Holiday parks: resorts for kids
Many people associate holiday parks with campgrounds that offer only the bare necessities, however, these getaways have certainly evolved and they now provide an alternative to rival many family hotels and resorts. GRACE WYE tells us how.
How do holiday parks weigh up as an alternative to resorts?
Whether situated on prime beachfront real estate, on the bank of a river or even further inland, holiday parks often provide an array of fun water activities for kids (as well as for mum and dad). Most will feature an in-ground pool, which will provide kids with hours of fun in the sun without having to leave the park. As well as an outdoor pool for summer time, some have also evolved to include heated indoor pools for swimming all year round and wading pools for toddlers. Better still, some have started to introduce their own exciting water parks. Packed with water slides, splash buckets and fountains, these parks are guaranteed to entertain for hours while creating a perfect summer ambience.
Let’s not forget that many holiday parks are located right on the doorstep of some of the best beaches in Australia, giving you prime access to the waves, and if you are a family that likes fishing or canoeing, offerings beside a river will supply these and other water activities in abundance, too. Usually you can hire water sport equipment such as bodyboards, surfboards, canoes or kayaks, so have a look around before you book to find a park that offers the exact type of watery fun you are after.
Oh yes, kids’ clubs no longer only reign supreme in hotels and resorts. Holiday parks – particularly in school holiday periods – will likely have a range of organised activities to take the kids off your hands. Whether it’s a scavenger hunt, face painting, craft time, tug- o-wars, discos, running races or maybe even a cooking class, your kids will think they’ve entered a holiday realm made specifically for them. Some parks even have wildlife talks and walks, adding an educational element to your stay as well.
Organised fun is not always limited to kids either. Many holiday parks hold regular morning teas, providing a perfect setting for you to get to know your fellow campers... and for your kids to find a playmate to share adventures with. If you’re lucky, you may even find a holiday park that offers family trivia nights... now that’s sure to bring out everyone’s competitive side.
Even if you travel in winter, or the weather on your summer getaway is overcast and water activities are off the table, holiday parks usually have a great range of indoor activities sure to keep your little ones out of mischief. Activity rooms are often on site, boasting a range of family favourites: table tennis, foosball, air hockey, pool tables and sometimes even ball pits for littler guests.
Games rooms are a great way to spend some time bonding as a family, whether sitting down to play a board game or firing up the game console so as to give kids and teens a technology fix. Camping at a holiday park doesn’t have to be a rustic, unplugged affair if you don’t wish it to be. Many will have communal rooms or cabins that have Foxtel, and Wi-Fi is an increasingly common find whether you’re staying in a villa, a caravan or a tent.
Jumping pillows are fast becoming a holiday park staple, and are an instant hit with kids. Ever-faithful playgrounds are always popular, and many have climbing structures and areas that cater specifically for different age groups. Look around and you’ll find a perfect park for your clan, whether you’re looking to entertain toddlers, primary-aged kids or teens.
Sporty families are probably better catered for in a holiday park than in a normal resort, with volleyball courts, tennis courts, sporting equipment and bike hire being a staple at a number of locations. Best of all, many are nestled amid some of Australia’s most scenic natural surrounds. Venture out on a bush walk and there’s often a chance you’ll spot wildlife such as wallabies, colourful birds and maybe even koalas if you’re lucky.
The outdoor activities don’t stop there. Some parks amp up their quirk factor with fun options like giant chess or mini- golf courses. For the adrenaline junkies out there, you can also find unpowered go karts, abseiling walls, rockclimbing facilities and ziplines if you’re willing to hunt around a little.