As 2016 draws to a close, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for joining us on our adventures! Our readership has tripled since this time last year and that is all because of you. Every comment, email, like or share has been so instrumental in us growing the Kidding Around Australia community.
We have had a massive year that we were so happy to share with you all. This year our blog was read in 76 different countries with people all over the world following our family travels to Bright, Echuca / Moama, Bendigo, Melbourne, Albury, Canberra, Nowra, Culburra Beach and Mollymook in the Shoalhaven region, Merrimbula, Marlo, Paynesville, Tarralgon, Healesville, Yea and Nagambie as part of the What’s Up Downunder Summer Series and our first international destination – the beautiful islands of Mare, Isle of Pines and Noumea in New Caledonia with Carnival Cruise Lines.
WOW! I’m exhausted just writing all that down and that doesn’t cover all the events we attended and the brands we represented! We are just so incredibly grateful for the opportunities we have been given this year.
We had such a lot of fun and have so much planned for 2017! We are expanding and have some very exciting news to share in the coming months. Of course, more travel is on our horizon as well which we are busily planning!
Let us know what you would like us to see and do and how we can support you in making memories with your family. Do you want to see more of our life on the road? Or would you like more ideas for spending time with your family at home? Would you like more budget conscious activities or dream holidays with the kids in paradise? Let us know and we will try and make it happen!
So until next year … Thank you for being a part of Kidding Around Australia!
Peppa Pig Playdate is like nothing you have experienced before!
If you are like us, you often hear the excited shrieks of “Peppa Pig’s ONNNNNNNNNN!” so imagine your kids excitement when they walk into a real life Peppa Pig paradise that is specially designed for her littlest fans!
Unless you have made your way to the UK and visited Peppa Pig World, then Peppa Pig Playdate is unlike anything your child has experienced before!
After walking the pink carpet, getting your playdate time and location (it will either be the Museum, Fire Station or Library) and walking through the rainbow arches, families can enjoy many activities!
Alegría and Isaac loved pretending to be ducks whilst “sailing” around the pond on trikes and there is even an island where under 3’s can play with wooden toys.
Everyone can take a ride on Grandpa Rabbit’s train – remember your hands must stay in the train (unless you are waving them madly above your head)!
Isaac loved visiting Peppa’s house and helping to sort out their recycling.
Little Peppa and George’s can slide down the dinosaur slides and run through the maze before it’s time to jump up and down in muddy puddles!
Children must wear socks for the muddy puddle area and are welcome to jump as many times as they like, they just have to line up again as the session is timed.
For a quieter time, kids can visit the school room and do some colouring-in and craft or join a music session with instruments to play and songs to sing.
If that wasn’t enough, included in your ticket price is the opportunity to watch a 30 minute live musical show starring Peppa and George Pig on the main stage, with plenty of interaction, songs and laughter.
Of course, you will meet some of Peppa’s family and friends (they are life size and very friendly) for some photo opportunities and cuddles.
When it’s time for your playdate with Peppa and her favourite toy Teddy, line up at your designated area 5-10 mins early to ensure you don’t miss out! Inside the Library, Museum or Fire Station you will meet Peppa, have a photo taken, get a card to colour in and sing a song or two!
BRING SOCKS!!! Kids must have socks on to jump on the muddy puddles. If you forget, they will be selling them in Mr Fox’s shop. Prams are not permitted inside, there is pram parking available, however make sure your bring a baby carrier if you have little, little ones.
Bring your camera as there are plenty of photo opportunities, especially on your playdate with Peppa. You’re welcome to take food and drinks with you, as there is nothing for sale within the playdate area.
This video was released after our visit so you might spot some familiar faces!
We love outdoor children’s events and the Australian Shakespeare Company never disappoint! We are so excited to celebrate 30 years of The Wind in the Willows this year that we thought we would give one lucky family (2 adults and 2 kids) a chance to see the show! The Australian Shakespeare Company are such good people they have also given us a family pass to Tinkerbell and the Dream Fairies to give away as well!
This summer, one of Australia’s most beloved family traditions “The Wind in the Willows” will perform their 30th consecutive season in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
We thought last years performance was TOADally awesome – you can read our review HERE!
Multi generational audiences are invited to celebrate this summer’s very special season when The Wind in the Willows transforms Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens for the 30th time from 23 December 2016 to 28 January 2017.
Join Ratty, Mole, Badger, Otter, Portly and, of course, Mr Toad, as they return this summer, bringing to life Kenneth Grahame’s immortal story of life on the riverbank. The critically acclaimed outdoor theatre production delivers music, songs and laughs. There is fun for young and old as the Head Chief Rabbit transforms audiences into rabbits with a waggle of the ears and a wiggle of the nose.
Melbourne’s best-loved affordable family entertainment, The Wind in the Willows asks you to pack a picnic, pack the kids and join in the fun!
DATES: Melbourne: 23 December – 28 January 10am Tue – Sun, 6pm Thu, Fri, Sat (No 6pm performance on 24 Dec, no shows on 27 Dec, 1 Jan or 26 Jan)
WHERE: Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Enter via Gate F on Birdwood Avenue
PRICES: Single tickets $25 (Sun – Fri) $30 (Sat); Family of four (four tickets, any age) $90 (Sun – Fri), $110 (Sat).
Tickets are available at the on-site box office unless sold out, box office opens one hour prior to each performance.
WHAT TO BRING: Pack a picnic full of goodies you like to eat and drink, a blanket or cushions to sit on, sunscreen, insect repellent and a hat.
Following a sell out London debut Tinkerbell and the Dream Fairies is returning to Melbourne and asking children aged 3-6 to come dressed as a fairy or an elf and help Tinkerbell and her Dream Fairy friends on their magical quest!
In Tinkerbell and the Dream Fairies, the adventurous Tinkerbell happens upon the fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Travelling from the dream forest, the cheeky Mustardseed, fluttery Moth, daring Cobweb and sweet Peasblossom all go on a magical quest with Tinkerbell, learning about the different worlds they are from. On the way, Dewdrop – a small fairy played by acrobatic sisters Cierra (8) and Cameron (13) Shook – creates a flurry of fun.
There is singing, dancing and a special adventure to ‘Bubble Land’ where audience members are asked to help the Fairies find their wings. So pack a picnic and join in the magic!
We were recently invited to experience beautiful and unspoilt Shoalhaven on the New South Wales South Coast and it’s not hard to see why this region is one of Australia’s most-loved surfing and family travel destinations. We all have fond memories of holidays at the beach in summer, and the Shoalhaven is an ideal place to relive those special times and make some new memories with your children.
Instead of flying into Sydney or Canberra and hiring a car, we decided to take a road trip in a Holden Captiva that Holden were nice enough to let us take for an extended test drive. Travelling from Victoria we passed through Albury (where we stayed for the night), Holbrook (where we climbed on the Big Submarine), Gundagai (where we saw the Dog on the Tucker-box), Canberra (for another overnight stay where we visited Questacon and the National Dinosaur Museum), Goulburn (where we saw the Big Merino) and Sutton Forest (we want to go back and explore this picturesque village) on our way to Nowra and Culburra Beach (our home for the next two days).
The Shoalhaven is just two hours from Sydney and Canberra (so flying in makes it really accessible if you are from interstate and don’t want to drive) and boasts unspoilt beaches, fun activities and delicious eateries to satisfy even the fussiest of little eaters!
With our copy of Shoalhaven Tourism’s “Surfing Shoalhaven” guide in hand we researched all the best beaches and waves, road trips and activities on offer in the region so that we could plan the most amazing stay – a holiday that has left us wanting to return and explore some more!
Shoalhaven Zoo is located in the town of Nowra about 2 hours drive south of Sydney. With more than 100 species of native and exotic birds, reptiles and mammals, the Shoalhaven Zoo is the largest zoo on the NSW south coast.
Spread over 16 acres of natural bushland, on the banks of the Shoalhaven river, this zoo is surrounded by an amazing backdrop of water views, rainforests and impressive cliff faces.
Shoalhaven Zoo allows for both paid and free interaction with select animals. We walked through the kangaroo and emu enclosure (you can buy a bag of food from the gift shop), played with rabbits and a cheeky goat in the animal farm and were able to pat a koala, crocodile, python and possum during a keeper talk. We also watched Marmoset monkey training session which was informative and funny (just don’t stand too close to the monkey cage as we narrowly avoided a well directed wee!). The kids also loved the giant slide and running through the wide open spaces.
If you want to make a day of it, there are picnic areas and gas BBQ’s so you can bring your own yummy lunch. If you are like us, and are not that organised, then there is a cafe with undercover seating that will help you fill your tummy! Don’t forget to save room for an ice-cream!
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm every day except Christmas day. Animal shows start at 11am.
Address: 23 Rock Hill Road, North Nowra NSW 2541
Cost: Adults – $25.00 Aged 16+ Seniors & Pensioners – $20.00 Upon presentation of a valid seniors/pension card Students – $20.00 Upon presentation of a valid student card Children (Aged 3-15) – $15.00 Family – $70.00 2x adults & 2x children
The Shoalhaven is home to more than 100 beaches so a visit to the beach is a MUST whilst in the region. We were lucky enough to be staying in the quiet beachside town of Culburra Beach (which is located 20 minutes from Nowra) and our holiday house was located two blocks back from the water.
Alegría and Isaac LOVE the ocean and it didn’t take long for them to be playing in the shallows or with a local dog named Sam!
The people were friendly and relaxed, whilst the coastline made a stunning backdrop for an impromptu photography session.
Jervis Bay Bike Hire – See the Bay in a Different Way!
Jervis Bay Bike Hire is a mobile business offering a variety of bikes, from BMX bikes for the kids to tandem bikes for the adults. As they are a mobile business there is no shop frontage so you need to order your bikes in advance by phone or email. Same day delivery is available providing the order is received before 11am and is subject to availability. They even deliver free of charge if you are staying close by or you can choose to pick up if you are staying outside of their delivery area.
We hired two ‘heist’ bikes (suitable for adults 168cm tall and above), as well as a ‘chariot’ and a ‘tag-a-long rider’ for the kids (helmets and locks are also provided with each bike). The ‘heist’ bikes were required for both the chariot and the tag-a-long rider to attach to, although if you have older kids (they even hire scooters!) or are going by yourself they had some great adult bikes to choose from.
We enjoyed a fun morning exploring the sights of Jervis Bay and feeling the fresh air on our faces whilst we rode our bikes around the Bay.
The bike track is very well maintained and we even stopped off at Nelsons Beach for a play in the super soft, white sand (there is a toilet block and playground here as well) before we headed back and said goodbye to our wheels. The kids loved both the chariot and the tag-a-long rider. Alegría and Isaac took turns having a go in each and even though Isaac couldn’t reach the pedals of the rider, that didn’t stop him from having a go!
Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and pack some sunscreen, water and snacks.
Going for a bike ride is a great way to explore Jervis Bay, we thought it might be a “little” out of our fitness range but it was a highlight of our holiday. We all had such a great time!
Cost: from $30 per day for children’s bikes and $40 per day for adults bikes (discounts available for multiple days). Accessories such as the chariot and tag-a-long rider are extra.
Our whale watching tour was run by Dolphin Watch Cruises / Eco-Whale Cruise who are located in Huskisson, NSW.
We were told that whale watching is an experience that is not to be missed when visiting the Shoalhaven between May and November. Unfortunately, we were visiting the area a week or two before the majority of the whales made their way back to Antarctic waters during the Southern migration, so whilst there had been successful whale watching trips in the days prior to our trip, on the day we didn’t see any whales.
What we can tell you though, is Sam and the crew from Dolphin Watch Cruises / Eco-Whale Cruise offer a friendly and well run tour business and we wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them.
Don’t forget to bring along some sunscreen, a hat, your camera and warm clothes / closed shoes. To say it gets chilly on the water is an understatement!! It is FREEZING! The crew gave out red ponchos and if it wasn’t for them then we would have been miserable! We were still cold, but it was nothing compared to how we were before we got the ponchos. Don’t be a hero (like Tim) and think you will be okay as Tim froze for 2 hours and was only warm when we turned around to head back to shore.
As their business name suggests, they run dolphin tours all year round. There are resident pods living in Jervis Bay, so if you want guaranteed animal sightings then a dolphin tour would be the way to go.
Address: 50 Owen St Huskisson NSW 2540
Phone: (02) 4441 6311
Cost: Adults – $65.00 Aged 15+ Concession – $62.00 Children – $32.00 Aged 2-14 Family – $165.00 2x adults & 2x children
As our holiday was very much a beach holiday, we couldn’t resist heading to Greenfields Beach in the Jervis Bay National Park. Greenfields Beach was listed by the Guardian UK as one of 12 best beaches in the world earlier this year– taking a coveted place alongside the world famous Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Starfish Beach in Panama and Source d’Argent in the Seychelles. The Guardian UK also named Greenfields Beach as one of its “50 best beaches in the world”, as chosen by its readers. The only Aussie beach to make both lists, Greenfields Beach is described as being “framed by a dense forest of gum trees and a small sandstone cliff” and we just had to see it for ourselves!
There are amenities such as outdoor showers and toilets, ample car parking, and a picnic area with amazing views all the way to Point Perpendicular. Greenfield Beach is the most wheelchair accessible beach in Jervis Bay National Park, with a flat and grassy picnic area and access to the beach via a short boardwalk.
Greenfields Beach is nestled between the already famous Hyams Beach and the town of Vincentia. The kids loved running on the white, squeaky sand and playing in the shallows. It really is a beautiful beach and the perfect place to spend some time with your family!
Mollymook Beach Surf School
We couldn’t visit all of these beautiful beaches listed in our copy of Shoalhaven Tourism’s “Surfing Shoalhaven” guide without actually going Surfing IN the Shoalhaven! So, we packed up our car and said goodbye to our accommodation in Culburra Beach and travelled an hour south to Mollymook to meet our surfing coach Geoff Hansen from the Mollymook Beach Surf School.
The Mollymook Beach Surf School was first established in 2010 and is led by Geoff Hansen, the principal coach. Geoff has been delivering surf lessons in and around Mollymook since 2006. He has been a surfer for 36 years and is well-respected in the local surfing community.
We met Geoff and Katharine for our two-hour private surfing lesson in the pouring rain! As Geoff happily told us, surfing is one of the only outdoor activities you can do it the rain and it doesn’t matter! All our equipment, including a wetsuit and surf board, was provided and in no time at all we were all ready!
The kids helped to wax our surfboards, and then we went down to the beach for some on-the-sand instruction before we hit the waves! Geoff and Katharine were fantastic instructors and made sure we had the required knowledge and assistance for us all to stand up on our boards!
Isaac was a little jumping jack and popped up without a worry in the world, until one too many wipe-outs had him heading for the beach for a play. Alegría spent the entire 1.5 hours in the water and at 6 years old could have a future in surfing (if only we didn’t live 2 hours away from our nearest surf beach)! Tim and I LOVED the experience, we were a little nervous about the kids, but 5 minutes with Geoff and Katharine and our worries disappeared.
We have not stopped talking about our surfing lesson and had the BEST time! Amazingly, even though it was “Death On A Stick” weather conditions, we saw whales playing in the distance which made for a perfect end to a fantastic experience.
I CANNOT recommend a surfing lesson with Geoff (and Katharine) and Mollymook Beach Surf School highly enough. We have been RAVING about it!! If you think that it will be too cold, or the kids are too young, or the weather is terrible, or you aren’t fit enough or any other excuse you can come up with then STOP! Give it a go. I feel the cold, and Geoff gave me a thick wetsuit and I wasn’t cold at all. Isaac is 3 and can’t swim but still had an amazing time. Tim and I are not the fittest people you will meet but we had a fantastic time. Alegria still talks about how to spot a rip, go under the waves and where to stand on the board. Honestly, learning to surf was a sensational family holiday experience.
If you want to surf in the Shoalhaven area, then the “Surfing Shoalhaven” guide makes interesting reading. It’s available to download from www.shoalhaven.com.au/surf, and provides surfing etiquette tips, surfing conditions and maps, local suppliers, stories of the champions and so much more!
Aussie surfer Tyler Wright is the 2016 WSL Women’s World Champion and grew up in Culburra Beach whilst learning to surf in the Shoalhaven.
“Some of my fondest memories I have are of daily surfing sessions with my brothers and sister. At the time, we couldn’t comprehend that we’d all end up where we are now. We were just over the moon to be out there with everyone at our local beach.” – Tyler Wright, Australian Professional Surfer, No. 1 in the world.
Phone: 0411 392221
Cost: Adults – $90.00 Aged 17+Children – $75.00 Aged up to 16
WHERE TO EAT
There are so many fantastic places to eat all over the Shoalhaven. You will be spoilt for choice! We have picked our favourite breakfast, lunch and dinner venues so that it one last thing you will need to worry about!
BREAKFAST: – Seasalt Café, Culburra
When you have adventurous day ahead of you, a beautiful, wholesome breakfast is exactly what you need! Seasalt Café is a small business located in the heart of the seaside village of Culburra. Seasalt Café opened in December 2012, and has successfully grown into a busy kitchen feeding locals and holiday makers. The menu includes a variety of meals suitable for all tastes and they have a toybox to keep the kids entertained whilst you wait for your meal!
Following your morning exploring Jervis Bay, it’s time to refuel before your afternoon’s itinerary. Pilgrims Café Huskisson is a popular café with the locals. The menus include delicious meals for all tastes, from pancakes and granola to burgers, pies and wraps. Perfect to take with you or sit back and admire their postcard perfect views!
Treat yourself to an exceptional meal from the famous Rooftop Bar & Grill at Bannisters Pavilion. The Rooftop’s menu is inspired by Mediterranean, Southern Californian and Mexican cuisines, complemented by seasonal cocktails, craft beers and an amazing wine list. You HAVE to try the eggplant chips with burnt onion aioli! There’s also a special children’s menu that includes dessert and a drink! The staff are friendly and are happy to bring colouring pages and crayons out for the kids so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the view!
We stayed at the “The Batch”, which is a lovely self-contained holiday house located just 500m from Culburra Beach and 700m from Warrain Beach so it is perfect for a family beach holiday.
It is comfortable home away from home where we all felt relaxed with everything that we needed as a travelling family. The Batch is located in a quiet street where the only sounds you will hear are the waves crashing and the birds singing.
There is a cosy wood fire for those chilly winter evenings (we didn’t use it as we were concerned about the kids as it is right in the middle of the room, but the heater worked wonderfully so we were not cold at all!).
The yard is fully enclosed so the children could play freely – it would be perfect if you were travelling with your dog as well.
This property is proudly managed by The Holiday Rental Specialists – Beach and Bay Holidays and they made our stay so welcoming. Prior to arrival, they had put on the heater and switched on the porch light leaving us with a welcome note and a little something to enjoy after the kids went to sleep!
We would highly recommend The Batch as your base whilst exploring the Shoalhaven region. We loved it and the kids keep asking to go back to “our holiday house” so I guess we better start planning!
We were guests of Shoalhaven Tourism for this family holiday. All opinions are own and correct at the time of publication. Please visit the Shoalhaven website prior to your holiday for additional information on what to do in the region.
You can also follow the team at Shoalhaven Tourism here:
Please note all details quoted are correct at the time of publishing. All details are subject to change without notice and Kidding Around Australia takes no responsibility for information contained in this post. Please check the appropriate website to ensure that information is still correct and current.
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