A road trip with the family is guaranteed to create long lasting memories and with a country so vast, Australia is the perfect place to do it. However, road tripping with young kids in tow can often prove to be a challenge, with time on the road needing to be balanced out with stops for them to stretch their legs and keep the “are we there yet?” questions at bay. To help, we’ve pulled together some of the best ‘kid-approved’ stops and attractions.
Kid approved stops in Australian Capital Territory
For kids looking to stretch their legs: For picture-perfect views of Canberra, and some fresh air, head to Mount Ainslie Lookout. Whether visitors walk, cycle or drive to the lookout they’ll still enjoy the impressive scenery. Kids will love to try and spot Lake Burley Griffin and many of Canberra’s other national attractions.
For anyone (still) waiting for their letter to Hogwarts: Stop by Australia’s most magical store, Quizzic Alley. With the largest range of official Harry Potter merchandise in Australia, visiting this store is a must for any fan. While visiting guests can get sorted into their rightful house or try their hand at driving the world’s most magical car.
For those with boundless energy: Stop into the coolest playground in town, the National Arboretum Canberra, where you can explore the boundless landscape or create your own adventure within the magical Pod Playground. There is also a café and shop with some of Canberra’s most spectacular views for parents wanting to recharge.
Kid approved stops in New South Wales
For budding zoologists: Stop in Broken Hill for an unforgettable camel ride through Australia’s beautiful outback with Broken Hill Camels, where kids will make a long-lasting bond with the various camels and horses.
For those looking for a little bit of magic: Younger kids will get their kicks at Macadamia Castle in Ballina where they can cuddle nursery animals, play mini golf and hop onto a miniature train ride.
For little ones following the space race: Stop by Moree Rocket Park to play in the 14.9m tall colourful rocket model. The rocket was originally built in Kirby Park in 1972, but was “relaunched” in 2009 by astronomer in charge Dr. Fred Watson.
Kid approved stops in Northern Territory
For budding artists: Stop by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, set in a scenic location on Larrakia Land at Bullocky Point in Darwin, where not only are they home to an internationally renowned collection, but also have a series of dynamic public programs and drop-in kids activities.
For kids looking for a bit of adventure: Head to the heart of Darwin to see crocs up close in aquariums at Crocosaurus Cove. Kids can watch crocodiles and turtles being fed, and wander through the excellent reptile enclosures. And if Mum or Dad wants to get in on the action they can test out the famous ‘Cage of Death’ and ‘swim’ with a monster croc (note: this activity is not for kids under 15). Be sure to visit only on the weekends, Friday – Sunday between 9 AM and 5PM.
For kids who love a cuddle: Stop in for a guided sunset tour at The Kangaroo Sanctuary, located outside of Alice Springs. Open Tuesday to Friday for pre-booked tours, take a walk through the Sanctuary’s 188-acre wildlife reserve and meet some of the members of this Kangaroo family. Some will even get to cuddle up with small joeys in pillowcases.
Kid approved stops in Queensland
For heavy readers: Stop by Maryborough’s bronze Mary Poppins Statue on the Fraser Coast located on the corner of Kent and Richmond Street. The statue pays homage to the famous nanny as author PL Travers was born Helen Lyndon Goff in Maryborough in 1899. If travelling in September there are city-wide celebrations of Maryborough’s significance in the classic tale during the Mary Poppins Festival in the Park.
For budding palaeontologists: Follow in the footsteps of the prehistoric creatures that once roamed our ancient land on Australia’s Dinosaur Trail, it encompasses the towns of Winton, Hughenden and Richmond – all which have their own unique dinosaur stories to tell. Some key stops include meeting Hughie (a skeletal Muttaburrasaurus at The Flinders Discovery Centre), seeing the dinosaur footprints that inspired the dinosaur stampede in the Jurassic Park films at Dinosaur Trackways (reopening on 13th July), and Kronosaurus Korner (home to Australia’s best-preserved skeleton).
For young explorers: Head west and stop-by Undara Volcanic National Park (reopening from June 12), where families can explore one of the world’s longest lava tube cave systems that formed after a volcanic eruption nearly 200,000 years ago. While stopping families can brush-up on their bird watching skills, explore the savanna woodland on a beginner-friendly bushwalk, or enjoy a picnic!
For families looking to learn about Australia’s history: Experience the Daintree with Walkabout Cultural Adventures, with full-day or half-day adventures available in the Port Douglas Daintree region. Aboriginal guides explore Kuku Yalanji country, the only place where two World Heritage Sites meet, the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef and share the cultural connection the people have with their land.
Kid approved stops in South Australia
For car-obsessed kids looking for a laugh: One of Australia’s quirkiest roadside attractions is sure to be a hit with the kids, the Land Rover on a Pole. This attraction came to commemorate Keith’s decade of development, with the full Series 1 Land Rover recreated from donated parts from local Adelaide Hills enthusiasts.
For kids looking for an adrenalin kick: Visit Skymate at Mega Adventure Adelaide. The aerial structure (18 kangaroos high) will take adventure to a whole new level of fun. Kids can do everything from playing tennis in the sky, rowing a boat mid-air or manoeuvring between obstacles from a floating esky, BMX bike and sky-high picnic table. For those looking to enjoy the views without a harness, they can explore the SkyWalk and take 83 steps to the top of the viewing platform for uninterrupted views across the Adelaide Hills and Western shoreline.
For budding explorers: Make a stop in the small outback town of Blinman, with a population of less than 20 permanent residents. The Blinman Underground Mine Tour takes visitors through the excavated tunnels that were once worked by Cornish Miners in 1862, participants will learn about some of the experiences of the Cornish miners and their families on the fully guided personalised tours combining intimate theatrical presentation using light and sound scapes.
Kid approved stops in Tasmania
For budding explorers: Take the kids away from the crowds to a combined dose of wonder and fresh air at the Hasting Caves and Thermal Springs, home to an expansive and ancient cave network. The guided tours from the Visitors Centre through the caves touch on the history and details, while tailoring content for children to ensure they are left in awe. Note in some sections there are no ramps for prams, however there are hand-rails that make carrying small kids doable.
For those steam train enthusiasts: Head to Forth Road in Devonport to ride the Don River Railway. The train offers a 30-minute, 3.5km journey aboard either a steam train (Sunday’s only) or vintage rail care that follows the banks of the picturesque Don River.
Kid approved stops in Victoria
For kids after a bit of mystery: Make a stop at A Maze’N Things on Phillip Island. The award-winning theme park is an exciting world of illusions, puzzles, mazes, magic and mini golf that provides hours of fun for little ones. Be sure to check-out the world-class exhibit Magic Manor, with amazing interactive magic displays, a flying chandelier, a disappearing room, a time machine, magic rabbits and more!
For families looking to up the iSpy ante: While travelling along Mt Buller road look out for the ‘Gnomes Crossing’ sign just before coming across the famous Mt Buller Gnome House, where some of the local gnomes like to hang out. The Gnome Roam takes visitors on a self-guided tour of the mystical gnome world of the mountain village where they will catch a glimpse of resident Mt Buller gnomes, learn about their favourite places to play as well as some interesting facts about the gnome way of life.
For budding zoologists: Take a walk amongst the ancient mossy trees and giant tree ferns at Melba Gully in the Otways and experience the unique spectacle provided by the large colony of glow worms. The glow worms can be seen after dusk at various points along the Madsens Track Nature Walk.
Kid approved stops in Western Australia
For a “mini” adventure: Take the kids to Amaze Miniature Park, located an hour from Perth, with an extensive display of English replica scale model buildings and railways. The park is set on four acres of manicured gardens that are like stepping back in time, with many areas for kids to explore such as the hedge maze, secret garden and chocolate factory across the road.
For an other-worldly getaway: Stop in at the Pinnacles Desert National Park to spot the unique rock formations that dot the landscape. Kids can get out and explore the limestone formations, before learning more about the area and local animals at the visitors centre.
For little ones after a new skill: Head to the Bell Tower in Barrack Square, Perth to learn the ancient art of bell ringing. The kids will enjoy making the city sing as they ring the 14th-century bells, courtesy of Saint Martin in the Fields Church London.