By Jennifer Adams, founder of TV travel series Places We Go, mother of 7 year-old daughter Charli, and lover of the adventurous life.
Top 5 Places To Camp With The Kids
Australia is a wide brown land (with an incredible coastline) and the opportunities to get out into the Great Outdoors and camp under the stars are almost mind-boggling. We have been camping with our daughter since she was a baby, and pitching a tent and eating out of an esky is now second nature to her. We drove around Australia when she was two years old and camped in so many different locations, I don’t think I could name them all. They were all spectacular in their own way, and each held the special magic of bonding a family together as you escaped everyday luxuries and conveniences, and teamed up for some great, old fashioned fun.
I remember impromptu nights in the Kimberley spent dancing to bush ballads under the stars, evenings in Outback Queensland spent lying by sparkling campfires in swags and hearing only the callings of the bush, and of course, those special beachfront campsites such as Wilsons Promontory in Victoria, or Albany in Western Australia, that allow you to listen to the ocean all night long.
"Camping or Caravanning is the same thing to us – one of the many treasured nights around the campfire with our daughter"
That special campsite for you and your family is always just a drive away – whether it is a long or short one. But the options are endless and regardless of location, we guarantee you will have a lot of fun and some very precious memories to bring home with you.
Our favourite places to camp with kids in Australia would have to be:
Broome, Western Australia
It might seem like a long way away, but for anyone who is taking the iconic drive around Australia, or just wants to see the North West, then camping in Broome is an incredible experience.
The gateway to the epic Kimberley, Broome is where the red dirt of the outback meets the sparkling turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. The famous 22km long Cable Beach is one of the best places in Australia to spend your days. Stretching as far as the eye can see, you can laze away your days here on the sand, in the water, at any of the beach cafes, or even driving on the beautiful sand if you have a 4WD.
"Joining the iconic train of camels on Cable Beach"
At dusk, the whole family will love hopping on the iconic train of camels and walking along the beach with the red and gold colours of the sunset sinking into the ocean as your backdrop.
"Excitement at the Pearl Farm"
Take the kids to one of the pearl farms to discover some of the fascinating history of the region, or to the Broome Courthouse Markets, held on weekends and some evenings, where you will discover local arts and crafts, gourmet produce and artisan goodies.
Make sure you take the kids to discover the 130 million year old dinosaur footprints which can be seen at very low tides at Gantheaume Point.
There are a number of camping grounds in and around the town to choose from, which all boast swimming pools and proximity to the beach.
Broome is an incredible place for the whole family to discover Australia’s outback and fascinating history with the bonus of boasting one of our best beaches.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
If your kids are into wildlife, then there is almost no better place to take them in Australia than Kangaroo Island.
It is actually pretty easy to get to. Just a 1.5 hour drive from Adelaide airport and you are at Cape Jervis, where you board the Sealink (car) Ferry to the island. From there, it’s you and the open road, where 4,405 square kilometres is inhabited by just over 4,200 people. You can sometimes feel like you have the whole island to yourself.
We have been three times and our daughter loves it more and more each time. From the wild sea lions and penguins on the beach, to the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park where we get to pet and feed baby joeys, the island is like a sanctuary for wildlife and a dream for children who love animals.
"The Fur Seals of the island"
Other amazing attractions include a honey farm, the farmers markets in Penneshaw, plenty of pristine swimming spots and stretches of sand, National Parks with plenty of nature walks, and even Pelican Feeding.
Don’t miss getting some great pics of the kids at the Remarkables Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park and make sure you stop off at the Oyster Farm and Cheese Factory for some gourmet treats.
Kangaroo Island was simply made for camping. It is a natural paradise that beckons you to experience all the wonder of it’s nature, and sleeping under the stars is one of the best ways to do it.
Albany, Western Australia
Kids love camping at the beach. There is nothing quite like the sheer proximity to the sand and sea which is rarely achieved in other kinds of accommodation. In Albany, you can have an unobstructed view of the incredible Indian Ocean for the price of a campsite, and enjoy all the benefits that go along with it.
"Our campsite sits right on Middleton Beach where the humpback whales frolick"
Albany has transformed itself from a town whose economy relied on it’s whaling station, to a town that now prides itself on whale watching. Every year, the annual migration of humpbacks offer a unique wilderness experience to visitors, and coupled with the attractions of the town and it’s fantastic beach, Albany is well worth a family holiday.
"Our captain onboard the whale watching cruise pointing to a humback"
We could actually spot whales from our position camping along the beach, but also got up close on a whale watching tour that was an amazing experience for young and old.
Back on land, we were fascinated by Whale World, a museum dedicated to the history of the whales in Albany.
We also were able to pick up some of the freshest seafood we had ever eaten directly off the docks and, along with some goodies from the local farmers market, cook it back at our campsite, a memorable meal for all.
Albany is full of history, having been the last place the ANZAC troops set sail from in Australia on their way to Gallipoli in World War 2. A fascinating history lesson for all kids, coupled with a beach holiday, and it’s a ‘win-win’ for all.
Jervis Bay, NSW South Coast
The whitest sand in the world. Need I say more? If you’re into beaches, then Jervis Bay will not disappoint. It has one of those postcard worthy coastlines that leave you speechless, and we soaked up the experience of a camping holiday here.
"Hyams Beach – one of the whitest in the world!"
Being a marine reserve, the bays here are protected so family-friendly beach time is always on the cards. We took the White Sands Walk and ended up at Hyams Beach (the white sand record holder) where the clear, gentle waters were out of this world.
We also had a bit of fun learning to Stand Up Paddleboard – the still waters here are perfect for touring around like this, if you can learn to stay up!
But the highlight was a cruise out on the marine reserve to discover the resident population of wild bottlenose dolphins. Around 80-120 of them live here year round and you are pretty much guaranteed to see them. Kids will absolutely delight in seeing these special creatures swim along side the boat and play in the water.
Back at the campsite, surrounded by gum trees and just a minutes walk to the nearest beach, our evenings were spent under moonlit nights that lit up the bay, enjoying family time around the bbq, and were often finished off with a game of cards under the gas light.
There’s no experience quite like camping on the banks of the mighty Murray River in the historic port town of Echuca in Victoria, which sits right on the New South Wales border and its twin town of Moama.
"The tranquility of the Mighty Murray River"
The paddlesteamer capital of Australia, we have spent a lifetime of camping holidays in this special part of the world. Flanked by ever-changing landscapes, including the iconic Australian bush, there is nothing quite like waking up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun reflect on a perfectly still river while sipping a cuppa outside your tent.
As the sun rises, you join the commotion on the water, creating memories water-skiing, jetskiing or boating on the third longest navigable river in the world.
"My daughter and her cousins having a blast on the water"
Enjoying the simplicity of camping in such a timeless landscape, you are transported away from your ordinary life, and as you watch the paddlesteamer go past, its not hard to take yourself back to 1853 and imagine it transporting wool, grain and other supplies to Melbourne. Kids absolutely love the experience of travelling on one of these historic boats and the whole family can relax and enjoy the sights and smells of this beautiful region.
"Watching the historic paddlesteamer pass-by"
In town, you can stroll past the historic buildings and enjoy the boutique café culture, ice cream shops and many fine restaurants.
But best of all for me, is when you are back at your camp - when the afternoon sun is speckled through the native gum trees – the ski boats are all finishing up for the day, and once again you are left to enjoy the tranquility of camping under the stars by the banks of the Mighty Murray.
For more travel inspiration go to www.placeswego.com
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