The rise of child-friendly cruises with youth clubs, waterslides and kids’ menus has made it easier than ever to bring the whole family along on your oceanic holiday. And the best part? It still feels like a holiday. No need to pack up every day to get to your next destination. No cooking or dishes involved. Wander from activity to activity without having to gather up all your gear and load the kids in the car. Everyone in the family gets a chance to truly relax and have fun.
If you’re looking for destinations that the kids will love as much as you do, check out these top four spots for your next family cruise.
1.Wellington, New Zealand
The world’s ‘Coolest Little Capital’ of Wellington, New Zealand is a treat for the young ones. Not only is it a stone’s throw from Australia, the city has a lot to offer for children. A ride on the iconic cable car is a must, and a visit to the Wellington Zoo promises a day of discovery featuring native New Zealand animals and exotic species alike. Don’t miss out on Te Papa, the fantastic Museum of New Zealand, where you can pick up activity sheets to help the kids find their way around and interact with the exhibits, stop by StoryPlace for toddler-friendly activities, or visit the Discovery Centres for hands-on learning. The wee ones will also love the Weta Cave, a unique workshop and museum where you can tour the premises and learn a few secrets from behind the scenes of your favourite family movies.
And don’t forget, there’s a lot for adults to enjoy in Wellington as well, from the thriving cafe culture to the numerous craft breweries and live theatre performances.
2. The Whitsundays, Queensland
The Whitsundays boast some of the most breathtaking beaches on the planet, and there’s so much more than just waves to jump over and sandcastles to build once you arrive.
You and the kids can learn how to get around on stand-up paddleboards at Shingley Beach, or hire a golf cart to zoom around Hamilton Island. If you can make it to Daydream’s Living Island Reef, you can hand feed stingrays for a back-to-school story the kids will be retelling all year long. The young ones will learn about Australia’s unique environment first hand, and have an absolute blast while doing so.
3. Hobart, Tasmania
Tasmania is so unique and incredible that it can feel like an entirely different country, and it’s not typically a place the kids will get to visit.
Introduce them to the famous Tasmanian devil at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, take them for a sky-high stroll at the Tahune AirWalk, or let them unleash their inner trolls in the mysterious Hastings Caves just 90 minutes south of the city. They’ll also enjoy plenty of the ‘grown-up’ attractions, too, such as the Salamanca Market with its tasty treats, the Museum of Old and New Art with its light and sound displays, and the waterfront area with its boats and floating seafood shops.
4. Noumea, New Caledonia
Travel somewhere that’s a little exotic - but no so far away that you’ll be hearing ‘Are we there yet?’ on repeat for weeks.
Noumea is known for its beaches and French history, so it’s an ideal spot for the kids to enjoy as you teach them about new cultures. The top spot for kids in town is easily the Aquarium des Lagons, which has a glow-in-the-dark section, giant sea turtles and interactive fish feeding sessions. You can also book a spot on the Tchou Tchou Train, which offers a two hour-tour of the island during a special ‘train’ ride.
On all cruises, keep an eye out for the child-friendly shore excursions, as most voyages will include plenty of family friendly options no matter where you are. These four destinations are found on a huge range of cruises departing from Australia’s ports.