Summer is nearly here and it’s time to start thinking about where to take the kids for the long-awaited summer break.
WORDS Claudia Bouma
Australia has tons of wonderful places in a variety of locations. So where would you like to go? Let me take you on a whirlwind tour of five exciting destinations.
Situated in far north NSW, near the Qld border, the World Heritage-listed Border Ranges National Park protects pockets of rainforest with waterfalls and crystal clear creeks. Sheepstation Creek campground is set among lush rainforest and abounds with wildlife – spotted-tailed quolls, koalas and brush turkeys are some of the creatures you are likely to encounter.
The campground is the starting point for three walks, differing in length from a 2km 1-hour walk to a 10.5km 5-hour hike. If you prefer to jump in the car, the 44km Tweed Range Scenic Drive crosses the eastern plateau of the park and follows the caldera rim, providing stunning views.
The Grampians are an all-time favourite, treating you to incredible bushwalks varying in length and difficulty. A must-do is the 1km scenic trek to the Balconies, an amazing rock formation jutting out over the valley below and the perfect spot for a family picture.
If you prefer to relax, Halls Gap not only has a great swimming pool but also an ice cream shop, which is bound to be popular with the kids.
A great spot along NSW’s northern coastline, Hat Head National Park is a gem with stunning scenery, breathtaking views and fascinating history. The park boasts unspoilt sandy beaches, pockets of lush rainforest, the impressive Smoky Cape Lighthouse as well as the historic Trial Bay Gaol.
The lighthouse is a must-see − the octagonal, two-storey dazzling white building stands like a sentinel, protecting the surrounding coastal waters. Trial Bay Gaol, a labour prison built from 1877-1886 to house prisoners to construct the breakwater, takes you back in time and provides stunning views from the watchtower.
Leeuwin-Naturaliste NP, a spectacular national park in WA’s south-western corner, stretches for 120 km, from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south, and has some of Australia’s most impressive coastal scenery. It is one of the most visited national parks in WA – according to the Conservation Commission of Western Australia – with more than two million visits a year.
The camping is fabulous – just imagine setting up your tent in the middle of the bush with the roar of the ocean in the background. The beaches along this rugged coastline are amazing and some of them are sheltered from the pounding of the ocean waves, which makes for great swimming and snorkelling. Yallingup Beach is a particularly nice beach for families with small kids.
Last, but not least, Tassie’s Freycinet National Park is one of the Apple Isle’s most popular parks, recording about 160,000 visitors a year. The campground is close to the beach and has magnificent ocean views – every camper’s dream.
A must-do is the hike to Wineglass Bay Lookout, a 1.3km uphill climb with over 300 bush steps. The lookouts along the way treat you to breathtaking views. If you’re feeling energetic, continue the walk by descending to Wineglass Bay and enjoy a swim in the azure-blue waters.
So what are you waiting for? Get the camping gear ready, pull out the summer clothes and start preparing for a memorable family holiday.
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