For Joanne and her two children, Liam and Chloe, Phillip Island will always be very special, as it was the location for the first holiday they have ever had.
The family was recently gifted a six day holiday here by the Magical Getaway Foundation, the only national charity dedicated to social tourism, which provides access to breaks away from home, for people who would otherwise be excluded.
Chloe has spend many of her short years being admitted to hospital, as she was born with complex medical conditions.
Holidays have never happened, not even weekends away.
The family, along with Joanne’s parents, arrived ten day ago and were enchanted by the accommodation provided them in Genesta Street.
All their food, as ordered with the Foundation, had been purchased.
The Penguin Parade was a favourite on Saturday night, as was time at the Chocolate Factory.
The holiday magic ended after six days with all the mysteries at A Maze ’N Things being investigated.
A last family dinner, then homeward bound.
It’s not about the holiday, it’s what the holiday brings, says the Magical Getaway Foundation.
Research indicates that holidays benefit individuals, as well as the wider society, because they improve wellbeing and reduce stress, increase self-esteem and confidence, strengthen family communication and bonding, provide new skills, widen perspectives and enhance employability, give long-lasting treasured memories, results in happier, stronger families and a more inclusive society and increase community participation and decrease social isolation.
For the six days spent here, Liam and Chloe just enjoyed being kids, with no hospital visits.
For Joanne and her parents, it was time just be a family, laughing, creating special memories to last a lifetime; building hope for the future.