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Best Australian and International Family Destinations in 2023

From Australian cities and ski resorts to the top places to travel overseas with kids, we reveal the best destinations for families as chosen by families in the annual Out & About with Kids Readers’ Choice Awards

A family hiking on New Zealands South Island Image Peter Amend Getty Images
A family hiking on New Zealands South Island. Image: Peter Amend Getty Images

Best City in Australia for families: Melbourne, Victoria

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne

With interactive museums and kids’ festivals, wildlife parks and major sporting events, there’s plenty to keep families entertained in Melbourne. Make sure you include Luna Park Melbourne, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Melbourne Skydeck and Old Melbourne Gaol in your itinerary.

Finalists

Best regional destination in Australia for families: Ballarat, Victoria

Sovereign Hill in Ballarat
Sovereign Hill in Ballarat

From feeding kangaroos to panning for gold, Victoria’s largest inland city has an abundance of family-friendly activities on offer. Just 75 minutes’ drive west of Melbourne, its line-up of attractions includes open-air museum Sovereign Hill, Ballarat Wildlife Park and Lake Wendouree.

Finalists

Best international holiday destination for families: The Hawaiian Islands

A family hitting the surf at Waikiki Beach
A family hitting the surf at Waikiki Beach

Ohana (family) is deeply important in Hawaiian culture, which makes the Hawaiian Islands a welcoming destination for families. Many hotels and resorts offer cultural and educational activities, including lei-making, hula and ‘ukulele lessons, and it’s a great place to try water sports such as snorkelling, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

Finalists

Best holiday destination for adventurous families: New Zealand

A family hits the rapids
A family hits the rapids

With great ski resorts, cycling trails and adventure activities just a three-hour flight from Australia’s east coast, it’s no wonder New Zealand is so popular for Australian families. You can also learn about the country’s rich Māori culture, discover wildlife such as Kiwi birds and even swim with dolphins.

Finalists

Best family destination in Asia: Thailand

Bathing a rescue elephant in Thailand
Bathing a rescue elephant in Thailand

From riding tuk tuks to cooking classes, there are countless things to do on a family holiday in Thailand. Swim at beautiful beaches, visit Buddhist temples and bustling markets, hike to waterfalls, go island hopping and explore caves. Plus there are loads of family-friendly resorts to stay.

Finalists

Best family destination in North America: Anaheim, California, United States

A family in Anaheim Packing District
A family in Anaheim Packing District

With its two Disneyland Resort theme parks, beautiful beaches, outlet shopping malls and all-American experiences – like seeing the Anaheim Ducks ice-hockey team and the Angels baseball team in action – Anaheim is a fun place for families. Just a one-hour drive from Los Angeles International Airport, it’s also easy to get to.

Finalists

Best family destination in Europe: Italy

Mother and daughter taking a selfie with the iconic Roman Colosseum in the background
Mother and daughter taking a selfie with the iconic Roman Colosseum in the background

A family-centric nation means children are welcomed with wide open arms in Italy. It offers a range of attractions, from glittering beaches to historical wonders such as the Colosseum in Rome and skiing and hiking in the Alps. Not to mention the delicious (and kid-friendly) pizza, pasta and gelato!

Finalists

Best destination for immersing in culture: Japan

Mother and daughter wearing beautiful colourful kimonos
Mother and daughter wearing beautiful colourful kimonos

Japan is the ultimate destination for cultural immersion. Little girls will love dressing in kimonos, meeting geishas and taking part in tea ceremonies, while boys can unleash their inner ninja during a visit to a Japanese castle. You can also stay in a ryokan, bathe in an onsen, enjoy a picnic under a cherry blossom tree and eat copious amounts of sushi, sashimi and noodles!

Finalists

Best Australian ski resort: Thredbo, NSW

Happy kids learning to ski at Thredbo
Happy kids learning to ski at Thredbo

Known for its picturesque village, which is dotted with fire pits ideal for toasting marshmallows, Thredbo is the epitome of a family ski resort. Children can learn to ski at the kids-only ski area Thredboland, take part in events like the kids’ flare run, and enjoy a spectacular fireworks show every Saturday night.

Finalists

Best international ski resort: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada

A family in Whistler Village
A family in Whistler Village

Just a two-hour drive from Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb has a magical twinkling village and oodles for families to do, besides skiing! They include dogsledding, ice-skating, tubing, snowmobile tours and fire and ice shows. You can also try bobsleighing at Whistler Sliding Center and embark on a Ziptrek Eco Tour.

Finalists

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