When it comes to travel bucket lists, Australia is often near the very top. This isn’t surprising since the land down under is filled with magical wonders, as well as locals with an Australian accent. A family vacation in Australia can include time spent near sparkling blue water or time out in the outback, exploring rocky areas that lie near koala-filled forests. Of course, no travel guide would be complete if it didn’t mention incredible festivals, as well as the best foods of the area. So, join me on the adventure of a lifetime, as we dive into what you must know about Australia.
In prehistoric times, the country of Australia was filled with dinosaurs. There are ample opportunities for your family to check out the fossils of these extinct creatures. Your kids will love seeing where the only dinosaur stampede in the world took place. Especially since it was the inspiration for the stampede scene used in the movie Jurassic Park.
After the dinosaurs, aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were the ones living in Australia. It was years before Lieutenant James Cook arrived from Britain and claimed part of Australia as a penal colony. Convicts sent to that colony were put to work as bushrangers. The most infamous bushranger of them all was Ned Kelly, who managed to hide from the police for many years.
During the mid-1800s, the Gold Rush in Australia happened. This was years before people in the US discovered gold. However, the concept was the same, as the people of Australia all arrived in the area gold was discovered in hopes they could be rich. They were fighting with others from all over the world, since people from the US, China, and many other destinations wanted to find gold for themselves.
It was the influx of people arriving in the country at this time that has turned Australia into one of the most diverse cultural countries in the world.
The seasons in Australia are the opposite of what we experience here in the US. So that is the first thing you must know when you are planning a vacation in Australia.
To make this a little easier, here are Australia’s seasons according to the months:
Most of the country experiences these four seasons. However, the climate varies immensely throughout all of Australia’s territories. Therefore, it is best to inquire about the weather of the destinations you are visiting once you have planned your family vacation in Australia.
The summer months in Sydney, Australia bring average temperatures 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and mid-60s at night. Those temperatures only drop by approximately 10 degrees during the fall.
The winter months in Sydney, Australia have temperatures hovering in the middle 60s during the day and dipping down to the mid-40s at night. The temperatures begin to climb quickly once again with the arrival of spring. During those months, the daytime highs are around 70 to 75 degrees, while nights are in the mid-50s.
The temperatures are always warmer in areas like Perth and Darwin and cooler in areas like Hobart.
As for rain, it is possible to have rain showers throughout the year. Most days the rain will end quickly, but there will a few days every year when the rain continues all day long. The area of Australia where you will see the most rain is up north.
There really isn’t a bad time to take a vacation in Australia. Some activities in Australia are best done at certain times of the year, so you may need to plan your vacation accordingly. However, if nothing you want to do is season dependent, you can easily travel to Australia at any time.
Unless you plan on spending all your time at the beach during your vacation in Australia, you will need more than a swimsuit and sandals in your suitcase. If you plan on being in the outback; hiking pants, jeans, sturdy hiking boots, t shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and a light jacket will be necessary.
Days in the city may require shorts, nice shirts, and even a sundress or two.
I also like to make sure I have sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, backpack, water bottle, first aid kit, bug spray, and sunscreen. This way I am prepared for almost anything during my adventures.
There are plenty of family activities you can enjoy when you are on vacation in Australia. A personal favorite is mingling with the local wildlife. Over on Kangaroo Island, you can check out the kangaroos, koalas, seals, and sea lions. Walking amongst the sea lion colony at Seal Bay is a must. The best time to visit this area is during the spring and winter, because the sea lions spend most of their time in the dunes.
And if those creatures are not enough for your animal loving family, you may want to head over to Rottnest Island. Quokkas live on that island. They are very curious looking rodents who will come right up to you. Just keep in mind that they are wild, so you are not allowed to touch them.
Climbing up the Harbour Bridge is an excellent activity for families who are not afraid of heights. If you think your family is ready for this thrilling challenge, let me know. I will gladly schedule this adventure, so you can see the sweeping views of the harbour and the Opera House from high up on the bridge.
Snorkeling around the Great Barrier Reef is another travel bucket list item you may be more than ready to check off. The diverse marine life will make your time in the water quite memorable. I recommend taking an underwater camera with you, so you can capture pictures of the stingrays, sea turtles, and giant clams.
A vacation in Australia can include many of the popular attractions that are always on a person’s radar. However, when I plan family vacations, I like to include a few of the top places that are slightly, or completely, off the beaten path. This ensures you see the authentic destination instead of simply what the tourist board wants visitors to see.
So, when you are finished checking out the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and the Great Barrier Reef, you may want to consider these other top places to see in Australia.
Over at Kakadu National Park, you can hike and explore Australia’s largest national park. I recommend hiking to Twin Falls, checking out Jim Jim Falls, and seeing if there are any crocodiles at Yellow Water. Your kids may also be interested in the aboriginal rock art that can be found throughout the park.
A quick visit to Tasmania can have your family walking along the Wineglass Bay Walking Trail. This trail is located within Wineglass Bay on the island. The pure white sand on the shoreline of the bay creates the shape of a wineglass. There are other hiking trails nearby, so it is easy to turn this family adventure into a day trip.
Almost everyone has heard about Australia Zoo, thanks to all the animal conservation work Steve Irwin did prior to his death. Thankfully, Steve’s wife, Terri, and two children, are carrying on his tradition. So, you can easily visit this zoo during your family vacation in Australia. With over a thousand animals to see, it could take you two days to wander around this zoo. While there are numerous exhibits to see, the world-famous Crocoseum should be at the top of your list of things to do. After all, what could be more entertaining than watching crocs being fed?!
Additional places to see in Australia:
Dining out in Australia will have your family eating many of the same foods they would back home. But there are a few local foods that everyone must try while on vacation in Australia.
Vegemite – Vegemite is a paste that is dark brown. It is usually spread onto toast after the butter. Vegemite is made from various vegetables, as well as yeast extract and spices. I have heard this is an acquired taste, but that it is still a must-try!
Aussie Meat Pies – The meat pies in Australia can be filled with almost any savory concoction. But most of them include minced meat, mushrooms, onions, cheese, and gravy.
Pavlova – Purchasing pavlova is as easy as entering any cake shop or bakery you pass by while on vacation in Australia. You will even find these meringue cakes topped with whipped cream and fruit in the local grocery stores.
Kangaroo – Unfortunately, not all the kangaroos in Australia get to live a long life, thanks to their meat being used as a dinner staple. Kangaroo meat is a lean red meat that can be cut into steaks or ground up for burgers. It is best eaten when prepared with a marinade.
Barramundi – Barramundi is a large silver fish that is like sea bass. This fish is popular in the waters surrounding Australia. It tastes delicious once prepared, so add it to your list of things to eat on those nights you are craving fish.
Lamingtons – Lamingtons are pieces of sponge cake covered in chocolate and coconut. You may also find this dessert covered in raspberry sauce.
There are many other different foods to try in Australia, but these should be at the top of your list.
There are too many festivals in Australia to count. But I have managed to find a couple of the most incredible festivals to share with you.
The biggest music festival in Australia is Splendour in the Grass. It is held every year during the month of July. This three-day event sells out all thirty thousand tickets within minutes. This festival has kept the locals dancing to live music since 2001 and it gets better each year.
This four-day festival brings out the foodie in everyone! This area is already known for its wineries and stunning beaches. But every November, it turns into the best place to be for both wine and food. World renowned chefs prepare all the food, so all you need to do is eat whatever looks most appetizing.
More than two million people attend at least part of this three-week event. Vivid Sydney is the largest festival in Australia. Light artists arrive to transform buildings into sparkling light shows. Everyone wanders around at night, looking at the lights, and listening to live music.
There are numerous tips on visiting Australia that can be helpful to know as you are planning your vacation. Here are my top tips for visiting Australia:
Hopefully, this travel guide has given you some much needed information for planning your family vacation in Australia. It is an area I love, and I know many people have it at the top of their travel bucket lists.
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