The Heavy Hiker

Sharing Hiking Experiences in Western Australia

Hiking With Kids – Easier Than It Sounds

It’s school holidays, which means the kids are in your face, pestering you for food whilst coming down with a serious case of the “I’m Boreds”

In Western Australia we have access to great family hikes that are suitable for kids.

“The Restless Hiker”, my little 3 year old, is a champ. She loves to get out and go bushwalking and we often manage 3 – 4 kms walks without any trouble. She has learned to negotiate rocky steps, steep inclines as well as the occasional wildlife encounter and she has developed greater physical awareness through bushwalking.

When she was much younger I could get out with her in a hiking pack, which was excellent. It meant that I could do 5 – 6 kms with no trouble, but once she got bigger (and heavier) that was no longer an option so I had to find bushwalks that would be fun and short enough that the expedition would be enjoyable for all.

So I thought I would share some WA short trails that we have done as a family and had a very enjoyable time.

We live in the South-East metro area and we try to enjoy trail walking locally. So below is just a small sampling of a few trails we have recently enjoyed.

*These trails are just suggestions and you should source more information from Trails WA about the ‘grade’ and suitability of the various walks.

Blue Rock Trail – Jarrahdale Road, Jarrahdale.  1.5km Loop

This trail is a nice, short, easy loop where the kids can explore open areas. Blue Rock is particularly lovely in the winter time when rock pools form and a plethora of different mosses are blooming. Great for particularly young children; offering you a good line of sight while the kids explore.

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Wetlands Experience – Jarrahdale Road, Jarrahdale. 2.5km Loop

If your kids are bit older you may like the Wetlands Experience which is just a little bit further up Jarrahdale Road. This walk is well sign posted taking you through the old market garden areas, bird watching stations and through some interesting little board walks. This walk is best done in winter months as the area sees some snake activity in the summer months.

Blue Wren Ramble – Ellis Brook Valley Reserve, Martin. 2.8km Return

The Blue Wren Ramble is a nice shaded walk suitable for young kids and best undertaken in the spring months when wildflowers are in full bloom. This short, meandering walk takes you through the Wandoo Woodland where the kids can do some bird watching… assuming they can be quiet for long enough…

Marcora Walk Trail – Abernethy Road, Byford 1.6km Return

This walk is a bit more challenging than the other short walks and has a number of step granite step sections. If the Restless Hiker can manage it I’m sure kids older than her will have no trouble. This walk starts out at the base of the range alongside a creek and takes you up to Marcora Falls (a little water fall – nice to discover) and then on up to the top where you can enjoy some charming views. Lovely even if the warmer months, just keep an eye out for the wildlife!

 

Few things to consider:

  • If you intend to take the kids out regularly get the right shoes or you’ll hear about it the whole way
  • Don’t overstretch the little ones; make sure your trail is suited to your kids’ fitness level
  • Go on interesting trails; explore areas with a bit of history or trails that see a lot of wildlife
  • Make sure the kids are wildlife aware and know what to do if they see a snake
  • Always be extra- prepared with additional snacks, suncream, hats, spare bandaids and a small bucket for the inevitable collection of honkey nuts, sticks and treasure.

Nature play is so important for young children. Research suggests that kids who play outdoors are more inquisitive, more independent, more imaginative and happier than those who do not.

Remember that as parents sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is to let them be kids; so play in the rain, let them get muddy and enjoy them enjoying nature.

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