SingaporeMotherhood | Family Fun
‘I Spy’ 36+ Kid-friendly Adventures in Australia 2022
Australia is now welcoming (vaccinated) Singaporeans again and its city playgrounds are ripe for exploration. Families with kids of all ages will stay entertained while building lasting memories. Still, it’s been a while since we’ve properly travelled and exploring destinations with young kids in tow can be challenging. To keep the “Are we done yet?” questions at bay, Tourism Australia shares some of the best kid-friendly adventures in Australia for families to play ‘I spy’ on your next trip.
As Brent Anderson, Regional General Manager of South & South East Asia at Tourism Australia, notes, “In addition to safety and value for money, Singaporean travellers choose destinations based on good food and wine, friendly and open citizens, world-class nature and wildlife, and family-friendly attractions.” Brent shares some of his own family’s personal favourites along the way — read on to find out what they are.
‘I SPY’ IN SYDNEY (NEW SOUTH WALES)
1. I Spy Something Spiky
Take kids on a tactile adventure at Taronga Zoo Sydney. They’ll have close encounters with unique animals like echidnas and platypuses!
2. I Spy a Super Climb
Early risers can watch the sunrise over the horizon after climbing the 134-metre summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. With lots of kid-friendly packages that create the ultimate harbourside day out for families, it’s a one-stop shop. Please note that participating kids need to be at least eight years old and over 1.2 metres tall.
3. I Spy Ancient Cultures
Take a unique stroll around Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens on a guided tour with one of the garden’s experts. Kids young and old will even be able to taste some Aboriginal bush foods (depending on what’s in season). Tours depart every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 10 am.
4. I Spy a Different Dive
Head to Manly for an Ecotreasures snorkel tour and meet some of Sydney’s unique underwater wildlife with friendly and experienced local eco guides. Keep the adventure going out of the ocean while exploring Sydney’s coastal habitats and see what you can ‘spy’ from the headland lookouts. Kids will need to be competent swimmers and be able to float and tread water.
5. I Spy a Big Boat
Manly Beach across the Sydney Harbour is a classic. Watching the kids work up the courage to jump off one of the rock cliffs into the water and seeing the smile of relief on their faces when they come up for air the first time, is a feeling that will never get old. We like to end the harbour day with some delicious seafood from the various Sydney fish markets.
‘I SPY’ IN CANBERRA (AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY)
6. I Spy Lions, Tigers, and Bears
Animal lovers should visit the National Zoo & Aquarium. Pre-book a Close Encounter Tour to hand-feed a tiger, meet meerkats, or even become a zookeeper for the day. Don’t miss the zoo’s Adventureland, a unique playground with over 55 kid-friendly activities.
7. I Spy the Coolest Playground in Town
Let kids explore the boundless landscape at the National Arboretum Canberra. They can create their own adventure within the magical POD Playground. There is also a café and shop boasting some of Canberra’s most spectacular views for parents needing a recharge.
8. I Spy a Dinosaur
The National Dinosaur Museum has an impressive collection of fossils, skeletons, and most importantly, dinosaurs!
9. I Spy a Mad Scientist
Spare a few hours for an educational pit stop at Questacon. Kids can have fun while learning about science and technology. From walking on the moon to free-falling on a six-metre slide, everyone will have a blast.
10. I Spy a Miniature Steam Train
Visit the perfectly landscaped Cockington Green Gardens for a miniature steam train ride. The meticulously handcrafted buildings from across the globe are enough to capture even the most excitable child’s attention.
At kid-friendly light festivals like the upcoming Enlighten Festival in Canberra (4 – 20 March 2022), families can gather to watch the lift-off of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.
‘I SPY’ IN MELBOURNE (VICTORIA)
11. I Spy a Dino Laboratory
Budding paleontologists will love Melbourne Zoo’s new Dino Lab. They can meet giant animatronic dinosaurs, become junior paleontologists, and observe baby dinos in the zoo’s care!
12. I Spy an Interactive Oasis
The recently redeveloped Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is the perfect pit stop for kids to learn about some of their favourite pastimes, from film and TV, to video games.
13. I Spy Somewhere to Rest Your Feet
Jump aboard Melbourne’s free City Circle Tram to rest the little ones’ feet. The tram goes past some of Melbourne’s most iconic attractions. These include Parliament House, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Royal Exhibition Building.
14. I Spy a Garden
Take little ones to the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria. The garden is perfect for kids who like to get their hands dirty. There are separate areas to explore (from a Bamboo Forest to a Kitchen Garden, and the Ruin Garden). Interactive educational offerings also help kids learn through exploration and play.
15. I Spy a Gondola Ride
For the ultimate birds-eye view and ‘I Spy’ vantage point of Melbourne, take the kids to Arthurs Seat Eagle. The 30-minute (return) gondola ride offers views from Melbourne to Port Phillips Bay.
‘I SPY’ IN HOBART (TASMANIA)
16. I Spy a Devil
Well, it is Tasmania, after all. Book ahead to see Tasmanian Devils up-close at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. On the private three-hour night tour, families will get to help feed the animals and also tour the wildlife hospital.
17. I Spy Stinky Poo Poo
Richmond’s Pooseum is truly a one-of-a-kind science museum. It’s the only one in the world solely dedicated to animal droppings! As you get past the inevitable giggles, explore interactive exhibits that educate visitors on the world of poo. From the PooTube to the Farting Machine, this is one pit stop the kids won’t stop telling their friends about.
(See also: Does your Child have Good Poop?)
18. I Spy Something to Make
Although there is some adult-only content, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has some tested kid-friendly exhibits. These include the Musical Trampoline, Dot Obsession, and Cloaca Professional by Wim Delwoye (a.k.a. the poo machine). Not only is the museum itself a blast, but if you arrive via the 30-minute MONA ROMA catamaran ride, the fun starts before you get there, with sheep sculptures acting as seats on the upper deck!
19. I Spy an Underground Adventure
Whisk the kids away from the crowds to a combined dose of wonder and fresh air. The Hasting Caves and Thermal Springs is home to an expansive and ancient cave network. Guided tours from the Visitors Centre tailor content for children to ensure they are left in awe.
20. I Spy a Horse-drawn Carriage
Spend a morning in Salamanca, after heading up the historic Kelly’s Steps on Kelly Street to Battery Point. Tour the neighbourhood in Heritage Horse Drawn Carriages passing by historic cottages that have been standing since the 1800s.
Tasmania is another favourite for reconnecting with family. We love the remote wilderness and stunning scenery in both winter and summer, and seeing the kids spend time off their devices. There’s something about watching our teenagers turn into excited little children when feeding wallabies and other wildlife at places like the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo.
‘I SPY’ IN ADELAIDE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA)
21. I Spy a Koala Having Breakfast
Stop by Cleland Conservation Park to see some of Australia’s native animals in their natural habitat. Families willing to brave an early wake-up call can have Breakfast with the Birds, experience an exclusive tour with the Bird Keeper before the park opens, or even hold a koala.
22. I Spy Cricket Fans
Cricket-fanatic families can tour the Adelaide Oval and try the RoofClimb on top of the iconic ovals Western Stand. Your reward will be 360-degree views of Adelaide and beyond. It’s the perfect place to ‘spy’ some of Adelaide’s most iconic landmarks.
23. I Spy an Adrenaline Kick
Visit MegaClimb at West Beach Adventure. The aerial structure (18 kangaroos high) will take adventure to a whole new level of fun. Play tennis in the sky, row a boat in mid-air, manoeuvre between obstacles such as a floating esky, BMX bike, and sky-high picnic table. Younger ones can test their mettle on the Kids Course. The SkyWalk viewing platform offers uninterrupted views across the Adelaide Hills and Western shoreline.
24. I Spy a Japanese Garden
For some inner-city serenity, head to Adelaide Himeji Garden. It’s free to enter and is ideal for kids to explore. There’s everything from water features to giant bonsai, and also makes a great pit stop for an afternoon snack.
25. I Spy an Ancient Jail
Take the kids by one of South Australia’s oldest buildings, the Adelaide Gaol. Home to some of the state’s most notorious and dangerous criminals over 147 years, visitors can experience what life was like behind bars for Adelaide’s prisoners from 1841 to 1988.
Singaporeans have been shifting towards independent travel to Australia in recent years. This is in perfect alignment with the numerous exciting self-drive itineraries they can enjoy across Australia’s diverse states. For instance, a family-friendly road trip from Adelaide to the Eyre Peninsula offers plenty of opportunities for seafood tasting, marine life viewing, and fascinating attractions like the interactive National Railway Museum.
‘I SPY’ ON THE GOLD COAST (QUEENSLAND)
26. I Spy Something Fluffy
Settle down for lunch at Mountview Alpaca Farm. Picnic with alpacas training as therapy animals for local hospitals and aged care facilities. With the farm located on a vineyard, parents can kick back and relax while kids play with new furry friends.
27. I Spy a Trail Worth Following
Enjoy a gentle 1.6-km (return) hike to swim at Cougal Cascades in Springbrook National Park. The hike is enclosed and suitable for prams, but kids should be competent swimmers and supervised in and around the water. Further along the trail is a creek that may be more suitable for the younger ones. Along the way, have the kids keep an eye out for a disused sawmill circa 1940s.
(See also: 26 Happy Hiking Trails in Singapore for All Ages)
28. I Spy Something Old-school
End the day with a trip down memory lane at Yatala Drive-In. Pile the family into the car to watch a family-favourite film, and enjoy hot food and movie munchies from the 50s-inspired diner.
29. I Spy Whimsical Dumplings
Home of the Arts (HOTA) is a contemporary cultural precinct where art meets life. Enjoy live performances, stargazing, and cinema-watching. Their new children’s gallery boasts immersive installations, such as the imaginative Dumpling Dreams (till 1 May 2022), which plops youngsters into a colourful world complete with delicious new sidekicks.
30. I Spy Mind-bending Illusions
Bend kids’ minds at the Gold Coast’s futuristic maze world. The 30-minute journey through INFINITY takes explorers through 20 extraordinary multi-sensorial environments. Note that it is not recommended for children under eight years or anyone with sensory conditions.
31. I Spy a Wave to Save
Teach kids a new skill at Currumbin Beach’s Currumbin Alley Surf School. After a morning catching waves at the beach, take curious conservationists-to-be to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Close-up encounters with koalas, kangaroos, dingos, wombats, emus, and the critically endangered Kroombit Tinkerfrog await.
Kids can explore a range of creative and educational experiences like the Australian Dinosaur Trail across the towns of Winton, Hughenden and Richmond in Queensland — including new attractions like a 54-metre-long preserved trackway of sauropod footprints at Winton’s Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum.
‘I SPY’ IN DARWIN (NORTHERN TERRITORY)
32. I Spy Animals Galore
Visit Territory Wildlife Park to see some of Australia’s most iconic animals in their natural habitats. Flit through tree-top aviaries, stroll past natural lagoons, and tiptoe through the underwater aquarium. You even have the opportunity to get nose-to-nose with giant saltwater crocodiles.
33. I Spy a Splashing Good Time
The Wave Lagoon at the Darwin Waterfront Precinct is a must-visit for any family. Besides shallow water areas for toddlers and a pool with artificial waves, they even have boogie boards and tubes on hand for visitors.
34. I Spy a Crocodile
Stop by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), set in the scenic Larrakia Land at Bullocky Point. Not only are they home to an internationally renowned collection, but also have a series of dynamic public programmes and drop-in kid activities. Kids will love exploring the kids-only Discovery Centre and seeing ‘Sweetheart’, a 5.1-metre stuffed croc.
35. I Spy an Underwater Adventure
Head to the heart of Darwin to see live crocs up close in aquariums at Crocosaurus Cove. Watch crocodiles and turtles being fed, and wander through reptile enclosures. Teens and adults over 15 years can test out the famous ‘Cage of Death’ and ‘swim’ with a monster croc.
36. I Spy a Playground
Make a stop by George Brown Darwin Botanical Gardens’ children’s playground to reward kids for exploring the city. It has everything from a climbing frame and bamboo ambush trail to a sandcastle fort and even a plant maze.
Brent’s Recommendations for Eco-friendly Accommodations
“We have also noticed Singaporeans’ increased interest in doing their part for the environment. To that end, there are many eco-friendly accommodation options that’s great for families, like Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in New South Wales’ Blue Mountains — where staff bring kids on adventure hiking and bush survival courses.
And Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort in Queensland where kids can snorkel with manta rays and watch migrating humpback whales. I personally love Lady Elliot Island — it’s a magical place for families to explore the iconic Great Barrier Reef. Over the years, our family has made plenty of fond memories diving and snorkelling all day and picking a new spot each day as the tide changes.
Australia is chock full of family-friendly experiences that are ever evolving and continuing to get more diverse and creative, and the kids and I are always excited to see what’s new and upcoming.”
Do check ahead for changes to opening times of attractions and availability of activities during these uncertain times. For more information on where to holiday in Australia and how to travel safely, visit www.australia.com.
Featured image: South Australian Tourism Commission
All other images courtesy of Tourism Australia unless otherwise stated
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