Entering the grounds, we’re surrounded by kids on scooters, dads pushing toddlers on balance bikes, delighted shrieks echoing from the splash playground, families walking dogs, grandparents at the barbie, and groups of mums and friends enjoying a cocktail or two in the balmy autumn sun. I feel as though I’ve stepped into someone’s (very) big backyard on a Sunday afternoon. It’s smiles all around until my daughter realizes we didn’t bring her scooter.
But the frown soon disappears when we drive past not one, not two, but three pools and playgrounds. There’s no room for boredom here. This is even more evident when we take a seat on the deck of our Pandanus Villa – a spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom self-contained cabin – to read the Treasure Island Activity and Entertainment Program for the next three days. The good times’ kick off at 8.30 am with T-shirt painting, sand art, and hair braiding, and continue throughout the day with beanbag tossing, a Nerf gun shootout, tug-o-war, dodge ball… and it goes on, until 6 pm, when family trivia, family bingo, and movies under the stars are available, depending on the day of the week.
Bear Grylls Survival Academy sends kids on missions that teach them survival skills.
The main reason for our visit is to check out the Bear Grylls Survival Academy, where kids aged four to 17 participate in the Shipwrecked program that includes four one-hour missions that teach survival skills. Kids learn to tie knots, build a shelter, camouflage from predators, and light a campfire to cook damper. While my five-year-old was a little young for some of the action, all the other kids participating were engaged from the get-go and made friends with each other along the way. Our damper was a little soggy at the end, but I now know how to tie a reef knot and pitch a tent.
Aside from getting shipwrecked, we embraced the on-site activities and facilities and didn’t leave the park once in three days. We played countless games of mini-golf and went go-karting around the grounds, and that’s when my daughter wasn’t riding waterslides, waiting in line for mermaid hair braids, or catching her breath on the jumping pillow.
Pedal go-karting at NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort
Staff and guests provide an upbeat atmosphere, whether during dinner at Galleons Bistro, where hearty meals such as salmon and chips or chicken Caesar salad kept my energy up or chatting to guests as we passed by their campsite barbecue. Family bingo night was definitely a fan favorite – it felt like every holidaymaker descended on the Wreck Room (where all the activities kick-off) for three games that saw winners rewarded with cocktails and mocktails. Plenty of disco music also livened up the already lively family crowd.
Accommodation options range from $64 to $346, depending on the season. The Bear Grylls Survival Academy (at selected sites) is available every weekend and during school holidays.
The Kids vs Wild / Bear Grylls Survival Academy is designed to get kids off devices and into the great outdoors… and it works. There’s also a daily kids’ club, splash park, pools and playgrounds.
Bear Grylls Survival Academy activities are a highlight at NRMA Treasure Island
There’s a variety of cabins, villas, townhouses, and caravan sites to suit your budget or family size. We slept soundly in the Pandanus Villa, which includes a self-contained kitchen.
Villas are equipped with a full kitchen
Galleons Bistro offers generous servings of diner-style food like pizza, pasta, salads, burgers, and fish and chips. The onsite bar has cocktails and a basic offering of beer, wine, and spirits.
An on-site bar and bistro make resort life easy
This is an ideal all-in-one and furry-friend holiday. The location is close to theme parks and outlet shopping, cafes and takeaways if you feel the need to get offsite while the kids are in activities.
The writer was a guest of NRMA Parks and Resorts. This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com