How to Survive Deadly Australia with Kids
As our first stop on our world travels, we decided to hit up Australia since it was so close to our home in New Zealand. After saying our tearful goodbyes to our dear friends, we set off on our adventure to Australia! We heard it would be hot. We knew there were lots of deadly critters. We knew it was a beautifully dangerous land. So, how do you survive in deadly Australia with kids? We lived to tell the tale and we’ll tell you all about it!
A Safe Place to Find Animals
Our kids love animals. And we mean love! Like, our oldest son wants to be a zoologist one day or the next Jeff Corwin. He’s happy with either option. They all would much rather watch a National Geographic show than a cartoon any day. See, we told you they love animals! So, we knew our time in Australia would be memorable since it is full of amazing wildlife. But, the thing about Australia is that it is also full of dangerous wildlife! How could we experience this beautiful place safely with kids? How could we see the animals without getting in harm’s way? Here is what we did to find and experience the animals safely:
Botanic Garden- You wouldn’t normally think of a botanic garden as being a great place to find animals, but we did! The Brisbane Botanic Garden was full of awesome lizards and tons of different types of birds. There were also lots of huge spiders that webbed their homes cascading above the paths. It was a perfect place to see the wildlife up close.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary- Want to pet or feed wild animals safely? Then the best place to visit is a zoo! This hands-on experience was awesome for our kids. We could see the koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and lots of other Australian creatures up close and personal. We got to pet koalas and hand feed kangaroos and wallabies. Our kids were in HEAVEN! It provided to perfect safety net for our kids and they still got to enjoy wild Australia.
Hike- There are lots of hiking trails throughout Australia that will take you right in the middle of the wildlife. But the key is to stick to the trail and not to touch anything! We went on a beautiful hike in Bingal Bay that led us through the lush rainforest. We could hear bugs and frogs chirping galore. We saw a snake slither across the path, a frog clinging to a tree, and birds perched on branches. We were smart and stuck to the path so we could be safe.
Crocodile Tour- Our goal while in Australia was to see a croc in the wild! We first attempted seeing one from the safety of our car as we overlooked a river. When that failed, we took a walk along a river infested with crocodiles. I’m not gonna lie, it was a little nerve wracking being so close to the river. But we kept to the path and stayed alert. Thankfully, we didn’t have any run ins with crocs. But, we still wanted to see one! So, we called in the professionals…
After our own efforts were fruitless, we resorted to going on a guided crocodile tour. And we’re so glad we did! Our awesome croc tour took us on a boat down the river at sunset. We searched the river and the surrounding mangroves high and low for any crocodile action. We were able to see a couple of young crocs along the riverbank. It was the perfect way to spot a croc safely!
Great Barrier Reef Tour- We couldn’t visit Australia and not visit the Great Barrier Reef. So, we booked a tour to take us out to the world-famous reef to see the coral and sea creatures up close. We were provided with stinger suits to protect us from jellyfish stings. We got to see sea snakes, a leatherback sea turtle, dolphins, lots of fish, and coral.
How to Keep Your Kids Engaged
Traveling can be tough and tiring on kids so it’s important to keep them engaged. It’s best to have a mixture of things for the adults and activities for the kids. These were great things to keep our kids engaged as we traveled in Australia.
South Bank- This area in Brisbane is so family friendly! It provided free ferry rides, cool parks, and an awesome beach pool. We spent the whole day around the South Bank area picnicking, boating, exploring, and swimming.
Clondarff Pier- There’s something about piers that are just so fun! Our kids loved racing along the pier, looking into the water at the fish, spitting into the water….yes, you read that correctly, and watching fishers lure in a shark.
Pool- You can never go wrong with pools! No matter where we are in the world, our kids are happiest when they are swimming. We make it a priority that our Airbnb has a pool. This helps keep our kids entertained and active. Win win.
Burleigh Heads- Hikes and swimming are always good for kids. Mix the two and you have a winning combo! This was a great hike that weaved through the bush and overlooked the ocean. It then popped out at a safe beach for a nice relaxing swim.
Etty Bay- There are lots of great beaches in Australia. But there are also lots of dangerous beaches in Australia! Just because it’s a pretty beach, doesn’t mean it’s safe. We visited a beach that had a stinger net that helped keep the dangerous critters away. It’s not fool proof, but it helps lessen the likelihood of getting stung. We also visited this beach because it was a popular area to spot cassowary…the planet’s deadliest bird. We didn’t spy any but we still had a great time!
Babinda Boulders- The crocodiles were far from this fresh water swimming hole! It was the coolest spot for a nice refreshing swim in a gorgeous area! The emerald green water, pebble floor, and safe area was the perfect spot to cool down from the hot Australian sun. And you didn’t have to worry about any dangerous critters! Our kids could have stayed here for hours.
Service- A great way to get your kids engaged is to serve! Whether it be picking up rubbish, volunteering somewhere, or helping an individual, it is so good for your kids to learn how to help others. Our family helped a single woman with her yard work. They loved looking for the skinks and lizards as we pulled up weeds in her flower bed. It was satisfying helping her and we loved getting to know her.
How to Stay Safe
Swim only in stinger netted areas- Some Australian beaches provide a protected area where a net is placed around safe area to swim. This helps keep the harmful sea creatures at bay…mostly. So it’s the safest to swim in these areas.
Wear stinger suits when snorkeling- Even though you may think you’re safe, a jelly fish can sneak up on you or have a far reach. It’s best to wear stinger suits to protect your entire body.
Wear water sandals- There are lots of poisonous critters that lurk at the ocean floor. Make sure to wear water sandals to stay safer.
Don’t touch plants- Australia has quite a list of poisonous plants that you should avoid. It’s just best to keep your hands to yourself and not touch any foliage. We came across one plant that would continue to sting months after the first encounter. No thank you.
Don’t touch spiders or snakes- Some snakes and spiders are really cool looking. But you should definitely not touch! Many have very poisonous bites in Australia and you don’t want to risk it!
Traveling isn’t perfect. There are always some ups and downs! During our time in Australia, we had a few downs. Our thorns were:
We misspelled our daughter’s name on the Australian Visitor Visit we had purchased online. Unfortunately, because of that simple error, it cost us an additional $30 to fix. Spell check. Always spell check.
I lost my credit card in our rental card. Luckily they called us right away and it only cost us an hour out of our day to get it back!
4 out of 6 of us got hit hard and fast with a tummy bug all at the same time! We were down and out for a couple of days. Luckily, it never spread to the other two. And luckily it was short lived. Not fun though. Not fun at all.
The battery in our rental car completely exploded! Luckily, it happened at good time where we were parked in a good location and had time to spare before we headed to the airport for our next flight. It all worked out.
We fly into Cairns really late so we had to pick up our rental car after hours. As soon as we opened the car doors, a waft of smoke filled our noses. Our car was a smoked in car. And there was nothing we could do about it because the office was closed! So we had to pile into a smoky car and drive 2 hours to our airbnb. We all had headaches by the time we got there. We contacted the rental car company the next day and they offered us a great discount for our hassles. But Cody had to make the 4 hour roundtrip to switch the car. It was a pain, but it all worked out in the end.
We loved feeding the kangaroos and wallabies at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary! It was so cool being able to pet and feed and be so close. And the koalas were just the cutest! We especially loved seeing the baby koala clinging to its mama on the baby joey inside its mother’s pouch.
Being able to see crocodiles in the wild was pretty awesome! It was so cool being out on the river at night, searching high and low for crocs.
We loved being warm! It felt so good to not have to wear a jacket and always be at a comfortable temperature. Our bodies were happy being warm again!
Our time in Australia went way too fast and we wish we could have seen all the things! But, we loved the country, the people, and the beauty of the land. We proved that you can survive deadly Australia with kids and love it!
You can read all about Australia from a Kid’s Perspective here!