Not just deserts

From souks to sand dunes and his­toric forts to theme parks, Dubai promises a fun-packed fam­ily hol­i­day. By Karla Court­ney.

Qantas - - QNews -

Ex­plore the Old Town

Dubai has a lively Old Town that’s full of char­ac­ter – ex­plore it on foot to soak up its his­tory at your own pace. Check out the Al Fahidi Fort (which houses the Dubai Mu­seum) and a cou­ple of the mar­kets. Then catch a tra­di­tional abra (wa­ter taxi) across the creek to Deira. This short ride costs just one dirham (about 35 cents) per per­son and the kids will love it. In Deira, you’ll find the fa­mous gold and spice souks, as well as the brand-new Wa­ter­front Mar­ket (wa­ter­front­mar­ket.ae), which of­fers fresh pro­duce, fash­ion stores and a se­lec­tion of restau­rants and cafés.

See Dubai from above

Look­ing down from the view­ing plat­form on the 148th floor of the Burj Khal­ifa (bur­jkhal­ifa.ae) – the world’s tallest tower – is like hav­ing your own live Google Maps view of the city. Get­ting there is easy; head to the lower-ground floor of the Dubai Mall, where you can buy tick­ets for your es­corted el­e­va­tor ride to the top. The mall is also home to the must-see Dubai Aquar­ium and Un­der­wa­ter Zoo (the­duba­iaquar­ium.com).

Go wild in the sand dunes

Ex­pe­ri­ence the desert with Ori­ent Tours’ (ori­ent-tours-uae.com) Sand­board­ing in the Desert ad­ven­ture. The four-wheel-drive jour­ney is ex­hil­a­rat­ing and fun for the whole fam­ily as your tour guide revs you up and down the steep hills. But wait till you get to the sand­board­ing part – it’s fun go­ing down but pretty chal­leng­ing climb­ing up so it’s bet­ter suited to older chil­dren and teens.

Visit a theme park

Mo­tion­gate (mo­tion­gat­e­dubai. com) is a new movie-themed park with at­trac­tions from DreamWorks and other pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies. Le­goland (le­goland.com/dubai), an­other new ar­rival in Dubai, is packed with all the glo­ri­ous mod­els and colour­ful brick rides you’d ex­pect from a toy gi­ant.

Stay in the cen­tre of it all

Lo­cated be­tween the air­port and Old Town to the north and the Dubai Marina and Palm Is­lands to the south, The St Regis Dubai (ho­tel.qantas.com.au/streg­is­dubai) is per­fect for a lux­u­ri­ous fam­ily stay. Guests can ac­cess ameni­ties at the W ho­tel as well as the Kids Club at The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City, which has a ded­i­cated splash pool. The St Regis is just across from Safa Park’s play­grounds, walk­ing tracks and beau­ti­ful views look­ing back to the Burj Khal­ifa and Down­town Dubai.

Strap on a sand­board for some down­hill dune ac­tion

The dizzy­ing view from the top of the Burj Khal­ifa

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