I'm a qualified UK lawyer, who emigrated to Australia in May 2012. I have three small children and we've been getting to know Brisbane and making it our home.
Published May 17th 2013
Having recently emigrated to Australia from the UK, we want to explore this beautiful country and, especially, our little corner of it as much as possible despite having a toddler and an ever growing bump.
We had read about the Kingfisher Bay Resort back in the UK and had always wanted to go there, so I set about seeing if we could make a stay there work for us.
Our little boy has severe allergies, so I always have to ensure that his needs can be catered for. I phoned the resort and they couldn't have been more helpful. They assured me that they could cater for any dietary need and could even cater for a vegan diet.
I then turned my attention to the logistics; travel in the car, ferry over to the island, a 4 x 4 tour whilst on the island, etc. I knew we would have to time the journey to coincide with nap time so that we could make some headway without a meltdown (toddler and grown up).
It all seemed possible and so I went to book and then, in a stroke of luck, I found a Scoopon deal which encompassed exactly what we were after - fabulous!
Car packed, travelling as lightly as you can with a toddler, we set off. I won't lie, it was a long journey from Brisbane to River Heads (south of Hervey Bay), but we broke it up as best we could and resorted to episodes of Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder when a meltdown loomed.
We scheduled one of our pit stops for Eumundi and spent an hour around the market, having a look at all the beautiful stalls and munching away on the delicious food available. I had brought allergy friendly food for our toddler.
Refreshed, fed, and watered, we got back into the car and our little man soon fell asleep. He conveniently woke up as we approached the ferry terminal. We parked up, checked in and sat by the water, ready to board the ferry, watching the birds and the approach of the boat.
At this point, I must pause to say, remember to take lots of insect repellant with you, and if you forget, you can buy it on board!
We boarded the boat and were shown where we could leave the pushchair. It was a short journey over to Fraser Island and our toddler loved being on deck and spotting all of the wildlife.
We disembarked and were collected, along with the other passengers, by the resort train, a huge source of excitement for our two year old and a heavily pregnant me!
Already checked in, we were handed our key card and given to a brief but informative talk about the resort. We made our way to our room and our luggage soon arrived.
We had a spa room, which was basic but comfortable. Given that our little boy's allergies could be catered for by the restaurants, we didn't see the need to pay out for a self catering villa, house or lodge. I did have emergency food supplies with me, but didn't need them.
We had a look around the resort and found three restaurants (one serving breakfast only), bar, coffee shop, spa, shop, car hire, playground and three swimming pools. All we needed and more.
We planned what we would do and when, then went to the Sand Bar for dinner. True to their word, the chef put together an allergy friendly meal for our toddler and we all tucked into a casual and tasty enough meal.
After dinner, we walked to the end of the jetty and looked at the view. I don't think I have ever seen so many stars and enormous fruit bats.
On our way back to our room, we booked places on the 4x4 bus tour. The reception staff organised a toddler car seat and pillows for my bump. We also booked a table at the Seabelle Restaurant and requested an allergy friendly meal for our little man.
The next morning we had breakfast in the Maheno Restaurant, where we found everything you could possibly want for a hearty breakfast, even for English breakfast lovers like us. Set out in buffet style, you could pick and choose what you fancied, all well cooked and frequently refreshed. Again, allergy friendly wasn't an issue.
We then spent the day around the resort. Swimming in the pools, a visit to the playground, a nap (all three of us - lovely), drinks in the Jetty Hut and an afternoon fishing (all the paraphernalia required was provided by the Jetty Hut for a small charge).
We are not experienced at fishing, but it was great fun. Our toddler clapping in delight when we caught anything. One particularly big fish snapped the line and the staff in the Jetty Hut said it would have been a small shark - very exciting to some Poms, who are more used to seeing the odd dead seagull floating in the sea at the British seaside! The heavens then opened and we raced back to our room to clean up for dinner.
Dinner in the Seabelle Restaurant was delicious. The Chef de Cuisine has drawn inspiration from Fraser Island's indigenous Butchulla tribe, crafting his menus to blend seasonal, local produce, fresh seafood, Australian bush tucker and island living. The herbs and garnishes are home-grown at the resort's nursery, and delivered fresh by its gardeners to the kitchen door. We were most impressed with the allergy free offering for our little boy, a delicious piece of barramundi baked in a banana leaf with potatoes and greens.
It was then an early night in preparation for an early start the next day for the 4x4 bus tour. We met the tour guide outside the coffee shop where we grabbed quick provisions. The car seat and pillows were waiting for us.
We hopped onto the bus with the other guests and got ourselves settled with little man in his seat, right next to the window with an exceptional view.
Off we went! The tour guide was hugely knowledgeable and amusing and whisked us around the highlights of what the island has to offer. It was certainly called the Beauty Spots tour for a reason.
It was bumpy as we had been warned, but the pillows provided mitigated that and, tightly fastened into his car seat, our little one thought it was the best fun. It really was the best way to see the island; I can't believe how much ground we covered in a relaxed and enjoyable way. Morning and afternoon tea were provided en route and we had a really nice buffet lunch (again an allergy friendly option for our toddler).
The tour included:
Gorgeous Lake McKenzie.
Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek.
Pile Valley's stunning Satinay and Brush Box forests.
Seventy-Five Mile Beach's famous highway.
The Maheno shipwreck and the coloured sands of The Pinnacles.
The temperate, fresh waters of Eli Creek.
The mighty Stonetool Sand Blow.
A helicopter ride could be added onto your itinerary for a reasonable cost, but that was the only thing we couldn't make work with a toddler and bump.
After a full and fabulous day, we headed back to the resort and were delivered to the door. Remarkably, our little boy took his nap on schedule in the bus and woke in time for his highlight, a swim in Lake Mackenzie.
Tired, we opted for a take away from the Sand Bar for dinner. Another early night to make the most of our last morning on the island.
Breakfast and then a quick swim before taking the little train back to the jetty to catch the ferry back to the mainland, waving farewell to beautiful Fraser Island and content in the knowledge that having a toddler and bump didn't hamper our little adventure. We had had a fabulous time!
The journey home reversed. Good headway to Eumundi with the help of Postman Pat, then a delicious lunch in the Bohemian Cafe in Eumundi before a nap for toddler and mummy-to-be and a peaceful last part of the journey home for daddy!