Best fun under the sun

In April this year – before the hectic schedule of Dancing with the Stars threw family life into a spin – CHRIS and LINDA HARRIS took their three children Sophie (16) and Phoebe and Louie (both 8) on a short, action-packed break to the sunny climes of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Bursting with activities to interest and excite the whole family and surrounded by stunning natural scenery from surfing beaches to rainforests to coral reefs, one of the major draw-cards for Kiwis is the glorious sunshine that bathes the region year-round.

‘We had such a fantastic time when we visited last year’, says Chris, ‘we were all keen to return’.

After an easy 3-hour Qantas flight direct from Christchurch to Brisbane, the family threw off the cardies and slipped on the sandals – launching into fun-mode at Aussie World, an iconic pub and a colourful theme park. ‘The kids loved all the rides’, says Linda.

The family stayed at Novotel Twin Waters Resort. With restaurants and bars, a café and shopping, plus a bounty of adventure activities on offer, the resort is the perfect place for families to relax and refuel, and to use as a launching pad for exploring the Sunshine Coast.

The next morning they ventured to The Original Eumundi Market. The Market’s ‘make it, bake it, grow it, sew it’ ethos ensures an ever-evolving assemblage of handmade fare and wares on offer.

‘I just loved the spirit of the place’, says Linda, as she recalls the heady atmosphere and the ‘friendly, passionate people’ all eager to share their creations with visitors. ‘We got to try sugar-cane juice, infused with ginger and half a lime, and poured over ice – it was indescribably refreshing.’

Afterwards, the family enjoyed a relaxing lunch at the nearby Imperial Hotel, which overlooks the Eumundi Brewery and is run by Kiwi expats. With its colourful décor, sweeping verandas, sensational beer garden and relaxed vibe, this is more than just a place for lunch.

Having spent the morning moseying, browsing and sampling, the day accelerated into action with the family enjoying a guided jetski tour with Caloundra Jetski.

‘Chris is a real thrill-seeker’, says Linda; in that, ‘we are polar opposites’. Invigorating and fun, this eco-adventure also allows riders to take in the native wildlife of Pumicestone Passage and the wider Moreton Bay Marine Reserve. The Harris family absolutely loved it – the kids especially!

Offering spectacular beach views by day, the family enjoyed a delicious meal at Alexandra Headland Surf Club that evening, arriving ‘just in time to see the glorious sunset over the water’.

The next day dawned bright and sunny – no surprises there! – and, once again, the five adventurers hit the water. This time taking a kayak tour with Kanu Kapers. After a lesson on the basics, they paddled out across Lake Cootharaba – ‘an enormous lake, with glass-like water, and no crocodiles!’ – to Kinaba. From there, they continued onto Fig Tree Point for a hearty brunch. ‘The kids enjoyed setting up a picnic on the beach and having a rest’, says Linda.

The pristine Noosa Everglades wilderness is a place of serene natural beauty, and the rare bird and plant species are best experienced by paddle.

Keen to experience a different part of the Coast, the Harris family decided to check in to the luxurious RACV Noosa Resort for their final night. ‘The resort is beautiful, and the kids loved splashing in the swimming pool and making sandcastles on the unique poolside beach.’ For Chris and Linda it was an opportunity to sit back and unwind.

As Linda says, they left the best till last. ‘Our visit to Australia Zoo on our final morning was an absolute highlight for us all. I always loved “The Crocodile Hunter”, and it’s amazing how the family has kept Steve’s legacy alive. The staff are so passionate and the welfare of the animals
is paramount.’

After a break brimming with fun, the Harris family was homeward bound. Of course, after the unwavering warmth of Queensland, they were quick to reacquaint themselves with their jackets on arrival in Christchurch.

queensland.com

HOP, SKIP & A JUMP
Every day, Kiwi families leap across the ditch, flying direct with Qantas from Christchurch to Brisbane. Flying Qantas, everything is included: passengers enjoy a meal, drinks and movies, and have a generous
30kg checked luggage allowance. qantas.com

The Sunshine Coast is a favourite with families and foodies alike. Just 90 minutes north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast brings together a picture-perfect string of beaches, a lush green hinterland, laid-back coastal towns and stylish holiday resorts.