For familes lucky enough to be living in the wonderful country that is Australia, there is no shortage of kid-friendly spots to take the little (and larger!) ones. From the best playgrounds in the land to idyllic campgrounds, city delights to awe-inspiring natural getaways, here is a run-down of our 40 favourite Australian family holiday destinations.
1. Jenolan Caves, NSW
Featuring kilometres of spectacular caves, underground rivers and crystal formations, this is a day out that is sure to leave the kids bursting at the seams with excitement. The ‘no-parents-allowed’ kids tour is sure to be a hit.
2. The Gold Coast, Queensland
It may be oversized, overhyped and a little tacky, but a theme park experience is worth trying with the kids at least once. The Gold Coast has a plethora to pick from, but the waterslides are our favourite!
3. The Bibbulman Track, WA
Thinking about getting into bush walking with the kids? With specially constructed (and free!) walking huts, The Bibbulman is a great place to try your hand at multi-day hiking with the family.
4. Sydney Harbour, NSW
Show the kids the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and other iconic wonders of our biggest city from the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour. No need for pricey cruises- catch a public ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo and back and take in the sights from the deck.
5. Mt Panorama Motor Racing Circuit, Bathurst, NSW
A drive around this iconic raceway is the stuff of boys’ dreams.
6. The Murray River, SA
Squeeze in a little history and geography education with a trip to Australia’s biggest river system. Mannum in SA has many cheap accommodation options, is easy to get to, and abounds in beautiful houseboat and river steamer eye-candy.
7. Monash Adventure Park, SA
One of the biggest free playgrounds in the country and full of crazy, fast, bendy slides and mazes, this is one that can be just as much fun for parents.
8. Scitech Discovery Centre, WA
If you’re travelling to Perth with kids in tow, be sure to check out its interactive science museum and planetarium. Its popular with locals on the weekend, so visit during the week to avoid the queues.
9. The Great Barrier Reef, QLD
This is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms, and what a great spot to introduce the children to the amazing world under the water. Snorkelling trips are an option for older kids, while smaller ones can get an eye-opener by riding in a glass bottom boat.
10. Australia Zoo, QLD
Potentially one of the most hyped-up family destinations in Australia, and surprisingly, it never disappoints.
11. Monkey Mia, WA
Monkey Mia’s prime attraction is its bottlenose dolphins which come right up to the shore for a feed.
12. Kuranda, QLD
If you are put off by the sheer quantity of four-wheel driving and preparation it takes to venture into the heart of the Daintree, Kuranda may be safer bet. With a variety of family-friendly walks nearby and a cable car and railway from which to see the sights, Kuranda will give your kids a taste of the tropical rainorest without the headaches.
13. Coober Pedy, SA
Children seem to have an inexplicable fascination for digging tunnels and hideaways. So could there possibly be a better place to fire up young imagainatons than Coober Pedy? In addition to being the opal capital o the world, it is renowned for its ‘dugouts’, or underground houses.
14. Broome, WA
Warm weather, white sandy beaches and camel rides make this a popular family- friendly holiday destination.
15. Uluru, NT
World heritage listed and home to an abundance of springs, ancient paintings, caves and magical aboriginal stories that your children will be all the richer for having experienced.
16. The Valley of the Giants, WA
Who says Australia doesn’t have towering forests? Let your children be humbled by nature and the massive tingle trees that grow here.
17. Yallingup Caves, WA
You can’t go wrong with caves when travelling with kids, and the Leeuwin Naturalist Ridge has 150 highly decorated limestone caves lying below the surface.
18. Rottnest Island, WA
Surprisingly, there is some of the best snorkelling in the country to be found here, thanks to the warm Leeuwin current. Top that off with super cute quokkas that inhabit the island, and its a child’s dream holiday.
19. Wadlata Outback Centre, SA
With an abundance of museums, informational centres and exhibits around the country, they can slowly start to feel like one and the same, especially if you’ve visited more than a few on your family road trip. Wadlata Outback Centre is a breath of fresh air, with fascinating exhibits on life in the outback and indigenous folklore. No yawns from the kids in this exciting place!
20. The Coorong Peninsula, SA
You probably wouldn’t know it, but the lagoon ecosystem known as the Coorong is just as ecologically diverse asthe much lauded Kakadu National Park. Without the crocs!
21. Blue Mountains, NSW
Have the kids ever heard of a dinosaur tree (Wollemi pine)? The fascinating story of its discovery will reel them in, ready for a close encounter with a real lie specimen during a visit to the spectacular Blue Mountains.
22. The Guy Fawkes National Park, NSW
If you are tired of the well-trodden school holiday circuit and itching to get away from it all, here is wilderness at its best. Ditch the car and grab the hiking boots to walk this spectacular section of the Bicentennial National Trail. After a long, challenging day of hiking, the kids will relish the chance to camp out in a stockmen’s hut, see wild brumbies and splash around in the crystal clear Guy Fawkes river.
23. Coochie Mudlow, QLD
Coochie Mudlow is only a stone’s throw rom Brisbane and is cheap as chips to get to. With 4km of safe, sandy beaches and hundreds of soldier crabs scurrying along the sand at low tide, get ready for squeals of excitement.
24. Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, NT
Kids tend to love the charm and mystique of night markets, and with a variey of multicultural stalls and food options, Mindill beach is one of the best.
25. Queen Mary Falls, QLD
While the 40m Queen Mary Falls in the Main Range National Park are spectacular in their own right, the real attraction for kids is the caravan park across the road, where hundreds of king parrots and crimson rosellas gather to be fed. They are so tame, they will land on your arm, head or shoulders, and often all at once!
26. Greens Pool, WA
This is a turquoise-blue natural ocean lagoon located in Western Australia’s William Bay National Park. This pristine swimming spot is filled with rocks just perfect for safely practising bombies, jumps or dives, making it heaven on a stick or kids.
27. The Gloucester Tree, WA
At 72 metres in height, This giant Karri is the world’s second tallest fire lookout tree. Ascending the 153 metal spokes to reach the top is the perfect challenge for adventurous teens. Just remind them that they need to be able to get back down again!
28. Seal Bay Conservation Park, SA
Seal Bay is located on Kangaroo Island and is home to the third largest Australian sea-lion colony. A guided tour will allow children to safely experience the feeling of getting up close and personal with these majestic creatures.
29. Florence Falls, NT
Ever taken the kids swimming under a waterfall? The perfect spot to try it is here at this spectacular double waterfall, cascading into a natural swimming pool amongst the monsoon forest.
30. Cape Le Grand National Park, WA
Quite possibly the whitest sand and clearest blue water in all of the country. If you camp at Lucky Bay, there is a good chance of seeing kangaroos on the beach!
31. Katherine Hot Springs, NT
In recent years, this has been transformed from a simple hole in the river bed to a well-thought out recreational area that is perfect for familes.
32. Crocosaurus Cove, NT
In the minds of many kids, a visit to the top end isn’t complete without a bona-fide croc sighting. Tick this off the bucket list the safe way by a visiting Crocosaurus Cove in the heart of Darwin city.
33. Tesselated Pavement, TAS
Located on the Tasman Peninsula near Eaglehawk neck, this geographical phenomenon will amaze and baffle even the most jaded of little travellers. Once they’ve had enough of puzzling over the strange rock tessellations, there is a myriad of tiny wildlife to be observed in the crooks and crannies.
34. Old Hobart Town Model Village, TAS
Children love all things miniature, and this model village which accurately depicts life in 1820s Hobart is educational as well as plain good fun.
35. Mt Isa Rodeo, QLD
Pack the cowboy boots and don the Akubra for the largest rodeo in the southern hemisphere. For many, travelling with children is about trying out a variety off different experiences that can’t be had at home, and the atmosphere at Mt Isa rodeo really is one of a kind!
36. The Australian National Maritime Museum
Tackling Sydney with kids can get expensive, but the Australian National Maritime Museum is both free AND fascinating.
37. The Victorian High Country, Victoria
Only a day’s drive from Melbourne, the Victorian High Country is prime territory for snow ball fights and snow man building. In summer, the kids can try their hands at horse-riding, fishing, or cycling the rail trails.
38. Middle Lagoon, WA
Located approximately 175km Broome, Middle Lagoon is a popular safe swimming and fishing location for travelling families. You can even choose to rent a shack on the beach. Have the kids help build a campfire to warm them up after an evening swim. Paradise!
39. Wilpenda Pound, SA
Even children will appreciate the magical, mystical atmosphere that pervades this place. Located 279km north of Adelaide, the pound is a natural amphitheatre of mountains and an important feature of local indigenous history.
40. The Melbourne Museum, Victoria
As the largest museum in the southern hemisphere and with a specially dedicated children’s gallery, this is a day out that is sure to please.
41. Wave Lagoon, NT
Popular with territorians and visitors alike, the Lagoon is a great way to give the kids some relief from the Darwin heat and humidity.
42. Newfarm Park, QLD
With huge Moreton Bay Figs that Brisbane does best and a treehouse-like fort playground, this is a young climber’s paradise.
43. Tambourine Mountain, QLD
Kids can satiate their appetite for all things sparkly or glittering at the glowworm caves, or spark their imaginations by mining for thunderbird eggs (geode-like rock crystals).
44. The Bloomfield Track, QLD
A road trip never to forget! Traversing the Daintree Rainforest, the Bloomfield Track is one of the most scenic four-wheel drives in Australia. And with multiple creek crossings and steep climbs, it is surely an adventurous one at that!
45. Scienceworks, Victoria
One of the most interactive and engaging museums in the country, Melbourne’s Scienceworks is sure to delight every young science enthusiast.
What are your favourite places in Australia to visit with kids?