Caravanning. It’s a relatively affordable way to take a family holiday but, most of all, it's more fun!
Packing the caravan is a massive part of the planning and there’s a lot of mobile products available to make life on the road with the family much easier. However, one of the main priorities of planning should involve the destination. Once you know where you’re going, you will know what to bring.
Here are three family-friendly spots you should put on your next family adventure bucket list.
KAKADU NATIONAL PARK: AUSTRALIA’S NATURAL BEAUTY
Kakadu has, in some quarters, an undeserved bad reputation. Kaka-don’t, some say. But I beg to differ. In the dry season, all (or most) of the tracks to the best spots will be open, and the diversity of wildlife, from jabirus to estuarine crocodiles, is on show.
Waterfalls and plunge pools, hiking tracks to billabongs teeming with life, ancient Aboriginal rock art… Kakadu is a living, breathing reminder of Australia’s natural beauty and a direct link to its fascinating indigenous past.
When visiting as a family, I suggest staying at Cooinda Lodge Jabiru, a resort-style caravan park with a swimming pool, restaurant and more. The main attractions – Jim Jim Falls, Gunlom, Ubirr Rock, among others – a re within striking distance. However, other campgrounds are scattered throughout Kakadu closer to each attraction.
A couple of tips:
Do not leave Kakadu without taking a boat cruise on Yellow Water Billabong – it’s the definition of the word ‘breathtaking’.
Be sure to take the hiking track to the top of Gunlom Falls, where you’ll find rock pools and a view like no other.
COFFS HARBOUR: THE KIDS WILL GO BANANAS
Some might scoff at the idea of Coffs. But for this southerner and his family, it has it all: great four-wheel-driving, a choice of beachside holiday parks, a fantastic shopping precinct and, to top it off, you’re allowed to take your 4WD onto some of the beaches. In fact, you can drive all the way from Coffs Harbour to the Sawtell Inlet on Boambee Beach.
Obviously, Coffs is known for the Big Banana. And if you’re cynical, trust me: it’s better than it sounds, with a water park, toboggan, laser tag, ice-skating and much more. Be sure to also spend some time on the jetty, with its promenade of shops, fishing boats bobbing in the harbour, and the breakwall that gives pedestrian access to Muttonbird Island.
- The kids will love Dolphin Marine Magic, the nearby marine zoological park where you can swim with dolphins or just watch them frolic in the pools. Or why not line up for a kiss from a seal?
THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD: A PEACEFUL SEASIDE ESCAPE
In summer or spring, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is a must. Winding for more than 240km from Torquay west to Warrnambool, it is one of the world’s best coastal roads.
Towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay offer a wide range of services, from pharmacies to supermarkets; however, the smaller townships, such as Wye River, are also popular.
The best way to see the famous Twelve Apostles – a formation of limestone stacks in Port Campbell National Park, is from the air – helicopter tours are available but expensive. Otherwise, take the boardwalk to the viewing platform from the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre. Loch Ard Gorge is also not to be missed.
Avoiding the crowds:
- If you’re after a Great Ocean Road experience away from the crowds, drive further west until you arrive in Peterborough, a sleepy hamlet with a beautiful beach, a shop or two, and a caravan park. It’s a perfect, peaceful, family getaway.
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