Don’t want your kids whining all winter holidays about being stuck inside? Check out these top family-friendly places to visit around Australia in the winter school holidays.
Darwin & Kakadu, Northern Territory
Ideal for: Outback adventures
Are your kids going stir crazy being cooped up in the house? Maybe you should embark on a family holiday to the wild Australian outback of Kakadu and let them roam and play to their heart’s content.
Located right at the top of the Northern Territory (and nice and close to the equator), Darwin and Kakadu manage to stay warm and balmy all throughout the year. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities that the whole family can take part in. From paddling in Litchfield National Park to discovering hidden water holes like the stunning Katherine Gorge, the kids will be well and truly knackered by the end of the day (so you can enjoy that evening glass of wine in silence). If it’s not the right weather for swimming, then let them run wild in Kakadu National Park and explore the indigenous rock-art galleries and local wildlife.
Port Douglas, Queensland
Ideal for: Swimming and hiking
Is snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef on the top of your bucket list? If not, it should be, and Port Douglas is the perfect place for it. It’s warm all year round making it perfect for catching some Australian sun these winter school holidays.
Whether you choose to snorkel over the colourful reef and marine life, go scuba-diving with the bigger kids or even take a trip on a glass-bottomed boat, seeing the reef is well worth the excursion.
For those without sea legs, the Daintree Rainforest is just as magnificent as the reef next door. Take a wildlife tour through the park, zip line overhead or simply embark on your own hike or family walk.
You may think that “winter sun” isn’t strong enough to give you sunburn but you are oh so very wrong. Bring sunscreen… you’ve been warned.
Broome, Western Australia
Ideal for: Relaxation.
Now we know that Western Australia seems like a whole new country for a lot of you east-coasters but we guarantee you can fly there before your kids get sick of watching Peppa Pig on the plane over.
From sunrise to sunset there is so much to see and do in Broome in winter. Get the kids up nice and early and take a sunrise Camel Safari ride along Cable Beach (or a sunset ride if they’re sleepyheads). The weather will also still be warm enough for them to paddle at the 22km wide pristine Cable Beach, so bring their swimmers and some sandcastle-making gear!
If you’re looking for something truly unique then head down to Gantheaume Point at low tide and show the kids some real-life dinosaur footprints that are more than 130 million years old.
Embracing the cold
Adelaide, South Australia
Ideal for: A city escape
Adelaide is jam-packed full of family-friendly activities – and you don’t need summer sunshine to enjoy them. Take the kids to the award-winning National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide and check out over 100 trains they have on display. There is even a model railway, theatrette and train ride that takes visitors around the site.
Winter is also a great time to visit the Adelaide Hills. Explore hidden cafes, fun playgrounds for the kids and trails where your little ones can reconnect with nature. While you’re out in the Adelaide Hills, stop by Pindarie Wines in Barossa. They have a great selection of food & wines and children are welcome to play on the big stretches of lawn or clamber over stacks of hay bales, while parents watch with a glass of wine… or two.
Moments of Surprise & Delight – “Our passionate GSA Perlita delighted our most regular and loyal guest Mrs June Letton on her 200th stay. Perlita discovered Mrs Letton’s interest for botanical artworks and organised a private 7 behind the scenes viewing of protected collections of botanical works dating back to early 1900s from artists like Rosa Fiveash and the Banks Florilegium…” – Puneet at Mercure Grosvenor Hotel Adelaide
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Ideal for: Culture vultures
Canberra is a laid-back, quiet city with culture and education thrown in – and it’s a really fun city for kids. Take them to visit the War Memorial, Parliament House, National Gallery or Questacon which is packed with stimulating exhibits. In fact, you’re guaranteed to have almost as much fun at Questacon as the kids…almost.
If the weather holds-out, take a trip to Cockington Green Gardens, which features a model village and miniatures of iconic buildings from around the globe.
And if you want to show your kids some Australian wildlife like koalas, kangaroos, possums and reptiles in their natural setting then head down to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, just 40-minutes’ drive from Canberra.
Blue Mountains, New South Wales
Ideal for: Bushwalks and winter adventures
Only a short drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains is transformed into a winter wonderland in the cooler months and it’s the perfect place to let your little ones roam free. Don’t miss the Christmas in July Yulefest celebrations that run all throughout winter.
There is also a tonne of great walking tracks, even for little legs. Each of which offers different scenery and views. Before you begin any hikes, be sure to make a trip to the viewing platform at Echo Point Lookout, just off Katoomba where you can get excellent views over the whole mountain ranges.