NINGALOO REEF: SWIM WITH WHALE SHARKS
Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is one of the best places in the world to swim with the world’s largest fish, whale sharks. These gentle giants can grow to a whopping 12 metres in length and visit the reef each year from mid-March to late July. Thankfully for us, they feed primarily on plankton and krill, taking in huge gulps of water and filtering out their microscopic meals. For confident swimmers, few water-based feats can rival the thrill of snorkelling alongside them.
Younger children and non-swimmers needn’t miss out though. Whale-watching trips can easily be arranged, offering chances to spot turtles, dolphins, rays and whale sharks from the safety of a boat. And unlike its famous east coast counterpart, Ningaloo is a fringing reef, meaning you can don a mask and snorkel and start exploring the coral straight from the white-sand beach.
RUN WILD IN THE OUTBACK
Give your kids the real Crocodile Dundee experience with a stay at Bamurru Plains near Kakadu National Park, where the iconic film was shot. With their ‘Ultimate Wilderness’ package, you and your tribe will be on the lookout for wildlife from both airboats and open-top safari vehicles. You’ll have the opportunity to get off the beaten path on a quadbike adventure, spot crocodiles on a river cruise, learn to crack a stock whip and sleep out in a swag, the traditional bedroll used by generations of Australian pioneers.
There’s also scope to explore nearby Kakadu National Park. Larger than Wales, Kakadu is home to billabongs and waterfalls, a third of Australia’s bird species, countless crocodiles and the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal rock art.
CHASE AFTER DEVILS
For family bonding in the great outdoors, Tasmania has all the answers. In Freycinet National Park, the perfect curve of Wineglass Bay provides a fine setting for kayaking, swimming and family bushwalks, while the pinky-orange peaks of the Hazards Mountains offer wonderful opportunities for hiking and mountain biking. All these activities are offered free of charge at our favourite hotel in the area, Saffire Freycinet. Others on the list that are ripe for family fun include paddle boarding, fishing, kite flying, beekeeping, and the rare opportunity to see Tasmanian devils in their natural habitat.
RIDE A SEGWAY AROUND ULURU
There’s now a really fun way to see Australia’s most recognisable rock. You and the family can take a whirl around the base of Uluru on a Segway, discovering waterholes and ancient caves, and learning more about aboriginal culture along the way. Several different tours are available, including visits that take in sunrise or sunset. At these times, the play of light on the surface of the rock creates such cinematic displays that it’s easy to see why a world of mythology has been woven around it
With a harbour, beaches, national parks and mountains, Sydney has a huge amount to offer families and is a great stop on an Australian itinerary. Despite being a busy city, there’s a surprising amount of outdoor activities to keep young and old occupied.
How about climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge or paddle boarding around Sydney Harbour? Or head out to iconic Bondi beach for morning’s surf lesson with an instructor followed by a beachside brunch. For any keen horse riders, a magical riding trip into the Blue Mountains where you’ll canter the lush plains of the Megalong Valley will be an amazing shared family experience.
So now you know all about the best places to take your kids in Australia – where will you go first? Talk to us about planning your perfect itinerary Down Under.
Insight Australia Family Adventure Five Ways
Thinking about taking the family to Australia? Here are five firm favourites sure to get your kids excited about venturing Down Under.