Taking a holiday is often about slowing down, relaxing, letting the days gently unfold as you meander around a new town, city, country… but with three little kiddies under the age of four and half in tow, the days of accidentally nodding off whilst reading the paper are long gone (falling asleep at 7pm squashed into a double bunk trying to get a toddler to bed is far more likely).
So when you finally do decide to break the routine and hit the road for a getaway, choosing a destination that will minimise tantrums and tears is essential. And The Great Lakes is that place. From the moment we drive across the beautiful bridge (one of the longest pre-stressed concrete bridges in the southern hemisphere) that connects Tuncurry and Forster, I felt myself exhale. It’s that beautiful. The crystal blue water, poking through on a cloudy day, surrounds you and it’s easy to see why so many enormous pelicans and masses of other wildlife call this place home.
We’re off to steal a glimpse of some watery friends, much to the delight of the children who have “never, ever, ever, ever been on a boat THIS big Mum!” Our vessel is the Amaroo, with skipper Matt Coombe at the throttle and despite the clouds rolling in, he reminds us of Amaroo Cruises 100% guarantee of spotting dolphins or whales on our trip. Music to a mother’s ears, as the kids have reminded me over and over of their excitement at seeing dolphins swimming and to tell you the truth, I’m a tad nervous at how my little travellers will hold up on a two hour boat ride with no way off! But my fears were unfounded – what a beautiful trip around the extensive waterways of the Great Lakes! The kids loved watching the birds and jellyfish float by, learn about the famous oyster farming in the region, spot the islands along the way and yes, watch the dolphins play in the clear waters of Wallis Lake! And no children overboard!
Next was lunch at Rockpool Cafe Tuncurry, a stones throw back across the bridge but with so many amazing eateries popping up all over Forster and Tuncurry, the choice was hard. Being able to watch the kids play on the sands of the Tuncurry Rockpool whilst sipping our coffee won us over, and it was easy to see why this secret brekkie and lunch spot is a hit with the locals.
Checking into our deluxe villa at the North Coast Holiday Park at Tuncurry Beach gave us a chance to stop and take in the view of the waterways we had just explored by boat, but this time from our veranda. Talk about spoilt! For holidayer’s staying with children in the Great Lakes (and equally, those staying without), nothing quite beats the facilities, space and proximity to all the area has to offer than the terrific holiday parks. And with a bunch of award winning parks in the area, visitors really are spoilt for choice.
Ah what a day! My eldest summed it up as I tucked his tired little body into his bed after a busy day exploring this amazing region, “I want to live here Mum, so I can say good morning to those dolphins every day!” Yes, lucky for some!