Back in October the Bloom family headed to Hamilton Island - the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays (a great name for a band by the way) and the only island on the Great Barrier Reef with its own commercial airport (so you can fly right on in). Greg, Dina, Chloe and Ellie have invited us into their family holiday to tell us a bit about Hamilton with a few travel tips along the way. Enjoy!
Why did you decide to go to Hamilton Island?
We’d heard it was a great family holiday spot and loved the fact that we could fly in and out of the island itself without having to transit!
Do you have any ‘special’ items that you pack when you travel that make your life easier? Tell us your secret travel ingredients!
Reusable swimming nappies really helps cut down the amount of nappies you have to pack when travelling with toddlers to swimming destinations. Also I make sure to pack snacks from home even if just for the first couple of days… it’s safer than the stress of trying to find a supermarket or convenience store as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Tell me about your flight or drive? What were the challenges? Did you have any tricks up your sleeve to conquer these?
The flight to Hamilton is about 2.5 hours. The girls are very energetic and active - and aren’t really into sitting still - so we have to be very prepared for flights to make them bearable! One of the best activities I have found for the plane is to give them an exercise book each and lots of sheets of stickers. When they’re bored with that I bring out the post-its and let them go wild! It’s a bit of a mess to clean up after, but worth it. And of course lots of snacks!!
What ‘special considerations’ do you have to make when travelling with twins?
Just double everything – clothes, nappies, wipes, snacks, toys – the lot!
Where did you stay? Why did you choose it? Tell me about why it’s good for the family – both your kids and yourselves.
We stayed at the Whitsunday Holiday Apartments. We had friends with kids who had stayed there and recommended it. We had a really large 1 bedroom apartment which worked well as we could put the kids to sleep in the bedroom, and then just move them out to the living room when we were ready for bed. It was also nice having a kitchen as the kids were up quite early so we could give them brekky when they woke up and that meant we could take our time to get out for breakfast.
Did you do any sightseeing? What attractions did you visit?
One afternoon we left the kids with my husband’s parents (who came on holiday with us) and my husband and I went up to One Tree Hill which is at the very top of the island. There is a gorgeous bar there and you look out to the most stunning vista drinking cocktails as the sun sets. It was really breathtaking!
There’s a Wildlife park which we intended to visit and the kids would have loved, but didn’t end up getting around to it.
What activities did the kids love while you were away?
The beach on the island is brilliant for kids… it’s really shallow and flat for about a kilometre out so we spent hours looking for little crabs, collecting shells, playing in the sand and paddling around the shallow water. We’d spend the morning at the beach and then afternoon in the pool – tough life I know!
There is a free shuttle bus that goes around the island which we caught to get to the cafes and restaurants... the kids really loved the daily bus rides.
Let’s talk food. Where did you eat? What did the kids love? Can you drink the water at your destination?
Yes water is fine to drink there. There’s a great café we ate brekky at each morning called the Marina Café. Dinner with the kids was either fish and chips, Manta Ray for amazing pizza or the pub! Hubby and I had a night out without the kids and went to Coca Chu which is delicious hawker style street food – the thai fried chicken was a massive highlight!
Was there a significant time difference? If so, how did you deal with it with regard to your kids?
There is only a 1 hour time difference so the adjustment was pretty easy (apart from a few 5am wake ups!).
Are there any games/toys/activities you swear by that make travelling easier?
We bought these mini magnetic boards with magnets and couldn’t believe what a hit they were! Lots of hours of entertainment. We also brought some of those water-colouring books where you fill the pens with water and colour in – these also went down really well and the best part is they are totally mess free.
Where would you and your family like to go next? And why?
We went to Bali in May and had such a fantastic time, we’d love to go back there. The accommodation was great, the food delicious and the nannies are amazing and really affordable so we had plenty of time-out to really relax!