Wanderings

Airlie Beach

The past few years have seen us spend our annual family holiday somewhere in Queensland. Last year was Port Douglas, the year before the Gold Coast, and this year was Airlie Beach. Yes, we love the warm weather and beaches up in Queensland that’s for sure! When planning a holiday I always do my research and ask for recommendations. I read blogs (just like this one) to find the best family friendly places to go and stay. So, after getting back from our holiday in Airlie Beach last week I thought I would do a little wrap up here in case you might decide you’d like to go there too!

Airlie Beach is on the mainland of Australia, about half way between the Sunshine Coast and Cairns and is the perfect base to explore the Whitsunday Islands. For us, it was 3 hour direct flight from Melbourne and a perfect 29-31 degrees and sunny every day.

Where we stayed

We stayed at the BIG 4 Adventure Whitsunday which is about a 3 minute drive from the Airlie Beach town centre and if you’re looking for a family friendly option I honestly can’t recommend this place enough. You could quite easily spend your whole holiday here and be happy not to leave the grounds; in fact we literally had to drag our son away anytime we wanted to go and explore!

We stayed in a cabin which was equipped with everything we needed including a full kitchen, loungeroom and spa bath. The park itself has so many things to do including a pool, brand new mega waterpark (with 13 slides), an animal farm, mini golf, basketball and volleyball courts, playground, go kart bikes and scooters and more. Every day there was a bunch of activities happening for the kids from scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, and outdoor movies.

What we did

Apart from spending a lot of time at the Big 4 we also had a few days out and about. At the very top of our list when planning this holiday was a trip to Hamilton Island. Cruise Whitsundays offers the perfect Hamilton Island Family Day package (along with endless other options to explore the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef) which includes a return trip to the island aboard the Cruise Whitsunday vessel, entry to the wildlife park, fish n chip lunch, a game of ten pin bowling and limitless use of the island shuttle bus and pools.

I’m going to be honest and say I was a little anxious about doing the trip; worried I might get sea sick, but I needn’t have worried. The Cruise Whitsunday vessel is huge and the water was calm so I didn’t feel even a bump. We fell in love with Hamilton Island. Even though we had free access to the island shuttle bus (which takes you everywhere) we decided to treat ourselves and hire a golf buggy for the day; this is definitely the way best way to get around the island. Hamilton Island is just beautiful, the beach water is crystal clear and warm, and there is lots of things to do. The boys even gave the go kart track a go.

Apart from our day trip to Hamilton Island, we also took a drive to Cedar Creek Falls (about 20mins from Airlie Beach) for a swim. It’s a beautiful spot that is super easy to get to. We checked out the Airlie Beach foreshore market (held every Saturday morning) and the lagoon. Because of stingers, swimming at Airlie Beach isn’t recommend so they’ve created an awesome man made lagoon swimming pool on the foreshore that’s perfect for families.

At the end of day it was always back to the Big 4 for a swim and some fun on the waterslides.

Have you ever been to Airlie Beach? What did you think? Any must do’s to add to the list?

Disclaimer: We were provided with a special media discount rate with Cruise Whitsundays for the Hamilton Island Family Day. The review provided above is completely my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Living and Loving Lately

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It’s been a bit of a crappy week in our household; one by one we’ve been struck down by the dreaded gastro. So not fun. And it’s been raining here, a lot (hello Melbourne it’s meant to be Spring!) After days of being cooped up inside watching TV, reading books and sleeping (amongst all the vomiting and cleaning up of said vomit) I decided to cheer myself up by making a bit of a list of all the awesome stuff I’ve been doing and things I’ve been loving lately. Here we go:

Reading: The only upside to all of the recent rainy days we’ve had in Melbourne? Lots of time for reading. I’ve read Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It; a quick, easy and inspiring read and Craft for the Soul; a super sweet book. Also The Wrong Girl which was total chick lit at it’s finest. I can’t wait until the TV series starts this month. Next up on my bedside table is The Anxiety Book…anyone read that?

Workshopping: I’ve been wanting to do a Digital Picnic workshop for a long time (ever since they started really). So last month I finally booked in and took myself off to the Get Social Savvy workshops. After following both Cherie and Cat online for many years it was so nice to finally meet them in real life. We talked all things social media, ate cupcakes and drank from pineapple cups…fun!

Staycation: Hubby, the lil man and I had ourselves a little staycation in Melbourne to celebrate fathers day and hubby’s birthday. I picked up a Groupon and we stayed at The Parkiew which was the perfect little base for both exploring the city and staying indoors. We spoilt ourselves with the movie channel and room service. It was so much fun. We’re going to do it more often!

Podcasts: Always the podcasts. I listen to them when I’m walking, driving and cooking dinner. Current faves include #MerryBiz, Aussie Bloggers Podcast, The Well and So you want to be a writer

DIY: In case you missed it, earlier this week I shared a little DIY project I recently did (you can check it out here). I’m somewhat in love and have many more DIY projects planned for the near future so stay tuned!

Friends: Seriously I have the best friends in the world, it’s true. To every friend who has called or messaged and checked in on me lately (you know who you are) thank you, it means a lot.

But above all, after making this hard decision recently I’ve just been enjoying taking it slow; reading, writing, spending time with my family and my friends. We’ve had a couple of days where the sunshine came out and it was wonderful (more of that please Melbourne!) And of course school/kinder holidays have officially started for us so I’m looking forward to spending even more time with my boy.

Tell me, what have you been loving lately? Share all the good things!

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Port Douglas for Families

Two weeks ago we headed off on a week long family holiday. I’ve finally found the time to sit down and tell you all about it!

Where did we go?

Port Douglas; it’s a beautiful beach side town situated in Far North Queensland (FNQ), about a 45 minute drive from Cairns airport.

Port Douglas, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Where did we stay?

We stayed at the Reef Rendezvous which is a couple of minutes drive from the centre of town. We picked up an awesome deal on Groupon which included 6 nights in a deluxe two bedroom villa, buffet breakfast every day plus a few other extras for under $900. We were really happy with our stay. The apartment was neat with all new furnishings and everything we needed (including a kitchen). One of the pools (there are three at the resort) was right outside our back door, which was very handy. The staff were friendly and helpful, breakfast was delicious (with plenty of variety) and overall is was just a really nice place to stay.

Reef Rendevous Port Douglas, www.sarahdipity.com.au

What did we do?

Port Douglas is the type of place where you can do as little or as much as you want. You can spend your days relaxing by the pool or at the beach or head out for some adventure. We did a mix of both and managed to pack quite a lot in.

Day 1:

One simply cannot go to FNQ without seeing a crocodile, so on day one we headed to a place we were guaranteed to see some; Hartleys Crocodile Park. We took a tour of the crocodile farm, went on a river cruise (where we spotted loads of crocodiles), watched the crocodiles getting fed and then fed a few ourselves (yep!). It was lots of fun and the lil man was in his element!

Hartleys Crocodile Park, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Later than afternoon we met up with Rob from Port Douglas Weddings for a family photo shoot (my birthday present from the boys this year). Rob was great. We went to a few different locations and he gave us some helpful tips for our stay (places to eat, where not to swim etc). We’re so happy with the photos, here’s just a couple of my faves:

Port Douglas Weddings, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Port Douglas Weddings, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Day 2:

We spent the morning at Mossman Gorge (less than 15 minutes from Port Douglas) exploring the Daintree Rainforest. It was simply beautiful. From the discovery centre you take a short 2 minute bus ride to the walking tracks and Mossman Gorge itself. Unfortunately we couldn’t swim in the gorge that day due to the heavy rain overnight but it was still amazing.

Mossman Gorge, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Mossman Gorge, www.sarahdipity.com.au

In the afternoon the boys played a round of golf at Palmers Sea Reef course in Port Douglas. Future pro golfer right here…

Palmers Golf Course Port Douglas, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Day 3:

We headed into Cairns for the day for a bit of shopping, lunch and a swim at the esplanade. The boys had a go on the Go Kart track and my brother in law was staying in town for work so it was a great chance to catch up with him too.

Cairns Go Karts, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Cairns, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Day 4:

My favourite day of the whole holiday! We took a ride on the Cairns Sky Rail and Kurunda Scenic Railway. I’ll admit, before climbing aboard the Sky Rail I was shit scared. The Skyrail travels high up in the mountains above the rainforest; you’re literally floating amongst the clouds.  I’m claustrophobic and afraid of heights (quite a combo). But honestly? Once we were moving my fear was totally gone as I was distracted by the breathtaking views. Photos just don’t do it justice. The whole trip takes about 90 minutes allowing for two stops and a wander around at each.

Skyrail Cairns, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Skyrail Cairns, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Cairns Skyrail, www.sarahdipity.com.au

The Skyrail is a one of a kind experience and seriously a must do if you’re in the area. And if the weather is bad, don’t let that deter you. It was raining the day we went and it only made the rainforest more lush and beautiful.

At the end of the line, nestled amongst the mountains, you find yourself in the town of Kuranda. We spent the whole day there; there’s heaps to do. We went to the Butterfly Sanctuary where we found ourselves surrounded by beautiful butterflies…

Butterfly Sanctuary Kuranda, www.sarahdipity.com.au

And Koala Gardens where we snuggled a koala…

koala gardens, www.sarahdipity.com.au

And Birdworld where we got to meet and feed some truly colourful birds…

Kuranda Bird world, www.sarahdipity.com.au

We also spent some time wandering around the markets that Kuranda is famous for. We then climbed aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway for the ride back to Cairns. You spend about 90 minutes travelling through some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen…

kuranda scenic railway, www.sarahdipity.com.au

kuranda scenic railway, www.sarahdipity.com.au

(Please note: I travelled as a guest of Sky Rail and the Scenic Railway, the boys received discounted fares. We were also gifted family passes to the butterfly sanctuary, koala sanctuary and bird world. I was under no obligation to write this post and all opinions and words above are my own.)

Day 5:

For our last full day in Port Douglas we hired some bikes and cruised around town. The lil man was very happy that we hired a tagalong which meant he didn’t need to peddle and hubby had to do all the work!

Port Douglas Bike Hire, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Amongst all of that everyday we managed to enjoy lots of swimming in the pool and relaxing at our villa.

The verdict

We loved it! Port Douglas and the surrounding area is an absolutely beautiful place. It’s family friendly, affordable, warm, and offers loads to do.

Helpful Tips

  • Keep your eye out for accommodation deals on sites like Groupon, Scoopon and Last Minute. It’s also a lot cheaper to travel during the wet season like we did. We were a bit unsure about doing this at first but honestly it mostly rained at night and was still hot everyday.
  • Leave your hair dryer and straightner at home ladies, the weather is humid which equals frizzy hair. Just embrace it!
  • Check out the Adventure Mumma website for absolutely everything you need to know about travelling to FNQ. I stalked Kate’s blog and instagram account for weeks before our holiday (and while we were there) for ideas on what to see and do. She also recommended our fantastic family photographer Rob.
  • Make sure you read the signs and get informed about where you can and cannot swim. There are crocodiles and stingers in many spots!

So there you have it; a wrap up of our amazing family holiday in Port Douglas.

Have you ever been there? What did you think? And if you’ve never been, have I now inspired you to go?

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Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying, www.sarahdipity.com.auLike so many people I have a fear of flying. Aeroplanes, helicopters…not my thing. I get super nervous when I have to get on an aeroplane and have not done managed a flight without medication for years. When I was a teenager we went to America and the long flight didn’t bother me. Back then 20 hours on a plane simply meant endless movies, food and game boy time. Ah to be young again. But now I’m older and I know better (more) and flying on a plane means potential death (not to be dramatic or anything). It makes me seriously anxious. Not only am I afraid of crashing but I just don’t like being stuck in a confined space that I can’t just simply get up and walk out of if I need some fresh air.

But, I refuse to let the fear hold me back. I refuse to be one of those people who never goes anywhere because they’re scared of flying. It’s also really important to me that my son grows up travelling and exploring , so at the end of the day, I suck it up for him.

Next weekend we’ll be flying to Port Douglas for a family holiday and I’m already feeling anxious about the plane trip. In the past I’ve found the best way to deal with it is to just try and distract myself (having four year old to entertain will certainly help with that!) But I’d love to know if anyone has any other tips? If you’re afraid of flying what do you do that helps? Or if you’re not afraid of flying tell me how you do it! How do you manage to enjoy it?

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