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By Chief Bargain Hunter Chelsea Thomas

I am BIG on family, weekend trips. Since the kids have turned 4 and 6 I have found it much easier to plan a trip and see it through without too much drama. When they were younger I preferred to stick to my own backyard and relax where they were completely contained! This year we managed to escape Melbourne and hit the road in the new Mazda CX-8 for a weekend of snow skiing at Mt Buller. {this is not a sponsored post, I was provided a car for a weekend away and jumped at the chance}

I have always been a Mazda fan (it is the best car for if you happen to be a bargain blogger that has photo shoot, after photo shoot). Boot size, space for kids, and ease and convenience of this car, is second to none. And I have had my Mazda CX-7 for over 7 years….that’s quality. Am due for an upgrade so was happy to plan a trip with the fam to the icy slopes for their first time skiing, and trial the Mazda CX-8, which was a dream. (didn’t get to keep had to give it straight back) 🙂

To celebrate the launch of the Mazda CX-8, heres some incredible road trips to take your kids on, this summer.

The Great Ocean Road

It’s known as one of the best drives in the world, and it’s sitting right on our doorstep.

Nature. Wildlife. The winding roads. Pack the car for the weekend and head along the iconic Great Ocean Road. The views are spectacular and you can stop off at one of the many yummy pit stops along the way. The Bottle of Milk in Lorne is very impressive (and features 25 different burgers) and great space for the kids.

Most places you want to stop off at, aren’t even an hour apart so noone in the back seat gets to bored.

The Otway Fly Treetop Adventure is our family fave. Great views, and you get some lovely fresh air between cafe stops.

Stevenson Falls in the Otways is a real delight. A secluded waterfall that plummets into a creek. Near here is Lake Elizabeth where you may even spot a platypus.

We stayed at Lorne Bush Cottages (budget but oh-so-special for the kids).

Our not so glam shot, of us at The Falls.

The Grampians

Harvest Halls Gap must be on your to do list if you’re driving towards the Grampians, with all ingredients sourced from the local region. Love it when a restaurant commits to that.

The Halls Gap Zoo is friendly and kills a couple of hours while you drink a hot coffee and let the kids burn some energy. It is one the largest regional zoos in Victoria so pencil in a half day at least. The Grampians National Park is hive of activities for families (especially if you’re interested in camping).

I love the idea of hopping in the car for a little 45 minute trip to Mackenzie Falls (yes I have something for waterfalls, clearly).

Glamping is super popular for overnight stays (minimum of two nights to really properly explore) – check out the accom here.

Wilsons Prom

Have you ever walked along white quartz sand? Well, you can drive down to Wilsons Promotory, (on a peninsula southeast of Melbourne) and throw your shoes off, and run around with the kids at Squeaky Beach.

If you’re up for a home-style meal on the way down from Melbourne, make sure you stop off at Olive at Loch or Koonwarra Store. Both excellent by the sounds of it.

Buy your hot chips and pop yourself down for a visit to Norman Bay Beach. It has a kid-friendly tidal river where the kids can play for hours with a bucket and spade.

If you happen to not have the kids, take a hike to Refuge Cove, which is home to all sorts of wildlife including dolphins, sharks (hmmm) and little penguins (much nicer option).

This post is sponsored by Mazda. 



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