Ulladulla + Shellharbour

On Sunday the 11th of February we packed up camp and headed back along King’s Highway- enroute to Ulladulla. All was going well until we were about 20km’s from Bateman’s Bay. After driving for about 20 minutes down a mountain that was just a sheer drop, we pulled into a slip lane to let some cars past. All of a sudden we heard horns honking and had people out the window yelling at us to pull over! We had no idea what was going on, and although not the ideal place to stop Koel quickly pulled up and we got out to have a look. The brakes were nearly on fire, there was smoke billowing everywhere and the smell was just disgusting! Of course we were both panicking however Koel hid it better then me. We jumped back in the car because we were sitting ducks pulled up in the slow lane, I was just praying a truck didn’t come round the corner! The only choice we had was to keep driving until we found somewhere to pull over off the road. Thank goodness about five hundred metres down the road we found a rest point. Worst 5 minutes of my life my heart had actually stopped! After we pulled up we just sat and waited for the brakes to cool, Koel threw some water on them and it was then we realised actually how hot they were. About 5 minutes after we pulled in another couple stopped aswell with the same issue. The guy and Koel both looked at each other and said “this is f$#%@d!”

After about 40 minutes we were ready to hit the road again, I felt physically sick because we still had about 10km’s of mountain to go down! We finally made it back to Bateman’s Bay and stopped at a servo for a much needed breather. We made the executive decision to stick with the original plan and drive to Ulladulla. We arrived at the caravan park and were over the moon to see a splash park, table tennis table and jumping pillow, which was directly opposite our campsite 😀 there was also heaps of wild life with the parakeets letting us feed them and a possum that was bit to friendly!

There was even a private beach with thousands of shells just a short walk away, and a bath in the bathroom!! After seeing all the activities we decided to stay 4 nights which turned out to be a good decision.

On Monday we went to a tyre place and it was decided we needed new brake pads, so we booked the bus in for the following day. We did a quick trip to Bunnings to buy some rope to make the girls some shell necklaces and restock on more citronella candles which seem to be the only thing keeping the mozzies at bay. The rest of the afternoon was spent at the beach. Koel and I decided we both felt like fish and chips for tea, but anyone who know’s me knows I only eat battered flake which you can’t buy anywhere apparently!! Koel settled for blue grenadier and by this time it was 8:15pm and I was determined not to cook tea, so went for subway #regrets.


Tuesday was also a lazy day spent waiting for the bus. Koel said he will be happy to never walk the streets of Ulladulla again after walking two and from the tyre place 100 times. He ended up coming back to the caravan park at lunchtime and took Lila-Rae on an adventure while Frankie and I stayed at the caravan watching Zootopia. When that finished and there was still no sign of Koel and Lila-Rae we decided to go find them. Happy days for Lila-Rae as she finally found the red dress she had desperately wanted in Canberra, thanks Best & Less!



The bus was finally finished at 4:50pm so we picked it up and spent the rest of the day at the caravan park, determined to make Wednesday our exploring day!

We woke up and headed for Sussex Inlet, the home of Stix and Wombat from The Block! Another place we just thought “how could anyone live here?” it was just breathtaking. By 11am it was 32 degrees so we headed down to the local beach for a look, and while there got to watch a pod of dolphins swim past! What an amazing experience!


On the way back up the track Lila-Rae found a lizard that she had to get a photo with, much to my disgust.


Next stop was Cudmirrah beach which of course was just was beautiful. The girls had a quick swing and Koel fixed the squeak on one of them, good deed done for the day.


The girls have become intrigued by signs and try and guess what is allowed and not allowed at the beaches. My favourite is the No “Glittering” rule haha!

We finally made it back to the caravan park and decided to head down to the saltwater pool for a swim. In the end bad decision, after having to walk down the hill the girls were hot and bothered. And I didn’t realise how bad their mosquito bites would react with the salt water, so the whole swim ended in tears with Koel having to walk back by himself and get the bus so that we could go to the chemist after Lila-Rae’s started weeping puss, yuck! I won’t post that photo.


After letting the girls have a nap we decided to head to the local bowls club for $10 snitzel night. We hadn’t booked and as we walked in realised it was valentines day! How romantic we are haha! Luckily they had a table for us and we had the best meal of the trip, Koel left in a food coma!

Koel also discovered a pie shop called Hayden’s pies that he frequented regularly while we were in Ulladulla!


Thursday we woke and drove along the coast toward Wollongong. Halfway into our trip I saw a sign for Jervis Bay and asked Koel if we could go have a look. Turns out it was about a 40 minute detour and $11 entry into the national park but so worth it, we visited one of the beaches with the whitest sand in the world. Unfortunately it wasn’t a very nice day and the girls health and temper didn’t allow us to visit all of the attractions. Because we had the caravan on we also weren’t allowed access to a lot of the national park. I would love to one day go back to Jervis Bay to stay for a few day and explore the whole lot!

We drove from Jervis Bay to Kiama where we planned to stop for the night. Driving down into Kiama was a nightmare with the small streets and cars parked either side. We arrived at a caravan park that only had a vacancy for 1 night at $50, everything else was also booked out for the weekend! Turns out they were having a super 7’s tournament over the weekend attracting over 700 people- just our luck! We still haven’t learned to book ahead for weekends, just so fun winging it!

I was getting so frustrated trying to find accommodation with limited internet, give Koel directions and umpire the countless arguments happening in the back. I finally got hold of a caravan park in Shellharbour who said they had 2 nights available so I booked it without really looking into it. $110 later for 2 nights in a park without a camp kitchen, playground or pool! I was nearly crying after check in, it had just been an all round bad day. Luckily Koel was nothing but positive and didn’t make me feel like an absolute failure haha!

We set up the caravan, not even bothering with the awning and decided to go for a drive to the Seacliff Bridge. The girls fell asleep about 5 minutes in so we had a quiet trip! The sea cliff bridge was absolutely amazing and the little towns on the way like Wombarra, Austinmer, Clifton and Stanwell Park just absolutely blew our minds! Neither of us can comprehend the incredible houses and views! What a lifestyle, only 80km’s from Sydney!

Koel and I picked up our jaws and started driving back with a quick detour to Woolworths. We got back to the park and cooked tea, and then a lovely lady who was a permanent resident came and told us they had been having all of trouble with theft! Great! So we packed up the bus with our chairs, bbq, gas bottles etc and locked it up for the night. What an experience.

Friday we were up and about early and decided to drive to Bowral. It was an experience just driving there! I have never been on such a treacherous road, no guard rails, trucks, buses, no lines, it was just next level! It was on this drive that we heard on the radio a man had been bitten by a shark on Kiama beach the night before and the beach was now closed! The man suffered leg injuries but is expected to full recover according to google. Lucky we didn’t stay at that caravan park!

Of course our first stop was the cricket museum to read all about Donald Bradman. There was SO much information it was just great, a must visit! I really enjoyed the 5 minute documentary on the evolution of World Series cricket. Kerry Packer, what a determined man! For the first year to pretty much fail even after the obstacles he had already overcome, it was so interesting. I wasn’t aware of any of that kind of history so really enjoyed it.

We left the cricket museum and found a lookout to eat our cut lunch at and then started the journey back down the mountain! We did call into the Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures but decided not to spend the money as it was a really foggy day so probably wouldn’t have been able to see much!

Our next stop was a massive Salvo’s just down the road from our caravan park, we spent a whole hour scanning the racks for a bargain and left with a skirt for Frankie!

We headed back to the caravan park where the girls had made friends with a kookaburra and cockatoo statues so they spent the afternoon feeding them leaves.

Our next stop is Fairy Meadow- on the other side of Wollongong, before 2 nights in the Blue Mountains and 2 nights in Sydney with friends. I will blog about this soon!


After adding the photos to this blog (which I always do last) I have realised the girls have pretty much worn the same thing for 4 days. Don’t worry the dresses were washed regularly and they do have other clothes!



Canberra Adventures!

Thursday the 8th of Feb we woke early in Batemans Bay packed up the Bus and Van and hit the road for the 150kms that lay ahead of us on our way to our nations capital Canberra. The Kings Highway from Batemans Bay to Canberra was a bit of a challenging drive with the first 30 kms pretty steep and winding climbing up the mountain ranges, towing a van even though only a small one wasn’t ideal and we had a bit of a drama on the way back down a few days later but I will let belle fill you all in on that in the next blog. Once over the mountain range it was pretty smooth sailing the rest of the drive once the landscape flattened out with a few nice little townships we drove threw on the way, one was called Braidwood the name is cemented in my mind because of living with Braiden and Woody in Hill Street, Smithton a few years back. I could write a pretty entertaining blog about those days but our parents would disown us I reckon!

It was a beautiful little town with the majority of its buildings along the main drag exactly the same as they would have been in the late 1800s early 1900s. We stopped here for a coffee and sausage roll on the way back threw to Ulladulla in a few days time. We hit Canberra in pretty good time arriving abit after midday. I checked the forecast a few days before we left and it was going to be low 30s the whole time we were here so we made sure our caravan park had a pool, it was called Alvio Tourist Park. Worst thing was they failed to mention the pool was out of action at check in we didn’t find out until later in the afternoon when we got back from doing some exploring! Lucky it was back in action the following day because the temperatures kept rising every day we were there.

The girls have been a bit obsessed with the kids movie Land Before Time lately so our first stop was the National Dinosaur Museum. The girls were in heaven when we pulled into the carpark and saw all the dinosaur statues out the front of the building.

Inside was pretty cool with a lot of information, full dinosaur skeletons, fossils, and animatronic dinosaurs aswell. The girls were a little bit hesitant with a few of these but we could talk them around to walk past most of them until we got to the T-Rex! That was the end of the line for poor old Frankie and Lila-Rae so we headed back downstairs to the interactive classroom which had some comfy couches that Belle tested out because the girls wouldn’t let het help, while I helped the girls do a puzzle each. Frankie’s was easy of Sarah the triceratops but Lila-Raes Little Foot puzzle took some time and patience and a few under the breath F#%K Sakes from dad but after about half hour we got there. Belle got bored waiting so went for a walk in the gift shop and found some Amethyst Gemstones. The big ones were priced at $60,000!

After a woolies trip we headed back to the caravan park for a swim but this was when we found out it was closed they assured us it would be open the next morning it was a bit disappointing because it was pretty hot. First world problems. We picked up our bottom lips and went for another drive, we did a drive bye of the War Memorial and Parliament House which we we were planning on visiting over the next few days, we drove through about twenty round abouts the Nations capital just loves its roundabouts. Then headed for Telstra Tower which sits atop of Black Mountain and over looks the entire city with 360 degree views made me laugh though we were up in the viewing platform of Telstra Tower and I checked my phone and it only had about two bars. The view made up for it though it was pretty speccy. Definant must do if your in Canberra.When paying to get in I said to the worker the girls were only 3 it was going to cost another $20 them being four as soon as I said the girls were only 3 both the girls started saying at the top of there lungs are we still 4 mum! I don’t want to be 3 again! Is our birthday tomorrow? Belle was in stitches by the time we got into the elevator.

Belle and the girls posted Kevin a postcard from Canberra’s highest post box!

Friday morning we woke early had breakfast and headed for the War Memorial, we arrived about 5 mins before the gates actually opened which worked out well because there wasn’t to many people around at this stage. I’d been looking forward to coming back here ever since we planned our trip and decided to visit Canberra it is absolutely brilliant I just can’t put into words how good it actually is. I’d been here about 15 years ago on our Smithton High Grade ten school trip it was probably about the only place on that whole trip I actually took in and appreciated it for what it is.

From an early age I’ve always had a pretty keen interest in our war history and I think watching my older sister Tatum go into the defence force halfway through High School heightened that interest to the point I always planned on joining the army after school but such is life your life takes a different path sometimes. I reckon since I visited on that school trip it has tripled in size it is unbelievable the amount of information they have in there to see it all you would need a good two or three full days there to take it all in. I’m not even exaggerating. It really hits home when you walk in and see all the names along the walls with poppies along side and the names that have only recently been added from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Going with the girls being the age they are was hard to take it all in especially for Belle but at the same time it was amazing to hear the questions they were asking their little minds working over a time and I can’t wait to bring them back one day when they are at a good age to experience this place and appreciate what people sacrificed for us to live the way we do today. I think every Australian needs to experience the War Memorial at least once in their life. The girls got a little put off with a few of the sound effects that were playing in some of the exhibitions but we were told as we entered the building about children story time outside the second world war section so Belle took the girls while I kept looking around time just gets away in this place, 2 hours passed Belle had msg me they had gone to the cafe for a milkshake and ended up sitting in the shade outside while they waited for me. 2 hours and I hadn’t even scratched the surface. I owe Belle big time because we decided that I would drop her off for a few hours by herself the next morning but somehow I ended up back again for another two hours the next morning and I can’t thank her enough. I think we will do a trip kid free oneday soon. Two of the exhibits that stuck out the most of the ones I got to really spend some time at were the Kokoda exhibit that blew my mind what they were up against and its really got me keen to do the Kokoda trail one day maybe Dad and Tatum might like to join me. And the other was the exhibit about the prisoners of the second world war in Sandakan North Borneo. Of the 2500 Australian and British prisoners only 6 survived, they had video clips of one of the survivors in his later years telling his stories. I’m not ashamed to admit I had a few tears it really smacked you in face and put things into perspective. The thing that stuck out the most was him talking about the British soldiers telling them your a different breed you Aussies you just stick together and that was the key word Mateship thats what kept him going in his darkest days. It was brilliant I just can’t praise this place up enough and if you’ve never been get off your arse and get there. Walking out of the memorial and through the gift shop I found a book about the Prisoners in Sandakan and I can’t wait to start reading it and I also bought myself a bronze statue simply titled Mateship and I just had to have it it wasn’t cheap but it will be a forever reminder for me and my family to never forget the sacrifice they made for us to live in this beautiful country of ours.

Lest We Forget

We headed to Questacon next which of course occupied the girls bit longer then the War Memorial. After 2 hours we had to physically drag them out of the place because our parking ticket was about to expire. Questacon was awesome full of hands-on science exhibits awesome for both kids and adults another must do for families if you’re ever in Canberra.

We headed back to the caravan park to finish the day off with a well deserved swim in the pool that was finally open, good thing the temperature was still hovering in the low 30s late that arvo.

Saturday we rose for breakfast, Belle dropped me off at the War Memorial for another couple of hours while her and the girls headed to a shopping centre hoping for a cruisy couple of hours in the shops. I learnt when she picked me up that it was the complete opposite after they couldn’t find a red dress in the whole complex, and then she made it halfway back to the car with 2 screaming kids but had forgotten to pay for parking. We’ve said it a few times in our blogs as good as this trip has been travelling with two 4 year olds defiantly has its moments and I owe Belle a couple of hours or whole day kid free and some point. She forever questions herself but she does an absolutely amazing job with the girls and I can’t thank her enough.

Parliament House was our next stop we missed the free guided tour by about 10 minutes due to the girls shenanigans with Belle at the shopping centre but we weren’t to fussed its an amazing building the workmanship and materials and sheer size is something else. The portraits of former Prime Ministers are amazing Belle was disappointed we couldn’t find Kevin or Tony. Nearly the highlight of the trip so far came when we were in the viewing area of the house of representatives, I was showing Belle and the girls about the area I fell asleep in my chair on the guided tour on my school trip there were a heap of Chinese tourists sitting just over from us and Lila-Rae was asking us a question when she let go this massive fart that went for a good 4 seconds! The Chinese tourists got out of there in 3 seconds flat I thought Belle was going to wet herself she was laughing that hard I said to Lila-Rae I reckon thats the most sensible thing ever said in this room! Man it was gold!!

Belle had been in touch with Ebony Grey a few days prior to us arriving in Canberra and Ebony offered to give us a guided tour of the inner sanctum of Parliament House. Ebony being a security guard there could pull a few strings it was awesome and we can’t thank her enough for doing it she was full of information and to see that side of parliament house made it that bit more exciting than what you would expect visiting it! The sheer size of the place was even more amazing seeing the lengths of corridors in and underneath in the basement area as well the amount of artwork around the place has to be seen to believed and Ebony said there is a whole department simply allocated for artwork around the place, we even got to walk past Malcolms office we weren’t allowed inside obviously but we were both tempted to slip a few notes under his door for some suggestions mainly the price of daycare for your average middle income worker. It was great to catch up with Ebony and to see her side of her everyday worklife and like I said we can’t thank her enough for the guided tour. Belle is still angry we didn’t get a photo all together for the blog!

We left parliament house back to the caravan park for another swim and early night ready to pack up the van for our next stop Ulladulla. Canberra was a great experience I highly recommend it and look forward to another trip back oneday kid free or when the girls are at a better age to fully appreciate visiting the War Memorial. I will say it again if you’ve never been get of your arse and get there it won’t disappoint!

Stay tuned for our adventures in Ulladulla!



Approx 1250km away from Marrawah and still hearing “Yeah, I know Staff!”

On Saturday we packed up our site, said goodbye to our best friends (NOT) next door and headed the 50km’s to our next destination, Tathra. Because it was only a 45minute drive, we arrived at around 11am and thought we may be pushing it to get into the caravan park that early. Not to worry, a quick trip to the beach and a sample of the local bakery’s cheese and bacon pie by Koel killed an hour so we headed down the road to our park.


There was abit of a mix up. Koel has been using wikicamps to book all accommodation and saw a review about the park with kids waterslides, jumping pillow and massive playground. Turns out the person had reviewed the wrong park, we were instead staying at the Big4 directly opposite. And of course the jumping pillows and waterslide were on full display from the road. We spent majority of the day avoiding questions about when we could go to the waterslide! Thankfully our park did have a pool and small playground, and was only across the road from the beach. It also had the most beautiful camp kitchen/games room we have seen so far. When the girls walked in they asked me where the beds were, they thought it was a hotel room haha! They loved kicking back on the couch watching their shows. Koel and I had a quick game of table tennis while they were occupied and we had some epic matches over the three days. I came out winner twice out of about 30 games. Even blew a ten point lead at one stage!

After setting up we went for a bit of an explore, finding a thong pole and of course the local footy ground! We decided to go for a drive into Bega, about 10 minutes from Tathra. Bega is my Mum’s hometown and I have never been before so was pretty excited. Even more so when I saw a Big W sign(hadn’t been to a shop for who knows how long), we killed a good hour walking through, buying the girls a new pair of velcro shoes each because we were sick of buckling their current ones, and letting the girls “look” at the toys. Man do they have a long list of things they are apparently getting in Brisbane! But for two little girls who are so used to getting a “surprise” everywhere they go, they have adjusted so well to caravan life/not buying every toy you want!

We both were just shocked at how green the farming land was in Bega, especially after being through Adelaide and Victoria which is pretty much brown. The locals said that they were starting to worry in November, but have had really steady rain since then. It was just beautiful with the rolling hills of green grass!

On the way back to the caravan park we stopped at the footy ground for a kick. It was absolutely covered in Kangaroo poo so princess Frankie went and sat on the stands cheering for Lila-Rae while she practised her kicking. At one stage it started raining so we ran under cover and read the honour boards through the window. In 2014 some guy kicked 158 goals for the Tathra Sea Eagles! The rain soon cleared and Lila-Rae was back to kicking goals and marking. After about 5 minutes she seemed to loose focus on what she was doing and kept missing the ball. She completely lost it shouting ” I’M JUST NOT GOOD AT THIS!” grabbed the ball and ran across the field, throwing it next to the fence and sulking back. Talk about taking your bat and ball and going home, I think she takes after her uncle Staff haha.

The caravan park had a massive notice board with events around Tathra and the nearby towns, one of them being the Candelo Sunday market. We decided to head there, best decision ever! The market was huge with all kinds of stalls, we could have walked through all day but it finished at 12! As we were heading down the main bit I saw a guy selling kelp and noticed he had some Marrawah Gold. I told him my Dad was Stafford Heres, and he just cracked up laughing saying “What the hell are you doing here”. He introduced us to his wife and told us about how he had stayed in Marrawah etc, Koel and I couldn’t believe it. Middle of nowhere and find someone who knows Dad!

The girls had a ball looking at all the jewellery and Nic-nacs. Candelo, Merrimbula and Pambula take in turns holding the market every Sunday but have a break on the fourth Sunday of the month. I can’t believe we didn’t take more photos but there was just so much to take in!

After the markets we zoomed back and had a quick lunch before heading to Merimbula to catch up with my Uncle Geoffrey (mum’s brother) and his wife Suzanne.  It was so nice to see them, they took us around the boardwalks at Merimbula which made us fall even more in love with the place!

We made it back in time to watch some of the big bash final, and I white lied to the girls and told them ABC kids isn’t on on Sundays anymore. What a horrible mother. With that being such a disappointment we were back at the van pretty early. We decided to go for a walk and kick of the footy at the beach just across the road. When we got back I was trying and failing to get phone service, wifi or hotspot to work so I could write a blog. NONE were successful so I read a book instead. Koel has also started reading of a night flat-out, I’m pretty sure he has finished more books then me this trip so I better get busy!

We had planned to check out Monday but were just loving Tathra so much we went and booked for another night. We did a Woolworths run to Tura beach and checked out the spec homes, it blows our minds how many subdivisions are being built around the area, its just crazy! The homes were so beautiful and on the way back to the caravan park Lila-Rae said that she didn’t want to live in the caravan anymore, which was the first we had heard of that for awhile. She soon cheered up as we spent the whole afternoon in the pool. Koel disappeared for awhile and came back with a brand new body board for me! I was pumped and wanted to head to the beach straight away but majority rules meant pool first. Frankie who is usually the less keen swimmer of the two, got out once in 3 and a half hours. I was worried she was going to shrivel up! Even though Lila-Rae got out and in a few times, it never effected the game Frankie had going! Her imagination is just beyond belief haha!


After such a massive afternoon they both sat on the couch barely moving while I cooked tea in the camp kitchen. They perked up abit when Koel and I were playing table tennis, both loving to retrieve the ball and give it to the server! I convinced them to come to the beach at 8pm so that I could try out my new body board, thankfully no Max Ray’s to throw rocks. The water was just amazing but it got dark pretty quick so we headed back. I think they were pretty happy to crawl into bed that night.

We woke Monday and packed up to leave Tathra. We utterly and completely fell in love with this part of Australia. A lot of places we have loved but we could genuinely see our selves living somewhere between Eden and Tathra. Koel spent a few hours looking at real estate Sunday night and if someone would kindly buy our house we have some pretty big plans!

Our next stop was Batemans Bay. As we drove we stopped in a little town called Norooma for a toilet break and in hindsight wish we had of stayed here! Batemans Bay was nice but it just didn’t have the beautiful beaches like the other towns we have passed through. Just before Batemans Bay we drove through another little town called Mogo and after setting up the caravan went back for a look. This was probably the highlight! All the little shops were just full of beautiful goodies, I’d say a lot of it they import from Bali. Some of it was really hippy and quite out there but all was beautiful at the same time. I’m not sure what kind of market they cater for and it amazes me that about 5 of the shops we went into pretty much sold the same thing, but it was just brilliant.

The girls and I set up a nail shop at the caravan park, and after painting their hands and toes they suddenly had lots of customers! They would find a toy inside the caravan, walk out and say “Not another customer!”. It entertained them for ages and I’m pretty sure Anna, Elsa and their my little pony toys have never looked better, but I’m still trying to get the nail polish off Frankie’s legs.


We finished the night with a walk around the caravan park to suss out the pool and jumping pillow. Poor Lila-Rae got halfway along and informed me she had run out of batteries and could no longer walk. I should have videoed her attempts to get off the ground, but I walked over and replaced her batteries (by patting her arms) and she was good to go! We even found a little stage so put on some music and watched their animal inspired dance moves!


On Wednesday the girls woke up in just a horrible mood. Nothing in their little lives was right so we put them in the car and went to the information centre. This proved to be abit of a disaster aswell. I walked out and left Koel to deal with it, so much for my morning giving me some zen!

When we got back to the caravan I sat down to try work out the laptop issues while Koel took the girls to the jumping pillow/mini golf. I’m so thankful that he just know’s when I need abit of a break, as amazing as this trip is we have our moments!

After giving up on the internet I went to find everyone with the pool bag in hand. Lila-Rae was again throwing her club saying she was no good at golf. It breaks my heart and of course I pumped her up saying she is good at lots of things but you know it just wasn’t helping.

It’s actually hard to believe how much the pool changes their moods. Although still bossy towards mum, they happily played for over an hour. Water definitely has a calming effect on kids, its amazing!

After the day we had had, with the pool being pretty much the only highlight we decided to treat ourselves out to tea. Our first stop was the soldiers club, however it is policy you show a drivers license on entry. Anyone that knows me knows I never carry important things on me, so no I didn’t have my license. We got back to the car and I found my wallet, but ended up going to the golf club instead. Got inside and this place had the same policy, I’d again left my wallet in the car (turns out its NSW law to sign in, who knew?) so quickly ran out and grabbed it while Koel probably seethed inside haha! There was also a no thongs rule that we were nervous about but managed to slip through!

Tea was nice but I realised I don’t really miss eating out! Its probably more the not having to think about what to have for tea!

We got back to the caravan and the girls decided they better FaceTime Grandma and Georgie. They spent bit of time colouring in their toys before heading to bed. They have been so good going to bed, jumping in as soon as it gets dark.

The caravan we stayed at was really strict and our passcode expired exactly on 10 o’clock the morning of check out which meant if we were late and got locked in we had to pay extra! So we got organised Wednesday night and pack up which made it an absolute breeze Thursday, I think we got it done in 25 minutes! We will definitely be trying to get organised the night before we leave from now on haha!

Our next stop is Canberra, the Australian capital. I’m really excited to go to the War Memorial and Parliament House. We will blog about that soon.

Obviously I, Belle, wrote this blog. Koel said he would do it but after finally getting it to work again I was to scared to put it down! He will definitely be doing the Canberra one though, so stay tuned for that 🙂


NSW we have arrived!! & we may not leave

On Tuesday the 30th we woke and packed up camp at Phillip Island. Because the camp ground was like a ghost town we took our time and didn’t leave until after 11am.

We drove straight to Morewell and stayed the night with friends, Kim, Michael and their little girl Piper. It was sooo nice to spend the day actually having a conversation with adults! The girls also had the time of their lives enjoying bulk ABC kids, Netflix and pulling out every single one of Piper’s toys haha! Koel and I were also spoilt with a roast dinner and bulk veggies, just what we needed! Thank you Michael, Kim and Piper for your hospitality hopefully, we can repay the favour one day when we finally settle.

We woke Wednesday morning, said our goodbyes and after hearing so many good things about Aldi from Michael and Kim, decided to visit for the first time.


We drove from Morewell to Lakes Entrance, Wednesday wasn’t a very nice day so we probably didn’t see Lakes Entrance in all its glory but it was still a beautiful little town. It was the last day of the caravan parks “peak season” and with them wanting over $50 for powered and unpowered sites we decided to keep driving to a little town called Nowa Nowa, about 20 minutes out of Lakes Entrance. We were one of 3 sites occupied that night, and although the park needs some TLC we had the best time in the massive camp kitchen with all the board games on offer.

Not long after we got there the bloke down the bank from us started having a pretty heated conversation on his phone about buying something for $6500 and finding it hard to believe it wasn’t still worth that. He wasn’t happy and got in his bus and took off with his massive dog. The big gun looked like he had been set up for awhile with 2 cars, a motorbike, a trailer, tent, boat and caravan all set up. Anyway he walked past our van a little while later on the way to the camp kitchen and saw Koel was reading a book about Bon Scott, it was like love at first sight and he stopped to chat about live concerts and “best day of my life” moments. Of course they were bestie’s after that (really wish there was an eyeroll button).

We ended up hooking the van back onto the bus that night so we had a quick getaway Thursday morning. We decided to drive the 220km’s to Eden which saw us cross the border into NSW. Koel has been looking forward to this part of the trip since we started, and now I can see why. The coast here is just breathtaking, and all the little towns reminds me bit of Tassie.


We soon found a caravan park to stay at in Eden which happened to have an awesome kids playground pretty much next to us! I went to the park with the girls while Koel set up, overhearing a couple next to us saying “I thought school holidays had f@#%*&g finished”. We were both pretty angry, it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon for goodness sake, are you so miserable you can’t listen to kids laughter? Needless to say there were a few dirty looks exchanged over the 2 nights haha! After Koel finished setting up we decided to go exploring.

We found a lookout and read up on some of the whaling history, deciding the next day we would drive to Boyd’s tower.

We also visited the information centre and library, the girls love collecting brochures so we got a few of them and also checked out their amazing teddy couch!

27787470_10211368289986513_692822025_o 2

We spent that night sitting on the edge of the river watching pelicans and getting smashed by mozzies.


Our first adventure the next morning after breakfast was a drive out of town into Boyd’s National Park to checkout Boyd’s Tower. I’m so glad we went, the structure was amazing. It is a real eye opener, taking in the location and the logistics of building it way back in 1840 and even materials used, all the sandstone was bought down from Sydney!

The tower and surrounding national park is named after Ben Boyd, a Scottish entrepreneur who in 1840 built it with plans to use it as a lighthouse. This never eventuated, instead it was used as a whale spotting tower in which Ben Boyd himself would send billows of smoke out the top to alert his crews of incoming whales. It is written that he had the advantage over the other whalers because the tower was at the furthest point which meant him and his crews swathed first. He stayed in the whaling business before going bankrupt in Australia and setting sail for the Californian gold fields, I think he ended up murdered in the solomon islands a few years later.

As we were leaving Boyd’s Tower, Koel threw me the bus keys and said I’ll meet you back at the bus. He couldn’t help himself when he saw one of the walking tracks down to a cliff face lookout had a do not enter sign on it!! He just had to go for a look. Walking back with the girls was eventful, I was stomping my feet waiting for a snake to eat us and trying not to look into the bush. I heard a noise, looked over and a Goana the size of a cow was just staring at me. I took off dragging the girls, tears in my eyes with them asking “whats wrong mummy?” nothing just RUN! We got back to the bus and I didn’t even open their doors just threw them in my door and jumped in after them. We were all puffing and lucky there was a drink in the car because no way was I getting out to get one out of the fridge! Koel came sauntering out of the path 5 minutes later and told me he got some good photos and even saw a goana climbing a tree, I just looked at him and said I F!@%#&G KNOW! He says it was the size of a cat but I’m sticking with small cow. I’ve told him he can never leave me to walk through the bush on my own again!

Our next stop a few kms back down the road was The Davidson Whaling station at Two Fold Bay. Another breathtaking location, those blokes in the 1800’s just loved there prime real estate. It had a lot of information about whaling back in the day and its hard to imagine a whale carcus sitting in this pristine little bay getting cut into a million pieces. Apparently with the wind blowing the right direction the township of Eden across the bay could smell the whale blubber being boiled.

There was also a story about “Old Tom”, a Killer Whale who would heard other whales in to the bays to be slaughtered and be rewarded with the carcus! It just amazes me how smart these animals are, I watched a documentary on Netflix called Blackfish (if you haven’t watched it, do it!) and learned so much about the way the Killer Whales mind works but the stories in Eden were just next level. I am devastated we missed the museum, arriving at 3:45 when it closed! Oh well, an excuse to go back I suppose!

We headed back to the caravan for lunch and Koel was in heaven when the local seafood rocked up. They send a bloke round in one of their little flat trays with a cool room on the back ringing his bell out the window selling all the local produce (the girls and I thought it was ice-cream!). A dozen Oysters and pickled muscles later, after already eating 2 chicken burgers, he is insane!

We went for a drive in the afternoon to do a bit more exploring. The destination was another little beach the ladies in the information centre had suggested to us just around from our caravan park but by the time we got there both the girls had fallen to sleep so we decided to drive north of Eden to Merimbula which was only about 20kms away. As we drove through Koel looked at me and said what a s%$t place to live! It was absolutely beautiful, we drove to the top beach for a toilet break and just sat in the bus in awe of the outlook. We then found our way down to a little jetty which took us past some absolutely amazing homes looking out over the bay of Merimbula, we dare to dream!!


From this location we could see some very bright coloured boat houses with little jetties off the front of them on the opposite side of the bay so we made our way over, parked the bus and went for a little wander. It looked like something off a postcard, I was pinching myself at the time to make sure I was really there and looking a the photos now I still find it as breathtaking. We learnt our lesson AGAIN to ALWAYS take our swimmers, the water looked so so good and there were little kids jumping off the jetties just having the times of their lives. We walked up the beach and watched the girls jump off the start of a jetty into the sand. After a dozen attempts I got some pretty good live action shots.

We spent the last night at the caravan park in Eden eating pork dumplings for tea, a nice change from our usual travelling diet of steak, hamburgers, sausages or chicken burgers! We had barley spent 48 hours on the south coast of NSW and we were both honestly in love with the place. Koel spent the night on his phone googling construction jobs in the area! Our next stop was Tathra for 3 nights which I was going to try fit in this blog post but its just such a beautiful place and we crammed SO much in I think to do it justice it deserves its own chapter in our travels! Even better Koel has promised to write it, what a babe!


Phillip Island

Belle is having a little break from the blog posting so I thought I would step in to fill you all in on our latest adventures, we have nearly been on the road traveling for a month now so I thought it to be a good time also to give a little insight into the trip from the drivers point of view!

Saturday the 27th of Jan we woke in Ballarat in good time to have breakfast pack up the van and hit the road earlyish heading south for our next port of call, Phillip Island. As a kid growing up Phillip Island to me says Mick Doohan and The Australian Grand Prix so I’ve always wanted to visit one day, and I’m glad we did what a beautiful place it is.

The drive down for me personally was probably the smoothest towing the van so far it was a really still day with not a breath of wind so What A Little Beauty didn’t really put up much of a fight against the Hilux. The roads for three quarters of the drive were double lanes and pretty bloody smooth compared to some I’ve experienced along the way but I still think Britton Swamp Straight back home is top of the list for worst road so far!!

The thought of driving the van through the heart of Melbourne on the Saturday after Australia Day to be honest got me a little nervous but Belle smashed the navigating and it was all smooth sailing, we even drove a few blocks past Albert Lake behind a Lamborghini I made sure I had a good and I mean good 3 seconds between us on the freeway would have hated to knock all the bugs off the hilux bullbar I’ve been collecting since we left home.


Frankie was way more excited about the yellow taxi, thinking it might be Cruz from Cars 3.

About 40 minutes north of Phillip Island we stopped at Caldermeade Farm and Cafe for a milkshake, they were $9 each nothing to rave about but obviously catering for the sheer weight of numbers in tourists driving past during the peak season. They also had a working rotary dairy a stones throw from the cafe with a viewing platform with heaps of info on the workings of a dairy farm it was a brilliant idea. I did feel sorry for the workers in there dealing with heifers in the cow shed bit hard to get the poly pipe out when theres busloads of tourists watching from above.

Driving onto Phillip Island was a bit of an eye opener, I’d say a good 10kms out from San Remo the little township before the bridge onto the island the traffic was backed up. I thought there might have been roadworks but it was just the sheer weight of numbers, cars trying to get on fighting against traffic coming from the opposite direction simply turning into San Remo it was crazy. I said to Belle you would hope they had a better set up the weekend of the Grand Prix or V8 Supercars it would be bedlam! We were moving snails pace for a good 20 mins but once we got onto the bridge it opened up and we were away!


We arrived at the caravan park in the little township of Cowes on the island simply named Cowes Caravan Park. We were originally only booked for the one night but once I unhooked the van and went for a walk, looked at the beach the park backed onto I looked at Belle and said go book us in for two more nights! It was magic! Being the Saturday of the Australia Day long weekend though it was still fairly busy, lots of kids on bikes and blokes with no shirts and cans of beer in their hands, I was one of them!!

Once we set up the van we hit the beach for a couple of hours. The water was like a bath, there were people everywhere but it was just what we had been craving after over a week inland in the hot temperatures.

On the drive in we spotted a show/carnival on the outskirts of Cowes with free entry so after tea we decided to take the girls for a few goes on the jumping castles before bed. We convinced them they were allowed to go on one condition they could look at the toys but couldn’t buy any because they simply won’t fit in the caravan! After $20, 30 mins and a go each on two seperate jumping castles it was home time, a good end to a great first day on the island.

Sunday we woke to another pearla of a day with the forecast saying it would reach the low 40s again, so we got some quick breakfast in to us and hit the road to do some exploring of the island before it got to hot. Our first stop was the Nobbies centre at Point Grant on the western tip of the island. The centre itself had an interactive zone all about the antarctic and marine life around the island but same old story the prices were just ridiculous catering for the rich international tourists. I said to Belle there should be a middle class Australian citizen card you show at places like this! So we let the girls look at the teddies in the gift shop, stood in there aircon for 15 mins then made the most of their free coastal boardwalks and viewing platforms in front of the centre itself. The outlook was unreal and we got to see two juvenile penguins right next to the boardwalk hiding in the opening of their hole, the girls were in awe! We spotted a few more hiding in the nesting boxes scattered all over the cliff faces along the boardwalks it was great no need to pay money to do penguin tours, we just find them ourselves.

Our next stop was Penguin Parade just a few kms back down the road. This was the location of Phillip Islands Penguin Viewing station which you pay to see the penguins arrive back from sea just on dusk back to their burrows. It was a massive building with heaps of info inside and free entry during the day so we made the most of their aircon aswell, learnt abit about penguins but after seeing a few ourselves earlier we had no intention coming back that night.

Our next stop was the Grand Prix Track which happened to be holding the International Island Classic, we ventured up to the visitor centre and learnt that for the price of an ticket in to the racing museum we could also get free viewing of the action out on the track aswell, bonus! We decided to get a bit of racing action first and headed out the visitor centre onto the grassed viewing area, it had an awesome outlook of the track right next to the starting grid just up the inbankment. The temperature was getting pretty warm at this stage, we watched a few laps and decided to get back into the aircon of the museum. It was pretty cool to witness an actual event on the track but I don’t know if it was an senior citizens race or what but they didn’t reach any great speeds, they sounded alright but it wasn’t the super bikes. I’d love to get over and watch them one day, its on the to do list!

The racing museum was really cool, I’d love to go back again one day without two four year olds. Some of the info about the Linfox company buying the track and bringing it back from the brink of disrepair was cool and how the track got its start back in the early  1900s, back when you use to have to ferry over to the island. It was amazing and the bikes and cars they had were awesome just a shame 4 year old girls don’t find this stuff interesting.

Before heading back to the caravan park for an afternoon at the beach I thought we would go for a look at Smiths beach first. Being 1 o’clock Sunday arvo I thought the crowds would be thinning out a bit, I was wrong. Every little street on the way down to the beach was filled up with parked cars and the carpark itself had cars actually parked in front of other cars it was crazy! Fairdinkum locals that just want to go for a surf must just curse when it gets like this it was bedlam! I said to Belle imagine if Marrawah got like this Max Ray would end up in prison, there would be rocks thrown at body boarders and through their windscreens. The road heading back to the caravan park resembled the road coming in on Saturday just on the opposite side with people trying to get off the island, it would have easily stretched for over 15kms it was just madness.

Back at the caravan park we had some lunch, blew up the inflatable whale and flamingo, packed the snorkel and flippers, camp chairs, beers and coke and headed for the beach. It was easily over 40 degrees and being the Sunday of the long weekend, the beach was no where near as busy as the day before which was brilliant. We pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon in the water and sand flat out doing absolutely nothing, it was magic.

After tea the temperature was still in the low 30s so we put the swimmers back on grabbed the camp chairs and a few more beers and headed back to the beach to watch the sunset. The water was even better than that afternoon, Phillip island was really turning on the weather for us. That night though was probably the hottest night we had so far in the van, the temperature just didn’t let up! I contemplated a few times in the early hours of the morning going and jumping back in the water.

Monday morning we woke to cloud cover and a cool change with a forecast of rain that afternoon. It was our last full day on the island so we spent it mainly exploring, but first had to buy Belle some new thongs after she had them stolen off the beach the night before. Turns out Phillip Island isn’t like Marrawah, you can’t just leave things unattended at the start of the beach! She wasn’t to worried though, because they were being held together by a breadclip!

After leaving the surf shop we stopped at the Vietnam Veterans Museum. Run entirely by volunteers, there was just walls and walls of information. We both could have stayed and read for hours but again, two 4 year olds don’t allow that! although they did do a really good job lasting a good hour before the I’m hungry and can we go now started playing on repeat. We left with a lot more knowledge about the Vietnam war though and an even greater respect for the veterans and what they went through. The volunteers were absolutely awesome and even let the girls sit in a helicopter for a photo. Made me feel very proud to be an Australian visiting the museum and excited to revisit the war memorial in Canberra when we get there in the next few weeks. I learnt the average age of Australian soldiers in Vietnam was 19 20 which blew my mind to think what these young blokes went threw at such a young age made me think how truely lucky we are my biggest worry at that age was whether to buy boags or Carlton cold stubbies from the bottle o on a Friday night! You just can’t thank them all enough, Lest We Forget.


There was a plane outside the Museum that had been restored, poor Lila-Rae wanted to get on and fly to see Grandma (Karalea) and Nanny (Margo) in Redpa. It took a lot of convincing and a few tears to get her into the car!


Our next stop was Rhyll Trout and Bushtucker Farm which was really cool you paid I think $30 for a family to hire rods and bait to try your luck catching a rainbow trout in the natural outdoor lake (not guaranteed to land a trout) or there indoor trout pond (guaranteed to catch one). We tried our luck in the outdoor one for a good half n hour until I got sick of Lila-Rae asking Dad when are you gonna catch a fish? We headed inside  where  Belle and I landed one each in the space of 5 mins. The girls had found the playground by that stage and couldn’t care less, the best thing was you could pay the onsite chef to fillet your trout and cook it there which we did. I got them done boneless fillets cooked in a thin batter with chips and salad which was brilliant because Belle hates fish so I got 4 fillets with chips and salad at it is honestly up there with one of the best feeds of fish I’ve ever had.

On the way back from the Trout farm we found a koala climbing out of a tree right next to the road, how awesome to experience one in the wild!


We went for another look at Smiths beach later that afternoon, wow you wouldn’t have even thought it was the same place! About 3 cars in the carpark, we went for a walk along the beach which is beautiful not hard to see why it was so popular the day before.

We did a few drive bye of the small townships dotted along the coastline just in awe of some of the houses/holiday homes around the island. You just can’t imagine the sort of money some people have for these to simply be holiday homes. After a fair bit of dreaming we got back to the caravan just before the rain hit. The girls watched a movie and destroyed the bus while Belle and I read for the rest of the arvo.


The 3 days on Phillip island were just awesome defiantly high on our list of favourite place so far will defiantly be back one day and could quiet easily pack up and move there aswell. Our next port of call is Morwell for a night to catch up with my good mate Amos his wife Kim and daughter Piper which we will tell you about in our next post.

We have nearly been traveling for a month now, man time flies when your having fun. I can honestly say this has been easily the best decision I’ve made in my life to go on this journey with Belle and the girls. If I had to start work again tomorrow simply watching the girls go from not wanting to be let go in a pool to diving under water by themselves in the space of 2 weeks, witnessing that alone has made it worth it. Let alone all the other added bonuses along the way and whats to come. Yes, it hasn’t all been beers and skittles we blog post all the good bits but living in a 2 metre wide by 3.5 metre long box with two four year old girls defiantly has its moments. I’ve threatened to leave both the girls on the side of the road or at caravan parks numerous times! Just lucky we love them I guess that it hasn’t come to that, but the good outweighs the bad ten fold.

This is definitely the longest blog post we have done due to cramming so much into Phillip Island and Belle falling behind. Hopefully its still enjoyable reading and if it encourages someone to take the leap like we have then man that would be cool!






Who needs Sovereign Hill when you can go to Clunes?

On Thursday the 25th we packed up and said goodbye to Halls Gap, driving to Ballarat. Our first stop was Sovereign Hill as I had never been and thought it sounded like something fun to do.

We had a good time but were disappointed with how expensive the day was. We paid $55 each to get in, and then had to pay for any activities inside. For example the girls wanted to go for a ride on the horse and carriage which cost $6.50 each (totally worth it after seeing the smiles on their faces), and to do the underground mine tour was a further $7.50 each so we skipped that. Food prices were also next level, we both got a laugh out of dixie cups being $4.70!

The set up is obviously catering to the asian market and there were bus loads of tours, but its a shame that it is so expensive. Overall we had a good day looking at the old buildings but probably won’t be going back.


Poor Frankie had a horrible day and fell over about 6 times on the gravel road! Her legs are still healing.

Paying the entry into Sovereign Hill gave us free entry into the Gold Museum across the road. Walking in to the air-conditioned room was like heaven and the girls and I sat watching a short movie on repeat just to enjoy being cool! I loved the museum and could have stayed a lot longer if not for two four year olds. The stories about who discovered gold first in Ballarat and the different laws bought in to police areas and mining were really interesting.


After finishing at the Museum we headed for our caravan park. Accommodation over the Australia Day long weekend was crazy, we managed to get a night at the Shady Acres caravan park for $34. We were planning to head to the coast on Friday (Australia Day) but from Geelong to Inverloch there was just nothing. Not a site, motel or even Air BnB! So we decided to stay Friday night aswell at Shady Acres and spent Friday exploring Ballarat.

Koel found a little town online called Clunes so we decided to go there for a drive, only about 40km’s from Ballarat. What an absolute hidden gem. I am devastated we went on a public holiday because the book shops were closed! All the old buildings were incredible, it was just the most beautiful little town. Because we had saved money by staying at Shady Acres we treated ourselves to lunch in a little cafe. Koel had the best salt and pepper squid of his life and we left Clunes totally in love. If you are ever in Ballarat or passing I highly recommend going to Clunes, I would love to go back. Apparently they have a massive book festival in May that over 18000 people attend, I’ve put it on my bucket list!

Of course we had to have an ice-cream stop aswell. Who needs Sovereign Hill when you can go the Clunes?

After leaving Clunes I googled “Ballarat Australia Day Activities” and found a market in Creswick so we called in there for a look. The I got the girls to do a drawing as part of the colouring in competition, but they decided their pictures were so good they couldn’t leave them in the allocated basket, instead bringing them back to the caravan. They still think the won though and are waiting for their prize to arrive!

The market was at the Alpaca wool shed, Koel has taken this as a sign that we need to start an Alpaca farm because we seem to find them everywhere!


We got back to the caravan just before the thunderstorm arrived. Koel went to sleep and the girls hid under the donnah with their torches. I pulled my hair out trying to entertain them, Lila-Rae finally fell asleep and Frankie just played on her bunk for an hour. By 7pm cabin fever had defiantly set in so we went for a drive to the lake where they were having fireworks. We didn’t stay because the girls absolutely HATE fireworks but Koel and I enjoyed driving around looking at all the mansions. One of your favourite activities!

We left Ballarat on Saturday and headed to Phillip Island, one of our favourite places so far! Because we fit so many activities into three days I will do a seperate blog on our Phillip Island adventures later.

Sorry that I am bit behind on blog posts but we have just been enjoying the sun and sand at Phillip Island to much to worry about being online! This week is forecast to be around 19 degrees everyday so I’ll have a lot of time to write haha!

I’ll sign off with one of my favourite pictures I took on Phillip Island.




Well it’s obvious I have no chance of a career in journalism because me and deadlines just aren’t working this trip!

In saying that we have had a pretty big two days, but I suppose thats no excuse.

Sorry for the delay!

Right, down to the nitty gritty stuff. In my last blog post I mentioned we were wanting to only spend about $1000 per week. With the trip to Port Lincoln and also the troubles with the car unfortunately that has blown out abit!

After 3 weeks on the road, here is a breakdown of our spendings:

Accommodation Total: $614.60 – Weekly Average: $204.86

I am pretty happy with what we have spent on accomodation considering it is the peak season. With school going back next week I expect this number to drop next update.

We haven’t free camped at all, due mostly to the heat and wanting a pool!

Groceries: $542.15 – Weekly Average: $180.71

I was initially happy with what we have spent on groceries but when I averaged the weekly amount I realised it wasn’t much less then what we used to spend at Massey St. We have had to buy everything from scratch though eg. cereals, oil, sugar and are still working on our meal plans so hopefully next update this amount will have also dropped.

Fuel: $480.64 – Weekly Average: $160.21

Fuel is one expense that has averaged at about what we estimated. The most expensive place we bought diesel was in Adelaide at $1.49.9 and the cheapest was in Terang where we paid $1.32.

Experiences/Other: $1200.78  – Weekly Average: $400.26

This section was bumped up after our aircon episode but after seeing the figure I was horrified!

Included in this section is a one off purchase of a grinder (115.93), parking at the airport while we went to Port Lincoln ($73), the cricket ($121.75), the movies ($85.10), another power box ($98.90) and the car debacle ($379.50). We bought the girls pool toys and a few extra pairs of shorts at Kmart which added up to $83. I also bought them a little teddy  each they had wanted since we left because of how good they were on the Port Lincoln drive.

I dont even want to add up how much we have spent on afternoon Ice-cream trips, but they are totally worth it!

We are hoping next update this part of the budget will be considerably lower, fingers crossed no more car issues!

Bills: $426.80 – Weekly Average: $142.26

Wouldn’t it be awesome to come away and all the bills just stop? This figure includes our home insurance, Koel’s health and life insurance and a one off payment to AAMI for roadside assist. We are yet to pay a phone bill and have just paid the water bill for our house so I expect next update this section will be considerably more.

Food: $784.30 – Weekly Average: $261.43

What an absolute disgrace. We can’t really make any excuses for the amount we have spent on takeaway and restaurant food BUT I’m going to try! In Port Lincoln we bought breakfast, lunch and tea which added $497.05 to this total. Is that a good enough excuse? Hopefully! Again I expect this section to drop, it better or we will be beelining to Brisbane begging for jobs!

So, our total spendings for 3 weeks is (drumroll!) : $4049.27

Although it’s a lot higher then our estimate, I am not disheartened at all. We knew the first few weeks would be expensive due to the school holiday prices and Port Lincoln trip.

The total amount we spent in Port Lincoln was $833.80, including accommodation, food and fuel.

The car episode cost us $637.71 after treating ourselves a night in a cabin and other expenses we made that we wouldn’t of had to if we had aircon!

So for argument sake, if we misused those figures off the total we come in at: $2577.76. 

That figure makes me feel a lot better. I know its not the real figure but it also shows it’s possible to live on the $1000 a week.

After staying in Hall’s Gap for 5 days it also proved to us the longer we stay somewhere, the less we spend.

Although we are over budget, I am feeling positive and am pretty sure we can stay under budget in the next few weeks.

Sorry this post is lacking bit of colour! We are currently driving through Melbourne on our way to Phillip Island. We cant wait to get back to the coast but have also uncovered some hidden gems inland, which I will post about soon 🙂

In the end, it doesn’t really matter how much we have spent because spending the last 3 and a half weeks all together has been better then we could have ever imagined, and we are so lucky to have the opportunity to do this with our little girls xx




Time for tourist mode!

On Tuesday we were up and about early (by early I’m talking 8:30) because the Hall’s Gap zoo were coming to the caravan park. The girls trotted off at 9am with Koel, I stayed back and did some jobs because of course they were showing snakes.

They had a great time meeting “Bobby” the dingo and “Anna” the carpet python. They both wanted to hold Anna but Koel convinced them to just have a pat.

Because we were up at a reasonable time we skipped the morning swim and hit the road heading to Stawell. I had my head in the laptop working on our budget (more on that to come) and about 10 minutes out of Stawell Koel saw a sign for an Alpaca farm. Because the girls had fallen in love with Allen at the Brownhill caravan park in Adelaide, we called in.

The owner greeted us and was such a lovely guy, he was just a wealth of information. He told us he bought his property in the 90’s, originally spending time establishing his organic garden. He was a chef and recently retired, now selling his produce to markets and the local cafes. I mentioned to him about how surprised I had been with the amount of accomodation in Hall’s Gap and he said there isn’t enough! That some weekends they have over 10,000 people visit!

Him and his wife came across Alpacas at the local show, they bought a heavily pregnant female and have bred from there. Because of how dry it is and has been for the last couple of years they have stopped breeding, he said its not possible having to buy in hay 10 months of the year!

Local sheep farmers lease some Alpacas off him during the lambing season to stop the foxes from killing the lambs. It was obvious the alpacas are just like his children, he knows everyone by name and said he had been their for the birth of majority of them!

After having so much fun and learning so much new information we continued on to Stawell. Unfortunately the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame was closed but the ground was open so we went for a walk around the track.



We drove around Stawell and both admired the beautiful old buildings, then headed to The Pickers Market. There was soooo much to look at it here and the girls had a ball spotting all the toys they are apparently getting when they turn 5!


After a quick lunch we cruised back to Hall’s Gap and spent some time in the pool, before heading to the grocery store for some essentials. We stopped at the local cricket (could be football aswell) ground on the way back to look at the kangaroos, its no wonder the local team trains in the nets!

I spent two hours last night brushing the girls hair. Eventually all the knots were out and the tears we dry, but Lila-Rae and I both skipped tea mostly due to stress! I cant believe how much their hair has grown in the couple of weeks being on the road, I told them that because they are watering it, it is growing haha.


The nights have cooled off and this morning I wore a jumper to the showers! I put makeup on for the first time in about a week and the girls were put to work back at the van.


It soon warmed up and we headed out to see some more destinations on what is our last full day in Halls Gap.

Our first stop was the Venus Baths, I was a nervous wreck walking the 900m in on a track that would just be a haven for snakes, Koel was just powering forward while I was envisioning one of us getting eaten. In the end it was well worth the walk and the girls had a great time running in and out of the baths. The rocks were so slippery, Frankie ended up soaked and had to take her dress off to dry.

We went from the Venus Baths to Silverband Falls, which was bit of an anti-climax after visiting Mackenzie falls.

After another 1.6km round trip on foot the girls were exhausted so we stopped in town for a Timboon ice-cream (yes we found Timboon Ice-cream in Hall’s Gap!!). We then set off to the “Balconies” and Reeds lookout. The sign said it was a 1km walk into the Balconies so the girls and I decided to wait at the lookout while Koel ventured off on another walk. The scenery was beautiful and there were lots of tourists and even a bus tour while we were there.


We are now back relaxing at the caravan in beautiful 25 degree heat, if it stayed like this for the rest of the trip I would be happy!

Its our last night in Hall’s Gap and I cant even put into words how nice it has been to relax for a few days, however I’m also glad we stayed this long to be able to see alot of the sights!

As I mentioned above I have been reviewing our spendings, and my next blog post will detail how much we have spent, eek!

Before leaving on the trip we were hoping to spend around $1000 a week, including everything, accomodation, food, fuel etc. How do you think we have gone? Under or over?

We have been on the road exactly 3 weeks today, keep your eyes out for the budget blog tomorrow!



and just like that, the air con drama is forgotten

Friday night was just what the doctor ordered, relaxing in an air conditioned cabin. I got to watch the whole Kyrgios V Tsonga match (whilst writing the last blog post) and the girls slept over 12 hours. Koel also slept well, I however was still awake at 6am with an itchy back from sunburn, is that even a thing? After two showers, trying to sleep on a wet towel, laying on an iced water bottle and self medicating its safe to say I have been very sun smart the last few days!

I didn’t mention it in my last post but I need to say how amazing the Wimmera Lakes Caravan Resort were to us. They let us keep the caravan on site all of Friday thinking we were leaving that night, asked me regularly through the day how the air conditioning was coming along and then made sure they had us a cabin that had had the air con going all day Friday. Saturday, due to our sleep ins, we didn’t check out until around 11:30am (checkout was at 10am) and I apologised to one of the cleaners when she walked past that we were taking so long. She just laughed and told me not to worry, and asked how we had gone with the bus! Just all round beautiful people and we are so thankful for their help!

We were all excited Saturday to only be travelling 80km’s to Hall’s Gap. We figured out there are two ways in- through Stawell or actually driving through the Grampians National Park. Because it was the first turn, we took the National park route. With about 25km’s to go we came across this sign.


In true Nicholl’s style, Koel just looked at me and said “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Well, about 100m up the narrow, winding, steep drop off with no rail cliff we got stuck behind two cyclists! I cant imagine how hard it was for them riding up this hill but there were so many places they could have pulled over for two seconds to let us past. Koel was letting out a few choice words and the girls were giggling in the back asking “can Mummy’s say those words?”


We arrived in Halls Gap to the temp of about 38 degrees, a little bit cooler then the past few days but still spent majority of the day in the pool. Poor Koel was left to pretty much set up on his own again, however I did help put the annex up! Its the first time we have used the annex and its been so nice for a bit extra privacy and shade! We also bought the girls a $14 tent from big W and they are loving having all their toys and colouring pencils in there.


The caravan park here is amazing and runs lots of activities through the week. Everynight they have a movie in the hall and Saturday night was the Minions. The girls were pumped and I went with them, however after three hours sleep I kept nodding off and woke up once to Lila-Rae putting her finger up my nose.


We all slept like babies Saturday night and didn’t wake up until 10am on Sunday. After an egg and bacon breakfast we headed to the pool.

After me nearly having a heart attack multiple times on Saturday, we finally got the girls to wear their floating vests. Turns out they didn’t want to wear them because they weren’t pretty enough. I was under the understanding in their world anything that was pink is pretty, but anyway I stand corrected and after some positive reassurance, they put them on and had the best time ever in the pool #mumisalwaysrightgirls. Frankie somehow punched herself in the nose when she was jumping in which resulted in her first blood nose, it didn’t really worry her she was more stressed about how many jumps Lila-Rae got in while I was cleaning her up!

We finally got organised and left the caravan park about 1:30pm. Our first stop on Sunday was at the Boroka lookout. As we pulled up there were a few families gathered near a log taking photos. I didn’t really take much notice because it was about 10 meters away from the path to the lookout. Turns out they were taking photos of a snake. I tried to turn back, Koel told me not to be stupid so I seethed the whole time. Took a few photos and ran back to the car. Of course I got the “there are snakes everywhere you go” talk, even the girls ganged up on me and told me they are brave of snakes. If I knew how to insert emojis, about four eye rolls would go here.

We went from Boroka lookout to Mackenzie falls, what a disaster. Lila-Rae was “puffed out” before we even got out of the car park and whinged cried and sulked the whole 100m to the first lookout. She then decided she needed to wee, we gave up and decided we would walk down late in the afternoon one day (preferably after the girls had a day sleep). We missed a turn coming back from Mackenzie Falls and ended up at Lake Wartook.

We then headed in search of the Brambuk National Park and Cultural centre. What an amazing building and story this place tells. From the structure itself, to all the artwork, sculptures and stories inside, this place was just incredible. I could have spent all day reading the history but of course with two four year olds speed reading was necessary. I won’t go into detail about all the meanings because I would hate to offend anyone if I got it wrong but I know the building was shaped like a cockatoo because Bambuk stands for cockatoo.


After all our exploring we had well and truly earned an ice-cream, stopping at the local ice creamery called Coola’s. We made it back to the caravan all needing a break, Mum probably more than anyone.


The girls entertained themselves in the tent and underfoot. I realised quite early into the trip that I packed way to many toys, and after watching them play with a bucket of pegs for an hour I just wanted to bang my head against the wall haha!


Parkgate resort, where we are staying, is probably the busiest caravan park we have been to family wise. Thankfully we have worked out a pretty good pool schedule, going just before lunch when everyone is out adventuring and again about 6:15pm when all normal people are eating tea!


We ate tea at 8:30pm last night, it was to hot to eat in the annex at the table so the back of the bus was the next best option!

It has been nice to settle into a little routine and both night the girls have been for a bike ride after tea, then go straight to bed without complaint. Last night as Koel and I sat outside and listened to a little boy cry for hours, the poor parents. I just cant imagine this trip with kids that wouldn’t go to bed!

This morning (Monday) we had another sleep in, cooked breakfast and a few hours in the pool. We set out at 2:30pm and about 10 minutes later both the girls were asleep.

We drove for awhile just doing some random exploring, and found a hidden gem in Barneys, unfortunately it wasn’t open today but we are heading back Wednesday for look inside.

By the time we got back into Hall’s Gap the girls had woken up so we visited another lake, then stopped at the supermarket for an ice-cream. The afternoon ended in disaster after Frankie’s melted all over her. I was the worst person in the world for not having a change of clothes for her to go to the park.

All was good in the world by the time we got back to the caravan, we again did our 6 o’clock pool trick, had tea and headed to Mackenzie Falls. It was such a beautiful night, 21 degrees with a nice breeze which is just heaven after the last few days. The girls surprised us and walked the whole way down and back the only complaint being about 100m from the top when Frankie mentioned her leg was about to break! The view was just incredible. We were the only people there as it was so late, so had the whole place to ourselves. Caravanning tip #1: Do everything when everyone else is busy! haha


Halls Gap is amazing, I feel like I’ve used that word 100 times in this blog but we have just loved the last couple of days! I swear 2 out of every 3 building is accommodation, Koel and I cant believe how many motels, B&B’s and backpacker places there are here!

I will leave you with a story we found at Mackenzie Falls, I’m not sure how clear the picture is so will type what it says. Thanks for reading and Happy Monday! 🙂

Hello, my name is Pearl Cranage and I used to run the kiosk here. I’d stand where you are now and shout right across the gorge “How many today Jack?” The bus driver would yell back how many visitors he had on board and I’d put enough tea on for that number. No mobile phones in those days. My family lived here from the 1920’s- we built a corrugated iron house next to the kiosk. Before the, we used to run a sawmill nearby. Before you go, close your eyes and listen to the power of the water, its a mighty sound.”


Where Pearl would have been standing.


It has been awhile! Sorry for the delay of this post but we have had a massive few days.

After posting Tuesdays blog I took over the role of driving, which wasn’t that bad of a deal because I no longer had to occupy the girls. We were due to return the car at 5 o’clock, and somehow I ended up being the one driving through the city. Anyone who knows me will agree I’m probably the worst driver ever, and with Siri leading us in the complete wrong direction we ended up 23 minutes away from the rental place at 4:45pm. Christopher and Koel were on map duty, somehow Joseph was allowed the front seat and I nearly evicted him from the car multiple times. Stress levels were high but we thankfully made it at 5:04pm without a scratch on the car and still allowed to return it!

We parted ways with Christopher and Joseph here, they went off in a taxi to the city and we caught a taxi back to the airport to pick up the bus and van. We drove straight to our next caravan park- Brownhill Creek Tourist Park.

We stayed two nights on an ensuite site for $34 a night! The park had a onsite alpaca named Allen, wild koala’s in the tree’s and a pool that we pretty much lived in. The picture of the Koala was taken on Wednesday night after he nearly climbed up Koel’s leg while he was sitting in his camp chair!


Wednesday topped 35 degrees so apart from a quick Woolworths trip we stuck around the pool and got the washing done. I also managed to get the girls into a “bath” and brush their hair, the neighbours are probably still wondering what kind of torture I was inflicting!



Poor Lila-Rea eats just like her mum, getting stuff everywhere. Frankie manages to sit sideways and not spill a drop but it doesn’t matter how or where Lila-Rae sits, it ends up all over her!

Wednesday night we headed to the cricket at Adelaide Oval. To avoid the kid zone and jumping castles I walked the wrong way which ended in us entering the opposite side of the ground we needed to be. Mix that with 35 degree heat and climbing 5 levels, by the time we got to our seats I was done haha! Here is a picture of where we were sitting and circled is the gate we entered through:


The girls were so good, Lila-Rae loved cheering and clapping her hands. She started taking photos from her pretend camera, but told me she couldn’t take to many incase her battery went flat!


With it being so hot and after walking so far our water bottle was actually hot and although we had a few snacks, Koel decided to head to the kiosk for a cold drink and ice creams. 3 drinks, 4 ice creams and $38.50 later the nights budget was well and truly blown and he was contemplating standing on the side of the street with a “need work” sign!


Frankie started to get into it by the end. For two kids that generally hate noise, both times we have taken them to a stadium they have been intrigued. Unfortunately the hurricanes didn’t really come to play so we left with 5 overs to go to beat the crowd.

We headed back to the caravan and cranked our fan, all managing to have a good nights sleep on what was our hottest night so far.

Thursday we woke and packed to leave Brownhill Creek, by 11am it was already 40 degrees. We stopped at Murray Bridge Aquatic centre and spent three hours paddling, going down water slides and relaxing in the shade.

Being at the Murray Bridge pool really made me sad about how much the girls and kids their age have missed out on with not having a pool in Circular Head. I know there are kids lessons but they were sometimes hard to get to with work, and when I stopped working through the day the girls were to big and to nervous for me to take on my own.

We have been on the road just over two weeks. When we left Tassie they both hated putting their heads under and could not be let go in the water. Everyday we are amazed at how confident (maybe to confident!) they are becoming.

A highlight for us, especially Lila-Rae was the waterslides. She went down them all multiple times and absolutely loved it. Frankie showed no interest, instead running around the water spouts playing an imaginary game.



We left the pool in very high spirits, and after three hours of swimming the girls were asleep about 10 minutes into our trip. We didn’t really have any plans on where we were going. Which ended up being a blessing.

I asked Koel to stop at a servo for a $1 frozen coke and with Krispy Kreme’s also sold there, Thursday was shaping up to be the best day of our trip. How quickly things can change.

About 5 minutes down the road after leaving the servo, I turned the air conditioning back as I was abit cold (on a 45 degree day, good one Belle) and straight away it started blowing hot air. It was as if I had changed it to the heaters and after about 20 minutes of mucking around with it we had to pull over. I can’t ever remember being that hot in my life, and the girls in the back were just dripping.

We couldn’t work out if it was better or worse with the windows down, as it felt like an actual hair dryer being blown in all windows. We hooked up a fan which was just blowing around hot air but at least there was airflow.

We made the decision to drive the 50kms to Keith and stop there for a breather. The trip was absolute hell, it was 45 degrees outside but I have no idea and don’t even want to know how hot it was inside the bus. We made it though, and I got my hopes up when we found a mechanic. Unfortunately at 4:50pm no-one really wanted to know us so we instead went to the IGA to buy some icy poles and a cold drink/use their aircon.

I did get a little laugh when Lila-Rae insisted on buying a packet of biscuits I had never seen before, which was strange because the girls NEVER try new food! She was adamant she needed to have them so I asked her why, she simply told me they were shortbread. That won’t make sense to a lot of people, but my Nanna has always made the girls shortbread, and they are Lila-Rae’s favourite biscuit. Of course I let her buy them after she explained.


Sitting on the street in Keith was definitely the lowest point of the trip for me. I don’t cope with the heat at all and pretty much sat with my head in my hands! Thank goodness for Koel. He took charge and we went to the Keith hotel for tea, polishing off three bottles of iced water and staying as long as possible in their aircon.

We made the decision to drive the 185kms to Horsham, so that Koel could be on the doorstep of the Aircon shop at 8:30am.

What a trip, we arrived at the caravan park at 10:30pm last night and it was still 38 degrees. We didn’t even unhook the caravan, the girls went straight to bed and we both had a cold shower. The bugs were insane and I lay awake thinking they were crawling on my face. At 2:30am the wind finally changed and we started to feel a breeze in the van, resulting in a few hours sleep.

After arriving at the shop, Koel was told a part could be couriered from Ballarat, in hope it would arrive by 2:30 this afternoon. Thank goodness we drove last night because otherwise the part probably wouldn’t have arrived until Monday! By the time Koel got back to the caravan park, with a plan to head back when the part arrived, the girls and I were already in the pool.

By 12:30 it was 44 degrees and we were all a mess, so went to the cinemas to try and escape it. The girls thought it was a great treat and loved watching “Nut Job 2”. Koel left at 2:00 to head back to the aircon shop, and the girls and I finished watching the movie then walked 400m to the Horsham plaza.

How easy is it to kill time with kids? We walked down the toy isles at Kmart for an hour, then headed to Wendy’s for a well deserved ice-cream killing another hour. They also told me we had to go to Grandma’s (Karalea) favourite shop, Spotlight.

I got the call from Koel at 4:30 to say the bus was fixed, SWEET RELIEF.


Our Heroes

We had planned to drive to Hall’s Gap tonight but after such a massive two days, we treated ourselves to an air-conditioned cabin to recharge our batteries. We will head to Hall’s Gap tomorrow for five nights and I honestly can’t wait to just sit in one place.

I could honestly not be any prouder of our little girls. They have taken the last two days worth of drama in their stride and not complained once. Both of them are more worried about what toys they have in their bed then overheating in the car. We are just so lucky to have been blessed with such funny, loving, beautiful little girls.

I will leave you with some pictures of Lila-Rae and Frankie today. They make me laugh everyday and I’m sure you will get a smile out of these.