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Christmas School Holiday Activity Ideas: 9 road trips that will make the whole family happy

The school holidays around the Silly Season last for a long time – especially when you’re a parent trying to make sure your kids are entertained!

If you’ve had enough of the standard cinema-bowling combo and would rather get your kids out in nature, we’ve got some great ideas for you. After all, nothing says family bonding like a good road trip to explore this beautiful country.

Here are nine trips from all over Australia that offer a whole lot of school holiday activities for the kids, and Mum and Dad are sure to enjoy them as well.

NSW

School Holiday Dates: 15 December -30 January

Mount Kosciuszko

What kid wouldn’t like to say they’ve climbed the highest mountain in Australia? In fact, Mount Kosiuszko is on a lot of Aussies’ bucket lists – young and old – thanks to its height and beauty.

The 13 km return hike set in the beautiful Snowy Mountains is considered one of the best walks in Australia. So, take your time and enjoy a picnic (and a family pic) en route. As you make your way through the rocky landscape, you’ll be met with wildflowers, a glacial lake, and views that will be etched into your family’s minds forever.

You can rent a car in Sydney and make the drive in six to eight hours (depending on whether you want a scenic route). Alternatively, our Canberra car hire office is just under 2.5 hours from Kosciuszko National Park.

NT

School Holiday Dates: 15 December – 29 January

Kings Canyon

There’s nowhere like the Red Centre for a family road trip. You might be better off with a 4WD hire for this trip, as the road gets a bit windy and quite dusty. You can pick one up from Thrifty Car Rental in Darwin. There’s no shortage of incredible lookouts along the way, but Trorala (Grosse Bluff), a huge, 130-million-year-old crater that was formed by a comet is guaranteed to make it to show and tell once the school holidays are over.

QLD

School Holiday Dates: 8 December – 22 January

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Rather than hitting up the big amusement parks, discover the magic of Australia’s ancient Aboriginal Culture at Tjapukai Aboriginal Park in Cairns, North Queensland.

By day, learn to play the didgeridoo and throw a boomerang or learn about the traditional medicines and bush tucker. In the evening, enjoy spectacular performances and participate in fire-making ceremonies and embark on a journey into Dreamtime with the whole family.

SA

School Holiday Dates: 15 December – 29 January

Gawler Ranges National Park

Located a six-hour drive northwest of Adelaide, you’ll need to pack the tent for this one, because at Gawler Ranges National Park, the stargazing is out of this world. And with a choice of seven campgrounds, there’s ample room to pitch a tent.

Your hardest decision will be what to tackle first. We suggest climbing the Organ Pipes – ancient rock formations that are the result of volcanic eruptions 1500 million years ago.

A 4WD is recommended here too, although, in dry weather, much of the park can be accessed by a high clearance 2WD. There are also several Thrifty Car Rental in South Australia, should you need to hire one.

Kangaroo Island

For something a little closer to the SA capital, hop, skip and ferry over to Kangaroo Island.

There’s no shortage of attractions here, from national parks and remarkable rock formations to seal colonies – as well as an abundance of local honey, cheese, and wine producers.

Getting there from Adelaide takes a bit over 1.5 hours down the windy Fleurieu Peninsula, where there are plenty of stops worthy of your time.

TAS

School Holiday Dates: 22 December-29 January

Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs

For a combined dose of awe and the outdoors, grab your Hobart car hire and head 90 minutes south to see the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs.

This visually stunning, ancient cave network is full of impressive stalagmite and stalactite formations made of dolomite. The expansive caves are a jaw-dropper at any age. To fully appreciate this natural wonder, enjoy a guided tour from the staff at the Visitors Centre to learn about the caves’ structure and history.

VIC

School Holiday Dates: 22 December – 29 January

Healesville Sanctuary

It’s not just a zoo–it’s an Australiana zoo that more than 200 native species call home. Get up close with the wallabies or walk through the reptile house and go eye-to-eye with a brown snake (behind glass of course).

After all that walking through the sanctuary, you’ll be famished. Choose from a plethora of gorgeous wineries for a spot of lunch overlooking the vineyards of the Yarra Valley. Domain Chandon has an exceptionally epic view, as does Oakridge – that one’s for you, Mum and Dad.

Mornington Peninsula

The perfect blend of mountain scenery with the backdrop of the ocean, the Mornington Peninsula has a lot to offer. Discover the diverse landscape by foot, on horse, or perhaps even by Rail Trail. Take a dip in the Peninsula Hot Springs before wandering through the Enchanted Maze. At just an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD, the Peninsula is a winner, no matter which time of year.

WA

School Holiday Dates: 14 December – 31 January

Busselton

Just two hours south of Perth lies the sublime beaches of Busselton. Hop on board the world’s second-longest timber jetty, and once you’ve reached the end of the 1.8 km track, descend eight metres below the sea to the Underwater Observatory. This reef is home to more than 300 species of marine life. When you want to dry off, head inland and explore the pristine Tuart forest with Forest Adventures – a fun-packed treetop course with a range of activities including flying foxes, base jumps, suspended bridges, and Tarzan ropes!