Australia is a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind country with a diverse landscape that makes it like no other place on Earth. Here you will find unique wildlife, inspiring cultures, and the journey of a lifetime. There is no better way to see the country with your family than to take a trip in a 4WD and hit the road less traveled.
Before you pack your children in a rental 4WD and hit the outback, here are some places you will want to see and what you should know before you go.
Know Before You Go
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always sunny and warm in Australia. While the weather might not be as extreme as one would find in Canada and the northern United States, the seasons change and the temperature fluctuates. Ultimately, the climate will depend on what part of the country you visit and what time of year. The seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere, and rainy seasons can greatly impact accessibility to some areas.
Despite how close some locations look on a map, there can be significant gaps between established areas. That means driving for long periods without access to food, water, gas, and amenities. If you plan on taking a road trip through the country, especially with small children, you will need to plan your route carefully and carry back-up supplies in case something goes wrong. Always have a contingency plan if you plan on leaving the beaten path. To play it safe, you can always take the more established routes along the coasts.
There are numerous National Parks where you can camp with running water and electrical plugins throughout the country. However, if for some reason you find yourself stopping to pitch a tent along a less populated route, make sure you are allowed to be there.
Places to Go
There are endless things to see and do throughout Australia, but some will appeal to children and families more than others. Here are a few attractions and sights suited for a family on the go.
For this particular attraction, you’ll need to park your 4WD vehicle and catch a ferry off the southern coast of Australia. The island is home to penguins, sloths, koalas, wallabies, echidnas, and of course, kangaroos. You can even take a guided night walk through the reserve area and see some of the nocturnal Australian animals in action.
There are numerous options for eating and accommodations on Kangaroo Island, as well as adventure packages that allow you to go hiking, biking, and take a quad through the landscape. Shop the local market or take some time to reconnect with nature in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The Pinnacles Desert
In Western Australia lies the Pinnacles Desert, where you can find fascinating rock formations, wildlife, and flora like no place else in the world. Located in Nambung National Park, these rock formations were created more than 25,000 years ago and remain standing today. You can stay in the nearby town of Cervantes, where you can enjoy fresh seafood in this quaint fishing village.
If you’re taking the coastal route and heading to the Pinnacles from Perth, stop at Hutt Lagoon and take in the spectacular, naturally occurring pink lake. Depending on the lighting, the lake ranges anywhere from red to light purple, and gets its color from the algae found in the area.
Drive the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic drives you will ever take, giving you access to beaches, waterfalls, villages, and museums. It’s the perfect route to take with children who will be itching to get out and run around on the beautiful shores of Southern Australia.
During your trip, stop at the 12 Apostles and walk along the sand while taking in the stunning rock formations and limestone cliffs. Remember to pack lots of sunscreen!
Whether you spend a few weeks exploring one area or months taking in the entire country, be sure to prepare an itinerary and find your balance between preparedness and spontaneous adventure for a trip your whole family will love.