Five experiences for kids that parents will love too!
By Natalie Tuck
When I was six years old my parents took our family to New Zealand. It was my first big trip and I recall feeling very grown up because we were required to write a travel journal.
I remember feeling intimidated by the size of the Qantas 'jumbo' jet, excited by the novelty of aeroplane food, and worryingly asthmatic due to the constant haze of cigarette smoke (what were they thinking?). These were my first impressions, felt with so much emotion and pure wonderment.
My New Zealand travel journal, bulging with glued-in postcards and the wonky handwriting of an excitable six-year-old, detailed travel stories from a snow-capped Mount Cook visit to a fjord boat cruise around the breathtaking Milford Sound.
But, during all these bucket-list worthy adventures, there is one diary entry, one magical memory-making-moment in Queenstown that I wrote about in capital letters: WE PLAYED ELEVATOR TIGGY!
In all the places that we've taken our nine-year-old, both in Australia and overseas, he always surprises me with the things he loves the most.
That defining moment speaks volumes about kids and travel. In all the places that we've taken our nine-year-old, both in Australia and overseas, he always surprises me with the things he loves the most. So, keeping that in mind, here are five experiences for kids that adults will love too.
1: Wilsons Promontory National Park
Still one of Australia’s great escapes for family who need immersion into nature. Surfing, hiking, kayaking, bike riding, wombat spotting, free junior ranger activities, sunrise/sunset beach walks, the activities go on and on. Invest in walkie-talkies so that the kids can take off on their adventures and regale you with tales of their triumphs.
Be prepared for constant updates (over and out!) and don’t forget to pack extra batteries. One non-negotiable activity every year is watching a film at the Tidal River Open Air Cinema. Snuggle down in comfy bean bags, don the blankets and be have a magical cinematic experience under the milky way.
2: The Whitsundays
Follow the sun! Escape winter and keep the sun company on a family road trip. We’ll never regret doing this last year. Our experience sailing in the Whitsundays was a favourite for all of us. The kids took on the important task of protecting the catamaran from pirates with gusto.
My son still raves about his snorkelling experience with Cruise Whitsundays. During the boat ride, out to the reef pontoon, we watched whales breaching and dolphins diving through the wake.
3: The Vivid Festival, Sydney
Experience Vivid Sydney, especially the Vivid Taronga Zoo event. Larger than life animal installations are on display in a riot of colours.
Take a one-way ride on the cable car and watch the show from above. That was our favourite part, watching Sydney sparkle across the harbour while listening to a cacophony of animal sounds fill the night.
4: Theme Parks, Gold Coast
A family that plays together stays together! Theme parks such as Movie World and Wet n’ Wild are great fun for everyone. We stayed at the BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park which was located close enough to ride our bikes to these amusement meccas.
If you want to go further north, I highly recommend the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort. This place is kid-heaven and boasts an incredible waterpark. Plus, don’t forget about that oh so pleasing tropical Queensland climate.
5: The Great Barrier Reef
Take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. My son still raves about his snorkelling experience with Cruise Whitsundays. During the boat ride, out to the reef pontoon, we watched whales breaching and dolphins diving through the wake.
A rainbow of colours was on display as we snorkelled with an abundance of marine life. For those who don’t want to get wet, there is an underwater viewing chamber and semi-submersible ride where you learn all about the largest coral reef system in the world.
Special thanks to our contributor Natalie Tuck, who has a magical way of describing the essence of a brilliant family holiday. See more of Nat's photography, prose and marvellous meanderings here.