Where would you go with young kids?

Old Jul 8th, 2022, 09:07 AM
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Where would you go with young kids?

Hi all

I've spent some time reading the forums to get an understanding of the facts & figures, but would like to get some more insight into the personal opinions and experiences regarding a travel with young kids (2 & 4) in this lovely country.

We are considering a 3 week trip and have narrowed down the possible routes to either Brisbane - Cairns or Sydney - Melbourne (including an extension to the GOR). We anticipate to be mostly travelling by camper van with hotel stays in the cities.

I would love to get the opinion of you all which of these routes would be best suited for first-time visitors travelling with young kids (where activities like scuba/snorkeling etc are not possible)

Thanks in advance!


australiamike is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2022, 03:43 PM
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One thing to keep in mind is that distances in Australia can be long and often kids do not enjoy being stuck in a car for extended periods (mine absolutely hated it). In my experience very young children are just as happy with a playground, meeting a puppy or paddling in the shallows as any more sophisticated entertainment, although places like zoos are often really interesting for all ages (try Australia Zoo, Melbourne Zoo, Toronga Zoo).

I've never driven Brisbane to Cairns but reports are that sections of it aren't very interesting (others will have better information). Because of that and because it's shorter, I'd travel Sydney to Melbourne (Sunshine Coast to Sydney would also be good). Having a campervan will be great so you can stop easily.

Weather and time of year need also to be considered. For example, at certain times of the year in northern Queensland you can't enter the water at the beaches (except where netted) due to stingers. Further south, I prefer spring or autumn as the summer can be hot and busy. In the summer and early autumn, southern Australia can be appear quite dry but it's lush and green at other times of the year. Avoid school holidays (and schoolies week in some locations) if you can.

If you go to the Great Ocean Road area, take your time, enjoy some walks and beaches. It's much nicer if you're not rushing. Doing a circuit through to the Grampians would be great (you may need to carry the 2 year old on some of the walks but it's still an enjoyable place even if you don't do a heap of hiking - Venus Baths is nice and you should see lots of kangaroos). You could return via Ballarat (Sovereign Hill), the vineyards near Avoca, or maybe Daylesford. There's also lots to enjoy between Sydney and Melbourne on both the inland and coastal routes (you could fill your time just with this).

One other thing to note (and this will change over time) is that as Australians have been unable to travel overseas, accommodation has been heavily booked, including campgrounds. That applies particularly to more affordable places.

Hope you have a fabulous visit.

Last edited by dreamon; Jul 8th, 2022 at 03:51 PM.
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Old Jul 8th, 2022, 08:15 PM
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What time of year are you thinking of? The weather will be completely different in Melbourne to Cairns, they are an enormous distance apart. Sydney or Melbourne would be OK for most of the year apart from winter. The winter is usually sunny and mild in Queensland but it can get very hot and humid in summer. (Winter is June/July/Aug, summer is Dec/Jan/Feb - you probably know that.)

Out of your two options, I'd suggest Sydney to Melbourne, along the coast.

But I think driving that sort of distance with little kids may not be such a good idea. Sydney to the Sunshine Coast (roughly Caloundra to Noosa) is another option. Or you could fly in and out of Melbourne and travel around Victoria. Or fly into Melbourne and drive along the coast towards Adelaide and fly out of Adelaide.

If you are going to hire a campervan, don't leave it too late. We are having the same problems here as other countries, with rental fleets sold off during covid and they are more expensive to hire and there is less stock.
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 01:45 AM
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Hello Mike,
A few questions which will help us give you some pertinent & hopefully useful information.
Your name suggests you might be Australian, but your post suggests perhaps otherwise.

1) Where are you coming from?
2) Is this your first trip to Australia? "First time visitors" could mean to Australia, or along particular routes.
3) What time of year are you contemplating for your trip?

For some reason, many overseas visitors seem to think mobile homes/campervans/caravans are the way to travel in Australia. Whether that is so or not depends on a lot of factors, including When, Who & Where ... and What? If you're not a local using your own vehicle, your research will probably have clued you into the fact that there's a lot of variance in what is on offer in the rental market. The smart advice there is to rent the best you can afford - cheaper is NOT better in this instance.

Assuming you are a first time tourist to Australia - what interests YOU? At 2 & 4, kids' interests really aren't that high a priority - mostly they are easy to please if they are fed, watered and given enough activity to tire them out so they sleep. The time of year will influence what we might advise in terms of more pleasant weather & activities.

So, please come back with some more info and we will be happy to help you plan your trip.

You might also ask on Trip Advisor, where the Australia Forum is much more active than this one.
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 03:16 AM
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Hi Bokhara2 and others

thanks a lot for your feedback! This is already very helpful.

To answer some of the questions raised:
1. we are coming from Switzerland, Europe
2. It will be our very first time in Australia and we are super excited having said that, we value a good time with our kids and a pleasant itinterary more than hitting the "must-sees" and are thus very willing to skip some stuff like Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef which are more challenging to do with your kids
3. We are flexible between Fed-July. Our understanding is that Feb/March might be good for Sydney-Melbourne whereas later in the year, June/July, might be better suited if we're heading towards Cairns
4. The idea of using an RV is less about cost but more about flexibility and avoiding packing/unpacking all the kids stuff at every location plus, we hope/expect that we'll enjoy the life on the camp grounds!

Thanks a lot for any further guidance and advise! Anything and everything is appreciated, as we're still trying to make up our mind from across the other side of the globe
australiamike is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2022, 12:46 AM
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You're correct about the temperature variations in Australia. In a country as large as ours - the whole of Europe would just about fit within our borders - we cover a few climate zones. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, our seasons are the reverse of yours - and here it's hot in the North, generally cooler in the South.

If you have the choice, you might consider coming in our Autumn. I like April & May; March can be very hot & humid in some of the northern areas & can be the tail end of the cyclone season in the far north. FNQ - Far North Queensland, is a term you might hear/see. That's more or less Cairns & above (North)

First time anywhere is always exciting and challenging & unless we have a specific place/activity/ event as a focus, it can be really tricky to work out where to start - let alone refine the details!

Could I suggest you get a good paper map of Australia? Online is all very well, but somehow it doesn't really give the idea of distance between places - and that's important here. Australia.com is a very good website for an overview - and each State & Territory has its own Tourism website, too.

I wouldn't necessarily discount Uluru and the Red Centre with little ones. Friends have a 4 year old and a now 18mths old and they go bushwalking & camping with them a lot. Those boys have been on their parents backs & in papoose carriers since they were born! It does depend on the individuals of course, but you might be pleasantly surprised.

That said, I can see you having a really wonderful trip on either the Sydney-Melbourne-Great Ocean Road or the Brisbane-Cairns route. You just need to get off the main roads a little to see the special bits. And in your case, I think a campervan/motor home with the mix of motels & caravan parks you've envisaged would work well.

If you decided to go south - (Sydney - Melbourne), you might choose March as it will still be warm enough to swim. There are some wonderful beaches on the South Coast, charming small towns, wineries with good restaurants. And Canberra, our Capital City is well worth a couple of days. There is more than enough to interest you and a couple of "little kid" places, too.
Have a look at NSW South Coast and Canberra websites.

That's not to discount the Brisbane - Cairns drive. Lots of people think it's dull & boring - which it can be. Doesn't have to be. If you go North, I'd probably leave it until April.

I have to go out now, but will unearth my maps and trip notes in the next few days and come back with some ideas.

I'm yet to get to Switzerland, but we had very good friends from Zurich when I was a child and they loved visiting our sheep & cattle station. The closest I've been yet is a few years ago, when driving from Verona to Milan, I took a couple of interesting small roads that went up, up & up & when I stopped to ask directions in my very inadequate Italian, found I was just about on the Swiss border! It's on my "wish list"!
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