Road Trip: Sydney To Kosciuszko With The Kids


The family road trip. Some hold wonderful memories of it, some don’t. Some have trouble discerning between their own family’s memories and that of the Griswold’s. Whatever the case, the family road trip has stitched itself permanently into the fabric of our collective lives. And with good reason. As a kid, there’s a certain excitement that comes with heading somewhere with your parents on holiday, knowing full well there is the chance of little adventures along the way. 

For a parent, though, the challenge is not only fighting off fatigue and cramp from long hours in the car, it’s fighting off the boredom that threatens to kidnap your kids at every turn in the road, regardless of the scenery outside. The Kosciuszko Alpine Way, one of NSW’s iconic road trips, isn’t short on scenery; still, you will need to stop at times. But with plenty of accommodation in Canberra and other picturesque spots along the way, you won’t struggle to find great places to rest as you make your way toward the Snowy Mountains.          

The Big Merino, Goulburn

Past a certain age they will dispute this, but the fact is, kids love big things. In your formative years, you’re always drawn to things bigger than yourself, regardless of how fantastic or frivolous they are. And when that big thing is a Merino sheep, well, what could be more fun? Once you’ve taken a half-dozen ridiculous portraits with the big fella, the next thing to do is visit the gift store and get everyone in the family a pair of merino wool socks—which will come in handy once you reach Kosciusko—before settling down for a picnic lunch in the postcard-perfect Belmore Park. 

Shoalhaven Zoo, Nowra

What’s better than a big model of an animal? A big animal. And if there’s a kid out there that isn’t excited to see a big saltwater crocodile being fed its lunch, we’re yet to be made aware of their existence. Apex predators aside, Shoalhaven Zoo boasts all the usual—read: wonderful—suspects of the Australian fauna scene, meaning there’s no shortage of furry friends to make. Possibly the most impressive thing about the zoo is the setting, a series of natural rock formations amongst bushland on the banks of the Shoalhaven River. The only downside is you may have to explain to a teary little one that there simply isn’t room on the back seat for a wombat. 

Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre, Cooma

If either, or both, of the kids fancy themselves as future engineers—or have the patience and curiosity to learn what an engineer is—then you should make the effort to visit the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre, in Cooma. With a historical photo gallery, interactive exhibits, and working models, this centre respectfully tells the story of a modern engineering wonder: the Snowy Hydro-Electric Scheme. Designed to take much-needed water from the Snowy River, under the Great Dividing Range, to doubt-sensitive parts of NSW and Victoria, the scheme is one of the most complex hydro-electric power and integrated water schemes in the world. Wanna know the best part? Once the kids have absorbed everything they can at the centre—and there’s an exhaustive amount of detail to absorb—you can show them the scheme in action when you drive from Jindabyne to Khancoban. 

Bradman Museum, Bowral

If the kids would prefer to know to play the perfect cover drive than build a perfect dam, then the Bradman Museum, inland from Wollongong, in Bowral, is the place to go. Named after the legendary batsman who has since become a byword for cricket itself, this museum has everything for the young cricket fanatic—or the young-at-heart fanatic—from interactive displays to a comprehensive history of cricket that covers its origins right through to the modern day. Such is the amount on offer for fans of the sport, don’t be surprised if your road trip is delayed by an hour or so while the kids practise their new leg-spin techniques. 

Berkelouw Book Barn, Berrima

Maybe your kids aren’t budding engineers or sport superstars-in-the-making but bookworms. If this is the case, nothing will set their hearts and imaginations alight more than a stop at the Berkelouw Book Barn, on the gorgeous Bendooley Estate. Thousands—literally, thousands—of new, second hand, and rare books are kept in the barn, and with an enormous stone fireplace commanding the centre, it’s the ideal place to recharge whilst reading a few chapters. And for you adults? A chance to taste wines direct from the estate’s vineyard. The only trick is deciding who will drive the next leg.  

In the end, this is only a sample of the places you can visit on your way from Sydney to Kosciuszko. Some places only come to life in certain seasons, which gives them a certain blink-and-you’ll-miss-it prestige, while others are ready to entertain you year round. The best way to approach it, though, is to plan the trip with the whole family, so that you can chart a route that satisfies everyone. Now, start practising your Eye Spy! 

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