Australian Adventure For Families
Thinking about taking the family to Australia? Use our summer holiday months for an extended trip to see wildlife flourish and temperatures comfortably warm. Here are five firm favourites sure to get your kids excited about venturing Down Under
Australia is built for family travel – a dazzlingly diverse country strewn with tropical reefs, fascinating wildlife, beautiful beaches and eye-popping landscapes. And the UK summer is the perfect time to plan an extended trip. From swimming with whale sharks to chasing after crocodiles, these awesome activities will have kids of all ages putting down their phones and opening their eyes to the world. At least until they post what they’ve seen on Instagram that is.
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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.
Where to stay
Sal Salis offers whale shark swims with select local partners that include a delicious lunch and chances to also snorkel on the reef. Hidden among the sand dunes overlooking Ningaloo and the Indian Ocean, the hotel accepts children over five and boasts 15 wilderness tents and one larger honeymoon tent, each offering the chance to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean in a handmade bed with organic cotton sheets.
“Ningaloo is one of the only places in the world where whale sharks appear regularly in large numbers, with over 235 individuals recorded.”
The Red Centre
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.
Where to stay
Set among the crimson earth and vast scrub plains of the Red Centre, Longitude 131˚ is the ultimate desert camp experience. Wake to your own private sunrise over Uluru as you enjoy uninterrupted views of Australia’s most iconic natural wonder from your bed. Kids ten and over are welcome here, but we can recommend alternatives for those with younger families.
“Rising 348 metres above the surrounding scrubland, Uluru still stirs the spirit of all who see it.”
Get Active around Sydney's Sights
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.
Where to stay
You won’t find a better placed hotel than the Park Hyatt Sydney, whose rooftop pool terrace looks directly out at the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, as do many of the rooms. The cafes and galleries of The Rocks are right on your doorstep, while Circular Quay and the central shopping districts are just a short stroll away.
“Inside of the usual city sightseeing trips, be interactive by climbing, riding, kayaking and surfing your way around Sydney”
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.
Where to stay
Wildbush luxury is the order of the day at Bamurru Plains, a 300km2 buffalo station on the coastal floodplain of the Mary River Delta, near Kakadu National Park in northern Australia. With just ten safari bungalows sitting snugly in the bush on raised timber platforms, the emphasis here is on not just creatures but creature comforts too.
“Inspire your children with stories from the bush, away from the distractions of television, computers and urban life.”
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, bee keeping, and the rare opportunity to see Tasmanian devils in their natural habitat.
Where to stay
With views of the Hazards Mountains and Great Oyster Bay, Saffire Freycinet offers 20 luxurious low-slung suites, all warm and tactile with complimentary minibars, marble bathrooms and vast picture windows. Grown-up attractions include the endless flow of fabulous food and wine, the impeccable service and the ultra-indulgent spa.
“A stay at Saffire Freycinet is one of Australia’s most coveted travel experiences.”
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Into the Outback
Into the Outback
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