Hamilton Island with teenage children Posted by Gemma Christie - 7 July 2015 Gone are the days when you travelled with half the nursery in tow. Memories of packing every “just in case” item have faded – a process which always left you wondering whether you were heading away for a month or a weekend. The amusing thing is, the “stuff” required for both always proved one in the same. Sure they cried, pooped and often didn’t sleep. But looking back, travelling with a baby was easy. You’re now surrounded by the world of too many chargers, permanently implanted headphones and a growing fear of #FOMO mixed with a love for #YOLO. Tantrums have evolved into mood swings. Nappy rash has been replaced with a spotty face. Hugs are no longer cool. In fact, hanging out with Mum and Dad is often the furthest thing from cool. So when it comes to taking your delightfully unpredictable teens away on a family holiday, it can feel daunting. However rest assured it needn’t be. With the right destination and the right approach, family holidays with older kids can be some of the most memorable bonding time you will share together. If you’re in the midst of planning your next getaway, a Queensland family holiday is a great option and Hamilton Island your ideal tropical island base. Below is some expert advice to help you on the journey as you plan the ideal Great Barrier Reef vacation to best suit your family. A tropical island paradise close to home You may be day dreaming about a relaxing Queensland luxury resort ... delicious cocktail in hand, reclining by the pool, kids laughing and playing peacefully together ... Then you look over at your teens fighting over the PlayStation controller. Reality sets in. The thought of travelling for hours to get to any destination starts to give you a headache. Hamilton Island – Great Barrier Reef tropical island bliss. Photo credit: Kara Roselund. Ease of access is important when taking the family on holidays. When it comes to getting to Hamilton Island, it’s good to know there are several hassle free options that will have you all in Great Barrier Reef island paradise in no time. If you’re flying, there are direct flights regularly servicing Hamilton Island from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. Or if you’d prefer to catch the ferry, there are several services from the mainland that will zip you across to Hamilton Island in approximately an hour. Whatever option you choose to take, the great thing is you can all be having cereal around the kitchen table for breakfast and then enjoying your Whitsundays resort by lunch time! #loveabuggy Once arriving on Hamilton Island, one of the first things you’ll notice are the golf buggies – the main form of transport on the island (other than the guest shuttle bus and service vehicles) and always a popular choice among families travelling with older children. Hiring a golf buggy on Hamilton Island is a great way to explore the island. Keen bean young drivers will need to remain buckled up in the back as you do need a full drivers licence to drive a Hamilton Island golf buggy. However the experience, regardless if you’re up front or in the back, promises to be a hit for the whole family – and one that will surely make their Hamilton Island Facebook albums! Give everyone space When they were little, it was easy to book one room and request a cot or a rollaway bed. However now they have hit their teen years, space is a necessity. Depending on your budget or the type of Whitsundays family holiday you’re looking for, there are plenty of different accommodation options on Hamilton Island for parents travelling with older children. Here is our pick of the bunch: Reef View Hotel Not only will you have all the creature comforts of a hotel (concierge advice, room service, yummy buffet breakfast to feed hungry mouths etc.) the great thing about Reef View Hotel for families with teenage children is its central location. The hotel is situated directly across from Catseye Beach. So if you have older kids who are fine on their own for a few hours, you can happily chill out in peace while soaking up the view from your Whitsundays resort while they pop over the road and make the most of the complimentary beach water sports – Queensland family holiday perfection! Reef View Hotel pool – a great place to relax when travelling with teenage children. When it comes to booking the right room, the Reef Family Room is a great choice. Many parents will agree that the adjoining hotel room combo is always a safe bet, not to mention an affordable option. The set up – the master suite with two queen beds internally links via a connecting door to a junior room with two single beds – is an ideal way to give the children (and parents!) some space while keeping the whole family close. Both rooms are surprisingly large and the generous balcony will give everyone the opportunity to get some fresh air while soaking up the stunning Whitsundays vista. The Reef Family Room features the master suite with two queen beds which internally links via a connecting door to a junior room with two single beds – an ideal choice for parents travelling with teenage children. If budget allows and you feel you need even more space, particularly if you have older teens, then the One or Two bedroom Terrace Suites will work a treat. Located on the top floor of this Whitsunday island hotel, these suites boast stunning panoramic views of the Coral Sea. The extensive wrap around terrace with a BBQ is perfect for family meals while inside, the separate lounge and bedrooms offers everyone their own space and privacy ensuring everyone enjoys each other’s company without that “living on top of one another” feeling. Hamilton Island’s One Bedroom Reef View Terrace Suite at the Reef View Hotel. Hamilton Island Holiday Homes Some families want a Whitsunday islands getaway but prefer that “home away from home” vibe and more of an independent holiday experience. If that sounds more like you, renting a Hamilton Island holiday apartment or home could be your best bet. There are over 100 units, apartments and holiday homes available for rent across Hamilton Island. These range in both size and budget so whether you’re after a simple unit or breathtaking waterfront villa, two bedrooms or five, there’s something to suit every family. Hamilton Island’s wide range of holiday homes are a great option for families staying on island. Particularly if you’re travelling with a “Brady Bunch” like clan of growing teens, having the option to rent a four to five bedroom house can be a life saver – and much more cost effective too. Plus when you have a holiday home, you also have your home comforts. A kitchen can be a parent’s best friend while away. To be able to cook for your herd of hungry, active teens can make your Queensland holidays all the more manageable – and affordable! There is a handy grocery store on island and Coles online delivers to Hamilton Island as well which could be a good option to explore. Yacht Club Villas If you like the idea of having your home creature comforts on hand but equally want the ultimate, most luxurious Whitsunday Islands family getaway possible, then take a look at Hamilton Island’s Yacht Club Villas. These villas are absolutely spectacular. As to how they came about, the owners of Hamilton Island, the Oatley family realised many people loved the luxurious elegance of qualia but wanted to experience this with their families. As a result the Yacht Club Villas were designed and opened in 2009 to fulfil this need for a luxury family friendly offering on the island. Just as qualia continuously mesmerises every guest, these villas promise to do the same. Hamilton Island’s luxurious Yacht Club Villas. Each beautifully designed villa spans three to four levels (depending on its position) and boasts a separate open plan living area, kitchen, laundry, four bedrooms and four bathrooms. This layout is perfect for families with older children as it gives everyone their own privacy while also providing space for quality time together. The villas come with your own 4-seater buggy so if you would like to explore the island, you can all easily zip from A to B. The beauty of the villa is you can easily cook or BBQ at home or if you don’t feel like it, you can take the family for a quick drive to one of the many restaurants dotted around the island. Although driving around Hamilton Island is great fun, a buggy isn’t always needed. Older children who are fine to explore on their own will love the location of the villas, only a short walk down to all the action on Front St including several restaurants, cafes, the ice creamery and shops. Feed the hunger There’s no denying it, teens have mind boggling appetites. Feeding these growing bodies is a constant challenge for parents, particularly when on holidays. So when choosing a destination, it’s always reassuring to know what the options are when it comes to meal times. Eating in As touched on above, the grocery store on Hamilton Island makes meal times easy and affordable, particularly for large families. When you have hungry teens to feed, eating out for every meal can start to get expensive. Having the option to pick up a few essentials or general snacks can make the holiday all the more manageable and budget friendly. As also mentioned, Coles online deliver to Hamilton Island so if you are renting a Hamilton Island Holiday Home or staying at a Yacht Club Villa, this is a great option to look into. Breakfast Reef View Hotel offers a generous buffet breakfast complete with steaming hot waffles, eggs cooked to order, crispy bacon, fruit, cereal and the lot. It’s always a great idea to fill the kids up in the morning with a good, hearty breakfast – fingers crossed it sees them through for a good for few hours! A buffet breakfast is also available down at the WILD LIFE Hamilton Island. Younger teens will love the novelty of eating breakfast with the koalas and may even like to get a happy snap taken cuddling a koala at the same time. Sails Pool Terrace also does a buffet breakfast with a spectacular view over Catseye Beach or you can order off the a la carte breakfast menu at Manta Ray for something different. Pizza is always a winner at Manta Ray. Photo by Kara Rosenlund. Lunch Who doesn’t love a great meal of fish and chips when on holiday?! Popeyes Takeway is perfect for a delicious, relaxed lunch enjoyed while watching the life go by down along the Hamilton Island Marina. For another casual option, the family could also head down to Bob’s Bakery or the Marina Cafe for a quick and easy midday meal. A great selection of wraps, rolls and toasted sandwiches makes it easy to find a yummy lunch to suit everyone. Sails Pool Terrace is a good venue for lunch particularly if you’re all enjoying relaxing by the pool or making the most of the water sports on Catseye Beach. Literally a few meters away from the water, active teens can eat lunch, fuel up and be back making the most of the Whitsundays resort in no time. Dinner coca chu is one of the most popular choices for dinner on the island, particularly among families with older children. This South-East Asian restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere mixed with an interesting and diverse menu designed for sharing. There will no doubt be a dish or two that everyone will go home raving about and a word of warning: you may well find the kids asking to go back again the next night ... and the one after. : ) Romanos is a delicious family friendly Italian restaurant boasting a stunning view over the marina – definitely a safe bet for kids of all ages. If pizza is a hit, Manta Ray is another option with more of a Mediterranean style menu. Pizzas make an appearance along with several interesting meat and seafood dishes which all the family will love. coca chu is a popular choice for families. Photo by Kara Roselund. A Whitsundays adventure: keeping active teens busy Now that you’ve thought about getting there, getting around, where you’re all going to stay, what you’ll do for meals, it’s now time to ponder how you’re going to keep these active teens busy while enjoying their Queensland family holiday. Go kart racing is one of many family friendly activities on Hamilton Island. When it comes to things to do on Hamilton Island, beach sports, jet ski tours, bushwalking, go kart racing and snorkelling with the turtles are all popular choices for families with older children. However the number one benefit of holidaying on Hamilton Island would have to be having the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach literally on your doorstep. Why not involve the teens in the holiday planning and together work out what is the best way for you all to experience the reef or explore Whitehaven Beach? Hopefully when involved in the early research stages, teens will feel much more invested in the activity and be all the more excited when the experience comes around. A day trip out to Whitehaven Beach is always popular among families visiting Hamilton Island. Our only bit of advice, perhaps don’t plan any excursions too early in the morning. Waking a teenager from his or her slumber too soon after sunrise can be like trying to request a glacier moves a little faster! Click here to have a read through our full list of the top 10 things to do on Hamilton Island with teenage children. Our final tip: keep fluid, flexible and relaxed and let the destination do the rest. Here’s hoping your next family getaway is one to remember for many, many years to come! About the Author As Hamilton Island’s Communications Manager, Gemma is passionate about both writing and all things to do with Hamilton Island tropical island paradise. Sharing all the news, insights and interesting stories from the destination perfectly combines both loves. When not writing, Gemma can be found dancing for no reason, going out for breakfast, soaking up the beach or spending time with her family doing all of the above.