Travelling Australia with kids can have it’s ups and downs. Here’s a few tips for keeping it simple when you are sightseeing with kids.
Travelling Australia with kids
When you’re reduced to begging your children to do something you know you have already the lost the battle. That didn’t stop Steve
‘Come on, they’re 3000 years old!’ He was pleading for some level of appreciation but when it came to the Hamelin Pool stromatolites in Western Australia the kids were unmoved. It was 38 degrees and all the kids could do was wonder why were on a boardwalk instead of sitting in our air- conditioned car.
‘Apparently they only grow about one millimetre a year. Isn’t that incredible?’ The begging continued but the kids interest in stromatolites was unchanged. Their focus was well and truly on which episode of Star Wars they would be watching next in the car.
Anyone who has holidayed with children has had to endure this. All the planning you do, all the mental preparation you put in and it can still take them just seconds to decide a sight or activity is boring. You end up frustrated, the kids grumpy and your much-anticipated holiday in ruins. How can we avoid this?
Try to find locations where the shapes, sounds and textures are different to anything they have seen before. Engage their senses. At Lucky Bay near Esperance the sand had the colour and consistency of lemon gelato and the water was the brightest blue the kids had ever seen. They hesitated, unable to believe a beach could really be this colour – before throwing themselves into playing on their boogie boards and building sand castles. We finally dragged them back to the car after dark.
Cut them loose
Kids like a break from routine as much as we do. Safety permitting, give them independence. Let them explore a location on their own. Whenever we arrive at a caravan park we release the kids to check out the playgrounds, swimming pools and how many other children are around. This can be a win-win strategy as child-free time isn’t a bad change of routine for the grown-ups either.
Just add water
The Strand Water Park in Townsville has an enormous bucket which, every few minutes, spills hundreds of litres of water onto anything standing beneath it. While I would baulk at being repeatedly pummelled by torrents of cool water it entertained the kids for hours. Water temperature and the availability of bathers won’t matter. If they get soaked to the skin, there is a good chance you will have wrinkly but happy children at the end of the day.
Let them interact
While some grownups (like Steve) might be impressed by 3000 year old stromatolites, kids only see dull black rocks sticking out of the water. Had they been able to walk on them, climb up them and jump off them, their stromatolite memories would have been much happier. After all – what child likes being told you can look, but don’t touch? Doing is a winner.
There are no promises
If you can find a way to prise open your children’s imagination you will create fantastic lifelong memories that they will talk about for years. But prepare yourself, there are no guarantees.
We spent four days in Sydney touring the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Taronga Zoo. We rode around the harbour on ferries, took in the view from Sydney Tower and spent hours in the aquarium and the Powerhouse Museum. At the end of the trip we asked the kids for their highlights. One chose being able to buy thirty cent ice creams from McDonalds and the other the giant bouncy pillow at the caravan park. We nearly cried.