8 Jan 2018
No more “I’m bored!” this summer. Island adventures, movies under the stars, flying through the trees, and more – without even leaving good ol’ Oz.
While the sun is living its best life, discover our fantastic seasonal activities to keep the young’ns sprightly and smiling.
Snorkel with finned friends
Prepare for the grooviest rainbow you have ever seen – under the sea! When you’re underwater, there’s a whole world to explore with creatures of all shapes and sizes swimming beside you. Without the hassle of lugging and paying for heavy equipment, snorkelling is an affordable way to experience adventure. Come face-to-face with a leaf scorpion fish at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve in Byron Bay, follow the 100m snorkelling trail in the Tinderbox Marine Nature Reserve in Tasmania, or say g’day to the nudibranch critters of Rottnest Island’s North Point.
Tick off an Australian natural wonder
Image: The Bungle Bungle Range, Purnululu National Park; Credit: Jewels Lynch Photography
While folks might scratch their heads overseas wondering why any of their friends would travel two days to go to a country of deadly snakes and spiders abound, we know why they do. Natural phenomena freckle and line this bold country – coral reefs, pink lakes, and billabongs. How about fly over the sandstone domes of the Bungle Bungle Range in the Kimberley? If you like two feet on the ground, peer out over to the 12 Apostles: the massive limestone structures that emerge from the water off the coast of the Great Ocean Road. (Notable mentions: Murphy’s Haystacks in South Australia and Fraser Island off the Queensland coast are a couple of beauties to venture out to).
Head to the markets and make a psychedelic fruit salad
Image: Farm Gate Market; Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Poon Wai Nang
Dozens of different flavours of sweet and we don’t feel a lick of guilt. Going to a farmers market in summer is what we imagine living in a kaleidoscope would be like. The Adelaide Showground has a farmers market with fresh produce from across the region (make sure to dice up a couple of the Riverland’s iconic stonefruit into your brekkie). Farm Gate Market in Hobart is all Tassie grown and loved, with produced plucked straight from the very fields of the Apple Isle. But if you didn’t try the salty pistachio sourdough donuts, did you even go to Farm Gate? Focus! We’re here for the fruit. In January, the black cherries are the treasure of the Tamar Valley. Just whisk those in with mangoes, pineapple, strawberries, passionfruit, and all of the other fruit you grab for the feast.
Go to a kid-friendly festival
Image: WOMADelaide; Credit: Arts Project Australia & Tony Lewis
Remember the good old days of being out on the grass, listening to your favourite bands with your mates? The years of festivals aren’t over – just reconsidered. Trees dangling with fairy lights and views of the Murray River, the Riverboats Music Festival is the premier summer shindig in the Echuca-Moama. The event, with paddlesteamers floating on by, is a laidback weekend of food, music, and plenty of dancing. Or, Australia’s largest free music festival in St Kilda, Victoria includes a fantastic line-up of Aussie talent and a KidZone with entertainment all day long. Boogie in the dance zone or head to the carnival rides (approved for both kids and adults). For those a bit further west, South Australia’s WOMADelaide is a four-day world music festival held in the lush Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Think international eats, performers from every corner of the globe, and dance workshops.
Wake up to the kookaburras in your glamping tent
Getting back to basics in a pitched tent can be fun…until it rains…or it’s 40 degrees. Don’t wake up with your head in the ceiling - give glamping a go. Glamping at our Byron Bay, New South Wales park offers the basic amenities you would want for a holiday (even air-conditioning), but with tented walls and the kookaburras singing behind you. Our holiday parks in Harrington and Dubbo in New South Wales also offer their own safari tent accommodation. The simple life, without needing to brave the elements.
Escape to an island
Image: Cradle Mountain Canyons; Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett
Scrolling through social media, we often see photos of people lounging around on tropical islands in far-away places. Why do the long hike overseas when you can stay in Oz for the same experience? Discover a hideaway in the Southern Great Barrier Reef at Great Keppel Island. The island is the ultimate place for play: wake-boarding, tubing, swimming, and diving. Spend an afternoon with a bird book in one hand, looking up at the trees with your kids to meet & greet all of the feathered creatures that call Keppel home. If tanning and beach time aren’t for you, Tasmania provides a whole host of rugged adventures in nature. Try a canyoning tour in Cradle Mountain or white water rafting on the Mersey River. Not far enough? Travel up to northwest WA. The Mackerel Islands off the coast of Onslow is magnificent isolation in a Pilbara paradise. No distractions, just relaxation and fishing.
Play like Tomic
With eyes glued to the Australian Open, every man and his dog start convincing themselves they could have been in the big time had they really put their mind to it. Live your wildest dreams this summer, grab your Gatorade, and bring out the rackets to play doubles with the family. Take advantage of the glorious sun and the heat. Some of our holiday parks have tennis courts, but most major towns and cities will have courts available to use for free or at a small cost. That backspin will be legendary come spring.
Try an outdoor science experiment
Feel like a mad scientist and try simple experiments outside. If you’re near the beach try making a sand volcano and watch it erupt! With baking soda and vinegar, the ingredients act together as a lava erupting from the core. WOAH. Or, watch your shadow move around you like Peter Pan with a human sundial science experiment.
Go for a saunter with your own Trigger
Swing yourself onto the back of a horse and go for a trail ride. With Horseabout Tours in Forster-Tuncurry in New South Wales, experience a sunrise, sunset or moonlight ride through beach and bush. The Snowy Mountains in New South Wales have tours through wildflowers, or if you’re out west you can go to the Forge Farm Riding School outside of Perth for trail and pony rides (but it may convince them that they really do want a pony and now).
Watch the latest flicks in the moonlight
A picnic blanket for four and a backpack of snacks, you’re ready for a night under the stars to watch a movie on the big screen. Drive-ins are a relic of the 1950s, and are still operating all over the country. You and your honey can cosy up in the front seat and stay up past 9pm. With settings like the Adelaide Botanic Gardens or Sydney Harbour, Moonlight Cinemas are a spectacular experience to have with family and friends. Sitting out in the open air on a balmy summer evening feels like bliss.
Find your nearest drive-in here: Drive-In Locations
Find your nearest Moonlight Cinema here: Moonlight Cinema Locations
Busy the kids with a few hours of splash and dash! There are free outdoor waterplay areas around Australia including Wetside Water Education Park in Hervey Bay, Queensland; Big Wedgie inflatable waterslide in Glenelg, South Australia; Ron Barassi Snr Park in Melbourne; or Rainbow Waters in Perth. Sometimes the best things in life come for free and it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to have fun and stay cool in the summer. If you’re staying at one of these Discovery Parks (click here), you’re able to use their waterparks for free. It’s all about splashing out this summer.
Turn play inside, out. Exploring and playing in the outdoors is an invaluable part of summer holidays. Being outside with their friends can provide them with an appreciation for their natural environment. From spotting as many possums as you can to packing a picnic breakfast and watching the sunrise, Nature Play SA have a few fantastic ideas up their sleeves on the kinds of games you can play with your kids this summer (or spring, winter, and autumn): click here
Nature playgrounds are also a chance for kids to get dirty and burn off some energy. With nature-inspired equipment and setting, these spaces offer an alternative to your traditional public playground. Test out Discovery Parks – Robe or Eaton Nature Playground near Bunbury, WA.
Cycling trails here, there, everywhere
Image: Shared Coastal Pathway, Ballina; Credit: Destination NSW
Walking is very last year. Hop on a bike and explore the town. Most urban and regional centres have established networks of cycling trails for families with little ones through to the lycra army. On a bike, you’ll be able to cover more ground but still breathe in the fresh air and feel the sunshine. Want some inspiration? For some of the best cycling trails in every state, click here: cycling trails
Through the trees like monkeys!
Have you ever heard or seen anyone speed down a zipline? Judging by the the look on their faces and the “woo”-ing – you know it’s a total thrill. It may seem like something sold to the adrenaline junkies, but we think it’s a top-notch chance to fly like a lorikeet. It helps those who are shy come out of their shell a bit. It doesn’t require a high level of fitness, but can still offer enough of a challenge to make it fun. Forest Adventures South West in Busselton, WA, Hollybank Treetops Adventure Park in Launceston, Tasmania, and TreeTop Adventure Park on the Central Coast of New South Wales all offer high ropes courses with that unbeatable birds eye view.
Book your holiday at Discovery Parks, and be the superhero that saved summer.