Like many travel loving families, we’ve been suffering from a serious case of itchy feet after the temporarily parking of our travel plans. Juggling home schooling and WFH, it felt at times like the only place we were likely to end up was at Wit’s End. But rather than letting lockdown in our tiny two-bedder get us down, we spent our time dreaming of Aussie family adventures and using the time to plan a bunch of short breaks that will be big on space for our fam.
Now that local travel is back on the table, at lest in our home state of NSW, and some borders are set to open, we’re ready to dip our toes back into travel waters. And because we’re long time lovers of Accor and their portfolio of properties – not just because of their lovely lodgings, but because their environmental ethos is top shelf, their service off the charts and there is so much heart and community support behind everything they do – we’ve already chosen where we’ll stay next, starting with our own beautiful backyard in NSW.
Dreaming of the mountains
As a family of bona fide ski tragics we love us a little frosty Alpine fun. But the Australian Alps – the highest mountain range in Australia – has plenty to lure us whatever the season. The significant and untameable high country region stretches nearly 400km from the nation’s capital, Canberra, through southern New South Wales, and along the Great Divide in eastern Victoria. In winter, we can’t resist tackling its epic slopes and come summer we’re up for mountain biking, bushwalking, horse riding and breathtaking scenic drives.
Nestled in Thredbo Valley, just fifteen minutes from Perisher and Thredbo’s epic slopes, Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa hotel looks like just the place for an enviable Australian Alps experience with a unique range of boutique accommodation and all season activities including mountain biking, bushwalking, fishing, Segway tours and luxurious spa treatments.
The Sebel Pinnacle Valley in the Victorian High Country, also appears to pack plenty of punch for families. The resort offers apartment style accommodation just half an hour from the Mt Buller Ski Resort. And there’s plenty of all-season off snow fun too, with loads and loads of park-like space, a pool, horse riding, walking and biking trails.
Dreaming of art
We’re a fairly arty farty bunch, so once we’re back in the world, one of our first stops has got to come with a hefty splash of paint. While I’m a bit of a gallery addict, the kids love exploring the proliferation of artworks adorning city and town walls and finding splashes of art hidden behind nondescript doors or along quiet alleyways.
While the kids know their Banksy from their Basquiat, their favourite artist is Australia’s big wall street genius, Adnate. So, a visit to Perth might have to be on the agenda. Inspired by his powerful multicultural portraiture, The Adnate Perth, one of nine Art Series hotel locations across Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, is a masterpiece in its own right, filled with a collection of Matt’s striking portraiture. The hotel also offers signature art experiences including art tours, in-room art channels and art libraries. There are interconnecting studio suites for families, plus a fab pool area, the excellent Perth Kitchen + Cocktails and Lekker bicycles available for guests to explore the city.
In lovely Melbourne, we love a visit to the NGV to scratch my art gallery itch. Their collection of energetic and distinctive artworks by Australia’s greatest living painter John Olsen is part of the appeal. Adding a stay at The Olsen Melbourne, adds to the visual vibe. Filled with artworks, there are two-bedroom suites for families, a large glass bottom swimming pool, a day spa for mum and dad, and a contemporary restaurant and bar. Best of all it’s right in the heart of Melbourne’s best shopping district, cafes and restaurants.
Dreaming of beachside bliss
We have a soft spot for the Gold Coast and not only because there’s so many great beaches and activities. It’s because the kids’ respective besties live there and they’re always keen to return. But they’re also keen for more surf lessons with Walkin’ On Water Surf School and for days of Stand Up Paddle Boarding and splashing at Tallebudgera Creek.
But I reckon they’d be just as happy just staying and playing at Mantra Crown Towers in Surfers Paradise. After being cooped up with the kids in our flat I’d certainly be up for spending a little quality ‘me’ time at the day spa, or just relaxing by the tropical lagoon pool, while the kids can hit the children’s pool, complete with its own sandy beach, waterslide and pirate ship.
Or maybe we could we could ease our way back into adventure with a break at Northern NSW’s Kingscliff, a sleepy surfing and fishing village that’s just half an hour from Byron, packed with beautiful beaches and riverside fun. Mantra on Salt Beach Kingscliff, perfectly located in the Tweed River Valley on New South Wales’ north coast, has to be the best place to soak it all up with superbly appointed family accommodation, a heated lagoon pool and spa, children’s wading pool and tennis courts.
Dreaming of cultural immersion
We’re big on exploring the culture of every place we go, and Indigenous culture holds special appeal for Raff, who actively seeks out activities that are educational and respectful to First Nations people.
Needless to say, once borders re-open and it is absolutely safe for us to visit at risk Indigenous communities again, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is number one on his Australian travel wish list. One of the world’s great desert experiences, there’s more to Uluru than that mind blowing, colour change rock, including incredible hiking trails, camel rides, dot painting classes, bush tucker tours – complete with witchety grubs – and night-time tours that demonstrate how the Anangu people, the traditional owners of this land, use the stars to navigate. There’s also the enchanting Field of Light, an illuminated fantasy garden of 50,000 spindles of light in the desert.
Many of these family friendly tours are conveniently hosted by the awesome folk at Ayers Rock Resort, whose commitment to social responsibility, sees all profits being put towards supporting Indigenous training and employment across Australia.
The resort has a range of accommodation for families from the well-appointed Desert Gardens Hotel with its views of Uluru in Ayers Rock Resort to the five-star comfort of Sails in the Desert, with its beautifully-appointed rooms and suites plus an amazing pool and day spa.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored or affiliate post, we’re just dreaming of our next escape with our friends at Accor