What are your plans for summer? With the summer holidays coming up in Australia, it’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to some lazy days and balmy nights while we catch up with family and friends. But if you’re looking for something different, we’ve got you covered. This week on School Stream, we’re looking at the joys of being a tourist at home, as well as some new approaches to at- home entertainment options to keep everyone happy.

Communicate with your school community reliably and in real-time. Watch this quick video to see how School Stream can simplify your school communication, or read on for our guide to summer fun.

What does it mean to be a ‘tourist at home’? 

No matter how stunning our local area or how vibrant our hometown is, we tend to have a routine that follows a predictable trajectory of work, exercise, supermarket, home. We would never dream of throwing coins into fountains, taking guided tours, visiting local beauty spots, or stopping to read plaques on local buildings and landmarks. They’re strictly holiday activities. Enter, the staycation. Behaving as if you are a tourist in your home is a chance to see your local area with the wide-eyed wonder of a tourist. It’s time to slow down, break out your guidebook and explore, tourist style!

Be a tourist at home – Out and about

Holidays are a state of mind. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Move through your town differently

As the saying goes “All you need is a travel card and a dream”. If your area is well-serviced by public transport, jump on board and take a different route than you normally would. Try a self-guided walking or bike tour, and bonus points if you can find – and take – a boat tour. You’ll gain a different perspective and maybe even pick up some cool local knowledge along the way. 

Get out and about in the great outdoors

If there is a nature trail or bushwalk within reach, pack a lunch and grab some water and discover a new side to your neighbourhood. If your region is known for something special, consider visiting beautiful botanical gardens, a fantastic farmers’ market, a fruit farm where you can pick your own strawberries to take home, or even Australia’s largest explorable cacti garden

These boots were made for walking (through the city)

Cities are made for walking, interacting and engaging with, and you may well be surprised at how much is on offer in yours. Street art, buskers and people-watching are endlessly entertaining, with the added benefit of being as free as the birds. If you’re looking for a little bit more action, Night kayaking or urban rock climbing, anyone? 

Throw an axe, visit the world’s biggest jumping castle or immerse yourself in light

If structured activities are more your speed, A visitor centre will be able to point you in the right direction. The following activities are by no means an exhaustive list of activities on offer this summer, but it does shine a light on the sheer range of things you can try close to home once you start thinking about your own area like a tourist.

Art and other creative experiences

  • Adelaide is host to what looks to be a fantastic program of events presented by social enterprise and registered charity, LIGHT. Immerse has a range of free and ticketed events, including a 360-degree animated experience exploring how water shaped our world. Throughout the show, move to interact with the scenes in front of you, throwing paintballs over the city skyline and controlling schools of fish with your hands. If you’re heading towards the Southern Highlands, be sure to schedule a visit to their newly opened, world-class gallery. Ngununggula offers an Aboriginal art program, an education program with dedicated indoor and outdoor facilities, a resource library, and a public program for emerging and established artists. To top it all off, the gallery is committed to providing a space for the region’s young people. 
  • The Big Bounce is the world’s biggest jumping castle and will be touring Australia from January 2022. Sessions are separated by age, so everyone from toddlers to adults can bounce their way around 1500 sqm of inflatable fun. 
  • Bury the hatchet with axe throwing. (Ages 13+ with adult supervision) 

Yes, really. For the uninitiated, axe throwing is similar to dart throwing, but with a bigger payoff when your axe connects with a big thud on the target. There are axe throwing centres all over Australia with strong safety precautions in place. A good way for students (and parents) to blow off steam after a gruelling exam and assessment period. 

  • Ride a bike

Hit the bike trail, cycle path or rail trail for some family-friendly fun. Australia has some of the world’s most scenic bike paths so no matter where you are located, there are sure to be some unexpected surprises to be found when you’re travelling by treadly. 

At home

Here are a few ways to put a new spin on a night at home. And all these activities can all be adapted for teen-approved fun too.

  • Host a game night. Wholesome fun for the whole family.

Game nights hit the sweet spot of fun, affordability and ease. Clear a table, grab some finger food, an exciting board game or two, and you have all the ingredients for a successful game night. Teen Vogue assures us that games nights are a big hit with teens right now too. Let your teen curate a game night playlist, choose a snack menu and a game. All that’s left to do is invite some friends and let the good times roll. 

  • Camp out in the backyard

Set up a campsite in the back yard for all the fun of camping, but with all the benefits of a fully stocked kitchen and a bathroom that doesn’t require a code to get in. Younger kids, in particular, will get a real thrill from camping at home. 

  • Outdoor cinema or Be Kind, Rewind.

Thanks to myriad streaming services, we take it for granted we can watch whatever we want, whenever we want. But we can bring a sense of occasion to movie night by taking it outdoors. If you have access to a projector, a white sheet to project your film on, some seating and snacks, you have everything you need to host – or for a teenager to host – a fun night under the stars. If you fancy taking movie night indoors and giving it a retro feel, you’ll find DVD and VHS rental pop-up shops in some capital cities this summer. Just remember to be kind and rewind at the end!

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