One of the most beautiful moments of travelling is sharing travel bug experiences with loved ones. Over the years, you’ve travelled solo meeting new people, romanced all the coupled-up spots, adventured with friends and explored in wide-eyed wonder with small children. It’s the full colour spectrum of travelling buddies, right? Weeelllll… not quite. The small children have grown up a little, and now you’ve got tweens and teens on your hands.
There’s no need to get nervous, though – occasional disdain aside, the almost-adults can make the most excellent of travelling partners. The trick is to think outside the box for an itinerary that involves everyone in the planning, stimulates young minds and explores a cornucopia of activities that will keep both tweens and the kidults in the family amused and social media feeds rich with street cred.
Port Douglas Daintree at your service… not only does it have fun facts like ‘oldest living rainforest in the world’, ‘ two living direct descendants from the dinosaurs’ and ‘inspiration for box office hit movies Jurassic Park and Avatar’, but it’s filled with just the right amount of teenage-attention-fuelled goings-on and family fun to starve off the ‘Where’s the Wi-Fi?’.
If your teens have been water babies, then learning to dive on one of the most extraordinary places on Earth might just be the ticket to having the Best Holiday Ever. Quicksilver Dive’s purpose-built dive training centre in Port Douglas offers the full range of PADI accredited courses; starting from the entry level open water certification through to advanced and professional courses for the certified diver. For those who are a little short on time, Quicksilver also have a three-day course that includes an e-learning component, reducing the time spent in a classroom. After the theory and pool education, the certification is completed on the magnificent Agincourt Reef on the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Now THAT’S something that overachieves it’s bragging points.
Sure, the Great Barrier Reef is amazing, but what about life in the rainforest riverbeds? With Backcountry Bliss Adventures, the whole family can explore underneath an ancient rainforest canopy, step into the cool, crystal-clear water and drift with the current as you all discover life under the river water’s surface. Watch fish dart in and around the river stones and keep your eyes out for the occasional turtle.
Does your teen dream of extending their board skills to the next level? And we don’t mean board games… Brett Wright (aka Bretto) from Windswell Port Douglas and his team have the skills (and oodles of patience) in teaching the art of the adrenaline rush, taking on the waves and harnessing the wind off Port Douglas and surrounding islands on a kite board. No experience? No worries! Windswell offer a range of lessons to suit all abilities and levels of adventure and will have your youngsters moving from from kiteboarding zero to hero before they know which way the wind is blowing.
The Daintree Rainforest is a lush, emerald wonderland full of so many fun facts, it’ll make heads spin. 140(ish) million years old. Oldest continuously living rainforest ON THE PLANET (that’s a really big deal). Inspiration for quite a number of blockbuster Hollywood films, and even location for a couple too. Home of thousands of animal species found no where else in the world. Oh, and home of at least two animals that are not only direct descendants of dinosaurs, but also pretty much haven’t changed a bit over the ages. There’s the awe-inspiring cassowary, close relative of the velociraptor from the Cretaceous Period about 66 million years ago, and the mighty saltwater crocodile. This apex predator hasn’t aged a bit since the Mesozoic Era, 240 million years ago, so parents - make sure you get some of those anti-aging tips passed on! Here in the Daintree, you’ll very possibly see both these creatures in the wild on a number of excellent tours, as well as taking home a few extra fun facts.
If crocs are part of your Tropical North Queensland bucket list, get yourself to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, where the whole family will spend the day learning about the evolution and conservation of these prehistoric giants and cruising through a lagoon with crocs up to five metres in length. It’s just about as close to their natural habitat as you can get without the fear factor. For anyone feeling extra brave, sign up for the Big Croc Experience, where visitors can pole-feed a croc! This is only for the big kids though – children under 16 are not allowed.
Avast, mateys! Let’s weigh anchor here! Did you know that the Port Douglas Yacht Club run their WAGS sailing every Wednesday afternoon? Every Wednesday afternoon the Club’s very generous Members volunteer their time and their yachts to take out a few people sunset sailing. So, if there’s a burgeoning buccaneer in the family, head on down to the Yachty in the afternoon and put your name down - all it costs is dinner and drinks at the Club afterwards.
Look away now, parents (unless you’re an adrenaline junkie too!). How does tearing down a steep, rocky rainforest track on two wheels sound? The Bump Track Adventure Tour with Bike n Hike trails from the top of the Julatten Range down through magnificent ancient rainforests to the Mowbray Valley via the historic Bump Track is certainly one of those unforgettable experiences. Prefer something a little more chill? The Port Douglas Bike Shop have beach cruisers for hire to have the wind blow through your hair as you all scoot down the golden sands of Four Mile Beach.