THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CARAVAN PARKS FOR FAMILIES
When you consider its sheer size and spectacular natural attractions, Australia is a country that’s perfect to explore by caravan. As a result, we’ve got some exceptional holiday parks and caravan grounds that have become so much more than just a place to rest your head.
While many were originally designed for the grey nomads, most caravan parks have discovered that families are now one of their biggest markets and have incorporated facilities to suit. From splash water parks to BMX tracks, heated swimming pools and adventure playgrounds, caravan parks are becoming destinations in themselves.
We’ve scoured the country to come up with some of our top recommendations for families looking for a place to park their caravan, with a whole lot of bells and whistles thrown in. Whether you’re travelling with a pet in tow or looking for ocean views, we’ve got you covered!
Top 3 Pet-Friendly Caravan Parks
Lani’s on the Beach, NSW
Located around two hours drive north of Newcastle, this caravan park is pet-friendly throughout the year and backs onto a gorgeous beach. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times in the caravan park while most of Old Bar Beach is now leash-free. Lani’s offers spacious caravan sites with private bathrooms, as well as a camp kitchen and laundry facilities.
Hahndorf Resort, SA
On the doorstep of Australia’s oldest German settlement, this peaceful resort includes a dedicated caravanning area that’s also dog-friendly. All of the sites are grassed, with power outlets, water and Wi-Fi, and there’s a mini-golf course, a jumping cushion, a children’s playground and a swimming pool to keep the kids entertained.
Located around 160 kilometres south of Broome is this leisurely campground, which is ideal for families who love swimming, fishing and mud crabbing. All of its powered sites are pet-friendly throughout the year and there’s a 9-hole bush-style golf course that will challenge all ages and abilities. As a destination, Port Smith truly is an animal-lovers paradise, with a large variety of birdlife, frill-necked lizards and migrating whales.
Top 3 Caravan Parks With Swimming Pools
Surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of the Kimberley is Lake Argyle, a vast freshwater lake that provides the perfect setting for a few nights (or more). A highlight of the resort is its stunning infinity pool, which offers spectacular views of the red-hued rocks that surround the lake. All of the powered campsites offer access to barbecues, laundry facilities and the camp kitchen.
While you might think the Barossa Valley is more geared towards adults, the family-friendly facilities and swimming pools at this caravan park make it ideal for kids. While one is designated for adults only, the main, resort-style swimming pool features an innovative water purification system that means even children with allergies can join in the fun. Aside from a playground, kids can also take advantage of the bouncing pillow and activities room.
Nestled between bushland and the beach, this Big4 is conveniently positioned partway between Sydney and Brisbane. While you can spend endless days on beautiful Nambucca Beach, we think the holiday park’s heated swimming pool is the place to be in the cooler months. In addition to sun loungers where parents can relax with a good book, there’s also a shallow children’s wading pool.
Top 3 Caravan Parks With Water Parks
This well-equipped caravan park recently opened its very own water park, which includes huge dump buckets, a multi-lane body slide and water slides that are internally illuminated! While kids are having the time of their lives, parents can settle into one of the poolside cabanas and order food and drinks directly from the restaurant. If you prefer to stay dry, there’s also a giant jumping pillow, a frisbee golf course and a remote-control car track.
Just a stone’s throw from Arrawarra Beach, this is an ideal caravan park for families who love the water. From water fountains to dual slides and a giant tipping bucket, there are so many ways to stay cool! If you’re travelling with surfers, then you’ll be spoilt for choice with the breaks nearby. If that’s not enough, the holiday resort also boasts a pump track and a 9-hole golf course.
Positioned in one of Australia’s most sought-after holiday locations, this family-friendly park recently underwent a $3 million makeover. This included the creation of a sprawling water park around the main swimming pool where you’ll find several slides, a giant tipping bucket and more fountains than you can count. Additional facilities include a tennis court and bouncing pillow while all of the caravan sites are grassed.
Top 3 Caravan Parks With Kids Clubs
Squeezed between the refreshing waters of Trial Bay Front Beach and Arakoon National Park, this South West Rocks caravan park offers one of the best kids clubs in the country. It’s open on weekends and during school holiday periods, with activities that include face painting, sand art classes and Indigenous programs.
Located on the sun-drenched Gold Coast, this caravan park for families offers activities for kids throughout the year. By day, they can attend craft workshops, scavenger hunts and dance parties, then in the evenings, parents can join them for outdoor movies and trivia nights. In addition, there are four resort-style swimming pools and a pirate-themed water park.
Not only is this family-friendly caravan park on the doorstep of Sovereign Hill but it runs a whole host of kids activities during the school holidays. There are craft sessions, movie nights and a disco, as well as an adventure playground and a Tiny Tots indoor play area. Kids will love the pedal bikes, games room and jumping pillow, not to mention the tennis court and solar-heated swimming pool.
Top 3 Caravan Parks With Kids Activities
This tropical-themed caravan park has something for all ages, from its school holiday kids activities to summer pool parties and campfire marshmallow toasting in the winter months. There’s a fun-filled water park, jumping pillows and go-karts that older kids will absolutely love, as well as your choice of several resort-style swimming pools.
While the fully-equipped gym at this Northern Territory caravan park will appeal to fitness junkies, the kids can let loose in one of the park’s refreshing swimming pools. Away from the water slides, there’s a BMX track, pedal go-karts and a children’s playground, all just a stone’s throw from Alice Springs and Uluru.
Mandalay Holiday Resort & Tourist Park, WA
Situated between Busselton and Dunsborough, this WA caravan park for families offers both ensuite and powered sites. But it’s the four adventure playgrounds that will really appeal to kids, not to mention the solar-heated swimming pools (there’s one indoor and another outside), the giant jumping pillow and the games room. There’s also a large playing field where cricket and footy matches are occasionally held, with the kids free to run around and play ball games when it’s not in use.
Top 3 Coastal Caravan Parks
You can listen to the waves lapping at the shore from this Hervey Bay caravan park, which lies right on the doorstep of magical Fraser Island. It’s a short stroll from the town’s restaurants and shops, as well as boasting a camp kitchen with a pizza oven and barbecue facilities. Pets are welcome to stay with you and there’s a huge recreation room with games for the whole family.
Positioned directly opposite Muirs Beach in beautiful Coles Bay, this Big4 park is an ideal base for exploring the majestic Freycinet Peninsula. Walking trails wind through the national park to beaches that will make your jaw drop, most of which are safe for swimming. Back at the holiday park, you’ll find a children’s playground, a bakery and a tavern where you can sample Tassie’s famed seafood.
Marengo Family Caravan Park, VIC
Overlooking the ocean, this Apollo Bay caravan park lies adjacent to the Marengo Reef Marine Sanctuary. It’s particularly renowned for its resident seals, as well as being the perfect place to don your mask and snorkel. As you might expect, the Great Ocean Road offers no shortage of incredible beaches where you can swim, fish and surf, and there’s an unlimited choice of easy bush walks to explore nearby.
Top 3 Inland Caravan Parks
If you’re visiting our nation’s capital, you can’t go past this family-oriented caravan park, which is located just four kilometres from Canberra’s city centre. Aside from your choice of standard or ensuite sites, the park features a swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, a children’s playground and table tennis. In the day, you can explore the surrounding mountain bike and bushwalking trails, then return to take advantage of the state-of-the-art camp kitchen.
With its shady caravan sites (both powered and unpowered), tropical-inspired swimming pool and outdoor kitchens, this well-equipped campground is the perfect base for exploring the natural wonders of Nitmiluk Gorge and the Katherine region. You can stroll to the Nitmiluk Cafe for coffee or breakfast, then dine poolside at the Jatti restaurant in the evening.
Big4 Renmark Riverfront Holiday Park, SA
Positioned on the banks of the mighty Murray River, this Big4 lies in the heart of South Australia’s Riverland. It’s a great choice for families who are into waterskiing and fishing or you can ride your bikes along one of the riverside trails. Back at the park, you’ll find a sparkling swimming pool with several pebbly beaches, a heated spa and a huge adventure playground.
Top 3 Kokoda Staff Picks
This Central Coast caravan park for families gets our tick of approval due to its beachfront location, peaceful ambiance and kid-friendly facilities. In addition to sweeping views across Shelly Beach, there’s an outdoor heated swimming pool and indulgent spa, and it’s far enough away from main roads that kids can safely ride their bikes and scooters around.
NRMA Ocean Beach, NSW
It might only be a 90-minute drive from Sydney but this caravan park in Ocean Beach feels a world away. Overlooking Umina Beach, it features a resort-style swimming pools, a fun-filled water park and daily kids activities. You can grab your morning brew at the onsite cafe or mingle with other campers while cooking up a storm in the camp kitchen.
North Star Holiday Resort, QLD
This multi-award-winning caravan park for families is positioned on the beautiful Tweed Coast, surrounded by a tidal estuary and several national parks. It encompasses 10 hectares of subtropical gardens where you’ll find multiple playgrounds and pools, all on the doorstep of Hastings Point Beach. Aside from a lagoon-style water park and a kids club, the park is home to a Marine Discovery Centre that’s packed with interactive exhibits.
Caravan Park Chains And Loyalty Programs
Once you start looking at caravan parks for families in Australia, a few names will start popping up again and again. Among the biggest chain groups are Discovery Holiday Parks, Big4, G’day Parks, NRMA Parks and Resorts and Family Parks, all of which run facility-packed parks across the country.
Most also run loyalty programs and offer discounts or rewards every time you stay. A membership will set you back around $50 for two years (some chains are a little more and some a little less) and the perks differ between each. So if you’re hitting the road on a regular basis, it’s worth comparing the benefits of each loyalty program and finding the one that best suits your needs.