Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Tuesday 12 July 2011
An uneventful start to our Whitsunday winter holiday. Early train to the airport, flight at 10am, arrived at Hamilton Island on schedule. Checked into Holiday Home (Oasis #10) and received the keys to our little house and most importantly, our golf buggy. We threw our things into the house and meandered off in the buggy for a tour of the island that included a stop at the first café we found for lunch. We were starving by then, and ate WAY too much! A short explore, and home for a rest before it was time for dinner. The Steakhouse looked inviting, but had an hour’s wait. We decided to take a tour of the island in our buggy, but the dark of night made it difficult to discern any details! Back to dinner, with a buffet for kids (what a great idea, they could start immediately, while we waited for our order). We were pretty full after our big lunch, so ordered fairly small. Brennan and Renee shared a lamb roast.
Wednesday 13 July 2011
Our food order hadn’t arrived yet, so we were forced out for breakfast. The only place open was the ‘eat with koalas’ attraction. Brennan said “overpriced hotel breakfast, the usual crap”. Caro said “I can’t believe he (the chef) wasted so many eggs”. No wonder it cost so much, and of course the cost is further inflated by the people staying in the hotel who have breakfast included in their room charge.
Our food arrived, then we went for a glass bottom boat ‘look at fishes’ ride, while Caro and Andrew had some time to themselves (with the buggy) before they went snorkelling out on the reef. The glass bottom boat ride was better than expected, a bit tacky and the driver persisted in telling a long winded story about the cost of everything. $250k to join the Hamilton Island yacht club, cost to stay at qualia, cost of the bath tubs at qualia, how much the owner of the island bought it for, etc. But we did get to see a lot of coral and several fish. Keegan said his best bit was “seeing the fishes”. Vincent said “zebra fishes” and also that he saw “one hundred turtles with my tricky eyes!!” Brennan liked the section where the boat was left to drift in the strong current of the gap between Hamilton Island and the neighbouring island. Keegan also liked “going speedy, so fast, faster than I can swim”. Vincent’s imagination ran away with him and he also ‘saw’ “a shark so big under our boat”.
We swapped the buggy keys with Caro and Andrew and took the chance to have lunch at the pub. It was a terrible pub, bad music, no atmosphere and no interesting beers on tap. The lunch was adequate, but nothing special either. We went back to the house for a rest, Renee read a book, boys played rugby and watched a bit of tv, Fergus and Brennan slept.
Best part of the day. Vincent: “Rugby with Andrew. It was me and Keegan vs Andrew and we won 7-3” Brennan told Andrew that he should be more inventive with his application of the rules in order to beat the boys, who are starting to work as a team and thus getting better at winning! Keegan: “Boat ride, speeding along faster than I can swim”. Brennan: “3 hour day sleep!”
Andrew made BBQ dinner, boys to bed (they crashed to sleep!), and we stayed up drinking and talking till late.
Thursday 14 July 2011
Breakfast at home. The toaster made the smoke alarm go off – why is it that we could fill the house with BBQ smoke during dinner the night before, but a little piece of unburnt toast makes the alarm fill the place with piercing noise? Brennan’s height was an advantage as he reached up and turned it off. The boys were very impressed that he could reach and Andrew couldn’t quite reach. The couple of cm advantage that Dad has makes him superman!!
Caro and Andrew took the boys to the beach to play rugby and swim so the Brennan and Renee could have some time to ourselves. We wandered aimlessly about, up and back the beach, around the resort and so on. Laughed at ourselves for walking along the beach at a rapid clip – can’t slow down even on holiday! After an hour or so of that, we were bored and missing the boys, so went over to them to organise lunch. Did a bakery mission in the buggy, left them with some sandwiches and pies before high-tailing it off to a peaceful lunch in the sun by ourselves. Took our leftovers back to the boys and played for a while. Hide and seek was the game of choice for the boys! Then it was time to go back to the house for a rest.
After a rest, we leapt back in the buggy to the high point of the island to enjoy ‘sunset cocktails’. Caro and Andrew were still feeling a little seedy from the night before (Brennan’s 10 year drinking advantage over them shows up here, as he felt fine!). Took lots of photos and the boys had a grand time running all over “one tree hill” and exploring the hillside. The name of the hill is about as silly as Auckland’s similarly named hill – Auckland’s version has no trees, Hamilton Island’s version has many.
Home for home made lamb burgers.
Friday 15 July 2011
Vincent came into our bedroom with a note he’d written. “to mum, we will make pancakes for 5+2=7 breakfast” Caro did the actual making, and Vincent helped by setting the table and waking everyone up!
After breakfast, the weather was less than ordinary, so we went to the sports club and played a round of mini-golf. Fergus had a great time chasing the balls and interfering with all the games by ‘catching’ the balls and moving them around! Near the end of the course, Keegan lost his ball and was sad. Renee went over to help him find it and discovered that he’d sunk it on the final hole and it had gone down the shute back to the shop. After adding up the scores, Brennan won on 49 shots, and Vincent and Keegan drew at the other end on 81 shots. Andrew pulled out a prize for each of them from his magic bag and they both had a ‘sticky hand’ to play with for the rest of the day. Until they got too much crap stuck to them and lost their sticky. But Andrew to the rescue again and a quick wash had them back to original stickiness.
Home for lunch of bacon and eggs leftovers.
Then slightly improved weather encouraged us back to the beach for more swimming and rugby. Everyone shot each other with water guns, before the cold seeped in and we went home to warm up and have a rest. Mad aunty Caro decided that since she didn’t swim at the beach, she was going to swim in the house pool. Being in the shade of the neighbours house, it was colder than the ocean, but that didn’t stop the boys from joining her for a dip. They had fun swimming with the rugby ball as a floatation device. But soon had to run inside for a shower to warm back up again.
Renee went for a walk to town for some peace and quiet, went a bit crazy in a pretty shop, purchasing a new perfume. Couldn’t decide between vanilla or ginger ‘flavoured’, but went for ginger because it had a prettier box. The decision making of a scrapbooker – this one has a nicer box, which would look lovely if I just added a few things to it!
Caro made her coconut fish risotto concoction for dinner. Yum! Boys to bed – all this holidaying is hard work, they have slept so well, almost instanteously as they hit the pillow!
We stayed up and played cards, an old Geelen family game that is a variation on 500, called ‘nominations’ or ‘up and down the river’ depending on who you talk to. Caro won.
Saturday 16 July 2011
Holiday is over. Breakfast and packing. Once packed, we checked out and dropped off the buggy. Then we wandered aimlessly about the island until it was almost too late for lunch. Had a mad fast lunch at the pool bar before a furiously fast walk to the airport so we’d be in time for our plane. We arrived to find that it had all been in vain, as the low cloud had forced the cancellation of all flights for the day.
Virgin (the airline company) put us on a boat to Daydream Island, a nearby resort, and left us to it. The communication with them was fairly incomplete, but we arrived after a 35 minute boat ride to find that if we waited for a couple of hours there was going to be a room for us. Unfortunately they had only one room, with two double beds, for all seven of us. So it was back to the line at reception to get another room for Caro and Andrew. Luckily the resort found one for them, and a cot for Fergus, and we all had a bed for the night.
By this time it was almost dinner time, but with just enough time for a walk around the island to explore a little. And since we might be leaving the next day at an unknown time, we thought it wise to make the most of it and see as much as we could. We discovered a really cool kids playground and the boys played for a while, a bit more walking, then back to the main section for dinner. The resort was struggling to cope with a plane load of unexpected guests, so it was room service for dinner. We ate in the main lounge, under the large plastic brightly coloured fish, and the quality was excellent.
The resort at Daydream is like walking into ‘80s world. It’s full of mad bright colours, and great retro music. Which sure beats the rubbish pop covers they played at Hamilton Island’s bars. The kids loved it, it’s such a great place for kids, but oddly it feels under-utilised.
After the change in plans, which was not much of a hard-ship for us, but a big drama for Caro and Andrew, we had an early night. The cancellation of the flight meant that Caro missed her flight back to NZ on Sunday, and Andrew missed the first leg of his great international adventure. They spent a fair bit of time on the phone and the internet organising new flights and sorting out insurance dramas.
Sunday 17 July 2011
A bonus day in the Whitsundays! Breakfast, then mini-golf at the very funky ‘play around Australia in 19 holes’ course. A much more challenging and interesting course than Hamilton Island. A Fergus nappy drama at the tenth meant a walk back to our room for a change and a wash, while the others played chess. This had the added bonus of giving Andrew time to catch up, since he missed the first half as he was still on the phone sorting out his interrupted travel.
We finished the game and the winner was Andrew on 60, just pipping Brennan on 62. Vincent (76) smashed Keegan (94) this time around, but Keegan had the most shots! Keegan and Vincent have both perfected the drag shot during their two min-golf rounds and this substantially lowered their potential scores…
All this exercise makes you hungry, so we had lunch at the bakery before taking the long way back to the resort via the rainforest walk. We didn’t see any creatures during our journey, but with Vincent as leader and Keegan as ‘sign-spotter’ we read all the signs and learnt about several of the plants and animals that live on the island. The pram didn’t work on the 1km walk, so Andrew carried it, and Brennan carried Fergus. I think Brennan got the rough deal, as Fergus weighs more than 10kg and wriggles a lot!
The sun finally came out and we swam during the afternoon. The water wasn’t that warm, but at least we could all say that we’d donned the swimmers and taken to the water during the holiday! More water gun action to be had, then back to warm up and enjoy the resort’s bar.
Caro had the good sense to book us into the fancy restaurant (whether Virgin will cough up for the cost is another matter) and we enjoyed a gorgeous meal for dinner. Renee had to make do with ‘mocktails for the pregnant lady’ while the others enjoyed a bottle of fine red. The boys thought they were spoilt to be allowed icecream for dessert.
Monday 18 July 2011
The weather finally came out beautiful. And all flights were back on. We were up early to pack and get ready for a day of travelling. At breakfast, Brennan said “I bet Keegan gets lost today, he seems more dreamy than usual.” About ¾ of an hour before the boat to Hamilton Island was due, Vincent and I went to find Caro and Andrew. Keegan belatedly decided to join us, and proceeded to get lost. Vincent and I arrived back at the jetty without Keegan, Caro or Andrew. Brennan said “where’s Keegan, he chased after you”. No idea, so Vincent and Renee went hunting. Renee took the ground floor and Vincent went back to Caro and Andrew’s room. Vincent found him and said “his eyeballs were dripping, so I held his hand and we came back to Dad”.
Disaster averted, (Brennan proved right), all seven reunited (Caro and Andrew found us), and we boarded the vessel back to Hamilton Island. It may have been gorgeous, sunny and warm, but there was still a fairly violent wind to contend with. We arrived back at the airport with plenty of time to fill in, so left our bags with the Holiday Homes staff and wandered off to the beach for some tropical sunshine and, of course, lunch. This time it was at a more leisurely pace since our flight wasn’t till 2pm. We did manage to get on board a plane, but since Virgin had two days of backlog to cope with, we were flown to Brisbane before transferring to a Sydney flight. We finally arrived home at 7pm and took the train home. Andrew had a 3 hour wait before his flight to Greece and the belated start to his European adventure.
Takeaway dinner from the Thai place in Ashfield, then crashed into bed! Caro was up again at 4.30am to catch her new flight home to NZ, and thus the adventure ends. Only 20 loads of laundry, general unpacking and sorting of photos to do.