Top 10 Destinations To Take The Family This Winter (Part 1)
The Australian government has just announced that our borders will stay shut until 2021. According to Simon Buckingham, Tourism Minister, shutting the borders was one of the reasons why we have been successful in flattening the coronavirus curve.
The government is encouraging Australians to ‘see Australia’ instead. A great idea to support our local tourism that was affected by the bush fires and the pandemic. So, this week, we are beginning a new series of superb destinations to take the family this winter.
We aim to make our articles as informative as possible for parents to plan the perfect getaway this winter. We ‘ve also included all the latest information about COVID-19 and how it may have affected each destination. Finally, we’ve included all the links to make your planning super easy. We hope you will enjoy this article.
1. THREDBO AND PERISHER FOR A SNOWY WONDERLAND
Which child doesn’t love being in the snow? If you’ve not already made your holiday bookings, skiing in Thredbo may not be possible this year. Tickets for the newly refurbished Merritts Gondola – Australia’s very first Alpine gondola are fully sold out until end August. Strict coronavirus social distancing rules mean the management cannot allow more people into their 8-person fast speed gondola up to the mountain.
If the kids don’t ski or if they just want to be in a snowy environment, there’s no reason why you can’t still go to Thredbo this winter. Consider a shorter trip like a long weekend away instead of an entire week. That will give them an experience of being in the snow. The kids will still have their gravity-defying thrills with hours of trampolining at the Thredbo Leisure Centre. A leisurely five-minute walk from the village, the centre also boasts an amazing aquatic park complete with slides and inflatables. Who says your kid must only go skiing if they are up in the mountains? There are lots of things to do that are just as fun like snuggling up in their favourite blanket, watching the snowflakes fall each morning, playing in the snow, and drinking hot chocolate in front of an open fire.
Located in the Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains, Thredbo is an easy 6-hour drive from Sydney. The Alpine village offers a range of accommodation to suit all budgets, shopping, cafes and restaurants.
If you are super keen to take the kids skiing, nearby Perisher has 1245 hectares of skiable terrain. An hour or so away from Thredbo, this ski resort may not have the same level of facilities and entertainment factors as its popular neighbour, but it does have an unworldly ‘lost-in-the-snow’ feel about it. Most people who visit Perisher stay in Jindabyne – a 30-minute drive away.
2. JERVIS BAY FOR CAMPING AND THE WHALES
This winter head out to Jervis Bay on the South Coast for some top-notch camping and whale watching with the kids. Winter in NSW is the best time for camping. The weather is perfect, and you don’t have to worry about blowflies and mosquitoes.
Between May and November, some 30,000 whales make their way along the NSW coast on their way up north to the warmer waters in Queensland and the Coral Sea.
One of the best vantage points to watch this phenomenon is at Jervis Bay on the Shoalhaven region. The sheer cliffs of the Beecroft Peninsula offer spectacular views of the whales halfway-point migratory swim. Drive along Lighthouse Road to Point Perpendicular Lighthouse on the northern side of the Bay for some stellar views. You can also book a whale-watching cruise with one of the local operators in the area if you want to get closer to the action.
Here’s a secret on where to stay: Our recommendation is Green Patch Camping in beautiful Bonderee National Park in Jervis Bay. Camping sites at Green Patch are either walk-or drive-in. Parking sites are no more than 50 metres from tents making it especially suitable for families.
Green Patch is secluded and shady, but you also have all the beauty of aquamarine waters, walkable trails in all directions and super family-friendly amenities like toilets, showers and BBQ areas.
To book a site, visit Parks Australia’s website here.
3. DUBBO FOR THE ANIMALS
The zoo is open again! Located on the Western Plains, the iconic Dubbo Zoo is a must-visit this winter if you’ve not already done so.
The zoo has taken special precautions to keep everyone safe during the coronavirus pandemic. They are limiting the number of visitors to the zoo. In-person keeper talks are cancelled, animal encounters and guided tours are temporarily unavailable.
The café and dining areas are open with strict social distancing guidelines. The zoo shop is open although you may have to wait in a queue to get in. Bikes and carts are available for rent. The zoo has assured everyone that they are taking extra precautions to sanitise equipment used. There are no strollers for hire in the zoo so if you have a toddler, don’t forget to bring your own. Also, all transactions are cashless.
Buy your ticket online here.
4. BLUE MOUNTAINS FOR AWESOME VIEWS
Come out of your COVID-19 hibernation with a fabulous visit to the Blue Mountains. Rugged up warm for your trip to the Blue Mountains because the days can be quite cold. But it will also have clear blue skies. It’s the perfect time to see the Great Dividing Range.
Scenic World is a World-heritage site with unique views that you will not see in any other part of the world. Visiting Scenic World this winter is going to be a little different because the park cannot accept everyone at the same time. Entry is via timed-limit so make sure you buy your tickets in advance online and you are at the Main Ticket Box when the time comes up.
Your Scenic World tickets is a pre-planned circuit to give you the best experience of this unique wonder world. What you can expect on your Scenic World experience: Ride the Scenic Skyway for the best views of Katoomba Falls and Jamieson Valley. Hop off at the eastern point for the perfect ‘Insty’ moments at Echo Point with the Three Sisters as your backdrop. Hop on the Skyway to the main building and catch the rollercoaster ride down the mountain with the Scenic Railway. From here, take the Scenic Cableway to the top of the escarpment for a 3600 panorama of the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock, Mt Solitary and the Katoomba Falls. The kids will be talking about it for weeks.
5. SYDNEY CBD FOR CULTURE AND CITY-LIFE
With our borders closed, you will be spoilt for choices when it comes to a weekend in the city. Just about everything in the city is open with some restrictions of course. This school holiday why not introduce the kids to some high culture with a trip to the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art? Buy your tickets in advance online and follow all the social distancing rules they have.
Our recommendation for the kids: The Gallery’s collection of ‘In a drop of water’. A carefully curated exhibition of some of Asia’s best contemporary artists, the exhibition explores the importance of water to Asian Art. The exhibition features ceramics, paintings, lacquer and woodblock prints.
Then, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art for the first-hand experience of First Nations’ Art ‘NIRIN’. Nirin which means ‘edge’ is a word from the Wiradjuri People of Western New South Wales.
While you are in the CBD, why not give the kids a treat by booking into one of the luxurious aparthotels in the city. We recommend a penthouse suite on the 71st floor of the World Tower for 3600 views of our amazing city. Aparthotels have all the modern amenities of home without the cleaning. There’s a supermarket on the ground floor for all the ingredients you will need to prepare a delicious dinner in the clouds.
Watch out for our next edition of top NSW destinations to visit this winter.