Saturday, November 21, 2009

Travel with toddlers

As I was planning and then experiencing a holiday with a little one in tow, I was struck by how little child-friendly touches make all the difference whereas being child un-friendly exponentially makes ones life hell. Planning the holiday was tough in this respect. Family rooms often mean a larger room with an extra bed, meaning when Eve goes to sleep we all do. Some places charged me for the cot. Some places only serve food so late that it would be impossible with a child who likes to be in bed by 8 etc etc.

There aren't that many good, well researched, guides about places to stay with small children so I thought I would start one. I am relying on my better connected blogging Mummy friends to point people here or, if this already exists, point me in the right direction to another one. Who knows, it may take on a life of its own at some point.

So, to kick off, here is my find from my last trip.

Dunk Island, Queensland, Australia

Perfect for kids. Kids eat free with a paying adult and there is a choice of 2 restaurants for most meals. Two pools, one large safe and protected sandy beach, a few other beaches ideal for hunting for cool stuff such as crabs and shells and interesting stones (Muggy Muggy beach is especially good and comes after a fun short trail walk around the coast). It has a farm onsite so there is lots of fun to be had playing with the animals and feeding the pigs. Has horse riding (for older kids or yummy mummies) as well as lots and lots of water sports. There is a kids club, although we didn't use it. Has all sorts of other things you can do as a family too, we did a guided bird and butterfly walk and there are so many cane toads we would go hunting for them on the way home from supper every night. The garden rooms, where we stayed, have a separate bedroom at the back with two single beds so you can put the little ones to bed and still sit in the main room or on the balcony. Baby cots are free.

The best bit is that the staff and the whole environment is very child-friendly. For example, staff tend to bring the children their food first when you are eating and nobody minds at all if children run around in the restaurants. Nobody minded at all when Eve decided to play tennis with us and was happily brandishing a full size racquet and bashing it on the floor. All quite stress free for parents.

The only down side is the selection of food for children - mainly friend and processed with few vegetables. That said, we found the same everywhere we went in Australia on the kids menus.

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