmopolitan Sydney is a family-friendly town, with plenty to do for all ages. With popular attractions including the Sydney Aquarium, Luna Park, and Powerhouse Museum, there’s something to suit all ages and interests even on a rainy day.

Theoretically, you should never hear the dreaded words “I’m bored” come out of your child’s mouth. But as we all know, kids love to say this. Even with all that Sydney has to offer, sometimes a change of scenery can be just the ticket. Fortunately, you don’t have to go too far outside of the city to find some exciting and kid-friendly destinations. Beaches, wildlife parks, and historic train tours will be sure to keep boredom at bay!

1. Newcastle
Located a two-hour drive up the coast from Sydney, Newcastle is another family-oriented town with plenty of attractions. Go canoeing at the Wetland Centre or enjoy a picnic in one of the city’s numerous parks. The famous ocean baths have designated swimming areas for children, making them a safe place to splash about and enjoy the sunshine.

Loads of animals to see

2. Taronga Western Plains Zoo
The Taronga Zoo is one of Sydney’s star attractions, but the Taronga Western Plains Zoo too is a fantastic place to visit located 5-6 hours drive from Sydney near the town of Dubbo. The family can easily while away a day here getting up close with the native Australian and exotic animals alike. You can spot elephants, antelope, and other wild creatures as they roam and graze around this spacious wildlife park.

3. Wellington Caves
It will take you 4-5 hours to get out to Wellington Caves, so you’ll want to be sure that you leave early and pack plenty of snacks and distractions. (The Caves are fairly close to Dubbo Zoo so you could combine them with a trip here)

Once you get to the caves, kids will love spotting 800,000 year old fossils and going exploring in the massive Cathedral Cave.

Blue Mountains Trolley Tours

4. Blue Mountains Trolley Tour
There’s plenty to see and do in the Blue Mountains, with their fragrant eucalyptus and hiking trails. If you’re traveling with the kids, a fun way to get around is on the Trolley Tour. This allows you to hop on and off to see attractions of interest, from the Everglades Gardens to Gordon Falls. Be sure to hop off in Leura, which is home to a Toy and Railway Museum as well as the famous Candy Store. The Leura Candy Store is more than your average sweet shop, stocking sweeties from around the world.

5. Kiama Blowhole
Give the classic beach day a twist by taking the family to Kiama, a charming coastal town only 120 km to the south of Sydney. Although you’ll find plenty of expansive sunny beaches to let the kids run around on, the highlight here is the impressive Kiama Blowhole. Known as the largest blowhole in the world, the impressive sight of compressed waves churning up into the air through an underground hole provides natural entertainment for all ages. Grab an ice cream and watch this natural display before going for a swim.

The next time you need a change of pace, hop in and enjoy a day or weekend away from the usual Sydney sights!

A Trip to NSW’s Snowy Mountains Might Be Just the Thing for the Kids this Winter

A trip to NSW’s Snowy Mountains might be just the thing for the kids this winter.  Here are five things we think they will love about the Snowies:

Racing downhill really fast

By which we mean, of course, they’ll have a wealth of cool snow-related sports activities to choose from. If they’re a little too young to ski – and if you’re not keen on seeing them speeding down the slopes on a snowboard (just yet) – there’s always the option of tobogganing or tubing.  Perisher’s “Tubetown”, for example, offers a safe, well-organised environment for families to enjoy some fun in the snow.

Of the four main Snowy Mountains Winter Resorts, however, the Selwyn Snowfields actively caters for families. It offers gentler slopes, family-friendly holiday packages, and a Snow Sports School which caters for children as young as 18 months. It’s also the perfect place to start skiing if you’re a parent who’s just as new to it as your kids!

Trekking

If you’re looking for some quality family time away from the hectic pace of the Ski-Resorts, trekking in specially-made “snow-shoes” is a great alternative. They’ll get some fresh air and fitness while discovering the beauty of the snowy wilderness.

You’ll find a variety of guided snow-shoeing family adventures out there and – unlike skiing – they don’t require any previous skill or experience.  And, of course, like most snow-related activities it’s a terrific way to wear them out really quickly!

Getting warm

Spent a big tiring day on the slopes? Well, the Snowy Mountains offers plenty of accommodation to rest weary legs. And there’s nothing better than coming in from the cold and kicking back in front of an open log fire or enjoying a hearty meal.

If the big resorts don’t take your fancy then you might choose to rent out a self-contained holiday house, cottage or cabin for an unforgettable family holiday experience. Your options are easily accessed on-line – those looking for accommodation with access to the Selwyn Snowfields, for example, should visit the Snowy Mountains Holiday Centre.

Learning

Okay, in theory “education” is probably not the way to get the kids excited about their holiday – but in practice there’s plenty of scope for fun in the Snowies where they’ll be able to learn stuff.

Aside from gaining confidence and skills on the snow-fields through the various ski-schools on offer, you will also be able to check out one of the great engineering marvels of the world – the Snowy Hydro-Electric Scheme. They’ll find the scale of it (seven power stations, two of which are underground, 16 major dams and over 140 kilometres of trans-mountain tunnels) really cool – and the stories behind this incredible exercise in national building very inspiring. Check out the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre in Cooma for a state-of-the-art learning experience.

Adventure

You can promise them ADVENTURE to be had in the Snowies – and plenty of it.  Of course, strapping on the skis for the first time and taking off down the slopes is an obvious way to get the ol’ adrenaline charged, but there’s an ample amount of other cool stuff on offer. From riding horses to riding segways, cross-country skiing through a pristine snowy world, or just taking off on a chairlift up the side of a mountain – there are loads of mind-blowingly new experiences to give them. Or, if they prefer, they can just play in the snow!

Head over to VisitNSW.com for more great tips on the Snowy Mountains including great tips on what to do and where to stay in Thredbo and Perisher.

Family Friendly Holiday in Mollymook

Have you ever been to Mollymook Beach? This is easily the coastal paradise of the South Coast of New South Wales. Mollymook is not only an ideal spot for a relaxing holiday but an amazing family friendly beachside suburb to holiday with your kids. Then if you are seeking more adventure and activities, Mollymook offers you fun times all year round.

Mollymook is just three hour drive south of Sydney and circa one and a half hours from Canberra. Whether you want to holiday during a weekend or wanting to stay for a longer stay, there are plenty of Mollymook accommodation to fit any budget. For those of you who want to explore the area, the adjoining suburbs are equally beautiful. The adjoining suburb Narrawallee also offer a beautiful beach, Milton offers quaint boutiques, antique shops and many inviting outdoor cafes and restaurants. We always felt Milton resonates the ambience of a small English village. Drive further south and you reach Ulladulla which offers a picture perfect harbour. We have wandered around browsing through the gift shops and enjoyed the fresh seafood served adjacent to the harbour.

On school holidays and most public holidays the Mollymook Surf Club lifesavers will watch you when you take a dip. When our kids were young they have spend hours in the water with their boogie boards. We spent many enjoyable walks up and down the golden sandy beach and watched the older children surfing while a few fishing enthusiasts throw a line expecting a lucky catch. There are plenty of fish in Mollymook bay and very often you see amateurs fishing from the beach as well as from the rocks along the water’s edge.

We have enjoyed “fish & chips” served in the seaside cafes and very often sat on the beach relaxed and enjoyed the breathtaking views of Mollymook beach. After a bite we have taken a stroll to the southern end of Mollymook beach which offers a natural pool surrounded by a protective rock formation. This tidal pool famously known as the “Bogey Hole” is filled with shallow waters an ideal spot for young families. We as parents have taken a picnic hamper along and read a book while the kids splash around in this safe, natural pool.

Mollymook is a paradise not only for beach lovers. It is the home of two famous public Golf courses. The Hill Top Golf Club offers a 18 hole champion golf course amidst a scenic background whilst the seaside golf course along Mollymook Beach is a nine hole course patronised by amateurs, teenagers and professionals seeking a relaxed round of golf.  Apart from the enjoyable game of golf the view along the course is just breathtaking.

It is worth a mentioning the nine hole golf club also offers a bistro style restaurant open from breakfast to dinner. It is family friendly and we have enjoyed many meals with the family when not in a mood to cook a meal when on holiday.

The grassy reserve adjacent to the beach is an ideal place if you want to have a picnic, read the papers or just relax gazing out over the beach and ocean. There are picnic tables and barbeque facilities in this area.  If you are holidaying with “tiny tots”, there is a playground  with play equipment adjacent to the Mollymook Surf Lifesaving Clubhouse.

If you are an experienced diver, the northern end of Mollymook beach off Bannister Head is a favourite diving spot. During summer our children have signed up for beginner surf lessons which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Mollymook Bay is home to a pod of bottlenose dolphins. On many occasions we have enjoyed watching these dolphins play in the waters of Mollymook Beach to catch a wave amongst the swimmers and surfers. Whales are often spotted during migration seasons as they make their way up north along the east coast.

Beautiful Mollymook Beach is a must visit coastal paradise. Whether you are looking for relaxation, wanting to surf, kayak, play a round of golf, have some fresh fish and chips in one of the waterfront cafes or stroll around the adjoining suburbs like Milton, Ulladulla, Burrill Lake and Tabourie Lake and enjoy the nature and the scenic beauty, a holiday in Mollymook area will offer you all these and more.  If planning to visit Mollymook and looking for Mollymook accommodation, we invite you to consider staying in Breeze In Mollymook which is a popular holiday rental.

Sydney Taronga Zoo

Our Trip to Taronga Zoo

Even though it was quite an overcast, rainy sort of day, we decided to head Taronga Zoo in Sydney. The parking is great – undercover and easy to access and not far from the zoo’s entrance. We made our way through the gates and the rain stopped so we caught our first of many glimpses of the famous harbour, Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge before coming across the giraffe enclosure. These must be some of the luckiest animals in the world with their million dollar views. There was a good talk all about them which we all enjoyed before we made our way to the seal show. This was a highlight of the zoo as the seals did amazing tricks, made exciting noises and drenched a few unsuspecting volunteers which everyone found funny.

We took our time with the rest of the zoo meandering slowly down to the harbour along very nice well-signposted paths. Everything is very stroller friendly and there are ample places for picnics if you choose to take one. There are also shops stocking food and souvenirs but they are not in your face and easy to avoid if you have kids like ours who want everything they see… Once we got right down to the harbour where the ferry drops people off, we were able to catch the free cable car all the way back up to the entrance, which was a bonus as none of us felt like the long trek back up the hill. The cable car is also a great way to see the zoo from above and reminisce about what you enjoyed the most… Altogether a lovely day out in Sydney!

The above post is courtesy of Teresa Holding. Teresa is a busy mother of three.

Camping at Sandy Creek Qld- Review

My husband and I have been wanting to do real camping with the children now that they are a bit older and more independent.  Our first excursion was at Sandy Creek Campground about an hour and a half drive from Brisbane between Woodford and Kilcoy.  The drive up was easy and quite quick and we were  pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it was.  Nestled between the hills, the scenery was gorgeous.  We set up tents next to the creek which was not very deep, nor fast flowing.  We let the children wander and jump on the rocks and splash in the creek, not fearing being swept away.  They caught tadpoles, found nests of fish eggs, saw catfish (and a few water spiders).  I was woken at about 5:30 one morning by my 6 year old son so excited at having seen a wallaby.

About a 5 minute walk from the campground on the site was was the ‘Swiminole’ that was calm but a bit deeper for some real, get all-wet fun for the children and the adults.  The kids all jumped off the rocks which were about a meter high into the swimming hole.  Even the youngest child in our group, who was 4 years old, could easily touch the bottom and have his head above water.

The wide open spaces were perfect for soccer games and Frisbee tossing.  And where we pitched our tent, there was a swing that the children fought over frequently.

There is an amenities block which has showers, toilets, sinks, and mirrors.  While the showers don’t have the best water pressure, it’s wonderful to have a quick rinse and look up at the sky while doing so.  The amenities block is very clean as the owners, Brian and Narelle, come check on them several times a day.  They wave and say good day as they drive by and may stop for a quick chat, but were never intrusive.  They did come and speak to one of the groups next to ours about their loud music too late in to the night which the rest of us campers appreciated!

The kids thought that our first ‘pitch a tent and sleep on the ground’ experience was ‘the best holiday ever!’ and can’t wait to go back.  We will definitely make a return trip to Sandy Creek!

 

 

Family Friendly Accomodation Review – Cremorne Point, Sydney

Cremorne Point Manor

Here’s an accommodation idea for families travelling to Sydney who’d like to avoid the madding mid-city crowds.

Take a look at the family suite at Cremorne Point Manor and you just might be delighted.

Well set up for families

The family suite has two rooms, one with a queen bed and the other with bunks and a single. There’s one ensuite bathroom and a TV in each room, plus a fridge and tea and coffee making facilities.

The décor is cute, with some eye-catching art on the walls. But best of all, this is one of the most scenic parts of Sydney and a bit of a well-kept secret.

Cremorne Point Manor
This 4-star guest house has been extensively renovated and aims to be a real home away from home. Families are welcome, there are high chairs in the breakfast room and a hard floor. So much better than carpet when you have kids and food combined in my experience.

If you come by car, there is free street parking, very rare for a Sydney hotel.

Minutes by ferry to the City

You can catch the ferry in and enjoy the hubbub of Darling Harbour and all the city delights. But to return to the tranquility of Cremorne Point and the family-friendly atmosphere of this hotel would make a stay much more relaxing.

Cremorne Point
On the north side of the Harbour, Cremorne Point is a long peninsula. There are many grand old buildings here, and spectacular views of the harbour, the city and out to the heads from the Point.

Spectacular views

Best of all, the entire foreshore is reserve, and there is a beautiful walk all around the Point where you can enjoy the multi-million dollar views without spending a cent.

Ferries can take you over to the city in just 9 minutes, and they are rather glorious minutes as the views and vistas are so beautiful.

MacCallum Pool

But wait, there’s more on the Point for families to enjoy.

MacCallum Pool

This ocean baths lies on the west side of Cremorne Point and really is one of Sydney’s hidden jewels. It is completely free to use and has brilliant views. There are shallow areas where little kids can splash, parents and older siblings might enjoy doing a few laps.

Cremorne Point Playground

Cremorne Point Playground
There’s an excellent playground at the Point. It was being re-done when these photos were taken, but you will get the idea.  The playground has seats, plenty shade, toilets alongside and great equipment. It isn’t at all fenced though and the water is very close by so little children need to be watched very closely.

Cremorne Point Lighthouse
This is a side trip for adults and older children only. Follow the path past the playground and you get to the point of the Point, then go down some rough stone steps and then down a ladder and you are right out at the Lighthouse. This is a great spot for fishing, and just for sitting watching the nautical world go by.

The above post is courtesy of Seana Smith. Seana was born and brought up in Scotland. She became a passionate fulltime Sydneysider 14 years ago when she turned up with her husband and her first son.  Three more children came along to add further chaos.

Seana’s first book was ‘Sydney For Under Fives’ now in its third edition. Seana blogs at: Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel. Her latest book is ‘Sydney’s Best Beaches For Kids.’

Seana loves sharing her knowledge of Sydney’s best places for families. Drop in anytime!

Beach your family winter blues

The Boat Shed and Cafe

Winter holidays provide a great reason to get away with the family, and while it may be too chilly (for some!) for a dip in the water, the coast is just as exciting as in summer time. This chilly season, Sundowner Tiona’s Tourist Park is offering a ‘Family Fun Getaway’ package as the perfect oasis to experience the best of winter and escape the city life!

Rug up with the troops and experience the beauty of Tiona, a stone’s throw from Pacific Palms, on the spectacular Mid North Coast. This slice of coastal heaven is situated between the pristine Seven Mile beach and the magnificent Wallis Lake, providing many activities for the whole family.

Set within 26 hectares of lush rainforest, Sundowner Tiona Tourist Park is now in close proximity to some fantastic restaurants, most specialising in fresh produce. The area has really come along way in terms of cuisine availability and variety, providing another reason to fall in love with the region. Pacific Palms has a mixture of fine dining, cafe-style options and cute pubs, all unique with the cosy charm you hope to find away from the metropolitan city life.

Visiting the seaside shouldn’t be restricted to the summer seasons, as families often stick to the sun and surf, missing out on other amazing coastal experiences. You won’t be stuck for ways to entertain yourself or the kids, with horse riding, bushwalking, and mountain bike riding or canoeing – all great ways to get active and enjoy the picturesque scenery.

Cottage

The ‘Family Fun Getaway’ package includes four nights in a quaint and comfortable Spa Cottage where the family will experience diverse and stunning surroundings. Suitable for two adults and two kids, on arrival enjoy a local cheese and wine platter, with a party pack provided for the kids to keep them entertained when indoors. An added bonus is no one is pushing you out the door on your return home, with a late checkout especially for the winter season helping to ease off the chill.

This locale is more foodie and fun-filled than ever, with many activities best enjoyed in the cooler months. And, at Sundowner Tiona Tourist Park you are guaranteed relaxation lake and beachside with the kids… without breaking the budget.

Sundowner Holidays Specials for Winter include:

Family Fun getaway package
Just $750- saving $95
Includes

  • 4 nights in Spa cottage for 2 adults 2 children
  • Cheese and wine on arrival
  • A party pack for the kids
  • Secret Sundowner Tiona treasure map
  • Late check out
  • An hour free canoe or paddle boat hire (not valid Mon/Tues)

It is now time for Winter holiday planning, so for further information on the Easter Family deal log onto www.sundownerholidays.com or call 1800 636 452.

Getting there
The Sundowner Tiona Tourist Park is located on the Lakes Way, Pacific Palms. Only a three-hour drive from Sydney or an easy drive on the Pacific Highway if you are heading south from Port Macquarie or Brisbane. Alternatively fly to Taree or Newcastle airport.