Autumn provides that breath of relief after the stinking heat of late summer. While we’ve been holed up in the comfort of air conditioning and/or the sanctity of a backyard swimming pool, now’s the best time of the year to go day tripping and really explore the great outdoors. One of the best day trips any family can enjoy together is a bushwalk…
Children of all ages and physical ability love the great outdoors. While they will have you believe they might love their screens a little more, the truth is that immeasurable joy, wonder, discovery and adventure awaits past your doorstep – we just have to remind them every so often.
In autumn, the weather is perfect for some physical activity outdoors. It’s not too hot, and not too cold. As Goldilocks would say, it’s just right! For that something a little different for your weekend day trip, why not tackle a bushwalk? The great thing about this kind of activity is that it can be tweaked to suit all family types – a longer walk for bigger children, short walks for the littlies. You can even find a walk with a reward at the end – like a beautiful natural rockpool for a cooling dip or a wow-factor lookout. Here are some bushwalking day trip ideas to get you started…
Hiking South-East Queensland
National Parks Association of Queensland (NPAQ) offers booklets featuring tips for bushwalking, as well as dozens and dozens of great walks in South-East Queensland. Here are some of the best bushwalking tracks, as recommended by NPAQ:
- Springbrook National Park: Natural Bridge Circuit (1km). Visit Natural Bridge by day to see a unique waterfall or after dark to discover the park’s amazing glow-worms. Take a lunch and picnic on the shaded banks of the Nerang River at Forest Park picnic area.
- Burleigh Head National Park: Rainforest Circuit (2.3km). A beautiful circuit through the rainforest along the headland. Tumgun Lookout is a great place to look for humpback whales in winter and spring.
- Lamington National Park: Caves Circuit (5km). This is a great walk for older children. There are caves to explore and koalas are often seen on this interesting walk.
Hiking Northern New South Wales
Want to go a little further afield? Here are three bushwalks recommended by National Parks New South Wales.
- Border Ranges National Park: Pinnacle Circuit (800m). A short, beautiful walk in the World Heritage listed Border Ranges National Park. The area is very unvisited, offering amazing views of the rainforest.
- Broke Head Nature Reserve: Three Sisters Walking Track (1.6km). Learn about the Indigenous heritage of the area and enjoy whale watching and picnicking by the beach.
- Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve: North Head Walking Track (700m). This short route is perfect for even the most novice walkers and provides a fantastic view of the Brunswick River. During the warmer months the area is filled with native birds, providing an excellent sight for those looking out for our feathered friends.
Tips for bushwalking rookies
- Be prepared. This is a no-brainer. Like we said, choose a walk that suits your walking group’s interests and abilities. Pack a backpack with water bottles, sunscreen, snacks and a first aid kit. Wear clothing that can get a bit dirty.
- Take lots of pictures. At the least, use your phone to capture all the great moments of exploring the bush with your family. Remember to take only pictures and memories and leave the beautiful natural environments intact.
- Take your time. Look around and talk to your children about what you can see. Asking and answering questions, or writing down what you’re not too sure about, is the best way to get the most out of your day and ensure it’s a memorable (even educational) experience for the children.