Travelling as a family with kids takes some planning, but with these budget-friendly Australian adventures, you’ll be able to stretch your dollar and keep the whole family happy. From crocs, koalas, and echidnas to indigenous culture and a sports museum, there’s something for everyone. Read on for guaranteed family fun in Australia.
Eureka Skydeck 88, Melbourne
Once you’ve recovered from shooting up Eureka Tower’s 88 floors in 40 seconds, you’ll take in the Melbourne cityscape from the Eureka Skydeck 88, the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere at 285 metres tall. The 360-degree view overlooks the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the Yarra River, Port Phillip Bay, and the Dandenongs. Thrill-seekers can splurge on an upgrade to experience The Edge, a glass-bottomed overhang older kids will love. (Note that kids under 7 must be accompanied by an adult.)
Waradah Aboriginal Centre, Blue Mountains
A trip to the beautiful Blue Mountains National Park goes hand-in-hand with a visit to see indigenous art and dance at New South Wales’ Waradah Aboriginal Centre. For just a few dollars, you can take in some culture by attending a Waradah performance, during which you’ll see dancers in traditional paint costume bring to life various ceremonies, rituals, and customs of different indigenous tribes.
Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin
Kids love crocs, and Crocosaurus Cove admission tickets won’t disappoint. Set in the heart of Darwin and home to one of the largest saltwater crocodiles in captivity, this wildlife park offers a number of daily activities, from supervised baby crocodile feedings to reptile viewings. Young kids will love the turtle sanctuary and freshwater aquarium.
National Sports Museum, Melbourne
Fans of any and all sports will love the history, memorabilia, and general achievement on display the National Sports Museum in Melbourne. Set in the basement of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the museum features a number of halls of fame and interactive exhibits ideal for children interested in cricket, Aussie Rules, thoroughbred racing, and more. Upgrade your ticket to explore the museum and also gain a guided tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley
The kids will want to spend a full day at the Healesville Sanctuary, where a new echidna enclosure and a boardwalk through a forest of sleeping koalas puts Australia’s most treasured native creatures within easy viewing. You may also spot koalas, dingoes, wombats, and kangaroos among the fauna at this Yarra Valleyrefuge. Take advantage of the park’s many tables and barbecues for a do-it-yourself picnic lunch.
Montague Island, Narooma
The largest seal colony in New South Wales lives on Montague Island, a tiny conservation area off the coast of Narooma. Take a peek at them on a 90-minute guided snorkelling tour, during which you’ll submerge yourself underwater to see the seals swimming alongside sea turtles, dolphins, and dozens of fish species. A whale-watching experience is included between September and October.
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Cairns
Engage the kids with the opportunity to spot some of the 1,500 tropical butterflies that swirl around in the free-flight aviary at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Set in Kuranda near Cairns, this nature park and its rain forest gardens won’t disappoint. Explore at your own pace, cross your fingers that a few of the multicoloured butterflies will land on you, and be sure to visit the moth exhibit or behind-the-scenes lab tour.
National Maritime Museum, Sydney
The Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Royal Botanic Garden, and Opera House may get all the hype, but don’t skip the National Maritime Museum. The whole family can explore the ships berthed at the dock in Sydney Harbour, including the HMAS Vampire, the last remaining big gun ship in the nation.
Phillip Island Nature Parks, Phillip Island
Phillip Island is a haven for wildlife lovers, and you can hit all the top spots with the a Three Park Pass—milk a doe-eyed cow at the Churchill Island Heritage Farm, watch koalas in their natural habitat at the Koala Conservation Centre, and catch the famous evening Penguin Parade, during which a crew of tiny fairy penguins waddle their way from the water up the beach to their burrows. Visit all three sites in one day or spread them out over a six-month period.