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Walking With Children in Kakadu

Happy family hikers

I wonder as I wander. Children, especially younger children, have a sense of wonder that all too many of us lose as adults. Hiking with children can help bring that back. It can also help reconnect children with the natural world, a connection that seems to become more tenuous with each passing year. This lack of connection to the natural world has led to the coining of the term nature deficit disorder. We are doing what we can to overcome this.

Depending on the level of experience, we have found that from around age 10-12, children can happily cope with our standard treks. Younger children need a slower pace and more time for breaks. Younger children can also bring a sense of wonder to things older people take for granted — little things like insects, lizards, etc. Kakadu provides an ideal environment for such walks so we have developed some special Kakadu treks suited to younger children.

While we think this entire page is worth reading, you can skip ahead to a list of our family trips. Click on the name of the trip for details specific to it.

Boy and bug closeup Boy and bug

Although every child occupies the same seat as an adult, we believe that it is so important to give families the opportunity to experience the wonderful natural world where we walk that we offer discounts of up to 50% for children. Seeing the wonder and joy on the children's faces makes up for the money we forego.

The two photos here show a young boy and a stick insect. Our family trips always allow plenty of time for experiences like this.

And there are the swims. Children of all ages — and their parents — enjoy the magic of Kakadu's many pools and the water which is warm enough to enjoy for as long as you want.

Family battle Happy swimmers Riding Dad
Crossing the creek Smiling Swimmers. The best natural water slide in Kakadu

Most importantly, what do the children think of the trips? The smiles in the photos on this page tell most of the story. I'll leave it to an 8, almost 9, year old, to put it in words. She had amazing writing skills for someone so young. She's the one in front in the photo of the two girls swimming above. Here's what she wrote in our comments book at the end of our September 2009 Family Walk.

Below are a few short video clips showing the children and their parents enjoying the water.

Click to see a short video. Cascades water slide Click to see a short video. Piccaninny Pools. Click to see a short video. Emerald Pool Click to see a short video. Happy Jumpers.

The images and videos on this page give you a taste of what it might be like to do a Kakadu hike with your own children. If you'd like more information, please click one of the links below.

See an old gallery of family bushwalking pictures. These are smaller but they show how we've been runninig these trips for years and give you a bit more information about what the treks are like.

Have a look at the detailed descriptions of the three family walks we offer. We go to three different areas at three different times so that we can offer the children the best possible experience at each time of year.
Kakadu Family Walk No. 1: April
Kakadu Family Walk No. 2: June-July
Kakadu Family Walk No. 3: September-October
\ Note. If the dates haven't been updated, you can still assume that the trip will be the same, only the dates will change.

To find out how to book, see our booking page

If you have any questions or would like to find out how to organise a special family walk charter trip please click the link below and send us an email.

email me Family Bushwalk Information

Finally, if you know someone you think might enjoy our family bushwalks, please click the link below to send them a link to this page.

Forward to a friend

A few final thoughts

As a school teacher in Darwin in late 1970s and early 1980s, Russell Willis, founder and owner of Willis's Walkabouts, took many high school students on extended bushwalks throughout what is now Kakadu as well as other parts of the Top End. To this day, some of those students, now adults, will say that those bush experiences were the high points of their school careers.

Russell grew up on the edge of a park in the New York City suburbs. He fondly recalls long hours spent in the woods near his home. Times change. On return visits over the years, he sadly watched as the trails of his youth became overgrown from lack of use. People either no longer had the time or were afraid to go into the woods. All life depends on Nature to survive. Can our society survive if we allow ourselves to become so disconnected from Nature that we destroy the very things that provide us with the food, water and air we need to survive?

Additional information — all worth a read.

Willis's Walkabouts, 12 Carrington Street, Millner NT 0810, Australia walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au

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