Australia and the other long-haul destinations of New Zealand and its fellow South Pacific islands (collectively known as Oceania) are generally best left for when the kids are a bit older due to the lengthy flights, jet-lag and expense. However, once you’ve arrived, there’s a wide choice of family-friendly accommodation suited to all budgets, and in Australia and New Zealand a lot of scope for motorhoming holidays.
This vast country has something to appeal to all members of the family, from bustling cities to stunning beaches or tropical rainforest – and that’s just Sydney! From fabulous eco-resorts to campervanning or epic train journeys, Australia is a paradise for adults and kids alike.
New Zealand offers the beauty and wildness of its largely unpopulated landscapes, familiar to many kids as settings for ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Virtually deserted beaches are a huge attraction here for families, as are adrenaline sports for those travelling with older children.
New Zealand is generally held to be part of the South Pacific region of Polynesia, where you’ll also find Easter Island, the Cook Islands, Tahiti and the US state of Hawaii. One of the world’s most isolated islands, Easter Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site by virtue of its mysterious moai statues (nearly 900 in total), created by the early Rapanui people. Other attractions there are volcanic craters, cave exploration, white-sand beaches good for bodyboarding, and scuba-diving and snorkelling. Although it’s served by commercial airlines and its main industry today is tourism, Easter Island is fairly difficult and expensive to reach. The Cook Islands (15 of them) are more the place for traditional beach holidays, especially the main island of Rarotonga. The same goes for nearby Tahiti.
In this region of the South Pacific lies Fiji, a gorgeous smattering of 300+ islands where you can be pampered at a resort with childcare or get into full-on Robinson Crusoe mode and explore a deserted island for the day.
Other parts of Melanesia you might choose for family holidays are Vanuatu (popular with Australian families) and wilder but very compelling New Guinea (part of Papua New Guinea, with Papua itself in Indonesia).
This most northerly part of the South Pacific is off the tourist radar.
Food across Australasia and the Pacific can be familiar or exotic, depending on your destination, but unless you venture very far off the beaten track, you'll never be far from somewhere offering international favourites that will reassure even the fussiest kids.
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