Kid-friendly Road Trips And Tips For The School Holidays
Us Australians love holidays, and we particularly love purchasing expensive tickets for trips overseas. According to Real Insurance, Australian families are spending over $34 billion on planning holidays each year. However, taking these overseas holidays has started getting a lot more expensive, and it’s not only Australian travellers that are feeling the pinch. Qantas has reported a moderate drop in profits this year, falling 6.5% from 2018. The cause? A lack of demand from leisure and business travellers. With the average cost of a family trip amounting to nearly five thousand dollars, you can’t blame us for having a little less incentive to book a flight.
There is, however, one great alternative to overseas travel that many families still enjoy: the good ol’ road trip! Road trips are an established part of Australian life. With so many landmark sites across Australia and pristine beaches along every border, there’s no shortage of places to visit. With Christmas and school holidays approaching, it’s prime time to organise your next roadtrip before all the good spots get snatched up.
Of course, planning a roadtrip with family is one thing, but planning to transport small kids around Australia, is another. Big kids are a bit less hassle—they’re more than happy to do their own thing and don’t require as much attention. Travelling with tiny passengers, on the other hand, may present more of a challenge. Prepare for extra tantrums, bathroom breaks, and a lot more time spent entertaining. However, with a little extra prep and some of our advice, you can ensure a little break for yourself amongst the chaos (just kidding, there’ll be no chaos!).
Today we’re going to share with you some of the best places around Australia to visit or go camping, and how to prep your car with small-child-preoccupying activities and items to help you survive (or should we say thrive) during a road trip with small kids. So, if you’re looking to reduce your stress levels and recharge, here are some things you need to know about planning a road trip with small kids these school holidays.
The tourist attractions around this big sunburnt country of ours are some of the most famous in the world. Depending on where you live and how far you’re willing to travel, you can visit some of our nation’s best and most road-trip-worthy holiday destinations. Not only are these locations beautiful, but they’re packed with plenty of activities for you and the kids.
1.The Bay of Fires, TAS
If you live in Tassie, the Bay of Fires is the place to go. You’ll see the sandy beaches with crystal clear waters and the iconic orange lichen-covered boulders. Some say the name ‘Bay of Fires’ stemmed from this orange ‘flame-like’ coating on the rocks; although, others, and most historians, like to say the name came from the sight of Aboriginal fires burning across the bay as Captain Tobias Furneaux sailed past in 1773. Undoubtedly, the most beautiful feature of the bay is the small secluded beaches and inlets that let you feel like you’re discovering the undiscovered. If you’re into activities, then you’ll also want to set up at Binalong Bay, the main beach where you’ll enjoy snorkelling, swimming, and surfing in the clear water, or just splashing around in the water with the kids.
Where to stay: Pelican Point Sanctuary
Where to eat: Parkside Bar and Kitchen
Where to camp: Camping Bay of Fires
2.Mount Tamborine, QLD
For those based in Queensland, there’s no better way to reconnect with nature than to visit the eclectic town of Mount Tamborine. The mountain not only provides native Australian wildlife and lush scenery, but there’s a heap of things to do. For the adventurous kids, there’s the rainforest skywalk, a tree top challenge (for the slightly bigger kids), and Thunderbird Park. For some adult fun, visit the Tamborine Mountain distillery or Fortitude Brewing Company. Mount Tamborine has more activities than you’ll have time for during your stay, so you can rest assured that you’ll be able to keep the little ones preoccupied.
Where to stay: Cedar Creek Lodges
Where to eat: Three Little Pigs Bar and Bistro
Where to camp: Tamborine Mountain Camping
Uluru, or sometimes referred to as Ayers Rock, is one of the most culturally significant landmarks in Australia. Not only is the sight of it something to treasure, but it’s spiritual connection to the Aboriginal people is felt by many. For the Anangu people, the traditional owners of the land, Uluru is an incredibly sacred site. While you can’t climb up Uluru anymore, make the most of the knowledgeable tour guides by booking a guided tour and learn about local flora and fauna, bush foods, and hear the ancient Aboriginal Dreamtime stories from the area. If you’re travelling with a baby or toddler, Uluru provides some great pram-friendly guided ranger walks and easy trips to the cultural centre.
Accommodation: The Lost Camel Hotel
Restaurants: Bough House Restaurant
Where to camp: Ayers Rock Campground
Older kids will most likely be stuck on their own devices so much of that road time will just fly by for them; however, younger ones can prove a little trickier to satisfy. If you’re planning a road trip with a toddler, or a small child, packing the car full of toys and planning some games is a must. Read on for our top car activities for kids!
For toys, you want to look for something that doesn’t take long setting up and is easily transported. You don’t want the hassle of losing little pieces and creating too much unnecessary mess in your already packed-to-the-roof-racks car. Here’s our top picks.
Squeezamals Series 3 Assorted $5: By no means do you have to spend big. Save that money for your trip! These squishy adorable Squeezemals will keep the kids happy—there’s a whole set of them to play with. The kids will enjoy squeezing them into shapes and watching them grow back.
Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster $45.99: This one is a fun one for cramped motel rooms. Kids will love feeding the monster balls and watching them spin in his belly, all the while activating fun sounds. The crawl and chase function makes the monster spit out balls for your toddler to chase.
Counting Animals Soft Book $19.95: This one’s for the small babes out there. The counting animals soft book is a great way to stimulate cognitive development. The book contains interactive, high contrast pages for visual stimulation and to help your child learn.
Xylophone $24.99: Proceed with caution. This toy will prove successful in keeping your toddler entertained, but will most likely make everyone else annoyed. This might be best used as a final alternative.
If your kids have developed toy fatigue (but not actual fatigue), a fun game is a great way to keep them away from tantrum-territory. Some of these are also a great way to bond with the whole family—these are the moments you’ll cherish forever. Note: some of these games are more suited to kindy to preschool aged children rather than toddlers.
I Spy: This game barely warrants an explanation or description. It’s one of the classics and can be played for as long as you have stimulus around you to draw from.
I went to the shop…: This is a game of memory, so for small kids remember to keep it simple. The first person begins with “I went to the shop and I bought an [item]”, and the next person recite the first person’s item and adds their own. You keep adding items until the first person loses track. This is great with big families where the kids might be able to keep the game self-sustained.
If you’re looking for something fun with minimal effort on your part (we get it, sometimes you just want to stare blankly out the window and watch the scenery pass you by), then here are your cheat codes for getting the little ones settled.
Audio Books: Yes, audio books for small kids exist and they’re the perfect road trip car activity! And because most children’s books are quite short, you can score a collection of them for a great price. For your next trip, try out the Julia Donaldson Collection for $20.96 from Audible. Children’s audio books are also available from Google Play for download.
Movies: Many parents would agree that in-car entertainment systems are a game-changer. If your car doesn’t come with this, don’t fret. They can be purchased and installed quite easily these days (or you can DIY like below). Then it’s just a matter of finding the best kid-friendly movies and TV shows to play. Obviously, find some that you enjoy as well.
Your very own in-car entertainment system that won’t break the bank. All you need is a device, a plastic sleeve, some cable ties, and imagination.
Did you know most of your kid’s favourite songs can be found on Spotify and Apple music? No need to go out and purchase CD’s and download tracks (unless you foresee internet connection problems, then that might be handy). Whether it’s music from The Wiggles, PAW Patrol, or Peppa Pig, you can find it to stream and get you out of sticky situations.
A lot of time will be spent in the car, therefore it’s important to prepare for the long haul. Apart from toys, there’s also another great way to keep small kids preoccupied that we forgot to mention, and that’s snacks. Now, it’s easy to grab the most sugar-laden snacks when you’re busy and on the go, but this doesn’t always lead to a great outcome (especially when the sugar-high hits, and not to mention the crash…). That’s why we suggest planning healthy snacks to bring along. Pack them with some ice bricks in your cooler bag to keep them fresh. In addition to snacks, remember to bring lots of water to stay hydrated.
To keep your car in optimal condition and safe, make sure you tend to any cracks or chips in your windscreen; these can affect vision through the glass. Not to mention, make your windscreen more prone to damage whilst driving. Small cracks can turn into larger ones, which can turn into a shattered windscreens. Solve this issue before you hit the road for a long drive.
Depending on the severity of the chip or crack, you may need to get your windscreen repaired or replaced. It may sound like a hassle, but you’ll be surprised by how quick and easy it is. And at Novus, we come to you—saving you even more trouble. Is it time for your windscreen to get an upgrade? Read more about Novus’ repairs and other handy services!
Now, you’re officially ready to hit the road.
There really is no better way to enjoy the holidays than by taking your car out for long drives where you can enjoy new scenery, experiences, and people. Plus, you don’t have to worry about having to get back in time to make dinner—just find the best looking restaurant (or Maccas) to take your family to. Overall, it’s important to remember that while you can prepare with all the toys and food you (or the kiddies) may want or need, sometimes the road can be unpredictable. Keep your car in good shape by servicing those minor faults, like windscreen chips or cracks.
NOVUS is a global brand that specialises in windscreen repair and replacement. We’re located all over Australia, and we’re ready to get your car in immaculate shape before you zip off for your next holiday. Want to hear more? Contact us on 13 22 34.