With thanks to guest blogger Jennifer Adams of Places We Go.
Ooh I have excitement in my fingertips even writing this blog! When I think of summer holidays in Australia, I think of our great country sparkling at her very best; what a beauty she really is, especially over the Christmas “summer” holidays.
I always find ‘planning’ a holiday is half the fun – the process itself lets you reminisce about special memories from days past, and daydream about what you want to create for yourself and your family in the future.
Some of my best childhood memories are of our summer holidays at the beach. Mum and dad would load us kids into the “grey ghost” (our old HD Holden station wagon that had red plastic seats – gosh I loved that car) before the crack of dawn and before we knew it, we’d be half way to a holiday spot playing eye-spy and pulling over for a picnic on the way.
We’d set up at a holiday park, usually for a few weeks at a time. Games of beach cricket; splashing about in the surf on dad’s shoulders, feasting on prawns and freshly caught fish on the barby; making “best” friends at the holiday park; playing card games inside the tent; not to mention the time a mini-cyclone swept through our campsite in Eden and we got to eat “Minties” for breakfast as all our food had blown away!
I am so grateful for these childhood memories, and we are blessed in Australia to have such opportunities in our backyard.
I am hoping you have been thinking about your own past while reading this, and of course wondering about what’s next in your holiday book of memories.
There are so many options, it can be a little overwhelming; and I always find recommendations from my like-minded friends a great way to start. So in the spirit of sharing, here are five of my favourites for you to consider! (I would love you to share your favourites in the comments section below so that I can get ideas from you too)
- Wye River, Victoria.
The coastal town of Wye River is a treasure in summer. Surrounded by the Great Otway National Park (think koalas and lush rainforest) and the truly spectacular Great Ocean Road (undoubtedly one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world), it comes alive with the sounds of children playing at the beach, and walking up to the ice-cream shop with no shoes on. While many beachside towns have succumbed to over-development, Wye River has thankfully maintained the old world charm reminiscent of childhood holidays gone past.
Staying at the BIG4 Wye River Holiday Park, you’ve got the best of both worlds, surrounded by mountains, the river, and the ocean beach at your doorstep it makes for a brilliant summer holiday. During your stay, apart from splashing around at the beach, take advantage of the many activities in the region.
5 things to do while in Wye River:
- Get a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest on the Otway Fly tree-top walk, the world’s tallest elevated walkway of its kind.
- Take a walk in the forest and see Hopetoun Falls and Triplet Falls
- Drive the full length of the Great Ocean Road, taking in the dramatic limestone cliffs and turquoise waters)
- Walk all of part of the Great Ocean Walk.
- Drop in at the Wye River General Store that is both a café and an old-school convenience store (remember the lollies with your pocket money) .
- Merimbula, The Sapphire Coast, South Coast of New South Wales.
The Sapphire Coast in New South Wales is a show-stopper, and packed full of gems – Bermagui, Eden, Pambula, Merimbula, to name just a few of my favourites. The entire region was treasured by my family growing up, and still is. So, in having to put forward “one” place, I am going to offer up Merimbula, in celebration of all the happy camping memories.
Famous for its beautiful beaches and lakes, Merimbula is a mecca for all things water sports! And the BIG4 NRMA Merimbula Beach Holiday Park is a cracker. Perched right on the beach, all you have to do is step out from your tent, caravan or cabin and you are enjoying the rolling waves and beautiful white sand.
I will never forget the time when I was around seven years of age, and my dad went out fishing with friend, only to come home with a flathead so big that we invited newly made friends from the holiday park to share in our feast.
That’s the kind of holiday I love, where you can leave your ordinary life at home, and just enjoy the simplicity and beauty of the great outdoors.
5 things to do while in Merimbula.
- Hire a canoe, kayak or paddleboard and explore the numerous lakes and inlets
- Go Fishing! Merimbula is home to some of the best fishing spots on the NSW coast, take a charter boat, or throw a line in straight off the beach!
- Visit Magic Mountain, a small, fun theme park that caters for both children and adults.
- Visit the Ben Boyd National Park in Eden (just a half hour drive from Merimbula)
- Get up close and personal to the wildlife at Poteroo Palace in nearby town of Eden.
- Robe – South Australia.
Robe is another one of my family’s favourite holiday spots over summer. The quiet seaside town on the Limestone Coast in South Australia is situated on Guichen Bay about 350km south east of Adelaide and is overflowing with charm. You can immerse yourself in the town’s seafaring history by simply walking the streets and checking out the 84 historic buildings and sites that have been beautifully restored.
My memories are sitting out the front of our tent feasting on fresh rock lobster after a day at Long Beach, which sits opposite the BIG4 Discovery Holiday Park in Robe.
5 things to do while you are in Robe:
- Walking trails – take the cliff walk or a bush trail. You can collect local trail maps from the information centre.
- Go fishing at Breakwater or Lake Battye, or take a local fishing charter that run year round.
- 4 Wheel Driving on Long Beach (approx 12 kilometres long and accessible over summer)
- Enjoy sailing, paddle boarding, or kayaking on the peaceful lakes.
- Pack your golf clubs for a game on Robe’s public golf course.
- Albany, Western Australia.
Maybe I should have named this story my five favourite beachside holiday spots – but for me, summer is all about enjoying the wonderful coastal towns Australia has to offer and the mere location of the BIG4 Middleton Beach Holiday Park in Albany on the south coast, makes it an absolute cracker and worth putting on your list.
I will never forget sitting on the top deck of one of the luxury holiday cabins at the holiday park that overlooks the ocean, watching a humpback whale frolic in the water right in front of us.
5 things to do while you are in Albany
- Visit the Amity, a full-scale replica of the ship that brought Albany’s first settlers to town in 1826.
- Go to Whale World, where there’s an interesting account of Albany’s whaling history, which ceased in 1978. The town is now focused on the conservation and enjoyment of these majestic deep-sea mammals (whale watching season is between June and October)
- Take a hike in nearby Torndirrip National Park, one of the most popular in the state.
- Grab a coffee and meander around the out the farmers markets on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
- Head down the docks of a weekend and buy fresh seafood for the barby back at the holiday park!
The Sunshine Coast is one of our favourite places to holiday in Australia, and we are heading up to Noosa for Christmas this year with our extended family. I love nothing more than going for an early morning run along the cliffs overlooking the ocean in the National Park, followed by a swim on Main Beach and a coffee at my favourite café Bistro C.
Based at the Active Holidays – BIG4 Noosa, there are so many things to do in this tourist town you are spoilt for choice. So after you are done relaxing, here are my top 5 things to do in Noosa.
- Join the café culture along sophisticated Hastings street, parallel to Main Beach
- Explore the art galleries in the hinterland and browse the Eumundi Markets.
- Take the family to kid-friendly attractions such as Australia Zoo in Beerwah.
- Spend the afternoon at the Sunshine Beach Surf Club
- Enjoy the many water-sports on offer, from sailing, to scuba diving, canoeing and deep sea fishing.
I would love to hear what your Top 5 holiday destinations are for summer here in Australia. Have you been to any of my special places? Reminiscing about all of these holiday spots has already inspired me to book our family Christmas for next year!!! We are taking the pop-top to Merimbula!
For more travel inspiration and information, go to www.placeswego.com.