Australia Day special – our favourite Australian destinations

Our family has been lucky enough to experience some wonderful Aussie holidays.

So on Australia Day, I wanted to share a picture post of some of our favourite holiday destinations around Australia.

This list is by no means inconclusive and there are many area we are yet to travel, including the NSW North Coast and the Northern Territory. Are any of your favourites on the list?

North-West Coast, Tasmania

Sisters Beach is one of the stunning beaches you can discover on Tasmania's North West Coast.
Sisters Beach is one of the stunning beaches you can discover on Tasmania’s North West Coast.

If you take the time to spend a few days in this often forgotten part of Tasmania, you will discover some beautiful beaches, including Sisters Beach, east of Wynyard. Some of the North-West Coast beaches also have rivers running into the sea, providing lovely swimming spots for families with young children.

Mission Beach, Queensland

The view across to Dunk Island from our accommodation at Wongaling Beach, part of the Mission Beach region.
The view across to Dunk Island from our accommodation at Wongaling Beach, part of the Mission Beach region.

We visited this region for the first time last year and were blown away by its beauty and the range of things to do. From the beach bar at Dunk Island, to seeing a cassowary at Etty Bay – not to mention the beautiful fruit and vegies purchased from local roadside stalls.

Melbourne, Victoria

Any family visiting Melbourne during footy season should experience a game. Go Doggies.
Any family visiting Melbourne during footy season should experience a game. Go Doggies.

Melbourne is a popular destination for families, with the many attractions supplemented by wonderful parks and gardens to visit too. But if you holiday during the AFL season, you have to experience the thrill of a footy match. If you don’t have your own team, choose a team and go for it!

Mossman Gorge, Queensland

Learning body art on the Dreamtime Walking tour at Mossman Gorge.
Learning body art on the Dreamtime Walking tour at Mossman Gorge.

When visiting the Tropical North, it is worthwhile making the trip to Mossman to experience Mossman Gorge (note, visitors to the gorge need to park at the visitor’s centre and catch and shuttle bus). On our last visit, we paid extra for the Dreamtime walk. This more personalised experience allowed us to learn of the Dreamtime stories and local Kuku Yalanji culture and traditions.

The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

On the Great Barrier Reef, you can visit the outer reef, but coral cay island experiences offer an option that can be more enjoyable for younger children.
On the Great Barrier Reef, you can visit the outer reef, but coral cay island experiences offer an option that can be more enjoyable for younger children.

What I love about visiting the Great Barrier Reef is that you can tailor your experience to the age of your children (albeit, all options are pretty expensive). We visited the Low Isles when our children were younger and in September last year, decided on a Frankland Islands tour. This allowed Mr 13 to snorkel with his Dad amongst the fish and turtles, while Miss 10 (who is not as confident in the water) could stay close to the edge of the island with me. There was also an island walk with lovely lunch (fresh prawns anyone?)

The Murray River, NSW and Victoria

Lake Mulwala on the Murray was quite eerie last winter when it was drained of water for structural works at the weir.
Lake Mulwala on the Murray was quite eerie last winter when it was drained of water for structural works at the weir.

There are so many different experiences on offer around the Murray River, from high country bush in the East, to desert in the West. Our family loves the annual Rutherglen Winery Walkabout. It is in the middle of the year and although usually cold, clear days usually prevail. You can tailor your visit to family friendly wineries. And don’t miss out on a stop at the Corowa Whiskey and Chocolate, where children can make their own giant freckle.

Rainbow Beach, Queensland

Carlo Sand Blow at Rainbow Beach - your kids will love it. And the sunset is just gorgeous.
Carlo Sand Blow at Rainbow Beach – your kids will love it. And the sunset is just gorgeous.

Rainbow Beach is the last town you drive through to access the ferry to the southern end of Fraser Island. It is a bit out of the way, but well worth the detour. It is laid back and no-where near as crowded as the Sunshine Coast beaches to the south. Older children can take a learn to surf class (our group class consisted of my 2 children and a couple of backpackers). And the Carlo Sand Blow has to be seen to be believed. Your kids will love it.

The Gold Coast, Queensland

Even grown-ups like me can have a little make-believe fun at theme parks such as Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.
Even grown-ups like me can have a little make-believe fun at theme parks such as Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

You can’t include a list of family friendly destinations without including  the Gold Coast. All kids love this place. If the theme parks are your destination, I would recommend Movie World or Sea World for younger children and Dreamworld/Whitewater World for older kids.  The Gold Coast has some great walking tracks and playgrounds too.

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

A view from the lighthouse at Aireys Inlet on the Great Ocean Road
A view from the lighthouse at Aireys Inlet on the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is a favourite with Victorian families, as well as national and international tourists. Maybe the hardest decision is where to stay. There are so many beaches to explore, as well as some historical lighthouses to discover. The road officially ends at Warrnambool, which was recently in the spotlight thanks to the movie, Oddball.

Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The Irwin family and keepers keep a close eye on the crocodile during the live show at Australia Zoo.
The Irwin family and keepers keep a close eye on the crocodile during the live show at Australia Zoo.

The Sunshine Coast covers a range of seaside towns, from Caloundra in the south, to Noosa in the North. This area offers a slower paced holiday than its southern counterpart (the Gold Coast) but still has a wide range of tourist and natural attractions, including Australia Zoo. If you can, I recommend splitting your time between a couple of locations, as all have their own special appeal.

Port Albert, Gippsland, Victoria

Walking through the beautiful Tarra Bulga National Park
Walking through the beautiful Tarra Bulga National Park

We discovered Port Albert a few years ago and we all loved it. There are no beaches as such but this small, historic coastal village has its own wharf and jetties. There is a great playground and bike tracks. From here, it is an easy day trip into the stunning Tarra Bulga National Park.

South-West Western Australia

Beautiful Bunker Bay is just one of the spots to discover in South West WA.
Beautiful Bunker Bay is just one of the spots to discover in South West WA.

Now I have to admit I have not taken my children here, but I discovered this corner of Australia during a tourism conference a couple of years ago. The scenery blew me away, but there is also so much for families to do. Popular with visiting families for Perth, it is well worth considering a holiday here from the eastern seaboard. You will not be disappointed.

Phillip Island, Victoria

Phillip Island - just as beautiful, but a lot less crowded, in winter.
Phillip Island – just as beautiful, but a lot less crowded, in winter.

Best known for its nightly parade of fairy penguins returning in the evening after a day at sea, Phillip Island is also a popular escape for Melbourne families. What we love about Phillip Island is that visiting in winter also has its own appeal, with stunning windswept ocean vistas, coupled with great coffee shops.

Rural Australia

Driving through country NSW on the Newell Highway.
Driving through country NSW on the Newell Highway.

Many families tend to focus on our coastal regions. Yes, they are stunning but rural Australia has its own beauty too.

A couple of years ago, we met my parents at Narromine. They had been north for the winter with the caravan and had been heading south again. We went to a local pub, which we learned had links to Banjo Patterson. Not to mention an historic airfield and museum. Such history in the middle of country NSW. Exploring more countryside is on my list!

These are just a handful of places of our favourite Australian holiday destinations. Others than did not make the cut (only because they were taken pre-digital camera when my children were very young and I have not got time to go through my prints and scan them to my computer!) but are absolutely stunning and great for families.

They include the Limestone Coast in South Australia, the Sapphire Coast in NSW and Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. One day we will get to the Northern Territory.

It was my family holidays that took me on the path to create my website to help families find great family friendly holiday accommodation. I spend hours of research for this website, so don’t forget to check it out when planning your next Australian holiday.

So, Happy Australia Day. And when you are next contemplating some time away, remember we have some amazing places to explore. Please feel free to add them to the list in the comments.

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Author: Amanda

Holidays with kids is a changing feast. With more than 12 years now under my belt, I am passing on what I have learned to help other parents plan their family holidays to make them as stress-free as possible.

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