In late February 2018 we took our young family(2 3/4 years and 7 month old) to Tasmania to visit my Grandmother who lives in Pontypool on the East Coast of Tasmania. This blog post has a short listing of what we did and tips for doing a similar trip with young children.
Having two young children meant getting a lift to the airport wouldn’t really work for us. Also as we needed our pram and car seats in Tasmania, the AirTrain wouldn’t work either. So we decided to use an airport parking service. As it turned out there was a special on the Brisbane Airport ParkValet service.
This option was fantastic for us. We were able to drive straight in and had plenty of space to unload the car seats and luggage from the car. There was also a concierge option that we probably would have taken, but it was only offered when we first booked and we couldn’t add it later. We didn’t really need it in the end though.
The Flight to Hobart
Our flights were on Virgin Australia, who helpfully let you take any baby related stuff on your flight without any excess baggage charges. We needed to book a seat for Lily as she is over 2, but Jasmine rode in Jacqui’s lap.
We got to board the plane first, with passengers who had special needs. This gave us time to get the kids on board, carry-on stowed away and everyone settled. Jasmine had a special infant seatbelt that attached on to Jacqui’s. She didn’t much like being strapped in and tried to squirm out as much as possible.
On the way down Lily sat between us and I(David) sat by the window. Lily is prone to being very upset by loud noises such as motorbikes. However she was actually excited by the take off and wasn’t upset at all. We didn’t have any ear problems on the ascent either.
We were able to keep Lily amused with toys, colouring-in and for a short while the iPhone. She was a bit annoyed that she couldn’t access Netflix or ABC iView and didn’t like anything on Virgin’s entertain app.
On descent Lily did get quite upset which we believe was due to pain in her ears. We did try a few things to get her to equalise the pressure but she wasn’t able to understand. She didn’t settle until just before landing.
On arrival we waited until everyone else was off the plane to get out, so we could pick up all the lost toys from under our seats. On the tarmac we saw a business jet from the USA that had been equipped with weather research equipment for the SOCRATES project, studying the interactions between clouds and particles naturally produced by the ocean, such as sea salt and biogenic particles.
When we walked into the terminal we were right in front of the Melbourne Demons AFL team arriving from Melbourne, so there was a WIN TV crew filming us. We were told that Jacqui and Jasmine appeared in the preview and sports news item about it.
The Hobart terminal arrivals area is quite small so there was a massive crowd around the baggage carousel when I got there. I managed to find a spot near the end and was surprised that the pram and car seats which were taken in oversize luggage in Brisbane came out on the carousel.
By the time I’d come back Lily had made a friend in the waiting area. The game had become that their daughter would give Lily a lolly, she’d give it to Mum because she didn’t like it, then Jacqui would pass it back to the little girl’s brother. This went on for some time while I organised the hire car pick up.
Hire car pick up was a tag team effort as Jacqui and I swapped duties watching the luggage and filling out paperwork at the Hertz desk. Eventually we were all sorted and we left the terminal. The little girl Lily had befriended was quite upset by this.
We thought we’d be smart and hire a larger vehicle for our trip. We’d had a struggle fitting our luggage into our Corolla, with one suitcase having to go in the back seat and the other blocking access to the pram in the boot.
We hired a medium sized SUV, listed on Hertz as a Nissan Qashqai or similar. We ended up with a Mitsubishi ASX. Immediately I noted a problem. There was no way to fit a pram and suitcases in the boot. In fact all it would fit was a pram. Even if we removed the rear parcel shelf cover there’d still be not enough space to fit them and it’d be dangerous without a cargo barrier.
So it turns out a Toyota Corolla sedan actually has more cargo space than a medium SUV Mitsubishi ASX.
It took quite some time to get the car seats installed and adjusted. This was complicated by light rain at the time. One frustrating thing I found was that after I’d installed Lily’s car seat, the rear seatbelt was looped in the wrong place. So I had to try to move the seat forward without completely removing the car seat. After what seemed like forever and several escape attempts by Lily, we got in the car and headed off to go up the East Coast to Grandma’s place.