Nowhere else in the world will you find such an incredible mix of unique outdoor adventures, fascinating cultural activities, child-friendly museums and opportunities to experience nature first-hand. So, why spend thousands on overseas airfares when you have endless options right here at home?
Australia is such a vast and varied country that it is nearly impossible to pick only 6 activities to name as the "best" for families, but the ones listed below are likely to be on almost anyone's list. Not only do most involve pursuits you cannot experience anywhere else, but they also appeal to a wide range of ages, interests and abilities.
You simply cannot miss a holiday to the only natural phenomenon that can be viewed from outer space. The Great Barrier Reef offers one of the best opportunities in the world to see a living, evolving ecosystem right before your eyes. Located in Northeast Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is over 1,300 miles long and is made up of hundreds of islands. The best way to see the more than 2,400 varieties of coral and thousands of species of fish, plants and aquatic animals is from the water itself. Manmade "reef platforms," often with semi-submerged viewing observatories and easy access into the water offer even the youngest children access to the beauty and wonder of the reef. For a more in-depth experience, families can choose from a wide variety of daily or overnight boat tours that visit multiple islands, allowing older children the chance to snorkel or even scuba dive.
One of the best places to immerse your family in Aboriginal culture and history is in Cairns, in Northern Queensland. The Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Centre was built to give visitors up-close and personal access to Aboriginal art, music, dance, storytelling and artefacts. Visitors can enjoy live performances, eat native foods, and walk through a beautiful landscape. This is a wonderful opportunity for your kids to get a better understanding of our indigenous culture and have fun at the same time.
There's so much for families to do in Sydney that it could comprise a "top six" list on its own. Many of Sydney's sights and activities are either free or inexpensive, making them particularly attractive for single parent travel - and single parent families on a budget! Furthermore, they are easy to complete in a couple of hours or less, allowing you time to fit in meals, naptimes and shopping along the way. Here are some of the best things for families to do in Sydney:
Animal lovers have a lot to see in Australia. Our country may be famous for its koala bears and kangaroos, but there are many lesser-known, but equally fascinating species here as well.
There are many options that can be experienced in a single day or even an afternoon. If your family wants to see native animals, here are some of the best ways to experience them:
Almost any activity in Australia includes some sort of encounter with nature, but there are certain experiences that promise to immerse families in the wild beauty unique to the country. A great day trip in Queensland is a visit to the rainforests around Cairns, which can be experienced on foot or via Skyrail. The incredible Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory is like nothing else in the world. Older children may wish to climb to the top, while younger ones will likely be content to walk around the base. For a true "nature" experience, Tasmania offers bush walking tours, sea kayaking and wonderful wildlife sanctuaries, complete with walking trails.
A day at the beach is the perfect way for families of all ages to unwind and relax. For surfers, the Gold Coast (Queensland) offers excellent waves. Sydney's Bondi Beach, although often crowded, is near great restaurants and many Sydney attractions. Other top family friendly beaches in Australia include Main Beach in Queensland, Forrester's Beach, about an hour from Sydney, and Henley Beach in South Australia.
The best part about exploring Australia is that nearly all of its attractions and experiences are outdoors and "hands-on". Families of all ages can enjoy an active holiday full of learning, adventure and new experiences.
Kristy Alexander is a frugal mum and freelance travel writer for HotelClub. When she's on holidays with her family she loves to stay at the Wyndham Surfers Paradise or the Vibe Hotel on the Gold Coast.
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