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Advice on taking school aged children to Australia

(24 Posts)
Frogandbear Thu 09-Mar-17 10:26:12

We have the opportunity to go to Australia next year, as we have amazingly saved up enough air miles to go.This really would be considered a major trip for us, as we have never taken the boys further than Europe. Considering the cost of travelling so far, we would ideally like to go for 3 or 4 weeks, however I'm struggling to see when we could go. I know that the summer is in January/February time but given that the Christmas holidays are only a couple of weeks, I'm stumped. I've considered the summer holidays but would it be expensive and cold? My DC would be in reception year.

Has anyone had experience of taking school aged children? What time of year did you go and which part of Australia?

Any advice much appreciated flowers

dailystuck71 Thu 09-Mar-17 15:22:40

Our summer is the best in terms of having time off but you rightly say it's winter in Oz. Where do you want to go? Winter can just be like our summer although perth had a really bad winter last year - cold and wet. Plenty you can do in winter though.

ShanghaiDiva Fri 10-Mar-17 00:28:07

I have been to Melbourne in July and it was not really cold - high teens on some days, but chilly in the evening.
What about north Australia - Darwin, Broome, the Kimberley, NT national parks? These areas will be hot and dry in July/August.

user123346 Fri 10-Mar-17 17:13:18

Last time DH and I were in OZ it was from April to near the end of May, and DH was in shorts the whole time. We stayed mostly in Sydney with a week on the Gold Coast ( QLD). I highly reccomend that time of the year as it's off peak and the weather is still nice and warm. I would avoid July /August as it's really cold!

I reccomend Sydney -shopping including Westfields shopping centres Zoo, Aquarium, Centerpoint tower, Darling harbour ( Lindt cafe)wildlife parks, lovely beaches including famous Bondi Beach, Sydney harbourside Ferry rides - DH gets sea sick but he was addicted, we were going up to twice a day as we got a weekly train ticket with unlimited ferry rides. A ferry ride at night around Sydney harbour with all the lights is spectacular. Trains are much much cheaper in OZ.

Gold Coast has the beaches of course and several theme parks including Warner Bros Movie World.

Teds77 Sat 11-Mar-17 08:50:40

I'd do a few days in Sydney and then head north - northern Queensland, Northern Territory and/or the northern bit of Western Australia. It will be warm and it won't be rainy season. The later you go the drier all the waterfalls/pools etc will be. I think that would be fab and am quite tempted to plan something similar for Summer 2018.

Teds77 Sat 11-Mar-17 08:54:57

Holiday would be fab not dried waterfalls!! I think June is the best time for no rain but great waterfalls etc in the north but still worth going in July and August.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sat 11-Mar-17 09:17:57

If your DC will be under 5 when you go then the school can't really stop you from taking them out for a couple of weeks as they are not obliged to be in school until the term after they turn 5.

madamy Sat 11-Mar-17 09:25:37

We're off in a couple of weeks over the Easter holiday. The weather looks great and the friends we're staying with for some of the time will also be off school. We'll be there for 3 weeks and the children are missing 4 days of school before they break up and 2 after. The younger 2 are in primary school and we've been given authorised leave which is fab. The eldest is in yr 9 and her school don't (quite rightly) authorise any absence. We figured that the benefits will greatly outweigh anything they'll miss at school.

BigGreenOlives Sat 11-Mar-17 09:29:17

Can you go at Easter? Not too hot or cold. I've been to Brisbane & Cairns in July/August & found it pretty chilly on the beach.

MrsDrSpencerReid Sat 11-Mar-17 09:49:35

We're an hour north of Sydney and it doesn't get that cold here in winter. I'm usually in jeans and a thin cardi in winter.

The weather will be warmer in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Queensland is great for beaches and theme parks (Movie World, Sea World, Dreamworld, Wet n Wild, White Water World. Our first Lego store has just opened at Dreamworld) North Queensland had the Great Barrier Reef etc

Western Australia is stunning, there's the Pinnacle's, Rottnest Island, Margaret River, Perth, then up north is Ningaloo Reef where you can swim with whale sharks.

Sydney has Taronga Zoo, Opera House, Harbour Bridge (you can walk across it or do a bridge climb) Luna Park, Botanic Gardens, shopping etc.

Canberra will be the coldest, they have Parliament House, War Memorial, Royal Mint, Questacon (fab for little kids!) Australian Institute of Sport.

Melbourne will be quite cold, they have the zoo, shopping, museums, aquarium. There's a new Lego Discovery Centre opening in Melbourne soon. We love Melbourne!

Dinosaursdontgrowontrees Sat 11-Mar-17 09:57:35

Depending on when your children turn 5 I would go during term time they do not have to be on school until the term AFTER they are 5. (TBH I would prob go during term time anyway)
I have been to Australia lots of times and I think spring and autumn are by far the best times to go.

bimbobaggins Sat 11-Mar-17 22:46:40

We went last year at Easter. Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It was in the early 30s most of the time. My ds was in year 1 of high school and misses a few days.

mycavitiesareempty Sun 12-Mar-17 18:47:17

That'sounds a tricky one. I think I'd go for the summer holidays (ours) and plan a bit of sightseeing in Eg Melbourne and Sydney but do the majority of your holiday in the north like others have suggested.

mycavitiesareempty Sun 12-Mar-17 18:50:06

If your children will start reception in September 2017 or 2018 then you also have the option of just not starting them at school till October, and going to Australia in September. If an English state school, they will have to allow deferred entry and keep the places for you.

SafeToCross Sun 12-Mar-17 19:01:25

We added a week before the easter holidays and a sick day after the inset day on our return. We flew to Sydney (best bit was the ferry boat to Manly beach), then up to just north of Cairns, where we met a tropical cyclone but luckily our snorkelling trip to a coral island on a beautiful catamaran sailing boat was rescheduled, then flew to Surfers Paradise for some theme parks, but actually loved the beach there too, we were staying up the quiet end.

purpleprincess24 Sun 12-Mar-17 19:03:17

I really hope you manage it, but getting flights to Australia on air miles Is incredibly hard.

We have enough miles to fly First Class to Australia Five times, yet we have never seen a single flight with availability using miles.

Ours are Avios so that could be why, would be interested to hear who you have the air miles with if you can get flights.

SafeToCross Sun 12-Mar-17 19:04:02

Sydney was intermittently sunny, but also quite rainy, which locals told us is more and more the case in recent years? Didn't matter though. The zoo and Luna Park were good too. Mahoosive spiders on webs just on the path at the Zoo shock.

Buttercupsandaisies Wed 22-Mar-17 21:42:43

Some of our friends went last year, a week either side of Easter so went for 4 weeks. They rang in sick for the first day of the first week and again for the last 2 days of the fourth week. This meant they only had 7 days unauthorised - 4 in week 1, 3 in week 4.

Most LEAs can't fine unless you miss 10 sessions PER TERM so you won't get fined even if unauthorised

NannyR Wed 22-Mar-17 21:53:05

I've been on holiday to Australia a couple of times in july/august and I think it's a great time to visit. Sydney wasn't scorching hot but it was warm enough to walk around in t shirts, Adelaide was a bit rainy but not cold. In the outback during the day it was hot (as in a hot British summers day, not hot by Australian standards!) but very chilly at night.

FairyPenguin Wed 29-Mar-17 22:34:37

We went over Easter one year and the weather was lovely, around 22-26c in Sydney and Melbourne. We loved Manly and the ferry in Sydney, but enjoyed all the things we did in Melbourne. It was also easier to get around there. Wish we'd booked more time in Melbourne.

irregularegular Tue 04-Apr-17 09:59:37

Depends where you go. We went to Australia in August and went to Sidney, Ayers Rock etc, Darwin and Kakadu, then Cairns and a bus back down along the coast to Sidney. We were there 4 weeks I think. Weather was perfect. Only Sidney and the Blue Mountains were on the cooler and wetter side, but even that was similar to an English summer. I don't think I would want to go to the North in their summer!

My problem now is that I would quite like to take the children, but it would have to be in the summer and we've already done the "best" bit, but if I'm going all that way and spending all that money I want to go somewhere new.

Susiesue61 Fri 07-Apr-17 13:17:53

We went ove christmas when ours were 11, 9 and 5. It had to be then to see the cricket grin
We managed 3.5 weeks and they only missed 2 days of school. We went to Sydney, Gold Coast , a little island off Queensland (which was amazing!) and then flew to New Zealand to stay with friends.
The weather was either hot or pouring down, it rained all day Christmas Day!

ohforfoxsake Fri 07-Apr-17 13:22:05

We've been over Christmas. Sydney mainly.

I would thoroughly recommend considering a house swap. Worked brilliantly for us.

Aftershock15 Fri 07-Apr-17 13:26:46

Is there any particular reason you want to go to Australia or just that you have enough airmiles? What about using the air miles for somewhere like Canada as that would fit with summer holidays. It's just you seem a bit vague about where you want to go and see.

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