Paronella Park

Paronella Park – The Dream continues…….

On our last trip up north to Cairns, we decided we needed to visit the Winner of #1 Must do in QLD, Paronella Park and it does not disappoint.

There is something magical about the ruins of a castle, covered in vines. This is the perfect spot to explore, imagine and daydream.

Paronella Park

Feed turtles, walk through gardens and get lost in the imagination of what it would have been like in its heydey.

Jose Paronella had a dream, a dream to build a castle.

Paronella Park

And 120kms south of Cairns In 5 Hectares just behind Mena Creek falls, that is what he did.

He not only built a castle but tennis courts, bridges, picnic areas and over 7500 tropical plants and trees.

Back when it was an operational castle it also had a movie theatre which on the weekend would be transformed into an amazing space for live music, complete with a giant ball of mirrors.

For many years the Paronella’s invited the public to join them in their Spanish inspired castle complete with North Queensland’s first Hydro Electric pump, that powered the 13-acre site. The public enjoyed visiting the Castle from 1935 when it opened until 1946.

When tragedy struck.

Upstream from the park work was done and lots of trees and bushes were cleared, when the wet season came, all those logs and debris went down the river, and piled against the railway bridge destroying it. This became like a domino effect, sending the bridge, the trees, logs all down towards the castle.

The Paronella’s were upset to find the Hydro damaged, the refreshment almost destroyed, and the Theatre and foyer damaged. But they were not broken…. They began to rebuild.

The rebuilt Park stayed in the Paronella family until 1977. When they sold it.

In 1979 tragedy struck again with a fire that devastated the castle, followed by significant damage in 1986 by Cyclone Winifred, A flood in January 1994, Cyclone Larry in 2006, and Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

This has all contributed to the ghostly shell of the castle you see today. Something so magical to see.

When the current owners purchased the park in 1993 they too had a dream…. A dream to rebuild the legacy of the park and put it back on the map as a must see Tourist attraction.

They have restored the Hydroelectric system (Original 1930’s). They are preserving the castle, without rebuilding.

Paronella Park… the dream continues.

Paronella Park

Paronella Park

Paronella Park

 

 

Make sure you check out some of our other favorite places we visited.

Whitsunday Fishing Charter
Whitsunday Fishing Charter
Fairy Park Anakie
Fairy Park Anakie
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Koala Park – Creswick

Creswick’s Koala Park.

In 1942, forestry students built the Koala Park by constructing a fence in a section of the forest just out of Creswick to be used as a breeding area for koalas.

They released Koalas into the enclosure to breed and boost the numbers of the local population. However, there was one big problem with their plan. Koalas can climb. They were able to climb the fence and spread into the surrounding forest.

Now there is just as much chance to see a Koala in Creswick State Forest as Creswick’s Koala’s Park. However, it is the perfect place to go for a walk and see the beautiful environment around.

The walks should take you between 45 mins to an hour and a half depending on which path you decide to take.

Koala Park Creswick

Koala Park Creswick

Koala Park Creswick

Koala Park Creswick

Creswick’s Koala Park is only 30 minutes out of Ballarat and is well worth a visit.

If you want to see more Australian Animals then make sure you check out Ballarat Wildlife Park.

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Feeding the Kangaroo’s at Ballarat Wildlife Park.

When you think about Australian Animals, a few instantly come to mind.

Think about it? What would be the first animals you think of?

Kangaroo’s, Koala’s, Emus and Platypus would have to be the iconic Australian Animals that tourist coming to the country are keen to see.

If you want to find a great hands-on experience then look no further than Ballarat Wildlife Park to get up close and personal with the local animals.

Ballarat Wildlife Park is only one hour and twenty minutes from Melbourne CBD, and is open 364 days a year, from 9 am – 5 pm.

Admission

  • Adults $35
  • Concession $29
  • Children $19.50
  • Family (2A & up to 4C) $95.00

Yearly Pass Cost

  • Family Membership (2A & up to 4C) $170
  • Sole Parent Yearly Membership $120
  • Individual Yearly Membership $65

Every day Ballarat Wildlife Park holds Complimentary Guided tours, Animals shows, and Presentation.

There are also opportunities for you to pay extra for special Animal Encounters, including gorgeous photos.

Ballarat Wildlife Park - Animal Encounter

Ballarat Wildlife Park has a shop, and a nice cafe so you can have a nice drink and bite to eat before you head down to help feed the locals.

That is why so many people flock to the Park, Whilst animals like the Meerkats, Dingos, Crocodiles, Alligators, and Wombats are popular it’s the free-roaming kangaroos that you find all over the Wildlife Park that have everyone excited.

If you want to feed the Kangaroo’s all you need is to grab some Kangaroo Food at the front and wander around the Park. If you are lucky you might even get to feed a gorgeous little joey or see one nestled in its mum’s pouch.

Ballarat Wildlife Park is definitely on our list of top ten things to do in Ballarat.

What iconic Australian Animals do you think of?

Linking up with Feet do travel

Have you ever wanted to feed a Kangaroo?

When you think about Australian Animals, a few instantly come to mind. Think about it? What would be the first animals you think of? Kangaroo’s, Koala’s, Emus and Platypus would have to be the iconic Australian Animals that tourist coming to the country are keen to see. If you want to find a great hands-on experience then look no further than Ballarat Wildlife Park to get up close and personal with the local animals.

When you think about Australian Animals, a few instantly come to mind. Think about it? What would be the first animals you think of? Kangaroo’s, Koala’s, Emus and Platypus would have to be the iconic Australian Animals that tourist coming to the country are keen to see. If you want to find a great hands-on experience then look no further than Ballarat Wildlife Park to get up close and personal with the local animals.

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Knife Fork Spoon Kitchen – Ballarat

Knife Fork Spoon in Ballarat is a gorgeous little cafe that is open 7 days a week in Ballarat.

Those local to Ballarat know it as a place to get the Instagram favorite “Freakshakes” as well as some other delicious sweet and savory foods.

Located in Lydiard Street within a short walk of the Regent cinemas, Ballarat Art Gallery it is a lovely place to sit and relax when you are in Ballarat.

Now since the Canberra Cafe Patissez, started the Freak shake back in 2015, all around Australia Cafe’s have begun making these amazing calorie loaded milkshakes. So many times though they look amazing, but the taste of the milkshakes is obviously an afterthought and the milkshakes lack flavor.  But not at Knife Fork and Spoon, their milkshake flavour is amazing.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Salted Caramel Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

No matter your age you can enjoy the Freakshake, with a small kids version also available, that comes with a little bit of fairy floss (cotton candy) and decorated with sprinkles around the edge. It also has colored popcorn and some lollies/lollypops as decoration.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Children’s Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

Knife fork Spoon caters for everyone, and if you do bring your children there they have coloring in for the kids to do, Bags of wipes (Well needed after all these sticky treats). But the favorite place for kids is located outside the back a great blackboard wall.

To keep you warm in Ballarat’s often cooler weather is a nice Gas heater.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

Knife Fork and Spoon is so much more than the freakshakes they also have a great collection of sweet and savory food. My favorite is the amazing Pulled Pulled Tacos.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Pulled Pork Taco, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

Whereas my children love the Ham and Cheese Toastie that comes with some delicious Tomato Relish.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Ham and Cheese Toastie, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

There are cakes, waffles and so much more. A quick search of the #knifeforkspoon on Instagram and you can see all the amazing food, so beautifully presented.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Kids Waffles by Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

To go there and have amazing food is one thing, but the thing that makes Knife Fork and Spoon stand out from other local cafes is the service. We went in recently for our daughters birthday, and one of the staff overheard one of the guests wish her a Happy Birthday. When her freakshake came out they had added a sparkler and another lollypop for her.

It made her day.

Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
S’more Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Caramello Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat
Willy Wonka Freakshake, from Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat

So if you are ever in Ballarat, make sure that you pop into 16 Lydiard Street Ballarat, and find Knife Fork Spoon Ballarat.

 

Have you ever tried a “Freakshake” before? What is your favorite flavor?

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Onslow, Western Australia

A visit to Onslow in Western Australia.

Onslow Western Australia

A beautiful coastal town rich in beauty and history.

On the north side of the Exmouth turnoff on the North West coastal Highway {Highay 1} is the turnoff to Onslow.
The 80 kilometers of excellent sealed road reveals quarries, salt lakes, and other mining ventures and is well worth the effort.
The town itself is neat and clean with two caravan parks. One is in the middle of town on the. Foreshore, by far the most popular, and the other out of town at an accommodation camp set up for the construction workers building the plants operating close to the town.
Salt is exported from here and has it’s own jetty and loading facility to service the large ocean cargo ships that dock there.
There are gas rigs out in the Indian Ocean relatively close to shore where gas is piped into a processing plant some kilometers from the town and then exported from its own loading facility further along the bay.
Another smaller gas plant provides power for the salt works.

With the industries set up there, it was hoped Onslow would become a thriving regional town with many new building programs in the pipeline, and land subdivisions carried out.
Some of these have been completed eg upgrades to the hospital and primary school and a beautiful swimming pool complex. BHP has also contributed to the town with an excellent sporting complex and several new homes have been built.

Sadly, however, the town hasn’t reached its expectations at this point, and with the construction workers basically gone, the town’s progress has slowed.

We are told regular workers at the various plants use the very good airport as a fly in, fly out service, but that permanent worker are requested to live in the town.

The town caravan park is booked out over June, July so bookings are advised. Unsure about the Discovery Park approx 3 k’s out of town. Apparently, school holidays over the tourist season are very popular.
There is an overflow park down at the Showgrounds however

The first time we decided to come here, we were advised against it as being boring and uninteresting. To us, and obviously many others, it is far from that!!

The fishermen really love it there and there are many ‘permanents” booked into the park year in, year out for months at a time.

The relics of Old Onslow have been set up as a drive yourself tour with historical points of interest written on markers as you make your way around. Most interesting.

Near the old town, there is a river where free campers delight to spend much time fishing and relaxing.

A town museum has a pictorial mural on the street frontage taking you through the various stages of the area’s history, even if you don’t have the time to visit the actual museum.

The most endearing part of Onslow for me is the beautiful war memorial set up on the hill at the start of the interesting boardwalk that runs along the beach leading to the salt jetty.
It faces due east so that the sun rises through it’s centre. Absolutely spectacular, and a very popular photo shot.
“We will remember them” is inscribed on the arch.

Alongside, this is a concrete bench seat with two brass slouch hats just resting there. Very sobering and personal. You want to look around for the soldiers who may have left them there, or maybe they are the ones we are remembering. Just lovely.

Apparently, Onslow was a fuel depot during the war for the allies and the vicinity was bombed.

Onslow Western Australia Onslow Western Australia Onslow Western Australia Onslow Western Australia

We have really enjoyed our trip through Western Australia and hope you enjoy hearing all about it.

Love Merril and Bob.

Take a visit to Onslow in Western Australia. A beautiful coastal town rich in wonder and history.
Take a visit to Onslow in Western Australia. A beautiful coastal town rich in wonder and history.
Take a visit to Onslow in Western Australia. A beautiful coastal town rich in wonder and history.

 

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Hamilton Island Dining guide

Enjoying a spectacular location in the heart of the Whitsundays is the beautiful Hamilton Island. It is the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays. The only island in the Whitsundays with its own commercial airport, now with direct flights from Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Cairns.

It is one of the easiest islands to get to when choosing your Whitsunday adventure. However due to its size and amenities even when at full capacity it is still an amazing place to visit.

Hamilton Island has such a large choice of dining options for all budgets and tastes, so we put together a Hamilton Island Dining guide to showcase all the Dining choices.

Hamilton Island Dining Guide

Bommie Restaurant (Yacht Club)

  • (12 Years and over)
  • Set menus.
  • Fully Licensed
  • Open Tuesday – Saturday
  • 6pm – late
  • Smart casual (No Thongs, swimwear, board shorts or singlets)
  • $$$

If you decide to go to Bommie restaurant, you can expect an amazing menu, knowledgeable staff that take their jobs very seriously. They have a specialised menu that is either three, four courses or the chef tasting menu. If you choose the three or four-course meal you will be given a choice of about three meals per course. The food is exquisite.

When we went we choose the Chef tasting menu and paired it with the speciality wine offering. Every meal was paired with a wine that was chosen to highlight the meal.

Manta Ray

  • Marina Side
  • Reservation or walk up
  • Lunch / Dinner
  • Takeaway Pizza available between 6pm-9pm
  • Fully Licensed (Bar and meals 12 noon – 10 pm)
  • Part of the Kids Stay Eat free offer (Children 12 years and under, eat a free kids meal with a purchase of an adults meal if staying at Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows, or a Hamilton Island Holiday Home)

Located on the Marina side, this casual restaurant has a great view of the marina, just watch out for the cheeky cockatoo’s they like to steal your food if you don’t keep an eye on them. This is more of a problem with the tables located up against the water as they sit in the trees above and if you leave your food unattended they try to swoop in for a meal.

Falafels at Mana Ray, Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island in the whitsundays, you are spoilt for choice with the dining options available. Our dining guide gives you all the information you need to know when making your dining choices on Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island in the whitsundays, you are spoilt for choice with the dining options available. Our dining guide gives you all the information you need to know when making your dining choices on Hamilton Island

 

Coca Chu

  • Resort side
  • Reservation recommended
  • Dinner
  • 5:30pm – late
  • Fully Licensed
  • Part of the Kids Stay Eat free offer
  • $$$

Located on the Resort side, with a stunning view of Catseye beach is the South East Asian inspired Coca Chu. The meals are made to be shared so when going in a group expect to order a few different items for the table.

The food is amazing with very strong flavours, the service is great.

Located on the Resort side, with a stunning view of Catseye beach is the South East Asian inspired Coca Chu. The meals are made to be shared so when going in a group expect to order a few different items for the table.  Located on the Resort side, with a stunning view of Catseye beach is the South East Asian inspired Coca Chu. The meals are made to be shared so when going in a group expect to order a few different items for the table. 

Sunset cruise and dine

  • A boat trip over the amazing Whitsunday waters
  • The cruise takes about 3 hours
  • Minimum age – 6
  • Fully Licensed
  • Leave either 4:45 pm or 5:45 pm depending on sunset time.

What would be nicer than taking a sunset cruise whilst eating a gorgeous three-course meal? As you depart on the Hamilton star you are served a yummy cocktail and some appetisers. Later you a served a gorgeous three-course meal that includes, Entree, main and Dessert.

Sails

  • Resort side
  • Reservation for groups 10 or more
  • Breakfast 6am -10:30am
  • Lunch 11:30am – 9pm
  • Fully Licensed
  • Part of the Kids Stay Eat free offer

Located on the Resort side, with a stunning view of Catseye beach Sails is the perfect casual spot to have breakfast or lunch. Breakfast is your typical buffet with a collection of cold and hot food. You can also get an omelette prepared for you fresh from the chef. The lunch menu is reasonably varied serving a variety of foods from salads, burgers, curries, steak, lamb cutlets, fish and other seafood. The Moreton bay bug was perfectly cooked and was a favourite of mine this trip.

Located on the Resort side, with a stunning view of Catseye beach Sails is the perfect casual spot to have breakfast or lunch. 

Located on the Resort side, with a stunning view of Catseye beach Sails is the perfect casual spot to have breakfast or lunch. 

Marina Tavern

  • Marina side
  • Pub Meal
  • 11:30am – 9pm
  • Fully Licensed

Located on the Marina side, the Marina tavern is the perfect casual place to grab a great pub meal, a cold drink and relax with friends. The Tavern has a great variety of indoor/outdoor seating and has a great relaxed atmosphere perfect for families or to meet up with friends.

Marina Cafe

  • Cafe style Food / ready-made food
  • 6:30 am – 3 pm

Located within walking distance to where the ferry comes in is the Marina Cafe, serving delicious smoothies, fresh juices, and coffee its the perfect place to grab a quick drink. If you are after breakfast or a snack its also a great place to get toasted sandwiches, foccacias and wraps. Perfect to pack in a picnic for one of the walks on the Island.

TAKO

  • Marina side
  • Walk up no bookings for groups under ten
  • Reservation for groups 10 or more
  • Open 7 days
  • 5:30pm – late
  • Fully Licensed
  • Part of the Kids Stay Eat free offer

Located on the Marina side, on the top level gives it an amazing view over Hamilton Island’s marina. Tako is a fun, family-friendly dining experience that offers fresh tasty Mexican dinner and dessert. When ordering the food at Tako it is best enjoyed getting a variety to share. The kids have a choice of a quesadilla or a make your own taco. Our children loved TAKO it was one of the favourite restaurants for the trip and we ended up going back on multiple occasions.

Located on the Marina side, on the top level gives it an amazing view over Hamilton Island's marina. Tako is a fun, family-friendly dining experience that offers fresh tasty Mexican dinner and dessert. When ordering the food at Tako it is best enjoyed getting a variety to share.  Located on the Marina side, on the top level gives it an amazing view over Hamilton Island's marina. Tako is a fun, family-friendly dining experience that offers fresh tasty Mexican dinner and dessert. When ordering the food at Tako it is best enjoyed getting a variety to share. 

The kids’ meal comes with three wraps, however, was such a favourite that I could never take a photo with all three as soon as the plate was served they started eating.

Located on the Marina side, on the top level gives it an amazing view over Hamilton Island's marina. Tako is a fun, family-friendly dining experience that offers fresh tasty Mexican dinner and dessert. When ordering the food at Tako it is best enjoyed getting a variety to share. 

The pulled pork tacos had just the right amount of spice to coleslaw and avocado to make it a perfectly balanced taste.

Romano’s

  • Marina side
  • Pre-booking is recommended
  • Contemporary Italian food
  • Alfresco 3 pm – Late
  • Dinner – 6 pm – Late
  • Fully Licensed
  • NO Kids Stay Eat free – Kids menu $15

Located on the Marina side, on the water side. Romano’s is a lovely spot for a family meal or for large group bookings. Serving a gorgeous range of pasta, risottos, and other mains. Romano’s doesn’t disappoint. It is not part of the kids stay eat free promotion, however, the kid’s meal are very generous and only $15.

Mariners Seafood Restaurant

  • Marina side
  • Pre-booking is recommended
  • Smart Casual
  • Dinner – 6pm – Late
  • Fully Licensed
  • NO Kids Stay Eat free – Kids menu $20

Located on the Marina side, high on the second level next to TAKO overlooking the marina is Mariners Seafood restaurant. It is always very popular so reservations are strongly recommended. If you love seafood then Mariners is for you with a great variety of fish, prawns, and other seafood.

Wild Life Hamilton Island – Koolah Cafe

  • Resort side
  • 7:30 am -10 am (breakfast)
  • Buffet
  • Lunch / Light meals available
  • Fully Licensed
  • NO Kids Stay Eat free
  • Family friendly

The best place on the island to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Wildlife Hamilton Island hosts a great buffet breakfast where you can sit and eat whilst watching the koala’s snack on gum leaves beside you, with gorgeous rosella’s flying all around.  A great family friendly restaurant. Once you are finished at the cafe, grab a pass to head to the Wild Life park to see more Australian wildlife, crocodiles, snakes and so much more.

 

The best place on the island to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Wildlife Hamilton Island hosts a great buffet breakfast where you can sit and eat whilst watching the koala's snack on gum leaves beside you, with gorgeous rosella's flying all around.  A great family friendly restaurant. Once you are finished at the cafe, grab a pass to head to the Wild Life park to see more Australian wildlife, crocodiles, snakes and so much more.

The best place on the island to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Wildlife Hamilton Island hosts a great buffet breakfast where you can sit and eat whilst watching the koala's snack on gum leaves beside you, with gorgeous rosella's flying all around.  A great family friendly restaurant. Once you are finished at the cafe, grab a pass to head to the Wild Life park to see more Australian wildlife, crocodiles, snakes and so much more.

The best place on the island to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Wildlife Hamilton Island hosts a great buffet breakfast where you can sit and eat whilst watching the koala's snack on gum leaves beside you, with gorgeous rosella's flying all around.  A great family friendly restaurant. Once you are finished at the cafe, grab a pass to head to the Wild Life park to see more Australian wildlife, crocodiles, snakes and so much more.

The best place on the island to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Wildlife Hamilton Island hosts a great buffet breakfast where you can sit and eat whilst watching the koala's snack on gum leaves beside you, with gorgeous rosella's flying all around.  A great family friendly restaurant. Once you are finished at the cafe, grab a pass to head to the Wild Life park to see more Australian wildlife, crocodiles, snakes and so much more.

The best place on the island to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Wildlife Hamilton Island hosts a great buffet breakfast where you can sit and eat whilst watching the koala's snack on gum leaves beside you, with gorgeous rosella's flying all around.  A great family friendly restaurant. Once you are finished at the cafe, grab a pass to head to the Wild Life park to see more Australian wildlife, crocodiles, snakes and so much more.

Pool Terrace – Reef view hotel 

Only available to guests of Palm Bungalows and Reef View Hotel.

  • Open 7 days
  • Breakfast 6 am – 10:30 am (Only Reefview or Palm Bungalows)
  • Fully Licensed
  • Part of the Kids Stay Eat free offer (Palm Bungalows and Reef View Hotel)
  • Located in the Reef view hotel, this family-friendly restaurant is located on the pool’s edge. The Pool terrace is open for a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Long Pavilion – Qualia 

Only available to Qualia guests.

  • Australian Menu
  • Breakfast 6:30 am – 10:30 am
  • Evening 6 pm – aLate
  • Fully Licensed
  • Child Free (16 and over)

Pebble Beach – Qualia 

Only available to Qualia guests.

  • Poolside menu 10 am – 5 pm
  • Lunch 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
  • Evening 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
  • Fully Licensed
  • Child Free (16 and over)
  • Open Wednesday – Monday
  • Smart Casual/resort wear

Beach Club restaurant 

Only available to guests of Beach Club restaurant.

  • Open 7 days
  • Breakfast 6 am – 10:30 am (Only Reefview or
  • Fully Licensed
  • Part of the Kids Stay Eat free offer (Palm Bungalows and Reef View Hotel)
  • Located in the Reef view hotel, this family-friendly restaurant is located on the pool’s edge. The Pool terrace is open for a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Snacks and Bars

One Tree Hill 

  • Drinks and snacks
  • Family friendly

If you want the perfect spot to sit and have a light snack and drink then the bar at the top of One tree hill is well worth a visit. Whilst it has a steady stream of people, on sunset is when it gets very busy with everyone wanting to sit up the top with a drink in hand to watch the majestic Hamilton Island sunset.

The only food on offer is Antipasta plates, Turkish bread or other snacks.

If you want the perfect spot to sit and have a light snack and drink then the bar at the top of One tree hill is well worth a visit. Whilst it has a steady stream of people, on sunset is when it gets very busy with everyone wanting to sit up the top with a drink in hand to watch the majestic Hamilton Island sunset.

If you want the perfect spot to sit and have a light snack and drink then the bar at the top of One tree hill is well worth a visit. Whilst it has a steady stream of people, on sunset is when it gets very busy with everyone wanting to sit up the top with a drink in hand to watch the majestic Hamilton Island sunset.

If you want the perfect spot to sit and have a light snack and drink then the bar at the top of One tree hill is well worth a visit. Whilst it has a steady stream of people, on sunset is when it gets very busy with everyone wanting to sit up the top with a drink in hand to watch the majestic Hamilton Island sunset.

 

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Top ten things to do at Hamilton Island with Kids

There is something special about Hamilton Island, its the sort of place you can go for a romantic holiday, a girls weekend or a family vacation. Its an incredibly relaxing place to visit with (or without Children).

There are some accommodation options that are purely childfree (Qualia guests must be over 16 and Beach house guests must be over 18 years old) but the majority of accommodation is very accommodating of children, they have a great children’s kids club, and If you’re staying at the Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows or any of the Hamilton Island Holiday Homes children 12 and under eat free.

Our children Love Hamilton Island they have so much fun, there is always so much to do there, and we have put together their favourite activities to do on our visits.

Top ten things to do on Hamilton Island with Kids

Swimming

  • Available year round
  • Free

Our kids love water, and at Hamilton Island, there are plenty of places for you to take the kids swimming. Most accommodation has their own private pools for guests, there are also three lovely pools at Hamilton Island in the main resort area. The main pool, which includes the swim up bar, that serve mocktails, slushies, water for the kids (and a large collection of cocktails, beer for the adults.

The Bougainvillea Pool is a lovely tropical pool with palm trees all around overlooking Catseye beach. It has a great shallow area perfect for younger kids that is only 0.7m deep.

What are the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island

The other pool is the “Sails Pool” it is a deep 3m pool that is located just outside the Sails restaurant, it’s a bit quieter than the main pool and has amazing views of the blue Whitsunday water.

The perfect place to swim the 3 m deep Sails pool at Hamilton Island

Mocktails at One tree hill

  • Available year round
  • Sunset (Free)
  • Drinks $$

One of the highlights of our trip to Hamilton Island is to sit up the top of One tree hill and watch the sun setting over the beautiful water. Every day about an hour before the sun is due to set, the area starts filling up with people, families, couples, groups of friends all ready to see the iconic Whitsunday sunset.

What are the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island

But even earlier in the day its the perfect place to take your kids to grab a yummy mocktail, some antipasto or Turkish bread and sit and relax with a breathtaking view.

A mocktail at One tree hill - one of the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island A mocktail at One tree hill - one of the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island

Drive a Golf Buggy

  • Available year round
  • Costs $$

One of the most iconic things about Hamilton Island is it’s Golf buggies, instead of cars most people travel around the island on Golf Buggies. Whilst you might see a minivan occasionally, or the Island Shuttle. 95% of the vehicles on the road are 4 person golf buggies. The speed limit around the island ranges from about 16kmh to 40kmh and it adds to the relaxed atmosphere.

There is something relaxing about driving around the wind in your hair in an open buggy.

Most holiday homes come with a complimentary golf buggy, otherwise, you hire them from the Hamilton Island Golf buggy hire conveniently located in two locations near the main resort area and at the airport.  Our children loved the golf buggies they created the “James Cord in” challenge

What are the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island

Go Karting.

  • Available year round
  • Costs $$

One of our children’s favourite activity on Hamilton Island was the Go-Karting track. If your child is over 149cm they can drive around the track reaching speeds of up to 45km/h. But younger children won’t miss out with duo Karts available for children aged 4 and older.

Our kids loved it, they went multiple times each time adding a bit more confidence and getting faster lap times.

Make sure you are wearing enclosed shoes, but all other safety equipment is included.

Go Karts - one of the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island What are the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island

Have a hit of Golf 

  • Available year round
  • Costs $$

Hamilton Island is synonymous with Golfing. It is home to the 18 hole championship golf course at Dent Island. Each year it is host to both amateur events and PGA Professionals Championship finals. But the golf is not just for the adults. They have a fantastic mini-golf course that the kids will love. For those wanting a bit more of a hit take them down to the family-friendly Golf driving range.

Your kids will love hitting the ‘floating’ golf balls into the water. Seeing if they can hit them just a little bit further each time.

What are the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island

Rock climbing / Laser hunt

  • School Holidays Only
  • Costs $$

If you are lucky enough to take your kids during the school holidays they will be able to participate in the Pop-up Rock climbing and Laser hunt. Located up on one of the tennis courts, three or four nights a week. The rock climbing was a real favourite in our house there are six individual walls and one of them is timed. The kids have a great time learning how to climb the walls and then they climb the final wall and see how fast they can make it to the top.

Our kids set themselves a challenge to make it to the top in 30 seconds, and by the third visit they had made it.

 

What are the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton IslandA

Temporary tattoos / Hair Braids

  • School Holidays Only
  • Costs $$

Located near the entrance to the pools near Sails bar is the Pop-up shop that allows your children to get a temporary tattoo or hair braid. With tattoos from only $5, this is a cheap fun way for your kids to bring a bit of their holiday home with them.

The hair braids come in a variety of styles including ones that are braided into the hair, or ones that can be removed and reattached later.

The stall is not their every day so it is worth checking the weekly activity planner to see what day she is there. The tattoos last 2-4 days, depending on what part of the body they are put on. Areas that get a lot of sunscreen do wash off quicker than covered areas.

What are the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island

Bowling

  • Available year round
  • Costs $$

For a fun family activity, 9 hole bowling is a great activity located in the main resort area. The bowling alley has seven lanes, a bar with a selection of food and drinks, a fun amusement arcade.

During the day it is a lot of fun, with bright lights music playing but as the sunsets, it turns into “Glow bowling” with Glow in the dark lanes and a lot of fun.

Watersports

  • Non-motorised watersports

    • Available year round
    • Free (If staying at qualia, Beach Club, Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows and Hamilton Island Holiday Homes)

Our kids loved learning how to Paddleboard, snorkelling and sailing at Catseye beach. Our younger kids sat on the shore playing at the beach whilst our older kids got out in the water and had a brilliant time.

What are the top ten activities to do with your children at Hamilton Island

  • Motorised watersports

    • Available year round
    • Costs $$

This trip we introduced our two older children to the motorised watersports they had an amazing time in the jet boat, and going tubing.

Clownfish club

Hamilton Island with kids is an amazing family trip but sometimes it is nice to be able to head out just the two of us and go on some of Hamilton Islands iconic walks. The way you can achieve this is by booking the kids into the Clownfish club.  Located near the main resort complex and ran by a group of qualified child-care workers our children loved the varied program at the Clownfish Club.

You can book in for the AM or PM session, or for a full day. Split into two rooms 6 weeks to 4 years old, and 5-14 years old each group has different activities each session.

The Younger rooms always stay in the centre, however, some of the older rooms session involves fun outings to “mini golf, bowling, the beach”

The staff are lovely, well trained and very knowledgeable.

 

Have you been to Hamilton Island?

What were your favourite things to do?

 

There is something special about Hamilton Island, its the sort of place you can go for a romantic holiday, a girls weekend or a family vacation. Its an incredibly relaxing place to visit with (or without Children). Our children Love Hamilton Island they have so much fun, there is always so much to do there, and we have put together their favourite activities to do at Hamilton Island with kids.
There is something special about Hamilton Island, its the sort of place you can go for a romantic holiday, a girls weekend or a family vacation. Its an incredibly relaxing place to visit with (or without Children). Our children Love Hamilton Island they have so much fun, there is always so much to do there, and we have put together their favourite activities to do on our visits to at Hamilton Island with kids.
There is something special about Hamilton Island. We look at the top ten activities for families at Hamilton Island in the whitsundays.
There is something special about Hamilton Island, its the sort of place you can go for a romantic holiday, a girls weekend or a family vacation. Its an incredibly relaxing place to visit with (or without Children). Our children Love Hamilton Island they have so much fun, there is always so much to do there, and we have put together their favourite activities to do on our visits.
Are you heading to the whitsundays, to the beautiful Hamilton Island. See what the top ten activities are for children.

 

 

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Walking trails of Hamilton Island – Part 1 -Escape Beach

Hamilton Island has over 20km of scenic walking trails to explore, and every time we go to Hamilton Island we make sure we go and explore the majestic walking trials of Hamilton Island.

There are two main entrances to the uninhabited section of the island that the Hiking trails are located at.

You can reach the walking trails via either the Scenic head trail entrance located at the end of Catseye beach. Or the Resort trail entrance located on the hill behind the Palm view Hotel.

The Resort entrance is a little further away from all the official entrances of the individual walking trails so will add a few extra minutes on each of the trails except for the flat top Hill lookout.  If you have a couple of days to walk Hamilton Island it is well worth starting a walk from both locations, as the view from each of the different paths gives a different view of the Island.

The main walks located on the Island are;

  • Flat top Hill Lookout
  • Resort Lookout
  • Passage Peak
  • Middle head
  • Coral Cove
  • Escape Beach
  • South East Head
  • Hideaway Bay

Our last trip though was over two years ago, and since then in the wake of cyclone Debbie much has changed in the trails around the island.

I previously wrote about our walk to escape beach,  and on this trip, we ventured back and have found some great improvements on the trail.

Escape Beach 2016, the path has had so many improvements over the last two years
The old path down to Escape beach back in 2016
Escape Beach, the paths have been upgraded and its the perfect time to take a walk to escape beach.
The New path to escape beach, makes it much easier to get down to Escape beach.

Escape beach is a Grade 3 trail, this means even with the improvements, it contains some short steep sections and a few obstacles on the path.

If you decide to start at the Scenic trail lookout (Hideaway Bay entrance), the walk starts off very steep if you want to check out Hideaway Bay (I recommend it, especially at low to mid tide as you can see heaps of Mudcrabs and soldier crabs then you turn left at the Y intersection, or head right to Saddle junction to choose your path.

The Scenic trail Entrance at Hamilton Island, walk to the Eastern end of Resort Drive, and head to the junction of Coral Bay drive and Resort drive to start your epic Hamilton Island hike.

Escape Beach is on the way to South East Head so people often drop in and have a look on their way to see the view of the Linderman Islands from South East Head, however, if you only have a couple of hours to spare the walk to Escape Beach is about an hour each way, (2550m each way).

If you are going to go on your way to South East Head you will need to allow about 3 hours as it is about an hour and a half each way. (7.3km)

The distance may not seem that much, however, due to the heat and the steep hills it can definitely take it out of you, so I would recommend bringing at least 2-3 litres of water per person, you need good walking shoes there are plenty of loose rocks that you can easily slip on.

Escape Beach, the paths have been upgraded and its the perfect time to take a walk to escape beach.
Escape Beach – Hamilton Island
Escape Beach, the paths have been upgraded and its the perfect time to take a walk to escape beach.
Escape Beach – Hamilton Island

 

Escape Beach, the paths have been upgraded and its the perfect time to take a walk to escape beach.
Great updated path near Escape Beach – Hamilton Island

The best thing about the walks on Hamilton Island is the destination is only part of the beauty of the trails, as you walk along you need to take time to look around you will see so many beautiful views from the trail. The blue Whitsunday water on one side, gorgeous butterflies flying around on the other.

 

There are over 20km of scenic walks and private beaches to explore, Where else but queensland
The path to Escape beach has improved dramatically over the last twelve months, whilst still a challenging hike it is alot more comfortable.
If you are after an Escape, head to Escape Beach on Hamilton Island
The best thing about the walks on Hamilton Island is the destination is only part of the beauty of the trails, as you walk along you need to take time to look around you will see so many beautiful views from the trail. The blue Whitsunday water on one side, gorgeous butterflies flying around on the other.
Hamilton Island has over 20km of scenic walking trails to explore, and every time we go to Hamilton Island we make sure we go and explore the majestic walking trials of Hamilton Island.
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The James Corden Challenge – Hamilton Island

There is something special about Hamilton Island, it is a beautiful place to relax and unwind when on holidays.

Our children and I have been talking about what makes Hamilton Island so magical.

We put together a list of what we think makes it so magical, and what tops the list is the ability to zoom around the island in your own Golf Buggy, the wind in your hair, the view out the open sides it just adds to the ambience of the resort.

Now all the rental Golf buggies are electrically powered so every time you stop you have to plug the cord in. Once or twice we have seen people that have obviously forgotten to charge their buggies, getting slower and slower up the steep hill going up towards “One tree hill”.

So every time we arrive back at the resort the cry would ring out, Plug the cord in.

Now Master L, aged 10 loves a good pun, and loves James Corden from Carpool Karaoke fame and started saying.

“Plug the “James Cord in”.

Now the pun began to get a life of its own.

Next thing it became the “James Cord in Challenge” the Challenge to find the most picturesque places you could plug the “cord in”.

Whilst very practical the view from our accommodation is not at all picturesque, the view from the resort is nicer with views of the beach in the distance.

It took us a while but we think we have found the winner.

One tree hill - Hamilton Island James Cord in Challenge (James Corden)

If you wander up to “One Tree Hill” at the very end there is an electrical plug that if you are the last buggy parked you can power up, and the view from the plug at the top of one tree hill, is amazing. The food and the drinks there are pretty amazing as well.

One tree hill - Hamilton Island James Cord in Challenge (James Corden)One tree hill - Hamilton Island James Cord in Challenge (James Corden)

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Becoming a tourist – How to holiday from home

Becoming a tourist

Oh, the places you’ll go.” – Dr Seuss

Dr Suess Oh the places you'll go

 

I love being a tourist, travelling, exploring new places, taking photos, making memories.
When I am on holidays I morph into the paparazzi. Anyone around me takes one look and can tell I am a tourist, my Nikon SLR around my neck, my backpack on my back full of all the things I need to make the most of the experience. I have even been known to bring out the tripod trying to catch that perfect sunset, or sunrise.

Unfortunately, though, life gets in the way and we can’t spend all our time on holidays.

When I am not travelling, though I am preparing for my next trip, and that feeling of wanderlust can make the long winters at home feel even colder, the work days longer and the mundane tasks of life feel like a world away from where I want to be.

Can you relate? Do you live with the constant desire to see more, do more, experience more?

But do you know there is a solution? Become a tourist in your own backyard. Take a Journey!

tourist in ballarat Become a tourist in your own backyard

The definition of a journey is

Noun – an act of travelling from one place to another.

Verb – travel somewhere.

Taking a journey doesn’t mean you have to travel a long distance, you just have to travel from one place to another.

Whether it’s ten minutes from home or ten hours you can still make memories, and experience life, become a tourist in your own backyard. Take a holiday from home.

You don’t realize how beautiful the place you live is until you look at it, with fresh eyes. With eyes that are not busy rushing from here to there. You will learn new things about where you live, and some things might surprise you?

Be being a tourist, I learnt that there was a site only twenty minutes from Ballarat that was preserved from the National Trust, the Lal Lal Blast Furnace.

No more sitting around your house wondering what to do. No more wasting money at the shops buying stuff just because you’re bored. Instead, you will be seeing new things, doing new things and experiencing new things.

We spend a lot of time doing day trips in Victoria, our home state. People travel thousands of 1000kms to see the Great Ocean Road, we only need to travel a couple of hours.

We constantly look at Pinterest, to find the top 10 activities in towns around us. There are so many amazing things you can do locally if you just look. Art Galleries, Museums, Bush walks, Playgrounds, Botanical gardens our favourite chocolate mills.

What do you do when you are in between trips? How do you fulfil the feeling of wanderlust?

 

You don't realise how beautiful the place you live is until you look at it, with fresh eyes. With eyes that are not busy rushing from here to there. You will learn new things about where you live, and some things might surprise you?
The Local Tourist, how to be a tourist from home.
When I am not travelling, though I am preparing for my next trip, and that feeling of wanderlust can make the long winters at home feel even colder, the work days longer and the mundane tasks of life feel like a world away from where I want to be.
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