Lazy Whit­sun­days

Out & About with Kids - - CONTENTS -

BIG4 Ad­ven­ture Whit­sun­day Re­sort, near Far North Queens­land’s famed Air­lie Beach, proves an ideal base for ex­plor­ing this sen­sa­tional part of Aus­tralia. SUE WHITE and tiny tot, Ol­lie, soak up the fun at this fan­tas­tic re­sort, tak­ing day trips and is­land-hop­ping in par­adise.

‘How best to tackle a trip to the Whit­sun­days with a tod­dler in tow?’ pon­dered SUE WHITE, as she pre­pared for a hol­i­day ad­ven­ture in this sen­sa­tional part of Queens­land with her tiny travel com­pan­ion, Ol­lie.

Ar­riv­ing at the BIG4 Ad­ven­ture Whit­sun­day Re­sort, just a short drive out of Queens­land’s Air­lie Beach, I’m keenly aware that I’m not par­tak­ing in what many con­sider to be the ‘tra­di­tional’ Whit­sun­day Is­lands dream. First, I’m on the main­land, and sec­ond – well, this is a hol­i­day park. None­the­less, I can’t get rid of the feel­ing I’ve stepped into a re­sort of sorts. The hol­i­day park known by lo­cals as “frog park” (for the tiny green frogs which make it their home) features palm trees dot­ted at­mo­spher­i­cally across the 14.5ha grounds; two wa­ter­slides in a la­goon-style pool area; a great play­ground in­clud­ing not one, but two jump­ing pil­lows (one solely for lit­tlies); a Kids Club (with Tod­dler Time ev­ery Tues­day – thought­fully timed to co­in­cide with the pool­side masseuse’s weekly sched­ule); out­door movies; and mini golf – no won­der it has won a swag of tourism awards.

Re­cep­tion doesn’t do much to dis­solve the re­sort fan­tasy: the lobby looks de­cep­tively ho­tel-like. In fact, when I dis­cover how good the over­all park setup is, I ad­just our sched­ule to spend more time here rather than sim­ply us­ing it as a place to sleep.

Of course, there are plenty of com­pet­ing pri­or­i­ties in the re­gion.

We be­gin with an easy daytrip to Day­dream Is­land. Just 35 min­utes on a tod­dler-friendly boat (aka: one with plenty of en­closed ar­eas), it’s a good choice. We freely avail our­selves of the fa­cil­i­ties avail­able to all guests (daytrip­pers or oth­er­wise): we swim in the pool; check out the wal­la­bies which hang out on the is­land’s coral beaches; and hand-feed the fish at Lover’s Cove, where my 22 month old seems un­per­turbed by the dozens of fish bump­ing into his reef san­dal-en­closed feet. We also up­grade to a pri­vate tour of the is­land’s Liv­ing Reef, mostly for the chance to feed bar­ra­mundi and stingrays. It’s a good choice – for the ex­pe­ri­ence as well as the knowl­edge of the en­thu­si­as­tic marine bi­ol­o­gist lead­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence – and we make it (just) to the end of the 45-minute ses­sion with ‘ he- who-is-al­most-two’ more en­tranced than im­pa­tient.

My phi­los­o­phy when trav­el­ling with young kids is to fol­low each big day with some­thing lower key, so our next day is spent solely at BIG4. It’s re­lax­ing, en­joy­able and would be al­most ef­fort­less but for the 50 times I have to ac­com­pany my tod­dler up and down the wa­ter­slide (okay, it’s worth it – he’s de­lighted).

By day three we’re ready for White­haven Beach. Cruise Whit­sun­days (the same com­pany y which trans­fers vis­i­tors be­tween the is­lands and Air­lie Beach) has a morn­ing op­tion which works well for young kids – White­haven is less crowded then, it’s cooler and the sched­ule co­or­di­nates bet­ter with a tod­dler’s lunch sleep. It’s low stress, given the boat is mostly en­closed (there are seated ar­eas out­side, but I pre­tend those don’t ex­ist so I don’t have to choose be­tween

“… Day­dream Is­land … we swim in the pool; check out the wal­la­bies which hang out on the is­land’s coral BEACHES; AND HAND-FEED THE fiSH AT LOVER’S COVE … “

Tod­dler on a plane

Wal­la­bies on Day­dream Is­land Pre­vi­ous page: Ol­lie on White­haven Beach Above: Wa­ter­slide fun at BIG4 Ad­ven­ture Whit­sun­day Re­sort Three Mer­maids

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