Kids Friendly Holiday Australia
10. Swim at Launceston Aquatic Centre
Location: 18 High Street, Launceston
Despite popular belief, Tasmania can still get quite warm during the summer months, with temperatures reaching the mid to high 30's not uncommon in the state's north. There are few better places to visit during such conditions as Launceston's Aquatic Centre; a robust water-based facility which opened back in 2009.
The sheer variety of pools on offer here makes it a centre where there's truly something for everyone. The centre houses a standard Olympic-sized lap pool, smaller leisure-style pools, a diving platform, and indoor and outdoor pools, some of which can be heated in the cooler months.
The highlight is the interactive water-play area that features plenty of equipment as well as slides and a large water-dumping bucket that makes for a refreshing splash. This part of the Aquatic Centre is always a hit with children and ideal for those younger than teenagers.
Image: City of Launceston Leisure and Aquatic Centre
Older visitors can instead turn their eyes outside and take a ride on the larger 65-metre waterslide that features a number of twists and turns before landing in the pool below. Toddlers are also accommodated for here with the shallow kid's pool open just for them.
The Aquatic Centre also runs a regular Super Splash Zone function that takes place every weekend from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm and features inflatable animals for everyone to enjoy.
Adults aren't forgotten at Launceston Aquatic Centre either. While there's the obvious enjoyment that comes with a relaxing swim, the Centre also boasts a lovely little cafe to kick back and relax while keeping an eye out over the kids, as well as a BBQ area for guests to use and BYO their food for the day. The facility also offers a lovely panorama over Launceston city and its surrounds.
Getting to the Aquatic Centre is easy as it lies just a 10-minute bus ride from the city centre, with buses coming regularly on the hour and plenty of paid parking available should you choose to self-drive. Given the relatively cheap cost of entry, there are few better ways to spend a hot day in Tasmania with the kids in tow than splashing down at the Launceston Aquatic Centre.
- Child (under 2yrs): FREE
- Child (2-5yrs): $3
- Child 6-15yrs): $5.30
- Senior/Concession: $5.30
- Adult: $7.10
- Family: $19
- Spectator/Supervisor: $3
9. Explore Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs
Location: 754 Hastings Caves Rd, Hastings
If you're after a more nature-based attraction away from the majority of the crowds to take the kids out for a combined dose of wonder and fresh air, the Hastings Caves and its associated Thermal Springs check both boxes.
Home to an expansive and ancient cave network filled with an incredible number of impressive stalagmite and stalactite formations made of dolomite rather than the typical limestone. The Hastings Caves are visually stunning and comparable to the similar offering at Jenolan Caves in NSW on the mainland.
The experience at the caves begins at the Visitor's Centre which is full of helpful staff who can take you on a guided tour of the earth to explore and learn about the well-lit caves' history and structure. While it may be a topic that's perhaps too detailed for younger kids to fully appreciate, the guides take their time to make the experience as easy to understand as possible, and the sheer sight of the formations is enough to keep the little one's mouths agape for the duration.
Image: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett
Throughout the tour you'll also need to be prepared to encounter a large number of steps. There are no ramps or paths for prams but it's never too overwhelming, and the presence of hand-rails makes carrying smaller kids doable without too much of a struggle. As a general rule, if your children are at least 5 years of age or older, they should be fine walking on their own throughout the tour.
As far as kids are concerned, however, the caves themselves aren't the only highlight of the day, with the other half being the Thermal Pools. Don't be confused by the name; this is not some hot-spring style relaxation getaway ideal for adults to unwind, but simply a swimming pool fed by naturally-heated water set amongst some forested surrounds. The pool also has a shallower section specifically for younger kids in mind.
There are a number of facilities here that make staying for a near-full day feasible with facilities including barbeques, a spacious picnic area with showers, and change rooms, which help to make the not-insignificant 3-hour return trip from Hobart worthwhile.
There's also a popular forest walk along a well-maintained boardwalk offering a detailed look at the process of how the springs feed the pool. It's well-signed and features plaques with simple and clear information on the environment and its flora and fauna, making it both educational and scenic.
Entry to the thermal pool is included in the cost of a standard cave tour ticket, or can be purchased separately.