18 getaways made for you and your tribe to have a good time
Posted by Casey Warrener on Wednesday, December 7, 2016
We get that finding the right family escape is no easy feat. With a variety of ages and interests to cater for, locating the perfect balance of activities, relaxation, amenities and space takes research, planning – and importantly – an investment of your precious time. We also understand that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’, because you and your clan have your own unique characteristics.
Since we’re of the opinion that taking a holiday should never be hard, we’ve done the groundwork for you – rounding up an assortment of experiences and stays to suit individual tastes. From hideaways in the trees to beachfront retreats, to countryside with wine, food and sprawling spaces to play, amongst these 18 you’re sure to find something that’s fun for the whole family. And the best part we’ve left for last: a selection of our havens is offering awesome deals to help you with that well-deserved break. Now all you need to do? Pack up the car, round up the troops, and get on your way.
For something special
Calabash Bay Lodge, Berowra Waters, NSW
For a little piece of paradise with beyond beautiful views, say ‘hello’ to Calabash Bay Lodge. In a secret location along the Hawkesbury River – close to Sydney yet completely secluded – here, you’ll want to grab a stash of supplies before you arrive and make the most of the blissful setting. Nothing says ‘gotten away from it all’ like pulling up to your private pier by motorboat or seaplane, which is the only way to access this divine hideaway. Your crew will love diving off the jetty, exploring the tranquil waters, bushwalking along deserted trails, and lounging on the deck under the sun and the stars. The interiors are stylish, and you’ll have access to contemporary comforts like a Nintendo and Apple TV.
For sun-seeking cliques
The White House Holiday Apartments, Port Douglas, QLD
If you’re a family who wants to tick the boxes of balmy weather, tropical rainforests and palm-fringed coastlines for your break, you’ll love Port Douglas. And the White House Holiday Apartments couldn’t be a more fitting base: its bones are a grand old Queenslander with wide verandas shaded by greenery, and its interior 10 unique, boutique apartments. Comfy cane furniture, cool tiled floors and sliding glass doors are ideal for the climate. Parents can cool-off by the pool with an iced drink, while kids splash about within sight. And you’re just a stroll from Four Mile Beach and the dining and shopping on Macrossan Street.
For kids big and small
Howards Hill, Cape Schanck, VIC
Right in the midst of the Mornington Peninsula’s wineries, beaches, markets and farm gates, on a 30-acre estate complete with equine residents, you’ll find a quirky barn-come-holiday-house. Featuring table tennis, foosball, log fires, exposed timber beams and polished concrete floors, for an eclectic escape with loads to see and do, you can’t go past Howards Hill. Bring your furry family members along for the ride (and your horse, if you have one), and get ready for a slice of the good life.
Whitesbeach Guesthouse, Torquay, VIC
Torquay is a popular out-of-town break for Melburnians thanks to its surf, sand, parklands, and casual eateries. Less readily associated with this laidback seaside town is royalty – unless you’re staying at Whitesbeach Guesthouse. Once the holiday home of a Malaysian Sheik, this palatial property is now a well-facilitated boutique retreat. With a tennis court, heated pool and spa, playground and trampoline, snooker and ping pong tables, a help-yourself buffet and unlimited espressos – all just metres from the beach and town – you and your troop won’t be short of things to do.
For cultured clans
Lake Wendouree Luxury Apartments, Ballarat, VIC
Opulent architecture, historic monuments, lush parklands and a mirror-still lake – yep, we’re talking Ballarat. This is a town that recounts tales of time gone by, and it’s a wonderful place to learn about Australia’s prospecting past. Situated along one of Ballarat’s most beautiful streets, Lake Wendouree is a boutique block of six two-bedroom apartments surrounded by heritage homes and grand old trees running down to the water. Here, you and your clan will enjoy comfort and style in between outings to landmark sites, restaurants and cafes, botanical gardens, and picnicking by the lake.
For foodie families
Westgate Vineyard and Country House, Ararat, VIC
At Westgate Vineyard and Country House the littlies can delight in the farm life, the grown-ups can indulge in the wine, and everyone can enjoy the breathtaking views across the rolling Pyrenees and the impressive Grampians Range. Set on a 700-acre estate, you won’t be short of space. The house is pure provincial elegance, and the surrounds come complete with a pool and a pitch to play pétanque and croquet. Let the kids roam the grounds, while you sit back with the region’s fine produce and unwind.
For eco-friendly folk
The Chocolate Lily, Sedgwick, VIC
For a family retreat you can feel good about, look no further than The Chocolate Lily. This award-winning home is not only earth-loving, it’s also totally luxurious and in an outstanding location. Set high up on a hill, you have views over the Goldfields that stretch all the way to Mt Alexander. And with cellar doors close by you'll be sampling local bottles around that solar-heated pool. Dig into your fresh brekkie basket, wander through native gardens, and enjoy a stunning sunset over Mount Emu. And if you can tear yourself away, head to Castlemaine, Bendigo, and Kyneton for art, history, and dining, and to Heathcote for the wine.
For aquatic dreamers
Captain's Cove, Paynesville, VIC
If you’re a family that gets into waterbased fun – fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming and sunbathing – you’ll love Captain’s Cove. These spacious, multi-storey apartments come with sunny decks and balconies, views inside and out, tennis courts and an indoor heated pool, and everything needed for easy meals. The separate upstairs and downstairs areas are ideal for kids and parents to have their own spaces for downtime and play. BYO boat (to be moored to your private pontoon), gather up enough supplies to last you, and revel in the relaxation of this waterfront village.
Quarterdeck Clifftop, Blairgowrie, VIC
This huge house at the highpoint of Blairgowrie has water views from every room; overlooking the Marina on one side and Port Phillip Bay on the other. There are decks on both levels to watch the boats float along from the open waters of the Bass Strait to their peaceful port in the bay. And there’s a Jacuzzi big enough for six – perfect for unwinding together after days spent in the saltwater and sun. Numerous televisions means there'll be no contention over what to watch, and a playground will keep the kids entertained while you sit back with a wine and enjoy those views.
Eumarella Shores Noosa Lake Resort, Weyba Downs, QLD
The Noosa Lakes area is a less-trodden part of this popular enclave tucked behind the dunes – which means peace and quiet for family time. Settled onto an eco reserve at the reservoir’s edge are nine retreats, each with private lake access and serene outdoor spaces (we’d recommend luxury house ‘Gooloowaa’ for its spacious balcony and very own boardwalk). With complimentary canoes on offer you can push off for a paddle together, and when you're ready to return simply sidle back up to your Eumarella Retreat.
For adventure seekers
St Andrews Serviced Apartments, Katherine, NT
If you’ve ever wanted to visit Australia’s iconic outback, the Northern Territory’s Katherine is one for the bucket list. Although the natural and cultural attractions here are fascinating, local travellers rarely tread this beautiful region; a stay at St Andrews is your chance to share a unique experience. Hike through the awe-inspiring National Park, wade under waterfalls, cruise through magnificent red-rock gorges, sink into hot springs, and venture into ancient caves. Absorb Indigenous art and artefacts. And when you’re ready to rest, beat the heat in the pool, and replenish your energy with a meal made in the outdoor pizza oven.
For island touring troops
Captain Lock's Cottage, Phillip Island, VIC
If a mix of wildlife, maritime history, cute shops and cafes is what you’re searching for, stop right here. With a stay at Captain Lock’s you’ll be resting within a little piece of Phillip Island’s past. Originally home to its namesake – founder of Rhyll Captain John Lock – this cottage is one of the oldest in the area. And the interiors display a character to match; with antique pieces, double French doors, swinging chandeliers, and a crackling fire for those chilly southern nights. In summer, enjoy easy barbecue meals on the deck, and in winter, camp out in front of the flames for board games. Watching the penguins fight their way in from the water is a not-to-be-missed experience, and kids big and small will cheer for the huddles scurrying up the headland.
For tree-loving tribes
Candlelight Mountain Retreats, Olinda, VIC
A quick trip from Melbourne will land you at two quaint cottages nestled within Olinda’s towering trees – the Candlelight Mountain Retreats. Candlelight is the original 19th century structure, and Twilight a recent addition fashioned with old-world charm. Both are within walking distance of Mount Dandenong, and both have beautiful parklands on every side. These retreats are all about enjoying simple pleasures together. Start your day in the courtyard, listening to the hum of nature and trickling falls. Breathe in fresh air on hikes through lush greenery and colourful blooms. And at the end of it all, return to splay out in front of the fire.
The Old Church at Byron Bay, Newrybar, NSW
If bonding amongst nature, eating clean and green, getting active and checking out crafty wares sounds like you and your clan, Byron's hinterland is an excellent choice. This is a unique part of the world, so naturally you’ll want a unique base – a cavernous, high-ceilinged former church should do the trick. Originally for communion, the Old Church is a fitting space for loved ones to congregate. And with room enough for 12; you can invite the extended family, too. Make use of the chef’s kitchen, the long dining table, the games room, and the deck overlooking gorgeous gardens. And if you get the urge, wind around to the hub 10-minutes away (but we’d suggest exploring nearby Bangalow instead).
Nutkin Lodge, Denmark, WA
Denmark is to Western Australia what Byron is to New South Wales – both are brimming with organic cafes, food co-ops, and yoga sessions on the beach. It's also home to a long list of natural beauties, so it’s a great place for you and your band to experience Australia’s distinctive landscapes. And Nutkin Lodge is the perfect launchpad to the areas pristine coastline and wilderness. Set on 100-acres of designated Land for Wildlife – complete with its very own walking trails – these two family cottages capture views of farm and bushland stretching out to the sea, and your young ones will love spotting kangaroos bounding across the grounds.
For coastal crews
Paradise House, Boat Harbour Beach, TAS
Tassie has huge swathes of unspoiled seaside, so when you’ve got a getaway planted right on the shores of its northwest corner, ‘Paradise House’ is no lie. 38 steps above the squeaky white sands of Boat Harbour Beach; this architect-designed beauty has incredible ocean views (choose a window and dolphin watch in-season), a wonderfully appointed kitchen for prepping all that gourmet produce, and a balcony for enjoying al fresco meals while the waves roll in. Beach toys, surfboards, and bikes are provided, so pack light. And anticipate days spent swimming, snorkelling, and basking in the sun, all just beyond your front door.
Adelaide Luxury Beach House, Henley Beach, SA
Just 15-minutes from the Adelaide CBD and right on the shores of Henley Beach, Adelaide Luxury Beach House really is just that. With uninterrupted ocean views from all three levels and South Australian wine to get you settled in, the hardest decision you'll have to make is which part of this home to enjoy first. We'd recommend heading up to the rooftop terrace – it makes for a pretty inspiring spot to plan your trip's activities. Which will include family fun on the beach, replenishing your energy at Henley Beach's eateries, escaping the sun at gallery and museum exhibits, and returning to relax in your lounge room with a view.
Margate Beach House, Barwon Heads, VIC
For a breezy retreat with the family, Margate Beach House has all that you need. Set within walking distance of the ocean, river, dining and shopping precinct, you can arrive and put your car keys away. There’s a self-contained studio with bunks and its own bathroom, so the kids have their own space without being too far away. While the house is an inviting place to be – with cool timber floors, comfy lounging spots, a kitchen for casual bites and a relaxed al fresco setup – with surf beaches, fishing spots, beautiful parks and playgrounds, award-winning food, wine and waterfront eateries, you won’t spend much time inside.