Sunshine Coast Easter fun – something for everyone

If you are lucky enough to be on the Sunshine Coast this Easter, there are a number of activities planned, with something on offer for the whole family.

The Kenilworth Cheese, Wine and Food Festival is on Easter Saturday April 19 – a free event that provides a great reason for indulging in the produce of the Mary Valley.

Kenilworth Cheese, Wine and Food Festival

Kenilworth Cheese, Wine and Food Festival

This year is the 25th anniversary of cheese making in Kenilworth, and along with cheese and wine tastings all day, there will be special activities for children, including the “Cheester Egg Hunt”.

There will also be a cheese rolling competition, followed by a cooking demonstration by Chef Peter Wolfe of Cedar Creek Farm Bush Foods, who will show how to infuse native bushfood flavours with Asian and European cuisines.There will be a wide variety of food outlets, as well as local wineries showcasing their produce.

On Easter Sunday, Maroochydore will be transformed into a multicultural mecca as part of the Ocean Street World Festival, which will include local Kabi Kabi dancers, Greek folk singers, a Latino rock band and North African drummers – as well as cuisine from all corners of the globe.

Lake Kawana will be another ‘hot spot’ during the Easter break, with the 2014 Australian Dragon Boat Championships. Hundreds of competitors from across the country will take to the lake in teams of twenty to paddle their impressive dragon boats to the finish line.

Australian Dragon Boat Championship

Australian Dragon Boat Championships

And with the Sunshine Coast recently scoring a top 10 place in the Trip Advisor Best Beaches awards (Noosa was voted 9th best in Australia), surf enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the Pa and Ma Bendall Surf Classic, Australia’s second longest running surf competition, which celebrates its 40th anniversary at Caloundra.

The 20th anniversary Pa and Ma Bendall Surf Classic

Other Easter events include the Faraway Easter Endurance Ride in the Mary Valley and Easter in the Garden – an open garden event to be held at the Shambles in Montville. The garden is open on Easter Saturday and Sunday.

And if you are planning to stay, don’t forget to check out the best family friendly accommodation on offer on the Sunshine Coast.

* Information provided by Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd

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Experience our colonial past at Tasmania’s Woolmers Estate

Ever since I was young, I have loved visiting historic homes. There is something that hits me when I think about the people who have lived inside the walls across generations – and wonder at the lives they led.

In Australia, despite the beauty and opulence many of these homes display even today, there is no doubt that life would not have been easy – particularly for those young families colonising a new country.

I also think it is important for children to learn about the past and I hope my children will develop a love of history. So, on a recent trip to Tasmania, we made the detour to visit Woolmers Estate.

The beautiful villa at Woolmers Estate

The beautiful Italianate villa at Woolmers Estate

This beautiful colonial pastoral property is not important just for its buildings. It is significant because it was built using assigned convict labour.

I had not realised that most convicts sent to Australia were actually assigned to provide labour to settlers in exchange for food and clothes.

Established around 1817 by Thomas Archer, Woolmers Estate is located just outside Longford in northern Tasmania (about 10 minutes from Launceston Airport).

This building was a water pumping station, powered by draught horses, allowing for water to be pumped from the Macquarie River.

This building was a water pumping station, powered by draught horses, allowing for water to be pumped from the Macquarie River.

Featuring a grand residence and formal gardens, as well as a woolshed, blacksmith’s shop, stables and coach house, it really is a country estate that incredibly remained in the hands of the Archer family until 1994.

In what I personally thought was a fairly sad ending to the story, Thomas Archer VI did not marry and died a childless bachelor in 1994. He left the property to the Archer Historical Foundation and the next year, the site was opened to the public.

Today Woolmers Estate is a World-Heritage listed convict site where you can see, eat and even stay. It is also home to the National Rose Garden.

Woolmers Estate is home to the National Rose Garden.

Woolmers Estate is home to the National Rose Garden.

We opted to pay a bit extra for the guided homestead tour, which allows you to see inside part of the homestead, including the exquisite dining room. The tour, led by a descendent of another branch of the Archer family, was passionate in his story-telling.

Like the fact the original Thomas Archer, who was a large man, had his bedroom window enlarged before he died so his coffin, which could not have fitted through the narrow doorways, could be easily removed from the room.

Built and extended upon over 6 generations, including the Italianate front added in the 1840s means the main house is full of beautiful furniture and interesting artefacts.

The dining setting features the Archer family crest & leaves one wondering how nerve-wracking washing up must have been for the servants. No hiding a broken dish here.

And this is not just look-at history, as my two children found out when they were allowed to sit on a very strange-looking buffalo horn chair.

With the escorted tour now over, we were free to wander through the out-buildings, including what is believed to be the oldest operating woolshed in Australia.

The woolshed is the oldest operating woolshed in Australia.

The woolshed is the oldest operating woolshed in Australia.

We also enjoyed a scrumptious rustic lunch on site at the Servant’s Kitchen (the kitchen is open from 10am-3pm). Highly recommended.

Today Woolmers Estate is one of 5 convict sites given World Heritage status as part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. The other properties you can visit are:

Brickendon Estate

Brickendon Estate is just down the road from Woolmers Estate.

Brickendon Estate is just down the road from Woolmers Estate.

Cascades Female Factory

Coal Mines Historic Site

Darlington Probation Station

Darlington Probation Station on Maria Island

Darlington Probation Station on Maria Island

Port Arthur Historic Site

More information on Woolmers Estate, including family friendly accommodation.

Family friendly ghost tour impresses younger visitors

Despite her bravado just a couple of hours before arriving, Miss 8 dug in her heels and refused to enter the cottage to hear of the haunting tales being told within.

“No mummy, no mummy, no mummy,” she said as she clung to my hand, before turning and running along the veranda, back to relative safety outside the property fence, where she could once again be brave.

We were at Port Arthur on one of the new summer attractions – the family friendly ghost tour. Now, don’t let the name fool you. Despite being held in early evening, when the sun continues to light the grounds, you will still hear tales of convict era murder and death – and their related hauntings.

However, for older children, it is a perfect combination of history and horror that will intrigue. In fact, Mr 11 was in his element and almost overwhelmed with excitement and bravery. And for many younger children on our tour, what they were hearing went over their head.

Port Arthur, Australia’s best preserved convict era penal settlement, is about a one and a half hour drive from Hobart. The ghost tour is icing on the cake for this must-visit tourist attraction.

With her soft, dare I say haunting lilt, our guide, Bridie, was the perfect person to lead our tour. She started by asking for volunteer lantern bearers to take up positions in the start, middle and end of the group.

With Mr 11 unable to do this role (over 18 years only), Hubby bravely volunteered and ended up in the middle position – ably assisted by Mr 11. First stop was the iconic church. I won’t give away the tales told, but you WILL start expecting to hear or see something.

portarthurchurch

The church at Port Arthur – beautiful by day, hauntingly beautiful at night.

Next was the parsonage (the third most haunted building in Australia), where the front female lantern bearer refused to enter the house by herself to check that all was okay for us to follow. So, hubby & Mr 11 volunteered to do the honours and went in ahead.

“When I opened the door, I had a sense of dread and nervousness. I did not want to go in there by myself, ” Hubby said.

“It was hair-raising – I couldn’t look at the house because of the stories they’d said about seeing ghosts in the window,” Mr 11 added.

Miss 8 (right) and her cousin were too scared to enter the parsonage.

Miss 8 (right) and her cousin were too scared to enter the parsonage.

Staying outside with Miss 8 and her cousin, who got caught up in Miss 8’s fears, I am once again blown away by the beauty and majesty of a site that has seen so much violence and heart-ache.

On this tour, we learn about the hard lives that not only convicts lived, but those who serviced them (and their families) – and how those hardships may have led to the many hauntings experienced on site.

portarthurwalking

Walking through Port Arthur on the family friendly ghost tour

Next at the junior medical officer’s house, we learn about the playful child ghosts and the sad woman who searches for her stillborn child, who she was not buried with because the baby had not been. Such brutal times they were.

We then walk down to the basement, where we hear a haunting tale that also turns out to be one of the funniest stories of the night.

Our last stop is the model, or separate, prison. This place is the most oppressive of the tour. Here convicts were imprisoned in total silence and never referred to by name. Many went crazy.

It is a fitting place to end the tour, as we make our way back past the imposing penitentiary ruin to the visitor’s centre where more people wait to take part in the later ghost tours, that will take place in darkness.

The family friendly ghost tour runs at 7.30pm until 26 January.  And in true convict-era family friendly fashion (thank-you Port Arthur Management), a family ticket ($65) consists of 2 adults and up to 6 children aged under 17 years.

P.S Miss 8 was not scarred by her experiences on the ghost tour. However, she did sleep with me that night. Not that she needs much of an excuse to want to do that anyway!

Learn more about the family friendly ghost tour and other summer activities and make a booking.

If you are planning to stay the night, check out family friendly accommodation or Port Arthur Accommodation.

Spotlight on our nation’s capital

As the dust settles on our most recent Federal election (no political comment offered or requested), Canberra is currently shining in all it’s glory for the annual spring Floriade. This year, the colourful event is celebrating the capital’s 100th birthday. It is just one of many reasons to take your family to discover our nation’s capital.

I think of CanCanberra is awash with colour during Floriade.berra as an educational experience for families – but one that is both interesting and fun. And in a bonus for those on a budget, there are a number of places that offer free entry. The only problem you will have is that with so many places to visit, you will have to work out which activities appeal more.

 

WHAT TO DO

National Museum of Australia: As well as learning about Australian history, including our rich indigenous heritage, there are hands on experiences for younger visitors. There are guided tours (fee) but general admission is free, making it a great place to visit for those on a budget.

Australian War Memorial: Learn about our military involvement in conflicts throughout the ages. The Discovery Zone, which is the memorial’s educational space for school groups, is also open to the public from 12.30-1.30pm on weekdays and on weekends and school holidays. Admission is free and free guided tours are also available.

Visit the Australian War Memorial.

Parliament House: Visit the home of Australian democracy. Free guided tours are available and when Parliament is sitting, more politically enthusiastic families can sit in on question time.

CSIRO Discovery Centre: The CSIRO Discovery Centre offers an interactive journey through CSIRO and Australian science history. Science is presented in an entertaining way to demystify it, and educate people of all ages about the world of research and innovation. Only $20 for family of up to 5.

Questacon: The National Science and Technology Centre makes science fun. See the spectactular science show, In addition to exhibitions, including awesome earth and mini Q, especially for pre-schoolers. special events run throughout the year. And if visiting before 11 November, check out the exhibition, Do sea monsters really exist?

The whole family will love visiting Questacon

Australian Institute of Sport: Go behind the scenes at Australia’s premier elite sporting precinct. You might catch some of Australia’s top athletes in training, and because every tour is guided by an elite athlete, you’ll get to ask plenty of questions.

National Dinosaur Museum: The National Dinosaur Museum was started in 1993 and has grown from a small collection to the largest permanent display of dinosaur and other prehistoric fossil material in Australia. With 23 complete skeletons, and over 300 displays of individual fossils, the museum continues to grow.

National Zoo and Aquarium: If your children love animals, check out the National Zoo and Aquarium. The zoo offers a number of animal encounters (fee and bookings required) as well as a ‘Zoocation’ school holiday program. The aquarium is being renovated and will have major construction works throughout September (2013)

Cockington Green Gardens: A fascinating display of miniature buildings set within beautifully landscaped gardens. Cockington Green Gardens first opened in 1979. The park is constantly growing, with work currently underway on Canberra House, the first building constructed in the Australian Houses Project.

The Great Outdoors: Canberra is not just about being indoors. In addition to Lake Burley Griffin and its surrounding parklands, you can also visit the Australian National Botanic Gardens, see aboriginal rock at in the Namadgi National Park, spot rare rock wallabies at Tidbinbilla Sanctuary and visit the national arboretum  with its nature themed pod playground.

The Pod Playground at the National Arboretum.

LOCAL EVENTS:

September/October: Floriade

October: Canberra Nara Candle Festival

March: Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Where to stay: See Family Friendly Accommodation

More information: Visit CanberraEvents ACT

Thunderegg fossicking – unearth a mystery

What little boy does not dream of exploring and discovering treasure? And what little girl will not be transfixed by colourful gems?

If you are travelling to the Gold Coast, let your inner Indiana Jones shine through at Thunderbird Park. With so much to do, you should also consider staying a night or two at Cedar Creek Lodges.

The following information has been provided by Thunderbird Park:

Thunderbird Park on Tamborine Mountain is a wildlife and geological rich oasis, stretching over 112 hectares. Translucent rock pools, inspiring landscapes, towering rainforests and star studded skies add to the magic.

This family friendly property includes the Adventure Parc, high ropes course, a Laser Skirmish jungle village and horse trail riding tracks, but thunderegg fossicking is one of the most popular activities.

Fossicking for gemstone-filled thundereggs

Fossicking for gemstone-filled thundereggs

Thunderbird Park has the largest deposit of thundereggs in the world. The mineral rich seam running through Mount Tamborine was discovered in 1967.  Thundereggs are easy to find and your family can fossick for this treasure in the 300 by 50 metre open cut mine.

You can also meet local rock expert and Thunderegg Mine manager Pete Ellis (AKA Rockodile Dundee) and find out more about these fascinating formations that have been hidden just below the ground since dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Pete says the formation of thundereggs is something of a mystery.

Find treasure-filled thundereggs, formed millions of years agoIt seems volcanic upheavals that took place millions of years ago caused bubbles to form in silica-rich material,” he says.

“Hot gases and steam was trapped in nodules, it expanded and some mineral structures joined together in the cavities. As the earth cooled, the material shank to produce the characteristic star-shaped cavity.

“Silica minerals entered the cavity and solidified to become chalcedony (a microcrystalline type of quartz). Crystals were deposited on the cavity walls. The repetition of these processes produced the interesting patterns and colours that give thundereggs universal appeal.”

Thundereggs - colours can be intense or subtle.

The Thunderegg Mine is open every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday from 9.30 to 2.30pm. The admission price includes a mining permit, a pick and a bucket to put the treasures in.

Thundereggs can be cut and polished for a small fee. Jewellery and artefacts made from thundereggs are on display and for sale in the Rock Shop. See Thunderbird Park for more information and bookings.

Port Albert – discovering a Victorian coastal gem

Wandering towards the Port Albert jetty, I hear the sounds of children squealing, water splashing and a dog barking its encouragement. Such a quintessential Aussie scene, it makes me smile – until I realise it is my 7-year-old “baby” about to jump.

“No”, I yell to my husband. “I don’t want her doing that – she’s too young.”
People around me laugh. I know why as my husband tells me it’s too late – she’s done it 3 times already.

Re-assured by a local mum with a 4-year-old jumping veteran, I take a deep breath and watch my ‘babies’ having the time of their lives, urged on by Red Dog (as they named him) a blue heeler who joined in on their fun.

Don't be scared mum - we're not.

Don’t be scared mum – we’re not.

This was one of the many wonderful experiences of our 5-day adventure into this “undiscovered” corner of Victoria’s scenic Gippsland region.

It was my husband, a keen recreational fisherman, who wanted us to go to Port Albert. Indeed, it is the town’s boat ramp that is the busiest place in town.

Today it remains a quaint, historic fishing village full of charm. To me it is more ‘Pearl Bay’ than Barwon Heads, which has experienced a burst of modern development since the much-loved TV series was on our screens.

This sort of development is yet to reach Port Albert (and dare I say, maybe I hope it never does).

Our home for 5 days was Blithe Spirit, a comfortable homestay run by local couple Carol and Wynne Hobson. This local couple were involved with the town’s once thriving gummy shark fishery, before turning their hand to tourism.

Blithe Spirit - homestay accommodation.

Blithe Spirit – homestay accommodation.

As well as running Blithe Spirit, they also run a charter business, taking visitors on their yacht, Nooramunga, to explore the waterways of Port Albert and beyond.

Settled in 1841 as Gippsland’s first port, Port Albert was the entry point for migrants seeking their fortunes in the goldfields. Its waters also claimed many ships, the most famous of which, the PS Clonmel in 1841, was integral to the town’s development.

Today, a lot of that history remains through its old buildings, including the old Bank of Gippsland (1862), which houses the Gippsland Regional Maritime Museum.

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the artefacts and information, including a display of the Omega global positioning navigation system equipment that was located at nearby Woodside.

The Omega system was the fore-runner to GPS and provided navigation systems for aircrafts and ships, with eight towers positioned at various points on the globe.

Port Albert is a hidden gem amongst Victoria's many coastal towns.

Port Albert is a hidden gem amongst Victoria’s many coastal towns.

But Port Albert is not just about history. It is also about nature. The town is located within the Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park. As well as the Old Port Walk Trail, there are numerous bike paths in the wider area, many of them part of the rail trail network.

While coastal park means more mangroves than sand, children will find a way (hence the wharf jumping). There is a small stretch of sand children can paddle in at low tide and Ninety Mile Beach is less than half an hour’s drive away.

Ninety Mile Beach - great for beach walking & exploring

Ninety Mile Beach – great for beach walking & exploring

Another option is the outdoor heated pool at Toora.  This delightful country swimming pool ended up being a highlight of our trip for the kids, with its poolside basketball and tractor tyre tube. Not to mention the fact we had the pool to ourselves!

However, it is for those with their own boat that Port Albert comes into its own. With some 100km of sheltered waterways, spits and islands, the boating is magnificent and picturesque.

Although a slight motor issue put a halt to our marine expeditions, we did manage to spend a lovely day on the water, motoring out to Clonmel Spit. This is a beautiful stretch of sand, but with a tide going out, we were loathe to get too close to shore in the shallow waters.

Instead, hubby and the kids jumped off the side into waist deep water and snorkelled and dug for yabby bait.

In addition to our motor problem, the windy weather was not on our side either. But that lead us to explore the local area, including Tarra Bulga National Park.

As we found ourselves on a winding, narrow gravel road, I wondered if we were on the right track. I was sure we had followed the signs.  I am not a good forest driver at the best of times, and with no other cars in sight, I was just about to blurt out to my hubby “I want to go back” when we arrived in the small forest town of Balook.

We had made it (I later found out we had ended up on a back road). But the journey was worthwhile. Tarra Bulga National Park is stunning.  With its tall mountain ash and lush fern gullies, this area is unique and spectacular. A visitor centre can fill you in on the area’s natural and historical heritage.

This tree is so big!

This tree is so big!

During our walk to Corrigans suspension bridge, we listened to the sounds of the forest. Unfortunately, this was interrupted by my husband, who is currently obsessed with the TV show, Finding Bigfoot.

“This is definitely “Squatch territory,” he said, letting out a Bobo ‘squatch call’ much to the fright and delight of the kids. I just hoped no-one was coming around the next bend to discover this crazy family.

Walking through the beautiful Tarra Bulga National Park

Walking through the beautiful Tarra Bulga National Park

After a lovely lunch in the country charm of the Lyrebird Cafe, we made our way back to Port Albert, following the Tarra River through it picturesque valley, stopping for another walk to the Cyathea Falls walk.

On the subject of food, Port Albert might be small, but you can get a great coffee thanks to the Port Albert cafe & wine bar.

We ate at Wildfish, which, consistent with a small town, is run by the son of our accommodation hosts.

With its chic, fine dining look, I was a bit worried taking the children, but was proven wrong as soon as I walked in and saw high chairs. There was a children’s menu too.  Located on the wharf, the location is superb, as was my crispy citrus prawns on coriander & wasabi soba noodles.

But if you are not up to dining out, get take-away fish and chips from next door. Our flake was like I remember it as a child – thick and well, flakey. To us at least, it did measure up to its reputation of having Victoria’s best fish and chips.

We had a great holiday!

We had a great holiday!

Getting there: Port Albert is about a three hour drive from Melbourne, along the South Gippsland Highway.
While there: A visit to Tarra Bulga National Park is a must. If you have not got your own boat, take a cruise with Nooramunga Sailing Tours. Explore the western end of Ninety Mile Beach. Take a day trip to Wilsons Promontory.
More information: If you want to discover this charming coastal hamlet and surrounding areas for yourself, visit www.tourismwellington.com.au and www.loveportalbert.com.au

Celebrating our heritage in New England

Welcome to the first blog post in the “Getting to know” series, in which we look at regions around Australia and activities they offer for families on holiday.

Today we are getting to know Inverell & Glen Innes – both located in the New England region of Country NSW. This beautiful region offers a range of nature-based activities and is also steeped in history.

If you are want a family holiday that captures the essence of Australia – from fossicking for precious gems, to walking in spectacular ancient bushland – you should check out this diverse area.

Inverell is located in the Macintyre Valley, about 5 hours drive from Brisbane and 6 hours drive from Newcastle. If you have not heard of Inverell, you might know the name Tom Roberts – the well-known late 19th century Australian artist famous for his landscapes, some of which he captured in the local area.

Inverell is also known as the Sapphire City – and you can try your hand at fossicking for some of these beautiful precious gems.

WHAT TO DO

National Transport Museum: here you can visit the largest voluntary display in Australia, with more than 200 exhibits. Not to forget the girls in the family, there are also displays of dolls, wedding dresses and cake decoration.

Inverell Transport Museum is a must-visit attraction for historic car buffs.

Inverell Transport Museum is a must-visit attraction for historic car buffs.

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Inverell Pioneer Village: this recreated village features authentic local buildings and memorabilia.  History buffs can also take a tour of the property and shearing shed immortalised in Tom Robert’s painting, The Golden Fleece (1894). More information is available at the Inverell Visitor Information Centre.

Fossicking:  Inverell is a perfect place to learn how to fossick for gems – but it also has the goods to keep experienced fossickers happy. You can teach the kids how to fossick in a local fossicking park. And if you are lucky enough to make a find, local jewellers can cut and polish your stone for you. Ask at the tourist information office or see 7 Oaks Sapphires.

Watersports:  Copeton Dam is three times the size of Sydney Harbour. Bikes and boats can be hired from the Copeton Waters State Park, which also has accommodation and camping facilities available.

Water activities for all the family at Copeton Waters

Water activities for all the family at Copeton Waters

Kwiambal National Park: As well as scenic walks, this park also offers opportunities for fishing and swimming

LOCAL EVENTS:

The Annual Sapphire City Festival (October), The Great Inland Fishing Festival (December

Where to stay: See Family Friendly Accommodation

More information: Inverell Tourist Information Centre

Glen Innes also has sapphires and fossicking, but is better known as Celtic Country, celebrating its Celtic heritage with the Australian Standing Stones and hosting the Australian Celtic Festival.

This lovely country town, located about 365km from Brisbane and about a 3 hour drive from Coffs Harbour, has a beautiful main street, lined with heritage buildings.

WHAT TO DO

Australian Standing Stones: this national monument honours the Celtic pioneers who helped shape Australia. You should collect a guide from the visitor information centre before visiting.

The Standing stones reflect the our Celtic heritage

The Standing stones reflect the our Celtic heritage

You can also visit the Stonehenge Recreation Reserve, about 12 km from town where you can see the balancing rock and other rock formations.

Fssicking: There are a number of fossicking sites in the local area, including the Fossicker Caravan Park and Bullock Mountain Homestead

Walshpool National Park: Explore this park, which forms part of the Gondawanda Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. This park is home to the largest rainforest wilderness in NSW.

Experience the beautiful scenery at Walshpool National Park.

Experience the beautiful scenery at Walshpool National Park.

Local touring: The area surrounding Glen Innes is steeped in history, including the township of Emmaville, a tine mining town which was the birthplace of St John’s ambulance. You can also visit an array of national parks, nature reserves and conservation areas.

LOCAL EVENTS

March: Minerama Fossicking and Gem Show is NSW’s largest and includes stalls and guided fossicking.

May: The Australian Celtic Festival is held to coincide with the Queensland May holiday – this year, from 2-5 May. It offers a great opportunity to experience celtic celebrations without leaving Australia. The festival honors a different country annually and 2013 is the year of Scotland.

November:The  Beardies Festival celebrates the region’s history and aims to keep alive the ‘land of the beardies’ – the name it is believed is derived from two original stockmen who helped guide early European settlers to the area. It is also an opportunity to see some amazing beards.

Where to stay: Family Friendly Accommodation

More information: Glen Innes Tourist Information Centre

Have you been to Inverell or Glen Innes? Let other families know about what they should visit or where they should stay.

Let’s start exploring our island home

Last Friday, I decided to visit the Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow at Melbourne’s Caulfield Racecourse. My goal was to talk to meet people from as many tourism organisations as possible.

brochures

I plan to know alot more about Australia after making my way through these brochures

In this era of email spam and fraud (sure I’m not the only one promised millions of dollars from the estate of a dead millionaire – as long as provide my bank account details), I wanted people to see there is a real person behind familyfriendlyaccommodation.com.au.

I achieved my goal and after a couple of hours I had bags of brochures and business cards. I was happy. I’d met many lovely people and collected lots of information.

But, then I was hit by a wave of guilt, all relating to my pending family holiday to New Zealand. I felt like traitor, even apologising to one man about the fact I was taking my family on an ‘overseas’ holiday when there are so many places I could be visiting at home.

Having said that, my children, have visited every state at the ripe old ages of 7 and 10 (we are leaving the two territories until they are a bit older. Not sure I politics and crocodiles mix with young children).

What struck me on Friday – and later as I browsed through the brochures I’d collected – is how much there is to experience in our own backyard. In addition to our well-known destinations, there are so many magical, beautiful places to visit. Some places – like Diamantina and the Banana Shire – I had never even heard of.

 Canoeing on the Goulburn Weir in Victoria

Canoeing on the Goulburn Weir in Victoria

Is it no wonder a growing number of families are packing up for a year or two of travel? Maybe one day, but for now, that’s not an option for my family. But it got me thinking about how I can value add to familyfriendlyaccommodation.com.au

There are already many articles that have been written about flying with children, travelling with children, etc. So, what can I do that is different?

Picture perfect Cradle Mountain

Picture perfect Cradle Mountain – a jewel in Tasmania’s tourism crown.

Then it hit me – I am going to start profiling the many tourist regions we have around Australia, focussing on family friendly activities. I will seek information from the local tourist organisations, but would love your input too.

I won’t do it in any particular order. I will just close my eyes and pick up a brochure and that will be my starting point. So, let’s start planning some home grown Aussie holidays together.