On our recent holiday, my little guy (8) said: ‘Mum, Why don’t you like having any fun?’ Horrified, I replied: ‘WTF!’ No – really, I replied: ‘Of course I love having fun, mate …. why do you say that?’. He replied: ‘Because you never go into the water’.
This opened a floodgate of thoughts for me. The honest responses were: ‘I dont want to get my hair wet – I paid $40 for this blow wave’. ‘I don’t want to take my maxi skirt off because I didn’t get a spray tan and I don’t like the way my legs look’. ‘I don’t like the way the salt water leaves you all crusty as you are drying off’. Isn’t it funny how kids can give you a SMACKDOWN reality check? I remembered something my mother told me once about what she loved so much about being a grandma: ‘the kids don’t care what you look like in your swimmers, they don’t care what you sound like when you are singing’. So what did I do? I whipped off my maxi skirt (yes I had my swimmers underneath!), tied my hair into a bun and ran into the waves with him. His response? ‘There goes mum! Running for the first time ever!’ LOL!
5 Ways to a Memorable Beach Holiday:
We decided to bite the bullet and book an apartment on the Gold Coast for the September school holidays. At the time my husband and I were making the decision we were to-ing and fro-ing about the pros and cons. (The kids are girl: 11 and boy: 8)
- UGH it will be busy, exhausting, crowded. (AND we will be creating precious memories!)
- It will be expensive. (AND we very rarely ‘take a holiday’ so we deserve it)
- The theme parks. (The theme parks)
I did my extreme-googling and presented the Mr. with a spreadsheet laying out all the options and highlighting a recommendation (the way to my husbands heart is through a well researched spreadsheet, this I have learned!)
We knew we wanted to ‘experience’ the theme parks and we got access to a $250 unlimited entry 1yr pass to MovieWorld, Wet ‘n Wild and SeaWorld for 4 (This was a special deal available through the Entertainment Book and you had to grab it by Sept 1).
VIP note (very important parenting note) :: Wet ‘n Wild was our least favourite of the Worlds. It really felt like they had let in about 300 people too many. I mean, clearly it is not my thing – I would never, IN A MILLION YEARS choose to spend 6 hours standing in lines with sweaty, hungry, thirsty, frustrated strangers wearing practically underwear, ya know? Dad waited almost 1 hour for the black enclosed water slide ride. I had called a day earlier and paid an extra $90 to book a ‘private cabana’ area which was like a little picnic space with 2 lounges, 2 chairs and a table which we could retreat to. I don’t think we’d have stayed more than an hour if we hadn’t done this although there was nothing ‘private’ about it, as the lines for nearby rides were snaking around the entire cabana….. I did have a little internal gloat at the hard stares we were getting from people in the lines… I couldn’t help it!
How did we get around the GC? Well, we knew we had to have a car so we could explore various parts of the Gold Coast including driving to and from the ‘worlds’. We decided to pay a little extra and take the opportunity to delight the kids with a convertible (every time we pass one in the traffic ‘look! look! that car HAS NO ROOF! when I get bigger I am GETTING a car with no roof!)
1: Get a cool car! We were very happy with Gold Coast Family Car Rentals.
We knew we wanted an apartment with a kitchen so we could make our own meals half of the time. Luckily for us, I’m a conference speaker and most of my bookings are on the Gold Coast (everyone wants to conference on the GC!) so I had just become aware of the absolute PERFECT location – Air on Broadbeach directly opposite the Kurrawa Surf Club (great for huge counter-style pub meals). Broadbeach is a little less hectic than Surfers Paradise. A little less touristy, a little calmer, quieter, just LESS.
2: Get accommodation with a kitchen!
The last time we went to Queensland for a holiday, we went to Noosa and found the sun to be so extreme, so EARLY that we went to the nearest newsagent on the 2nd day and purchased a ton of black cardboard and masking tape and taped up all the windows so the kids would sleep until 7:30am instead of popping up like robots at the crack of ultra-sun at 5:45am.
This time we purchased sleep masks and told them we were all going to be like celebrities in the morning and wear them to get an extra hour sleep or so. YUH – you KNOW that didn’t work.
We decided to throw ourselves into the early-rising and pop over the road to the beach each morning around 6:30am for a couple of hours, then back to the room for breakfast and a shower before heading out to explore a ‘world’ or other tourist attraction…
3: Give in to the early rising, and go to bed earlier too.
All the hotels have brochures for all of the ‘things to do’ – grab them all and trawl through them… let each member of the family choose something for everyone to do. From this, we put on our list: Quack-r-duck (a bus which drives directly off the road and into the water and back out again over an hour); Whale Watching; Currumbin Valley; Byron Bay (where we happened upon the Butler St reserve Sunday market which was PERFECT for lovely wholesome food and poking around local craft stalls; Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium.
4: Be a tourist. Just do it!
Most mornings we had breakfast in the room and a cheap lunch when out and about, so most evenings we were able to justify a restaurant meal. The key here was to choose a restaurant with outside tables so our Mr.8 could come and go from the table and run around/play in the outdoor mall where we could see him. Win:Win!
A couple of nights we were all extremely ratty at the end of the day, so Dad would just take himself off to the pub downstairs for a couple of beers and a parma. On the last day, I took a half day for facial, massage, shopping and quiet time. BLISS!
5: Make sure the adults can escape.
ps: All of these photos were taken by me, on my iPhone 4s!
pps: Nothing in this post is sponsored… it was all paid for by us.