For many of us, a family trip to Australia is a dream come true. In order to make your trip as stress-free and packed with amazing memories as possible, we asked Booking.com travellers which Australian destinations they found to be the most family-friendly.*
Queanbeyan in New South Wales
Queanbeyan has plenty of family-friendly activities to keep children, teenagers and adults entertained. The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre has a packed program of kid-friendly events and the sun-bleached Molonglo Gorge is perfect for adventurous families looking to burn off some energy.
One of the biggest plus point for families staying in Queanbeyan, however, is the city’s proximity to Canberra. A 15-minute drive will take you from Queanbeyan to Australia’s capital city. Here, you’ll find festivals, historical monuments, museums, galleries, mountain scenery and a cornucopia of dining options to suit even the fussiest eaters – the Golden Age Motor Inn is the highest-rated accommodation among families visiting Queanbeyan, and it offers menus for every diet.
Cooma in New South Wales
The historical town of Cooma offers travellers a combination of adventure and relaxation, even for the biggest and most boisterous of families.The Cooma-Monaro railway travels along a 14-kilometer route from Cooma to Flat Rock lookout and is a popular option for day-tripping families.
Skiing enthusiasts recommend Cooma, as it tends to be cheaper to rent skis in the town than at the nearby Charlotte Pass, and if you stay somewhere with free parking (such as Woodvale) you can further reduce the costs of a family trip to the slopes. Cooma also offers easy-access to Canberra (1-hour drive) and Sydney, which is only a 5-hour drive. Taking a few days to explore these cities, after a few nights in calm and budget-friendly Cooma, is a great way to please the whole family.
San Remo in Victoria
San Remo is a seaside village on the tip of the Anderson Peninsula, with plenty of golden sand for sunbathers and some of Australia's cutest wildlife. Staying on Phillip Island will give you breathtaking views of the Australian coastline (try the Silverwater Resort) and the chance to be first in line for the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island Nature Park. There is also a Koala Conservation Centre and seal-spotting tours.
If you prefer to stay on the mainland make sure to visit the San Remo Fisherman's Cooperative for a lunch of freshly caught seafood and the daily pelican feeding. Members of the Cooperative offer free presentations on the history of the area and it’s worth a trip just to try the region’s King George whiting, a white fish known for its distinctive sweet flavour.
Rosebud in Victoria
Just down the road from one of Australia’s most family-friendly beaches, it’s no surprise Rosebud makes the list. Fun activities on offer include The Enchanted Adventure Garden, tree surfing, the Arthurs Seat State Park and a gondola chairlift that soars above the trees and all the way up to Arthurs Seat.
The town also has long golden beaches, weekend craft markets and the Rosebud Pier (for sunset spotting). Adults can enjoy a glass of the local vintage while children tuck into a non-alcoholic cider, followed by dinner at one of the many family-friendly and utterly-delicious eateries along the coast. For somewhere to stay, The Bayview Gardens Apartments B&B is an elegant three-bedroom apartment and has something no kid can resist: bunk beds.
Ettalong Beach in New South Wales
Ettalong Beach is less than an hour’s drive from Sydney, but if you’ve got time, it’s worth prolonging your journey slightly and taking the ferry from the Palm Beach harbour. This alternative trip will give you a breath-taking introduction to the sapphire water and gentling bobbing sailboats of Ettalong Beach. Go for a room with a beachside view, somewhere like the Hinterland Luxury Resort.
The beach itself has barbeque facilities, a playground and lifeguards, although it’s also worth venturing further afield to the surfing paradise at Umina Beach, or the sheltered Ocean Beach Umina. The later is an ideal spot for kids surfing lessons and other options for active families include the Warrah Trig cycling route and hiking the Bouddi National Park at Killcare.
** These destinations were the most highly rated in Australia as ‘family-friendly’ by Booking.com customers.