Taking Babies and Small Kids to Australia, New Zealand and Around…

Australasia encompasses Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands including Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia and many more. The region is an ideal spot for a family holiday given its abundance of outdoor activities, fantastic wildlife and superb beaches. Australia and New Zealand are very child friendly and there are loads of activities aimed at families and younger children.

There are also loads of restaurant and accommodation options for families in this part of the world. You will be able to find high chairs, changing facilities and all your baby and toddler necessities quite easily in the cities and larger towns. Family friendly accommodation ranges from hotels, motels, guest houses, apartments, camp sites which include mobile homes and more. Cots will be widely available free of charge also.

The pacific islands require more research and planning if you are travelling there with a baby or toddler. Many of the resorts for example in Fiji have family friendly accommodation which will cater to parents with young children. Some of the islands are more difficult to manoeuvre around with a baby as the facilities and amenities that you are used to may not be available and it may be more difficult to find your necessities.

When to Go

If you are travelling to Australia, the weather from November to January can get quite hot and humid on the Gold Coast and anywhere north of it. Similarly the dry heat at Ayers Rock can be stifling during Australia’s summer months. These areas are best visited during the spring and autumn when the temperatures will be more tolerable for little ones. Sydney and Melbourne are more tolerable during Australia’s summer and it is quite pleasant on the south coast from December until March. It can still get quite hot so make sure you bring plenty of sun protection if you are visiting at this time. During Australia and New Zealand’s winters the weather is cooler and rainy and you will be able to sightsee more but perhaps not enjoy the beach as much. Similarly, the pacific islands can be quite hot and humid from November to January.

For average temperatures in Australia month by month, click here.

For average temperatures in New Zealand month by month, click here.

For information on the weather in the South Pacific, click here.

Health & Wellbeing

Insect protection and sun protection are two important considerations when taking your child to Australia, New Zealand or the Pacific Islands. Make sure you bring a good first aid kit together with paracetamol or ibuprofen for babies in case of minor illnesses. Make sure that you speak to your GP at least 8 weeks in advance of departure if not before booking to establish which vaccinations need to be administered and what health considerations there are.

The World Health Organisation’s website and the NHS’ Fit for Travel website are also  excellent resources for finding up to date information on health and vaccinations. Make sure that you have adequate medical insurance cover for each person travelling.

Baby & Toddler Essentials

In Australia and New Zealand you will be able to find all your baby and toddler essentials such as nappies, wipes, formula and food. You will also be able to find hungry milk and products suited to babies with a dairy intolerance. The brands may be different to what your child is used to so bring your formula with you if your child is fussy or if they have special requirements. Breastfeeding in public is perfectly acceptable and is legally protected and you will be able to find changing facilities in Department Stores and in restaurants geared towards families.

Generally babies and toddlers will be well catered for in the larger resorts in Fiji. If you plan on travelling off the beaten track, research your trip carefully and ensure that your accommodation will be able to provide a cot. It may be harder to find the baby and toddler essentials that you are used to on the islands so pack most of what you will need unless you are sure you will be able to find it there. Use bottled water only with a low sodium and mineral content and bring sterilizer tablets or sterilizer bags. You should also bring powdered formula for formula fed babies as it may be impossible to find formula that your child is used to there.

Eating Out

Australia and New Zealand are very family friendly countries and you will find plenty of restaurants offering high chairs, baby and children’s food, changing facilities and friendly staff. There are loads of outdoor dining options, particularly in Australia and the beaches are generally not too far from a restaurant or cafe. If you will be travelling to more remote parts of either country, be sure to stock up on everything you need in order to avoid running short and always have plenty of bottled water with you. A fold away high chair and travel changing mat are useful for visiting the islands as you may not find baby and toddler friendly restaurants easily outside of the main resorts.

Top Family Destinations

In Australia, Sydney, with its world famous harbour containing the Sydney Opera House, offers a fantastic place for families. You can catch a ferry from the pier which will take you to Taranga Zoo or visit one of the city’s parks. There are also loads of beaches around the city which make for a great base if you are travelling with babies or toddlers including Manly Beach and Bondi Beach. You could have a picnic on Cockatoo Island or at Fort Denison or visit Darling Harbour for the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Quarter Playground, Sydney Sea Life Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo. Melbourne and Brisbane are also family friendly cities and Brisbane is close to the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast which offers loads of beaches, aquariums, water parks, wildlife parks and of course, Australia Zoo which was founded by Steve Irwin. You can explore the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns or Port Douglas by high-speed catamaran. A sedate sail in a glass-bottom boat will help the little ones to see into the sea. Other great family options include Perth, Canberra, Darwin (although this is extremely hot), Tasmania with its abundance of wildlife and outdoor activities and Kangaroo Island (just South of Adelaide).

Sidney opera house

New Zealand is another great option for families and offers mild weather and loads of outdoor activities. Wellington is a very family friendly city with lots to do. The North and South Islands have plenty of outdoor space, parks and walking trails and there are hiking trails throughout the country for all level of trekkers. New Zealand boasts some of the most unique birdlife in the world. As well as the famous flightless kiwi, this is the home of the colourful pukeko and taka he, the melodious tui, and the mischievous kea to name a few. There are three species of penguin, all found in the South Island. Whale watching, swimming with seals and swimming with dolphins are also popular activities and there are some great wildlife parks which are sure to keep little ones entertained. There are sightseeing cruises available wherever Dolphins can be found and you can even swim alongside them in the right conditions. Get a feel for New Zealand’s history at one of the country’s many museums. Auckland’s MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) is a hit with children and Wanaka’s Transport & Toy Museum appeals to all ages. Every town and city has its own selection of museums, but whatever you do, make time to visit Te Papa – the Museum of New Zealand – in Wellington. Open every day of the year, its collections span art, history, nature, and Maori and Pacific exhibitions, and are renowned for being informative,  innovative, and fun.

The islands of the south pacific are also a great option for families. Of all the islands in South Pacific, Fiji is the most popular among tourists and attracts millions of visitors every year including families with babies and toddlers. Fiji also  has some fantastic family friendly  resorts. The island of Tahiti is the second most popular island and has a majority of travellers coming from France. The Cook islands are also favourite among the tourists because of their well-developed infrastructure. However, Samoa and Tonga islands are relatively undeveloped and it may be difficult to manoeuvre around there with babies and toddlers.

Features & Useful Links

Lonely Planet – Australia’s Top 10 family-Friendly Destinations

Baby & Toddler Essentials in Australasia

Best Places to Visit in Australasia with Kids

Getting Around Australasia with a Baby

Family Friendly New Zealand

Travelling to the South Pacific with a Baby

Where to Travel with a Baby in Australia

Flying to or from Australia with a Baby

10 Reasons Why New Zealand is Best with a Toddler in Tow

Travelling with a Baby: A Short Guide to New Zealand