Our guide to a family vacation in Australia
Published on: February 19th, 2020
Last modified: July 28th, 2023
With vibrant cities, an incredible underwater world and a whole host of endemic wildlife, Australia is the perfect destination for a luxury family getaway.
From discovering Sydney’s culture and heritage to exploring the Northern Territory’s national parks, this is our guide to a family vacation in Australia.
For culture vultures: Sydney
Behind Sydney’s bustling metropolis, there’s a wealth of options available for kids to get involved in. Start your family journey through Sydney at the city’s harbour, a beautiful world-renowned waterway. A natural playground for swimming, sailing and diving, there’s a wealth of activities here for the whole family to get involved in. To see the photogenic waterway from a different angle, take a ride on one of the city’s many ferries.
Once you’re back on solid ground, explore the Sydney Opera House – catering to younger travellers with a Kids Music Cafe and a variety of shows designed especially for children. Outdoorsy families can indulge in a picnic on the fascinating Cockatoo Island, or take a high-speed catamaran to Manly Beach for a spot of surfing. With everything from culture to adventure on offer, there’s no chance of being bored on a family vacation in Sydney.
For wildlife lovers: Tasmania
Widely known for its vast expanse of unspoiled wilderness and diverse landscapes, Tasmania hosts fascinating endemic species that draw wildlife enthusiasts from far and wide. Home to 19 national parks, the wildlife on offer here is extremely diverse and ranges from forest-dwellers to sea life. This independent island is also great for eco-conscious travellers, with the majority of properties designed with the local environment in mind.
Once you’ve spotted all the wildlife the island has to offer, venture further afield with camping in Freycinet National Park, sea-kayaking around Coles Bay or scaling the treetops at the Tahune Forest AirWalk. Once the sun goes down, meet the island’s ghostly legends on spooky tours of Hobart, Launceston and Port Arthur. For whiling away a rainy day or an opportunity for respite, explore one of Hobart’s educational museums.
For getting back to nature: Darwin & The Top End
Australia’s Top End contains some of the few remaining expanses of genuinely untouched wilderness in the world, a remote haven that abounds with national parks and rugged beauty. Its general isolation from the rest of the country gives it a unique quality, and the area’s plethora of national parks are perfect settings for off the beaten track family escapes.
In Litchfield National Park, kids and adults alike can enjoy splashing under waterfalls whilst in Kakadu National Park, the region’s rich aboriginal heritage really comes to life. Astonishing indigenous rock-art adorns the caves here, but the park is also home to remote swimming holes and an incredible array of birdlife. Further south, the Nitmiluk National Park is perfect for water lovers, with 13 gorges for travellers to kayak and swim around.
For underwater adventures: Great Barrier Reef
One of the great natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is the main draw for any travellers wanting to explore Australia’s underwater world. This awe-inspiring reef is the largest coral reef in the world, home to over 3000 individual reef systems and an incredible wealth of biodiversity. It’s a paradise for animal lovers; 30 species of cetaceans, more than 1500 types of fish and the graceful dugong all call this place home.
For teens, scuba diving is an option but for a more family-friendly excursion, choose to sail the reef in a glass-bottomed boat or take a high-speed catamaran to an inner reef atoll for other-worldly snorkelling. To discover the reef responsibly, there’s also a myriad of ways you can help out local causes. Snap a photo of any manta rays you come across to help out with Project Manta’s research, help tend to sick or injured marine turtles at Mon Repos Turtle Centre or get stuck in at Eco Barge Clean beach clean ups. Tourism has become far better managed in the area too, so visiting the reef in a responsible way might even do it more good than you’d think.