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Australian Vacation

My family and I will be spending Christmas and New Years in Australia. We fly to Melbourne for 4 days before heading to Brisbane for three days. We finish in Sydney to celebrate New Years for 5 days.

My question is, what are the “must see” in each spot. My daughter is 10. I’d like to mix a few family friendly things in as well.


Posted by
13211 posts

I don’t have much to suggest other than taking the ferry over to Manley for half a day when you are in Sydney.

Start looking for your lodging in Sydney now. New Years’ is very popular there and prices can go sky high. You will have a better chance of finding something reasonable if you start now.

Posted by
272 posts

A good family friendly place to visit in Sydney is Taronga Zoo. This can be reached by ferry from Circular Quay. It has both overseas and native wildlife and excellent views of the Harbour as a bonus.

I agree that if you have not booked accommodation in Sydney yet, then book it as soon as possible, because for Sydney hotels, AirBnbs etc, News Year's Eve is their biggest event of the year. This is when prices are at their highest.

Posted by
6793 posts

We really enjoyed the Victoria Market in Melbourne.

Posted by
313 posts

Brisbane: I believe there is a koala sanctuary outside of Brisbane. The south bank area offers a lot We also did a day trip to O'Reilly's in the Lamington National Park. Had lorikeets eating out of my hand and sitting on my head. Our children (aged 10 and 13 at the time), were sort of happy to hang out in the apartment we had rented. They did like the river ferry system which is quite efficient.

Melbourne: The Old Melbourne Gaol peaked their interested, but might not be appropriate or interesting for your 10 year old. We were there in winter, so our interests were different.

Sydney: Husband and kids stayed in the Rocks area. Went to one of the beaches. I caught up with them just in time to fly to Cairns.

I would do some research as to what is in each city. We've held koalas, daughter held a wombat. We drove a campervan from Cairns to Brisbane.

Suggest purchasing a Lonely Planet or other guide. Or checking some out of your local library.

Australia is wonderful! We are planning on going back in 2020.

Posted by
13211 posts

I really enjoyed the Sydney aquarium and I believe a 10-year-old would too.

Another recommendation would be a swim in the Andrew "Boy" Charleton outdoor saltwater pool right on the harbour, near the Royal Botanical Gardens. It is well worth the small admission price. It is a 50-meter pool, which I had never encountered before.

Posted by
5630 posts

Blue Mountains
Harbor cruise
City tour that also goes to Bondi Beach
Australian Museum


City tour
Great Ocean Highway
Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Posted by
1437 posts

Does your 10-year-old daughter like cats?
If yes, then she should find out about Trim the cat.
Trim was born in 1799 on board the HMS Reliance. In the company of Matthew Flinders, he had many adventures and is Australia’s most famous feline.
One of the things that she can do is find the Trim the cat statue: it’s on the window ledge of the Mitchell Library in Sydney (which even sells Trim the cat souvenirs). Flinders wrote a book about his feline friend’s extraordinary life, as together they put Australia on the map.

Posted by
33 posts

We were in Cairns and Sydney June 10-20 and loved our trip!
I can give you some tips about Sydney.
First of all, we feel like staying in the Rocks was the best choice since it had so much restaurant choices, easy transportation and only 10-15min walk to Sydney Opera House.

We stayed in this VRBO.
We had the view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the Master bedroom and it was only 5 mins away from the Bridge Climb if you choose to do it! It's not scary...I think 10 y.o would be fine!

I highly recommend doing a private tour of Sydney on the your first full day. We did it and it was amazing.
Scott was so professional, picked up right on time and took us to all the place can imagine! I was able to visit about 10 of my bucket list from this private tour, and it would have been very hard to do that on your own.
You are NOT rushed at all and they are very FLEXIBLE with the day. We did the full day tour and highly recommend it. Scott also helped us with so much helpful hints on how to plan the rest of our stay in Sydney.
Check out their reviews...they are awesome.

Hope this is helpful. Have a great time!

Posted by
21 posts

Bridge Climb in Sydney!!!! You get a great view atop the bridge!!! I highly enjoyed it!!!

Up Brisbane way - Australia Zoo!!!

Posted by
1 posts

I am a Sydney-sider who has travelled to all the places on your list to well qualified to provide you some options.

In Melbourne first thing you need to do is a walking tour with:
This will get you orientated and give you wonderful background and bearings on the city.
Then visit Queen Victoria Market and get some food and souvenirs...!!
A day trip choice you will need to make from Melbourne is to go west to the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean road (scenery) or East to Phillip Island for the Penguin parade (animals).... It's a full day/evening for each so choose according to your desires..

In Brisbane a great day trip is to head north to the Australia Zoo but also take in the sights of the Sunshine Coast....(More beautiful than the Gold Coast). A great team to help you with transfers is here:

In Sydney get yourself orientated with a half day city tour with this experienced company: .
Then once orientated you need to get on Sydney Harbour..... Try the ferry journey to Manly, Balmain, or Watsons Bay.
Sydney is great for walking also... Try a Rocks walking tour:
or the famous Bondi to Coogee walk:

Luna Park
is great for young ones... as is Australian museum if there is rainy weather:

Enjoy our wonderful country.....
Sydney-sider Bevan

Posted by
5630 posts

While in Melbourne, I highly recommend a two day tour that we took to see the Great Ocean Road and the Phillip Island Penguin Parade.

Also, we did the full day tour of Melbourne that included a river cruise and lunch on a trolley.

In Sydney, I recommend going to the Blue Mountains, climbing the famous bridge (not the expensive bridge climb, but the tower climb). Also, a harbor cruise, the Australian Museum, see an opera at the opera house, a city tour that includes the beach and the Botanical Gardens.

We did a day in Brisbane, not sure that I would spend three days there.

Posted by
2 posts

Me and my family are planning a first-time visit to Australia on December. I can't wait!