Why I take the kids back to where I holidayed as a child

By Sophia Auld

Remember the days when summer holidays seemed to stretch out before you like endless miles of sandy beach? And when games of backyard cricket were accompanied by the aroma of sausages sizzling on the barbie? I remember my childhood summers fondly from our family holidays. I want to make sure my kids have great holiday memories too and what better place to start than the popular spots I remember so well.

A walk down memory lane

Sometimes we’d visit the Gold Coast. There were long days lazing on the sand, strolling the beach at sunset, fighting with my brother over the last slice of watermelon, and finishing the day with a stroll along Cavill Avenue for ice-cream.

Then there was the year we went camping with family friends. The Mums loaded our packs with food and waved goodbye as the dads ventured boldly forth to the Royal National Park, two hours south of our Sydney home.

Tempers were stretched as we fumbled to get tents up. Making a campfire turned out to be harder than it looks in movies. And we had too much food.

But we had a great time. My brother caught a fish that we cooked over the fire. We pretended to be explorers, climbing rock ledges, hiking through the bush and swimming in rock pools where the water took your breath away. No electronics. No TV. Just fresh air, imagination and outdoor fun. That’s what I want for my kids.

Exploring Australia

One thing I loved about these holidays was getting to see Australia. From towering Gold Coast high-rises to the Victorian high country, I got a taste of the diversity of our country.

I want my kids to learn what a vast and varied nation we live in, as they experience first-hand the bush, the beach, the rainforest and the outback.  I hope they’ll discover that we live in the most amazing nation on earth.

Switching off

On our family holidays, we’d fall into bed exhausted at night after a day cruising theme parks, or rock-hopping a craggy stretch of New South Wales coastline. I learned to body-surf and duck under the waves. We’d eat at different restaurants, which has given me a love for various cuisines.

Making time to tune out is more important than ever in this age of electronics. I want my kids to put down devices and be present in the moment—feeling the sand between their toes, smelling the ocean breeze, tasting freshly sliced mango, hearing bellbirds calling through the trees, watching dolphins play in the surf.


Holidays were a time when we reconnected as a family. Visiting my childhood holiday haunts helps my kids understand where I’ve come from. They love hearing my own childhood tales. I’m grateful we’ve made family holidays a priority. We’ve done more than making memories. We’ve built relationships that will last a lifetime.

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