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 you in the 2023 Out & About with Kids Readers’ Choice Awards
Best coastal destination in Australia for families: Gold Coast, QLD
Queensland’s Gold Coast may be paradise for parents, but for active kids, it’s one big adventure playground. Our readers love this destination for its balmy year-round climate, 70 kilometres of beautiful beaches and fun-filled family resorts. As Australia’s theme park capital, the Gold Coast offers plenty of thrills, but there are also hidden gems to discover. Hunt down beautiful waterfalls and glow worm caves at Tamborine Mountain and brave O’Reilly’s Treetop Walk in Lamington National Park.
Best regional destination in Australia for families: Dubbo, NSW
Dubbo is packed with attractions and experiences for families. Get a taste of country living with a farm stay or camping trip, meet Australia’s biggest birds at Emu Logic, and learn from the land’s traditional owners with a Wiradjuri cultural tour. A Great Big Adventure Pass is your ticket to four top attractions: Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Wellington Caves, heritage-listed Old Dubbo Gaol, and the Royal Flying Doctor Visitor Experience. The Sydney-to-Dubbo drive makes for a stellar family road trip with stops at the Blue Mountains, Bathurst and Orange.
Best international holiday destination for families: Hawai’i
Beautiful beaches, vibrant cultural experiences and plenty of family-friendly resorts have earned the Hawaiian Islands a place in our readers’ hearts. Every day brings something new to discover: snorkel amongst brightly-hued tropical fish, experience an authentic Hawaiian lūʻau, and witness the power of nature at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. From your first ‘aloha’, a trip to Hawai’i is a pure delight for curious kids.
Best international holiday destination for families with babies and toddlers: Fiji
Fijians are wild about kids, so it’s not surprising this island paradise has been rated the best for under-threes. For many parents who fell in love with Fiji as children, it’s the natural choice for their little ones’ first overseas trip.
Fiji’s resorts get all those crucial details right to make travelling with a baby as hassle-free as possible. Many offer daytime or overnight nanny services while kids’ clubs entertain older siblings, offering parents a truly refreshing holiday break.
Best holiday destination for adventurous families: New Zealand
If your brood can’t get enough of the outdoors, you’ll find the perfect holiday destination just a quick hop over the ditch. New Zealand’s rugged landscape creates the ideal playground for adventure-loving families. Hit up Kiwi slopes for skiing or snowboarding fun, experience epic ziplining thrills and go white-water rafting on some seriously gnarly rapids. Whatever floats your boat, New Zealand delivers big on family fun. Best of all, it’s just a three-hour flight from Australia’s east coast capital cities.
Best family destination in Asia: Bali
Aussie families just can’t get enough of Bali. Only a short flight from Australia, the sunny Indonesian island is both affordable and convenient. Stay a few days or take an extended beachside holiday – however you choose to do Bali, you’ll be charmed by the friendly locals and delicious cuisine. Family accommodation in Bali ranges from private villas to luxury resorts, many with splash parks, spas and fantastic kids’ clubs. Don’t miss Bali’s many wildlife and bird parks, many of which offer close-up and hands-on experiences (at bargain prices). Water parks, local markets, and plenty of beach play round out the perfect Bali getaway.
Best family destination in North America: Anaheim, California, United States
Home to Disneyland Resort, Anaheim in California has been the dream destination of kids around the globe for more than 70 years. The original Disneyland Park opened in 1955, with Disney California Adventure doubling the fun when it opened its gates in 2001. Anaheim is also home to world-class shopping and dining, museums, and major-league sports stadiums, all just half an hour from Los Angeles. For more theme park action, jump aboard the Ghost Rider at nearby Knott’s Berry Farm, the longest and fastest Californian coaster.
Best family destination in Europe: Italy
History, cuisine and culture collide in this beloved European destination. Italy’s architectural wonders are a must for curious kids, including the Colosseum and the Pantheon, where they can learn about the mighty Roman Empire. Of course, a family trip to Italy also means sampling some of the world’s best food and wine. Kids may not know their Pecorino from their Parmigiano, but they’ll have no hesitation tucking into pizza, pasta and gelato! A handful of Tuscan wineries are family-friendly too (so you don’t have to miss out on that Chianti).
Best destination for immersing in culture: Japan
Modern meets ancient in the cultural destination of Japan. No matter what time of year you’re travelling, there’s a festival to experience, each with a unique seasonal theme and cuisine. For fully immersive family travel, stay in a ryokan to eat, sleep and bathe in traditional Japanese style. The delights of modern-day Japanese culture are just as exciting. At the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo’s west, family favourites like Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro are brought to life. Tweens and teens can snag anime and game collectibles in Akihabara shopping district.
Best Australian ski resort: Thredbo, NSW
Thredbo ski resort ticks all the boxes for an Aussie snow getaway: kids’ ski and snowboard lessons at Thredboland, runs from beginner to expert, a terrain park, and many more features to delight junior guests. Thredbo Village lets you stay close to the slopes with a range of family-friendly hotels (and fantastic places to eat). For an extra special trip, visit during the July and September school holidays for the Kids’ Snow Festival. There’s plenty to experience on and off the mountain, including movie and pizza nights, fireworks and a magical kids’ flare run.
Best international ski resort: Coronet Peak, New Zealand
Snow-loving families will have a blast at Coronet Peak, nestled in the mountains above Queenstown. The South Island ski area is open from June to September. Avid skiers and snowboarders will love the resort’s varied terrain and night skiing sessions. Still need to find your snow legs? Coronet Peak offers lessons from age five and up, plus there’s a fully-licensed Skwiland Early Learning & Childcare Centre for tiny tots. Add tobogganing, après-ski dining and scenic gondola rides to the mix, all just 16 kilometres from the centre of Queenstown. Breathtaking views over the Wakatipu basin are a bonus.