Top Holiday Parks in Australia 2011
Holiday parks in Australia offer an ever-improving range of facilities and services. Where once there was perhaps an amenities block, grassed and powered sites and little else, there is now a whole host of family-friendly accommodation, facilities and activities. Australian holiday parks are continuing to raise the bar and many now offer all the perks of a resort holiday with resort-style pools, onsite restaurants, kids' clubs - at more budget-friendly rates. It's no wonder that holiday parks are proving so popular among Aussie families!
1. Ocean Beach Holiday Park, Umina
Conveniently located just an hour or so's drive north of Sydney, and set on a beautiful beach, Ocean Beach Holiday Park regularly tops our awards. A range of accommodation is available from newly-refurbished luxury beachside spa villas to cabins, cottages and camping. Swimming pools with a waterslide and mushroom sprinklers, go karts and giant jumping pillows are sure to keep the kids busy, and there's also plenty for Mum and Dad with tennis courts, coffee at Ocean Breeze Café and walks on the beach. The kids' club offers plenty of adventure with treasure hunts, tractor rides, and talent and disco nights during school holidays.
2. Easts Beach Holiday Park, Kiama
A new entry this year though it's 75 years young, but deservedly so, Easts Beach is right on the beach, just a few kilometres from the centre of Kiama, and a short drive from Sydney. Set on 14 hectares amid landscaped gardens, there's a range of accommodation, including luxury waterfront villas, a 25m heated pool and spa, a kids' wading pool, tennis courts, playgrounds, cafe and minimart. There's a holiday kids activity program, including 'Ninja Kids' (think action-movie stunt learning) and free movies are screened for kids in holiday periods.
3. Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort, Yamba
Just a few short hours north of Coffs Harbour, Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort sits on the shores of the Clarence River. Kayaking, paddle-and motor-boating in this lush, green paradise offer the potential for plenty of family fun, while the Kidz Korner and Kave will keep a the kids occupied so that Mum and Dad can catch up with friends and relax. The villa and cabin accommodation is equipped with modern comforts, many of them newly refurbished, with resort-style pools, waterslides, a spa area and tennis court at your door.
4. BIG4 North Star Holiday Resort, Hastings Point
With a five-star rating, Big4 North Star Holiday Resort, on the Tweed Coast, has plenty to offer the whole family, from the huge indoor playground, Neptune's Castle, complete with ball pit to the onsite Seascape Leisure Centre which features massage rooms, a 25m lap pool, sauna, even a hair salon! In August this year, the park launched a brand new water park, Sammy's Aventure Lagoon. The free kids' club runs daily in the school holidays and on weekends for three to 12 year olds, and there's also a games room and licensed restaurant. www.northstar.com.au
5. Darlington Beach Holiday Park, Arrawarra
In a beautiful forest and beachfront setting, Darlington Beach Holiday Park offers waterslides, a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts and a tropical pool complex, while forest walks provide plenty of kangaroo and other wildlife-spotting opportunities. Accommodation ranges from Garden Villas with plenty of space to Lagoon Spa Villas located in secluded, lush greenery.
|6. Happy Hallidays Holiday Park, Forster
Happy Hallidays Holiday Park offers solar-heated swimming pools, mini-golf and jumping on the giant pillow as well as unspoiled beaches just a kilometre away. A program of activities for kids, games room, indoor playroom and a mini cinema means there's always something to do. Choose to stay in the spa villas, deluxe bungalows or caravan and campsites.
7. Merimbula Beach Holiday Park
Three hours' drive from Canberra, this south coast holiday park offers a large pool complex, giant jumping pillow, tennis court and sand volleyball court. There is a children's playground and New Balanz Bikes and go karts available for hire. The Beach House and Clifftop Ocean Condo can sleep up to eight people and boast spectacular ocean views.
10. White Albatross Caravan Park, Nambucca
This popular four-and-a-half star park offers a gorgeous waterfront location, with swimming and fishing in the lagoon, a tavern, kiosk, coffee shop and bistro. There’s a new onsite kids’ waterpark, games room and playground and also offers lovely level waterfront walks/biking opportunities.
Top 10 Holiday Parks - QLD
3. Ashmore Palms Holiday Village, Gold Coast
This popular park boasts a diverse FREE kids activity schedule throughout the year. Have Morning Tea with the Macaws, take a stroll through the man made Rainforest walkway or enjoy the lagoon-style pools. Located within a short drive of major shopping centres and the Gold Coasts renowned theme parks and attractions.
4. Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort, Cairns
Fifteen minutes from Cairns’ centre is the family-friendly Coconut Caravan Resort. A truly spectacular holiday park which offers numerous kid activities, including the impressive new Splash Waterpark, 18-hole mini golf, waterslide, giant chess set, outdoor movies and a huge playground. Accommodation ranges from budget to condos, and offer a great way to experience this beautiful region.
5. Brisbane Holiday Village, Brisbane
This city-based holiday park is the first in Queensland to be awarded a five-star accommodation rating for its new Vogue Cabins. The resort also features an Inca-themed pool area, 18-hole mini golf, separate kids’ and toddlers’ playgrounds, a tennis court, a games and video room due to open late 2011 and a newly renovated café that features live fortnightly entertainment.
7. BIG4 Maroochy Palms Holiday Village, Sunshine Coast
The riverfront setting of this Queensland holiday park lends itself to family fun. There’s a school holidays kids club, swimming pool and toddler pool, mini golf, tennis court and gym.
8. BIG4 Noosa Bougainvillea Holiday Park, Tewantin
Noosa is a popular family getaway and the Bougainvillea Holiday Park has plenty to offer, including two pools (including one just for toddlers), a jumping pillow, games room, onsite service station and hairdresser, and movies under the stars. Stay here for easy access to Australia Zoo, the Big Pineapple, Underwater World and the Eumundi Markets.
9. Island Gateway Holiday Park, Airlie Beach
The closest holiday park to Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, this park offers a children’s playground, outdoor swimming pool, games room, tennis court and a spa and wellness centre. Choose from villas, cabins or the unique campotel room – a freestanding fibreglass and canvas tent complete with built-in esky!
10. Rainbow Beach Holiday Village, Rainbow Beach
Set on the edge of the Cooloola National Park and on 2.2 hectares of landscaped grounds, the resort features a 20-metre swimming pool, store, and a range of comfortable accommodation. The attractions here are the nearby bushwalks, 4WDriving (you can take a day trip to Fraser Island), fishing, boating and canoeing on the Carlo Creek.
Top 5 Holiday Parks - VIC
1. BIG4 Bellarine Holiday Park, Bellarine
Revolutionising the way you holiday with kids – imagine a barista for morning latte, on-site massages, grocery delivery solutions, croquet court, indoor toddler playroom and 1.2km walking track. Then think homemade meal in fridge on arrival. Then wonder - where else would I go?
2. BIG4 Beacon Resort, Queenscliff
Located 90km south of Melbourne and a short walk to the picturesque beaches of Port Phillip Bay, this award-winning park makes an ideal base for exploring the Great Ocean Road. There are family cabins as well as self-contained apartment-style units and caravan and camping sites. The resort offers free year-round kids’ activities and has a heated indoor pool.
|3. BIG4 Badger Creek Holiday Park, Healesville
Set on 24 hectares of bush land in the lovely Yarra Valley, this holiday park is just around the corner from the popular Healesville Sanctuary. There’s a new huge jumping pillow, playground, games room, outdoor pool, mini golf, and the park regularly features special offers for families.
4. Anglesea Family Beachfront Caravan Park, Anglesea
Positioned between the sandy Anglesea Shore line and the Anglesea River among 16 hectares of parkland, this makes an ideal base for exploring the Great Ocean Road and the nearby Otway Ranges. Nature-based activities are popular, with canoeing, fishing, mountain bike and horse riding nearby. Onsite, there is a new nine-hole mini golf course, giant jumping pillow, heated swimming pool and indoor spa complex, indoor toddlers playroom and games room. Bring the bikes to explore the nearby bike trails.
5. BIG4 Bright Holiday Park, Bright
This Alpine-based holiday park is perfect winter or summer, and is only 30 minutes’ drive form Mount Buffalo, where you can enjoy winter snowsports or hike, fish, kayak and swim in summer. There’s private river access, a children’s playground and skiers drying rooms.
1. BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park, West Beach
Heated swimming pools, bike hire, a tennis court and a games room mean there’s always plenty for kids to do, and adventure’s never too far away with the precinct’s popular skate and BMX facilities. Mini golf and a family-friendly cafe are also available, or simply enjoy the Coast Park walk to Henley Beach.
2. BIG4 Renmark Riverfront Holiday Park
Set on a kilometre of Murray River frontage, this award-winning park features a resort pool, jumping pillow, tennis court, adventure playground, water bee and canoe hire, games room, movie room and pedal carts. www.big4renmark.com.au
3. Victor Harbor Holiday and Cabin Park
On South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, this pet-friendly park is only a five-minute walk to the beach and a 10-minute stroll to the town centre. It offers plenty for holidaying families, with a kids’ playground, huge jumping pillow, games room, and a range of self-contained villas, chalets and cabins as well as powered and grassed campsites.
1. Mandalay Holiday Resort, Busselton
Mandalay has the beach at its doorstep and is central to all the delights of the Margaret River wine region. Have a family game of volleyball before riding the cycleway along the beach and into town. There are two pools and three adventure playgrounds, as well as table tennis tournaments and kids’ discos during the school holidays. www.mandalayresort.com.au
2. Exmouth Cape Holiday Park, Exmouth
This is the gateway to Ningaloo Reef, 1270km north of Perth. There are endless water activities available - swimming with the whalesharks, fishing, diving and snorkelling. This holiday park makes an ideal base for exploring the region, while also offering a pool and adventure playground, beach volleyball, an outdoor cinema and kiosk.
3. Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, Monkey Mia
If you’ve ever wanted to get really close to dolphins, then this is the place to come. The World Heritage Landmark area is at the appropriately named Dolphin Beach, where these playful creatures visit daily, only a few steps from the beachfront accommodation. Other draws are the resort’s restaurants, nearby camel rides, 4WDriving, cultural walks and pearl farms, even squid catching!
|Darwin Freespirit Resort
Just 15 minutes from Darwin’s CBD, this is a relaxed tropical family holiday park that offers a great program of Kidz Korner activities from art and craft to games on the resort’s jumping pillow. There are three resort pools, a poolside bar and bistro and an undercover terrace.
|Wycliffe Well Holiday Park
This is probably Australia’s most isolated holiday park, 130km south of Tennant Creek and 380km north of Alice Springs. Set on 24 hectares, there are more than 100 grassed sites, 60 powered sites and 25 cabins. It’s only minutes away from one of the Northern Territory’s most renowned attractions, the Devils Marbles conservation reserve.
Discovery Holiday Parks – Cradle Mountain
This is on the perimeter of the World Heritage-listed Lake St Clair National Park, home of the famous Cradle Mountain. There’s a range of accommodation, including gas log-heated cottages. Families visit here for the hiking, canoeing, horseback trail rides and Tasmanian Devil night tours.
We also asked you to nominate your top eco-parks, those that are doing the best to respect their natural environment and implementing green initiatives from recycling programs, rainwater tanks, energy-efficient lighting and showers to those that seek to promote and educate their guests on the amazing natural wonders that surround the parks. You’re clearly impressed by these winners.
|1. BIG4 Trial Bay Eco Tourist Park, Southwest Rocks, NSW
Set in the Wilderness of Hat Head National Park, Trial Bay works in conjunction with National Parks to protect the local wildlife, control weeds and plant native species. They also have a worm farm, use recycled building materials and hold wildlife tours.
|2. Lane Cove River Tourist Park, NSW
This is a carbon-neutral, green haven just 10km from Sydney’s CBD. The multi-award-winning park has an eco focus, using solar energy, planting trees and worm farms for composting. There are guest education programs, including a nightly Discovery Tour.
|4. Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges, SA
The winner of a South Australian Gold Award and Ecotourism certification, Rawnsley Park, on a 300-hectare sheep property, in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, has implemented a number of green initiatives, including solar power, sustainable cleaning and eco-tours. Enjoy the wilderness and pitch a tent or stay in one of the luxurious eco-villas.
|5. BIG4 Peppermint Park Eco Village, Busselton, WA
Winner of several state tourism awards and holder of a CCIA Bronze Gumnut Award, the eco-certified Peppermint Park counts among its green initiatives rainwater tanks, energy-efficient lighting and showers and a recycling program. Add to this plantings of 1600 trees on the property, designed to create a habitat for endangered western ringtail possums.