From Noumea to Airlie Beach: The Mamamia team share their favourite holiday destinations.

Carnival Cruise Line
Thanks to our brand partner, Carnival Cruise Line

Is anyone in the mood for a holiday? I hear a big yes! As we head into winter, there is nothing better than a nice low-stress holiday filled with sun, sights, plenty of relaxation and fun.

And, throughout the Mamamia office, there's plenty of anecdotal travel inspiration to soak up – from popular family-friendly activities on offer, to the best sites to see.

But even more enticing is to hear from the team what their favourite international holiday destination is and why.

Here's what seven Mamamia women had to say.

Shannen – Noumea. 

My family and I are such big cruise fans. 

Our whole family did a trip with Carnival Cruise Line recently to the South Pacific and had a blast. The sights of Noumea, Lifou and Mystery Island were beautiful (the water was so clear) and it was really nice to have a relaxing no-stress getaway.

There were so many activities for the young ones in our family, and they were obsessed with the free kids' club. There was the Seuss at Sea activities including Green Eggs and Ham breakfast, and Build-A-Bear workshop at sea. The mini golf was also an all-rounder.

For us adults, we spent a lot of our time at the Serenity Adult-only Retreat with a pool and bar. Other highlights for us were the live music and the shows, especially one of the comedy specials that had us in fits of giggles. Plus, with silent discos, '80's Rock n Glow Parties and other fun nightlife events, there was never a dull moment.  

Image: Supplied.


Hilariously, we happened to spontaneously bump into an uncle and some cousins of mine onboard who we had never met before. They had the same great idea as us. It was just amazing. Also, the buffet onboard and the food in general was so so good. 

My mum was the one who planned it all, and she said it was super low-stress and convenient to be able to organise a fun trip for the whole family via a cruise. Now, we're all planning another similar cruise and next time I'm definitely going to try the relaxing Cloud 9 Spa with massages and facials. 

Overall, given the activities we did and what was included, it was great value for money for us as a big family.


Laura – Fiji.

Last year we took our first family holiday to Fiji, and we all agreed it was the most amazing place. As soon as we arrived at the airport, we loved how friendly and welcoming the Fijians were. We loved how our kids were always spoken to and considered – it immediately felt like a real family destination. 

Castaway Island was like something out of a fairytale, turquoise waters and white sand. The activities for kids were next level – we barely saw them. In the morning we snorkelled or took the kayaks out onto the calm waters, then in the afternoon while the kids played, we visited the adults-only pool and cocktail bar with friends. The food was delicious and all tastes were catered to. We were all so sad to leave and have already booked to go back in 2024.

Image: Supplied. 


Olivia – Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is absolutely gorgeous and is the perfect mix of relaxation and culture. One thing that stands out to me is that the locals are so friendly and welcoming, and they'll go out of their way to make sure you have a great time. Snorkelling is a must-do. I have never seen such crystal-clear water in my life and so much sea life, but the highlight for me was the Matevulu Blue Hole, a freshwater swimming hole in the middle of a forest. I would also recommend hiking to Millennium Cave, where you can check out a waterfall. There is so much to do in Vanuatu, whether you want to relax by the pool or explore the island, you will have an amazing time.

Michelle – Airlie Beach.

I feel like I should be an ambassador for Airlie Beach. My partner and I are firmly in the camp that it’s got to be one of the best, most laid back spots we’ve ever been to (in our own backyard) to unwind with the ocean basically as the soundtrack (I’m painting a picture here people!). It’s just north of Mackay in Queensland, and a stone’s throw from the Great Barrier Reef and (of course) the bay out to the Whitsunday islands. We’ve been a few times over the years and MUST recommend if anyone’s headed there, to make room for Heart Reef, because seeing this from a plane is… incredible; Conway National Park for the beautiful coves tucked away; Airlie Beach Festival of Music as it’s a certified vibe; and sleeping under the stars in a swag-type situation on the water with a company called Reefsleep. Unforgettable.


Alisa – Mystery Island.

Mystery Island is my go-to holiday destination for a tropical break. It's a small, secluded island surrounded by crystal-clear waters and some of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen (what more could you want?).

Even though the island is small, there are plenty of things to enjoy, such as quaint bars, great seafood restaurants, and plenty of amazing reefs to snorkel. I also loved that you could walk around the island and see it all without having to drive anywhere. If you're looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, you should book a trip to Mystery Island (you can thank me later). 

Liz – The Great Barrier Reef. 

The Great Barrier Reef is the most stunning place I have ever been to. It is easy to see why it is one of the world's natural wonders. In my opinion, the best way to see the reef is by scuba diving. I got to see some of the most spectacular, untouched, and colourful coral reefs. I also got to swim with turtles and so many cute little fish. The Great Barrier Reef is a truly special place – right here in our backyard. I can’t wait to go back.

Image: Supplied. 


Phoebe – Lifou.

I love a holiday that involves sunny days, great beaches, and plenty of time to relax. A few years ago, I went to Lifou with my family on a Carnival Cruise and it was by far my most memorable holiday. Lifou has everything I love: beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and friendly locals. We spent our days exploring the island, hiking, and swimming. We also visited the local villages and learned a bit about the island's culture. If you're looking for a warm, tropical destination with unreal nature – I highly recommend visiting Lifou.

Now after hearing about all of these fabulous destinations, I think a holiday is in order. 

Anyone else keen on a low-stress South Pacific cruise with Shannen's family?

Carnival is the world's most popular cruise line, thanks to the 5 million people who choose fun onboard every year! See what all the fun is about, by booking a South Pacific Cruise.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line is the World’s Most Popular Cruise Line®. Sailing from Sydney and Brisbane, Carnival is designed with fun in mind and featuring over 45 activities to enjoy each day, Carnival offers families and couples fun, memorable holidays at great value.