Reconnect with your troupe at a family friendly holiday spot that's perfect for everyone.
Lake Macquarie, NSW
This stop-the-clock coastal break has enough activities to keep things interesting. Located just south of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie is a holiday region as well as an actual lake (and, at twice the size of Sydney Harbour, it’s a beauty). Hire a kayak from Jetbuzz Water Sports at Cams Wharf and explore it – flat and glassy, it’s a fun challenge for kids of all ages. On the coast, Caves Beach is best visited at low tide when a network of sea caves is revealed. And because this is a holiday for adults, too, skip cooking in favour of the town’s best bites. Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows at Caves Beach turns out good pub-style fare, while The Captain and Crew is a new joint at Marks Point that offers share plates and Sundowners. And if it rains on your parade, head to Dullboy’s Social Co at Warners Bay for bowling, mini golf, arcade games and American diner-style dishes.
Kings Creek Station, NT
A hop and a skip (in outback terms, that is – it’s about 265 kilometres) from Ayers Rock Airport and just 36 kilometres south-east of the magnificent Kings Canyon (Watarrka), Kings Creek Station in Petermann is a working cattle and camel station. Sleep in a safari tent, take a quad bike tour around the red plains and learn just how much grit it takes to run a property in the outback. Come downtime, there’s a grassy picnic area, café (don’t miss the camel burgers) and pool to cool off in. Framed by the majestic George Gill Range, it’s an immersive experience in an iconic Aussie bush landscape.
Port Douglas, QLD
This idyllic holiday town, about an hour north of Cairns, lies at the foot of ancient rainforest and vast tablelands. But if you’re after a “flop and drop” holiday, it’s the place for that, too. Spread your towel at the northern end of Four Mile Beach, with its pale sand and coconut palms, then hit the main drag for a scoop at Wicked Ice Cream Co (48 Macrossan Street; 07 4099 6900). Later, try barefoot dining at The Beach Shack, a pizza favourite. If that’s all too chill, the Great Barrier Reef is at your doorstep. Head further up the coast to Cape Tribulation, where Ocean Safari runs tours that take you to see the coral.
Tasmania’s second city is a vibrant hub for history, nature and culture. But that won’t sell it to the kids. Cataract Gorge will, with its single-span chairlift (the longest in the world), open-air pool and walking
trails where you can spot echidnas, peacocks and pademelons. Nearby, Penny Royal theme park celebrates the bushranger Matthew Brady and offers gold-panning and ghost tours. For an easy day out, City Park is the place to see macaque monkeys and ride a miniature train. The city is also a gateway to the Tamar Valley, where kids can pick their own fruit at Hillwood Berry Farm.
Phillip Island, VIC
If watching a penguin parade doesn’t convince the young ones, there’s always the chance to spot kangaroos and koalas and feed the friendly pelicans. A two-hour drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island may be more familiar to adults thanks to the racetrack but its classic Aussie animals and beaches (Safety Beach for swimming; Summerland for penguins) make for a relaxed family getaway. Check into Bimbadeen, a working farm with self-contained, pod-style stays. There are alpacas, cows, sheep, hens and bees to keep the kids enthralled, as well as farm tours that give guests a shot at riding a tractor or feeding the residents.
Images credits: Laura Bell, Nicholas Kavo, Reuben Nutt.