Recently at my mothers group I noticed we all have something in common (other than children who’s fingers are permanently up their noses), we all share a love for family holidays at Hamilton Island!
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 and it comprises of two things – direct flights and loads of activities.
When it comes to taking a young family away on holiday we can guarantee nine times out of ten it will 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 to and 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 though, check in can often be a nightmare in those capitals, so get there early and don’t take anything on board that could cause security hassles – 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 the weather is average, what do I care? I’m still in thongs!
I love the warmth of the island, the fact you can swim year-round and did I mention loads of activities? We hit the pool, pronto! Then there are many things to choose from across the island – I just gravitate to whatever is closest. I also seem to take a 15 minute detour to the shops to buy floaties, buckets and spades, or anything I may have forgotten. It’s all there!
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 normally do anyway, 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 Breakfast With the Koalas at Wild Life Hamilton Island. I don’t know if I love this more than my boys?! But we adore it! It’s always this kind of crazy fun 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 anyway!
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 on your own, you have options. Between us, the spas on the island are divine and if you like a hot dress shop ask for directions to the boutique at Qualia Resort… but I digress.
The island offers water-sports aplenty, beautiful 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 and so many travels under their own belts that they seem to find success by following the principle ‘well, what would I like?’
As extra-special treats the island has a golf course, a world-class marina and a wide-variety of accommodation options.
You can rent a house, 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 nice 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 as well as loads of other wonderful family-friendly islands, sailing holidays, and you can even turn your holiday into a 4-wheel adventure by bringing your car across from the mainland. I’m just whetting your appetite with this gorgeous 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, your children really just want a happy environment and options to keep them busy. Don’t worry, be happy!
Tips for a top family friendly holiday:
Plan as much as you can
Don’t pack too much
Thrown in your favourite travel size coffee, maybe some vegemite and snacks to keep costs down
A good pool is a major bonus
Ask about babysitters to give yourself some time-out
Activities, activities, activities (and kids club)
Don’t spend a bomb, your child just wants you to be happy