Spending time with Dad is the best gift families can give him – especially if it involves some physical activity and time outdoors, such as a camping getaway.http://www.itb-asia.com/press/media-services/accreditation/

That’s the clear message from research conducted around family wellbeing in the National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health at the Australian National University.

Lead researcher Dr Lyndall Strazdins said research based on the Growing Up in Australia study of 8000 children from birth to adulthood found more than 50 per cent of Australian working fathers (that’s most fathers) feel they are missing out on family events. Nearly a quarter find that work is impacting on the quality of family time they are having.

“And when we ask their children, they are saying that they wish their fathers could spend more time with them, especially on weekends. Anything that gets families to spend more time together is valuable for health and wellbeing – and important for society too,” Dr Strazdins said.

Lack of time away from work led to a raft of social and health problems ranging from chronic diseases and mental health problems among adults and children to gender inequality and a lack of social engagement, she said.

Mobile technology which enables people to work from home is a 2-edged sword because while it provides flexibility to work from home, it is often associated with being more available and always on.

“The evidence is very clear – Australia is no longer the laidback country we think we are. We rank eight for long working hours in the OECD…. We have legislated working hours that almost no one follows. We are incredibly driven,” Dr Strazdins said.

“Half of Australian adults are overweight and it is a growing problem for Australian children – it’s a health catastrophe for the country.

“That’s why holidays are more important than ever. Being outside and active while also spending time together is great for family relationships and it’s a physical and mental booster for adults and kids.

“It’s time for Australians to start having a conversation about the type of society we want to have – how much work is enough and what would a genuine 40-hour week mean for productivity,” she said.

CEO of G’DAY Group Holdings, Grant Wilckens, said holiday parks were the ideal antidote to the super-connected, always-on lifestyle most Australian families were experiencing.

“Camping getaways bring people together and, at our holiday parks, we’re about making camping cool again with resort-style pools, waterparks and play equipment. It doesn’t matter whether you are staying in a deluxe cabin or in a tent, everyone in a holiday park has access to the pools and the jumping pillows and the camp kitchen,” Mr Wilckens said.

“The Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s Real Richness Report finds campers are competitively happier, more satisfied, optimistic and energised then non-campers. Campers are less stressed, bored, frustrated and lonely than non-campers.

“And Fathers’ Day, which heralds the beginning of spring, is the ideal time to start thinking about camping trips. With holiday parks all around Australia, you don’t have to be away for long or to spend a fortune to re-charge your batteries,” Mr Wilckens said.

G’DAY Rewards draws together Australia’s largest network of parks, combining Discovery Parks and Top Parks, with parks in the nation’s most beautiful places.

“Most Discovery Parks and Top Parks also provide a range of activities such as kids’ clubs, movie nights and barbecues, so families don’t even need to leave the park to have a great time.

“The parks have a range of special activities planned for Fathers’ Day and the school holidays from sausage sizzles to park cricket – and from my own experience, it’s those type of moments where family memories are made,” Mr Wilckens said.