While it’s easy for little kids explore nature and let their imaginations run wild, the opportunities sometimes slip away for screen-exploring teens. Swapping the virtual world for the natural world will lure them outdoors with these 5 Australian nature adventures.
1. Taste Bush Tucker – Northern Territory
Swap raiding the pantry for bush-shopping for tasty tucker. The outback might look dry and empty but it has always provided aboriginal communities with food and medicine and bush tucker tours are a great way to explore the desert with knowledgeable guides. From sucking on sweet honey ants to snacking on bush plums, the Mbuntua Tour out of Alice Springs is a terrific way to learn more about the desert and aboriginal Dreamtime while sampling bush tucker.
2. Try Underground Caving, Mt Buffalo
Explore the underground world of Mt Buffalo National Park as you crawl (and sometimes swim) through granite boulder caves. Full of waterfalls and rapids, you’ll work your way through tunnels with an experienced guide. Squeezing and crawling through cervices using ropes and steel wire ladders, the moment head torches are turned off and subterranean insects glow bright is one you’ll never forget. Some of the caves have tight squeezes and slippery rocks and you’ll be given pre-caving safety training.
3. Swim with the dolphins, Mornington Peninsula
For a playful adventure in nature, swimming with bottlenosed dolphins in Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay is a must. Swimming alongside dolphins (but not touching them, as they’re wild animals) is an unforgettable experience in natures watery playground. The Mornington Peninsula’s Polperro Dolphin Swims is a Hall of Fame Environmental Tourism operator with a professional crew who share their love and respect for the dolphins and the environment. While boating out to the dolphins they kit you out with wetsuits, masks and snorkels and share dolphin and marine facts. There’s seal spotting and a quick reef swim too. Dolphin swimming season is from October to the end of April.
4. Kayak in Katherine Gorge
Paddling Katherine Gorge / Nitmiluk National Park takes you down a lazy river surrounded by towering canyons for a journey into Dreamtime.
Book canoes, life jackets and permits from the national park office and you’ll be dipping your oar into waters and touching majestic gorges within moments of launching. Located on the lands of the Jawoyn people, ancient rock art from dreaming stories brings these silent gorge walls to life.
There are 13 gorges in Nitmiluk National Park – adventurous teens will love the competition of lifting canoes across rocks to paddle through each one. To add to the adventure saltwater crocs silently watch from riverbanks – so swimming isn’t recommended!
5. Sandboard in Lancelin, WA
Who can resist the chance to jump down a sand dune? While in some areas environmental reasons means it’s not a good idea, in the town of Lancelin, they’ve built a crazy fun tourism industry around it. The Lancelin Sand Dunes are the largest in Western Australia and they’re the home of sandboarding.
Pure white sand rises three storeys high – that’s a lot of space to try out your sandboarding moves. The dunes are open every day from sunrise to sunset and you can rent a sandboard or toboggan to get into the fun. Entry to the dunes is free and you the hike up is a work out but the trip down is worth it!