Can I just say? The holiday, bliss. It was complete bliss. The nerves were setting in in the weeks before we left, so many people telling us we were crazy, my mum offered to buy portable dvd players for the big 2 and the packing lists seemed to be multiplying daily. Were we nuts? Driving from Melbourne to Queensland with 4 kids under 5? No dvd players? Had we reeeeeeeeaaaaally thought this through???
Packing the car was “interesting”. We have a Toyota Tarago and there is not a lot of storage space (pet peeve, people movers with no storage/boot space, utterly illogical!). We’d decided to pack in plastic containers instead of bags and suitcases, the containers stacked nicely and maximised the storage space we do have. At one point in the packing process I thought we were nearly done, there was still spare space! I gave myself a smug pat on the back. Then realised there was still a heap in the house still to come. Oops.
The car was LOADED to the gills, we had clothes, shoes, towels, beach towels, beach chairs, beach tent, sleeping bags, pillows, sheets, our doona, toys, books….you get the idea right? Somehow we made it all fit. I do not understand how, but we did.
The night before we left we put the kids to bed in clothes that would be comfortable for them to travel in and then we went to bed nice and early. Pity I didn’t get to sleep for ages. Before I knew it it was 2.30am and the alarm was going off. Yep. 2.30am. Thommo loaded the kids in the car while I packed the last of our snacks. A quick stop at McDonalds for some mochas and we were on our way!
We left so early expecting the kids to go back to sleep until their usual wake up time, so we could get a nice big chunk of driving out of the way. We stopped the car FOUR times in the first hour. We were starting to get scared. Would we ever actually make it out of Victoria?? After the 4th time everyone settled, they didn’t sleep but at least things were a bit calmer.
I’d packed the big boys backpacks with a lunchbox of snacks, colouring book, crayons, a few toy cars, some stickers and a water bottle. There were a couple of fights over who had whose colouring book etc but for the most part they did really good! They were pretty excited watching the sun rise.
That first leg of the trip we covered 500kms and stopped in Gundagai for more coffee and so the kids could stretch their legs.
Lots of time in the car equals lots of time for silliness:
We ended up turning Ollie’s seat back to rear facing after a bout of car sickness, he was delighted to have his own personal clowns in the back keeping him entertained.
The giggles from the back seat were pretty heart melting.
From Gundagai we drove to Mittagong, before we left I’d book marked Playground Finder in my iPhone and there good reviews for a park in Mittagong. Seriously handy website, we used it a few times on the trip to find a place to stop and have lunch or for the kids to stretch their legs and burn off some energy. The park in Mittagong was gorgeous!
The big boys had a ball with the drinking fountain:
And the twinlets were fascinated by this surfboard on springs:
We arrived at our first overnight stop mid afternoon, we didn’t book ahead so we could be flexible and stop earlier if needed or push on if we were all up for it. We didn’t have any problems finding accommodation on the way up or back. Our first stop was Wollongong, we got a cabin right near the beach, love the sound of waves crashing!
We explored the beach:
Dinner was fish and chips overlooking the marina as a storm rolled in:
We saw a LOT of rain on the trip.
Next day, bright and early (Sebastian looking how I felt)
we headed off to Newcastle. We stopped briefly in Sydney, to see the bridge and the opera house. And get lost. And why does no one warn you that you will go round a bend in the freeway and suddenly there will be planes RIGHT THERE. A runway going over the freeway. That was a bit of a spinout! We got lost a bit more but managed to make it to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.
A bit more getting lost and we were on our way to Newcastle! Newcastle was a must see for me, not for the scenery, but to finally meet a lovely woman whom I have known, courtesy of Mr Internet, for 5-6 years now. Not that I have a photo of her from that day so here’s some random scenery/kids playing instead.
It was after Newcastle that things got a bit hairy. I’d taken over the driving and Thommo and the kids were sleeping, I’d only been driving for 1 or 2 hours and the weather started to disintegrate fast. Visibility turned to shit and there was leaves and debris blowing all over the place. I woke Thommo up and we stopped in the next town (Taree) to evaluate. We checked the weather radars and it seemed to be clear further on so we got the kids an early dinner, crossed our fingers and carried on. Once out of Taree the rain eased up. Our next planned overnight stop was Coffs Harbour but we’d heard they’d copped the storm pretty bad (thank goodness for iPhones!).
We arrived in Coffs and there was a lot of debris around, we decided that while it wasn’t raining we’d push on and try and cover as much ground as we could just in case the weather was bad the next day. We aimed for Grafton and got there just in time, the last 15-20minutes of the drive was accompanied by a spectacular lightening show.
Another early start the next day, lots of beautiful scenery, clear skies and we were in Queensland by 10am. We made it!
The best bits: we were on our much anticipated holiday!!! The park at Mittagong; time spent “meeting” friends in Newcastle
The bad bits: cleaning up vomit less than an hour from home; the big banana and the big prawn, the banana just wasn’t that big and the big prawn in Ballina is looking very worse for wear; driving through the crazy weather while hearing about massive storms and flooding.