There’s nothing quite like the great Australian road trip… riverside camping, the rolling hills, servo Chiko Rolls, selfies with Australia’s ‘Big Things’ – the list goes on!
Here at Journeys To Come, we love road tripping with the kids, especially the gorgeous route from Sydney through to the Gold Coast. Although many cute little towns are now bypassed, it’s definitely worth the time and effort to venture off the beaten track.
We’re now midway through school holidays, so if you’re planning on heading on a road trip, now’s the time! To make your life easier, we’ve compiled our ‘top 5’ guide on how to make the most of your Pacific Coast family road trip…
1. Forster Area
Kids and water = a match made in heaven and Forster sure is a water lover’s paradise. The seaside town in the stunning Great Lakes region is around 3.5 hours north of Sydney.
Take the kids to Forster Main Beach for a swim in the ocean baths or head to “The Tanks” for some snorkelling. “The Tanks” is a natural rock formation next to Pebbly Beach which forms a barrier to the waves and creates a shallow and calm pool. It’s a great place for the little ones to learn how to snorkel.
Take a stroll along the nearby Bicentennial Walk up to Bennetts Head where you’ll find a fantastic lookout for dolphin spotting (or whale watching during their migration season.)
2. Port Macquarie Area
For something a little different, head 20 minutes inland from Port Macquarie to Wauchope, where you’ll find the heritage theme park Timbertown.
Set amongst 87 acres of natural forest, Timbertown depicts the colonial era of a sawmiller’s village, complete with steam train, period costumes, horse and carriage rides and more. The kids will have a blast panning for real gold at Cedar Creek Gold Fields and will love watching the two bullock drivers, Craig Lockwood and Ned McKelvey, show visitors how these fascinating animals pull their heavy load. Ned and Craig also hold whip cracking lessons and demonstrate cross cut sawing and shingle splitting.
When you work up an appetite (and trust us you will) tuck into some hot roast beef and freshly baked bread – yum!
Timbertown is open every day during the school holidays. Click here for more information.
Just ten minutes north of Port Macquarie you’ll find Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries. Picking your own strawberries to munch on during the road trip is an absolute must! Open seven days a week at 221 Blackmans Point Road, Port Macquarie.
3. Coffs Coast Area
What is a road trip without stopping at one of Australia’s ‘Big Things’! And you won’t have to venture far off the highway for this one. Right on the highway at Coffs Harbour you’ll spot the Big Banana, and let us tell you, it’s a kid’s paradise! From the water park (the biggest between Sydney and the Gold Coast mind you), the toboggan ride, candy-making kitchen, indoor ice-skating rink and laser tag, there’s plenty to see and do here! Don’t forget to refuel with a famous banana split from Going Bananas Café before you hit the road.
If you fancy an overnight stay on the Coffs Coast, then Darlington Beach Resort & Holiday Park is the place to go. Located on beautiful Arrawarra Beach just north of Coffs Harbour, it’s the perfect place to take time out and recharge with the family.
This resort spans over 110 acres of beautiful coastal forest and there’s plenty for the kids, and adults, to explore. Take time out to meet the locals (you’ll spot kangaroos galore), tee off at the 9-hole golf course, explore the surrounding National Parks and let the kids jump out any remaining energy on the huge jumping pillows.
There are varied accommodation options available, ranging from powered sites, through to tents and villas and there’s also an on-site café and restaurant. To discover more and to book visit Darlington Beach Resort & Holiday Park online.
4. Byron Bay Area
The Farm at Byron Bay – so much more than just a food stop. Let the kids run around in the fresh country air, sample some amazing food and say hello to the pigs and chickens, finishing with a selfie with the Scottish Highland Cattle.
There is always so much on at The Farm for the kids in school holidays, which gives them the chance to learn about veggies, fruit, the farm animals, the importance of ethical farming practices and much more. The kids will even learn to cook things like honey pikelets and will get the chance to make candles out of bee’s wax.
To see what’s on at The Farm, visit The Farm Byron Bay online.
Before you go, take a quick trip to the Byron Bay Lighthouse so the kids can say at show-and-tell they’ve visited Australia’s most eastern point. It’s here you’ll witness some amazing views and a breathtaking sunrise/sunset.
5. Gold Coast Area
The Gold Coast, you’ve arrived at one of Australia’s most family-friendly holiday destinations… from the many theme parks, patrolled beaches, attractions and gorgeous weather, it’s no wonder this location is a surefire family favourite.
A must-visit location? The all-new Tiger Island at Dreamworld, where you can get closer than ever before to the seven adult cats and five cubs.
Dreamworld plays such an important role in protecting tigers in the wild: The Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation has raised over 2 million dollars which helps support habitat protection for tigers in the wild and funds poaching patrols in Indonesia & Russia, so it really is a feel-good place to take the kids.
Where to stay?
Our friends at Scoopon have an unmissable family getaway sale on now! Stay at Paradise Resort on the Gold Coast where guests will receive unlimited entry to Dreamworld, WhiteWater World & SkyPoint Observation Deck during their stay – amazing right?! Find out more here.
Food and drinks
- Try to get organised a couple of days before your trip by making some healthy snacks for the kids to munch on, like carrot/celery and hummus, muesli bites and apples.
- Pack some juice poppers and plenty of water to avoid the expensive prices in the servos.
- Both kids and adults are prone to car sickness, so make sure you have a few spare plastic bags in case of a little accident.
- Pack car sickness tablets and have crystalised ginger on-hand to calm the belly.
- Get the kids to avoid staring at iPads or books for too long as this can cause motion sickness.
- Ensure plenty of fresh air, keep the windows down.
- Dry crackers, like Jatz or rice crackers, really do help.
- Keep hydrated and drink plenty of water.
- iPads with preloaded movies are great, also books and colouring in books keep the little ones entertained for yonks! But make sure they have a break to avoid motion sickness!
- Play games with the kids, like ‘I spy’.