Nothing owns the description “once in a lifetime” like a family vacation to Australia.
It’s an immense country with every climate from Mediterranean to dry desert, many of the world’s last true wilderness landscapes and vast stretches of completely empty space.
Dipping into the outback with older kids is a thrilling experience, younger children will probably prefer beachy cities and smaller national parks.
But wherever you’re going and however long you’re staying, this is one family adventure that definitely needs a clear plan from the very start.
The world’s sixth largest country with a population of only 24 million in an area of almost 5,000,000 miles².
December, January and February are the hottest months of the year with temperatures in Sydney in the high 70s.
Australia has been inhabited for over 50,000 years making its living indigenous culture the oldest on earth.
Over 15,000 miles of coastline with several of the world’s top 20 most beautiful beaches including: Rainbow Beach, Queensland; Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island; Margaret River, Western Australia.
More than 4 million Australians live in Sydney alone, it’s one of the world’s most multi-cultural cities and ranks in the top 10 most liveable.
Australia has 500 National Parks, 19 World Heritage sites, 28 million hectares of protected land and Wallandra Lakes in New South Wales is the country’s indigenous core dating back more than 40,000 years.
Uluru sits in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Northern Territory, the most deserted Australian state.
From stunning beach resorts and city centre luxury hotels in Sydney to guesthouses in Alice Springs, Australia has family holiday accommodation of every type, there’s even a subterranean motel at Cobber Pedy in Southern Australia where above ground temperatures in February can rise to over 100 degrees.
Sydney’s the capital of New South Wales, the temperate southern state which dates its history of human habitation back over 40,000 years. The most visited city in Australia and great fun for kids, it’s packed with iconic sights from the famous Opera House to Bondi Beach and a good base for visiting the Blue Mountains, exploring Botany Bay or just staying put for the zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, museums, galleries and some of the country’s best surf schools.
Sunny Queensland is home to the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s holiday heartland, the Gold Coast. The capital, Brisbane, is the country’s third largest city and one of the friendliest with a laid-back beachy atmosphere, lots of green space and some of the most spectacular national parks within driving distance.
The largest Australian state is also the driest, least populated and where to explore bits of the outback with older kids. The coastline here is wildly beautiful and the climate from north to south varies from tropical to temperate. The state capital, Perth, is in the south where beaches rule. Base a holiday here and you’re within reach of Margaret River and some of the country’s best water sports and wildest national parks.
The dramatic state where you’ll find Uluru, Alice Springs and a 2000km highway from north to south. The capital, Darwin, is closer to Indonesia than Sydney, sits on the Timor Sea and is Australia’s only tropical city.
Pleasant and mild Adelaide on the coast couldn’t be more different from the rugged interior of South Australia. No surprise to find that the outback here is famed for opal mines and enormous stretches of sand. Stick to the seaside and it’s the state for Barossa vineyards, beaches and pretty islands. Head inland for grand national parks and indigenous heritage.
It goes without saying, Australia’s enormous. Planes here are used like buses and flights across every state are frequent and reasonably priced. If you want to explore outside cities, a car is essential: be aware of exact distances, road conditions and weather before you leave. Thousands of family tour packages are available to explore more remote regions, national parks and places like the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru. Don’t drive in cities if you can help it, public transport is always a better option.