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Australia bucket list destinations for family trips

If you’re planning on travelling Australia with kids, then this is your ultimate Australia bucket list. With over 35 must see things to do in Australia with kids, and places to visit, it’s time to start planning your next family trip!

From a bike ride around Uluru, and beach 4WD on Fraser Island, to cuddling a koala, and touring famous wineries, there’s something for every family looking for that amazing Australian bucket list destination.

Where do you want to go?

Queensland bucket list

Swim the Great Barrier Reef

Australia ultimate bucket list destinations Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the world and is the world’s largest coral reef system.  Located in the waters off the Queensland coast, the Great Barrier reef stretches from Bundaberg in the south right up to far north Queensland.

Most people tend to visit the Great Barrier Reef from the north in either Cairns, Port Douglas or the Daintree.  Some tours will take you to a pontoon stationed out in the reef where you can join in glass bottom boat rides as well as snorkelling.  From Bundaberg you can take a day trip out with Lady Musgrave Island Experience and explore the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef.

Whichever location you experience the reef from, keep an eye out for marine life, during a few of my trips I have seen turtles, dolphins and manta rays.

A day trip to the reef is not cheap!  Except to pay well over $100 AUD per person for a cruise – but I highly recommend it.  I also suggest you take some sea sickness tablets with you just in case.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Melissa from Thrifty Family Travels

 

Sore above the trees to Kuranda

The Kuranda Railway and Skyrail, located near Cairns, were ticked off our Australian bucket list this year. To start the day we took the Scenic Railway up to Kuranda, an iconic 2 hour train journey that slowly made its way up into the mountains through many tunnels and over bridges. 

Once we arrived in Kuranda there was plenty to experience; though it all comes at extra cost, whether it be the Koala Sanctuary, Butterfly Park or a comprehensive cultural experience at the Rainforestation Park.  After spending a few hours… or more, it was time to head back to Cairns. 

The Skyrail was the kid’s highlight of the day. As well as being the literal high point as you swing in a cable car far above the forest canopy for 7.5km (4.7mi) as you travel back down to Cairns.  There are two awesome chances to get off the Skyrail and get a taste of the amazing World Heritage listed tropical rainforest! 

To simply go to Kuranda on the Scenic Railway, and then back down on the Skyrail costs around $300 AU depending on where you get picked up /dropped off. The activities in Kuranda are extra … and our top tip is to do your research carefully prior to arriving as there are some great offers on combined entries to a number of parks. 

Ticked off the bucket list by: Ariana from World of Travels with Kids

 

Relax on Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is an absolute must do destination on any family trip on Australia’s East Coast. Easily accessible by ferry from Townsville, the 52 square kilometre Magnetic Island boasts a huge 320 days a year of sunshine, with plenty of wonderful things to do. 

The most popular attraction on this small paradise island is to hire a car and drive around the numerous secluded bays. In the northern part of the island, you’ll find an old WWII fort, as part of a brilliant 90 minute long Forts Walk. Many families choose to hire one of the infamous ‘Barbie cars’ to zoom around the island, but note that you must have a 4WD to access the west side’s beaches. Alternatively, it’s possible to get a $7 per day unlimited bus pass to explore the island, helping to keep costs down. What’s more, take the kids to Bungalow Bay Koala Village to check out the adorable koala sanctuary. 

Ticked off the bucket list by: Annie from Off Goes Annie

 

4WD along Fraser Island’s famous beaches

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is one of our favourite places to visit in Australia and we crossed it off our bucket list!  Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and is entirely composed of sand which means the lakes on the island are impeccably clear, creeks are silent and the beach is used as a highway and airplane landing strip. One of the best experiences our family loved to do on this island was to take a 4WD bus across the island to visit Lake McKenzie, Wanggoolba Creek, 75-Mile Beach, Maheno Shipwreck and Eli Creek.

Another amazing highlight was when we took an 8-seater plane up to get a bird’s eye view of this amazing island, the coolest part was that you take off from the beach and land on the beach! The cost for the airplane ride was $80 per person, and well worth the chance for this once in a lifetime experience.

My son was also excited to be able to see whales from up in the sky. You can get here by the Fraser Island barge, which has frequent departures from Hervey Bay, Queensland. Fraser Island is like no other place we have seen in the world and truly a must-do in Australia!

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nicole Fiorante –The Passport Kids

 

Learn to surf on the Sunshine Coast

Queensland bucket list learn to surf

One activity that should be on any family’s Australian bucket list is to learn to surf. We booked a surfing lesson for $60 per person at pretty Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast.  We had an instructor just for our family and after a brief talk in the surfing shop and fitting for wetsuits, we excitedly headed to the beach. The instructor was very patient with our kids and explained the basic techniques and safety rules of surfing in a fun, engaging and simple format. 

We then headed nervously into the windswept sea but after just a few attempts, our children were standing on their boards riding the shallow waves into shore. They spent the rest of the two-hour lesson riding wave after wave, loving every exhilarating second. Their surfing lesson remains the highlight of our trip to Australias’ East Coast

Ticked off the bucket list by: Sinead Camplin – Map Made Memories

 

Dinosaur Triangle, Outback QLD

Outback Queensland things to do dinosaurs

One of the biggest highlights of Outback Queensland is by far ‘Australia’s Dinosaur Trail.’ This Aussie adventure takes you through a triangle of three western towns full of quirk and country culture. The three towns are known as Winton, Richmond and Hughenden.

As you chase dinosaurs across the plains you will get to see the oldest known dinosaur stampede on Earth, plenty of original dinosaur bones fresh from the ground and learn about the ancient inland sea that you’ll find yourself standing on.

Remember that the Aussie Outback can be a harsh environment, so travel to those parts are recommended during the cooler months (between May and August). But don’t be fooled by the milder temperatures, you’ll still need hats, sunscreen, fly nets and plenty of water.

The most cost-effective way to do the whole Dinosaur Triangle is to buy the Combination Pass that gains you entry to all experiences. A Family Pass will set you back about $215 for the family. But you do have the option to pay as you go or opt to do just one or two of the Museums rather than the lot.

Given that this experience is hours from any major cities, the best way to access the Dinosaur Triangle is to take a road trip from Townsville, Rockhampton or Brisbane, which are all along the East Coast of Queensland.

Ticked off the bucket list by: MYRIG Adventures

 

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Things to do in Brisbane koalas

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is a great place for the whole family to see and experience Australian native and farm animals.  The sanctuary is located in a northern suburb, on a leafy bend of the Brisbane River.  You can see dozens of koalas, and get your photo taken with one, which kids love.  There is also a field with kangaroos that you can feed (with food especially made for them and sold at the shop).  There are various activities throughout the day including feeding of wild lorikeets (colorful birds) and a show with flying raptor birds.  There is also a sheep dog demonstration and a chance to meet barn animals.  There are talks by the keepers of snakes, platypus and Tasmanian Devils.  Other Australian animals you can see include wombats, dingoes and crocodiles.  There is a café and a picnic area, so you can bring your own lunch if you’d like.
 
Admission to Lone Pine is $42 for adults/ $25 for kids, students and seniors/ and $88 for families (2 adults and 3 kids)/ $65 for mini families (1 adult and 3 kids).  It’s open daily 9:00am – 5:00pm.  You can drive there, take a bus or taxi, or catch a boat from the city center.  The express boat takes 35 minutes and leaves the city at 9:00, 11:00 and 1:00 and returns from Lone Pine at 10:00, 12:00 and 2:00.  The regular boat takes 75 minutes and leaves the city at 10:00 and Lone Pine at 2:15. 

Ticked off the bucket list by: James Ian – Travel Collecting

 

South Bank Parklands

South Bank Parklands, Brisbane

South Bank Parklands is without a doubt one of the highlights of a visit to Brisbane. The 17 hectares of parkland showcases the amazing outdoor lifestyle that Queenslanders enjoy, with its lush green gardens and lots of space for a wide variety of free activities.[/caption]

One of the most popular places within the park is Street’s Beach, Australia’s only inner city beach. You can sunbake on the white sand, go for a swim in the pool or play with your kids in the Aquativity area. Brisbane’s mild climate means it popular with both the tourist and locals all year round.

If you are looking for something a bit more relaxing then take a stroll down the Promenade under its shady fig trees or walk along the 1km length of Arbour with it’s beautiful magenta bougainvillea flowers.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Susan Gan – Snap Travel Blog

 

Currumbin Wild Life Sanctuary

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Discover Australia’s wildlife, flora and fauna at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary which has got to be one of the best, if not the best, family days out on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

The day starts at 8 am with the iconic and popular lorikeet feeding. Get a feeding plate for a gold coin and the rainbow lorikeets suddenly appear en masse out of nowhere and dive down to feed on the plates. They’ll also land on your head (wear a cap), arms, back, or where ever they can access the food. It’s a very colorful and noisy display. They are fed again at the end of the day at 4pm.

Once in the park, you can wander through the open animal enclosures, feed the kangaroos and cuddle a koala. If you have little ones you may want to make use of the mini train to get around the park, or the older ones might want to do a Segway Safari tour.

Make sure you get a list of the times of the free shows so that you don’t miss any liker the Free Flight Bird Show, an Aboriginal Dance Show, the Crocodile Behaviour Show, an Australiana show, Big Fang theory (snakes and reptiles) and Blinky Bill’s Studio adventure.

For an extra charge you can take on the Treetop Challenge which has 11 ziplines and 80 challenges, or the Wildlife Hospital Tour which is one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world. Check out their website for more information and pricing.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Maureen – So Many Places! So Little Time!

 

Surf’s Up in Surfers Paradise

Things to do in Surfers Paradise with kids Credit: Tourism Queensland

The Gold Coast has to be on the top places to visit in Australia for families! What better than sandy beaches and waves to get kids outdoors and enjoy one of Australia’s famous coastlines! This three-kilometre coastline features dramatic high rises and cute beachfront markets. But it is not all about the surf, there are activities from wildlife parks and theme parks, mini golf to riding an Aquaduck! I found that the beach stole the show, but if you are not a beach lover, there is plenty of fun to have without getting sand between your toes!

Ticked off the bucket list by: Lindsay Nieminen – Step into Jordan

Victoria

Driving the Great Ocean Road

Australia bucket list Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is probably the most famous drive in Australia and is a brilliant road trip to do as a family. This drive has it all – incredible scenery, fabulous beaches and lots of fun things to do along the way. It is possible to do the Great Ocean Road as a day trip from Melbourne, but I would definitely recommend taking your time. We did it as a 4-day trip, and we could easily have taken longer and spent more time playing on the beach. 

The Great Ocean Road starts in Torquay, around a 90-minute drive from Melbourne and follows the coast for 244km to Warrnambool. As well as the famous sights such as the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, there are plenty of fun things to do for families, such as walks to waterfalls, lighthouses to climb, koalas to spot and even a zip lining attraction at the Otway Fly. 

Ticked off the bucket list by: Marianne – Mum on the Move

 

Explore Melbourne’s street art scene

Melbourne is well known for its atmospheric laneways covered in street art. Exploring the city looking for murals is a fun and free activity that every family should experience when visiting Melbourne

Start in iconic Hosier Lane opposite Federation Square and check out the latest murals by artists like Adnate and Nelson Cekis. Our favourite is the image of an indigenous boy gazing down on the city from up high. 

Then go exploring the city to find your favourite pieces. If you start at the top of Flinders Lane you can duck into AC/DC Lane, Duckboard Place and Tattersalls Lane. Look out for Banksy’s rats before heading down to Presgrave Place to check out the tiny pieces in frames that adorn that laneway. 

If you take a walk by the Yarra River you can also spot wonderful pieces of public sculpture art. This activity is perfect for family selfies and ducking into cafes for treats in-between mural spotting. 

Ticked off the bucket list by: Katy Clarke – Untold Morsels

 

Indulge in the Food of Melbourne

Melbourne bucket list Hopetoun Tearooms

Melbourne is one of the great foodie cities in the world. At every turn there’s a café, a restaurant, an espresso bar, pub, or bistro. There is no end to the range and diversity of culinary possibilities. Highlights for family-friendly dining in Melbourne include modern cuisine at Southbank, Queen Victoria Markets fresh produce, Lonsdale Street’s Greek precinct, Vietnamese on Victoria Street and Chinese in, well, China Town. If you want something a little bit swish, anything at South Yarra.

A few of my favourites are Hu Tong Dumpling Bar in China Town, The Journal Cafe, Hopetoun Tea Rooms, The Grain Store, The Quarter, and when you’ve got a kid-free night I love eating at Il Bacaro.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nicci O’Mara – Trip Chiefs

 

Enjoy the Wineries of the Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley is Victoria’s premier winery growing region, many a hen’s day as been spent on a winery bus tour exploring the rolling hills covered in vineyards. With the famous Yarra River running through the region, the area is far more than just a great wine making area and its only 90 mins drive from Melbourne’s CBD.

With plenty of boutique accommodation on offer to suit every budget, the Yarra Valley is a great weekend getaway for couples and for families. The local produce is second to none and there is plenty to keep kids entertained. The world acclaimed Healesville Sanctuary is a wildlife park run by Zoos Victoria and houses native Australian animals where you can participate in one on one experiences with many of the our famous animals.

You don’t drink wine? Me either, Yarra Valley has you sorted, there is the Four Pillars Distillery producing a world class variety of gin or beer is your thing,  well drop in to the Coldstream Brewery for a pint of local brewed beer. You’ve got a sweet tooth? Don’t miss the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. Sounds like the perfect weekend away or mid-week break.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Sally from Our 3 Kids V the World

 

Eastern Beach Geelong

Things to do in Geelong Victoria

For families visiting Australia, Eastern Beach on the Geelong Waterfront is the ultimate holiday destination. Built in the 1930s it has a wonderful old-world charm that encourages visitors to relax and enjoy good old-fashioned fun.

Teenagers and kids love the water facilities and spend hours swimming, diving and jumping into the beautiful Corio Bay. The whole area is surrounded by beautiful manicured lawns, that are perfect for picnics and barbecues and a rousing game of cricket. There’s a beautiful red brick building that’s home to a kiosk and café, and an Art Deco pavilion where you’ll find change rooms and lifeguards. 

A highlight of Eastern Beach is the iconic promenade and its shark proof swimming enclosure. It’s an amazing space for kids to burn off energy and for parents to lay back and relax beside the bay.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Audrey Chalmers – See Geelong

 

Puffing billy steam train ride in the Dandenong Mountains

Things to do in Australia with kids steam train Dandenong's

A wonderful daytrip from Melbourne involves an open-car steam train ride through the Dandenong Ranges to Emerald and Gembrook villages The trip passes through forests of mountain ash and giant ferns on its way to Gembrook. There’s a lot to do in these wonderful villages just to the east of Melbourne, including great parks and playgrounds. Getting there is most of the fun, however, and there are even times of the year when Puffing Billy is transformed into Thomas the Tank Engine. The “Day Out With Thomas” happens in October and November each year.

The Puffing Billy station is adjacent Belgrave station, a 50-minute trip from central Melbourne (Flinders Street Station). You can stop at the expansive Emerald Park or go onwards to the delightful Gembrook Village where there is a 90-minute stop to have lunch at the cafes in the main street of the village.

Tickets are not cheap, but the experience on a real steam train through this magnificent scenery makes it an unforgettable family experience. A return journey for 2 adults and up to 4 children is AUD $157. The Day Out With Thomas tickets are AUD $25 for Infants 1-3 years and $42 for all other passengers.

 Ticked off the bucket list by:  Monique Skidmore – Trip Anthropologist

 

Healesville Animal Sanctuary

If you’re looking for a fun and educational day trip from Melbourne, I highly recommend Healesville Sanctuary. 

What’s so special about Healesville? It specializes in animals native to Australia, such as kangaroos, platypuses, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, wombats, lace monitors, and many more. Admission is $19 for kids ages 4-15, $38 for adults, and $34 for seniors. They also offer weekday family specials (from $95-$123) for two adults and up to five children. On weekends and holidays, kids get in for free! 

For an extra $20 you can schedule an “animal encounter” with a dingo, koala, kangaroo, python or echidna, which I can’t recommend enough if it’s your first time visiting Australia! For each encounter you and a small group of other visitors get to spend about 10 minutes with the animal(s) of your choice. 

I did three animal encounters when I visited Healesville and got to pet a dingo, see a Koala up close (in a tree, they don’t let you hold them at Healesville), and feed Crystal the Kangaroo. You can also wade with a platypus but that encounter costs significantly more and must be booked ahead of time (sounds like fun, though!). Healsville also has a small group 2-hour guided tour option that gets you close to several kinds of native animals ($99 per adult). 

Located in rural Victoria, Healsville is an easy day trip from Melbourne if you have access to a car. You can reach Healsville from Melbourne via public transportation (tram, train, a long wait, and then one or two busses) but it makes for a much longer day. All in all, Healsville Sanctuary in an enjoyable place to spend the day. 

Ticked off the bucket list by: Cate – International Desserts Blog 

 

And for something a bit different, go underground in the alps

Go underground in Walhalla

It’s not every day you get to explore an authentic, heritage listed underground goldmine up in the mountains. Step back in time and take the family to discover what it was like back in the gold mining days with a visit to the Long Tunnel Mine at Walhalla. It is a perfect example of Victoria’s past and their tour guides really do bring things alive. You’ll be led through a maze of dark interiors, exploring the stories of the men who worked here. Once you’re done there’s a cute little gift shop and museum where you can see more.

Walhalla is on the southern tip of the Victorian Alps, 2 hours 30 mins from Melbourne and is a short detour off the route to visit the stunning Baw Baw National Park.

Families in the know should bring an extra jacket – it feels much cooler underground. The max tour group is 30, so booking ahead is a good idea during peak times. Tickets work out pretty affordable at $50 for a family of six, $20 per adult or $15 per child.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Danni – Live in 10 Countries

New South Wales

The ultimate swim and walk at Bondi Beach

Bucketlist Australia Bondi beach

Sun seekers will be satisfied with a trip to the famous Bondi Beach. It may get a little crowded during the height of Summer, but with the water, waves and white sand, the crowds shouldn’t worry you too much. Linger a little longer and enjoy a leisurely lunch at any number of cafes fringing the beach.

If you enjoy a good walk then head off on the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk which is absolutely stunning. There are plenty of things to see and do along the way. A great place to finish your walk is Coogee Pavilion, one of our favourite places to eat in Coogee with excellent food, a great atmosphere and an entire area up the back for the kids to play in. You can reach Bondi Beach on a 30-min bus ride from the CBD.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nicci O’Mara – Trip Chiefs

 

Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge

Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge Sydney bucket list

If you’re after something truly bucket-list worthy, and you’re not afraid of heights, then climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a once in a lifetime activity for the family.

If trudging up the 1,332 steps on the BridgeClimb is not for you, you can still enjoy 360-degree views of the city from the Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout, an 87m-tall bridge bearing that only requires a 200-stair climb that you can take at your own pace while enjoying a photographic tour through the history of the Bridge. Access to the pylon is via the Bridge Stairs in Cumberland Street, The Rocks. Open daily 10.00am to 5.00pm (last entry 4:45pm).

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nicci O’Mara – Trip Chiefs

 

Take a ride on Sydney Harbour

things to do Sydney with kids

There are lots of options to explore Sydney Harbour, you can take a harbour cruise, a tall ship, or if you’re short of time, the best value way to cruise the harbour is aboard a Sydney Harbour Ferry. Ferries run from Circular Quay to Manly, Taronga Zoo, Milsons Point (Luna Park), Darling Harbour, and up the river to Parramatta. The kids will love it.

While you’re at Circular Quay, make sure you leave time to visit the iconic Sydney Opera House. Take time to walk around the exterior, then dive beneath the sails and go backstage at the city’s busiest music, arts, and performance venue. The Sydney Opera House Junior Adventure Tour held during school holidays is seriously cool for families.

If you’re wondering where people are taking those iconic photos with the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Harbour and if your really good, Luna Park, then Circular Quay is the place to go. Circular Quay is also the place where you’ll catch the ferry to places like Manly and Taronga Zoo, it has a major train station, and is where you’ll see the Opera House, the Rocks, and the Museum of Contemporary Arts.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nicci O’Mara – Trip Chiefs

 

Discover the best Sydney view at Sydney Botanic Gardens

Sydney is a city that should definitely be on your Australia bucket list but my favourite place in the city has to the amazing Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens. 

The gardens are free to enter which will help save money on your visit to Sydney, but there is so much to do. Firstly the gardens offer my absolute favourite view of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour in the city. The best place in the gardens for this view is Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, a sandstone rock carved into the shape of a bench by convicts in 1810. 

Once you’ve taken in the view, head off on a free garden tour, learn about Aboriginal culture, see an exhibition at The Calyx, or take a ride on the Choo Choo Train. Be sure to take in some of the specialist gardens such as the fernery, palm grove, and my personal favourite the Australian Native Garden. 

Ticked off the bucket list by: Leona – Wandermust Family

 

Beach fun in beautiful Terrigal – Central Coast

If you are looking for a family-friendly beach that you can enjoy like a true Aussie local then it’s hard to beat beautiful Terrigal, one of the stunning beaches on the Central Coast, NSW.

This 1km of golden sands is patrolled all through the summer months and has small waves perfect for the kids and bodyboarding. At one end of the beach is a rock pool ideal for smaller children.

If you want to try your hand on a SUP, you can hire paddleboards at Terrigal Lagoon. With its calm waters, it is a great spot to learn.

After your fun in the sun, there is plenty to do in the area. The beachfront is full of cafes, restaurants and cute boutique stores to explore.

At the nearby Central Coast Marine Discovery centre you can learn about the marine animals in the area or take a small tour exploring the local rock pools. There is also a large playground next door (and a cafe where mum and dad can get a coffee while the kids burn off some energy )

You are also not too far from the well known Australian Reptile Park where you can see native wildlife from dingos to snakes, and watch Funnel Web Spiders get milked for their venom.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Kirsty Hill – Travel with Meraki

Explore Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains things to do Jenolan Caves

The Jenolan Caves, 75km by road from Katoomba, are one of the top family attractions in the Blue Mountains. Kids will love the spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations, including some fantastical shapes such as dragons, rhinos, and “pixies’ laundry”.

If you’re lucky, you might also spot some local wildlife. When we visited we saw a rock wallaby at the entrance to Lucas Cave, warming himself at one of the spotlights.

There are 11 caves in total, and they each require a separate guided tour, so you’ll need to choose which one is best for you and your family. Lucas Cave is the largest and most popular, but it does require climbing several hundred steps to enter.

Imperial Cave is the easiest tour with the fewest stairs. During school holidays, special children-only tours are offered, such as the “stones and bones” tour. The guides are knowledgeable, and most are good at explaining history and geology in a way kids can understand.

If you don’t have your own vehicle, CDC runs a daily bus tour that leaves Katoomba at 10:35 am and returns at about 5 pm, giving you about 3.5 hours to explore the caves.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Wendy Werneth – The Nomadic Vegan

Northern Territory

Kings Canyon Rim Walk

Ultimate Australia things to do Kings Canyon

The Kings Canyon Rim walk is one of the best family hikes we have done in Australia. After traveling through the flat landscape of the outback, it was a welcome sight to see the rocky outcrop. The walk is not too hard for kids to do and it has plenty of rocky areas that our children certainly enjoyed scrambling up, and the views across the rim and massive sandstone walls of the canyon are incredible. It takes 3-4 hours to hike and is about 6 kms return in a circuit from the car park.
The canyon is located about 300km north from Uluru/Ayers Rock and 450km from Alice Springs. Regular flights from major Australian cities go into Alice Springs or Uluru and car rental is available.
When visiting as a family, pack plenty of water and snacks plus allow plenty of time to enjoy the walk without needing to hurry. During hot weather, leave as early as possible in the morning to avoid the hottest part of the day.
It is free to enter the Watarrka National Park, where Kings Canyon is located. There is camping and rooms nearby at the Kings Canyon Resort or Kings Creek Station.
Ticked off the bucket list by: Jane Barnes – Wicked Walkabout

Ride around Uluru

Australian bucket list destinations Uluru

I’d been looking at photos of Uluru since I was a child, but what still surprised me was how big and impressive it truly is when you see it in person. Uluru had been on my husband’s Australia bucketlist since he was a kid, so we decided to drive to the red centre of Australia to see what all the fuss was about. And we weren’t dissappointed.

You know how I said it’s a big rock? Well it’s a 10km trip to get around the base of Uluru. So we decided to hire bicycles and ride around the base and it was perfect. It was heaps of fun, we could stop whenever we liked, and if we rode at just the right speed, the flies didn’t bother us which is a major bonus. For those of you with kids too young to ride that far, there are tandem bikes and bike seats available to hire too. If you’ve got a car and don’t need a transfer (it’s 20km away from the resort), we found it was much cheaper to book directly rather than through the resort.

Being in the centre of Australia is where you’ll get to expereince really hot days for most of the year, and really cold nights during winter. So take this into consideration when you visit, when you’re trying to decide what time to visit Uluru or the nearby Kata Tjuta. And no matter what time of year you visit Uluru, make sure you take a fly net each. Believe me you’ll need one!

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nicci O’Mara – Trip Chiefs

 

Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge in the NT

Nitmiluk Gorge, located just three hours south of Darwin, is a spiritual and adventurous experience like no other. Also known as Katherine Gorge, this sacred Aboriginal site features tall stunning sandstone walls, exciting wildlife and fascinating ancient rock art.

Families can take a boat tour and learn about the incredible history of the landscape, as well as the wildlife that inhabits it. If it’s the right time of year you can swim and enjoy a picnic on the river bank. 

For more adventurous families, canoes can be hired for a half day, full day or overnight. The national park also includes walks with spectacular scenery. 

The best time to visit with kids is during the dry season, when the gorge is more likely to be open for swimming. 

Nitmiluk Gorge is accessible by car and a 4WD isn’t required. A range of accommodation options exist nearby including camping grounds, cabins and motels. And if you do visit – a stop into the Katherine natural thermal springs located nearby is also a must do! 

Ticked off the bucket list by: Stephanie – Navigating Adventure

 

Experience Kakadu – Australia’s largest national park

Australia bucket list Kakadu

For the ultimate family bucket list destination you must visit Australia’s largest national park, Kakadu. Located three hours from Darwin, Kakadu is world-heritage listed and showcases some of the best Aboriginal rock art and pristine landscapes in Australia.

Kakadu is the perfect place to expose your kids to Aboriginal heritage. Some of the parks rock art is up to 20,000 years old – one of the longest historical records for any group of people in the world. The traditional Bininj/Mungguy owners have curated free demonstrations and guided ranger talks which are not to be missed.

The waterways and falls throughout the park are breathtaking. Gunlom Falls,  Jim Jim Falls and the beautiful Maguk spring were our favourite family swimming spots. The Yellow Water sunrise boat cruise takes you over the wetlands spotting saltwater crocodiles, bird life and buffalo as the sun meets the day.

For the perfect travel conditions, go between May and October when the nights are cool and the days are warm. However, locals say that Kakadu should be seen in all seasons to appreciate the ever-changing landscape, so go whenever you can!

A variety of accommodation options are provided within the park to suit all budgets.  Allow a minimum of three days to get the most out of your family park pass which costs $100. 

Kakadu is the kind of place that stays with you. You can visit many places in Australia for their beauty, but it’s rare to find a land that is so untouched while still offering insight into its ancient story.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Emily from Websites From A Van

 

See the Kangaroos Up Close in Alice Springs

Australia bucket list kangaroo Alice Springs

There’s one thing that is usually on the top of everyone’s list who visits Australia – see a kangaroo! This beautiful marsupial is the nation’s icon and getting to see one is a truly memorable experience. We highly recommend visiting the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs as the best place in the whole of Australia to see one.

The sanctuary was set up to care for orphaned joeys (many kangaroos are killed on the roads, but their young still survive inside the pouch). The owner – a man nicknamed Brolga – rescues these joeys and gives them a second chance at life. He shot to fame when the BBC filmed his daily life and produced three series’ of “Kangaroo Dundee” – make sure you watch before you go!

The Kangaroo Sanctuary runs daily sunset tours where you will learn about kangaroos, see them in the iconic outback environment and get up close to a mob (group) – including the dominant male Monty (who is huge!).

However, the highlight (and true bucket list experience) is the chance to cuddle a joey. On the tour, Brolga allows the groups to carefully hold a rescued joey. This magical experience is unlike any in Australia, especially when you’re surrounded by the deep red landscape of the Red Centre. The only way to visit the sanctuary is by booking a tour from Alice Springs (you cannot just turn up). Tickets cost $85 AUD for adults and $45 AUD for children with proceeds going towards the running of this special place.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Cat from Walk My World

Western Australia

Nature at it’s best in El Questro

Things to do El Questro

El Questro is nature play at its best. For our family, the most striking thing was the landscape. On the surface, it’s harsh and dry. Then you discover the gorges. They’re home to lush forests of ancient palms, hot springs, waterfalls. 

Zebedee Springs was our highlight. We explored the creeks and hot springs for hours. The Emma and El Questro gorge trails were also favourites. The kids loved the walks and clamouring over the rocks. Watching the spitting archer fish on the Chamberlin Gorge cruise was also great fun.

Getting to El Questro is where the adventure begins. El Questro is in Western Australia’ east Kimberley, a two-hour drive from Kununurra. There are flights to Kununurra from most Australian capital cities. Alternatively, you can drive. It is about 1000km to El Questro from Broome or Darwin. 

Like any remote location, everyday items are expensive and hard to come by.  So, make sure you pack everything you will need for your stay. There are lots of accommodation options starting with unpowered sites from $20/adult/night. Children 12 and under are free, teens are $11 each. There is also a $22 per adult visitor permit to the station. 

Ticked off the bucket list by: Natalie & Steve – Curious Campers Australia

 

Explore Rottnest Island by bike

See the Quokkas on Rottnest Island

If you’re visiting sunny Western Australia then you should put a visit to Rottnest Island at the very top of your list of things to do with families in Australia. This little island paradise is located 18km off the coast of Perth and is the ideal spot to visit with kids of all ages. Rottnest is car-free and the ideal to explore on a bike. For little kids, bike carriers can be hired on the island.

The top attraction, of course, is coming face to face with the quokkas, the cute marsupials that roam freely throughout the island. Other highlights are exploring the many beautiful beaches and bays, snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters and if boredom calls, there’s mini-golf, a water inflatable park, glass bottom boat tours and organised activities during the school holidays.

There are regular ferry services leaving to Rottnest Island from Perth, Fremantle and Hillary’s boat harbour. The ferry trip takes about 40 minutes and slightly more if leaving from Perth. The cost is approximately $79 per person with bike rental. Kids can travel for free with Rottnest Express and Sealink ferries.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nina – West Australian Explorer

 

Albany and the dramatic southern coast of WA

Distance is never an excuse in Australia so the 4.5-hour drive from Perth to Albany is an easy one for avid travellers to tackle. Albany is home to Western Australia’s earliest English settlement in the deep harbour waters of King George sound in the early 19th century. To this day it is still a busy port city and a beautiful regional hub that perfectly balances beaches, history, nature reserves and whale spotting along with an abundance of fresh farm food & grape growing. 
 
The real beauty in Albany and the south coast lies just beyond, from the Vancouver Peninsula and Torndirrup National Park, all along the southern WA coast to Walpole.  Here, Australia was once connected to Antarctica – ok just a cool 45 million years ago but the Gondwana split left the Western Australia coast with a series of dramatic sea front cliffs and beautiful cosy inlets. It’s also where you will find one of the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots with 1000’s of unique species of flora and fauna.
 
The most famous sites are the Natural Bridge and The Gap where you can see the ocean at its fiercest pounding the granite rocks. A beautiful viewing platform has made this a much safer place for tourists to experience. 
 
Another favourite beach stop is Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks in William Bay National Park, Denmark; glistening soft white sand under foot and azure waters as far as the eye can see.  Neighbouring beach Mad Fish Bay is not always as forgiving, giant swells smashing over the rocks from each direction. At low tide you are left with a beautiful and remote sandy beach, other than in the peak of summer should be almost guaranteed to yourself other than perhaps a brave and hardy fisherman! .

Ticked off the bucket list by: Keri Hedrick – Our Globetrotters

 

Get up close to the wildlife at Caversham in Perth

If you ask my children what was their happiest memory of Australia they will say it was feeding kangaroos, cuddling wombats and making friends with koalas. All of the things we did in Caversham Wildlife Park in Perth.

In terms of animal welfare, the place feels really well-managed. All the animals seem healthy and happy and almost all are available for kids to get close to. Kangaroos roam freely in an enormous enclosure in which visitors can enter.  You can buy special kangaroo food on entry, or if you happen to be a cute little kid, you can get it for free from the numerous staff – all of whom were sweet-natured and full of information. We enjoyed lots of different shows and experiences including the twins’ first (and to date only) go at milking a cow.

Caversham Park is located outside Perth. The best way to get there is by car or as we did, by taxi. It’s open daily from 9:00 – to 5:30. The entry fee for an adult is AU$30 and for a child is AU$14. Our visit to Caversham Wildlife Park was not only one of the best things to do in Perth but in the whole of Australia.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Ania from The Travelling Twins

ACT

Questacon

Questacon things to do Canberra with kids

No visit to the nation’s capital city, Canberra, is complete without spending at least a few hours at Questacon. This science and technology museum and hands-on exhibition is so cool, even the adults are going to find their inner geek!

Feel the power of an earthquake, free fall down a six metre slide, take on a robot in a game of air hockey, uncover amazing phenomena, and so much more. Open seven days a week and with prices around $70 for a family of four, it’s a fun and educational way to to spend some time in Canberra with kids.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nicci O’Mara – Trip Chiefs

 

Australian War Memorial

Things to do in Canberra Australia War Memorial

The very best War Memorial in the country sits in the heart of Canberra. The Australian War Memorial is a must-do for any family’s city excursion, whether you’re Australian or from overseas. Exhibits change regularly, but take your time and teach the kids about the involvement of our troops in war from colonial period to present day.

The Australian War Memorial still sits at the top of my son’s must see places in Canberra. It certainly gave him a different perspective on war and the sacrifices and bravery of our troops.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nicci O’Mara – Trip Chiefs

Tasmania

Cataract Gorge in Launceston

Tasmania bucket list Cataract Gorge

Adventurers may find everything at Cataract Gorge a bit too easy. But it’s the exact reason why it’s a must-do in Australia for families travelling to Tasmania.

Cataract Gorge is only a few kilometres away from Launceston town centre, in the north of Tasmania. It’s rare to get such a natural setting that close to a city. You can even walk along the river to get there. Families love spending a full day there. There’s plenty to do with excellent facilities and access. You can start with a walk in the morning, chose between lunch at the restaurant or the café or bring your own food to cook on the barbecue, then relax at the pool before hopping on the chairlift for spectacular views.

As the end of the day approaches, you may be lucky and spot some wildlife. I came across a cute wallaby while hiking.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Eloise – My Favourite Escapes

South Australia

Tour the wineries

South Australia bucket list winery tours

South Australia is a wine lover’s dream destination. Encircling Adelaide in almost every direction are world-class vineyards including McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and the Clare Valley. But don’t go thinking visiting a vineyard is just for the adults. Most wineries cater for children with tours, activities and food just for them. Many are easy drives for day trips from Adelaide, or wend your way from winery to winery over a weekend.

Ticked off the bucket list by: Nicci O’Mara – Trip Chiefs

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