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The Best 20 Coastal Holidays for Families in Australia

Blessed with almost 26,000km of coastline, Australian families long ago discovered prime water’s edge playgrounds that were so idyllic we made them into our most popular holiday spots. Compiling a true list of every family-friendly coastal holiday destination in the country would be an impossible task, so we’ve cherry-picked some of our favourites to bring you the BIG list of 20 Aussie coastal holidays!

Fitzroy Island jetty. Image: iStock
Fitzroy Island jetty. Image: iStock

1. Sensational Australian Islands: from Tasmania to Lizard Island

Yes, Australia has sensational islands – from Tasmania, Lord Howe in NSW and Queensland’s fabulous Fitzroy, Daydream, Hamilton, Heron and Lizard Islands (and the ultra luxury of One&Only Hayman Island) – to beautiful Norfolk Island, which you no longer need a passport or visa to visit!

More: 17 best island holidays for families in Australia

2. Discover the best beaches near Sydney: Manly and Beyond

Manly Beach. Image: iStock

Right on Sydney’s doorstep are some of the city’s most beautiful, and popular, beaches – all perfect for day trips, including Newport, Mona Vale, Palm Beach, Whale Beach, Freshwater, Collaroy and Avalon. But Manly still holds the crown as the #1 stay and play family holiday fun spot in the area. 

More: A local’s guide to visiting Manly with kids 

3. Escape to paradise: NSW Central Coast's best family getaways

Daily pelican feeding at The Entrance NSW CREDIT iStock
Daily pelican feeding at The Entrance. Image: iStock

So close to Sydney and Newcastle yet worlds away in lifestyle, families flock to the NSW Central Coast during the holidays and for weekend getaways – from Terrigal and Avoca to Budgewoi, Norah Head and The Entrance and Lake Macquarie – for sand, surf, sun, boating, fishing, camping and relaxing family escapes.

4. Port Stephens NSW: your perfect family getaway destination

Camels on Stockton Beach in Anna Bay
Camels on Stockton Beach in Anna Bay

Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay, Anna Bay, Fingal Bay, Tanilba Bay, Soldiers Point, Salamander Bay or Lemon Tree Passage – take your pick of any, or all, of Port Stephens’ glorious family holiday destinations, just over two hours north of Sydney.

5. Discover the family-friendly gems of Port Macquarie NSW

Pelicans at Town Beach in Port Macquarie
Pelicans at Town Beach in Port Macquarie

‘Port’ is one of the jewels of the mid North Coast and a year-round drawcard for families, perfectly located midway between Sydney and Brisbane. Family-friendly attractions abound in Port Macquarie – many blessed by nature and others specifically created for fun! The region is also known for its incredible koala population, so a visit to the famous Koala Hospital and to Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park are a must on any family holiday itinerary.

6. Coffs Harbour NSW: a cool family holiday destination on the coast

‘Coffs’ is cool! The region boasts holiday towns including Nambucca Heads, Urunga and Bellingen and Coffs Harbour itself and offers all of the must-haves for a great family holiday on the coast. Kid-friendly activities on the Coffs Coast include beaches aplenty, adventure, action, attractions and enjoying the laid-back vibe!

7. Surf, Sun and Family Fun: Macleay Valley Coast NSW

South West Rocks Image iStock
South West Rocks. Image: iStock

South West Rocks, Hat Head and Crescent Head have been welcoming families for decades. Surf’s up, the water is clear and the sun always shines in this naturally awesome part of the NSW North Coast.

8. Unwind with the family: Ballina and Byron Bay NSW and beyond!

Byron’s beaches are legendary – and sparkling – and Main Beach is a family favourite. Likewise, Ballina and Lennox Head beaches beckon – try Lighthouse Beach and Lennox Head Beach – but be sure to explore beyond the golden sands into the rainforest and the Byron Bay hinterland! Fly into Ballina or drive north on The Legendary Pacific Coast that runs all the way to Brisbane from Sydney, and pit stop at beautiful coastal towns, including family favourites Yamba and Evans Head.

9. Coastal holiday delights: exploring NSW's South Coast

Where to start with the multitude of coastal holiday destinations that dot the NSW South Coast, stretching from The Royal National Park just south of Sydney to the border of Victoria? Much-loved towns like Kiama, Gerringong, Jervis Bay, Nowra, Mollymook, Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Moruya, Mogo, Bega, Pambula, Merimbula, Eden and Tathra await –  what a smorgasbord!

10. Phillip Island VIC: a family playground of penguins and adventure

See the penguin parade at Phillip Island
See the penguin parade at Phillip Island

Home of the little penguins and renowned for the nightly beach parade of these gorgeous creatures, Phillip Island really is a playground destination for families. The famous Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is here, plus the Antarctic Journey at The Nobbies Centre, the crazy Amaze’N Things, the Chocolate Factory and, of course, Penguins on Parade. There’s so much to do on Phillip Island, and it’s all under 2 hours’ drive from Melbourne!

11. Great Ocean Road VIC: family-friendly coastal towns and beaches in South-West Victoria

A spectacular scenic drive leads to fam-tastic coastal towns and beaches in south-west Victoria – from Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula, to Barwon Heads and Queenscliff, and Torquay, Lorne and Apollo Bay. The Great Ocean Road is one of the most popular family-friendly holiday regions in the state – look out for the world-famous 12 Apostles near Port Campbell!

12. Ninety Mile Beach and Wilsons Promontory: Gippsland's Natural Wonders

Happy children running near a Riviera Nautic boat on Gippsland Lakes Victoria
Happy children running near a Riviera Nautic boat on Gippsland Lakes, Victoria

One of the longest uninterrupted beaches in the world– Ninety Mile Beach – stretches all the way from Port Albert, two hours out of Melbourne, north to the famous seaside holiday destination of Lakes Entrance.  The beach is actually a 94 mile spread of golden sand as far as the eye can see, separating the Gippsland Lakes from Bass Strait. Gippsland is also home to Wilsons Promontory National Park … affectionately known as ‘The Prom’, it is one of the state’s best-loved parks.

13. Gold Coast QLD: the ultimate family fun!

It’s consistently at the very top of the pile when it comes to favourite Aussie family holiday destinations, and while Gold Coast beaches (Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Miami and Burleigh Heads to name just a handful) are inducement enough, the extra lure comes from the Gold Coast’s deserved reputation as the ‘Theme Park Capital of Australia’ with Sea World, Dreamworld, Movie World and Wet ‘n’ Wild all must-visits on any Gold Coast family holiday!

More: 7 must-do family experiences on the Gold Coast 

14. Holiday bliss on the Sunshine Coast, QLD: From Noosa to Rainbow Beach

Noosa National Park
Noosa National Park

Beautiful one day… beautiful the next … they don’t call it the Sunshine Coast for nothing! Stretching along the Coral Sea are the premium coastal holiday towns of Noosa, Coolum, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Caloundra. You want beaches? You’ll run out of fingers and toes to count them on – all the way to the multi-coloured sands of the aptly named Rainbow Beach.

15. Tropical North Queensland QLD: exploring the tropical heaven

You’re in Great Barrier Reef territory when you arrive in this exotic part of Queensland, where reef meets rainforest  – Cairns, Mission Beach, Palm Cove and Port Douglas – and where the locals greet you with ‘Welcome to Paradise’!

16. Seaside villages and stunning beaches: South Australia’s Limestone Coast SA

Stony Rise Beach sunrise Little Dip Conservation Park South Australian Limestone Coast
Stony Rise Beach sunrise Little Dip Conservation Park South Australian Limestone Coast. Image: Shutterstock

Spectacular coastlines and beautiful beaches are hallmarks of South Australia’s Limestone Coast. Holiday here and explore picturesque seaside villages like Robe, Beachport, Southend and Port MacDonnell.

17. Eyre Peninsula SA: explore the marine wonders of Coffin Bay

Right at the Spencer Gulf, this stunning region is a marine-lover’s paradise and the natural habitat for bottlenose dolphins, Australian sea lions and whales. You can see all this– and more – from one of the state’s most iconic national parks, Coffin Bay.

18. Discover the WA Coral Coast: beaches, marine life, and world heritage sites

Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Adventures in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Image Tourism Western Aus
Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Adventures in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Over 1000kms of white sandy beaches hug this incredible stretch of coastline in Western Australia. Shark Bay World Heritage Area and the clear turquoise waters of Shark Bay, the friendly dolphins of Monkey Mia and the gateways to the incredible Ningaloo Marine Park – Coral Bay and Exmouth – make the WA Coral Coast one of the most exciting coastal family holiday destinations in Australia.

19. Discover the remote beauty of Kimberley Coast WA: a haven for adventurous families

Adventure-loving families are drawn to explore the stunning and remote Kimberley Coast. A region of rugged natural beauty covering nearly 13,000km of coastline, the Kimberley coast also boasts more than 2,633 largely uninhabited islands, fringed by reefs, and is definitely a destination to place on the family wishlist!

20. East Coast TAS: Bay of Fires and Freycinet National Park

friendly beaches in freycinet national park. image pete harmsen
Friendly Beaches in Freycinet National Park. Image: Pete Harmsen

Pristine and peaceful, this beautiful coastal part of Tasmania is famous for Bay of Fires, one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 regions in the world, and the stunning white beaches and crystal clear sea of Freycinet National Park. Families love making their holiday base at the beach at Bicheno and in the lovely township of St Helens, and venturing out for fun from there! Don’t miss this unforgettable Tasmania experience for families. 


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