Best of 2016 incredible family travel experiences

Our 2016 incredible family travel experiences

Around New Year we were super inspired by people’s #bestof2016 favourite things, best experiences, photos and destinations. We are now one quarter the way through 2017 and the post that was started amidst the weeks of Summer school holidays has just been finished!

This is a family travel blog that we do for ‘fun’, and in our spare time (huh, what’s that?). Folks with kids know that there is never a spare minute. And, for us, the kids have to come first. .

So this is our 3 months late, list of our #bestof2016 incredible family travel experiences

I toyed with the use of “Best Family Travel experiences” vs “Incredible Family travel experiences”
and kept coming back to “It was incredible!” That is, for our family each one of these were incredible experiences.

Wave Rock, Hyden, Western Australia

We visited Wave Rock on one of the coldest days of the year – huge storms and freezing temperatures didn’t diminish awe of this fantastic rock formation in the middle of the wheatbelt. We didn’t get the sunset pictures we’d hoped – nor did we go for a several kilometres walk – but we did love it. Truly one of Western Australia’s icons. Check out our full post 6 tips for a visit to Wave Rock with Kids.

wave rock with kids, visit hyden with kids, family trip wave rock

Lake Ballard, Menzies, Western Australia

This place will soon be one of Western Australia’s icons, an art installation in the middle of a salt lake quite literally in the middle of nowhere. It was muddy, messy and challenging… and unforgettable. This was one of our Top 9 things to for kids in Kalgoorlie and the Goldfields.

Thinking about a visit? Check out our tips to visit the Lake Ballard statues

Tips for a Visit to the Lake Ballard statues, Visit InsideAustralia, Antony Gormley Statues, Outback travel

Ubud’s restaurants

We ate exceptionally well for our last week in Bali, going from one culinary delight to the next. After reading Janet O’Neefe’s memoir Fragrant Rice, Casa Luna was definitely on the list… We just love this picture not of the Restaurant itself, nor it’s food, not of the interior; but of our hungry travelling band intent on getting across the road to eat! We’ve got a review of great Ubud Restaurants coming soon. Please DM if you need the info before hand. (Like I said, we do this blog in our ‘spare’ time).

For a first time visitors review of what we did, and our perceptions, take a look at How to Travel to Bali with Kids


Alpaca Farm, Denmark Western Australia

Our daughter talks about this all the time. She ALWAYS wants to visit again. A truly incredible family travel experience!  With baby animals – not just alpacas but baby sheep, rabbits and chicks, and KANGAROOS you can understand why. We have been three times and it’s still on the top of her list. And a happy kid makes us content… so this one has to be on our #bestof2106 list (Yes, its an un-edited photo)

If you are going to focus on just the Denmark area, take a look here  11 Great things to do in Denmark with kids   If you have less time on, here are our highlights  in the South Coast of Western Australia, for kids.


Western Australia’s Wildflowers

Springtime in Western Australia is amazing, as the state’s abundant natural reserves and National Parks burst into colour. We headed south of Perth to do some bush walks to enjoy these gorgeous blooms, only to be kept inside for days at a time with plenty of rain. Still, we didn’t let that stop us and got out for plenty of invigorating walks. Our Best Things to do in Walpole for kids includes some walks in this area.


Araluen Tulip Festival, Perth Western Australia

Mumma Traveller’s grandmother always talked about Araluen but we had never gone there. Perhaps the most wonderful aspect of Mumma rediscovering her love of photography during 2016 has been the desire to go and photograph everything!! So glad we made the trip out to the Araluen Botanic Garden was to see the tulips blooming in celebration of spring! check out our top tips for a visit to the Araluen Tulip Festival.


Up close with Elephants in Bali

We consider ourselves ethical travellers so checked out the story of The Elephant Safari Park Lodge and liked the fact that they were rescued Elephants. It was an experience that surpassed all expectations, from bathing the elephants, to dining under the stars with them feeding nearby. Since then, we’ve read on social media that elephants shouldn’t be ridden which has somewhat tainted this Mumma’s memories of the experience. Like with everything in life, we genuinely didn’t know – and now that we are better informed we will make our decisions accordingly!

Given that Social Media can impact on people we were also unsure whether we should include this on our #bestof2016 experiences… but given it is currently the reason that Little Miss wants to be an “Elephant Vet” when she grows up, we think that it was an incredible family travel experience and should be included.   for more information on where we recommend to stay in Bali The Best Bali Family Hotels*


Rice Terraces of Bali

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces were a late addition to our itinerary – we vaguely looked on the map on the day and thought it would be a good idea. It was a lot of driving to get there – but was truly stunning! We thought that it was a World Heritage site when we were visiting (due to the signage) but the internet seems to say it is not! Wikipedia says… “Once a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site candidate, Jatiluwih rice terraces comprises over 600Ha of rice fields. These are well-maintained by a traditional water management cooperative known as ‘subak’, which dates back to the 9th century.”  We loved exploring the Munduk and Bedugul areas of Bali, for a full list take a look at Munduk & Bedugul for families.   These areas are also featured in our Off the Beaten Track Bali with Kids


The Swimming Pools of Bali

This picture makes this list because the pools of Bali were an absolute highlight for the whole family. Did you know that apparently 85% of Australians choose their holiday destination partially because of what the pictures will look like on social media? Well, we definitely chose to visit Jungle Fish due to Instagram pictures! (but… was JungleFish as good as we expected? You will have to wait to read the review when we get it written!)

Our hotels were NOT inspired by Instagram, but many of them were Insta-worthy. Take a look at our list of the Best Bali Family hotels.


Visiting a Shipwreck, Mandalay Beach, Walpole Western Australia

We had little time left in Walpole, and had heard that the wreck of the Mandalay is revealed after storms, about once in a decade… Mumma headed off by herself with the kids in the late afternoon. For those that don’t know this area, it really is isolated, there are few people… As she reached the end of the gravel road leading to this beach the storm clouds began to roll in she wondered at the wisdom of the expedition. Her reward: stunning skies, an empty beach and crashing waves.

Pounding surf meant it was hard to see the Shipwreck of the Mandalay, the Norwegian barque which was beached on the south coast of Western Australia by its captain in treacherous conditions in 1911, some 108 years ago. this was a pretty cool place to visit, especially with a storm rolling in!

Our Best Things to do in Walpole for kids includes this beach.


Did you enjoy our Best of 2016 Incredible Family Travel Experiences?

We would love to hear your thoughts, comments or questions about these experiences. We are also always happy to provide any ideas on how to visit these places, based on our experiences.

Who are we?

We are family of 4 –1 born in Nicaragua, 1 in Peru, and 2 in Australia.  We believe that adventures can be found globally, and locally.   You can read more About Us

In October 2016 our Instagram account was selected by Eric Stoen, of Travel Babbo, as one of the 25 Best Family Travel Accounts in the world.   Read about our inclusion in the  25 Best Family Travel Instagram Accounts