Travel at Home: Discovering Local Attractions with Kids
There’s that old saying you don’t know what you have until you lose it, and it seems I’ve discovered that really is true, I’d never really thought of travel at home as something I’d be crazy about!
When we left the Mid North Coast, it was with a hint of defiance in our attitudes, one that said we’d never return; we were off to discover grander, more amazing things around Australia. So, other than short visits, we spent a couple of years ignoring our home region and instead savouring inland New South Wales and Tasmania, both of which are amazing areas in their own right and both are regions we’ll return to again and again.
The one thing I didn’t expect when we stopped home for a while was just how much I’d come to realise how amazing this area is.
When you live somewhere, you become a little desensitised to it’s awesomeness. So lately we’ve been heading out and exploring all the areas we’ve taken for granted over the years and discovering the beauty of beaches and bushwalks with the kids that we hadn’t stopped to enjoy when we were working and rushing through life when we had our business.
I’m sure, like us you’ve likely ignored some amazing places that are just around the corner from your home. If you’re sitting and waiting impatiently to begin your trip around Australia then don’t be disheartened and frustrated, seek out things close by. If you’ve finished your trip, then you know you’ve likely been ignoring lots of great places.
1. Seek out Museums, Galleries and Cultural Displays
I hate to admit this, but we’ve never taken the kids to some of the most wonderful historical displays in Port Macquarie. We’ve never visited the maritime museum, or Innes ruins (even though my family came to the area via a distant grandmother working for Major Innes there) and the list goes on. We tend to gravitate to these sorts of places when we’re exploring other regions so it’s high on my priority list to do before we leave again, and you should make it high on your priority list to get out and explore and learn about history and culture of the region you live.
2. Volunteer & Meet the Community
This is also something high on my list, both around our local area and when we are out on the road, and our children are getting old enough to volunteer too. Not only does volunteering give back to the community, it also helps you to meet people you may not otherwise meet, and learn about areas of the community you might not otherwise have the chance to. Whether it’s a soup kitchen, animal shelter or environmental organisation there’s lots of things to get involved with that might just surprise you!
3. Find hidden nooks and secret spots
I’m still learning about new areas around the Mid North Coast, and the best way to uncover hidden spots is to get chatting to other locals. Get out of your comfort zone and steer clear of all the places you gravitate to out of habit; instead track down new walking trails, beaches, stores, interest groups or attractions and give them a try.
4. Visit the places the tourists go in your home town.
We’d never been to Dolphin Marine Magic despite it being only 1 1/2 hours from home all these years, and when we took the time out to experience it, well we were so overjoyed that we’ve been raving about it to everyone. We did the same with the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. We’d been once when the kids were quite small, but recently we met up with another travelling fmaily who wanted to take a look through, so we thought it would make a great meeting place and headed out for the afternoon for the free tour. The kids learned new things, so did I, and we donated some money towards a really awesome cause.
5. Make time to explore.
It’s really difficult when you’re balancing work, kids and other commitments to find the time and energy to get out and about. Set aside a day, or even a morning or afternoon to have a mini family break to head out and do something new or even something that’s a long time favourite. It’s amazing when we’re visiting a new area how much time we make for exploring