Five Great Family Holidays in Australia
Whether you're looking for an adventure holiday, a beachside holiday or something completely out of the ordinary for your next family vacation, Australia has it and so much more. With such diverse topography, climate and history,
Australia is a veritable wonderland of holiday opportunities, with so much on offer no-one could possibly see it all in a lifetime. No matter what your budget, time frame or holiday preferences there's a plethora of amazing destinations within Australia waiting to be explored.
Byron Bay, located on the far North Eastern corner of New South Wales, has been a popular holiday destination for many years and attracts thousands of both local and international tourists annually. Popular with backpackers, families, the rich and famous and everything in between, Byron really does have something for everyone. Spectacular coastline and beaches are the main drawcard of the area, although the inland hinterland area is also growing in popularity. The Bryon Bay Lighthouse is the most Eastern Point in Australia and visitors can enjoy an ice cream while enjoying the spectacular views and watching the nimble native mountain goats navigate the steep cliffs of the headland with surprising ease.
During whale migration seasons, the playful humpback and sperm whales can be seen breaching on their way up or down the coast. Local restaurants specialize in fresh, local produce with a range of cuisines to rival any major city. The surf breaks throughout the region have a reputation for great waves and the beaches are all patrolled providing safe swimming for children. The local pub is child friendly with an outside beer garden/bistro suitable for families and offering a kid’s menu at reasonable prices. Accommodation in Byron Bay is plentiful with camping for the budget conscious, luxury hotels and resorts for those wanting to splurge and many residents taking advantage of the area's popularity by renting out their private homes for holiday rentals, ideal for families. If you like to avoid the crowds booking some Ballina accommodation is a great option or the even quieter Bungalow in the hinterland should also be considered.
The Gold Coast will always be one of the most popular family destinations due to its abundance of theme parks. Sea World, Movie World, Dream World, Wet 'n' Wild World and White-Water World are all within a short drive of Surfers Paradise and all offer an exciting day of fun for families with children of all ages. Along with the theme parks, the Gold Coast is located on a very pretty stretch of coastline with long white beaches and pristine sparkling water, and its warm climate allows for swimming almost year-round. There are a number of other attractions aimed at families and children including a wax museum, Crumbing Wildlife Sanctuary, Infinity World (a psychedelic, futuristic, maze-like world), mini putt, Ripley's Believe it or Not and the list goes on... and on! There are more restaurants, cafes and bistros in the Gold Coast than you can poke a stick at and the competition ensures that the quality of food remains high.
Families can enjoy pizza, fish and chips or hamburgers or splurge and enjoy some fine dining. For families looking for some thrills, there is zorbing (giant blow-up balls you can jump inside and roll down a hill in), a full day stunt academy, Kart racing and a jet flight simulator. For something different visit Thunderbird Park, amazing wildlife and geological oasis with the longest and highest adventure rope course in Australia. Horse trailing, bush walking and laser skirmish are other activities available in the park. Accommodation in the Gold Coast is almost limitless and the high amount of competition makes it very affordable. There are a number of family resorts throughout the coast along with campsites, luxury hotels and motels. Mermaid Waters accommodation is very family oriented and slightly removed from the 'nightclub' district of the Gold Coast.
If you're the sort of family who likes a lower key holiday, Lake Macquarie is only a short drive from Sydney but a world away from the hustle and bustle. The largest coastal saltwater lake in Australia, Lake Macquarie offers a huge range of water sports including fishing, water skiing, swimming, surfing, wakeboarding, kayaking and boating. If this isn't enough to keep you occupied there are also indoor activities such as ten pin bowling, ice skating and cinemas.
Horse riding, Go Karts and bike hire are other great family activities available in the area. Lake Macquarie accommodation is well priced and there is a good range of family-friendly options ranging from camping to good value motels and holiday lettings.
Similar to Lake Macquarie but this time only a short drive from Melbourne, Sale in Victoria is located on the vast coastal Gippsland Lakes which feed into the ocean at Lakes Entrance. Sale is an ideal holiday destination for families who enjoy the great outdoors. Surrounded by National Park that is home to spectacular Rainforest, Wet Lands and nature walks, Sale is also rich in water sports. The large lake system is ideal for sailing and boating activities, swimming, kayaking and swimming and nearby Lakes Entrance has beautiful stretches of great surf beaches.
The Tarra Valley Rainforest Walk meanders through lush fern glades, beneath towering ancient mountain ash trees and is home to spectacular lyrebirds and an abundance of other native wildlife. The Wetlands walk takes you through a completely different environment with freshwater marshes and an enormous array of birdlife visible from the winding timber walkways. Again, Sale Victoria accommodation is very family friendly and varied and offers something for every budget and style of traveller.
Wooli Wooli River, NSW
Wooli is practically an island – a three-kilometer-long finger of land surrounded by the Pacific on one side and the glorious Wooli Wooli River on the other. And so naturally this is a beach town with saltwater in its veins. Incidentally, this section of coastline forms the northern sector of the Solitary Islands Marine Park which protects the estuaries, beaches and islands (from Sandon River to Coffs Harbour), so the ecosystem here is particularly healthy.
The Wooli Beach stretches north to Wilson’s Head and is 4WD accessible.
The beach ends abruptly at the break wall that herds the Wooli Wooli River out to sea, and this southern corner is where a lot of the action happens: Fishing off the wall, surfing the beach breaks, 4WD access, Marine Rescue HQ, wooli holiday house rentals and fishing boats crossing the bar.