The trick to hiking successfully with young kids is to find a trail that offers a reasonable challenge and a huge reward, without exhausting them!
The Willunga Track turned out to be just perfect. It is a 1.4km total round trip to visit an old trig point with some awesome views of Kuringai Chase National Park.
I told the kids the night before that we were going on a bushwalk. They grumbled at first then realised they could try out their new hiking poles and backpacks so were suddenly enthusiastic.
So I’m the morning, after dropping my wife off at work we drove for 45 minutes, passing hoards of cyclists along the way, until we reached the starting point. The kids put on their packs and planted their hiking poles, to approving smiles from the passing cyclists.
We headed on to the track which was well defined but somewhat overgrown. The kids stopped to look at every flower (“take a picture of that one Dad!”) and every bug. We could heard birds tweeting away in the bush but could not see any of them.
The view on the right was amazing and if we simply stood on one of the many rock platforms and gazed at it we would have been happy with the trip. But Daddy wanted to get to the top! After a short while the peak came into view and a little reality hit the kids that they actually had a fair way to walk. They just carried on though. The bush was quite scratchy and spikey so the immediate task of getting through it was enough to distract them. My son noticed all sorts of things in the bush including a cocoon of some kind, but he kept stopping way too much and we had to tell him to keep walking!
The low bushes became trees as we reached the base of the peak and there were a lot of flies and bees buzzing around and lots of spider webs to clear with my poles, so I had to lead the way for a change (they had been taking turns up till now). My daughter freaked out about a brown spider but fortunately it turned out to be tiny and on the ground.
Fortunately, at that point some beautiful Butterflies started to appear. A huge brown one circled us and even landed briefly on my sons outstretched hiking pole. It almost landed on my daughters head. There was a large black and white one fluttering overhead.
We climbed the final few meters to the top and were treated to a fantastic view! The butterflies obviously impressed the kids as they shouted out across the valley, “we name this mountain Butterfly Peak!”
We took some photos at the old trig point, nothing more than a pole now, and sat down to have a bite to eat. My daughter whipped out a book to read so we all had a good relax for ten minutes while we took in the view and she read a couple of chapters. I love that she thought to do that. It gave us some quality time at the peak.
We pointed out the features we could see including a strange line of trees that may have indicated a track and old clearing of some kind.
Soon enough they were ready to leave, already talking about which playground they wanted to visit on the way home. We saw some birds that we couldn’t identify. I think they were grey butcherbirds but I couldn’t get a good look so they could have been cuckoos for all I know!
There were a couple of tumbles and a few scratches from the plants so the first band aid came out. They took it in their stride though and shook it off without a fuss. My daughter enjoyed being the medic, taking out her first aid kit and tending to her brothers scratch.
We were back at the car and the adventure was over. I got to visit the trig point that I’d had my eye on and the kids got to feel what it was like to climb a peak and be rewarded by an amazing view. My daughter said her legs weren’t tired and they both seemed to have enjoyed themselves. We were out there for two hours and had really taken our time to enjoy everything on offer. I’m going to recommend this walk to anyone with young kids as it was both achievable and rewarding.
Thanks for reading. I used the WildWalks website to find this walk and their notes are here.
For other great walks with kids check out Little bushwalks for little people .