Home' Caravanning Australia : Autumn 2012 Contents 16 • Caravanning Australia • Autumn 2012
Australia serves up family animal encounters in every shape
and form. With our seas and bays brimming with dolphins,
whales, turtles, coral and tropical fish, there is a host of ways to
get up close and personal with aquatic life, including snorkelling
on the Great Barrier Reef, hand-feeding the fish on Ned’s
Beach on Lord Howe Island, and swimming with the whale
sharks on Ningaloo Reef. You can watch turtles nesting and tiny
hatchlings make their way to the safety of the water, and you
can even have shark and crocodile encounters, if you dare, at
places like Townsville’s Reef HQ, Australia Zoo on the Sunshine
Coast, the Wilderness Wildlife Park outside of Broome, Darwin’s
Crocosaurus Cove, and Oceanworld Manly.
Australia’s iconic marsupials have long been a family
favourite, and all the major zoos and wildlife sanctuaries from
Healesville to Taronga offer Aussie animal encounters alongside
more exotic species. Brisbane’s Lone Pine Sanctuary is the
world’s first and largest koala sanctuary, Victoria’s Moonlit
Sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula offers nocturnal tours,
and all over Kangaroo Island families are likely to discover a
variety of Australian animals from koalas to wallabies, kangaroos,
emus and echidnas. You can even see Tasmanian devils at the
Devils@Cradle Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary.
Australia’s diverse birdlife also entrances the younger set,
who can hand-feed lorikeets at the Gold Coast’s Currumbin
Wildlife Sanctuary, wander around the tropical bird enclosure at
the Rainforest Tropical Habitat in Queensland’s Port Douglas,
watch pelicans being fed at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island, and
marvel at the nightly parade of the world’s largest colony of little
penguins on Phillip Island.
There are also plenty of opportunities for adventures of a less
wild kind, like riding camels along Cable Beach in Broome, hand-
feeding farm animals at Melbourne’s Collingwood Children’s
Farm, and even watching performing sheep dogs at Norm’s
Coolies Performing Sheep Dog shows in South Australia.
Adventure and wilderness
From deserts to rainforests, from coral reefs to the outback,
the Australian landscape is tailor-made for adventurous family
holidays. With 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites that range from
the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, and Gondwana rainforests
to the Tasmanian wilderness, Lord Howe Island Group, and
Purnululu National Park, as well as Australia’s 12 National
Landscapes that span everything from Australia’s Red Centre
to its Green Cauldron and include such dramatic adventure
zones as The Australian Alps, Australia’s Coastal Wilderness,
The Flinders Ranges, The Great Ocean Road, Greater Blue
Mountains, Great Southwest Edge, Kakadu, Kangaroo Island,
Ningaloo – Shark Bay, and The Kimberley, there is so much
waiting for families to discover.
Take a day trip to the pontoons on the Outer Barrier Reef off
the Whitsundays, Cairns and Port Douglas, where you can see
the reef from the underwater viewing chamber and submarine as
well as snorkelling and taking a beginners dive.
Enjoy an outback cattle station experience in the Kimberley,
the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.
Horse riding is offered on a range of outback cattle stations in
Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and New
Australia has some unique settings for family learning
experiences. There is a whole host of dinosaur adventures along
Queensland’s Tropic of Capricorn, while you can journey to the
stars at the Melbourne Planetarium.
Budding science enthusiasts can visit the Canberra Deep
Space Communication Complex, test hypotheses with dozens
of interactive hands-on exhibits at Questacon – the National
Science and Technology Centre – and watch real scientists at
work at CSIRO Discovery.
For families more interested in social history, you can
discover what it’s really like living at sea at Darling Harbour’s
National Maritime Museum and learn for yourself how Australia’s
diverse communities have shaped the Australian national
landscape at the National Museum of Australia.
The list is endless: there are farm-based kids cooking classes
at Tasmania’s Agrarian Kitchen, circus skills workshops at Circus
Arts Trapeze School, opportunities to learn about how rich the
desert is at the Alice Springs Desert Park and you can even
see how kids in remote parts of the country go to school at the
School of the Air.
Australia also offers a multitude of family experiences that
delve into the country’s history. There’s nothing like historical
villages such as Victoria’s Sovereign Hill and Flagstaff Hill to bring
history to life. The interactive Discovery Zone at the Australian
War Memorial gives kids graphic wartime experiences, such as
crawling through a WWI trench or climbing aboard a Vietnam
War era helicopter.
There are family ghost tours of Sydney’s Quarantine Station,
antique dolls and teddy bears to admire at the Toy and Railway
Museum of Leuralla House in the Blue Mountains of New South
Wales, and opportunities to sail on the Lady Nelson replica tall
ship up the Derwent River, jump on board 100-year-old carriages
of the Pichi Richi Explorers on the oldest section of the Ghan
Railway in South Australia, and explore a piece of living history at
Tasmania’s Brickendon Historic Farm and Convict Village.
An Indigenous adventure is perfect for families who want to
learn a little about the richness of Australian Aboriginal culture.
Kakadu, Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Parks in Northern
Territory, and Booderee National Park in New South Wales, are
all jointly managed by National Parks Australia and traditional
owners. All offer remarkable Indigenous tours and adventures,
including tours to rock art sites, dot-painting workshops,
spear throwing, bird watching, river cruises and introduction to
traditional laws and sacred sites.
Bush tucker tours are offered everywhere from Kooljaman
at Cape Leveque on the Kimberley’s Dampier Peninsula, to the
Bama Way in North Queensland and Brambuk National Park and
Cultural Centre in Victoria’s Grampians National Park. ●
There’s Nothing Like Australia for
Australia delivers a phenomenal range and depth of family holidays that include intimate encounters with our plentiful and unique
wildlife, adventure in a stunning array of wilderness environments, authentic Indigenous experiences that offer insights into the
world’s oldest living culture, and a whole host of family learning opportunities, not to mention some good old fashioned family fun.
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