Remember those family holidays when you were younger – cycling around camp grounds, making new friends, enjoying a BBQ in the evening and a bunch of planned activities to keep you entertained for the duration of your stay?
Some may feel these are the holidays of yesteryear – swept away in a sea of short-term rental options, cheaper overseas travel and a whole raft of new holiday destinations.
I can confirm, however, that these old-school holidays do indeed still exist – as anyone who has stayed at the Ocean Beach Holiday Resort at Umina would know.
We recently made a family trip to this beautiful part of the world, located just 90 minutes from Sydney in reality, but in truth a million miles away if you turn the phone off and let yourself relax.
With a two-and-a-half-year-old in tow, we were fortunate enough to stay in the Seabreeze Two Bedroom Villa, a perfect option if you’re looking to house a decent sized families given one of the bedrooms has four separate beds, and its own bathroom.
The Villa definitely provided us a bit of luxury – a BBQ on our own private balcony, a private car spot and brilliant views of the beach, across from the jumping pillows, which received a rave review from the aforementioned toddler (and let’s be honest, her parents too).
There are literally dozens of different accommodation options though to suit all family sizes and budgets, including the Glamtainer – which has certainly risen in popularity lately.
The bonus with all holiday parks of this kind is that you only unpack once, and there’s so many activities at your fingertips that you don’t need to even leave the park if you don’t want to.
Apart from an ever-updating activity schedule for kids that includes everything from plaster making to movie nights and playdough activities, there’s awesome splash parks, decent-sized playgrounds, tennis courts, a kids’ club and fun ways to get around like e-bikes and pedal karts, which are available to hire.
And of course, there’s the huge pools and easy access to Ocean Beach itself – which would make this the perfect spot for a break in the upcoming summer.
For the budget conscious, there’s also the bonus of doing most of your eating on-site – there’s something about firing up the BBQ on holidays that doesn’t make it feel like work.
However, we did make the very short drive down the road to Margarita Daze – a beachside restaurant with terrific food (the portion sizes here are epic) and delicious margaritas (try the blood orange margarita for something a little different).
There’s also the Jasmine Greens cafe/kiosk just outside the holiday park’s gates, which provides delicious burgers, milkshakes, homemade pies and more – perfect for something a little different while the kids try out the large playground on site.
If you’re looking for that big family holiday with multiple generations, a tonne of kids of varying ages, with a load of activities but still plenty to appeal for the adults (especially after the kids go to bed at night), you really should think about staying closer to home and checking out a holiday from an era you may have thought had passed us by.
The activities are only limited by how much you or the kids are willing to squeeze in – which means boredom simply isn’t an option.
We’ll definitely be back – it may even become an annual trip. We’ll also campaign for an adults-only jumping pillow, while we’re at it.
Visit www.nrmaparksandresorts.com.au for more information about the Ocean Beach Holiday Park, and other NRMA parks across the country.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.