Going away with the family can be expensive; flights, hotels and attractions can quickly rack up hundreds or even thousands of dollars, leaving nothing left for the little things.
Luckily, Australia’s east coast is packed with incredible destinations that make for great escapes a little closer to home. While prices in the major cities and tourist hot spots may be sky high, there are plenty of great gems up and down the coast filled with activities that won’t break the bank.
Here are a few great spots for little kids and big kids alike, all year round:
Townsville in North Queensland is a great place to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Take in some great views in the national parks, get up close to marine creatures at Reef HQ, feed a croc at Billabong Sanctuary or make like the local kids and hang out at The Strand – a long strip of parkland and beaches right in the city with a great rock pool for cooling off on hot days.
Hervey Bay, Queensland
Hervey Bay is the whale watching capital of Australia, with a huge number of humpbacks using the area as a sanctuary from July through to November. When it isn’t whale watching season, Hervey Bay offers beautiful beaches, a vibrant esplanade of shops and cafes, historic villages, shipwrecks, Botanic Gardens and year round aquatic sports in warm, stinger-free water.
Noosa is an outdoor kind of town with golden beaches, stunning national parks, great surf conditions and warm sunny days to enjoy them – all of which are perfect for families on a budget. Bush walk through Noosa National Park, look out for dolphins and whales as you sea kayak around crystal clear bays or visit the vibrant shops and restaurants along Hastings Street.
Newcastle, New South Wales
Australia’s second oldest city is just a couple of hours from Sydney and only a fraction of the price. The area is packed with activities like surfing the waves at Merewether, discovering the city’s history in the Newcastle Museum, climbing up to Nobbys lighthouse or exploring the waters at the Hunter Wetlands.
Geelong is Victoria’s second largest city and the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. For culture enjoy the city’s museums, galleries, the Old Geelong Gaol and the Botanic Gardens, or you could head to Australia’s surfing haven Torquay which has some of the most iconic surfing history and breaks in the world.
Do you have any other great places to add to the list? Please share in the comments below.