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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.

Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle Museum, NSW, Australia Newcastle, NSW, Australia Newcastle, NSW, Australia

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

Eight Things To Do On The Central Coast, NSW

Things To Do On The Central Coast, NSW, Australia

Eight 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.

Find more places to eat in Terrigal here.

Caves Beach

Caves Beach, NSW, Australia

Caves Beach is located on the Swansea peninsula between Lake Macquarie and the Pacific Ocean in New South Wales, Australia. It is named for the large number of caves at its southern end which can be explored at low tide.

Read more about visiting Caves Beach here.

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

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.

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

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. 

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. 

Hotel Review: Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia
The perfect Sydney weekend escape or stop on the Sydney to Queensland road trip, Newcastle is an historic city with stunning beaches and delicious food. With family in the area we spend a lot of time in Newcastle, and love staying at our fave hotel in the city, the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Built inside a new tower in East Newcastle, the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel is located near some of Australia’s most famous beaches and best surf breaks. With renowned restaurants, cafes and bars located just a few footsteps away, you really can’t beat the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel’s prime position.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Also nearby are art galleries, shopping, coastal walks, museums and the historic Fort Scratchley, making the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel ideal for sightseeing.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Inside the lobby, the hotel has a dedicated kids’ corner with work tables, toys and colouring in books and paper, plus sand buckets and spades which are free to loan and take to the beach.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

The 88 contemporary, spacious guest rooms are all equipped with modern furnishings and guests’ comfort in mind. The rooms have an open layout, with plenty of natural lights, and many featuring an ocean view.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

All rooms have a vibrant colour palette, Novotel’s exclusive Live N Dream bedding experience in a king bed (2 singles upon request) to ensure the perfect night’s sleep, TV with movies on-demand, digital free-to-air and Foxtel channels, high-speed internet access, spacious work station, air conditioning, in-room safe, tea & coffee making facilities, hair dryer and mini-bar.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia
Rooms are available in the following categories: Standard Room, Superior Room, Superior Harbour,  Superior Balcony Room and Superior Family Room.

We stayed in a Superior Family Room, an extra-spacious room with one queen bed and two single beds. Some family rooms have a dining table for 4, and others have a bath in the en suite,(let the hotel know your preference at the time of booking). Interconnecting rooms are available upon request.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Our beds were amazingly comfortable and the room was huge compared to most rooms that we stay in, including the massive bathroom. We loved all the little touches left for us by Novotel staff, such as the kids’ welcome pack with toys, kid-sized robe and kids’ restaurant and in-room dining menu, complete with activities sheet on the back.

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel

When we visited the hotel the first time they had a special promotion on in partnership with the release of Hotel Transylvania, hence the awesome bed furnishings. On our subsequent visit the promotion was over and regular linen was on the beds – except for the bed for Cheese, which had an awesome unicorn bed spread and pillows. Thoughtful details like this are why we keep coming back!

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

The kids’ menu has a focus on fresh, healthy ingredients, created in collaboration with Sally Fitzgibbons. There are also new in-room fitness videos for the little ones presented by Sally Fitzgibbons and Playschool’s Rachael Coopes to keep them entertained throughout the stay.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

The Novotel Newcastle Beach is home to a modern dining restaurant, Bistro Dalby, with a contemporary Australian menu. The Bistro offers local and seasonal dished, has a fully equipped bar, and also offers an in-room dining menu available 24-7.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

For an additional fee breakfast is offered in the Bistro Dalby daily.  The breakfast features barista made coffee, T2 teas, eggs cooked to order, a hot buffet, cereals, breads, yogurt and fruits, with most organic food and juices on offer. I ordered an omelette and it came quickly and perfectly cooked. I also enjoyed placing my tea order and having a lovely pot of English breakfast delivered to me.

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

We also dined at Bistro Dalby for dinner and highly enjoyed the experience. 

You can read my full review of Bistro Dalby here

We had the most welcoming, friendly stay at the Novotel Newcastle Beach and look forward to visiting again soon.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach
5 King St, Newcastle
Online

Parking is available in an underground car park for an additional fee. 

Thank you to the Novotel Newcastle Beach for hosting us! All opinions are my own.

Incredible Places To Stop On A San Francisco To Los Angeles Road Trip

Incredible Places To Stop On A San Francisco To Los Angeles Road Trip, USA

Incredible Places To Stop On A San Francisco To Los Angeles Road Trip

The San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip down Highway 1 is an iconic drive through some of the most beautiful parts of California. Stretching 442 miles / 711 kms and taking around 8 to 9 hours non-stop to drive, the San Francisco to Los Angeles drive down Route 1 is scenic beyond belief. Voted as one of the Best American Road Trips by National Geographic, this is one of the most memorable road trips you can make.

Big Sur, California

While the fastest route to take between San Francisco and Los Angeles is the Interstate 5 Freeway (382 miles / 615 kms from Downtown LA to Downtown SF, taking approx 5.5 hours to 6 hours), if you have time to spend, I highly recommend taking the scenic LA to San Francisco road trip down Route 1 instead.

Please be aware that after the 2017 landslide there have been road closures on Highway 1 south of Big Sur / North of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse / San Simeon. The road is hopefully reopening in July 2018. Check here for updates and here for info on the detour.

Spending time in San Francisco? Check out things to do in San Francisco with kids here.

Have a few days sightseeing in LA? Check out things to do in Los Angeles with kids here.

Monterey

Monterey, California

This seaside town is famous for Cannery Row, the the waterfront street with now-defunct sardine canning factories, Fisherman’s Wharf, the fantastic Monterey Bay Aquarium and world-renowned PGA Golf Course at Pebble Beach.

We also enjoyed spotting sea lions basking on Del Monte Beach. If you have kids in tow, head to Dennis The Menace Playground, which features a maze and rock climbing wall.

Monterey, California

The scenic 17-Mile Drive to Pebble Beach is a great detour, with dramatic cliffs, the iconic Lone Cyprus and wildlife to see.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Get more info on Monterey Bay Aquarium here.

Get more info on the 17-Mile Drive here.

Find and compare hotels in Monterey here.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea

One of our favourite little towns, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a must-visit on the San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip. Often called Carmel, the town was founded in 1902 and is known for it’s artistic history and beautiful scenery. I would say it’s also known for it’s storybook houses that I would love to retire to one day.

Carmel is very dog-friendly, and you’ll see dogs literally everywhere – on the beach in hotels, restaurants and shops.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

We also enjoyed a visit to the Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, also called the Carmel Mission. Built in 1797, the Mission is one o the best examples of Roman Catholic mission churches in California.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Take kids to the Cottage of Sweets, a traditional British-style sweets shop with homemade fudge and imported candies, and locally-owned Thinker Toys.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Sunset on the beach is a must in Carmel. It gets chilly, even in summer, so rug up.

Where to stay in Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea

We stayed at the Best Western Carmel’s Town House Lodge for the night, which had all the basics we needed.

Find and compare hotels in Carmel here.

Where to eat in Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea

We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at bustling Katy’s Place, delicious brunch and lunch at Carmel Belle, great coffee from Carmel Coffee House, upmarket dinner at Casanova (with kid-friendly options!), homestyle Italian food at Il Grillo and baked treats at Carmel Bakery (photo above).

Big Sur

Big Sur, California

The 90-mile stretch of redwood-trimmed coast between Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Simeon is where you’ll find Big Sur. The name Big Sur comes from the Spanish ““el sur grande” or Big South. The name refers to Big Sur’s location, 25 miles south of Monterey.

Big Sur, California

Bixby Bridge

Big Sur, California

The most instagrammable spot on the Big Sur coast, Bixby Bridge was built in 1932, 260 feet/79 metres above a canyon.

Pfieffer Beach and Keyhole Rock

Pfieffer Beach, Big Sur

A detour off the beaten path, but well-worth it, particularly at sunset. Pfieffer Beach is south of Big Sur Station, where Sycamore Canyon Creek meets the Pacific Ocean, framed by rocks at either end.

Keyhole Rock, Big Sur

While tidal pools can be fin to explore at low tide, and the north end of the beach has unique purple sand, the beach is renowned for Keyhole Rock, an incredible natural rock arch formation that waves and the last light of sunset pass through. It’s an incredible place to watch the sunset.

San Simeon

San Simeon, California

The town itself doesn’t offer much, with the main draw cards to the area being Hearst Castle and the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

A  National Historic Landmark, Hearst Castle was the private residence of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s. The lavish mansion is accessible by tour only. Advance bookings are highly recommended.

Get more info on visiting Hearst Castle here.

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

San Simeon, California

Piedras Blancas is an excellent spot to observe the magnificent northern elephant seal. Spread over 6 miles of shoreline, the viewing areas provide access to the elephant seals as they bask on the shore at their land-based rookery. We saw literally hundreds of elephant seals when we visited. The elephant seal rookery was one of our favourite stops on the San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip.

There is a free car park at the view area, which is open daily and is wheelchair / stroller accessible.

Where to stay in San Simeon

We stayed at the Days Inn San Simeon, which was basic but catered for all of our needs.

Find and compare hotels in San Simeon here.

Madonna Inn San Luis Obispo

Madonna Inn, California

We stopped at the family-owned Madonna Inn for lunch, but it’s an incredible spot to stay the night. The unique resort has been welcoming guests since 1958. The incredible interiors must be seen to be believed. We recommend dining at the Copper Cafe.

Get more info on the Madonna Inn here.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

Visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to see the 73-foot long blue whale skeleton, one of only five complete blue whale skeletons in the USA, or the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center for an interactive marine experience. Mission Santa Barbara, also known as Santa Barbara Mission, is also worth a visit. Walk down to Stearns Wharf and enjoy the seaside atmosphere.

Get more info on Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center here.

Get more info on Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History here.

Find and compare hotels in Santa Barbara here.

Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash

Malibu

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles, USA

While there are some beaches (and celebrities) in Malibu, I would suggest visiting the incredible Getty Villa art museum that is located in the area.

Get info on visiting the Getty Villa here.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier, LA

The iconic Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909, the first concrete pier on the USA West Coast. Ride the Santa Monica Pier Carousel built in 1939, take a spin on the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel, challenge each other to a game at Playland Arcade and don’t miss the gorgeous sunset.

Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

Get more info on visiting Santa Monica Pier here.

Incredible Places To Stop On A San Francisco To Los Angeles Road Trip, USA

Spending time in LA afterwards? Check out the best things to do in LA with kids here.

Take the slow drive down the coast in a own motorhome. Get tips on motorhome rentals in California here. 

This blog post contains affiliate links. This means if you book a hotel through a link on this page, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting me and my site!

Where To Stay In Phuket Thailand (With or Without Kids)

Where To Stay In Phuket Thailand (With or Without Kids)

Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, is home to stunning white sand beaches, beautiful rainforests, luxury resorts and cultural attractions. With thirty stunning beaches, visitors are spoiled for choice! For first time visitors, choosing a location can make all the difference to a holiday, be it relaxing or adventurous, kid-friendly or party-central. This guide will help you decide where to stay in Phuket.

I’ve asked some experienced travel bloggers for their recommendations of where to stay in Phuket. There’s an option to suit all holidays and budget.

Where To Stay In Phuket Thailand (With or Without Kids)

Patong Beach

Patong Phuket Thailand

This west-coast resort town is well-known for Bangla Road, which has the highest concentration of bars and nightclubs anywhere in Phuket and is the main source of nightlight for the whole island. There are plenty of restaurants, shops and attractions in the area, many of which aren’t so kid-friendly.

Tips for staying in Patong

The Bangla Road area is not for children. At night it closes for an all-in street party, with lots of things very inappropriate for kids, but fun to walk down for older people, teens and up.

Patong Phuket Thailand

There are basic restaurants for picky kids like Molly Malone’s pub, McDonald’s and the Hard Rock Cafe. The tuk tuk are a must, especially at night when there is music playing and the tuk tuks are lit up. Our little ones absolutely loved them and called them disco tuk tuks.

Patong Phuket Thailand

One restaurant I would recommend is “On The Rock”, between Kata and Karon beaches. A bit more up market, with beautiful food and a fabulous location with a spectacular sunset. On The Rock is a short tuk tuk ride from Patong.

Patong Phuket Thailand

Patong Phuket Thailand

Patong Beach tips and images thanks to Caroline of Caroline_HarperTravels

Where to stay in Patong

Duangjitt Resort & Spa

Patong Phuket Thailand

This large resort is a perfect spot for families on a budget. The grounds are massive with room for kids to run and play. It has the cutest kids’ club we have ever seen and the breakfast was very good.

Patong Phuket Thailand

The resort has two huge pools, one is so large you can’t see the whole thing without walking around, and it’s also only about 30 metres to the beach, so super close for little legs. There is mini mart opposite the entrance for supplies and offers interconnecting and family rooms.

Find rates for Duangjitt Resort & Spa

Pra-Nang Villa

Patong Phuket Thailand

The villa was magnificent, with a view over Patong Beach. It came with a car and driver making it easy to go up and down the hill to the shops, beach, restaurants and markets. The villa was staffed, so breakfast was cooked and prepared for us each every day.

Patong Phuket Thailand

The five bedrooms all have ensuite, plus there was a two-level pool and games room with pool table and gym equipment.

Patong Phuket Thailand

It was a more expensive way to stay, but we had a family of 11 staying, making it the perfect choice.

Get more info on staying at the Pra-Nag Villa here

Patong Beach accommodation and tips by Caroline of Caroline_HarperTravels

Holiday Inn Resort Patong

Holiday Inn, Patong, Phuket, Thailand

I know what you are thinking. Patong? That crazy party town? With kids? No, I’m not crazy. Indulge me for just a moment! Yes, Patong is known for the nightlife but it certainly does not exclude families. The trick is to pick the perfect accommodation so when the hectic pace gets too much for the wee ones you have a safe place to relax. Once you step through the gates of the Holiday Inn Resort in Patong you instantly feel the tension slip away. The kiddies will love the resort pool which is big enough to never fell crowded and the adults will love the swim up bar to indulge while keeping a watchful eye. Rooms are spacious enough to fit a family of four all in the one room and inter connecting rooms are available. Kids have their choice of a variety of activities at the Kids/ Club and the girls loved the Thai dancing class.

Step out onto the street and treat them to a delicious crepe from one of the many street vendors (with sprinkles of course!) and a visit to the beach, which is just steps away, is a must. Little shopaholics will love haggling at the many markets for a bargain and when the sun sets treat them to one Patong’s many cheap eats. We loved Sweet Restaurant and they always produced a complimentary after dinner treat for the girls which was a wonderful touch.

If your little ones are Hello Kitty fans be warned there is a dedicated shop that we HAD to visit every night and dragging Miss C out without tears was a touch problematic!

Thanks to Allison Smith, Flights to Fancy

Get rates for the Holiday Inn Resort Phuket here

Find and compare accomodation in Patong here

Kata Beach

Kata Beach, Phuket Thailand

A popular location for surfing and diving, plus for families looking for a relaxing holiday on the beach. There are several restaurants, shops, activities and pretty views in the area.

Where to stay at Kata Beach

Kata Leaf Hotel

Kata Beach, Phuket Thailand

I loved Kata Beach’s chilled out vibe and minimal party scene, which make it an ideal spot for families. The beach is sheltered by the bay, and it’s calm waters were great for the kids. It was relatively clean, and a relaxing change from the busier beaches to the North. I didn’t like the lack of sidewalks at the South end of town. At times it was a bit nerve-wracking walking the streets with the kids because of this. And although it’s not crazy busy, the beach was still busy enough to attract it’s fair share of hawkers selling everything from t-shirts to beer! I find it hard to relax when I’m constantly telling someone “no” (I have to do this enough with my kids!).

We stayed in a small hotel towards the south end of town, the Kata Leaf. The rooms were spacious and it was tucked away off the street, so it was nice and quiet. The best part was the covered patio in front of the room where we could relax in the evening while the kids slept inside.

Kata Beach images and accommodation thanks to Kyla Hunter, whereistheworld.ca

Get rates for the Kata Leaf here

Kata Noi Resort

We found Kata Noi, a small, quiet beach just south of more popular Kata Yai (Kata Beach) to be perfect for staying with our elderly parents and one-year-old son. The luxury Katathani Resort takes up most of the beach, but blends in to the background so you barely notice it.

Kata Noi, Phuket, Thailand

We loved staying at the small guesthouse Kata Noi Resort. We had access to the same gorgeous beach for a fraction of the price, and we had a private villa with swimming pool only a few minutes walk from the beach.

Kata Noi, Phuket, Thailand

See here for more information on Kata Noi for families.

Thanks to Nick Kembel, Spiritual Travels

Get rates for Kata Noi Resort here

Find and compare accommodation in Kata Beach here

Karon Beach

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

A relaxed beachside community with shopping, nightlife and a good choice of budget restaurants. There are plenty of beautiful resorts to choose from in the area, at budget-friendly prices.

The closest attraction is Wat Suwan Khirikhet. We spent a beautiful morning at the temple engaging with the monks and their pet chickens.

Where to stay at Karon Beach

Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort And Spa

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

We highly enjoyed our stay at the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort And Spa. The low-rise resort sprawls around three pools, with a distinctly jungle-feel to it thanks to all of the gorgeous plant life. The hotel features a kids’ club, excellent breakfast with custom-made omelettes and five resorts.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort And Spa is extremely family-friendly. We found a tent in our bedroom filled with toys for our daughter to play with, she found a little treat on arrival and discovered a scavenger hunt trail to get her busy around the resort.

Read more about our stay at the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort And Spa here.

Find and compare accommodation at Karon Beach here

Bang Tao Beach

The second-longest beach on Phuket is home to a mix of budget and mid-range hotels in its south end, luxury resorts in its central area, and five-star properties in its northern end. Bang Tao is a quiet spot with a few beach clubs and restaurants.

Where to stay at Bang Tao Beach

Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa

Bangtao Phuket Thailand

We arrived at the Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa late at night from our flight from Bangkok. Thankfully, the receptionist was very understanding that we were tired and checked us in quickly. During the short waiting time, we got cold wet towels to clean our faces – a lovely gesture.

Bangtao Phuket Thailand

We had decided to splurge a little and got the three bedroom villa of the hotel with a private pool. And it was absolutely worth it. We could just open the sliding door of our huge living room and jump right into our own pool. An absolutely amazing experience with maximum privacy.

The hotel itself is in a very quiet location, a couple of km from the beach. They also have a beach club and a private shuttle that goes there every couple of minutes. For us it was fine since we didn’t need to spend all day on the beach. The facilities of the hotel were all top notch – several pools, a fitness area and a really great breakfast.

Thanks to Mike of 197 Travel Stamps.

Get rates for Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa here

Find and compare accommodation at Bang Tao Beach here.

Mai Khao Beach

Sala Phuket Thailand

The longest beach in Thailand is a quiet, relaxing location for a holiday. All you’ll find at Mai Khao Beach is a few luxury resorts and the Splash Jungle Water Park, making it the perfect spot to escape and do absolutely nothing. The majority of the beach lies inside the Sirinath National Park, where Giant Ridley Sea Turtles lay eggs between November and February.

Where to stay at Mai Khao Beach

Sala Phuket

Sala Phuket Thailand

Phuket is mostly developed in the south, so for serenity and seclusion on arriving, I personally prefer to escape north from the airport. And here we would stay on Mai Khao Beach, an area which remains relatively unspoilt when compared to Phuket’s more popular beaches. But seclusion does have its downsides, and there is very little entertainment or excitement in the area, so you’ll have to make-do with the sea views, soft sands, and natural surroundings (although resorts will always offer the usual tours and excursions in the Andaman region).

There are only a handful of high-end resorts along Mai Khao Beach, and to date we have stayed in a couple, although the stand-out stay is undoubtedly SALA Phuket Resort & Spa. A rather fancy, boutique-styled escape, with private pool villas, and beachfront views.

Mai Khao images and accommodation thanks to Allan Wilson, live-less-ordinary.com.

Get rates on SALA Phuket Resort & Spa here

Compare accommodation at Mai Khao Beach here

Kamala Beach

Kamala Beach is located approximately 5km from Patong. It’s one of the smaller towns in Phuket and is still a fishing village, even though tourism also makes up for the local’s income. It’s quieter and more relaxed here compared to other tourist areas in Phuket, and also a bit cheaper.

There’s a lot of greenery in the area, giving it a jungle feeling. Kamala Beach is safe for children and a great place for snorkeling.

Kamala is not the place for parties and doesn’t have as large range of restaurants as nearby Patong, for example. But, In short Kamala Beach offers everything for a relaxing vacation in Phuket.

Where to stay at Kamala Beach

Keemala Phuket

Keemala, Phuket, Thailand

If you want to spice things up, I really recommend staying at the luxury resort called Keemala, which is just a few minutes driving upwards from the beach. Keemala offers that jungle experience as you’ll be staying in villas located in the middle of the jungle with private pools, spa and delicious food.

Thanks Alex at swedishnomad.com for the Kamala Beach tips and hotel recommendation.

Get rates for Keemala Resort here

Compare accommodation in Kamala Beach here

Rawai Beach

Recognisable for the long-tailed fishing boats anchored along it, Rawai Beach is a great location for island-hopping to nearby Coral and Racha islands. It’s a quiet area with a few shops and restaurants, and is located close to attractions such as Promthep Cape and Phuket Big Buddha. Rawai Beach is renowned as an excellent location particularly for families.

Where to stay at Rawai Beach

Find and compare accommodation at Rawai Beach here

Surin Beach

Surin Beach, Phuket

We stayed in this quiet town and enjoyed its peacefulness. Surin Beach doesn’t have much in the way of restaurants or things to do in the area, but does have a beautiful beach and some lovely resorts to stay at.

Where to stay at Surin Beach

Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort

We stayed at the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort, a 4-star resort is a short walk from Surin Beach, about 25 minutes from Phuket airport. The resort is large without feeling overwhelmingly huge – it’s big enough to have a lot of great facilities, but small enough to get to know the staff and for them to learn our names. The incredible buffet breakfast has something to suit everyone, the pools are massive and beautiful, and the kids’ club offers plenty of activities.

Read more about our stay at Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort here.

Find and compare accommodation at Surin Beach here

Phuket Town

Phuket Old Town, Thailand

The urban centre of the island, Phuket Town is a unique location with pastel coloured buildings lining its streets, great restaurants, shops and attractions such as the Phuket Trickeye Museum. Staying in Phuket Town is great for getting a local experience.

Where to stay in Phuket Town

Find and compare accommodation in Phuket Town here

Naithon Beach

Pullman Phuket Thailand

Phuket’s Naithon is a sleepy beachside village, away from the hordes at the popular resorts town.  One of the last bastions of undeveloped loveliness on the island, Naithon offers a taste of Phuket as it was a couple of decades ago, and visitors won’t find much more than a gorgeous beach, shady trees, a few seafood restaurants and a hotel or two. While the quiet might not appeal to some people, it’s exactly the kind of place we love, because sand, sea and sunshine are all we need to be happy.

Where to stay at Naithon Beach

Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach Resort

Pullman Phuket Thailand

The Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach is a jaw-dropping beachfront resort and without doubt, our favourite hotel in Phuket. Just 10 minutes from the airport, the resort is a place where gracious Thai hospitality meets absolute luxury. Accommodation is light, chic and spacious, with separate living and sleeping quarters that are perfect for families.

Pullman Phuket Thailand

There’s a choice of amazing restaurants, two pool zones, one near the kids’ club as well as an infinity pool that offers what must be some of the most spectacular pool views in Phuket. Speaking of the kids’ club, with computer games for my eldest and a ball pit for my little one, it was a hit with both. Offering peace, tranquility and the right amount fun, this is a resort that nails it on every level.

Thanks to Aleney at Boyeatsworld.com.au for the tips and hotel recommendation.

Get rates for the Pullman Phuket Arcadia here

Tips for visiting Phuket

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

What to avoid

Please don’t ride elephants, watch an elephant show or have your photo taken with an animal on the street (such as monkeys). These animals are treated cruelly and participating in these activities enables the businesses to continue to run. More info on animal cruelty in Thailand here.

When to visit Thailand

We visited Phuket at the end of monsoon season (early October), and did experience quite a lot of rain. The rain was mostly in the mornings and late afternoon/evening, however, so there was still enough of the day that was try to get out and enjoy.

What to pack

Mosquito repellant
Sunscreen
Scarf to cover shoulders if visiting temples
Loose, light layers
Hat, swimmers, sunglasses, goggles
Comfortable walking shoes

What to wear

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island
The Thai people tend to dress quite conservatively. Tourists can wear shorts and tanks tops, but avoid showing too much skin when you’re not at the hotel. If you’re visiting a temple, wear pants or a skirt that covers your knees. Some temples will also require shoulders being covered.

Food and Water in Thailand

Take care when eating and drinking water in Thailand. Do not drink water from anywhere other than a sealed bottle in Thailand, or drink anything that comes with ice. Do not eat fresh fruit and salads as they have been washed in tap water. You could get seriously sick if you do. Only eat cooked food and fruit that you can peel yourself.

Money in Thailand

1AUD is about equal to 30THB. A plate of Thai food at a local restaurant will cost about 50-60THB.

Getting around

Common forms of transport

Red buses: We caught one and it cost 40THB for the three of us. It’s basically a small bus with the back area wide open. Please jump on and off when they need to.
Tuk-tuk: Around 100THB for a short distance. Ask for the cost in advance and wedge kids in the middle, tight.
Taxi: Arrange the amount in advance. Call for a taxi from hotels.
Hire car and driver: We hired a car and driver to take us to Old Phuket Town and Big Buddha. It was quite pricey, at 700THB an hour, with a minimum of three hours plus the fourth hour for free.

What to do and see in Phuket


Phuket attractions

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

From Old Phuket Town to the Big Buddha and beautiful Wat Suwan Khiri Khet temple, there’s plenty to see and do in Phuket if you get sick of swimming at the beach!

Read more about our favourite attractions and things to do in Phuket here.

Phuket Day Trips

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

We took a magnificent day trip to Phang Nga Bay, also known as the James Bond Island tour.

Read more about our Phang Nga Bay tour here. 

Other popular day trips include Phi Phi Islands with Maya Bay and Monkey Beach, Similan Islands, Coral Islands, Racha Islands, Khao Lak,  Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi.

Phuket with kids

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phuket is an excellent choice for a family holiday. We highly enjoyed our vacation here with our daughter, who was five years old at the time.

Tips for visiting Phuket with kids

Phuket Old Town, Thailand

Most hotels are family-friendly, so it’s not hard to find a resort with beautiful pools and catering to families. Check out the hotels above as a starting guide.

What to look for: pools with slides or shallow ends, kids’ club, kids’ meals, family activities and a safe location away from nightlife.

Most upmarket resorts will offer western food on the property, making it easy for families with picky kids to make sure they still eat something if they won’t want to try the local cuisine.

Pick up sand toys for a few dollars from cheap stores near the beaches and use them both at the resorts as well as in the sand. We got endless hours of amusement for about $2 AUD.

Leave the resort! It can be so easy to just stay inside the property and relax – and never leave the resort. I get it. Travelling in a foreign country with kids can be daunting. However, kids will love seeing what local life looks like in Thailand.

My best memory of our Phuket stay was when we visited Wat Suwan Khiri Khet temple in Karon and my daughter struck up a friendship with the local monks over their pet chickens, despite neither party being able to speak the other’s language. It’s moments like this that really make travel memories special for us.

Read more about things to do in Phuket with kids here.

Where To Stay In Phuket Thailand (With or Without Kids)

 

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. If you book a hotel through some of these links, I will receive a small referral commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Adventure, baby!

The Best Things To Do In New Orleans With Kids

 

The Best Things To Do In New Orleans With Kids, USA

The Louisiana city of New Orleans, nicknamed “The Big Easy”, is known as a decadent party town for adults. For families, on the surface New Orleans can seem pretty un-kid-friendly. While there aren’t playgrounds on every corner, there are, however a lot of fun and creative ways to entertain kids of all ages. We’ve found the best things to do in New Orleans with kids so you can take it easy and enjoy!

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Best Things To Do In New Orleans With Kids

Jackson Square

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

This square is located in the French Quarter, with gorgeous architecture on all sides. It’s ideally located near the famous Cafe Du Monde (for beignets) and the waterfront for strolling. It’s an oasis in the city with grassed areas for kids to run around, and musicians and artists edged around the square for additional entertainment. St Louis Cathedral looms over the square, creating a picturesque photo op.

New Orleans

Kids will also love wandering past (and even inside!) the many art galleries in the streets surrounding the square, particularly the Rodrigue Studio with his famous dogs.
700 Decatur St, New Orleans

The French Quarter

New Orleans
The stunning New Orleans architecture might not hold much interest for kids, but they will love the doors of many hues and will want to knock on them all!

New Orleans

There are lots of little speciality stores in the French Quarter that kids will love, including Sucre and Laura’s Candies, as well as stores where masks and mardi gras dress-ups can be purchased.

New Orleans

Audubon Nature Institute

New Orleans, USA

The Audubon Institute is home to numerous nature attractions in New Orleans. The best value is to buy an all inclusive experience ticket.
Online: auduboninstitute.org

All images courtesy of Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Zoo

New Orleans, USA

As well as being home to animals from all around the world, the zoo houses a unique Louisiana Swamp Exhibit to give visitors a taste of local wildlife. Audubon Zoo is also home to cavies, a near-threatened species of rodent.
6500 Magazine Street, New Orleans
Online: audubonnatureinstitute.org

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

New Orleans Aquarium, USA

See endangered African Blackfoot penguins, touch a stingray, feed a parakeet and watch giant sharks, tarpon and rays at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The aquarium also prepares rescued sea turtles for release in the wild – watch out for the turtles throughout the aquarium.
1 Canal St, New Orleans
Online: audubonnatureinstitute.org/aquarium

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

New Orleans, USA

The largest museum in North America devoted to inspects and butterflies, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, teaches kids everything they could possibly want to know about creepy crawlies and winged beauties. Watch a live show, wander through a Louisiana swamp, be “shrunk” to bug size and watch thousands of butterflies dance around
423 Canal St, New Orleans
Online: audubonnatureinstitute.org/insectarium

Louisiana Children’s Museum

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Enjoy the museum’s interactive exhibits like a room devoted to blowing bubbles.The trains and transport areas were also a hit for us. With 30,000 square feet of exhibits and programs kids of all ages will enjoy themselves.

420 Julia Street, New Orleans.
Online: lcm.org

New Orleans City Park

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
This 1,300 acre public park in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a short tram ride from the center of NOLA (which is a fun activity to do in itself). It’s the 6th-largest and 7th-most-visited urban public park in the United States, and jam-packed with fun for kids and adults. A visit to City Park is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in New Orleans with kids.
1 Palm Dr, New Orleans
Online: neworleanscitypark.com

 

New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Gardens

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

The five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden holds more than 60 sculptures and is free to enter and wander around. The sculptures lie nestled among winding paths and a scenic lagoon inside New Orleans City Park.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/new-orleans-museum-of-art-and-sculpture-garden

Morning Call

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

This little cafe serving beignets and chocolate milk (plus cafe au lait for adults) is right next to a large playground and open 24 hours. How adorable is the free hat they give kids? Cash only.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/morning-call

Playgrounds

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.comCity Park features three playgrounds for kid of all ages.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/playgrounds

Carousel Gardens Amusement Park

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

The amusement park features 16 rides including the park’s 100-year-old namesake wooden carousel. The Carousel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Check website for seasonal opening days and times.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/carousel-gardens

City Putt

City Putt is a 36-hole mini golf complex that’s open all year-round.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/city-putt

Storyland

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Featuring 25 larger-than-life characters right out of popular children’s fairytales such as Peter Pan, Snow White and Cinderella. Kids can climb aboard Captain Hook’s pirate ship or Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/storyland

Train Garden

Kids and adults alike will marvel at the model of New Orleans in the early 19th Century  with replicas of streetcars and trains winding around it. 1300 feet of track carrying streetcars and trains like those that traveled the city in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, at 1/22 of their actual size.
Online: neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/train-garden

Coming soon to City Park: Splash Park

Louis Armstrong Park

Louis Armstrong Park, New Orleans
This 32-acre park in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, is just a few steps from the French Quarter. Louis Armstong Park honors the great jazz legend Louis Armstrong and features sculptures, duck ponds and plenty of green space for running around.
701 N Rampart St, New Orleans

Louis Armstrong Park, New Orleans

Where to eat in New Orleans with kids

The Ruby Slipper

New Orleans
An award-winning cafe with three locations in New Orleans, The Ruby Slipper serves southern breakfast, brunch and lunch with New Orleans flair. We found them to be incredibly kid-friendly, as well as serving delicious food.
Online: therubyslippercafe.net

Mr. B’s Bistro

New Orleans
Serving up Louisiana food inspired by Creole and Cajun dishes, Mr. B’s Bistro is an iconic restaurant in the heart of New Orlean’s French Quarter. Proving that fine food and kids can sometimes mix, Br. B’s Bistro is incredibly kid-friendly, handing out colouring sheets and crayons and balloons to the junior diners.
201 Royal St, New Orleans
Online: mrbsbistro.com

Cafe Du Monde

Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans

It’s just not a trip to New Orleans without a beignet from the famous Cafe Du Monde! Opened in 1862 as a coffee stand, Cafe Du Monde is a New Orleans institution serving up fresh beignets 24 hours a day, seven days week. A beignet is a French-style donut, covered in powdered sugar.
800 Decatur St, New Orleans
Online: cafedumonde.com

Getting around New Orleans with kids

Staying on the border of the French Quarter, we had an easy time getting around the historic area of New Orleans on foot. To reach City Park we took the tram, which left from right outside our hotel.

Where to stay in New Orleans with Kids

Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

We enjoyed a fantastic stay at the Ritz-Carlton. The staff at this upmarket hotel could not have been more welcoming to us and the small one, even welcoming her with a gift of a plush Ritz-Carlton lion mascot. The hotel’s location was also superb. We were able to walk to every attraction in the city with the exception of City Park. We would absolutely stay here again.

921 Canal St, New Orleans
Online: ritzcarlton.com

The Best Things To Do In New Orleans With Kids, USA