One of the best countries on the planet for kids is Australia.
It serves up a diverse range of experiences, with something to appeal to everyone from the youngest to the oldest member of your family.
From the northern tropics to the southern coastlines, this vast island is bursting with that rare double whammy: kid-tastic activities paired with a long pour of adult soul juice. Whichever way you spin in Australia, you’ll hit the family travel jackpot.
Many of the best experiences for families in Australia are free; sharing the beach with kangaroos, for example, costs nothing more than a sand shovel.
And Australians love kids, especially your kids. They’ll want to know where you come from, point you to the closest playground (even the smallest of country towns will have one) and there’s always a reasonably clean loo (bathroom) easily found at train stations, parks and restaurants.
Regarding those eateries, come hungry. Australia is ground-zero for kid-friendly smashed avocado on toast, which you can adult-elevate with some chili flakes. Even isolated areas aren’t chicken nugget-less for one-track eaters – but wait until your family discovers the crowd-pleasing sausage roll (meat mince in pastry). Wherever you are, there’s also always a pub; considered adults-only venues in many other countries, in Australia they welcome the family mealtime circus with open arms. Some even have dedicated playgrounds where little ones run barefoot and free, a reflection of Australia’s relaxed approach to parenting.
It’s a safe country, but dangers do exist – and we’re not just talking snakes and spiders. One is death by extreme boredom getting to Australia on what, for many visitors, will be a long flight or two (plan a stopover) or attempting long in-country distances in one hit. Australia is also not the cheap haven it once was; your foreign currency will likely go far, but budget for your must-do experiences.
Mini wildlife warriors will love Queensland’s lush Sunshine Coast, where they’ll find slithering, swooping and jaw-snapping animals at Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. Meanwhile, parents might froth over the most craft breweries per capita, some boasting on-site playgrounds (try Your Mates Brewing Co. in Warana) or even petting zoos with farm animals (like at Terella Brewing in North Arm).
Budding paleontologists will dig (literally) South Australia's Naracoorte Caves (rated by UNESCO as one of the world's 10 greatest fossil sites) and Outback Queensland's Australia’s Dinosaur Trail, where they'll learn about Gondwana species they may have never heard of before. Queensland’s Gold Coast is also a favorite with Aussie families. This is where you’ll find amusement and water parks, golden stretches of sand, and rainforest
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