Melbourne Zoo – We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo. How about you, you, you?”

Come on, who doesn’t love the zoo!

It’s fantastic for kids of all ages.

 

Even as an adult, I LOVE visiting the Melbourne Zoo there’s a great diversity of animals on display and plenty of interesting things to see and do.

Even though we don’t live in Melbourne, we have been quite often, and try to fit in a trip when we visit a couple of times a year, as it never gets boring!

At the zoo you can move around and tire out the little ones, there is a playground and lots of spaces to sit and rest, food, coffee and lots of different animals to see.

We usually spend about 4 -5 hours there, its not a place you want to rush, we take our time and have a picnic lunch under a big shady tree around midday. A packed picnic lunch and snacks really helps minimises the cost of the day, food is expensive and isn’t of the best tasting I’ve tired in places like this, so I highly recommend bringing your own.

We find the location easy to get to, we normally drive to the zoo and parking has never been an issue but I’m told that it can be a nightmare if going on the weekend. We have caught the train also a few times which drops you right out the front of the entrance and makes for a fun and easy travel solution with kids.

Make sure you find out the show times upon entry so you can catch the shows on throughout the day, they teach you more about the particular animals, the ‘Meet The Keeper’ has a lot of information and may even allow you to pat an animal they have been talking about.

The thing I like most, beside the animals of course is that most of the zoo is shaded by trees, so even on a hot day you can enjoy the visit you don’t feel like you are in a concrete jungle.

It does get busy and can be very tiring for little ones so if they are walking its a good idea to pack the pram and lots of water, each time we have gone it has taken us around 4 plus hours just to walk around the zoo, that’s a lot of steps for little legs.

Price as of October 2017

Children 3 years and under receive FREE entry every day

Children 4 – 15 years FREE weekends and Victoria school holidays but Mon – Fri (outside holidays)  $18.00

Concession $27 and Seniors $32.50

Yearly Zoo Membership is available for Melbourne zoo, Werribee zoo and Healsville and locals tell me it’s definitely worth the money for an adult pass as children are free with that ticket and it gives you unlimited entry to 3 zoos, kids register for FREE and access to VIP members only events.

I love the zoo and will be going back again on our next visit as its always a highlight of our Melbourne trip.

For more information visit the official zoo website Click Here



Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach – Phuket Paradise

I have had so many questions on where we stayed in Phuket recently and I have no hesitation in recommending the Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach

They have all the bases covered for an active holiday, regardless of weather conditions.

Just how Marriott has managed to keep the personal touch in such large grounds is a mystery, yet also a welcome surprise.

Located on a secluded stretch of Tri-Tang Beach it’s close to the excitement of Patong close by, but the serene surroundings make it seem a world away.

Take advantage of the Phuket weather and relax by one of the three outdoor pools, while the kids  enjoy some time at the kids club with an all day activity program available from 8am to 8pm.

I can’t speak highly enough of all the staff, they were all fantastic and so very welcoming, the whole resort is just so beautifully set out and clean.

Of course you get all the little extras that 5 star offers like slippers and bathrobes and the cute towel animals on your bed every day but the main thing is being able to walk straight into the pool from your room. It is such a nice touch to wake up, open the curtains and step into the pool for an early swim before heading over to a huge breakfast at one of the two buffets available.

The private beach was right on our doorstep and if that’s not enough beach for you the hotel has a free bus that leaves 4 times a day that can drop you down to Patong for some local shopping and lots and lots of food plus more beach!

Below are a couple of real highlights that you can do with out even leaving the hotel.

Indulge At The Thai Pantry

Dinning at the Thai Pantry at the Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach is a must do! You must order the chicken and pork satay, papaya salad and vegetable rolls topped off with some fresh mango juice. Good value for top class cooking in an elegant restaurant, service was so friendly and professional we ate here on the first night staying at the hotel and knew straight away that another visit would be needed before we left.

Learn To Cook

While in Phuket, there is no better place to learn to cook world-renowned Thai food, what an awesome experience it was to learn to cook three dishes, all of which were simple to make, and exploded with taste.

The Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach classes provide a fascinating insight into Thai life, beliefs and culture through learning about its food, cooking and culinary myths, we learnt about the exotic herbs and spices used in everyday dishes.
Classes are part demonstration, part hands-on and are held in the Pantry restaurant at the Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach a couple of times a week. We had a blast, the staff were amazing teachers and very patient with me (someone with pretty lousy cooking skills) but the best bit is getting to eat the lavish feast you have prepared at the end.

Visit The Butterflies

It is always fascinating to learn how nature works her magic turning the caterpillars into beautiful butterflies. If you want to see lots of butterflies, this is the place to come. There are also a large numbers of insects and other creepy crawlies and educational displays. We had an enjoyable hour getting hands on and learning from our guide Katy. Located in the heart of the Marriott Merlin Beach it’s available for in-house guests and made for a great educational experience for us and the kids.

It’s a great resort that I highly recommend for families with children, the best thing is the kids are asking when we’re going back and I’m ready to go anytime.

 

 

*This post was written in collaboration with Marriott but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.

 

 



Amazing Thailand – Our top 6 to do while in Phuket

Phuket guarantees an unfading vacation memory for parents and children, being one of the most family-friendly destinations with a wealth of attractions and activities for all ages to enjoy. This joins the wonderfully friendly people and culture which are present for the parents.

With so much to see and do in Phuket and so many great Thailand Deals available right now its the perfect time to take the family.

 

Here are just a few of the things that we got up too.

 

1. Visit A Temple

 

Wats – or Buddhist temples – are among the most important symbols of Thailand, partly because the majority of Thais are Buddhist and partly because they are so beautiful. In Phuket alone, there are 29 Buddhist temples spread around the island. They have been extending a warm welcome to visitors for over a century, locals come to pray and westerners come to learn something about Buddhism. The temples are open from seven in the morning till five in the afternoon and are a great way to get a feel for the country and mix with the locals. I would suggest visiting Wat Chalong, it’s the biggest and most important temple said to shelter relics from Budda plus it’s surrounded by local markets complete with roaming chickens, dogs and cats so there is something interesting for everyone to see at every turn.

2. Get Up Close With Some Monkeys

 

We just took a drive to see if we could find some local monkeys – The best place to start is “Monkey Hill” (real name is Khao To Sae) on the north side of Phuket Town – it’s the hill with the aerials / radio masts on top, easy to spot from much of the south of the island, being around 270m above sea level. There are lots of monkeys here, mostly they are found near the top of the hill. Local people come up to feed them, it’s not really a tourist attraction but we had a great time wandering around and checking out the monkey’s but I do suggest you don’t try and feed them yourself they did get quite aggressive with Piper when they found out she didn’t have any food for them, if you have small children I suggest even observing them from inside the safety of your own car.

Rang Hill

Also on the north side of Phuket Town, Rang Hill is quite popular as a viewpoint, we found a great place to eat with the locals and got some fresh air and exercise. We found monkeys a-plenty playing in the trees which was great to watch while we dined, again worth the visit and an experience we will never forget.

3. Check Out The Magnificent Beaches

 

Few islands can boast such an abundance of sandy beaches and clear waters as Phuket. The winding coastal roads along the west coast of this 540-square-km island offer stunning views and easy access to some of the world’s finest beaches.

Whether you want to sample the frenetic pace of Patong or find solitude on a remote stretch of sand in the north, Phuket’s beaches have it all for the sun seeker. Remember the sunscreen and bring bottled water for a fun day in the sun.

4. Visit The Protected Turtle Sanctuary

 

The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation is actually part of the wider JW Marriott Resort in Phuket and sits on Mai Khao Beach. The foundation was started in order to protect the nesting turtles in the area as well as to promote clean seas and beaches on the island.

The foundation is located within the grounds of the JW Marriott Resort in Phuket, but you do not have to be a guest of the hotel in order to visit. There are information sessions held daily here from Monday to Friday at 11:00 to 12:00. At one of the sessions, you will be able to learn all about how the foundation started as well as hear the story of the turtle population in Phuket. The emphasis here is on educating the public on how to sustain the delicate ecosystems that the turtles live in and promote their protection. There is also a feeding session where you will get the chance to see some of the resident turtles who live at the foundation and who have disabilities which mean that they would not thrive in the wild. The sessions are free to hotel guests and the general public, although donations are appreciated and all proceeds go towards to wellbeing of the turtles.

5. Learn To Cook

 

While in Phuket, there is no better place to learn to cook world-renowned Thai food, what an awesome experience it was to learn to cook three dishes, all of which were simple to make, and exploded with taste.

The classes provide a fascinating insight into Thai life, beliefs and culture through learning about its food, cooking and culinary myths, we learnt about the exotic herbs and spices used in everyday dishes. Classes are part demonstration, part hands-on and are held all over Thailand in many different hotel and restaurants. We had a blast, the staff were amazing teachers and very patient with me (someone with pretty lousy cooking skills) but the best bit is getting to eat the lavish feast you have prepared at the end.

6. Visit The Day Spa

 

A visit to a Day Spa is a must while in Thailand it’s the perfect place in which to unwind. You will find them everywhere throughout Phuket set away from the crowds, the luxurious treatments they offer in a serene space give guests a sense of calm, tranquillity and rejuvenation. Enjoy a post flight pick me up or treat yourself to a signature treatment, you will find it all and I can class myself as an expert as I was sure to do my research on this one having three Thai massages in 7 days stay.

 

Have you been to Thailand? Or are ready to book? Book a Tour

We would love you to share your experiences with our readers, so please leave a comment below and share with other.

Any questions on our trip just let us know and we will be happy to help you out.

Love Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Visiting Melbourne with the kids? Be sure to visit Sealife Melbourne

If the kids love the ocean and sea animals then a visit to Sea Life Melbourne is just what you need.  Sea Life allows the whole family to get up close and personal with the animals in a way that would not be possible, unless you were actually scuba diving in the ocean!

SEA LIFE Aquarium offers an interactive, hands-on experiences, displays and shows for all ages.

A day out at SEA LIFE will leave you with fantastic memories and feeling empowered to make a difference to the underwater world.

Our favourite was the ocean tunnel with massive stingrays, sharks and tropical fish, the whole family can wander through the tunnel and marvel at the different species of sharks, fish and turtles as they swim over head.

Another huge highlight for us was the tidal touch pool where we got up close with starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers, the kids just loved putting there hands in the water and getting to touch and feel what was below. They were totally fascinated by the sharks eggs and had heaps of questions which were answered by the Sealife staff who manned the touch pool, all of the staff we meet during our visit were well informed, very interesting and friendly and we learnt a lot and found heaps to keep us entertained for hours.

Penguin Playground completes the unforgettable experience where visitors can marvel as the majestic King and cheeky Gentoo Penguins slip and slide across the snow-covered ice. Piper found the penguins are very entertaining and she didn’t want to leave, she was just having too much fun watching them as they slipped and waddled around the ice.

Moving through the exhibits there are lots of interactive experiences to keep little to big kids informed and entertained.

If you find yourself in Melbourne I highly recommend you take a few hours and check it out for yourself.

Click Here for some Great savings on Tickets and Experiences

If you have any questions just let us know we love a chat,

Love Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo

 



Love Christmas? Then don’t miss Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill Ballarat Victoria

If you love Christmas, history and adventure, and are looking for a great day out that the kids will never  forget  – then you need to plan a trip to Sovereign Hill next July and experience Christmas in July

    

 
Sovereign Hill is Australia’s leading outdoor museum showcasing  Australia’s marvellous gold rush history, since its opening in November 1970 it has become an Australian tourism icon and has won numerous tourism awards. Known as a living museum emphasising working machinery and displays, costumed interpreters and visitor involvement, it’s no wonder Sovereign Hill attracts 450,000 people each year from around the world.
In July Sovereign Hill hosts a special  Christmas In July event, during  Winter Wonderlights the whole site is adorned with Christmas decorations, with wreaths at every shop front and lots of Christmas trees and stays open later than usual and this is for a special reason.  At 5.30pm each night make sure you standing mid street and watch the buildings of Sovereign Hill light up  – add to that the snow (the fake bubble kind) and music and it’s a magical street party you’ll be glad you stayed for.
During the day its business as usual at Sovereign Hill township, visitors can stroll down Main Street as snow-flakes fall at regular intervals over the Victorian-style buildings, decorations fill the window displays, the smell of Christmas treats and spices fill the air, and traditional Christmas-themed pantomimes are performed in addition to regular attractions and performances there are regular snow falls, Christmas goodies to buy, Christmas carolling and a Christmas-themed theatrical program.
Then at night, Main Street will sparkle with an amazing light projection show with over 20 of Sovereign Hill’s buildings lit up with large-scale image projections and Christmas animations. Children can also catch the Gingerbread Man as he dashes from building to building, peeking out from the Christmas themed lights and animation.
But do note that it’s cold in Ballarat (really cold) so dress warm (think hats, scarves, gloves, layers, two pairs of socks and a winter coat) and you will be fine but with so much to do and see we certainly didn’t have time to stand about feeling the cold.
HOT Tips:

And here’s a handy tip: you can get your entry ticket stamped at the Main Street Post Office (or the desk near the exit) and this will allow you entry again the following day, for FREE! two days for the price of one so stay and see a little more.

  • try to avoid Peak times which are school holidays and weekends
  • Parking is free on site;
  • Bring lots of snacks as eateries can get crowded, especially from 5pm when the last show finishes and the lights don’t start till  5:45pm
  • Book a sit-down Christmas dinner in advance this is an experience that’s now to be missed..
  • Most of Sovereign Hill’s attractions are outdoors so wear lots of warm gear (waterproof coat, layers, gloves, scarf, hat). Ballarat experiences harsh winters and once the sun goes down it is really cold
  • Make sure you visit the Confectionary Shop as it’s just not possible to visit to Sovereign Hill without stocking up on boiled lollies.
  • Gumboots are a good idea as the pathways can get muddy;
  • Bring a torch
  • All the shops take EFTPOS (even for small amounts). There is an ATM at the entrance, Sovereign Hill cafe and the post office
  • Sovereign Hill is a comfortable 90-minute drive from Melbourne along the Western Highway;
  • train and tour coach services which operate daily from Melbourne

 

For details on pricing and ticketing go to Sovereign Hill

 



We Road Test Holiday Inn Melbourne – Kids Glamp-In Package

Our favourite Melbourne hotel just keeps getting better and better!

Last week the kids slept rough or as rough as it gets for my jetsetters, road testing the Kids Glamp-In Package at Holiday Inn Melbourne and let’s just say it was a HUGE hit!

What you get:

Kids Glamp-In Package

  • A stay in one of the beautifuly newly refurbished rooms.
  • Accommodation in a room with 2 double size beds which can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children comfortably, with cots ‘free’ upon request.
  • Your very own glamp-in setup. Complete with a tee-pee, games for the whole family, pillows and blankets to make sure everyone is comfortable.
  • Buffet breakfast for 2 adults plus don’t forget that it’s the Holiday Inn brand promise that kids under 12 stay and eat free!
For more information see Holiday Inn Glam In
If you need more reasons to visit check out the new deal just released below.

 

Getaway and enjoy Melbourne

Book direct and save a guaranteed 25% for stays until 31st March 2018.

  • Save 15% or more on accommodation at Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders
  • IHG Rewards Club members save an EXTRA 10% with YOUR RATE. Not a member? Join now
  • Complimentary WiFi Internet for IHG Rewards Club Members. Free to Join!
  • Best Price Guarantee when you book direct. No booking fee, ever.
  • At Holiday Inn Kids under 12 Stay & Eat Free!
  • Sale ends 14 August 2017. Valid for stays from 1 August 2017 to 31 March 2018

For more information just click Here

Again we can never recommend Holiday Inn Melbourne highly enough, if you have any questions please feel free to ask away.

Love Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo



If you’re a family travelling in New Zealand – here’s why you should stay at Holiday Inn

 

Recently we spent 5 fun filled days in beautiful Auckland. As part of our trip we spent a few nights staying in Rotorua, a place known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, as well as showcasing the fascinating Maori culture.

We stayed with Holiday Inn, as they never disappoint me, I can always relax and let them take care of everything plus with Kids Stay & Eat Free* and the VIK (Very Important Kids) program, the hotel is a great base for both families and adventurers to explore.

Here’s why we think…

Holiday Inn Rotorua is the perfect destination to warm up this winter. Location Location Location….

 

Relax in geothermal hot springs or explore the Redwoods forest mountain bike trails. The mild weather in New Zealand means that you can stay active all year round with plenty of activities to entertain everyone.

Holiday Inn Rotorua is situated on the edge of the beautiful Whakarewarewa Forest. It’s the closest hotel to the famous Rotorua mountain bike trails and  after a day exploring, reward your body with a swim in the geothermally heated pool or enjoy the garden spa, it was such good fun for all of us, the excitement of swimming outdoors in the middle of winter was a major highlight for the kids.

Then head back to your spacious and modern room or relax in the bar before enjoying buffet or a la carte options in the Chapman’s Restaurant, the restaurant serves fantastic meals the kids really enjoyed the buffet dinner and breakfast, we enjoyed that they ate Free*

If  your heading into town for the afternoon or a thrill-seeking day out, jump on the complimentary shuttle service for guests to and from the Rotorua Tourism Centre on Fenton Street and you will be in the middle of everything you need.

During your stay at the  hotel, you can explore Rotorua’s wide range of experiences and attractions. With its well-known Maori cultural shows, geothermal activity and adrenalin pumping activities there is something for everyone.

 

 

There are three different room types; Standard, Superior and Deluxe. So you’ve got a few options to choose from depending on what you need size-wise, comfort-wise and in keeping with budget. The rooms have a modern but classic, comfortable feel to them, with everything feeling new and fresh.

Our room had an insanely good view with a private balcony that overlooked the sulphur springs and the Whakarewarewa thermal park – picture lots of trees with steam rising through them. It made leaving the room difficult, all I wanted to do was stay inside rugged up but adventured called. (See additional blogs for all the attractions and sites we visited)

 

Holiday Inn Rotorua was a great choice for us as it ticks all the boxes when travelling with kids – conveniently located: around the corner from Whakarewarewa and within walking distance (or a short drive) to all of the local attractions, well maintained/clean rooms, breakfast that offers more options than your average hotel breakfast, laundry open 24/7 and cheap to use, which is awesome when you are travelling a lot, air-conditioning, ensuite bathroom, Sky TV channels (including free to guest movies), broadband internet access, complimentary tea/coffee making facilities, iron & ironing board, bathrobes, complimentary selection of fresh fruits, heated outdoor pool, inhouse restarant (Big tick from us)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our 2nd and last stop was in Auckland at the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport it’s located only 4km from the Auckland international and domestic airport terminals so it made for a great place to base ourselves for the last couple of days adventures before we needed to board the hotel shuttle bus for the quick 5 min trip to the airport to start our homeward journey, again we received a warm welcome and the down to earth consistent service we have come to expect from Holiday Inn. Right from check in the staff were first rate friendly and professional, we ate in both the restaurant and on the 2nd night we ordered room service after a particularly long day, both were great with lots 0f choices and very tasty. But nothing beats a Holiday Inn buffet breakfast this is something they just seem to do really well! good choices, good service and plenty of room to sit and relax and not feel rushed. Plus of course kids stay and eat for free*

It’s expansive grounds made a welcome change to other airport hotels we have stayed in, perfect for the kids to get outdoors and enjoy some sunshine and have a run around if you have been cooped up on a flight for a while.

Our whole trip to New Zealand was made so much more enjoyable by staying in comfortable and family friendly Holiday Inn hotels, the wonderful staff who work here, they’re attentive and kind and make you feel really welcome. They’re able to help you out with ideas for places to eat, things to do, how to get around and where to go.

 

 

You can  Check out the current Packages and Special Deals by clicking here.

“Escape with a guaranteed 25% off to Auckland or Rotorua. Plus up to 5% more with YOUR RATE for IHG® Rewards Club members.”

– Book before June 21, 2017, for dates until January 31, 2018.

More information and special rates on accommodation can be found a Holiday Inn

We just loved New Zealand, so if you have any questions? Just let us know and we will be happy to chat.

Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo

 

Follow Them on

Instagram @hiaucklandairport and @holidayinnrotorua

FaceBook /HolidayInnAKLAirport and /HolidayInnRotorua

*Terms and conditions apply.

* Kids Stay Free – Up to two (2) children under 12 years of age, stay free when sharing a room with up to two (2) adults at any of the Participating Hotels, subject to maximum room occupancy restrictions and subject to availability. Baby crib/cot is complimentary while rollaway beds may be chargeable. Rules for maximum room occupancy will supersede this offer.

Kids Eat Free – For registered guests only. This is available for children under 12 yrs of age:

a) when ordering for breakfast, lunch & dinner;
b) when ordering in the hotel’s dine-in restaurant;
c) when ordering from the Kids’ Menu (which must consist of at least 1 main course and 1 dessert) and;
d) when accompanied by at least one (1) adult who is registered as a hotel guest at the Participating Hotel and must order at least one main course from the full priced menu.

The Kids Eat Free offer is limited to up to four (4) children per dining family, per meal OR up to two (2) children per parent, per meal.

The Kids Eat Free offer is not available for room service or with room rates negotiated for groups of 10 or more rooms, travel industry rates, corporate rates or employee rates.

 

**This post was written in collaboration with Holiday Inn (IHG Group) but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.

 



Melbourne’s LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

We recently had the opportunity to attend the Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne we are BIG Lego fans having just been to Legoland in Malaysia so we were keen to test it out.

The Legoland Discovery Centre is the ultimate indoor Lego playground located in Chadstone Shopping centre which was a huge plus for me as I figured if I tired out the kids with lego, mumma would have a couple of hours to get her shop on in peace.

 

Plus our hot tip! 

If you’re planning a trip to the Legoland Discovery Centre or even the shop, you will notice that a lot of the workers there have nametags with minifigures attached to them. Just like Legoland Theme Parks, you’re allowed to initiate a minifigure trade with them! If you see a minifigure that you’d like, all you have to do is ask them to trade it with your own minifigure! This is a great fun activity that kids can do, especially if you have a lot of surplus or loose minifigures lying about at home, so be sure to bring a small bag of minifigures with you when you visit!

  

 

The opening hours are the same as the shopping centre, and you’ll need a ticket or an annual pass to enter the Discovery Centre.

Single tickets are $37.50 for adults and kids, although there are Concession Tickets priced at $27.50.

If you live in Melbourne and plan on visiting the Discovery Centre regularly, it might be more economical to buy an annual pass ($81 for individuals & $77 each for families which have a maximum cap of 2 adults) which grants you unlimited access to the centre all-year round.

Legoland Discovery Centre features two Lego rides, five themed Lego build and play zones, build classes from the Centre’s Master Model Builder, a 4D cinema, special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, Melbourne’s top landmarks recreated in LEGO® bricks in MINILAND, plus more.

It’s ideal for families with children aged 3-10 and took us about 3 hours to really see everything, this is the perfect place for the kids to let there imaginations run wild in a world of colour and creativity!

The centre is first discovery centre in southern hemisphere for Lego, joining a global network of Lego Discovery Centres, including nine in North America, four in Europe and two in Japan.

Not to be confused with traditional Legoland Theme Parks, Leogland Discovery Centres are essentially mini versions of LEGOLAND, usually containing a mix of indoor, outdoor and interactive attractions.

The multi-million dollar attraction is filled with more than 2 million Lego bricks and 13 family friendly attractions, making it the ultimate indoor LEGO playground.

 

 

Adults MUST be accompanied by a child (up to 17 years old) to visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.

● Trading hours vary from 9.30am – 7pm

1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone Shopping Centre  Chadstone Victoria Australia | View Map Link opens new page

*This post was written in collaboration with above mentioned attractions but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.



Our Top FIVE Favourite Attractions While Visiting Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland has a fantastic history and a world of exciting experiences waiting to be discovered. So, if the kids are up for discovering the Maori culture and heritage and uncovering a city bursting with fresh and quirky experiences, Auckland is just the spot for you.

Here are our top FIVE favourites, just to get you started….

 

Agrodome – The Unique New Zealand Farm Experience

Agrodome is a fun event for the whole family, informative & very entertaining, cos lets be honest who doesn’t like farm animals.

Spend the day and make sure you catch all the demonstrations with sheep, dogs and other animals, including audience participation. Make sure you do the farm and sheep shearing tours, The kids will love it!

Heaps of animals are on display and the open areas for kids to explore are a good place to take the whole family.

Set in the heart of 350-acres of lush farmland, yet only 10 minutes from Rotorua city centre, you’ll find this little gem.

For over 40 years, visitors from all over the globe have come to the Agrodome to see the world-famous Farm Show starring a cast of talented animals.  After the show you can visit the Farmyard Nursery, which is home to the cutest baby animals who are available for cuddles and photos all year round!

Plus, if you really want to explore the Agrodome 350-acre working farm then join our Farm Tour. During this guided tour, you’ll get to hand-feed loads of friendly animals and sample delicious kiwifruit juice and honey from the land.

Before you leave, don’t forget to pop into the Woollen Mill and Shearing MuseumHere you’ll learn the remarkable story of NZ pioneers the Bowen brothers and discover the full process of wool from the Sheep’s back to yours.

Such a great experience for the kids, its easy to see why it’s one of New Zealand’s must-see attractions, open in any weather, 365 days a year!

  

 

 

 Whakarewarewa Village

This is a MUST visit whilst in Rotoura, it was educational as well as fun, my kids have been poi dancing and doing the haka ever since we visited (or their version may I add!!)

This is a uniquely down home New Zealand experience that you wont want to miss, steeped in a rich history and filled with unique Māori culture and heritage. Whether you want to be mesmerised by the boiling mud or learn more about the geological forces created in the area that lies within Rotorua, The Māori people have lived here for centuries, co-existing in harmony with the geothermal forces that lay beneath their feet.

Join an hourly guided tour through the Whakarewarewa Village and experience a living Māori village. See how they use the geothermal energy for everyday use and experience traditional dances and songs (including the legendary “Haka”) from the resident kapa haka group – Te Pakira.

Village entry includes entry to the Cultural Performances (11:15 and 2:00 PM daily) and access to explore the Geothermal Features and Self-Guided Nature Trails over steaming lakes and past bubbling mud. Watch the talented Kapa Haka group perform traditional Māori song and dance – there is so much to explore you will need at least half a day.

The Māori Village is owned and operated by the local residents, providing an intimate look into day-to-day life in a Living Māori Village. Visit and hear stories from the tour guides who have lived here for more than five generations.

Stay for lunch and enjoy a traditional geothermal hangi meal, cooked in the bubbling geothermal waters and steam of Whakarewarewa valley which produces a unique flavour which is simply delicious. Hangi experiences can be booked alongside the Whakarewarewa Village Tours, where you can choose from a full Hang meal, or be tempted by the sweet corn on the cob as a taster.

OPEN EVERY DAY (except Christmas day)

  

 

Rainbow Springs Nature Park

 

Set amongst the native trees and beautiful forests of Rotorua, Rainbow Springs Nature Park offers a fun-packed and educational experience for the whole family. Learn about New Zealand’s fascinating natural history and meet the creatures who call this great land home.

Animal and bird lovers  flock to Rainbow Springs Nature Park, a 9 hectare (22 acre) nature park and wildlife conservation center featuring many rare endemic species, a water ride, and a beautiful natural setting of native plants and streams.

Top of our list was to see the Kiwi encounter, Kiwi are shy fuzzy little flightless birds and are the park’s most famous inhabitants but as the ground dwelling creatures they only come out under the cover of darkness, but don’t worry about missing them during your daytime visit as they keep the kiwi in a nocturnal kiwi enclosure and your day pass includes repeat entry for the day of purchase until closing at 10pm, this means you can come back to the park once it’s dark to meet the kiwi in an outdoor, no glass enclosure. They often come out to play under the stars between 7pm-9pm – it’s a magical experience not to be missed!

We found heaps to do including a ride on the big splash, then spent some time with birds in one of the park’s free flight aviaries plus loved the exciting bird show.

Your ticket allows you unlimited admission for the day, so if you’re close by it makes for a great stop, letting you return at night to observe the nocturnal creatures.

Plus each day the team of experts run special encounters which allow you to get closer than ever to some of the park residents including trout, reptiles and native birds.

 

 

Rainbows End

A great day out for the family no matter what age and level of ‘fear factor’

If you’re in New Zealand, searching for a family-friendly thrill activity, definitely go to Rainbows End with over 20 rides and attractions there’s something for everyone, every day of the year expect Christmas day.

The staff are incredibly helpful and kind, and go to all lengths to satisfy your visit.

We enjoyed a fantastic fun day at Rainbows End and the kids just loved it!! Grab a day pass and go on whatever you want!

We loved the Roller Coaster and some of the rides will have you screaming, but in a good way! The Log Flume ride is always good fun without the fear factor.

Piper really enjoyed Kids Kingdom it’s a great sheltered entertainment centre just for the younger kids, children 8 year and under to run around and they have a blast.

Rainbow’s End is open  from 10am to 5pm each day and is worth adding to your must do list while in Auckland.

 

   

 

 

 

OGO Rotorua

 

According to our 10 year old son, this was his best experience throughout the whole trip!

New Zealand is the iconic Rotorua adventure activity in the world’s largest downhill park in the world, overlooking the spectacular views of Lake Rotorua & Mokoia Island. 

The Original OGO New Zealand has been operating for over 19 years and is the iconic Rotorua adventure activity offering the unique experience OGO Globe Riding, basically just rolling down a hill in a large inflatable ball.

Because it’s great fun, you want to go again and again.

We chose the Zigzag track… and it was awesome, such a thrill!  sitting in some warm water (winter time), being rolled down left and right down the track, it was so much fun.

Courtesy Clothing is available if your forget (Top, Shorts and Towel), Free Wifi, Hotpool and courtesy transport to and from Rotorua on request!

Open 7 days, 364 days a year, rain, hail or shine. Anyone from 6 years old can roll and we highly recommend it!  Go on, we dare you.

We had such an amazing time in Auckland, its the perfect haven for kids. If you’re heading to NZ be sure to get in touch with any questions you have as we would love to chat.

Love Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo

 

*This post was written in collaboration with above mentioned attractions but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.



Two great spots to stay when visiting Melbourne with the family.

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Melbourne is packed with things to do for visitors of all ages. Children will love the tram ride down to St Kilda pier, the children’s museum at Melbourne Museum and the Aquarium.

plus parents will no doubt be just as thrilled by Melbourne’s fantastic shopping, dining and nightlife, as well as the National Gallery of Victoria and the leisurely cruises down the Yarra River.

Not far from Melbourne there are many options, including a visit to the fantastic Open Range Zoo at Werribee, or head to the Dandenong Ranges for a ride on the Puffing Billy steam train. Children also love to visit Phillip Island to watch the penguin parade at Summerland Beach, see the fur seals near Nobbies or go surfing at some of the best surf and swimming beaches in Victoria.

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This trip we were only in Melbourne for a couple of days and had lots to do, so we needed somewhere to base ourselves that was convenient, comfortable and as always somewhere where the kids are made as welcome as the adults.

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So our first stop was – The Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders, it has a casual and relaxed vibe helping families feel right at home plus all the family friendly extra’s to make travelling with children easier.

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Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is the ideal choice for guests and is a favourite Melbourne hotel amongst business and leisure guests. Ideal quality accommodation in Melbourne’s central business district, conveniently located at the entertainment end of Melbourne CBD, just a short walk to Crown Casino, Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centres, Aquarium, Southbank restaurants, Observation Deck and Telstra Dome, allowing guests time to indulge in renowned restaurants, fashion boutiques and Melbourne’s finest attractions, guests can relax in the hotels surroundings whilst immersing themselves in the city’s vibrant culture.

We chose to stay in a spacious newly renovated suite with separate bedroom & bathroom, it features 2 double beds, desk and sofa which meant the room felt spacious for our family of four and offered a little more privacy. Rooms feature broadband internet access, pillow menu plus tea & coffee making facilities, Cots are also available should you require one. It was perfect for our family of four to be able to spread out and relax, enjoying the flat screen TV and multi-device free WIFI.

With so many facilities and attractions within walking distance to the hotel it also makes it easy to drop back to the room for nap time or a rest before heading back out for dinner and night time fun, which is a must to keep our sanity – The hotel also has its own casual restaurant for those nights you would rather get a quick bite to eat and have an early night or often our favourite option room service!

The first thing my kids ask when we are heading to a new hotel is does it have a buffet breakfast? and yes it did! We were spoilt for choice with buffet breakfast choices galore we wanted for nothing at during our stay. The kids could take their pick from a variety of cereals, freshly made crepes and pancakes, fluffy bread rolls, warm croissants, , smoked meats and cheese, an assortment of tropical fruits and of course everyone’s favourite bacon and eggs made to order. A good breakfast like this always sets us up for a good day and keeps everyones hungry at bay.

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After a crazy couple of days of exploring this increadable city it was time to think about heading home so for our next stop we opted to be close to the airport on our last night and made our way to the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport. We were made to feel so welcome and they offer all the facilities, space and service that makes travelling with children of all ages a pleasure.

An overnight stay at the hotel is perfect when busy families need a relaxing getaway to reconnect and have fun. As part of the World’s most family friendly hotel chain, the team happily engages with all hotel guests big and small; starting with a special kids welcome pack at the kids check in counter, then it was time to explore the kids zone stocked with fun board games, books and toys, which opens up to a large outdoor garden where you can play soccer, totem tennis or cricket or just run around and wear them out before bedtime.

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I loved that Vargas Restaurant it’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a kids menu which contains more than the usual nuggets and fries and cheese burger and fries that most restaurants think is suitable for the kids, Holiday Inn’s menu has been designed by nutritionists to satisfy any kids’ appetite for flavour and fun, and parents’ desire for healthy, nutritious food. With a great selection of healthy kid friendly meal options, there’s something for every little traveller to enjoy at Vargas Restaurant and Bar. Best of all, kids eat free* when dining with an adult.

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Plus the next morning we could forget the stress and hassle of getting the family to the plane on time. With onsite airport parking and  complimentary 24/7 airport shuttle, we finished the holiday feeling relaxed and rested with no last minute dash so we didn’t miss our plane.

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Plus to make our stay even more affordable they offer Kids 12 years and under eat and stay free when sharing their parents’ room this make a huge difference to the budget when travelling with kids and is always the first thing I look out for when booking a hotel.

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If you have a  larger family or group, they also offer interconnecting rooms, plus free rollaway beds* and portacots.

Whether you choose to stay at  Melbourne airport hotel to make it easier for an early flight the next day or on a lay-over between international destinations, you can be sure that the whole family will enjoy the friendly atmosphere and attitude at a family friendly rate. Spacious soundproof guests rooms with double-glazed windows and modern room amenities, including pillow menu and premium bedding for the ultimate sleep experience. The hotel is the ultimate in Melbourne airport accommodation, located within walking distance to Melbourne Airport terminals meaning its very hard to miss that return flight home.

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Check out the current Packages and Special Deals
Book between 1st – 21st  May and you can get  a whopping 25% off or more on the best flexible rate, Valid for stays from May 8th to 31st December 2017.
*Terms and conditions apply.
More information and special rates on accommodation can be found at www.holidayinn.com

We love Melbourne, so any questions you have just let us know and we will be happy to chat.

Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo

 

*This post was written in collaboration with Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.