Northern Territory is full of natural beauty one that us as parents would love to see but it’s always the question is it worth going to such a beautiful or spiritual place if the kids are just going to complain and be bored? Sometimes it can be hard to get kids under 5 to understand why its worth visiting these places, to them they would rather be back at the caravan park playing with kids. But with a bit of planning and knowing what these places are like, the kids will be pleasantly surprised with all the dirt, rocks and nature fun that can be had these places will surprise them and they will find themselves spending hours there without a thought of being back at the caravan park. This will give us parents the chance to experience and enjoy these places while the kids are kept busy. Northern Territory is a kids dream, a huge natures playground and one they will love exploring! We decided on putting together a list of our must see natural attractions that both kids and parents will enjoy.
An obvious one but it really is one of those special places and better yet its fun for kids too, even the under 5’s! With large open areas to run around in, taking a bike around the rim of the rock or packing a picnic to enjoy the sunset there really is many ways you can enjoy this place. The kids loved getting messy in the red dirt and if you can get past the mess it’s a lot of fun to watch!
Kata Juta – The Olga’s
The Walpa Gorge Walk a 2.6km walk which is the shorter walk of the two but very manageable with kids under 5. Ella walked the whole way herself and we found the walk to be fun for the kids as it had a path to follow and bridges to cross it kept Ella entertained. The walk is beautiful, seeing the red rock formations, we had breaks for the kids so they could have fun playing on the rocks and made it enjoyable for them and us. We found this to be more interactive for the kids than Ayres Rock and equally as spiritual and stunning.
If you are not up for the full 6km Kings Canyon Rim Walk, the shorter Kings Creek Hike could be the way to go. A 2.6km hike takes you through Kings Canyon to a lookout point that has spectacular views of the cliff face. Unfortunately for us the lookout was closed due to a tree falling down, but the walk itself really gives you a feel of this natural wonder and is easy to navigate with kids under 5.
The Devils Marbles is really a natural sight that needs to be seen to be believed, huge granite boulders formed by erosion millions of years ago with some rocks looking like they balance on each other. A beautiful place with great significance to the Aboriginals, plenty of walks to do and sunrise and sunset is pretty special. Best part is it’s like a giant natural playground for kids, riding their bikes, walking through the rocks they were kept busy for our stay there.
Located in the West MacDonnell Ranges only 17km from Alice Springs. This one was ideal with kids under 5. Only a short walk, lots of rocks to climb on, spotting black footed rock wallabies it really was a great spot to enjoy what nature has created while the kids are entertaining themselves by climbing the rocks or playing in the sand.
Mataranka Thermal Pool and Bitter Springs
Located in the Elsey National Park is a great spot for kids. It has Mataranka Thermal Pool which is springfed and naturally kept at a constant 34 degrees. Mataranka Thermal pool has had steps added and surroundings which almost looks like a resort and was shallow enough that we were able to hold Ella and Bodhi. Bitter Springs is nearby and was the most natural of the two with a gentle stream that floats you down without having to do anything except enjoy. Bitter Springs was slightly more challenging with the kids as they aren’t swimming on their own yet but was our favourite of the two due to its more natural state. Here’s a short 1 minute video showing our time in Mataranka which is where Mataranka Thermal Pool and Bitter Springs are.
Katherine Hot Springs
Another stunning hot spring in the top end and this one is our favourite for kids under 5. With picnic grounds, walking trails, and the natural springs sitting at a temperature of 25 to 30°C its a must. The top pool is stunning with its own little adjoined pool where you can swim through a hole, we didn’t get too much time in this one as we couldn’t hold the kids comfortably and we forgot the pool noodle! But what’s great about this one is you can take the stairs or float down to the middle pool which is not too deep perfect to hold the kids comfortably and enjoy the water and surroundings. With a gentle currant that takes you down to the bottom pool you can easily spend the morning here enjoying this spot.
Edith Falls a stunning park about 40km north of Katherine in Nitmiluk National Park. With a stunning cascading waterfall and a short walk to get to the upper pools we enjoyed a refreshing dip, cooler as its not a thermal spring and it is deeper, best to bring along a pool noodle or floaty for kids who aren’t swimming on their own yet.
If you want a natural swimming hole that ticks all the boxes, Berry Springs is the one. With three differnt swimming areas that are large and open with two of the areas having shallow parts, ideal for kids under 5. Beautiful warm temperature, natural bush surroundsings, walking tracks, plenty of shade and a picnic area with BBQ’s. It really had it all and you can easily spend the day here.
From our experience these were our highlights with the kids that we were able to fully enjoy. Another place that is high on our list of must see natural attractions with kids is Kakadu National Park, we have done a blog post on our time there which you can read about here 7 Days in Kakadu with Kids or purchase our SUPER comprehensive Travel Guide to Kakadu National Park with Kids on wildbum.com! We’ve done the research and traveled it ourselves so you have a head start to creating an adventure of your own!
Northern Territory continued to surprise us with its natural beauty on our trip and it is another place we are excited to return to and explore some more.
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