Take a handful of endless beaches, a large helping of year-round sunshine, a sprinkle of exotic wildlife, and a dash of national parks, and you have a recipe for an unforgettable family holiday in Australia.
Australia strikes the ideal balance between being adventurous and family-friendly. You’ll find plenty of things to do in the great outdoors to keep the whole gang smiling.
Here are some of the best places to go and things to do for families traveling in Australia.
Broome is a land of crocs, camels, and the magnificent Cable Beach. Adventure-loving kids will thrive on the long strip of sand where they can let their energy run unchecked all day. From dawn to dusk, you’ll be able to indulge into the wild Western Australian landscapes.
· Take a camel ride down the beach at sunset.
· Head to the beach at low tide – around this time, more than half a mile of white sand is exposed and the shallow waters are ideal for smaller children.
· Hunt for prehistoric dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point. Even if you don’t find any, the backdrop of red cliffs is spectacular.
2. Byron Bay
The laid-back vibe and gentle waves in Byron Bay are perfect for families looking to unwind. Long evening walks with sandy feet and melting ice cream cones will help you slow down and savor the small things.
· Take the tribe for a stroll along the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk.
· Go on a sea kayaking tour to Cape Byron’s Marine National Park and see dolphins and whales frolicking in the water.
· Have a beach day and relax!
· Grab a seat by the beach at sunset and watch the fire-twirlers after a day of sea-themed fun.
The far North of Queensland is a tropical delight for families. Cairns makes a great base for exploring the area’s natural beauty.
· Cairns is the ideal location to launch an expedition to the wondrous underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the best activities for a family adventure vacation. Snorkel at the largest reef system in the world and glide through the kaleidoscope colors of thousands of different fish.
· The Cairns Laguna is a prime spot in summer. As well are the artificial beach and warm water. There are playgrounds, swings, and fountains scattered along the Cairns Esplanade, making this the go-to hangout for families with young children.
· The Daintree Rainforest is a lush green escape from city life. Here you can inspire the whole family to get active as you stroll under the shady canopy of the oldest rainforest in the world.
· For kids who would prefer to explore the wet tropics without walking, you can’t beat the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for views. The cableway runs for nearly five miles above the Barron Gorge National Park, with panoramic views the entire way.
Sydney will probably be either the start or end point for your family holiday in Australia, so it only makes sense to embrace this vast, vibrant city. There are plenty of things to do in Sydney to keep both kids and adults busy.
· Go on a ferry trip around Sydney Harbour for the best views of the city. The whole family will stare goggle-eyed at iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
· Pack a picnic and go for a stroll in the Botanical Gardens, right in the heart of the city. From here you’ll get landlubber’s view of the harbor.
· Cycle along Manly Beach, stopping off at one of the beachside cafes along the way. Then top the day off with dinner at one of the restaurants on Manly Wharf, overlooking Sydney Harbour.
· A day trip to one of Sydney’s fabulous museums is a great way to sneak some education into your family holiday – try the Australian National Maritime Museum or The Rocks Discovery Museum.
5. Hobart and Surrounds
Head to the island state for the ultimate four-wheel drive adventure opportunity. Tasmania’s rugged landscapes and pristine beaches are the perfect settings for a family road trip.
· Start things off in Hobart, where you can spend a few days pottering through the waterfront Salamanca market or visiting the Museum of Old and New Art, before hitting the road and traveling the heritage highway up to Launceston.
· Stop in small towns such as Evandale and Campbell Town, where you can snap photos in front of convict-built bridges and Georgian architecture.
· For an extra dash of adventure, detour to Freycinet National Park and hike to Wineglass Bay.
6. Kangaroo Island
Pile the whole family into the car and take the car ferry across to Kangaroo Island, just south of Adelaide. Whether it is sandboarding down dunes, feeding pelicans, spotting seals, or hopping over the Remarkable Rocks, you’ll find dozens of ways to spend the day working up an appetite for fish and chips on the beach at sunset.
· There are plenty of opportunities for wildlife encounters on Kangaroo Island – go on a safari to see sea-lions, dolphins, echidnas, and even eagles! One must-see spot is the Seal Bay Conservation Park, home to the largest sea-lion colony in Australia.
· For a good day of walking, visit Flinders Chase National Park. You can trek to Admiral’s Arch and the Remarkable Rocks for some of the best photo ops on the island.
The far north of Australia is a hot, fascinating wilderness. Facing the Timor Sea, Darwin feels worlds apart from the rest of Australia, while still being uniquely Australian.
· Take a trip to Kakadu National Park, where you can discover prehistoric Aboriginal paintings, an incredible diversity of plants and animals (including mighty saltwater crocs), and scenery that encompasses wetlands and sandstone escarpments. There are also plenty of (croc-free) swimming holes where you can cool down.
· Wave Lagoon in Darwin or Litchfield National Park are also fantastic spots for splashing around and beating the humidity in Darwin’s wet season.
· In the evenings, kick back at the open air Deckchair Cinema in Darwin.
♠ This article is brought to you in Collaboration with Travel – Wise | Written by Petrina Darrah
♠ Photography by Woody World Packer