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5 baby and grandparent friendly adventures near Darwin

Isla had settled nicely into planet Earth and at 6 weeks old the grandparents were coming for a visit. Sounds like a great chance to soak in some of the NT's finest tourist traps, Morgan style! We needed to make sure that my parents felt like they were on holiday, whilst working out how to be parents - afterall, you don't know what you don't know! I'll give a little run down of each of the "must see" places involved that feature on the video. This is a great chance to briefly introduce a few of our fave places to take the poms when they come for a visit.

Howard Springs Nature Park

24km from Darwin

This is a cool little paddling pool for the little monsters that has heaps of shady spots. It's not great for anyone wanting to swim as it's all pretty shallow, it's definitely aimed at young children. There's also a huge play area for the older children with a flying fox and pretty high slide etc but it's not in the shade so make sure you take heaps of sunscreen for that one.

The rest of the place was perfect for us, there's free to use BBQs dotted around with heaps of picnic tables, and families were just setting themselves up for the day. Be careful leaving your food out though there's a heap of pretty crafty Ibis birds watching your every move and waiting for you to leave your food unattended. There's also a lake filled with turtles, barramundi and who knows what else. (Although I have been assured it is croc safe)! Hot tip: take some frozen mullet, available at all good servos and fishing shops to hand feed the barra. And try not to fall in when the metre long fish "boof" the bait out of your hand. Get the biggest bloke in the party to do it and watch him jump out of his skin when it grabs the fish!

Litchfield National Park

Entrance is roughly 116km from Darwin, takes another 50-100km depending on how far into it you drive

This place is incredible, you really have no excuse not to fit it in to any trip to Darwin. An hour and a half from the city lies the beautiful Litchfield, complete with amazing swimming spots, some great little walks and brill campsites. Wangi Falls and Florence Falls (where the fish nibbled Isla's toes!) are stunning spots to take a swim and cool off after exploring some of the walks and sights of the park. Wangi features a massive pool and high falls, Florence features an amazing view and maybe a few too many stairs on the way down to this stunning swimming hole. Isla was tiny so doing the stairs was fine, but if your child is in that awkward 'too heavy to carry, too little to walk' stage this one might be a bit tough! Wangi is super easy to get into however and has a cafe and toilets now - although this has taken a bit of the nature feel away from it, it is useful to know there's a shop in the middle of nowhere just incase!

There are a great many other spots in Litchfield to swim and explore if you're willing to walk a little further. Each one is as amazing as the last. This place is a regular spot for us to unwind. Buley's Rockhole is gorgeous and really easy to get into if you have children, the only problem that we have with it is that it's always packed with people so loses the serenity that some of the other places give you. Cascade is another great spot for swimming but again it's a bit of a tough walk for little ones, there's a few bits of river to jump over etc. The walk is really well shaded though so if you're not in a rush it would be fine with children. Hot Tip: Hiring a 4x4 will allow you to get away from the crowds of tourists and access some incredible unspoilt scenery, driving tracks (including a few great river crossings) and quiet swimming pools that you can almost have to yourselves. A couple of the tamer dirt tracks are featured on the video. Surprise Falls has a really fun river crossing and the swimming areas are two large plunge pools which people love jumping into from the various heights. Again if you're not in a rush this one is a great one but not very much shade here. We'll be doing an individual run through of all of these spots in the next few weeks.

Aquascene Fish Feeding

Darwin City Centre

I'm obsessed with this place. On the high tides (check their website for open hours as the place is tide dependent so everyday is different) Doctors Gully, 5 minutes amble from the city centre, is the home of Aquascene - a quite under rated tourist activity. You can go along and go down the steps into the sea water (a rarity in Darwin) and hand feed the many species of wild fish including the spectacular moon-faced batfish, milk fish and giant mullet and get a good view of some sting rays, mudcrabs and archer fish. The fish know that this is a great place for a feed and so literally hundreds and hundreds of fish throw themselves at you! There may also be a giant grouper kicking about waiting for a feed. Hot Tip: There is a great walk from here following the coast along the esplanade which is a beautiful spot, particularly around sunset.

Humpty Doo Golf

43 km from Darwin

Ok you got me.. this one isn't for the kids, but you know, happy parents make happy kids! For the golfer, this place is about as "territory" as it gets. They seem to allow barefoot players, which is my favourite way to play golf and there is a generally, wonderfully relaxed vibe about this varied nine hole course. On this particular occasion we were wetting Isla's head with my dad and a close friend and we saw wallabies, cockatoos and a giant python climbing a palm tree in amongst our very average golfing display. Well worth a half day in Humpty Doo... even if it is just so you can tell people about a weird place called Humpty Doo! Hot Tip: Can be a bit mosquito-y if damp so cover yourself in something to keep them away... and maybe don't tell your opponent (just kidding!)

Corroborree Billabong

109km from Darwin

This place, for some reason, just keeps pulling me back. Despite some very ordinary fishing success, or lack thereof, I absolutely love to spend the day floating around on one of Mary River House Boat's fishing pontoons - about $200 for the day. The boats are big and slow, perfect for keeping a few precious humans safe on these crocodile infested waterways. There are huge, 5m long, crocodiles to be seen as well as turtles, jabirus, brolgas (if you are lucky) and a host of smaller bird and pond life! The lillies that litter the wide open waterways are an incredible sight to behold too. There is some amazing fishing to be had whether it's trolling up and down the rivers, flicking lures into the weeds or fighting a barramundi you enjoy the most. Hot Tip: Golden Bomber, Rainbow Trout Squidgee, Barra Classic (lures for success!)

I hope you enjoy the video. We certainly enjoyed showing Isla and her grandparents some of the local sights and we'll be uploading more detailed bits about these places so keep an eye out!

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