Round up the crew and explore Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide these Easter school holidays.

Sydney

Sydney may be all grown up but it hasn’t forgotten how to have fun. Get your pirate on, have dumplings and bubble tea, and take in a show at the Lyric Theatre.

Start harbourside at the Darling Harbour Children’s Playground, offering a 21-metre-long flying fox, an eight-metre-long mega-slide and 83 sqm of climbing nets. 

Next up stop for boba at Bubble Nina, also in the Darling Quarter, before getting your pirate on at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Afterwards, scoot around Pyrmont’s Darling Island, marvelling at the super yachts and Harbour Bridge views. Pop into The Star Sydney for dumplings and gelato. 

As the city lights come out to play, take a spin on the Ferris wheel at Darling Harbour or catch a show at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre. The much-anticipated Mary Poppins opens in May. If you’re up for it, Sydney’s Royal Easter Show is a rite of passage for kids of all ages. Brace yourself, though: it’s a big day out.

By now you’ve earned yourself a cocktail or two. Slip into a banquette at Sokyo, order a Yuzu sake cocktail and tuck into a sublime seven-course tasting menu, with sushi rolls and tempura for pint-size diners. 

Stay

Bed down in luxurious themed tented rooms and decorate a white chocolate egg as part of an interactive high tea this Easter school holidays at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney (fourseasons.com/Sydney). From $600 per night.

The inner-city glamping package at Novotel Sydney Central (novotelsydneycentral.com.au) includes tepee, unlimited hot chocolate, snacks and an activity pack. Breakfast and parking are included, kids eat free, and an Easter egg hunt is planned, from $239 per night. 

Slick Sydney views.

Canberra

Picnic on a Swedish boat, cycle or scoot around Lake Burley Griffin, and explore an outdoor museum dedicated to trees. 

Let the kids loose at Canberra’s National Arboretum – a tree museum – where you can bushwalk, mountain bike, fly kites over grassy hills or explore the incredible POD Playground. Grab an Insta-worthy family moment at the 35-metre-long Wide Brown Land sculpture based on Dorothea Mackellar’s famous poem and inspired by the author’s handwriting. 

Cycle or scoot the landmark Lake Burley Griffin bridge-to-bridge trail. Hire foldable bikes or e-scooters from the Canberra Visitors Centre and wend your way along the five-kilometre route, taking in vistas of Capital Hill, Reconciliation Place, the High Court and the National Gallery. Alternatively, take to the water on a fun self-captained vessel with Go Boats (now offering picnics). 

The nation’s capital is home to Australia’s best range of museums and galleries and Questacon should be on every kid’s bucket list. Free-fall from a height of six metres, press buttons, pull levers, experience an earthquake and watch lightning strike at this award-winning science institute. Young artists, meanwhile, will adore the National Gallery of Australia.

After a full day’s exploring, head for Braddon’s Ori building where gelato alchemists tinker with inventive and sometimes wacky new flavour combos like butter chicken or black truffle at Frugii. Salted caramel and chocolate are on the menu for non-adventurous types. 

Stay

The 140-room East Hotel (easthotel.com.au) offers family-friendly connecting rooms complete with bunk beds, play table, bean bags and Xbox One. Take one of East’s complimentary bicycles for a spin or flash your room key for free entry into Manuka Pool nearby. From $199 per night. 

A Canberra cocktail.

Melbourne

Offering immersive art museums, sky-high vistas, art-filled laneways and the world’s oldest roller coaster, Melbourne’s a sure family pleaser.

Yes, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum offer world class collections but did you know they offer immersive kids’ experiences too? Or you can become part of the art yourself: at the quirky ArtVo gallery, you can pose with more than 100 giant 3D artworks. Meanwhile, illustrated characters come to life in a celebration of film, TV, videogames and art at family favourite, ACMI (the Australia Centre for the Moving Image). Kids not gallery types? Take to the streets where colourful laneways are bursting with phenomenal street art, paste-ups and murals. 

No visit to Melbourne is complete without visiting bayside playground St Kilda. Here you can ride the world’s oldest roller coaster at Luna Park, cycle the Promenade and look for penguins out on St Kilda Pier (best viewed at sunset). Be sure to grab a family selfie at the giant smiling face entry to Luna Park.

Back in the city, head straight for the top. Sip Bollinger Champagne at the 88th floor bar of the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest observation deck while kids explore Melbourne Skydeck’s various attractions.

Stay

Melbourne’s answer to Marina Bay Sands is found at the new Melbourne Marriott Docklands’ (marriott.com.au) rooftop infinity pool, heated for year-round swimability. The 28-metre wet-edged infinity pool’s adjoining bar serves up drinks such as Singapore Slings along with killer views. From $220 per night.

Teens and tweens in tow? The colourful Quincy Hotel Melbourne (quincymelbourne.com) is a no-brainer. With 241 rooms named after iconic Melbourne laneways, tiffin-tin room service, free movies and an indoor pool with bar, this intimate hotel is as cool as its Flinders Lane location. From $210 per night.

Luna Park in St Kilda.

Adelaide

Tour a chocolate factory, have ice cream at Glenelg Beach, take budding cricketers to Adelaide Oval or fly across the city’s treetops. 

Kids and chocolate. Need we say more, especially at Easter? Take a self-guided tour of the Haigh’s Chocolate Factory to see confectioners create the renowned chocolatiers’ delicious range. 

Treeclimb Adelaide’s eight separate elevated courses offer everything from challenging ladders to exhilarating zip lines. Set within Kurangga Park in the Adelaide City Park Lands, there’s something for kids of all ages.

Budding young Bradmans will love visiting Adelaide Oval, hailed as one of Australia’s prettiest cricket grounds. Catch a game or go behind the scenes on an Adelaide Oval Tour. A Roof Climb experience allows sports fans to traverse the Western Stand and stand above the oval’s famous turf. 

And for young beach lovers, foodies and tech heads, be sure to put Glenelg Beach, Adelaide Central Market and MOD at the University of South Australia on the itinerary. The kids will love you for it.

Stay

Offering a fresh take on the classic motel, HotelMotel (independentcollection.com.au) offers 61 stylish rooms with plush beds, espresso machine, wi-fi and smart TV in Adelaide’s South Terrace Precinct. From $125 per night. 

Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury (adinahotels.com) offers a terrific central base when visiting South Australia’s capital, complete with old gold tunnels for kids to explore beneath the hotel. From $199 per night.

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