Family fun in Gold Coast

Ever since having a kid, I kinda think Australia is a choice destination when it comes to family holidays. It’s relatively easy and near to fly to, plus majority of the establishments are generally child-friendly.

Last December, we decided to travel as one big extended family Down Under. Perth was suggested but tossed out of the window when we found out that we could borrow my Mom’s boss’s apartment in Gold Coast. Since I’m terribly late in sharing this post, will do up a simple round-up of our 10-days trip to Gold Coast.

img_5429Flying to Gold Coast
We flew to Gold Coast by Scoot because that’s the only carrier that offered a direct flight. If prefer to fly via Singapore Airlines, then you would need to fly to Brisbane and then either take a bus or a train down to Gold Coast. We thought traveling in a large group of 8 pax (5 adults and 3 kids), the train and coach from Brisbane to Gold Coast might be somewhat logistically challenging. So the direct flight to Scoot appeared to be a better choice.

Here’s what we learn about flying on Scoot, so thought I’d just share if you can’t quite decide if you wish to fly on budget. Number one, while Scoot is considered to be budget, we realised that prices aren’t quite budget. The airfare for me and the Bub came up to nearly S$2,000 after adding taxes plus baggage allowance. That said, we did choose Scoot because it flew direct to Gold Coast so we understood that there wasn’t going to be much savings given that we were also travelling in a huge group during high season of travel.

img_5417-1Number two, bring along your own blanket and pillow on-board for they will not be provided free on flight. If you do forget your blanket or pillow, you can purchase from Scoot for a fee. Number three, beverages and meals all come at a cost on Scoot. It’s cheaper for to purchase your meals ahead rather than purchasing on-flight. Also, if you plan to bring along your own meals, well, do eat discreetly for the air-crew actually will tell you to keep away your own food. Do bring along a hot water flask to load up on hot water for making milk for your child if needed. We found that to be useful for during the flight, Bubba had a huge appetite only for milk.

img_5433-1On entertainment, do not expect any complimentary in-flight entertainment. Other than that, we took a red-eye flight to Gold Coast where the Bub slept most of the trip and then on the way back home to Singapore, the iPad loaded with her fave games and cartoons kept her occupied for a good part of the trip.

img_6195Getting around Gold Coast
Our apartment was in South Port which was walking distance to a mall, it was also close to a tram and bus stop. Our preferred mode of transport to get around was actually Uber. It was quick and convenient so we basically just relied on that as we heard that cabs in Gold Coast can get quite costly. But one point to note is that if you intend to travel further out, you may wish to do a fare estimate between Uber and Gold Coast Cabs. We did just that and found out that it was a whole lot more convenient chartering a maxi cab that could sit all 8 of us comfortably with our shopping bags instead of splitting the group into 2 separate cars.

img_6196Eating around Gold Coast
To be honest, we had grand plans about dining in some restaurants. We did just that on our first day as it was my Dad’s birthday but we had one child who was sleeping in her stroller (mine), another child who slept on my sister’s lap and one cranky child was was sleep-deprived. The adults ended up wolfing down our food and drinks. In the end, my mom suggested that it was more peaceful to have our meals at home.

Mummies are really the best! My mom actually lugged a box of dried food stuff (which we declared to the customs) to Gold Coast and made sure that we ate at least a hearty meal at home. That hearty meal became 2 meals a day simply because it was way easier to sort out the kids meals at home. They get to sit down with minimal distractions and finish their meals. When they are done, they either play amongst themselves, watch tv and have ice-cream while the rest of the adults slowly eat up the rest of the leftovers and finish the bottle of wine. It was a whole lot more enjoyable that way. So, hat’s off and THANK YOU MUMMY for making all that food for us during the trip! 🙂

img_5283Home-cooked meals also mean that they cost way cheaper than dining out. We got choice-cut meats like beef steak, lamb, chicken, etc at the local supermarket along with fresh fruits and vegetables that accompanied our meal. The kids went crazy over the ham and bacon and we literally could polish off nearly 300 grams of cold cuts for breakfast. Oh, let’s not forget just how affordable wine is over in Australia. The sister and I were happy with our local wine store finds of wine that cost AUD 13 a bottle. She proudly chimed that if she lived in Australia any longer, she would probably become an alcoholic. Haha..

img_4840Gold Coast Attractions and Theme Parks
We knew that we wanted to go to a couple of theme parks like Movie World, Sea World and an animal related attraction. Trawled the internet and managed to find a pass that had a 1-year unlimited access into Movie World, Sea World, Wet n Wild and Paradise Country for under AUD 90 a head at Experience OZ. This was a pretty good deal so we got passes for the adults and the older kids. As Bubba is under three, her entry to all of the above-mentioned attractions were free.

img_6197Paradise Country:
Get pretty up-close-and-personal with wildlife from Australia such as koalas, kangaroos, sheep, etc. Have to add that the car-ride there was a little bumpy and the Bub threw up her breakfast all over me so that was pretty eventful (and ironic, not to mention as I was wearing the ‘Queen’ tee). Thankfully, I had a spare change of clothes for her and there were a couple of souvenir shops for me to grab a tourist-tee for a quick change.

img_4858

We spent about 3 hours at Paradise Country looking at the different animals but didn’t quite stay on for the shows for it was a little too hot being out in the sun. I did spent AUD6 on kangaroo feed (got 3 packs of the kangaroo food for all 3 kiddos). Well, I kinda regretted the move for most of the food was wasted. The kangaroos were simply fed too well that most of them weren’t very interested in eating what was being thrown at them. I guess the kids did have fun running after them and begging them to eat their food from their palms.

img_6271Sea World
Memories of Sea World remained faint as I visited the attraction like many years ago but I was excited to bring the Bub for she showed a keen interest in marine life. And following our trip to Japan where she visited the various aquariums and marvelled at the marine life behind those thick glass panels, I thought this would be one of the attractions that better suited her.

Well, turned out Sea World was a lot smaller than some of the aquariums that we had visited in Japan. We spent about 3-4 hours there and pretty much toured the entire place. There wasn’t much of a marine life to boast about but we did see penguins, dolphins and sea-lions.

img_4968Perhaps, the saving grace for Sea World (which felt like it was in dire need of a face-lift given the standards of theme parks these days) was the Nickoloden play area which had rides that were great for younger kids. Managed to convince the Bub to go on this fun air-plane ride which she gamely went along with me. She’s usually quite timid when it comes to taking rides so I was impressed by her show of courage.

img_4957The presence of Dora also brought a wide smile to her face. She patiently waited in line before shyly going up to Dora to ask where her backpack was. When Dora picked her up, she was thrilled and I was just pleased to have snapped a nice shot of her wide smile.

img_4932My older nephews weren’t too interested in the kiddy rides. In fact, they spent most of my Dad’s money on carnival games and we ended up going up with a bag of soft toys that they won from the challenges. Haha!

img_4982I ain’t going to do a round-up of Movie World for you probably can get most of the research online. I only wished that they still had the Harry Potter ride as her outfit would be perfect for the themed par.k. Unfortunately, as the weather was too hot, we changed her into something more comfortable. We spent more than half a day there but Bubba didn’t take a lot of the rides as they were meant more for older kids and adults. Not like she was complaining but she fell asleep for a few hours after insisting on going round the merry-go-round for the umpteenth time.

img_4688-1Shopping in Gold Coast
We spent quite a lot of time at the supermarket, going down aisles to check out what interesting food stuff they have that we don’t in Singapore. The selection of snacks, biscuits, toiletries and even toys made us very excited.

img_5116Here are some of the kids snacks which I brought back for the Bub and her little friends. Her fave of t he lot are those dried fruit which she simply adores and loves. That’s the only snack that will keep her in her stroller without any complaints. Those yogurt coated raisins in that Peppa Pig box is also a healthy snack that she enjoys.

img_5066We also made it to Harbour Town Factory Outlet where we spent nearly an entire day shopping. The kids cooperated after they had their meals by falling asleep in their strollers so we managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of shopping. Well, we didn’t go overboard but I did get my fix at Bonds and my sister, Mom and I scored a pair of new Vans shoes for a steal! These were kids sizes by the way and we paid about AUD30 for these Super Mario Limited Edition kicks. Super happy!

img_5096Check out our Vans shoes twinning shot!

img_5112That’s not all! We managed to stock up on some kids clothes for Bubba at Target and KMart and I lugged home many of Bubba’s new toys from her recent cartoons craze – Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines. Yes, that’s my girl for you.. not your usual Disney Princess loving kid, instead she loves dogs plus monster trucks. Kinda funny and cute altogether!

img_5189Guess that sums up our family trip to Gold Coast. We did enjoy ourselves very much and I think the Bub really enjoyed the company of her cousins, grandparents plus uncle/ aunt tremendously. The day passed by so quickly with the trio of joy, sometimes laughing, singing, dancing and also bickering.

img_5382But that’s the beauty of family holidays, the memories do last. I used to love going holidays with my cousins and would look forward to the times spent with them. Being possibly the only child for now, I only hope that Bubba would love the company of her cousins too.

img_5264I must say we did pretty well in organising the logistics for a rather relaxing and well-rested family holiday that another family holiday with the entire gang is in the works. Taiwan perhaps? Anyone has an itinerary to share? 🙂

 

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