Aussie adventures for all ages: Exploring Australia’s best family spots

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When I once asked an Aussie to tell me what the best spots in Australia were to go with my family, he chuckled and said, "Mate, you'll need to go to every major city in every state for that!". Australia, known for its immense expanse and incredible diversity, offers a ton of underrated destinations. While the iconic Sydney Opera House and Melbourne's arts scene grab headlines, there's so much more to explore in this sun-blessed country. Discover its numerous National Parks, from the rugged outback to lush rainforests, providing a natural playground for all ages. And let's not forget that awesome coastline—over 50,000 kilometers promising pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters just waiting to be enjoyed.

For the thrill-seekers, Queensland is the go-to destination for adventure sports, offering everything from surfing to skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef. Mountaineering enthusiasts will find their bliss in Tasmania's peaks or the Blue Mountains' majestic cliffs near Sydney. Families will appreciate that Australia's adventures are neither too harsh nor too mundane. With so many options available, you can tailor your activities, be it gentle hikes through the Daintree Rainforest or snorkeling amidst the vibrant marine life. This balance makes Australia an ideal spot for families seeking excitement without compromising on safety or enjoyment.

1. Sydney

Known for: Sydney Opera House and Seafood

Sydney, the bustling heart of Australia, is a perfect for families. From the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, where you can take a guided climb for panoramic city views, to the Royal Botanic Garden, offering an escape amidst native flora and fauna, there's something for everyone. Kids will revel in the interactive displays at the Australian Museum and the underwater wonders of SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. The city's numerous beaches, including the famous Bondi, provide ample space for sandcastle-building and paddling in the waves. Darling Harbour's playgrounds and picnic spots are also perfect for a family day out.

Did you know? Sydney Harbour is the deepest and the largest natural harbour in the world.

Sydney skyline with the opera house and the harbour bridge in the background
Skyline of Perth

2. Perth

Known for: Friendly locals and world class food and wine

Perth radiates a relaxed charm that extends to its vibrant cultural tableau. With plentiful sunshine, it's a city that loves the outdoors, boasting numerous amusement parks that ensure exhilarating experiences for all ages. Views from Kings Park—one of the largest inner-city parks globally—which, in my opinion, offer a visual feast of the city and are damn underrated. A short ferry ride away lies the idyllic Rottnest Island, a favored local haunt for swimming, surfing, and simply unwinding on its sun-kissed shores. Diving and snorkelling around the island's coral reefs and historic shipwrecks provide an underwater escapade that is just as vibrant and fascinating as the island life above.

Did you know? Perth holds the title for being the most isolated capital city on Earth. It’s so far from all Australian cities that it's actually closer to Bali than Sydney!

3. The Grampians

Known for: Waterfalls and hike trails

The Grampians National Park, with its ancient sandstone mountains, offers an array of scenic hike trails suitable for all skill levels. For those in search of a truly panoramic view, Mt. Difficult stands as a tempting challenge with vistas that are way cooler, displaying the park’s ruggedness and the beauty of Victoria's landscapes. Bushwalking through this majestic national park allows visitors to immerse themselves in an awesome natural habitat, encountering native wildlife and diverse flora along well-maintained trails.

Hot Tip: The Balconies aka Jaws of Death is a stunning viewpoint in the Grampians, from where you can get some epic pictures as it protrudes from the rock face, providing a dramatic overhang.

View from Boroka lookout, The Grampians
Melbourne skyline

4. Melbourne

Known for: Architecture and Cricket

Melbourne, a city deeply influenced by European culture, is often touted as one of the most liveable cities in the world. It boasts a vibrant arts scene, with modern art installations adorning the city streets and alleyways. Family-friendly attractions include the Puffing Billy Railway, a heritage steam train that chugs through the scenic Dandenong Ranges, and Phillip Island, known for its penguin parades and motorsports. Melbourne's European vibe is reflected in its architecture, cafes, and even its love for Rugby, similar to cities like Paris or Rome.

Hot Tip: The State Library Victoria in Melbourne is among the oldest and most visited public libraries in the world. Do check out the dome here!

5. Gold Coast

Known for: Beach activities and canal network

Gold Coast, a coastal city in Queensland, is renowned for its stunning beaches and a canal network that is even larger than Venice. Surfers flock to spots like the Superbank, known for its epic waves and vibrant surfing scene. Away from the coast, adventure theme parks like Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, and Dreamworld offer adrenaline-pumping rides and family entertainment. The region's music vibes are alive with outdoor concerts and music festivals, encompassing everything from pop to indie and electronic genres. Beyond music and surfing, the beachfront markets, yoga classes on the sand, and international volleyball competitions tap into the city's love for beach-inspired activities.

A beach by Gold Coast
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania

6. Tasmania

Known for: Wilderness and history

Tasmania, an island state south of the mainland, is a treasure trove of natural wonders—from the untamed beauty of its ancient rainforests to the rugged mountain ranges of Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park. The state offers a rare blend of colonial heritage with its historic sites, such as Port Arthur, and unique wildlife, including the iconic Tasmanian devil. Hobart, the capital, charms visitors with its super interesting art scene, exemplified by the famous MONA – Museum of Old and New Art. For a taste of the local flavors, Tassie's burgeoning food and wine industry provides a gastronomic delight with fresh seafood, rich cheeses, and world-class wines all produced locally.

7. Sapphire Coast

Known for: Whale watching and National Parks

The Sapphire Coast is a hidden gem that offers a spectacular and slightly offbeat alternative to Australia's urban destinations. The beaches here are scenic, some of which display bioluminescence. This region may be considered by some to be less traveled compared to other tourist hotspots, but it stands out as one of the best coasts in the world, boasting an untouched natural landscape. Hidden camping spots are sprinkled across the region and it's an ideal setting for road trips. The Sapphire Coast's national parks teeming with bushland ripe for exploration, offering walking tracks that lead you through forests and to secluded coves.

Hot Tip: Visit the Tathra beach which is famous for its clear waters and pristine conditions, making it a great spot for swimming and family picnics. Whales are frequently spotted off the coast during their migration season.

Tathra beach at sunrise