Famous tourist spots like Byron Bay are always high up on list for Aussies looking to travel — but there are other cool places off the beaten track.

Story as told to Andrea Black

I’m very fortunate. I’ve travelled a lot, especially throughout Australia, and a real standout for me is Yamba.

Last year we took a family roadtrip to the northern NSW town. We loved it so much, we’re going back over this summer. The kids (Remi, nine, and Jesse, four) can’t wait, and neither can my wife, Kara, and I. It’s got that old-school Australian beautiful coastal feel; I guess it’s like a quieter Byron Bay. It’s so amazing, Ryan told Escape.

There are so many beaches to choose from. We went to the waterholes at Angourie, these big natural pools by the beach, and it was one of the best days we have ever had as a family – actually the best family day of my life. My son, Jesse, is still quite young, so the calm waters were perfect for him. We all spent the whole day there – it was just beautiful.

The kids love the idea of making new friends there and there’s so much stuff to do. We just like to do really basic stuff. The kids love swimming and snorkelling and just being outdoors. We went to the pub for lunch, The Pacific Hotel, with one of the best views of the world, looking across the ocean and lighthouse. We went two days in a row. It was great, but we were there on really windy days, so we can’t wait to go back to see it again.

Last time, we drove up in a motorhome and stayed in a caravan park. We made our way up the NSW coast, and down as well – starting in Ulladulla and then heading up to Terrigal on the way through. For something like that, a lot of preparation has to go into it, but it’s so much fun. Though in summer, the kids will just alternate one swimsuit one day to another the next – that’s all they’ll need. But in all honesty, we didn’t really prepare that much, because the good thing is there are so many places to stop along the way, whether it’s camping grounds or motels. It’s a low-maintenance holiday.

I grew up taking coastal holidays. My family used to go to Forster-Tuncurry on the Mid-North Coast of NSW. We used to go fishing and pump yabbies. I taught my kids how to do it and now it’s their new favourite pastime when we go away.

What I really love is that the kids are off their iPads the entire time, which is especially important in the past couple of years after all the Zoom time they have had with Covid. I think to get up there and just put technology away will be really refreshing for the family.

Our family likes to do action things when we are on holiday. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a fun guy. I work really hard during the day, but we like to enjoy ourselves when we go away.

I am working with Carnival Cruise Line on a campaign, helping Aussies to discover their holiday personality type, basically encouraging people to find their “fun type”. I did the quiz and got that my fun type is an “action packer”. The whole family did the quiz and I thought they would all be action packers, but there was some movement towards “splash makers”. We all love the water, and action.

Next year, we’re going to take the kids on a cruise to the Pacific Islands. When we holiday overseas, we like to plug into local culture, and I think to be able to step off the ship into different countries is really appealing for us.

I was lucky enough to take my family to Indonesia and through Bali a few years ago, which we then made a regular holiday. I think it’s really good for our kids. Here in Australia, we are so far away from everyone. I think it’s a real eye-opener for our kids, learning about different cultures and how people live, sometimes on so little. It teaches them a bit of awareness.

I have been to Fiji briefly. but not with the family. I played rugby league with a lot of guys from the Pacific Islands and have always wanted to spend more time there. This would be the perfect opportunity to take my family and see how awesome it is. I can’t wait.

This story first appeared in Escape and was reproduced with permission.