Your free what's on guide to the top end

Growing Up Troppo – February

Reviews, tips and advice for travelling the world with kids.

By Libby Larsen.

What’s on Your Travel Bucket List for 2018? One of the things I love about the beginning of a new year is planning and dreaming about where to go for the holidays. 

With Darwin being so close to Asia, there are heaps of exciting options a mere hop, skip and jump away – and at the top of my 2018 travel bucket list is Atauro Island off Timor-Leste.

The island is about an hour boat ride from Timor-Leste’s capital, Dili, or you can fly there if you prefer. The 25 kilometre long and 9 kilometre wide island is home to a spectacular mountainous spine and narrow coastal plains. Approximately 9,000 people live on the island, mostly subsistence fishermen and farmers.  

Timor-Leste isn't on everyone’s radar as a family-friendly destination. Being a mere hour and a half flight from Darwin, Timor-Leste is even closer than Bali – and it seems that more and more Darwin friends are heading there. Sure, it’s not for everyone. Tourism is in its infancy and infrastructure and services are basic outside of Dili compared to the likes of Bali.

But, if a laid-back island getaway, rustic eco huts, world class snorkelling and diving – without the hordes of tourists – sounds enticing you should check out Atauro Island. There’s heaps to keep the kids entertained – swimming, fishing, boat trips, spotting dolphins and whales if you are lucky or taking a tour in a local tuk-tuk. There are also various festivals each year and opportunities to visit arts and crafts cooperatives. But if that all seems too much you can simply laze beachside in a hammock. 

There are various low-key, simple places to stay. Perhaps the most well-known is Barry’s Place which has a range of basic beach huts of varying sizes. The entire place is designed based on permaculture principles, using locally sourced building materials and traditional construction techniques. By all accounts it’s a friendly place to stay, and kids are warmly welcomed with open arms. 

Don’t expect all the mod cons on Atauro Island, but if you’re looking for somewhere unique where your kids will get an insight into local Timorese culture, Atauro Island could be just the place you are after. A holiday there will certainly be an experience your kids will never forget.

Travel is, and has always been, Libby’s passion and she believes that this shouldn’t stop when you have kids. Libby knows that the best travel advice and tips come from other parents and so she started Growing up Troppo. It has loads of inspiration about hip places to stay, play and eat with kids that importantly parents love too. 

FOLLOW | @growingup troppo

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