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School holidays can be a challenge for parents, grandparents and carers who are looking for ways to keep the whole family entertained with budget-friendly ideas.

As we emerge from the ‘stay at home’ period that COVID-19 brought about and see many businesses around us reopening, these school holidays already look very different to the last, offering plenty of different options for holiday fun.

One thing the pandemic has taught many of us is how to pause and enjoy the simple things in life. It doesn’t need to be an extravagant holiday or experience - simply exploring your local area and the great outdoors or spending time with loved ones is more than enough.

This year has also reminded us of the importance of supporting local businesses, who need us now more than ever. Showing your support doesn’t necessarily mean you need to make large purchases and blow your budget – you could buy a coffee from your local café, stop for lunch at a local restaurant while on a family day out, or visit your local farmer’s market for fresh produce.

Here are some ideas to help keep the whole family busy this school holidays, supporting local where possible and managing a budget all at once!

  1. Explore the great outdoors

    From wherever you live, chances are you don’t have to travel far to explore our beautiful backyard. Pack a picnic and bring your bikes or walking shoes to head to a national park near you for a day out the kids will love.

    - If you're in the Coffs Coast region, check out some of the nature parks and picnic spots in that area.

    - If you're in the Sunshine Coast region, check out the Urban List’s guide to the best bushwalks near you.

    - If you're in the Clarence Valley, check out these must see tourist spots.

  2. Take a walk with butterflies

    Amaze the kids with a trip to the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House, Maze & Tearooms. Start by walking with butterflies in the enclosed rainforest setting, before having a go at the outdoor maze – all while supporting this local business.

  3. Make a to-do list

    Discover Ballina have created a fantastic Winter Holiday Activity Sheet with a range of activities listed for every day of the holidays.

  4. Take a historic train ride

    If you’re in the Sunshine Coast region, plan a trip to Gympie for a historic rail experience. Find out more about upcoming events.

  5. Explore online activities

    After a period of isolation during the pandemic, many local and regional companies set up online activities to bring the experience to you. From workshops to crafts, museum tours and even zoo live streams, check out some of the best virtual activities for families - which are perfect for a rainy day!

  6. Visit the library

    Libraries and local councils often offer free or low-cost activities, such as reading, song time and LEGO club. Visit your local council website to see what's on these school holidays.

  7. Stay indoors and get creative!

    You could try tackling some crafts - Pinterest is a great place for some inspiration - or why not bake up a storm? The winter school holidays provide the perfect time to stay indoors, pick a recipe and get the kids involved. Not only will it cost you very little, but you could end up with some delicious morning afternoon tea out of it too!

For more ideas on things to do close to home, check out either the Visit NSW website or the Visit Sunshine Coast website.

Important information

Information on this website is general and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether this information is suitable for your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on the information provided.