2012 family vacation – we had a whale of a time!

We’re back from a great vacation to Brisbane! The weather was good, the itinerary was relaxing and the overall experience was pleasantly memorable. Food was good all the way too (except for the chao mein we had at DFO); I gained an extra 1kg+ in six days! O_O

Our biggest worry – managing the super excited E during the 8-hour flight – proved to be unnecessary. Having been brainwashed about what to expect for more than a month prior to the trip, he was on his best behavior throughout the whole vacation. On our flight there, he watched A Bug’s Life, played with the apps in iPad, slept for 2.5 hours, ate when we did and remained in his seat. On the midnight flight home, he played for a while and slept all the way up until the plane touched down in KLIA. We didn’t even have to take out the back-up toys and puzzles! Guess his parents overreacted and overprepared 🙂

Thank you Mr Steve Jobs for inventing this device! You saved our sanity when we needed a break…don’t judge me! 🙂

Day 1
Our first night there was rather stressful. Having reached Brisbane city at 9.30pm after a long customs delay in the airport, we had difficulty finding food. Not knowing where to head for food and with E refusing to be in the stroller, we paced frantically around the surroundings of Skyline Mint Brisbane serviced apartment, only to settle with microwave food bought from the convenience store located next to the hotel. Thank goodness we brought along some emergency porridge for E, otherwise we would have nothing to feed him! Overall, Skyline Mint is pretty decent. The room is equipped with washing machine, dryer and a basic kitchenette for simple cooking. It’s clean, comfortable and after hours check-in was hassle-free. There’s nothing we dislike about this accommodation.

The morning after – at Skyline Mint Brisbane

Day 2
We spent the morning strolling around the city area and basking in the relaxing atmosphere surrounding Southbank vicinity.

Riverside leading towards Southbank

We then collected our rented car from Alpha Car Hire and made our way to Liz’s house in Nerang. Liz and her husband brought us to a little Italian restaurant for a hearty lunch before making a stop at Coles to pick up some ingredients for dinner. Amidst the nice lunch and company, we forgot to snap some photos! Boo hooo…

We took a leisurely, scenic drive to the countryside of Beaudesert after that and arrived at Cedar Glen Farmstay 80 minutes later. The roads leading there were winding; view was breathtaking! Even E who was napping woke up to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at the cows and sheep grazing grass by the mountains. Once in a while, we caught glimpses of kangaroos hopping around too.

The cottage we stayed in (Stinson Cottage) at Cedar Glen Farmstay

Day 3 & 4
Full review of our farmstay will be shared later on. In a nutshell, the experience was extremely laid-back and liberating. The farm was so big, it felt as if we had the whole place to ourselves. We ran around in joy, hiding behind trees Bollywood style once in a while. Guess my little MacDonald won’t be a farmer when he grows up after all. E was more cautious of the farm animals this time around but still couldn’t resist the temptation to go near them. It was freaking cold on the second night though and my sleep was disturbed by two crazy possums fighting on the cottage rooftop. The noise they made sounded pretty eerie in the middle of the night. We paid for the fully catered package comprising authentic Australian breakfast, lunch and dinner cooked with fresh farm produce. They were sumptuous! Now you know how I got fat.

Hand-milking the cow
We let E try the forbidden – fresh cow’s milk. It was a holiday afterall and yayy, no adverse reaction after that

Day 5
The drive to SeaWorld Gold Coast from Beaudesert took around 1.5 hours. The weather was just nice. E enjoyed the dolphin and sea lion show, and most of all, the kiddy rides! He touched the star fish, saw the penguins and sting rays swimming around and a giant sleeping polar bear.

The dolphin show
How does a starfish feel like? Rubbery!
Spongebob and don’t know who’s the other fella

By 3pm, he was exhausted and we checked into Vibe Hotel Gold Coast. If you’re going to Gold Coast, this is one of the hotels you may want to consider. It’s really a value for money. We paid A$130 for the Studio room and got upgraded. The location is superb and the hotel facilities and amenities are commendable. Read my review here.

While the boys took a nap, I met up with Liz again. She brought me around Surfers Paradise and we had the yummy Movenpick ice-cream and waffles!

A photo with Liz, finally!

That evening, we had one of our best meals at Yellowfin Seafood Restaurant at Broadbeach that evening – all thanks to the Groupon we purchased beforehand. Sorry no pictures because I was too hungry.

Day 6
Before making our way back to Brisbane for Direct Factory Outlet (DFO), we strolled along Surfers Paradise. E had so much fun on the beach. The instant regret? Dang, we should have stayed an extra night there! The surroundings of Surfers were so vibrant and buzzing with activities.

The DFO in Brisbane is pretty small and because it was winter over there, most of the baby clothes on sale were for cold weather too. We only got a cute jacket from Pumpkin Patch for ddmm and a dress from Cotton On for myself. Guess what’s our biggest purchase there? Jeng jeng jeng! We bought a 4-piece luggage set at a greaaaaat bargain. They will come in really handy soon.

We checked into Formule 1 Hotel to rest and freshen up before our midnight flight. Thank goodness it was only for a couple of hours – definitely not a hotel you want to put up at for a family holiday. Read my review here.

Going home already

Day 7
The flight home would have been uneventful and fantastic if it wasn’t for this family seated in front of us. I’m not sure which village they come from but all three adults spoke to each other as if they were miles apart. And the commotion didn’t end even after the cabin lights were turned off and everyone was snoozing away. At 2am on board, one of the kids decided to blast her Hi-5 DVD on their portable player. When the girl finally fell asleep, we were woken up by another drama where the father refused to comply with the stewardess’ safety request to carry his toddler instead of letting her sleep on the floor. ddmm was kicking and moving a lot throughout the flight, so by the time we reached KLIA, I was a drowsy zombie. Needless to say, I napped throughout that Saturday. Odee was really glad to see us again.

All in all, we had great fun! And that is why family holidays shouldn’t be an annual thing – thrice a year would be perfect. I can’t wait to start planning for the next family vacation and this time around, it will be 2 + 2 🙂

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7 thoughts on “2012 family vacation – we had a whale of a time!

  1. Wow! Great holidays!
    Now you make me wanna plan to go Gold Coast too, thanks for all the handy tips anyway. I will have to wait till baby is around 18-24 mths 😉

    1. joeyllhow

      Yes, that’s the best time to travel when they know how to interact and understand more. I would be glad to share more should you plan for a trip there next time!

    1. joeyllhow

      No, she studied in Adelaide and lived there for a couple of years before moving to Brisbane to join her husband there recently 🙂

  2. Pingback: BIP: w21 – w23 | It Ain't That Hard

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