What are the best places to visit in Australia with kids? And how about New Zealand and other parts of Oceania, such as Samoa? It’s such a diverse region that offers a great mix of beautiful outdoor locations, culture and fun cities. Visit Australia’s famous red center with Uluru and King’s Canyon, go camping in the outback, view the Aboriginal rock paintings and billabongs in Kakadu National Park or stay in vibrant family-friendly cities such as Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. Alternatively, visit a more off the beaten track destination and take your family to Samoa. There really is something for everyone.
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- 1 Best places to visit in Australia with kids
- 2 Best places to visit in New Zealand with kids
- 3 Other places in Oceania with kids
- 4 Conclusion
I’ve backpacked around Australia pre-kids and loved every second of it! I’d also really like to go back with our son, but it’s such a long journey to get there from Europe. So this region remains on our bucket list for now. Especially after reading all these wonderful things our fellow family travel bloggers have to say about it. You can read all their recommendations below.
Best places to visit in Australia with kids
Sydney with kids
Sydney is not only one of the most stunning cities on Earth, but it is hugely family friendly. Firstly, it is easy to get around – the city center is easily walkable and stroller friendly. If your kids’ little legs don’t want to walk that far, you can easily take the metro or bus.
We also found all restaurants in Sydney to be accommodating of children – we have eaten everywhere from beachside cafes to fine-dining French and Italian restaurants with the kids, and are always made to feel welcome.
And of course most importantly if you are visiting Sydney with little ones, there is a huge number of family-friendly attractions. Taronga Zoo is always a firm favorite with kids of all ages, then there is the SeaLife Aquarium, several fantastic museums to choose from, and for older kids, the Bridge Climb is a must-do.
Hitting the outdoors in Sydney is easy with kids too. There are several easy coastal walks to choose from and the beautiful Botanic Gardens right in the city center. If all else fails – head to the beach. You are spoiled for choice in Sydney!
Recommended by Keri from Little City Trips. Also read Keri’s tips for the best family hotels in Sydney.
Brisbane with kids
If you are looking for a mild climate all year round, crystal-clear beaches and tons of activities for your family destination, come to Brisbane because here you will find it all. The capital of Queensland packed with safe swim areas, fantastic parklands, river cruises, not to mention great dining and shopping experiences.
Centrally located between the Sunshine and Gold coasts, Brisbane makes a great base for a family holiday. One of the most popular places of the city is the recreational precinct Southbank where Brisbane Festival is held every September. In summer, Southbank swimming area opens its pools for the locals and visitors to enjoy relaxing and sunbaking while watching children safely splash around.
Our favorite thing to do in Brisbane is visiting museums: Queensland and Maritime, they offer great educational resources and historical facts. Another place worth the visit is the Science Centre —it’s fun for all ages with plenty of permanent and seasonal interactive exhibitions.
We highly recommend the trip to Daisy Hill Conservation Park where kids can see koalas at their natural habitat, and learn about Australia’s most adorable drop-bears. For a connection with nature, Brisbane offers two Botanical gardens: Brisbane city and Mt Coot-tha. I must admit, the later is our favorite! Best of all—it’s FREE. Don’t leave the gardens before you have had a walk through the Sir Thomas Planetarium and let your inner astronaut marvel at the life-size replica of Neil Armstrong’s lunar spacesuit. Admission is also FREE.
Melbourne with kids
Melbourne, Australia, is a great destination for family travel. Regardless of the makeup of your family or their tastes Melbourne has something for everyone.
Being a big city there’s no shortage of attractions or things to see or do. From museums like the Melbourne Museum, ACMI or Scienceworks that can appeal to adults and kids alike to all sorts of activities and places to run around and get active.
As one of Australia’s big cities Melbourne has benefited from waves of migration. As a result Melbourne has a great range of quality food. From Indian to Cantonese to Ethiopian and Greek you can find an eating option that will appeal to everyone (even if not everyone at once).
And Melbourne’s public transport makes it easy to get around (the inner city anyway) and the streets make walking (with strollers) easy.
Recommended by Joshua from Dive Into Malaysia.
Airlie Beach with kids
As the closest town to Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach is not only gateway to more than 70 offshore islands, but is a destination in it’s own right. Airlie can be bustling when tours are arriving and departing, but mostly it is a laid back, fun-loving kind of place. There is a good mix of accommodation available including the Big 4 Adventure Park specializing in fun family activities and facilities.
Fly into Whitsunday Coast Airport or arrive by bus or car from Brisbane or Cairns. Airlie Beach is 25 km northeast of the small sugar-cane town of Proserpine. Abell Point Marina is a dashing mix of blue water and fast boats heading to Whitsunday Island’s Whitehaven Beach, a major contender for the whitest sand in the world. Catamarans to Daydream, Hayman, Hamilton Islands and Hardy Reef leave from Port of Airlie. While there check out the fabulous new playground nearby. Running parallel with the main street and overlooking the Coral Sea, Airlie Beach Lagoon Pool complex includes palm-filled gardens, BBQ’s and three chlorinated pools including a covered children’s wading pool.
For those with a car, drive 50 km north through country roads to Hydeaway Bay known for its relaxing semi-deserted beaches or 80 km north to Bowen where the Movie Australia was partially filmed. Bowen is a typical small country town with wide streets, street art and a stellar collection of beaches. Whether you’re into boating, snorkeling, island life or exploring, Airlie Beach is the place to be.
Recommended by Jan from Budget Travel Talk.
Northern Territory, Australia
When people imagine the Australian Outback, red dirt and dry landscapes come to mind. So imagine our surprise when we discovered a landscape rich with rivers, waterfalls and billabongs on a road trip through the Northern Territory. Short walks were rewarded with a swim in cool, clear billabongs. Hikes to the tops of waterfalls led to discoveries of secret plunge pools. Boat cruises along rivers displayed the rich diversity of birdlife.
Encompassing the city of Darwin, the UNESCO sites Kakadu National Park and Nitmiluk National Park, Alice Springs and Uluru, the region offers families the perfect mix of active, cultural and relaxing activities.
Watching the sunset over Uluru is unforgettable. Kayaking through Nitmiluk Gorge is a unique and fun experience. Swimming in the top pools at Gunlom Falls is the perfect way to spend the day. Participating in a traditional crafts workshop with local indigenous artists and seeing ancient Aboriginal rock art at Kakadu National Park is incredible.
The Northern Territory is a big place, so we think you need at least 2 weeks to visit some of the best spots. The best time to visit is during the dry season from June to September. While it is possible to stay at hotels on a road trip through Northern Territory, we recommend hiring a 4wd camper as it is the best way to enjoy the beauty of the place without the crowds.
Recommended by Rachel from Adventure and Sunshine. Read more from Rachel about road tripping in the Northern Territory.
Best places to visit in New Zealand with kids
Christchurch with kids
New Zealand, in general, is a very family-friendly country. But Christchurch definitely takes it up a notch! It’s a city that has had to reinvent itself following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 & 2011, and in doing so it hasn’t forgotten its youngest residents. New playgrounds have popped up throughout the city, old favorites have had a refresh, and there’s just a really great energetic vibe about the city.
Its advantageous position on the East Coast of the South Island means you can take advantage of both the ocean and the beautiful backcountry easily. Have fun building sandcastles at one of the expansive beaches in the morning, and be at the ski field in the afternoon! It’s also a fairly level city, making cycling easy and fun for the family.
There are loads of great activities for kids. Some of our favorites include the historic tram ride, the gondola, the walking trails and amazing ‘destination playgrounds’ (make sure you check out Margaret Mahy playground in the middle of town), and the miniature trains at Halswell. It’s a place we never tire of visiting as a family.
Recommended by Nadine from Le Long Weekend. Check out more of Nadine’s recommendations for things to do in Christchurch with kids.
Other places in Oceania with kids
Samoa with kids
Western Samoa is just a wonder! We took our kids for a vacation there and had a blast! The country has 2 main islands (Upolu and Savai’i) and they’re both small enough for people to cross it in less than 3 hours driving, so in a week you could see all there is to see (it’d be tiring, but possible even for those with smaller kids!)!
I mean, tropical climate (which means hot and lovely all year round), pristine beaches anywhere, waterfalls with great pools for a swim, lovely fresh food, turtles, fishes, amazing birds, bugs, and even whales! Could anyone want more than that? Yes, of course. Well, most of both islands is surrounded by coral reef, which delivers safe and calm waters even for the littlest!
Our favorite places in Upolu were:
– Togitogiga waterfall for a lovely waterfall shower and a swim in fresh water
– To Sua Trench, a hole in the ground with the clearest ocean water possible.
– Alofaaga blowholes were a lot of fun, and it’s huge so you can walk around and see the water blowing everywhere
– Saleaula Lava Fields, even though the guide couldn’t answer any of our questions, it was super impressive to see what a volcano erupting for 6 years non-stop can do.
It’s not a cheap place to visit, but it was well worth it!
Recommended by Thais Saito from World Trip Diaries. Check out more tips for visitng Samoa with kids.
Aren’t you totally ready to pack your bags after reading all this? I know I am. When do we leave?? Australia, New Zealand and Samoa have a lot to offer and I can’t wait to take our little world traveler there one day!