Family travel snap: snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef

This month we’re taking a trip to Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef with family travel blogger Erin of and her children Mia and Caius.

Kids Blog - kidssnorkeling_ExploreWithErin
Nearly ready to go snorkelling © Erin Holmes

What’s the story behind this photo?

Mia and Caius have travelled to 67 countries. They have flown in hot-air balloons in Turkey, abseiled cliffs in Malta and snorkelled the second greatest barrier reef in Belize. What they have not done is explore their home country, Australia. This shot is a representation of them finally coming full circle to explore home. I adore the love these two share for each other, for travel and for adventure.

Here Mia (nine) is helping her eight-year-old brother into his snorkel gear. They are sitting in the Pacific Ocean, wetsuits on, goggles on, but those flippers were complicated.

Right after this photo in they jump, straight off the ledge into the Great Barrier Reef. Mia and Caius have no fear. Caius is a little uncertain about the giant fish, nicknamed George, but soon realises George is only looking for people with food and swims right past. Both heads bob into the water and they go exploring. They don’t wait for me, their mum, who’s scared the water is too cold.

Kids’ perspective

Caius: ‘We went swimming! I remember that we went into an underwater laboratory, which was cool. You could see fish and not get wet. I didn’t like how long it took to get home.’

Mia remembers: ‘I almost got stung by a piece of coral. I saw a giant fish, named George, he had big lips. I saw little tiny fish riding in schools. I want to go back again before it dies. In the future there might not be any Great Barrier Reef, but I hope there is.’

Erin’s tips for visiting the Great Barrier Reef with kids

(1) Definitely wear a wetsuit. The water gets chilly and certain coral can be prickly, and a wetsuit protects from both.

(2) Taking an organised tour worked well for us as the kids made friends and the boat was large enough for them to take an exhausted nap all the way back to the mainland.

(3) Be prepared for the length of the journey, it’s three hours out to the Reef (and three hours back) so books, colouring, and even the dreaded electronics are worth having with you.

Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?

Since the kids have travelled abroad so much we are really enjoying discovering Australia. I’d love to take them to Tasmania and the Northern Territory next. And, of course, we can’t go past our second home: we'll be back in Bali next year, for the 18th time!

Lastly, complete the sentence:

When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always make sure we have...
…. the best cliché possible: the ‘right attitude’. Smile, you’re on vacation; let your face know it. And let’s not forget the practical: ‘Mum’s phone’, we don’t want to get lost or not have any pictures for memories. Oh, and a bottle of water, because Mum won’t share hers.

If, like Mia, your children are worried about the long-term prognosis for this incredible natural wonder, consider becoming a Citizen of the Barrier Reef.

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