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We would like to go to Australia. For now our desire is "just" Australia, although we are fully aware of the size of the country. We would be traveling in our summer holiday (July-August)

What is the best region to go to in Australia with small (3-4 years) children. Are there also no-go areas?

I guess Kangaroo's are a must and we are an outdoor kind of family. Given the fact that it will take quite some traveling to get to Australia, we are more interested in things Europe does not offer.

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How small are your children? not being a parent I know nothing about what classifies as small? Are you interested in city life, nature scenery, nature wildlife or theme parks? What time of year are you looking to go and what weather conditions is your family looking for / suited to handle? –  Stuart Jul 17 '12 at 16:33
    
I update the question –  andra Jul 17 '12 at 17:13
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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Your question is very broad, but I guess you are looking for inspiration at this point. I would recommend you focus on either the East Coast or the West Coast. There is a whole lot of nothing along the Great Australian Bight (south) and the "Top End" is likely to be a bit harsh and too repetitive for small children.

Here is a suggestion to narrow things down:-

  • Watch "Finding Nemo" with your kids before you visit (if it is not too scary)

This will give them something to look forward to and help them understand the trip.

  • Fly into Cairns (via somewhere in South East Asia or Japan, depending on how the flights work out)

Visit the Great Barrier Reef. Your children will be able to see fish and coral from a glass bottom boat. 3-4 years old is too young for snorkling unless they and you are very comfortable in the water.

Visit the Daintree Rainforest.

  • Fly Cairns to Brisbane (as it would be a 1,700 km drive according to google maps)

  • Travel down the East Coast from Brisbane to Sydney (about 1,000 kms) in a rental car.

There will be plenty to do and you'll have a range of accommodation options along the way. You can visit theme parks, national parks, look for migrating whales etc. Allowing 2 weeks for this would be a relaxed pace. Practically speaking, given you a travelling with small children, you will always be close to a supermarket or at least a petrol station if you need supplies or a stop.

If you wanted to see Outback Australia you would need to deviate from this path further inland. You could consider a visit to Western Plains Zoo Dubbo if you have time. There will be kangaroos. (The first ones you see will probably be dead on the side of the road).

  • Spend a couple of days in Sydney

The kids would enjoy the Powerhouse Museum and Luna Park. It's a large city so there are many possibilities.

Uluru as a well known attraction, but it's a long way from anywhere and I doubt your kids will be that impressed. Save that for your next trip.

If you can, avoid the school holidays in NSW and Queensland as this will lessen the number of tourists.

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+1 great answer. Exactly what I was looking for –  andra Jul 21 '12 at 6:58
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So long as you keep your brains switched on i would not say there are any no-go areas, however due to the young age of your children I would stay close (ish) (3 hours) to major cities / towns. This is because i would hesitate to take toddlers to very remote areas where they cannot understand the risks involved, and if something goes wrong (snakes/spiders/crocodiles in remote areas) you are a long drive & flight to the nearest hospital.

Having said that - I would reccomend a couple of places near Melbourne :

  1. Healesville Sanctuary
  2. puffing billy

Which should be good for little ones :)

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A couple of additions to @dlanod's excellent answer, from my own experiences exploring a good chunk of Australia:

Canberra - the Science museum is a must, as is the view from the Black Mountain Tower. Tidbinbilla tracking station is rather good if your kids like Astronomy.

Western Australia - the land around Perth and Fremantle is beautiful, lots of places to see kangaroos and other wildlife. There are some of the most amazing caves I have ever seen.

An hour from Sydney you have the Blue Mountains - again, a wide range of outdoor attractions.

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Canberra's a good one for kids. Shame about there being nothing to do for adults. ;) –  dlanod Jul 19 '12 at 22:36
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Here's a brief list, because your question is very broad:

  • The Gold Coast is very family oriented with theme parks and beaches aplenty.
  • If you want something "uniquely Australian", northern Queensland around Cairns has the reef and rainforest experience as well as plenty of tourist-focused activities.
  • The Northern Territory is similar, but is more out of the way. Kakadu, Ayers Rock/Uluru and other areas are unlike anywhere else.
  • Sydney and Melbourne are your standard metropolises. Child-friendly, and plenty of easy attractions in both.
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