Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay, New South Wales © Destination NSW
Life-changing childhood experiences in Australia
Meet your favourite movie characters in real life, watch the night sky illuminate in colour or soar down a snowy mountain. Epic childhood experiences are aplenty in Australia.
Australia is known for its bright sunshine, but at nightfall, our skies transform into a sea of dazzling stars. Located in the Red Centre, the desert sky above Uluru is perfect for stargazing. Seeing a myriad of stars hanging over Australia’s sacred monolith is a memory that will never fade. Go one step further during an Uluru Astro tour, where the whole family can use telescopes and become desert astronomers.
In Australia, it’s not uncommon to be approached by friendly wildlife. In Monkey Mia, the friendliest residents are the bottlenose dolphins that swim up to the beach to greet the tourists, locals and marine biologists waiting on the sand. It really is a remarkable event and one of the only places in the world where you're almost guaranteed to see wild dolphins up close. Visit the Monkey Mia Visitor Centre for a briefing with the park ranger before wading into the shallows to see the dolphins splashing about.
Nothing says Aussie adventure like a remote stay in the outback. An outback station is the perfect place for kids to get away from technology and into the wild. At Sixty6 Acres on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the little ones can interact with the farm’s cutest animals and splash about in the natural spring-fed lake. For a coastal getaway, you can wander among friendly farm animals one day and swim with whale sharks the next at Bullara Station, located on the edge of the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef.
The vibrant fish and marine life of the Great Barrier Reef are famous, with little movie fans worldwide thanks to Hollywood’s Finding Nemo. The residents of this natural wonder are just as colourful in real life, with adorable clownfish (Nemo) and blue tang fish (Dory) commonly seen throughout these warm waters. Older kids can embark on a snorkelling adventure to see the acclaimed creatures in the wild, while little ones will love Cairns Aquarium.
Australia’s backyard is bursting with wildlife and spectacular landscapes made for adventure. During Australian school holidays at Kingfisher Bay Resort, kids aged five to 12 can join the Junior Eco Rangers program to learn about the abundant creatures that call K'gari (formerly Fraser Island) home. From wandering the sand in search of tiny critters to seeking nocturnal animals after dark, little ones will leave with lasting memories and a love of Australia's incredible wildlife.
If you’re a family looking for light-hearted thrills, look no further than the Australian Alps. During Australia’s winter (June to August), this vast mountain range transforms into a winter wonderland, and seeing this enchanting white landscape for the first time will take your breath away. Learn how to ski, whizz down the mountain on a snowmobile or ride through the sparkling snow with Siberian Huskies – you’ll find yourself asking, is this Australia or the North Pole?
Experiencing Australia's beach culture of sand, surf and sunshine is a must. Byron Bay is known for its beginner-friendly waves, crystal clear waters and abundance of marine life (including frequently spotted dolphins and turtles). If there’s anywhere to experience beach life, it’s here. Choose from several great surf schools and watch faces light up as they learn to ride the gentle waves.
If there’s one thing your kids will never forget, it’s watching an excitable sea lion twirl around them in the ocean, nearing closer to say hello. On South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, colonies of sea lions are often found frolicking in nearby waters. Various tour providers, such as Calypso Star Charters, offer travellers the chance to swim with these rare creatures in the wild.
Aboriginal experiences are as insightful as they are enjoyable, and immersing yourself in the world’s oldest living culture as a family is a true bonding experience. Spend a day amid the Kuranda rainforest during the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, where you can hear ancient Dreaming stories, practice boomerang throwing and witness a dance performance. Your kids will delight in each activity and leave seeing the land in a whole new light.
Australia is home to a diverse tapestry of landscapes, and you’re bound to find unexpected wonders around every corner. The perfect day trip from Hobart, Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs is home to a surprising collection of natural treasures. Embark on a guided tour through the depths of Newdegate Cave, watching little faces light up as they gaze at other-worldly formations all around them. After, take a dip in the natural thermal pool and wander picturesque tracks through the lush green forests.