This is how you make sure your kids don't whinge on holidays

Do camel rides with the kids at Uluru.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by family holidays, forsaking all your buffers and safeguards – grandparents, babysitters, mountains of toys and stuff – and moving your children to a different location to parent in a wild constant free fall.

The trip can often end with exhausted children and beaten parents in desperate need of another getaway, just to recover. We went on our first family holiday when our son was only twelve weeks old. Now with two boys and countless vacations since then the trick to these trips being a success as opposed to a train wreck of holiday battles lies in the planning and sense of adventure.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Tourism Northern Territory. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

Do splashing at BIG4, Howard Springs

With the best way to combat the holiday whining from the kids is a location that is unlike any other, offers real excitement and creates unforgettable memories.

So, have you ever considered the Northern Territory? Four and half hours flight from Sydney, it is the ultimate self-drive holiday destination.

It’s a place that’s at the top of our family holiday list – and here’s why.

“Mum I’m bored!”

That’s something you won’t hear while feeding the frenzy of fish that gather in Darwin’s Doctor’s Gully. Or while getting up close and personal with the crocodiles at Darwin Crocodylus Park. Throw in a visit, or three, to Wave Lagoon at Darwin’s Waterfront, an awesome central spot with two swimming pools creating an endless summer feel with plenty to do either for the littlies or the bigger kids who want to surf the waves on the supplied boogie boards and water tubes. Boredom will be traded in for exhaustion and pure awesome instead.

Family holidays need to master the art of balance; a little bit of adventure for the kids, balanced with a little bit of indulgence for the parents. Darwin’s Mindil Beach Sunset Market offers hundreds of local craft and food stalls and with roving childrens’ entertainers everyone can be happy. A sunset cruise on a restored pearl lugger or a visit to the Cyclone Tracey display makes Darwin the best place to kick start an unforgettable family adventure.

And did I mention that all of these are a short drive from your hotel in Darwin?

“Mum this is taking so long!”

Do waterfalls at Berry Springs Nature Park

Long queues and the hot sweltering sun make for grumpy children and even grumpier parents. Summer family holidays can often be a trade-off for standing in endless lines. Not in Kakadu National Park. There are no queues in the world heritage listed site; instead it is a rich utopia of endless possibility. Swim away the heat of the day surrounded by multitudes of butterflies in shady monsoon forest pools in Gubara. Take in the soaring views at Gunlom Plunge Pool or feel the energy and enchantment of Jim Jim Falls, where a two hundred metre high waterfall is a majestic contrast against the red ochre landscape. Finish your stay with a stop at Yellow Water, a land-locked billabong brimming with native flora, fauna, and sunsets for postcard-perfect memories. Kakadu National Park is affordable, unforgettable and there will be no bickering children dragging their feet in stretched queues.


“Mum it’s not fair!”

Take away the day-to-day comforts of home and it seems that children are left complaining in a huff and a puff that everything is unfair. At Uluru your kids won’t have time to worry if things are fair or not, being swept away in the wonder of this magnificent site.

It can be hard to explain the awe and the sense of humble you feel when you visit Uluru. Imagine lying on a blanket on top of the warm red sand in the middle of the desert watching the night sky come alive in the Family Astro Tour or seeing the outback transform from day to dusk on-board the sunset camel tour. Finish your stay with the Sounds of Silence dinner; the backdrop of Uluru, the vast star-filled night sky, the sounds of the didgeridoo and entertainment from the Wakagetti Dance Performers and your night will be more than a dinner to remember, it will be a night never to forget.

Do dot painting at Uluru.

There is no complaint that grinds against the sanity of a parent more than “are we there yet?” coming from the backseat of the hire car. Shuffled from one queue to the next and one long wait after another and the feeling of adventure can fizzle before you even get there; unless the journey is part of the adventure itself. Last summer, we found out that a family road trip can be the best holiday of all and a great way to really connect with each other. With an itinerary of lots of pit stops and breaks along the way, long monotonous distances do not need to be part of the plan. We loved our road trip so much that this summer we embarked on another one. The best adventure of all would be to see the Northern Territory on our next road trip, next summer perhaps (fingers crossed)?

From the tropics of the Top End to the history and culture of Central Australia I can’t wait to show my boys the hidden treasures of the Northern Territory. I have no doubt there won’t be a whimper of a complaint along the way.
Tourism NT Competition

  The NT is a place unlike any other and offers families an incredible holiday experience.  Whether you’re looking for an outback adventure in Central Australia or a taste of the tropics in the Top End, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the NT.