Looking to spend this school holiday season somewhere new? Look no further than your own backyard. With an endless array of family-friendly destinations spread across the country’s eight key regions, Australia’s best getaways are little more than a car hire away.
Ready to hit the road? Keep the kids happy with our state-by-state guide to Australia’s best school holiday destinations.
New South Wales
Whether you’re after a sun-soaked getaway or a mountain-side escape, the best of the city, the country and the coast combine in this one-size-fits-all destination. Start your journey with a car hire in Sydney before building your own personal itinerary of nearby attractions, from bushwalking in the Blue Mountains to surf lessons on Bondi Beach.
Families that want to stick close to the city can explore the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House by foot, ferry or flight before embarking on a tour of the Harbour City’s suburbs, where there are plenty of activities to suit little ones and adults alike. If you’ve got toddlers in tow, visit Sydney’s famous café-cum-farm shed and petting zoo, The Grounds of Alexandria, or make a beeline to the historic Vaucluse House, where a pumpkin patch and vegetable garden provide the perfect setting for a family picnic.
Bringing teens along for the ride? Make your way north to Byron Bay or south to Merimbula for a surf, sun and sand-filled getaway they won’t soon forget.
Australian Capital Territory
Looking to squeeze a little learning into the school holidays? Head to Canberra, where history, politics, art and culture all culminate in the country’s capital. While it often gets a bad rap for being a more subdued destination than its counterparts on the coast, this laidback little state punches well above its weight with outdoor adventures, interactive museums and exciting festivals held all year round.
Spend the day wandering the city’s parliamentary buildings before checking out the exhibits at Questacon, where science and technology are made fun with engaging collections. If you’d rather spend the day outdoors, take to two-wheels and opt for a family bike ride along the banks of Lake Burley Griffin – the crowning jewel of Australia’s political centre.
Planning to save your school holiday trip until winter? Make the most of the nearby snow fields and take the two-hour journey to Thredbo or Perisher, where kids of all ages can ski and snowboard to their heart’s content.
While it may be best known for its culture-loving capital, there’s more to Victoria than Melbourne’s trendy cafés and hip laneways. From rugged mountain ranges and world-class wine regions to offshore islands and pristine stretches of coast, there’s something in this state to keep the whole family happy.
Plan to catch a cricket test at the legendary MCG, or host your own match on Brighton’s sandy beach. Alternatively, go beyond the CBD and get back to nature in the nearby Wilsons Promontory National Park, where a week of camping comes with all the comforts of home, from hot showers and laundry facilities to mobile charging stations and gas barbecues.
After an even bigger adventure? Drive across the Bass Strait to Phillip Island and spend your holiday with the penguins, koalas, sea lions and dolphins who call this offshore oasis home.
Admittedly a bit tougher to access than Australia’s mainland states, Tasmania’s unspoilt wilderness is worth the trip for nature loving families looking to get away from it all. Grab a car hire in Melbourne and take the ferry across the sea and you’ll soon be making your way around a secluded paradise brimming with empty beaches, picturesque national parks and historic cities to boot.
Walk, hike or bike your way through Launceston’s abundance of outdoor trails before heading south to the famous Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park. Along the way, be sure to make a pit stop at the Mole Creek Caves, where Australia’s largest colony of glow worms illuminate underground walls in a dazzling blue-green display.
Got travellers with a sweet tooth? Call into The Cadbury Factory for a Wonka-esque experience before exploring the historic convict settlement of Port Arthur, located just an hour’s drive from Hobart’s CBD.
Famous for its trifecta of wine regions, South Australia may not be the first destination that comes to mind if you’ve got a car full of kids. Luckily, if wining and dining is off the table, there are plenty of other activities to make a memorable holiday, whether you take off on an Outback adventure or make a move for the coast.
Start by picking up a car hire in Adelaide and using the state’s capital as a base, exploring areas like Glenelg, the Yorke Peninsula and the Eyre Peninsula one stretch of sand at a time. If the mainland beaches are too crowded for your liking, explore South Australia’s very own offshore paradise onKangaroo Island, where you’ll find 700 kilometres of secluded coastline to call your own for swimming, fishing, snorkelling, crabbing and more.
Can’t bear another beach holiday? Trade your time on the coast for an exploration of the state’s inland sights, from the rolling hills of the Gawler Ranges to Lake Eyre’s expansive salt flats.
Home to the most isolated capital city in the world, you’ll need to leave plenty of travel time if you plan to visit Western Australia’s sights from out of state. If you do, however, you’ll be rewarded with some of the country’s most dramatic landscapes and unique family activities – all without the school holiday crowds Australia’s east coast has become known for.
After some time spent exploring Perth’s major attractions like Kings Park and Rottnest Island, cruise the Coral Coast to reach Ningaloo Reef, where whale sharks make for friendly diving partners between the months of April and July. While you’re in Australia’s upper reaches, be sure to visit Broome – a one-of-a-kind destination where the outback’s trademark red sand meets the west coast’s azure-coloured sea.
Rather set your sights south? Cruise beneath the canopies of Walpole’s Valley of the Giants before setting up camp in Cape Le Grand National Park, where friendly kangaroos hop across snow-white beaches and other-worldly sunsets disappear behind the ocean.
Looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure? Take the kids on an epic exploration of the Top End’s desert terrain. From lazy river cruises to heart-pumping wildlife adventures, a family holiday in the Northern Territory offers experiences unlike anything else in the country.
See what life is like in Australia’s northern-most capital city, Darwin, before making your way to the famous Kakadu National Park, where some of the country’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders can be viewed by boat, bike or on foot.
Up for something a little more thrilling? Embark on one of the Northern Territory’s famous crocodile tours on the Adelaide River, where saltwater varieties of this ferocious species leap from the water to snag a spot of lunch.
Boasting a list of theme parks as long as its string of white-sand beaches, chances are you’ll be able to find a family holiday to suit your fancy in Queensland. From relaxing escapes on the state’s central coast to adventure tours in the Tropical North, this fuss-free vacation spot has it all.
Plan a laidback escape along the Sunshine Coast, where seaside towns like Noosa and Rainbow Beach are a haven for holidaymakers and families alike, or, treat your little ones to a big adventure in the Gold Coast, where attractions like Wet’n’Wild and Sea World guarantee a day of water-filled fun.
Want to experience another kind of aquatic adventure? Make your way north to Port Douglas, where Great Barrier Reef expeditions are accompanied by spectacular views of the Daintree Rainforest back on land.
Ready to spoil your kids with a school holiday they’ll never forget? Organise a car hire at one of our nationwide locations and start planning your very own adventure today.