Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The first stop on our Lockdown Adventure is Queensland, Australia, where we’ll be exploring the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef. Spanning an area about the size of Germany, the Great Barrier Reef is so big that it is visible from space!

The water is beautifully warm and clear, allowing snorklers fantastic views of more than 400 types of coral in the area. About half of the Reef’s coral has sadly lost its colouring to climate change and environmental pollution. Still, it is home to an astounding 1,500 marine species including clown fish, parrot fish, dugongs, reef sharks and sea turtles in the inner reef, and larger whale sharks, minke whales, potato cod and manta rays in the outer reef, where depths drop to more than 2,000 metres below sea level.

Queensland has a tropical climate; the temperature will be around 28 Celsius around this time of year, so board shorts and sun dresses are in order! For food, we’ve planned a beach resort-type menu of fresh melons, mocktails, and a seafood barbecue. Yum!

Setting the scene

We’ve coloured in pictures of coral, turtles, fish and other marine life in preparation for our trip. On the night before our adventure, I’ll stick these pictures to our windows and hang blue streamers in doorways to reinforce the idea of a beach holiday when the boys get up for the day.

You can’t get on a plane without boarding passes. There are several editable templates available online; we’ve downloaded and printed ours from here. The boys will also have cabin bags packed with their usual travel toys, coloured pencils, water bottles and outfits for the day.

We’ll have coral reef aquarium footage (12 hour collection on YouTube) running on the TV throughout the day.

Itinerary

We’ll be flying into Cairns in Far North Queensland. After a super quick, early morning flight, we’re having a hotel-style buffet breakfast, complete with a melon platter and watery scrambled eggs.

My boys are into mazes, so I’ll have them navigate from Cairns Airport to the Cairns Marlin Marina on a printed map. We might also check out the UNESCO World Heritage Convention’s videos of the Great Barrier Reef here.

Then we’re off to (create a diorama of) the Great Barrier Reef, using a small cardboard box, a whole lot of blue paint, and miscellaneous crafty items like pipecleaners, beads, small rocks, play-doh, pasta and pictures of sea creatures that are printed and cut out.

Next it’s time to hang out on the beach by playing with some kinetic sand, having a water fight, or having a bath. We might play a game of “Fish, Fish, Shark” (a variant of Duck, Duck, Goose). Lunch will be a simple picnic of sandwiches, meat pies and sausage rolls. And, uh, mocktails. This is a tropical holiday after all!

We’ll have some quiet time after lunch with one of the Finding Nemo movies, and/or a family board game. We’ll leave some time for activity sheets and journaling before dinner … we could brush up on our Aussie slang if the mood’s right. (Experts may choose to take the Aussie Slang Quiz instead!)

Dinner will be a barbecued surf and turf with a pavlova to finish. Ripper!

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