Did you know there are Kids Clubs in Australia and that you don’t need to go to overseas or to a Club Med to get that resort style holiday with buffet breakfasts, kids clubs and nanny services?
Recently, I started thinking about what we would do for Christmas this year. With our family scattered along the East Coast of Australia we have 3 options:
1) Have Christmas with our own little families separately
2) One of us host Christmas and we all flock to their house
3) Rendezvous for a family Christmas Holiday
I decided to explore the latter this year. I investigated all sorts of accommodation ranging from Holiday Parks to 5 star hotels to cruises.
Catering for 6-8 adults & 3 kids for 11 nights over the Christmas & New Years Eve period, the key things that I was looking for were:
1) Kids Club
2) All-inclusive or at least buffet breakfast – preferably no cooking needed and restaurant/ food services available at hotel/ resort
3) Facilities/ Activities so we do not need to jump in our car to entertain ourselves
4) Space, so family and relatives can have down time from each other
Here are the 12 options that made it to the short list in QLD.
We all caught up at Seaworld a few years ago and had so much fun it was on our list to do again. Seaworld Resort is located on the Gold Coast less than an hour from Brisbane. What made this option enticing last time was Groupon offering an awesome deal with accommodation and bonus offers including free entry to theme parks & other discounts. It also has its own water park (Including a giant tipping bucket, slides and water jets) and kids club which is high on our list when we are looking for our accommodation.
Heading north from Brisbane is the Sunshine Coast and Novotel Twin Waters Resort. This Novotel also has its very own Kids Cove, offers buffet breakfast and has an amazing array of activities and facilities on offer (including outdoor pool and spa, kayaking, water sports, trampoline jump zone, putt putt golf, stand up paddle boarding, bike hire, and a Day Spa just to name a few). With luxury rooms and all the services you come to expect from 5 star accommodation, this is certainly one to consider!
Another Gold Coast favourite, we absolutely love going to Paradise Resort (check out my blog review here). It has one of the best kids clubs we have seen in our travels. Something for all kids aged between 0-12yrs, the children’s program is nothing short of amazing. Imagine sipping cocktails in the Adult Only section or having a delicious dinner for two while the kids ice-skate or hunt each other in laser shooting? With a variety of room options (including your standard hotel style room and venturing into kids paradise with rooms like the Junior Bunkhouse room with bunk beds, a children’s play desk, TV and XBox 360) there are options for everyone. There are also plenty of meal choices (cooking or eating out). Paradise Resort Gold Coast is definitely one to check out for your next family holiday.
Port Douglas is definitely a place for your bucket list. It is amazing and a tropical paradise with so much to offer. If you have a love for swimming pools, then you will be gob-smacked with 2 hectares (yes you read that correctly) of beautiful saltwater lagoon pools. Yes, being the Sheraton it is 5 star and therefore doesn’t come in the lower end of the budget, but if you are looking for a treat for both you and the kids, this is the place. Oh, and yes, there is a kids club, breakfast and choice of stunning rooms! You might just want to leave the swim up balcony rooms to the weekend away without the kids. 😉
Daydream Island is a tropical paradise located in the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef. The resort is well catered for families with a great kids club facility, eighteen hole mini golf course, open-air cinema, Daily Living Reef shark & stingray feeding show, Educational marine talks with the island’s marine biologists, day spa and loads of water sports activities. If you want to drive, it is approx. 12 hours from Brisbane and 8 hours from Cairns to Port of Arlie, Airlie Beach. From there it is a 30min catamaran to Daydream Island. Alternatively, you can fly. Last time we went we flew to Hamilton Island and enjoyed a 30 minute catamaran cruise to the Island.
Hamilton Island is not only part of the Whitsundays it is also in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. We loved our stay here and could have stayed longer; and with an array of different accommodation styles on the island it is easy to do so. There are also so many activities to do there such as scenic flights, lounging around the pool, water sports, dinghy or catamaran hire just to name a couple. Oh and did I mention there is a kids club on the island too. Just in case you are wondering yes, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Qantas do fly to Hamilton Island from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns.
Oaks Oasis, Caloundra is located an hour’s drive north of Brisbane or a 30 minute drive from the Sunshine Coast Airport. It has so much to offer guests of all ages. There is a water park, resort-style pool, climbing frame and giant Kangaroo Jumper, floodlit tennis court, 18 hole mini golf course and beach volleyball court its own restaurant and a variety of accommodation options from studio to 3bedroom villas just to name a few.
Kids club (during school holidays), its own bar and restaurant, loads of facilities and activities including a day spa, gym, heated pool, two heated water-slides, a splash park, playground floodlit tennis court, bicycle hire what is not to love. When it comes to accommodation there are many options from 1 bedroom apartments to 3 bedroom villas. The resort is 1.5 hours from Brisbane airport and 2.5 hours from the Gold Coast. Alternatively, you can fly to the Sunshine Coast Airport at Maroochydore and then drive south for 30 min to Noosa.
If you want to head to the Whitsundays but don’t want to go 5 star or trek across to an island, then this caravan park will do the trick as well. Located in Airlie Beach it is accessible by car so you can trek on up and have your wheels handy for day trips. Yes, you guessed it, they have a kids club and a resort atmosphere with heated pools, waterslides and even mini golf. Accommodation is varied and there is definitely something for all budgets and preferences.
Cairns is a beautiful place for the family, it is quiet, warm and it has awesome swimming lagoons on the Cairns Esplanade. Big 4 Holiday Park may be a cheaper option than the others but no means skimping on facilities. Sadly, this one does not have a kids club, but there is plenty for the kids to do, a variety of accommodation options including a kitchenette or fully self-contained kitchen and activities and facilities to keep you all happy and entertained such as The Crystal Cascades Waterfalls which are close by. The park itself has a salt water pool and spa, playground and tennis courts in addition to board games, dvds and free wifi.
The Coconut resort has so much to offer including a splash water park, two giant jumping pillows, two resort pools (one heated), 18 hole mini golf, outdoor movies, tennis court, a huge adventure playground, indoor all-weather playground. There are also many types of accommodation on offer ranging from camping sites to cabins. Although it doesn’t have a kids club it does however have babysitting services as another option.
There are a few cruise companies that depart from Brisbane but for a family fun cruise with waterslides, kids club entertainment & shows P&O cruises was our choice. They have meals included in the overall price and offer drink packages to suit everyone’s thirst quenching needs. There are also many different types of accomodation to suit everyones budget and they cater for both domestic or international travel.
Sadly, I was 1 week too pregnant for our cruise of choice this Christmas. The ruling is that you must not have entered your 24th week of pregnancy (eg 23 weeks & 6 days) at any point during the cruise. I would have been 24 weeks and 6 days when we were to disembark the cruise which not only meant I could not book the cruise but also that when I looked into it most travel insurance companies like Covermore would not cover me even if I did attempt to get on the cruise as they have the same cut off point for pregnant travel.
So, there you have it 12 options definitely worth considering for a family fun holiday in Queensland. Let me know if there is anything you think should be on the list!
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