Travelling with children in central Australia can be joyous – camping, bushwalks, stargazing, swimming, wildlife spotting… Only extreme temperatures, humidity and distances conspire to spoil the party. But if you can beat the heat, this isn't a place where you'll encounter much urban menace, pollution or tedious queuing.

Planning

  • You'll find public toilets with family rooms where you can go to feed babies or change nappies in most shopping centres. As anywhere, children should be accompanied in all public toilets, including at shopping centres.
  • Many motels and some caravan parks have playgrounds and swimming pools, and can supply cots and baby baths. Top-end hotels and some (but not all) midrange hotels often accommodate children for free, but B&Bs are often child-free zones.
  • For babysitting, ask at your hotel, although you're unlikely to get far outside of Darwin.
  • Child prices (and family rates) apply for most tours, sights admission fees and air, bus and train transport, with some discounts as high as 50% off. However, the definition of 'child' can vary from under 12 to under 18 years.
  • Heat is a problem while travelling in central Australia, especially in summer, with relentless desert sun and high humidity in the Top End. Time your visit for winter (which is high season!) or make sure the kids are enshrouded in big floppy hats, SPF 30+ sunscreen and sunglasses. Always carry plenty of water and drink regularly.
  • Medical services here are of a high standard, with items such as baby-food formula and nappies widely available from pharmacies and supermarkets (plan ahead if heading to remote regions).
  • Major hire-car companies can supply booster seats, for which you'll be charged around $25 for up to three days' use, with an additional daily fee for longer periods.