Heading “down under” is becoming a more and more popular family vacation option. Australia is a great kid-friendly place packed with lots of interesting sites and activities. Getting there can take some work, with long cramped flights, which is why most families visiting Australia opt to extend their stay beyond the typical one week vacation. With two weeks in Australia, you will be able to see a bit more and enjoy your time with less rushing about. This is a large country, very spread out, and it is important to plan your itinerary well in advance. For two weeks of family fun, we suggest the following key destinations.
With two weeks in Australia, it is a good idea to only pick one of the country’s main cities to explore. Sydney is definitely a great choice with kids. Plan on spending at least 3-4 days in the city before heading out to see the rest of Australia. This will give you and your family time to overcome some jet lag and see more of the city’s main sites.
Start off with the iconic Sydney Opera House. The tour inside is pretty interesting but if you are traveling with younger kids, it might be nicer to just wander around outside and get some good photos. Nearby, the Royal Botanic Gardens is also a nice place for active kids. Be sure you spend a few hours walking through Sydney’s historic neighborhood, The Rocks, especially if you are in the city on a weekend when the neighborhood is home to a great market.
For animal lovers, a must stop is the Taronga Zoo. Here kids can see all the best of Australia’s unique animals including the most iconic – kangaroos and koalas. Sydney Aquarium is also a kid favorite and has a huge section all about the Great Barrier Reef.
Heading inland, grab an early flight up to Uluru. Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is another of Australia’s iconic landmarks. The huge sandstone formation, considered sacred by the local Aboriginal people, is a great place to get a small taste of Australia’s famous outback. Take a walking tour around the site to learn more about its physical formation or head to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre for a change to learn about the local Aboriginal people of the region.
This region of Australia can be very hot and if you are visiting in the summer, especially with young children, plan on doing most of your tours in the mornings and evening instead of midday. Thankfully, this is the best time to see Ayers Rock anyways with sunset and sunrise being particularly breathtaking.
The Great Barrier Reef
For most people, a dream trip to Australia must include a visit to see the Great Barrier Reef. This incredible natural wonder is worth the extra flight to get there and is especially incredible for older children who can tag along on snorkeling or even scuba diving excursions. Lots of people stay in Cairns but families usually find the less crowded beaches of Port Douglas more welcoming. Trips to the reef depart both places and usually last all day, making them better for older children.
Even if your kids are too young to snorkel, they can still get up close to wildlife in the Daintree National Park and the Cape Tribulation Rainforests. Tours leave Cairns and Port Douglas daily and give you and your family a chance to explore the tropical jungles of northern Australia. You can usually spot lots of tropical birds, crocodiles, and sometimes even wallabies.