This summer beat the heat. Just pack the family into the car and head south where mild summer temperatures, cool nights, friendly townsfolk and a relaxed pace will revitalise everyone.
An attraction that’s long been a favourite with holiday makers is Denmark Dinosaur World on Bandit Road just 10 minutes from the famous Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. Here you can get up close and personal with dinosaurs from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, including the only T-Rex in Australia.
You’ll also be able to experience a hands-on, interactive eco-adventure in the world of birds and reptiles. Meet and learn about the critically endangered red-tailed black cockatoo and the spectacularly coloured giant macaws from the Amazon rainforest of South America. Marvel at the intriguing world of Australia's fascinating reptiles, including rare pythons, dragon lizards and monitor lizards.
The parkland setting has picnic and barbecue facilities, so bring your own and meet the kangaroos and a miniature horse. The gift shop has refreshments and books galore on the animals exhibited. Just don’t forget your camera. Entry is $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 3-5 and $29 for a family of two adults and three children. Denmark Dinosaur World is open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm (Closed Christmas Day). Call (08) 9840 8335.
Before heading back to town along South Coast Highway stop at the new premises of the Toffee Factory for some homemade delights. Alternatively, just a short distance away is Bartholomew’s Meadery where you can treat the kids to delicious honey ice-cream while you sample the honey wine. The Toffee Factory is open daily from 9.30am to 5pm, call (08) 9840 9900. Bartholomew’s Meadery is open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Call (08) 9840 9349.
There are several wineries in the area with stretches of scenic gardens where a picnic can be enjoyed and kids can run free. Alternatively, if you’d rather have someone else prepare you a meal, make your way to Greenpool Restaurant at Forest Hill vineyard on South Coast Highway. The restaurant has spectacular views, superb food and caters for kids with their own menu including a healthy grazing plate of ham, cheese, salad, carrots and bread. There’s also a toy box and colouring pencils. Ask about the banquet-style family friendly themed nights, held every second month that feature food from different countries. If you’re interested in a spot of wine tasting, the cellar door is conveniently located below the restaurant. Greenpool Restaurant, Forest Hill winery is open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Call (08) 9848 2199.
There are plenty of walk trails in and around Denmark but one that’s a bit different which the kids will love is the Denmark Maze on Lapko Road, where you can follow the boardwalk through a paperbark swamp.
If you like water activities, pack a picnic and head to the shaded Berridge Park in the town centre by the river. Hire a canoe, paddle boat or aqua bike from Denmark Dinghy Hire and take a journey up the river. Suitable for all ages, you can hire the canoes for as little as half an hour and they come with all safety gear and instructions. The cost for aqua bikes and paddle boats is based on seating, and ranges from two seaters ($5-$7), through to four and five seaters ($10-$15). Canoes range from $10-$15. Bookings are not required, hire is on a first come basis. For more serious “boaties” or keen fisherman, powerboats with four to six seats are available from $25-$35 an hour but must be booked ahead. Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen. Denmark Dinghy Hire is open seven days from 9am to 4pm during peak season (Christmas and School holidays) and all other times from Thursday to Monday. Call 0429 421 786.
Denmark has many beautiful beaches but one popular with families is Greens Pool at William Bay National Park. It has beautiful blue green clear water and is walking distance from Elephant Rocks. This gorgeous sheltered natural swimming pool provides a safe swimming area, suitable also for snorkelling and scuba diving, and is only rivalled by nearby Madfish Bay, which is protected behind a small island.
• You can now enjoy delicious light lunches and afternoon platters in picturesque settings at the boutique Karriview Winery, under the new management of Lorne Egan. Call (08) 9840 9381
• Forest Hill Vineyard is looking to start Friday sundowners and some Sunday sessions with entertainment during the summer period. Call (08) 9848 2199.
• Monkey Rock Winery on Wentworth Road now owns the only olive press in Denmark and expects to have the oils from their olive grove available for tasting by May or June. Call (08) 9840 9353.