Australia

6 Aussie family holidays for fun-filled adventure

Family holidays don't need to be stressful. Our pick of the best family hotels in Australia offer up action-packed days of fun for the whole brood.

Home to endless stretches of desert, jagged mountains, breathtaking tropical rainforests and famous sunny beaches, you don’t need to travel far for family holidays. You can be snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef, surfing the waves of the East Coast or trekking through magical forests, whatever your definition of fun, Australia has it covered.

Our selection of Aussie accommodations offer action-packed activities for both parents and kids. Have a read, and you’ll soon be dreaming of water parks that keep even teens entertained, adventure activities for the whole crew and extravagant kids clubs so mum and dad can sneak away for some elusive alone time. Pack your suitcases, load up the station wagon and let friendly resort staff across Australia take care of your family holiday for you.

Go wild on a safari-themed family holiday

Delight the kids with an up-close-and-personal wildlife adventure at Jamala Wildlife Lodge Canberra.This overnight safari experience takes place in Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium on the banks of the Molonglo River, a mere 10 minutes from the centre of the capital.

You’ll find three choices of accommodation – the uShaka Lodge, the Giraffe Treehouse or the Jungle Bungalow – each with its own special experience. Interiors combine the ruggedness of the wilderness with luxurious comfort. You’ll want to nestle into dark wood and rich leather furniture, surrounded by animal print rugs, cushions and carvings, to whisper adventure stories to the kids before tucking them into comfy canopy beds for safari-themed dreams.

The highlight of the lodge rooms are walls made only of glass – the only thing separating you from lions, tigers, cheetahs and Malayan sun bears. For something extra special, book a stay in the Treehouse to feed graceful giraffes from your balcony. When it’s your own feeding time, you can tuck into fresh fare at the African-themed Rainforest Cave dining spot – you might even be visited by the lodge’s resident pair of majestic white lions, as the dining room looks onto their enclosure.

While the kids are captivated by views of sharks through built-in aquarium windows in the uShaka lodge, mum and dad can sneak away to the outdoor pool or private deep bath. You’ll rest easy knowing your booking is being used to raise awareness about the protection of endangered species and to fund conservation efforts.

Jamala Wildlife Lodge

Canberra, 7.5 km to Australian War Memorial
9.5 Excellent (562 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
Car park
Indoor swimming pool
Outdoor swimming pool
Restaurant
Hotel CTA

Soak up the sun in a tropical paradise

Sunny skies, glistening oceans and giant tropical reefs: what could be more quintessentially Australian? You’ll experience all at Club Tropical Resort Port Douglas, a family-friendly paradise waiting at the end of a breathtaking coastal drive along the Great Barrier Reef.

Open-plan rooms invite you and your family to spread out and make yourselves at home in contemporary spaces with a beach-hut vibe. Charming details like houseplants and painted tables intermix with fluffy carpets that you’ll want to sink your feet into and four-poster bamboo beds. To start your day, mix up a complimentary coffee and bask in the morning sunlight from your balcony or terrace overlooking mountains or sea.

While the kids make a splash in the outdoor lagoon pool, parents can enjoy a relaxing soak in the heated spa. Afterwards, fire up the poolside barbecue for a cookout in the shade of palm trees. On Sunday, you can round up the family for a visit to the Port Douglas markets for local produce, freshly made nibbles and handmade trinkets.

If you want to venture further afield, resort staff will be happy to book tours to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Kids can learn about Kuku Yalanji culture through tours that include rainforest walks, art lessons and traditional spear hunting. Or you might set out on a family drive through the wetlands, savannah and rainforest of the Wildlife Habitat. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to be back in time for sunset on the hotel’s spacious terrace.

Club Tropical Resort

Port Douglas, 2.1 km to Four mile beach
7.8 Good (823 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Wellness centre / Spa
Outdoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

Luxury family holidays made for explorers

Craggy mountains stand next to gentle slopes around the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. Within this fascinating landscape, you’ll get to check into a 7,000-acre nature reserve that welcomes guests for overnight stays in the wild.

Cast off your shoes at the door of your light-filled lodge and dip your toes into your private pool. From your very own veranda, you can take in unparalleled views of the mountains through glass walls. Traditional country-style interiors are amped up with luxe furnishings – think plush upholstered armchairs, lavish rugs and four-poster beds. In the evenings, you can rest in front of the crackling stone fireplace beneath a high raked ceiling and watch the twilight fade into night.

With access to two national parks – Wollemi and Gardens of Stone – you’ll want to take advantage of the resort’s selection of tours, activities and excursions exclusive to guests. The ‘Wolgan Rangers’ program is great for children, as it gets kids into thrilling activities in the Australian wilderness like bush survival, archery, hiking and fossil hunting. Adults and kids alike can marvel at weird and wonderful creatures on a wildlife-spotting tour, or try to spot the Southern Cross on a stargazing adventure.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Top rated
9.4 Excellent (307 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Wellness centre / Spa
Gym
Hotel CTA

Dive into a pirate-themed water park

With its four enormous pools, heated spas, a water park and proximity to Surfers Paradise, NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort offers a summery adventure for families. Whether you spring for a villa with your own private patio or wrangle up to a campsite, small touches like canvas awnings and fresh-cut flowers will make sure you feel at home. Have the kids unpack next to their stacked bunk beds – not unlike below-deck on a pirate ship – and watch them sprint off to slip and slide around the on-site water park.

You and the family can swing your way to victory at the pirate-themed mini golf course, or battle each other in a comical game of giant chess. If your kids still have energy to spare, let them take the provided go-karts for a spin while you tackle your workout routine in the complex’s outdoor gym. After a day of Marco Polo across the numerous lagoon-style pools, settle down as a family to watch a kid-friendly movie at the outdoor cinema.

Fuel up for another action-packed day with a hearty breakfast at Galleons Bistro & Bar – kid favourites include crispy tater tots and beans on toast. Within reach of the Gold Coast’s famed sandy beaches and sought-after surf spots, you’ll have a great opportunity to experience the Australian coast. You can also take your pick from four major theme parks less than 20 minutes away by car: Dreamworld, Movie World, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild.

NRMA Treasure Island

8.7 Excellent (894 reviews)
Excellent Service 9 / 10
Car park
Outdoor swimming pool
Restaurant
Hotel bar
Hotel CTA

Feel at home during a cabin-style family holiday

Luxury accommodation meets water park at BIG4 Sunshine Resort, all within the leafy bounds of Arakoon National Park. Self-contained timber cabins nestled in verdant vegetation make for cosy family retreats right out of a jungle storybook. Slide open giant glass doors and step onto your own private porch, where the family can gather for a comforting home-cooked dinner prepared together in your clean kitchenette. Some cabins are even pet-friendly, so four-legged friends can tag along too.

Kids will have a whale of a time at Shipwreck Island, the resort’s immersive water park. Highlights include a pirate ship playground complete with tipping bucket, water cannons and slides. For a bit of parental freedom, you can sign the kiddos up for organised activities and steal away yourself for a leisurely dip in the outdoor pool. Mums and dads who prefer to stay involved can hire canoes, bikes and go-karts for full-family excursions. South West Rocks beach is only a short walk away or you can search for curious kangaroos and chattering kookaburras on any of the area’s easy walking trails.

With its range of mouthwatering breakfast and lunch options, the on-site cafe, The Full Circle Eatery, is a lovely spot to grab a bite to eat. Make sure to ask for a slice of homemade cake. Outdoor seating makes for a sunny perch for watching the kids scamper around the adjoining playground.

BIG4 Sunshine

8.4 Very good (133 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.8 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Outdoor swimming pool
Restaurant
Hotel CTA

Family holidays on the coast

What better way to fall asleep than to the sound of waves lapping at the shore at Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa in Queensland? Right next to the ocean in a sky-grazing luxury high rise, you’ll be at the very heart of a highly coveted spot in family accommodation, Gold Coast-style.

Wander up the hotel’s opulent central staircase to your luxe suite, where funky fabrics and bold art pieces beg for a ‘humblebrag’ social media post. You can pour a rich cup from the in-room French Press, then take in the ocean and pool view in front of floor-to-ceiling windows or from your own breezy balcony. For a swim with service, head downstairs to soak up some sunshine at the hotel’s exclusive blue-green lagoon and outdoor pool surrounded by majestic palms.

For kids, holidays start with day-long entertainment at the on-site kid’s activity centre. After dropping off the little ones, parents can disappear for an hour or two for tip-to-toe pampering at Ruby Spa. Lulled into a dream state by nearby stone waterfall features, feel daily stresses melt away as you lie back for a head massage, boujee hair treatment or paraffin pedicure.

At only a five-minute walk to the beach, a stroll along the sand is a must. You can even try your hand at surfing, or head inland for a family hike through Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys. When you return, fill rumbling tummies with lip-smacking Japanese or international fare at the resort’s five dining options. Try a sizzling teppanyaki at Misono Japanese Steakhouse for a dish that tastes divine and will entertain the kids during preparation.

Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa

Top rated
Surfers Paradise, 1.6 km to Cavill Avenue
8.8 Excellent (1064 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Hotel CTA