Australia Family Vacation: Beaches and Wildlife

This Australia family vacation was planned for a family with young children from New Jersey who wanted a family trip of a lifetime to see the highlights of Australia in a family-friendly way.  So we planned this Australia beach vacation that was perfect for the young or the young-at-heart.  They started in Brisbane where the kids got to cuddle koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  And then onto Lamington National Park, where a special guide introduced the family to the elusive Australian Quoll and they got to enjoy the views of the landscapes from their Mountain View Room.  After that they flew to Cairns and traveled to Port Douglas where they took a boat cruise to the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel with fish and coral.  They even got to see Reef Sharks!  Their last stop on this Australia family vacation, they went to Sydney.  This whole itinerary kept the whole family entertained at a relaxed pace. The best part of the trip was the overnight experience at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, Roar and Snore, where they got a behind-the-scenes tours after the tourists all went home and they had a sumptuous roast feast! Suggested Length: 13 Days

Perfect for
Starting at $4899 per person
Suggested Length 13 days
Our Reference D140

Day 1
Arrive in Brisbane early this morning and pick up your station wagon. You’re ready for adventure in the state of Queensland! Head first to downtown Brisbane for a tranquil retreat in the city center, right on Kangaroo Point. Every apartment has a courtyard or balcony where you can be amazed by the beautiful lush garden or river view. Spend the afternoon at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and get a photo of yourself and the kids holding a koala! Located just outside Brisbane, the sanctuary is one of the only places in the world where you can actually cuddle a koala and feed a kangaroo.
3-star hotel in Brisbane

Day 2
Today, head over to Australia Zoo, which is the most famous zoo in Australia and founded by the “Crocodile Hunter,” Steve Irwin. We invite you to experience exclusive behind-the-scenes animal encounters and the undivided attention of our animals and their expert handlers. You will go where very few guests have the opportunity to go, and you are guaranteed a day of fun, discovery a hands-on experience that you will never forget.
3-star hotel in Brisbane

Day 3
Drive 2.5 hours into the hinterlands today to Lamington National Park. Regularly referred to as “Queensland’s National Park,” it has world heritage status in recognition of its high biodiversity from temperate Beech forest to sub-tropical rainforest to dry eucalyptus forest. You can also enjoy over 160 species of birds, as well as reptiles, frogs, mammals and invertebrates at Lamington. Your accommodations are at the heart of Lamington in a two-bedroom suite.
3.5-star retreat in Lamington National Park

Days 4-5
Days at leisure in Lamington National Park to enjoy all that this rainforested retreat has to offer. View glow worms on moist rainforest banks, splash around in a cool mountain pool in the summer, watch a peregrine falcon dive, try a hike from easy to challenging, fly through the rainforest along a “Flying Fox,” or try your hand at dozens of other activities. There’s plenty to do for the whole family here!
3.5-star retreat in Lamington National Park

Day 6
Drive back to Brisbane and then fly to Cairns near the tropical northern beaches with the Great Barrier Reef alongside. Travel by private transfer about 25 minutes north of Cairns to one of the most spectacular beaches, Palm Cove. This laid-back seaside village has spas, restaurants, and relaxing sand and surf. You’ll have a two-bedroom apartment in a hotel right on the beach with a lagoon-style swimming pool.
4-star resort in Palm Cove

Day 7
Enjoy a full day today out on the Great Barrier Reef with a small group for reef interpretation and a guided snorkel tour. You’ll be transported to three spectacular sites on the edge of the Outer Great Barrier Reef at Milln, Pellowe, Flynn or Thetford reefs. The snorkeling advisor teaches current use of the equipment and snorkeling techniques. Dedicated snorkel crew provide personal in-water assistance and flotation devices for beginners, while the more experienced snorkeler can enjoy unrestricted exploration of spectacular drop-offs and coral pinnacles. Snorkeling is the easiest way to enjoy the colors and variety of fragile corals and fish life found in the shallow lagoons. Or, if you have your certification, you may Scuba dive at these fabulous locations.
4-star resort in Palm Cove

Day 8
Today is reserved for absolute leisure on the beach in Palm Cove. Optional additional activities include: Horseback riding, ATV tours, whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, day tours to Daintree Rainforest (a UNESCO world heritage site), spa treatments for the parents, or exploring Palm Cove on foot. Alternative beach locations include Tangalooma Resort where you can hand-feed wild dolphins, which is not located on the Great Barrier Reef.
4-star resort in Palm Cove

Day 9
Fly far south today to Sydney, where people from around the world come to play. Sydney is iconic in every way — the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the zoos and lively neighborhoods, Darling Harbour — all of it is delightful and worth thorough exploration. Cosmopolitan and well landscaped, Sydney is a feast for the eyes with plenty to offer everyone from animal lovers to adrenaline junkies. Your hotel has a two-bedroom apartment within steps of Circular Quay, the Botanical Gardens, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House — nearby it all.
4-star hotel in downtown Sydney

Day 10
Today you’ll join a small group as you cycle around Sydney’s major sites on a bike tour, introducing you Sydney’s icons. Your expert guide will escort you to the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour (right next to the yachts themselves), Darling Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens (including the Flying Foxes), Hyde Park, the Anzac War Memorial, Chinatown, Sydney Tower Eye, Parliament House, Queen Victoria Building, and plenty more great attractions. You’ll even stop at a pub for a pint (or a soda) at the half-way point through this four-hour tour, but not for long, because there is so much to see!
4-star hotel in downtown Sydney

Day 11
The daytime is yours at leisure today. Optional additional activities include: seeing one of Sydney’s many lively beaches, trying a surf lesson, enjoying a scenic helicopter flight over the city, heading out for a day tour to the Blue Mountains, viewing the city from above on the Sydney Tower Eye or the Harbour BridgeClimb (age 10 and up), or a scenic harbour cruise. This evening is something special… you’ll spend the night at Taronga Zoo, a fun ferry ride away from downtown. Camp in safari tents, enjoy a sumptuous roast feast, and close-up animal encounters. You have the unique opportunity to stay in their campsite with views of Sydney Harbour on one side and lions, snow leopards, and meerkats on the other.
Safari tent at Taronga Zoo

Day 12
Wake up to a glorious sunrise, the roar of a lion or the trumpet of an elephant as you prepare to experience the zoo before the crowds arrive. Feed a giraffe or pet a seal as you go behind the scenes to learn the secrets of this famous and fascinating zoo. Then it’s back to downtown Sydney to spend the rest of the day at leisure, from around 10:00am onwards. Make sure you do the last of your souvenir shopping and view the last of the sights today, because tomorrow it’ll be time to head home!
4-star hotel in downtown Sydney

Day 13
Your flight today will take you back to the USA, your whole family wide-eyed and bursting with knowledge and new experiences to take back home to friends.

  • 2 nights Brisbane
  • 2 nights Lamington National Park
  • 3 nights Palm Cove
  • 3 nights Sydney
  • 1 night Taronga Zoo
  • Private airport transfers
  • 2 days rental car
  • Koala cuddling, Lone Pine Sanctuary
  • Great Barrier Reef snorkel cruise
  • Bike tour of Sydney
  • Tours of Taronga Zoo
  • 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
  • 24-hour local assistance for all your needs while traveling
  • Visa processing for US citizens