An All-inclusive Guide to Travel to Australia with Kids

Photo by David Clode / Unsplash

The inclusion of young kids in family vacation trips is necessary with their curiosity and the tendency to do the exact opposite of what they are told can lead to disastrous consequences. This, coupled with the lack of tour activities suitable for young kids, can easily make your dream vacation a rough one. Fortunately, kiddos will be the least of your problems if you are planning on going to Australia as this country is very friendly towards little tourists. Let’s start with Melbourne, which features all kinds of kid-friendly accommodation and entertainment. A trip to Australia’s numerous national parks is a perfect educational opportunity to infuse children with environmental knowledge, while the majestic natural beauty of colorful coral reef, virgin forests, idyllic beaches and other wonders are certain to make them stand in awe. In the Outback, children will be able to get a new perspective on the wide world after learning about the rich history and diverse culture of the Australian Aboriginal community. There are many more things that your youngsters can do, this all-inclusive guide on how travel to Australia with kids can help you can find them all.

Be a young scientist in Melbourne

australia with kids
Melbourne is the second-most populous city in Australia, often referred to as the "cultural capital" of the country. Flickr: Justin Tan

One of the most loved cities by tourists, including little ones, Melbourne offers numerous family-friendly activities that will certainly keep your children enthralled and put their restless energy to good use. At the top of the list is Melbourne’s interactive museums where kids can educate themselves about basically everything with the help of state-of-the-art technology. Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery of Melbourne Museum is a great place for children to touch, poke, prod, and gawk at stimulating exhibits or get their hands dirty by unearthing some dinosaur fossils, while Scienceworks will get them immersed in eccentric scientific experiments and machines from which they can learn about how this world works. But if your children prefer something old-fashioned, go to Polly Woodside where they can play in cottage gardens and dress in 18th century costumes. And though Australia is littered with zoos and national parks, the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park is arguably the best place for an experience with endangered nocturnal animals of the continent.

Croc challenge in Darwin

travel with kids to australia
Darwin is the most northerly of the Australian capital cities, making it a link between Australia and Southeast Asian countries. It is named after the renowned biologist Charles Darwin. Flickr: Yeowatzup

Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, is really hot so swimming might be the first activity you choose on arriving there. Let’s splash around with your kids in the Wave Lagoon at the Waterfront Precinct or take a dip under the waterfalls of Litchfield National Park an hour-drive away. If your kids love both swimming and kayaking, head further south to the magnificent Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. Crocodile-loving kids (if any) can either go to Crocodylus Park to meet the fearsome reptiles face-to-face in their natural habitat or visit Crocosaurus Cove in downtown Darwin to view them through aquarium.

A heavenly walk along the Great Ocean Road

australia with kids
Dedicated to Australian soldiers killed during World War I, the Great Ocean Road is the world's largest war memorial. Flickr: Karlnorling

Dedicated to Australian soldiers killed during World War I, the Great Ocean Road is the world's largest war memorial. Credit: Flickr KarlnorlingIt would be a big miss to travel to Australia with kids without stopping by the Great Ocean Road. Ditch your smartphones and start reconnecting with your kids by playing water sports like boogie boarding, paddle boarding or even surfing together at the famous seaside towns of Torquay, Lorne, Wye River, Warrnambool. For adventurous kids, there are many spectacular waterfalls, interesting walks, and lookouts facing breathtaking scenes around the region such as the Surf Coast Walk and the Great Ocean Walk for little feet to explore. When your children are bored of walking on the ground, direct them to Otway Fly Treetop Adventures where your whole family can become treewalkers and enjoy views of the forest from 30 mt above or, even better, put on a helmet and get a thrill out of their famous zipline tour. Check carefully as various ticket types and prices are on offer.

Hide among flowers in Blue Mountains

australia with kids
The name Blue Mountains is derived from the blue tinge the range takes on when viewed from a distance. Organic chemicals that are emitted in large quantities by the eucalyptus trees in the region and scatter light are responsible for this. Flickr: Terrazzo

Just an hour away from the fast-paced life of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are easy to reach and yet presents tourists with vast space and utterly wonderful beauty. Besides well-known attractions like Blue Mountains National Park, you can go to Blue Mountains Botanic Garden located at Mount Tomah. It has no admission charge and is big enough for your children run free. With a wide variety of flowers and other features including rock gardens and picnic areas, it’s no wonder why it is so often visited by families. Even more, if you arrive at the time of the annual Autumn Festival, then the entire 160-acre Mayfield's Private Garden located at 530 Mayfield Road is open to you. Nothing is more fun than getting lost in the endless fields of blooming flowers with your children.

The otherworldly beauty of the Great Barrier Reef

australia with kids
Composed of billions of tiny coral polyps, the Great Barrier Reef is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms. Flickr: Kyle Taylor

It is never too early to learn snorkeling: get yourself and your children geared up before diving to the colorful mind-blowing world beneath the pristine water of the Great Barrier Reef. For a more sedate approach, your children can board a glass-bottom boat, allowing them to view the blindingly colorful corals and marine life just meters below through the transparent bottom. On the surrounding islands, there are various family-friendly resorts that offer a wide range of recreational facilities like pools, waterslides, wave skis, etc. designed with kids in mind.

Kangaroo Island has more than kangaroos

australia with kids
Remarkable Rocks are naturally sculptured formations carved by rain, wind, and pounding waves for more than 500 million years. Flickr: Paul and Jill

Off the mainland of South Australia, southwest of Adelaide lies one of the most remarkable attractions that you have perhaps never known, Kangaroo Island. At Seal Bay Conservation Park, kiddos will be excited to see for themselves hundreds of native sea lions sunbathing, playing, fighting with each other. Then visit Flinders Chase National Park which is known for its sculpted Remarkable Rocks and big penguin colonies. Here, there are plenty of activities to keep impatient, little tourists busy like short walk tours, sandboarding (awesome!), visits to honey farms, fishing, cave exploring and many more. That’s how it is so easy to travel to Australia with kids.

The Gold Coast – It’s a wet world

australia with kids
Buzzsaw ride at Dreamworld, the largest theme park on the Gold Coast. Flickr: Holiday Point

The Gold Coast is a perfect spot for you to spend quality time with your kids for little to no expenses. There, your children can have fun in various parks with lots of playground equipment and yet free of charge while you are watching them happily. The Gold Coast is also a kid’s paradise for hosting many theme parks, the five biggest of them are Dreamworld, Sea World, Movie World, Wet’n’Wild and WhiteWater World. Think twice before entering as they feature all kinds of aquatic entertainment that will surely make both children and adults lose track of time, especially on a hot day (and their entry fees aren’t cheap). The beaches along the coast are worth visiting, too, with many interesting activities being offered like jet-skiing, sea-kayaking and whale-watching.

The devils of Tasmania

australia with kids
Over 20% of Tasmania, or 1.58 million hectares, is Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The area includes national parks, marine, and forests reserves. Flickr: Steven Penton

Small in size but rich in history and beauty, Tasmania makes for a brilliant family holiday. The Tasmania Zoo which is home to many native types of kangaroos, koalas, and the iconic Tasmanian devils, is a suitable place to spark your kid’s curiosity and love for nature (petting the adorable wallabies would be nice). Another attraction for kids is Tasmazia, a maze-inspired theme park for young children. The entry fees are $27.50 for adults and $13.75 for children younger than 15, with special discounts for family groups. Other highlights include Freycinet National Park popular with campers, the picturesque Ocean Beach on the west coast and Mount Wellington.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the Aboriginal legacy

australia with kids
Uluru is sacred to the Aboriginal people of the area. It is said that those who take rocks from Uluru will be cursed with misfortune, and there are reports of tourists who removed rocks from Uluru trying to mail them back to in order to lift the curse. Flickr: Sahajesh Patel

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park has long gained fame for its legendary Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), camel rides and helicopter tours. For children, though, the highlight is the opportunity this national park offers them to learn about the value of diversity as this is one of the best places to meet Aboriginal people in their actual setting. Things to learn include distinct native dance, costume, weapons, medicines, as well as world-renowned indigenous art. Such knowledge will make your travel to Australia with kids more meaningful and educational.

And a few things to remember

  • Depending on your destination or place of origin, it can be advantageous to plan your stopovers to maximize your experiences while in Australia. Australia is a vast country, so take the time to plan in advance your travel plans.
  • Though the weather is generally pleasant in Australia, the sunlight is quite strong in most places and can easily hurt the tender skin of young children. Pack a tube of sunscreen, a wide hat, sunglasses and other means of protection against the sun to keep your family protected.
  • Don’t worry if your kids are picky eaters as, while you are barred from bringing any fresh food with you upon entering Australia, the country’s food choices are plentiful and more than certain to please hungry mouths.
  • Though interactions with wildlife are surely a highlight that will be difficult to find elsewhere, some species are less friendly than the others so it is a good idea for your kids to do a research before petting and feeding a seemingly adorable animal.