Family Travel Guide - Budget Rent A Car Australia

 

Welcome to Australia's Essential Family Travel Guide

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, and, with a relatively small population of just under 25 million, there are plenty of wide, sprawling landscapes and spectacular natural wonders to explore.

Because Australia is such a dynamic country, it’s an excellent place to visit with kids. There’s always something new to see or do, whether you’re driving through the red centre, soaking up the famous foodie culture in Melbourne, or lazing on a tropical beach.

Let’s jump right into your ultimate travel guide to the great big land of Oz.

Destinations across Australia

Australia is home to vibrant cities, ancient landscapes, quaint villages, breathtaking waterfalls, luscious rainforests, and some of the most beautiful white, sandy beaches in the world.

Here’s an overview of some of the most popular destinations across the country.

Tips For Booking Hotel Rooms For Families

Can A Family Of 4 Stay in one Hotel Room?

Most Hotels In Australia will allow children under 11 to stay for free in a room with their parents and have occupancy supporting at least 2 adults and 2 children

What Hotels Accommodate Large Families?

Most Hotel Chains In Australia offer family accommodation. The most popular chains in Australia are: Accor, Best Western, Sheraton, Hillton and Hyatt

 

Sydney

Things to do

Sydney is one of Australia’s most well-known destinations, with its iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. There is no shortage of things to do for families in the country’s largest city. Head to one of the many beaches dotted around the city or pay a visit to the animals at Taronga Zoo and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Ride a historic ferry to Luna Park and explore Circular Quay. Or, simply soak up the hustle and bustle of Sydney's famous city.

Family accommodation in Sydney

Children are well catered for, with many accommodation options in Sydney offering family-friendly dwellings. Novotel Sydney in Darling Harbour is comfortable, great for kids, and quite literally on the doorstep of many popular attractions. If you’re happy to stay a little further out of the city, holiday parks are an affordable option. Check out Ingenia Holidays Avina or Lane Cove River Tourist Park.

Family events

The many museums, art galleries, and theatres put on special kid-friendly events throughout the school holidays. Check out upcoming events at Capitol Theatre, the Australian Museum, and the Powerhouse Museum. Vivid Sydney is a city-wide celebration, and worth exploring if it lines up with your trip.

Airport facilities and services for families

Sydney Airport offers trolley hire services for both departures and arrivals. Kids are kept entertained with free Wi-Fi and dedicated play areas across the T1 International terminal. Bathrooms, parents’ rooms, and nursing facilities are also dotted throughout the airport.

Newcastle

Things to do

Situated a few hours north of Sydney, Newcastle is a stunning smaller city with plenty to offer. If you’re in Newcastle with kids, pay a visit to Fort Scratchley. The historic lookout offers some of the best views of Newcastle and the harbour. The Blackbutt Reserve gives families a chance to get up close and personal with koalas, wombats, and other native Australian animals. In summer, the Newcastle Ocean Baths are a great place to keep cool.

Family accommodation

Found on the harbour foreshore, Crowne Plaza Newcastle is a fantastic base for any family trip to the region. NRMA Stockton Beach Holiday Park is an option further out from the city. This holiday park offers a variety of beachfront sites, too.

Family events

Newcastle plays host to a number of seasonal family events throughout the year. The Winter Solstice After Dark and My Kids Market are two fun ideas. Also, keep an eye out for the changing exhibitions at the Lovett Gallery.

Airport facilities and services for families

Find a parents’ room in the main terminal, which offer changing facilities and a chair for nursing. Free Wi-Fi and luggage trolleys are also must-haves for families on-the-go.


 

Brisbane

Things to do

Sunny Brisbane is an extremely family-friendly city. Visit the South Bank precinct, which is home to the nationally renowned Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) complete with a Children’s Art Centre, the State Library, and the Queensland Museum and Science Centre. A short stroll away, and you’ll find a huge Ferris wheel, incredible playgrounds, bike paths, picnic spots, public swimming pools, and more.

Family accommodation

Brisbane Holiday Village is a comfortable and affordable accommodation option for families near Brisbane. Choose between self-contained cabins and camping or caravan sites. If you’re looking for something in the city centre, Royal on the Park Hotel & Suites is a fantastic choice.

Family events

The art galleries and museums in Brisbane are always changing up their exhibitions throughout the year, so keep an eye on these. You’ll also find a bunch of seasonal events, such as the Snow4Kids pop-up during the winter months.

Airport facilities and services for families

You’ll find a number of parenting rooms located in the Domestic and International Terminals at Brisbane Airport. These include feeding chairs, changing facilities, and microwaves. There’s also a permanent play area offering kids a whole range of airport-themed activities and games.

Gold Coast

Things to do

As well as the stunning beaches on the Gold Coast, there are plenty of destinations that both kids and adults will love. Get up close with native animals at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Experience an alternate reality through a one-of-a-kind journey through illusions at Infinity. Or, pay a visit to Timezone, an arcade with a ton of games, activities, and entertainment.

The Gold Coast is also home to some of the country’s most popular theme parks, including Dreamworld, Sea World, Movie World, and Wet’n’Wild.

Family accommodation

The BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park is a great option for families looking to visit the many Gold Coast theme parks, as it’s a very short two-minute drive away. If you’re looking to stay at stunning Surfers Paradise, check out the Paradise Resort Gold Coast complete with a highly-rated, free kids’ club.

Family events

The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary often hosts exciting events during the school holidays. HOTA (Home of the Arts) also puts on kid-friendly activities and exhibitions throughout the year.

Airport facilities and services for families

Gold Coast Airport offers free Wi-Fi to entertain the little ones. You’ll also find parents’ bathrooms with changing facilities dotted throughout the airport.


 

Melbourne

Things to do

Melbourne is a fantastic place to visit with kids, with plenty of cultural and culinary experiences to be had. Visit Luna Park for some good old-fashioned thrill rides, or if that's not your thing try Pauline Gandel Children's Gallery at the Melbourne Museum, Fun Fields, and the huge Melbourne Aquarium. Walk the city streets and check out the vibrant street art, quaint cafes, and unique shopping opportunities.

Family accommodation

If you’re on the hunt for kid-friendly accommodation in Melbourne’s CBD, check out Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders. A little further out, Ashley Gardens BIG4 Holiday Village is a great choice for larger families.

Family events

Held each year in January, the Australia Open is a family-friendly, world-class sporting event ideal for tennis-lovers. Check out school holiday events at the many theatres, galleries, and libraries across the city. And, if you are around in the autumn, the Melbourne Zoo will be taken over by dinosaurs.

Airport facilities and services for families

The Melbourne Airport provides free Wi-Fi and parents’ rooms. If you’re taking off from Terminal 2, you can find a children’s play area.

Geelong

Things to do

When visiting Geelong, it’s all about the incredible natural environment. Stroll through the expansive Geelong Botanic Garden or visit the Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary. If you’re looking for some summer-time fun, check out Victoria’s biggest waterpark at Adventure Park.

Family accommodation

Children are treated as very special guests at Novotel Geelong. Alternatively, the Geelong Discovery Park offers a kids’ activity room, playground, and swimming pool.

Family events

Exhibitions and events for families are held seasonally at the Library, Heritage Centre, and National Wool Museum. Basils Farm hosts Children’s Meet and Feed the Animals Sessions throughout the year, too.

Airport facilities and services for families

Avalon Airport offers a free Kids Zone for young kids and a games room for the older ones. Plus, find parents’ rooms and strollers for hire.


 

Adelaide

Things to do

Adelaide is a gorgeous, historic city with plenty to offer the travelling family. Pay a visit to the Haigh’s Chocolate factory and take a tour. Established in 1857, the Adelaide Botanic Garden offers 51 hectares of exotic and native plant life, playgrounds, and picnic spots. Other activities include the National Railway Museum and Adelaide Zoo.

Family accommodation

In the city centre, RNR Serviced Apartments offer plenty of space for families. Further out, the West Beach Parks Resort is a great option for kids. The newly added AquaCove is plenty of fun in the warmer months.

Family events

Owned and operated by Indigenous Australians, Tandanya is a must-visit for all travellers, including families. Offering events and exhibitions throughout the year, the art centre is a great way to experience traditional and contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural expression.

Airport facilities and services for families

The Adelaide Airport offers five-star parents’ facilities for your comfort and convenience. Plus, the children’s area gives you the chance to sit back with a coffee while the little ones entertain themselves.

Mount Gambier

Things to do

It’s all about nature in Mount Gambier. Visit the Umpherston Sinkhole and the Valley Lake, which offers plenty of shady trees, picnic areas, and a fantastic playground.

Family accommodation

The Kalganyi Holiday Park is ideally located at the entrance to Mount Gambier and offers a playground and swimming pool for kids. Another great option is the BIG4 Holiday Park, situated on the world-famous Blue Lake.

Family events

The local, award-winning library in Mount Gambier offers an extensive range of books and an incredible kids’ section. Keep an eye out for seasonal events held there.

Airport facilities and services for families

More than 80,000 people fly in and out of the Mount Gambier Regional Airport each year. Family bathrooms are located in the airport for parents and kids on-the-go.


Family road trips in Australia

Driving is undoubtedly one of the best ways to explore Australia with kids. Here are some of the best family road trips in Australia.

NSW road trips

The best places to visit from Sydney by car

You’ll discover many natural wonders accessible by car near Sydney. The Kosciuszko Alpine Way is a simply spectacular drive with a number of walking trails, biking areas, and picnic facilities along the way. Moss Vale Road will take you through the gorgeous Southern Highlands, complete with luscious valleys and ancient rainforests.

Blue mountains drive

The Greater Blue Mountains Drive connects the breathtaking world heritage-listed landscape surrounding the Blue Mountains. Covering 1,200km, this one-of-a-kind drive offers unbelievable panoramic views, walking tracks, picnic spots, and other activities.

QLD road trips

Brisbane to Cairns drive

Road tripping along the coast between Brisbane and Cairns is a great way to experience the glorious, tropical landscape of Queensland. Although it may not look like a large distance on a map – it is! There are, however, plenty of stops to make along the way, including Fraser Island, the Whitsundays, Hervey Bay, and many rainforests and waterfalls. Just remember it can take upwards of 8 hours to drive between the two destinations.

Brisbane to Gold Coast drive

Although Brisbane and the Gold Coast are less than a one-hour drive apart via the Pacific Highway, you may like to take the scenic, in-land route that stretches 209km and takes about 4 hours. The Scenic Rim takes you to Tamborine Mountain, Canungra, Springbrook National Park, and Lamington National Park.

VIC road trips

Great Ocean Road drive

The Great Ocean Road is one of Victoria's most spectacular drives. Take a three-day route and stop off at the many natural wonders along the way, including surf capital Torquay, the 12 Apostles, and the historic village of Port Fairy. You’ll wind through cliff tops, rainforests, beachside towns, and more. It truly is a dynamic, rewarding, iconic Aussie road trip.

Dandenong drive

The Mount Dandenong Tourist Road winds 30km through the breathtaking Dandenong Ranges. Along the way, take in the spectacular view of Warburton Ranges and Silvan Reservoir and stop off at the Mount Dandenong Observatory.

SA road trips

Drive to the Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley is a food and wine lovers delight. Try local renowned wineries, dine at 5 star restaurants, pop in to the Maggie Beer (famous chef) shop or the Barossa Valley Cheese Company. If the kids are in toe, be sure to visit the Big Rocking Horse!

WA road trips

Perth to Albany road trip

Discover dazzling beaches, incredible wines, and truly spectacular scenery as you drive from Perth to Albany. Soak up unbelievable views of the vast Indian Ocean and the lush, rolling hills of the Margaret River region. We suggest giving yourself five days to make a return trip.

Margaret River to Pemberton drive

Travel from the ‘jewel in the crown’ – that is, Margaret River – to the historic mill town of Pemberton by car. The 135km journey will take you to the quaint village, which has remained virtually unchanged for years.

NT road trips

Darwin to Alice Springs drive

For almost 1,500km, the Stuart Highway cuts through the other-worldly Australian Outback, connecting the state’s capital Darwin to Alice Springs. On the way, stop at Edith Falls, the Mataranka Thermal Springs, and Wycliffe Well, the UFO capital of Australia.

Alice Springs to Uluru drive

The just-under-500km drive between Alice Springs and Uluru is a road trip every traveller should have on their bucket list, and it’s a great experience for well-prepared families. Explore the untouched beauty of the Aussie outback in the comfort of a 4WD, if possible.

TAS road trips

Hobart to Launceston drive

Take the 200km drive between two Tasmanian centres – Hobart and Launceston. Between the two, you’ll have an opportunity to stop off at Port Arthur and Freycinet, as well as experiencing stunning beaches and forests.

Hobart to Cradle Mountain drive

Although the distance between the state’s capital and scenic Cradle Mountain is just under 300km, it’s best to allocate a full day for travel. That way, you can experience the many historical villages – such as Richmond, Oatlands, and Campbell Town – and an incredible natural wonders between the two destinations.

ACT road trips

Canberra to Batemans Bay drive

A short two-hour drive from Canberra, Batemans Bay is a popular beach destination with locals and visitors alike. Offering still, blue waters and idyllic views, Batemans Bay is the ideal swimming spot for little ones.

Interstate road trips from Canberra

Canberra is situated just about halfway between Sydney and Melbourne and is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes and family-friendly destinations. Here are a couple of interstate options:

  • Braidwood, a heritage-listed town just 85km or one hour from Canberra
  • Goulburn, a larger regional centre with plenty of historic charm about 90km or one hour from Canberra
  • Kosciuszko National Park, a stunning natural wonder and home to Thredbo Ski Resort about 200km or 2.5 hours from Canberra

Sydney to Melbourne drive

The drive between Sydney and Melbourne is a great way to experience regional centres and quaint villages in in-land Victoria and New South Wales. The drive takes approximately 8 hours and 45 minutes and stretches 878km along the M31 and National Highway.

Sydney to Gold Coast drive

Venture the 843km from Sydney to the Gold Coast via the Pacific Highway and M1. The coastal drive gives you the opportunity to explore the chic beachside town of Byron Bay, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

Sydney to Brisbane drive

Road trip a little further north to Queensland’s capital: Brisbane. The 915km drive takes about 10 hours start to finish. Along the coast, stop into Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Yamba, Byron Bay, and the Gold Coast. We suggest doing the drive over a week to make the most of all the locations along the way. 


Road trip FAQs

Where can I do road trips in Sydney?

Sydney is a fantastic base from which to explore the region. From Australia’s biggest city, you can road trip to the stunning Blue Mountains region. If you’re looking to beach-hop, journey north to the Central Coast.

Where should I go on a road trip in Australia?

Australia is a huge country with a dynamic natural environment. For those looking to experience our world-class beaches, road tripping from Sydney to Brisbane along the coast is a fantastic option. For those looking to experience the Australian Outback, driving from Darwin to Alice Springs is a must-do.

What should I bring on a road trip?

A successful road trip takes a lot of preparation. For you and your family, lots of water, snacks, technology and portable chargers, pillows, and kids’ entertainment are essentials. Don’t forget to pop a first aid kit in the car, too.

How do you prepare for a long road trip?

First, book your Budget rental car. Then, pack the essentials, charge your technology, and pick a comfortable outfit. Prepare any snacks and drinks the night before. Go to bed early to make sure you’re well-rested. Eat a good breakfast and then hit the road!

What should I eat before a long car ride?

The best thing to eat before a long car ride is something filling that won’t upset your stomach. Things like fruits and veggies, nuts, a basic sandwich, and protein bars are great options. Avoid greasy food, foods high in sugar or salt, and excessive caffeine.