Brought to you by Stayz
I have recently been working with Stayz (Australia’s largest holiday rental website) to help inspire families to create new holiday memories.
I love this idea. It is so inline with how my husband and I raise our kids. We love taking any opportunity to get away from our daily routine and to create family experiences that we’ll remember forever.
Last week, we took a trip to Dunsborough, a very popular holiday spot in the South West region of Western Australia (and one of our favourite places) – filled with beaches, wineries, forests, caves, bush and cafes. We also invited some good friends – another family – to join us.
And yes, we stayed at a Stayz house, right next to the beach!
The coolest thing about Stayz accommodation is that you can rent the WHOLE house.
They have over 40,000 properties across Australia, in 1,700 locations so there are lots of options for groups of any size. That means, you can holiday with your family, your extended family, or even multiple families.
This particular house had enough beds for 8 people, two living areas, a fully equipped modern kitchen, air conditioning, all bedding and towels provided, a washing machine, a clothes dryer, a front yard for the kids to play, a balcony, and much more. It was just fabulous.
To put things into perspective for you… the last time we went on a family holiday, we went into the BUSH, where there was no running water, I didn’t shower for 3 days and er… I had to dig my own toilet!
So you could say that I am not accustomed to this level of luxury! I was really pinching myself and counting all my blessings!
There was no formal check-in; the key was hidden in a safe box on the property.
We simply arrived, unlocked the house, we were greeted by a beautiful, spacious home, a bottle of local white wine and we cracked open the cheese and crackers to celebrate!
The kids immediately went downstairs to play, in the separate living room, and some started a soccer game on the front lawn.
What did the adults do?
Within 5 minutes of arrival, we were sitting on the balcony and watching the sun set in the peace and quiet. Ahhhhhh!
That night I cooked a big dinner, fed all the kids and set up a DVD for them to watch downstairs.
Us adults were able to sit and have a quiet dinner! With loooong conversations!
It was so lovely and relaxing.
The next morning, my husband (bless him) woke up early and made pancakes for everyone. What a treat.
Again I sat on the balcony and enjoyed the sunshine, while chatting to my friends and kids.
Oh my, it was bliss.
Such simple pleasures!
During the day, we took a long walk on the footpath which ran along Geographe Bay.
The kids took turns to scoot or walk. In fact they were falling over themselves to walk and talk with an adult, just to hear our stories and get some undivided attention.
We headed over to Meelup Beach, which was still and calm.
The sky was cloudy and the water was a bit too cold for a swim.
Nonetheless, the colour of the water turned into a brilliant turquoise everytime the sun peeked out from behind a cloud and hit the ocean.
We saw whales! About 9 of them swimming across the bay!
My kids and I ran around, making sand castles, playing chasey, writing our names in the sand and taking photos (yes I took selfies and snapchats with my 12 year old!).
There was also a fresh water stream next to the beach, which trickled into the ocean.
My husband started a “dam building project”, which excited ALL the kids, including 8 other random kids who were also on the beach and also wanted to join in.
They worked on that dam for 2 hours!
I think that was the highlight for all the kids.
That night, I made a 6-hour, slow-cooked Moroccan lamb shank stew with potatoes, carrots and brown rice.
I brought along my extra-large slow cooker just so I could make it. But I was also very pleased that the kitchen had everything I needed; even little things like olive oil, salt and ground cumin – which I forgot to bring.
It was soooooo delicious! And of course, we had to wash it down with more local wine.
Next morning, my friend made perfect eggs, bacon and homemade bread, for breakfast.
Again, I was pinching myself on the balcony – I was so happy!
Oh and you know what else made me happy?
Although I told everyone that the beach was my favourite part of the trip, I have to admit that HAVING A DISHWASHER was my most favourite thing haha!
The kids played and played.
There was a stash of books, board games and card games in house, including our old favourite – Twister!
We also enjoyed heaps of local cafes, art galleries, the shops and the bakery.
Overall, it was a such an easy and effortless holiday!
We didn’t have to wash the bed sheets or towels before we left. We just had to give the place a quick sweep and wipe down the kitchen surfaces.
I loved that there were so many things that we didn’t have to stress and worry about – towels, wifi, hair dryer, iron, washing machine, dust pan, matches, candles – it was a whole house, filled with household items. It made life sooooo much easier.
It felt much more homey, spacious and private than a caravan park, motel, hotel or even a Bed and Breakfast.
And because of all that, I absolutely loved that we had so much time to be together as a family, enjoy each other’s company and just have fun.
Renting a house like this, for two families, was perfect for us!
So here’s a big, big thanks to Stayz!
If you’re thinking of heading off to find a house to stay in, you might be interested in this…
*Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition*
Win a $1500 Visa Gift Card to put towards your next holiday, or towards a new designer handbag – that’s kind of like a holiday right? :)
You DO need a blog to enter – Write a blog post about your favourite childhood holiday and then fill out the entry form here.
If you DON’T have a blog, that’s okay, you can post your favourite holiday throwback photo on the Stayz Facebook Page or on your own Instagram account (with the #Stayz and #HTB tags) and you could win a $100 Westfield gift card.
Check out more information about the Stayz Holiday Throwback Competition here.