SIX OF THE BEST AUSTRALIAN DESTINATIONS TO TAKE YOUR FAMILY ON A WEEKENDER
The September school holidays in Australia might be over, but that doesn’t mean parents can’t take their kids on a weekender or two between now and Christmas. Because lets face it, parents are big kids and they also love adventure and exploring. And the best memories are those spent with family, so with summer just around the corner, where will you go and create new memories? With so many stunning, family friendly destinations to choose from in Australia, the choice can get happily overwhelming. To help you decide, I’ve compiled my six of the best Australian destinations that will not only keep the kids entertained but will also let the big kids, aka mum and dad, have a lot of fun too!
#1 LADY ELLIOTT ISLAND, QUEENSLAND Lady Elliot Island is Queensland’s best kept secret, and one of the best diving and snorkelling locations this side of Australia. Famous for its unspoilt coral reef and array of spectacular marine life, Lady Elliot is situated in a tidal lagoon surrounded by a vast reef of living coral. Perfect for families, there is as much or as little on the island for you to explore depending on your pace. You can step off the beach and snorkel, swim or dive to discover an underwater world of brilliantly coloured marine life, or if you feel like chilling out there are plenty of spots to lay down a towel and read a book under the warm sun.
#2 JERVIS BAY, NEW SOUTH WALES Pack the tent, jumble the kids in the car and do a camping weekender in Jervis Bay, New South Wales. A three hour drive south of Sydney, the South Coast is everything and more. The best camping spot is Green Patch (shhh don’t go telling too many people) and offers hot showers, flushable toilets – but no electricity. You’ll need to book in advance as it gets seriously busy during spring and summer, but with Hyams Beach just down the road its easy to see why this family friend spot is popular amongst locals and visitors anytime of the year. With a myriad of hiking trails and untouched beaches, it’s the perfect family weekender escape.
#3 GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA The Great Ocean Road is a picturesque 243 kilometre stretch of road along the south eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. The perfect road trip weekender, there are many sights along the way to keep both the parents and kids entertained, including the 12 Apostles. There are also many towns to stop in for lunch or the night including Apollo Bay, Lorne, Torquay, Anglesea, Port Campbell, Wye River, Peterborogh and Lavers Hill.
#4 ROTTNEST ISLAND, WESTERN AUSTRALIA An island where you can only travel around by foot or bicycle? Sign the family up! Rottnest Island in Western Australia is the perfect family weekender destination. Easily accessible by the Rottnest Ferry, cycling and snorkelling are the most popular activities on the island, as is surfing and stand up paddling. Many people will tell you the best spot for swimming and snorkelling is Pinky’s Beach and The Basin, so cycle past Thomson Bay towards Bathurst Lighthouse and soon you’ll come across Pinky’s – my favourite beach in Australia. With 63 bays and beaches, there is obviously a lot more to see and do at Rottnest Island other than luxuriating at Pinky’s. If you love snorkelling, in addition to The Basin and Pinky’s, definitely explore Parakeet Bay, Little Armstrong Bay, Little Salmon Bay, Parker Point and Porpoise Bay. If watching whales swim by is more your thing, during September and November head down to Fish Hook Bay, also well known for it’s immaculate sunsets. If you love surfing, the best spot to find the perfect wave is Salmon Bay.
#5 KAKADU NATIONAL PARK, NORTHERN TERRITORY Bustle the kids onto a plane, fly up to Darwin and spend a weekender at Kakadu National Park. The park is mostly closed off during the wet season due to inaccessible roads and crocodiles, so the dry season – spring and summer in Australia - is the perfect time to visit Kakadu. Stay a couple of nights at Jabiru Kakadu Lodge and watch the sunset over Arnhem Land at Ubirr, hike to Yurmikmik Motor Car Falls and swim in the pristine waterfall, and take a peek at Adelaide River – and only a peek because locals advise you never, ever swim in the river due to the abundance of crocodiles.
#6 KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTH AUSTRALIA Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, is an exceptionally beautiful island. Isolated and protected, it is often referred to as a ‘zoo without fences’. However I fondly describe it as the indie version of Tasmania. There is literally so much to see and do on Kangaroo Island, so definitely stay a night or two. Offering a sanctuary to many Australian animals, explore the world famous Flinders Chase National Park, meet some cute seals at Seal Bay, hike around Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks and enjoy locally caught marron for lunch. There is literally something for everyone, the big kids and the little kids, to keep you busy from dawn till dusk.