9 family-friendly ways to celebrate New Year’s Day around Australia

Google ‘What to do New Year’s Day 2022’, and you’re likely to be served ideas for bottomless brunches, yacht parties, and music festivals. Damn! But what if you have kids? 

Just because you’ve brought life into this world doesn’t mean you need to miss out on starting the New Year on your best festive foot. So here are 9 ideas to celebrate the first day of 2022 as a family around Australia.


Try your hand at spotting koalas

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is the sh*t. It’s the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary, it’s easily accessible from Brisbane City (like, it’s just 12kms or 7mi away), and it’s open to explore on New Year’s Day. 

Kids of all ages (we know you’re a kid at heart too, mama) will love spotting the Sanctuary’s residents (there are birds, dingos, snakes, and more too). There are even photo and animal encounter opportunities available as well.  

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Source: Lone Pine Sanctuary Instagram

Go for an island adventure

Brissie mamas – when was the last time you visited the islands that sit off the coast? If you’re anything like the Brisbanites on team Mumli, it’s probably been years. But, guess what: the ferries are still running on New Year’s Day, making an island visit a perfect adventure for January 1st.  

Just 30kms (18mi) from Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) is one of the more populated islands, and there’s so much to see and do there. Think wildlife spotting, bush walks, grabbing fish and chips or gelato at a local cafe, hitting the beach, swimming in its lakes, and more. You can even stay overnight at one of the island’s many rentals if you so wish!

North Stradbroke Island

Source: Redlands Coast Visitor Information Centre

Eat, drink, and play at Victoria Park

Whoever manages Victoria Park’s events team is a genius – it’s running a whole day of family-friendly events, activities, and entertainment. 

For mom and dad, Victoria Park’s bistro will be serving fresh cocktails and wood-fired pizzas (as well as kid’s meals, too). For your little people, there’ll be a jumping castle, giant games, and the playground, of course. Plus, the complex’s putt putt course and driving range will be open all day. So don your finest (not really – it’s super relaxed!), grab a table and settle in for the day. We can bet the whole family will enjoy it.

PS. The bistro is dog-friendly, so you can bring all your babies (fur and human, that is).  

Victoria Park girl playing putt putt golf

Source: Victoria Park Instagram


Enjoy an animal encounter at Taronga Zoo

We’ve got great news for you, mama. Taronga Zoo is open on New Year’s Day (hooray), and we have it on good authority (from the Taronga Zoo front office) that its animal encounters will be running (double hooray). 

What this means is if you get there early and book in (bookings only open on the day), you could be photographing your little one feeding a goddamn giraffe to kick-off 2022 – all to the beautiful backdrop of Sydney Harbour. 

Now that sounds like a win to us.  

Taronga Zoo girl feeding giraffe

Source: Taronga Zoo

Get competitive with a family scavenger hunt

Ok, if you love a scavenger hunt, you’ve got to check this out. 

Adventure Clues is a company that specializes in in-person and online scavenger hunts around cities across Australia, designed to get people discovering more about the town they live in or that they’re visiting. How cool!

While many of the company’s hunts are geared towards people of all ages, they have one trail that’s specifically for kids – the Mad Botanist trail, which takes ‘little hunters’ on a tour around Sydney’s Botanic Gardens to help solve a mystery (with the help of mom and dad, of course). 

You simply purchase the program online and do it at your leisure (we think New Year’s Day would be a perfect time). 

Adventure Clues scavenger hunt in park

Source: Adventure Clues

Take a dip at Clovelly Beach

There’s nothing quite like Sydney’s beaches. And if it’s been a hot minute since you’ve enjoyed them, why not hit one up on New Year’s Day?

We can recommend Clovelly Beach. Like, it’s so damn family-friendly it’s not even funny. It’s got parking, a ramp to the beach (if taking a stroller), play equipment nearby, plenty of sand to play on, and even an ocean bath. Plus, it’s nice and shallow, making it perfect for little swimmers to explore. 

Just don’t forget your picnic gear, your sun protection, and your swimsuits, and you’ll be set for the best day out. 

Clovelly beach

Source: Sea Salt Clovelly Instagram


Take time out at Collingwood Children’s Farm

Mama, if there’s any chance you’ll be feeling a little, let’s say, dusty on New Year’s Day, here’s what you’ll do. You’ll pop an aspirin, you’ll make a greasy AF breakfast, and you’ll pack the fam’ off to Collingwood Children’s Farm (it’ll be open – yay!).

Located just 4kms (2.4mi) from Melbourne’s center, it’s a haven for kids and parents, offering paddocks full of lovely little animals to ogle and farmers on hand to share their knowledge of the furry friends and even the land they care for. So you can let the kids roam, and the animals and farmers do the entertaining while you recover back to your normal self. 

PSA: The cafe attached to the farm will (devastatingly) be closed on New Year’s Day. So pack food and a thermos or two of coffee in your diaper bag

mom and baby petting goat

Source: Collingwood Children’s Farm Instagram

Take a float down the Yarra

GoBoat is such a vibe. For those not familiar, it’s a company that allows you to hire out a little electric boat to enjoy a picnic and a sail down the Yarra River regardless of any prior boating experience. So you can live your best yachting life any time you like! 

And the best bit? It’s family-friendly – like you can take your kids and your pets out. How fun!

There’s no age minimum for kids to join you on a GoBoat, though those under 12 will need to wear a life jacket (GoBoat provides these and has them as small as infant size). All you have to do is book ahead and BYO picnic and drinks (though the person who is skippering needs to remain alcohol-free). What a snazzy way to start the new year. 

Go Boat on the Yarra river Victoria mom and kids wearing life vests

Source: GoBoat Melbourne Instagram

Stay cool at Riverwalk’s Village Park

Melbourne can be stinkin’ hot around New Year’s. So all we can say is thank goodness things free water parks exist – they keep little ones occupied AND nice and cool. Tick, and tick. 

So if New Year’s Day turns out to be a ‘scorcher’, to put it colloquially, pack up your little sweaty spaghettis and hit Riverwalk’s Village Park – it has a huge water play area that’s connected to a killer playground and lots of green grass to run around. While some might call it a lazy day out, we call it a successful day out – the kids occupied with minimal effort, mama. You go, girlfriend. 

Riverwalk's Village Park water park

Source: Riverwalk

Well, that’s New Year’s Day sorted, mama bear. Bring on 2022, we say! And if you’re looking for more inspiration to get out and about with the family, read next: 25 family-friendly Airbnbs around Australia.

Make motherhood easier, with Mumli.

Discover, share, and save everything you need in one place.