School Holidays are here! You’ve swung through the 'kiss and drop' lane for the last time for two (maybe even three) whole weeks and that family road trip you've all been itching for is just moments away!
But hey... where to start? Truth is, hitting the road after half-a-year hitting the books can be a tricky business, but with a bit of careful planning, both you and your little study bugs can enjoy every second of your winter break without a mid-year meltdown. Here’s how...
1. Get under the Weather.
The World Heritage-Listed Naracoorte Caves are prime for little adventurers, with the Wonambi Fossil Centre your first port of call.
Take a stroll through the recreated rainforest to transport yourself back in time, with fossil displays and life-sized models of extinct animals providing plenty of eye-fodder. You’ll also find plenty of entertainment below ground, with tours of Alexandra Cave and Victoria Cave both excellent options to see spectacular stalactites and stalagmites along with ancient skeletons of 500,000 year-old megafauna.
Further south, Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park is another subterranean jewel. Left behind by the retreating sea hundreds of thousands of years ago, the surreal stalactites and wedding cake formations are as colourful as they are prehistoric, with a kaleidoscope of peach, pink, brown and cream awaiting those who venture down under.
2. Talk to the Animals.
With a menagerie of farmyard favourites on hand to pat, feed and frolic with, reconnecting with nature comes all too easy at Echo Farm Mount Gambier, making a short detour out of Mount Gambier a total no-brainer.
Whether you're strolling at your own pace or taking a guided tour, meeting the locals here is a firm family favourite.
3. Tour a Lighthouse.
What’s cooler than a lighthouse in winter? Standing tall over Kingston, the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse tells a mariners tale like no other! Having been cut adrift at sea for nearly a century, this icon of the sea is now back on dry land, having been opened in 1976 as a Museum. A fantastic chance to channel your inner lighthouse keeper and keep the light on in your memory box for years to come!
4. Warm up on Wheels.
Tracx Robe Adventure Tours offer customised guided MTB tours for all fitness levels across the area’s spectacular coastline and bush land, with 1.5-2hr tours that are long enough to take in some of the most iconic beaches and landmarks, but short enough to hold your kids’ attention. Expect knowledgeable guides, quality bikes and all the trimmings including helmets, gloves, and even a take-home drink bottle.
In Millicent, The Domain is home to a killer skate park, made even cooler by being painted up as a giant squid! It’s also conveniently plonked next door to Millicent’s huge Nature Play Space and Mega Playground that’ll keep the kids occupied for hours. Afterall, they don’t feel the cold, right?!
5. Glamp & Camp by the Fire.
Numerous caravan and holiday parks offer fire pits for campers, making a cosy night in with toasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, red wine (for you!) and all-round winter warmers a perfect solution when the chill starts to bite.
Coonawarra’s Bellwether Wines offer a communal campfire for both glampers and campers, with individual fire pits at Pine Country Caravan Park in Mount Gambier. Fire drums are also available for campers at Coonawarra Bush Holiday Park, while a new communal fire pit at Kingston Caravan Park is a perfect spot to strum a guitar, share stories and meet other travellers and their families.
6. Hit the Coast.
Grab some fish and chips or hot baked goodies in Kingston, Robe or Beachport and take a little drive to watch those waves roll in across the Southern Ocean.
There’s something pretty soothing about snuggling up and taking a drive to The Granites, the coastal esplanade, the spectacular Bowman Scenic Drive or even just strolling down the enormous Beachport Jetty, which at 772 metres is the second longest in the State.
7. Climb a Treehouse.
A visit to Treehouse Adventure Centre will not only net you some quality downtime while the kids run riot, but also free wifi to help plan your next move.
With two enormous play structures equipped with speed slides, ball pits, jumping castles and climbing walls, these guys cater for kids of all ages, with great food and cuppas at the in-house café.
8. Ramble through the Riddoch.
Along with being the State’s foremost regional gallery, The Riddoch Arts & Cultural Centre offers a range of dedicated school holiday art and craft workshops, along with a daily screening of the movie 'Volcano', the story of Earth, Fire and Water.
Beginning with an Aboriginal Dreamtime story, this awesome big screen adventure weaves its way through the eight major volcanic eruptions that created Mount Gambier and the Kanawinka region.
9. Take Shelter with a Saint.
A visit to Mary MacKillop Centre and Petticoat Lane in Penola is a handy reminder of just how good your kids have got it!
Having been canonised in 2010, ‘Saint Mary of the Cross’ MacKillop forged her legacy of childhood education right here in the Schoolhouse, and from humble beginnings in the 1860’s her legend lives on today with the historic (and tiny!) timber and stone cottages of Petticoat Lane seemingly frozen in time.
Take time to check out the exhibits in the interpretive centre before grabbing the cottage keys and strolling into the old part of town.
10. Family Friendly Events
Check out our jam-packed events calendar featuring plenty of fun for the whole family!