Australia’s an exciting destination for families, with its unique wildlife and sunny beaches. Where else can you feed a koala, take a surfing lesson, and try your hand at opal mining? Although the urban areas and beach towns are prime destinations for families, the harsh and rugged Outback region can also be a fascinating place to take the kids. Explore the underground town of Coober Pedy, or view Aboriginal rock art at the incomparable Uluru. Older children in particular will be fascinated by the beautiful landscapes and rich culture of the Outback.
Uluru or Ayers Rock
It would be a crime to bring your kids to the Outback and not let them see Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock.
This looming rock formation pushes its way out of the middle of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and is sacred to the local Anangu aboriginal tribe. The traditional owners of this land request that you don’t climb Uluru. Even at a distance Uluru will capture their attention with its changing colours depending on the time of the day. Close up intriguing rock paintings depicting the history of this land can be found all around the base.
Karijini National Park
You may spot red kangaroos and rock-wallabies on a visit to the unspoilt Karijini National Park in the Pilbara region in northwestern Western Australia. The landscape is dominated by massive mountains and high plateaus bisected by steep, breathtaking gorges.
There are hiking trails to suit all levels of ability, as well as scenic picnic spots and clear streams for little ones to splash about in. Don’t miss the spectacular Fortescue Falls or views of the Dales Gorge, but take care as rocks can get slippery and depending on the time of year, the water can be very cold. Pay attention to the seasons if you are visiting – the temperatures here are regularly well over 40 degrees Celsius and during the wet season rainfall can be very heavy.
Kids will love a visit to Coober Pedy, also known as the opal capital of the world. You can get there by taking a turn off of the Stuart Highway in the heart of the Outback in South Australia.
The temperatures outside can soar throughout the year. As a result, a good percentage of the town is actually located underground, and these cool dugout homes are open for touring. Visitors of all ages can also try their hand at opal mining, or stay the night in a unique underground hotel.
Kakadu National Park
Are your kids animal lovers? You won’t want to miss a trip to the massive Kakadu National Park, which boasts one of the world’s most diverse natural animal populations. There are over 300 species of birds, and 117 types of reptiles, including the iconic frilled neck lizard and a variety of freshwater crocodiles. In addition to the local wildlife, you can also enjoy cascading waterfalls, swampy marshes, and more Aboriginal rock art.
Alice Springs Reptile Centre
You don’t have to venture as far off the beaten path as Kakadu to view the wildlife. You can pay a visit to the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, which has the largest collection of reptiles in the Northern Territory. Reptiles include venomous snakes, gigantic lizards, and pythons of all shapes and sizes. Kids will love the interactive exhibits and creepy crawlies on display here.
Travelling through the Outback with children can be an unforgettable way to see Australia, but if you’re leaving well-populated areas like Alice Springs you’ll want to be sure to follow basic safety tips. Be sure to check road and weather conditions before departing. Know how far it is to the next petrol station and carry water. You can’t count on having phone reception between towns (and sometimes in towns!) so make sure you are driving a reliable car and always tell someone your itinerary before departure. Due to this intriguing region’s remoteness, many areas are still quite wild. This is all part of the thrill for visitors of all ages!