Stay­ing there

Out & About with Kids - - FAMILY TRAVELLER -

BIG4 Ad­ven­ture Whit­sun­day Re­sort has a range of ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions, from stu­dios and vil­las to two and three bed­room cab­ins. Prices are sea­sonal but start from AUD$175 per night for a fam­ily of four in a 2 bed­room cot­tage. car­ry­ing my son in a car­rier or wor­ry­ing he’ll jump over­board). Like ev­ery tour op­er­a­tor in the area, Cruise Whit­sun­days also does the main Great Bar­rier Reef daytrips, but those are a much longer day out.

Still, White­haven is a suc­cess: its world-fa­mous soft white sand man­ages to im­press, de­spite the fact that we spend our two hours just 50m from where Cruise Whit­sun­days drops us. There are seven kilo­me­tres of beach to ex­plore, but I leave that for when my son is older and (the­o­ret­i­cally) will­ing to walk back when re­quired.

Our next ‘off’ day is spent ex­plor­ing home base: Air­lie Beach. The town is a fa­mous back­packer stop but as we’re stay­ing out of town, I’ve seen nay one un­til now. In fact, I don’t stum­ble across any back­pack­ers un­til lunchtime, be­cause we spend the first part of the day lo­cal style. First, we jump on a lo­cal bus for the five-minute ride and short stroll to Big Frog Cafe at Can­non­vale Beach. The healthy and de­li­cious meals (and the wa­ter view) im­press all ages, but so does the café’s kids play area. (An old fash­ioned type­writer! I’m in love).

“… IN JUST fiVE NIGHTS, BIG4 HAS BE­COME HOME - MY RE­SORT AWAY FROM THE RE­SORTS – AND I SUS­PECT THAT, LIKE THE MA­JOR­ITY OF THEIR GUESTS, I’LL BE BACK.”

Next up is a 2.5km stroll into Air­lie proper via the flat, mostly board­walked, path through parks, a ma­rina and view of the stun­ningly clear wa­ters. Our des­ti­na­tion is not the bar-packed town, but Air­lie La­goon: an ex­pan­sive, fab­u­lous (free) out­door pool that keeps my tod­dler (and me) lazily en­ter­tained for most of the af­ter­noon.

Sadly, home beck­ons, but we’ve opted to fly in and out of Hamil­ton Is­land, a one-hour ferry ride away, and I use the chance to see what I’ve missed by stay­ing on the main­land! It’s nice, and if you had a large group then the lux­ury vil­las for eight would be a sur­pris­ingly cost-ef­fec­tive op­tion (there are all sorts of room con­fig­u­ra­tions). Hamil­ton Is­land ticks the boxes for an easy es­cape: there’s a de­cent mix of food op­tions; we pass a fun morn­ing at the is­land’s main swim­ming pool (which all vis­i­tors can use) and my tod­dler is par­tic­u­larly en­thralled by the golf bug­gies which are the is­land’s main mode of trans­port (you can strap a car seat to one for young kids). But I re­alise that in just five nights, BIG4 has be­come home - my re­sort away from the re­sorts - and I sus­pect that, like the ma­jor­ity of their guests, I’ll be back.

Liv­ing Reef tour on Day­dream is­land

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