Back to reality today after an awesome 10 day trip to our favourite holiday destination….Bali!! I am a mother to two gorgeous kiddies aged 3 and 5 years, and between working in an office part-time, taking care of the household chores, mum duties and coaching cheerleading there isn’t a lot of downtime. So I really look forward to our Bali family holiday!!

My family LOVE going away and our favourite destination has always been Bali! Why you ask? Well where else can i get a $7.50 one hour long back massage and $8 meals!?!

I was 9 years old the first time my parents took my sister and I to Bali and I have been 6 times since. My mum would retire there if she could – she has been 17 times!! Four years ago my sister got married in Canggu, Bali, which started our holidaying with kids adventure. We love the warm weather, the cheap eats, the Balinese people, and all in all – we just love everything Bali has to offer. We have stayed in various parts of Bali from South Kuta/Tuban, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu. We have stayed in fancy hotels, cheap hotels, private villas etc.

Over the years the holidays have changed to accommodate the kids more, however, we generally still do the same things with perhaps just a little more ‘down-time’ and different hotels selected to better suit our family needs.

Over a year ago, my in-laws decided they wanted to take my sister-in-law and her 4 year old son to Bali as they had never been. My husband and I decided we wanted to go too, then from there my sister and her family of 4 decided to join us and of course my parents wouldn’t say no to a Bali trip so 15 of us in total (10 adults and 5 kids, aged 11 months to 5 years old) all agreed to go together.

We are from Adelaide so we took a 7pm Jetstar flight to Bali, seemed like a good idea kids might stay awake for a few hours then nod off ……well, yes thats pretty much what happened but when we got to Bali we had to wake them all up to land and get off the plane. We then had a missing suitcase to deal with (turns out it never left Adelaide) and in the end arrived at our hotel 1.30am Bali time (3am Adelaide time!) needless to say we were all a wreck and the children were deliriously running around the hotel foyer.

Our hotel of choice for this stay was the Hard Rock Hotel in Kuta. When we booked this hotel I must admit I had reservations staying in such a busy area, and I really wanted to stay in the Legian area. On our last trip two years ago we stayed at the Bali Mandira and LOVED it. However, for this trip it was out of our price range and the Hard Rock was the best hotel to cater our kids needs and remain in budget.

The Hard Rock Hotel was amazing! Rooms and facilities were great and the location of the hotel was just perfect, across the road from the beach and a 5-minute walk to Beachwalk shopping Centre and Matahari Shopping Centre, 10-minute walk to Discovery shopping mall & Waterbom Park. Plenty of places to eat right outside our door – a Starbucks next door (came in very handy after not much sleep with the little children) and even the option of KFC, McDonalds etc. for the fussy eaters just on our doorstep.

After finally getting some sleep the first night, we woke the next morning to head down to the buffet breakfast – we had Premium Deluxe rooms which meant breakfast was a bit of a hike, as was the walk to the main pool being such a big hotel, but the kids didn’t complain once. Being ‘Premium Deluxe’ meant we also had access to a ‘chill-out’ pool which was a little lagoon pool just down some stairs from our room and usually always quiet and cabanas around it for us to use. We liked to use this pool in the afternoon for a quiet play. The main pool is huge and had a children’s water playground, water slides for slightly older kids, and lots of sun loungers and cabanas (cabanas are extra) around it. It really had everything!

We spent the first two days hanging around the hotel, going in the pool and exploring our surroundings. We found a nice restaurant just near Matahari Shopping Centre called Dulang which offered a big range of meals priced from $7 up. My favourite being a Thai Basil Chicken dish for $8. We ended up eating there 4 times in total, it was just easy, it had nuggets and chips, steamed rice for the kids and the staff were helpful with my 11 month old nephew.

Day 3 was a bit wet so we decided to do the Bali Marine and Safari Park as my son is a HUGE animal lover. We know a driver in Bali so getting there was easy. The Marine Park was expensive to enter and we only went for the basic package but the day was really great and you can easily spend the whole day there. We went on a bus around to see the African and Asian animals, saw some animal shows, elephants bathing and the part the kids liked the most was the water park! All in all a good day.

Day 4 was better weather so off we went to Waterbom Park. Again places like this are fairly expensive to get in to, but worth it. There is so much to do there for all ages and everyone was more than happy. We added the extra cost of hiring two Cabanas between the 15 of us so that we had a shady rest spot (in high season get there early to get one). The kids splash zone is fantastic, slides of great variety and my favourite the lazy river.

We then had a few rest days around the pool, with some shopping done by some and a few of the more adventurous of us went off to do water sports at Nusa Dua whilst others stayed at the hotel and watched the kids.

The Kids Club at our Hotel looked great but when I asked about it my impression was that it was going to cost $25 to put the kids in Kids club for a day, when all I wanted was to take them in there with me to play the toys and playground, so that was a bit disappointing.

We tried a few different dinner spots – Jamie’s Italian (pricey but yum!), Green Garden (cheap good meals) but we quite liked just eating at the hotel near the pool which was reasonably priced and just easy with the kids, especially after being out all day.

We also went for a visit to DMZ Museum ( a trick art museum) and had lots of fun posing for photos, this was very reasonably priced and you just take your own photos so a cheap few hours out. The kids got a little ratty and bored after a few photos though but still worth the trip.

Most of our days went like this (except days out) breakfast, back to room to get ready for the day, down to the big pool and slides for a few hours and some lunch, back to the room for a rest/watch a movie, then a swim in the ‘chill-out’ pool and the out to dinner and back to room for early bed. Then the adults just took turns going for walks and doing some shopping, getting massages, exploring. We found the best time to shop (especially at the markets) was at night as its cooler, so generally we would put the kids to bed then a few of us would head out to the market stalls.

We thoroughly enjoyed doing the sea turtle release on Kuta beach in front of the grand Inna Kuta Hotel. This was a new experience for all of us – 200 turtles were released into the ocean the day we did it. Amazing!!

The night we left (the dreaded midnight flight!) we got late 6pm check out at the hotel, went for dinner and had an ice cream near the pool before getting picked up. The kids were really well behaved and stayed mostly awake until we got on the plane and slept all the way home.

All in all a fabulous trip with all of our family which we would do again in heartbeat!! Travelling in a large group gave everyone the opportunity to do what they wanted to do without dragging the kids around shopping centres and long car journeys. We possibly could’ve done another day trip or two – like a cruise (which I have done a few times but I think it would be better when the kids are older), or another water park. Staying at hotel with so many water activities though and the young age of all our kids they were mostly happy just staying at the hotel all day if they could!

Having been to Bali quite a few times I didn’t have too much I wanted to do there, just enjoy the sunshine and spend time with my kids and thats what I did.

Emily is a 33 year old mum of two who works part-time in Financial Planning and runs a Cheerleading club with her sister. She’s been to Bali many times and loves to spend time relaxing with her family.