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House swapping holidays for families: Fives reasons it’s the ultimate family holiday

Travellers with children are embracing the concept of the “home exchange”. Photo: Supplied It’s the ultimate family hipster holiday. And it doesn’t cost a cent. Travellers with children, tired of price gouging during school holidays, are turning to friends or family for informal house swaps. The concept of the “home exchange” began in the 1950s in […]

Weekend getaway for one: Anti-Valentine’s Day destinations in Australia

Separation trips are expected to become more popular. Photo: Antonio Guillem If you think Cupid is stupid, and love poems pitiful, perhaps this new travel trend is for you. Anti-Valentine’s holidays are on the rise, particularly among the newly separated. According to a study of more than 1000 Australians, one in 10 says a “separation […]

Molokini Island, Hawaii: One of the most spectacular spots on earth

Snorkelling with raccoon butterflyfish, Maui. Photo: Alamy Those damn endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles! Can’t they read? Or at least listen to the pre-snorkel briefing? You must have heard the breakfast announcements? As we were sailing out to Molokini Island, off the south-eastern tip of Maui, the team in charge of our Trilogy catamaran had […]

New South Wales, Australia: Wine tasting with a baby in the Hunter Valley

Ben Groundwater, partner Jess and baby Angus. Photo: Ben Groundwater You don’t know fear until you’ve set out on a road trip with a two-month-old. It’s the great unknown: what will he do? Will he melt down on the highway? Will he scream and yell in a public place? Will he soil himself and everything […]

Airlines splitting up families on flights: When seat reservations are not honoured

Far less can go wrong when family members sit together on a long flight – so why are airlines courting disaster? Photo: iStock Riddle me this, readers: When is a reservation not a reservation? The answer is when you’re flying with your family on almost any domestic or international flight. Recently, a passenger named Matthew […]

Northern Ireland and Ireland: A family road trip in a motorhome

County Sligo. Photo: Chris Hill Repetition can be hard to tolerate at any time but it’s especially grinding when the thing being repeated is a quote from a film as woeful as Love Actually. “We hate you, Uncle Jamie,” say my three cousins in unison, dissolving in laughter at my continued indignation. I’m looking after Isabel, 16, […]

Pandora, Disney World’s new Avatar ride: Is this the future of theme parks?

The Pandora attraction in Orlando, Florida, has been seven years and an estimated $US500 million in the making. Photo: Steven Diaz When world-renowned filmmaker James Cameron was just 19, he had a vivid dream one night of a bioluminescent forest. So potent was the vision, he immediately sat bolt upright in bed and began sketching […]

Phuket: Is it still a safe holiday destination for Australians and their families?

James Bond Island, Phang Nga Bay National Park. Photo: Alamy To Phuket or not to Phuket? That is the question. Especially when travelling with children. More than half a million Australians visit Thailand each year. At any one time, tens of thousands of us will be on the holiday island.  Phuket can be a great […]

Pick your own apples season in Bilpin, Blue Mountains, NSW

On the hunt at Shields Orchard. Photo: Julie Miller Little Miss Three is on a mission. She marches down a line of Pink Lady apple trees, examining every piece of fruit within toddler-reach, tut-tutting over less-than-textbook specimens and plonking those that meet her approval in a basket. I bend down to explain to my granddaughter […]

Pixar Fest Disneyland 2018: What to expect as Toy Story, Incredibles and more take over the park

Pixar Fest 2018: Pixar stories through the decades as it lights up the sky over Disneyland Park. Photo: Joshua Sudock Why Pixar? And why does it deserve a festival? As soon as Buzz Lightyear – rather than Tinkerbell – soars high over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the iconic heart of Disneyland so familiar from scores of […]

Family trip in the Gold Coast Hinterland: Glamping, how to keep kids away from electronic devices

Luxurious furniture in a glamping tent in the woods. Photo: Chiyacat I’m luxuriating in a full-body exfoliation, and it doesn’t cost a cent. In a verdant valley on the Gold Coast Hinterland, millions of fry – baby fish – surround us in a sparkling dam. Initially, it’s disconcerting: What is this smooth slick moving across […]

Things to do in Sentosa, Singapore: The three-minute travel guide

Universal Studio’s Madagascar Boogie. WHY Singapore’s Sentosa Island (sentosa.com.sg) is known as The State of Fun. It’s full of hotels, luxury apartment complexes, sandy beaches with private beach clubs, golf courses and a deep water yachting marina. You could spend days here sipping cocktails by a pool and moving between attractions such as Madame Tussaud’s […]

Six of the best: Stockholm’s family-friendly attractions

Tom Tit science museum. Photo: Supplied Skansen folkdancers. Junibaken muminhuset. Photo: Folkdanslaget Bryggartappan. Grona Lund. Birka Viking City. Photo: Claes Helander Tom Tit science museum. Photo: Supplied Skansen folkdancers. Junibaken muminhuset. Photo: Folkdanslaget Bryggartappan. Grona Lund. Birka Viking City. Photo: Claes Helander JUNIBACKEN Cavort through the world of Swedish heroine and world’s strongest girl Pippi […]

Abu Dhabi things to do: Six of the best family thrills

Warner Brothers World Abu Dhabi’s Green Lantern Galactic Odyssey ride. WARNER BROS WORLD ABU DHABI SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE Photo: Alamy FERRARI WORLD ABU DHABI Photo: Alamy LOUVRE ABU DHABI Photo: Alamy MIDNIGHT AT THE OASIS Photo: Alamy  Drive 90 minutes out of the city and you’re on the edge of Rub’ al Khali, the […]

Spain family travel tips: 7 ways to make a family holiday in Spain fun

View of Barcelona from a bench from Antonio Gaudi’s Parc Guell. Photo: iStock “It is easier to get tickets one day before the match than one week before the match,” intones the tourist information woman in Barcelona, gazing at us solemnly. We are desperate to see FC Barcelona play at their home ground, a dream […]

A self-guided family adventure around exotic Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, the ancient rock fortress, monastery and royal palace of a fifth-century king. Photo: Steven Siewert It’s way past midnight when we hear a rap at our door. “Elephant”, comes a whisper. “Wild elephant.” Bleary-eyed, we rush down the stairs: husband, two teen boys and myself, a single light in the service area guiding us to […]

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland: What it’s like to fly the Millennium Falcon

A life-size Millennium Falcon, 30 metres long, is the centrepiece of Disneyland’s new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction. Photo: PA Characters stroll through the marketplace at the Black Spire Outpost. Photo: AP Black Spire Outpost, a village on the planet of Batuu, is the setting for the new attraction. Photo: Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks Inside the […]

Disneyland Hong Kong: Take the family to see Stars Wars

Pace yourself: staying onsite at Disneyland Hong Kong in a Disney hotel makes coping with the humidity far easier. Photo: Supplied They build kids tough these days. I can still recall shaking in my cinema seat when Darth Vader first huffed and puffed into the original Star Wars movie. But now, as the Dark Lord […]

The secret to a happy family holiday

Is it time for a digital detox? Photo: iStock “Mummy, can you go on a digital detox these holidays?” There’s a moment in most of our lives when the child becomes the parent. However, I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Grace, 10, is telling me I spend too much time on my devices. […]

Sydney Zoo, Bungarribee, NSW: The west gets its own world-class zoo

Akiki, one of the zoo’s two cheetahs. Photo: Sydney Zoo Lou Grossfeldt – a highly-respected chimpanzee expert and head of primates at Australia’s newest zoo – is acting like a doting, khaki-clad, soon-to-be aunty, sworn to secrecy about an impending birth but incapable of containing her excitement. “There’s nothing cuter than a baby chimp, unless it’s a […]

The best place for a family adventure holiday on a budget

Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia, Spain. Photo: Alamy WE’RE A FAMILY OF FIVE WITH ADULT CHILDREN LOOKING FOR AN ADVENTUROUS HOLIDAY IN EUROPE IN DECEMBER/JANUARY, WITH SOME URBAN CULTURE. WE ARE WELL TRAVELLED BUT WORK TO A STRICT BUDGET. S. GREEN, HAMPTON VIC Mediterranean Europe might work well for you, but you’d have to lower your expectations […]

The Blue Mountains, NSW: Scenic World has something for art lovers, wildlife tragics and thrillseekers

scenicworldjr Photo: Supplied Imagine walking past the lush ferns, giant eucalypts and clinging vines in the rainforest eeriness of the Blue Mountains, only to see a figure in a red cloak appear. As you approach you can’t trust your eyes – is that human? Did her head move? Is it supposed to be Red Riding […]

The 10 best family holidays: World’s most amazing five-star family holidays to take

Bryce Canyon, US. Photo: Thomas McNamara The end of the year is nigh, you’ve put in the hours, and with any luck have a bonus (or at the very least a credit card) burning a hole in your pocket. Sure you could put it towards the mortgage, or even upgrade the family car. Alternatively, you […]

The holiday heist: Why parents are forced to take kids out of school

Real world learning experiences are everywhere. Photo: iStock Christmas is coming early for tens of thousands of children. And I’m not talking about early Lego deliveries. Absenteeism is a significant problem in Australian schools. Researchers say there’s no “safe” level: Any day away affects a child’s performance. I often wonder how much the tourism industry […]

Holiday Inn Kandooma, Maldives for families: Island escape isn’t just for couples

Spend your days in and around the water at Holiday Inn Kandooma. “Why on earth would you travel all that way when you have beautiful beaches in Australia?”, a friend asks when I casually mention we’re taking a family holiday to the Maldives. Another question: “Aren’t the Maldives just for honeymooners?” Instantly I have buyer’s […]

Per Aquum Niyama, Maldives stands out from the crowd for families

Per Aquum Niyama. Photo: Supplied We are six metres under water, supping on sea bass, as damsels swish by. It’s like a scene from a Bond movie. “Am I dreaming?” Grace asks. A short speedboat ride from Per Aquum Niyama brought us to the Edge, a restaurant half a kilometre offshore. A dramatic three-tier staircase leads […]

Family holiday tips: The things they don’t tell you about multi-generational travel

Multi-generational holidays are today one of the biggest trends in travel. Photo: iStock The seven-year-old is in seventh heaven. She’s wriggled into a pretty pink-and-blue shimmery mermaid’s tail and is now lying back with a garland of flowers on her head, posing on an over-sized inflatable oyster shell, floating on the surface of the picturesque […]

The one thing you must have for a successful family holiday

Wi-Fi is a holiday must for children. Photo: Getty Images There’s an old trope in our household (it’s not me, although the kids say I’m cliched) that goes like this. “Mum, Dad, I want [insert unreasonable request here].” “Yeah, well I want a Ferrari/yacht/mansion, but that ain’t gonna happen. Now, EAT YER GREENS!” To slow […]

Educational holidays for families: Five great places for science

Press gather at the unveiling of new guides at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation Miraikan in Tokyo on June 24, 2014. Photo: AP Science fairs sure ain’t what they used to be. Remember those old labs, filled with a musty fug, populated by bespectacled men in white coats? Nowadays, a scientist is […]

Tips and things to do on a family holiday: A journey into Far North Queensland

Jarvis and Ruby climbing a stranger fig vine. Photo: Justin McManus It was a family holiday I was approaching with apprehension; a journey into “deep northern Queensland”, and into the land of political mavericks.   It would also be a chance to see the Great Barrier Reef in a state vaguely resembling the colourful underwater wonderland that […]

Tips for parents flying with babies and young children on a long-haul flight

There’s no such thing as embarrassment: Singing or making funny noises can help keep babies and young children entertained. Photo: Shutterstock Flying with babies and small children is an activity most of us wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. Yet sometimes, it has to be done – especially if you consider the alternatives – the […]

Travel deals: Save $2300 on a family trip to Vanuatu

The new beachfront Ramada Resort Port Vila. VANUATU Save more than $2300 on a family trip with seven nights at the four-star new beachfront Ramada Resort Port Vila in a family suite with bonuses and three tours. Now from $3149 for two adults and two kids under 12 for sale until October 31 and travel October 1-November […]

Travel tip: What’s a good family-friendly resort to stay in Sunshine Coast?

Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas. WE INTEND TAKING OUR 16 CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES TO A SUNSHINE COAST RESORT IN 2018 TO CELEBRATE A SIGNIFICANT BIRTHDAY. CAN YOU RECOMMEND A RESORT WITH FACILITIES TO KEEP KIDS AGED 5-14 ENTERTAINED FOR A WEEK? R. LEADER, BAULKHAM HILLS One property that might work well for your large […]

Top 10 travel tips for the ultimate Disney holiday in the USA

Downtown Disney, an avenue leading to the entrances of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. Photo: Paul Hiffmeyer 1 GO OFF-PEAK Perhaps obvious on the surface, but fundamentally this is a great way to get more from a Disney trip. Among the best periods to visit if you’re looking to avoid the hoards are mid-September […]

Travelling and flying with a baby: No, you’re not entitled to complain

Parents and babies have a right to fly on planes. Photo: Shutterstock When you write a column about the difficulty of travelling and dining out with a baby, the response is sadly predictable. Essentially, I shouldn’t even be doing it. I shouldn’t be flying. I shouldn’t be eating in restaurants. My child shouldn’t be annoying […]

Travelling with a baby: What it’s like to be the annoying person on a plane

Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid annoying plane passengers – even when it’s your own child. Photo: Shutterstock Now, I’ve felt the fear. Now, I understand. It builds as you approach the airport, as you run through a mental checklist of all the things you have to do: take out the car-seat and wrap it; find […]

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