Best Places for Summer Vacations in Australia

A close up of a fruit

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.

1. The Great Barrier Reef and Far North Queensland

A sunset over a body of water

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.

Best for: Families who like to enjoy sun, sand and surf

What to do: Full day Great Barrier Reef cruise with snorkelling, Aboriginal culture tour and crocodile and wildlife tour.

2. The Gold Coast, QLD

A bridge over a body of water with a city in the background

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.

Best for for: Thrills, spills and general adventure

What to do: Whale watching cruise,the SkyPoint Observation Deck and high ropes course in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

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.

Best for: Relaxing beachside holidays

What to do: Stand-up paddle board Aboriginal culture tour, high ropes course with flying foxes.

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.

Best for: Younger families and wildlife encounters

What to do: Wildlife discovery tours or visit Flinders Chase National Park.

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.

Best for: Educational escapes

What to do: Hot air balloon ride over the city and visit the city’s many museums and galleries.

These are the best places for summer holidays in Australia.

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