Gold Coast Hinterland villa, Queensland
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With accommodation for 10 plus the option of an extra studio suite sleeping four, this villa is heaven for a tribe of kids. Set on 10 acres, the property has a 25-metre pool, horses that can be ridden on request, an outdoor spa and a pool-house pavilion complete with TV and entertaining area.
Igloo by the Sea, Trinity Beach, Queensland
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This cute little seaside igloo wins kids over on novelty alone, but there’s also a communal swimming pool, fun sleeping loft and kitsch seaside décor. The cottage, one of six, is only a few minutes’ walk to the beach, restaurants and cafes. About 25 minutes north of Cairns, Trinity Beach is a great base for visiting the Daintree Rainforest and Port Douglas.
Illangi Beach Retreat, Waratah Bay, Victoria
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After laughing kookaburras and chattering rosellas ease you into consciousness at Illangi Beach Retreat, open your eyes to the sweet sight of the waves through the bedroom window. A morning swim is a five-minute walk away and for something more strenuous there are bushwalking tracks at nearby Wilson’s Promontory. The house, which sleeps six, has an open fire for cooler nights, barbecue, TV and frequent adorable visitors including echidnas, wombats and kangaroos.
Vintage caravan and tram, Lauriston, Victoria
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The kids will fight over who gets to sleep in the 1952 Globetrotter caravan and who claims the W-class tram (in operation from the 1920s to the ’80s) at this country property. There’s a retro tiki bar for the grown-ups, plus campfire for marshmallow-toasting and ghost stories, hammocks, books and plenty of board games. Just an hour from Melbourne and 20 minutes from Daylesford, the property is the rural adventure of every kid’s dreams. Currently, there is accommodation for four.
Wangi Lakehouse, Wangi Wangi, New South Wales
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This three-bedroom lakefront cottage has elements the kids will love: private jetty for dive-bombs, extensive board-game library and tropical garden with rope swing. Adults will be equally thrilled with the huge deck, plethora of sofas for lounging, and proximity to Sydney (two hours).
South Haven, Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales
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Twelve of your nearest and dearest can rest their heads at South Haven, a gorgeous property in the verdant Kangaroo Valley. The six-bedroom, three-bathroom homestead is set on 20 acres with pool, gardens and several TVs for separate parent and child movie nights. Bonus: family pets are welcome, and the delights of Kangaroo Valley (the fudge shop!) are just a five-minute drive away.
Brookville Cottage, Wildes Meadow, New South Wales
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Set on 30 acres of farmland and old-growth forest with views over Fitzroy Falls Lake, this secluded cottage is an idyllic Southern Highlands retreat. The home, with its heating system and open fireplace, is particularly cosy in winter, but come summer you can spend all afternoon on the tennis court and watch the dusk settle from the deck. The three-bedroom cottage is close to cute Highlands villages such as Burrawang and Exeter.
Barrengarry Hideaway, Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales
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Eco-retreat Barrengarry Hideaway is surrounded by rainforest with incredible views over the escarpment. Begin your day with morning coffee on the wrap-around deck and breathing in the crisp forest air. Wake the family and venture to the local village and wineries or stay in for adventures in the garden. There’s room enough for six people.
Eastdean, Red Hill, Queensland
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The CBD is just three kilometres away yet this Queenslander, which backs onto a 100-year-old forest, feels miles from the hustle and bustle. The local wildlife will thrill kids: think brush turkeys, lorikeets, ringtail possums and owls. In nearby Kelvin Grove Village, there’s a weekly farmers market, restaurants and café, and trains and buses take visitors into the CBD. There are two bedrooms; the upstairs one, known as The Birdcage, has French doors on three sides opening onto a sun-drenched deck.
Luxury yacht, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales
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Take to the sea with family as crew for a view of Sydney Harbour you can’t get from land. The luxurious yacht sleeps six people and has two bathrooms as well as a hot outdoor shower for an after-swim rinse. Sailing experience isn’t necessary – the host will accompany guests on a two-hour tour of the harbour and moor the boat at a location of your choice. We recommend the sheltered bay next to Taronga Zoo – there’s nothing like waking up to the sound of an elephant trumpeting.
Elouera, Mudgee, New South Wales
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Two self-contained homes accommodating 16 people occupy 20 hectares in the burgeoning wine region of Mudgee. The first is a large, open-plan homestead with five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a gourmet kitchen. The second is an historic train carriage (circa 1901) that’s been restored to include three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living area, kitchen and large balcony. Kids will love the outdoor pizza oven and the wide-open spaces to run around in; adults will appreciate the modern design, local boutique wineries and well-equipped kitchen.
Asrama, Broome, Western Australia
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Get that tropical holiday vibe at Asrama, a Balinese-style beach house overlooking Roebuck Bay. It’s a fabulous combination of indoor-outdoor living, with a pool, spa, daybeds, outdoor kitchen cabana and plenty of covered deck-space as well as a cool shower recess with sky views. The three-bedroom house is set in lush gardens but for kids who need screen time, there’s wifi, Foxtel and several TVs.
Hills Retreat, Stirling, South Australia
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Hills Retreat, a split-level house made of recycled Australian hardwood, corrugated iron and glass, makes the most of its location. Set in a Japanese-inspired garden, the two-bedroom structure is perched over Cox’s Creek, which can be heard burbling cheerfully below the house along with the occasional “ribbit” of frogs. It’s only 20 minutes from Adelaide but the village of Stirling has all the cafes, wineries and boutiques you’ll need.
Seaside home, Port Lincoln, South Australia
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Clean, modern and open-plan, this newly-renovated house suits families in need of a relaxing beach holiday. From the deck overlooking Boston Bay, guests can watch whales, observe the fishing boats coming in with the day’s catch and listen to the birdcalls. The three-bedroom house has an open-plan design that extends onto the deck where guests keep warm on chilly nights by the outdoor combustion fireplace.
Monbollok Rustic Cabin, Bridge Creek, Victoria
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There’s room for a family of four in this rustic cabin overlooking the township of Mansfield. Here, it’s all about walks amid the kangaroos at dusk, early-morning coffee as the sun rises over Mount Buller and farm-fresh eggs for breakfast. Kids can feed the property’s farm animals (the friendly goats are popular) and lunch can be enjoyed at the garden table with eyes peeled for wombats, echidnas and the occasional deer.
The West Wing, Mole Creek, Tasmania
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Take the family off-grid in supreme comfort at The West Wing. The cosy, solar-powered cottage is located along the scenic route to Cradle Mountain and Walls of Jerusalem national parks. There are wallabies and platypus to visit, trout to be fished, and a lit fireplace waiting when guests arrive in winter. Nearby, gourmet food producers and vineyards, Cradle Mountain, the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm and the Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary should keep energetic little visitors busy.
Waterline, Coles Bay, Tasmania
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An open-plan beach house with three bedrooms, expansive deck with water views and space for seven guests, Waterline is a dreamy beach escape. Each of the living areas has views of Great Oyster Bay, the Swan River and Nine Mile Beach and at night, the deck provides the perfect opportunity for some post-dinner stargazing. The beach is a five-minute walk away and Coles Bay town centre just a 10-minute drive.
Sheoaks Beach House, Falmouth, Tasmania
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Between Bay of Fires and Coles Bay is the tiny seaside settlement of Falmouth where Sheoaks Beach House sits by the ocean. It makes a great base for exploring Freycinet and Bay of Fires. Of course, it’s tempting to stay put – the sophisticated beach shack is well equipped for four guests. Henderson’s Lagoon offers warm waters for swimming, the beach is a surfer favourite and there’s plenty of maritime action, whether it’s Sydney-to-Hobart ships or southern right whales. There’s also a fire-pit, outdoor shower and a deck for sleep-outs.
BlueSeas, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
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Kids will think you’re a VIP when you present them with their very own private beach at BlueSeas. Apart from the exclusive stretch of sand, the six-person stone cottage offers sea views from almost every vantage point, two spacious decks and a wood fire for those lazy, book-reading afternoons.
Supashak, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
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Your first greeting of the day is likely to be to the wallabies that visit this modern, glass, wood and corrugated iron shack each morning. The open-plan home has a well-equipped kitchen, fireplace and three bedrooms. The local town, Vivonne Bay, has the basics but bring the rest with you and hunker down for a family beach getaway. The water is a short walk away and the Flinders Chase National Park is also close by.