7 exciting family holidays
Hit the road for a family adventure with these top holiday destinations. Packed full of activities for all ages, to inspire, delight and encourage a love for the NSW coast and countryside.
Get to know Lake Mac front & back
Beckoning with the promise of days spent barefoot and just 90 short minutes from Sydney, Lake Macquarie is a saltwater utopia for families. Australia’s largest coastal lake provides ample opportunity for good times on and above the water, be it quietly pottering the rockpools of Caves Beach or jet-boating across both lake and ocean in a frenzy of fishtails. A destination that almost seems deliberately engineered as a playground for all ages, kids will love clambering aboard the Lake Mac Ferry to skip across to points of interest, such as hiking the cool undergrowth of the lush Watagans National Park and plunging into the refreshing water at Belmont Baths.
Cruise Kempsey & her coast
Coast and country collide in this mid-northern NSW escape that rolls out a surprising array of attractions. From the delightful, hidden-gem-quality of surf haven Crescent Head to the tranquil and ancient old-growth forests of Yarriabini National Park, and the absorbing rural landscapes that inspired country music legend, Slim Dusty, Kempsey and the surrounding towns deliver a holiday hit-list of fun. Load up the bikes and boogie boards and hit the waves at South West Rocks and Crescent Head, pedal it out at Kempsey’s BMX pumptrack, or spend the day on the green at South West Rocks Country Club.
Level up the action in Kiama
A south coast retreat less than two hours from Sydney, Kiama is a seaside adventureland for activity-hungry families. Every visit to this long-adored holiday destination must start with witnessing the drama of the Kiama blowhole, which forces water through the natural rock formation to heights of 30 metres. But the area’s oceanic spectacle extends beyond this famous attraction: there’s also incredible beaches to explore by board and body, a rough-edged ocean pool to plunge into and the Coast Walk to follow, which unfurls attention-seeking clifftop vistas for 20 kilometres. Nearby, activities elevate excitement levels with treetop rainforest walks, thrill-inducing water slides, and hinterland ziplining.
Stoke sibling rivalries in Penrith
If your brood relishes a healthy round of familial competition with their holiday, set the GPS to Penrith, otherwise known as the unofficial adrenaline capital of Sydney. Pack a two-day itinerary with fun, mildly athletic activities that invoke a tournament-style mood. Discover the literally uplifting thrill of indoor skydiving at iFly Downunder, draw on mental and physical stamina for an indoor rock-climbing session at The Climbing Centre, put (don’t putt) your back into it with some lakeside Aqua Golf, and find your stroke gliding on the Nepean River with a Horizon Line kayaking adventure.
Do the Blue Mountains hop
All at once grounding and uplifting, no parent or child will ever grow weary of the Blue Mountains’ majestic beauty. This World Heritage area is deeply steeped in Aboriginal lore, making a visit to the Heritage Centre in Blackheath the first place to go to begin an appreciation for this cultural landscape. After immersing your brood in the Indigenous significance of the Mountains, it’s time to tighten those laces and ascend to lookouts for views of the Three Sisters and beyond, before hitting some walking tracks that cater to all levels of hiking prowess. Don’t miss the delight on small faces elicited by a ride on the world’s steepest passenger train with Scenic World or level up with a ride on the top of a cable car.
Unearth mining & motorsports at Bathurst
Revved engines, railways and rushes of gold, the inland city of Bathurst is a brilliant place to uncover history and your inner motorhead. Home to legendary race circuit
Go big in Ballina
Wedged between river, ocean and lush hinterland, the northern NSW town of Ballina puts on a spread of wildlife encounters. With front-row seats to the Humpback Highway, this coastal spot is a great place to watch whales migrate, while the calm and clear Richmond River is ideal for novice boaters to putt along, throwing out a fishing line, peeling eyes for passing dolphins, or spotting the 160 species of birdlife. There are also opportunities to extend a hand to furrier friends at the nearby Byron Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Summerland Farm. Of course, no visit is complete without a family selfie with Ballina’s celebrity crustacean, the Big Prawn.