For an exciting adventure in Outback Queensland, check out Australia’s Dinosaur Trail of Winton, Hughenden and Richmond, where you can uncover fossils and learn the history of these incredible creatures that once ruled our lands. There are several self-drive trails available along which you can visit the many fabulous museums, take an eco walk through the bio-regions, discover dinosaur footprints from 95 million years ago, see Australia’s premier marine fossil collection and go fossicking for fossils. For the more adventurous there is also a selection of 4WD drive trails through the stunning gorge systems. See www.australiasdinosaurtrail.com for more details.
An untouched wilderness providing protection to a host of native Australian animals, Kangaroo Island is an easily accessible sanctuary, perfect for little wildlife warriors to explore. Due to its separation from the mainland, a diverse range of birdlife and animals has thrived on Kangaroo Island, and more than one-third of the island is now declared a conservation area. With sea lions basking on the beaches and koalas lounging in the trees, the white beaches and dense wetlands are a wildlife paradise. See www.tourkangarooisland.com.au for more details.
At the heart of QUT’s (Queensland University of Technology) Science and Engineering Centre is ‘the cube’, a stunning two-storey digital display designed to transform the way students interact with learning and experiencing STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics). One of the world’s largest digital learning spaces the cube provides interactive and inspiring science experiences for kids from age 9 to 15. With hands-on sessions on robotics energy, mechanisms, physics, and more, the cube is a fabulous scientific day out for the older kids. Best of all, it is totally free! See www.thecube.qut.edu.au for more details on what is screening each day.
Picture credit: www.thecube.qut.edu.au
Not far from Sydney, tucked away in the Blue Mountains, Jenolan Caves are an ideal destination for any keen geologist. Known as ‘Nature’s Classroom’, the ten show caves are the largest and some of the most spectacular in Australia and offer a range of tours suitable for all ages. With limestone crystals, marine fossils, stunning rock formations and huge chambers, the caves are brought to life with evocative light and sound shows. See www.jenolancaves.org.au for more details on tour times and opening hours.
No self-respecting science curriculum is complete without a trip to the exciting and thoroughly engaging Questacon. With interactive science exhibitions and hands-on programmes for all ages, there is something to inspire the whole family. For the 0–6 year olds there is Mini Q, a fun, custom-built space where mini-scientists can develop problem-solving skills as they explore the colourful range of activities. Q-Lab is a more dynamic and experimental space, perfect for those over seven years old, where kids can wrap their minds around the more intriguing questions that face scientists today. Also at Questacon is the H20—Soak Up the Science exhibition, where visitors can delve into water and discover its many different properties and its importance in our lives. And Excite@Q is a high energy, highly addictive exhibition where you test both mind and muscle: battling a robot, testing your reflexes and free-falling down a giant slide. Check www.questacon.edu.au for details of exhibits on your visit.
A favourite amongst families wishing to visit the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island is a small coral cay at the southern tip of the reef. There is a great Eco Resort on the island as well as a children’s playground and education centre. And during school holidays the island runs the Junior Reef Ranger Club for kids aged 5–12. The highlight of Lady Elliot Island is the wildlife and healthy coral that surrounds the island. With clear waters and some of the best snorkeling and diving on the reef, over 1,200 species of marine life can be found around the island, including manta rays, turtles, dolphins and sharks, and a host of tropical fish. At certain times of the year Lady Elliot Island is also home to nesting turtles, which visitors can experience under the guidance of the Island’s turtle rangers. Visit www.ladyelliot.com.au for more information.