Why not forgo traditional accommodation and try one of these luxe resort holiday parks?
Why not forgo traditional accommodation and try one of these luxe resort holiday parks?
Forget squeaky-clean hotel lobbies and menu items you can’t pronounce. These 5-star-worthy holiday parks are integrating the resort experience with some of Australia’s most beautiful locales at a family-friendly price tag. Not only are they located in some of Australia’s most famous natural landscapes, they offer onsite luxuries that cater for all ages. From water slides and supervised kids’ clubs to tasty onsite dining and day spas, the creature comforts at these properties take family holidays to another level.
Lush hinterland dotted with lakes, inlets and beaches are the bragging rights of the NSW Central Coast. From the mouth of the Hawkesbury River to south of Newcastle, families are spoiled for choice with surfing villages such as Ettalong Beach and Avoca Beach balanced out by buzzing towns like Gosford and Terrigal. Alternatively, get hands-on with the wildlife at the Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park, cruise around Avoca Lake on a pedal boat with Aquafun and take to the trees at the TreeTop Adventure Park.
There are over 120 challenges, including 21 flying foxes. At the heart of it all lies NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Park at Umina Beach, where living up to its namesake is taken very seriously. Aside from absolute beachfront accommodation, including the Seabreeze Spa Villas featuring room to sleep eight, a luxurious oval spa bath and dining room, the Splash Away Bay Water Park ensures the action continues, with a big splash bucket, ground spray and sea creatures to play. Best of all? You might be lucky enough to spot Coral, the real-life mermaid that occasionally emerges from the big blue to meet the children at the park.
It’s double the fun at BIG4 North Star Holiday Resort, perfectly positioned to enjoy the offerings of both Tweed Heads and Byron Bay. While the former caters for all your sub-tropical surfing needs, the latter lays on culture and natural beauty in spades. Australia’s easternmost town, Byron Bay, is a stylish, artistic and, most of all, relaxed town, set against a stunning backdrop of green volcanic hills and mesmerising blue water.
Back at your holiday park paradise, there are enough unique activities to keep you busy for days, including Sammy’s Adventure Lagoon, a multi-level water park with over 65 interactive features such as Australia’s first water piano; the Seascape Leisure Centre, an adults’ retreat offering hair, beauty and massage services, in addition to a lap pool, spas, sauna and gymnasium; and the Marine Environment Field Study and Resource Centre, a state-of-the-art teaching centre that enlightens guests on the wonders of the ocean. Families can’t go past the two-storey, three-bedroom Tuscany Villas. These modern sanctuaries offer spacious upstairs and downstairs living areas as well as a full kitchen, dishwasher, laundry and barbecue area – all the comforts of home.
Coffs Coast is a treasure trove of beaches, natural beauty, and, of course, bananas. To name every family-friendly attraction would make for a very long checklist, but must-sees include the famous yellow fruit in all its oversized glory at The Big Banana, not to mention the onsite mini-golf and toboggan; the tranquil Dorrigo National Park, experienced at a height on the Skywalk; dolphin encounters at Dolphin Marine Magic; and the Butterfly House, found in the sleepy seaside town of Sawtell.
If you choose to make the NRMA Darlington Beach Holiday Park your base, you’ll also have the added bonus of a resort pool complex with two waterslides, two giant jumping pillows and a BMX track in your backyard, just to name a few of the great family-friendly facilities. On your explorations of the park’s peaceful grounds, there’s a good chance you’ll also encounter kangaroos, ducks, possums, black cockatoos and wallabies. One of the best vantage points to take in the beauty of the park is the verandah of the Lagoon Spa Villa, which overlooks an internal lagoon blanketed in lily pads. Inside you’ll find a spa bath and fully self-contained facilities.
To experience the ‘worlds’ of the Gold Coast is a rite of passage for every Australian kid. Dreamworld, Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild and the various other theme parks, combined with the Gold Coast’s glorious golden beaches and the lush Gondwanan rainforest of the Hinterland, provide the essential ingredients for fail-proof family holiday fun. The NRMA Treasure Island Holiday at Biggera Waters, just seven kilometres north of cosmopolitan Surfers Paradise, is the ideal base from which families can get their kicks.
The award-winning park offers the choice of three swimming pools – including one with a water slide and separate kids’ water play area – plus a pirate-themed mini-golf course and a school holidays kids’ activity programme. For the sake of family balance, spend a day cruising the surrounding estuaries by boat, allowing yourself to feel utterly glamorous while you do so. This is made even easier when your accommodation at the NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park is one of its spacious two-storey Townhouse Riverside Villas, which are ideal for families.
The 74 Whitsunday Islands nestled between Queensland’s north-east coast and the Great Barrier Reef are one of Australia’s greatest holiday attractions and they’re right on your doorstep at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort. Take a walk along the boardwalk or spend the day splashing about with the kids in Airlie Beach’s impressive patrolled man-made lagoon, which is right on the water. Snorkel, scuba dive or explore the magnificent reef by seaplane or helicopter before returning to a holiday park that will leave an equally big impression with its 10 (plus) hectares of fun.
From the enormous heated lagoon pool and water slides, tennis court, 18-hole mini-golf to the pedal karts, adventure playground, outdoor movie screen and more, this park is out of the ordinary. For the ultimate in holiday park luxe, opt for a poolside massage while the little ones enjoy the Kids’ Club, the only mainland resort in the Whitsundays to offer one (operates three times weekly during school holidays). The sleek, tropical-inspired decor in the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, fitted with all the necessary mod cons, are an instant mood-booster and guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit.
Cairns is celebrated as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree, meaning you can be sharing the sea with Nemo one day and absorbing the sights and smells of Australia’s stunning tropical rainforest the next. The city itself was once a sleepy sugar-milling town but has emerged as a family hot spot, the centerpiece of which is the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon and Muddy’s Playground. There are plenty of wildlife attractions nearby and Jungle Surfing through the treetops for the more adventurous.
The perfect family accommodation is located just seven minutes from the heart of Cairns at Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort. Here, the star attractions contribute to the resort’s reputation as kid-central. There is the SPLASH Waterpark, complete with play equipment and jumbo tipping bucket, and the NEOS Interactive Play Hub, combining electronic games with aerobic exercise. Those with a competitive streak may opt to try their hand at badminton, beach volleyball or tennis instead. For front-row seats, book the Sun Lagoon Condos with three bedrooms, full kitchen, spa bath and separate shower and patio with barbecue, adjacent to the Sun Lagoon Pool.
Melbourne is often hailed as Australia’s city of sport, with an exciting calendar of events to satisfy fanatics year-round. At the top of your bucket list sits the MCG, where you can not only cheer on the Aussies to victory in a Test cricket match and barrack for your AFL team, but also peruse our nation’s sporting history at the National Sports Museum. Or watch the Australian Open and other cultural events at Rod Laver Arena.
Of course, there are all the other must-sees, including countless interactive museums, exhilarating outdoor adventures, adrenaline-pumping thrills at Luna Park, and the heights of Eureka Skydeck 88 to scale as well as some of Australia’s best wildlife parks and zoos to add to the family to-do list. The Melbourne BIG4 Holiday Park is your gateway to all of the above, with a fair share of its own impressive attractions. Take, for example, the solar-heated swimming pool, expansive Adventure Playground and comfortable family accommodation such as the three-bedroom Deluxe Villa, which comes with a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living spaces and entertainment including free in-house movies.
The experience of history repeating itself before your very eyes cannot be beaten, particularly when it is a past as fascinating as Ballarat’s. Sovereign Hill is a remarkable reincarnation of early Australian history during the time of the gold rush. Today, you can still strike it rich, with gold panning and an underground mine tour, gobble traditional boiled lollies made with historical equipment, and marvel at the sound and light spectacular, ‘Blood on the Southern Cross’.
You can dive into the action here and at other iconic Ballarat attractions such as Kryal Castle and the Ballarat Wildlife Park from the BIG4 Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park, which offers a smorgasbord of fun activities for both kids and parents. A solar-heated swimming pool and indoor heated spa let you linger longer in the water, while the adventure playground, tots playground, go karts and school holiday kids’ club will keep the little ones happy all year around. Accommodation will exceed expectations with well-appointed and spacious two-bedroom spa cottages and three-bedroom villas that sleep up to seven.
Home to Australia’s largest inland network of waterways, Lakes Entrance is a popular family holiday spot in beautiful Gippsland, with plenty for families to enjoy. Explore Buchan Caves, or cycle the Lakes Entrance Foreshore, a flat and easy ride that’s great for kids and an idyllic way to reach Ninety Mile Beach, one of the longest and most beautiful stretches of sand in the world. Take to the lakes for a spot of fishing, a leisurely cruise, or to enjoy the huge range of water-based activities.
The ideally located Eastern Beach Holiday Park, set by the water, is a fantastic base to explore Victoria’s Gippsland region. To keep families connected, guests are treated to free Wi-Fi hotspots and Foxtel in villas. Of course, there’s also classic holiday park fun including a children’s playground, pedal go-karts and a heated swimming pool for a true resort experience. Stay in a 4.5-star two-bedroom Waterview Deluxe Villa. Within walking distance to the park’s central facilities, these villas come with indoor and outdoor living spaces including a verandah with a barbecue and outdoor setting, ideal for dining with family and friends.
If there’s one place that has the residents of South Australia buzzing in 2016 it’s Adelaide Shores, home to the recently unveiled MegaAdventure Aerial Park, the first of its kind in Australia. The 26-metre-high structure features 50 aerial crossings, scramble nets, rope bridges, beams, swings, log steps, aerial surfboards and even Adelaide wine barrel steps. There’s also the Skate and BMX Park, a marina for exploring the area by water, mini-golf and a great Kids’ Zone.
Located in West Beach, the BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park is 15 minutes from the heart of the CBD, placing families within easy reach of historical and cultural gems while also tempting you with a brand-new resort-style lagoon pool, Splash Zone Water Park, age-appropriate play areas, playground, free bicycles for hire and a jumping pillow. Try your hand at glamping on a shoestring in an Eco Tent that sleeps up to four, or make yourself at home in the Seaspray Cabin with outdoor deck, dining area and proximity to the sand dunes.
Adelaide is awash with family fun. There’s the chocolatey goodness of Haigh’s Chocolate Factory, train spotting at the National Railway Museum, and the panda-powered Adelaide Zoo. For more hands-on fun, try petting sharks at Port Adelaide’s Sea Horse Farm or kids’ cooking classes every Sunday at the Adelaide Showground’s Farmers Market Kids’ Club. Things get wilder, and wetter, at The Beach House, an indoor theme park with wild water rides and old-fashioned fairground fun.
Centrally located Marion Holiday Park offers first-class facilities and features to make a memorable stay for all, including loads of fun stuff. What resort-style holiday park would be complete without a water park? Spend hours splashing in the water or float peacefully in the 45-metre Lagoon Pool or indoor heated pool; toddlers even get their own pool. In addition, families can make use of Adelaide’s only indoor tennis court, games room, playgrounds and arcade games. Embrace luxury with one of the poolside apartments; choose from upstairs, downstairs or have the entire apartment to yourself. If you’re after a bit of quiet, the Retreats offer privacy and a big deck from which to view your creek setting.
Busselton is a popular family holiday spot with spectacular beaches and wildflowerstrewn bushland surrounds. The heritage-listed Busselton Jetty, which extends almost two kilometres into beautiful Geographe Bay, is considered one of the best dive jetties in the world. Catch the jetty train to the underwater observatory to see the colourful world below without getting wet. Get up close and personal at the Dolphin Discovery Centre where wild dolphins come to interact with visitors or head out on the bay for a Dolphin Eco Cruise.
The place to stay is the Mandalay Holiday Resort & Tourist Park, where kids will race straight to the rainbow water slide. With another heated pool featuring a shallow beach, there are options for everyone, right down to the littlest kiddies. On dry land, there are three adventure playgrounds, a giant jumping pillow and a games room so families can play a game of pool or table tennis and test their skills against one another. Older children and adults can hire bikes and take the four-kilometre track to town along the beach. Mandalay’s two- and three-bedroom accommodations are perfect for families, big and small.
For more than half a century, bottlenose dolphins have swum in the shallows of Monkey Mia, a World Heritage Landmark situated in the Shark Bay Marine Park 900 kilometres north of Perth. Daily encounters (it’s the only place in the country where dolphins visit daily rather than seasonally) with these incredibly intelligent mammals are supervised by rangers from the Department of Parks and Wildlife, and join a full line-up of activities that also includes Aboriginal Cultural Walks, glass-bottom boating, snorkelling, four-wheel driving and camel riding along the beach.
When it is time to call it a day, relax in a Family Garden View Room at the Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort. Catering for broods of all sizes, the rooms sleep up to eight and offer ample privacy, though they fall within 100 metres of the renowned dolphin beach and those friendly dolphins. The resort offers additional facilities for families including restaurants and bars, free barbecue facilities and, if you’ve got time after all the adventuring, a swimming pool, hot tub, giant chess and a tennis court.
The scenery along the Kimberley Coast is even better when enjoyed with family from the comfort...Read More
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