REVIEW: Gindabara | Coochiemudlo Island with Kids
Are you looking for a low cost holiday destination which can accommodate groups but without the hassle of camping? Imagine having the run of a spacious island retreat which sleeps up to 20 people across 6 buildings. Our family was recently invited to spend a few days road testing Gindabara facilities and we can now report back on what South East Queensland families are missing.
Gindabara is located on Coochiemudlo island just a 20 minute ferry ride from Victoria Point. The Gindabara set up offers any group the exclusive use of the site to host your own retreat, family event or social gathering. There is a delightful community feel to the layout which is reminiscent of school holidays or Scout retreats The cabins are cozily grouped around a communal eating hall and kitchen which is adjacent to a recreation hall and games room- perfect to keep kids out of the way while the meals are prepared.
Back to basics but never bored
Gindabara is a delightful mix of historical buildings with a rustic aesthetic and offers peaceful, unwired relaxation. At first we weren’t sure how the kids would manage without an internet connection (NETFLIX is part of our family now) but the many facilities at Gindabara made me nostalgic for my own family beach holidays back in the day. The recreation hall was an immediate draw with table tennis, foosball and even a record player. The Police Union originally set up the compact cabins which are fully screened to avoid bugs. The kids were thrilled to pick their room (the one with the joint single beds, not a hard choice) and although food preparation is done at the main hall there is a fridge and sink for light refreshments in the cabins (perfect for early morning cereal or late night apertifs).
The focal point for all activity was the open outdoor fire pit which we lit in the early evening and snuggled around telling stories, singing songs and staring into the flames. Paleo television is the best!
An island of natural beauty and simple wonders
Our kids are easily impressed by transport so even the car ferry to Coochiemudlo Island was appealing. If you are travelling in a group it makes sense to keep the cars on the mainland and only bring one over as it only took me only 35 minutes to run (on foot) around the entire perimeter of Coochiemudlo. The island is built for bikes so bring yours over; there are a few in the Gindabara shed but they won’t fit all ages.
The natural appeal of the island is abundant and you will feel relaxed with the sleepy pace and quiet streets. There are easy safe walks through the Melaleuca forest or the mangroves which belt the island in a green canopy before the sea. Sand flats are home to waves of hermit crabs and the haunting cry of the curlew and plover are as common as sightings of these fascinating birds.
Bring food and friends; we didn’t and it was still great
One thing we did discover is although Coochiemudlo Island is delightfully sedate it only has a small kiosk and fantastic cafe with limited hours. We popped over on a whim and then ran a little short of food so make sure you bring the main items you want to cook and snack on and use the island shops for treats and ice creams- they are only open from about 8am to 3 or 4pm. Otherwise in a group situation it will be easy to make short trips to the well provisioned shops at Victoria Point and Cleveland.
For entertainment you will not be short of options as the relaxed island vibe takes over. Bush walks, beach fun and fishing are all a stroll away. There is also the option of cycle, boat and paddle bike hire on the main beach if you want something more active.
To find out rates and availability go to the Gindabara facebook or website