Top 10 Destinations To Take The Family This Winter (Part 2)
Welcome back! This week we look at some of the most stunning natural spots in NSW to take the family this winter.
Group tours are still closed in many destinations because of the virus so we’ve carefully curated several vacation spots we know will still have plenty of things to see and do.
1. ‘GREAT’ WALLS OF CHINA FOR AWESOMENESS
Imagine what the kids will say if you tell them you’re taking them to the Great Wall of China this weekend?
The Walls of China is possibly one of the most amazing sceneries in NSW. Located in Mungo National Park, these ancient rock formations on the southeastern edge of Lake Mungo lunette are unique. The ridges and cracks in the Wall were created by rain washing away the soft sand and mud of the lunette over centuries.
The best way to see the wall is via a cycling trail. If you are travelling with young children a self-guided drive tour would be better. Keep to the designated roads because cars are not allowed on the dunes.
The 10km cycling trail begins at the Mungo Visitor Centre. The park is well sign-posted with lots of interesting history of the wall. Allow at least 2 hours so you can appreciate the unique sand and clay dunes in the area.
Mungo National Park is open all year-round but can close because of a bush fire danger or bad weather. Park fees cost $8 per vehicle.
The outback can get hot in the day and cold at nights. Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreens, a hat, drinking water, snacks and clothes for all weather conditions.
If you are cycling, don’t forget to pack a puncture repair kit. It’s a good idea to bring a topographic map, GPS or phone if you have good service coverage. Follow the trail closely. Do not deviate.
2. HUNTER VALLEY FOR A COUNTRY VACATION
Beautiful Hunter Valley is the place to visit this winter if you are planning a luxe vacation for the family.
The penultimate wine country in Australia, Hunter Valley is only a short 3-hour drive from Sydney. With over 150 wineries, 65 restaurants, and 180 accommodation you will be spoilt for choice.
Hunter Valley is not for grown-ups only. There are tons of activities for children of all ages. We’re listing a handful of them to give you an idea what to expect:
Aqua & Putt Putt:
An 18-hole course that will guarantee hours of fun for the entire family. There is an awesome 5,000 square metre lake filled with floating targets for your kids to try their hand at landing the big one! Golf club hire is FREE. Bringing your clubs? No problem.
Garden Treasure Trail:
Hunter Valley Gardens has 10 individually themed gardens for the kids to explore. This year, the garden is hosting a family treasure hunt! Before you leave for Hunter Valley, download the Hunter Valley Gardens Treasure Trail app. The app will unlock the GPS locations of the 10 gardens. When your family is close to these locations, the app will send you challenges. If the kids complete these challenges, they will win some amazing prizes.
Great for adults and children this is an awesome way to spend an afternoon with the kids. The 5.5km backcountry tour will give you a different perspective of Hunter Valley. The tour covers some of the histories of the valley through some awesome off-road trails and crossings. No experience required. Level of difficulty: Easy
Hot air ballooning:
Hot air ballooning will start on 24th June – just in time for the school break! Several operators in the Valley run hot air balloon tours.
Riding is available every day. There are many options to choose from including pony rides, beginner rides, personalised rides, picnic rides and winery rides. No experience required. Level of difficulty: Super fun
Visit Hunter Valley’s website here.
3. KIAMA BLOWHOLE TO BLOW YOU AWAY
Kiama Blowhole will blow the kids mind! Blowholes are natural water fountains. They are formed from sea waves pounding and drilling into rocks to create a vertical passage. When waves surge into this passage, the air inside it becomes compressed and is forced out of the opening in the ground. In the right conditions, Kiama Blowhole can spout water as high as 20 metres.
The spray is so forceful you can get soaked so make sure the kids have put away their mobiles and you have a change of clothing for them if they get wet.
If you have time go early so you can take the kids on one of the amazing coastal walks in the area. There are plenty of whale spotting lookouts to keep the kids entertained. The lighthouse beside the blowhole is also interesting.
If you want a different experience, try going to Kiama in the evening. The area near the blowhole is brightly lit at night. The atmosphere at night is surreal. Pounding waves in the background, a deep rumbling in the ground and a spectacular water fountain show surrounded by blackness in the distance.
Kiama is a beautiful little seaside town on the Grand Pacific Drive. It is only 2 hours away from Sydney. You can also take a scenic train trip from the city.
Looking for places to stay in Kiama? Check out the official visitors’ site here.
4. KANGAROO VALLEY FOR A NATURE HOLIDAY
Kangaroo Valley is open for school holidays. A town and a valley, Kangaroo Valley is only 2 hours drive from Sydney.
This amazing valley offers tourists rolling green pastures and beautiful creeks and rivers surrounded by long steep slopes.
Here is our suggestion for a scenic drive to Kangaroo Drive.
Fitzroy Falls to Cambewarra Lookout: The scenic route will take you from the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre to Manning Lookout, on to Barrengarry and Kangaroo Valley. Stop at the historic cemetery along the way and finish at Cambewarra Lookout.
Manning Lookout is a must–see. The lookout is only a short bush walk from the car park. Manning Lookout offers 3600 panoramic views of NSW Southern Highlands.
Barrengarry is a quaint hamlet with a cute general store and post office. it’s a good pit stop for a quick snack. Don’t forget to try the ‘world’s best pies.’
Kangaroo Valley Village is an enchanting little town with art galleries, craft shops, cafes, restaurants and wineries. If you are thinking of spending a few days in the region, the Village has gorgeous B&Bs, villas, camping grounds and caravan parks.
The historic cemetery is in a tiny hamlet known as Maguires. It is worth a visit.
Fire Mountain (Cambewarra Mountain) is approximately 650 metres high. From here you can see one of the longest panoramas in Australia – the South Coast coastline.
Looking for the flavours of the Valley? Find out where to eat here.
5. PORT STEPHENS FOR SUN AND SEA
Why spend winter at home if you can go to the beach? Port Stephens is a great beach escape. A beautiful sparkling blue bay surrounded by sandy dunes and white beaches Port Stephens boasts 26 beaches to help you plan your perfect family seaside getaway.
Everyone goes to Port Stephens for the dolphins. More than 100 dolphins are living in the area. The marine park in the area is huge – twice the size of Sydney Harbour. Tomaree Head Summit is a wonderful vantage point for dolphin watching. For an ‘up close and personal’ dolphin experience, try one of the many boat cruises in the area.
Sightseeing makes everyone hungry. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes on the southern bay shoreline. The Little Beach Boathouse Restaurant and Bar offer a superior waterfront dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant serves amazing seafood. They have a kid-friendly policy.
Check out Little Beach Boathouse Restaurant and Bar’s menu here.