Rottnest Island, Western Australia © Rottnest Island Authority
Top family destinations in Australia
With its natural beauty and laidback lifestyle, Australia is the perfect playground for families.
The sandstone ridges of the Grampians, three hours west of Melbourne, offer family-friendly adventure alongside a sophisticated food and wine scene. Kangaroos and emus roam the quiet bushland, while adrenaline-inducing activities will turn the mountain range into your personal playground. Test your strength on a rock climbing session, be immersed in Aboriginal culture at Brambuk and paddle canoes on Lake Bellfield.
With beautiful coastal walks, Aboriginal tours and wildlife experiences available right in the heart of the city, Sydney is the perfect spot to balance coastal adventures with cultural immersion. Kids and teens alike will love surfing, snorkelling and soaking up the vibes on any of Sydney's beautiful beaches. Create unforgettable memories as you ferry across the harbour and climb the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
With its world-class museums (many of which have experiences just for kids) and a buzzy dining scene, Australia’s capital city of Canberra is an ideal getaway for culture-lovers of all ages. The city’s compact size and proximity to nature make it easy for families to hop between award-winning cultural institutions and thrilling outdoor adventures on the same day. Go hot air ballooning, cycle beautiful bike trails, or spend the day on Lake Burley Griffin.
A family trip to Cairns is all about sharing the magic of one of the world’s greatest wonders – the Great Barrier Reef. Start your adventure with a splash around in the Cairns Lagoon before heading out for a snorkel above the colourful coral. There's plenty to do between Cairns, Kuranda and Port Douglas, so having a flexible itinerary is ideal. Spot crocodiles in the Daintree Rainforest, take a train to see waterfalls and ignite a true love of nature.
Queensland’s Gold Coast is known as the ultimate family beach getaway. You’ll find a beguiling mix of things to do with the kids, from dining and culture to adventure and nature experiences – all alongside 57km (35mi) of white, sandy beaches. Visit Australia’s biggest selection of theme parks, meet native animals at a wildlife sanctuary and explore World Heritage-listed rainforests in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Dazzling white sand beaches and a range of laidback accommodation have seen Rottnest Island become one of Western Australia’s most beloved family escapes. On arrival, do as the locals do and hire bicycles. A car-free zone, ‘Rotto’ is a wonderfully safe place for little ones to roam on two wheels, while older kids will appreciate having the freedom to explore the island’s 63 beaches. The island is also home to one of Australia’s cutest animals, the quokka. These adorable marsupials make for great holiday photos.
Boasting dramatic wilderness and exciting cities, Tasmania has a lot to offer families. You can explore Hobart with the family, or take off in a campervan to discover the Wilderness World Heritage area that awaits to the west. Time seems to stand still as you explore hiking trails, spot wildlife and admire a sky full of stars. Give your legs a rest as you take in the scenery from a historic train, a boat cruise or a rafting adventure.
Off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island is a natural playground combining fresh local food, stunning scenery and easy access to nature. You're likely to see more kangaroos than cars here, making it perfect for families. Stroll the beaches where sea lions snooze or join a tour to swim with wild dolphins. Kids can scramble over unique rock formations or glide down the sand dunes of Little Sahara on a toboggan. For something a bit more calming, visit a lavender or honey farm to taste some of the foodie delights the island has to offer.
At roughly half the size of Switzerland, Kakadu National Park is both vast and spectacular – a gem for families to explore just three hours from Darwin. You can spot wildlife, admire rock art galleries, explore waterholes and learn about Aboriginal cultures from the land's Traditional Custodians (the Bininj/Mungguy people). Exploring such a wild, remote place has an impact on everyone who visits; expect to leave with a renewed connection to nature and to each other.