For those of you who have little people and haven't discovered the wonders of the baby backpack, I highly recommend it. It means your mini me can come along on adventures like traditional wilderness babes in their papooses, but without the back ache for the big people.
My sister and I took the youngest trouble-maker/ heart-breaker to Belair for his first proper hike. Trussed up like us in his bush waking gear and stashed in the back pack which also held our water and snacks, he had a fine old time.
We chose Echo Track for its easy walking paths, its end location and of course for the slightly spooky trip through Echo Tunnel which is a winner for young adventurers. No need to pay entrance into the park for this track so it's an affordable way to entertain the whole family.
If you set out in the am you are sure to encounter lots of birds creating a raucous distraction so full of colour and noise that it never gets boring no matter how many times you see it.
It's a great way to get exercise, be out in nature and give little ones some new 'firsts'. As we travelled along he sagaciously pointed out to us, rock, tree, bird, becoming a good learning experience for him and reconnecting us with simple wonders.
Echo Tunnel is a sensory experience and while it's always very dark as you head towards the light at the other end, you can overcome young fears by singing their favourite songs or testing the echo power of their favourite nonsense words. Our little companion opted for shouting 'Ninja' and encouraging us to sing, 'We all know frogs go, La di da di da'.
Walkers emerge from the tunnel into slightly more lush, if European, vegetation and it's a short uphill from there to the lower waterfall. This has long been a favoured resting spot for Belair hikers and new improvements to the track and viewing platform make it safer for toddlers.
The view is well worth the walk and if you haven't run out of steam you can continue to the upper waterfall. We stopped for a snack, (banana of course) and enjoyed the view while spotting birds, planes and trains, all of equal interest to little boys.
My partner and I took his daughters to this path yesterday, because I had read this article and thought that the path sounded lovely. Much of the path was indeed lovely (minus lots of mud, from previous days' rains), but I must say that the Tunnel really was more like a drainpipe. The ceiling of the Tunnel was so low that even a 7-year old could not stand up inside, not to mention that it was pitch dark and flooded. I would consider the Tunnel to be unsafe, and I advise others not to attempt to traverse it. For us, that meant not seeing the waterfalls, and turning back, to go to the car. I would possibly return to Belair National Park, for another walk, in future, but would avoid the Tunnel.
Belair National Park is nice even for bigger boys, like me (61 years old). I found the tunnel by accident, as my destination was the waterfalls but I came in from the Sheoak Ave. side of the park.
I agree with you that kid-toting backpacks are the way to go. We used them in the Lake Tahoe area of the US. Can share the hiking experience with kids even though they can't walk quite as far as the big kids can.
Another good motivator is to get into Geocaching. We did that when our kids were younger and it was great to have a target either along the way or at the end of the hike. Still go geocaching and they are now late-teens/early 20s.