If you’re planning a NSW holiday with kids, you’ll have plenty of great destinations to choose from year-round. Some of Australia’s best family holiday spots can be found in NSW, from whale watching in Byron Bay to exploring an outback town in Lightning Ridge. Summertime family getaways in NSW range from coastal towns like Bermagui to Port Macquarie and Lord Howe Island. You can head to the Snowy Mountains for wintertime attractions for families in NSW, like skiing, snow tubing and snowshoeing.
1. Go whale watching in Byron Bay
As a popular holiday spot on the far northeastern corner of the state, Byron Bay offers plenty of attractions for families in NSW. You can check out the historic Cape Byron Lighthouse with its maritime museum or hang out on one of the multiple family-friendly beaches. Byron Bay is especially popular for its surfable waves and seasonal whale-watching opportunities. Nature lovers won’t want to miss the nearby rainforests and the hiking opportunities in Nightcap National Park to Minyon Falls.
2. Take a seaside family getaway in NSW to Bermagui and Montague Island
Bermagui sits on the southern shores of Horseshoe Bay, on the south coast of NSW. This sleepy seaside town has tons to offer families on holiday, from deep-sea and game fishing to water sports, fresh seafood and plenty of natural beauty. Take a dip in the clear waters of the famed Blue Pool and check out natural landmarks like Horsehead Rock and Camel Rock. You can incorporate a guided tour or overnight stay on nearby Montague Island, a protected nature reserve that houses hundreds of seals and diverse bird species.
3. Look for black opals in Lightning Ridge
If you’re looking for a unique spot to holiday in NSW with kids, check out the cosy outback town of Lightning Ridge. Settled into the desert in the northwestern park of NSW, Lightning Ridge is famous for the area’s naturally occurring black opals, celebrated at the annual Opal and Gem Festival. Tours are available in the Big Opal Underground Mine, and the gems can be viewed alongside fossils at the Australian Opal Centre. You can visit the quirky Amigo’s Castle, a heritage-listed castle, or take a dip in the Artesian Bore Baths, a set of naturally occurring heated thermal baths.
4. Visit the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie
The coastal town of Port Macquarie sits against the blue waters of the Tasman Sea on the North Coast of NSW. Family-friendly beaches make this a popular spot for weekend getaways, with seaside destinations like the Tacking Point Lighthouse and the Sea Acres Rainforest Center. You can check out the animals housed at Billabong Zoo or take a guided tour of the Koala Hospital and visit their koala patients. For regional history exhibits, you can head to the Port Macquarie Museum and the Mid North Coast Maritime Museum.
5. Go hiking through a rainforest in Dorrigo
Dorrigo offers some of the best family holidays in NSW for nature lovers, as it's adjacent to the rainforest wilderness of Dorrigo National Park. This small town is located in northern NSW along Waterfall Way and offers a rich local history with heritage-listed buildings, museums and memorials. Within Dorrigo National Park, you can enjoy scenic hiking trails to landmarks like the picturesque Dangar Falls and go birdwatching on the elevated treetop Skywalk. Be sure to visit Dorrigo National Park’s Rainforest Centre for interactive exhibits and regional history on the park.
6. Enjoy a coastal family getaway in NSW at Port Stephens
Port Stephens is a seaside community and large natural harbour in NSW’s Hunter Region, adjacent to the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park. The area draws families from all over NSW to enjoy the region’s beautiful beaches, diverse marine life and plentiful water sports and activities. Camping sites are available on some Port Stephens beaches. Among the top family attractions is the Oakvale Wildlife Park, which offers diverse collections of animal residents and a kid-friendly water park.
7. Go skiing and snow tubing in the Snowy Mountains
For winter sports and alpine activities, you can head to Snowy Mountains, the highest mountain range in Australia. The Snowies are located in the southern part of NSW, with plenty of natural snowfall occurring each winter. You’ll find tons of spots for family fun in the Snowy Mountains, from NSW family ski resorts with skiing and snowboarding to snow tubing runs and snowshoeing trails. Local companies offer unique adventure tours through the mountains, with options like horseback riding along picturesque snow-covered trails.
8. Hike to a towering waterfall at Fitzroy Falls
In the Southern Highlands region, you’ll find NSW attractions for families in spots like Fitzroy Falls, a cosy village named after the spectacular waterfall in the nearby Morton National Park. You can start your adventure at the Fitzroy Falls Visitor’s Centre for regional history and geology exhibits, then hike along the wildflower walk on the park’s East Rim. There are picnic facilities overlooking the towering Fitzroy Falls, as well as popular hiking and cycling trails. Be on the lookout for local wildlife spotting opportunities in the park, from kangaroos and wallabies to diverse native bird species.
9. Relax on the sandy beaches of Lord Howe Island
If you’re looking for an idyllic island holiday with kids in NSW, Lord Howe Island offers plenty of tropical relaxation and family fun. This small island in the Tasman Sea is located just east of Port Macquarie, atop the remains of a long-extinct volcano. The Lord Howe Island group is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering a mix of wilderness forests, rich volcanic ecosystems and coral reef-filled waters. Family activities range from scuba diving and snorkelling to hiking and cycling, birdwatching and playing on the beach.
10. Explore the Wombeyan Caves near Taralga
Taralga is a small village near the Wombeyan Caves located in the Southern Tablelands of NSW. The village itself offers heritage-listed sites and historically significant buildings, plus plenty of small-town charm in local boutiques, restaurants and shops. Within the Wombeyan Caves, you’ll find hiking opportunities through the beautiful marble caves. Outside the caves, you can enjoy forested hiking trails, campsites, waterfalls, and creeks. This region is a conservation area with protected endangered species, so be sure to give local wildlife plenty of space, and don’t feed the animals.
11. Go wild in Dubbo at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Dubbo is a great place for an urban family getaway in NSW, with attractions to appeal to kids of any age. The city of Dubbo is located in NSW’s Orana Region, just off the Macquarie River. You can set out on foot or by vehicle to explore the popular Taronga Western Plains Zoo, which houses hundreds of animals in a lush zoological park. For Aboriginal cultural tours, you can head to the Terramungamine Reserve, and you can visit the Dubbo Observatory for stargazing opportunities. Additional attractions in Dubbo include the Old Dubbo Gaol, the Western Plains Cultural Centre and the Dundullimal Homestead.
12. Camp in Barrington Tops on a NSW holiday with kids
Barrington Tops is a National Park in Hunter Valley, NSW, roughly 193 kilometres north of Sydney. Campgrounds and nature trails can be found throughout the park’s diverse landscape, with ecological areas to explore that range from subtropical rainforests to alpine regions on mountain peaks. As you explore Barrington Tops National Park, you might catch a glimpse of local wildlife, from owls and kangaroos to kookaburras, echidnas and colourful birds. Local companies also offer adventure tours in the park, including kayaking, mountain biking and abseiling.