Milestone birthdays – the big ones ending in zero – are the perfect excuse to go somewhere memorable with your friends, kids, or extended family.
It’s time to blow out those candles with gusto and do something you’ve always dreamed of with these holiday ideas which are designed to be shared. From budget to blow out, we have got your ‘big birthday’ covered.
Turn 30 and get your heart racing
Queenstown is a destination that knows how to show visitors a good time. With heart-pumping adrenalin activities, stunning scenery, superb skiing, and some of New Zealand’s best food and wine, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Book into QT Queenstown, a funky design-led hotel overlooking Lake Wakatipu, or kick back in front of the fireplace in a self-catering apartment at Peppers Beacon.
With so many activities to choose from, you and your friends can explore together or independently. Tour the nearby Central Otago wineries with Appellation Wine Tours, cruise around Lake Wakatipu with Real Journeys, or enjoy a scenic gondola ride to the top of Bob’s Peak. If you’re feeling game, you can tandem paraglide back into town with GFORCE. Visit in winter and your entertainment options expand even further with five different ski fields within 90 minutes of Queenstown, with runs to suit every age and ability, and ski schools for the kids.
What It Costs: Expect to pay around $900 per person for a long weekend including flights from Australia, accommodation, meals and an activity or two.
Family fun in Fiji at 40
Whether you’re travelling with kids or seeking an adults-only celebration, Fiji has everything you are looking for and more. Enjoy a ‘flop and drop’ stay on the main island of Viti Levu at the Sheraton Fiji Resort, or travel by boat to one of the resorts in the Mamanucas island chain where the movie Cast Away was filmed.
Likuliku Lagoon Resort specialises in grown up experiences such as exclusive beachside dinners, day trips to nearby Modriki Island and romantic private island picnics. Nearby Castaway Island has a four star resort that’s heaven for kids (and their parents), with loads of family-friendly activities and a kid’s club that is open from 9am to 9pm. Excursions in Fiji range from cultural performances and shopping tours to a day trip on a fully-rigged tall ship with Captain Cook Cruises. With its pristine beaches, picture-perfect resorts, and sensational sunsets, Fiji is even more gorgeous than the holiday brochures make out.
What It Costs: Package holidays can be a cost effective way to visit Fiji, with prices starting from $955 per person twin share for a five night stay at Sheraton Fiji Resort.
50 and fabulous in Bali
If your love of luxury is larger than your holiday budget, Bali is the ideal destination. Once you have arrived, the Australian dollar has a great exchange rate so your money goes further. Split the cost of a Villa-Bali.com private villa with friends or family, or enjoy a few nights at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay as a treat. Children aged up to 18 stay for free at this hotel which has huge rooms that never feel cramped, even when you’re sharing with a lanky teen.
Children under 16 stay free and enjoy free breakfast at all Novotel hotels. Explore Bali’s temples, chill out at Potato Head Beach Club, treat yourselves to a massage or cooking class, or simply soak up the sun. With plenty of affordable activities on offer, from dance performances to Intrepid Urban Adventures’ VW Kombi Cocktail Safari, there is something to suit everyone in your group.
Celebrate your 60th on the Great Wall of China
Few countries can match China when it comes to iconic historical places to explore. There are half a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Beijing alone, just one less than the whole of Egypt. Whether you choose to join an organised tour or travel independently, don’t miss spending a day on the Great Wall of China.
The section known as Mutianyu, with its rugged mountain peaks, tightly packed guard towers and picturesque cable car ride, is popular with tourists. However, nothing beats walking the ‘wild wall’, as the unrestored sections are known. Imperial Tours offer guided walks on the wild wall which include a private birthday lunch at a linen-draped table with wine to toast the view.
We highly recommend a trip to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors. The archaeological work is still in progress at this historic sight. The trip is fascinating no matter what age you are so it makes for a great multi-generational birthday celebration.
What It Costs: a 9 day Terracotta Warrior Tour of China including flights, hotels and meals starts at $1729.
Turn 70 and go wild in Tasmania
Tasmania proves that sometimes good things really do come in small packages. Explore the rugged east coast, with its soaring coastal cliffs and lush green wilderness, on a seven-night Coral Expeditions cruise to Port Arthur and untouched World Heritage areas.
Normally only accessible via a seven-day hike, you can simply cruise into stunning Bathurst Harbour. Driving holidays are a pleasure in Tasmania as rush hour traffic is virtually non-existent. Discover Hobart, the charming capital of Tasmania, which has been named in so many ‘Hot Lists’ that it is hard to believe the place still gets cold. Launceston has a charming dash of yesteryear with streets that are made for walking, although a car is useful for exploring the nearby Tamar Valley vineyards. If you would prefer to let someone else do the driving, an AAT Kings Guided Holiday to Tasmania could be just what you’re looking for.
What It Costs: AAT Kings’ four-night Tassie’s East Coast Highlights guided tour is priced from $1,450 per person twin share. Coral Expeditions’ seven-night Tasmania expedition including all meals, excursions and activities costs from $4990 per person. Cruises with no single supplement are often available. Direct flights to Hobart are priced from $100 return.
Cruise into your 80s
Once you and your loved ones start sipping that first cocktail, there is no need to worry about how you’re going to get from one destination to the next, whose turn it is to cook dinner or how to keep the grandkids entertained.
Your biggest decision will be whether to treat yourself to a massage at the onboard spa, curl up with a book or soak up the sun on your balcony. It is easy to relax on an Australia or New Zealand cruise if you choose a comfortably elegant yet family-friendly line such as Princess Cruises or Holland America Line. Cruising holidays are ideal for those celebrating with extended family because there are onboard activities and accommodation options to suit all ages, tastes and budgets.
What It Costs: Enjoy a three-night cruise from Melbourne to Adelaide on Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess from $479 per person twin share in an inside stateroom.
Got a big family? Check out our guide to Fiji’s best budget stays for large families.
Want to stay close to home? Read about family-friendly wineries in Mudgee.