Family on Bondi Beach, Australia

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Why Australia is the ideal destination for a family getaway

Round everyone up and head Down Under for a holiday that ticks all the family-friendly boxes

Updated May 2020

By Siobhan Grogan

Multi-generational travel has been growing in popularity and is set to get even bigger in the coming years. But how do you find a destination that appeals to everyone in the family, from grandparents to toddlers? Look no further than Australia: whatever your family dynamic, this varied and stunning continent offers a solution...

If you’re an active and sporty family…head to Brisbane

Kayaking in Brisbane

Why it suits: Balmy year-round weather and its outdoor lifestyle makes Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, a great place for sporty and outdoorsy types to explore, get active and soak up the sunshine. A thriving café culture, fantastic public-transport system and convenient access to the beaches of the Gold Coast allow those travelling in a group to enjoy the city easily.

What to do: Tour the city from its meandering river via CityCat ferry. A cheap electronic ticket makes it easy to hop on and off or ride the whole route in around two hours. Feeling energetic? Head to Riverlife under Kangaroo Point Cliffs to hire kayaks and bikes or even have a go on a Segway – depending on how coordinated you all are. Afterwards, stroll over Victoria Bridge to Brisbane’s cultural hub at South Bank, for peaceful parklands, laid-back restaurants and bars, and excellent galleries. Children will love the playgrounds, science centre and water park, while adult visitors should make a beeline for the unmissable Queensland Museum and the free foodie heaven at Epicurious Garden, for cooking demos and tastings amongst the edible plant life. Sun-worshippers of all ages could also join a Princess Cruises excursion to the Gold Coast for endless beaches, luxury shopping and stylish restaurants.

If you’re a family of foodies…head to Adelaide

Cheese shop in Adelaide

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Why it suits: Adelaide is a must-visit for anyone who loves food, wine or chocolate. Close to three of the country’s best wine regions and boasting unique restaurants, food markets and even a renowned chocolate factory, this elegant and easily navigated city is the perfect place to indulge and try a little taste of Australia.

What to do: Compact and largely flat, Adelaide is ideal for all ages to explore by bike, with the city operating a free bike-hire scheme, including helmets and maps. For lunch with an ocean view, cycle the 40-minute Linear Park trail to the restaurants at Henley Beach then have a snooze on the sand before the return trip. Foodies should not miss the Princess Cruises Central Market Tasting tour either, for the inside story on the famous food market, which is crammed with every type of food stall, while wine buffs will love the Princess Cruises Barossa Valley excursion. A chance to visit Australia’s best-known wine region, this treats you to samples of local produce including cheese and balsamic vinegar, an unforgettable lunch and even wine tasting at the famous Jacob’s Creek vineyard.

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If you’re craving culture…head to Melbourne

Melbourne street art

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Why it suits: Culture vultures, food lovers and shopaholics of every age will be charmed by sprawling Melbourne, widely considered Australia’s hippest city. With quirky architecture, independent boutiques and cafés, sophisticated spas and some of the finest theatres and galleries in the country, everyone from millennials to baby boomers will enjoy discovering the captivating capital of Victoria.

What to do: See Parliament House, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Exhibition Building from the free City Circle Tram, which runs regularly through town, before ambling through the Royal Botanic Gardens, considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Or join the Fitzroy Gardens and Yarra River Cruise excursion which offers a chance to float past these Gardens – as well as many other notable sights around the city – on a riverboat. Shoppers are spoilt for choice, too. Older generations may prefer the city’s cobbled Victorian alleys packed with antique jewellery shops, tea rooms and striking street art. Younger fashionistas will love the Shop Til You Drop excursion to Chadstone, the largest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere.

If you’re an intrepid family…head to Perth

Girl posing with Quokka in Perth

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Why it suits: Though one of the most geographically isolated cities in the world, Perth is fast becoming one of Australia’s most appealing places to visit, with a huge population boom and an explosion of enticing new bars, arts centres and hotels. After docking at historic Fremantle, just outside the city, cruise passengers of all generations will be overwhelmed by the sheer diversity of activities and excursions on offer at this gateway to spectacular Western Australia.

What to do: With a bohemian feel, more than 3,000 listed buildings and a compelling history, Fremantle itself is well worth a visit. Don’t miss the dramatic prison, the Western Australia Maritime Museum and a cruise on the Swan River, where you should keep your eyes peeled for dolphins. For the best of both places, join the Princess Cruises Perth City Drive to tour Fremantle, Perth itself and the impressive King’s Park on the banks of the river before stopping to enjoy the dazzling white sand of Cottlesloe Beach. Once in Perth, beer connoisseurs will enjoy the local craft breweries, while nature lovers should head to Rottnest Island to spot the rare quokka (above), dubbed the world’s happiest animal.

If you’re a family of explorers…head to Sydney

Blue Mountain Waterfall, NSW, Sydney

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Why it suits: With one of the most stunning harbours in the world, cosmopolitan Sydney boasts over 100 beaches, a vibrant arts-and-culture scene and world-class shopping and dining. Plus, a relaxed atmosphere and tourist friendly appeal make it an ideal spot for family member of all ranges hoping to discover something new.

What to do: Get your bearings with a Hop On Hop Off Sydney excursion from Princess with a multi-lingual audio tour that allows you to explore this iconic city at a pace that suits everyone. Leave time at Bondi Beach to hike at least part of the six-kilometre coastal walk to Coogee for jaw-dropping views across sheer cliffs and golden beaches. Stop at Bronte Beach on the way, for a quieter but equally beautiful alternative to busy Bondi. After visiting the Opera House, wander the cobbled streets of Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood, The Rocks, then visit the tranquil new Barangaroo Reserve to discover the fascinating Aboriginal heritage of the Harbour and the significance of some of the 75,000 native plants there. Time permitting, all the family will love the Princess Cruises Spectacular Blue Mountains excursion beyond Sydney, too, taking in the bush-lined creeks, dramatic canyons and waterfalls of the World Heritage-listed area.

About the Author

Siobhan Grogan

Siobhan Grogan

Siobhan is a travel, music and lifestyle journalist who has written for publications including NME, Harper’s Bazaar, British Airway’s High Life, Grazia, City AM and the Evening Standard. She is constantly searching out new destinations to explore, but loves returning to Sydney, New York and Italy.

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