Planning a Disneyworld trip. The 5 most important steps.

Are you planning a Disneyworld trip? 

When Walt Disney first opened Disneyland in 1955, who would have imagined over 65 years later there would be multiple Parks in multiple locations.

Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disney, and Tokyo Disney.

Each of these Parks all requires their own level of research and planning but none more than Walt Disney World, the largest of all the Parks. The size of the entire Walt Disney World resort is 40 Square miles roughly the same size as San Francisco

Whereas in Disneyland you can organise your Fast passes on the day of your trip, at Walt Disney World fast passes are organised either 30 or 60 days out (depending on your accommodation).

Dining reservations are made up to 180 days out, compared to Disneylands 60 days out.

We have been to Disneyland on multiple occasions both before we had children, and then with our four children and I have to admit except for our accommodation, and preorganising our Bibbity Bobbity Boutique and Goofy’s Kitchen. There was not a lot to do before we arrived. However, our next trip to Walt Disney World is a little bit different.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Planning a Disney world trip.

Step 1, When Planning a Disneyworld trip

Choose your dates carefully.

  • Most of our trips to Disneyland have taken place over Australia’s winter/spring. It’s the perfect time to escape the chill and head across to the states. During this time there are often great specials on flights to Los Angeles and when you are traveling with four children, these flights quickly add up. Unfortunately, though that is right in the middle of Hurricane season over in the East Coast of U.S.A. The Hurricane season runs from June through to November most years
  • Crowds. There are quite a few factors that influence crowds at WDW, from Marathons, Cheer competitions, Public Holidays to Spring break. So when looking at your dates make sure you find a crowd calculator to see if there are some dates that you should simply avoid.
  • This also comes into how many days should you go? Unlike Disneyland, Walt Disney World is made up of 6 parks. 4 Theme Parks and 2 water parks, not to mention Universal Studios that is only a short Uber trip away. Depending on what time of the year you are going, you need to work out how many days would be enough. Most of my research has said that you need a minimum of one day per park, and even then you will miss out on plenty of rides, attractions, and shows.
  • Obviously though sometimes you have no choice but to go at a certain time, after being at Disneyland for the Diamond celebrations when the park was at capacity a few years ago, we have come up with a motto. Better to be at a packed Disney resort than stuck at home. So no matter the time make the most of it.

Step 2, When Planning a Disneyworld trip

– Where are you going to stay?

  • The First decision you need to make is whether you are going to stay on property or off. The Real advantages of staying on property are!
    1. The ability to get your fast passes 60 days before your trip, compared to 30 days when staying off property.
    2. Free Ground transportation from your resort to the Parks.
    3. Extra Theme park hours
    4. Disney Dining Plan
    5. Location
    6. Any items you purchase in the parks can be sent back to your room so you don’t have to carry them around the park
  • If you are staying on property, what level of Accommodation are you after? Walt Disney World has 25 resorts to choose from. They are classed as Value resorts, Moderate resorts, Deluxe resorts, and Deluxe Villas. Obviously depending on the number of guests in your party your choice of accommodation can be fairly limited. AS we travel in a group of 6 we find it a lot harder to find accommodation that will accommodate all of us, than if you were traveling in groups of 5 or less.

Value: 

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Moderate:

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Deluxe:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Deluxe Villas:

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Step 3 – When Planning a Disneyworld trip.

Should you do the Dining Plan?

Another big difference when planning your Disneyworld trip is the Disney Dining Plan. The Disney Dining plan allows you to prepurchase your dining before you get to the park for a predetermined price.

There are three levels of the Dining Plan. (2019 Prices)

Quick-Service Dining Plan

Adults $52.50 (9 plus)

Children $23.78 (3-9 Years)

Per guest, for each night of your stay:
2 self-service meals
1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
2 selected snacks
Refillable mug (This can only be refilled at the resorts, not in the parks)

Disney Dining Plan

Adults $75.49 (9 plus)

Children $27.98 (3-9 Years)

Per guest, for each night of your stay:
1 waiter service meal
1 self-service meal
1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
2 selected snacks
Refillable mug (This can only be refilled at the resorts, not in the parks)

Deluxe Dining Plan

Adults $116.25 (9 plus)

Children $43.49 (3-9 Years)

Per guest, for each night of your stay:
3 waiter or self-service meals
1 non-alcoholic/alcoholic drink per meal
2 selected snacks
Refillable mug (This can only be refilled at the resorts, not in the parks)

When you arrive at the resort they load all your credits onto your magic bands, so you can use as many of them you want each day. So if one day you decide you don’t want any snacks, you can purchase more snacks on another day. You just need to make sure you use up all your credits before midnight on the day you check out.

One look on any of the Walt Disney World Facebook groups will have you confused as to whether you should or shouldn’t do the Disney plan, you need to work out what you want for a trip. Ask yourself these questions

  • The age of your children, all children 9 years and over have to pay adult prices.
  • How much do you eat?
  • How many days are you going to be doing things outside of the park, as the Dining plan is for every day of the whole trip? So if you are at Universal for a couple of days you will still pay for those days.
  • There are still additional costs associated with it, Ie Tips are not included in Table service meals.
  • What sort of foods do you normally eat?

Walt Disney World

Step 4 – When Planning a Disneyworld trip

What Ticket should you buy?

There are three different tickets you can purchase to get into Walt Disney World. Obviously, each level comes with a different price.

Park ticket

  • Access to 4 Theme Parks
  • No Park Hopping
  • No Water Parks

Park Hopper

  • Access to 4 Theme Parks
  • Multiple parks per day
  • No Water Parks

Park Hopper Plus

  • Access to 4 Theme Parks
  • Multiple parks per day
  • Water Parks
  • Also you can visit one of these Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Greens fees at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course; one round of mini golf at Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4pm) or One round of mini golf at Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4pm) each day.

Step 5 – When Planning a Disneyworld trip

What Park are you visiting on what day?

  • Fastpasses

The big difference between planning a Disneyland and Walt Disney World trip is the Fast pass system at each park. Disneyworld has a system called Fastpass+ in this system you are able to book your fast passes either 30 days out or 60 days out if you are staying on property. The problem with this is that you then need to work out what resort you want to be at 60 days before your trip.

With Fastpass+, you can only prebook your fast passes at the one park. So if you are desperate to get on one of the must do rides, like Animal Kingdoms Flights of passage and get a FastPass on Day 3 of your trip, then you are stuck planning your day around the park.

Now if you have a hopper you can skip out after your fast passes.

  • Meal reservations

Another tricky thing is Meal reservations, some of the restaurants are booked up 180 days in advance if you want a dinner reservation at “Be Our Guest Restaurant” you often need to book it 6 months in advance. Once again if you manage to swing a dinner reservation and don’t have a Park Hopper pass you are then stuck at a certain park for the day.

  • Crowds

The interesting thing about Walt Disney World is often there will be different events running on different days so the crowds can be very busy at one park, and very slow at others. This is something you should keep in mind.

Magic hours (Often the park with extra magic hours is a lot busier)

  • Special events.

Some days the parks will close earlier for a special ticketed event, Keep that in mind as if you are planning to spend the day at the Magic Kingdom and then find out it is closing 3 hours earlier, it will be very disappointing. (however often if you have a park hopper ticket the morning of special events are known to be a little bit quieter as people without Park hopper tickets often avoid the park that day.

Star Tours WDW Planning a Disneyworld trip

Have you been to Disneyworld before? Do you agree with the 5 most important planning steps to planning a Disneyworld trip?

 

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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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Ceduna and Guilderton

Ceduna

Ceduna

Could be forgiven for thinking Ceduna is Jayco Country!

The last big town in South Australia before the Nullarbor Plain, in this beautiful little caravan park beside the main jetty, on this particular night, there were 6 Silverlines, 3 Expandas and other varieties of Jayco caravans dominating the quite small park!

Ceduna provides most services any town would provide, but limited variety as it is a long way from civilisation with a small population.

 

From Ceduna we travelled West past Eucla a favourite spot in our family home to the Amazing Old Telegraph Station, that is found hidden amongst sand dunes towards our next stop Guilderton.

Guilderton remains one of our favourite places!

Just approx 100 k’s from Perth this quiet little town of very little in the way of houses, is nestled in from the mouth of the Moore River.
It has a beautifully appointed caravan park just above the shoreline.

Guilderton only has a population of 141 and was gazetted as a town in 1951.  We try to stop here on most of our trips West. Each year we have visited it has been very quiet, but I am told that is not the case during summer and school holidays.

Guilderton or Moore River as it known by visitors from Perth is home to a lovely brick style lighthouse, which was built in 1983, and was the last brick style lighthouse built in Australia.

Fishing is a favourite pastime of those who visit.

The mouth of the river has a massive sand bank across most of it, making the river very nutrient-rich, providing well for the marine species that inhabit it.

But if Fishing is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of lovely walks you can do, ranging from Gentle to more challenging walks to enjoy.

Guilderton Guilderton

The Indian Ocean in this region has been the scene for many a shipwreck in earlier times.
The foam brushed up on the sand today gives a little idea of how savage the wind could be at times.

Guilderton Guilderton Guilderton Guilderton Guilderton

 

Love Merril and Bob

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Greetings from Western Australia.

As the weather cools down in Victoria, the annual migration sets off, and we once again have packed up our Jayco Silverline and joined in the journey to find warmer weather. This time our trip takes us West to towns like Ceduna, Guilderton, Port Denison, Geraldton on our way to Broome and the Kimberleys.

We hope that you will follow along with our adventure, enjoy our photos, comment along the way and take an adventure with us, from a place you want to be.

Love Merril and Bob.

 

 

 

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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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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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Exploring Port Fairy

Port Fairy – More than just beaches.

Port Fairy a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 km west of Warrnambool.

Port Fairy is a very popular spot for holidaymakers over the Summer period. Only 3 and a half hours from Melbourne located at the end of the Great Ocean Road it is teeming with people all through the holiday period. With a population of about 3500 (before holidaymakers) this quaint seaside town streets, shops, and beaches are full of people ready to relax and enjoy summer. There are plenty of great eateries, from restaurants, pubs to great take away places including Chinese, fish and chips and pizza places. There is hardware stores, supermarkets and chemists, but if there is something else you need Warrnambool is only a short drive away.

An Icecream shop called Poco Artisan Ice cream sees people lining up out the door to taste the homemade gelato.

Port Fairy - More than just beaches

The local Surf Lifesaving club at “Eastern Beach” offers a great patrolled place to swim. It is Patrolled between 10 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday and 10 am – 5 pm on the weekends. It also has a fully licensed restaurant/cafe at the Surf life-saving club called Charlie’s on East that is open for breakfast/lunch and snacks. We spent our days wandering the beautiful clear beaches.

Port Fairy - Eastern Beach

We ended many walks along the beach at Charlie’s getting an icy pole on the way home.

It also has a great Golf Course situated right on the dunes, on Woodbine Road. Where else can you play whilst viewing the spectacular Southern Ocean? Some might say A ‘magical’ experience, befitting the name. The Port Fairy Golf course is an 18 hole natural links golf course that is listed in the top 100 golf courses in Australia.

If you are after bike riding, it is home to the Port Fairy to Koroit to Warrnambool Rail trail. A 37km flat rail trail that ranges from Dirt, gravel and sealed sections.

Port Fairy - Bike ride

 

There is great walking tracks to explore at Griffith Island, home of the Historic lighthouse, and 15 minutes out of town at Towerhill, as well as some great coastal walk, the Mahogany Ship walk, Yambuk Lake walk, Peterborough walking track. So if history and heritage is more your style there are great walks around the Town to showcase the historic features and buildings of the town.

Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is a great place to see local wildlife. Just be careful the emu’s try to steal your food. Our attempt at eating fish and chips became quite comical when two emus came charging up and began stealing food straight from our table. We quickly had to leave our food and find comfort in our car to eat the remaining untouched chips.

If adventure is more your style then only fifteen minutes away is the 33m slide at Yambuk located on the sand dunes. Yambuk is also a very popular spot for fishing or a BBQ.

Port Fairy is A ‘magical destination’ well worth a visit.

 

 

Port Fairy, If you are after bike riding, it is home to the Port Fairy to Koroit to Warrnambool Rail trail. A 37km flat rail trail that ranges from Dirt, gravel and sealed sections.
Take a slide down the giant 33 metre slide Just out of Port Fairy, at the end of the Great Ocean Road
Take a slide down the giant 33 metre slide Just out of Port Fairy, at the end of the Great Ocean Road
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.
Port Fairy, More than just beaches, a beautiful seaside town, located only 28 kms west of Warrnambool. A very popular spot for holiday makers over the Summer period.

 

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