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Published June 23rd 2014
Family time doesn't have to be expensive
With regular offers of affordable airfares and accommodations abroad, many families are having vacations in popular Asian destinations like Bali, Phuket, Langkawi, Boracay and Singapore. There also plenty of family holiday destinations in Australia. You can also head over to Victoria and visit Melbourne or Sydney and New South Wales. But family time doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. There are still plenty to see and do in Adelaide and South Australia that won't break the family piggy bank. To help you get started, here are 8 free and affordable family holiday activities a drive away.
Can't afford the time to visit the dolphins in Sea World on the Gold Coast? Don't fret. Your family can still get up close to these popular mammals on the banks of the Port River. Best of all, its FREE. A 20 minutes drive from the CBD are 6 locations with signs that explain the area and type of dolphins that can be found there. A map of the locations is available on the City of Port Adelaide Enfield's website. Take your family out for a day of dolphin sighting.
Take your family on a 50 minutes guided train ride through the history of Moonta with the Moonta Mines Tourist Railway. Your kids will learn about copper mining production including the reservoir, ore sorting floors and tailings during the train ride, and see the restored horse drawn tram and old blacksmith shop. For a small fee, your family can access to the train, Moonta Mines Museum and the Miners Cottage.
A couple of minutes drive from the city centre is Adelaide's most chocolatey tour. Haigh's Chocolates offers a FREE 20 minute tour of its factory where your family can learn how chocolates are made and the history of the company. Afterwards enjoy a complimentary chocolate, coffee and tea, while browsing 150 square metres worth of Haigh's products, factory seconds, discontinued lines, souvenirs and gourmet foods. Tours run Monday to Saturday with phone bookings are essential. Just beware the post-tour sugar rush.
BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park
Photo courtesy of BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park
Holidays with the kids can be easy and relaxing at the BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park. This one-stop family beachfront venue offers a combination of accommodations, facilities and entertainment including barbeques, heated swimming pools, tennis courts, mini golf, go-kart and bike hire, kids' adventure playground and a games room. There's also a kids club which offers craft making, surf school and dance lessons for the little ones. You can leave the kids to their fun and check out the nearby Harbour Town discount shopping or attractions of Glenelg.
If you're looking for a cheap way to lose your kids (temporarily) for the day, then make a beeline for Mintaro Maze, just an hour's drive from Adelaide. Popular with locals and visitors, this living hedge maze in Clare Valley took 8 years to complete. Your kids will enjoy roaming among the 800 plus conifers, fountains, twists and turns, and have loads of fun trying to figure their way out. Special Events run throughout the year like Easter Hunt and Mother's Day so check out their website for updates.
Photo courtesy of The Barossa Council
The Barossa is not just about great wine. It is also home to a revolutionary engineering feat that made its way into of the journal Scientific American popularly known as the "Whispering Wall". This retaining wall of the Barossa Reservoir has a unique acoustic effect where words whispered on one side can actually be clearly heard on the other side more than 100 metres away. Apart from having fun at the wall, the kids will also enjoy the day out at this water reserve. This FREE attraction is just off Williamstown in the Barossa Valley.
Zoos offer a full day for fun and education for kids. Located just 40 minutes from Adelaide, Monarto Zoo is a great day out for the entire family with plenty of wildlife including rhinos, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, monkeys, zebras, antelopes, ostriches and many more. As a centre for conservation, your kids can also learn more about endangered species like the Mongolian wild horse, Scimitar oryx and the Tasmanian devil. This 1000 hectare open range zoological park and natural wilderness sanctuary has a shuttle bus that runs through the zoo providing you easy access to various habitat exhibits and walking trails including the Asian Steppes, arid North Africa, African plains and Asian grasslands. .
Picking your own fruits is plenty of fun for the whole family, and the orchards of South Australia offer a wide variety over the seasons. The most well known is Beerenberg Strawberry Farm where children under 13 years enter the strawberry patch for FREE. Marble Hill Cherries allows you to wander around the orchard, pick and taste cherries. Entry is FREE for children under 12 years. Check around with the orchards to find out what's available when.