When the winter months finally arrive and the temperature drops lower than comfortable, Australia is the place you want to be. With winter raging on everywhere else, Australians are celebrating their New Year in their swimwear, on the beach, grilling some meat on the barbie in the process.

Aside from being the perfect place to enjoy the sunny weather and lounge on its expansive beaches, Australia is also the place where you can have wholesome family fun. Even though the continent is too rich and diverse to be experienced in a single trip, there are several destinations you simply can’t miss.

Tour Sydney on a ferry boat.

When you think of Australia, the iconic city of Sydney is most likely the first thing that comes to mind. And rightfully so, because this expansive urban gem is not only the country’s cultural hub, but also a true architectural wonderland. In order to experience Sydney from a different perspective, though, you should head over to the Sydney Harbour.

Running around the Harbour trying to keep your kids in line is fun on its own, but the most memorable experience comes in the form of a boat tour around the city. The ferry will take you through all the mesmerizing sights such as the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, all the way to Fort Denison and Cockatoo Island. This is the perfect place to disembark for a relaxing family picnic. If you’re up for an extended excursion, take the ferry to Darling Harbour where you can visit amazing kid-friendly places such as the Wild Life Sydney Zoo, the Darling Quarter Playground and the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium.

Drive across Tasmania.

Out of all the scenic drives and mesmerizing natural oases in Australia, the southern island of Tasmania might just be the most exciting road trip destination for a family. Even though it’s considered to be one of the smaller regions, you will still need a car in order to get around the island efficiently. Fortunately, Tasmania has reliable cheap car hire in almost every city so you should have no problem getting around.

And good thing too, because the packed itinerary will take you from Freycinet National Park to Coles Bay (and excellent place for kayaking), Tahune Forest where you will be scaling the treetops, and of course, Mt Wellington where you can enjoy panoramic views and even cycle down with the family. Tasmania is also famous for its ghost tours, so head over to Hobart, Launceston or Port Arthur with your kids after dark if a good spook is what they are craving.

Exploring the Top End

Over at the top end, numerous natural and urban attractions await, including the historic city of Darwin. Be wary though, Darwin and the region in general are extremely hot this time of year, so adequate sun protection and regular cool-offs are a must. The best thing to do is to go for a rejuvenating swim in the ocean throughout the day.

You can do this in the city at the Waterfront Precinct, or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can drive over to Litchfield National Park where you can have fun with the family under the waterfalls. While you’re in the region, be sure to check out the indigenous rock art at Kakadu National Park and go for a kayaking tour in Nitmiluk National Park. Top it all off with a visit to the Crocosaurus Cove back in downtown Darwin.

Experience the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.

Travel east and you will end up in Queensland, the home of the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef. You will need to travel to the far north to experience this adventure, all the way up to Cairns or Port Douglas. From one of these ports, you can board a catamaran that will take you to one of the atolls in the inner reef, or you can embark on a whole-day trip to the outer regions.

This is the place where you want to let yourself go to the mesmerizing beauty of the colorful underwater wonderland, as you take a prolonged snorkeling tour around the reef and watch as the marine life swirls and dances around you. Truly an unforgettable experience.

Visit the theme parks in Gold Coast.

While you’re in the region (but definitely not close), you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the country’s adventure central—the Gold Coast. The kids are going to love it here. On offer you have five grand theme parks, including Dreamworld, WhiteWater World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild and Movie World.

It’s bound to be an exhaustive weekend for you, but at least the kids are going to have the time of their lives. Plus, it’s an excellent way to top off an amazing Australian adventure with your family. Don’t forget to explore the Gold Coast’s beach suburbs as well if you’re up for some whale-watching, sea-kayaking, surfing and even jet-skiing.

When the rest of the world is covered in snow, Australia becomes a safe haven for families yearning to feel a warming ray of sunshine on their skin. With these top destinations in your itinerary, you’re bound to have the time of your life this January under the glistening Aussie sun.