Fortune is found in Family

Riria Smeaton

Family Holiday Spot

Published : November 30, 2014 |


​One Stop Shop for a Family Holiday Spot!  

Recently at my Mothers Group, I noticed we all had something in common, other than children who's fingers are permanently up their noses. We all shared a love for Hamilton Island for family holidays.

​I'd just arrived home from a trip, one family was all booked to go, another dreaming about a journey there, another had happily been there in the past. It got me thinking, what makes for a great family holiday and why do we all agree on this location? Well, I can tell you my answer really easily, it's two things. Direct flight and loads of activities.

It's not rocket science, when it comes to taking a young family away we know it will be nuts, so don't complicate the matter. Pick a spot that's relatively quick and easy to access and keep those little mites busy as bees so they can flop into their sandy beds at night and you can hit the wall soon after.

Hamilton Island is a direct flight in from all major capitals, I book a morning flight in to make the most of the day and the reverse on the way home. I should warn you, check in can often be a nightmare in those capitals, so get there early and don't take anything onboard that could cause a security hassle. A plastic cricket bat recently caused a security meltdown for us, so I'm speaking from (hellish) experience.

​The joy of this region is that even if it's bad weather, what do I care? I'm still in thongs! I love the warmth of the islands, the fact you can swim year round and did I mention loads of activities? Yep, ok then. We hit the pool pronto, there are many to choose from across the island, I just grab whatever's closest. I also seem to take a 15 minute detour to the shops to buy floaties, bucket and spade or anything I may have forgotten. It's all there 'on island'.

We even get a basic food supply to take back to our room to keep the costs down. Once again, why complicate matters. There are great restaurants on the island, some offering discounted and even free rates for children. I will say, I do try to keep the sugar intake down, which I do normally, but apart from the odd ice cream treat, I don't want my children bouncing off the walls any more than they naturally do. Just saying...

​One food stop I always make is the Breakfast With the Koalas. I don't know if I love this more than my boys, but we adore it! It's always this kind of crazy bun fight with the buffet, but the staff don't seem to mind the fact that some kids stand on their chairs, or want to do laps around the tables whilst consuming their toast.

This is for the kids! All the while, you have koalas sound asleep in the display trees right next to you. For a fee, you can have your photo taken holding a koala, but the thrill for children is simply the activity. Following which you can head on into the zoo where the sight of a giant croc may terrify your toddler, a talking Cocky will delight them and a Cassowary will have them in awe for ages. Well this is my boys' response.

​A big selling point for me at Hamo is the safety aspect. I would never normally let a babysitter drive my children, but when it comes to an island with a 20km speed limit and everyone’s in a golf buggy...I approve. That said the babysitters are brilliant. So good you'll want to take them home, I've asked, they won't, but they're that good. It's just nice knowing that if you want to go out without your child, you have options. Between us, the spas on the island are divine and if you like a hot dress shop, ask to see the Boutique at Qualia...but I digress.

There are watersports aplenty, beaches, kids club, masses of organised activities, or just a perfect pool. I often think that the owners of the island, the Oatley family, have so many children between them, so many travels under their own belts, that they seem to find success by following the principle 'well what would I like?' A golf course, a world-class marina and a variation of accommodation are extra special treats.

You can rent a house on the island, stay in the whopping big main hotel or get a bunch of friends together and hire a Yacht Club villa. We've found success with the latter as it is so stress free and independent. But it's good to know you can choose from quite a few things. I also say with pride that Hamilton Island is a brilliant kick off point to the Whitsundays, loads of other wonderful family friendly islands, sailing holidays, and you can even turn your holiday into a drive one by bringing your car across from the mainland. I'm just whetting your appetite with this starting point. 

​I remember once standing in an airline check in queue in the South Pacific behind a little boy and his Mum. I overheard the Mum ask, quite loudly actually, 'so what do you prefer Fiji, Disneyland, or Bali?' To which the child responded 'I dunno, I just like the pool'. Point being, whilst your children are just that they really just want a happy environment and options to keep them busy. Don't worry, be happy.

Tips for a top family friendly holiday:

Easy access

Plan as much as you can

Don't pack too much

Thrown in your favourite travel size coffee, maybe some vegemite, or snacks to keep costs down.

A good pool is a major bonus

Ask about babysitters to give yourself some time out.

Activities, activities, activities.

Don't spend a bomb, your child just wants you to be happy.

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