The best family hotels in New South Wales, Australia

Highlights of the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley luxury retreat include getting up close to horses and other exciting animal activities such as wildlife safaris

Australia’s east coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world – from family-oriented swimming areas to enclosed ocean rock pools – but we all know it takes (a little) more than a bucket and spade to have a harmonious family holiday. The following accommodations range from ‘fair dinkum’ outback destinations for little adventurers not afraid to get their feet dirty, to luxury retreats for those on a one-off budget.

There are programs for junior rangers that include archery, fossil hunting and bush survival courses, and behind-the-scenes tours of regional zoos. For the less adventurous, there are secluded beaches for long lazy days of swimming and exploring rock pools (and the crawly creatures that hide in them), and resorts with paddling pools, choo choo trains, and fish and chips and ice cream for every meal. Here’s our pick of the best family-friendly hotels in New South Wales.

How we assess

Each hotel on this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, usually hosted free of charge. They stay at least one night, test at least one meal and try other experiences the hotel may have to offer.

The best family hotels in New South Wales at a glance

Byron Bay’s premier family destination has private access to one of Australia’s most famous beaches, a Parkour-inspired all-natural rainforest playground and an outdoor play area. A solar-powered heritage train will roll into the city center, offering a respite from the infamous Byron Bay traffic and the hunt for the elusive beachside car park. The resort’s lagoon pool is a dedicated space where toddlers and babies can enjoy safe water play, while older children can play freely in the main pool and pods surrounding it. The two-bedroom villas can accommodate up to four people; families of five will have to opt for the superior or deluxe villas.

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Children lucky enough to visit this conservation-based resort, in the bushland between Wollemi and Stone National Parks, will be treated to a whole range of activities. Not only are there mountain bikes outside every hut, organized wildlife safaris and stargazing tours, the junior rangers program includes archery, fossil hunting and bush survival. You can also hop on the Sundowner Tour for a two-hour bus ride around the property to see the many kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos and wombats. Each villa has an indoor plunge pool and a separate living room. Dining is a pleasure, with delicate and artfully presented dishes – plus a children’s menu.

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This glamping retreat is an ideal solution for families who want to experience the Australian bush but aren’t really into camping. The 12 self-contained tents are built on top of small pavilions, with terraces all around, complete with garden furniture, insect screens and private outdoor bathrooms. Inside, the king-size beds are fitted with luxurious bedding and surrounded by mosquito nets; it is the most comfortable night’s sleep you can wish for in a “tent”. Children over six are welcome and will enjoy the mountain bikes, a creek with a rope for Tarzan and Jane style adventures, kayaking and swimming. Dining at The Gunya overlooking the grounds, where lights shine in the trees and a campfire flickers, is a delight for young and old.

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Pastel doors and polka dot carpets reflect the carefree, playful tone of Bondi and give this beach hotel a sense of fun. The hotel is located across the road from the world famous beach where generations of Australian children have grown up surfing, boogie boarding, making sand castles and exploring the rock pools. The large rooms – choose an Atrium or Gould suite for the extra space – have fold-out sofas and spacious living areas. Bicycles, buggies and surfboards are available free of charge to all guests. Although there’s no restaurant in the hotel, Bondi has no shortage of great dining options: head to Hall Street for Bill Granger’s famous ricotta hotcakes at breakfast, and to D’Orazio for pizza and pasta at dinner, as well as all other families in Bondi.

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One for the history and nature loving families. The Old Quarantine Station is located 17 km from the city center and is located in the Sydney Harbor National Park, a secluded spot on the edge of the harbour. The quarantine station was used from the 1830s to house people arriving in Australia suspected of carrying infectious diseases such as Spanish flu, smallpox or bubonic plague. Many of the original buildings (including the extremely creepy shower stalls) have been preserved as museums. The history tours are excellent for children; and older children will enjoy the candlelit ghost tours that explore the area’s dark history. Only service vehicles are allowed, making cycling and scootering on site safe and fun. The property also has its own private beach; You can rent snorkeling equipment, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards at the visitor center.

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Family comes first at this Blue Mountains retreat, and they’ve really taken care of the facilities down to the last detail. The ‘kid zone’, discreetly located on the bottom floor, has a bowling alley, video arcade, two enormous climbing gyms and a mirror maze, among many other activities. . Bumper cars run outside and the Fairmont Express – a small steam train – departs twice a day for a 20-minute ride around the property. The hotel prides itself on being a great place for families to enjoy for generations to come. Many of the dishes offered in the hotel’s five restaurants are a nod to the cooking styles of previous generations. Choose from family suites and spacious interconnecting rooms; they all have a quaint, log cabin coziness.

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Located in the heart of Circular Quay, Sydney’s tourist precinct, the Shangri-La is adjacent to the Sydney Harbor Bridge and within walking distance of the Sydney Opera House and Museum of Contemporary Art, making sightseeing with the little ones as easy as it is is. gets. Rooms above the 30th floor offer the best views and access to the Horizon Club, with private check-in, light breakfast and dinner, snacks during the day and cocktails in the evening. A 25-metre heated indoor pool will delight the children, as will the warm welcome: free amenities include a small, soft Australian animal or a star-shaped chocolate lollipop.

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For foodie families, Bannister’s is the destination. With Rick Stein at the helm, it’s easy to see why foodies continue to flock to this coastal retreat. Children will enjoy the beach access and activities that “the dolphin capital of Australia” is known for. A typical day out in Port Stephens includes whale watching, camel riding, dolphin frolicking, hiking, kayaking or sand buggy riding through the white dunes. And there is a special children’s menu including Stein’s fish and chips, linguini with tomato sauce and small steaks. Ice cream follows of course.

• The best hotels in New South Wales

Located just behind the African savannah at Dubbo Western Plains Zoo, Zoofari Lodge is the ideal family adventure that doesn’t skimp on comfort. The behind-the-scenes tours, led by an entertaining and informative guide, are both delightful and engaging for children. Highlights include feeding the giraffes and getting up close to the lions – all before breakfast. The guest house has a communal dining room where guests share breakfast and dinner, and a games room surrounding a large stone fireplace with a chess board and library. Visitors also receive a two-day entry pass to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, which can be explored on foot, bike or buggy.

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Although Watsons Bay is a remote location for those traveling by car, it is a picturesque and quick 25-minute ferry ride to Circular Quay. Families will love the seaside location, where kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, water frolicking and windswept cliff walks are just outside your door. The lobby, dining room and beach club are chicly decorated in Hamptons style; think whitewashed furniture, painted upholstery, fishing nets and sailboats. Dinner at the beach club offers some excellent options for kids, and adults will appreciate being able to sit back with a glass of wine while the kids paddle in the shallow water. Choose a room that doesn’t overlook the beach club; it can be noisy at night.

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