Travelling Australia with kids could well be the new ‘great Australian dream’. But really, some of it is amazing, some is bad and there is a fair part that is just plain ridiculous.
In December 2019, our family embarked on a twelve-month journey around Australia in a caravan. We enjoyed the first five months travelling together and toured through Victoria and Tasmania.
When Covid-19 hit in March 2020 we settled in St Helen’s Tasmania and placed our travel plans on hold. We spent 14 months there fell in love with the area, the school and the friendly community. In April just gone, we resumed our trip around Australia and have been winding our way up the East Coast.
While we appreciate every day how lucky we are, we also get frustrated knowing that many people think that travelling Australia with kids is just like an ‘Instagram showreel.’ Let me assure you it is not. Not for us, and not for the family’s we’ve met either. Even the one’s with the perfect looking Instagram shots.
The good parts about travelling Australia with kids
There is a lot to love about travelling with Kids. We get to see this beautiful country of ours, but more importantly, we get to spend lots of time with our kids. (Who on a good day, we absolutely adore.) Our two are eight and ten, meaning they can feed, dress and toilet themselves… but still want to hang out with us. Most days anyway.
The part I love most isn’t actually the wonderful sights and tourist attractions, it’s the space in between. The time when you see railway tracks along the beach and find blackberry bushes and spend the afternoon gorging yourself with black fingers and lips to match. It’s the wanderings along coast lines and making shapes with bull kelp and laughing about nothing…. Or farts. There is a lot of laughing about farts in our family. We love the random conversations about ancestors around the campfire at night. The kids finding best friends along the way and then finding new best friends the very next day. I love seeing them becoming more curious about the world around them and adventurous and confident.
But, hand in hand with the good is the bad. So…
The bad parts about travelling Australia with Kids
We all have tough days, kids or no kids, but imagine shrinking it to a caravan. Take away your support networks. Cramp your neighbours in a tin can a few feet away from you (often with noisy, annoying kids of their own.) Then reduce the kids toy selection to a tiny basket slightly bigger than your fist. Oh, and remember that horrible home-schooling period you went through? Yes, daily arguments and negotiations about schoolwork are our constant companion.
In truth, the bad bits are mainly school work for us. We tend not to argue about anything else, but trying to get through schooling is tricky. Then there’s always the tired and strung out kids, not having a proper kitchen to cook in, or a decent size fridge to put your food. Theres the budget issue too. Being some place amazing, but having to make the decisions about what the priority is, so feeling like you miss out.
The utterly ridiculous parts about travelling Australia with Kids
The most ridiculous part so far is the negotiations with my son about school work. I don’t’ know how I seem to get worked into a corner where I’m happy with 2 pages of reading equating to a skate park session, McDonalds slushie and a game of scrabble in the evening, but it appears to be a constant. I laugh at myself on a daily basis for the things I cave into when it comes to school work. I’m actually surprised at this point that Dylan hasn’t cottoned on and demanded a new scooter or a trip to Wet and Wild or something else of that ilk.
The other ridiculous part is the people we meet. Yesterday we met a home schooled kid who was in primary school that began with a diatribe about the perils of the education system in Australia and ended with their study of quantum physics. Now, I’m a big fan of kids being home schooled and I love that he was curious and open minded, but the way he spoke was, well, pretty bizarre.
Laura also got to do some hair styling for a horse we looked after last week, we rode a driverless bus today and have just done ‘home henna’ tattooing on the kids feet. Pretty random, but all part of the fun.
But in truth, none of the bad things are deal breakers and the ridiculous parts just add flavour and variety to the journey. We’re also only 4 weeks into this trip, and I think it takes quite a while to find your groove. So, here’s hoping the school thing gets better, we find a system for stacking the fridge and … we have more ridiculous moments to laugh about along the way.
Would I recommend travelling Australia with Kids? Absolutely. (As long as you at least kind of like them at the start.)