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Australia

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive - Australia

The iconic Sydney to Brisbane drive is a breathtaking 920km, or 10 hour, road trip past some of the most beautiful towns and peaceful beaches Australia’s coastline has to offer. While you can do the drive in a single day, why not spread it out over a few days or even weeks, and soak up the pristine beaches, delectable cafes and fascinating history that is on offer throughout the Sydney to Brisbane road trip.

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive

Main Beach, Byron Bay

Central Coast

Avoca, NSW, Australia

The Central Coast is only an hours drive north of Sydney, and is home to beautiful beaches and delightful cafes. Set aside a few days if you can to visit beaches and seaside towns like Copacabana, Macmasters Beach, Terrigal and Avoca Beach. We loved visiting the Australian Reptile Park in Gosford, and have often enjoyed the daily pelican feeding at The Entrance.

Read more about things to do on the Central Coast here.

Newcastle

For Scratchley, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The industrial and coastal city has so much to offer. We love Newcastle’s gorgeous beaches, delicious cafes and stunning ocean baths. You can also visit historic Fort Scratchley, the Newcastle Museum and Nobbys Lighthouse.

Read more about things to do in Newcastle here.

Port Stephens

Mount Tomaree, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

Located 2 1/2 hours drive north of Sydney, the area has a stunning 26 beautiful beaches and bays to explore. Port Stephens is renowned for whale and dolphin watching, sand dunes and gourmet restaurants.

Read more about things to do in Port Stephens here.

Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Located four hours drive north of Sydney and six hours south of Brisbane, Port Macquarie is a seaside town at the mouth of the Hastings River. It’s a gorgeous spot to spend a few days enjoying the beaches, wildlife and penal colony history.

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Visit the Port Macquarie’s Historic Courthouse that was built in 1869 and is located in the town centre. Read more about historic and cultural attractions in Port Macquarie here.

We loved the colourful graffiti rocks on the break wall that stretches down to the very popular Town Beach. Along the walk we spotted plenty of dolphins frolicking in the bay.

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Town Beach has modern bathroom and shower facilities, grassy areas, picnic facilities, a skate park, kiosk, an outdoor gym and a modern playground.

We also loved Mrs York’s Garden, a peaceful spot with lovely water views. Read more about Mrs York’s Garden here.

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Other popular attractions in the area include the 19th-century Tacking Point Lighthouse, whale watching, Billabong Zoo, the Koala Hospital and the hand-painted giant koala sculptures on the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail.

Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Dining at the Pancake Place is an absolute must. They serve up delicious pancakes and crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, making it a popular stop on the quintessential coastal road trip. While the mid north coast town might be just a convenient place to stay a night or two for those making the longer journey, we were pleasantly surprised to find so many things to do in Coffs Harbour, and would recommend it for a holiday destination.

Read more about things to do in Coffs Harbour here.

Yamba

Yamba, NSW, Australia

Around 7.5 hours north of Sydney and 3 1/4 hours south of Brisbane, Yamba is a quiet little gem with beautiful beaches, fresh seafood and stunning national parks surrounding it. We loved the chilled out vibe in this little seaside town and its excellent cafes.

Yamba, NSW, Australia

Take a dip in the usually calm waters of Main Beach, or try the ocean pool at its south end if the waves are choppy.

Yamba, NSW, Australia

Stroll up a bit further to Turner’s Beach where you’ll find a rock shelf and the South Break Wall, plus a path and steps that lead up to the Lighthouse. We spotted pods of dolphins in the water from the break wall.

Yamba, NSW, Australia

The Lighthouse, built in 1955, offers gorgeous views up and down the coast.

Ballina

Ballina, Big Prawn, NSW, Australia

Located roughly 8.5 hours north of Sydney and 2 hours south of Brisbane, Ballina is an old school seaside town that’s a great base for exploring the local attractions. Check out the local beaches, take a river cruise or enjoy a kayaking tour if you like being on the water. The town is close to Broadwater and Bunjalong National Parks for nature-lovers.

We highly enjoyed Ballina’s Big Prawn, which was built in 1989 and given a $400,000 makeover in 2013. It’s located adjacent to Bunnings Warehouse in River Street.

While in Ballina we stayed at the Ballina Homestead Motel and highly recommend it.

Read more about things to do in Ballina here.

Lennox Head

Lennox Heads, NSW, Australia

A 10 minute drive north from Ballina is Lennox Head, a charming little seaside village with oodles of charm. We loved the beautiful 7 Mile Beach and strolling the main street with its boutiques and cafes. There’s a great playground for kids in the park near the beach.

Lennox Heads, NSW, Australia
We enjoyed the most delicious Italian dinner at the supremely kid-friendly Quattro Classic Lennox Head and homemade gelato from gelato from Lennox Gelato & Coffee Co. They had chilli gelato on the menu but we weren’t game to try it!

Byron Bay

Cape Byron

8.5 hours north of Sydney and 2 hours south of Brisbane lies the ever-popular Byron Bay. Once a hippy town Byron has of late attracted more of an upmarket, hipster clientele, and the hotels, restaurants and shops have started to reflect the new visitors. The vibe is still relaxed, but the town has started to get a whole lot trendier!

Main Beach, Byron Bay

Byron Bay has plenty of natural attractions on offer, including stunning beaches included Main Beach, Clarkes, Wategoes and Little Wategoes. The later is Australia’s easternmost beach. Main Beach has an excellent playground for kids.

Wategoes Beach, Byron Bay

There are also plenty of bushwalks in hinterland rainforest, coastal trails and loads of wildlife to spot.

Byron bay Hinterland

We love visiting Cape Byron, the easternmost point of the mainland of Australia and home to Australia’s most powerful lighthouse.

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

Take the easy 4km Byron Bay Lighthouse walk (parking is available if you prefer to drive) and look out for marine life in the Cape Byron Marine Park below. Dolphins, turtles, rays and whales can all be spotted – we were lucky enough to see a few whales.

Cape Byron

The Cape Byron Lighthouse and lighthouse keepers cottages were built in 1901. Light food and drinks are available.

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

We highly enjoyed dining at Bayleaf Cafe, which really embodies how far Byron has come and what its future might hold. Delicious, fresh food, beautifully prepared and creatively presented, in a buzzy cafe with open windows and tables spilling out onto the footpath.

Crystal Castle, Byron, NSW, Australia

To get a real feel for the spiritual side of Byron Bay, visit the Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens. The gardens are speckled with the beautiful crystals and statues that pay tribute to various spiritualities around the world, including the largest stone Blessing Buddha in Australia. Our daughter loves crystals, so we visited to see the world’s tallest geode pair. We really enjoyed the gardens but thought it was an extremely expensive outing for what it was.

We found the accommodation in Byron Bay to be double the price of neighbouring towns, so opted to stay in nearby Coolangatta instead.

Gold Coast

Queensland’s Gold Coast is a family-friendly stretch of coast lined with spectacular beaches, famous theme parks and lush hinterland rainforests.

Coolangatta

9 hours north of Sydney and 1 1/4 hour south of Brisbane, Coolangatta is the southernmost suburb of the Gold Coast, just over the NSW border. It was named after the schooner Coolangatta, which in 1846 was wrecked there.

Coolangatta is only a short drive from Surfers Paradise but it feels like a different world. The town has a relaxed vibe to it and a stunning beach so that when combined with its excellent restaurants and hotels, makes for the perfect Gold Coast destination in our opinion.

Kids will love the excellent, shaded playground just across from the main strip of restaurants and the wide path that runs along the beach for scooting.

Sunset at Snapper Rocks is incredible. If you visit during winter you might see whales passing by like we did.

We dined at O Sushi which had a huge variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes including haloumi skewers. Gelato Messina is not to be missed.

While in Coolangatta we stayed at the Greenmount Beach Hotel, which was an excellent budget find.

Currumbin

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin is famous for the beautiful Currumbin Creek waterway that offers sheltered conditions for swimming and watersports –  Tallebudgera Creek is particularly popular with the locals.

You’ll also find the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in this peaceful beach suburb. Arrive at8am to participate in their daily free lorikeet feeding.

Read more about visiting Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary here.

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads, Qld, Australia

The relaxed vibe in Burleigh, as the locals call it, gives it an entirely different feel to its neighbouring beaches to the north. While you can see the Surfers Paradise high rises in the distance, it feels like a whole world away.

Burleigh Heads, Qld, Australia

The beach is protected and calm, making it popular with families. We loved climbing rocks and trees at the south end and sitting on the headland and watching surfers showing off their moves.

Paddock Bakery, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

We dined at the excellent Paddock Bakery in the neighbouring suburb of Miami. With its relaxed vibe and pretty, tasty food, it’s an iconic Gold Coast cafe well worth the visit.

Broadbeach

Gold Coast With Kids via christineknight.me

Getting further into the bustling centre of the Gold Coast, Broadbeach has a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, boutiques and accommodation choices, with a family-friendly vibe. It’s a great base for a Gold Coast holiday if you’re after plenty of things to do and see. Broadbeach also has a beautiful beach, large playground for kids, and the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre.

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Surfer Paradise, which was located halfway between Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Read more about our stay at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise here.

Surfers Paradise

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Surfers is a hotspot for tourists visiting the Gold Coast. The iconic Surfers Paradise Beach and its sign draw in overseas visitors while the nightlife attracts school leavers. There are loads of attractions in Surfers Paradise that make it a great spot to stay if you’re keen to do and see the sights, especially with older kids. Attractions include SkyPoint Observation Deck,  Infinity Attraction, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Timezone.

Surfers Paradise is also where you’ll find all of the Gold Coast’s theme parks.

Read about things to do on the Gold Coast with kids here.

The Sydney to Gold Coast drive is one of our favourite holidays trips to make, and often we will stop here rather than proceeding on to Brisbane. The Sydney to Gold Coast road trip is around 9.5 hours drive, or 848km.

Brisbane

Brisbane

The capital city of Queensland, Brisbane is a 10 hour drive from Sydney. It’s a vibrant city, filled with art, music, restaurants, man-made beaches and the beautiful river that runs through the middle.

In Brisbane, we stayed at the Novotel Brisbane, which we highly recommend.

Read about our stay at the Novotel Brisbane here.

Read about things to do in Brisbane with kids here.

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive, Australia The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive, Australia

The best places to stop on a Sydney to Brisbane drive, Australia

And thats it! The Sydney to Brisbane drive is an epic journey through some of Australia’s most beautiful scenery. I highly recommend taking your time to see the sights along the way.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Best Things To Do On The Gold Coast With Kids

Things To Do On The Gold Coast With Kids: Qld Australia
Queenland’s Gold Coast is a family-friendly stretch of coast lined with spectacular beaches, famous theme parks and lush hinterland rainforests. It’s no wonder families return year after year to holiday in this paradise, there is just so much to do on the Gold Coast with kids!

Things to do on the Gold Coast with kids

Gold Coast With Kids via christineknight.me

Beaches

Coolangatta, QLD

The number one attraction on the Gold Coast, and it’s FREE! Take a sun shelter, sand toys and plenty of sun screen. Main Beach and Surfers Paradise are the glitzy attention-hogs of the coast, with Broadbeach a close third, but we prefer the quieter beaches like Burleigh Heads, the supremely family-friendly Tallebudgera Creek, Currumbin Creek and Coolangatta Beach. It’s no surprise that with so many gorgeous spots to choose from, that the beaches rate number one for our fave thing to do on the Gold Coast with kids.

Theme Parks

Dreamworld

Dreamworld, Australia

Dreamworld is a theme park and zoo. The park features thrilling rides, kid-friendly rides, WhiteWater World (which is a water park area), live shows and entertainment, Tiger Island (part of Dreamworld’s Sumatran tiger conservation program), ABC Kids World, Wiggles World, Troll Village and Dreamworld Corroboree, which is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, culture, wildlife and stories. We’ve visited Dreamworld many times over the years and the tigers are always our favourite.

dreamworld.com.au

Image courtesy of Dreamworld

Sea World

Sea World via christineknight.me

Sea World is a marine mammal park, oceanarium, and theme park located on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It includes rides, animal exhibits and other attractions, and it promotes conservation through education and the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife.

Sea World via christineknight.me

Out of all the theme parks, this was the best for little kids. Lots of animals exhibits and shows like the seals pictured above, a few rides such as the carousel and the Viking Revenge Flume, and great character shows and meet and greets with Dora The Explorer and Spongebob Square Pants.

seaworld.com.au

Warner Bros Movie World

Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me

Warner Bros Movie World is Australia’s only movie-related theme park. Best suited to older tweens and up, Movie World features lots of thrilling rides, character meet and greets and live shows.

Movie World, Queensland via christineknight.me

Movie World does has a great section for younger kids with smaller rides and a splash area for hot days. Several of the rides require kids to be over 100cm still, so for kids age 3 and under the ride choices are limited. The character shows and parade however are a lot of fun for littles, and run all day long.

movieworld.com.au

Wet’n’Wild

Wet'n'Wild Water World, Australia
This popular water park features rides and slides for thrill seekers and families. Their Wet’n’Wild Junior precinct is especially designed for kids aged under 10 and under 140cm tall, and features eight kid friendly water slides including miniature versions of the larger thrill slides, a shallow children’s pool and multi-level interactive adventure play area with a tipping bucket.
Get more info about visiting Wet’n’Wild here.
Image courtesy of Wet’n’Wild.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia
The iconic Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on Australia’s Gold Coast is a heritage-listed zoological garden, built in 1947. Set on 27 hectares of Currumbin rainforest, you’ll need to dedicate a full day to exploring. Be sure to arrive early for the 8am free lorikeet feeding.
Read more about our experience at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary here.

Aquaduck

Aquaduck via christineknight.me
For a short outing (it goes for an hour, departing from the middle of Surfers Paradise), the Aquaduck is great for for kids.

Aquaduck via christineknight.me

The duck takes a drive along side the beach, and then takes to the water to give a tour of the glam houses on the lagoons. The best part for Cheese was getting to drive the boat.

aquaduck.com.au

Tamborine Mountain

Mount Tamborine Curtis Falls, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

I’ve heard locals call Tamborine Mountain the “green behind the gold”, which is a beautiful way to look at it. The third oldest National park in the world, the Tamborine Mountain features 12 walking tracks, each one no longer than around 3km.

Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Cave

Mount Tamborine Glow-worm Caves , Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

Did you know that glow worms are only found in Australia and New Zealand? Get a glimpse at these tiny, illuminated creatures at the Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Tours at Cedar Creek Estate, in a purpose-built cave filled with thousands of glow worms. The cave was built to take some of the attention off other areas of the mountain where the glow worms are found naturally and were attracting large amounts of tourists.

The cave ensures that visitors levels and interaction with the glow worms is kept at a level safe to the glow worms while also ensuring that their cousins in the wild are able to live with less tourist traffic damaging their habitat. As a bonus, you can see these glow worms from 10am-4pm year-round, whereas glow worms in the wild can only be viewed at night.

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

Mount Tamborine Skywalk, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

A 1.5km rainforest walk, the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk includes a 40 metre Skywalk Cantilever (steel-structured) and Cedar Creek Viewing Platform, which both give excellent views of the rainforest from the treetops.
Mount Tamborine Skywalk, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia
The walk then continues on a winding path on the canopy floor. The walk takes around 45 minutes. Note: this is a paid experience. We thought it was a bit expensive for what was offered.

Curtis Falls Track

Mount Tamborine Curtis Falls, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

This is the perfect family-friendly waterfall walk through a eucalypt forest and lush rainforest.

Mount Tamborine Curtis Falls, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

The walk is short but when you stop to examine the intricate strangler figs and look inside hollow tree trunks, it can take a while to reach the waterfalls at the bottom. There are no bathrooms nearby!

Gallery Walk

Mount Tamborine, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

Stop by the “Gallery Walk“ where over 60 art, craft, gift and nick-knack shops line the street.

Mount Tamborine, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

We enjoyed getting lost inside Flights of Fancy, the most beautiful fairy shop we’ve ever seen, and sampling the many incredible flavours of fudge at Fudge Heaven.

Getting to the Gold Coast

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

We booked a cheap flight online (try Webjet or Skyscanner) and had a very easy, fast trip to Gold Coast airport. Pros: it’s fast. Cons: if your hotel isn’t walking distance from everything you want to see, you’ll need to shell out a lot of money in expensive shuttle buses or take public transport. There is a tram service that links many of the popular destinations – get info on where the tram stops and pricing here.
You can also do the traditional driving route from your home city – ours is Sydney. Read about the best places to stop on the Sydney to Brisbane drive here. Pros: you have a car at your disposal when you get there. Cons: you might have to pay for parking at your hotel, and the drive up is loooooooong if you come from somewhere as far as Sydney.

Family Accommodation on the Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa
Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort, Queensland via christineknight.me
We loved the Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa. Situated between the beach and a lagoon, it’s surrounded by water on all sides. The two excellent pools, one saltwater with a waterfall and fish and the other chlorinated with a whirlpool feature and cave, make it hard to leave the resort
Read more about our stay at the Surfers Paradise Marriot Resort & Spa here.
Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise
Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
The Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise is a large, older grand dame of a hotel, consisting of two towers, connected by an undercover walkway. We loved the two giant pools and heated spa.
Read more about our stay at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise here.
Things To Do On The Gold Coast With Kids: Qld Australia
Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Eight Awesome Things To Do In Port Stephens

Eight Things To Do In Port Stephens

Located 2 1/2 hours drive north of Sydney, the area has a stunning 26 beautiful beaches and bays to explore. Port Stephens is renowned for whale and dolphin watching, sand dunes and gourmet restaurants. There are so many thing to do in Port Stephens that I suggest staying for at least three days, more if you can.

I’m reluctant to write about Port Stephens in a way because it’s a little gem that has been off the tourist radar so far, and it’s kind of nice that way! Both hubby and I have spent a lot of time of the years at Port Stephens and it’s an area very dear to our hearts.

Nelson Bay

Nelson Bay Marina, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

Nelson Bay is the heart of Port Stephens. The beautiful marina is a popular spot for waterfront dining, cycling and scooting, as well as being the location for departing water tours. Nelson Bay is the main township in the area so has the best selection of accomodation, restaurants and other facilities.

Little Beach

Little Beach Nelson Bay, Port Stephens

One of the best family friendly spots in the area is Little Beach, tucked between Nelson Bay Beach and Shoal Bay Beach. The flat water is calm and perfect for littlies, and there is loads of soft sand for building sandcastles. We have spent many hours here floating in the water and relaxing. It’s heaven!

Nelson Head Heritage Light House Cottage and Reserve

The Best Things To Do In Port Stephens

You can drive or walk up to the Nelson Head Lighthouse Cottage and Rescue Station Reserve.

Nelson Head

The headland was chosen as the perfect spot for a lighthouse in 1875 thanks to its unparralel views of Port Stephens. It’s a great spot for tea and scones in the Tea Rooms, kookaburra spotting and taking in the view.

Tomaree National Park

Mount Tomaree, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

Get some easy exercise with the Tomaree Head Summit walk. A short, invigorating (read – steep uphill!) walk 161 metres above the entrance to Port Stephens, the reward from the lookout at the top is a stunning view of the coast as far as Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands. From the south platform you can see Box Beach, Fingal Island and Point Stephens Lighthouse.

Fingal Bay

Fingal Bay, Port Stephens, NSW, Australia

This beach is a near-perfect C-curve and is a popular spot to set up for the day with a picnic to just relax. BYO shade shelter as there is no shade on the beach! Walk north to the sand split that links Fingal Island.

View of Fingal Spit looking towards Mount Tomaree, Port Stepens.

Our fave secret spot is to walk over the dunes when the tide is too high to pass over the sand split to the secret beach on the other side.

Additional image of Fingal Split courtesy of Destination NSW.

Stockton

Stockton Beach, Newcastle, Port Stephens

Famous for its length, Stockton Beach is 33km long, making it the longest beach in NSW. Known for its magnificent sand dunes which, at 100 metres tall are the longest mobile sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, Stockton is a sleepy seaside town with some beautiful 19th century cottages. It’s secret gem we love to visit.

One Mile Beach / Anna Bay

A popular beach spot, One Mile Beach is a small town located between Boat Harbour and Nelson Bay. It has basic amenities and a small kiosk, plenty of parking and shady picnic areas.

Shoal Bay

Shoal Bay, Port Stephens

Families love visiting Shoal Bay for a very good reason. As well as being stunningly beautiful, it’s a quiet town with a relaxed vibe. Shoal Bay Beach stretches 2.5lm between Nelson Head and Tomaree Head, protected by both to offer calm swimming waters lapping against the white sand. Kids have been jumping off the jetty for generations!

With so many things to do in Port Stephens it’s hard to spend only a few days in this gorgeous slice of paradise.

The Best Things To Do In Port Stephens

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

8 Fun Things To Do In Newcastle, NSW

Things to do in Newcastle, NSW, Australia

8 Fun Things to do in Newcastle

Australia’s eight largest city is a coastal stunner, surrounded on both sides by beautiful beaches. Newcastle is also a city steeped in history and has becoming a gastronomical mecca of late, with a plethora of cute cafes to choose from. There are plenty of things to do in Newcastle, so plan to spend at least a few days in Steel City!

Fort Scratchley

For Scratchley, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Located in Newcastle East, Fort Scratchley was built in 1882 to defend the city against a potential attack from the Russians. Now a museum, Fort Scratchley is a popular spot to check out the old building which is now a museum and take in the spectacular view on all sides. Kids will love rolling down the hill to the playground below.

Nobbys Lighthouse

For Scratchley, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

A Newcastle icon, Nobbys Lighthouse was built in 1858. The grounds are open from 10am-4pm every Sunday, offering spectacular views of Newcastle, Stockton and beyond.

Get more information about Nobbys Lighthouse here.

Newcastle Memorial Walk

Newcastle Memorial Walk, Newcastle.

A picturesque 450m long boarwalk and bridge, the Newcastle Memorial Walk was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in 1915 which also coincided with the commencement of steel-making in Newcastle.

Image courtesy of Destination NSW.

Swim at the many beautiful beaches

Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Newcastle has plenty of beaches to choose from. Stockton Beach is the longest beach in NSW and has giant sand dunes that are popular for “surfing” down. Dixon Park Beach, Nobbys Beach, Newcastle Beach and Mereweather Beach are all beautiful options – you can’t go wrong with any of them!

Newcastle and Merewether Ocean Baths

Newcastle Baths, NSW, Australia

These popular swimming spots are also a piece of Newcastle history. Newcastle Ocean Baths was opened in 1922 and Merewether Baths in 1935. We particularly loved the Art Deco-style bathing pavilion at the iconic Newcastle Ocean Baths.

Newcastle Ocean Baths, Newcastle.

Families will love the large, shallow Canoe Pool that sits adjacent to the Newcastle Ocean Baths, on its southern side.

The baths are open year ’round.

Additional image courtesy of Destination NSW.

Newcastle Museum

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

A small museum excellently executed, the Newcastle Museum is a top spot to learn more about the local area through interactive and engaging exhibitions.

The Supenova Hands-on Science Centre including a Mininova area for kids under 115cm are particularly fun for families to drop in and see, as is the full-sized vintage tram that is just beckoning to be climbed.

Read more about our visit to the Newcastle Museum here.

Shop and eat on Darby Street

Napoli Centrale, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Darby Street is the place to shop, eat and people watch. The street contains cafes, restaurants, galleries and gift stores.

Blackbutt Reserve

Blackbutt Reserve Newcastle

A favourite with families, Blackbutt Reserve contains nature trails, playgrounds and wildlife exhibits. With plenty of barbecue and picnic facilities, it’s the perfect spot for a relaxing day in nature.

Entry to the park is free, and animal feedings run daily (except for Christmas Day, Anzac Day and Good Friday). The current schedule is 10.30am Wombats, 10.45am Lorikeets, 1.30pm Nocturnal Animals and 2pm Koalas, however please visit Blackbutt Reserve Facebook page for cancellations and changes. The new playground at Richley Reserve is also worth checking out.

Get more info on visiting Blackbutt Reserve here.

Image courtesy of the City of Newcastle. 

Where to eat in Newcastle

Napoli Centrale, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

While you are guaranteed a good meal trying any one of the many chic restaurants on Darby Street, we particularly enjoyed dining at Napoli Centrale Pizza Bar, a Newcastle pizza institution, and had excellent handmade gelato at Popolo Gelateria.

Popolo Gelateria, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

How to get to Newcastle from Sydney

We drove our own car from Sydney via the M1 and Pacific Highway. It takes about 2.5 hours (168km) to drive. You can catch the train to Hamilton or Broadmedow Stations and then hop on a connecting shuttle bus to central Newcastle until the light rail is complete. Regular Newcastle and Central Coast services depart from Central Station, Strathfield, Epping, Eastwood and Hornsby. Greyhound bus services also take passengers from Sydney’s Central Station. Get more info on taking public transport to Newcastle here.

Where to stay in Newcastle

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

We highly enjoyed our stay at the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel. It was in an excellent location, had extremely friendly staff, and the brekkie was fantastic!

Read more about our stay at the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel here.

Things to do in Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Newcastle Museum: Trams, trains and science, oh my!

Visiting the Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

A visit to Steel City isn’t complete without stopping by the excellent Newcastle Museum. The free museum highlights the city’s industrial past, cultural highlights and has an excellent hands-on science centre.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

The Newcastle Museum is a gem and not to be missed. It’s not too big, so you can easily drop by for an hour or two, and as it’s free there’s no reason not to! Inside the museum you’ll find excellent permanent exhibitions as well as new rotating ones depending when you go.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

The permanent exhibitions include Fire and Earth, exploring the industrial roots of the Hunter, A Newcastle Story, which focuses on the character of the city through featuring its beauty, character and the lives that have been led here, the Link Gallery, which sits between the Boilershop and Erecting Shed and houses a working 1890 pipe organ formerly installed in St Augustine’s Church, Merewether, and an 1870 J&A Brown Locomotive No4.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

It was fascinating to learn more about Newcastle’s history and some great inventions, businesses and citizens who hailed from this seaside town. Arnott’s, for example, opened as a small bakery in Newcastle in 1865 on Hunter St.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

We also loved the vintage tram that is just begging to be climbed on, with original ads that made us all laugh out loud when we read them.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

A big drawcard for families is the Supernova Hands-on Science Centre. Jam-packed with hands-on science experiments, it’s the perfect spot enjoy science in a safe and fun environment.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

Highlights of the Supernova include the lifting a car experiment, making your own tornado, playing with magnets and Mininova, the area where kids under 115cm can climb, solve puzzles and tunnel through a maze.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

There is a cafe at the exit where you can sit down and enjoy light snacks, and a really fun street art wall around the side that is just begging for selfies.

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Newcastle Museum
6 Workshop Way, Newcastle NSW
(02) 4974 1400

Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm (open 7 days during the school holidays)
newcastlemuseum.com.au

 

Visiting the Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Seven Things To Do On The Central Coast, NSW

Things To Do On The Central Coast, NSW, Australia

Seven Things To Do On The Central Coast

The Central Coast is only an hours north of Sydney, and is home to beautiful beaches and delightful cafes.

Copacabana and Macmasters Beaches

Copacabana, NSW, Australia

Copacabana and Macmasters Beach are both quiet beaches away from the hustle and bustle. We stayed in a holiday rental at Copacabana Beach and loved the serenity of the location. In the morning we would walk from Copacabana Beach all the way south to the end of Macmasters Beach and watch the sun come up over the ocean. Sunsets in the evening were some of the prettiest we have seen.

There are a few little cafes including the surf club and a small general store. A whale watching platform is at the Copacabana end of the beach. Visiting the beaches is one of our absolute fave things do to on the Central Coast.

Captain Cook Lookout

Copacabana, NSW, Australia

The Captain Cook Lookout is a short drive or long walk from Copacabana Beach. A scenic viewpoint jutting out from Tudibaring Head, the lookout is one of the best spots in NSW for watching whales migrate between late May and early August.

Terrigal Beach

Terrigal, NSW, Australia

Terrigal is a large, popular town and attracts the most visitors, which means great facilities and cafes are on offer.

There is an ocean pool at the south end to swim in as well as the beach which has great waves for giving surfing a try.

Terrigal, NSW, Australia

We enjoyed scooting down the Esplanade, which has plenty of vibrant cafes and restaurants to choose from, all with a pretty ocean view. You might even spot a dolphin or whale during migration season between May and November. We dined at the excellent Bellyfish cafe.

Terrigal, NSW, Australia

Drop by the Cold Rock ice creamery for a special treat. This one has gummy bears in it!

Terrigal, NSW, Australia

If you’re up for a walk, head south from the Esplanade and follow the walking trail to the Skillion lookout on Broken Head. Be warned, it’s a bit of a steep walk and there are stairs along the way.

Avoca Beach

Avoca, NSW, Australia

Avoca Beach is a pretty little seaside community that features buzzy cafes and a popular beach lined with Norfolk Island Pines.

Avoca, NSW, Australia

It’s a relaxing spot that’s a popular choice for families thanks to its large rock platform and protected rock pool at its south end, as well as it’s excellent, partially shaded playground.

#thegrounds #alexandria; #kidfriendly #restaurants, #alexandria #sydney via brunchwithmybaby.com

We have dined at the excellent Avoca Surf House many times. They have a great menu suiting many dietary requirements, use great, fresh produce and are super kid-friendly.

The Australian Reptile Park

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

The Australian Reptile Park in Gosford is a great day out on the Central Coast. The park features native Australian wildlife and other exotic, international species. We had an excellent day at the reptile park and high recommend it for families in particular as one of the top things do to on the Central Coast.

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Get more info on visiting the Australian Reptile Park here and their excellent Mini Kids 2 Keeper program here.

Saddles Restaurant and Bakehouse Mount White

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

A stunning new bush restaurant on the Central Coast, Saddles Mount White is the perfect destination dining location for those wanting to escape Sydney for the day and immerse themselves in nature. Saddles is super kid-friendly, so it’s a great spot to take the whole family. Saddles makes for a great day trip from Sydney just for lunch, or combined with a longer stay in the region.

Get more info on visiting Saddles Mount White here.

Pelican feeding at The Entrance

The Entrance NSW

A visit to the Central Coast isn’t complete without seeing the daily pelican feeding at The Entrance. Every afternoon at 3:30pm a gigantic flock of pelicans descend on the waterfront to be fed fresh fish. A visit to the pelicans at the Entrance is one of the most popular things to do on the Central Coast.

Get more info on the daily pelican feeding at The Entrance here.

Image courtesy of Destination NSW.

Things To Do On The Central Coast, NSW, Australia Things To Do On The Central Coast, NSW, Australia

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Destination Dining: Saddles Restaurant and Bakehouse at Mount White, NSW

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Bakehouse and Restaurant Mount White

A stunning new bush restaurant on the Central Coast, Saddles Mount White is the perfect destination dining location for those wanting to escape Sydney for the day and immerse themselves in nature.

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

The homestead-like restaurant and 28-acre property is located in Mount White, only an hour drive from the Sydney CBD. The venue itself is perched on the edge of a dam with bush surrounding, making it feel like you’re in a remote bush location, rather than actually being quite close to a busy freeway. The serenity is pretty fine!

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

The balcony wrapped around the deck of the homestead is a great spot to look over the dam while eating, but we loved our indoor table where we could enjoy the highly detailed interior set up. The bespoke saddle bar stools, from which the restaurant gets its name, are in hot demand for adults and kids alike. The workmanship that’s gone into these saddles from local craftsman Heath Harris is just incredible, as it the detailing in the entire venue.

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

The kitchen produces a reasonable range of dishes made with local produce and herbs from the garden. There are a lot of in-house baked pastries on the menu which makes for not as much variety as you might hope for, particularly if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

After inquiring about other options I found out the chefs will prepare a special vegan main that changes daily. On the day we dined it was roast pumpkin with quinoa, avocado and cashew cream.

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

There is no kids’ menu at Saddles Mt White, however the staff will prepare either a smaller portion of the trout or pork sausage roll for kids when asked. Babyccinos are available  and kids can request a scoop of ice cream for dessert (neither are on the menu).

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Our family ordered the house made bread & fromage blanc (with Rylestone extra virgin olive oil , olives & herbs $5), grilled ocean trout (with quinoa, beets, sunflower, pistachio & lemon dressing $36), roast Little Hill farm chicken (with eschalot, pea shoots & sugar snaps, brioche & almond crumb $34), Saddles beef, red wine, pearl onion & mushroom pie (with potato puree $24), chips (with herb salt, chive mayonnaise $9), iceberg lettuce (with herbs, avocado, citrus, pistachio, lemon & olive oil dressing $14). For dessert we enjoyed the tiny almond and mascarpone pavlovas, $6.

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

We found the food to be excellent. All extremely tasty dishes with vibrant colours throughout. The locally-grown herbs certainly made a difference when it came to the flavour of the meals. We also had excellent service from an extremely efficient and friendly staff member, which made our stay welcoming and enjoyable.

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

After dining take a walk around the dam to stretch your legs, poke your head in the garden centre and check out the various fruit trees and herbs growing around the property. We found various types of citrus, plenty of herbs and even an avocado tree.

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

If you don’t want to dine in, grab a coffee and pies, tarts and lamingtons and eat them by the dam.

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant & Bakehouse, Mount White, NSW, Australia

Saddles Restaurant and Bakery
20 Ashbrookes Rd, Mount White
saddlesmtwhite.com.au

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

12 Fun Things To Do In Coffs Harbour

The Best Things To Do In Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia

Coffs Harbour is halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, making it a popular stop on the quintessential coastal road trip. While the mid north coast town might be just a convenient place to stay a night or two for those making the longer journey, we were pleasantly surprised to find so many things to do in Coffs Harbour, and would recommend it for a holiday destination.

Things To Do In Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour Jetty

Coffs Harbour Jetty

Take a stroll along the Jetty Strip. The path next to the beach and park area is cement, flat and great for scooting. There is also a range of cafes to choose from and a great gelato shop.

Coffs Harbour Jetty

Wander around the jetty to see the incredible variety of sea life living in the harbour. We took  very slow stroll along the jetty and spent a lot of time watching the fish swirl in the water beneath us.

Jetty Beach

Coffs Harbour

The perfect place for a swim, Jetty Beach is has calm water perfect for kids to splash around in.

Muttonbird Island Reserve

Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour

While we didn’t see any muttonbirds on the island we did enjoy the walk to to the top and far side of the island, where we were rewarded with beautiful views of the coast.

Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour

Muttonbird Island Reserve is home to the wedge-tailed shearwater birds, their nests easy to spot as you walk around the island.

Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour

Park Beach

Coffs Harbour Park Beach

We stayed right on Park Beach and loved walking down to the beach in the evenings to watch the sunset and paddle in the water. Coffs Creek runs through Park Beach, providing a nice current to swim down between two beaches. It’s possible to swim across the creek to the other side and continue walking up the beach to Coffs Harbour Jetty.

The Big Banana Fun Park

The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

It’s not an Aussie tourist attraction if there isn’t something big to photograph! The Big Banana is a fun spot not just to pose for a photo, but also to enjoy one of the seven attractions it now boasts.

Candy Kitchen, Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

Choose between the Water Park featuring four thrill slides and a kids’ aqua play area, a six-lane giant slide that’s the biggest slide of its kind in Australia, a 600m Toboggan ride, Laser Tag, Mini Golf, Theatre and Plantation tour, ice skating rink and Candy Kitchen, where you can see candy being made.

Get more info on visiting the Big Banana Fun Park online.

Coffs Harbour Butterfly House

The Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour

Step inside an aviary filled with hundreds of live butterflies. What an amazing experience to walk among these delicate creatures and watch them flutter, sip nectar and lay eggs. We even saw butterflies hatching from their chrysalis and had a few land on us.

The Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour

Tip: wear bright colours if you want to make friends with butterflies! The scones from the on-site cafe are amazing.

The Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour

Before leaving the Butterfly House, take a wander through the maze and see how quickly you can find your way out again.

Get more info on visiting the Butterfly House online.

Sawtell

Coffs harbour, Treeo, Sawtell

This pretty little town is just south of Coffs Harbour. It has pretty beaches to explore, excellent cafes and is also right by the Bongil Bongil National Park. We loved dining at Treeo, recommended to us very correctly as the best cafe in the area. Excellent food and friendly staff made for the perfect cafe experience.

Bellingen

Bellingen, Coffs Harbour

A 30 minute drive south-west of Coffs Harbour will bring you to Bellingen, a pretty little town filled with excellent cafes and boutiques. Bellingen likes on the Banks of the Bellinger River, which lends itself to plenty of water activities.

Bellingen, Coffs Harbour

You must stop by the Sweet Bellingen candy store! The locally produced chocolates are delicious

Dorrigo National Park

Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour

Another 30 minutes past Bellingen, or an hour from Coffs Harbour, is the town of Dorrigo. Dorrigo is home to the Dorrigo National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. It’s a stunningly beautiful rainforest with waterfall walks and a wide range of wildlife, including red-necked pademelons (they look kind of like quokkas), the regent bowerbird and wompoo fruit-dove.

Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour

Start your visit to the Dorrigo National Park with a visit to the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and Canopy Cafe. Staff at the Rainforest Centre will give you a map and tips on areas to explore. Before embarking on your bushwalking adventure, stroll out on the Skywalk, a 70m boardwalk through the treetops, 21 metres above the rainforest. The view from the lookout at the end of the boardwalk is stretches over the Bellingen Valley and is just spectacular.

Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour

Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour

Get more info on visiting the Dorrigo National Park here.

Dangar Falls

Dangar Falls, Coffs Harbour

This 30-metre waterfall is a 2km drive north of the Dorrigo town centre. Dangar Falls is really a winner if you need a waterfall that is accessible without a long walk to reach it. The car park is right next to the viewing platform, making it the most easily accessible waterfall I’ve ever seen.

Dangar Falls, Coffs Harbour

There is a walking trail that leads to the river at the bottom of the waterfall if you’re feeling more adventurous. We stayed at the top and enjoyed the little playground before hopping back into the car.

Dangar Falls, Coffs Harbour

The Honey Place

The Honey Place, Coffs Harbour

Located in Urunga, south of Coffs Harbour, The Honey Place is a delightful detour on your drive into or out of Coffs. The glass display beehive lets you get as close as possible to a working hive with no risk of being stung.

The Honey Place, Coffs Harbour

Friendly Australian native bees (non-stinging) also fly around the outdoor area although they were hiding on the day we visited. Try a range of locally made honey – it’s so good you’ll want to take it all home with you!

The Honey Place, Coffs Harbour The Honey Place, Coffs Harbour

Get more info on visiting The Honey Place here.

Urunga Boardwalk

Urunga Boardwalk, NSW, Australia

This 1km boardwalk starts in the town of Urunga, passes along the Kalang River to where it meets the Bellingen River and the ocean. There are stunning views over the entire length of the boardwalk on both sides up to the Great Diving Range and Nambucca Heads.

Urunga Boardwalk, NSW, Australia

An abundance of wildlife lives in the water and mangroves. We only saw a pelican but if you’re lucky you’ll see more! The entire boardwalk is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

More info about Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney, and 390 km (240 mi) south of Brisbane.

Where to stay in Coffs Harbour

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

We stayed at the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park, right on Park Beach, Coffs Harbour. The Holiday Park has caravan and camping sites, as well as self-contained cabins. We stayed in a two bedroom cabin and were happy with having plenty of amenities at our fingertips, such as a full kitchen and seperate lounge/dining area.

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

The holiday park has plenty to entertain the kids, including a resort-style pool with slides and splash features, and a large inflatable jumping pillow that would have entertained my six-year-old all day, ever day, forever.

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Other amenities at the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park include a kitchen and dining area for those camping, bathroom blocks and clean BBQs.

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

The two playgrounds for big and small kids and games room are also popular for the junior set.

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Get more info on the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park here.

Looking for more things to do in Coffs Harbour?

Heading down to Sydney? Check out things to do in Sydney with kids and the best free things to do in Sydney here. 

The Best Things To Do In Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

13 Must-Do Experiences at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Qld, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

The iconic Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on Australia’s Gold Coast is a heritage-listed zoological garden, built in 1947. Set on 27 hectares of Currumbin rainforest, you’ll need to dedicate a full day to exploring.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

My family visited Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary several times when we were kids, so revisiting as an adult held a lot of nostalgia for me. It had been a long time since I’d visited, so I really enjoyed learning more about the sanctuary as an adult. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a not-for-profit organisation and reinvests all proceeds back into wildlife and conservation programs.

Whether it’s your first time, or you’re re-visiting like I was, here are 13 must-do experiences at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

Feed the Rainbow Lorikeets
Australia’s most colourful bird species are a spectacular sight to behold, particularly when they arrive in a flock for their 8am and 4pm feedings. The lorikeets are wild birds who founded the sanctuary 70 years ago, and generations later they are still visiting every day at the same time to get a feed from their adoring public.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

Prepare to be pooped on and have birds land on your head. So incredible we did it twice! We found the 8am feeding less busy in terms of people so we had more time with the birds.

No entry to the sanctuary is required for the bird feeding. A gold coin donation is required for participation in the feeding.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Enter the Lost Valley
A new exotic precinct features five hectares of rainforest with lemurs, cotton-top tamarins, red pandas and the adorable capybaras to meet. Free-flying birds soar around the enclosure, which is so cleverly created that it feels like you’re in a rainforest not an enclosed area.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia
Open 10.00am to 3.00pm daily
Lemur lunch break (not on display) 12.30pm – 1.30pm

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Go behind the scenes
We found this to be a really interesting experience. For an added $15 pp (at time of publication) you can enjoy a behind-the-scenes experience in the Training, Rehabilitation and Wildlife department with an animal trainer. We met some of the stars of the Free Flight Bird Show, toured the wildlife rehabilitation centres and learned more about how Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Watch the Free Flight Bird Show
We highly enjoyed this entertaining show, featuring some of Australia’s most beautiful birds in flight. The pelican, parrots, birds of prey and wedge-tailed eagle all make an appearance. Watch your head, the birds swoop very low!

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Visit the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital
Drop by the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital to see animals who have been rescued and treated that day. With over 10,000 animals a year admitted, you’re bound to see a patient or two when you visit.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

The Currumbin Wildlife Hospital treats, rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Meet the wildlife
Get an up-close experience with a koala, tamarin, echidna, dingo, wombat or bird training. Did you know that Queensland is one of only two states in Australia where visitors can hold a koala?

Ride the Segway Safari
For something a bit different, take a guided Segway tour with a wildlife officer. It’s a great way to cover a lot of ground and learn about animals such as the Tasmanian Devils. Participants need to be 45kg or heavier.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Take the TreeTop Challenge
This is a must if your family are tall enough to participate! Cheese was just a tiny bit short of the 160cm reach required to take part, but we will definitely be having a go next time. The TreeTop Challenge is located inside Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and includes 80 huge challenges,  including 11 ziplines. As well as being able to reach 160cm comfortably, participants need to be aged 6+.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Jump aboard the train
The miniature train was built in 1964, and is the best way to cover the large distances for little legs – as well as being a really enjoyable ride.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia
Go wild in the playground
The Wild island playground is exceptional.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

An outdoor-themed playground, there’s plenty for kids to climb and explore. You’ll be hard pressed to get them to leave!

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Feed the kangaroos
I’ve never seen such docile kangaroos as these. We had a great time feeding, patting and yes, even cuddling the kangaroos (feed must be purchased separately. Do not feed them your food).

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Pick up a kids’ sticker map
These are a great way to engage kids. The map is a trail around the park and at each location they get a sticker. Educational and fun!

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Meet Blinky Bill
There are lots of Blinky Bill statues around the park for fun selfies, and we also enjoyed the Blinky Bill home tree and slide.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Catch the live Blinky Bill’s Studio Adventure musical show and meet Blinky afterwards for a photo opp.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, QLD, Australia

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
28 Tomewin St, Currumbin QLD
Daily, 8am-5pm
Website: currumbinsanctuary.com.au

We were guests of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. All opinions are my own. 

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise: Best Family Resort Gold Coast

Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia

When it comes to choosing a Gold Coast hotel, there are a lot to choose from. We really enjoyed our stay at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise and highly recommend it as a top family resort on the Gold Coast.

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Location-wise, the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise is positioned directly in between the Surfers Paradise entertain strip and the premium shopping and restaurants at Broadbeach. It’s about a 15 minute walk to each, or you can catch the tram with the stop directly outside the front of the resort.

The Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise is a large, older grand dame of a hotel, consisting of two towers, connected by an undercover walkway. The main tower features the renowned Four Winds 360° Revolving Restaurant.

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

We chose the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise largely because it has an two massive swimming pools plus heated spa. It also has a full-size tennis court, 24-hour gym and sundecks.

While there aren’t a great variety of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise has you covered with a choice of 5 restaurants and 2 bars within the hotel.

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

There are more than 370 rooms in the hotel, all with a private balcony and the majority offering an ocean view. Choose from a standard room, self-contained studio, suite and one-bedroom apartment.

The flexible room options offer a greater choice for families than most hotels. Choose from suites or rooms with two double beds or king bed. For a longer stay, it’s great to have the self-contained apartment as an option. The self-contained studios and apartments featuring full kitchen facilities.

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Our room featured a king bed plus rollaway bed. Other room features included a work desk, huge LCD TV, massive bathroom with spa and separate shower, mini bar and plenty of little bathroom amenities like the shower caps that I am always hunting for.

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

We loved the balcony in our ocean view room which gave us a gorgeous outlook every morning of the beach, as well as the incredible view from our bathroom of the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

In terms of restaurant choices within the hotel, guests can choose between Queensland’s only rooftop revolving restaurant, Four Winds 360°,  Balthazar Wine & Dining, SIFU, Relish Grill & Bar, First Avenue Tavern and 24-hour room service. Free WiFi is available for IHG® Rewards Club members.

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

We ordered room service the night we arrived as we were too tired to go downstairs. The in-room dining is from Relish Grill & Bar. While there isn’t a kids’ menu in the room to look at, there is a menu featuring standard kids’ meals available if you call room service and ask what the options are. We chose the spaghetti that came with a choice of dessert (we selected the healthy fruit salad and yoghurt) and drink (we chose milk).

Balthazar Wine & Dining’s is an upmarket restaurant featuring up to 15 degustation menus – French, modern Australian or contemporary Chinese. SIFU is the place to go to try authentic Cantonese and Schezuan food. If you’re after a fun dining experience, try a high tea in the sky at Four Winds 360°Rooftop Revolving Restaurant. The high tea costs $35 pp and includes a selection of pastries, sweets and gourmet sandwiches with one hot beverage per person. Upgrade to include a glass of sparkling wine for $39.

Car parking is available underneath the hotel for $15 a night (hotel guests only receive this rate).

Crowne Plaza, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

A delicious buffet breakfast is available daily. The poolside view is a lovely way to start the day, along with the amazing selection of hot and cold food, eggs cooked to order, barista-made coffee and DIY fresh juice station.

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Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise
2807 Gold Coast Highway,
Surfers Paradise

Online

We stayed as guests of the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise. All opinions our own. 

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!