As the end of the school year nears, I’m sure that many of you are thinking of summer travel for your family and you should absolutely consider Australia. With an abundance of fascinating wildlife, cultural experiences and of course, plenty of water-based activities, Australia will be sure to keep you and the kids busy and entertained!
The iconic turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Image: Tourism Queensland
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world. This is the world’s most extensive stretch of coral reef, and is the only living thing visible from space. The Great Barrier Reef is made up of thousands of individual reefs, along with hundreds of islands. It also supports an amazingly diverse ecosystem, made up of 350 different species of dazzling corals, over 10,000 species of sponges, over 1500 species of tropical fish, 125 types of sharks, and over 4000 species of mollusks. And, oh yeah, a turtle or two.
Kickin’ it with Koalas
Cuddling with a koala is truly an amazing experience. Image: Tourism Queensland
Though often called the koala “bear,” this cuddly animal is not a bear at all; it is a marsupial, or pouched mammal. Koalas live in eastern Australia, where the eucalyptus trees they love are most plentiful. In fact, they rarely leave these trees, and their sharp claws and opposable digits easily keep them aloft. During the day they doze, tucked into forks or nooks in the trees, sleeping for up to 18 hours. The greatest threat to koalas is habitat loss. Land clearing, bushfires and diseases of the eucalypts, like ‘dieback’ which cause the trees to die – are all current issues koalas face. One of the most popular activities when visiting either the Great Barrier Reef or Brisbane is to “cuddle” a koala – although, only one at a time!
Aboriginal cultural experiences are always a fascinating time. Image: Tourism Australia
Located in the Northern Territory, Darwin has a tropical climate, so it’s no surprise that there are loads of outdoor cultural experiences. Aboriginal heritage in the area is long and runs deep. Here you can explore Aboriginal heritage and culture in a multitude of ways. From visiting the Museum of Art Gallery in the Northern Territory to taking a guided Aboriginal tour into the bush, learning about bush tucker and traditional medicine, try your had at the didgeridoo, play the clapsticks, and learn to throw a spear. Discover the stories of Dreamtime and it’s cultural significance.
Kangaroos for Miles
Kangaroos grazing over the cliffs of the island. Image: Tourism Australia
For the most amazing “wildlife in the wild” experiences, you simply must visit Kangaroo Island, located in South Australia. An ecological haven for native Australian wildlife; kangaroos (naturally), koalas, penguins, echidnas, and bird life all call this island paradise, home. Here you can walk among a colony of endangered sea lions or cuddle with a sleepy koala. Don’t forget to take in the breathtaking scenery of the island, with its rugged cliffs, sheltered bays, native bushlands and rolling hills of farmland – you’ll never have a dull moment of exploration. From wildlife adventures and coastal activities, to food and wine and historical guided walks, Kangaroo Island doesn’t disappoint.
The Australian Open is one of four Grand Slam tournaments. Image: Tourism Victoria
There are many options for sporting events, including football (Aussie, not US), rugby, Formula 1 racing, and of course, tennis. The Australian Tennis Open, which occurs every January, is located in Melbourne, the sport and cultural capital of Australia. Consistently voted one of the most livable cities in the world, with hidden lane and alleyways, and a wonderful al-fresco dining scene, this city is truly a gem.
Rollin’ on Rottnest
A selfie with a cute quokka on Rottnest. Image: Tourism Western Australia
Located on the far west coast of Australia is laidback, livable Perth, and just a short ferry ride will take you to the charming island of Rottnest. Blessed with a casual atmosphere, picturesque scenery, dazzling marine life and some of the world’s finest beaches and pristine bays, you can bicycle and snorkel to your heart’s content. Rottnest is also home to the adorable Quokkas, and a trip there wouldn’t be complete without a #quokkaselfie.