Kitchy, retro, flashback, call it what you will, but family holidays have taken on a ’70s flare*.
I discovered this while spinning on skates, careening in a kart and having high tea with the kids.
This era is undoubtedly in vogue, with Puberty Blues and Paper Giants gracing our screens in recent years.
Like many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, I yearn for a time when holidays were full of simple pleasures: playing board games, building sand castles, and going on bushwalks, instead of being glued to iPods, Nintendos and Wiis.
So, we decided to take a trip down memory lane to a street in Smeaton Grange, on the outskirts of Sydney, with not one but two new retro attractions.
Remember speed skating to The Ballroom Blitz?
Forget fumbling along cracked concrete: Maximum Skating has a new-fangled surface. It doesn’t hurt as much when you fall down. (Hey, I should know, having spent much of the hour bouncing about on my bum.) There’s also roller derby for the sadomasochists, er, I mean sporty types.
Along with Skateaway in Brisbane and Rollerdome on the Sunshine Coast they have – I can hear the angels sing – school holiday care.
Down the road from Maximum Skating is Ultimate Karting, where the kids can pretend they’re Mark Webber and come fifth. (OK, that was uncalled for).
“Oh, how cute,” I thought. “Littlies pottering around the track in dinky wooden creations with ropes at the front.” Er, no.
One six-year-old girl lapped me; another rammed me into a pile of rubber tyres.
Seriously though, this is the best fun we’ve had in years, with ultra-modern, fast karts and strict safety measures.
If you’re heading to Victoria, check out Le Mans Go Karts, a four track complex over nine hectares.
The retro trend has even spread to the snow slopes, with mirrored sunnies and neon ski suits at Mount Baw Baw on July 26 for Retro Ski Day, followed by a dance-off with glow sticks. If the snow is not your style, stick to exploring the winter wonderlands in each capital city, complete with ice-skating, fondue and chocolate fountains.
Perhaps it’s more vintage than retro, but tiffin tea is back, with The Langham Hotel chain offering a kids’ version served complete with pink “champagne” in flutes for your little darlings.
Retro accommodation for families is also a trend.
If you want to relive the holidays of your childhood, you can’t go past the Retro Retreat in Lorne, Victoria. This classic ’70s beach house boasts bright purple lounge chairs and a yellow formica benchtop. Noice.
Meanwhile, the Retro Beach Cottage in Golden Beach, Caloundra, is a step straight back to the 1950s, within walking distance from the old Bill’s Boat Hire.
Now, if only the airlines would get on board, we could go back to a time when taking to the skies was a glamorous affair instead of the cattle pen it is today.
Ah, I think I’m having another flashback.