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12 Fun Things To Do In Coffs Harbour

The Best Things To Do In Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia

Coffs Harbour is halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, making it a popular stop on the quintessential coastal road trip. While the mid north coast town might be just a convenient place to stay a night or two for those making the longer journey, we were pleasantly surprised to find so many things to do in Coffs Harbour, and would recommend it for a holiday destination.

Things To Do In Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour Jetty

Coffs Harbour Jetty

Take a stroll along the Jetty Strip. The path next to the beach and park area is cement, flat and great for scooting. There is also a range of cafes to choose from and a great gelato shop.

Coffs Harbour Jetty

Wander around the jetty to see the incredible variety of sea life living in the harbour. We took  very slow stroll along the jetty and spent a lot of time watching the fish swirl in the water beneath us.

Jetty Beach

Coffs Harbour

The perfect place for a swim, Jetty Beach is has calm water perfect for kids to splash around in.

Muttonbird Island Reserve

Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour

While we didn’t see any muttonbirds on the island we did enjoy the walk to to the top and far side of the island, where we were rewarded with beautiful views of the coast.

Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour

Muttonbird Island Reserve is home to the wedge-tailed shearwater birds, their nests easy to spot as you walk around the island.

Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour

Park Beach

Coffs Harbour Park Beach

We stayed right on Park Beach and loved walking down to the beach in the evenings to watch the sunset and paddle in the water. Coffs Creek runs through Park Beach, providing a nice current to swim down between two beaches. It’s possible to swim across the creek to the other side and continue walking up the beach to Coffs Harbour Jetty.

The Big Banana Fun Park

The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

It’s not an Aussie tourist attraction if there isn’t something big to photograph! The Big Banana is a fun spot not just to pose for a photo, but also to enjoy one of the seven attractions it now boasts.

Candy Kitchen, Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

Choose between the Water Park featuring four thrill slides and a kids’ aqua play area, a six-lane giant slide that’s the biggest slide of its kind in Australia, a 600m Toboggan ride, Laser Tag, Mini Golf, Theatre and Plantation tour, ice skating rink and Candy Kitchen, where you can see candy being made.

Get more info on visiting the Big Banana Fun Park online.

Coffs Harbour Butterfly House

The Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour

Step inside an aviary filled with hundreds of live butterflies. What an amazing experience to walk among these delicate creatures and watch them flutter, sip nectar and lay eggs. We even saw butterflies hatching from their chrysalis and had a few land on us.

The Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour

Tip: wear bright colours if you want to make friends with butterflies! The scones from the on-site cafe are amazing.

The Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour

Before leaving the Butterfly House, take a wander through the maze and see how quickly you can find your way out again.

Get more info on visiting the Butterfly House online.

Sawtell

Coffs harbour, Treeo, Sawtell

This pretty little town is just south of Coffs Harbour. It has pretty beaches to explore, excellent cafes and is also right by the Bongil Bongil National Park. We loved dining at Treeo, recommended to us very correctly as the best cafe in the area. Excellent food and friendly staff made for the perfect cafe experience.

Bellingen

Bellingen, Coffs Harbour

A 30 minute drive south-west of Coffs Harbour will bring you to Bellingen, a pretty little town filled with excellent cafes and boutiques. Bellingen likes on the Banks of the Bellinger River, which lends itself to plenty of water activities.

Bellingen, Coffs Harbour

You must stop by the Sweet Bellingen candy store! The locally produced chocolates are delicious

Dorrigo National Park

Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour

Another 30 minutes past Bellingen, or an hour from Coffs Harbour, is the town of Dorrigo. Dorrigo is home to the Dorrigo National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. It’s a stunningly beautiful rainforest with waterfall walks and a wide range of wildlife, including red-necked pademelons (they look kind of like quokkas), the regent bowerbird and wompoo fruit-dove.

Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour

Start your visit to the Dorrigo National Park with a visit to the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and Canopy Cafe. Staff at the Rainforest Centre will give you a map and tips on areas to explore. Before embarking on your bushwalking adventure, stroll out on the Skywalk, a 70m boardwalk through the treetops, 21 metres above the rainforest. The view from the lookout at the end of the boardwalk is stretches over the Bellingen Valley and is just spectacular.

Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour

Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour

Get more info on visiting the Dorrigo National Park here.

Dangar Falls

Dangar Falls, Coffs Harbour

This 30-metre waterfall is a 2km drive north of the Dorrigo town centre. Dangar Falls is really a winner if you need a waterfall that is accessible without a long walk to reach it. The car park is right next to the viewing platform, making it the most easily accessible waterfall I’ve ever seen.

Dangar Falls, Coffs Harbour

There is a walking trail that leads to the river at the bottom of the waterfall if you’re feeling more adventurous. We stayed at the top and enjoyed the little playground before hopping back into the car.

Dangar Falls, Coffs Harbour

The Honey Place

The Honey Place, Coffs Harbour

Located in Urunga, south of Coffs Harbour, The Honey Place is a delightful detour on your drive into or out of Coffs. The glass display beehive lets you get as close as possible to a working hive with no risk of being stung.

The Honey Place, Coffs Harbour

Friendly Australian native bees (non-stinging) also fly around the outdoor area although they were hiding on the day we visited. Try a range of locally made honey – it’s so good you’ll want to take it all home with you!

The Honey Place, Coffs Harbour The Honey Place, Coffs Harbour

Get more info on visiting The Honey Place here.

Urunga Boardwalk

Urunga Boardwalk, NSW, Australia

This 1km boardwalk starts in the town of Urunga, passes along the Kalang River to where it meets the Bellingen River and the ocean. There are stunning views over the entire length of the boardwalk on both sides up to the Great Diving Range and Nambucca Heads.

Urunga Boardwalk, NSW, Australia

An abundance of wildlife lives in the water and mangroves. We only saw a pelican but if you’re lucky you’ll see more! The entire boardwalk is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

More info about Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney, and 390 km (240 mi) south of Brisbane.

Where to stay in Coffs Harbour

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

We stayed at the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park, right on Park Beach, Coffs Harbour. The Holiday Park has caravan and camping sites, as well as self-contained cabins. We stayed in a two bedroom cabin and were happy with having plenty of amenities at our fingertips, such as a full kitchen and seperate lounge/dining area.

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

The holiday park has plenty to entertain the kids, including a resort-style pool with slides and splash features, and a large inflatable jumping pillow that would have entertained my six-year-old all day, ever day, forever.

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Other amenities at the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park include a kitchen and dining area for those camping, bathroom blocks and clean BBQs.

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

The two playgrounds for big and small kids and games room are also popular for the junior set.

Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park

Get more info on the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park here.

Looking for more things to do in Coffs Harbour?

Heading down to Sydney? Check out things to do in Sydney with kids and the best free things to do in Sydney here. 

The Best Things To Do In Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia

Hotel Review: Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia
The perfect Sydney weekend escape or stop on the Sydney to Queensland road trip, Newcastle is an historic city with stunning beaches and delicious food. With family in the area we spend a lot of time in Newcastle, and love staying at our fave hotel in the city, the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Built inside a new tower in East Newcastle, the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel is located near some of Australia’s most famous beaches and best surf breaks. With renowned restaurants, cafes and bars located just a few footsteps away, you really can’t beat the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel’s prime position.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Also nearby are art galleries, shopping, coastal walks, museums and the historic Fort Scratchley, making the Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel ideal for sightseeing.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Inside the lobby, the hotel has a dedicated kids’ corner with work tables, toys and colouring in books and paper, plus sand buckets and spades which are free to loan and take to the beach.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

The 88 contemporary, spacious guest rooms are all equipped with modern furnishings and guests’ comfort in mind. The rooms have an open layout, with plenty of natural lights, and many featuring an ocean view.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

All rooms have a vibrant colour palette, Novotel’s exclusive Live N Dream bedding experience in a king bed (2 singles upon request) to ensure the perfect night’s sleep, TV with movies on-demand, digital free-to-air and Foxtel channels, high-speed internet access, spacious work station, air conditioning, in-room safe, tea & coffee making facilities, hair dryer and mini-bar.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia
Rooms are available in the following categories: Standard Room, Superior Room, Superior Harbour,  Superior Balcony Room and Superior Family Room.

We stayed in a Superior Family Room, an extra-spacious room with one queen bed and two single beds. Some family rooms have a dining table for 4, and others have a bath in the en suite,(let the hotel know your preference at the time of booking). Interconnecting rooms are available upon request.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Our beds were amazingly comfortable and the room was huge compared to most rooms that we stay in, including the massive bathroom. We loved all the little touches left for us by Novotel staff, such as the kids’ welcome pack with toys, kid-sized robe and kids’ restaurant and in-room dining menu, complete with activities sheet on the back.

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel

When we visited the hotel the first time they had a special promotion on in partnership with the release of Hotel Transylvania, hence the awesome bed furnishings. On our subsequent visit the promotion was over and regular linen was on the beds – except for the bed for Cheese, which had an awesome unicorn bed spread and pillows. Thoughtful details like this are why we keep coming back!

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

The kids’ menu has a focus on fresh, healthy ingredients, created in collaboration with Sally Fitzgibbons. There are also new in-room fitness videos for the little ones presented by Sally Fitzgibbons and Playschool’s Rachael Coopes to keep them entertained throughout the stay.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

The Novotel Newcastle Beach is home to a modern dining restaurant, Bistro Dalby, with a contemporary Australian menu. The Bistro offers local and seasonal dished, has a fully equipped bar, and also offers an in-room dining menu available 24-7.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

For an additional fee breakfast is offered in the Bistro Dalby daily.  The breakfast features barista made coffee, T2 teas, eggs cooked to order, a hot buffet, cereals, breads, yogurt and fruits, with most organic food and juices on offer. I ordered an omelette and it came quickly and perfectly cooked. I also enjoyed placing my tea order and having a lovely pot of English breakfast delivered to me.

Novotel Newcastle Beach Hotel Bistro Dalby

We also dined at Bistro Dalby for dinner and highly enjoyed the experience. 

You can read my full review of Bistro Dalby here

We had the most welcoming, friendly stay at the Novotel Newcastle Beach and look forward to visiting again soon.

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach, NSW, Australia

Novotel Newcastle Beach
5 King St, Newcastle
Online

Parking is available in an underground car park for an additional fee. 

Thank you to the Novotel Newcastle Beach for hosting us! All opinions are my own.

10 Ideas For An Awesome Blue Mountains Day Trip

Blue Mountains Day Trip, Australia

Take a day trip from Sydney to the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park. A quick 90 min drive or two hours by train will take you to a region full of art, history, thriving cafes and spectacular natural beauty. Your Blue Mountains Day Trip awaits!

9 Ideas For A Blue Mountains Day Trip

Blue Mountains, Australia

Scenic World and Katoomba Cascades

Scenic World: A Day In The Blue Mountains With Kids

The perfect way to experience the beauty of the mountains. Scenic World consists of four activities: the Scenic Skyway, the Scenic Railway, the Scenic Cableway and the Scenic Walkway. The Scenic Skyway is suspended 270 metres above the Jamison Falls Valley and glides two cliff tops. On the other side, the beautiful Katooma Cascades waterfall is a short walk.

Scenic World: A Day In The Blue Mountains With Kids

An absolute must is a thrilling ride on the Scenic Railway. With its 52 degree incline, this is the steepest passenger railway in the world.

Get more info on Scenic World and Katoomba Cascades here.

High Tea at the Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Take your high tea with a side of history at the iconic Hydro Majestic hotel. Since opening its doors in 1904 the hotel has been a place of luxury to visit for a relaxing stay, or to simply stop by for an elegant afternoon tea.

Read more about visiting the Hydro Majestic here.

The Three Sisters Rock Formation in Leura

Blue Mountains, Australia

A towering rock formation located at Echo Point in Katoomba, the Three Sisters is a popular Blue Mountains day trip. This unusual rock formation represents three sisters who, according to Aboriginal legend, turned to stone.

While the Three Sisters is a beautiful sight from the lookout, we love to take the bush walk that starts at the rock formation and heads down into the valley. It takes you past the sisters and beyond into the bush. Wear good walking shoes and pack plenty of water!

Get more info on visiting the Three Sisters here and on bushwalking in the Blue Mountains here.

The Minni Ha Ha Falls in Katoomba

Minni Ha Ha Falls Katoomba Australia via christineknight.me

The beautiful Minni Ha Ha Falls (also known as Minniehaha Falls and Minnihaha Falls) are the reward hikers receive for taking the 1.3km trail down to the bottom of the valley floor. You can swim in the waterfall (be warned – it’s cold!) or just enjoy the serenity.

Get more info on visiting the Minni Ha Ha Falls here. NOTE: the falls have been reported closed, so check they are open before going.

Gingerbread House Cafe in Katoomba

Gingerbread House: #KidFriendly Cafes #Katoomba #BlueMountains #Sydney via christineknight.me

Housed inside a resorted 100-year-old church, the Gingerbread House Cafe is all about the sweet stuff! Milkshakes, Serendipity ice-cream, cakes, cookies and gingerbread abound.

Get more info on visiting the Gingerbread House Cafe here.

Norman Lindsey Gallery in Faulconbridge

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia

Visit the home and studio of Norman Lindsey (1879-1969), an Australian artist, cartoonist, and writer. Famous for his Magic Pudding books and voluptuous nudes, Norman Lindsey’s house and the surrounding gardens have been maintained by the National Trust.

Get more info on visiting the Norman Lindsey Gallery here.

Everglades House and Gardens in Leura

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

This beautiful 1930s, Art Deco home will transport you to a bygone era of grace and charm. Set aside a few hours to wander the 5.2 hectares of stunning gardens and enjoy a Devonshire tea inside the old house itself.

Get more info on visiting the Everglades House and Gardens here.

Cafe 2773 in Glenbrook

Cafe 2773 #glenbrook #bluemountains #sydney #Australia #kidfriendly #restaurants vi brunchwithmybaby.com

Break your journey into the Blue Mountains with brekkie at one of our fave spots, Cafe 2773 in Glenbrook. The menu at 2773 focuses on use of local organic produce, with an extensive selection of local beer and wine. There’s a little play area for kids and farm animals to meet, too.

Get more info on visiting Cafe 2773 in Glenbrook here.

Mayfield Garden in Oberon

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

Mayfield Garden is one of the world’s largest privately-owned cool climate gardens. It’s a gorgeous spot to visit year-round, with waterlilies in summer, colourful foliage in autumn, raw structure of plants in winter and fragrant blooms in spring. Look up their calendar of events and plan your visit around one of Mayfield Garden’s special festivals.

Mayfield Garden is quite a drive from Sydney, making it a bit of a stretch for a Blue Mountains day trip. You might want to consider staying the night nearby.

Get more info on visiting Mayfield Garden here.

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah

Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is the only botanic garden in the world located in a World Heritage area. Home to 21,000 plants of 900 species, the 69-acre garden is located 100km west of Sydney at Mount Tomah, in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia.

Spend the day strolling through this curated gardens and discovering exotic and native plants. 

Get more info on visiting the Botanical Gardens Blue Mountains.

More things to do in the Blue Mountains

Hike the other Grand Canyon in the Blue Mountains.

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Find the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Sydney here.

Blue Mountains Day Trip, Australia

 

Everglades Historic House and Gardens Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Blue Mountains, Australia

We love a beautiful garden and the Everglades Historic House & Gardens certainly ticks all the boxes. A beautiful 1930s, Art Deco home set amongst 5.2 hectares of stunning gardens, the Everglades is destination that will transport you to a bygone era of grace and charm.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Georgina Stonier, the original owner of the house, called it The Everglades in 1923 for reasons unknown. When the Van de Velde family bought the property in the 1930 they kept the name.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

It was during the 1930s that the magnificent gardens were constructed by Danish-born landscape gardener Paul Sorensen. They are a prime example of inter-war period gardens and as such receive visitors from garden lovers around the world.

The Everglades is now managed by the National Trust organisation.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

I recommend setting aside a few hours to wander the gardens, packing a picnic lunch or enjoying a Devonshire tea onsite. The cafe inside the house serves scones, drinks and light treats only.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

We enjoyed following the winding paths to explore little nooks and crannies where fairies might live, and feasting our eyes on the magnificent view of the Jamison Valley.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

If you’re visiting the garden with kids aged 4-7 or so, I can recommend the Kids’ Activity Pack which can be purchased for $10 and includes a variety of ideas to engage kids in the garden.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, Leura, Blue Mountains

Everglades Historic House and Gardens
37 Everglades Avenue
Leura
https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/places/everglades-house-gardens/

Heading to the Blue Mountains? Get Blue Mountains self-drive day trip ideas here. 

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Australian Reptile Park: Mini Kids 2 Keeper Experience

Sydney Day Trips: The Mini Kids 2 Keeper Program at The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia
The Australian Reptile Park is located on the Central Coast of NSW, about an hour north of Sydney. Established in 1948, the park is a privately owned attraction featuring native Australian wildlife and other exotic, international species. The Australian Reptile Park runs three Kids 2 Keeper programs for kids to engage with animals and learn a bit about their care and habitats.

Mini Kids 2 Keeper (3-6 years old)

Little Kids 2 Keeper (7-12 years old)

Big Kids 2 Keeper (13-18 years old)

We did the Mini Kids 2 Keeper program, which is based on the five sense (hear, see, taste, touch and smell). The program is a guided tour of the zoo and is designed to be both hands-on and educational.

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

All of the Kids 2 Keeper programs run only during the school holidays, usually on a Monday. Each program is different so kids can attend programs on multiple occasions and find them to be different each time.

During our Kids 2 Keeper program, adults were required to attend with their child. The older programs are drop-off.

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Our tour included meeting reptiles, a snake, a tawny frogmouth owl, feeding parrots, patting a koala, watching a special feeding of the alligators, patting an echidna, meeting a ring-tailed possum and, the highlight, going into the Galapagos tortoise enclosure and meeting Hugo, the 67-year-old resident tortoise.

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

A morning tea of banana bread and water was served halfway through the program.

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

 

Sydney Day Trips: The Mini Kids 2 Keeper Program at The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Get more info on the Mini Kids 2 Keeper Program here.

Read about what else you can see and do at The Australian Reptile Park here.

 

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

The Australian Reptile Park is located on the Central Coast of NSW, about an hour north of Sydney. Established in 1948, the park is a privately owned attraction featuring native Australian wildlife and other exotic, international species. The Australian Reptile Park has won plenty of awards for excellence, including the 2016 Australasian Zoo Keeper of the Year. A perfect day trip from Sydney, there’s plenty to keep kids and adults occupied at the zoo!

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park

Meet Elvis, the cranky croc

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Australia’s crankiest crocodile is the star of the show here at the Reptile Park. Elvis the crocodile came to the zoo from the Northern Territory where he was attacking fisherman’s boats. He’s also well-known for attacking a keeper’s lawnmower.

Catch the reptile show & hear about the venom project

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

An entertaining and educational way for kids to learn about reptiles. During the show visitors also learn about the venom milking project undertaken by the park (see below for more details). You’ll also find all 11 of the deadliest snakes in the world at the Reptile Park.

Watch a funnel-web spider milking

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

The Australian Reptile Park is the only zoo in Australia with a venom milking program in place. Over the past 50+ years the program has saved over 300 lives each year. The Australian Reptile Park is the sole supplier of a variety of venoms which are used for snake and funnel-web anti-venom in Australia. Watch a funnel-web spider being milked inside the Spider World exhibit.

Wander through interactive exhibits

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

The Lost World of Reptiles, Spider World, Frog Hollow and Platypus House are all very well designed exhibits, created to be fun and engaging for kids. Spider World, featuring Tarantula-ville, is home to some of the largest spiders in Australia!

Play in the animal-themed playground

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

The playground at the Australian Reptile Park is so unique that you’ll have a hard time reminding kids that there are animals to be seen as well! The main climbing structure is in the shape of a frilled-neck lizard.

Kids 2 Keeper program or VIP tour
Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Want to get super up close to the animals? Check out the options available on the Kids 2 Keeper programs or VIP tours. We did the Mini Kids 2 Keeper program for kids aged 3-6 and loved touching reptiles, patting a koala and going inside the Galapagos tortoise enclosure.

Get more info on our experience with the Kids 2 Keeper program here.

Meet Australian wildlife

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Feed kangaroos, get up close to a koala, meet a wombat and play hide and seek with the ever-elusive platypus. The zoo is also home to Tasmanian devils, echidnas, wombats, cassowaries and dingos.

Say g’day to Hugo

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Hugo the Galapagos tortoise arrived at the park in 1963 as a teenager. Now aged 67, he is a gentle giant and a favourite at the park. The Galapagos tortoise is classified as “vulnerable”on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

Dance with the devil

Meet the iconic Tasmanian devil and learn about The Australian Reptile Park’s conservation project, Devil Ark.

Snap a selfie with a new furry friend

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Snappy Hour, where visitors to the zoo can get their picture taken with the park’s scaly and furry animals, runs between 11am and 2pm daily.

Tips for visiting The Australian Reptile Park

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Arrive early 
It’s a full day at the park, with a big schedule of events.

Prepare for the weather
That means sunscreen and hats, and I would advise close-in shoes.

BYO Food
There are free barbecue facilities in the picnic grounds or you can enjoy a picnic lunch from home.

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Australian Reptile Park
Pacific Highway
Somersby NSW2250
https://reptilepark.com.au

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Sydney Day Trips: The Australian Reptile Park #sydneydaytrip #familytravel #australia

Visiting the Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Faulconbridge, Australia

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia

I’ve been visiting Norman Lindsay Gallery at Faulconbridge for over 15 years and it always enchants. Norman Lindsey (1879-1969) was an Australian artist, cartoonist, and writer. His former home and studio have been turned into a gallery and museum run by the National Trust, showcasing his work and life.

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia

We love to wander around the landscaped gardens and admire his sculptures, or wander through the gallery to see his beautiful paintings and etchings.

I’ve always admired Norman Lindsey as he was quite the trail blazer and controversial figure in his time. You can read more about Norman Lindsey and his work here.

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia

Norman Lindsey is also the creator of the Magic Pudding. Visiting the gallery is a great introduction for kids to this Aussie masterpiece.

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia

There is a cafe at the gallery serving food and beverages and guided tours that can be taken of the gardens and house.

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum
14 Norman Lindsay Cres, Faulconbridge
normanlindsay.com.au

Find out why you should visit Scenic World in the Blue Mountains here.

Read about more museums and galleries in Sydney and surrounds here.

Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive: Best Places To Stop

Where To Stop On The Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive

The scenic Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive stretches around 1280 kilometres past stunning beaches, quaint seaside towns and through lush valleys. If you drove directly it would take you around 10 – 11 hours or so, but why would you want to do that when there are so many beautiful places to stop and enjoy along the way?

For us, the joy of a road trip is in discovering the small things between point A and point B, such as a gorgeous beach to splash at or a delicious brekkie at a country cafe. The best bit about driving vs flying is that the journey can be just as enjoyable as the end destination.

Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive: The Best Places To Stop

Kiama

Kiama, NSW, Australia

We’ve been visiting Kiama since we were kids to see the largest blowhole in the world. Sadly the hole wasn’t blowing on the day we visited, so the photos below are from a visit when I was about the same age that Cheese is now. Thankfully there are now fences installed for safety! Note: The hole might not be “blowing” when you visit as there’s been erosion inside the mouth of the blow hole in more recent years, meaning it now only “blows” in high tides, stormy weather type of days.

Kiama, NSW, Australia Kiama, NSW, Australia
The famous Kiama Blowhole has attracted visitors for over 100 years. The nearby lighthouse was built in 1887 and is worth a visit as well. If you have time walk down to Surf Beach, the main beach in town with calm water for a dip. Near the beach you’ll also find parkland with a playground and plenty of shops and cafes.

Kiama, NSW, Australia

Spend a few days in Kiama and explore a points of interest including the Little Blowhole, Cathedral Rocks, whale watching, Kiama Fish Market, the Kiama Coastal Walk and the Pilot’s Cottage Museum for some local maritime history.

Berry

Berry, NSW, Australia

The rural town of Berry is known for its beautiful gardens, boutique stores, arts and crafts. I highly recommend stopping by for a stroll up through this pretty town, and a piping hot donut from the Famous Berry Donut Van. Cinnamon donuts are made freshly to order and handed out so hot they burn the fingers.

Jervis Bay

Hyam's Beach, NSW, Australia

You could easily spend a week just in this beautiful spot on the NSW South Coast. There are plenty of picturesque seaside towns to explore, such as Calalla Bay, Huskisson, Vincentia and Hyams Beach. In the sparkling water of the Jervis Bay Marine Park live bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, sea dragons and migrating whales.

Hyam's Beach, NSW, Australia

We enjoyed Hyams Beach, a small beach in a residential suburb that has surged in popularity after being awarded the title of “whitest sand in the world” by the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s well worth a visit as the beach is just stunning, but be warned – parking is tricky.

Read more about visiting Hyams Beach.

Hyam's Beach, NSW, Australia

In our opinion, this part of the NSW coast is just breathtakingly beautiful, and a highlight of the Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive.

Read more about things to do in Jervis Bay.

Read more about Jervis Bay accommodation.

Bateman’s Bay

Bateman's Bay, NSW, Australia

We stopped overnight in Bateman’s Bay, a seaside town located at the entrance of the Clyde River. Captain Jams Cook gave the town its name in 1770 on his first voyage. The water at Bateman’s Bay is very clear, making it a great place for snorkelling. Visit Clyde River National Park for bushwalking, kayaking and fishing, or Birdland Animal Park and get hands on with native Australian animals. Bateman’s Bay is also an area for simple pleasures. Cheese really enjoyed climbing rocks under the bridge and playing in the riverside playground.

Bodalla

Bodalla, NSW, Australia

Of course we had to take our daughter Cheese to taste cheese! Stopping at the Bodalla Dairy Cheese Factory was a spur of the moment decision that we were very grateful that we did. Inside the factory you can try a range of delicious locally made cheese and milkshakes (they have other food too).

Bodalla, NSW, Australia

The farmyard out the back is a gorgeous spot where kids can pat the animals and bottle-feed calves daily at 10am and 4pm.

Bega

Bega, NSW, Australia

Driving through Bega was one of the prettiest spots on the road trip. The lush, undulating valley where Bega sits is so picturesque that you can imagine some very happy cows live here, munching on grass all day long, while their milk is being turned into sensational cheese. Visit the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre and sample some local cheese.

Bega, NSW, Australia

There are a few varieties that are only available here – we particularly loved the Heritage Reserve cheese. Honestly, you can’t take the Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive and NOT try some cheese at Bodalla or Bega.

Merimbula

Merimbula, NSW, Australia

This little seaside town on the Sapphire Coast is a popular holiday spot for families. Merimbula, derived from the Aboriginal word for “two lakes”, is a great place for water sports, whale watching, relaxing and eating! We had an amazing brunch at the Waterfront Cafe while stopping in Merimbula. Great food, and located next to a fenced playground.

Tura Beach, Merimbula, NSW, Australia

With its calm waters, sailing, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding are fun sports to try when visiting the area. There are plenty of beaches in the area too, including the Merimbula Main Beach, Short Point, Bar Beach (where you’ll find good snorkelling) and Spencer Park Beach, which is a good spot for families as well a having a playground.

We also ventured to nearby Tura Beach and enjoyed it. Merimbula is a pretty little spot and it’s easy to see why many people break their journey on the Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive here for a few days.

Milton

Milton, NSW, Australia

We were lured to Milton by excellent reviews I read for its vegetarian cafe, Pilgrims. The food was incredible, but the town is a really lovely historic spot, and worth a visit in its own right. Milton was founded in 1860, and is located near Mollymook and Ulladulla. I would highly recommend a stop in Milton for a look at its art galleries, antique stores, fashion boutiques and delicious cafes. If you have more time, take the detour to Mollymook for a walk on the beach.

Pebbly Beach

Pebbly Beach, NSW, Australia

A photograph of a kangaroo in the low surf at Pebbly Beach has given rise to stories of “surfing kangaroos”. Sadly there are no surfing kangaroos, but there are a lot of resident roos at the beach, many of whom are friendly and apparently like a pat. I wouldn’t risk this myself, as wild animals are just that, but we did get very close to them with no issues on our visit to Pebbly Beach.

Pebbly Beach, NSW, Australia

Located in the Murramarang National Park, Pebbly Beach is also a popular camping area. It rained when we visited so we didn’t see the beach in all its glory, but it was still gorgeous despite the weather.

Lake’s Entrance

Lake's Entrance, Victoria, Australia

Another popular spot for young families to vaycay, Lake’s Entrance boasts the largest inland network of waterways in Australia. Located on the edge of Ninety Mile Beach, where the Gippsland Lakes meets the Southern Ocean, Lake’s Entrance is a fab spot to stay the night, like we did, or even a day longer. Water sports are a popular past time here, with kayaks, boat cruises and paddleboats all easily accessible.

Lake's Entrance, Victoria, Australia

Where To Stop On The Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive

If you’re headed to Sydney after your drive, here’s a list of things to do in Sydney with kids, things to do for free in Sydney, the best beaches in Sydney, and best ocean pools in Sydney.

 

 

Sydney To Melbourne Inland Drive: The best places to stop on a Hume Highway road trip

Sydney To Melbourne Inland Drive: The best places to stop on a Hume Highway road trip, Australia

The Sydney to Melbourne inland drive is a staple road trip that many Aussies have been making since childhood – myself included. We drove down as a family of three with Cheese for the first time this summer to experience the iconic drive for ourselves.

Driving between Sydney and Melbourne will take approximately eight to nine hours to cover the 877.6 km stretch via the Hume Highway. While it can be done in one day, I advise breaking the trip an evening stopover so there’s time to pull into these gems along the way.

Sydney To Melbourne Inland Drive: The Best Places To Stop On A Hume Highway Road Trip

Goulburn

Big Merino, Goulburn, Australia
Australia’s first inland city, as proclaimed by letters by Queen Victoria in 1863 is a must, even if it’s just to snap a pic with Rambo, the Big Merino. It’s just not an Aussie road trip without photographing one of the weird “big” icons that Australia loves to set up by the roadside.

The Big Merino stands 15.2m tall just off Goulburn’s southern exit. It was built in 1985 to celebrate the city and district’s fine wool industry. An exhibition on 200 years of wool history in Australia can be seen inside Rambo (open daily, 8.30am-5.30pm).

Belmore Park, Goulburn, Australia

In the actual town of Goulburn, we loved Belmore Park. It’s a gorgeous spot with a rotunda, flowering gardens, fountain, shady trees, glass house conservatory, war memorials and a playground. There are also public toilets (including a wheelchair accessible toilet). The park is a fantastic stop to let kids run around, cartwheel and stretch those legs.

The Rose Cafe, Goulburn, Australia

Across the road from Belmore park you’ll find The Roses Cafe, a delicious spot to stop for refuelling the humans. Their extensive menu features the most amazing homemade cakes, quiches, muffins, salads, frittatas, pies, cookies and more. Every single item is made from scratch onsite, each day.

Gundegai

Gundagai, NSW, Australia
This classic Australian country town is worth a detour to see. Walk up quaint main street, check out the Old Gungdegai Goal that was built in 1859, the Gundagai Historical Museum and Gundagai Railway station, built in 1885. A must is a stop at the famous Dog on the Tuckerbox, 8km north of Gundagai, just off the Hume Highway. We stopped at this exact spot so many times on our family Sydney to Melbourne inland drive road trips when I was a kid, and I had a ball recreating the photo from an image my parents had saved of me standing in the same spot when I was three.

Inspired by the 1850s poem “Bullocky Bill”, which celebrates the life of the loyal drover’s dog that guarded the man’s tuckerbox (where all his possessions were kept) until his death. The statue was immortalised in the song “Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox (5 miles from Gundagai)”, as was the town in “The Road To Gundegai” both by Jack O’Hagan.

Holbrook

HolBrook Submarine Museum, NSW, Australia
In the middle of rural NSW, almost exactly halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, is a submarine. A real one. The HMAS Otway Submarine is insanely out of place in the country town of Holbrook, but that’s really part of its charm.

HolBrook Submarine Museum, NSW, Australia

Kids can climb up and run all over the submarine, while parents will enjoy visiting the Holbrook Submarine Museum and hearing the story of the daring Captain Holbrook, for whom the town was named. There is a cafe next to the submarine and a park adjacent with a playground and restrooms.

Albury

Botanic Gardens Albury, Australia
On the banks of the Murray River, at the border of New South Wales and Victoria, sits Albury. There is plenty to do in this town, making it an ideal place to spend the night. Noreuil Park is a great spot for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and riding bikes, while more active families might enjoy the 6km Wagirra Trail along the Murray River that features the history of the local indigenous tribe, the Wiradjuri people, and sculptures.

Botanic Gardens Albury, Australia

We particularly enjoyed the 130-year-old Botanic Gardens with its winding paths, towering trees and fantastic Children’s Garden. A recent addition to the park, the Children’s Garden is the perfect place for little ones to explore and let their imaginations run wild. We found a dinosaur with speaking tubes in its head and tail, a fairy house, troll cave and story circle, plus lots of other amazing little details carved and sculpted into the garden.

Mr Benedict, Albury, Australia

For a great cafe stop, try Mr Benedict at 664 Dean St, where we had a delicious all-day breakfast.

As previously mentioned, Albury is a great spot to spend the night on the Sydney to Melbourne inland drive. If decide to break your journey here, try the newly renovated Atura hotel – the “hippest” accomodation on the Hume Highway.

Glenrowan

Glenrowan, Victoria, Australia
A must stop on the Sydney to Melbourne inland drive for history buffs! Glenrowan is best known for its link to the bushranger Ned Kelly and the infamous Kelly gang. It was in Glenrowan where Kelly dressed in a helmet and homemade armour laid siege against the Melbourne troopers in 1880. Pick up a town map from the Glenrowan Bakehouse and follow the self-guided walk around the Glenrowan Heritage Precinct, which includes the siege and capture sites.

Glenrowan, Victoria, Australia

It’s a fascinating walk back in time to stand in the exact spot where one of Australia’s most notorious events took place. There’s also no better way to interest kids in history than for them to experience it for themselves.

Sydney To Melbourne Inland Drive: The best places to stop on a Hume Highway road trip, Australia

Another place to stop – although it’s a rather significant detour – is Canberra. Read our tips on Canberra here.

Bishop’s Court Estate: A Luxury Stay in Bathurst

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

A stay at the Bishop’s Court Estate is like spending the night at the house of a friend. If your friend lived in a luxurious, historic mansion, that is. Built in 1870 as the home of the first Anglican Bishop, Bishops Court Estate is a two-storey Victorian mansion that has been exquisitely restored to its former glory by owner Christine Le Fevre.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Le Fevre greets us by name as we arrive, and ushers us into our rooms, which all have their own name and character. There are only six rooms in this boutique hotel, making the stay a cosy, intimate affair. My room for the night is the Bishops Room – the bedroom that was previously reserved for the Bishop of the house.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

The room is spacious and elegant, decorated with a unique art collection and European inspired furniture. There is direct access to the upper terrace from the room, which overlooks the chapel and garden. It’s peaceful, luscious and so relaxing. Complimentary port and choccies await me in the room, a lovely surprise gift for guests.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

A big quick of the rooms at Bishop’s Court Estate is their lack of in-room ensuites. Only one room at the hotel has a bathroom ensuite, the rest, all large, luxurious bathrooms, are allocated to each room in different locations nearby. It’s pretty easy to slip on the provided plush robe and totter down the hall, and kind of feels like I’m on set at Downton Abbey when I do.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

In the evening the chapel is filled with candles and transformed into the ethereal eatery that is 9inety 2wo restaurant. They serve Modern Australian cuisine in one of the most beautiful surrounds I’ve ever dined in.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Our meal is delicious. I enjoy the twice baked asparagus Soufflé with blue cheese and parmesan crisp, hand-cut pasta with mushrooms and baked stuffed eggplant with asparagus risotto, braised okra and spinach sauce. I’m similarly stuffed and can’t fit in dessert, which is a crying shame as it’s an exquisite-looking creme brulee.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

It’s to bed after dinner, which is a wonderfully short stroll up the stairs, and to sleep on my bed, which is so comfortable it feels like sleeping on a cloud.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

In the morning I’m cheerfully greeted by Le Fevre when I emerge downstairs, and step outside to explore the gardens. Serene angel statues are dotted throughout the greenery, giving the garden a celestial feel that, when combined with the solitude of the estate, gives a feeling of supreme peace.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Around the corner from the chapel is the chook shed, where the “Spice Girls”, Le Fevre’s much-loved chickens, live a life of luxury.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

The eggs served at breakfast in the house dish, the “Bishop’s Court Stack” are freshly laid by the Spice Girls, with the fruit grown in the kitchen garden. We sit at a long table, strangers no more. We depart Bishop’s Court Estate as newly found friends, thanks to Le Fevre’s extraordinary warmth and hospitality, and the unique bonding experience of spending a night in this gorgeous estate.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Bishop’s Court Estate
226 Seymour St, Bathurst
Online
Bishop's Court Estate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was hosted by Bishop’s Court Estate, Destination NSW, Bathurst Council and Mayfield Gardens for my stay in Bathurst. All opinions are my own.