Holidays with teenagers: 10 best destinations in Australia 2021

These holiday destinations should tempt your teen to choose family time over screen time.

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When taking your teenagers on holiday with you you've got to choose a place where the attractions and activities can compete with the action that’s unfolding elsewhere, say on social media.
With this in mind, here's a shortlist of our top 10 places in Australia to take 13- to 17-year-olds, based on what they love, or what you want to get out of it.

They're destinations where you can share experiences like sand boarding, snorkelling and off-road adventures as a family and aren’t shy at offering teens pools to swim in and Wi-Fi to keep connected to the outside world with. Because it's your holiday, too.

Best Australian destinations for holidays with teenagers

Best for theme parks: The Gold Coast, Queensland

Crammed with theme parks such as Wet'n'Wild and Warner Bros. Movie World, the Gold Coast is Australia’s answer to Florida and a win-win destination for teenagers.

  • Cost: High-end due to theme park admission tickets. Handy hint: Book your tickets early online to save.
  • How long should I stay? 5 days.
  • Recommended teen-friendly hotel: You can go from hotel room to hair-raising ride in a matter of minutes when you stay at Sea World Resort and Water Park. The resort offers family rooms for up to nine guests, a waterpark and water sports nearby that the kids are bound to go ape over.
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Best for festivals and events: Sydney

Offering experiences like the Harbour Bridge climb as well as indoor skydiving, skateparks and festivals throughout major school holiday blocks, Sydney makes a trip away with a teenager a memorable one.

  • Cost: High-end due to big city hotel prices and attraction tickets.
  • How long should I stay? 4-5 days.
  • Recommended teen-friendly hotel: Offering two-bed apartments and perks like iPad docking stations and amenities such as a pool and BBQ area, Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Surry Hills is ideal for families with teens.
Search for flights to Sydney

Best for water babies: Cairns

From snorkelling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef to trips on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, all sorts of adventures are open to families with teens in Cairns.

  • Cost: Mid-range or budget if you find the right self-catering accommodation.
  • How long should I stay? 7 days.
  • Recommended teen-friendly hotel: Budget-friendly Cairns Queens Court offers family rooms, outdoor BBQ facilities and Wi-Fi. It's also a short walk from Cairns Esplanade, which features a swimming lagoon, shops, restaurants and more.
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Best for outdoor pursuits: Perth

Perth keeps teenagers and their families entertained with Adventure World, jetpacking, segway tours and even inner-city camel riding.

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Best for younger teens: Tasmania

Take your teens to Tasmania and you can add treetop adventures in Launceston, Port Arthur ghost tours and tobogganing down the sand dunes at Henty Dunes to your agenda.

  • Cost: Budget accommodation and plenty of free attractions to explore such as museums, the Botanical Gardens and beaches galore.
  • How long should I stay? 7-10 days.
  • Recommended teen-friendly hotel: A pool awaits families at the end of a day of exploring when they book a two- or three-bedroom apartment at Village Family Motor Inn, Launceston.
Search for flights to Tasmania

Best for a taste of the Outback: Darwin

Darwin has everything you need to beat your teen’s boredom, including jumping crocodile boat trips and swimming with crocs.

  • Cost: Mid-range accommodation and plenty of budget places to dine such as Sari Rasa where you can score a main for $13.
  • How long should I stay? 5-7 days.
  • Recommended teen-friendly hotel: Two-bedroom apartments and a swimming pool make City Gardens Apartments Darwin a great choice for families with teens.
Search for flights to Darwin

Best for snow sports: Thredbo

When the winter months roll in the place to be is in the snow. Test their legs with ski and snow sports lessons or hit the toboggan for some kid-friendly fun.

  • Cost: High-end accommodation and meals due to the resort location. For a more affordable holiday, stay in Jindabyne and drive to the fields during the day.
  • How long should I stay? 2-3 days.
  • Recommended teen-friendly hotel: The Station Hotel is your go-to for budget friendly self-contained apartments which can sleep up to six guests, making it ideal for larger or multiple families.
Search for flights to Canberra

Best for short breaks: Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island entices families with teens with surfing, fishing, quad biking and the opportunity to try sandboarding together at Little Sahara.

  • Cost: Mid-range, with prices dropping if you choose self-catering.
  • How long should I stay? 2-3 days.
  • Recommended teen-friendly hotel: Sea views, cottages with multiple bedrooms and an on-site restaurant are all on offer at Waves and Wildlife Cottages. Family-friendly activities such as coastal cruises and horseriding are available nearby.
Search for flights to Kangaroo Island

Best for that iconic Great Barrier Reef experience: Hamilton Island

It's that rite of passage every Aussie child needs to take: a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Family-friendly Hamilton Island makes the journey easy with a myriad of activities such as snorkeling, off-road adventures and sailing trips.

  • Cost: Budget, High-end due to island prices and the cost of day trips.
  • How long should I stay? 7 days.
  • Recommended teen-friendly hotel: The two-bedroom self-contained holiday homes at Hamilton Island Holiday Homes come with access to a full-service spa (for the parents) and a big pool for teenagers to laze around.
Search for flights to Hamilton Island

Best for an educational trip: Canberra

Marry education with fun by mixing trips to Parliament House and Questacon with segway city tours and lunch at the retro games restaurant, Guild House.

  • Cost: Mid-range accommodation with plenty of budget places to dine such as Star Buffet and Pizza Gusto.
  • How long should I stay? 2-3 days.
  • Recommended teen-friendly hotel: Parklands Hotel & Apartments offers triple rooms that can be convenient for families with teens, as well as an indoor pool and BBQ area.
Search for flights to Canberra

Top 3 sites to book holidays for teenagers with

Kayaking

1. Groupon

Stay on budget with daily deals that can save you hundreds on holiday packages.

  • Snow holidays often feature before and during the season.
  • Score heavy discounts on family getaways at holiday parks.
  • You can also book cheap activities through Groupon to fill the days up.
Go to Groupon website

View coupon codes for Groupon


Australia

2. Flight Centre

Short stays, long stays and everything in between. Flight Centre is your one-stop shop to book flights and accommodation, either separately or as a package, with best-value deals which can be booked over the school holidays.

  • Contact a flight sales representative to cater to your holiday dates and budget.
  • Family holidays section picks out the best holidays available over the school break.
  • Interest-free finance available for trips $999+.
Go to Flight Centre website

View coupon codes for Flight Centre


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3. Intrepid

Intrepid caters to every type of traveler from single, couple to families with babies and teenagers. It has crafted itineraries that will suit every traveler.

  • 10% discount for all travellers aged 17 and under.
  • Family holiday section is available.
  • Choose to travel with other families.

Tips on how to travel with teenagers:

  • Talk to your teens: We know, we know. They communicate through grunts and emoji exclusively. But if you make them part of the holiday planning process, they get a say, and you increase the odds of having an enjoyable family holiday that your teens will be part of.
  • Consider the internet: Chances are good that your teens will want to stay in touch with friends online when you travel. That means carefully checking roaming rates when you're out and about, and whether your hotel or AirBnB has complimentary Wi-Fi. Your teens will thank you... once they've finished messaging their friends, that is.
  • Can they still get a discount? Check at what age airlines/hotels/cruises/whatever stop considering them "teens" and charge like adults, or whether you can get "student" discounts for them (and whether they'd need to bring proof of that).

Advice by Alex Kidman, father of three moody, spotty and awkward teenagers

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