FOR AN IMMERSIVE ISLAND ESCAPE
For island life at its most enchanting, Samoa will win the hearts of globetrotting families.
I can personally vouch for the fact this South Pacific nation offers an immersive island holiday with soft adventure, staggering natural attractions and a robust culture - without the crowds of more popular destinations.
Located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean, Samoa consists of 10 islands but for those who want to embrace the art of slow travel, stay put on Upolu where you can swim as a family in the To-Sua Ocean Trench, described as the world’s most beautiful natural swimming pool.
Car hire is affordable and it’s safe to drive around the island and visit the other natural attractions such as Fuipisia Falls, Papase’ea Sliding Rocks and the Piula Cave Pool in the village of Lufilufi.
Don’t miss a long, lazy day on Lalomanu Beach on the south coast of Upolu.
Lined with sweet fales, this public beach has chalk white sand, a blue lagoon for swimming and snorkelling and a beach bar for cold beers and local eats.
Richard Johnston, TripADeal co-founder and father of four, agrees that Samoa is an idyllic family destination.
“A family holiday in Samoa is something you’ll never forget,” he tells WHO.
“The warmth of the locals, the majesty of the waterfalls and crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life all combine to make the most memorable of family holidays.”
FOR ADVENTURE JUNKIES
Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand’s Queenstown is an ideal year-round destination for families.
Aside from snowboarding or skiing the four ski fields - The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone - the adventure haven offers plenty of family-friendly activities no matter what the season.
The kids will love taking in Queenstown from heights of 450m on the Skyline Gondola, the steepest cable car in the Southern Hemisphere, which boasts spectacular views of the mountain ranges across Lake Wakatipu to Cecil and Walter Peak.
Adventure-loving visitors can race back to the bottom in purpose-built luge carts, with gondola and luge packages available for families and individuals.
To capture the beauty of Queenstown from another perspective, take a cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw or hire bikes and cycle around New Zealand’s longest lake.
You can't have a trip to Queenstown, however, without a jet boating adventure.
The Dart River Wilderness Jet offers a half-day adventure that takes guests on a spectacular journey deep into the glacier-fed rivers of the Mount Aspiring National Park.
FOR SURF, SUN AND SAND
With its natural beauty, glorious weather and Aloha spirit, Hawaii has long been a destination for surfers, honeymooners and families.
While Kauai, Maui and the Big Island are beautiful, the more populated Oahu is easier to get to with the little ones in tow, with direct Jetstar flights from Sydney.
The bustling Waikiki has a slew of family-friendly activities and attractions as well as beautiful hotels that the kids – and parents – will love, including the newly renovated Sheraton Waikiki, which has an adult-only infinity pool and the Helumoa Playground, featuring two freshwater swimming pools and a waterslide.
Be sure to hire a longboard and hit the waves at Waikiki Beach, hike Diamond Head and go snorkelling at Hanauma Bay.
Don’t leave the island without hiring a car and heading to the world-famous surf spots of the island’s North Shore and stopping for lunch at one of the famous food trucks.
The charming little surf town of Haleiwa is home to the famous Matsumoto’s Shave Ice – if you want to wait in the lengthy queue.