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Help! Need New Year Destination for Big Family with kids!

Help! Need New Year Destination for Big Family with kids!

Sep 7th, 2004, 09:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 112
Help! Need New Year Destination for Big Family with kids!

My parents are treating us all to a New Year's trip (December 27 to January 3, 2005). We will be 11 adults and 7 kids with ages 2,3,6,7,9,9,13. I am assigned to choose the destination, do the bookings, plan activities. My sister-in-law planned a great trip last year to Singapore and I was hoping to do Australia this year. I'm worried that it may be too expensive and my plan may be vetoed before it even gets off the ground. I need ideas and suggestions for accommodations, as well as activities. If I can find good deals, then I may just be able to convince the folks. I would really appreciate info on where you think would be the best place for us to visit considering the following: (btw, I've been to Sydney and the Gold Coast when I was single and loved both--however, none of the others have even been)

1. One flight from Manila (no connecting) since we will be travelling with small kids and elderly grandparents. This also means that beach locations are not that important to us since we get lots of that here.
2. Can you recommend a nice serviced apartment? Budget of $250 for a 2-bedroom unit? We usually book four 2-bedrooms for our group. If it's nice but cheaper, so much the better!
3. Shopping opportunities for the women, as this is a great bonding activity.
4. What other activities can I plan for the whole family?
5. Do we need to rent cars? maybe mini-vans? (is it left or right hand drive?)
6. Is it too late to book now?

My "plan b" was actually HKG, BKK, KL...but being from Asia, the adults have all done these trips and I don't really think they are very kid-friendly. I posted this earlier on the Asian forum and it was suggested I post here. Help help! thanks so much for your time...
vicki2201 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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Am I reading this correctly - there will be 18 of you and you want a 2 bedroom apartment? Is this todays joke?
lizF is offline  
Sep 7th, 2004, 04:15 PM
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You have a big group to look for accommodation for, and right smack in the middle of the Australian holiday season.... which means that many places will be booked out already. It might be wise, instead of renting apartments -- you would need about four, which won't be easy unless you're prepared to either split up or pay big money -- to rent a couple of cottages somewhere for the week. I know there are many opportunities for this kind of accommodation at the top of the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. One of the many agents in the Leura/Kattomba/Blackheath area might be able to put you onto two cottages which are close to each other, and your week's activities would be camping and hiking and maybe fishing in some of the mountain streams. If you hire a couple of vans (a mini-bus would probably be most suitable) you could drive to such places as Jenolan Caves and the Glow Worm Cave at Newnes. On New Year's Eve you could travel down by train to Sydney (two hours) to watch the fireworks.

Another possibility might be the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane. There are just about enough theme parks there for you to use up the whole week amusing your kids, and there is so much accommodation around that I can't imagine that you couldn't locate something to suit you, even at this relatively-late stage. I don't know, however, whether the Gold Coast is big on cottages-by-the-week, as described above.

If you plan to do a google search of agents you can contact re holiday homes, the names of Australia's major real estate agents are L.J. Hooker, Century 21, Raine and Horne, and PRD Nationwide.

I guess this is pretty paltry advice, really, but yours is an unusual request, and this is all I can come up with. 18 people! Christmas week! Boy, you make it tough, don't you! I wish you all the best, however, and, wherever you decide to go, rest assured that you will really help the local economy!

Alan is offline  
Sep 7th, 2004, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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it might be a bit late at this stage for anything coastal but what about one of the larger caravan parks with cabins - you'd need about 4. Kids are well catered for with on-site swimming pools and playgrounds, BBQ facilities etc.
pat_woolford is offline  
Sep 7th, 2004, 05:35 PM
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errrr 18 people going to asia that most cost a fortune and a 2 bedroom appartement haha.....
Someguy is offline  
Sep 7th, 2004, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 609
Hi Guys

Looks like some of you should read the first post a little closer. Vicki has said that she is looking for FOUR TWO BEDROOM UNITS (so no Liz, you will have to look elsewhere for todays joke).


Given that you are travelling with lots of kids, have you considered the Gold Coast in Queensland. You say you have been there before but I think if you are going with kids it may well be a good choice as it has a lot of attractions such as seaworld and movieworld. Alas I cannot speak of these attractions form personal experience only from what friends have told me and they loved it.

For New Zealanders (Where I am from) the Gold Coast is a major attraction. An option for accomodation is appartments. Check with you local travel agent or a search on "appartments, Gold Coast" should help.

Driving in Australia is on the left (Same as Japan and Malaysia).

If you are going to go I would book soon as with the holidays accomodation will dry up fast.

Have fun and happy new year.

Kiwi_acct is offline  
Sep 7th, 2004, 11:08 PM
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Coffee hadn't kicked in when I read the post originally, sorry Vicki will not reply in future without the help of coffee and a good pair of glasses - the latter I don't have unfortunately and today I needed more than one coffee obviously.
The best accommodation for you and the children would be the 5 star Ashmore Village Holiday Village, its really a very up market caravan park but has cabins and there are 2 pools, lots of things to do and see and it is set in award winning gardens.
Alternatively if you are going to have a vehicle then there is a great spot at Tamborine Mountain which would be fine - Thunderbird Park and which would have enough cabins and/or accommodation. However Tamborine Mountain won't be any good unless you have wheels. There is also a Church convention centre which has accommodation or even Tallabudgera Camp which is what the schools use for kids on school camp.
I will check a site for you and you can contact them youself and then you will be able to make arrangements on the basis of who you want with whom.
lizF is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 07:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Vicki,

Your parents are certainly generous, and will they consider adopting me?

How did you draw the short straw to plan everything? !!

I have a family group each year with the same amount of people - there are 6 family members from the East Coast and the rest from SFO, so it's always a challenge to coordinate their airfare with their location. I usually work with one of my wholesalers each year, but this year they picked a location that we could just not get air to, so I worked with the group desk at AA and got a good rate for them.

There won't be any "bargain" airfares at that time of year and you just might want to consult your local Aussie Specialist who can find a group rate (you have enough people to qualify) on Qantas.

Just a thought!


Certified Aussie Specialist
wlzmatilida is offline  
Sep 8th, 2004, 07:19 PM
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Seeing that last tall person's post reminded me that I had said I was going to find you a website: Had a look and here is one with lots of campsites including the one I suggested and ones that have cabins etc all around the southern end of Queensland.
lizF is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 04:20 AM
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Posts: 112
Thanks so much for all the ideas. I think we are narrowing down to a serviced apartment either in Sydney (as it is one flight from where we are, no other connecting flights)--OR the gold coast, only if we can't get a good booking in Sydney.

We DO qualify for a group rate, and i work closely with travel agency so flights are no problem. I think I will need recommendations on serviced apartments (which ones) and activities in the Sydney area. We actually have a booking at the Somerset North Ryde (?--is that okay? We will be renting cars if we need to--how much do those cost for a week each?

Again, thanks for all your input!

vicki2201 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Had you thought perhaps about renting a large house boat as they are really fantastic and you would probably get everyone on the one. There are houseboats both on the Tweed River on the south of the Gold Coast and there are houseboats at Sanctuary Cove on the north end - the latter would be the best as you can tie up at Sanctuary Cove each night and have plenty to do and see from there.
Anyway just a thought!
lizF is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 11:39 PM
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Hi LizF--your houseboat suggestion sounds interesting! How do I found out more about this? It's just that we would have to fly manila-syd-brisbane, and then drive to Sanctuary Cove--that might be a challeng logistically with such a big group. But let's explore..

I also posted on the Asian site for BKK and KL, altho looks like people in the family are leaning towards BKK IF those are the choices.

We're still trying to get a feasible Australian trip going...thanks for all the suggestions!
vicki2201 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2004, 02:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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As far as Sanctuary Cove is concerned and the same would go for the Tweed River - they are not far from Coolangatta airport with direct flights to and from Sydney.
The site for Sanctuary Cove is:
but they are not the only ones and I will see if I can find the others. I stand corrected in that you would only need one - you would need 2 I think but it would really be fun.
lizF is offline  
Sep 11th, 2004, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Here is the other site http://www.fantaseashouseboats.com.au/
If you opted for Sanctuary Cove you could also think of renting villas there with their own pools and golf buggies. There are lovely Golf facilities at S.C and there are free and paying buses into the Gold Coast and to the Theme Parks for the kids. So you probably would not need to rent a car. You probably know that there is everything that any child could want in terms of entertainment on the Gold Coast so at least you are close at hand for that. The free buses are big ones by the way! alternatively if you did have a house boat you could most likely tie up close to a theme parks and/or other amusements anyway.
lizF is offline  
Sep 12th, 2004, 04:30 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 151

Hi Vicki,
Have not stayed but have read a lot about Waldorf apartments in Sydney. They have them in Neutral Bay, which will be great if they are not booked out already for fireworks New Years Eve. They also have other nearby locations. Do a google.

For shopping many places.

Queen Victoria Building and Angel Arcade for beautiful building shopping.

Double Bay for upmarket. Paddington market on Saturday for "atmosphere" shopping and Paddy Market at Chinatown for bargain shopping. Pitt Street Mall (which also has the Angel Arcade for main downtown shopping. Also you can go to a suburban mall by train. Any direction you will find one. Chatswood, Burwood, Hurstville, Miranda.

For kids maybe they will love a trip to Luna Park. Right next door to Harbour Bridge! Lots of fun. Nearby is a swimming pool if they need a cooling swim.They may also like a trip to the night tour at the Quarantine Station at North Head. It is spooky !

Also any animal adventure will appeal to kids and adults alike.

The best place for food will be chinatown if you are with your parents (if like normal asian parents, need their rice for dinner!) also they will love the fish markets as will all generaions of your family I am sure!

Hope you can convince them all to make a trip here for our New Year.
Jane_47 is offline  
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