The Best Places in Australia to Holiday Over the Summer Break

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The Best Places in Australia to Holiday Over the Summer Break
This post is brought to you by Accor Hotels.

The Best Places in Australia to Holiday Over the Summer Break


You know what is really scary it is November already and I haven’t made any plans yet for the best time of the year, summer holidays! I’m super keen to get away over the break with the kids and explore more of this beautiful country. My boys want to go to Sydney a city break. I do adore Sydney, but I’m always keen to go to the beach and enjoy that real laid back lifestyle, sand in between your toes and not a care in the world. I love the water and the views (but sometimes the hustle and bustle can get to be too much).

Hubby on the other hand, my country boy always wants to go to the rural areas. Sleepy little towns that offer that real country service, tiny little shops and old men that still tip their hats to the ladies as they pass them by.

So for our family, it is always such a hard decision to agree on! With Accor if you book early and stay longer you will earn 25% off* your Australian holiday accommodation.

Check out all the places we are considering for our Summer break – and why! Maybe you can help me decide where to go!

12 Best Places in Australia to Holiday This Summer | Stay at Home Mum

My Picks for a City Escape


I do adore Sydney. It is truly the most beautiful city in Australia. The harbour is something to behold, and seeing the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge up front is just breathtaking no matter how many times you see it. The best part about Sydney is the history, the public transport is really easy to navigate (no need to hire a car!) and you’ll be able to dive into the historical areas with ease. The ferries go along the harbour and are great for getting around and seeing the famous bridge up close! Manly and Brighton are also nearby, the buildings there are amazing and there is plenty to see and do.

The BEST places to visit and some Sydney accommodation options:

Visit The Rocks for the History

Accor Hotels in Sydney Stay at Home Mum

The Rocks are a historic part of the Sydney CBD it is only a few minutes’ walk from Circular Quay train station and the views overlook Sydney Harbour. The historic little laneways, cobblestones and markets are just darling. The Rocks has Sydney’s oldest pub (having a beer there is a MUST!).

If you get a chance, do The Rocks Ghost Tours even if you don’t believe in ghosts (I don’t!) seeing all the amazing old buildings and hearing the early stories about the first settlers will keep you enthralled. There is also a great area at the Rocks called ‘The Big Dig‘ which is a MUST for families.  It is an area of land at The Rocks that has been excavated and the archaeological remains are exposed (most of the buildings are built over this area not disturbing the site). But you can see outlines of homes, old stables and laneways that no longer exist.

You can download the ‘Walking the Rocks App‘ which takes you on a self-guided walking tour of all the nooks and crannies of this amazing place. It also gives you an ‘Augmented reality’ at any spot so you can see exactly what the place you are standing in looked like in the past!

My Favourite place to stay at The Rocks:

Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney

It is right in the heart of The Rocks, and is a fantastic ‘Basecamp’ for families! It is cosy, historic and so close to everything! The rooms are both modern and vintage (yes that sounds weird, but best way to describe them”¦)  the beds are so comfy and it isn’t noisy!

Harbour Rocks Hotel Accor Hotels The Rocks Sydney


Go to Darling Harbour for the Food!

Darling Harbour is just a hub for people watching, seeing how the other half live on the amazing yachts, but by far, the very BEST part of Darling Harbour is the FOOD.  There is just so much choice from simple street food and ice cream right through to the fanciest restaurants with five-star chefs.

You can take a sunset cruise on the harbour, visit one of the many local museums, visit the incredible Australian National Maritime Museum and see a real-life submarine!!!

Now if you want the best steak that has ever been, go visit Meat District Co on the wharf. The food is incredible!

Darling Harbour is another really central area to public transport links and has loads of well-appointed and affordable accommodation options.

Accor Hotels Darling Harbour

My Favourite Accommodation Option at Darling Harbour:

Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour

I’ve stayed at the Novotel many times now it is central, clean, the rooms are really comfortable and cosy and is another fantastic ‘Base Camp’ hotel in the heart of Sydney. The best part is kids also stay and dine for free at Novotel hotels.*

Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour Accor Hotels


I travel quite often to Melbourne for work.  And if you can look past the ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ weather events and the fact they are all obsessed with Aussie Rules Football, it is an exciting and modern city with THE BEST COFFEE on earth, interesting laneways with secret nooks that sell five star food, and some of the biggest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere. Melbourne is truly a Foodie Paradise.

Here are my favourite places in Melbs!

See the Queen Victoria Markets for The Experience

Want to visit the largest open-air markets in the Southern Hemisphere? The Queen Victoria Markets has an amazing array of produce!  Listen to the store holders trying to hock their wares as you walk by! it is the ‘Go To’ place for Melbourne locals and if it is grown in Victoria – it will be at the markets. The Dairy and Smallgoods section is also lethal if you love cheese. You will need two whole days to see everything there!

The Queen Victoria Markets | Stay at Home Mum


Dine in Degraves Street for the Coffee and Culture

Melbourne is famous for the tiny laneways that weave their way through the CBD.  Degraves Street is probably the most well-known.  It connects Flinders Lane and Flinders Street and is filled with tiny cafes that have exquisite food.  The lane has a very ‘Parisian’ feel and is shaded by the Majorca Building so that ‘Dark’ feel of the lane gives it a night-time atmosphere at any time of the day.  You can’t go there without having an expresso or two.

Degraves Street Melbourne Accor Hotels

Where to Stay in Melbourne:

This one was hard as there are so many gorgeous hotels to stay at in Melbourne – and just about all of them are super family friendly and central. But if I HAD to choose, these would be my picks:

The Sebel Melbourne Flinders Lane

If you are wanting a luxurious, bespoke place to stay in Melbourne, The Sebel Melbourne Flinders Lane is a MUST. The rooms are modern, spacious and contemporary!  Literally, the carpet is so thick you will think you are walking on a pile of fluffy dressing gowns. This place is particularly good if you want to take advantage of the surrounding Fashion District where your credit card can get a real workout!

The Sebel Melbourne Flinders Lane Accor Hotels


Novotel Melbourne on Collins

For a more affordable family option, you can’t go past the Novotel Melbourne on Collins. Collins Street is the heart of business, food and fashion. The Melbourne trams run the length of Collins Street so transport into the CBD is no problem. It has a great location if you are attending sporting events as it is walking distance to Rod Laver Arena (for the tennis lovers) and the MCG (for footy lovers). It is also close to the Princess and Regent Theatres.

Novotel Melbourne on Collins Accor Hotels



Oh Perth…I grew up there and have such fond memories of the big little country town. There is no friendlier city in the whole of Australia. The train system in Perth is better than any other Capital City in Australia – so no rental car will be needed! Perth is a City Stay with a Country Feel – so you can have the best of both worlds!

The Best Places to Visit in Perth:

Get Lost in the Fremantle Prison for the History

If you are into old buildings, true crime and history – a visit to the Old Fremantle Prison is a MUST when visiting Western Australia.  Many of the Tour Guides were real life Prison Guards when the prison was open.  If you are planning to visit in Summer, you can book a ‘Tunnels Tour’ and decent below the prison to see the labyrinth of tunnels built by prisoners. Spooky!

Fremantle Prison | Stay at Home Mum Accor Hotels

Ngilgi Cave (Formerly Known as Yallingup Cave) for a One of a Kind Experience

Travel down to the bowels of the earth to see an ancient cave full of stunning stalactite, stalagmite and helictite formations. This cave is suitable for the whole family (even the little ones can go with you), but can be a bit claustrophobic in parts on the way down. But trust me, the climb down is worth it. The cave is massive and spectacular. It has been lit with coloured lights to highlight the very best formations, that look like backwards waterfalls. The Cave is associated with an Aboriginal legend describing the good spirit of Ngilgi and the evil spirit, Wolgine.

Ngilgi Cave Accor Hotels Western Australia


Accommodation Options for Perth:

I highly recommend you stay in the heart of Perth, and travel via train to wherever you want to go. Perth is very easy to get around and pretty much all the best spots are on the public train line!

The Sebel East Perth

The Sebel has fantastic studio apartments, which are more family-friendly than traditional hotel rooms. Located right on the waterfront, this is a five minute walk from the Perth CBD, but close enough to the shops and cafes to make it a breeze getting where you need to go, especially for the really littles ones!

The Sebel East Perth Accor Hotels

Rural Escapes

Canberra is Australia’s heart and the hotbed of politics and an awesome destination for a rural escape. Sure, you have the snowfields in Winter, but Summer is a much more pleasant time to enjoy the beautiful parklands  in the nation’s capital.

Places to Visit in Canberra:

Visit the Australian War Memorial to Pay Your Respects to Our Soldiers

Located in Campbell, the War Memorial is a magnificent yet solemn monument to our armed forces.  It is regarded as one of the most significant memorials of its kind in the world.  Lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Visit the National Military Museum and the magnificent Sculpture Garden.

Canberra War Memorial Accor Hotels


Where to Stay in Canberra:

The Mercure Canberra

Within walking distance of the CBD, you get that city location with the country feel. Very family friendly with shops, restaurants and cafes all close-by.

The Mercure Canberra Accor Hotels


Darwin – City, Country and Beach All Rolled Into One!

Darwin ticks all the boxes of being city, country and beach – all rolled into one. The top end is a beautiful part of the world most don’t think to visit. With the average temperature year round of 30 degrees, it is a tropical paradise! Make sure you pick up a few copies of the local Newspaper too, their headlines are famous throughout the world for their tongue-in-cheek sense of humour!

Where to Stay:

Novotel Darwin CBD Hotel

This hotel features a pool and award winning restaurant and is located in the city centre, opposite Darwin Harbour and Bicentennial Park.

Novotel Darwin CBD Hotel Accor Hotels

The Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is a two-hour drive from Sydney and is a beautiful rural escape full of wineries, spa retreats and amazing restaurants.

Where to Stay:

Grand Mercure The Vintage Accor Vacation Club Apartments

Fully furnished self-service apartments with a single garage – perfect for the family on the move whilst visiting the gorgeous Hunter Valley area.

Grand Mercure The Vintage Accor Vacation Club Apartments

Beach Holiday Ideas

Byron Bay – Hipster Heaven

Byron Bay is an eclectic mix of people, making it a fascinating place to take a seat in a local cafe and just do some serious people watching. With many celebrities calling Byron home, and a beach that is so incredibly beautiful you will never want to leave, Byron is an experience in itself.

Cape Byron Lighthouse for a Cliff Top Movie Like Location Like No Other

Located on Australia’s most Easterly point, the Cape Byron Lighthouse was built in 1901 and overlooks the sweeping beaches of Byron Bay. The entry to the lighthouse is free, however, they do sting you for parking (in fact the whole of the Byron Bay area is notorious for over-zealous parking inspectors).

Cape Byron Lighthouse | Stay at Home Mum


The Gold Coast – The Adventure Capital

The Gold Coast is great for families as there is so much to do, the accommodation options are really reasonably priced, and theme parks are located there!  If you love to shop, make sure you check out Harbour Town for a great deal (oh yes Sheraton Sheet outlet, I’m coming!!!). Plus the markets along the beachfront are amazing (look out for the designer caps!), and the restaurant options are endless!

Warner Brothers Movie World

Yep – it’s the best theme park in Australia. You know it! The kid will be BEGGING you to go!

Movie World Gold Coast Accor Hotels

Accommodation Options at The Gold Coast:

Novotel Surfers Paradise

A Family Hotel located just minutes from the beach. It has a gorgeous outdoor pool, a rooftop bar and is located right on the Gold Coast GLink Tram – so it’s easy to get around!

Novotel Surfers Paradise Accor Hotels

These are just some of the beautiful places to go on holidays this Summer with the whole family.  Where are you planning on going during the School Holidays?

The Best Places in Australia to Holiday Over the Summer Break Accor Hotels | Stay at Home Mum

About Author

Jody Allen

Jody is the founder and essence of Stay at Home Mum. An insatiable appetite for reading from a very young age had Jody harbouring dreams of being a pu...Read Moreblished author since primary school. That deep-seeded need to write found its way to the public eye in 2011 with the launch of SAHM. Fast forward 4 years and a few thousand articles Jody has fulfilled her dream of being published in print. With the 2014 launch of Once a Month Cooking and 2015's Live Well on Less, thanks to Penguin Random House, Jody shows no signs of slowing down. The master of true native content, Jody lives and experiences first hand every word of advertorial she pens. Mum to two magnificent boys and wife to her beloved Brendan; Jody's voice is a sure fire winner when you need to talk to Mums. Read Less

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