1. Beautiful Bariloche. Bariloche sits in the foothills of the Andes in Patagonia’s Lake District. The architecture here is a reflection of the early settlers to the region – mainly Austrian, German and Slovenians. In the town square you’ll invariably find a few St Bernard dogs waiting to pose for a photo with you (for a small fee).
Before heading out into the surrounding wilderness be sure to grab some chocolate and ice cream from Bariloche’s so-called Street of Chocolate Dreams, Mitre Street – the chocolatest street in the world.
2. Kayaking with Kawen Adventures. Out in the Patagonian wilderness (and not too far away from the chocolate shops) there is a wide range of outdoor activities to wear out the kids with. We head off with expert guides from the Kawen Adventure Company for a walk through the forest before jumping into kayaks on one of the many surrounding lakes.
The other activities on offer around Bariloche include horse riding and mountain bike trail rides.
Bariloche’s Beer. For the Dads out there – Bariloche happens to be the micro-brewery capital of South America, with 14 micro breweries nearby. Ask your hotel about baby-sitting facilities. We found an awesome little brewery directly opposite our hotel – less than a stone’s throw.
3. The great Llao Llao Hotel. After a trip up the Campanario Hill Chairlift to take in the magnificent view, check in for dinner at this grand old hotel, built in 1938 at the very start of tourism to this area. It sits in possibly the most scenic spot in the Lake District, where Lakes Nahuel Huapi and Moreno meet, with a backdrop of Mount Lopez.
4. Villa de Angastura. A few hours drive from Bariloche, this lakeside mountain retreat is worth visiting if just for the views of the lake and its mountainous backdrop. Take a ferry to the Arrayan Forest in Los Arrayanes National – said to have inspired Walt Disney’s original illustrations for Bambi. You can opt for a short 500m walk along the board walk, or take 2-3 hours and walk balk to town along a coastal track.
Malbec in Mendoza. Okay maybe not for the kids, but you can’t exactly come to Argentina without sampling the wine. With around 1500 wineries, Mendoza is the largest wine producing region in Latin America – and the highest altitude wine region in the world. We stayed at Bodega Salentein, one of the largest, with gorgeous villa accommodation and the most expansive vineyards I’ve ever seen.
5. Riding with a real Goucho. What better way to explore the Andes than on horseback? Our Goucho guide, who speaks no English and wears a poncho and wide-brim hat, takes us on an ambling trail ride through vineyards and forests.
Our accommodation in Mendoza is an authentic Argentine villa, La Tapera, with horses and various farm animals wandering around the garden and a polo field, all framed by the Andes mountain range. Beautiful.
Aerolineas fly direct to Buenos Aires from Sydney.
More information: destinationargentina.com