From the coral reefs and rainforests to scorched red deserts, Australia has everything that can make it a dream destination for any traveler.
Here are some of the must-see places in Australia:
1. Sydney Harbour
Chug under the Sydney Harbour Bridge; have a picnic on Cockatoo Island or Fort Denison; take a high-speed catamaran to Manly Beach for a surfing lesson; or disembark with your darlings at Darling Harbour for the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Quarter Playground, Sydney Sea Life Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo.
2. Touring Tasmania
Camping in Freycinet National Park, sea-kayaking around Coles Bay, beachcombing along Ocean Beach on the wild west coast, scaling the treetops at the Tahune Forest AirWalk and careening down Mt Wellington on a mountain bike are major attractions.
3. Darwin and the Top End national parks
Darwin is really hot – a cooling swim is a daily ritual here. Dunk the kids in the Wave Lagoon at the Waterfront Precinct. And if you didn’t spy a croc in Kakadu, Crocosaurus Cove in downtown Darwin will get you stupidly close to one.
4. Great Barrier Reef
Launch your Great Barrier Reef expedition from Cairns or Port Douglas, with a high-speed catamaran trip to an inner-reef atoll or an extended day trip to the pristine outer reef.
Get earnest at the Australian War Memorial, then go silly at the National Arboretum Playground, with the ‘beauty of trees’ at the fore. For older kids, Questacon is laced with stimulating exhibits.
6. Gold Coast theme parks
There are five humongous theme parks here: Dreamworld, Sea World, Movie World, Wet’n’Wild and White Water World. The much-hyped Australia Zoo is two hours.
7. Victoria’s High Country
Given the otherwise sun-stroked state of the nation, the classy skiing options in Victoria’s High Country may come as either a surprise or relief. Come back in summer for mountain biking, camping, bushwalking and assessing the bakeries in fetching high-country towns such as Beechworth, Mansfield and Bright.
8. Kangaroo Island
For a short trip south of Adelaide, roll onto a car ferry and Bob across Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island. Big-ticket enticements for all here include the stinky, grumpy residents at Seal Bay Conservation Park and Flinders Chase National Park. In between you’ll find sand dunes, surf beaches, pelican-feeding sessions, honey farms, fishing jetties, caves and wildlife parks.
Is Brisbane Australia’s most kid-friendly city? The Brisbane River is a big plus: ride a ferry around central Brisbane, or chug out to the endearing Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to hug one of the inmates. The Queensland Museum & Sciencentre, Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art all have dedicated kids’ activity rooms, interactive experiences and school holiday programs.
10. Southwest and Western Australia
Like Tasmania, Southwest and Western Australia is a bite-sized zone that removes the adults-only appeal of lost, empty highways from the travel equation. Don’t miss the astounding Valley of the Giants near Denmark– a 600m-long treetop walk-through enormous tingle trees. Other natural enticements for the kids include surfing at Ocean Beach near Walpole, hiking to lookouts in Walpole-Nornalup National Park.