Family Fun: The Best Kid-Friendly Getaways For Summer
Striking the right balance when it comes to family holidays can be difficult – you need somewhere easy to get to, with something for everyone. Luckily for us, Australia is brimming with outstanding options for the whole family, from the beach to the bush and everything in between. We’ve even found a way to make the Hunter Valley kid-friendly, one of Australia’s most well-known wine regions. You’re welcome.
1. For the beach adventure... Byron Bay
There’s no doubt that Byron Bay is one of the most iconic beach towns in Australia. The coastal gem is a destination for surfers, backpackers, creatives, yogis and of course, the annual schoolies crowd, too. This enclave more than provides with its chic beach bungalows, foodie hangouts and buzzing bar scene. However, existing alongside these, are a slew of family-friendly activities that make it an ideal spot to bring the kids come summer.
Byron Main Beach and Wategos offer surfing lessons, kayaking tours and endless sandcastle-making potential. Coastal walks are also a great way to use up that school-holiday energy the little ones have, even if it means you need to bribe them with ice-cream at the end (the Cape Byron Lighthouse Café does an excellent post-walk ice-cream!)
The Farm is a paddock-to-plate mecca: an 80 acre working farm, that also houses the renowned Three Blue Ducks restaurant and café. Kids can order from the Ducklings menu or you can pick up some goodies from the on-site bakery and set off for a farm picnic! In terms of activities, kids are spoilt for choice with farm tours, playgrounds and DIY gardening workshops.
Positioned on Byron Bay’s famed Belongil Beach, Elements of Byron has a nature-inspired vibe where families can immerse themselves in acres of lush rainforest and interwoven waterways. The two-bedroom villa-style accommodation houses up to five people and there are plenty of activities, from guided walks, horse riding and poolside fun, or the beach is right on hand.
2. For the cultured kids... Canberra
The nation’s capital has been the go-to place for school excursions for decades, and for good reason. This political playground has the perfect mix of educational activities, culture and fun. And since it’s so small, you can cover a lot of ground in just a couple of days. Part scholastic, part leisure – Canberra is the kind of trip that will foster adventurous little minds and spark curiosity wherever you choose to go.
Incredible galleries, museums, beautiful parks and plenty of open-air activities promise to entertain everyone in the group. One place that’s sure to bring back your own nostalgia is Questacon. Tucked inside the National Science and Technology Centre, this interactive museum is an absolute must. It’s made up of seven-science filled rooms, each of which has hands-on experiences, experiments and quirky displays.
Fox and Bow is a cosy café with healthy options, and something to please even the fussiest kids. While they’re waiting for their order, the kids can amuse themselves in the outdoor play area.
East Hotel has a bunch of cool, contemporary rooms and suites, including the Kids Cubby. Connected to the East Apartment, it’s decked out with bunk beds, kids play and dining table, Lego, bean bags and an Xbox.
3. For kid-friendly wineries... The Hunter Valley
You’re not wrong in thinking that one of Australia’s most established wine regions is an interesting choice for a family holiday. But we promise there’s more to the Hunter Valley than meets the eye (and the palette!). There is definitely a family-friendly side to the area, with outdoor activities in abundance, nature to explore and it’s all within an easy drive from Sydney. Some cellar doors around the Hunter Valley even cater to the entire family, namely Scarborough Wine Co with activity packs and giant Jenga, while Misty Glen Wines has a dedicated kid zone.
The Hunter Valley Gardens are a beautiful backdrop to a family day out. Take the Gardens train around the site to soak up the perfectly manicured gardens. The Shopping Village has general stores and wine cellars for a picnic among the sprawling grounds. Take a dip on the super slide or go around on the Ferris wheel. Come Christmas time, the Gardens are lit up in a festive spectacular.
Teeming with sweet treats, ice cream and drool-worthy fudge, the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company is a welcome break from the vineyards. Plus, the open grassy area is perfect for running off the sugar high.
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley has made it easy for families with their kids’ club. Featuring a games room, carousel and train, on weekends there are fully supervised sessions available. With recreation and dining facilities on site, you’ll be hard pressed to get the kids to leave the resort.
4. For a taste of farm life... Southern Highlands
Just 90 minutes from the city, the Southern Highlands is the perfect weekend getaway for families looking to escape the city, if only for a short while. With bushland and wilderness to roam, museums to explore, and villages dripping in history and charm, it’s an easy getaway with little munchkins of all ages.
Visit the Southern Highlands’ gorgeous parks and playgrounds. So many slides, so little time! Make your way to Berrima Park, Bradman Park or Lake Alexandra Reserve – just be sure to bring some bread to feed the ducks. Go chasing waterfalls and splash around at Carrington Falls, located in Budderoo National Park. Belmore Falls and Nepean Dam are stunning, too.
Treat the kids to a pastry at Gumnut Patisserie in Bowral, a quintessentially Southern Highlands haunt. Boasting a wide range of traditional French pastries, be sure to get in early as lots of the delicious treats are sold out by the afternoon. From morning to afternoon there is a constant stream of people making their selection from the brimming display cases.
Give the kids a peek into rural life at the picturesque Farm Club. Accommodation ranges from a gorgeous country homestead to quaint cottages. It’s based on a working farm, so there’s plenty of opportunity to let the kids run wild and get their hands dirty, while you can soak up the scene – or join in! Do the leisurely Farm Walk where the team will see you off at the end with a ‘farm box’ with fruit and veggies, milk, butter, cheese, eggs and preserves.
5. For outdoor fun... The Blue Mountains
With the bush as a scenic backdrop and all that fresh, mountainous air, The Blue Mountains offers a charming escape from the bustle of Sydney and the opportunity to wind down amongst nature. With enough activities to keep the kids well entertained, and enough adult-geared fun for the ‘rents, this holiday is sure to please all parties.
Spend the day around Echo Point – the Lookout for views of the Three Sisters and the dramatic Jamison Valley below is mandatory. Jazz up the experience for the kids by stopping by Scenic World and trying out the Cableway, Walkway, Railway or Skyway (if you dare) for a different perspective on the landscape.
The Gingerbread House in Katoomba is a sweet tooth’s heaven, set inside a 100-year-old renovated church, complete with a Hansel and Gretel style sweets shop, a café and a spacious outdoor play area.
The Fairmont Resort is known as being the pinnacle of upscale accommodation so rest assured you’ll be lapping up luxury when staying here, but the kids will be more than entertained too. The resort’s dedicated KidsZone is next level. From ten-pin bowling, a merry-go-round and a jungle gym to electric car rides, pony rides and the famous Fairmont Express Train. Just in case that wasn’t enough, they’re currently in the process of building an ice-skating rink!
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