You’ve had them home all through lockdown. So the last thing on your mind is a road trip with the kids. But wait! Is that a Big Red Car I see coming over the horizon?
The Wiggles are coming to the rescue of tens of thousands of Aussie parents this year with the ultimate wiggly road trip to some of Australia’s tourist hot spots.
Of course, it’s a journey like no other. It celebrates 30 years in the Big Red Car, so Anthony, Simon, Lachy and Emma mapped out their journey before their 2022 tour starts.
The best part is that you can take the kids and follow in their footsteps, stopping to see Australia’s native animals and sacred Indigenous sites.
Their new book, The Great Australian Wiggly Road Trip, showcases some of Australia’s most beloved sites including Mars-like Coober Pedy in South Australia, the lush Daintree Rainforest in Queensland and Taronga Zoo in New South Wales.
Anthony Field (the Blue Wiggle), Emma Watkins (the Yellow Wiggle), Lachlan Gillespie (the Purple Wiggle), and Simon Pryce (the Red Wiggle) have headed out in the Big Red Car and on board the Big Red Jet and Big Red Helicopter on an unforgettable journey to their favourite places. And they have provided tips and tricks for travelling with the kids.
Here are some of their favourite places in Australia…
Australian Capital Territory
In our nation’s capital, The Wiggles head to the National Zoo and Aquarium which is home to native and exotic animals. From lions and tigers and bears to giraffes and penguins and monkeys, the zoo also features the largest inland saltwater tank in Australia. You can even pat a cheetah, feed a bear or become acquainted with a meerkat during some of the most amazing hands-on animal experiences in Australia.
But Dorothy the Dinosaur’s favourite place in Canberra is the National Dinosaur Museum, which has huge replica dinosaurs. The museum has a special Dinosaurs At Night tour where the guides will take visitors on a torchlit exploration through the gallery.
New South Wales
Taronga Zoo, set along Sydney Harbour, has sweeping views of the city and is one of the stops along the Wiggly Road Trip. The zoo is home to a family of Asian elephants, African giraffes as well as meerkats. And just this month, the zoo has welcomed a litter of five African lion cubs to the family.
Heading further inland, Emma’s favourite place to see wildlife is in the magnificent Blue Mountains. “We seem to see kangaroos and wallabies every time we visit the Blue Mountains – they are usually quite shy and appear in the early morning or late afternoon,” she told Explore.
“Even though some animals might look shy and calm it is important to remember not to approach them because if they do get scared, they can react in an unpredictable manner that might be dangerous to yourself or others. Best to enjoy the moment from some distance, through binoculars, take a photo or just watch the animals roam by.”
But Emma’s favourite place in Australia is her hometown of Albury.
“I love to visit Albury because my nanna and my extended family used to live there. Albury has so many beautiful memories for me – the Murray River, Frog Hollow and the fairy shop (now closed), yummy gelato, the weir and the botanic gardens.”
The Wiggles jump in the Big Red Helicopter to take a scenic tour over Kakadu National Park, which is home to over 10,000 crocodiles. Covering almost 20,000 square kilometres, the wetlands, rivers, and sandstone escarpments is where visitors will also find flatback turtles and an array of birds, as well as Indigenous rock paintings dating to prehistoric times.
Anthony, Emma, Lachy and Simon also head to the Red Centre to visit the sacred site of Uluru. It’s a place rich with history and it’s worth touring the area with the Elders of the land. And it’s a favourite for both Anthony and Lachy to take the kids.
“Uluru has everything. The heart of Australia, natural beauty and so much history,” Anthony told Explore.
“There is so much for the children to do, there are walks to do (Uluru base walk) watch the sunset and sunrise from viewing areas. Relax by the pool when you get back to hotel. Visit the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre.”
Along the trail, The Wiggles also visit two UNESCO-protected regions in the Sunshine State – the Daintree Forest nestled north of Mossman and Cairns, and the Great Barrier Reef.
Starting in the Daintree, the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, is where The Wiggles spot the famous Daintree River Ringtail Possum.
Here, visitors can also go out in search of the forests’ prehistoric residents – the saltwater croc. On a crocodile cruise, you can get an up-close view of these giants which grow up to five metres.
Or perhaps if these snappy creatures might give you a fright, head out on a tour with Adventure North Australia. The Kuku Yalanji people have used the rainforest as their supermarket for tens of thousands of years and the locals will teach you how to spear mud crabs and gather bush tucker.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to diverse marine life and vivid colours. The area is a favourite of Henry the Octopus as that’s where many of his friends live. Whether you’re looking at a luxury getaway or you’re on a budget, there are plenty of opportunities to see the reef’s spectacular marine life.
In South Australia, The Wiggles spend the day looking for opals in Coober Pedy in the state’s Outback.
Anthony, Emma, Lachy and Simon spend the night in the underground town which boasts a sun-baked lunar landscape and fascinating mining history. Descend beneath the surface and discover a labyrinth of underground houses, hotels and even shops.
But it’s worth popping your head above ground for the sunset as you’ll see the outback town change colour.
For Lachy, the driving the Nullarbor Plain has been a highlight of his touring days with The Wiggles.
“Definitely one of my favourite driving experiences would be the Nullarbor. From herds of cattle crossing the roads and having to stop and wait for them, to seeing goats on the Nullarbor, eating so close to the road but seemingly unfazed but passing traffic,” he told Explore.
“However, one of the more daunting night drives we did on one particular stretch of road was literally covered with kangaroos. They were jumping out of everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Standing in the middle of the pitch-black roads, jumping across the roads. Always be on alert that something could dart out at any point and be respectful of the beautiful wildlife that Australia has.”
The Apple Isle is known for its beautiful mountain ranges and lakes, and The Wiggles visit several spots in Tasmania.
Mount Wellington is just a 20-minute drive from Hobart’s city centre. Visitors can either drive to the summit or hike a 21-kilometre track through temperate rainforests, walk past sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations. At the top, you’ll get panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula.
The gang also head to Launceston before hiking the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Anthony and Emma, who have visited Tasmania before, share some of their secret places.
“I really love Tasmania,” said Anthony.
“The Cataract Gorge has to be our best kept secret. It’s so beautiful and rich in scenery and so close to the main centre of Launceston, walking around the gorge is a delight for people of all ages.”
On The Wiggles’ epic roadtrip they drive along the picturesque Great Ocean Road in Victoria and the foursome have commandeered the Big Red Car for the journey. They suggest heading to the Twelve Apostles and get a glimpse of the adorable fairy penguins.
There are plenty of nature-based activities on this route including paddling with the platypus. Spot these semi-aquatic mammals with Otway Eco Tours in the enchanting Lake Elizabeth, which also happens to be home to some sleepy koalas. Or perhaps swim with dolphins and seals in the blue-green waters of Port Phillip Bay. And on these tours, you might spot the Australasian gannet, the country’s largest diving seabird.
Emma also loves the Grampians which is known for its sandstone mountains. The region is a spiritual place for First Nations People, especially the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people, who have kept their sacred stories alive in the form of Aboriginal rock art. There are five sites to discover when you visit.
One of Emma’s favourite animals is the adorable quokka, which are known for taking fabulous selfies.
“I do love the quokka! Such a small wallaby with very cute fur – and that smile,” said Emma.
Just a short and fun ferry ride from Perth in Western Australia is Rottnest Island, or Wadjemup as it’s known to the traditional owners, the Noongar people.
Rottnest is home to these furry friends and the family can take a guided tour of the island with the elders that includes a traditional sand ceremony.
The Wiggles also head to the mysterious Bungle Bungle Range, rising 300 metres above the grass-covered plains. The orange and black sandstone domes is located within Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley region and is where you’ll encounter 130 bird species as well as the nailtail wallaby and the short-eared rock wallaby.