These Wild Ideas Will Make Your Kids Fall In Love With Walking
By The Wild Women On Top Team
The summer holidays are almost upon us. That means your kids, grandkids, neices, nephews, and kids of friends will be around much more often.
Getting your offspring to come with you on a walk can feel like pulling teeth. But it's seriously worth it when you're out in nature gathering memories and laughs that last a lifetime.
Walking in nature with your kids is awesome. It's good for the body, the mind, the soul, and for developing their relationship with exercise and the outdoors.
But not all walks are created equal. That day-long, arduous, hilly hike in the Blue Mountains probably isn't going to fly with Mr 13 or Miss 8. You want your kids to enjoy the walk, so they want to do more of them...
Having raised three kids, our Founder and Chief Adventure Chick Di Westaway knows a thing or two about walking with children. She's sharing some principles to apply when you're choosing a wild walk to do with your kids.
Be Aware Of Distance
When you're introducing kids to walking in nature, you don't want to throw them in the deep end with an endurance hike. When picking a walk for your littlies or your teens, don't focus on endurance, distance, carrying a pack, or anything that makes it arduous.
The walk from Watsons Bay to South Head in Sydney's East is also a great walk for the kids, as it features beautiful coastline and some historical monuments along the route.
If you're based in Victoria, the Millionaire's Walk on the Mornington Peninsula is a great option. It's a simple, stunning clifftop walk that is only 1km in length.
In South Australia, the Woorabinda Lake and Reserve Walk in the Adelaide Hills is a great natural walk that it's too long or strenuous. Our Stayin' Wild Ambassador, Georgie Mollison, loves doing this walk with her kids. She says you can feed ducks, turtles and spot local wildlife along to way. It’s a nice easy, flat walk that is usually very quiet, so it's great for kids that like to be away from others.
Let Them Be Explorers
This is especially important for little ones who have a zest for exploring and a vivid imagination.
Choose a hike that lets them lead, discover the trails ahead and wander down-side trails. This means choosing a route that is well-marked and almost impossible to get lost on.
For example, The Spit To Manly walk on Sydney's Northern Beaches. While the walk is 9km to Manly from The Spit in Middle Harbour, you can shorten the walk depending on your needs. It's a classic and is well-marked. There are secret swimming coves along the route and opportunities to scramble over rocks - making this walk a perfect introduction to adventuring in nature.
The Coppins Walk Track on Victoria's Mornington Peninsular allows your kids to explore safetly and enjoy nature's coastal wonders. It's a 3km historic walk, so there are plenty of things to explore!
In Queensland, the Kondalilla Falls walk near Montville is a winner, according to our Marketing Support Erika Bates. It's a winding walking track through forests, so there is plenty of opportunity to adventure and play around tree stumps and fallen logs.
Make It A Game
When our Digital Content Producer Sophia was in primary school, her Nan would take her for walks around their family farm on the New South Wales' South Coast. Sophia's Nan encouraged her to imagine they were on a safari, pointing out rhinos, giraffes and zebra under towering gum trees. It made the experience fun, and something Sophia still treasures.
Other ways to make walking a game include hunting for unique natural treasures or taking photos of special wonders on the trail. Tracks with rock-pools are great for this, with beaches packed with strange shells of different shapes and sizes. Spotting wildlife and strange plant life can also be a fun way to keep your kids involved.
The Figure Eight Pools in Sydney's Royal National Park are a great attraction for kids, with the pools full of delightful sealife.
If you're living in South Australia, the Morialta Falls Trail is just 10 minutes from Adelaide and is a fantastic option. It's a great spot to find local wildlife such as koalas and wildlife, plus it follows a creek to a beautiful waterfall and waterhole.
Include A Few Wild Extras
Find a walk that has some wild and wonderful extras. Your kids will feel super accomplished when they scramble over rocks and leap over puddles. Great extras for your kids include rock-scrambling, river-walking, coastal walking, gorges and sometimes challenging terrain (but you don't want it to be too strenuous!)
There's an epic rock scramble from Queenscliff Beach to Freshwater Beach, just make sure you check the tides so you don't get any nasty surprises!
The walk around Noosa Headland from Noosa Main Beach to Sunshine Beach, past Hells Gates, is a great coastal adventure with wild extras. There's plenty of whale watching opportunities, the trail is diverse and the views are epic!
Make It Social
Make it more fun for your kids by inviting one of their friends along. They'll preoccupy eachother on the trail. This is more likely to be successful for littler ones, as they become teenagers you may struggle with this proposal!
Include A Challenge
This will depend on your kids. If they love the outdoors, challenging themselves, and achieving a goal - climbing a mountain could be a great option. Choose a little mountain with a great view so they have success and feel a sense of accomplishment.
If you're in Queensland, both our Managing Director and Co-owner Tania Taylor and Marketing Support Erika Bates recommend Mt Coolum on the Sunshine Coast. The mountain is big enough that your little ones feel like they're standing on top of the world, but it's small enough that it's not too hard!
If you're in New South Wales, climbing Mount Kosciuszko is a decent physical challenge for older kids. Especially if you're visiting in the ski season.
Don't Forget FOOD
If your kids are, well, kids - it's likely they'll be hungry either all the time or at highly inconvenient times. When you're walking, don't forget yummy food. You can sit down for a picnic at a magic location along the route. They'll love it.
Make sure you bring snacks for the trail, they'll need energy to keep going. Jelly snakes and a bit of dark chocolate are crowd favourites!
Include Water (If You Can)
There's nothing better than going for a dip and a splash in the water after a walk. Include a swim in the ocean, a splash under a waterfall and a dip in a spring if you can.
For example, The Jellybean Track in the Blue Mountains features calm pools surrounded by sandstone to cool off in.
Be Prepared For Stopping And Starting
Expect the unexpected and embrace a little chaos. Your kids will run along the trail, the stop to explore if they're young. Mr and Miss Teenager may want some time to rest on the route.
Go with it!
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