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From tropical islands and native wildlife to unforgettable outback adventures, Australia has a range of excellent family-friendly resorts.
By Sheriden Rhodes
There are hundreds of excellent, high-end and family-friendly experiences on offer in Australia. These 10 resorts will serve up memories that will last a lifetime.
HAMILTON ISLAND, WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS, QUEENSLAND
Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland
In the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, on the coastline between the cities of Brisbane and Cairns, you'll find a string of 74 spectacular islands - the Whitsunday Islands. Their main hub is Hamilton Island, where beautiful beaches, lofty lookouts and a bustling holiday feel are part and parcel of the tropical holiday experience. You'll also find a terrific kid’s club, a wildlife park (where Oprah cuddled a koala named after her), six pools, several different kinds of accommodation and many eateries where kids are welcome. Tours depart daily for the Great Barrier Reef and famous Whitehaven Beach.
SURFERS PARADISE MARRIOTT RESORT AND SPA, GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND
Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort And Spa, Gold Coast, Queensland
Located on Queensland’s glittering Gold Coast, this award-winning resort is Marriott’s flagship Australian property. The 304-room resort boasts five-star family-friendly facilities, fish-filled lagoon pools, cascading waterfalls, water slides, spacious rooms, a hip bar and impressive kids club. The coast’s magnificent beaches and theme parks are close by.
Jamala Lodge, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Australia’s ultimate overnight safari at the National Zoo and Aquarium, located in the nation’s capital city of Canberra, marries luxury lodging with close encounters of the animal kind. Families (with children aged six and over) stay in 18 luxury suites, ranging from giraffe treehouses to jungle bungalows, with the chance to meet many of the world’s most dangerous and endangered species.
On Tasmania’s stunning east coast, this exclusive luxury lodge delivers the best of the Freycinet Peninsula– magnificent beaches, unspoiled wilderness, the freshest of local seafood, produce and wine, seductive suites, guided tours and old fashioned family fun with board games, quoits, kite flying, beach games and bush walks. In 2014, this resort took the number one ranking at the World Boutique Hotel Awards.
ONE&ONLY HAYMAN ISLAND RESORT, WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS, QUEENSLAND
One&Only Hayman Island, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland
Also located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsunday Islands, One&Only Hayman Island is a luxury five-star resort that throws out the welcome mat for families. The private island resort, not far from Hamilton Island, offers two beautiful pools, a palm fringed beach, 160 luxurious and contemporary rooms and suites, kids club, spa, water sports and more.
EMIRATES ONE&ONLY WOLGAN VALLEY RESORT & SPA, BLUE MOUNTAINS, NEW SOUTH WALES
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, Wolgan Valley, New South Wales
With 4,000 jaw-dropping acres of pristine natural wilderness within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area near Sydney, families are in for the eco-adventure of a lifetime at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort. There are junior ranger programs, bikes, field trips in all-terrain vehicles, wombat- and kangaroo-spotting tours, luxurious suites plus a world-class spa and restaurant to boot.
African safari lodge meets pristine World Heritage-listed Kakadu on the Northern Territory’s glorious Mary River floodplains. Families are spoiled with individual safari suites, native and locally sourced produce, and safari expeditions viewing native birds, crocodiles, brumbies, wallabies and buffalo.
With a front-row position overlooking Cable Beach in the pearling township of Broome, this classic five-star resort on the West Australian Coast serves up luxury digs, dramatic sunsets, swaying palms and buckets of outback beach-town charm. Expect stylish accommodation, fine food, two pools and Australia’s first L'Occitane spa. Camel rides are a must!
RAWNSLEY PARK STATION, FLINDERS RANGES, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Rawnsley Park Eco Station, Flinders Ranges, South Australia
Located south of the incredible Wilpena Pound in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, Rawnsley Park offers eco villas and luxurious homestead accommodation, as well as motel, caravan or campsite. Take in magnificent views over Rawnsley Bluff from the onsite Woolshed Restaurant. Outdoors, 4WD tours, mountain biking, bush walking, scenic flights, sheep shearing demonstrations and more are on offer.
Snorkelling at Pinetrees, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales
World heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, a two hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane, has been described by National Geographic as the most beautiful in the Pacific. Tucked between its towering Norfolk Pines is Pinetrees, a gorgeous historic guesthouse and veritable paradise for kids,offering excellent cuisine and exceedingly comfortable, family-friendly rooms. Kids will revel in the untouched environment where bikes are the main mode of transport and wildlife and aquatic life abounds.
‘Paradise' is a word often used to describe World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, which sits in the Tasman Sea, less than two hours' flight from Sydney or Brisbane. Only 400 visitors are allowed at any time, bicycles are the best way to get around and there's no mobile phone reception. Walk the white beaches, snorkel the world's southernmost coral reef and hike through palm forests to the top of Mount Gower. Leave modern stress behind in this natural paradise, while still enjoying modern comforts such restaurants, day spas and luxurious accommodation.
Australia offers a mouthwatering array of must-do items, with coastal or marine experiences at the top of the list. From indulging on islands to getting out of your comfort zone in the sea, here are ten exhilarating ideas dotted along Australia’s coastline to help you get inspired.
With some of the world’s most unique landscapes, a summer picnic is one of the must-do experiences when visiting Australia. This guide reveals some of the country’s best picnic spots and things to do, including some for adventurous travellers and some for those who want a more laid back experience.
Ride a camel along Cable Beach, shop for pearls in Chinatown, see dinosaur footprints and birdwatch in Roebuck Bay, and catch the ‘moon staircase' illusion. Drive the Gibb River Road to Kununurra, stay at El Questro and visit the Bungle Bungle Range in Pernululu National Park.