Exploring national parks, mountains and hidden tracks can be an exciting family day out, and an experience which should be on the bucket lists of both home-grown locals and tourists alike. Although, there are definitely a few things to remember on the day.
1. Take it easy
Start small by choosing beginner or easy tracks with a relatively flat terrain. We all know how kids can get when their legs get sore and it’s far more pleasant for everyone when no one is too exhausted.
2. Off the beaten track
Break up the hike with an adventure to a nearby swimming hole or creek. This way there’s no chance of hearing ‘I’m bored’ and you’ll never know what crazy creatures you might encounter.
3. Suit up!
Be sure to dress appropriately: this is a bushwalk with potential creek crossings, stairs, sand and rocks. Many a visitor has underestimated the good old-fashioned bushwalk and attempted it in skirts or thongs, and while it may be possible, it’s not recommended. Enclosed shoes are a must and leave your best outfits at home.
4. Slip, slop, slap
Be sun safe. We all know how hot the summer can be – especially in Australia – and on many trails there is very little shade. Wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and a T-shirt that covers your shoulders so you don’t get burnt.
5. Water is life
Make sure to use the facilities before you head off and definitely fill up your water bottles. On a lot of nature walks, especially in the outback, there is nowhere to refill your bottles along the trail so take enough to last everyone the trek and pack some snacks if you think the little ones will get hungry.
7. Call me maybe
Remember that while mobile phone reception on many tracks is very limited, you can still call 000 in an emergency. Just keep your fingers crossed that there will be no need.
8. Be enthusiastic
Before hitting the hiking trails, whet your child’s appetite by learning together about the area’s history, wildlife and any other interesting quirks or tidbits.
9. The great outdoors
Once your family has got the hang of hiking and the little ones are hooked, you can advance to the longer and more difficult hikes. Then it can be a holiday in itself with overnight and weekend trips.
This article appeared in volume 49 of Holidays with Kids magazine.
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