July is the best time to take the kids on an adventure to the top end! Visiting in the middle of the dry season means great weather with blue skies and warm days. Make your holiday as adventurous or relaxed as you want, with everything from tube riding or swimming at the Darwin’s wave pool, to holding a baby croc at the Crocodylus Park. The waterfront also has plenty of activities on during the school holidays, including archery and circus workshops.
Stay: Hotel Mercure Darwin Airport Resort is a 15 minute drive from Darwin’s wave pool and conveniently located in walking distance to the airport. It’s a great affordable accommodation choice for the family with two pools and restaurants.
You don’t need to go far to enjoy a family holiday among palm trees and tropical beaches. Make the most of the warm weather and take the kids swimming at Cairns Esplanade Lagoon or get adventurous and take a cable car on the Skyrail, gliding above the rainforest canopy.
A hot insider tip is to visit Trinity Beach and have a BBQ along the beachfront or take a picnic to Crystal Cascades, a hidden tropical rainforest spot only the locals really know about. Crystal Cascades is a 20 minute drive from Cairns city centre and has waterholes perfect for a refreshing dip.
Stay: A family favourite on Wotif.com is the Rydges Esplanade Resort and there are still great deals available this school holidays. The Family Room has double bunk rooms for the kids and the resort has a pool and tennis court.
Monkey Mia, WA
One of Western Australia’s best kept secrets is the white and red sand beaches in Monkey Mia, a nine hour drive north from Perth. Take the family and get up close with the dolphins, hire a kayak, go snorkelling, visit the 100 metre blowholes or Shark’s Bay Ocean Park Aquarium.
Stay: Wotif suggests checking in at RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, where families can entertain the kids with activities including snorkelling, fishing, canoeing and playing tennis - all at the resort. To really crank up that summer feeling, hit up one of the BBQs at the resort for lunch or dinner (if you want a break from cooking there’s also a restaurant at the resort).
Pack for warm, beach days and leave your winter woollies behind when you plan a getaway to Broome, where the water is turquoise, sand is white and winter is practically non-existent. Hit up the 22km long Cable Beach (tip: you can hire beach umbrellas, boogie boards and more from Beach Hut) and explore the rock pools with the kids before having a picnic and watching an iconic sunset. From finding dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point at low tide to kayaking along Cable Beach or going for a swim in the calm waters of Town Beach, Broome has something for parents and kids.
Stay: Only a stroll from Cable Beach and a 15 minute drive to Town Beach, Oaks Cable Beach Sanctuary on offers roomy resort style apartments. Take a dip in the pools at the resort in between swimming at the beach!
Top destinations to embrace winter:
The nation’s capital city has embraced the cold weather this school holidays with the European style Winter Festival (23 June – 17 July) in the heart of the city. From pop-up food stalls, to ice skating, toboggan rides and even an inflatable ice slide, there’s something to keep the whole family entertained. If that’s not enough, Canberra is jam packed with activities this school holidays. Take a guided lantern tour through the Australian National Botanic Gardens, finishing the night toasting marshmallows, spice it up at the World Curry Festival (8 -10 July), find tyrannosaurus rex at the National Dinosaur Museum or learn about the animals at the National Zoo & Aquarium where there’s even a Zoocation program.
Stay: Be close to all the winter wonderland action and check in at Novotel Canberra, only a five minute walk from the festival. There’s also an entertainment and play area in the lobby and children’s menus at the restaurant.
If you’re hoping to take the kids on a skiing holiday adventure this winter, the good news is it’s not too late. While the usual hot spots (or should we say cold spots) are filling up fast, Jindabyne still has accommodation available and it’s only 30 – 40 minutes from major skiing destinations like Perisher and Thredbo.
Both ski destinations offer special activities just for the kids. This includes beginners ski instruction, snow-man building competitions, tubing and tobogganing.
Stay: If you want to head to the slopes at Perisher, The Station in Jindabyne, set among snowy hills, is a great affordable family friendly choice. It offers rooms that sleep up to six people and has two restaurants that serve breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Gold Coast Hinterland, QLD
Popular for its beaches in the summer, it’s also great for a winter holiday, you just need to venture into the hinterland for a cool mountain escape. Tucked away behind the golden beaches and an hour’s drive from Brisbane, Mt Tamborine is a hidden gem where the family can get together and roast marshmallows over a fire, rug up and go for rainforest walks or try one of the fun adventure activities. Fly through the treetop canopy on a zip line, go horse riding, team up and play mini golf or laser skirmish all at Mt Tamborine’s adventure playground, Thunderbird Park.
Stay: Cedar Creek Lodges is a family favourite with great deals still available on Wotif.com and the best part is it’s conveniently steps away from Thunderbird Park.
Cradle Mountain, TAS
Often overlooked for the popular snowy destinations in NSW and Victoria, Cradle Mountain is the ‘Narnia’ of Tasmania, offering a relaxing wilderness holiday spot. Take the family to see the mountain and walk around Dove Lake and make snow angels. You can also visit Tasmanian devils at the sanctuary located opposite Cradle Mountain National Park.
Stay: A two hour drive from Launceston, Discovery Parks – Cradle Mountain has affordable cabins and cottages ideal for families, as well as BBQ areas to cook up breakfast, lunch or dinner.