Trying to organise a family get-together when everyone lives in a different city, with three different generations where everyone can spend quality time together but still have their own space? “Impossible” I hear you say!
Organising a family 40th with people coming from Perth, Sydney and Brisbane was easier than I expected and Hamilton Island fit the bill nicely, with options to please even the fussiest sister. Our accommodation had a golf buggy, access to different pools on the island, a kids’ club, and a multitude of restaurants and things to do.
We put the two families in holiday homes and the grandparents in a hotel. We also did an online shop at the Airlie Beach IGA, which was delivered to our accommodation. This made dealing with kids’ snack requirements and quick lunch options much easier, however there is also an IGA supermarket on the island with the same prices as the mainland.
Every day we had some hard decisions to make: pool or beach? Which pool? What to do on the beach? Catamaraning? Kayaking? Stand-up paddleboarding?
Every afternoon we took a bucket out to Catseye Beach and searched for crabs and starfish. The kids would get muddy feet and the toddlers loved the feel of the sloppy muddy sand so much that it was lucky we had a washing machine in the holiday home.
Kids under 12 eat free in some Hamilton Island restaurants so we ate out every second night, although I do advise to book before you go as the restaurants can be very busy and you avoid the pain of group dinner decision making! Our favourite family restaurant was Manta Ray and we would have eaten there twice if we could have but alas, it was too popular. A special grownups celebration dinner was had at the fine dining restaurant, Bommie, which is apparently the name for a rocky reef outcrop. With its own outdoor bar called Bommie Deck, we had a few sunset cocktails overlooking the harbour before our dinner whilst the kids were tucked up in bed, being looked after by staff from the Clownfish Kids Club.
This being a 40th celebration required a few special treats and one such treat was a sea plane over to Whitehaven beach. It required an early rise, which, when you have a toddler is no big deal. We were given our safety briefing and strapped in, headphones on and away we went. The kids thinking it was more fun to talk though the microphone in the headphones than to look out of the window, until we got to the spectacular Whitehaven Beach.
It is something you see in pictures all the time but it truly takes your breath away when you are flying over the top of the Inlet with the pristine white sand and the turquoise water flowing together. I couldn’t help myself taking so many photos! We landed on the beach with a little picnic basket. We had the beach virtually to ourselves as the tourist boats didn’t arrive until we were just about leaving. The huge monitor lizards came out to stare at us with their beady eyes and check that we left the beach exactly as we found it. It was a magical morning and one we will treasure as a family forever.
Finally, every afternoon before our dinner reservation, we would meet as a family at the top of One Tree Hill and have a drink, catch up on the day’s activities, and discuss the blow by blow results of the family mini golf and bowling tournaments.
For somewhere so small, Hamilton Island really packs a holiday punch. We were able to spend so much quality family time together... but not too much of course!