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The best off the beaten track destinations

Family Travel asked you for your best travel destinations on the road less travelled. From the mysterious wide open space of the outback to Tasmania’s stark beauty there is so much to see outside of concrete jungles.

These are your picks from our Best of Family Travel Awards.


Formerly Kampuchea, Cambodia’s colourful history shouldn’t put you off visiting. This stunning country is home to some of the friendliest people in the world. Angkor Wat, one of the world’s most famous temples will take your breath away. 

off the beaten track family destinations

Some pictures need no words. Picture: Shutterstock.

Make sure your kids try Amok, a fish dish with lemongrass, that will give your tastebuds new flavours to contend with. 

One of the best activities you can do is Ox-cart riding. No, we’re not joking. You can learn how to drive the carts too. Cambodia doesn’t have the huge tourist influx Thailand does; it’s a great place to take the kids for a quiet getaway. 


Queenstown is the gateway to outdoor adventure heaven. You can do everything from kayaking to hiking to snowboarding and paragliding. 

off the beaten track family destinations

Queenstown is a jewel upon a lake. Picture: Shutterstock.

A day trip to historic Arrowtown is a must for foodies. Lord of the Rings fans will love Hobbiton, near Auckland. And just about every kid loves the smelly bubbles of Rotorua. 


off the beaten track family destinations

Do you dare swim with these deadly denizens of the deep? Picture: Supplied.

Get your teeth into Australia’s only crocodile dive experience at Crocosaurus Cove. Here you can either jump inside the tank – or swim alongside it. Whatever you choose – the kids will love it. 

Darwin also has war tunnels, which kids will love exploring. 

Mindil markets are a great place to have a browse and watch the sunset with takeaway dinner. The tropically infused Pan-Asian food is unique. It sums up Darwin – tropical fun with an Asian influence. While you’re here you have to try the fresh mangos and some of the incredible swimming holes (inland, away from the crocs). 

Oh and don’t miss out on the wave pool. Click here to read about the best activities to do with kids in Darwin. 


Australia’s second smallest state has some of the world’s best mountain biking. For the best trails head to Derby in the north. The Blue Derby network has beginners trails and enough downhill and single track to keep enthusiasts entertained.  Find out more here. The 2019 Enduro World Series is coming to Tasmania in March 2019. 

Ben Lomond, a snow sports resort, shares its name with a small village in Scotland. Yes, Tasmania has a ski resort. It’s the highest visitable area in ‘Tasy’. Self-styled as one of Australia’s most family friendly resorts, it is a great place to learn to ski, whatever your age. 

off the beaten track family destinations

This ski hut is much sturdier than it looks. Picture: Shutterstock.

Head to Cradle Mountain for incredible walks. Or spend a weekend in Hobart and discover history at Port Arthur. 


In ‘Alice‘ you can visit the largest reptile centre in the territory. You can also hang out with joeys at the Kangaroo sanctuary. 

off the beaten track family destinations

Alice is twinned with Afghanistan’s Paghman. Picture: Shutterstock.

If you want to burn off some energy, Alice has great hiking. You can visit a desert park and visit ‘the world’s largest classroom’ at the School of the Air


The 660km Gibbs River road cuts through the heart of the Kimberly. You can also visit the Tunnel Creek national park which is next door. Wyndham in Kimberley’s far north is known as the final frontier. You can hang out with a giant crocodile as well as visit an old courtroom. 

off the beaten track family destinations

A lone baobab tree, another Wyndham landmark, is the edge of the map. Picture: Shutterstock.

Around 100km away is the much larger Kununurra, with its’ own leisure centre, hospital and airport. The leisure centre has a 25m pool. You can hang out in Hidden Valley, go fishing or catch a movie in the Picture Gardens.

The Kimberly is the perfect place to get kids out and about with nature, like watching whales at Hall Point and going on long hikes. 


off the beaten track family destinations

Kakadu is as close to Jurassic Park as you’ll find anywhere in the world. Picture: Shutterstock.

Meet the locals on the Yellow Water Cruise but whatever you don’t go for a dip. Getting in easy, getting out is another matter. You can stay in the Crocodile Hotel, which was designed to look like the creature itself. 

Kakadu’s epic waterfalls, safe swimming holes and Aboriginal cave etchings will enchant kids of all ages. You can hike, fish, go on 4WD excursions and make Kakadu into whatever you want. It is the world’s biggest playground.

off the beaten track family destinations

Kakadu has a natural beauty. it doesn’t have to wear makeup. Picture: Shutterstock.

Families can swim in a huge number of plunge pools, waterfalls and natural infinity pools – just make sure they are safe first. Find out more here


Vietnam is more than just a backpackers haven. It’s the ideal location for a budget family holiday.  While everyone else will be in Bali, you can enjoy the hustle-bustle of Hanoi and the idyllic countryside. Less than three hours from Ho Chi Minh city, Mekong Resort has 30 private eco-lodges. Beds start from just $70 per person. The hotel has pools, extensive gardens and shuttle buses to get you into town. It’s a great place to spend a weekend – or a week.

off the beaten track family destinations

Halong bay has defied technological advances. Picture: Shutterstock.

Halong Bay is life-changing. Everybody who visits talks about it in reverent tones. Your family will too. 

The kids will love the traditional water puppet show and might even be persuaded to try the exotic food, though the snake may be a tad adventurous. 


The Outback, with the world’s largest savannah and biggest temperate woodlands, will leave your kids speechless. A quarter of the world’s savannah habitat is here in Australia. When you tire of the camels, Brumbies and emus, why not take a break in small-town Australia. 

 Lightning Ridge, NSW, and Winton, QLD, are small towns with big attraction. The Artesian Bore baths are stunning at sunset and you’ll never get the kids out either. There’s a catch – the water temperature is 45-50 degrees because it sits on a natural bore. 

off the beaten track family destinations

Swimming in the warm baths is a great night time activity. Picture: VISITNSW.

 At Minton, near Longreach, you can visit the Waltzing Matilda Centre. Let the story of the jolly swagman unfold before you. You can also enjoy the Way Out West Fest if you go in April. Arno’s wall, containing thousands of ordinary items, is a must see too. 

Family Travel preferred destination – Phillip Island

Phillip Island

The Nobbies at the western tip of Phillip Island,. Picture: Shutterstock

This stunning island is a day trip from Melbourne, but it feels like a whole world away. Seals lazy about on the rocks and every evening families come to watch the thousands of penguins waddle in from the ocean. Phillip Island is home to 20,000 Little Penguins. They are arguably more famous than the island’s other to ex-residents – Chris and Liam Hemsworth, who were born and raised here. 

Head to the boardwalk to explore the rugged coast or out on a seal watching tour to see this island’s wildlife in action. 

1. And the winner is … ULURU

off the beaten track family destinations

You’ll never guess why it’s been nicknamed the red rock. Picture: Shutterstock

Uluru is in the heart of the Uluru Kata-Tjuta national park. For the Anangu people of the Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal tribe, it is one of their most sacred sites along with near-by Kata Tjuta. Called the Olgas by Westerners these rocks are just as striking as Uluru. This place was your number one pick in the world for off-the-beaten track adventure. 

Overshadowed by Uluru, Kata Tjuta is still spectacular. Picture: Shutterstock.

Kids will love looking at the unique rock formations and learning about the fantastic history of the site. 


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