Our BEST of Family Travel Winners!

Best of Family Travel Awards

Out & About With Kids annual quest to uncover the best family holiday experiences in the world has come to its exciting conclusion.

 

Our readers have spoken, the votes have been tallied and (drum roll please) the winners are …

 

The BEST Australian Family Resorts

*WINNER*

Sea World Resort & Water Park

Sea World

Sensational Sea World Resort has been winning awards for family excellence for over 20 years and is the first hotel in Queensland ever to be awarded a place in the Queensland Hotel Association’s Hall of Fame. With fantastic family resort facilities and right on the doorstep of Sea World theme park, Sea World resort guarantees a great Gold Coast family holiday. www.seaworldresort.com.au

 

Paradise Resort

Zagames Paradise Resort

It’s not called Paradise Resort for nothing! What family wouldn’t love this two-hectare oasis with beaches and attractions a mere stone’s throw away? With a host of accommodation options to suit all families, kids club, waterpark, pools and fun school holiday activity programs, now it is the only resort in the southern hemisphere to have a permanent ice-skating rink! Paradise Resort, ticks all the boxes. www.paradiseresort.com.au

 

NRMA Treasure Island Resort & Holiday Park

Treasure Island

Just 15 minutes’ drive from Surfers Paradise and centrally located between all major theme parks, families can choose between one-and two-bedroom units, cabins and villas and three-bedroom, two-storey townhouses or byo caravan, motorhome or camping gear! Three resort pools, Galleons Bistro and Bar, a host of activities and recreational facilities and KidzKorner get the big thumbs up from holidaying families. www.treasureisland.com.au

 

The BEST International Family Resorts

*WINNER*

Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California

Disneyland Resort

If it’s the ultimate Disneyland California experience you want then what could be more magical than checking-in to one of three unique hotels in the Disneyland Resort? Choose from the recently transformed original Disneyland Hotel, with classic styling that pays tribute to the park’s 1955 opening, the luxurious Grand Californian Hotel & Spa or the charming Paradise Pier Hotel. Best of all, Disneyland is right at your door! www.disneyland.com.au

 

Plantation Island Resort, Fiji

Plantation IslandPlantation Island Resort was one of the original resorts established in Fiji’s beautiful Mamanuca Island group and, decades later, is as popular as ever with families. Nestled in a protected, tranquil lagoon fringed with coconut palms, soft sand and clear blue water as far as the eye can see, Plantation offers great accommodation in traditional bures or hotel-style rooms, a choice of dining experiences, kids club, supermarket and fun cultural evenings. www.plantationisland.com

 

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji

Jean Michel Cousteau

The five-star Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort is renowned the world over for its dedication to conserving the environment and for its Kids Club and programs that offer hands-on education and experiences. The resort also offers a dedicated nanny for every child under five. Boasting an absolutely stunning location in the South Pacific, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is consistently voted by families as a favourite international resort. www.fijiresort.com

 

The BEST Australian Family Holiday Parks

*WINNER*

NRMA Treasure Island Resort & Holiday Park

NRMA Treasure Island

Located on the Gold Coast, this family-friendly holiday park is the ultimate vacation destination, set in tropical gardens, surrounded by sun-drenched beaches and lush hinterland. With three resort pools, Kids Club activities, mini golf and giant jumping pillow for the kids and relaxing, al fresco all-day dining and snacking for the grown ups, Treasure Island Holiday Park is also on the doorstep of all of the theme parks! www.treasureisland.com.au

 

BIG4 Soldiers Point

BIG4

This multi award-winning holiday park is the perfect place for families to base themselves in Port Stephens while they explore nearby beaches, national parks, go whale and dolphin spotting and frolic in mega sand dunes. An indoor soft play centre (for little ones), indoor heated pool, trampolines, free games room, big screen movies, bike track, giant chess, pool with waterslide, tennis court and playground round out the BIG4 fun at Soldiers Point. www.big4soldierspoint.com.au

 

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort

BIG4

Families have been flocking to Airlie Beach’s Adventure Whitsunday Resort for nearly 40 years and this family-owned and run resort prides itself on understanding, and providing, everything families need for a great holiday. Great accommodation options for all budgets, exceptional facilities and kids activities galore plus the resort’s proximity to the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef are just a few of the reasons Adventure Whitsunday consistently wins glowing praise from guests. www.adventurewhitsunday.com.au

 

The BEST Australian Family Attractions

*WINNER*

Sea World Resort & Water Park

Sea World

No family holiday on the Gold Coast is complete without a visit to Sea World. Take the monorail around the whole park and get a bird’s eye view of all the action below before planninga whole day of rides for all ages, animal attractions (including polar bears and penguins), the amazing underwater viewing of Shark Bay, animatronic dinosaurs, the world’s first SpongeBob SquarePants Parade and the adventure and action of Castaway Bay. www.seaworld.com.au

 

Dreamworld

Dreamworld

One of Australia’s favourite family theme parks, Dreamworld, on the Gold Coast, covers 30 hectares with rides, shows, attractions and non-stop fun! More than a mere amusement park, Wiggles World, The Australian Wildlife Experience, Tiger Island, V8 Supercars Redline and Australia’s first and only Flow Rider – born from the roots of surfing, skateboarding and bodyboarding – are just some of the amazing experiences to be had. www.dreamworld.com.au

 

Australia Zoo

Australia Zoo

Located in Beerwah, Australia Zoo is famous the world over as the home of the Irwin family. Terri and children Bindi and Robert continue, with the help of their dedicated zoo team, the late Steve Irwin’s conservation legacy – caring for over 1000 native and exotic animals. Get up-close-and-personal with animal encounters, roving wildlife, jaw-dropping daily shows at the Crocoseum, tours of the Zoo, and you could even see the Irwins themselves! Australia Zoo is an unmissable family experience. www.australiazoo.com.au

 

 

The BEST International Family Attractions

*WINNER*

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney’s ultimate playground for children and families, first opened its doors in 1955 – that means it’s just two short years away from celebrating its 60th birthday! Families from all over the globe have spent countless hours and days soaking up the magic here at the two parks – Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park with the new Cars Land just adding to the magic. www.disneyland.com.au

 

Sentosa Singapore

Sentosa

Sentosa Island in Singapore is a kids’ paradise! With the opening of Resorts World Sentosa and Universal Studios Singapore, South-East Asia has its first Hollywood movie theme park and the buzz has been palpable! Enter the thrilling world of movie magic with more than 20 different rides and attractions, and themed zones including The Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar amongst others. www.rwsentosa.com

 

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disneyland has been welcoming families since 1983 to its seven magical themed lands. From the World Bazaar shopping arcade through Tomorrowland, Toon Town, Fantasyland, Westernland, Adventureland and Critter Country, all your favourite Disney stories and characters come to colourful life. Whether you’re a kid or a kid-at-heart, Tokyo Disneyland really is a place where Disney dreams come true! www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp

 

The BEST Australian Family Ski Resorts

*WINNERS*

Perisher

Perisher

Perisher is the largest ski resort in Australia, connecting four separate, and popular, ski areas – Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow. Multiple runs and lifts link the four and Perisher’s super pipe, mini pipe, terrain parks, cross-country trails, night skiing and snow tube park cater for advanced and beginners. The ski school has classes for children from three years old. Daycare is available for six week-olds to four years. www.perisher.com.au

 

Thredbo

Thredbo

Nestled beneath Australia’s highest lifted summit, Mt. Kosciuszko, Thredbo is a favourite amongst Australian families. Thredbo village is picturesque and family-friendly with great accommodation, restaurants and shops ensuring a wonderful atmosphere. Thredboland is a kids-only ski school area with plenty of fun and games with Friday Flat the perfect learning area for kids from three years old. The varied terrain is a thrill for kids and adults of all levels. www.thredbo.com.au

 

Mt. Buller

Mt Buller

Only a few hours’ drive from Melbourne, Mt Buller is a perfect weekend snow escape. If you want to ski from your front door, there is a range of ski-in, ski-out accommodation – very convenient and so easy. Mt Buller is super family-friendly with three terrain parks, a half pipe, two toboggan parks and a snow tube park. For little ones there’s even a crèche and special kids ski programs. www.mtbuller.com.au

 

Falls Creek

Falls Creek

Situated in beautiful Alpine Country in Victoria’s north-east, it goes without saying that Falls Creek is renowned for fantastic skiing but aside from the snowy white, crisp air and majestic runs, Falls Creek is also a family-friendly resort with a village atmosphere oozing European charm. From Snow Clubs for kids to babysitting and beginners terrain, a winter holiday at Victoria’s largest resort with the family is truly memorable. www.fallscreek.com.au

 

The BEST International Family Ski Resorts

*WINNERS*

Whistler, Canada

Whistler

Whistler Village is a slight misnomer. It’s more like a big city set at the base of two phenomenal mountains, with all the charm of a winter wonderland. Hotels, lodges, townhouses, restaurants, shops, museums and galleries abound, and as for the skiing, it’s world class. Don’t miss a ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which connects Whistler and Blackcomb – it’s an engineering marvel and delivers an amazing view. www.whistler.com

 

Aspen, USA

Aspen Snowmass

This Rocky Mountains town in Colorado has earned a reputation for being the go-to ski resort for celebrities and the rich and famous but it is also heaven for ski-loving families. There are four mountains to ski on, including Buttermilk and Snowmass, which are excellent for families, while Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands are more challenging. The town is always buzzing with activities and, on the slopes, days can be as easygoing or adrenalin-charged as you choose. www.aspensnowmass.com

 

Cardrona, New Zealand

Cardrona

Cardrona ticks all the boxes for families and really does it well for kids. There are four dedicated Kids Centres including a kindy for kids from three months to four years, age-appropriate ski and snowboard lessons for five-14 year olds and coaching programs in the holidays for more experienced kids. There is some accommodation on the mountain but to make the most of your holiday, stay in Queenstown or Wanaka. The skiing here is awesome, with brilliant beginner areas, plenty of lovely wide groomers and lots of fun terrain for advanced kids. www.cardrona.com

 

The BEST Australian Destination for Families

*WINNERS*

Gold Coast

Gold Coast

Queensland’s Gold Coast is a perfect destination for all ages. With a temperate year-round climate, beautiful beaches stretching along 70 kilometres of coastline and 100,000 hectares of World Heritage-listed rainforest, the natural assets of the Gold Coast, alone are sufficient to entice families. This theme-park capital of Australia is a thrill-a-minute for kids and also boasts the world-renowned Surfers Paradise, wildlife sanctuaries, abundant water sports and water parks, plentiful playgrounds, recreation areas and fun attractions. www.visitgoldcoast.com

 

Tropical North Queensland/Whitsundays

Queensland

The lure of Tropical North Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays is undeniable.

See nature at its best with the magic of the rainforest, the beauty of the Reef – both on and in the water – the incredible beauty of the Whitsunday islands, plus the attractions of Cairns, Airlie Beach and tranquil beach-side towns from Mission Beach to Palm Cove.

Whitsundays

Accommodation options are plentiful and suit all budgets and there is a feast of tours to choose from both on land and on sea.www.destinationqueensland.com.au; www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au

 

Coffs Coast

Coffs Coast

Families flock to the Coffs Coast in northern NSW because, let’s face it, there’s so much to see and do, great coastal beaches and national parks and accommodation ranging from luxury to budget apartments, family-friendly resorts, hotels, motels and holiday parks. With a new guide – 101 Things to Do on Coffs Coast – there’s something for everyone and every age to enjoy and, of course, no holiday in the region is complete without a visit to, and photo with, the Big Banana! www.coffscoast.com.au

 

 

The BEST International Destinations for Families

*WINNERS*

USA

USA

From California (home of the original Disneyland!) in the west to New York in the east there are 48 other states (including Alaska and Hawaii) to discover each with enormous, and unique, appeal for families. Snow-lovers head for the slopes; others flock to the ‘big’ sights of the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge. Still others relish the sun, sand and surf of Honolulu – and that’s just scratching the surface of the delights for holidaying families. www.discoveramerica.com

 

Fiji

Fiji

Fiji has been a family favourite for so long now that parents, who first visited as children themselves, are now regularly returning with their own families to this friendly island paradise. The stunning natural beauty, crystal and turquoise blue waters and an abundance of sensational resort options, make Fiji a perennial winner for Australian and New Zealand families. Add to that the fascinating local culture and the fact that Fijians just love kids, and you have a perfect holiday. www.fijime.com

 

Bali

Bali

Families love Bali and it’s easy to understand why. The Indonesian island’s close proximity to Australia, the friendly Balinese people, the sunny, balmy climate and inexpensive and tantalisingly delicious food make it very appealing. Accommodation ranges from luxury resorts to private villas, and you can fill your days with everything from surfing to riding elephants, visiting volcanoes and of course, shopping. www.balitourismboard.org

 

Thailand

Amazing Thailand

From bustling cities to relaxed island experiences, the country is rich in its diversity and offers a range of unforgettable holiday experiences for families. From the seaside to the mountains, from the capital, Bangkok, to the rural contrast of Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai, from Phuket to Pattaya – everything about Thailand is fun and fascinating! Temples, street markets, elephant encounters, amusement parks, shopping, fabulous and affordable food and unbelievable resorts make Thailand terrific. www.tourismthailand.org/au

 

The BEST Family Tours

*WINNERS*

AAT Kings

AAT Kings

AAT Kings has been looking after families for over 30 years and is a multiple award-winning tour company offering a wide range of guided sightseeing tours across Australia and New Zealand. From camping to explorer tours offering city attractions and regional delights, including traditional indigenous experiences in the Northern Territory, AAT Kings tours include comprehensive, fun itineraries that let the whole family explore new destinations and enjoy sightseeing in comfort. www.aatkings.com.au

 

Trafalgar

Trafalgar

Trafalgar’s reputation for great value holidays is well deserved. This tour company has been guiding holidaymakers through a range of worldwide destinations since 1947 and prides itself on uncovering hidden gems, cultural highlights and not-to-be-missed attractions. With a finger firmly on the pulse of what families want, kids are entertained throughout every tour with endless, fantastic family experiences. www.trafalgar.com

 

Intrepid

Intrepid

Intrepid leads the way in responsible travel, helping to conserve the lands of the communities which host their tour groups across a range of off-the-beaten-track adventures. Intrepid offers exciting travel packages that will appeal to mum, dad and the kids in equal measure. Trips of a lifetime – including to Africa’s Serengeti – are on the agenda with Intrepid and each tour gives families the chance to experience amazing new destinations and take part in stimulating activities and adventures along the way. www.intrepidtravel.com

 

Creative Holidays

Creative Holidays

Offering great family package deals with loads of inclusions across a range of fantastic destinations, Creative Holidays lets you create your own kind of holiday without blowing the budget. Bali, Fiji, Thailand, New Zealand and Vanuatu are all popular destinations for families choosing Creative Holidays, but there are also plenty of great deals for families wanting to travel further afield to the UK or USA, Africa and Europe. www.creativeholidays.com

 

The BEST Family Cruise Lines

*WINNER*

P & O

P & O

In Australia and New Zealand, P&O is practically a household name. The cruise line offers a choice of exotic destinations around Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific Islands, departing from ports in Sydney, Brisbane, Fremantle and Auckland. With onboard treats including amazing food, entertainment and activities, sensational shore excursions and a whole host of fun for kids, a P&O cruise is a definite crowd-pleaser. www.pocruises.com.au

 

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean

2012 saw much excitement, with the maiden season of Australia’s first mega liner, Voyager of the Seas. The liner made headlines for its amazing size and incredible facilities, attractions and for its exciting DreamWorks Experience. Where else can you cruise with Kung-Fu Panda, the Penguins from Madagascar, Shrek and other DreamWorks characters? Together with Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas, Voyager continues to take care of Australian and New Zealand families on feature-packed, fun-filled cruises. www.royalcaribbean.com.au

 

Carnival Cruises

Carnival

Getting into the Carnival Spirit is easy. Cruising the Pacific from its home port in Sydney, this big, floating family playground is paradise for parents and fantastic fun for kids. Carnival Waterworks with a twister slide, Splash Park with a giant tipping bucket waterfall and Carnival Thrill Slide are just for starters! Onboard mini golf, touch footy, an array of sports options and age-appropriate kid’s activity clubs for two-17 year olds have the younger set sorted. www.carnivalaustralia.com

 

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line

Cruise Europe, the Caribbean and Alaska with Mickey and friends. Disney Cruise Lines blend the elegance of early transatlantic ocean liners with contemporary design to create some of the most spectacular cruise ships afloat. The four ships in the cruise line offer modern features and special Disney touches including phenomenal entertainment that will charm and bedazzle the entire family. Every night is show time with a lineup of some of the most elaborate original musicals ever presented at sea, live entertainment on deck and fireworks at sea. www.disneycruise.com

 

The BEST Airlines for Children

*WINNER*

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia

Virgin has made a concerted effort to cater for the needs of families on both its domestic and international flights and throughout the year offers great discounted fares that help make flying with kids affordable. Relatively new aircraft are modern and comfortable, meal menus and inflight snacks and refreshment options cater for all different levels of hunger and taste and inflight entertainment on hand-held personal consoles are a big winner. www.virginaustralia.com.au

 

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is consistently at the top of the world’s best awards – and for good reason. The airline is renowned for attentive inflight service, priority boarding for passengers with young children, bassinets on all flights, excellent Kris World on-demand in-flight entertainment service (with parental block) with kid-friendly TV, movies, audio and games. Singapore’s kids meals, activity packs and baby supplies also score highly with travelling parents. www.singaporeair.com

Qantas

Qantas

Qantas has parents and children high on its list of priorities when it comes to seating, meals, entertainment and assistance. With the aim of providing a hassle-free flying experience for adults and little ones, even newborns, the airline provides Family Zones in selected airport Qantas Lounges so families can relax before the flight. Kids activity packs onboard and inflight entertainment offering Disney and Nickelodeon and a selection of family movies makes flying with kids a breeze. www.qantas.com.au

 

Emirates

Emirates

Emirates’ Young Flyers Program is a hit with kids and parents. Dedicated children’s channels, brightly coloured headsets, complimentary birthday cakes, games and magazines, special meals, sports-themed kids giveaways and the introduction of the Fly with Me Monsters pre-school collection of blanket buddies, seat belt critters and soft toys turns long haul flights into exciting adventures for little ones. www.emirates.com