'There's nothing like plunging head- first down the white-hot sand dune, wind whipping against your hair, sand rushing against your face, perched on a primitive body board.'
Claire loved the thrill of sliding down the sand dunes of Moreton Island, which sits in Moreton Bay, less than an hour from Brisbane. It made a welcome change from her hectic daily life in Singapore, where she works as an anesthetist in a government hospital.
“My ‘normal’ day involves dragging first myself and then my kids out of bed for the mad morning rush to school. Then it’s off to work. Because of my unpredictable working hours, the kids often have to fend for themselves. Evenings are short and a large part is spent on homework...This holiday was a rare chance for the family to spend some time together,” Claire said.
Claire travelled with her husband and three children to Moreton Island, where they spent three days in a resort on Tangalooma Beach. Her children loved swimming and quad-biking during the day and hand-feeding wild bottlenose dolphins from the beach in the evenings.
“As for sliding down the sand dunes, my husband said once was more than enough for him, while the kids and I toiled up the slope and down again many times (despite sand in mouth),” Claire said.
Formerly a penal settlement and whaling station, today Moreton Island is mostly national park, drawing both holiday-makers and Brisbane day-trippers. Walking trails weave to white beaches, along rocky headlands and to sparkling lagoons such as Blue Lagoon and Honeyeater Lake. Visitors can also hike to Cape Moreton to see Queensland’s first lighthouse, built in 1857 from island sandstone.
Offshore, snorkelers can discover the colourful coral of Flinders Reef and the rusted Tangalooma Wrecks, where a rainbow community of fish has set up home. Visitors can spot migrating whales between June and November and other underwater life on the marine discovery cruises that run all year round. Other popular activities on the island include guided walks, 4WD tours, helicopter flights, parasailing, kayaking and jet-skiing.
“It was also a thrill to watch the Scooby–Doo movie and recognize the resort where most of the film was shot! It was a carefree family time,” Claire said.
After Moreton Island, the family spent a couple of days on the Gold Coast, enjoying the beachside sophistication and “doing all the mandatory rides”. From an Australian motorbike rollercoaster to a giant wave pool and even a small-scale outback station, the Gold Coast’s theme parks have enough to keep everyone in the family entertained.
For her next family holiday, Claire would love to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef or visit Tasmania again.
“The last time we were in Tasmania the kids were really little and could not fully appreciate the nature walks,” she explained.
Whatever the destination, Claire is looking forward to some quality family time in Australia.