I decided we wouldn’t go anywhere these July school holidays, given that we’ve booked holidays every other school holiday period of the year but then I discovered my kids have not 2, but 3 WEEKS off and that’s a week too many of trying to entertain, book in carers, and schedule play dates so now I’m on the hunt for a getaway. Let’s talk caravan parks.
I’m sifting through my options of parks tried and tested as well as some parks that show potential but which we’re yet to book. You might have noticed that the humble caravan park is now commonly referred to a ‘holiday resort,’ which sounds much fancier than the caravan parks of my youth. Granted, caravan parks of today generally offer much more than the park of the 80’s/90’s and operate under much high standards (cleaner bathrooms) so they now doubt deserve their new title.
Blue Dolphin, Yamba
Blue Dolphin has become our Easter holiday go-to for the whole extended family. Between us all, we book out all types of accomodation from a one bed cabin, caravan site, villa, and 3 bedroom apartment. We love that we can all stay according to our varying budgets and accommodation needs and still be in the one place. The kids scoot/bike around all day ‘house-hopping.’ It has 3 x pools and a kids slide/adventure area. The pool bar is heated but at Easter time, the other pools are like jumping into a ice bucket (freezing). In addition to the jumping pillow and Go Karts, this park has just installed a mini golf course and second playground to amuse the kids. Although the park is on the river, we’re more beach goers which is a short car trip. The kids love to bike ride into town for ice cream and whilst I love the easy ride, for them it’s all about the destination. Sounds so ‘holidayish’ doesn’t it? Yamba itself is the real attraction with its multiple beautiful beaches and slow seaside town vibe.
Clarke’s Beach, Byron Bay
Clarke’s is where you come to get the best of Byron without the price tag. We used to be in the habit of booking sites last minute and ending up in the worst site in the park. ie. the one that backs onto the main road, as was the case with our experience here but even then I could see how good it could be with the right site. The park sits atop the beach and any caravan park that is walking distance to the beach is my kind of park. The location is in fact the main attraction. We’ve booked a cabin instead of a van site these July holidays because it’s too cold to be getting up in the middle of the night to use public bathrooms. They actually have some fancy new, very contemporary cabins which we didn’t book in time to secure but are worth checking out here.
Adder Rock, North Stradbroke Island
Ahhhh Adder! North Straddie is my spirit home. We’ve been coming at least once a year since we were kids and whilst it’s only a 45 minute ferry ride I always feel like I’m far, far away. In 2011, the island which falls under Redland council jurisdiction, was granted Native Title status by the Australian government. The move officially recognises the Island’s original custodians, the Quandamooka people. Straddie or Minjerribah, its Indigenous name, meaning ‘island in the Sun,’ offers multiple camping options (Cylinder, Flinders, Amity) but we’ve been staying at Adder Rock since we were babies. It’s large but never feels crowded and it offers a patrolled beach, like Cylinder but is never as busy. The real perk is that there are heaps of trees and shade is important when you’re camping in the dead of a Queensland Summer. The amenities are limited, consisting of a playground and 2 x toilet/shower blocks that are never quite as clean as mainland standards but we tend to overlook that for the park’s superior location.
Cotton Tree Holiday Park
Someone has to die before you can get a spot at Cotton Tree Holiday Park. We stayed here pre-caravan days and set up camp in our camper trailer. You’ll be happy to know no one died for us to stay. My Auntie used to book the same spot for 6 weeks every year so we sub-letted her spot. She had the best unpowered site in the park, almost right on the beach with uninterrupted views of the water. The beauty of this park is it’s located where the river meets the sea so you if you want flat water you head left and if you want waves you head right. The downside is, it’s busy. A bit too busy for an introvert like me. It was packing up from this trip that sparked our caravan renovating journey. It poured rain the entire pack up process which meant for a very muddy situation and as you know means the trailer needed to be set up again to dry out once home. We were ready for the easy life! Cue vintage caravan renovation number one, Millie.
Northstar Hastings Point
We’ve visited Northstar, Hastings Point a few times now mostly due to its close proximity to us on the Gold Coast. Although, we haven’t been there since it changed hands. It used to be apart of the Big 4 brand, which generally means clean amenities, a pool, water park, jumping pillow and kids club. According to the website, it’s undergone same fairly major renovations ie. the water park appears to be twice the size, which would have my kids very excited. You’ll be happy to know the onsite cafe does a decent coffee and a few minutes up the road at Cabarita, The Stunned Mullet does some mean fish and chips. If you’re a bit fancier, you could otherwise treat yourself at Paper Daisy in the very instagrammable, Halcyon House.