Friday, October 9, 2015



After a whirlwind tour of the Queensland Coast we are home again in our snug little house, a billion bags to unpack and jobs to catch up on.  We had an absolutely jam-packed itinerary - with 11 days to cover a fair bit of ground, there was barely time to catch breath between adventures.  We may be a little tired now, but our heads and hearts are full.

With family in three different parts of QLD we arranged our time between Brisbane, Hervey Bay and Sunshine Coast.  Each place added its own flavour to our trip and there were plenty of new experiences for all of us (along with some familiar favourites).  Though the heat and the fear-factor (snakes AND spiders AND crocs AND AND AND) are not my favourite, QLD has taken a small hold on my heart and I look forward to our next adventures there.

I've shared a fair bit of our adventures via instagram, but some of my favourite spots escaped these filters. I will definitely be sharing more on those, along with a couple of travel tips that made this trip our very best yet (okay, there's such a small list to compare from, but still). I'm still buzzing, so 100,000 photos will be coming atcha! :-P

 Back soon! x

Saturday, October 3, 2015

6 Reasons to Stay at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that we are currently enjoying a family holiday in QLD, yaaaaaay! It's been a while since we've taken the kids on a plane, so we did some pretty thorough planning beforehand.  Maybe/probably over-planning, but hey, it helps keep travel anxiety in check :-).

Something that made the trip feel less overwhelming was a Park, Stay & Go booking with Holiday Inn Auckland Airport.  We are already big fans of the Holiday Inn brand - they are super reliable, comfortable and cater well to families - and this particular deal is practically essential for traveling families, leaving you to focus on final packing decisions and last minute travel details.

1.  Secure car parking while you are away.  Park your car, and leave it!  This is a pretty big deal.  Arriving at the hotel and knowing that all you need to worry about is ensuring your alarm goes off in the morning - definite tension releaser!  Cars are secure in the parking lot, and simple enough to collect once you return from your holiday, with no extra fees associated (if you collect within a 21 day period).

Holiday Inn is situated very close to the airport, and is part of the Yellow Bus shuttle circuit.  Tickets can be purchased from a ticketing machine in the hotel lobby, and the bus picks you up just outside the main entrance.  At $6 per adult, and with children riding free, this is the perfect option for getting you to your flight on time.  Upon return, the Yellow Bus will bring you back to the Holiday Inn to collect your car.  So easy!

2.  Great food.  Another thing you won't have to worry about is figuring out dinner and breakfast, and if you have an early flight, you can have breakfast sent to your room before the restaurant opens.  We skipped breakfast (we had a super, super early start), but really enjoyed our dinner!  Seafood heaven! Seriously ace oysters and that baked fish was so. good.

If you prefer, they also have an a la cart menu too, with pasta dishes and other options.

3. Super comfortable rooms.  These felt quite roomy and led out into a very pretty courtyard, the perfect spot to stretch legs after a long car journey.  The rooms were well equipped, and each had fresh fruit and water waiting for us.  This was such a nice touch, and well appreciated.  There are different options for pillow softness, and as ever, the beds were amazeballs.

If you feel like having a dip there is a lovely looking pool (we were too chilly this time, maybe next!), and a fitness centre for a quick pre-flight work out.  We did neither, but soaked in hot bubble baths, watched a bit of sky, and pretended we were getting enough sleep for the crazy busy day ahead.

4.   Kids stay and eat free.  We enjoyed adjoining rooms this time but we've never had trouble staying in a double room either, so if you want to save some money for the rest of your trip, this is a good option.  There is plenty of outdoor space for kids to burn off some energy before crashing out, and a Disney channel when they're ready to settle down. 

Naturally buffet dining is every kind of ideal for fussy kids, and you'll be glad kids eat free when your really fussy/tired kid declines everything.  Eleanor impressed the staff with her selection of seafood (Northland kid right there!) and was pretty much in holiday heaven before we'd even set foot on a plane.  

5.  The staff are gorgeous.  Both times that we've stayed at a Holiday Inn, we've found the staff exceptionally friendly and helpful.  I'm not sure if this is part of their training, or whether they just hire the nicest people, ever!  Perhaps both.  Either way, they made us feel completely relaxed and at home.

6.  Free wifi (with IHG membership - which is also free!).  Nothing annoys me more than having to pay for internet, knowing full well I have unlimited data at home :-P  Okay, some things do annoy me more, but still...  I love knowing that anytime I stay at an IHG hotel I can connect for free, for the duration of my visit.  Boom!  Especially handy when you want to do web check-in or any last minute planning/communicating.  And of course, instagram to your heart's content!

Friends of ours leaving for their holiday a day or two after us, ended up in a dive of a hotel not far from here.  We compared notes and conclusively agree that Holiday Inn Auckland Airport has all of our future bookings for overseas trips. 

Our rooms were complimentary in return for this review.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.  Thank you IHG and Holiday Inn for starting our holiday off on the perfect note.