Karla Courtney rounds up Australia’s best resorts and lodges with exceptional experiences for the whole family.
Perfect for… outback exploration
Arkaba, Flinders Ranges
This boutique homestead stay accommodates just 10 guests at a time (there are also bush camp sites) on a 25,000-hectare private wildlife conservancy in remote South Australia. It caters for children eight and older, with dedicated field guides and activities that include orienteering lessons using maps and compasses, making damper with native herbs and Aboriginal storytelling under the night sky. Explore the outback on foot or by riding in open-top safari vehicles, spotting kangaroos, emus and wallabies along the way.
Perfect for… a safari experience
Jamala Wildlife Lodge, Canberra
The luxurious and unique Jamala Wildlife Lodge, located inside the National Zoo and Aquarium, allows you to get close to exotic creatures during your stay. Enjoy a dinner reminiscent of a scene from the film Madagascar then go to sleep, side by side (but separated by glass), with animals such as brown and sun bears, giraffes, lions and tigers. Come dinnertime, children can opt to take a guided tour of the aquarium between courses, leaving adults to enjoy their meal. The lodge caters to children six and over, though there are Family Nights for those from four years of age. (Sleepover options depend on your child’s age and height.)
Perfect for… relaxation
Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, Broome
With an incredible sunset beach walk on the doorstep and a world-class spa, Cable Beach Club is a popular destination for romantic getaways. But this luxurious resort is also child-friendly, with amenities such as a dedicated family pool, minigolf and a water playground. Families can stay in interconnecting studios or choose a self-catering option in bungalows that sleep between four and seven guests.
Perfect for… natural attractions
Pinetrees Lodge, Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island is a Mother Nature-crafted family “resort” with amazing outdoor attractions (a sheltered coral-reef lagoon) and experiences: year-round swimming (minus the stingers and crocs), surfing, snorkelling, diving, cycling, birdwatching, fishing and hiking along glorious trails. The generous cottages at Pinetrees Lodge, near the lagoon, are an excellent option for families. There are babysitters on hand (bookings required), the option for children to have early dinners and useful provisions such as baby monitors, cots and strollers.
Perfect for… kids´ club
Paradise Resort, Gold Coast
This resort is minutes from Surfers Paradise and an easy drive to the major amusement parks – but with all of the on-site facilities, the little ones won’t want to leave. Book a Bunkhouse, equipped with colourful bunk beds, video-game consoles and a balcony. The Zone 4 Kids Club, exclusive to guests, is basically a mini fun park with themed areas and activities, including a space station, an underwater world and a magic garden. At Z4K, each child enjoys up to four free hours of play per day. Paradise Resort also has a water park, pool and ice rink.
Perfect for… water adventures
Reef View Hotel, Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island is the ideal spot if you’re keen to get wet – hire a mini catamaran (little life jackets and lessons available), snorkel the reefs and even spot turtles on a special tour. The Reef View Hotel, with its oversized two-bedroom Reef Family Rooms, is a great family option, especially if you’re travelling with a large group. Guests of the Reef View can also access the Clownfish Club, which can accommodate babies (from six weeks) right up to 14-year-olds.