6 Best Family Friendly Activities in Australia
Single Parent Travel | Kristy Alexander – Mum Blog | 01 April 2012
No matter the ages of your children…right here in Australia is a fabulous single parent holiday destination for single parent families
Nowhere else in the world will you find such an incredible mix of unique outdoor adventures, fascinating cultural activities, child-friendly museums and opportunities to experience nature first-hand. So, why spend thousands on overseas airfares when you have endless options right here at home?
Australia is such a vast and varied country that it is nearly impossible to pick only 6 activities to name as the “best” for families, but the ones listed below are likely to be on almost anyone’s list. Not only do most involve pursuits you cannot experience anywhere else, but they also appeal to a wide range of ages, interests and abilities.
1. The Great Barrier Reef
You simply cannot miss a holiday to the only natural phenomenon that can be viewed from outer space. The Great Barrier Reef offers one of the best opportunities in the world to see a living, evolving ecosystem right before your eyes. Located in Northeast Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is over 1,300 miles long and is made up of hundreds of islands. The best way to see the more than 2,400 varieties of coral and thousands of species of fish, plants and aquatic animals is from the water itself. Manmade “reef platforms,” often with semi-submerged viewing observatories and easy access into the water offer even the youngest children access to the beauty and wonder of the reef. For a more in-depth experience, families can choose from a wide variety of daily or overnight boat tours that visit multiple islands, allowing older children the chance to snorkel or even scuba dive.
2. Experience Aboriginal Culture
One of the best places to immerse your family in Aboriginal culture and history is in Cairns, in Northern Queensland. The Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Centre was built to give visitors up-close and personal access to Aboriginal art, music, dance, storytelling and artefacts. Visitors can enjoy live performances, eat native foods, and walk through a beautiful landscape. This is a wonderful opportunity for your kids to get a better understanding of our indigenous culture and have fun at the same time.
3. Exploring Sydney
There’s so much for families to do in Sydney that it could comprise a “top six” list on its own. Many of Sydney’s sights and activities are either free or inexpensive, making them particularly attractive for single parent travel – and single parent families on a budget! Furthermore, they are easy to complete in a couple of hours or less, allowing you time to fit in meals, naptimes and shopping along the way. Here are some of the best things for families to do in Sydney:
*Explore the Maritime Museum and tour the adjacent submarine and tall ship in Darling Harbour
*Walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge (kids ages 10 and up can climb it for a fee)
*Take a boat tour of Sydney Harbour, including great views of the Sydney Opera House
*Experience the world-famous Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbor
*Visit the hands-on Australian Museum and interactive Powerhouse Museum
*Spend a couple of hours at Sydney Wildlife World where you can see koalas, crocodiles, red kangaroos, poisonous snakes, butterflies and more
*Stroll through the Botanical gardens to see beautiful plants, flowers, and even Sydney’s “flying foxes”
4. Animal Adventures
Animal lovers have a lot to see in Australia. Our country may be famous for its koala bears and kangaroos, but there are many lesser-known, but equally fascinating species here as well.
There are many options that can be experienced in a single day or even an afternoon. If your family wants to see native animals, here are some of the best ways to experience them:
*Visit Australia Zoo in Brisbane, owned by Terri Irwin, mother of Bindi and Bob Irwin, and wife of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin
*Walk among sea lions, penguins, wallabies, birds, koalas and of course, kangaroos in their natural habitats on Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia
*Hold koalas and see them in their natural habitat at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near Brisbane
*Take a boat ride to watch whales from numerous locations along Australia’s coast
*Explore one of the dozens of wildlife sanctuaries that can be found nearly everywhere in Australia. A great place to visit in Western Australia is the Caversham Wildlife Park in Perth, which features that region’s native animals and plants
5. Bush Walking and Nature
Almost any activity in Australia includes some sort of encounter with nature, but there are certain experiences that promise to immerse families in the wild beauty unique to the country. A great day trip in Queensland is a visit to the rainforests around Cairns, which can be experienced on foot or via Skyrail. The incredible Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory is like nothing else in the world. Older children may wish to climb to the top, while younger ones will likely be content to walk around the base. For a true “nature” experience, Tasmania offers bush walking tours, sea kayaking and wonderful wildlife sanctuaries, complete with walking trails.
6. Beautiful Beaches
A day at the beach is the perfect way for families of all ages to unwind and relax. For surfers, the Gold Coast (Queensland) offers excellent waves. Sydney’s Bondi Beach, although often crowded, is near great restaurants and many Sydney attractions. Other top family friendly beaches in Australia include Main Beach in Queensland, Forrester’s Beach, about an hour from Sydney, and Henley Beach in South Australia.
The best part about exploring Australia is that nearly all of its attractions and experiences are outdoors and “hands-on”. Families of all ages can enjoy an active holiday full of learning, adventure and new experiences.
Kristy Alexander is a frugal mum and freelance travel writer for HotelClub. When she’s on holidays with her family she loves to stay at the Wyndham Surfers Paradise or the Vibe Hotel on the Gold Coast.
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