In 2001 I toured The Great Southern Land as a young (ish) backpacker on my first RTW, it was an awesome experience, camping at Uluru, taking The Ghan, diving on The Great Barrier Reef and patting my first kangaroo.
I made 2 more trips over the next few years, after I married the Aussie Chef.
When D, now 9, was born in London he had to go and see his relatives, so I made the trip with an 11 month old.
Three years later we moved to Port Douglas, Queensland and spent 6 glorious years living in Oz.
It’s a great place for kids, so here’s some reasons to take them.
1. The Flight Isn’t So Bad
I know everybody thinks flying for 24 hours plus is a living hell, but honestly, it’s not so bad flying with kids. The flight is broken up into manageable chunks with a change in between. We flew to Dubai on Emirates, that’s just under 7 hours, then carried on into Sydney that first time with baby D. These international flights are really quite comfortable for me, they feed you incredibly well and the in-flight entertainment is fantastic.
2. Wildlife and Nature Parks
You really can see kangaroos, cockatoos, galahs, possums, crocodiles and wallabies wild, from your car, from the train, even in suburbia. I’ve been lucky enough to see wombats, echidnas, dingos and cassowaries on the road, too.
If time is short and the children want to get up close and personal with Australia’s fauna, there are wildlife parks and local zoos everywhere. My personal favourite is the Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas, my children used to go every week and never got tired of hand feeding the wallabies and lorikeets ( top picture).
3. Under Sea Life
The back of the boat folds down to make a step for snorkelers to access the water. It’s deep. Can you see that Maori wrasse in the water?
I’m not suggesting you take the kids scuba diving, but even young children can enjoy a day on the Great Barrier Reef marine park. My boys truly started snorkeling at 6 and 8 years old, but I know kids who started younger. Before that we still went, the big reef operators have mini subs and underwater viewing areas that are great for kids. The boys would splash about on the sidelines and watch the huge maori wrasse coming for food.
4. Aboriginal Culture and History
I really think children should find out about Australia’s history and the incredible culture of the Aboriginal people. If you can’t make it out to Uluru , which would be my choice, there are plenty of places to meet Aboriginal people and learn about their world. Everything from the didgeridoo players at Sydney’s Circular Quay to ancient cave paintings, guided cultural walks and Aboriginal Culture Parks. We had a wonderful day at Tjapukai, a culture park just outside Cairns, learning about dance, music, weapons and medicines.
5. Museums, Zoos and Aquariums
Sydney’s Taronga Zoo is an incredible day out. Taking the ferry from Circular Quay across the harbour is wonderful. You can see dolphins sometimes. The zoo itself is excellent and has the best view of any zoo in the world, right across the harbour. Canberra has Questacon, the National Science and Technology centre. It’s a full, hands-on day for curious little scientists. Townsville, Perth and Sydney have excellent aquariums, sorry if I missed out your favourite, these are the three I know and highly recommend.
There are still plenty of unique tourist attractions, restaurants, and sites to see aside from the smaller museums of Melbourne. If Melbourne seems like a place that you want to check out, then by all means you should try to visit at least once in your life. And it’s a great place to take the family, too!
Just Google museums and attractions for whatever part of Australia you’re visiting, there are some incredible places to visit.
There are one or two! 11,011 beaches, in total. Seek out the quiet calm beaches for smaller children, Australia can have some pretty wild sea conditions. Port Douglas’s Four Mile Beach is sandy, gently sloping and calm and has a stinger net for the summer months. You could check out iconic Bondi Beach in Sydney and see if you can spot the Bondi Rescue crew. Or head to The Gold Coast for Surfers Paradise. There is a beach for every age group and every activity.
7. Pools and Water Attractions
Australia does water attractions really well. In Far North Queensland, where we have a few issues with stingers and crocodiles, there are plenty of places to take the kids for a swim or a splash around, best of all, they’re free. Try The Lagoon or Muddies Playground in Cairns or the Esplanade in Townsville.
If you’re looking for big water parks, The Gold Coast has Whitewater World and Wet ‘n Wild. Perth has at least ten water parks, you’ll find them dotted all over the country.
How am I doing? Is that enough reasons? Do I need to mention the climate, you’ll always find somewhere that’s just the right temperature for you. You can enjoy just about any sport or activity you like, including skiing, or sample the incredible food and wines Australia produces. The children should enjoy Australia’s chocolate, tropical fruits and dairy products, some of them will enjoy the fantastic seafood. Camping is immensely popular, in a tent or a mobile home, facilities are great.
I hope I’ve convinced you, go on, take your kids to Australia, click “like” if you want to go!