We decided to go to Straddie Bungalows for the period between Christmas and the New Year, as an alternative to spending Christmas at home.
We booked into Dolphin Lodge, which is located closest to the pool area. This allowed us to spend some quality adult time together, whilst being able to keep an eye on the older children. Dolphin Lodge has a Balinese outdoor area, providing a very relaxing ambiance.
The Lodge is self contained, clean with great kitchen facilities. There is no Foxtel, and no washing machine within the lodge itself (there is a separate laundry where you pay for use of the washing machine). If you are staying for an extended period of time as we did, you would be best to check for cleaning equipment, as we found we struggled to keep the lodge clean as we were carrying in the sand from outside.
Dolphin Lodge is the largest Lodge at Straddie Bungalows, and it is great for families who are expecting visitors, or have extended family that they are intending to holiday with. We had some friends come along for the day, with one couple deciding to stay overnight. Ian and Jennifer, the managers, were only too happy to allow us access to the extra room for an additional fee.
Straddie Bungalows has a general store, and a cafe, located within walking distance. There is also a kids park just down the road, with a tennis court, so don't forget to bring along your tennis racquets for a hit.
Ian and Jennifer enjoy socialising with guests. The Bungalows have a security gate which maintains the privacy of the holidaymakers. As there are only 5 bungalows onsite, this is great if you want to avoid the crowds, have little children which you need to keep secure, or have older children who enjoy the freedom of swimming, and fishing off the private jetty.
The kids would wake up each morning and race off to the jetty, to see who was there, and which fish they had caught. The kids learned so much from the other guests about fishing, and caught a few fish themselves, including squid, and an eel. Dolphins would also come up to the jetty each night, and everyone enjoyed hand feeding the dolphins. Other places charge guests $150 per person to feed the dolphins, so this was an added bonus to our trip.
Ian and Jennifer put on a New Years Party, for New Years Eve. Every family came along and contributed some food, while the kids had fun playing with glo sticks, and fished during the night time. A bar has recently been built close to the jetty, so we hung out there, listening to the music. A great night for all.
Other activities which you can enjoy, is 4wding on the beach. Down the road from the Bungalows, there is a small cove which is more sheltered than Point Lookout, and a great spot for fishing. We then drove down towards Point Lookout, looking for a place to fish. Make sure you take your drinks, and some protection. We also had a tarp installed on the side of our 4wd to provide us with additional shade, to allow us to stay for hours on the beach, fishing.
While we were there, the Rangers were there erecting signs limiting beach access. Please be aware the Rangers will enforce the law on the beach, especially over the holiday period. Driving with your 4wd will mean you will need to make sure your car has high clearance. There were many tracks where you would find yourself bogged. Make sure you always take plenty of water with you, as it may be some hours before another 4wd comes along to assist you, if you find yourself in a position where you cannot get yourself out of a track. Make sure you take your recovery gear with you.
As we were trying to keep our holiday as low cost as possible, we brought all our own food along for our trip. Buying food at any holiday destination can be costly, if you are not organised.
If you have visitors who would like to come along for the day, the water taxi departs from Cleveland, arriving at Dunwich. The cost is $10 per person, which is very affordable. The water taxi is very regular - from every 30 min to each hour, depending upon the time of arrrival/departure.