It has only been a few months since Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit the Whitsundays with ferocious force, but we’ve already revisited several times to soak up the sun, sand and a little family fun. And while the area has certainly undergone something of an environmental makeover, I can happily confirm that Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, is back in business and as beautiful as ever.
I can also confirm that that no matter how far and wide we travel, a hit of old-fashioned holiday fun is still where it’s at for this family.
My own childhood was all about riding bikes around the streets and popping in and out of neighbour’s houses, sans parental supervision. Admittedly my childhood was so long ago it could be carbon-dated and, besides having to watch out for free-roaming dinosaurs, it was a much safer time. Needless to say, I assumed that level of freedom would be something my kids would never experience. But I assumed wrong. You see, I hadn’t factored in the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort experience.
A stay at the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, located just 4-kilometres from the bustling main street of Airlie Beach, is like revisiting my childhood.
The kids are as free as the ducks that roam the resort to play with newly made friends in neighbouring cabins.
They can visit the alpacas, goats and chooks in the animal nursery that is located just metres from our cabin door.
And they can ride their scooters, and the resort’s pedal karts, freely around the pathways of the holiday park neighbourhood, without a helicoptering parent in sight.
OK, so there is still a little hovering on my part, because old habits die hard, but I keep enough distance that the kids don’t have to consider taking out a restraining order on me. And while I’m thrilled the kids are not repeating my heinously flared childhood fashion crimes, I do love that they’re at least getting a taste of a childhood, free wheeling 70’s style.
While BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort offers all manner of accommodation from camping and caravan sites to luxury two- and three-bedroom condos, we’re staying in one of the new tropically chic, studio cabins.
The studio sleeps four comfortably and has everything we need including a lounge, indoor and outdoor dining, and a kitchenette, should we choose to use it. The location means its so easy to access some of Airlie Beach’s best kid friendly dining, we hardly eat in.
You see BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is also home to Airlie Beach’s largest lagoon-style swimming pool.
The kids spent every conceivable moment slipping and sliding down its two waterslides and enjoying the swim-up spa and toddler splash area.
And it’s not all about them kids either. When I feel like a poolside massage, which is pretty much always, there’s a supervised Kids’ Club for 4 to 12-year-olds on Saturdays and during school holidays.
There’s also a mammoth water park with a whopping 13 waterslides due to open in the next few weeks.
While the kids are a little disappointed they can’t fling themselves wildly down the awesome structure, given there’s no water running just yet, it does give us a pretty good excuse to come back. As if the park’s enormous jumping pillows, 18-hole mini-golf course and adventure playground aren’t already enough.
With the Whitsundays on our doorstep we must exit the holiday park to explore, and though it takes some arm-twisting to get the kids out the gate, a day of action on the water with Ocean Rafting, exploring beautiful Whitehaven beach and snorkelling along a fish-filled section of fringing reef at Hook Island, proves a winner.
The kids return to BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort giddy and grinning, declaring the day of boating fun “epic”, but it takes only minutes before they’re off again, indulging in something just as epic – fun and freedom with their holiday park pals.
Disclosure: The Eats Worlds were hosted by the lovely people at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort but as always, all splashing and sliding silliness, and opinions, are our own.