Fresh ideas for treating Bored Kids Syndrome.
In rural Richmond, a 25-minute drive from Hobart, Zoodoo is set on 32 hectares and features more than 70 species of native, agricultural and exotic animals. See rare African white lions, be chased by ostriches on a safari bus tour, feed the llamas, meet ridiculously cute Sassy the wombat or get up close to a wallaby eating out of your hands.
Navigating the Peel-Harvey Estuary by houseboat isn’t quite Pirates of the Caribbean but the waterways of Mandurah have plenty of treasure to go around. The views, for starters, can be enjoyed by everyone from the young to the young at heart, while good crabbing and fishing make it possible to catch, cook and chew your way through dinner without setting foot on dry land.
At Johanna River Farm, a 115- hectare working sheep property and farmstay by the Southern Ocean, children are unlikely to tire of the neighbours. There are goats, cows, miniature horses, alpacas, chooks and a donkey called Pickles to make friends with and feed, as well as bass and trout to fish from the pond. The accommodation is simple but has a few creature comforts, too, and all the Great Ocean Road attractions are nearby.
If your kids think fruit is magically made at supermarkets, bundle them into the car, pack a picnic and hit the Farm Gate Trails – a network of properties all within a few hours’ drive of Sydney, where you can pick your own produce, including apples, stone fruit and chestnuts. Buy a bucket from the farmer, follow the signs and – you didn’t hear this from us – sneak a taste along the way. And warn the kids: fruit will not be shiny or encased in cling wrap.
Imagine the apocalyptic setting for a Mad Max movie and you are getting a picture of Garden Island, an industrial landscape near Port Adelaide. Join this guided kayaking expedition to meet a colony of playful river dolphins. Kayakers also paddle through an ancient mangrove forest and a ship’s atmospheric graveyard.
Springbank Island, on Lake Burley Griffin, is one of our capital’s little-known gems. Accessible only by water, the weeping-willow-ringed islet is perfect for a private picnic, shady siesta, game of cricket or pirate adventure. There are taps, toilets, barbecues, picnic tables and plenty of friendly ducks.
If you believe the children are our future, think again. Honey bees are. Without those hard-working little buzzers, we’d face a pretty miserable existence without fresh fruit or veggies. Beginner beekeeper workshops at Bee One Third in Brisbane are a fun way to teach your kids not only about the birds and the bees but our planet, too.