If you’re a family travelling in New Zealand – here’s why you should stay at Holiday Inn

 

Recently we spent 5 fun filled days in beautiful Auckland. As part of our trip we spent a few nights staying in Rotorua, a place known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, as well as showcasing the fascinating Maori culture.

We stayed with Holiday Inn, as they never disappoint me, I can always relax and let them take care of everything plus with Kids Stay & Eat Free* and the VIK (Very Important Kids) program, the hotel is a great base for both families and adventurers to explore.

Here’s why we think…

Holiday Inn Rotorua is the perfect destination to warm up this winter. Location Location Location….

 

Relax in geothermal hot springs or explore the Redwoods forest mountain bike trails. The mild weather in New Zealand means that you can stay active all year round with plenty of activities to entertain everyone.

Holiday Inn Rotorua is situated on the edge of the beautiful Whakarewarewa Forest. It’s the closest hotel to the famous Rotorua mountain bike trails and  after a day exploring, reward your body with a swim in the geothermally heated pool or enjoy the garden spa, it was such good fun for all of us, the excitement of swimming outdoors in the middle of winter was a major highlight for the kids.

Then head back to your spacious and modern room or relax in the bar before enjoying buffet or a la carte options in the Chapman’s Restaurant, the restaurant serves fantastic meals the kids really enjoyed the buffet dinner and breakfast, we enjoyed that they ate Free*

If  your heading into town for the afternoon or a thrill-seeking day out, jump on the complimentary shuttle service for guests to and from the Rotorua Tourism Centre on Fenton Street and you will be in the middle of everything you need.

During your stay at the  hotel, you can explore Rotorua’s wide range of experiences and attractions. With its well-known Maori cultural shows, geothermal activity and adrenalin pumping activities there is something for everyone.

 

 

There are three different room types; Standard, Superior and Deluxe. So you’ve got a few options to choose from depending on what you need size-wise, comfort-wise and in keeping with budget. The rooms have a modern but classic, comfortable feel to them, with everything feeling new and fresh.

Our room had an insanely good view with a private balcony that overlooked the sulphur springs and the Whakarewarewa thermal park – picture lots of trees with steam rising through them. It made leaving the room difficult, all I wanted to do was stay inside rugged up but adventured called. (See additional blogs for all the attractions and sites we visited)

 

Holiday Inn Rotorua was a great choice for us as it ticks all the boxes when travelling with kids – conveniently located: around the corner from Whakarewarewa and within walking distance (or a short drive) to all of the local attractions, well maintained/clean rooms, breakfast that offers more options than your average hotel breakfast, laundry open 24/7 and cheap to use, which is awesome when you are travelling a lot, air-conditioning, ensuite bathroom, Sky TV channels (including free to guest movies), broadband internet access, complimentary tea/coffee making facilities, iron & ironing board, bathrobes, complimentary selection of fresh fruits, heated outdoor pool, inhouse restarant (Big tick from us)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our 2nd and last stop was in Auckland at the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport it’s located only 4km from the Auckland international and domestic airport terminals so it made for a great place to base ourselves for the last couple of days adventures before we needed to board the hotel shuttle bus for the quick 5 min trip to the airport to start our homeward journey, again we received a warm welcome and the down to earth consistent service we have come to expect from Holiday Inn. Right from check in the staff were first rate friendly and professional, we ate in both the restaurant and on the 2nd night we ordered room service after a particularly long day, both were great with lots 0f choices and very tasty. But nothing beats a Holiday Inn buffet breakfast this is something they just seem to do really well! good choices, good service and plenty of room to sit and relax and not feel rushed. Plus of course kids stay and eat for free*

It’s expansive grounds made a welcome change to other airport hotels we have stayed in, perfect for the kids to get outdoors and enjoy some sunshine and have a run around if you have been cooped up on a flight for a while.

Our whole trip to New Zealand was made so much more enjoyable by staying in comfortable and family friendly Holiday Inn hotels, the wonderful staff who work here, they’re attentive and kind and make you feel really welcome. They’re able to help you out with ideas for places to eat, things to do, how to get around and where to go.

 

 

You can  Check out the current Packages and Special Deals by clicking here.

“Escape with a guaranteed 25% off to Auckland or Rotorua. Plus up to 5% more with YOUR RATE for IHG® Rewards Club members.”

– Book before June 21, 2017, for dates until January 31, 2018.

More information and special rates on accommodation can be found a Holiday Inn

We just loved New Zealand, so if you have any questions? Just let us know and we will be happy to chat.

Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo

 

Follow Them on

Instagram @hiaucklandairport and @holidayinnrotorua

FaceBook /HolidayInnAKLAirport and /HolidayInnRotorua

*Terms and conditions apply.

* Kids Stay Free – Up to two (2) children under 12 years of age, stay free when sharing a room with up to two (2) adults at any of the Participating Hotels, subject to maximum room occupancy restrictions and subject to availability. Baby crib/cot is complimentary while rollaway beds may be chargeable. Rules for maximum room occupancy will supersede this offer.

Kids Eat Free – For registered guests only. This is available for children under 12 yrs of age:

a) when ordering for breakfast, lunch & dinner;
b) when ordering in the hotel’s dine-in restaurant;
c) when ordering from the Kids’ Menu (which must consist of at least 1 main course and 1 dessert) and;
d) when accompanied by at least one (1) adult who is registered as a hotel guest at the Participating Hotel and must order at least one main course from the full priced menu.

The Kids Eat Free offer is limited to up to four (4) children per dining family, per meal OR up to two (2) children per parent, per meal.

The Kids Eat Free offer is not available for room service or with room rates negotiated for groups of 10 or more rooms, travel industry rates, corporate rates or employee rates.

 

**This post was written in collaboration with Holiday Inn (IHG Group) but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.

 



Melbourne’s LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

We recently had the opportunity to attend the Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne we are BIG Lego fans having just been to Legoland in Malaysia so we were keen to test it out.

The Legoland Discovery Centre is the ultimate indoor Lego playground located in Chadstone Shopping centre which was a huge plus for me as I figured if I tired out the kids with lego, mumma would have a couple of hours to get her shop on in peace.

 

Plus our hot tip! 

If you’re planning a trip to the Legoland Discovery Centre or even the shop, you will notice that a lot of the workers there have nametags with minifigures attached to them. Just like Legoland Theme Parks, you’re allowed to initiate a minifigure trade with them! If you see a minifigure that you’d like, all you have to do is ask them to trade it with your own minifigure! This is a great fun activity that kids can do, especially if you have a lot of surplus or loose minifigures lying about at home, so be sure to bring a small bag of minifigures with you when you visit!

  

 

The opening hours are the same as the shopping centre, and you’ll need a ticket or an annual pass to enter the Discovery Centre.

Single tickets are $37.50 for adults and kids, although there are Concession Tickets priced at $27.50.

If you live in Melbourne and plan on visiting the Discovery Centre regularly, it might be more economical to buy an annual pass ($81 for individuals & $77 each for families which have a maximum cap of 2 adults) which grants you unlimited access to the centre all-year round.

Legoland Discovery Centre features two Lego rides, five themed Lego build and play zones, build classes from the Centre’s Master Model Builder, a 4D cinema, special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, Melbourne’s top landmarks recreated in LEGO® bricks in MINILAND, plus more.

It’s ideal for families with children aged 3-10 and took us about 3 hours to really see everything, this is the perfect place for the kids to let there imaginations run wild in a world of colour and creativity!

The centre is first discovery centre in southern hemisphere for Lego, joining a global network of Lego Discovery Centres, including nine in North America, four in Europe and two in Japan.

Not to be confused with traditional Legoland Theme Parks, Leogland Discovery Centres are essentially mini versions of LEGOLAND, usually containing a mix of indoor, outdoor and interactive attractions.

The multi-million dollar attraction is filled with more than 2 million Lego bricks and 13 family friendly attractions, making it the ultimate indoor LEGO playground.

 

 

Adults MUST be accompanied by a child (up to 17 years old) to visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.

● Trading hours vary from 9.30am – 7pm

1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone Shopping Centre  Chadstone Victoria Australia | View Map Link opens new page

*This post was written in collaboration with above mentioned attractions but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.



Our Top FIVE Favourite Attractions While Visiting Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland has a fantastic history and a world of exciting experiences waiting to be discovered. So, if the kids are up for discovering the Maori culture and heritage and uncovering a city bursting with fresh and quirky experiences, Auckland is just the spot for you.

Here are our top FIVE favourites, just to get you started….

 

Agrodome – The Unique New Zealand Farm Experience

Agrodome is a fun event for the whole family, informative & very entertaining, cos lets be honest who doesn’t like farm animals.

Spend the day and make sure you catch all the demonstrations with sheep, dogs and other animals, including audience participation. Make sure you do the farm and sheep shearing tours, The kids will love it!

Heaps of animals are on display and the open areas for kids to explore are a good place to take the whole family.

Set in the heart of 350-acres of lush farmland, yet only 10 minutes from Rotorua city centre, you’ll find this little gem.

For over 40 years, visitors from all over the globe have come to the Agrodome to see the world-famous Farm Show starring a cast of talented animals.  After the show you can visit the Farmyard Nursery, which is home to the cutest baby animals who are available for cuddles and photos all year round!

Plus, if you really want to explore the Agrodome 350-acre working farm then join our Farm Tour. During this guided tour, you’ll get to hand-feed loads of friendly animals and sample delicious kiwifruit juice and honey from the land.

Before you leave, don’t forget to pop into the Woollen Mill and Shearing MuseumHere you’ll learn the remarkable story of NZ pioneers the Bowen brothers and discover the full process of wool from the Sheep’s back to yours.

Such a great experience for the kids, its easy to see why it’s one of New Zealand’s must-see attractions, open in any weather, 365 days a year!

  

 

 

 Whakarewarewa Village

This is a MUST visit whilst in Rotoura, it was educational as well as fun, my kids have been poi dancing and doing the haka ever since we visited (or their version may I add!!)

This is a uniquely down home New Zealand experience that you wont want to miss, steeped in a rich history and filled with unique Māori culture and heritage. Whether you want to be mesmerised by the boiling mud or learn more about the geological forces created in the area that lies within Rotorua, The Māori people have lived here for centuries, co-existing in harmony with the geothermal forces that lay beneath their feet.

Join an hourly guided tour through the Whakarewarewa Village and experience a living Māori village. See how they use the geothermal energy for everyday use and experience traditional dances and songs (including the legendary “Haka”) from the resident kapa haka group – Te Pakira.

Village entry includes entry to the Cultural Performances (11:15 and 2:00 PM daily) and access to explore the Geothermal Features and Self-Guided Nature Trails over steaming lakes and past bubbling mud. Watch the talented Kapa Haka group perform traditional Māori song and dance – there is so much to explore you will need at least half a day.

The Māori Village is owned and operated by the local residents, providing an intimate look into day-to-day life in a Living Māori Village. Visit and hear stories from the tour guides who have lived here for more than five generations.

Stay for lunch and enjoy a traditional geothermal hangi meal, cooked in the bubbling geothermal waters and steam of Whakarewarewa valley which produces a unique flavour which is simply delicious. Hangi experiences can be booked alongside the Whakarewarewa Village Tours, where you can choose from a full Hang meal, or be tempted by the sweet corn on the cob as a taster.

OPEN EVERY DAY (except Christmas day)

  

 

Rainbow Springs Nature Park

 

Set amongst the native trees and beautiful forests of Rotorua, Rainbow Springs Nature Park offers a fun-packed and educational experience for the whole family. Learn about New Zealand’s fascinating natural history and meet the creatures who call this great land home.

Animal and bird lovers  flock to Rainbow Springs Nature Park, a 9 hectare (22 acre) nature park and wildlife conservation center featuring many rare endemic species, a water ride, and a beautiful natural setting of native plants and streams.

Top of our list was to see the Kiwi encounter, Kiwi are shy fuzzy little flightless birds and are the park’s most famous inhabitants but as the ground dwelling creatures they only come out under the cover of darkness, but don’t worry about missing them during your daytime visit as they keep the kiwi in a nocturnal kiwi enclosure and your day pass includes repeat entry for the day of purchase until closing at 10pm, this means you can come back to the park once it’s dark to meet the kiwi in an outdoor, no glass enclosure. They often come out to play under the stars between 7pm-9pm – it’s a magical experience not to be missed!

We found heaps to do including a ride on the big splash, then spent some time with birds in one of the park’s free flight aviaries plus loved the exciting bird show.

Your ticket allows you unlimited admission for the day, so if you’re close by it makes for a great stop, letting you return at night to observe the nocturnal creatures.

Plus each day the team of experts run special encounters which allow you to get closer than ever to some of the park residents including trout, reptiles and native birds.

 

 

Rainbows End

A great day out for the family no matter what age and level of ‘fear factor’

If you’re in New Zealand, searching for a family-friendly thrill activity, definitely go to Rainbows End with over 20 rides and attractions there’s something for everyone, every day of the year expect Christmas day.

The staff are incredibly helpful and kind, and go to all lengths to satisfy your visit.

We enjoyed a fantastic fun day at Rainbows End and the kids just loved it!! Grab a day pass and go on whatever you want!

We loved the Roller Coaster and some of the rides will have you screaming, but in a good way! The Log Flume ride is always good fun without the fear factor.

Piper really enjoyed Kids Kingdom it’s a great sheltered entertainment centre just for the younger kids, children 8 year and under to run around and they have a blast.

Rainbow’s End is open  from 10am to 5pm each day and is worth adding to your must do list while in Auckland.

 

   

 

 

 

OGO Rotorua

 

According to our 10 year old son, this was his best experience throughout the whole trip!

New Zealand is the iconic Rotorua adventure activity in the world’s largest downhill park in the world, overlooking the spectacular views of Lake Rotorua & Mokoia Island. 

The Original OGO New Zealand has been operating for over 19 years and is the iconic Rotorua adventure activity offering the unique experience OGO Globe Riding, basically just rolling down a hill in a large inflatable ball.

Because it’s great fun, you want to go again and again.

We chose the Zigzag track… and it was awesome, such a thrill!  sitting in some warm water (winter time), being rolled down left and right down the track, it was so much fun.

Courtesy Clothing is available if your forget (Top, Shorts and Towel), Free Wifi, Hotpool and courtesy transport to and from Rotorua on request!

Open 7 days, 364 days a year, rain, hail or shine. Anyone from 6 years old can roll and we highly recommend it!  Go on, we dare you.

We had such an amazing time in Auckland, its the perfect haven for kids. If you’re heading to NZ be sure to get in touch with any questions you have as we would love to chat.

Love Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo

 

*This post was written in collaboration with above mentioned attractions but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.



Two great spots to stay when visiting Melbourne with the family.

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Melbourne is packed with things to do for visitors of all ages. Children will love the tram ride down to St Kilda pier, the children’s museum at Melbourne Museum and the Aquarium.

plus parents will no doubt be just as thrilled by Melbourne’s fantastic shopping, dining and nightlife, as well as the National Gallery of Victoria and the leisurely cruises down the Yarra River.

Not far from Melbourne there are many options, including a visit to the fantastic Open Range Zoo at Werribee, or head to the Dandenong Ranges for a ride on the Puffing Billy steam train. Children also love to visit Phillip Island to watch the penguin parade at Summerland Beach, see the fur seals near Nobbies or go surfing at some of the best surf and swimming beaches in Victoria.

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This trip we were only in Melbourne for a couple of days and had lots to do, so we needed somewhere to base ourselves that was convenient, comfortable and as always somewhere where the kids are made as welcome as the adults.

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So our first stop was – The Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders, it has a casual and relaxed vibe helping families feel right at home plus all the family friendly extra’s to make travelling with children easier.

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Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is the ideal choice for guests and is a favourite Melbourne hotel amongst business and leisure guests. Ideal quality accommodation in Melbourne’s central business district, conveniently located at the entertainment end of Melbourne CBD, just a short walk to Crown Casino, Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centres, Aquarium, Southbank restaurants, Observation Deck and Telstra Dome, allowing guests time to indulge in renowned restaurants, fashion boutiques and Melbourne’s finest attractions, guests can relax in the hotels surroundings whilst immersing themselves in the city’s vibrant culture.

We chose to stay in a spacious newly renovated suite with separate bedroom & bathroom, it features 2 double beds, desk and sofa which meant the room felt spacious for our family of four and offered a little more privacy. Rooms feature broadband internet access, pillow menu plus tea & coffee making facilities, Cots are also available should you require one. It was perfect for our family of four to be able to spread out and relax, enjoying the flat screen TV and multi-device free WIFI.

With so many facilities and attractions within walking distance to the hotel it also makes it easy to drop back to the room for nap time or a rest before heading back out for dinner and night time fun, which is a must to keep our sanity – The hotel also has its own casual restaurant for those nights you would rather get a quick bite to eat and have an early night or often our favourite option room service!

The first thing my kids ask when we are heading to a new hotel is does it have a buffet breakfast? and yes it did! We were spoilt for choice with buffet breakfast choices galore we wanted for nothing at during our stay. The kids could take their pick from a variety of cereals, freshly made crepes and pancakes, fluffy bread rolls, warm croissants, , smoked meats and cheese, an assortment of tropical fruits and of course everyone’s favourite bacon and eggs made to order. A good breakfast like this always sets us up for a good day and keeps everyones hungry at bay.

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After a crazy couple of days of exploring this increadable city it was time to think about heading home so for our next stop we opted to be close to the airport on our last night and made our way to the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport. We were made to feel so welcome and they offer all the facilities, space and service that makes travelling with children of all ages a pleasure.

An overnight stay at the hotel is perfect when busy families need a relaxing getaway to reconnect and have fun. As part of the World’s most family friendly hotel chain, the team happily engages with all hotel guests big and small; starting with a special kids welcome pack at the kids check in counter, then it was time to explore the kids zone stocked with fun board games, books and toys, which opens up to a large outdoor garden where you can play soccer, totem tennis or cricket or just run around and wear them out before bedtime.

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I loved that Vargas Restaurant it’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a kids menu which contains more than the usual nuggets and fries and cheese burger and fries that most restaurants think is suitable for the kids, Holiday Inn’s menu has been designed by nutritionists to satisfy any kids’ appetite for flavour and fun, and parents’ desire for healthy, nutritious food. With a great selection of healthy kid friendly meal options, there’s something for every little traveller to enjoy at Vargas Restaurant and Bar. Best of all, kids eat free* when dining with an adult.

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Plus the next morning we could forget the stress and hassle of getting the family to the plane on time. With onsite airport parking and  complimentary 24/7 airport shuttle, we finished the holiday feeling relaxed and rested with no last minute dash so we didn’t miss our plane.

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Plus to make our stay even more affordable they offer Kids 12 years and under eat and stay free when sharing their parents’ room this make a huge difference to the budget when travelling with kids and is always the first thing I look out for when booking a hotel.

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If you have a  larger family or group, they also offer interconnecting rooms, plus free rollaway beds* and portacots.

Whether you choose to stay at  Melbourne airport hotel to make it easier for an early flight the next day or on a lay-over between international destinations, you can be sure that the whole family will enjoy the friendly atmosphere and attitude at a family friendly rate. Spacious soundproof guests rooms with double-glazed windows and modern room amenities, including pillow menu and premium bedding for the ultimate sleep experience. The hotel is the ultimate in Melbourne airport accommodation, located within walking distance to Melbourne Airport terminals meaning its very hard to miss that return flight home.

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Check out the current Packages and Special Deals
Book between 1st – 21st  May and you can get  a whopping 25% off or more on the best flexible rate, Valid for stays from May 8th to 31st December 2017.
*Terms and conditions apply.
More information and special rates on accommodation can be found at www.holidayinn.com

We love Melbourne, so any questions you have just let us know and we will be happy to chat.

Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo

 

*This post was written in collaboration with Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.



Our Cruise to Tasmania on the Carnival Legend, 4 day family Cruise

Warning: Before you start reading…. 

CRUISING CAN BE ADDICTIVE

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Ready to GO!

 

We have just returned from our 5th Family Cruise, this time aboard the incredible Carnival Legend to Tasmania, we have been to Tazzy before but love the place, so when the chance came up to take a short 4 day cruise right at the start of the year, we jumped at it!

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Luxury Shopping

As we have sailed with Carnival three times before in Australia and the USA, we knew what we were in for and ready for a vacation of legendary proportions! And it didn’t disappoint!

We set sail on a floating resort that’s so spectacular she needs a two-level promenade for all of her fabulous shops, lounges and nightclubs, plus an abundance of stateroom options such as balconies and interconnecting rooms and an unparalleled variety of activities. Then add the delicious dining, kids club and pampering service, and this “Fun Ship” becomes a legend in her own time.

The four-night Tasmanian cruise aboard Carnival proves an ideal short getaway, to refresh and unwind. Perfect if you have never cruised before and want a ‘sampler’ short trip to just ‘try out’ cruising. But trust me it’s addictive and you will be wanting to book again before you have even disembarked.

Whether you’re after an action-packed holiday or just want to relax and unwind, you can create the type of cruise holiday you want.

My favourite spot on board (apart from piano bar) is sitting on our balcony mesmerised by the ocean. Seabirds glide gracefully over the waves and ships come and go on the horizon it’s the perfect place to just chill, but it never lasts long as there’s heaps of  fun on offer and the kids drag me out the door!

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Water Park At Sea

You will find something for everyone little ones, big ones, the whole family.

Including the largest waterpark at sea in Australia, build-a-bear at sea and mini-golf. For the fitness minded check out the two-deck fitness centre, jogging track and sports court (not that I made it to any of these) But I did spend some ‘quality’ time in the Serenity area (adults-only) plus the day spa while the amazing kids club councillors kept the kids entertained.  With three different age-appropriate youth programs the kids get plenty of choices and its a great opportunity for them to make some new friends on-board.

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Splash Zone

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But all good things must come to an end and when we roll off the ship in Sydney 4 days latter its apparent we’ve consumed our share of the tonnes of food prepared each day and I regret not visiting the gym – but honestly, there just wasn’t time.

I will be cruising again as the entertainment never ended and you are just spoilt for choice no matter what your passion.

Here’s some photos captured during trip, and also some of my favourite spots on board!

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Mini Golf
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Seuss At Sea
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Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast
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Sitting Pretty Pool Side

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Want to know more about the ‘Green eggs and ham breakfast’ then be sure to check out a review I wrote on it in past posts under Family travel.

If you have any questions on Cruising or just traveling with kids drop me a line as I love a chat.

Love Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo



QT Bondi review, Sydney: on Australia’s most famous beach

Bondi Beach is one of the most famous strips of sand in the country, if not the world and we were lucky enough to spend the last 5 days soaking up the sunshine and beach culture.

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We based ourselves at the QT Bondi – The location of this hotel couldn’t be better, located on Australia’s most famous beach right across the road from Bondi beach, it’s the perfect location in the hub of Bondi but just outside the noisy night life.

You have one of the world’s most famous beaches on your doorstep, so experiencing Bondi Beach is a must. Take a stroll along its length from North Bondi or visit the iconic Bondi Icebergs which is just a short walk to the south, Take a swim or experience the café scene, we did it all!

Bondi we will be back you stole our heart – We just cant wait to come back and do it all again!

Are you looking for or a Cheap flights to Sydney?

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The hotel has a unique style and playful vibe that is Bondi the rooms have city views, kitchenette and bespoke designer furnishings. The rooms have comfortable beds and quirky bits of furniture and decorations, the funky design imidelty makes you feel happy and hip. The room is well appointed with a kitchenette which was very handy for the family, I would describe it as closer to a serviced apartment than a hotel. There’s a two-burner stove, microwave, dishwasher and washing machine and even a nespresso machine. Also I loved all the little extras of gowns plus plenty of accessories in the rather large bathrooms.

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They have thought of everything and even have some fun inclusions to buy from the mini bar  – like undies and games even thongs (flip flops)

Have I already said ‘Great location’ I couldn’t get over just how convenient everything was, just across the road from the beach and heaps of restaurants in the vicinity, everything you need is on your doorstep just catch the lift down to the ground floor to Woolworths which is very handy for grabbing food, however there are lots of restaurants nearby that you just must try. (if you have been following us on snapchat you would have seen we ate our way around Bondi!)

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The staff were helpful – the one thing I found that let this hotel down is housekeeping, the room was serviced daily but every afternoon, everyday for the whole 5 days when we got back we would have to ring and ask for all the things they had forgotten to give us, from towels, toilet paper, milk, dishwashing tablet and more!! and the room was serviced in a very half hearted way. It felt more like they wanted it to be a self contained unit (where after the first night you provide all your own amenities and do your own cleaning) which you wouldn’t normally mind if they didn’t charge hotel prices for each night.

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If you have any question please just drop us a line as we would love to chat.

Love Kerry and Miss Piper xoxo

QT Bondi. 6 Beach Road, Bondi, NSW, 2026. (02) 8362 3900 See www.qtbondi.com.au

 



Carnival Cruise Lines for family Holidays

My family and I spent 9 days cruising onboard the Carnival Spirit  – a ship very much designed with families in mind.
I’ve travelled on Carnival Cruise Lines before now. But this is something else again.
The ship boasts amazing facilities, extensive kids clubs and has the Dr Suess  characters onboard.

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But is it just a floating entertainment palace?

Many people are concerned about all that noise and all those kids and the crowds?

These are all questions we asked ourselves, so I know other families will be asking them too.

We’re not really into big crowds. We kind of like our own space. Don’t get me wrong, we like to go to shows and attractions etc. But we also like to retreat to our own little corner too. Can you even do that on a cruise ship of this size?

My family are hard to please on holidays. They want to be doing, doing, doing all the time. They want to see things and experience things and at 18, 9 and 2 they all need different experiences.
So that is a difficult holiday to find!

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But find it we did.

As a mother I know exactly what it’s like when you’re looking to spend your money on something for the whole family. And let’s face it,  holidays are expensive. Especially if you have school-aged children and have to take your holidays during the most expensive times so value for money is what we all want.

We travelled on the Spirit for 9 nights to New Caledonia in Febuary and barely touched the sides of what is on offer to do.
And we did a LOT of stuff.
Trust me when I tell you, there is no way you will ever be bored on this ship.

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Here’s a quick overview why:

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Food and Dining

You will find plenty of choices with delicious dining options for the whole family, most of which is included in the price of your cruise. (Some venues charge additional make sure to check before you cruise)

If you’re not sure about any of the restaurants you can just pop in and ask a member of staff to see the menu, if they have any additional charges and what sort of food they serve.  We found them supremely helpful – especially when asking about the suitability for children.
If you don’t want to dress up and like to eat quite informally, be sure to check out the varity on offer at the self service buffet with a HUGE selection for even the fussiest of eaters.
It does however get very busy, but there are staff helping with seating so you’re never waiting for too long.
It’s a great place to eat lunch or breakfast.
If you like formal dining, or something a bit special, the dining room is a gorgeous spectacle of a dining room that’s open for  breakfast, lunch and dinner most days.
My kids highlight was seeing the wait staff everynight who danced and sang with them, and treated them like their own children, Mr 8 even cried one the last night as he was so sad to leave them.
There are lots of other places to eat if you want something quick and easy – such as 24 hour pizza, burgers, Mexican, sushi, and a café with amazing coffee, cakes and donuts.

Or, if you’re feeling really decadent, order in room service and sit on your balcony watching the sea slip by!

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THE POOLS
There are 2 different pools for families on board, plus a H2O Zone for children with squirting water cannons, slides and two huge multi-coloured waterslides looming overhead  and lots of places to play.

Plus an adults-only pool, that looked very tranquil and private and very much feels like a private spa, unfortuanlly we never made it for a swim on our own.

The main pools, are for every day use and consequently it is rather noisy around here!
The pools aren’t huge so during busy times it can feel quite crowded, the perfect time for a quite visit is early morning or during a port days when you find them almost empty.

That said the children absolutely loved the pool.

But please note: Babies/ All Children must be toilet trained to use the ship pools and swim nappies are NOT allowed due to health regulation, luckily I had already heard this and trained Piper two months prior to our trip otherwise it would have been a nightmare going anywhere near the pools and trying to explain she couldn’t go in! So if your thinking of booking and know your child will want to swim then make sure you have already or leave enough time to get that training done before you depart. Also toilets are not located close to the pool area so make sure they have learnt to hold on and take them for regular toilet stops just in case.

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THE DAY SPA
Yes I just had to try it out! Its quite large in size with a full gym with spa for Adults in the rear. I had the most wonderful facial and massage and felt a million dollars. If it’s something that interests you, make sure you book in quickly when you board as the spots do tend to fill up quite quickly plus book for a treatment early in the cruise as its well worth it to relax early and get the full holiday experience.

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YOUTH ZONE
Or the kids clubs. Personally I’ve never really cared if my kids go to kids clubs or not and are happy to spend the holiday enjoying time with them, so I leave it up to them but I can honestly say Joshua Mr 8 was begging to return after his first session he loved it. It’s Suitable for children aged 3 and 17, they are SO well thought out, the facilities are amazing, all activities are Age-appropriate like treasure hunts, obstacle courses, arts and craft, sports competitions, movies and playground outings at sea.

Piper was too young to leave alone as stating age is three but we were able to take her in at certain times and let her have a play with the toys and stay and  play with her her which she really enjoyed.

If you want an Adults night out they also provide “Night Owls”club which for a nominal fee, kids aged 2-11 can stay  up with others their age until as late as 1 a.m. They’ll enjoy music, activities, games and giveaways at supervised parties while you enjoy some time out maybe wining and dining.

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On top of ALL of this there is a casino, a gym, loads of very different bars, a library, nightclub,  – even a chapel if you fancy tying the knot onboard.

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So did we find that much desired corner to ourselves? Did we find it crowded, overbearing, busy?
Well yes, we travelled on the ship at peak holiday time so it was busy. But there was always  somewhere to find peace.

Would I recommend cruising to a family with little ones.
Yes I would.

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Just be prepared that you might not get to do and see everything that you want too, as often little ones have other ideas, traveling with family or friends as a group is always a good way to go as you can always swap around the baby sitting duties.

As a family when we travel we want quality, to be treated well – very well – and we want to go home with amazing memories.

And that’s exactly what we got.

Thanks Carnival Cruise Lines for the amazing memories.

Love Kerry and Miss Piper

*This really just touches on our cruise experience so if you have any questions feel free to ask a question here or Pop on over to Instagram and send me a Direct Message.

Also be sure to check out our last Blog post on the green eggs and ham breakfast onboard.

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