Seeking some quality time before baby number two arrives, pregnant OHbaby! staffer Shannon Taylor and her family head to the Gold Coast on a ‘toddler-moon’.
At 28 weeks pregnant with an energetic two-and-a-half-year-old in tow, we jetted off on our first family trip on an aeroplane. Tyler was so excited to see the pilot sitting in the cockpit as we boarded, he yelled out, “Are you taking us to the big parks now driver?”
He held both our hands tight as the plane took off and the smile on his face as we soared off the ground was precious. We were a little nervous about how the almost four hour flight would go, as Tyler’s your typical energetic toddler, but with the use of Samsung tablets included in our fare, the movies and TV programmes kept him sitting still almost the entire flight. He did however have very sore ears on landing so we gave him some chewy lollies and a lollipop to suck as this helps pop blocked ears.
Our destination was Paradise Resort, a 20km shuttle trip from Gold Coast Airport. While we did boring adult things like checking-in, Tyler ran straight for the huge indoor playground in the lobby. This was the first sign that this resort is made with kids in mind. The second was our room for the week, fitted out with bunk beds, Playstation and TV. “This my room Mum?” he screeched, “Wow, so cool.” By this time it was nearing 5pm Australia time, or 7pm by our body-clocks, so dinner was on the cards. We sat down to pizza by the pool as recommended by a fellow guest.
Even at this time of the evening the pools were full with happy families. Tyler hadn’t been too fussed with swimming over the summer, so we didn’t know how he would go in the pools, but just 20 minutes into dinner, after watching everyone else having a ball, he said “Let’s go play in water Mumma and Dadda, togs time!” We didn’t want to knock this water confidence so we quickly changed and hit the pools. By this time it was about 6:30pm Aussie time, way past his bedtime in NZ but we just couldn’t keep him out of the water.
You really can never get bored at Paradise Resort. As well as the pools, there’s a fabulous playground and an indoor ice-skating rink. If mum and dad are wanting some downtime, there is a kids’ club you can book the kids into.
Firing on all cylinders
We were up early the next day at about 5:30am (7:30am in NZ). We figured this would be the case most mornings so bedtime was pretty early each night too. We had the continental breakfast at the resort each morning which came with really easy options of toast, fruit and muesli. Although hubby ordered bacon and eggs most days as a holiday treat.
On our first day the weather was a bit off so we decided to catch a bus to the local mall ‘Pacific Fair’ and grab some lunch. But the real highlight of the day was back at the resort when we told Tyler there was a surprise waiting for him. We took him down to the resort entrance where the ‘Fire for Hire’ fire engine and driver was waiting to take us for a tour around the coast on the fire truck. Tyler jumped up in the back of the truck and put on the firefighter’s hat that was waiting on the seat for him. The friendly firefighter put on some flashing party lights and turned up the Fireman Sam theme music. Our tour guide took us on a great 45-minute tour around the coast, stopping off to let Tyler have a go with the fire-hose and showing him how to shoot it, which he did… at me! I was drenched and he couldn’t stop laughing! Thanks son.
With bright, sunny skies we headed off the next day to Dreamworld, catching a bus from right outside the resort. We arrived early at 9am (after being up so early again) but the park didn’t open till 10am. When it did we bumped into the Madagascarcharacters straight away. Tyler couldn’t believe his eyes and ran up to them to have his photo taken. We watched the Madagascarshow, had a train ride, fed kangaroos and while I stayed on dry land, Tyler and his dad were daredevils on the log flume.
One saving grace on hot, exhausting days doing the theme parks was the Mountain Buggy Nano travel pram. The parks are huge and you have to be prepared for a lot of walking which is tough on little legs and on mums with pregnant bellies. The Nano was so easy to manoeuvre on the bus and can even fold up to fit in the overhead lockers on the plane. It was also handy to have somewhere to store bags and belongings on our days out.
We wanted to do it all while we were on the Gold Coast and really spoil our little man who is about to become a big brother in a few short months. So next stop – Movie World.
We arrived right on opening time which was perfect as all the characters were out early saying hello to the kids. Tyler was out of the buggy in about two seconds after seeing Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Sylvester. He even got some special attention at the Looney Toon show that’s on a couple of times a day. The characters all made a fuss of him, carrying him around and dancing with him for most of the show. While the rides were pretty busy and we only got to do a few, the movie characters really made it for us. The shops were full of themed apparel and merchandise and of course you have to buy something to remember the trip by. We felt most of the things were reasonably priced. The photos by the park’s professional photographers were a little more expensive at AU$30 for three images, but they’ll be lasting memories and Tyler has shared them with all his mates. So, a happy investment.
Feeding the soul
Most of the time we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the resort because it was so convenient, but there are a few local spots we could walk to with the help of the Mountain Buggy Nano. We went to Sushi Train for dinner one evening and walked right down the beach for lunch one day, stopping in at the famous Cold Rock ice-cream parlour where you pick your favourite lollies and have them all cut up into your chosen ice-cream flavour. Yum! On our last night we went to the Gold Coast Hard Rock Café.
With such busy days, Tyler crashed out early and hubby and I could have some nice, chilled-out time on the balcony of our hotel room. The bunk house rooms were fine for our small family of three, but the bunks are a part of the main room, so with more than one child it might be wise to upgrade to a suite with separate bedrooms.
After a fabulous five nights on the Gold Coast our “toddler-moon” was over. The highlight for us was the water confidence Tyler gained in those days at the pool. At 28 weeks pregnant it was an exhausting holiday for me, but it was amazing. For us family is not just a thing, it’s everything.
need to know
• Paradise Resort: paradiseresort.com.au, call NZ 0800 424 828
• Dreamworld: One day tickets AU$84.99 (adult) AU$55.99 (3-13 years), dreamworld.com.au
• Warner Bros Movie World: General admission AU$89.99 (adult) and AU$69.99 (3-13 years), movieworld.com.au
• Fire4Hire Gold Coast tours: Family pass (2 adults, 2 children) AU$149, fire4hire.com.au
Phototgraphy: Shannon Taylor & Matt Grant