Best summer holiday destinations in Australia

Two children chase ball at the beach

This destination is an Aussie icon: Noosa, QLD.

With thanks to guest blogger Jennifer Adams of Places We Go.

When I think of summer holidays in Australia, I think of our great country sparkling at her very best.

Some of my best childhood memories are of our summer holidays at the beach. Mum and dad would load us kids into the 'grey ghost' (our old HD Holden station wagon that had red plastic seats – gosh I loved that car) before the crack of dawn.

Before we knew it, we’d be halfway to a holiday spot playing eye-spy and pulling over for a picnic on the way.

I am so grateful for these childhood memories, and we are blessed in Australia to have such opportunities in our backyard.

Smiling girl holds up ice cream at beach

Fun for young and old: Wye River, VIC.

When it comes to the best Australian destinations for a summer holiday, there are so many options. 

It can be a little overwhelming; and I always find recommendations from my like-minded friends are a great way to start.

So in the spirit of sharing, here are five of my favourites...

Merimbula just screams beach holiday...in a quiet, relaxed way.

1. Wye River, VIC

The coastal town of Wye River is a treasure in summer. Surrounded by Great Otway National Park (think koalas and lush rainforest) and the truly spectacular Great Ocean Road, it comes alive with the sounds of children playing at the beach and walking up to the ice-cream shop with no shoes on.

While many beachside towns have succumbed to over-development, thankfully Wye River has maintained the old-world charm reminiscent of childhood holidays gone past.

Beach landscape under a blue sky

Wye River is a gem of a spot.

My top five things to do in Wye River:

  • Get a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest on the Otway Fly tree-top walk, the world’s tallest elevated walkway of its kind.
  • Walk in the forest and see Hopetoun Falls and Triplet Falls.
  • Drive the Great Ocean Road, taking in the dramatic limestone cliffs and turquoise waters.
  • Follow all or part of the Great Ocean Walk.
  • Drop in at the Wye River General Store, which is both a café and an old-school convenience store (remember the lollies you'd buy with your pocket money?).

Book now: BIG4 Wye River Holiday Park.

More to see and do in the Great Ocean Road region.

Small child plays at the beach at sunset

BIG4 Wye River Holiday Park is ideal for a summer break.

2. Merimbula, NSW

The Sapphire Coast is a show-stopper and packed full of gems – Bermagui, Eden, Pambula, and Merimbula to name just a few of my favourites. The entire region was treasured by my family growing up, and still is. So, in having to put forward one place, I am going to offer up Merimbula, in celebration of all the happy camping memories.

Blue bay surrounded by green forest on sunny day

Merimbula sparkles on the Sapphire Coast.

My top five things to do In Merimbula:

  • Hire a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard and explore the numerous lakes and inlets.
  • Go fishing! Merimbula is home to some of the best fishing spots on the NSW coast.
  • Visit Magic Mountain, a small, fun theme park that caters for both children and adults.
  • Explore action-packed Ben Boyd National Park.
  • Get up close to wildlife at Poteroo Palace in nearby Eden.

Book now: BIG4 Merimbula Tween Waters Holiday Park.

Your South Coast NSW guide.

Bare trees stand in front of beach on sunny day

Getting out on the water is a must in Merimbula.

3. Robe, SA

Robe is another of my family’s favourite holiday spots over summer. The quiet seaside town on the Limestone Coast is situated on Guichen Bay, about 350km southeast of Adelaide, and overflows with charm.

You can immerse yourself in the town’s seafaring history by simply walking the streets and checking out the 84 historical buildings and sites that have been beautifully restored.

Robe is steeped in history.

My top five things to do in Robe:

  • Walking trails: take the cliff walk or a bush trail. Collect maps from the info centre.
  • Go fishing at Breakwater or Lake Battye, or take a local fishing charter.
  • Four-wheel driving on Long Beach.
  • Enjoy sailing, paddle boarding, or kayaking on the peaceful lakes.
  • Pack your clubs for a round at Robe’s public golf course.

Explore the Limestone Coast.

Walking in Robe rewards.

4. Albany, WA

Maybe I should have named this story my five favourite beachside holiday spots! For me, summer is all about enjoying the wonderful coastal destinations Australia has to offer, and the outstanding location of Albany makes it an absolute cracker and worth putting on your list.

Albany shines year round but summer has immense appeal.

My top five things to do in Albany:

  • Visit the Brig Amity, a full-scale replica of the ship that brought Albany’s first settlers to town.
  • Go to the Historic Whaling Station where there’s an interesting account of Albany’s whaling history.
  • Hike in nearby Torndirrup National Park, an absolute treasure-fest.
  • Grab a coffee and meander around the farmers' markets on weekends
  • Head down to the docks on a weekend and buy fresh seafood for a barbecue.

Book now: BIG4 Emu Beach Holiday Park or BIG4 Middleton Beach Holiday Park.

The best of South West WA.

Torndirrip National Park makes for enthralling exploration.

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

5. Noosa, QLD

The Sunshine Coast is one of our favourite places to holiday in Australia, and Noosa earns special mention. I love nothing more than going for an early morning run along the cliffs overlooking the ocean in the national park, followed by a swim on Main Beach, and a coffee at my favourite café: Bistro C.

Noosa has a strong allure day and night.

My top five things to do in Noosa:

  • Join the café culture along sophisticated Hastings Street, parallel to Main Beach.
  • Explore the art galleries in the hinterland and browse the Eumundi Markets.
  • Take the family to kid-friendly attractions such as Australia Zoo in Beerwah.
  • Spend the afternoon at the Sunshine Beach Surf Club.
  • Enjoy the many water-sports on offer, from sailing and scuba diving to canoeing and deep-sea fishing.

Book now: BIG4 Ingenia Holidays - Noosa.

A cheat sheet to the Sunshine Coast region.

Coffee and shopping along Hastings St are a must in Noosa.

Credit: TA/ TEQ

I would love to hear what your top 5 holiday destinations are for summer here in Australia. Have you been to any of my special places? Please leave a comment below.

Jen x

For more travel inspiration and information, go to www.placeswego.com.

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