The school holidays are a fantastic opportunity to scoop up the whole family for some quality time. However, for a truly fun getaway, you’ll want to hit the hallowed top 3 criteria for actually enjoying yourself on the school holidays:
- Lots of entertainment
- Easy to travel to
So with that in mind, read our guide for the best domestic school holiday destinations, and a couple of the best ones for a cheeky trip abroad, whether you’re booking for the Easter school holidays, the winter school holidays or the summer school holidays.
Which are the best domestic school holiday destinations?
1. The Gold Coast, Australia
The Gold Coast is pretty much a no-brainer destination for the school holidays, because for parents wanting to relax and kids dying to burn off energy it has the beach (hellooo suntan!), themeparks, wilderness sanctuaries, hiking opportunities, and plenty of bars and restaurants that are family friendly.
What’s more, is that there are regular direct flights from almost every major city in Australia keeping the fares competitive, and in terms of accommodation affordability, there are plenty of hotels that range from no-frills, mid-range, all the way to luxury, so you can design the break to your own budget pretty easily.
2. The Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Another of Queensland’s charms is the Whitsunday Islands, which manage to encapsulate the sheer magic of Australia’s coastal landscape. Pristine beaches, island forests, and reef gardens provide the entertainment and wonder.
If you’re with older children you can go sailing or diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and if you’re with little ones, you can check out the numerous kids clubs, or go swimming in the warm shallow waters of Whitehaven Beach. This destination is on the pricier side because it is more exclusive, especially if you stay on Hamilton Island, but the nearby Airlie Beach offers a good selection of affordable hotels.
3. Perth, Australia
If you’re coming from the east or southern coast, you’ll find that the flight is worth is, as Western Australia is home to some of the nation’s most spectacular beaches. Perth is great fun for little kids, with excellent options for fun, like visiting Rottnest Island (and its friendly native quokkas), embarking on camel rides along the beach, going to King’s Park, and ducking into the wonderful Western Australian Museum, so you won’t be struggling for things to do.
Older kids (and adults) can take advantage of the hip Cottesloe Beach scene, and dine, surf and relax in this trendy part of town. Perth is also considered one of Australia’s most livable cities, so it is really affordable when it comes to finding cheap hotels.
4. Darwin, Australia
If you’ve got older kids that love a little adventure, then take the opportunity to book school holidays flights to Darwin, the largest city in the Northern Territory and a gateway to some of Australia’s most spectacular national parks. You can horseriding, river cruising, hiking, camping and fishing in this part of the country, which is an outdoor kid’s dream.
There are cheap hotels in Darwin, and affordable local attractions like outdoor film showings, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, and the thrilling Crocosaurus Cove and Crocodylus Park, which makes this a great school holiday destination.
Which are the best international school holiday destinations?
1. Bali, Indonesia
Ah Bali, a destination that combines culture, great food, beautiful shorelines, and affordable accommodation and flights. There are lots of things to do with the kids here, from the water parks, surf schools, and kids clubs, to activities that range from rafting, hiking, trampolining, boat trips, and snorkelling, so you can choose which take your fancy.
For adults, there are upscale restaurants, bars, and spas, and plenty of clubs that will keep an eye on the kids for you while you unwind.
2. Phuket or Koh Samui, Thailand
Booking flights to Thailand is easy, and cheaper than you’d think. There are direct flights to Bangkok from several of Australia’s major cities, and routes out to nearby Singapore as well. Thailand is an easy draw because it is extremely affordable, but it’s also always warm – a major plus if you’re trying to avoid any cold spells back at home.
On islands like Phuket and Koh Samui there are tons of activities to keep the kids happy over the school holidays. They can learn how to surf, snorkel or dive, or they can visit exciting water parks, try trapeze, visit trick-eye museums, or spend their days in the excellent kids clubs.