The people at Dunk Island have been very busy reading the amazing comments that have come through on this post. It has been a tough choice and I am glad that I was not the one responsible for naming the winner. But Dunk Island were. And they have named the winner
This was her entry:
“My partner and I were actually planning to spend our honeymoon at Dunk Island in 2009. Newly engaged, working full time and raising my 2 daughters, we planned how we would spend our time there – precious ‘us’ time (lol..You get so little of it as parents and it was a big adjustment for a 26 year old bachelor to go into full time dad mode..but he did it so well).
We were both shocked when we found out we were expecting twins- due only 3 weeks after our planned wedding date. We postponed the wedding, and the honeymoon, promising that we would get there ‘next’ year (2010). Fast forward to after our boys were born and we started down what would become the worst and and best 12 months of our lives. One of our boys was seriously ill, constantly fighting to breathe and slowly going backwards. Days spent in hospitals, nights pacing the floor, arguments over money for medical bills. Guilt and tears became a constant part of our lives. Never ending tests, medications and specialist. 6 weeks ago was crisis point. His windpipe collapsed, his lungs filling with fluid. His airways too small and weak to support his body. Thank God for the Mater Childrens Hospital and a wonderful team of doctors who finally knew what was wrong.
Our baby is now on the slow road to recovery. He can breathe unassisted. He can hear for the first time in his short little life. We can sleep at night without hearing him struggle. If I was to win this holiday I would take my daughters, who have put up with a crying, distracted, stressed out mummy and I would take our boys and my partner and get married on the island. I would take my mum and my mother in law, who have both been woken numerous times in the night by a hysterically sobbing wreck or dropped whatever they were doing to come when needed. I would say ‘I do’ with my partner on the beach, where my sons can hear the waves and spend the next week celebrating and revelling in my family.”
Marrianne – please contact Lana at email@example.com. She is dying to speak to you!!
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Ok, click on the next post then.
Read on because:
One lucky MM reader will take delivery of the islands’ Best of Both Worlds package, worth $7,500, which includes Dunk Island Resort accommodation and meals for up to four adults and three kids, one night on the exclusive, luxury Bedarra Island Resort for two adults, and return flights from Cairns to Dunk Island.
Having experienced this package myself in order to write this post, I’m here to tell you, it’s awesome sauce. Awesome. Sauce. And this isn’t
just a competition for those with kids. It’s also for those who have friends with kids. Or kids with kids.
One of the things about kids is that they can be superb fun to hang out with on holidays. But when children are involved, you really need to redefine what you mean by the word ‘holiday’.
On this very subject, I once wrote:
‘Holidays with kids’ is an oxymoron. And I’m an actual moron because I always forget this and am surprised when I come home exhausted. A couple of years ago, on ‘holiday’, I called a girlfriend to have a big fat whinge about how tired I was. “Don’t call it a holiday” she instructed. “Call it Moving The Baby To A Different Location.” That was sage.
My baby is no longer a baby anymore. He is now a toddler which brings with it a rainbow of new issues, none of them terribly relaxing when on holiday. But he’s enormous fun to be with, as is our pre-schooler and pre-teen. So. How to combine our desire for a family holiday with the dream of some couple time?
Thank you to the kind genius at Dunk/Bedarra Islands who thought up the Best Of Both Worlds Package. Because you must have been reading my mind.
Here’s how the website explains it:
In a brand new holiday concept designed to put a smile on everyone’s face, this package delivers a fantastic Dunk Island Resort holiday with your friends or family with the added bonus of a couples’ night away at beautiful Bedarra Island Resort.Consider bringing the extended family – Nan & Pop and the kids – and Mum & Dad get to spend one night on Bedarra while the rest of the family enjoys Dunk Island! Or, you could come along with another couple or even your brother and sister… the choice is yours – and you get to decide who enjoys Dunk Island Resort with the children while you go to Bedarra!
Here’s the offer: Book a holiday on Dunk Island Resort for up to 4 adults and 3 children staying in 2 Beachfront rooms for 5 nights, and one couple can slip away to Bedarra Island for 1 night during your stay. It really IS the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ and is a wonderful way to treat the family to iconic Dunk Island as well as giving a couple a taste of Bedarra’s exclusive luxury (especially as the regular minimum stay at Bedarra is usually 2 nights).‘Best of Both Worlds’ at Dunk Island Resort includes 2 Beachfront rooms, full buffet breakfast, a 2 course lunch and a 3 course or buffet dinner daily per person. Kids stay and eat free on existing bedding. Also included is one night on beautiful Bedarra for two adults in a Hillside Villa. Bedarra is all inclusive with daily gourmet meals, selected alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and island activities such as use of motorised dinghies to explore the secluded beaches of the island.
To book contact our Reservations Team on 1300 384 403 or firstname.lastname@example.org
*Conditions Apply. Please contact us for further information. Valid for Travel: 12/8/2010 – 31/03/2011. Subject to availability.
When the Dunk/Bedarra folk contacted us to offer us a free trip in exchange for reviewing this new package for Mamamia we thought about it for approximately 4 seconds before saying yes. With one condition.
We wanted 2 trips (demanding, aren’t we?). One for our family and one to give away to a Mamamia reader so THEY can experience the Best Of Both Worlds. More about how you can be that reader in a moment. Because you really, really want to be. Trust me on that one.
To get to Dunk Island you fly to Cairns and then either coach it to Mission Beach or fly direct to Dunk. We flew. In a small plane. Which is an indication of how keen I was to go (more about that in a future post because I know many of you want to know how I overcame my intense fear of flying). It was fine. Fast and fine.
The plan was to take good friends who were happy to look after the kids on Dunk when we escaped to Bedarra for our 24 hours of heaven. A few weeks before we left, they decided to get married while we were there which made this holiday even more memorable. Lots of people have weddings on Dunk Island apparently. And as soon as we arrived, we understood why.
Full of families and couples of all ages, Dunk is set up beautifully for choice. You can relax on one of the peaceful, white-sand beaches or by one of the huge pools, go for walks through the bush, do water activities (everything from water trampoline to kayaking, paddle-boarding, fishing, snorkling etc), visit the farm, walk through the pristine rain forest surrounding the resort, have beauty treatments or learn how to open coconuts or throw boomerangs – two skills my son now proudly boasts on his CV.
I’m not an activity girl – my eldest son and his mate who came along are. Husband falls somewhere in between. Most days, the boys ran around being boys, sometimes Jason joined in and the kids stayed close to me, usually by the pool. We spent several stunning afternoons collecting coconuts and shells on the beach and generally pretending we were a castaway family except with full buffet breakfast.
Castaways need lots of energy via eggs, bacon and waffles so they can collect coconuts.
There’s a kids club for 3-12 year olds (best for kids smack bang in the middle of that range) and even if you don’t leave your kids there, you can still visit and play with all the toys and equipment and join in some kiddie activities.
There’s also a great babysitting service which we used one day. Mealtimes are easy – a couple of different restaurant options with different types of food and kids menus everywhere.
Like always on family holidays, we were up early and in bed early. We got some sun, played in the sand, swam constantly and enjoyed each other. And then it was time for Jason and I to jump on the boat to Bedarra, waving the kids goodbye for 24 hours of bliss.
And what bliss it was OH YES IT WAS. And did I mention bliss? For the first hour or so the silence hurt my ears. It was so quiet. Nobody was speaking to me or asking me for a drink or to help them put on their shoes. That was weird but fabulous.
And it took a couple of hours to stop feeling like I was late for something. Until I realised that when you’re on holidays with your kids, any time away from them feels snatched, stolen, illicit. I soon got over it, and the novelty of being able to go to the loo or take a luxurious shower without an audience never got old.
With only 16 luxury villas on the island, the maximum number of guests is 32 and ‘personalised service’ doesn’t begin to describe it. Bedarra is much smaller than Dunk, more intimate and an entirely different experience. We did very little during our time there other than lounge on daybeds and deck-chairs, dip in the ocean and swing on hammocks. The food was possibly the best we’ve ever eaten. And the vibe was completely relaxed. No need to dress for dinner or even wear shoes even though everything about the place is simply stunning in a very chilled way.
I read vast chunks of my book – uninterrupted. We had conversations – uninterrupted. And we slept. Uninterrupted.
36hrs later, we jumped back on the boat and arrived just in time for the wedding which was held right on the beach while the rest of the island gathered somewhere else to watch the AFL Grand Final. There was much merriment to be had for both romantic and sporting reasons.
By the time we flew back to Cairns and home, we were rested on so many levels. We’d had beautiful family time, restorative couple time and an all round amazing time.
Does that sound like something you or someone you know could do with?
Time to enter the Mamamia Dunk & Bedarra competition to win a Best Of Both Worlds package worth $7500.
Here’s what you have to do: provide a comment on this post by no later than 5 November 2010 telling us why you most deserve to win this prize, who you would take it with and what you’re most looking forward to experiencing on the islands – the best comment as judged by Mamamia and the Dunk/Bedarra folk (influenced by the number of likes) will win! Winner to be announced in 4 weeks (9 November 2010) with the lucky winner to take their Best of Both Worlds holiday by 30 June 2011 – be creative in generating “likes” – share the post on facebook and use your facebook status to tell people about your story…Full terms and conditions for competitions found here
Regardless of whether you win, these two iconic islands should be on the list of places to visit as a couple, as a family or both! We’ll certainly be going back…
STOP PRESS: Dunk Island was named Australasia’s Leading Family Resort at the World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia ceremony held in Delhi, India, on 14th October 2010. Click here for more details