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Best Attractions (Family)

 

The Attractions - Family category highlights a range of the best statically-located attractions that endeavour to provide entertainment largely to family units of all ages. These attractions provide a robust focus on making both their exhibits and facilities as family-friendly as possible, through factors such as layout, presentations, rides and other associated offerings.

Families looking for thoroughly entertaining days out with their children in tow will find that each of these operators delivers in spades.

Award Winner Profiles

 

Meet the award-winning operators and their signature experiences in the Attractions (Family) category.

Australia Zoo - Sunshine Coast, QLD

Perhaps the country's most famous wildlife attraction, Australia Zoo obtained worldwide renown due to the efforts of the late, great Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and his family. Although Steve is no longer with us, his family and the dedicated zoo staff have continued to run the zoo as a world-class facility that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The zoo sits on the aptly-named Steve Irwin Way on QLD's Sunshine Coast and is as much a diverse haven of animal conservation and entertainment as it is a zoo - along with the immense variety of both native and international animals, there are a host of displays, in-park attractions and an array of shows including the famous crocodile-feeding displays. Conservation has also always been at the forefront of Australia Zoo's efforts - a value instilled by the Irwins upon its foundation.

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Aussie World - Sunshine Coast, QLD

The Sunshine Coast's only true theme park and one of Australia's favourites, Aussie World offers a range of thrilling rides and attractions that combine to make for a fun day out for the entire family. Ideal for both kids and kids-at-heart, Aussie World has been in operation since 1989 and has won multiple awards for tourism throughout its existence. The park's range of rides cater to all different ages and adventure levels, from toddler-oriented attractions and smaller-scale rides, to high-level thrill opportunities all augmented by an array of non-ride entertainment. This includes local travel icon The Pub at Aussie World, which its not only a must-snap photo opportunity but also offers a range of great food including lunch and dinner menus and a specialty for steaks.

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Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary - Gold Coast, QLD

The Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has long been one of the most popular attractions in south-east QLD; famed for its daily Rainbow Lorikeet feeding, the sanctuary has continually expanded to now encompasses a 27 hectare section of lush eucalyptus and rainforest. Containing a wide array of animal displays both standard and interactive as well as a number of free daily shows and presentations, visitors to the sanctuary can cuddle a koala, get up close to and even feed a crocodile, get among a mob of kangaroos and much more. It's an attraction that's something of a Gold Coast icon, having been in operation in some form since back in 1947 and having entertained and educated millions of visitors - particularly families visiting from both locally and afar.

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Dreamworld - Gold Coast, QLD

Since its opening back in 1981, Dreamworld has long held the title of the Gold Coast's largest theme park, and remains to this day home to the highest quantity of rides of all the Gold Coast's parks. While it's traditionally more of a ride-focused theme park, Dreamworld has continually made an effort to add to its non-ride offerings over the years, and now offers additional diversity for visitors including animal attractions and encounters, kids play areas, and live entertainment. As a whole, Dreamworld remains the “go-to” theme park for those who have rides as their #1 priority, with its signature “Big 9” Thrill Rides offering some of the most unique and high-octane experiences of any such attraction in Australia and offers thrills for all ages and thrill-seeking levels - with plenty of other non-ride entertainment as well.

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Featherdale Wildlife Park - Sydney, NSW

Sydney's Featherdale Wildlife Park is home to one of Australia's largest private collections of native Aussie animals and bird life that sits around 50 minutes' drive west of the city CBD in the suburb of Doonside. Set amongst a lush bush setting all contained within the greater Sydney metropolitan area, Featherdale is home to over 1700 native Australian animals spanning more than 280 species, all spread out over 7 acres. Visitors to the park are able to get up very close with a number of the species on display here, and unlike most other zoos they are often within arms length with guests able to lean over and touch. In addition to the Aussie zoo animals, Featherdale also has a farmyard with a wide assortment of farm animals for kids to pat, feed and otherwise interact with.

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Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary - Brisbane, QLD

By far one of Brisbane's most popular attractions, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary sits just to the north of Brisbane's CBD in Queensland. As the world's first and largest koala sanctuary, Lone Pine plays host to over 130 koalas as well as a myriad of other Aussie and international animals and places an emphasis on hands-on interaction wherever possible. Visitors are able to cuddle koalas (an act limited to Queensland), hand-feed kangaroos in a spacious enclosure, and even get up close with the rare Platypus all within expansive natural settings. The sanctuary's motto is: "The earth is not only for humans", and it shows with the great quality of the wildlife facilities that makes for a refreshing change from a more typical zoo.

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Luna Park Sydney - Sydney, NSW

Sydney's only true permanent theme park, the long-running Luna Park on the shores of Sydney Harbour has been an icon of the city for decades and has entertained millions of visitors from both locally and abroad. As a result, several of the architectural items within the park are listed as heritage items, and its characteristic "clown face" entrance is easily one of Australia's most recognisable figures. Home to a number of rides including dodgem cars, ferris wheel, small-scale rollercoaster and multiple others, what the park lacks in overall size it more than makes up for in both charm and location. On the larger rides, riders are granted sensational views of the harbour, and its location makes it an easy itinerary item to include on the Sydney Harbour route for those bringing kids along for the trip.

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Melbourne Zoo - Melbourne, VIC

Standing as a world-class wildlife attraction that is the result of both a huge amount of love and a large investment of money, Melbourne Zoo sits within easy reach of the majority of accommodation in the Melbourne CBD only 4km from the Melbourne city centre. Australia's oldest zoo features a robust lineup of international animal species, and is divided up into various "regions" of animals reflecting their respective worldwide locations; elephants, orangutans, lions and more can all be found here, and they're all given ample space in which to feel comfortable and move about. Set within a comfortable and scenic botanic garden setting, the zoo provides a relaxing atmosphere with a variety of landscapes, from the Victorian-era formality of the main drive to the lush jungles of the Asian and African rainforest areas. It's a convenient attraction that's an essential visit for families in Melbourne.

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Merlin Entertainments Attractions - Sydney, NSW

One of the world's leading providers of family entertainment, Merlin Entertainments Group operate a wide array of family-oriented attractions in 24 different countries, including several highly popular examples in Australia. Among these include several that sit right on the waterfront at Sydney Harbour and nearby, providing families and other visitors with conveniently-located opportunities for getting up close with the likes of Australian wildlife, incredibly-lifelike wax figures of famous faces both past and present, marine creatures from all across the globe, the ultimate views of Sydney's skyline, and more. All of SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, SEA LIFE Manly, WILD LIFE Sydney, Madame Tussaud's Sydney and Sydney Tower Eye can be combined into multi-passes which provide not only a huge quantity of entertainment, but savings on standalone entry prices as well.

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SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast - Sunshine Coast, QLD

Formerly named UnderWater World, marine attraction SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast opened in 1989 and has been entertaining visitors with its mixture of oceanarium and wildlife sanctuary ever since. Ideal for all weather conditions, the aquarium allows visitors to interact with a variety of aquatic animal types across 11 unique zones and by participating in its 14 different talks and animal feeds. Spread out over 3 levels, there's plenty to see and do here in the aquarium itself, while guests can also opt for a number of additional animal encounters with the likes of seals, or even scuba dive alongside sharks. As an added bonus, their tickets offer re-entry during the same day, meaning it's possible to leave for a break and then return to enjoy any attractions or shows you may have missed.

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Village Roadshow Theme Parks - Gold Coast, QLD

Australia's largest operator of theme parks, Village Roadshow Theme Parks is the parent company which oversees three of the Gold Coast's most popular attractions: Sea World Gold Coast, Warner Bros. Movie World, and Wet 'n' Wild. In many ways, they're the main reasons why many families pick the Gold Coast as a travel destination in the first place, as each of the parks offers such a diverse array of fun - in terms of both rides and non-ride entertainment - that it's possible to base an entire travel itinerary around enjoying what the theme parks offer. Movie World specialises in bringing Hollywood to life, with many of its most famed characters from fiction combined with shows and thrilling and unique rides; Sea World is an expansive marine park that puts the spotlight on marine life alongside rides and shows; and Wet 'n' Wild is a cavalcade of waterslides, wave pools, and other refreshing entertainment. Theme park multi-passes allow visitors the chance to visit all of the parks an unlimited number of times over either a 7 day or 1 year period.

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