In the fading afternoon light, four dads lift dining tables and chairs off balconies and join them end-to-end in the driveway of one of the beachfront cabins at One Mile Beach.
Children scooter up and down the access road in front of the cabins launching off speed bumps. Others gather for a game of “mega-tip build-ups”. The smell of sausages cooking on communal barbecues wafts over the crowd. Tummies begin to rumble.
We’ve come to Ingenia Holidays One Mile Beach for our annual soccer team weekend away. There are 20 adults and 24 children. It’s crazy. But at the same time, that craziness is what makes this adventure super fun. And why we keep coming back.
Ingenia One Mile Beach is just two hours drive from Sydney. It has spots for camping and caravans. But we love the row of cabins hidden behind the dunes. If you book early enough you can hire them all, creating a safe zone for the kids to run and scooter up and down without fear of traffic.
The kids feel like they have the run of the place. An immense sense of freedom, particularly for city kids. The adults know that freedom is within safe boundaries and there are eyes on them where and when needed.
The cabins are two or three bedrooms – so the kids can be put to bed while the adults continue on. Parents do have a line of sight the whole way along the row of cabins. The cabins have linen, sheets and toiletries so you don’t have to pack much for a weekend getaway. The parents’ room has an en-suite with a double showerhead – a small luxury every adult loves.
From the cabins, it’s an easy walk down to the surf, through a path worn into the dunes. One Mile Beach stretches to the north. The surf is manageable for little-ones and the beach is patrolled.
The parents take turns wrangling groups of kids for surfing lessons, beach fishing and rock pool adventures. A large group means that while a few adults have the kids the others get a much-needed break. Groups of parents take turns walking the beach, going for massages in the nearby town or simply sitting down to read a good book.
The park has a great pool with a waterslide and spa. It also has a giant jumping pillow. Half an hour on that and the adults will be the ones ready for bed.
But the best part of this holiday park has to be the ability to gather, surrounded by friends and kids. One huge table, filled with 20 adults. Glasses of wine are clinked, cheeky stories told. The children run around feeling like they have the ultimate freedom (when in fact the adults have set the boundaries).
Travel allows you to get outside your bubble. It makes you realise there are other ways to do things, and that’s OK. Plus, I am a huge fan of skiing and for the best powder – you need to head overseas.