10 of the best: things to do on holiday in Australia

Last updated 1st May 2024

Close up of a clownfish

1/10  Find Nemo

A trip to the Great Barrier Reef is a must for all fans of Finding Nemo, who can spend the day searching for the eponymous clown fish, as well as regal blue tangs, Moorish idols and green sea turtles (otherwise known as Dory, Gill and Squirt). Quicksilver Cruises run daily trips from Cairns or Port Douglas to the Agincourt ribbon reef, offering guests the chance to snorkel in crystal-clear waters or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a semi-submersible vehicle, one metre below the surface.

Price: A Quicksilver trip for a family of four (two adults, two children) costs £385. Children under three can travel free of charge


Boy on a surboard

2/10  Surfs up

Going for a surf is undoubtedly one of the most quintessential Aussie experiences and is sure to provide the kids with hours of fun – not to mention several laughs as they watch Mum and Dad’s attempts to catch a wave. Boards are available to hire from most beaches, while many also offer lessons to help you get up and – hopefully – stay up as you ride a wave into shore. Sydney’s Manly Beach – a scenic 30-minute ferry ride from the city – is one of the most famous surf beaches in the country.

Price: Manly Surf School runs daily two-hour group lessons, costing £50 for adults and £35 for children.


people screaming on a rollercoaster

3/10  Take a thrilling ride

Australia’s Gold Coast boasts several major tourist attractions, including the country’s largest theme park, Dreamworld. There are a variety of themed areas to explore, including Shrek’s Faire Faire Away Land, Kung Fu Panda: Land of Awesomeness, Madagascar Madness and Tiger Island, with each featuring a wide range of rides, animal exhibits and live shows to suit all ages. Younger kids are sure to love the Shrek-themed Ogre-Go-Round, while thrill-seekers won’t want to miss Pandamonium – a Kung Fu Panda-themed ride with a G-force of up to 3.8!

Price: A one-day ticket to Dreamworld costs £55 for adults and £35 for children (13 years and under).


Close up of a koala

4/10  Cuddle a koala

Steve Irwin, TV’s favourite Crocodile Hunter, may have passed away in 2006, but his legacy lives on at Australia Zoo. Located on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast, just 45 minutes north of Brisbane, the 70-acre zoo is home to over 1,000 native and exotic species and provides kids with the chance to hand-feed kangaroos and elephants or even stroke a koala. The main attraction, however, is the Crocoseum, where daily shows feature daredevil zookeepers feeding saltwater crocodiles.

Price: A family ticket (two adults, two children) to Australia Zoo costs £115. Kids under three are free.


Harbour bridge

5/10  Climb Harbour Bridge

Adventurous kids aged 10 and over will jump at the chance to climb one of Sydney’s most famous landmarks. The Harbour Bridge allows visitors to enjoy spectacular views 134 metres above the city. Climbs range from two to three-and-a-half hours, with experienced guides revealing fascinating facts and stories about the bridge as you scale a series of steps and ladders to reach the summit. Here, you can experience uninterrupted views from the Pacific Ocean to the Blue Mountains.

Price: Adult climbs begin at £130, while children’s climbs cost from £90.

Skyway cable

6/10  Get a new perspective

While the stunning Blue Mountains region – just a two-hour drive from Sydney – offers plenty of bush-walking opportunities, the kids are sure to prefer spending some time at Scenic World, which boasts the world’s steepest incline railway and the highest skyway cable car in Australia. Originally used to transport coal out of the valley, the 415m Scenic Railway now allows visitors to travel down the cliff-side into the Jamison Valley at the original 52-degree angle or a white-knuckle 64 degrees.

Price: A Scenic World family pass for two adults and up to five children (aged 13 and under) costs £60. Children aged four and under can ride for free.

7/10  Margaret River

The Margaret River wine region boasts some of the best wineries in the world. While taking the kids on a tour of the vineyards may not, at first, seem like such a great idea, the majority boast playgrounds and other activities to keep the little ones entertained.

Try the stunning Cape Mentelle, which hosts Movies in the Vineyard during summer.  This region also boasts several other kid-friendly attractions, including the Amaze’n giant hedge maze, the Margaret River Chocolate Factory and stingray feeding at Hamelin Bay.


Sydney opera house

8/10  Kids discovery tours

Sydney’s most iconic landmark runs special Kids Discovery Tours throughout the year, with the chance to explore the magic and history of this World Heritage-listed building. This behind-the-scenes experience takes kids beneath the famous sails to explore areas and uncover the fascinating story of the Opera House’s construction. During Australian school holidays, the Kids at the House programme also offers family-friendly performances featuring characters such as Charlie and Lola, the Cat in the Hat and the Horrible Histories gang.

Price: A family ticket (two adults and two children) for the Kids Discover Tour costs £60.



9/10  Attractions

This purpose-built tourist mecca in the heart of Sydney is perfect for families looking to entertain the little ones. As well as attractions such as Sydney AquariumMadame Tussauds and Wild Life Sydney, there’s an IMAX cinema, bowling alley and laser-tag centre. A newly-built playground, featuring water games, climbing ropes, swings, slides and flying foxes, is sure to keep toddlers and older children entertained for hours. Darling Harbour also boasts a huge range of cafes and restaurants, most of which cater to kids.

Don’t miss: Every Saturday night a spectacular fireworks display lights up the harbour.


Family stepping over rocks

10/10  Camp under the stars

To give the kids a taste of ‘real’ Australia, nothing beats a camping trip into the Outback. An organised farm stay at one of the country’s working cattle stations or homesteads will provide a glimpse of Outback life – and a truly unique holiday experience. El Questro Wilderness Park in Western Australia’s Kimberley region offers camping sites and boasts rugged sandstone ranges, gorges and waterfalls, while activities include fishing, horse trekking and guided wilderness tours.

Price: A family camping site at El Questro costs £40 per day for two adults and up to three children. A list of farm stays can be found on