STAYCATIONS // How To Have A Family Holiday At Home In The Highlands

Explorers Learning Academy


So... thanks to Covid, international [and national] travel at the moment is a no-go... but that’s okay! We can have a staycation in our backyard, right? And how lucky are we to be living in a popular holiday destination already?! You with us?

Okay, what IS a staycation? It’s the holiday you have at home! Become a tourist in your own town or region, get exploring and do – or recreate – the things a visitor would on their holiday. Perfect plan for the current climate don't you think? Best bit? No packing required!

Let’s switch off daily distractions, get ourselves into holiday mode and get bonding with the fam bam for maximum staycation awesomeness. Here’s some fun ideas to get you started.



How many of us have visited all the towns of the Southern Highlands? And we mean REALLY visited properly – standing on the sideline of a hockey or soccer field doesn’t count! Get the family together, grab a map and select a local town to spend the day in. Head to our Towns Of The Highlands article for some inspo.


Burrawang Towns of The Highlands


We have so many amazing farms and producers in The Highlands which we can take for granted as we go about our daily lives. So show the kids the wonders of the waterfalls in our own backyard, or a Paddock To Plate Tour at Maugers Meats Farm. You can also go foraging for mushies in the local forests (in season) with Wild Food Adventures and while there isn't anywhere locally to pick fruit, just up the road at Thirlmere, Berrylicious Strawberries offers up berry picking - rain, hail or shine - strawberry season starts in October so check in with them first to make sure there are berries to pick! 


Blue berry picking Sutton Forest



Keeping kids active is the best way to stop them from climbing the walls in the holidays. The Highlands has loads of walking trails, bush tracks and swimming spots to explore to get those little bodies moving. Lake Alexandra Reserve has plenty of tracks suitable for older kids, the West and East Rim walks at Fitzroy Falls offer up easy and supersafe walks for families with jaw dropping views, or head south to Morton National Park at Bundanoon or Wingello State Forest for a range of fire trail walks and bush tracks. If you’re after something a little flatter or suitable for bikes and scooters, head to the Cherry Tree Walk in Bowral or the Bong Bong Track from Moss Vale to Burradoo. Swimming spots in the summer are also super popular with the kiddos and most are easy to get to. Check out our list here.



Kids love camping, right? And parents love spending hours packing the car, schlepping the whole family in a car to a campground where they then attempt to put up a tent (and almost divorce in the process!) – NOT! So make camping easy and pitch a tent in your own backyard. The kids love it! If you don’t have any camping supplies, borrow a tent from a friend and fill it up with sleeping bags, pillows and doonas! Toast marshmallows around the fire pit out the back and crank up the BBQ for dinner or bacon and egg rolls in the morning – fun!


Staycation camping



Can’t get to that fancy five star resort in Fiji? Pfft! You don’t need it when you can create your own glamourous resort and spa at home. The kids can help you cut up fresh fruit, whip up some pancakes and fresh juices to create your very own breakfast buffet. Get super fancy and make your own delicious juice concoctions – try mixing ¾ cup of orange juice, ¼ cup of pineapple juice and ¼ cup of mango juice for some real tropical flavour. Add a splash of grenadine if you dare! Hey! You’re on holiday!


Staycation Pancakes



No passports needed with this fun idea! Ask the kids which country they would like to travel to, and then recreate it at home with a special themed dinner. Use your imagination and style the table - or go hard and do the whole room! – with elements from that country. And then make a dish from there too. Feelin’ French? Recreate the look of a mini Paris café and serve up some Beef Bourguignon for dinner. Or be inspired by the subcontinent, drape the dining room in colourful material and cook up a delicious curry! If the kids are really keen, help them to create costumes too – who doesn’t love a good dress up party?



View The Highlands from a different perspective and try a form of transport you wouldn’t normally use in your work or school life. Jump on a train at Yerrinbool and travel down to Bundanoon and beyond. Book tickets for a ride on the Cockatoo Run, a vintage train that regularly visits the Highlands (give them a buzz first for info as these guys have been impacted by COVID). Or jump on a bus to a local village. Download Berrima Buslines Rural Villages Timetable – you can catch the bus from Moss Vale to Burrawang or start in Bowral and head north to Bargo for the day.


trains Southern Highlands



Create your very own Amazing Race around the local neighbourhood. Get the local kids involved and create a treasure map with clues about where to find items of treasure (lollies are always popular!). Keep it super localised (and off the streets) by basing it in your local park. The kids will channel their inner detective and get lots of exercise running around. Or try another fab trend – we love this! – rock dropping or rock finding. Here’s an article we put together with everything you need to know about decorating your own rocks, dropping your rocks and then finding other ones.



Gather everyone together at the beginning of the holidays and fill up a jar with activity ideas. When you hear the dreaded “I’m bored…” head straight to the jar, pull out a fun idea and off you go! If you’re a little stumped about what activities to do, grab a pack of Wild at Heart Family Adventure Cards (it’s a local business!) and use these cards when you need some spontaneous adventure inspo.


Wild at heart



Picnics are the best, right? Who doesn’t love laying out a lovely big rug in the sun and eating all of the things out of the big basket of goodies you’ve brought along? Get the kids involved in preparing nibblies and sandwiches and packing the picnic hamper. Oh and grab a kite! The Highlands has so many fab parks perfect for picnics – Bowral’s Glebe Park, Lake Alexandra Reserve, Berrima Market Place Park (the one with the flying fox!), Mirren Nunguna Gulla Park at Nattai Ponds (the one with TWO flying foxes – yep, the kids can race each other!) and plenty more. Have a read of this article about fab picnic spots in the Highlands. Or save on petrol and remove the stress of finding a parking spot by having a picnic in your own backyard!


Picnic Southern Highlands




Explorers Learning Academy


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