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Pro Dive Lord Howe Island

Image © Destination NSW

6 places for the adventurous family

Want to go on an outdoors adventure? Jennifer Ennion reveals the best places to go.

From surfing and fishing to mountain biking and snowboarding, there are so many ways families can enjoy action in the great outdoors together. If you’re ready to step it up and go outside your comfort zone with some adrenaline-packed fun during your next family holiday, here are my picks for Australia’s best kid-friendly adventures.

Lord Howe Island paddle boarding

BEST FOR both beginner and experienced paddle boarders

The crystal-clear waters of Lord Howe Island’s lagoon may just be the most beautiful place in Australia to test your balance. While teetering on the edge of your paddle board you can spot an array of sea creatures – from turtles to Spanish dancers – in the pristine waters. Teens can head out to the rolling surf of the outer reef, while beginners and little ones can enjoy the more sheltered waters near the shoreline. Boards can be hired through Pro Dive Lord Howe Island.

Image © Jennifer Ennion

Thredbo mountain biking

BEST FOR any child who can comfortably ride a bicycle

If you spend your weekends cycling as a family and you’re ready to step up the adventure factor, head to one of Australia’s best locations for mountain biking: Thredbo. The year-round resort in the Snowy Mountains caters for all levels of experience, with challenging downhill tracks as well as mellow beginner routes. Thredbo Valley Track is a great option for family bike rides.

Adventure through Katherine

The Katherine Region has an abundance of family-friendly adventurous activities on its doorstep – from off-the-beaten track bushwalks and swimming in waterfalls to mountain biking and rock climbing – all within gorgeous natural surrounds, such as the famous Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park. You can organise a tour through the Katherine Tourism Visitors Centre or alternatively create your own self-drive itinerary to discover all this wild ‘Big River Country’ has to offer.

Airlie Beach jetskiing

BEST FOR children aged eight years or older who are good swimmers

Get up close to sea turtles on the Airlie Adventure with Whitsunday Jetski Tours. Spend 1.5 hours exploring protected Pioneer Bay, Port of Airlie and Airlie Beach on a guided tour. Be sure to keep an eye out for the turtles, as well as dugongs and seabirds. You can book a morning or afternoon session, and life vests, rashies and sunglasses are provided.

Image © Jennifer Ennion

Mt Buller snowboarding

BEST FOR the entire family – book an intergenerational ski holiday by inviting nan and pop

If you love winter, you can’t go past a family ski holiday. Three hours’ drive from Melbourne, Mt Buller is easy to get to, with free shuttle buses and heated pathways. I recommend the Buller Kids’ Centre crèche for kids three months old up to three years old. There are also great ski and snowboard programmes for children aged from three to 18 years. The main Bourke Street beginner area is wide and perfect for learning, while more experienced snow bunnies in the family will enjoy the blue and black runs. Kids-stay-free deals are sometimes available.

Point Plomer surfing

BEST FOR intrepid families who are happy to drive the dirt road to Point Plomer

It’s one of the best surf breaks in New South Wales and not just because the waves are gnarly. Point Plomer, on the mid-north coast, caters for everyone in the family. Toddlers can have a hoot in the shallows, beginners can find their feet in the whitewash, while avid surfers can go out back near the point and nab the right-handers rolling into shore. If it’s busy or you are a learner, head further up the beach in search of your own set. Make the most of the surf by staying at Point Plomer campground.

Nelson Bay diving

BEST FOR teenagers who are confident swimming underwater

If you’re an ocean-loving family, scuba diving is definitely something you should try. You don’t need your certification either. Go on an introductory dive, suitable for children aged 10 and older. Not only will it get your kids out of their comfort zone, but diving encourages an appreciation of our oceans. Nelson Bay is a great place to start, with a Scuba Discovery program offered by Feet First Dive. Over a few hours, you’ll learn the basics and make an easy shore dive.

This article appeared in volume 51 of Holidays with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.

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