How we prep for a travel day

If you’ve read my previous blog Travelling toddlers – what have we done!! you will understand how hectic travel days can be and how important it is to be prepared.

We are heading off to Archers Point in FNQ for a few days so I’m getting the boys organised. To do that I’m packing their toys and lunch/snacks for the car. The boys love their personalised lunch box and backpack from HippoBlue. Having them personalised makes them feel special and helps with getting them to eat their lunch.

We are lucky enough to have kids that don’t stop eating all day so we are used to making sure we have food handy at all times. I generally have in the car or my hand bag 6 packets of sultanas, a packet of rice cakes, 2 cut up apples and thats just get get us 10 mins down the road. On travel days I add a couple of sandwiches and some extra fruit and hope that gets us through till lunch time.

Once I’ve packed the “morning snack” its generally my job to organise the back seat. Apparently Nicho’s OCD can’t handle the kids mess, personally I think its just a poor excuse to get out of it! I neatly arrange enough toys and books in arms reach to keep them occupied for a good fews hours and it literally takes 20 secs for them to throw everything around the car and start asking for me to pick them up again, so on goes the wiggles and the fun begins!

Our kids are really into activity books and puzzles at the moment so I am super excited that HippoBlue do them and card games. As soon as I finished this post I will be putting in an order!! How life changes when you become a Mum.img_3860

When it comes to packing up on the day its taken us a bit of trial and error to get it right and to be honest I’m still not sure if we have it “right” but heres what we have learnt so far.

  • If you are using a new trailer/van allow a couple of hours the first few times, we generally knocked off about 30mins each pack up.
  • Pack up what you can the night before when the kids are in bed.
  • If you have younger kids time car trips around their naps, we started off leaving around between 10 and 11 but then we would end up getting to our next stop too late. We then changed it so we left earlier then stopped for a coffee/smoothie let the kids run around and then they slept the rest of the way (that was the plan anyway). DSC02613.JPG

Hope these tips can help in some way even if it is just to have a laugh at as and our struggle, just like the people next to us did the first time we were setting up in the dark and then packed up our camp site in the rain on moving day.

Dont forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Darling Harbour Playground and Water Park

DSC02371Flash back to our day trip to Sydney. We were getting the suspension done on our car so decided to make the most of the day and catch the train into Sydney to do some exploring.

After some recommendations we went straight to Darling Harbour for a lovely lunch over the water. Then on for a walk when we stumbled across the Darling Harbour playground and water park where we spent the rest of the day. As you can see from the photo the kids had a ball and we struggled to get them away in time to pick up the car.

Sydney we were extremely impressed!! Such fantastic facilities and best of all it was FREE!!! Highly recommend you check it out.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Travelling toddlers – what have we done!! 

Is road tripping around Australia with a 1 and 2 year old as bad as it sounds????

The answer is yes!!

But it’s currently 4 degrees in Melbourne and trying to do anything with 2 toddlers is a nightmare so I know where I would rather be!!

If you have ever been in a car with a toddler (specially one of ours) you can understand why I would rather be tied to the roof than be in the front seat of the car on travel days.

If not picture this, wiggles playing on repeat, (I could just finish there as no body over the ages of 3 wants to listen to the wiggles at all let alone on repeat for 6 hours), breaking my back turning around every 5 seconds to either, break up a fight pick up a toy thats been thrown on the floor (for the 100th time), pass them food, pass them a drink, hold hands, calm one down from screaming for no reason then calm the other down just because they both can’t be happy at the same time and I’m sure you get the picture by now!

Theses are the days I honestly think “what have we done?”!!!! So we worked out we should just stay at places longer and travel shorter distances.

The days we don’t travel, well they are great! I mean we still have a million tantrums and  toddler melt downs but one I don’t have to do it alone and two I’m camping so I can just have a drink and no body is judging me.

Despite all of that, this has been the best experience for us all. The boys are learning and developing so much, Theodore who was diagnosed with a speech delay now doesn’t shut up just 6 weeks later, Vinnie is walking and talking and has gone from a baby to a cheeky toddler and although they might not remember much of this trip, the benefits outweigh all of the bad!!

 

Accomodation – how and where we camp!

Where you camp is going to depend on a couple of things. The big one is your budget and the other is your camping style.

We started off staying in big caravan parks thinking that would be great for the kids with the play grounds and jumping pillows ect. Although they did enjoy it they are a bit young to take full advantage of all the activities the big parks have to offer. Having grown up bush camping we soon realised that this style of camping wasn’t for us and hubby was getting sick of me going to bed at 7.30pm because I was freezing. So we set off to find somewhere we could have a camp fire!

With a bit of research we discovered there are many types of places to stay, from free camps in the bush and on the beach, National parks that have a small fee, recreation centres, showgrounds, farmstays, roadside stop overs and the list goes on. They all have different fees and different types of facilities available and I am sure if you ask anyone on the road they will say the best way to find these places is Wiki Camps. Wiki Camps is an app you pay around $8 for but is well worth it, it became our bible. It has a list of all the facilities, if theres swimming, fishing, if its 4WD track to get in ect it also list the prices, reviews and has photos, along with a rating all which has been updated by fellow campers. We found some great places we would have never know about if we didn’t have Wiki Camps.

I have complied a list of the places we have stay along the east coast so far with prices and a little review.

Eastern Beach Holiday Park, Lakes Entrance – $35 for a powered site. A great quiet park with good amenities.  If you have kids asked for a site in the circle, the playground and jumping pillow are in the middle and you can actually watch the kids from your site while you sit back and enjoy a wine! The sites are spacious and grassy and there is a walking track to the beach from the park too. This was our first stop and a great start to our trip.

Watching Vinnie from the luxury of our camper
NRMA Merimbula Beach Holiday Park – $37 for a powered site. This park was a lot bigger and a lot of the sites seemed to be on top of each other though because it was quiet it wasn’t too bad for us. Amenities were clean but very outdated. The kids had a blast in the water park and on the jumping pillow. The view and the walk down to the beach was fantastic! It was a nice place to stay and would be great for older kids as they have activities on everyday, unfortunately our kids are just a bit too young to get involved.

Exploring Short Point beach at Merimbula
Short Point beach
Termeil Point NSW – Free campsite. This was up there with one of our favourite spots. Firstly it was free and we all love a free camp! It has designated campsites each with its own fire pit and drop toilets which were pretty good considering. The best was the location, beach one side of you and lake the other. The only down side was the sites were all dirt which was only really an issue with a crawling baby. Highly recommend this site though you may need a 4WD to get there.

Going to check out the lake at sunset at Termeil Point
NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Park, Umina – $33 for a powered site. Going up the coast meant having to stay near Sydney. So we decided to make the most of it and get the suspension done on the car. Unfortunately this was the least favourite of our caravan parks stays. The park was huge which meant everything was spread out and not in the best layout. The sites are also small and very on top of each other.

Riding around the caravan park at Umina
Hat Head National Park – $20 pn for our family of 4. This has been voted our favourite spot to stay. I will write a separate blog on our stay here as there is so much to tell you. To summarise flat grassy sites, fire pits, drop toilets, great beach and the most amazing sand dunes I have ever seen. Along with lots of beautiful sites to see in nearby towns. Oh and I forgot to mention Theodore’s favourite part (apart from the beaches) the kangaroos and other wildlife that would visit every morning.

Hat Head NP sand dunes
Belongil Fields Caravan Park, Byron Bay – $120 for a budget cabin. We were very lucky to have been invited to a wedding that fit in with our travels. However the area had received a lot of rain and the place we wanted to stay was very muddy so we thought we would stay in a cabin, as it was still raining and would make it a lot easier to get ready for the wedding with the kids. Now my Mother always told me if I don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. So I will leave it there!

Coleyvile Lodge Farm stay, Coleyvile – $15 per night. This is were we discovered the joy of a farm stay. Michael the owner is amazing, he has a great set up with immaculate amenities, fire pits with firewood supplied and the kids got to feed the animals. They don’t have power but thats not an issue for us.

Teddy feeding the horses at Coleyville
Point Glorious Farm Stay, Eewah Vale  – $30 per night. This stay was unfortunately one of our least favourite stays and was overpriced for what we got. They do have amenities and a fire pit though we had to pay extra for firewood and the site wasn’t level at all. It does have lovely scenery.

The boys excited to be camping!
Boyne Valley Discovery Centre, Boyne Valley – $10 per night. Now this was the best value for money. They have great amenities, a full camp kitchen, fire pits with fire wood, water and for a $5 flat fee you can have power and $5 you can have access to their laundry. Its also a beautiful flat grassy site with morning wildlife visits. Along with lots to see in the area too.m

The beautiful campsite at Boyne Valley
Riverside RV Camping, Ilbilbie – $10 per night. This is another farm stay which we just did a quick one night stop over at. The owner is lovely and the sites are on a nice creek that we enjoyed a swim in. Doesn’t have any facilities but again that’s not an issue for us. Would love to go back and spend some more time there.

The crystal clear creek at Riverside
Burkedin Cane Farm, Airville – $10 per night or $12.50 with power. Now I know I said Hat Head was our favourite but this was pretty much on par and really it’s hard to compare because they are so different. This farm has the loveliest host Greg, who is a weath of knowledge and so genorious with his time and fresh produce. Greg offers tours of his farm and even takes guest to a sugar cane burning. He also has a fire pit with fire wood and BBQ plates. The local area is full of history and things to do and see. I have so many nice things to say about this and our other farm stays I will have to write a blog just on them otherwise this would go on for ever!

Our morning view at Burkedin cane farm
So that summarises where we’ve stayed so far on our 6 weeks on the road. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to keep up to date on where we will be next!! Xx

Planning the winter escape!

Before I start making you all jealous with our glorious travelling adventures, I thought I would back track to before we left and talk about what we did to prepare and save for our trip.

Travelling Australia is something we both always dreamed of doing. We had planned on doing it in a year or two before the kids started school. Though after going insane (literally! I’m now medicated) suck at home with a newborn and a one year in what was the coldest Melbourne winter I have ever encountered. I thought why wait and did what excites me most and started a budget spreadsheet!!!!

I needed to work out the following figures,

  • What our house was worth as a rental. So I got on the phone and spoke to a few agents.
  • What our mortgage would be each month if it was on interest only for 12months.
  • What our bills would be monthly while we were away. Things like car reg, insurances (car, house, medical), rates, phones ect.

From there I was able to work out that our rental income would be enough to cover our bills and mortgage.

So next step was to calculate a weekly budget for while we where on the road. I started following Facebook groups, theres lots of camping and caravanning pages and a lot of people just like us who are more than willing to help others with tips and info. Just about everyone you speak to says to budget on $1000 a week. It sounds a lot but you need to take into account food, fuel, accom, drinks (which you need a lot of when travelling with kids!!) and activities. Obviously it also depends on the size of your family and how you camp (free camps or caravan parks, I’ll do another blog on this later) but we have been spending around $1000 on average and we have done a mix of free or cheap camps and caravan parks and have eaten out occasionally. Oh and the coffee, we pretty much find somewhere for a coffee and a smoothie for the kids everyday which adds up too!

Once I had all the figures it was time to look at the bank account and see how long we could travel for with what we had and what we could save in the next six months. We looked at a few scenarios and came up with the plan to take 6 weeks travelling up the coast from Melbourne to Wonga Beach where my Dad lives. Base ourselves there while Nicho works so we can keep exploring FNQ and then travel home at the start of next year. Though we now have the taste of it so we are hoping to continue on while working.

From there we set a date and got saving and packing! The hardest part and the part I was dreading the most was packing up our house and working out what to take (specially for the kids). Note: if you have young kids at home make sure you both finish up work a couple of weeks before you go, I would still be home packing if I was doing it on my own and I would have no hair left. We were lucky enough to be able to store some of our belongings at a family members which saved money.

Hopefully this can help or inspire anyone out there wanting to travel Australia but just not sure where to start with the planning.

Let me know if I can help with any questions you may have and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook

 

 

 

And we’re off….

Call us crazy but we have packed up our house and taken off on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see as much of this country as possible with a 1 year and a 2 year old!

Its challenging at times, but rewarding in so many ways. So I’m hoping I can help others wanting to do the same, with tips and lessons learnt by us to make it easier for them!

Fristly let me introduce ourselves. I’m Courtney (Mum), Hubby is Nicho (aka Dad) amd our 2 boys are Theodore (Teddy) and Vincent (Vinnie). We are from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and we are currently travelling up the east coast of Australia to FNQ to visit my Dad in Wonga. Where we will be able to explore around the top of our wonderful country. We hope to be able to pick up some work and keep going but we will just have to keep you updated with how that plans out….

Well that’s it for my very first blog but don’t stress I have plenty more to come. Even though we have only been on the road 4 weeks, we have learnt so much already, a lot that would have been helpful to know before we started out! Also if there’s anything you would like to know about our trip feel free to contact me and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/salvosontheroad