Australia is perhaps not the easiest place to get to with a young family if you are traveling from the Northern Hemisphere. Still, long haul journeys are becoming more family friendly – and the effort is more than worth it. Australia has vastly diverse landscapes, yet the majority of the population live in the contemporary beautiful coastal cities and wake to surf, great coffee, and new world culture. Due to the size and sprawl of the country, getting from one point to another can be timely, so plan wisely. Australia has a diverse range of activities to entertain the family: from the Great Barrier Reef, jungle trekking, learning about the aboriginal culture, to camping under the vast outback sky.
Here’s a few of our favorites.
Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.
Enjoy an afternoon on the water at Sydney Harbour
Watching the boats go by at Sydney Harbour (your base of operations when Norwegian docks in this Australian metropolis), surfing on Bondi Beach…Sydney’s got it all, and that’s just the natural icons. It’s also home to some of the most spectacular manmade structures on the planet—we’re looking at you, Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Did you know you can climb the latter? Once you’re done gaping slack-jawed at the skyline from up high, check out Sydney’s restaurant scene—in a city where more than 250 different languages are spoken, you know the food’s going to be “ripper” (that’s Aussie slang for “really great.” You’re welcome).
Photo: Jason James
It’s worth taking a cruise around the harbor but if you are pushed for time, hop the ferry to the northern beaches and you’ll experience the harbor and the suburb of Manly. Before getting onto the water, take a short walk to the botanical gardens and tuck into a picnic lunch.
Sydney Harbour BridgeThe Rocks, AustraliaBeautiful
Lake St. Claire National Park
Located in Cradle Mountain — Lake St. Claire National Park, the mountain of the same name couldn’t look less like somewhere you’d want to lay a baby down. But it is dramatic, craggy, capped with an imposing peak, and begging to be photographed. It’s home to ancient rainforests and a hotbed for unique flora and fauna, including the ever-famous Tasmanian Devil. It’s also the start to a famous six day trek, the Overland Hike, which takes hikers on a Tasmanian alpine trek through the mountains, and includes many sites just as impressive as Cradle Mountain.
Photo: Paul Pichugin
While parks, hike, and waterfalls are numerous in Tasmania, so is the coastline. Making a beeline for the ocean is a surefire way to be wholly refreshed, whether the start of end of a long day. It’s easy to catch a sunrise or a sunset depending on which coast you’re near — or both if you’re making good time across the island.
Photo: Paul Pichugin
Trek the Blue Mountains
Blue mountainsKatoomba, AustraliaMajestic
It takes about two hours to reach Leura, Katoomba, and Blackheath — the main bases for exploring the Blue Mountains — from Sydney via the Great Western Highway. Leura’s streets are lined with coffee shops, wine bars, tourist shops, and restaurants.
However, to really experience the Blue Mountains, you should leave the main roads and villages. Govett’s Leap, near Blackheath, is a popular look-out point. From here you have cliff-edge views of Bridal Veil Falls cascading down the bowl and disappearing into the green below.
Walk down the coast from Bondi to Coogee, Sydney
Bondi Icebergs ClubBondi, AustraliaI just finished a new video highlighting the “Best Beaches in Sydney” and the famous Bondi Beach and Icebergs pool were edged out by another amazing stretch of sand in the city!!
Watch the video now at YouTube.com/tourist2townie #bondi #beach #australia #sydney
Bondi to Bronte Coastal WalkBondi Beach, AustraliaBeautiful, easy hike along the coast from Bondi to Coogee. #beach #hiking #free
Sleep overnight at the Taronga Zoo, Sydney
Taronga zoo offers the chance to camp overnight, wake with the lions, feed giraffes, and hang out with the zoo keepers.
Find Nemo at the Great Barrier Reef
Known as the world’s largest coral-reef system and the most popular diving location on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is submerged in clear, blue water. Thanks to this clarity, the reef can be seen from space.
Photo: Scott Sporleder
The Great Reef, a natural wonder of the world, stretching more than 1,600 miles is heavily under threat and is dying quickly. You might have your family’s last chance to experience the world’s largest organically formed living structure.
Finding Nemo starts in the Great Barrier Reef, and follows the clownfish Marlin, his son Nemo, and his blue tang friend Dory all the way to Sydney Harbor in Australia. Photo by Faizan Ashraf
Hit up at least one of the parks on the Gold Coast
Sea WorldMain Beach, AustraliaManta ray
Currumbin Wildlife SanctuaryCurrumbin, AustraliaFeeding the birds
Teach them to surf, bodyboard or just jump in the waves at Byron
Main Beach (byron Bay)Byron Bay, Australia#fine-dining #restaurants #beaches #surfing #watersports #shopping #nightlife #oceanviews
Deadicate time to Western Australia
Sir James Mitchell ParkSouth Perth, AustraliaA beautiful view of Perth City Skyline
Western Australia is five times the area of Texas, but is home to just 2.2 million people. That’s a lot of room to move. Hire a 4WD, pick up a cheap Ford wagon, or climb aboard one of the hop-on-hop-off buses running up and down the coast.
Karijini is a national park 1400 kilometres from Perth. The park is filled with gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes. It is best explored during the cooler months of April through to September.
Photo: Paul Pichugin
Visit Rottnest Island and see the Quokkas
18kms off the coast of Perth is Rotto. One of the islands inhabitants is the world’s happiest animal, the Quokka. They are very friendly and curious, and will often wander up close to groups of people to see what they are doing.
Photo: Paul Pichugin
Sleep under a blanket of stars in the outback
The OutbackPetermann, AustraliaAyers Rock aka Uluru in the Australian Outback.