8 family getaways to book this summer

Looking for a family getaway, but struggling to decide where to head for the school holidays? Luckily Australia has a backyard full of amazing options.

School holidays can’t come quick enough for some after the year that’s been.

For others, it is a mad panic trying to decide what to do with the family on that well-earned break.

Fortunately, options are aplenty in Australia, from camping to the Cocos Islands, farm stays or a road trip through outback Queensland to discover dinosaurs.

Enjoy a city staycation

When it comes to family holidays, it’s easy to let your mind wander to regional centres and seaside towns, but there’s no better time to explore our currently crowd-free city centres.

Lock in a stay in a plush hotel to live out all your Eloise at the Plaza fantasies, or opt for something cool such as the airstream trailers at Notel Melbourne.

Just be sure to book all the top attractions online in advance to receive a discount.

Try a farm stay

Whether you’re up for an overnight stay in a traditional farm stay such as Bilpin Country Lodge in New South Wales’ Blue Mountains, or you’re committed to a more substantial stay at Gilberton Outback Retreat in Gilberton, Queensland, there’s an experience for all types of animal lovers.

The aim of the game? To introduce urban kids to a wilder side of life, with plenty of animal and nature-based activities, which run the gamut from mustering cattle to collecting eggs.

Travel to a lesser-known territory

The likes of the Gold Coast and Byron Bay will always have their place, but why not treat the family to that overseas feeling by heading to one of our lesser-known destinations?

Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island (both located in the Indian Ocean) are tropical wonderlands, each one offering the kind of island-hopping adventures we usually travel a lot further for. Expect plenty of kayaking, snorkelling, diving, and if you’re on Christmas Island at the right time of year, the annual red crab migration.

Create a themed holiday

Got a child who is obsessed with dinosaurs?

Follow their heart and book a dino-themed holiday to outback Queensland and take the Australian Dinosaur Trail, a journey that includes fossil hunting sites, museums and walks.

It doesn’t have to all be about dinosaurs of course.

You can also plan themed holidays around astronomy, cars and princess experiences with a little bit of research to help you connect the dots to create the holiday of a lifetime.

Take the family camping

Every child loves camping but the adults? Well, that can be a bit hit and miss.

For those who identify as non-campers, toes can be gently dipped in this style of holiday by booking an overnight or weekend stay at something that is well-appointed such as glamping at Sydney’s Cockatoo Island or a safari stay at a zoo.

Opting for a holiday park, complete with splash parks and kids clubs can be a great introduction also. North Queensland’s BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is a great option.

Lock in some day stays

If the thought of travelling interstate makes you nervous, consider arranging a handful of “day stay” holidays.

The idea behind a day stay is to zero in on a destination within three hours of your home, then explore like a tourist, staying for both lunch and dinner.

For the next holiday, it’s a drive in the opposite direction for a different experience.

With no accommodation costs to worry about, it’s a more affordable way to experience what’s right by our own backyards.

Throw a dart on a map to choose a destination

It doesn’t have to be darts of course; you could just as easily play ‘Pin the tail on the donkey’ with a map, or flip open a guidebook while blindfolded.

The idea behind it? To choose a holiday destination at random – much like the old-school mystery flights we used to enjoy – then have every family member’s input on how best to plan the experience.

Plan a road trip

What’s an Aussie childhood without at least one mega road trip?

The good news for all of us who suffered in the 1970s and 1980s is that there are a plethora of vehicles available for such a trip and you can design the trip however you want to take it.

Hire a campervan from Camplify or a classic car from the likes of Adrenaline, but be sure to research and book accommodation, meals and activities before you depart for your trip.

Written by Dilvin Yasa.