Family holiday destinations in Australia

These are the spots to take the kids this year for the perfect school holiday escape.

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If your kids (or you) are likely to go stir-crazy staying at home the duration of the school holidays, or if you feel a family getaway is on the cards, these are the domestic locations that offer family-friendly activities to please all. Plus, our favourite sites to find a deal on your next holiday.

Our favourite family holiday spots in Australia (and why you should go)

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1. The Great Barrier Reef and Far North Queensland

A visit to the Cairns and Tropical North Queensland is a fundamental part of any Aussie childhood. From snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef to a day trip through the Daintree, it's an eye-opening experience that offers endless fun. It's warm year-round, so is perfect for any of the school breaks.

Browse hotels Compare flights to Cairns

Rear View Of Family Walking On Beach In Gold Coast, Australia

2. The Gold Coast, QLD

It's not called paradise without good reason. The sun and surf at the Gold Coast's Surfers Paradise could be classified as "pristine". It has plenty of theme parks in one space, with Dreamworld, WhiteWater World, Sea World, Movie World and Wet'n'Wild available to keep kids entertained all holiday long.

Browse hotels Compare flights to the Gold Coast

3. Coffs Harbour, NSW

Coffs Harbour is right up there with other coastal holiday escapes for families from Sydney or Brisbane searching for a fun road trip. Naturally, you can fly into Coffs as well. The kids can encounter sea lions and dolphins at the marine park and spend their days playing along the beach.

Browse hotels Compare flights to the Coffs Harbour

4. Kangaroo Island, SA

Kangaroo Island is a short flight from Adelaide or a short and scenic ferry from Cape Jervis. You'll find everything paradise is expected to inhabit, from resplendent vistas, native wildlife and powder soft sands. Exploration by quad bike or boat is a must, as is marine-life watching.

Browse hotels Compare flights to the Kangaroo Island

Tip: If travelling as a whole family, it may be cheaper to fly into Adelaide and transfer to Kangaroo Island by ferry.

5. Canberra, ACT

Canberra offers a laid back, quiet city break with more than a dash of culture and education attached. Visit the War Memorial, Parliament House, National Gallery and Questacon, and then take a foodie break at the Old Bus Depot markets while you wait for your Brodburgers to fry. Canberra is also a good gateway to get to ski resorts like Thredbo and Perisher during the winter months.

Browse hotels Compare flights to the Canberra

6. Rottnest Island, WA

If you're heading to Western Australia, or planning to explore your own backyard, a definite contender for family-friendly adventure is Rottnest Island. Teeming with marine life and water activities, kids can splash around at on one of 65 pristine beaches if the weather is warm enough, or hop in a kayak and paddle about from sun up to sun down.

Browse hotels Compare flights to Perth (closest airport)

7. Kakadu National Park, NT

Head inland for a historical and cultural adventure through Kakadu National Park. Start in Darwin and make your way down to explore the unique landscape. It's hot all year round in the Top End, so to cool down, make a well-deserved pit stop at Leanyer Water Park.

Browse hotels Compare flights to Darwin (closest airport)

8. Sydney, NSW

Head to the big city over the school holidays and visit Australia's most popular icons. There are always child-friendly activities in Sydney throughout the school holiday periods, be it the Easter Show or Cool Yule during winter.

Browse hotels Compare flights to Sydney

9. Hobart, TAS

Rent a car or campervan and drive around Tassie. Hobart is the ideal starting point, as the city offers a more vibrant atmosphere than Launceston and features the Salamanca Markets and spooky ghost tours. Venture further to see Port Arthur and hike through the lush bushland of Cradle Mountain, Freycinet National Park and Tahune Forest.

Browse hotels Compare flights to Hobart

10. Mount Hotham, VIC

Family snow and ski holidays are best had at one of Australia's most popular ski resorts. On top of Jindabyne, Perisher and Thredbo, Mount Hotham is a child-friendly resort ideal for anyone coming in from Melbourne. Family activities occur all year round, with the DP Tube Park being a hot favourite with the kids during Easter.

Browse hotels Compare flights to Albury (closest airport)

Ski holiday destinations for families

You don't have to travel halfway across the world for a snow and ski holiday. Australia offers numerous ski resorts, the most popular being Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte Pass, Mount Buller, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek.

Snow season in Australia is fairly short, beginning around early June and closing off late September/early October. Book your holiday early and you can cash in on early bird ski lift and hire discounts. If you're looking for deals on packages and stays, check out our ski deals roundup.

Top six ski resorts

Beach holiday destinations for families

Sand is practically synonymous with summer, so you shouldn't overlook a family getaway to one of Australia's many enviable beaches.

The east coast of the country offers more than its fair share, with stretches of sand from the Gold Coast and Cairns in Queensland to the Central Coast and Bondi Beach in New South Wales.

Head to the other side of the country for Rottnest Island and Eighty Mile Beach in WA, or travel south for Glenelg in South Australia and the Bay of Fires in Tasmania.

As you can tell from our top holiday destinations list above, Australians are spoiled for choice when it comes to beach breaks. Now it's up to you to decide which one you'll visit during the school holidays.

Hoping to take the family away during school holidays? Check when they are in your state here.

Where to find a deal on family holidays online

1. Best for cheap local breaks: Groupon

A name that should be on every budget savvy parents' radar, Groupon is a daily deals website that sells it all - from household goods to holidays - and all at a bargain price.

Holiday packages come and go on the site - so keep your eyes peeled because big discounts for large parties are plentiful.

  • New deals every day
  • Local escapes from coastal beach breaks to snow trips available
  • Instant online bookings for select holidays

Search for Groupon holiday

2. Best all-rounder: Flight Centre

Practically a household name, Flight Centre is one of Australia's biggest travel agencies. What we love about it is that he has a special "family holidays" section online with discounted breaks during those peak school holiday periods.

  • Packages are broken into September, December, April and June/July to cover all major school holiday dates
  • Hotels are specially chosen with families in mind with many featuring connecting rooms and self-contained apartments
  • Features cruise holiday breaks

3. Best for beach escapes: MyQueensland

100% Australian owned and based, TravelOnline understands Australians and their family's needs with holiday packages to suit every budget and family size. Many of its holiday packages include resort beach-blessed locations in or near Australia, such as Hamilton Island, Fiji, Bali and Vanuatu.

  • Holidays often include "kids stay, play and eat for free" discounts in hotels as well as discounted child airfares
  • Flights, accommodation and transfers are generally included in packages
  • Family friendly accommodation often includes kids' clubs to keep little ones busy and amused all holiday long

Road trip ideas for families

Thinking of changing up the usual fly-and-stay holiday this year and taking the family for an adventure? We've put together some of our favourite road trip itineraries with details on where to stay and what to see along the way.

Latest deals on family holidays

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