There's so much to love about school holidays. No rushing to get kids ready for school. No lunches to make. No uniforms to iron. And it's fantastic to not have to stick to any strict schedules. Eventually though, reality sets in and depending on how many kids you have, it can sometimes play havoc on your ears…..and your sanity. This is when nature calls.
These school holidays why not take the kids on a nature or bush walk, where they're free to make as much noise as they want, run around as much as they want and burn off all that excess energy that's usually saved for school teachers to deal with in the school term? And there's no need to leave the city! Here's a few good bush walks to try without leaving your home town.
At the Kamay Botany Bay National Park, in the south of Sydney, you'll find the Banks-Solander Trail. This trail has plenty of different plants all sign posted for kids to read. This area was originally explored by botanists from Captain Cook's crew over 240 years ago. As well as enjoying the ferns and eucalyptus, your family will feel as if they've been transported back in time.
With about 2.4km of boardwalk, the Warriewood Wetlands in the north of Sydney lets you take the kids on a birdwatching adventure having over 80 different bird species in residence. The 26 hectare site also houses endangered species such as the Regent Honeyeater and the Powerful Owl which you may just be lucky enough to spot.
Only half an hour from the CBD you'll find the Cumberland State Forest, home to the Sensory Trail. An easy walk, which is also pram and wheelchair friendly, kids are encouraged to use their senses. The signs along the way will have your children stopping to smell and listen and to learn about the nature surrounding them. There are guide ropes they can hold on to so they can walk along with their eyes closed which allows them to hear bird calls and sounds of nature they probably never would have noticed before. The information centre even has a 'touch table' so kids can have a feel of some bug samples and seed pods.
Situated close to the heart of Melbourne, and nestled along the Yarra River, you'll find the natural bushland of the Yarra Bend Park. Here you'll find a few walking trails to pick from such as the Andrews Reserve Trail, the River Circuit Trail and the Bushland Circuit Trail. However the Dights Falls Loop Trail is a 4.2km walk with lots to see. On this walk you'll pass a sports oval that was the sight of the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, where you'll still see remnants of the asylum's gardens such as figs, elms and cyprus trees. There are great areas for birdwatching along the way where kids can spot black cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets. Along the way you'll also pass the Koori Garden which features indigenous plants and where the Wurnundjeri people once gathered.
A little further out of the CBD, in the Dandenong Ranges National Park you'll find two great walks for kids. The Sherbrooke Falls Walk, as the name suggests, leads to some beautiful falls surrounded by tree ferns, especially after rain has filled up the Sherbrooke Creek. The Living Bush Nature Walk gives the kids a chance to walk through native bushland and gullies covered in tree ferns and huge eucalyptus trees. As a bonus, the Dandenong Ranges are filled with gorgeous picnic spots, where the kids can eat while spying on all the local wildlife.
Brisbane is lucky enough to have some beautiful rainforest so close to the CBD. The Hide 'n' Seek Children's Trail is in the Exotic Rainforest in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha. This walk comes with a map where kids are encouraged to find hidden surprises and objects. The map is designed for the kids to read themselves. Each spot is marked out on the map, featured with interesting animal and plant facts.
About 13km from the CBD, in the D'Aguilar National Park, you'll find Walkabout Creek. Starting from the Walkabout Creek Visitor Centre, the kids can check out the Wildlife Centre where they'll learn about the local wildlife. There's a walk-in aviary and a display with the loveable platypus on show. There a ranger guided walks also available.
About 20 minutes or 12km from the Adelaide CBD you'll find the Morialta Conservation Park First Falls Valley Walk. Here the kids will be able to see spectacular waterfalls, rock pools and creeks filled with reptiles and frogs.
For the kids that love birds, head to the Greenfields Wetlands Nature Trail. Home to over 160 species of birds, fish, yabbies, frogs and a tortoise, the kids are sure to go home with plenty to talk about.