Winter is full of great activities the whole family can enjoy. Just jump in the car and head out on one of these day trips from your city.
Melbourne: State Coal Mine, Wonthaggi
When you want to escape the winter weather, head underground! The State Coal Mine is a little over two hours' drive from Melbourne CBD, and offers a fun day of hands-on history for you and the kids. Underground tours of the old coal mine run daily. On the way back, stop for lunch at the Kilcunda General Store cafe and take in the beautiful Bass Coast scenery.
Brisbane: Whale Watching, Moreton Bay
The bay is good for more than summertime beach fun! Winter is the perfect time to see Humpbacks and Southern Right Whales on their migration north. Catch a ferry to North Stradbroke Island and walk along the coast, keeping an eye out for these majestic creatures. Bring the binoculars and have a contest to see who can spot the first puff or breach.
Sydney: Katoomba and the Blue Mountains
Pack the car and head out early to spend a full day in the mountain town of Katoomba. Visit Scenic World and descend into Jamison Valley on the world's steepest railway where you can wander through the forest. Take the Scenic Skyway to see the ancient trees from above and enjoy spectacular views of the Blue Mountains. Enjoy gentle bushwalks and wander around town to see the grand hotel before having a wholesome meal at the cosy Yellow Lentil. Stop in at Leura to see the famous Bygone Beauty's teapot museum before you leave.
Head to the hills and visit the pretty little historic town of Hahndorf. Grownups will admire the beautiful main street and boutique shops, but it's the Fairy Garden and Mini Golf the kids will love! If the weather is fine, you could also visit the Hahndorf Farm Barn, see one of their 'farm shows' and learn all about the animals and local native wildlife. For lunch, Udder Delights has a kid's cheese board, or you can sit in at the delightful Cafe 1839, with its Bavarian style frontage, hearty meals and special kids menu.
It's just a short drive from the city into the Coal River Valley, but the beautiful Georgian buildings feel like something straight out of an English storybook. While the kids might beg you to visit the old-timey lolly shop, you can distract them with the award-winning Old Hobart Town model village or the famous Pooseum (it really is educational, and a big hit with schoolkids). Visit the Richmond bakery for a few hot pies to share, and have a picnic in the park beside the impressive stone bridge, watching the ducks and waterfowl in the river.
Perth: Gingin Gravity Discovery Centre
Too cold for the great outdoors? How about outer space? Drive the kids to Gingin for a day of learning and fun at the Gravity Discovery Centre. This science education centre has a range of indoor and outdoor activities exploring physics and astronomy, including the 1km wheelchair-accessible solar system walk and a cosmology gallery of multicultural art. Kids will love climbing the Leaning Tower of Gingin to drop water balloons (while learning about gravity, of course) and the whole family can take a self-guided tour, unravelling the mysteries of the universe as they go. Enjoy a lunch in the Gravity Cafe, with coffee, cakes and kangaroo burgers.
Canberra: Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Get cosy with some of Australia's iconic wildlife at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in Namadgi National Park. This protected pocket of nature is only 40km from Canberra's CBD, and provides a wetland and bushland refuge for native animals, including kangaroos, koalas, platypus, emus and wallabies, as well as rare species such as the lyrebird. The Nature Discovery Playground has equipment suitable for all ages, and the walking trail is pram-accessible. Grab lunch at the kiosk or bring the Esky to have a BBQ picnic. Be sure to stop at the gift shop for souvenirs. Open 7:30am-6pm in winter, check their website for up to date admission fees.