Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Night 145 - Sydney

Well we are now back home, wow I cant believe 5 months has gone so fast. We have travelled 23,000 kilometers and spent $6,500 on fuel. We have seen most of Australia’s coastline.....

We have had an amazing time and it’s sad that it had to come to an end. We missed our family so much but enjoyed the Skype chats. We caught up with friends around the country and made new ones along the way. We are used to wearing our thongs in the shower, sleeping with sand in the bed, not showering every day, wearing the same clothes, confined space, washing the dishes in 2 inches of water, lining up for washing machines and meeting new people every day.

We have seen koalas, emus, kangaroos, snakes, spiders, lizards, crocodiles, echidnas, wild horses, wild donkeys, water buffalo, alpacas, cows, sheep, goats, dingoes, sharks and fish, crabs, cane toads, frogs, rabbits, dolphins, whales, foxes, possums, sea lions, termites, and 1000 different birds.

We have camped in many fantastic places that didn’t cost us a cent, we lit fires, toasted marshmallows and star gazed. Most days we didn’t know where we would end up for the night, that was half the fun. If we didn’t like an area we just picked up and moved. We have had bumps and bruises but thankfully nothing serious. We thank our lucky stars we hardly used the medical kit or the tool box. We have had days of 40 degree weather and days of below freezing. We have had fun in the sun, swimming, surfing, snorkeling and beach combing but most of all we just enjoyed being together as a family.

We have seen the desert, the rain forests, the stunning coastline and beaches, the farms, the sacred Aboriginal lands, historic sites, archaeological digs, natural wonders, drought affected areas, flood affected areas, the whitest beach in the world, big cities and small country towns.

We have been on a croc jumping tour, a Kakadu boat cruise, a camel ride on the beach, underground caves tour, cane toad hunting, museums and galleries, adventure parks, an underground mine, markets, mazes and nearly every zoo in the country.

We have been told by a hundred different people how brave we are to travel with 3 kids and a caravan but honestly its been fantastic. We are incredibly proud of our kids, they have handled it very well and have grown so much. Most importantly they take care of each other more than ever before and that’s a fantastic thing for two parents to watch.

Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible for us. Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to let us stay with them. We had a fantastic time with you all. Also thanks to my wonderful husband who drove almost the whole way.

It’s been a life changing experience and we would encourage anyone to do what we have. Especially with kids, they have learnt so much more in these 5 months that they would have at school. Don’t keep waiting for the right time, just get out there and explore this beautiful country.

Our email addresses are and if anyone needs any tips and advice for a future trip.

Thanks for following us along the way…..

The Survey:

Favourite town….Broome
Favourite city...Darwin
Favourite state...W.A
Favourite beach….Lucky Bay, Esperance
Best National Park….Cape Range, Ningaloo Reef
Best Caravan Park….Mataranka Springs, N.T
Favoutite markets….Mindil Beach, Darwin
Favourite tour….Yellow Water Cruise, Kakadu
Best day….Kayaking with dolphins, Ningaloo Reef
Worst day….Breaking down just out of Tennant Creek, N.T
I never thought I would….swim with sharks
I wish I had seen...whale sharks and manta rays off Exmouth
Favourite meal on the trip.....Chilli Crocodile at Stokes Hill Wharf, N.T
Hardest part about caravanning....sometimes being confined to the caravan
One place on the trip you could live forever...Margaret River
What I missed the most....the northern beaches

Favourite town….Margaret River
Favourite city...Perth
Favourite state...W.A
Favourite beach….Lucky Bay, Esperance
Best National Park….Cape Le Grand, Esperance
Best Caravan Park... Kakadu Aurora Resort
Favourite markets...Mindil Beach, Darwin
Favourite tour...Camel ride on Cable Beach
Best day...Kayaking with dolphins on Ningaloo Reef
Worst day...the car breaking down near Tennant Creek
I never thought I so many 2 minute noodles!
I wish I had seen....Uluru and Wombeyan Caves
Favourite meal on the trip...Our 10 year wedding anniversary dinner in Melb
Hardest part about caravanning....the constant packing away then setting up
One place on the trip you could live forever...Margaret River
What I missed the mum, our dog Lola, my oven

Favourite town….Broome
Favourite city....Perth
Favourite state...W.A
Favourite beach….Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo Reef
Best National Park….Kakadu
Best Caravan Park….Big 4 Darwin
Favoutite markets….Parap, Darwin
Favourite tour….Croc jumping
Best day….Questacon, Canberra
Worst day….when I was in trouble and wasnt allowed to go to Katherine Hot Springs
I never thought I would….swim with sharks and turtles and feed dolphins
I wish I had seen...Uluru
Favourite meal on the trip.....nachos cooked by mum
Hardest part about caravanning....the flies
One place on the trip you could live forever...Canberra
What I missed the friends, Lola our dog and Tei Tar

Favourite town….Broome
Favourite city...Perth
Favourite state...W.A
Favourite beach….Cable Beach, Broome
Best National Park….Cape Range, Ningaloo Reef
Best Caravan Park….Mataranka, N.T
Favourite markets….Mindil, Darwin
Favourite tour….Caves around Margaret River with daddy
Best day….Questacon, Canberra
Worst day….No such thing!
I never thought I would….visit Parliament House
I wish I had seen...Tasmania
Favourite meal on the trip.....Fish n chips with nan and pop in Darwin
Hardest part about caravanning....being cold at night
One place on the trip you could live forever...Broome
What I missed the most....My school friends


Monday, December 13, 2010

Night 144 - Canberra

We cant believe this is our last day before we head home....better make it a good one then!

Kai (the science whiz) wants to go to Questacon, he has been talking about it forever so he cant wait! Its the 'National Science and Technology Centre' in the centre of Canberra and $60 for the family to go. We were there for hours so we thought it was worth every cent.

The whole centre is science based but its so much fun. We watched shows, we went into interactive areas and played games all day long. The best part for the kids was the free fall slide. You hang on to the top bar and then let go and free fall for about 3m. Craig up first to show the boys how its done!

Kai up next, I must admit he let out a little yelp as he let go...

Bailey up next. He got to the top, held on tight then backed away saying he was to scared. We then went on the roller coaster simulator and he then decided he was brave enough to try again. He did it and then again and again and again...

We walked around for hours, we watched tornado's form...

We watched lightening strike..

We learnt about Liquid Nitrogen, transport, water, magnetism, electricity, weather and much more.

It was a complete brain overload and I was exhausted from the few hours there. I needed a panadol and a glass of champagne to help with my headache!

We decided to check out Parliament House after Questacon. By the time we got there Ellie was asleep and the boys were almost comatose so we just drove past it and took some photos....

Next stop was the Australian War Memorial, it was very moving. Craigs great uncle William Alexander Graham died in England in 1945. We found his name on the wall of honour. they have a huge exhibition which is really worth having a look at. We didnt get to explore it properly but its somewhere we would love to come back to.

We arrived back at our caravan site at 5pm, just in time for a quick dinner then it was down to the trots to have a look. I got out my heels and hat and we took our seats in the grandstand! Craig put a bet on and won

Our final night ended with sparklers and glow sticks (exactly as our first night on the trip had begun). It seems so long ago!

We have had a great time in Canberra, its a very well planned city and its easy to navigate around. We only touched the surface so we will come back for a weekend another time.

So its back to Sydney tomorrow and one final blog entry. Stay tuned....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Night 143 - Canberra

After a morning hanging out in Jindy checking out the skate park, visiting the shops and meeting some locals we left at lunchtime.

The kids slept all the way to Canberra, all that rumbling, playing, chasing and skating wore them out!

We drove through Queanbeyan to check out the flood damage as a few days ago the town was closed due to the massive floods. The main street had re-opened and we could see how hight the river had become. Pretty scary stuff.

We drove through the city of Canberra and had a quick look around. Tomorrow we have all day to check out the city and see some sights.

We are staying at the Exhibition Park In Canberra (EPIC). Its a huge campground right next to the racecourse and only $25 per night. Perfect weather too which is a bonus!

Night 142 - Jindabyne

WOW what a cold night, it must have been zero degrees. This morning we all could not get out of bed, it was freezing! Craig woke up early to go fishing and he caught a trout, very happy with himself indeed. Despite the temperature it was a great are some pics....

The car was back to normal this morning and we made it to Jindy at about 10am. Kids very excited to see their cousin, they bounced off the walls for a good hour!

Little blondies...

My cousin Kerry went off to work and the boys went fishing so Ellie and I relaxed and enjoyed the view of the lake from the house.

Jindy is just as beautiful in summer as it is in the winter. Its a lot quieter in summer but there are still heaps of people in town staying at the resorts as there are plenty of summer activities going on in the mountains. We have been here many times, we just love it. Its so relaxing being here.

We enjoyed a few drinks, yummy food and lots of laughs.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Night 141- 3 Mile Dam, Snowy Mountains

Another early start to the day as we knew we had a long drive ahead of us and we had to get out of this 'trailer-park' in Melbourne because of the diverse range of inhabitants....wink wink!!

Our plan was to drive to Jindabyne in the one go.........well, that was the plan.

First we hit peak hour, then just out of Melbourne was a locust plague (which didn`t slow us down just entertained us) and then (forget being a farmer!) we saw the flooding first hand. Every river, creek, slight trickle were absolutely flowing and watching the different fields of crops partly under water was pretty sad.

Everything was going to plan and on schedule until we decided to go a short cut, up and over the Snowy Mountains to Jindy via Tumbarumba and Mt Selwyn. The other way was through Tumut and Khancoban which we worked out was longer and would have got us to Kerry`s (Lisa`s cousin) later. Well, it may have been shorter but it was steep!! The poor old Jackaroo struggled up the mountain and we had to stop quite a few times to let the autotrans cool down.

It was getting towards 8pm and we weren`t even to the top of the mountain so we decided to stay at a camping spot right on top of the snowies at a place called "3Mile Dam". It was a great spot right next to the highest town in Oz "Cabramurra" (spelt wrong for sure!). The lake was really picturesque with heaps of Kanga`s and birds.

There was only 1 other tent there but it was bloody cold. Will have to rug up for the night.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Night 140 - Melbourne

Today is our 10 year wedding anniversary and we had an amazing day.

We started off down at St Kilda exploring the beach and pier. We had a coffee and ice cream out at the end of the pier in the sunshine. I love St Kilda, if I was going to live in Melbourne this is where I would want to live. Its got a great vibe.

We then drove into the city and went to Queen Victoria Markets. There is so much to see and do. I guess its a lot like Paddy's in Sydney, lots of fresh fruit and veg, touristy souvenirs, cheap clothes and toys and great food and coffee! We spent hours here just looking around at all the different stalls. The markets also have a hall which is devoted to fruit and veg, seafood, cheese, bread and organic food. Ahhhh....heaven for us all!

We met up with my cousin Charlotte who I never get to see, so lovely catching up with her.

We then ended the day with dinner on Lygon Street. Lygon Street is the best place around to get a great italian meal, which is exactly what we wanted. Pizza and pasta all round....and my favourite champagne....Blue Pyrenees.

Night 139 - Melbourne

On the drive up to Melbourne this morning the weather looked great, we thought we were in for a great sunny day. There did look to be some rain but not enough to stop us going to the zoo.

We arrived at Coles to buy some rolls and stuff for lunch and the checkout lady told me there was a massive storm coming our way. I told her no it looked ok and we were off to the zoo. She told me good luck!

I got back in the car and within minutes it was raining, not just rain but torrential rain. We couldnt see in 10 metres in front of us. Zoo plans cancelled!

So we drove to our caravan park and tried as best we could to set up in the rain. We were soaking wet and only half set up. We had some lunch and then decided to drive back into the city to take the kids to have a look at the Myer Christmas displays.

I can say one thing, we sure dont know how to drive in Melbourne! We were actually quite stressed. There are the trams, turning right from the left lane, white arrows instead of green arrows, lanes that end without warning and then Craig drove straight through a red light! So stressful. I have to say though that its a really nicely set out city. Huge big open roads that help with the traffic flow (well compared to Sydney anyway!), a beautiful river and distinct areas with different attractions.

We finally make it to Myer and the windows are amazing, so glad we took the kids here as they just loved it.

We then went inside to see Santa. He was the loveliest Santa you could ever meet. He spent ages talking to the kids and asking them questions. Ellie was pretty petrified as she was last year and wouldn't go near him. This was the best photo we got:

I really wanted to do some christmas shopping but it was all a bit overwhelming. Far too many people and not enough space!! We finally found our car after we realised we were heading in the wrong direction. Not quite sure how we did that but apparently it was my fault!

We got back to our caravan park a bit late so we had pizza's for dinner from a local pizza shop. The best pizzas we have had in years!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Night 138 - Barwon Heads

We promised the boys yesterday that if the weather was ok we would take them to Adventure Land.....a new water fun park in Geelong. It wasnt cold but it was overcast and rain was on the way. They begged, pleaded and turned on the tears so we relented! Ok we thought, there wasnt much else to do so away we went.

The kids, with their huge smiles and charged up energy, couldnt get there quick enough! I have to say the day was awesome, I spent most of it looking after Ellie who was way too cold to go in. Lucky we didnt have to pay for her! The boys didnt stop all day. They went on water slides, tube rides, played at the water playground, paddle boats, and even had a go at archery. Ellie was just happy to go on the carousel!

The park was packed full of school kids probably on their end of year excursions but by 2pm they were all gone and we had the whole park to ourselves which was great. It did rain lightly on and off, I dont think the boys even noticed.

Some pics from the day...

After the water park I went for a long overdue hair cut while Craig and the kids slept in the car!!! The weather looked like it was going to turn really nasty so we put in the awning and made sure everything was secure for the night. It was an exhausting day so we had an early night.