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The 7 best domestic destinations for family holidays

A holiday that keeps parents relaxed and kids entertained? Yes, it's possible. At Skyscanner Australia, we'll show you where to go and where to stay for the whole family to enjoy.

1. Perth

If you’re an east coaster, than booking flights to Perth is a brilliant way to explore the west coast. The beaches here are among Australia’s best, offering up that powder-white sand that normally fringes South Pacific islands rather than the front of happening cities.

There are endless kid-friendly activities to enjoy, like going to Rottnest Island and waving hello to the quokkas (who currently hold the title of Cutest Animals Alive). Then, visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden, where playgrounds crafted around nature and a treetop walks will let kids’ imaginations run wild.

You can also stroll through the Fremantle Markets, put your wetsuits on and catch waves in front of Cottesloe Beach, or spend a day at Adventure World, a theme park with games and roller coasters. Another worthy stop is Hillary’s Boat Harbour, where you can stroll along the boardwalk and stop at a cafe for a quick bite to eat. The waterfront at Hillary’s tends to be calm, and there is a shaded playground to enjoy.

Where to stay: Rendezvous Hotel Scarborough, a beachside hotel in Scarborough has an outdoor pool and is within walking distance of the beach, Scarborough playground, a skatepark, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Plus, there are plenty of cafes for adults to enjoy.

2. Gold Coast

Taking a trip to Gold Coast is always a good idea. Certified Kid Nirvana, the combination of Dreamworld, Warner Bros. Movie World, and the Wet’n’Wild waterpark, makes the Gold Coast a slam-dunk in terms of keeping the kids occupied and happy.

If theme parks aren’t your thing, there are plenty of things you can do as a family that don’t involve revolving upside down or chatting with Batman. You can go whale watching, take surf lessons, or wander along the waterfront at Broadbeach, Coollagatta, and Surfers Paradise.

Where to stay: Paradise Resort is so kid-friendly, it feels as though the resort’s design team consulted a think tank of primary school masterminds. When they’re not at kids club, children can play laser tag, splash around in either of the two water parks, and challenge one another at the games arcade. A creche for those under two years old ensure bubs are cared for as well.

3. Hobart

Flying to Hobart is great no matter if you’re a family who likes to spend all your time exploring the outdoors, or if you’re the type to play games by a lounge room fireplace.

Kids will love heading out to the Port Arthur Historic Site to learn about the convicts that were sent here in the 1800s, and the whole family will get a kick out of wandering down the heritage district of Salamanca Place, where you can also investigate the wares of hundreds of market stalls in the famous Salamanca Market.

If you fancy taking advantage of the landscape, visit the Tasman and Mount Field National Parks for excellent days out. Or, stay within the city and explore the museums, shops, and restaurants of Hobart’s Waterfront, one of the loveliest parts of city. Depending on what time of year you are going, you may just be in with a chance to see the Aurora Australis at night, arguably nature’s most spectacular light show.

Where to stay: Check out the RACV/RACT Hobart Apartment Hotel. Kids stay free in the one bedroom apartment and eat free with paying adults in the onsite restaurant.

4. Melbourne

Adults and kids will find plenty of things to do in Australia’s own cultural centre, making it a great domestic destination for families who love the arts, history, and trying new cuisines. A wander through Melbourne’s colourful laneways (with stops for snacks in between) makes for fun day out. Not sure where to start? Begin at Hosier Lane.

Play games and go on rides at Luna Park, an amusement park with rollercoasters, carousels, and bumper cars. If those thrills aren’t enough, buzz up to the 88th floor, home of the Eureka Skydeck 88. A glass case juts out from the skyscraper, revealing 360-degree views of the city below.

Families with a penchant for history should take a tour of the Old Melbourne Gaol, a former prison that held dangerous criminals and petty thieves alike. Kid-friendly museums include Scienceworks, the Melbourne Museum, and the Melbourne Tram Museum.

Where to stay: Stay at the Sebel Residences Melbourne Docklands, serviced luxury apartments with multiple pools, a tennis court, a library, and a fitness centre–all just steps away from the waterfront.

5. Darwin

If you have a kid that loves wildlife, than Darwin is hard to beat. Within easy reach of Kakadu and Nitmuluk National Parks, Darwin will allow you access to some of Australia’s best scenery – like the views of Katherine Gorge. You can even camp in Gunlom Falls in Kakadu or in Leliyn in Nitmuluk National Park if you’re looking for a little adventure outside of the city.

After some time in the parks, head back to the city and relax at the Deckchair Cinema to watch an outdoor movie, stroll down the Esplanade, or take in the city skyline by booking a Darwin Harbour cruise. For a croc-free place to swim, take a dip at Wave Lagoon, a boogie-boardable wave pool that has a shallow section for younger kids to wade in.

Where to stay: Adina Apartment Hotel hosts one- and two-bedroom apartments, a swimming pool, and laundry service just a short walk away from Wave Lagoon.

6. Hamilton Island

Beautiful, pristine Hamilton Island is one of 74 islands in the group known as the Whitsundays, which are nestled in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. With an annual temperature of 24-30°C, it makes for a great family holiday all year long.

There are no cars allowed on Hamilton Island, so if you love, biking, strolling, walking, and running, then this little piece of paradise is for you. Kids will adore the incredible snorkelling, the gorgeous beaches, and the wonderfully preserved forests of the island. If that’s not enough, than hop on a boat and explore the other islands around the region. Pack a pair of binoculars and keep your eyes peeled. You might see whales, dolphins, rays, and maybe even a sea turtle or two.

Where to stay: Reef View Hotel hosts spacious rooms with options available to sleep up to six guests. The resort scores high marks from families thanks to its onsite ice cream parlour and kids stay and eat free program.

7. Sydney

For big city life backed against family-friendly beaches, Sydney is the ultimate getaway. With tons of excellent venues hosting plays, concerts, and festivals throughout the year, and more kid-friendly events on during the school holidays, there is always something to see and do in Sydney.

Key events are the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Vivid Sydney, and City2Surf which all are typically hosted during the school holidays. If that doesn’t entice you, take surf lessons at Bondi Beach, swim in the ocean pools, and make a stop at Luna Park, an amusement park filled with carnival games and thrilling rides.

Where to stay: QT Bondi is a short walk away from Bondi Beach that rents surfboards and bicycles to guests free of charge. Colourful decor gives the hotel a youthful vibe. Their larger rooms come with a kitchenette, washing machine and dryer, and couch with a fold-out bed.

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Looking for more domestic destination ideas for this year’s school holidays? Simply pop in ‘everywhere’ into Skyscanner Australia’s destination bar, and we’ll show you all the available flight options from your departure point.