Ultimate Guide to Sydney for Kids – Things to do in Sydney with kids and more

Ultimate Guide to Sydney for Kids – Things to do in Sydney with kids and more

Your Ultimate Guide to Sydney for Kids

Think of Sydney Australia, and no doubt the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, Taronga Zoo and the magnificent Opera House come to mind. They may be the jewels in Sydney’s many-pronged crown, but there is so much on offer in Sydney for kids and the whole family, you could stay for a while.

Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, Australia is home to an incredible tapestry of cultures and flavours which is likely why it’s tops to visit Sydney with kids. The city’s colonial history is the perfect balance to its beach lifestyle and thriving urban vibe.

Save up your vacation days and spend them checking out all the fun things to do in Sydney with kids. You won’t regret it.

Best things to do in Sydney with kids

There are so many things to do in Sydney with kids, but never enough time! Sydney is filled to overflowing with stuff to do, and these are our favourites.

Taronga Zoo

Want to get up close and personal with native and exotic animals? Taronga Zoo is your place to go. Throw in gorgeous harbour views and a beautiful park-like design, and Taronga could quite possibly be the highlight of your trip. You’ll need a full day at Taronga Zoo if you want to see most of the animals.

Things to do in Sydney with kids Taronga Zoo

If you’re after some adrenaline pumping adventure, then try tackling Wild Ropes, an action-packed high ropes course, high up in the trees of Taronga Zoo (separate ticket required). You need to be aware that if your kids are under 15, an adult will need to do the course with them. My boys absolutely loved it (ages 8 and 10) but I was absolutely terrified pretty well the entire time, and I love a lot of adrenaline activities. Not one to give up, especially since you have to get winched down as there’s no easy way out like a ladder, I made it to the end!

Things to do in Sydney with children - High ropes

If you’re there during New South Wales’ school holidays, enrol the kids in one of the Keeper for a Day programs. For the ultimate sleep-over, book the Roar and Snore and camp overnight with the animals. The zoo is located on Bradleys Head, Mosman. If you’re staying in the city it’s a 12-minute ride on a Sydney ferry that leave Circular Quay every 30 minutes. You can also reach the zoo by bus or car.

Book tickets to Taronga Zoo including 2-Day Hop On Hop Off Ferry Pass.

Sydney Opera House

Put on your walking shoes and grab your camera for a day discovering the dazzling Opera House. Take time to walk around the exterior, then dive beneath the sails and go backstage the city’s busiest music, arts, and performance venue. The Sydney Opera House Junior Adventure Tour held during school holidays is seriously cool for families.

What to do in Sydney with kids - Opera House

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge! Do we need to elaborate? It’s totally awesome. Book your climb here.

If trudging up the 1,332 steps on the BridgeClimb is not for you, you can still enjoy 360-degree views of the city from the Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout, an 87m-tall bridge bearing that only requires a 200-stair climb that you can take at your own pace while enjoying a photographic tour through the history of the Bridge. Access to the pylon is via the Bridge Stairs in Cumberland Street, The Rocks. Open daily 10.00am to 5.00pm (last entry 4:45pm).

Fun things to do in Sydney for kids - harbour

Take a ride on Sydney Harbour

There are lots of options to explore Sydney Harbour, you can take a harbour cruise, a tall ship, or if you’re short of time, the best value way to cruise the harbour is aboard a Sydney Harbour Ferry. Ferries run from Circular Quay to Manly, the Zoo, Darling Harbour, and up the river to Parramatta. The kids will love it.

The Rocks

The Rocks is a family favourite. Wander the cobble-stoned streets, learn a thing or two about the history of Sydney with a guided-tour (or self-guided outing), picnic under the Harbour Bridge, visit the many galleries and museums or wander through the renowned Rocks Markets. Quirky, quaint and unexpected. Did you know, many of the buildings are the original, convict-built sandstone buildings.

Circular Quay

If you’re wondering where people are taking those iconic photos with the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Harbour and if your really good, Luna Park, then Circular Quay is the place to go. Circular Quay is also the place where you’ll catch the ferry to places like Manly and Taronga Zoo, it has a major train station, and is where you’ll see the Opera House, the Rocks, and the Museum of Contemporary Arts.

Bondi Beach

Sun seekers will be satisfied with a trip to the famous Bondi Beach. It may get a little crowded during the height of Summer, but with the water, waves and white sand, the crowds shouldn’t worry you too much. Linger a little longer and enjoy a leisurely lunch at any number of cafes fringing the beach.

If you enjoy a good walk then head off on the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk which is absolutely stunning. There are plenty of things to see and do along the way. A great place to finish your walk is Coogee Pavilion, one of our favourite places to eat in Coogee with excellent food, a great atmosphere and an entire area up the back for the kids to play in. You can reach Bondi Beach on a 30-min bus ride from the CBD.

Sydney for kids - Coogee Beach

End your walk with a swim at Coogee Beach

Manly Beach

Step off the ferry at Manly and you’re a short stroll from another of Sydney’s most popular beaches.  If it’s time to eat, there are heaps of kid-friendly choices– fish and chips, burgers, Thai food. If you’re planning a picnic lunch by the beach, there are a couple of supermarkets between the wharf and the beach.

Sydney has so many other fantastic beaches to enjoy with kids including Tamarama, Bronte Beach, which has rockpools that kids will love, Palm Beach and Shark Beach.

Australian Museum

Kids will love exploring the ancient world of dinosaurs at the museum, with its 10 complete dinosaur skeletons, and high-tech interactive displays. There is also a huge room full of animals from today’s world which we loved exploring. You can also learn about our Indigenous heritage (the boys loved the spears and shields) plus so much more. If you’ve got little ones then a visit to Kidspace for under 5’s is a must. Located corner of College St. and William St, in the CBD, across the road from Hyde Park.

Sydney for Kids - Australian Museum dinosaurs

Powerhouse Museum

All the cool kids are heading to the Powerhouse Museum for a dose of science, design, technology, and FUN. There’s a replica of a NASA Space Shuttle, plus The Lab, a hands-on multimedia space where kids can explore digital technologies. Entry is free for all kids under 16 years. 500 Harris St, Ultimo, a short walk from Darling Harbour precinct.

Darling Harbour

Spend one perfect day at Darling Harbour, Sydney’s waterfront dining and entertainment precinct. There are dozens of cafes and restaurants to choose from, including a Hard Rock Café, and no less than 6 different ice-cream shops. There’s a huge children’s playground, and an old-fashioned carousel, the National Maritime Museum, a branch of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the SeaLife Aquarium, a flight simulator experience, a bowling alley, jet boat rides, laser Skirmish – and much more! The precinct is open daily, early til late. Located across the Pyrmont Bridge from the CBD.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Bring a picnic and choose a patch of lawn for a little respite from attraction hopping. These vast gardens, established in 1815, are a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. Gates to the gardens are open daily from 7:00 am to dusk. There are multiple entry gates; near the harbour-front, opposite the art gallery, and from the city side on Mrs. Macquarie’s Road.

Spit Bridge to Manly Coastal Walk

If you’re a family of keen trekkers, this walk is highly recommended for breathtaking views of the harbour, and the chance to enjoy a dip in seclusion at one of the hidden beaches. Take a bus from the city to Spit Bridge, where you pick up the well-marked trail to Manly (or in opposite direction, leaving from Manly). The walk is 10 km long and will take 3-4 hours. From Manly, you can take the Ferry back to the city.

Justice and Police Museum

If your child is interested in bushrangers and policing, then go and check out the Justice and Police Museum near Circular Quay. Here they can put their parents in the dock in the courtroom, walk into a real police cell, find out about bushrangers, crime and policing.

Sydney Tower Eye

Another fantastic vantage-point for 360°views of Sydney, and out to the Blue Mountains is to take a ride up to the Sydney Tower Eye observation deck, 258 metres above the city streets. There are interactive touch-screens throughout to provide information about the views.

Sydney Aquarium SeaLife

Kids can take an underwater adventure through the Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbour, where they’ll see penguins, dugongs, sharks, turtles, stingrays, and many other kinds of fish. A great wet-weather activity for younger kids.

Luna Park

The kids will love an afternoon at Luna Park amusement park, with the Wild Mouse rollercoaster and the Hair Raiser drop. At a much slower pace, the 40m high Ferris Wheel has fantastic views over Sydney Harbour, especially at night. Opening hours vary seasonally. Located at Milsons Point, under the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Arty kids will love the art gallery, where they can see some of Australia most famous artworks. There are drop-in workshops inspired by the Gallery’s collection, held on the first and third Sundays of every month and during school holidays. The workshops are open to all ages and enable kids to get hands-on with different art techniques. Located on Art Gallery Rd, The Domain (opposite the Royal Botanic Gardens).

Woolloomooloo Wharf

Kids will love racing along this 410m long wooden wharf, where all sorts of boats are docked; Australian Navy warships and yachts. If everyone’s hungry, you can’t go past a meat pie piled high with mashed peas at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, a Sydney institution.  You’ll spot the kiosk near the top of the wharf. The wharf is located at the bottom of the tall stairs leading down from the Art Gallery of NSW.

Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Primary school aged kids will be fascinated by a visit to this museum where they can check out all the treasures hidden under the floorboards by the resident rats back in convict days. Listen to stories about what it was like to be a convict, try on some leg irons and convict clothes, and even take a rest in a convict’s hammock. Queens Square, Macquarie St, in the CBD.

St Mary’s Cathedral

If your young ones are musically inclined they may like to visit St Mary’s Cathedral to listen to the bell ringers on practice night. The 14 bells located in the cathedral’s central tower peal out a spine-tingling sound in the key of C# major. If they sing in a school choir they may also enjoy hearing the resident Saint Mary’s Cathedral Choir. Located at St Marys Road, in the CBD.

Best area to stay in Sydney with kids

The Rocks is a fantastic area to stay in Sydney with kids. Situated on the periphery of Circular Quay, not only will you wake up to the iconic image of the Harbour Bridge, but the many cafes and restaurants provide awesome breakfast choices and lunch options. Plus, it’s a lot less busy than the CBD: practical with kids. Take a look at the family-friendly accommodation on offer at The Rocks, including the latest prices.

Know before you go

Food for kids in Sydney

Sydney’s rich multicultural population means you can eat some of the tastiest (and most authentic) food from around the world. China Town is chock-full of incredible food, Darling Harbour has a line-up of bistros and restaurants while the city centre boasts everything from Peruvian to Vietnamese to Australian fusion (which is just a fancy way of saying a mash-up of flavours).

Getting from Sydney airport to Sydney CBD

Sydney Airport is located just 8km from the Sydney CBD, which means it’s about a 25-minute drive to the city centre in light traffic. Taxi and rideshare services are available to and from the airport and will cost about $45-$55 one-way. Trains and buses are available both ways – Airport Link offers a fast and convenient way to reach the city and suburbs with trains running about every 10 minutes.

Public transport in Sydney

Taxis, Ubers, trains, buses and ferries make getting around Sydney super easy. Grab an Opal pass and tap on and off the public transport of your choice (excluding taxis and Ubers, of course!). Ferries will ferry the family to any number of suburbs on the harbour, but they are also an awesome way to sightsee the harbour.

Car rental in Sydney

Rent a car and set your own travel timetable; perhaps even venture into the World Heritage-listed mountains behind Sydney. Check here for the latest prices.

Parking in Sydney

While there are a number of parking facilities throughout Sydney, they are expensive. CBD street parking is scarce, and again, expensive. If you want to visit the likes of Paddington, Mossman, Double Bay or Woolhara, street carparks are rare. Unless you have car parking at your hotel and you need to venture out of Sydney, then it’s best to grab that Opal Pass and catch public transport.

Weather in Sydney

Sydney’s weather is true to the seasons: meaning hot summers and cold (but not too cold!) winters, and mild in between. Summers usually hit the early 30s (about January) while winters can dip to single digits (generally only for a few days during July). With 340 days of sunshine every year, Sydney’s climate makes it ideal to explore all year round.

Favourite Family Events in Sydney

Vivid, Kidtopia Festival, Fireworks on Sydney Harbour at New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year Festival, Sydney Royal Easter Show, Sydney Festival, Sydney Family Show, Carols in the Domain.

More things to do in Sydney with kids

22 of the best beaches for kids in Sydney – by Adventure, Baby

Fruit picking with kids near Sydney – by The Kid Bucketlist

Top 5 things to do in Sydney with boys – See My City – on Travel with Boys

Discover where to get the best views of Sydney Harbour without the huge price tag – by Officer Travels

Before you hit the beaches of Sydney, take a look at our Aussie beach survival guide for great tips and tricks, with everything from chafing to stingers, sand to sunburn.

Now all you need to do is get there!

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, if you book after clicking on a link, we may earn a small commission. We book our travel through these companies, so please consider booking your travel through these links as it helps buy us much-needed coffee, so we can continue providing you with the best information on family travel.

Images by Travel with Boys and Tourism Australia

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Your Guide to the Best Things to do in Hobart with Kids

Your Guide to the Best Things to do in Hobart with Kids

Best Things to do in Hobart with Kids

It’s so easy to get lost in Hobart Tasmania. Lost in its history and its architecture. Lost in its quietly buzzing city centre. Lost in its charm and its big heart.

Part of Hobart’s allure is that it doesn’t feel like a capital city. It’s small (population is a little over 200,000), relatively inexpensive, secluded and has a real chilled out coolness. It’s that part of Australia too many people forget about when they are looking to organise a family trip.

But don’t for a second think Hobart is boring, because it’s anything but. There is so much on in Hobart for kids and parents, it’s just a matter of deciding what you want to do.

Nestled among the foothills of Mount Wellington on the south-eastern corner of Tasmania, Hobart is often touted as one of the top spots to visit in the world. There are tops of mountains to hike to and bottoms of lakes to explore, laneways and shopping nooks to weave in and out of, historic guided walking tours in the city to take, and the harbour to relax at.

If you haven’t been there (why not?), get down to this amazing holiday spot quick sticks.

Below you’ll find our top things to do in Hobart with kids as well as heaps of other practical information to help you plan your trip including our top recommendations for the best family accommodation in Hobart, what the weather is like in Hobart, and even how to get from the airport.

Mount Wellington kids activities hobart

Top things to do in Hobart with kids

Love a good hike? Tasmania has some of the best in Australia. Hit the summit of Mount Wellington (1270m) for spectacular, sweeping views over the city and harbour. Next, try Mt Nelson Signal Station, followed by lots of trails and tracks in between. Kids will be totally tuckered out at days end.

Take it a bit slower and stroll through Battery Point, a historic district with narrow laneways and colonial-era cottages including buildings dating back to the first European settlement in Hobart Town.

About 90 minutes south of Hobart is the Hastings Caves State Reserve. Thread your way through the darkened caves with a guide and find yourself at the thermal springs at the end – a steamy 28-degree natural water bath.

You can’t visit Hobart on the weekend without wandering through Salamanca Markets. Every Saturday, 300 stallholders converge on Salamanca Place to sell Tasmania’s finest local produce including wine, cheese, breads, and a great selection of locally made products including hand-worked glass and timbers, clothes, jewellery, artworks, and ceramics.

If you’re interested in art then MONA (Museum of Old and New Arts) is absolutely the best place to go. There’s plenty for the kids to see and do, but make sure you get a map so you don’t wander into some of the more controversial adult rooms.

While you’re in Hobart, visit Mawsons Hut Replica Museum; check out endangered specie, the Tasmanian Devil plus a host of other cool creatures at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary; walk over the forest (literally) on the suspended bridges at Tahune Air Walk; or feed the fish at the Salmon Ponds. If you’ve got time head off on a day trip to explore Australia’s convict past at Port Arthur; or enjoy the Derwent River on a traditional tall ship (check out Windeward Bound or the Lady Nelson).

Have you heard about the Southern Lights that can be seen not far from Hobart? Why travel all the way to the likes of Norway or Canada (for the Northern Lights) when there’s a slim chance you can witness Aurora Australis 40km outside of Hobart. It’s possible (not probable) you might see the Southern Lights all year round however your best chance is around March and September during the Equinox.

Family accommodation Hobart

If you’re looking for great family accommodation in Hobart then you’re in luck as the Tasmanians offer a great range of self-catering apartments, luxury hotels and budget accommodation for families. If you can we recommend you stay on or near the harbour or Salamanca so you can easily walk to many of the attractions and eateries. We also love anything looking over the water so you’ll have plenty to choose from either in the city or in the suburbs.

These are out top picks of family accommodation Hobart.

Apartments are one of our favourite places to stay when we travel as they allow you space to not be on top of each other, the ability to cook and wash some clothes (even though it’s the boring stuff). We love Salamanca InnandSullivans Cove Apartmentsin Hobart.

Going a bit smaller and cheaper is Quest Serviced Apartments Waterfront, which is still close to all the action and food, but better for a shorter stay with only a kitchenette and one room.

If you’re after something a little different and a bit more homely, then take a look at the beautiful Old Bishop’s Quarters Hobart.

For those on a tight budget, check out the cabins at Discovery Parks Hobartor get a room (or house) with a view at the Riverfront Motel and Villas.

Check here for latest prices and availability of top-rated family accommodation Hobart

Where to eat in Hobart

Discover a side of Tasmania where old-world charm and new-school cuisine meet straight up for a truly tasty time. Over the past few years, a swarm of foodies from the mainland have landed in Hobart to really get the restaurant scene roaring. Take a look at Zomato to see the best places to eat in Hobart.

Getting from the Hobart airport

Hobart International Airport is located in Cambridge, 17km northeast of Hobart. To get to your hotel or the city you can take the Redline Airport Shuttle, a taxi (about 20 minutes to the city) or you can hire a car and go wherever you’d like.

Public transport Hobart

Get your sneakers on, because there is plenty to see just by walking around. Buses are run by Metro around Hobart and of course, they hit all the top spots. One-way cash ticket prices vary (one zone: $3.30 up to all zones for $6.90). Buy a rechargeable Greencard in various locations or online for a 20% discount on regular fees.

Also keep an eye out for the free bikes around the city you can use.

Car Parking in Hobart

Street, off-street and multi-storey car parks are located at strategic points throughout the city. Check them out here so you know where to go.

Hobart Weather

Like the rest of Australia, January is the hottest month of the year – but unlikethe rest of Australia, it is pretty darn mild – about 20 degrees. July is the coldest time with single digit degrees. So, rug up big time in winter, and take a cardi and a few other layers in summer, because nights can still get pretty chilly.

Favourite Family Events Hobart

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, MONA FOMA, Festival of Voices, penguin breeding and whale watching.

Image courtesy of Tourism Australia

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Which is the best LEGOLAND in the world? A LEGOLAND review

Which is the best LEGOLAND in the world? A LEGOLAND review

Which is the best LEGOLAND for you? A worldwide LEGOLAND review

Do your kids absolutely love LEGO and dream of visiting LEGOLAND? With eight LEGOLAND theme parks around the world, the question is, which one is the best LEGOLAND for you?

There are LEGOLAND Resorts in Denmark, Germany, England, Dubai, Malaysia, Japan, and Florida and California in the US, offering interactive family rides, live shows, LEGO building, and incredible attractions like Miniland, the LEGOLAND Driving School and the Dragon roller coaster.

We’ve visited LEGOLAND Billund in Denmark, which was an incredible experience for our boys and they dream of visiting them all. Since that isn’t going to happen any time soon, we’ve enlisted the expertise of some well-known family travel writers to find out what it’s like to visit each of the eight LEGOLAND amusement parks.

To help you out as much as possible, we’ve also given you information on the best LEGOLAND rides at each park, fun facts and accommodation. Take a look at our LEGOLAND review to see which one you want to visit.

What age is LEGOLAND for?

LEGOLAND is designed for children aged between two and twelve, but there are so many things to do at LEGOLAND for kids and adults of any age, that you’re sure to have fun as a family. We think the best age for LEGOLAND is between five and eleven but it all depends on your child, how long they can last at a theme park and how much they are into LEGO.

LEGOLAND Billund, Denmark

Legoland billund driving school legoland review

LEGOLAND Billund is the original LEGOLAND park built in 1968, and to us, is the ultimate LEGOLAND. It may not be the biggest LEGOLAND but there is something really special about being in the birthplace of LEGO (and the happiest country on earth). Billund is a small town in regional Denmark, about 260km west of Copenhagen.

LEGOLAND Billund will keep the kids entertained for a couple of days with more than 50 exciting rides to try out. You can defeat the Great Devourer on Ninjago the Ride, travel the Dragon roller coaster through the King’s Castle, and put out fires in the Falck Fire Brigade race. There are jungle racers, xtreme racers, pirate boats, Duplo planes and LEGO trains to ride on, plus there is Miniland to marvel at. One thing’s for sure, your kids won’t be is bored.

Our boy’s favourite was definitely Ninjago World where they got to see life sized figures of all their favourite characters, plus go on Cole’s Rock Climb, Lloyd’s Lasermaze and the clear winner of the day, Ninjago the Ride. The other favourite was the Driving School for kids aged 7-13, where they got to drive electric cars around a specialised track, complete with petrol station and car wash.

While you are in Billund, spend some time at the new LEGO House, which is an amazing indoor activity and education centre that is separate to LEGOLAND.

By Nicci from Travel with Boys – READ MORE on visiting LEGOLAND Denmark

If you’re looking for accommodation, take a look at our review on where to stay in Billund.

Check latest prices for accommodation at LEGOLAND Billund

LEGOLAND Windsor Resort review

Legoland Windsor review

LEGOLAND Windsor Resort is located about 25 miles west of London. It is the perfect place to visit with LEGO-mad kids. We have visited several times and always had a great time.

There are so many rides and attractions at LEGOLAND Windsor it needs a full day. We would advise getting there early to gain entry at 9.30am, ready for the rides, which open at 10am. Another top tip would be to book online in advance, to get the best prices. Download the map beforehand so you know where you want to go and plan a route around the park.

Our three boys love many of the rides at LEGOLAND Windsor but here are some of their favourites. The LEGO City Driving School where children aged 6-13 (there is a version for younger kids) drive electric cars around a realistic course. At the end they all earn their very own LEGOLAND driving licence. The Fire Academy, which is a race to put out a pretend fire, complete with fire engines and hoses. The Dragon is a thrilling rollercoaster around the Knights Castle. Atlantis Submarine Voyage, a submarine ride through an underwater aquarium.

Don’t miss the Pirates of Skeleton Bay Stunt Show, which is a pirate-themed live action show featuring acrobatics and swashbuckling swordplay. Another must visit on a hot day is the Drench Towers in Duplo Valley, a water park for children of all ages. Remember to pack swimmers and a towel. There’s also Miniland where you’ll find LEGO models from all around the world, with lots of moving pieces.

By Nicky at Go Live Young – Read more about their travels

Check latest prices for accommodation at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort

LEGOLAND Germany review

LEGOLAND Germany review

I took my son to his first LEGOLAND when he was five and a half, and I can honestly tell you it was the most exciting day of his entire life to date. LEGOLAND Germany is full of all the usual LEGOLAND features, and of course its Miniland, the hub full of intricate LEGO constructions reflecting the region, with lots of German sights turned into LEGO along with landmarks from other nearby European countries. A highlight is the reconstruction of Munich airport with several huge planes, which move around.

As far as the rides go, I’d say my son’s favourite was Captain Nick’s Splash Battle – it’s a boat ride circling around LEGO shipwrecks and pirates, and you can actually fire water cannons at other riders and passers-by. We were there on a rare hot day in German summer but on other days they have ponchos available to keep you dry.

LEGOLAND Germany is in the south of the country, close to the tiny village of Günzburg, but it’s easy to reach by train. We stayed in the LEGOLAND Village, which along with a hotel, includes cabins shaped like barrels and a camping area too. It was obviously a popular summertime spot and I loved that the village itself included all kinds of outdoor activities for kids to enjoy after the theme park itself closed for the day.

By Amanda from Not a Ballerina – Read more about their visit to LEGOLAND Germany

Check latest prices for accommodation at LEGOLAND Germany

LEGOLAND Florida review – USA

Legoland Florida review

LEGOLAND Florida was a huge hit with our family, but especially our boys, aged 5 and 7. One of the things they are still talking about was their ability to ride all three roller coasters. LEGOLAND ‘s roller coaster height requirements are perfect for their target audience of ages 2-12. One favourite, the Dragon, is located in Kingdoms. It begins in a castle and takes you by many LEGO creations, before travelling outside through tummy-knotting twists and turns. Another favourite coaster was Coastersaurus, a wooden coaster with numerous small hills.

The newest attraction at LEGOLAND Florida and the most popular with my boys was Ninjago World. The centrepiece of this land is LEGO Ninjago The Ride. The Ride is a virtual reality experience in which riders fight villains by thrashing arms around within the car. Riders are scored on their ability to fight, which made it entertaining for my competitive kids. In Ninjago World, there are other active playground-like attractions, such as Kai’s Spinners, Cole’s Climbing Wall, and Jay’s Lightning Drill.

By Leah at Yoder Toter Blog – Read more about visiting LEGOLAND Florida

Check latest prices for accommodation at LEGOLAND Florida

LEGOLAND California review – USA

Legoland California review

An hour south of Disneyland, this LEGOLAND is huge, with over 60 features and two water park sections. Each area has hands-on activities like playgrounds, build zones, or games, and most have food options and shops. Some areas provide entertainment, including stage productions, and one has a 4D movie.

Many of the rides are tame, suitable for very young kids. But some are more exciting, such as the Dragon Coaster, and even more daring, the Technic Coaster. The Wave Racer spins while kids shoot water blasters, and Knight’s Tournament’s robotic arms turn riders all about.

A favourite for our boys is the driving school. Kids age 3 to 5 drive around a small oval track. Kids age 6 to 13 drive a bigger track with turns and intersections, lanes and traffic lights. Drivers manoeuvre around while parents watch from the perimeter. At the end of each session, all the kids get a LEGOLAND driver’s license.

We love the kid-friendly humour found everywhere, the cleanliness, and the shady bench spots. We recommend studying the park’s map and ride systems before you go, planning what each family member most wants to do and eat. Be sure to leave plenty of time to walk around Miniland!

By Sandy at Sleeps5 – Read more about visiting LEGOLAND California

Check latest prices for accommodation at LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND Dubai review – UAE

Legoland Dubai review

LEGOLAND Dubai opened to great excitement in our household in October 2016. Less than an hours drive from our home in Abu Dhabi, this is the ultimate LEGO-lovers playground!

It is part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts complex, which includes several theme parks, a resort, and adjacent LEGOLAND Waterpark. The park is built partly indoors to accommodate the weather conditions.

The centrepiece of LEGOLAND Dubai is the world’s first indoor Miniland, which features scale models of some of the region’s most famous buildings including the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Burj Khalifa, Taj Mahal, Petra and the Pyramids of Giza.

Rides vary from sedate to thrilling. Popular with our younger boys are the Junior Driving School and the Submarine Adventure. Older kids will enjoy “Kingdoms” which includes slightly more thrilling rides, mini roller coasters, Merlin’s Flying Machine and when you reach that magical 120cm, the Dragon!

As well as rides, there are plenty of building and discover centres, ample eateries, Duplo Valley, a water splash area, a Ninjago stage show, and a 4D cinema with two rotating shows throughout the day. The attached LEGOLAND Waterpark (separate entry fee) is a great way to cool off after a busy day of exploring. Given the size of the two parks, you could fit both in if you visit for an entire day. You can finish your day at the extensive Riverland entertainment district that attaches all the theme parks, with loads always going on including street performers and eateries galore. All up, our boys and our girl give it a big thumbs up!

As the theme park is still in its infancy and not as well known as the others internationally, lines at most times except public holidays are relatively short, meaning kids can do their favourites over and over again! Prices have also been significantly discounted for 2018 to get people through the door. Residents can pick up day and annual passes at an absolute steal for what you get. Our kids are now very proud annual pass holders and we visit every few weeks!

For more on how LEGOLAND Dubai works, including the attached waterpark and how to cope with the weather extremes of Dubai, check out Keri’s blog.

By Keri from Our Globetrotters

Check latest prices for accommodation at LEGOLAND Dubai

LEGOLAND Japan review

Legoland Japan review

LEGOLAND Japan in the less-visited city of Nagoya opened in April 2016, so when we visited recently it was still very sparkly and new. This is particularly lovely in the Miniland section where all the amazing models still look pristine. Of course, being Japan, the other big advantage is that the other guests are all so polite and rule-following that it’s just a very pleasant experience to spend the day there.

Compared to other LEGOLAND’s, LEGOLAND Japan seems to have fewer rides for the bigger kids, though it may be that they’ll construct more as time goes on. Our favourite was the Submarine Adventure, a ride under water where you glide past both real and LEGO-built sea life!

The LEGOLAND Hotel next door was due to open just weeks after we visited, which will be handy (opens 28 April 2018). Being located in Kinjofuto, a 25-minute train ride south of Nagoya, has meant there wasn’t any accommodation nearby until the hotel opened.

If you have train-loving kids with you, then spend an extra half-day and visit the SCMAGLEV (the fastest train in the world) and Railway Park which is literally next door to LEGOLAND – it has a vast number of real trains in there, including some bullet trains of course, and my son thought it was almost as good as LEGOLAND!

By Amanda from Not a Ballerina – read more about their travels

Check latest prices for accommodation at LEGOLAND Japan

LEGOLAND Malaysia review

Legoland reviews legoland malaysia

Legoland Malaysia is our family’s favourite theme park in this part of the world. Kids would love the brand new 4D Ninjago Ride and the world’s first LEGO Virtual Reality Roller Coaster!

Five Tips for visiting LEGOLAND Malaysia:

  1. Check LEGOLAND Malaysia’s website for days with extended opening hours so you have more time to play.
  2. It’s hot and humid in Malaysia throughout the year, with the probability of rain, so bring along drinking water, sunblock, disposable raincoats, mosquito repellant and a change of dry-fit tees.
  3. LEGOLAND Malaysia is accessible by direct coach service from Singapore. You can get more info here.
  4. Combine your visit with a stay at the LEGOLANDMalaysia Resort in one of the themed family rooms such as Pirate, Adventure, Kingdom, and Ninjago.
  5. Buy a 2-Day Combo Ticket so you can also enjoy Legoland Malaysia Water Park (just next door)! A brand new attraction, Sea Life at Legoland Malaysia will open last quarter of 2018.

By Angie at Life’s Tiny Miracles

Check latest prices for accommodation at LEGOLAND Malaysia

LEGOLAND New York

Those heading to the Big Apple will be pleased to know LEGOLAND New York is set to open in Goshen, 60 miles northwest of New York City in 2020, making it the third in North America. This new theme park will include a 250-bedroom LEGO themed hotel on the 500-acre site.

We have also heard that LEGOLAND is coming to China with its first theme park expected to open in Shanghai in 2022.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centres

If you can’t make it to a LEGOLAND theme park then maybe one of the 22 Discovery Centres spread throughout the world is your next best option. These smaller indoor centres come with a few LEGO rides, a mini Miniland, 4D cinema and lots of building fun.

There are 12 Discovery Centre’s in the US and Canada, five in Europe, four in Asia, and one in Melbourne, Australia.

So much LEGO fun, so little time.

So which is the best LEGOLAND?

You will have noticed quite a few similarities between the different LEGOLAND theme parks but this doesn’t mean they are all the same.

Our top three choices to visit would be LEGOLAND Billund because it is the birthplace of LEGO, plus LEGOLAND Windsor and LEGOLAND Florida as they offer the largest amount of attractions being the biggest two amusement parks by far. LEGOLAND Florida also has the added bonus of the waterpark.

They are all amazing amusement parks and we think if you’ve got kids who love LEGO and you get the chance to visit a LEGOLAND anywhere in the world, then grab it and you’ll have the experience of a lifetime.

LEGOLAND Accommodation

If you want the full LEGO experience for your visit to LEGOLAND, then in most of the theme parks you can stay at the amazing LEGO themed hotels and other accommodation. The type of accommodation varies from country to country with the classic LEGOLAND Hotels in Denmark, California, Florida, Japan and Malaysia; LEGOLAND Castle Hotels in England and Germany; LEGOLAND Holiday Villages in Denmark and Germany; plus the fun LEGOLAND Beach Retreat in Florida.

Fun facts about LEGOLAND

  • LEGOLAND theme parks receive around 60 million visitors worldwide each year.
  • LEGOLAND Billund in Denmark is the oldest LEGOLAND theme park, built in 1968.
  • LEGOLAND Windsor in England is the biggest LEGOLAND in the world by far, being around five times greater in area than that of LEGOLAND Billund.
  • The world’s second biggest LEGOLAND can be found in Florida USA
  • LEGOLAND Dubai was built using 60 million LEGO bricks
  • The new LEGOLAND Castle Hotel in Windsor, England houses 2.1 million bricks and 657 hand-built LEGO models.

Which LEGOLAND do you want to visit? Share your favourite on our Facebook page.

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Worldwide LEGOLAND Review - Your guide to Legoland amusement parks around the world

Top 10 things to do in Toowoomba

Top 10 things to do in Toowoomba

Top 10 things to do in Toowoomba for kids and parents

If you are looking for some fresh mountain air, spectacular parks, incredible street art, emerging foodie culture and events, then Toowoomba is well worth exploring. From what used to be a sleepy country town, Toowoomba is now a vibrant regional centre and you’ll be surprised by some of the great things to do in Toowoomba.

Situated on top of Australia’s Great Dividing Range, 125km west of Brisbane, there are so many fun things to do in Toowoomba for families looking to getaway from it all.

I spent my school years in Toowoomba but the day after school finished I left, thinking I would never return. Well I travelled the world and Australia, only to find myself nearly 20 years later returning to Toowoomba to bring up my own family.

Toowoomba has come along way since we moved here in 2010. It’s trying to shake off its reputation as a big country town, which you will see by the growing number of trendy cafes, the building of a major airport, its street art, and the huge re-development of its major shopping complex, Grand Central.

Take a look at the best things to do in Toowoomba for kids and parents.

Things to do in Toowoomba

1. Park Life

There is a good reason why Toowoomba is called “the Garden City”. Its multitude of parks and gardens are spectacular, and a trip to Toowoomba wouldn’t be complete without a visit to atleast one of these.

Things to do in Toowoomba Queens Park

Our favourite park to visit is Queens Park. It has so many different sections to explore including an all-abilities playground off Lindsay Street (my boys call it the music park), a huge playground catering for a variety of ages off Margaret Street, various ovals and walking tracks, a dog off leash area, and the stunning botanical gardens off Lindsey and Campbell Streets where the kids ride their bikes and scooters amongst the flowers. There are lots of picnic tables, shaded areas, barbecues and toilets at Queens Park.

To take in the panoramic views from the top of the mountain, head to Picnic Point Park and Lookout. There you will also find a playground, restaurant, café, picnic areas, toilets and walking trails to nearby waterfalls. Don’t miss the adjacent Heller Park (on the southern side of the restaurant) with the witches house play equipment.

Things to do in Toowoomba Picnic Point

If you are up for exploring an impressive garden (and your kids will comply) then head to Australia’s largest and most traditionally designed Japanese garden. Spring and autumn are the best times to witness the changing colours of the trees and plants. Take along some bread for little kids to feed the fish, swans, ducks and other birds. There is no play equipment there but it’s a beautiful place to explore. The Japanese Gardens are located at the University of Southern Queensland campus on West Street.

2. Climb Table Top Mountain

If you’re up for a challenge then get the kids ready to climb Table Top Mountain. Now this is no walk in the park. It’s more of a clambering/scaling of rocks. You do however get a great sense of achievement when you reach the top, plus there are spectacular views to take in. I wouldn’t recommend the climb for kids under 6, or if you have really bad knees, back or ankles.

Things to do in Toowoomba for kids Table Top Mountain

3. Mountain Biking

If you love mountain biking then Jubilee Park is the place to head. There are several bike tracks throughout the park for all different levels of riders. These tracks have been developed and maintained by the Toowoomba Mountain Bike Club, so take a look at their website for all the necessary information.

4. Tick Tock Escape Room

A relative newcomer to Toowoomba is the Tick Tock Escape Room where your aim is to escape from the locked room by solving puzzles and mysteries with a themed story. With rooms like the submarine escape and Da Vinci, it sounds like something fun and different to do.

5. Street Art

Street art has brought life to a large number of alleyways and buildings throughout the Toowoomba CBD. What were once dull and dingy, are now interesting and fun to explore. Often you’ll now find cafés down alleyways where once there was nothing. Thanks to the First Coast Festival which began in 2014, Toowoomba now boasts one of the largest outdoor galleries in Australia with over 80 murals throughout the city. The Festival is generally held each May.

Things to do in Toowoomba First Coat street art

6. Cobb & Co Museum

If you are after a bit of history or some interactive activities for the younger kids, then head to Cobb & Co Museum in Lindsay Street. The museum houses the National Carriage Collection with 47 horse-drawn vehicles on display, plus the Energy for Life Discovery Centre. There are several visiting exhibitions each year as well as holiday activities for the kids, and heritage trade workshops like blacksmithing. The little ones will love The Coach Stop play area, where they can dress up in old fashioned clothes, ride a life-sized replica horse and carriage, and run the old General Store.

fun things to do in Toowoomba for kids Cobb and Co

7. Cooking for boys (and parents)

Do your boys need some help with their cooking skills or would you like to dish up something new? Sauce Kitchen run some fantastic cooking classes like the Hungry Boys Cooking Class (10-16 year olds), Children’s Cooking, Asian Bites and Classic French Desserts. I hope my boys will be able to cook for me soon!

8. Family-friendly events

Toowoomba holds some fantastic events with the largest being the annual Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. What used to be a street parade and garden competition has now turned into a major draw card for the town, complete with the massive Flower, Food and Wine Festival and concert series including headline acts like The Birds of Tokyo. Take a look at our review on the fun for kids at the Carnival of Flowers.

things to do in Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

Other notable events for families include the Have a Go Festival at Cobb and Co Museum, the Felton Food Festival, and one of our favourites, the Christmas Wonderland. Make sure before you visit that you take a look at what’s on at Toowoomba’s iconic Empire Theatre. They have some amazing performances there.

9. Farm Tours

If you’re looking to teach your kids about where their food comes from, then take a tour of the family farm Paddock to Potager. They host some great farm tours, workshops, and even children’s birthday parties.

10. Toowoomba Farmers Markets

Make sure you take home some of the seriously fresh and tasty produce of the region by visiting the farmers markets in Toowoomba. With fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, cakes, condiments and even fresh pasta, you’re sure to find lots of things to eat. My Local Feast Farmers Markets are held every Saturday near the windmills outside of Cobb+Co Museum.

Beyond Toowoomba

Toowoomba is the gateway to a whole host of attractions in the Darling Downs region beyond, including National Parks, food and wine trails, farm stays, country race days, rodeos and many others. Take a look at our family guide on things to do on the Darling Downs.

Best places to eat in Toowoomba

One thing is for sure; you wont go hungry in Toowoomba. There has been an explosion of street food, cafes, and restaurants in the last couple of years with something to suit just about everyone.

Our favourite places to eat with kids in Toowoomba with kids are:

  •  Park House, Ortem or Cafe Valetta for breakfast
  • The Finch, Ground Up, Impressions, Wendland Fine Foods, or Milk and Honey for coffee or morning tea
  • Pump (for drive thru coffee)
  • The Baker’s Duck for the most amazing pastries (only open Saturday mornings for takeaway)
  • Muller Bros, Piccolo Papa Pizza, Sofra Turkish, Artisan Pizza and Sandwich, Fitzy’s, Federal Hotel for lunch or dinner

Top tips for families visiting Toowoomba

  • Always bring a jumper just in case. Even on hot summer days, Toowoomba can turn cold at night if the fog rolls in.
  • On a rainy day, head to Cobb & Co Museum, Kloud 9 trampoline park, iPlay indoor play centre, or the cinema at Grand Central Shopping Centre or the Strand.
  • You can hire bikes at Johnny Sprockets 
  • If you want to visit in September you will need to book early as this is the busiest month of the year with the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.
  • You will often find cheaper accommodation in Toowoomba over the weekend rather than during the week as it gets a high amount of business travellers.

Where to stay in Toowoomba

Take a look out our guide on the best family accommodation in Toowoomba.

When to visit Toowoomba

The best times to visit Toowoomba are Spring, Autumn and Summer, but by far the most beautiful time is September. Why? Because there are flowers in bloom everywhere. There is a very good reason Toowoomba is called the Garden City. My other favourite time is autumn when the leaves are changing colours and it’s cool enough to rug up but not too much that you want to stay indoors.

How to get to Toowoomba

Toowoomba is about 1 ½ hours west of Brisbane at the top of the Great Dividing Range. You can travel by car, bus and now by plane with the new Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport offering over 70 flights a week to Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Townsville and Western Queensland.

Updated March 2018

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Things to do Toowoomba with kids

 

15 Best Zoos in Australia

15 Best Zoos in Australia

15 Best Zoos in Australia – state by state

Australian zoos are some of the best in the world and play a key role in saving endangered animals, meaning they are a great place to learn and experience these animals like never before. From state to state, we uncover which are the best zoos in Australia for you to experience with your kids.

Best Queensland Zoos

Australia Zoo, Landsborough

Australia Zoo Queensland best zoos in Australia

It doesn’t get much more Australian that a day at Australia Zoo, the home of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. With 14 wildlife shows everyday included in your entry fees, you’ll certainly keep the kids entertained. Our favourite shows are the crocodile, birds of prey and the very cool tortoises.

Australia Zoo also offers some of the best animal encounters in Australia, where you can choose between almost 20 encounters including walking with tigers, get up close with dingoes, wombats, meerkats and more. Did you know Australia Zoo is the only zoo in the world where you can get up close to a komodo dragon? Now that would make some kids very happy.

A visit to the wildlife hospital, Australia’s busiest, is an incredible opportunity for the whole family. You’ll get to see the wonderful team of vets save wildlife right in front of your eyes.

If you’re at Australia Zoo on the school holidays, the Zoo Keeper for a Day program is fantastic for kids. It has different programs for various age groups including a sensory program.

If you are heading to Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast then you need to stop in at Australia Zoo, as it has certainly earned its place as one of the best zoos in Australia.

Nicci from Travel with Boys – check out Sunshine Coast Family Holiday Guide

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Queensland best zoos in Australia

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is only 12 km from Brisbane City and a great opportunity to hand feed a kangaroo and hold a koala. You can also meet lots of other interesting Australian wildlife like Tasmanian devils, emus, snakes, wombats, and dingoes. The sanctuary is located in a beautiful natural setting along the Brisbane River.

A very special treat for the older kids is being able to see the large snakes being fed. For the younger ones there is a popular lorikeet feeding session where they can get in on the action and an adorable barn animal encounter.

The whole family can get in on a koala cuddle session where you can hold one of the koalas and get some photos taken. There are 130 koalas living at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and you get to learn all about their unique personalities through the different exhibits spread around the sanctuary.

My favourite thing about Lone Pine is how affordable the experience is. From ticket prices to the kangaroo food ($2 a bag), to the optional animal photo encounters, the sanctuary makes learning about these native wildlife an accessible option for all budgets.

Cristal from Tofu Traveler – check out her story on Lone Pine Sanctuary

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Gold Coast

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary review family Gold Coast Travel with Boys Image CWS

Image supplied by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Every time I see a photo of someone surrounded by lorikeets, it reminds me of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast. Lorikeets may be what it’s famous for, but there is so much more on offer for families.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the Gold Coast’s most iconic tourist attractions, nestled amongst a vast area of lush eucalyptus trees and rainforest. There is an array of activities, amazing wildlife shows, animal encounters, displays and presentations to be seen.

If you want to cuddle a koala, get up close to a crocodile, feed kangaroos, or check out reptiles, birds and marsupials, this is the place to be!

A new addition to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the Lost Valley, where families can explore a 5-hectare rainforest along elevated boardwalks and interact with unique exotic wildlife.

If a bit of adventure is what you are after, take a guided Segway Safari around the sanctuary or zip line through the trees at the Currumbin Treetop Challenge. There is something for all ages at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary!

Nicci from Travel with Boys – check out Gold Coast Family Holiday Guide

Best New South Wales Zoos

Taronga Zoo, Sydney

 

The iconic Taronga Zoo is an absolute must visit when you’re in Sydney. For generations, this zoo has educated and entertained adults and children of all ages. From its breathtaking view over Sydney Harbour, to the diversity of animals and number of amazing animal experiences to be had, Taronga Zoo Sydney is a great place to visit.

Start your day by taking the 12-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay across the harbour to Mossman. Once you’re there, spread your time between viewing some of the 4,000 animals, listening to the keeper talks and shows, go on a tiger trek, or go wild with the new high ropes course for ages three plus called Wild Ropes. An incredible experience is becoming a Taronga Zoo Keeper for a Day (see below for more details on this).

If you are looking for accommodation with a difference, then look no further than Roar and Snore where you can have a sleepover at the zoo in safari style tents. At time of publication, costs started at $295 per adult and $195 per child per night.

Nicci from Travel with Boys – check out Your Complete Guide to Visit Sydney with Kids

Taronga Zoo NSW best zoos in Australia

Taronga Zoo Keeper for a Day, Sydney

Across the year on both weekends and school holidays, Sydney’s iconic Taronga Zoo hosts Keeper for a Day experiences for children aged 8 years and over.

For a full day, junior keepers shadow a Taronga Keeper and learn all about a typical day at work, and the ins and outs of animal husbandry. This hands-on approach will see the kids immersed in all aspects of the job including mucking out pens!

The experience is an all weather activity, so participants may find themselves feeding the animals in the rain or creating icy food pops to cool some of them down in the warmer months. They’ll also have a few opportunities to get up close with an animal or two and watch the seal or bird show, which is always fun.

At $100 for the whole day, this experience is one of those special items to put on your Sydney Bucket List!

Leah from Kid Bucket List – check out her story on Taronga Zoo Keeper for a Day

Taronga Zoo NSW best zoos in Australia

Australian Reptile Park, Somersby, Central Coast

Most kids love getting hands-on and interactive, and if that’s the case in your family, then the Australian Reptile Park on NSW’s Central Coast is the place for you. This place knows their reptiles and Australian native animals, and you’ll get to learn and touch some of the park’s scaly and furry animals on your visit. You can feed the kangaroos, walk with a giant Galapagos tortoise, see live shows, and go on a behind the scenes tour or join in the kids to keepers program.

Did you know that the Australian Reptile Park is the only zoo in Australia with a venom milking program in place, which saves over 300 lives each year through its supply of all snake and funnel-web anti-venom?

For the truly brave (not me), take a look at reptiles and spiders in the Lost World of Reptiles and Spider World exhibits, featuring Tarantula-ville, home to some of the largest spiders in Australia!

There’s also a children’s playground, café, picnic area, and free barbecues.

Nicci from Travel with Boys

Hunter Valley Zoo, Cessnock

Hunter Valley Zoo NSW best zoos in Australia

The Hunter Valley Zoo is a small country zoo, out in bush country a few miles from the town of Cessnock and close to the Pokolbin vineyards of the Lower Hunter Valley.

We recently took our young son there for a few hours, and it was a great adventure for him, sparking his already vivid imagination. It’s also probably the best attraction for kids in the immediate area, an essential stop on the Hunter Valley tourist trail.

The zoo has a nice mix of animals, from Australian icons like koalas, kangaroos and wombats, to favourites from all around the world, from magnificent white lions to statue-still alligators lounging lakeside, and from dromedary camels to capybaras, the world’s largest rodents.

Kids can get up close to many of the animals, and feed them by hand. Our son loved feeding the camels, Barbary sheep and ostrich at one of the enclosures – he thought they were absolutely wonderful. The walk-through aviary also excited him, where you feed the ravenous rainbow lorikeets.

It’s best to plan your day in advance to make the most of it, as some of the animals are asleep for much of the day, and it’s a pity not to see the koalas or kangaroos awake and moving about. The best time of day to see the latter is the afternoon.

David from Travel with Little One

Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

If you’re after a safari adventure in the heart of NSW, then head to Taronga Western Plains Zoo located in Dubbo, in the central west. The zoo is home to over 500 animals including some of the world’s most exotic such as big cats, rhino, and giraffe. Don’t miss out on one of the keeper talks to learn more about these amazing animals.

Now how to see them? The animals are spread throughout the 300 hectares of bushland and you get to drive your car, ride a bike, hop on an electric safari cart, or walk around the 6km circuit. There are picnic grounds situated along the way, so take some food to share with the family and enjoy being amongst the animals in nature.

One of the other great things about Western Plains Zoo is the fact you can stay the night at the Billabong Camp, Savannah Cabins or Zoofari Lodge. See the story below for more on Zoofari Lodge.

Nicci from Travel with Boys

Zoofari Lodge at Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Taronga Western Plains Zoo NSW best zoos in Australia

If you are looking for a great family fun trip with a good dose of luxury included, then Taronga Western Plains Zoo “Zoofari Lodge” is for you! Located in Dubbo, NSW, this unique accommodation package offers exclusive zoo tours and access not normally available to the public.

Accommodation for your stay is deluxe African-inspired lodges, many of which directly face a private African Savannah. You’d be forgiven for believing you had woken up in Africa – giraffe’s, antelope and ostriches range right in front of your lodge. These majestic animals are separated from the lodges by recessed fencing, giving you the impression that they could walk right up onto your private deck!

This is zoo accommodation like no other, but the Zoofari Lodge experience doesn’t end there.

An elegant main lodge house offers a guest swimming pool, bar and fine dining – including a delicious dinner banquet. Continuing the sumptuous African safari theme, excluding drinks, all is included in your Zoofari Lodge package.

Two amazing behind-the-scenes zoo tours are also included. One at sunset and one at sunrise, offering exclusive opportunities to hand-feed or closely experience some very special zoo residents, including hippos, rhinos, elephants and many more.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo “Zoofari Lodge” is a very special animal experience the whole family can enjoy.

Barbara from Let’s Go Mum – Read more about their Zoofari Lodge experience

Best Zoos in Victoria

Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne

Lemur Melbourne Zoo Best zoos in Australia holidays with kids

Imagine heading up through a rainforest tunnel, walking through a door into a natural landscape full of lemurs sunning themselves, playing, running, jumping, exploring and eating all around you with no fences between you. No, you don’t need to fly to Madagascar for this experience, this is Lemur Island, at the Melbourne Zoo.

Lemur Island was officially opened in 2013 and is definitely a family favourite.

Once inside, you head up along a boardwalk, which takes you through the exhibit where the lemurs are truly free to roam around as they please. There are Zoo Keepers on hand to remind everyone not to touch the lemurs if they do wander close to you, which they very well may do as they are very inquisitive.

Lemur Island is usually the first exhibit we visit (if we enter the zoo from the top entrance). We have visited a few different times during the day but found the best time to visit the lemurs is first thing in the morning when the sun is shining and the lemurs are sitting around sunning themselves!

From Lemur Island continue on into the Gorilla rainforest experience, which takes you past the Gorillas, Pygmy Hippopotamus, Mandrills, and up along the boardwalks past the monkeys.

The Melbourne Zoo is continually changing, updating and improving, and each time we go we love to explore a different area. But one thing is for sure, we will always find ourselves back at Lemur Island at sometime throughout the visit.

We are positive you and your family will love the Melbourne Zoo too.

Amber from Hill Tribe Travels

Healesville Sanctuary near Melbourne

Healesville Sanctuary Victoria best zoos in Australia

Healesville Sanctuary near Melbourne is the perfect place for families to get up close and personal with Australian animals like kangaroos, platypuses, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, wombats, lace monitors, and many more.

I highly recommend adding one or more close-up encounters to your admission ticket. For only $12 per encounter, you can spend 10 minutes with a dingo, koala, kangaroo, python or echidna. (Children under 14 need to be accompanied by an adult). I booked three close-up encounters on my trip to Healesville. Getting to pat a dingo, have my photo taken with a koala (in a tree – they don’t allow you to hold them), and feeding a kangaroo named Crystal, were the highlight of my trip! For a higher fee you can also play with a wombat or wade with a platypus.

With all that Healesville has to offer, you can easily spend an entire day there. Located outside Melbourne, it’s probably easiest to drive if you have access to a car. You can get there by public transportation but it makes for a long day. Healesville is open every day from 9am-5pm and children get in free on weekends and holidays.

Cate from International Desserts Blog

Werribee Open Range Zoo, near Melbourne

Lion at Werribee Open Range Zoo Best zoos in Australia holidays with kids

Image Chris Phutully CC

If you are in love with African animals like lion, hippos and gorillas, then Werribee Open Range Zoo gives families a unique opportunity to see them up close, without having to venture to Africa. Spread over 200 hectares, you’ll find some of the world’s most iconic grasslands animals from Africa, as well as animals from Asia, North America and Australia.

At Werribee Zoo you can see the spectacular silverback gorilla Motaba and his two sons in one of the largest gorilla exhibits in the world. There are also seven lions to admire, hippos to meet, plus kangaroos, emu, koalas, and more to admire.

If you’ve got kids under five, then the best time to go is during the week (excluding school holidays), so you can enjoy Toddler Weekdays. With plenty of activities including a kid-friendly safari tour and African Village Dance Party, you’re sure to keep them entertained. They also have an indoor play space called Ranger Kids.

Werribee Zoo is 35 km west of the Melbourne CBD.

Nicci from Travel with Boys – check out Your Guide To Melbourne for Kids

Best Zoos Tasmania

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary Tasmania best zoos in Australia

Make time for an animal encounter at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania. Located half an hour north of Hobart, the sanctuary is home to many Australian animal species that are on the endangered list. Kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and Tasmanian Devils can all be found here.

We joined a Feeding Frenzy tour for a behind the scenes look at this wildlife sanctuary. As part of this tour you get up close to the animals, often being able to feed them. For two and a half hours we feed and interacted with kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian Devils, echidnas, wombats and possums, at the same time learning all about these native species. The highlight had to be feeding the Tasmanian Devils with their vice like jaws hanging on to the leg of meat!

Our experience at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary was brilliant. We would highly recommend it, especially for families, as it is very educational but fun at the same time.

Nicky from Go Live Young – read more on Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Best Northern Territory Zoos

Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin

Crocosaurus Cove Darwin best zoos in Australia

Your trip to the Northern Territory would not be complete unless you have stared an Australian crocodile right in the eyes. I know what you’re thinking, that’s insane, but this is a great animal encounter for kids of all ages. Just think of it this way, the USA has Sea World and Australia has Crocosaurus Cove.

One of the main drawcards at Crocosaurus Cove is to go cage diving with some of the largest crocodiles in the world but that is not all you can get up to there. There’s a swimming pool where you can swim with over 30 young crocodiles. There’s set feeding times so you can watch or you can join in on the feeding of the crocodiles. They also have a 200,000 litre fresh water aquarium where you can watch different kinds of fish.

Above all, Crocosaurus Cove is an education centre designed to teach you all about these prehistoric creatures. This is not a normal education centre where you and your kids could be bored to tears. There’s live hands on demonstrations throughout the day that will not only excite your kids but also teach them something. All of the crocodiles at the cove were saved from life threating injuries in the wild and would not have survived if it were not for Crocosaurus Cove. This is Australia’s ultimate urban wildlife experience, right in the heart of Darwin City and is a must experience for all families visiting the Northern Territory.

David from Divergent Travelers – read more about swimming with crocs at Crocosaurus

Best Zoos Western Australia

Perth Zoo

Lion Perth Zoo Best zoos in Australia holidays with kids

It might not be the biggest zoo but Perth Zoo is certainly worth a visit with the kids. From lions, elephants, rhinos and bears, to snakes, birds, monkeys and frogs, Perth Zoo has plenty to keep the family entertained. Give yourself at least half a day to get around everything at Perth Zoo.

If you’ve got time, join a guided one-hour walking tour for free, leaving at 11:00am (Oct-April only) and 1:30pm daily. Where the tour takes you changes daily, so ask at the Information Hub when you arrive for details.

If you can’t walk any further, hop on an eight-seater zebra-themed electric vehicle for a one-hour tour. There is a small charge for these tours.

School aged kids can get more hands-on plus learn about the animals at the zoo by joining the Zoo Crew (8-13 year olds) or Wild Vets (14-18 year olds) during the school holidays. If you have 2-5 year olds then take a look at the A to Zoo program.

Nicci from Travel with Boys – check out our Perth Family Holiday Guide

Best Zoos ACT

National Zoo

Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium boasts some of the most interactive animal tours in Australia. Head off on the Zooventure Tour where you can hand-feed lions, tigers, bears and more (minimum age 12). Families with younger kids aren’t forgotten with a Family Tour giving kids and parents the opportunity to meet and feed some of the zoo’s favourite animals (minimum age 4). For the ultimate all day tour, take a Walk on the Wildside for an incredible wildlife experience.

There are plenty of other encounters to be had at the National Zoo and Aquarium, so pick your favourite animal and take a look if you can get up-close and personal with it.

The National Zoo and Aquarium is Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium with a large variety of both native and exotic animals.

Nicci from Travel with Boys – check out our Canberra Family Holiday Guide (coming soon)

Best Zoos South Australia

Adelaide Zoo, Adelaide

Panda Adelaide Zoo Best zoos in Australia holidays with kids

Made famous for its Giant Pandas Wang Wang and Fu Ni, Adelaide Zoo is proud to have the only breeding pair of Giant Pandas in the Southern Hemisphere. Once you’ve checked out these gorgeous pandas, it’s time to see how many of the other 3000 animals you can see in a day, spread throughout the eight hectares of beautiful grounds.

For 5 – 12 year olds kids, a great animal experience is ZOOcation Care, a school holiday program where they get to spend the day getting to know all the animals with a qualified conservation educator exploring the Adelaide Zoo. There are lots of fun activities, games and animal presentations to enjoy but you’ll need to book early to ensure a place.

Nicci from Travel with Boys – check out our Adelaide Family Holiday Guide (coming soon)

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Best zoos in Australia state by state guide covering 15 top zoos

Fraser Coast Family Holiday Guide

Fraser Coast Family Holiday Guide

Visit Fraser Coast Family Holiday Guide

There’s the Gold Coast, there’s the Sunshine Coast, and then there’s Australia’s Fraser Coast, a region of incredible diversity and beauty. It stretches from the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef to Hervey Bay, Maryborough, and the iconic Fraser Island. It is glorious. It is protected. It is relatively untouched. And, it is nature at its best.

Fraser Coast’s stunning coastline is juxtaposed against ancient rainforests and tranquil towns and is perhaps Queensland’s best-kept secret.

Best things to do when you visit Fraser Coast with kids

Whale watch from the beach, or get really, really close on an organised boat expeditionfrom Hervey Bay, discover the history of the region at one of the multitude of museums across the region, wander through the green, green rainforests, and explore the abundance of marine life at Lady Elliot Island.

Perhaps our very favourite thing to do is visit Fraser Island. Slip and slide down the sand dunes, loll in the freshwater lakes, fish for your dinner from the beachside and check out the Maheno Shipwreck.

Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island which stretches for 123kms. As such there are strips of beach which you can have all to yourself. Fish straight off the beach, set up stumps for a lazy game of beach cricket, slide down the ginormous sand dunes or visit the coloured sands (near Eli Creek) which are made up of over 70 different colours.

75 Mile Beach should be tops on your list. The beach is, well, 75 miles of golden goodness. While you’re there, visit Champagne Pools and the volcanic rock formation of Indian Head. With not so friendly sharks and stingers, the ocean is not the place to swim, but thankfully there are some seriously spectacular lakes and swimming holes.

Lake Mackenzie is wide, white and wonderful – it’s the most visited natural site on the island and only contains rainwater. Visit it at dawn (because, let’s face it, with kids you’re up at dawn anyway…) for a truly magical experience and to get away from the crowds who start arriving after 8am.

What more could you want from a family holiday destination? Not much more, we think.

Before you hit the beach, take a look at our Aussie beach survival guide for great tips and tricks, with everything from chafing to stingers, sand to sunburn.

Fraser Coast family holiday guide rainforests Travel with Boys

Where to stay on Fraser Coast with kids

Harvey Bay, Maryborough and Fraser Island offer up a host of resorts, hotels and beach-side camping at its very best. Take a look at these amazing places and keep an eye out for our upcoming series on Fraser Island.

Fraser Island family accommodationcheck latest prices

Hervey Bay family accommodationcheck latest prices

Maryborough family accommodationcheck latest prices

Lady Elliot Island family accommodationcheck latest prices

Know before you go

Food on the Fraser Coast

There is nothing pretentious about the Fraser Coast, so assume restaurants and cafes to be mostly kid-friendly spots. With the plethora of farms in this region, expect lots of fresh produce, just-caught seafood, and family favourites. Fish and chips on the beach, anyone?

Food on Fraser Island is a bit of a different story. If you’re there for more than a couple of days, you’re probably going to want to go shopping on the mainland before you head over on the ferry. There are a couple of restaurants/cafes on the island, as well as the Eurong bakery, a couple of places to buy alcohol, and a few general stores but expect to pay a great deal more than you would on the mainland.

Getting from the airport

If you are visiting the Fraser Coast, you can fly straight into Hervey Bay or go via Brisbane. Bus it, or hire a car to get from the airport to your destination. For flights and information, visit Fraser Coast Airport. For shuttle bus services, see Bay2Dore.

Fraser Coast Public Transport

Each township on the Fraser Coast has its own public transport system. Fares are generally cheap and services run regularly. For more information, visit the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s website.

Driving Fraser Coast

Hiring a car makes sense when visiting the Fraser Coast. Since the region covers hundreds of kilometres, driving lets you cover the places you want to go. Take a look at the best car hire prices available.

Keep in mind if you want to go to Fraser Island you need to have a 4WD, and you absolutely need to know how to drive a 4WD in rough conditions for starters, and if you’ve never driven on sand before, do a lot of research beforehand. We saw numerous people driving who had no idea what they were doing and were a danger to themselves and everyone else.

If you’re renting a 4WD, you need to let the car hire company know beforehand. We have rented from Rainbow Beach 4x4 Hire a few times and found them to be fantastic to deal with and reasonably priced.

Fraser Coast family holiday guide driving on Fraser Island Travel with Boys

Parking Fraser Coast

Easy. Lots of parking readily available beachside and within the CBD of each township. More often than not, it’s free (but always check the signs).

Fraser Coast Weather

Forecast: sunny with a chance of sun. All. Year. Round.

Favourite Family Events

Relish Fraser Coast Festival (Maryborough), Whale Watching Cruises (Hervey Bay), WetSide Water Park (Hervey Bay), feed the dolphins at Tin Can Bay.

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Visit Fraser Coast with kids Queensland family holiday guide Travel with Boys

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