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Wanderlust by Wanderlust With My Kids - 2M ago

So when Monkey turned nine she had the birthday of all birthdays!  She woke up at Disney World and and went to sleep in her new bunk  bed on board Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy ship. It was the ultimate birthday!  The problem though is once you have had your ultimate birthday…they are very hard to beat!  This is where Sleepy Soirees Tee-pee parties came to my rescue!  This was a hosted collaboration however all opinions are my own.

Monkey on her 9th birthday Birthday Ideas For 12 Year Olds

So we brain stormed and googled and brainstormed some more, and it was Sleepy Soirees Tee pee parties who caught our eye on google.  You see when you turn 12 you’re kind of in limbo.  You have grown out of jumping castles, pony rides and face paints (apparently they are lame for ‘twelvies’), but you’re not too old to have fun and hang out with your friends….(and have ice-cream cake!!)

Monkey Turns 12! - YouTube
Sleepy Soiree’s Tee Pee Party Hire

Monkey was thrilled with the idea of having her best friends sleep over for her party but we were stumped on where 5 girls were going to sleep.  How do we organise bedding?  Now when I was a kid having a slumber party meant we happily slept on the floor but a LOT has changed in the world of kids birthday parties! (Thanks Pinterest!!)  This is why tee-pee hire is genius! Not only do they have their own little tee-pee, but they have their own little mattress, mattress protector, pillow and blanket and decorative cushion.  Sleep Soiree have really thought of everything to make our guests comfortable!  Our guests didn’t need to bring anything!  Even their tooth brushes were provided!

Party Favours

Sleepy Soirees provided the girls each with their own little party bags so apart from sending out an invitation, I really didn’t have to plan or prepare anything, it was all done for me #fistpump!

Who doesn’t love to be pampered?

Sleep Soiree’s know how girls wanna have fun!  The pamper box was a real hit and kept the girls entertained for hours.  It included face masks, nail files and nail polish.  Because monkey had a unicorn theme they also organised the cutest little pin the tail on the unicorn game!

Happiness is a sleepless sleepover
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Jac was so lovely!  She was so accommodating with times that suited me for set up and pack up.  Again I didn’t have to lift a finger.  The whole party was in Jac’s hand and she did an amazing job.  Whilst I relaxed with a glass of wine she transformed my lounge room into a glamping castle, fitted with fairy lights galore.  The next morning my new found hero came and packed everything up!

Stuck for Birthday Party Ideas?

A tee-pee slumber party is loads of fun, and when it came to planning, organising and cleaning up it was a real breeze for me.  The girls had a blast and giggles could be heard well into the night.  When it was time to say goodbye they agreed it was the “best party ever”. Slumber parties create some of the happiest memories from childhood, and it’s the little touches they include that made our Sleepy Soirée an extraordinary experience. I know Monkey will always treasure and remember her 12th birthday!

Jac has a range of packages available to suit your Sleepy Soirée, and everything can be customised, so hit her up with any special request you have. 

If you are interested in booking, or have any other questions contact Jac… 
P – 0423221586
E- hello@sleepysoirees.com
F – www.facebook.com/SleepySoirees
A – Palm Beach, Gold Coast, QLD 4221

The post Sleep Over Party Ideas appeared first on Wanderlust With My Kids.

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Wanderlust by Wanderlustwithmykids - 8M ago

Ever wanted to be a superhero? Ok grab a pen because this is something you HAVE to add to your bucket list! Indoor skydiving with iFY! I have lived on the Gold Coast for years and can’t believe it has taken so long for us to experience this! It’s just like a real skydive, but without the plane and in a fully controlled, ultra safe environment! Each indoor skydiving flight is equivalent to the free fall time of skydiving from 14 000 feet. The kids are already talking about making iFly indoor skydiving their new sport so the can start learning flips and tricks.  This was a hosted experience however all opinions are my own.

Pin me to read later!

Whether you’re 3 or 103, iFLY Indoor Skydiving is the hottest action sport and thrill ride on the Gold Coast! If you’re like me and far too chicken to jump out of a plane this really is the next best thing.  I must admit I was a little (ok a lot) scared but with the pre-flight training and qualified instructor by my side to offer guidance and reassurance, and a some guts… we did it,  floated effortlessly in the air!

During our training we learnt a few hand signals so our amazing, professional  and friendly instructor could guide us through the experience.  I felt so safe!  We were fitted out with overalls, ear plugs, helmets and and goggles and taken to the giant vertical glass tunnel, where a massive wind generator propels you effortlessly skyward.   Then it’s just you and the air…an incredible adrenaline rush mixed with an unexpected sense of calm and weightlessness!

” Life is either a daring adventure or nothing” – Helen Keller

iFly indoor skydiving is located in the the heart of Surfers Paradise and has available parking 2 minutes walk from the council run Bruce Bishop Car Park.  2 flights will set you back $99, $109 if you want to fly to the top like we did. (Yes do it!!) Photos and videos are available and friends and family can watch your crazy (I mean magical) experience from the viewing platform.

This was an exhilarating experience and I can see how it has become a highly addictive sport.  The kids are already talking about going back for their birthdays!  Luckily they host parties with cake and catering options.

For further information about iFLy indoor skying visit www.ifly.com.au or to book call 1300 366 364. Download your free copy of my Carry on luggage Checklist here. Pin me on Pinterest to read later!

If you are visiting the Gold Coast and are looking for some family fun then you might be interested in my blog post White Water World – Gold Coast Australia

Pin me on Pinterest to read later!
“Don’t let the fear of falling keep you from flying”

I hope I was able to convince you to spread your wings and have a Fly!   This is truly an experience the whole family will enjoy.  I would love to know if you have any tips or questions so please comment below. What’s has been your favourite family experience?

Thanks for reading and safe, happy travels xx

Travelling with kids?  Download our free digital kids travel journal ~ 10 colourful printable pages ~ makes a memorable holiday keepsake and the ultimate Show and Tell memento! It’s our gift to you xoxo

The post iFLY Indoor Skydiving ~ Gold Coast appeared first on Wanderlust With My Kids.

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Wanderlust by Wanderlustwithmykids - 8M ago

When it comes to packing my carry on luggage I usually follow the philosophy of ‘Less is More’.  It’s a balancing act between not packing everything but the kitchen sink vs being prepared and organised, which generally equals comfortable and happy little travelers.

In this blog post I have put together a packing guide for the essentials to pack in your carry on luggage. Be sure to also download my free checklist here.  Some products I mention are sponsored however we only work with brands and products that we genuinely love, use and are happy to recommend to our friends, family and readership.

Pin me on Pinterest to read later!

My husband and I usually pack two Carry on bags.  Our back pack stays with us under our seat.  I prefer a back pack because I like to organise my goodies into the little compartments. Everything we might need during the flight is in this bag.

The second bag is our wheely carry on suitcase.  This usually contains a change of clothes for us all and valuables/breakables that we wouldn’t want to put in our checked in suitcases such as my camera.  This is usually stored above us and isn’t really used during the flight.  (Except that one time Monkey spewed everywhere).  Thank goodness for the spare change of clothes!

The munchkins each have their own bags so they can grab what they want when they want.  I like them both to have back packs so they can carry them on their back and keep their hands free to wheel their own suitcases.

” I get ideas about what’s essential when Packing my suitcase” – Diana Von Furstenberg
Download your free copy of my Carry on luggage Checklist here. Carry on Luggage packing guide: The Essentials
  • Boarding pass
  • Wallet with cash, credit card and ID.
  • Printed copy of travel docs.
  • phone and or camera
  • Passport ~ I also like to take a screen shot of our passports on my phone (just in case).  I love this little case I purchased from Typo.  There are 3 compartments which fits our passports, boarding pass and a pen in perfectly.

For Entertainment
  • Books ~although now I prefer to pre-download my reading material on iBooks on my iPad.  This way I can have heaps of books without them weighing my luggage down and taking up space.
  • Busy bags ~ Busy bags are light, fun and entertaining pouches I prepare for the kids on the plane.  When the kids are happy and entertained it helps me relax and makes it possible for me to read that book.  You can read all about my busy bags here on my blog post Keeping Kids Entertained on a Plane.

  • Magazines
  • iPad
  • Head phones ~ These are usually provided on most flights however we like to back our own comfy pair.  Monkey usually has ear plugs in her ears so she can’t put the provided head phones inside her ears.
  • Colouring materials ~  This is for me as much as it is for kids.  I like to pack my own adult colouring book to keep myself entertained.  Especially on flights that don’t provide in flight entertainment.  Also handy to kill time when waiting around at airports.
  • Kids Travel Journal.  My kids like to keep a journal when we travel.  It keeps them both busy on the plane and is great for them to look back on. You can download my free kids travel journal here.
Download your FREE Kids Travel Journal! For Comfort
  • Cozy socks ~ I generally wear socks and shoes when flying.  Mainly because I like to wear my heaviest shoes to save room in my suitcase.  Once i’m on board I fling my shoes off and like to keep my cozy socks on.
  • Neck pillow
  • Change of clothes. Trust me on this one.  When we boarded the plane to LA they served us dinner straight away.  Monkey was put off by the smell and spewed all over her dinner trey, her lap and MY lap.  In her defense she was only 2 a the time.  Thankfully I had packed us all a change a clothes otherwise it was going to be a long 15 hours!
  • Eye masks~ again provided on some flights but not as cute as these I found at Typo. (yep a little addicted to that shop).  Plus good to use when napping at airports or not so dark hotel rooms.

  • Sunglasses/reading glasses ~ this depends on what time we will arrive at our destination.  If I know we are arriving at night, I will pack my sunnies in my suitcase.

“Remember less is more so only pack the essentials”

  • Plane Pal ~  This is a must have if you’re travelling long distances with kids.  It comes with a handy pump and once inflated is placed in their leg space.  This helps to extend the little ones chair and enables them to lay more flat and sleep! The handy little pouch makes it easy to carry and well worth packing if you can get an 8 hours sleep out of them!
For Health
  • Any prescription medication
  • Pain reliever ~ nothing worse than a headache on a long haul flight
  • Ear plugs~ I seriously don’t take off without them.  Monkey really used to suffer from ear pain.  I now pop these little plugs in her ears before take off and landing and she hasn’t had any dramas with her ears since! You can find these at most chemists.

  • Tissues
  • Travel sick medication.  I’ve tried so many brands however Kwells are my favourite and works best for us.

  • Wet ones.  I use antibacterial wipes.  I go a little crazy when I first board the plane and wipe EVERYTHING down.  The dinner tray, the seat belt, arm rest…It embarrasses my husband, he rolls his eyes every time I do it,  but i’m not wasting money on a well deserved holiday just to get sick.   Planes are notorious for being riddled with germs.  Also great for sticky fingers and chins after eating, and by this i’m referring to Greg and not the kids!
  • Sea Band ~  Another must have product which has really helped Monkey with her motion sickness.  Sea-band is an innovative knitted acupressure wristband that has been clinically tested to reduce symptoms of travel nausea and vomiting. Monkey was terribly ill during every flight we had been on.  For our last flight to NZ I popped some sea bands on her before we took off and she wasn’t sick once! We did a motor home tour of the South Island and she wore them the the whole time and felt great.  Monkey gives them a two thumbs up! Check them out here…. http://sea-band.com.au/

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Wanderlust by Wanderlustwithmykids - 8M ago

If you’re looking for some great fun for the whole family to enjoy on the Sunshine Coast then a day at Sea Life won’t disappoint! I remember visiting when I was a kid, back then it was Underwater World and I must admit, it is better than ever! We enjoyed amazing talks, feeds and seal presentations all which were included in our admission price!

On arrival we were given a full list of talk times along with a helpful ‘Top Tips’ to help make the most of our day at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast.  It really was a great day out and we learnt so much which is always an added bonus!

SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is located in Mooloolaba, just minutes from the beach on the Sunshine Coast, 1 hour north of Brisbane. We had to giggle when we got in the car and drove from our Mooloolaba accommodation (Osprey Apartments). When Suri told us we had arrived we soon realised we could have easily of walked.

Seriously does Finding Nemo ever get old?  No matter your age it’s always a little exciting to Find Nemo and Dory.  Sea Life takes you on an underwater journey through Australia’s unique freshwater & marine environments.

Not all the animals are behind glass at SEA LIFE! There are plenty of petting opportunities to get your hands wet and up close and personal with marine life. We got to see and touch an array of marine life that can be found in local tide pools, including beautiful sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

The seal presentation was a highlight of the day!  It was seriously laugh out loud funny and extremely entertaining with lots of ‘seal’iness but also very educational.  After the presentation you can go and say hello to the fishy friends and have your photo taken.

After the presentation you can also book a Seal Experience.  Only four spaces are available for this so get in early.   Monkey and Boogs enjoyed this immensely!  They got to go inside the Seal Fish Kitchen, see what seals eat and learnt how we care for them. I now have two budding Marine Biologists on my hands.

During their Seal Encounter, they learnt all about the seal species in Australian waters.
They got to meet one of the beautiful seals (Teeko) up close and touch his fur and whiskers, look at his eyes up close and even shake his flippers to ‘seal’ the friendship.  A photographer was there to capture every moment!  We got one printed souvenir  photo included with the encounter and the additional photos were available for purchase.

A ‘must do’ at Sea Life is to walk the depths of the ocean beneath the 80 metre long Ocean Tunnel. We saw over eight species of sharks, rays, reef fish, sawfish and some pretty cool fish as we strolled through the 3.5 million dollar Ocean walk!  Boogs was in selfie heaven and managed to get some pretty impressive shark selfies!

Fancy taking the plunge yourself?   If you’re up for it you can jump in the deep end and dive with the sharks with the Shark Dive Xtreme!  Dives are available daily and can be pre booked online.  We might put this one on the bucket list!

It seems where ever you look you will find an explosion of colour, bursting with an array of underwater life!

Turtle Temple: Get up close to these amazing wanderers of the oceans.

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Welcome to your perfect family holiday! Lush, vibrant tropical gardens, golden sandy beaches and coconut palms, ocean views, heated swimming pools and fresh, modern, spacious apartments. Osprey Apartments Mooloolaba has all the ingredients for a great family holiday!  Perched on a hill overlooking the ocean, Osprey is  just a short stroll from everything you need including Mooloolaba’s patrolled beach, restaurants, cafes and boutique shopping.

From the moment we walked through the door at Osprey we felt at home! The open plan design is modern and chic and boasted the most stunning ocean views from the dining, kitchen and living room. The four reclining lounges were a winner for our family whilst enjoying complimentary Foxtel although we were drawn to the balcony with its comfy deck chair, outdoor furniture and stunning ocean views.

Spacious living room Plenty of room for a family with dolphin views!

The fully equipped kitchen was immaculate and had everything a family would need and more!  At Opsrey they have thought of everything. With Coles a short walking distance away we were able to stock our fridge and prepare our own meals when we weren’t dining out.

Quality in every cupboard! I love Maxwell Williams and Vue!

The dining room boasted a beautiful port-hole style window with ocean views!

What I loved most about our stay at Osprey is that the kids had their very own living room with a TV and enough room for cart wheels!!

The kid’s bedroom had plenty of wardrobe storage, ceiling fans and air conditioning.  Monkey thought it was pretty cool that she had her very own balcony.

The Master bedroom was stunning and had the comfiest bed!  I will admit we loved watching TV in bed at night!  The master bedroom was also air-conditioned and had its very own private balcony!

The master bedroom and a huge walk through wardrobe with plenty of storage.

The ensuite was modern and fresh!


Full laundry with everything a family needs.

This was a view from our balcony! It ended up being our favourite place to sit.  Numerous times the kids spotted dolphins frolicking about.

The water was a perfect temperature with heated pools!  And although it was winter that didn’t stop the kids from swimming!

The BBQ facilities were clean and modern!  Seriously is there anything better than a BBQ by the beach?!?!

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Wanderlust by Wanderlustwithmykids - 8M ago

With my obsession with Disney Princesses and my husbands love for anything medieval it was inevitable that we were going to love our visit to Sunshine Castle.  The medieval museum / tourist attraction and function venue was built in 1972 and is a stand out landmark on the Sunshine Coast. The Norman style Castle, with medieval additions comes complete with a moat, turrets, towers and a drawbridge and is totally unique in Australia.


We explored the castle with a self guided tour at our own pace.

The Castle Museum Self Walk tour highlights:
• Castle Courtyard with the Kings Table, Fireplace, Pillory, Stage and Moat
• Reception Hall with the original Xena Throne from the TV Series and a working Ballista
• Great Hall for the Kings Feasting Nights with his trophies and exhibits
• Castle Dungeon
• Battlement Look Out in the Circular Tower
• Visit the Castle Chapel (Old Ferry Master Hut)
• 24 m Lookout Tower with view from the Coast to the Hinterland
• “Outside the Castle” Display – depicting life outside Castle walls
• Interactive Armour Display – allowing you to touch and try on some authentic armour
• Relics of the Dancing Dolls, Toy and Doll Museum, Fairytale Diaramas & Model Train Railway.
• Castle’s of the world display in the Gallery, Siege of a Castle & James Cooks Travel’s Displays
• International bow and arrows display and a unique master carved Nativity Scene

The kids learnt so much about History and no longer think their consequences for not doing their homework is anything to whine about.  These stocks are devices used in medieval times as a form of punishment involving public humiliation. The stocks partially immobilized its victims.

The Sunshine Castle is filled with medieval and historical displays and other cultural exhibitions! The kids enjoyed the treasure hunt which lead them on several different quests around the Castle.  It was a great way to help us navigate the Castle and gave them a little educational perspective whilst having lots of fun. Their successful quest lead to a treat from the Kings Treasure Chest!


Our timing was perfect because we were there the day Lord Herald Stephen of Landsborough was!  Monkey was chosen from the audience to be knighted!  She can now be referred to as Lady Monkey!

The Castle is open from 9:30am – 4:30pm DAILY.  Admission will set you back $15 per adult, $12 per child.

The chain mail was incredibly heavy!  These guys only lasted long enough for a quick pic before complaining!  All geared up knights carry approx. an extra 45kg!!


We found the dungeon!

The Fairytale Walk is a highlight of the castle tour and allows young and old alike to delve into the imaginary world. The doll museum boasts a  large and impressive collection of dolls and nic nacs.


We stopped for lunch at the café and enjoyed the sunshine out in the courtyard.

We really enjoyed our visit to Sunshine Castle!  Have you been?  Comment below…Would love to hear about your experience.

Address:
Sunshine Castle
292 David Low Way Bli Bli
Queensland 4560
Australia
Phone: +61 7 54484477
info@sunshinecastle.com
management@sunshinecastle.com

Travelling with kids?  Download our free digital kids travel journal ~ 10 colourful printable pages ~ makes a memorable holiday keepsake and the ultimate Show and Tell memento! It’s our gift to you xoxo

Download your FREE Kids Travel Journal!

The post Sunshine Castle  appeared first on Wanderlust With My Kids.

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Wanderlust by Wanderlustwithmykids - 8M ago

It’s becoming a little tradition for us.  On our way home from up north it seems like a regular routine now that we make a pit stop to Aussie World!  It’s great value and literally hours of fun for the whole family.  Our kids love Aussie World and the best part is, unlike other theme parks we have never had to queue for rides!

Aussie world is located one kilometre north of the Caloundra exit (take exit 190) on the Bruce Highway on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. Public transport with Translink is now available.  If you’re like us from the Gold Coast it’s definitely close enough to make a special trip out for the day.

Exciting news! Adults can purchase tickets at kids prices!  A single entry will cost you $40 or a family of four $144.  Tickets can be purchased at the gates or you can save  few dollars by pre-purchasing online here. With over 30 rides and attractions a day at Aussie World is really great value!!

Someone loves the slide!!  They must have gone up and down this slide 20 times!  We grabbed a coffee and watched them wear themselves out. Needless to say they slept in the car the whole ride home!

Ha ha…we were tempted to leave him in there but he had the money in his wallet!

Monkey loved side show Alley and was a little more than chuffed to have fished out the winning duck!!  Booga loved the Mayhem Maze which was a little too scary for Monkey.  Based on the screams going on inside I was more than happy to wait it out with her. Other rides and attractions include: Redback, Dark Rebel, Dodgems, Ballroom blize, The plunge, Ferris Wheel, Space Shaker, Voyager Simulator, Carousel, Giggle Go Round, Tin Lids Tea party, Illusionarium and Crazy Mirrors.

There are plenty of great places to eat within the park including The Fun Café, The Shed and The Beer Garden however we like to duck out (wrist bands make re-entry easy) and have a late lunch (then I don’t have to cook dinner) at The Pub.  Formally known as the Ettamogah Pub. There are great views from the balcony and the food is amazing!  Please note NO food and drinks except bottled water are able to be brought into Aussie World.

It’s a shame we don’t live a little closer or we would definitely consider upgrading to a whole year of fun with a $59 annual pass.  The kids would have loved to have had a birthday party here too.  Birthday packages include rides, lunch and a reserved area for your own use all day!  How cool would that be?!!

I noticed on the map that a brand new ride is coming soon!  Maybe a good excuse to go back….I know the kids wouldn’t mind!!

For more info on Aussie world visit:                                                     http://www.aussieworld.com.au/

73 Frizzo Road, Bruce Hway                                                                                                              Palmview QLD, Australia                                                                                                                     07 5494 5444

Open 10am -5pm every day…

Have you been to Aussie World?  What did you love most about your day?  Comment below, we would love to hear from you.

Safe travels x

Travelling with kids?  Download our free digital kids travel journal ~ 10 colourful printable pages ~ makes a memorable holiday keepsake and the ultimate Show and Tell memento! It’s our gift to you xoxo

Download your FREE Kids Travel Journal!

The post Aussie World Fun- Sunshine Coast QLD appeared first on Wanderlust With My Kids.

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Wanderlust by Wanderlustwithmykids - 8M ago


A little weekend getaway to the Sunshine Coast lead us to Noosa Horse Riding.  A family owned business just 10 minutes away from Noosa.  After a one hour beginners ride around Lake Weyba we are now totally hooked and in love with horse riding.  It’s no wonder Noosa Horse Riding have been nominated for business and tourism awards on the Sunshine Coast!

Apart from a couple of pony rides at birthday parties, Boogs and Monkey had never ridden a horse.  Admittedly I was nervous about them being on anything larger than a pony, and being totally in control with stopping, starting and steering, but the amazing tour guides were very caring, helpful and professional and gave the kids a lesson before we head out of the enclosure.

The horses were amazing!  So peaceful and gentle and very well-trained.  Monkey’s horse ‘Sam’ had once taken a blind tourist around the lake.  Immediately my nerves disappeared.  Once the kids were confident and could master the basics we were ready to head out to beautiful Lake Weyba.

All rides are subject to weather and tide conditions but we were blessed with most incredible blue skied day.  They cater for kids from 8 years and above and although I’m normally a nervous Nelly I had no concerns or worries about Monkey (10) and Booga (13) being on the horses.  We were given helmets and long pants and closed in shoes are recommended.

Once we hit the lake I realised how completely relaxed and in the moment I felt. Gone were thoughts about work, groceries and my ‘to do’ list.  It suddenly occurred to me how good horse riding is for the soul.  There was literally no one around, so it was overwhelmingly peaceful.  With deep inhales of the crisp morning air, I couldn’t help but notice how amazing the warm winter sun felt and acknowledging that the only sounds I could hear, was the whistling of leaves, gentle hooves…. and an occasional horsey sneeze.

I asked the kids during the ride…What have you enjoyed more?  Horse riding on the lake or riding dolphins in Jamaica?  Without hesitating they said “Horse riding!!!”

Noosa Horse Riding cater rides for beginner, intermediate and advance riders starting from $80.00 for a one hour ride.  They also offer lessons and private tours upon request. Advanced bookings are essential.  A horse riding experience on Lake Weyba is really a must to add to your bucket list!  We had an incredible time and will certainly be back!

For more information on Noosa Horse Riding

Contact Dave on 0438 710 530                                                                                                       Email:  info@noosahorseriding.com.au                                                                                                        Address:Wills Road, Weba Downs, Noosa, Queensland                                               www.noosahorseriding.com.au

Where in the world have you been horse riding?  Comment below, would love to hear from you!

Safe travels x

Travelling with kids?  Download our free digital kids travel journal ~ 10 colourful printable pages ~ makes a memorable holiday keepsake and the ultimate Show and Tell memento! It’s our gift to you xoxo

Download your FREE Kids Travel Journal!

The post Noosa Horse Riding Experience appeared first on Wanderlust With My Kids.

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Wanderlust by Wanderlustwithmykids - 8M ago


I can’t tell you how many of my friends have cruised on cruise lines such as P&O, Carnival etc…I would be close in saying most of them.  We are from Australia so when we booked our Disney Cruise we were completely in the dark about how to prepare and what to pack for our cruise which departs on the other side of the world.  As amazing as our travel agent is…not even she had booked another family from Oz on a Disney Cruise.  I had to fend for myself and research everything!  So here it is, tried and tested. My….

Best Tips on What to Pack and How to Prepare for Your Disney Cruise! Install the Disney Cruise Count down app!

Once you’ve finalised your deposit Disney will send you the link for the count down app! Counting down is half the fun….

Organise an Autograph Book

One of our favourite things about our Disney Cruise was the character meet and greets, after all that’s what makes a Disney Cruise stand out from the rest. Collecting autographs became a man hunt, a collectors dream…we had to get them all.  I searched online and found these gorgeous little autograph books on Esty.  They do sell autograph books on board however I didn’t find them big enough and they weren’t cute like these.  I wanted their books to include all the characters they’ve met on all of the journeys we’ve been on….so we’ve managed to fill the book with characters from Disney World, Universal Studios, they even got autographs at Lego land!

Door magnets

Everyone is doing it!  All the cool kids stick magnets to their doors.  For serial Disney Cruisers it’s a declaration of their returning status. A statement for the birthday girl or boy, for honeymooners or mostly just an announcement for family members.  The Americans go all out…everyone had professional looking magnets. I made mine on the computer, laminated them and attached some adhesive magnets. They looked very much ‘home made’ but they were cheap and did the trick.

Fish Extenders

This was the coolest thing ever!  To explain this fully I will need to devote an entire blog post to ‘fish extenders (FE)’, however I’ll try to briefly explain.   Once you have booked your Disney Cruise, you need to jump on Facebook and join a FE group. There are approximately 20 families per FE group.  We were in the ‘Pluto’ group.  Each member added their cabin number, name, age and gender of each family member to a spreadsheet. These were the families we had to deliver gifts to at some stage during the cruise.  Each cabin door has a fish-hook (hence the name fish extender), where you hung your fish extender from.  Gifts were placed inside the little pouches of the FE.   Boy oh boy there were some stunning ones out there, sewn so beautifully with names embroided.  Again mine stood out for looking very much ‘hand made’ with plastic pouches…(they were cheap and did the trick lol). We delivered little Aussie koalas to all our group members and we were very much spoiled in return!  Every morning we woke to gifts at our door and every time we returned to our cabin we had little surprises waiting for us! So fun!!

Disney Dollars

This was genius and something I highly recommend doing!  From the moment you’re in count down mode…start bribing your kids with a ‘Disney Dollar’. Seriously they’ll do anything for a Disney Dollar! Chores, make coffee…I even scored a couple of back rubs for a bargain price. Disney dollars can only be spent at Disney (they give them to me in exchange for cash…or room charge).  Secretly between you and me, I would have bought them those souvenirs and Mikey cupcakes anyway but my kids are quite tight and picky when it comes to spending their ‘own’ money…so they don’t seem to WANT as much…plus the beautiful behaviour for bonus dollars was priceless.

Pirate Night Attire

Pirate night is huge on the Caribbean cruises.  Everyone from the waiters to the Disney characters are dressed for the occasion. There’s a pirate show on deck and night ends with fireworks!!! (yep in the middle of the ocean, so cool).  When one is in the Caribbean, one must dress like a pirate so be prepared and purchase costumes from home. There are some available in the gift shops but they’ll cost you and arm or a leg.

Pre-Book Your Shore Excursions

Returning Disney cruisers get priority booking when it comes to shore excursions.  The more cruises you have been on the earlier your access is to booking online. (You’re literally given a gold, silver bronze style status).   So if you are like me and a first time Disney Cruiser you’re one of the last to have access. This is why it’s important to do your research, and get on-line THE DAY your category goes live. If you don’t get in quick they will sell out.  Disney shore tours will also cost you an arm or a leg…however when travelling to places like Mexico and Jamaica  I felt much safer going with the Disney tours.  Plus if something happens and you’re late returning to the ship…unless it was a Disney tour they won’t wait for you.  Paying the extra money I think was worth the peace of mind.

I’ll need to devote an entire post to our shore tours but in a nut shell…we swam with the dolphins and climbed Dunn’s River Waterfall in Jamaica (this by far was the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE), hired beach buggies and did a tour of some beautiful beaches, snorkeled and shopped in Mexico, lazed on a deck chair at Tiki Beach at Grand Cayman Island.  We didn’t book any tours for Castaway Cay (Bahamas) we just swam and enjoyed everything the island offered for free….which was practically everything! Lunch, soft drinks, even ice-cream was free on Castaway Cay!

Book in Advance for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Again book this well in advance as there’s limited spaces and you DON’T want to miss out.  This was the most special experience ever…loved every second of watching her being pampered like a princess.  Because we booked early her gorgeous invitation was waiting for her when we boarded the ship.  A good tip is to know exactly what shore tours you are doing and when…some leave early and don’t get back till late.  You don’t want to have time clashes.  I got in early and booked her appointment for a ‘at sea’ day so I didn’t have to worry too much about the time.

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