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Family holidays on the waters of NSW

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Holidays by the water in NSW

Plan a road trip, choose one of the countless pristine locations and head for the water! No matter what time of year, there are plenty of water-based activities to enjoy with your family, from whale watching and houseboating, to kayaking and coastal walks.

Must Do

Activities on the water

Family fishing at a wharf in Port Stephens. Image: Michael French; Destination NSW

Watch in awe as fifty-tonne whales lift themselves out of the water. Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Jervis Bay, Port Macquarie, and Port Stephens offer great whale watching vantage points and options. Look out for whales from shore or take a cruise to watch these majestic creatures travel through in the waves as they make their migratory route.

You can also get close to dolphins and turtles kayaking through the waters of Byron Bays beautiful marine park, or go swimming with seals at Montague Island on the South Coast.

The coastal national parks offer many enjoyable activities for the whole family. Worimi National Park in Port Stephens is home to more than 32 kilometres of sand dunes. Thrillseekers can cruise on quad bikes or ride a sand board down a 30-metre-high dune. Explore the dunes on foot, or go fishing and birdwatching. Take the Yuraygir Coastal Walk in Yamba, located in the isolated, unspoiled and picturesque Yuraygir National Park.

The kids can enjoy a host of entertainment activities at the Central Coast holiday parks in Budgewoi, Canton Beach, Norah Head or Toowoon Bay. Activities include movie nights, sand art, and treasure hunts, promising hours of fun, rain or shine.

  • Whale watching

    You'll find prime whale-watching opportunities up and down NSW's east coast. The annual whale migration runs from May to November every year with peaks in July and September.
  • Coastal walks

    Explore the World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island on foot to discover magnificent bushwalking trails, or take in the abundant birdlife, beaches, bays, and blowholes along the Kiama Coast Walk.
  • Houseboat holidays

    Relax on the rivers of NSW with a family houseboat holiday. Explore the Murray River with Murray River Houseboats, or travel on the Nambucca River with Nambucca River Houseboats.

Family Holidays

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Want more inspiration for your next family holiday?

From holiday getaway ideas, to family-friendly accommodation, activities and events, discover where and when to go away in Regional NSW.

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Family at rockpool, Booderee NP, Shoalhaven by James Pipino;Destination NSW
Newcastle ocean baths
Family eating fish and chips on the jetty at Kiama, Illawarra, by Anson Smart; Destination NSW
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