Australia with children – The best New South Wales and Queensland have to offer family travellers Part 3/3

Australia with children – Our east-coast road trip!


To put it simply, we loved Sydney. You’ll find much culture and entertainment, colonial history, a fantastic variety of cuisine and of course some of the best city beaches! What a great time we had with Niko at Bronti, Tamarama and Bondi beach! We were amazed by the beauty of this Coastal Walk. If it wasn’t for the weather we would have visited the famous Manly beach as well.

Sydney is one of our favourite “big” cities on our around the world trip.  
Opera House in Sydney

Of course we coudn’t miss a visit to the iconic Sydney Harbour, home to the equaly famous Harbour Bridge and the architectural masterpiece, the Opera House. If you think of Australia, I bet the image of the Opera House is in the top 3 images you will think of. In fact, The Opera house earned itself status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. We also took a stroll in the 30 acre Botanical Gardens. It’s a must!

While the climb over the Harbour Bridge is rather expensive ($200pp) you can still enjoy amazing city views while crossing the bridge on foot or car, which we did.

Sydney on foot

We love to discover cities on foot, so we walked everywhere. We spent some time by The Rocks, a destinct central area of narrow cobblestoned laneways full of galleries, restaurants, and boutiques.
We also walked through the grand Centennial Park, and discovered Oxford street in Paddington referred to by locals as “Paddo”. It is one of the most historically rich, culturally vibrant spots in Sydney with many shops, cafés, bars and a popular open-air market held every Saturday.

Austin and Martin in Sydney by Bronti beach

Friends are essential

While in Sydney, we stayed at a homey residential area, Alexandria close to the bohemian King street, home to many students, artists and the gay community. Here you can expect to see much colour and greenery, small yet quirky businesses as well as affordable and eclectic cuisine.
If you’re traveling to Australia with children, finding affordable accommodations is challenging, so do your research well in advance. We were lucky to be staying with Austin and Amie, our friends, who opened up their home and hearts to us with home cooked, gourmet meals, great wine and an invaluable perspective on Australia. They also helped us tremendously in preparing our road trip which made it so much more memorable!
Amie and Austin – Thank you so much! If you’re ever in Canada, we hope you’ll look us up!

Our road trip highlights … of the 2000 kilometer stretch from Sydney to Airlie Beach.

New South Wales

Nelson Bay

Out here, you can expect calm and safe beaches, plenty of water activities such as snorkelling and diving and lots of sun and surf. Niko really enjoyed the Nelson Head Heritage Lighthouse and Reserve.

Port Macquarie coast in NSW

Port Macquarie

Although we stopped at this location only for a few hours, we enjoyed the view of the stunning coastline. Many tourists relax by the river or take a boat tour and shop for arts and crafts in this charming little town. If you have time, do visit the Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park as well as the Sea Acres National Park and Rainforest Centre. Your kids will have an unforgettable time!

Byron Bay and Ballina

This is yet another one of our preferred destinations on our RTW tour of eastern Australia.
Australia - New South Wales - Byron Bay

If you’re a backpacker or a surfer, then you can call this paradise! You’ll find many twenty-somethings heading out here to surf, socialize and simply have a good time. We enjoyed celebrating Australia Day along with the locals and tourists who seemed to love the laid back atmosphere of the seaside. It is here we celebrated Australia Day with the locals and I have the shirt to prove it!

Byron Bay - Australia

Up at the lighthouse, on the most eastern parts of Australia’s mainland, we enjoyed the breathtaking views of the coast. It really is a worthy destination! To relax, you can either hang out by the beach or visit the local watering holes for a drink. Accommodations can be expensive, that is why we stayed at Ballina, a more cost-effective option just 30 minutes away.



Although it poured nonstop while we were there, this laid-back and welcoming city has quite a bit to offer. This cosmopolitan city (and the third largest in Australia) has world-class art galleries, a growing live music scene and a great café culture.

Noosa Heads

This charming, low-rise, relaxed and leafy town is another top destination, especially if you’re in Australia with kids. Noosa Heads not only has amazing beaches but it also hosts a population of koalas, which are spotted in and around the National Park. We stopped over for 3 days during our eastern discovery trip and enjoyed every minute of it!

Noosa Heads Australia Queensland


Rockhampton lies on the Tropic of Capricorn, officially marking the geographic border of 23 degrees

Tropic of Capricorn - Australia

south where the sun always shines approximately the same length of time all year-long. The town is also the capital of cattle and sheep growers, quite similar to Calgary, Canada or Texas in the USA. It is an interesting rest stop.

Airlie Beach and Whitsunday Islands

This is a breathtaking, must-see place if you’re in Australia with children!
This was our last destination on the East coast before moving on to New Zealand.

Airlie Beach Lagoon

just perfect for kids. Airlie Beach doesn’t really have a beach per se and the fear of the stingers is quite great for most of the Summer season. These natural-looking pools offer a perfect spot for sunbathing and amazing area for kids to play in the shallows.

Whitehaven Beach

The Whitsunday Island beaches have powder white sands (98 percent pure silica) and sparkling, turquoise clear waters.

Whitheaven Beach - Australia's Best Beach

Not only has it been voted as one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches but also most eco-friendly. In fact, the sand is so pure that NASA used it to make glass for the optics of the Hubble Telescope. But don’t think of taking some sand away with you unless you’re willing to pay a fine of about 28K:), as shared with us by one of the tour guides. (read: unverified but a good story nonetheless)

You’ll love the experience of swimming among baby sharks in these warm and pristine waters. Get a stinger suit, so you won’t get stung by a box jellyfish or a stingray. Don’t forget your snorkelling gear!

Great Barrier Reef

While in Airlie Beach, you can easily book to sail the Whitsundays to the world’s largest coral reef; Great Barrier Reef (GBR) which is over 2,400km long.
No wonder, the GBR is one of the Natural Wonders of the World.

Diving in Great Barrier Reef Australia

It’s so grand that it visible from the earth’s orbit unlike the popular myth of views of the Great Wall of China. I loved my day-long diving experience at the reef and came away with most amazing memories and new knowledge.

Our time here was relaxing yet exciting and we were pampered by excellent accommodations which offered the most delightful views of the great blue sea. We’re certainly looking forward to coming back to this vibrant country!

Australia with Children – Travel Tips

  • Australia is expensive – it took a toll on our budget. It is as expensive as Switzerland or Japan so be mindful when you prepare your budget. We met a few people who had to shorten their trip due to budget constraints. Use services like or last minute flash deals to save!
  • Activities for kids – Check out the local tourism website to find listing of latest events for kids or locations of kids attractions or just ask a parent at the local playground as there are plenty!
  • Accommodations at hostels are not necessarily the best option – Parents take note. Hostels charge per person, usually 25-40 pp/night, so a stay for a family of 3 or 4 can cost more than a stay at a mediocre hotel. Some people opt for camping, others for camper vans but these are not as cheap as we would have hoped. If you find accommodations for a family for $100 you are doing well..
  • Internet is slow and expensive – most hotels charge extra for internet and it is not very fast nor reliable. Get a sim card with data plan (we found a good plan at the Woolworth’s supermarket) and use it with your unlocked smart phone. A good bet is hooking up to a free wifi connection at Mc Donald’s. Some city centres also have free wi-fi spots.
  • Australia is empty and huge – We flew three times to cover the largest distances in Australia from Perth – Darwin – Sydney and then from Airlie Beach and still managed to drive over 5000 km in 5 weeks. You can expect many stretches without seeing other cars especially in the North. So, be prepared. Get maps, lots of water, food, sunscreen, cell phone and GPS.
  • Sun in Australia – On many summer days the UV index reaches the maximum levels of 12+ (normal is around 6) so, be sun-smart. Cover up and use appropriate sunscreen. You will notice many warning signs in Australia in regards to sun safety!
  • Check out the Tourist Office – Australia has one of the best developed tourist infrastructures in the world. The information centres are very informative with excellent maps, guides, deals and helpful staff to assist you with planning your journey. It’s free too.

Robust cities, beautiful beach life and awesome surf and diving. What else can you ask for? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Here are some of our photos from this trip:

Here are some of our photos from New South Wales and Queensland in Australia:

Trip Pulse: Australia Part 1/3 – Western Australia with Kids

Australia with Kids – One can travel indefinitely here

Our RTW trip brought us to a five week adventure in Australia, a truly interesting and welcoming country with breathtaking beauty. Known for crocs, poisonous toads, sharks, flying boomerangs and Aboriginal culture – we, like most people were very intrigued by this distant land.

We loved the 35,876 km coastline which offered sun, sea and surf in abundance! Apart from the lively beach culture, Aussies love their cricket, footy (Australian football) and Vegemite, extremely salty and savoury taste made from yeast extract.

Austin and Amie – a big thank you from us three! Your warmth and hospitality was reflective of Australia’s open and welcoming nature to travellers. Speaking of ‘nature’, we experienced some really heavy downpour on the East Coast.

Western Australia – Awe-inspiring beauty and extraordinary experiences

If you’re visiting Australia with children, you’ll love it! From Singapore, we headed to Perth, an isolated city, home to circa 1.7 million people but quite far from the hustle and bustle of the country’s bigger cities. Blessed by the Fremantle Doctor (west southerly wind), this location resembles Southern California for its beautiful beachside drives, excellent infrastructure and affluent society.

Western Australia Piers

We met some very friendly folk like Maryellen and Oli at Mullaloo Beach and Finn and Jon (fellow couchsurfers) who shared with us some invaluable tips about Australia and their own travel experiences. Thank you for inviting us!


Keep in mind that Perth is quite far from other locations worth visiting (a day’s drive at times). This is important to note, especially if you’re planning to be in Australia with kids.

Western Australia Dinner with Couchsurfing friends

We drove past the amazing sand dunes of Lancelin, have seen the Pinnacles (unreal  limestone formations) in the Nambung National Park, experienced the Margaret River one of Australia’s most important wine regions and walked on a 2 km long Busselton Jetty – which happens to be the longest wooden pier in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are tons of other attractions and experiences like wine tasting in which you can indulge if you have more time. 

Our journey brought us to Cape Leeuwin (most south-westerly mainland point of the Australian Continent, 18,500 km away from Toronto. This was the furthest point from home on our journey.

Western Australia Cape Leeuwin

It was worth to go this far as we enjoyed every moment, Western Australia is as big and interesting as one’s imagination.

Australia with Children – Never a dull moment!


We headed out to Lancelin which is a small fishing village popular for jeep tours on sand dunes. People often surf these dunes on modified surf boards. Niko enjoyed running around on the dunes, slipping and sliding along the way.

Western Australia Lancelin Sand dunes

He also enjoyed bike riding in Perth and the many playgrounds in the region. Apart from the white sand beaches, Niko loved the Whiteman Park in the Swan Valley and the Caversham Wildlife Park.

Things to Keep in Mind – Travel tips for Western Australia

If you’re in Australia on your round the world trip it’s best to rent a car as organized tours are rather expensive. You can get a detailed map and suggested travel itineraries at any tourist information centres that dot the country. However, if you’re planning a road trip, book your accommodations well in advance, so you can take a break in-between those long drives.

Western Australia delivered all that it had promised and more!

If you have similar adventures from Western Australia, please share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Here are some of our photos from our Western Australia:

Malaysia Part 2 – Langkawi NYE on our Around the World Voyage with Niko.

Our around the world voyage brings us to Langkawi where we welcome the new year in style!

During our trip to Malaysia we headed to Langkawi Island which is a short three hour boat ride from Penang. Also known as the ‘land of one’s wishes’, Langkawi is the laid back cousin of tourist-oriented Penang. This archipelago of 99 islands offers breathtaking white sand beaches, comfortably warm yet murky waters, amazing mountain-top views and beautiful waterfalls. Most of our stay was centered on Panai Cenang Beach.

Langkawi Beaches 2012

Living life island style

With the sun, surf, yummy seafood and cheap beer – this really is paradise! (Langkawi is a duty free island) We ate prawns that weighed over 500 grams! Can you believe that? There’s lot of other delicious cuisine ranging from Malaysian, Indian, Middle Eastern and even organic. When you travel with kids it helps to find a wide range of food!

Langkawi delights (Malaysia) - Around the World with Kid

We rented out a car and it took us only five hours to get around the island as there was surprisingly very little traffic. It was an exhilarating ride as we got a chance to explore some beautiful beaches such as Tanjung Rhu and Pantai Kok as well as some waterfalls such as Air Terjun Temurun. Don’t forget to carry cash as there are only a few ATMs on the island and they may decide to stop working on the same day! Yes, that happened on our third day there.

Beach bound New Year’s bash

Living like locals, we celebrated New Year’s Eve on the beach amidst airborne lanterns and spectacular fireworks. When you travel with children you’ll enjoy all the little things as well. On seeing the splendid (but little loud and scary) fireworks display, Niko said ‘Thank you fireworks for going boom high up in the sky!’ With bright bonfires and little tea-lights in beach holes spelling ‘2012’, there was certainly magic in the air. We felt blessed to welcome the New Year in such a joyous and relaxed atmosphere.

Langkawi NYE 2012

Things to do with kids on Langkawi – Niko finds fun and friends on the beach!

Travel with kids is always fun but it was also nice to see him being independent and making friends on the beach. He really had a blast building and breaking sandcastles and frolicking in the warm waters. The Langkawi Underwaterworld was another hot favourite and I’m guessing he wanted to stay a lot longer! During New Year’s he loved his new glow-in-the-dark shooting arrows which we bought from the vendor on the beach.

Making our way to Melaka

For a different experience on our round the world trip we decided to take the 14 hour night bus ride to Melaka, a colonial trading post of the English, Portuguese and the Dutch. Although we didn’t get much sleep on the bus, we headed out bright and early to explore this World Heritage Site. You’ll find a strong colonial influence in this location especially in the architecture. We loved walking down the narrow alleys of the heritage centre at No 8 Heeren Street which were filled with art and antique shops running along the river bank. With beautiful sights, affordable street food and communal harmony, Melaka is a worthy stop-over destination even when you travel with children.

Flower Bikes in Melaka

A bucketful of Malaysian memories

Due to the monsoons, we were unable to visit the amazing Perhentian Islands beaches, Borneo and neighbouring beautiful Sipadan island. However, we’re happy that we have a reason to return to this wonderful and culturally rich country. We’re continuing on our round the world trip and carrying away happy memories of this Asian delight. What a great way to spend Christmas and New Year! We’ll cherish these experiences for a life time.

If you have similar or relevant around the world with children adventures, please share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Here are some of our photos from our Langkawi and Melaka trip:

To see all pictures from our Malaysia voyage, please go to here

Part 1 – Malaysia on our Around the World Voyage with Niko.

Christmas –  Far away from home yet enjoyable on our around the world trip.

Our around the world voyage brought us to the kingdom of Malaysia, a country that exemplifies beauty in diversity. You’ll see a riot of differences in dress, cuisine, music and rituals yet there’s an underlying bond that brings different ethnic groups together to truly reflect their motto ‘Unity is Strength’.

Kuala Lumpur - New and Old together - Merdeka Square

Malaysia is a perfect fusion of ethnicities, cultures, religions and landscapes and we thoroughly enjoyed every aspect that makes this country truly Asia! Once under colonial influence of Portugal, Holland and Britain, today, Malaysia stands free and houses close to 30 million people.

The Exciting Capital City of Kuala Lumpur

We were happy to spend our Christmas holidays in Kuala Lumpur on our around the world trip. As one of the Top 10 most visited cities in the world with almost two million people, we came across different ethnic groups such as Malaysian, Chinese and Indian;

Highest twin buildings in the world Petronas Towers

all living in harmony. Once a young tin mining town, Kuala Lumpur has grown to become a huge metropolis, popular for its towering skyscrapers like the Petronas Towers. The largest in Southeast Asia, these towers were inspired by Muslim architecture.

The name of the city comes from its two Gombak Klang Rivers and you’ll see the beautiful Jamek Mosque at its confluence. When you travel with kids, you’re almost always looking for places to eat! We headed to Jalan Alor for a grand Christmas feast, which featured delicious Thai style fried fish. Simply awesome! The street food is affordable and very tasty. If you’re in the city, do take a stroll through the central market and visit Masjid Negara (National Mosque), which can hold up to 15,000 people.

The Architectural Delight of Georgetown and Penang

A world heritage site showcasing colonial architecture and unique cultural diversity, Georgetown is one of Malaysia’s richest regions and is well-developed and very tourist friendly. Penang (Malaysia) Temple You can easily get around town using local transportation, or walk (as we like to do) taking in the historical and architectural sites around town. You’ll find it easy and economical to travel with children as many of the attractions are highly subsidized.

If you’re looking for scrumptious cuisine, head to Little India. We loved the naan!

Amazing Indian cuisine in Kuala Lumpur

The city has other equally good places to dine out and the food at hawker stalls is especially tasty and cheap. Many tourists come here to enjoy the sun and sand but we didn’t think the beaches were that big of an attraction. However, a real sight to behold would be the Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple, which is not only the largest in Southeast Asia but also one of the most interesting and beautiful.

Malaysia offers plenty of things to see and do for kids

Travel with kids is easy if you can keep them occupied! In Kuala Lumpur, Niko loved the Planetarium and especially the walk in a ‘no gravity room’. The Christmas festivities included as always a happy Santa, plenty of presents and balloons that lasted for days! The temples at Penang were equally entertaining and Niko was very impressed!

Kuala Lumpur Planetarium (Malaysia)

A Well-Developed Malaysia with So Much to Offer

If you’re planning to travel with children, take the free tourist bus in Penang which takes you by all the major attractions. However, if you want to take your time at the attractions, you can opt for public transportation or buses which are quite inexpensive.

Malaysia welcomed us with true Asian hospitality. Even when so far away from home we managed to celebrate Christmas and truly enjoy it with a mini Christmas tree and symbolic gifts. The country’s friendly locals and delicious cuisine made this location a home away from home.

If you have similar or relevant around the world with children adventures, please share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Here are some of our photos from our Malaysia trip:

To see all pictures from our Malaysia voyage, please go to here