The school holidays are rolling around once again, and the kids are bouncing off the walls, readying themselves for some much-needed time off school, and some well deserved family time.
If you’re in need of some school holidays ideas, or just want to know a little bit more about which domestic destinations can offer up a plethora of family friendly activities without sending you a) crazy, or b) to the poorhouse, then Skyscanner Australia have got your back.
If you’re an east coaster, than booking flights to Perth is a brilliant way to explore the west coast, and satisfy the school holidays cravings. The beaches here are among Australia’s best, offering up that powder-white sand that normally fringes Oceanic islands instead of happening cities. For the kids, there are loads of activities, such as going to Rottnest Island and saying hello to the quokkas (THE CUTEST ANIMALS ALIVE), or visiting the Aquarium of Western Australia, where you can see sharks swim above you (THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD SCARIEST ANIMALS ALIVE). You can also stroll through the Fremantle Markets, put your wetsuits on and try surfing in the waters of Cottesloe Beach, or spend a day at Adventure World. For adults, there are the excellent cafes and bars all along the Cottesloe waterfront, and I mean, did we mention the Quokkas?
2. Gold Coast
Winter or summer, autumn or spring, booking flights to the Gold Coast for school holidays is always a good idea (okay, aside from Schoolies Week). 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. But there are plenty of things you can do as a fam that don’t involve revolving upside down or having a convo with Batman: book a whale watching trip, try surfing lessons, or simply spend time enjoying the many cafes and bars that populate the waterfront of Broadbeach, Coollagatta, and Surfers Paradise.
Flying to Hobart over the school holidays is great if you’re an active-outdoorsy family, or if you’re a bookish, fireside family. 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 or 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. Lastly, depending on what time of year you are going, you may just be in with a chance to see the Aurora Australis at night, one of nature’s most spectacular light shows.
Australia’s own City of Culture is a great domestic destination to book for the school holidays, not least because of all the things you can do here. Beyond the famous Luna Park, there is the lovely Weeibee Open Range Zoo, the atmospheric Old Melbourne Gaol, the stomach dropping Eureka Skydeck, and excellent kid-friendly museums like Scienceworks, the Melbourne Museum. If you have time, take the kids to the outdoor Hosier Lane, which showcases some fantastic street art.
If you have a kid that loves wildlife, than Darwin is kind of hard to beat. Within easy reach of Kakadu and Nitmuluk National Parks, Darwin will allow you access to some of Australia’s best scenery – such as 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. However, if you’re more keen to stay within the city limits, that certainly won’t stop you from experiencing the wild: visit Crocosaurus Cove or Crocodylus Park for a close, but safe, encounter with Australia’s largest predators. After that, relax at the Deckchair Cinema and watch an outdoor movie, stroll down the Esplanade, or take in the city by booking a Darwin Harbour cruise.
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. Boasting an annual temperature of 24-30°C, it is always a good time of year to book flights to Hamilton Island for a school holiday. There are no cars allowed on the island, so if you love, biking, strolling, walking, 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 set to sea and explore the other small islands around the region, for a chance at seeing some whales, dolphins, sting rays, and maybe even a sea turtle or two!
If your family is not really the outdoorsy type, and are more interested in a city break, than Sydney is your ticket. 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 Easter Show, Vivid Sydney, and City 2 Surf which all are typically hosted during the school holidays (perfect for a family day out). And if that doesn’t entice you, there are family friendly attractions like Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Aquarium, and Luna Park all a stone’s throw away.