Australia is a vast country with a diverse landscape and colorful culture. It’s an amazing place to visit, especially when it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and Australia is at the height of summer. It’s also a great place to take the kids, and the whole family can enjoy the excitement, from sports to unique wildlife. So if you’re feeling a little chilly this winter, perhaps it’s time to take a trip Down Under to warm up. Here are the ten best places to visit in the country and the brilliant things you can do with your family there.
Sydney is often mistaken as the capital of Australia (it’s actually Canberra), and it’s easy to see why. This iconic city is vibrant and ideal for a family vacation. If your family only visits one place in Australia, make it Sydney. You’ll all get a thrill out of standing by the Sydney Harbour Bridge and visiting the famous Sydney Opera House. You can’t come to Australia without seeing some of their unusual animals, so don’t miss Taronga Zoo. The kids will love the koalas, kangaroos and wombats.
Melbourne might not be quite as famous as Sydney, but it’s no less interesting a city. It’s well-known as being the filming place of long-running Australian soap ‘Neighbours’. But there’s a lot more going on in the capital of Victoria. Considered the country’s cultural capital, there’s plenty to see. From shopping to restaurants and sports, you’ll find something for everyone. Give the kids a thrill at spooky Old Melbourne Gaol. Or visit the medieval-themed Kryal Castle Adventure Park and Resort. Culture vultures will love the National Gallery of Victoria. And Melbourne Zoo will amaze the whole family with their Wild Encounters tours.
The capital of Western Australia is isolated from other Australian cities and has developed its own unique culture. This is yet another city with a zoo, so if your family loves wildlife Perth Zoo is the perfect day trip. Kings Park and Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to run around in the sunshine or have a picnic. And astronomy lovers will love Australia’s largest planetarium, Scitech Discovery Centre. Explore dinosaurs or Australia’s indigenous people at the Museum of WA. Or take a thrilling roller coaster ride at Adventure World.
The third largest city in Australia, after Sydney and Melbourne, the capital of Queensland has a warm climate all year and amazing scenery. Brisbane is the fastest growing city in Australia and attracts lots of visitors. There’s no shortage of zoos, museums, parks and theme parks for families and children. Try whale watching from Brisbane for an extra special experience.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef lies in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland. It’s the largest barrier reef system in the world, with more than 2,900 reefs and hundreds of islands. The reef is one of the world’s most diverse eco-systems and an amazing place to visit. Snorkeling or diving around the reef is a popular activity and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll see fish, rays and maybe even larger animals, as well as a huge range of coral species and plants.
Alice Springs differs from most of the other places in this list. It isn’t on the coast – in fact, it’s 900 miles from the nearest major city. Alice Springs is a great place to stay if you want to go on hikes and other adventures, visiting sites in the region. You can visit Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta and King’s Canyon. The area is full of gorges, desert landscapes and Aboriginal communities.
Find Cairns in Queensland, in the northwest corner of Australia. It’s near the Great Barrier Reef, so an ideal place to stay if you want to experience it. The tropical climate is perfect for this easygoing town. It’s not as big as some other destinations, but it has an extremely diverse wildlife. It’s a beautiful city and stylish city, and despite its smaller size there’s still plenty for the family to do. Sporty families will love all the opportunities to go walking, biking or engaging in water sports.
Venture out to the island of Tasmania to experience its capital of Hobart. You take a cruise from Melbourne to make the trip even more fun. Hobart is an intimate city and is Australia’s second oldest. Tasmania has some amazing opportunities for hiking and a rich history. Visit http://www.traveller.com.au/ for some inspiration on where else to visit on the island. If you’re looking for a quieter vacation, Hobart could be just the place for you.
Located in Australia’s Northern Territory, Darwin is an international city, close to many other countries in the Indian Ocean. As well as being a great place to experience a wide range of cultures, it’s the ideal transport hub if you want to venture outside of Australia. Explore the region’s mangrove forest on a cruise or learn about the local Aboriginal culture through the markets, art centers and galleries. If you want to leave Australia, you could cruise to Hong Kong via the Philippines.
More than three-quarters of the inhabitants of South Australia live in its capital of Adelaide. Wine enthusiasts will love Adelaide, which is surrounded by some of the country’s most famous wine regions. The city brims with culture too and hosts the Adelaide Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival in March each year. Visit some pandas at Adelaide Zoo or go to Cleland Wildlife Park to cuddle a koala. For a leisurely trip down the River Torrens, hire a paddle boat at Elder Park.
If you want to visit Australia, remember that it’s a big country and different cities have their own climates. Don’t expect it always to be hot and sunny wherever and whenever you go! Whichever city you choose to visit with your family, you’ll find beaches aplenty. Even if you don’t feel like doing much, there’s always the beach to relax on (or for the kids to play on).