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Best summer holiday destinations in Australia

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.

Enjoying Australia’s spectacular backyard.
Enjoying Australia’s spectacular backyard.

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.

Passing on our treasured memories to our daughter Charli.
Passing on our treasured memories to our daughter Charli.

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.

Our view from the BIG4 holiday park in Albany.
Our view from the BIG4 holiday park in Albany.

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)

  1. 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.

Separation Creek in Wye River. Photo credit: Travel Victoria.
Separation Creek in Wye River. Photo credit: Travel Victoria.

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) .
  1. 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.

Merimbula Beach. Photo credit: Sapphire Coast Tourism.
Merimbula Beach. Photo credit: Sapphire Coast Tourism.

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.
  1. 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.

Robe. Credit: South Australia Tourism.
Robe. Credit: South Australia Tourism.

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.
  1. 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.

The endless ocean views of Albany.
The endless ocean views of Albany.

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.

Whales, right out the front of our cabin in Albany.
Whales, right out the front of our cabin in Albany.

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!

Noosa, Queensland.

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.

Noosa Main Beach. Photo Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.
Noosa Main Beach. Photo Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

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!

Jen x

For more travel inspiration and information, go to

6 important reasons why camping is good for you

We all know camping is a fantastic activity, providing hours of enjoyment and a welcome opportunity to connect with loved ones, as well as nature.

But that’s just the start. Did you also know that a whole range of wonderful health benefits result from camping? From physical and mental aids to those that are tailor made for children, these benefits ensure there’s even more reason why you should spend a night under the stars.

Check out the many reasons why camping is good for your health.

Family Enjoying Camping Holiday On Campsite

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How to survive while sharing a caravan with your whole family

With thanks to guest blogger Janelle Boynton of Feathertop Family Adventures.

Before leaving on our trip, I remember being in our ensuite at home and, within a minute, the rest of the family was in there with me. I said: “Could you all please get out?”, then quickly said: “No, no, stay…let’s practise being in one small space together”. It turns out we needed all the practice we could get!

Living in one caravan together isn’t like living in your house. Staying organised and sane while sharing the one space inside your caravan can be a challenge. Just imagine passing each other at the fridge, sink, and bathroom with just one metre clearance.

But despite the challenges, we love living together. It has brought us much closer together as a family and taught us to be patient and more tolerant of each other’s differences.

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8 memorable Australian zoo experiences

Australia has a superb collection of zoos and wildlife sanctuaries that entertain, enthral, engage, excite, and educate. Yet visiting an Australian zoo or wildlife park is like standing in a supermarket’s confectionery aisle – there’s so much on offer that it’s tough to know what to choose (or where to start).

So rather than just informing you of the best zoos in Australia, we’ve gone a step further. We present the lowdown on great zoo experiences – the must-sees, the rare encounters, the up-close meetings, or the captivating shows – and when to witness them.

We understand a day at the zoo can be pricey even without add-ons, so our choices are limited to experiences that form part of a general admission ticket, (which means the chance to wrestle dozy polar bears at $10,000 a pop was omitted from the list, sorry). With the hard work already done for you, prepare to enjoy a bunch of great Australian zoo experiences.

Zoos allow for incredible up-close encounters.
Zoos allow for incredible up-close encounters. Image credit: Perth Zoo.

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Why Kiama has got it all – the beauty of the South Coast of NSW

Blog contribution by Jennifer Adams, presenter of the popular TV travel series Places We Go.

The New South Wales South Coast is a blend of what I consider to be some of the best qualities of Australia: kilometres of lush green rolling farmland, framed superbly by never-ending spectacular coastline that’s home to some of the most pristine beaches in the country.

Kiama, where rolling farmland meets the sea.
Kiama, where rolling farmland meets the sea.

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Get hooked on fishing in Airlie Beach

Experienced angler Matt Tuffy provides us with his thoughts about fishing in and around Airlie Beach following a stay at BIG4 Airlie Cove Resort and Caravan Park.

Paradise to look at, paradise to fish at – welcome to Airlie Beach and the wider Whitsundays region. On my recent travels there I was lucky enough to organise to fish the Whitsunday Islands with a local. We took his boat out to Hook Island and caught a wide variety of reef species, including coral trout and red emperor. The weather was perfect for fishing and we enjoyed truly magnificent scenery.

Airlie Beach Marina Continue reading

Fishing deserves plenty of Ayr time

Experienced angler Matt Tuffy gives us the inside running for fishing in and around Ayr after his recent stay at BIG4 Ayr Silver Link Caravan Village.

During my travels to Ayr, I organised to liaise with fellow fishing journalist Cliff Mann, who’s fished in the area for more than a decade. While trips to both saltwater and freshwater were productive, it was the freshwater of the Burdekin system that really stood out. I had never targeted the native fish, sooty grunters, and was amazed at their aggression and willingness to take lures. We caught dozens of them, and I even managed a nice barramundi and tarpon as a bycatch. However, it was a stark reminder of how dangerous the water can be when bull sharks attacked our hooked fish in two feet of crystal clear freshwater.

Fishing on a lake Continue reading

Local knowledge is the key to successful fishing in Innisfail

We grab the thoughts of experienced angler Matt Tuffy who hooked onto local advice for fishing in and around Innisfail while staying at BIG4 Innisfail Mango Tree Tourist Park.

You can’t beat local knowledge. It’s a cliché but it’s so true. I reaped the benefits of this during a recent stay at BIG4 Innisfail Mango Tree Tourist Park. And by passing these thoughts on to you, it will hopefully increase your chances of landing a catch when you’re fishing in Innisfail and surrounds.

Fishing at sunset Continue reading

5 facts you should know about Tasmania’s Port Arthur Historic Site

Blog contribution by Jennifer Adams, presenter of the popular TV travel series Places We Go.

Here is an interesting question to discuss around the dinner table – do you know if you have any convict stories within your own family history? It’s certainly adds an intriguing twist to many Australian families. And on our recent visit to the Port Arthur Historic Site, the home of what was our country’s largest penal colony, this topic was discussed with much interest.

Port Arthur historic site, Tasmania
Port Arthur Historic Site in Port Arthur, Tasmania

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