The Ultimate Guide to Travelling with Family in Australia
Australia is a renowned travel destination, especially because of its wide array of offerings to various types of travelers. Australia has proud beaches, gorgeous mountains, vast deserts, and of course, great cities.
Top Australian attractions include the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Blue Mountains National Park, Bondi Beach, Daintree National Park, Fraser Island, Kakadu National Park, Great Ocean Road, Kangaroo Island.
Traveling with the family to Australia is a great idea for a holiday vacation. As a supporting fact, about half of Holiday Inn Parramatta Hotel’s guests this year are families who are on vacation. The country is indeed family-friendly. There’s a wide choice for food, and accessibility is not an issue. There’s also child-friendly activities that can provide the little ones the best times of their lives.
True enough, Australia packs different kinds of adventures for all types of travelers. But before anything else, it’s best to make the necessary preparations first.
Preparing your family
It is always a necessity to know some of the general rules when traveling to any place. One of the basic rules when going to Australia is not bringing in food such as meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Plants and feathers are also prohibited. Of course, bringing in drugs and firearms are not allowed. It’s also best to have a letter from your doctor should you need to bring medications with you.
Depending on where you live, you might also need to apply for a visa so make sure you double check on your documentary requirements before you plan your trip.
It’s also best to plan ahead of time on what you wish to do when you arrive. It would be best to discuss what activities you intend to do so that you would be able to schedule your time better as compared to having to deliberate when you’re already there.
If you live in a country relatively near Australia, then the travel time might not be an issue. If you are coming from farther countries, then you should decide whether a direct flight or a flight with a layover would be better.
Going for a direct flight, if possible, would mean that you will be able to spend more time in Australia. But if the children would not feel comfortable with one long flight, then it is better to consider going for a layover.
However, the challenge for a layover flight is that you’ll also need to plan it because your short stay in the country of your choice can have a huge bearing on the entire trip.
It is great if you can lump in all your planned activities into one organized itinerary that you can follow. Planning ahead of time will allow you to take into consideration the travel time between activities, and of course, all the preparations you’ll need for the activities you would want to take part in.
Once you have all your activities planned, you will of course need to set the budget for it. It is always best to match all your activities with their indicative costs so that you’ll be prepared for what you’ll spend on. And if the budget is a bit constricted, you’ll be able to adjust beforehand.
Always remember that you’re only dealing with indicative costs so you’ll need to be a bit flexible. And since you have children with you and all the surprise purchases that they’ll need, it is best to allocate extra money for their needs.
Some of the most fundamental expenses you have to settle ahead of time are the accommodation and tours. While there are lots of providers out there, you won’t always be able to secure your slot on the spot so best to really confirm your accommodation and your tours in advance.
As you travel, make sure to bring both cash and card. There are establishments that can only accept cash, while there are establishments that offer discounts for card purchases.
Here is a checklist infographic for family travel essentials before your visit to Australia. Make sure that you got everything covered and packed before you travel to avoid the hassle.
Want to go to Australia but unsure of where you want to go? Here are some places that you should check out.
Experience New South Wales
New South Wales
Located at the eastern coast of Australia is New South Wales. It is considered the most populous state of Australia. New South Wales is home to some of the most spectacular beaches, as well as some of the oldest wineries. New South Wales has a lot to offer, and that is what makes it the country’s most visited state.
Sydney is the capital of the state of New South Wales. It is the country’s most populous city. While being one of the most expensive cities in the world, it is also one of the world’s most livable cities.
One of the biggest icons for Australia is the Sydney Opera House. Catch one of the 40 performances done there per week. Also visit one of the country’s proudest architectures, the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
There are also lots of creatures for the kids to see at the Taronga Zoo, which is home to both native and exotic animal species.
You may also wish to camp at Cockatoo Island where you can wake up to one of the world’s most awe striking views.
Other activities include enjoying nature at the Blue Mountains, taking a leisure walk at the scenic Eastern Sydney beaches, and dining at some of Australia’s best restaurants.
Port Stephens is located in the New South Wales’ Hunter Region. It is home to 26 amazing beaches and bays, wide dining choices, outstanding accommodation, and a great opportunity to do whale and dolphin watching.
The kids would enjoy the koalas at the Tilligerry Habitat Reserve. Meanwhile, thrill-seekers would want to try scuba diving with sharks off Broughton Island.
Hunter Valley Wine Country
One of Australia’s best wine regions is the Hunter Valley. Book a wine tasting tour and enjoy some of the best wines that New South Wales, and Australia for that matter, is truly proud of.
Other than wine tasting. Other activities include a visit at the Hunter Valley zoo where the family can experience feeding kangaroos, meeting big cats, and petting baby alligators.
There’s also the Werakata National Park near the Hunter Valley Zoo. It is home to wallabies, honeyeaters, parrots, and many more.
You may also cycle at the Deadmans mountain bike loop which begins on the Astills picnic area where the family can have some quality time over great food.
Blue Mountains Australia
New South Wales is home to the Blue Mountains, around a million hectares of nature for the whole family to enjoy. A world heritage area, the Blue Mountains is one of Australia’s proudest attractions.
Set out on one of Blue mountains numerous bushwalking trails, feast your eyes on rock formations, brave underground caves, and then listen to the stories by local Aboriginal guides. You may want to check out the One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa.
Parramatta is a suburb of Sydney and is considered a second Central Business District. Historically, Parramatta was made to be a colonial farming settlement but has since grown into a center not only for agriculture, but also for industry, military, and politics.
The whole family can be transported back in time in Parramatta, with historic architecture such as the Old Government House. Inside can be found Australia’s largest collection of colonial furniture.
The family can also take a walk along the picturesque Parramatta River. There are artworks along the river path which interprets the history of the place.
Tasmania is an Australian island state (considered the 26th largest island globally) located around 240 kilometers south of the mainland and separated by the Bass Strait. Some 344 islands can be found around it.
Tasmania is considered to be a historic tour, evidences proving that it has been the settlement for Aborigines.
Your family would enjoy Tasmania’s beaches, as well as its vast food choices. If you are up for a more challenging activity, then you may also wish to hike its mountains.
Hobart is the capital of Tasmania. It is where as much as 40% of the state’s population resides. It’s also where you can spend some leisurely strolls, and letting your family explore at your own pace.
Hobart exudes nostalgia as it offers accommodations that do take you back in time. You may also want to take the kids to the MONA museum where they can take their imagination at work. And for the moms, a trip to Salamanca Market would be an amazing experience.
A northern city of Tasmania, Launceston is one of Australia’s oldest cities. It became a European settlement in the 1800s and has become home to some historical architectures. A lot of historic firsts also happened in Launceston such as the first city in Australia to have underground sewers, to first Australian city to be powered by hydroelectricity, and the first in the Southern half of the world to ever make use of anesthetics.
Some of the destinations in Launceston are the City Parks, where the kids can surely have fun; and the winery at the Tamar Valley, which the parents will find a treat. Launceston also has more than two hundred parks and reserves, so there’s no boring day at Launceston.
Cradle Mountain is one of Australia’s most spectacular natural wonder and can be seen from Dove Lake at daytime where you can take a leisurely 2-hour walk around. If you are not traveling with kids, hiking to the summit should be in your list of activities.
In the southeastern portion of the Australian mainland is the state of Victoria, the most densely populated state of the country. A number of Aboriginal groups have settled in what has become Victoria.
Victoria is home to some of the country’s biggest events such as the Melbourne Festival, the Australian Grand Prix, and the Spring Racing Carnival.
Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria and is the second most populous Australian city.
Melbourne is regarded as the world’s most livable city, a true home for cuisine, art, fashion, and even sports.
Enjoy Melbourne’s various offerings such as the cobble laneways that are filled with various dining and shopping choices; or Queen Victoria Markets, one of the largest markets you can ever find; the numerous arts and culture exhibits such as the National Gallery of Victoria or the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and the Heide Museum of Modern Art; or enjoy watching your favorite sports on the world’s sporting capital.
True enough, Melbourne has a lot to offer and should be one of the top picks for your Australian getaway.
What was once a small sheep station that Ballarat was, it has developed into a major settlement area thanks to the Victorian Gold Rush. It has since become home to great architecture that has reshaped its heritage.
Some of the places to visit in Ballarat are The Gold Museum, Sovereign Hill, the Art Gallery of Ballarat. You may also wish to see the Blood on the Southern Cross sound and light show, a reenactment of the Eureka Rebellion. Ballarat also offers a number of beautiful lakes and gardens that would truly be worth visiting.
Bendigo is the 4th largest inland Australian city. It is also one of the centers of the Victorian gold rush. The gold mines in Bendigo are considered the most productive in the country. Bendigo has also transformed into a city of Victorian heritage through its architecture. So after the gold has been dug out, the art has stayed. Check out the Bendigo Art Gallery. You may also wish to board to Bendigo Tramways Talking Tram for a historic ride.
Chinese influence has also reached Bendigo, and this is evident in the Golden Dragon Chinese Museum. Bendigo is also known as Australia’s Chinese hub.
Cobram is considered the center of the Australian food bowl, catering to all kinds of meticulous taste buds. With its great climate and outstanding attractions, Cobram is also a destination you should put on your list.
Cobram is situated along one of Australia’s most iconic rivers, the Murray. You’ll also find amazing beaches in Cobram. Nature in Cobram is one of the best, made evident by a towering half-century old Red Gums, and the unique Australian wildlife.
Activities in Cobram include a golf, tennis, water skiing, canoeing, horse riding, and fishing. You may also wish to visit its numerous wineries, galleries, parks, and gardens. There’s a lot that Cobram can offer for the whole family.
- Phillip Island
Phillip Island is an island located just 140 kilometers southeast of Melbourne. It is best known for its rich wildlife, its amazing beaches, and an overall great experience for tourists.
Give your little explorers the time of their lives by letting them see penguins, koalas, seals, and various birds. You can then enjoy Phillip Island’s breathtaking coastlines, where you can then swim or surf.
Phillip Island is also home to international car and motorcycle races that are held in the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Queensland is located at the northeastern portion of mainland Australia. It is the country’s second largest state, and the third most populous. It is home to must-see destinations, great food, and a bunch of activities that you can do, all with some of the most memorable views.
Queensland is home to the oldest living rainforest on the planet, as well as one of the world’s best resorts. Queensland can surely provide a lot of wonderful memories for the whole family.
Located on the eastern coast of the northern portion of Queensland is Cairns, the 14th most populous city of Australia. One of the top activities when visiting Cairns is going to the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest.
However, the town itself has a lot to offer such as the numerous cafes and markets, as well as the beautiful beaches. Also, enjoy the fresh seafood and fruits that Cairns has to offer.
Also located on Far North Queensland is Port Douglas. Port Douglas boasts being bordered by two World Heritage areas: the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.
But while these two are among the top reasons why should visit Australia, there are also other things that you can do while on Port Douglas such as strolling along the Four Mile Beach, shopping at the Macrossan Street shopping precinct, or taking some scenic views on the hill.
The Crystal Brook Superyacht Marina, a major gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, is also known as a picturesque retail complex.
You may also wish to ride a helicopter to view the wonder of Port Douglas from an aerial perspective.
Townsville, a city on northeast Queensland, is aligned with the Great Barrier Reef’s center. Not only is Townsville known for its majestic natural geography, but also for its rich military history.
Aside from getting to the Great Barrier Reef, you may also wish to dive to the SS Yongala. It is Australia’s largest intact shipwreck.
Also marvel at Townsville’s Federation-inspired architecture, while enjoying the fun, coastal vibe.
Located 8 kilometers off Townsville is Magnetic Island, a 5,200-hectare mountainous island on the Cleveland Bay. It is so named because in 1770, James Cook believed the island has affected his ship’s magnetic compass.
The Magnetic Island has a truly relaxing vibe with quiet, secluded beaches, rich wildlife, and easy access to the Great Barrier Reef.
Activities in Magnetic Island include trailing that 1.2-kilometer Hawkings Track, diving to the SS Yongola shipwreck, snorkeling on the Magnetic Island Snorkel Trail, and relaxing along the island’s 23 beaches.
Visit Western Australia
- Western Australia
Western Australia refers to the western one-third of the mainland. In its north and west is the Indian Ocean, while on its south is the Southern Ocean. Western Australia is the country’s largest state. It is, however, home to less than 10% of the country’s population.
Western Australia is also home to white-sand beaches, wildflower fields, deserts, gorges, and rock formations. Western Australia’s flora and fauna are superb.
Broome is a tourist town on Western Australia’s Kimberley region. It is a melting pot of various cultures thanks to its rich history. It exudes a truly tropical feel, paired with a 22-kilometer white sand beach called the Cable Beach.
Aside from Cable Beach, Broome is also famous in the realms of paleontology as fossilized dinosaur footprints can be found at the Gantheaume Point which can be seen when the tide is at its lowest points.
You may also want to visit Town Beach, which is home to the “Staircase to the Moon”, a natural phenomenon where the rising moon and the receding tide really does appear like a such.
Perth is Western Australia’s largest city. Perth is also the capital of Western Australia.
Some of the activities that can be done in Perth is to swim at the waters of the Indian Ocean by the Cottesloe Beach; meeting the quokka, a famous marsupial, at Rottnest Island; and visiting King Park, one of the largest city parks in the world.
You may also want to visit the Lesmurdie Falls National Park, the Swan River, The Maze, and the lane Poole Reserve
True enough, Australia has a lot to offer, and a single trip might not be able to cover all the fun and excitement that can be done. It is best to plan ahead of time where in Australia you would like to take your family to so that you can make the best out of it.
Recommended Australia Travel Resources
- https://www.lonelyplanet.com/australia - This guide from LonelyPlanet covers it all, from top experiences in Australia to top sights you need to visit.
- https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attractions – TripAdvisor Australia has all the great things that you can discover. With honest reviews from real travelers and the community of Tripadvisor.
- https://www.cntraveler.com/package/best-of-australia – Conde Nast features best of Australia and also features special tips from Chris Hemsworth “Thor”. In 2016, Conde Nast named Australia as the only top destination you need to visit.
- http://smartraveller.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx - A very useful guide from the Australian Government. It answers pre-travel questions and gives tips and advice for travelers.
- https://hiparramatta.com/traveling-with-medical-conditions/ - Our handy guide for people who are traveling with health conditions. Know your important tips, laws that protects you when you are in Australia, and more.