Holiday in Peregian Beach Part 1

Aaaaand relax. We are enjoying some beautiful weather on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for a few days. I booked this holiday for us back in August when Melbourne was cold and rainy, and everyone in our house was sick. I was initially thinking we would go to Noosa, where we travelled back in Sept 2013, and then again last year (though Andy missed out on that one). However, as we have to travel in school holidays I left it too late to book accommodation that was affordable, I widened my Airbnb search to the smaller towns on the Sunshine Coast, and eventually booked an Airbnb in Peregian Beach.

Peregian Beach is about 115km north of Brisbane, and about 10km south of Noosa. I picked this location purely based on the Airbnb, which is pretty much perfect for us. We are in a 2-bed beach pad, which is an apartment attached to a main house where our host Maria lives with her husband and three teenage kids. I chose this place because it was close to the beach and super child-friendly; Maria had a high chair and cot for us, as well as toys, books, kids DVDs, beach towels, beach chairs and umbrellas. Perfect, we barely had to do any extra packing for Ella! We are about a 10-minute walk from most of the restaurants and shops of Peregian Beach, and about a 2-minute walk from the beach itself. I can hear the ocean waves as I sit here in the courtyard and write this post!

Yesterday we left Melbourne on an 11 o’clock Qantas flight to Brisbane. This is the first time we have had to buy Ella her own seat, as she is now over 2 years old. Although it’s obviously and added cost, it was a relief to know she wouldn’t have to sit on our laps the whole time. There is a much closer airport to Peregian Beach, the Sunshine Coast airport, but as mentioned above I booked the holiday quite late and there were only very limited, expensive options to fly there from Melbourne – with a lot of routes passing through Sydney. I had the genius idea of flying into Brisbane and renting a car instead. Genius… or so I thought!

Checking our bags at Melbourne airport 
Ella was ok on the flight, but didn’t want to just sit quietly in her seat and watch a movie for the two hour flight. (When will she be old enough to do this?!) You’d think we would be pros at flying with a child by now, but every time we have flown with Ella she has been at a different stage in her life, so the goalposts keep changing. She was interested in the little TV but was annoyed that she couldn’t hear it, nor would she keep her headphones on. Some distractions that did work were a little colouring book and pencils they gave us at the start of the flight, “cleaning” the space around her with a wipe, reading a book, and of course food. We didn’t actually need to get the iPad out though, so I guess it wasn’t too bad. She of course had a massive poo halfway through the flight, and those little airplane toilets are pretty cramped. Changing a toddler’s dirty nappy in one of those requires an efficient operation and quick hands. I did giggle when Ella announced “I had a big daddy poo” to the cabin when returning to our seats.

Ella in her own seat
In classic Ella style, she fell asleep with about 10 minutes left on the flight. This always seems to happen, no matter how long the flight is. Andy carried her dead weight off the plane, and she stayed asleep for a while on some seats while we waited for our bags, but was woken up by an airport employee noisily collecting up the luggage trollies.

Once our baggage was collected it was time to get our rental car. Renting a car with a toddler is never straightforward. (Actually, nothing with a toddler is ever straightforward.) First, in an attempt to save some money and not make this into a super expensive holiday, I rented our car from Bargain Car Rentals. Ya, I’d never heard of them either. But they were the cheapest option when I booked. One reason they are cheaper than the competition… the car rental desk is not actually at the airport. Instead you have to take a shuttle to their office, which was about a 5-minute drive away. Not a huge deal, but figuring out where to catch the shuttle, waiting for the shuttle, and then getting to the car rental agency all took quite a bit of time. Then of course our budget rental agency did not fit the car seat for us, so we had to do this ourselves. All in all, it took us about an hour and a half from when our flight landed to leaving the airport.

Once on the motorway we hit traffic leaving Brisbane, so the drive to the Airbnb took about two hours. Ella was not happy about this! We thought she might fall back asleep again after her short nap on the plane, but she was too frustrated at being strapped in to yet another seat. Fair enough, I was getting annoyed by it too. We finally gave in and handed her an iPhone with Finding Nemo on it, which kept her happy for about half an hour. How did people parent before iPhones?

On the car ride Andy said to me “holidays… We’ll just be doing everything we do at home, except it will be harder”, which really made me laugh. It is kind of true. I pointed out that the weather here is much better than in Melbourne, and that at least in our Airbnb there are no chores to be done (for example, right now while Ella naps we are outside, having a beer in the afternoon… at home I’d be doing laundry, or cleaning, or thinking about what to have for dinner). But, he is kind of right. I read this article recently which outlines the difference between a vacation and a trip. If you used to love to travel but now have kids, you will find this hilarious. And if you don’t have kids (or they are all grown up), you can just sit there smugly thinking about all your lovely, relaxing vacations. We are definitely on a trip right now.

Anyway, we finally made it to Peregian Beach at about 5pm, about 8 hours after we left our house that morning, so it felt like a long day. We quickly unpacked, showered, put on some lighter clothes (it was sill about 30 degrees outside), and went for a walk to the main part of town. We had a nice dinner at Kelly’s, one of the restaurants that overlooks a huge lawn and play space for kids, complete with sandpit.

Ella was able to run around while we waited for our food which was great. We stopped and got a few groceries on the way home, and by then we were all pretty shattered. Ella was practically climbing in to her cot when we got back, and fell asleep right away. Andy and I followed not long after… which was a good decision as the sun is up early here and we were all awake just after 6am this morning. But the sun is shining, we had a fab morning on the beach, and now Ella is having a nice long nap giving us some downtime together. So there isn’t really much more we could ask for! Ah, it’s good to be on vacation… I mean, on a trip.


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