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In July 2018 i took a holiday to Disneyland and Hawaii. My kids were 6&8 years old and it was always our intention to take them to Disney as kids. In terms of having a stop in Hawaii on the way home we chose to fly with Hawaiian Airlines, who also flew into Long Beach California rather than LAX. After a couple of days in Long Beach, we headed to Anaheim for our Disneyland Experience. We opted for a 4 day Park Pass which simply gives you 4 days entry to either of the two parks - Disneyland and Disney Adventure Park. It was July which is the middle of summer so we were expecting big crowds. The 4 day pass was a perfect amount of time as it allowed us to experience most rides and a good selection of shows etc. If travelling with your children, I would definitely recommend staying at a hotel in close proximity to the main entrance. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn Anaheim by Marriot which was around 600 metres from the gate. As it was very hot we would break up our day and head back to the hotel around 3pm for 2-3 hours and have a swim. This would enable the kids to rest and be ready for the evening session. By the fourth day we were absolutely knackered and needed some rest and relaxation. We again flew out of Long Beach direct to Honolulu and had 5 nights in Hawaii. We choose to stay at the Modern Honolulu which is a very nice hotel with a great pool. Hawaii is a great destination for everyone as there is something for everyone! We spent the five days by the pool, shopping, and eating out! The highlight would have been hiring a Convertible Mustang for the day and exploring the island. This will enable you to visit some beautiful beaches on the east coast and North Shore and we also stopped at the Dole Pineapple factory, and enjoyed the most amazing Pineapple Ice cream. It was a fantastic family holiday and I recommend all families to try and get to LA and experience the magic of Disneyland.
In April 2018 I took my family to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Having been to Australia numerous times, we were looking for somewhere a bit different to spend a few days after visiting Melbourne. The Great Ocean road starts at Torquay which is about 1 hour South West out from central Melbourne. We based ourselves at Lorne for the first 3 nights which is a lovely small seaside town. We often think of the Gold Coast, Queensland or Western Australia when we think of beaches in Australia but the beach at Lorne was amazing. From Lorne, we were able to do day trips and visit Bells Beach, Wineries, Breweries, Chocolate factory along with numerous hikes to find waterfalls or amazing views. We then packed up and drove to Apollo Bay which was about 1.5 hours away and was a good base to then go on and explore some of the more well known sites such as 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge to name a few. Overall is was a great trip and exceeded my expectations and is a really nice road trip from Melbourne.
In July 2017 I took my family (2 kids 5 and 7) to Texas and New Orleans for 2 weeks. With Air New Zealand's direct service to Houston, it is so much more accessible now and you can even get to Florida or Cuba via a short flight from Houston. It was such a fun trip and a nice change from the more common Los Angeles destination. You will only need a couple of days in Houston which is basically your gateway and of course you have the Nasa Space Center which is a must see. You could easily spend half a day here with some great interactive rides and you also get to see Astronauts in their training facility. New Orleans was a fun city with a great vibe. Staying in the French Quarter in the middle of the action and it is so easy to walk around the city. The notorious Bourbon Street was a vibe of activity after dark with lots of American's using New Orleans as a holiday destination. The sound of Jazz music is around every corner and you will often see bands performing on the corner of a street with lots of people watching. Just like Las Vegas it is legal to drink alcohol in the streets, so this contributes to the fun and atmosphere around the city. We also took a Jazz cruise up the Mississippi which was a great experience. Other options include visiting a Plantation, doing a swamp tour and spotting a few alligators or visiting their "central park" known as City Park which has tons of things to do and see, including Storyland which is a Theme park for the kids based on the storybook sculptures and a Carousel Gardens Amusement park.
We then flew to San Antonio, which is actually the 7th largest city in the USA with around 2 Million people. It was super hot here over 40 degrees as this was central Texas! A lovely city with canal's to walk by and lots of bars and restaurants to sit next to the canals and watch the world go by. We went to two Theme parks here for the kids, Seaworld and Six Flags and both were great with lots of rides and also both had Waterparks which helped with the heat! We then chose to spend our last few days at a Hyatt Resort situated next to the Colorado River away from the city. This was a highlight for the kids, a fantastic resort with so much to do for the kids. A Waterpark with lazy river, movies under the stars on the big screen with free popcorn, smores around the firepit, fishing, kayaking, biking with heaps more.
We had a great two weeks with good variety including, Cities, Theme parks, Country side Texas and amazing weather.