What were our most remarkable family travel experiences for 2017?
As I sit down to write this, I reflect on another amazing year of family travel, and how blessed we have been to see and do the things we have done. I’ve considered what the kids truly loved; as well as where we all had a fabulous time. Sometimes there are places we “should have” had a great time but somehow they failed to deliver for our family; needless to say they didn’t make the list!
We’ve not flown as much as other families; maybe we have flown a lot more than some others.
We ditched our planned Bali trip when we realized that it was not part of the healthy lifestyle we aspire to. Click to read about our healthy lifestyle and travel goals.
As I picked these 12 remarkable family travel experiences I thought about things that we all loved. Things that weren’t just good, they were INCREDIBLE. They are not 12 different trips or varied locations, one of them is actually our own backyard – summer in Perth. They are, however, the things that we remember the most about the year!
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#1 World of Music Adelaide – Womad Festival, South Australia
Yes we travel 2/3 of the way across Australia to attend a music festival – but not just “any” festival; it is WOMAD. The WOMAD festival was first made famous in the UK and now in its 25th year in Adelaide. This festival celebrates the diversity and wonder of the world’s music, and the wonder of humanity. Meeting one of our favourite children’s authors, Mem Fox, was a highlight too. While it’s a lot of fun, we always go home feeling richer and more connected to the world’s peoples. The Woman festival was certainly one of our most remarkable family travel experiences in 2017.
#2 Adelaide, South Australia
Adelaide, one of the lesser known Australian capital cities, is a great place to spend a few days. Small enough to have a pleasant ‘country city’ vibe yet it is big enough to have a fantastic Fringe Festival, and plenty of activities for the family. This year we visited Glenelg for sunset and the Adelaide Zoo. While in Adelaide we stayed in an Airbnb.
Read our pros and cons of Airbnb’s here:
#3 Walpole Wilderness Beaches, Western Australia
We absolutely love wild wilderness beaches on the South Coast of Western Australia. Last year, Mandalay Beach was included in our 2016 best family experiences. We had a wonderful time enjoying this beach again this year, but discovered a new one as well. Conspicuous Cliff is as wild, and as rugged as Mandalay but has a little creek that the kids can play in and is now their favorite.
For a full list of things to do in Walpole, read our post here:
#4 Opera in the Ancient Forest, South Western Australia
Discovering the power and beauty of the Opera was a highlight of 2017 – the stunning voices, the emotion, the passion in those voices were beyond belief. Even better was the natural setting of the Valley of the Giants; the ancient Karri and tingle trees made a natural amphitheater beyond compare!
Read our tips to visit the Valley of the Giants here:
#5 Going on a Truffle Hunt, Manjimup Western Australia
Going on a “hunt” excites the kids, but going on a hunt for rare and prized truffles was an absolute winner! We accompanied a cute Truffle dog (another win!) while they sniffed out the truffles in an orchard and then we got to dig them up!
For the full story of our truffle hunt experiences, read more here:
#6 Sydney’s Icons: The Opera House & Sydney Harbour Bridge
You can’t go to Sydney and not see the Opera House or the Sydney Harbour Bridge! BUT sometimes iconic places don’t live up to expectations, especially when you are 3.5 years old and have talked incessantly about the upcoming visit to the Opera House! Luckily, in this case, they wowed us more than expected! Sydney’s Icons were definitely a travel highlight of 2017 for us.
#7 Madame Tussaud’s Sydney, Australia
We didn’t plan to go to Madame Tussaud’s, and only snuck in a visit on the last day because it was included in our ticket – and, well, why not? Perhaps because it is totally different than what we normally enjoy; as well as really interactive and fun. Madame Tussaud’s was a huge winner with the kids and even the adults got into the fun. Perhaps it is all about expectations, because we never thought that this would end up on our #bestof2017 list!
Read more about our adventures in Sydney here:
#8 Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
From the first walk down the beach on Mana Island, we felt that wonderful serendipity of being in an amazing place and fulfilling our dreams. Palm trees, turquoise warm water, snorkeling for kids and so much more! The Mamanuca Islands were definitely a pinch yourself, “we are in a tropical paradise” kind of place. We loved these palm fringed, white sand islands and they were definitely a travel highlight!
Read more about Fiji for kids here:
#9 Suva City, Fiji
Even though no travel guide recommended Suva as a family destination, as soon as we read the Lonely Planet we knew it was a place we wanted to visit. With a great local market, churches and the Fiji Museum, it wasn’t palm trees and turquoise waters but it was where we felt most connected with “real Fiji.” Our stay at the stunning Grand Pacific Hotel was also a highlight.
Read more about our recommendations of where to stay in Fiji:
#10 Denmark, Western Australia
With our desire to live a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle we love visiting this little town on the South Coast of Western Australia with its clean, green feel and hippy vibe! As a bonus, there are lots of nature based things to do and see! Plus, Denmark has some world class wineries and great places to eat as well.
For more about Denmark:
#11 Augusta, Margaret River Wine Region, Western Australia
A quick 3 day getaway in November recharged our batteries and blew us away. There are sure a lot of stunning beaches, lighthouses, forest, and lots of kid friendly activities in the Southern Margaret River wine region area! Camping at Hamelin Bay we explored Augusta, Boranup Forest, and a winery or two but we didn’t get much north of Margaret River. We promise ourselves we will return soon for another 3 day weekend!
#12 Summer in Perth
There is no place like home, and we just LOVE summer in Perth! With long, warm evenings, picnics by the river or late afternoon swims it really is a wonderful place to live. Perth folk are blessed with so many fantastic open spaces, beaches and playgrounds there is so much to do that is free and outdoors!!!
If you are from out of town, check our list of accommodations:
We love the bright and vibrant Instagram community; check out our favourite Perth Family travel Instagram accounts: