Whether you have a particularly crafty kid, a wanna be scientist, or a super adventurous little kamikaze, there are some great places to visit within Australia.
One thing I’ve learnt about holidaying with kids is that the more there is to keep the younger ones excited, the more relaxed you can feel as a parent.
So we’ve put together a few ideas for different types of children, from the creative and crafty ones, to the science-obsessed future Einsteins and those adventurous little kamikazes that need some thrills in their days.
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Creative and crafty
If your little one shows their love and appreciation through handmade paper flowers and your fridge is covered in artwork you absolutely could never throw in the bin, these ones are for you.
Aboriginal art, Cairns: Head to the Aboriginal-owned Janbal Gallery in the Cairns region, it is a gallery first and foremost, but offers so much more than the chance to gaze at paintings on a wall. You can book an art class and you’ll not only learn about the dot techniques utilised in this part of Queensland, you’ll also create your own painting to take home.
Browse the world’s largest art installation, South Australia: Encompassing 600km through some of Australia’s most significant parts of The Outback, The Oodnadatta Track is the world’s largest art installation. Take the kids on a 4WD tour at your own pace, stopping at the countless exhibits along its ever-changing and rugged landscape. The Oodnadatta Track is truly an outdoor museum like no other in the world!
Visit Sheffield, the town of murals, Tasmania: For families who love their arts and crafts, hit the road and find some of Tasmania’s most famous outdoor art murals in the regional town of Sheffield. Renowned as the Town of Murals, this small dairy farming town is located just 23 kilometres south of Devonport. The entire town is covered in outdoor exhibitions and artists putting on shows where you can watch them play their crafts – you can even play a game to see who can spot the most artistic letterboxes!
See the Silo Art Trail, Victoria: Victoria is following Melbourne’s artistic lead with the development of a 200-kilometre (124 mile) Silo Art Trail. You’ll see towering works created by internationally recognised street artists covering the wheat silos that were once boring grey shapes. The trail starts in the Grampians and it will take you through six of the region’s smallest towns which now make up one of the country’s biggest outdoor art galleries.
Take in some laneway art, Perth: Grand Lane in the city centre is just one of Perth’s historic laneways revitalised under the Forgotten Spaces initiative, and it’s been done with serious style. It’s now home to the 99-metre (325 foot) Grant Lane Mural, by Scott Neoh and Hiroyasu Tsuri, and the Light Locker Art Space, a public exhibition showcasing 2D and 3D works from local emerging artists.
Does your little one ask a million questions? How do planes get off the ground? Why are some capsicums green and others red or yellow? How does gravity work? If you’re forever googling answers to things you’d love to learn about too, these ideas for a family trip away are just for you.
The ultimate science destination, Canberra: There is nothing quite more science-y than Questacon! Take the kids for a day of science-fuelled fun at the National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra. With four action-packed levels, children can free-fall down a six-metre slide, experience an earthquake shake and freeze their own shadow. Younger kids can enjoy the Mini Q, a zone filled with a water PlayStation, a child-sized model bakery and a simulated space ship.
Learn about the night sky, Northern Territory: Just a 15-minute drive from Alice Springs, grab the kids and head South to Earth Sanctuary. Here you will learn about the Southern night sky with an experienced sky guide, laser pointer and telescope. All shows are family friendly.
See the Tasmanian Devils, Tasmania: For an educational experience about endangered species, take the kids to Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet or Devils @ Cradle where you can observe the endangered Tasmanian devils enjoying their daily feed.
Watch the penguins at Phillip Island, Victoria: Families looking for a truly magical experience can head to Phillip Island in Victoria, where you can line the observation boardwalks at Phillip Island Nature Park at dusk to watch the little penguins emerging from the sea and waddling up Summerland Beach to their burrows.
Remember when your kids first learnt how to climb furniture? Most tend to outgrow that phase, but if you have a budding daredevil on your hands, these exhilarating suggestions might be worth a try.
Hot air balloon ride, Canberra: For a thrilling family adventure, wake up early and meet at The Park Hyatt in Canberra, just two minutes from Parliament House, for a hot air balloon ride above the city for sunrise, where you can take in the beautiful views of Canberra and enjoy the fresh morning air. Minimum age is six years old, and they sometimes offer a buffet breakfast package, however, that’s currently unavailable (but it’s definitely worth checking on when you book!).
Swim with the crocs, Darwin, Northern Territory: For the adventurous kid, get up close and personal with a 5+ metre saltwater crocodile at Crocosaurus Cove, in their Cage of Death! Marvel at their prehistoric features and mesmerising gaze as you are lowered right in to the crocodile’s enclosure via an overhead monorail, and spend 15 minutes alongside them. They also offer a Junior Reptile Ranger program for those who don’t dare go underwater with a croc.
See the Great Barrier Reef up close, Queensland: The Great Barrier Reef is the perfect entertaining and educational family destination – parents and children can swim, snorkel, dive and sail, getting up close and personal with diverse marine life of the most vivid colours. Take a trip to Lady Elliot Island to swim with sea turtles, search for the real “Nemo and Dory” from Finding Nemo on one of many snorkelling tours, or for something a bit more action-packed – jump on the Daintree Crocodile Express to see saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitats.
This article is produced in partnership with Tourism Australia.