Sometimes it can feel like our commitments run our lives; when weekdays are taken over by work and school, it can be easy to settle into a routine of relaxing at home on the weekend. But eventually routine (even a relaxing one) can get boring. When that happens, it’s time to get the whole family out of the house and break the monotony with a rollicking adventure. Here are five weekend getaway locations in Australia that are sure to entertain children and adults alike.
Yarra River, VIC
For families that love the outdoors, or just want to get out of their comfort zone the Yarra River in Victoria, Australia is a perfect escape. The iconic Melbourne River is home to many local events, such as the Melbourne Festival, rowing regattas, the Dragon Boat festival and the famous Moomba festival. You can plan your trip around one of these many events, or simply pick any weekend to come down and hop on one of the many river crafts at Southgate or Princes Walk.
You don’t even need to get onto the water to take advantage of all that the Yarra River offers; there are picnic and barbeque facilities available, so you can enjoy a meal while taking in the picturesque views of the river. For the more athletically inclined, there are paths for cyclists, joggers and walkers, and fishing platforms and jetties if you have a fishing pole that needs a good workout.
Zoofari Lodge, Targonga Western Plains Zoo, NSW
Have you and the kids ever started a trip to the zoo in the morning and left right at closing time still wanting more? Taronga Western Plains Zoo understands the feeling, and ensures your zoo experience doesn’t have to end once the working day does. Located four hours out of Sydney, in Dubbo, New South Wales, the Taronga Western Plains Zoo provides you with a unique family vacation in their Zoofari Lodge.
The lodge is based in native bushland, near the zoo’s African Savannah exhibit. With giraffes, hippos, zebras, and other African animals living so close by, it really does feel like the family is on Safari. The Zoofari Lodge gives children a chance to get up close and personal with a number of different animals, see exotic and endangered species, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The Zoofari Lodge tends to be a popular exhibit amongst children during the school holidays, so if this sounds like the perfect destination for you and your family, be sure to book ahead.
Turtle Beach Resort, QLD
A veritable wonderland for both adults and children, Turtle Beach Resort is your one-stop family getaway. Children aged 4-12 can enjoy a cornucopia of activities, including craft sessions, Wii tournaments, themed disco party nights, movie screenings and more at Club Turtle. For the older kids and kids-at-heart, there’s an 18-hole putt-putt course, water slide and lap pools, a cinema, fitness room, and arcade room to while away the hours. And of course, tired parents can relax in the sauna, or enjoy a massage at the Chelonia Day Spa.
As for food, there is a Woodfire Pizzeria and Rainforest Cafe onsite, so you don’t even have to leave the resort to grab a bite to eat. However, if you do fancy venturing out and exploring the rest of the Gold Coast, there is a Tour Desk to organise bookings and transfers to other attractions and the airport.
Beerenberg Farm, SA
For city-dwellers, getting out of the hustle and bustle can be just the trick for a relaxing weekend. Beerenberg is a family-owned and run farm that is famous for producing jams, chutneys, sauces, dressings, olive oil and a number of other farm-fresh products. Beerenberg also has a strawberry farm, which visitors are encouraged to visit and pick their own strawberries. Families of all shapes and sizes are invited to come along during berry season (usually October to May) grab a bucket, and start picking. This is a perfect vacation for families that want to get away from the city for a while, and enjoy the fresh air in a nice South Australian farm.
Whitsunday Islands, QLD
You don’t need to own beachside real estate to enjoy the surf and sand. The Whitsunday Islands are just off the coast of Queensland, right in the heart of the World-famous Barrier Reef. So it’s no wonder the Whitsundays are a prime destination for serious relaxation enthusiasts.
There is no shortage of things to do on the Whitsundays: laze around on the beaches and take a dip in the sea; explore the islands and the Great Barrier Reef from on high by taking a helicopter tour; go the complete opposite direction and get snorkelling; or go midway and book a day tour on a glass-bottomed boat. Whatever you choose, the stunning atmosphere of the Whitsunday Islands will make sure it’s nothing but a good time.
Australia has no shortage of interesting getaway destinations that are sure to entertain and enthral all members of the family. Whether you’re looking for a safari adventure, or a beachside romp, there is something for every kind of family.