Top ten family destinations

FUN TIMES: You can't beat the Fijians for keeping children happy.

FUN TIMES: You can't beat the Fijians for keeping children happy.

Ah, lists. No matter what I write in a list, half of you will agree, the rest will disagree. So without any further ado, here are my top 10 family destinations, and five that need some work.

FIJI This small word makes a world of difference. And it's not just the swaying palm trees, colourful cocktails, and friendly smiles. It's two words: Kids' Club. I defy anyone to find better carers for children than the Fijians.

MAURITIUS This multicultural melting pot has dozens of family-friendly five-star resorts. Dine on Creole, French, Chinese and Indian cuisine, while the kids do water-skiing or language classes at Le Club Enfant.

HAWAII The spacious Embassy Suites in Waikiki are walking distance to the gentle waves, crazy street performers and funky food outlets.

SAMOA Sleep in fales on the beach, or stay at the famed Aggie Grey's. Take the ferry to Savai'i to swim with the turtles, walk the ancient lava fields, or watch the sun set over the water at Le Lagoto. Ahhh.

PARIS Believe it or not, the City of Love is also pretty good for progeny. All the museums and art galleries are child-friendly. The kids were leading us through the Louvre using their Nintendo 3DS audio guides.

LONDON Most of the museums are free. At the British Museum, kids get a backpack containing games and a treasure map. You can catch the Route 11 bus, which passes all the tourist attractions.

HONG KONG How good are dumplings? Just avoid the deep fried chicken's feet. I was chomping away on a knuckle when I was told "Er, you're just supposed to suck them". Ocean Park, Disneyland, giant pandas, the Octopus card - Hong Kong's got it all.

VIETNAM Sure, you could lose your life crossing the road. But accommodation is cheap; the food fresh and delicious; and you can get clothes tailor-made for the whole family in Hoi An.

MOROCCO Watching the cobras dance in the Jemaa el-Fna doesn't sound child-friendly. But we had the family trip of a lifetime here. Marrakesh is Africa's Disneyland, with circus performers, soothsayers, souks and more.

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LOS ANGELES Disneyland, Legoland, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Hollywood, Universal Studios, the outlet malls, need I say more? Oh, plus cheap accommodation, food and flights.

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Now (gulp).

Here are the destinations that need work:

ROME The Vatican and Colosseum are not easy for children to navigate. We were fortunate, with a guide from bringing history to life.

SINGAPORE While it's clean, safe and full of family attractions (Sentosa is sensational), Singapore suffers from sanitisation. Authentic cultural experiences are hard to find.

THE PHILIPPINES El Nido is paradise in this archipelago. But the childcare is questionable. We returned to our hotel in Bohol one night to find our toddler playing with a razor.

BALI There are lovely areas to take kids, such as Ubud, Seminyak and Sanur. However it needs work on safety, food hygiene and violence.

AUSTRALIA Generally, the service, cost and quality of tourist destinations here is not as good as overseas. There are notable exceptions.

What are your favourite destinations for a family getaway? Share your tips in the comments.

 - Sydney Morning Herald


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