Activities

Whale-Watching Sites Around Australia

It’s a truly amazing spectacle to see and hear the whales which migrate around the coast of Australia in cooler months. It’s a great free activity for all nature lovers. Some areas are better than others, so we’ve put together a list of the best places in each state or territory to take a peek.

Northern Territory

Spotting whales in our beautiful top end can be tricky. It’s often more miss than hit. In May 2014, False Killer Whales were viewed in shallow water around Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, north-east of Darwin. This was unusual, as these creatures are usually found in much deeper waters. If you are looking for whales in NT waters, check recent reports.

Queensland

There are a number of places to do some whale watching in QLD. The following list includes locations and the peak season:

  • Gold Coast – May to November
  • Hervey Bay – July to November
  • Brisbane – June to October
  • Sunshine Coast – June to October
  • Cairns – July to September
  • Whitsundays – May to September
  • Great Barrier Reef – March to October

New South Wales

NSW has multiple locations. The following list has been compiled as a guide, based on peak season times, May to November, with the exception of August:

  • Port Stephens
  • Jervis Bay
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Nelsons Bay

September to November:

  • Merimbula
  • Eden

June to November, excluding August:

  • Port Macquarie

June to November:

  • Byron Bay

June to October:

  • Tweed Heads

Victoria

By far the most popular whale watching area in Victoria is Warnambool. Peak season is from June to September when Southern Right Whales make the annual migration to give birth to their young, along the sheltered coast. Some people have been lucky enough to spot the whales else where around the state, but these sightings are fairly rare.

Tasmania

Tassy isn’t a prime whale watching location, however Bruny Island is known for annual sightings. They pass by during May to July and again during September and December. Once there, some whales congregate for up to five weeks. Humpbacks and Southern Right Whales are regular visitors, while Pygmy Right Whales, Minke Whales and Orca’s or Killer Whales can be seen as they migrating along the coast.

South Australia

SA has two prime locations, where whales are guaranteed to visit each year. From May to October, Southern Right Whales can be witnessed frolicking, mating, calving and nursing their young. The head of the bight, apparently has the best views, as whales are often viewed as close as 100 metres off the shore.

The second region is along the coastline from Victor Harbour to Goolwa Beach. Middleton, which is located in the middle, is a quaint surfing cove where commuters often view the whales whilst driving past. Once again Southern Right Whales dominate the area. July or August is the peak time, however you might snag you a peak during cooler months.

Western Australia

Albany and Broome are the hot spots around WA. Between June and November Humpback Whales are spotted as they migrate north-west to Broome, while Southern Right Whales migrating from Antarctica are know to visit Albany’s southern bays to mate and give birth.

Image via legendcharters.net.au

By Kim Chartres

August 9, 2014

Kids Limo Parties

Everyone checks out limos as they cruise down the street. You can’t help it. There is just something incredible about them. Not everyone has had the opportunity to ride inside one. So, imagine the lasting impression this experience is having on the lucky kids who have! No wonder limo parties are the hottest thing to hit the kids and teens party scene in years. Everyone wants in and gender is irrelevant. Limo companies are offering unique experiences, for boys and girls. So, lets take a closer look at what’s around.

Regardless of the type of party, the main focus is on the limo. It’s usually a stretch vehicle that has been meticulously decked out with any of the following options; multiple LCD screens, illuminated dance floor, mirrored ceiling, karaoke, playstation, Ipod player or sophisticated sound system. Plus there is usually some superior lighting effects inside using lasers, strobes or neon changing lights.

If you are lucky enough to be around Melbourne you may have seen the one of a kind, Batman Hummer or the Transformer Chevy Camaro Bumblebee limo cruising the streets. Stunningly decked out in their selected themes, these vehicles have been custom built to turn heads. Kids have the opportunity to cruise around in these luxurious limos. You can even hire characters like Batman, Bumblebee or Optimus Prime as an entertainment option. This would seriously be a dream come true for any child. Batman seats up to 16 and the Bumblebee seats 10. You pay be the hour, not by the guest, so be sure to invite the entire crew for this very unique experience.

Then there are pink limos, which are available in most capital cities. What girl doesn’t love a splash of pink and a ride inside a luxury limo? Girls love the chance to take snaps to brag about their experience or take charge of the karaoke mic, to belt out some popular tunes. Imagine how hiring a limo for an hour or so, could turn a simple sleep over into something totally unforgettable.

When it comes to feeding and watering guests, different companies provide different things. Some companies only supply entertainment and leave the food and drinks to you. Others have gone with healthy food, while others haven’t.

Some companies are affiliated with venues which provide entertainment or meal options. You can organise the limo to pick up a group and take them to the movies and afterwards, drive them to a restaurant or home for a BBQ. Unless you have a couple of people movers on hand (which aren’t exactly “cool”), getting a bigger group of kids around can be tricky. Limos are a perfect option and can work out cheaper than hiring people movers.

Prices are very competitive, which is great news for anyone looking for a unique, memorable experience. There is an enormous amount of flexibility and variation, which is perhaps why this industry is booming. It’s suitable for kids and teens of all abilities, so it’s perfect for children who have spent considerable time in hospital. If you look online, some companies offer more information than others. You can check out different packages, look inside the vehicles or open up a live chat, for all the information you’ll need.

Image via exoticlimo.com.au/images/packages/kids/

By Kim Chartres

July 17, 2014

Outdoor Play: 7 Nature Activities For Kids

Young children have innate curiosity about nature. Just watch a toddler squeak in delight at the sight of a lorikeet or dig in the sand for hours. Spending time in nature reduces stress, provides varied stimulation of the senses and increases physical activity. Sadly, many children these days spend more time in front of screens than playing outside. Are you struggling to drag your kids away from their gadgets? Here are a few ideas that may help:

Outdoor classrooms

Kids often go through a stage when all they want to do is play school and it can be hard to persuade them to play outside (unless it’s pretend recess time). Fortunately, nature offers the perfect tools to teach and learn reading, writing and maths. Collect natural objects to demonstrate simple maths equations or arrange in the shape of letters and numbers. Use a stick to write in the dirt. Give out different coloured leaves instead of awards.

Land art

Grab a big box or a basket and go for a walk collecting a variety of objects that catch your child’s eye – sticks, leaves, rocks, shells, cones and petals. Once you’re done, pick a place for your ‘sculpture’ and create an art piece using the objects you’ve collected and the natural environment. This activity is great for kids who love arts and craft. It will feed their creativity while encouraging them to explore different media from what they’re used to.

Nature scavenger hunt

Prepare a list of natural objects that your child is likely to find in your area. Depending on your child’s reading ability, include words or pictures, or both. Then go for a walk and tick off the items on the list as you find them. Don’t forget to offer a prize at the end! This activity requires some preparation, but your young detective will be delighted.

Zoom in

Bring a magnifying glass and your child can see nature in a whole new way. Explore intricate patterns on a leaf, make up a story about the world inside a rain drop or watch an ant suddenly grow mightier.

Watch the clouds

Point out the shapes that you can see and watch them slowly transform into something else. Ask your child to show you the shapes he can recognise. Notice how the sky is never exactly the same.

Imitate the sounds around you

Take a moment to stay still and listen. Can you hear the kookaburra? What about the sound of waves in the distance. Now try to repeat the sounds and encourage your child to do the same. You’re talking to nature.

Photo walk

If you find it impossible to unglue your child from the screen, why not combine nature and technology? Hand the camera over and let your child experiment with various photography techniques. Help your child create their own photo collage with the images you’ve taken once you get home.

Most of these activities are perfect for adult ‘kids’, too. Have fun with your child and create treasured memories of connection and wonder.

Image by muminsearch.com.

By Felicia Sapountzis

July 4, 2014