GREAT HOLIDAY, little budget

We just spent 7 nights at Tin Can Bay where we rented a house and joyfully filled it full of kids, beer and food. Well mainly kids and food, but I did manage to suck down a couple of coldies each night, which was a nice change.

Tin Can Bay Magic

Last time we went on holiday it was to the Gold Coast and cost us a hard earned $4000 for 3 stress-filled nights. Because there were seven of us we needed two rooms, which doubled our accommodation costs. Sadly the resort rooms offered no cooking facilities in the rooms meaning we had to buy everyone 3 square meals a day. The first time we did this it was a treat – no cooking, no dishes. 

looking for treasure at low tide

This last time however the shiny wonderfulness of eating out all the time had worn off and it was a chore because no cooking in the rooms meant we had to dress everyone up and go out and about three times a day.  

Then there are the theme parks, which are a whole world of expensive in themselves. Not to mention to get to the Resort we had to pass by Ikea and the DFO, both of which were crying out for our financial support.

mud flats

When we were looking for options this holiday we went for something more casual – a week at Tin Can Bay being the result. 

So we filled up the trailer with bikes and suitcases and fishing rods and a portacot and headed for the coast.

Best of all this holiday, I got to show off my extensive BBQing skills, which I essentially made up as I went along. Family was none the wiser though, and ate everything we placed in front of them, ravenous as they were after a hard day’s play.

the swings at Tin Can Bay are great

We also introduced the younger kids the sugar-high-awesomeness of Cokespiders, which is something I fear will come back to haunt us in years to come. Actually there were a few precedents set we might regret – when I woke on the last morning Tracey had fed the kids icecream for breakfast to use up the last of the  tub so we didn’t have to bring it back with us….hmmm, can’t help but wonder how that would have gone down if it was my idea 😉

we must have been doing it wrong

Tin Can is a small, sleepy fishing village only half an hour up the road with a number of holiday homes for the not-so-rich and fameless. 

Quite besides the fleet of trawlers, it has a library, well stocked play equipment in the parks, bicycle paths, a few cafes, a couple restaurants (not that we used them), a disproportionate number of fish & chip shops, a pizza shop, a small supermarket, dolphins, close proximity to Rainbow Beach & Fraser Island and no fish in the river that we could find. 

And despite Tracey breaking a tooth, the only gloriously sunny day being the one we left on, hurricane-like winds on the second to last night and Miss0 being sick the entire time and sharing it about, we had a wonderful time.

Best of all, the accommodation for the week (a beautifully renovated and appointed Queenslander) only cost us $400, plus $80 for Jazz, the dog. 

nicely renovated Qlder for $400 a week

In fact, the whole week cost less than $1000, including dolphin feeding, fishing, groceries, petrol, trawler-fresh seafood, sunscreen, good pair of lime green boots left at beach, medicines, coffees and assorted paints & drawing supplies for rainy day activities. That’s a quarter of the cost of the Gold Coast holiday for more than twice the time away. And the kids preferred it!

Fishing off the boat ramp

One highlight of the holiday was feeding wild dolphins. For $5, ostensibly for the fish, you got to feed one of the two beautiful animals who showed up – Mystique & Patch. Master5 was very concerned about the whole thing because he has fish allergies and feeding the dolphin involved holding a fish, and well, it was a fish. 

Compared to the $50 a pop they wanted at SeaWorld on the Gold Coast, it was a bargain.

Dolphin Feeding

While we would have liked to have gone back a couple more times (feeding was every morning at 8), we were having such horrid nights with sick Miss0 that we couldn’t drag our feet fast enough to have us fed and dressed and out the door in time. Next time we’ve vowed to do better   🙂

Another highlight for Miss6, Master5 & Miss3 was treasure hunting along the riverbank at low tide. Master5 was very disappointed in the spoils, suggesting maybe the pirates had buried it somewhere else.  

Even when the cement under the house flooded after a massive storm on the first night, the kids’ enthusiasm for fun shone through and they spent an hour splashing in the puddles and water painting hand and foot prints on the dry cement in the carports.

Jumping waves at Rainbow Beach

As well as the usual drawing and painting, the kids got outside and dirty, which was great to watch.

On Saturday we jumped into the car for a drive around and ended up in nearby Rainbow Beach. As it was completely unplanned we arrived in an assortment of jeans and boots and complete lack of anything beachy, but didn’t let this small detail weaken our resolve to have fun. We must have looked like freaks to the surfers and bakers in bikinis and budgie smugglers.

Ten minutes into wave jumping, Master5 ran up to us and announced in a voice loud enough carry over the crash of the waves to the hoard of backpackers, lifesavers and assorted parents, “THIS IS FRIGGIN’ AWESOME!!” before racing back into the water. 

Following this outburst my wife and I spent an uncomfortable few minutes blaming each other for his language before settling on loudly admonishing the poor example the riffraff they let into school’s nowadays set, and thereafter minding our P’s and Q’s.

One thing I loved about taking Jazz with us was the relationship between her and Miss3 took another huge step forward. Plus $80 was much cheaper than an animal motel for the week.

Being only half an hour from G-town, we had both sets of grandparents come down on various days for lunch and/or a spot of fishing and even Master18 managed to grace us with his presence before work one day and let us feed him.

It was great!!  

As a bonus, the Saturday markets were on not one hundred meters from where we stayed so we cruised on down to pick up some fresh veges for lunch and dinner and the kids each bought a special treat for themselves. I wonder sometimes at the choices kids make, but for $5 a pop it’s worth a couple more bits of fluffy junk for us to donate to Vinnies next spring clean when the little rascals aren’t looking. 

Why, by way of example, we need a huge Blue’s Clue’s doll when we’ve already got one was beyond me. Master5, however, was hissy-fit adamant and explained the new doll has a paw print which the one at home is lacking. Maybe it’ll be the old Blue’s Clue’s that makes it to the donation box. 

Miss6’s up the nose shot of Miss15

Shortass Miss6 also decided she was going to showcase her talents as a photographer and film maker of note, so we have a whole series of shaky, headache-inducing videos and shots up peoples’ nostrils.

Now the reason we only paid $400 for the week for a three bedroom home is we went off peak. This meant pulling the kids out of school for the week, however we arranged for homework for everyone and spoke to the teachers and didn’t go in exam week, or anything silly. 

As I’ve stated in this blog, you may not agree with everything we do to save money, but our conscience is clear 🙂 

The same house in school holidays goes for $1000 a week, and Easter is POA so I’d hate to think. For the cost of one week’s accommodation in school holidays we paid for our entire holiday – petrol, prawns, etc (refer above). The cost for us was having to do a colossal amount of homework with the kids, but we took care of that before we went.

Sometimes you just have to think outside the box, especially with this many kidlies.

What do you think?

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