Adventure Ideas 4:
Go deep, high, eco or mad
Do you remember when ‘family friendly’ meant a kids’ club and a bit of face painting? I do, and yes reader, I opted for the ‘butterfly’ every time. But how things have changed. Clever tourist businesses know full well that happy children make happy parents and many now offer active, luxury breaks where young children are taken as seriously as the adults.
In today’s dynamic world of adventure travel ‘family friendly’ can mean zip-lining through the jungle, kite surfing across deserted beaches or even learning to scuba dive, with the kids. For this weeks ‘Adventure Ideas’ I’ve been looking into a few unusual, faraway action breaks, considering some environmentally sensitive lodging options, and looking forward to a week much closer to home.
Wanted: Young divers, golfers and water babies
Two far flung active family holidays caught my imagination this week, both on island destinations in the India Ocean. As winter approaches I think I must be yearning for something. At the Olhuveli Spa Hotel and Resort in the Maldives, children from eight upwards can take a PADI skin diving course, learning skills needed to go exploring undersea worlds. The place sounds like perfection for water loving families with a watersports centre that boasts fun tubes, banana boat rides, stand-up paddle-boarding and wake-boarding. And the first licensed kite-surfing school in the Maldives.
If you’re more into terra firma then the Paradis Hotel & Golf Club in Mauritius is offering a new Junior Golf Academy, for children six and up, as well as golf game software and video technology to inject a little tech to the package. If you’re a golf widow this could be the start of a whole new routine, where Dad takes the kids golfing while you get to relax the way he used to at the 19th hole.
Hanging from a zipwire over India
If you like to swing but don’t do golf, and like the sound of India but don’t want to strike out independently, then you might enjoy Geringer Global Travel’s two week India Family Odyssey. This sounds great fun. You get to dress up in traditional saris and turbans for a photo-shoot, have kite making lessons, visit a bear rescue centre and zip high over the hills overlooking Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort on a zip wire. (Your teenagers may be interested to hear that selected scenes from Batman; The Dark Knight Rises were shot there). I’ve been hearing for a while about flying foxes strung on the side of Indian palaces, and I’m really keen to have a go. And if we’re talking bucket list stuff, can I just make it clear I’d also like to be the Tinkerbell fairy who flies from Cinderella’s Palace in Disneyland before the fireworks every evening. I can’t imagine how that job interview would go.
What about eco-lodging?
Aside from dreaming about action breaks I’ve also been looking at eco-lodges – simple accommodation, often close to nature, with a lower environmental footprint than your average luxury resort hotel. From budget beach fales in Samoa to luxury eco-pods in the rainforest, these greener accommodation alternatives offer families a very different kind of lodging experience, and they come in all shapes, sizes and locations to suit all kinds of interests and budgets too. You can sip tea with the Bedouin at the Feynan Eco Lodge in Jordan, spot wildebeast from tree houses in South Africa or stay in a rainforest on the island of Saba. I noticed The Adventure Company are offering a new Taste of Kenya safari giving families with children aged six and up a chance to spot big cats and the like on game drives, staying in lodge accommodation including a night in a tree house. Although I think it would be cheaper and a bit more environmentally responsible to do the night in the tree house at home.
You don’t have to fly half way across the world for a lodge experience though. If you’re in UK, then you could try the new luxury Flycatchers Lodge at the foot of the Quantock Hill, complete with biking opportunities for all ages and abilities close by. Probably more within my budget, but perhaps I’ll wait until the return of Spring!
The white stuff is here
Spring seems a long way off though. This week saw the first snow in Scotland and parts of Northern England. In October? I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Still there’s not enough snow to ski. Not yet. Although I hear the ski season has already begun in Banff at Mount Norquay, at least at weekends. But I don’t think we’ll be getting there. No, the closest we’ll probably get is at the Ski and Snowboard Show in London this week. We’re planning a visit as part of an eclectic Post Jubilympic, Pre Christmas, Halloween Half Term week in London. So my family will have to make do with watching Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards limbering up for a jump.
“Who?” said Cameron when I mentioned we’d be in with a chance of seeing Eddie fly. I explained that Eddie The Eagle was a cross between Felix Baumgartner and Mr Bean and now he’s ever so keen to meet him. We’re hoping to catch Ed as he zooms through the air this week. Not on a zipwire in India, or dressed as Tinkerbell at Disney, but heading towards an air bag at Earl’s Court Ski show. Could be carnage. Especially since there are opportunities for the public to have a go too. If like us you feel inspired by the idea, might I suggest you find a cheap hotel in London and save yourself some money to put towards that big adventure .
And finally, happy trick or treat for tomorrow, wherever you are. If you’re still looking for something to do check out our 10 spooktacular ideas for some outdoor Halloween fun. We’ll be staying near Buckingham Palace and I don’t know if The Queen opens the door to those endless trick or treaters, but we’ll let you know if she throws us some candy, hands out toffee apples or prefers a trick.