Monday, March 12, 2012

The first part


Have you ever set out on a holiday with no plan? I have to admit that it wasn't quite as drastic as it sounds. Up until a few days before we really couldn't decide where to spend our one to two week (even the duration was undecided) camping trip. Throw in some flooding and bad weather and you have a decidedly "no plan" plan.

For the weather forecast certainly did not look good. We checked it daily the week leading up to our trip. It seemed every district, every state in fact, was forecast for a solid month of rain. Since when does it rain for a month in this dry old continent of ours?

Not to worry, we told ourselves. The camping trip would go on regardless, and there was always a bail out option of finding a motel.

So camper trailer packed, we set off for Orbost, staying for the night. Which, a few days later was impassable, with the Snowy River flooding the highway.

Our first proper destination was Phillip Island. I had spent some time there as a teenager and was curious to go back. I was a little surprised at the new freeways going in, the increase in the traffic and the growth of the towns in the area. There was so many people around. A lot can change in fifteen years. And it had.

Of course the weather turned on us, very soon after we left home. For four days it rained on and off. Some nights it was torrential. I won't lie and say that this part of our holiday was a highlight. In fact, at times I felt downright gloomy.

The caravan park was squishy. A rat was nibbling at the (covered) fruit on the table when we got up one morning. It jumped off and almost ran over Violet. I don't like rats. At all.

More rain.

On the plus side I got a lot of knitting done.

photo by Julia

Violet continually tried to crawl away. Right into the mud. Yes, this wasn't quite how we'd imagined things would go.

We visited some touristy places. Not my favourite thing to do, but the kids did seem to enjoy themselves.  We saw a few penguins. But there is only so much you can do on a gloomy weather day.

yes - it's a chocolate railway

The coastline was beautiful but rugged.

Once the heavy rain subsided (enough to pack up our camper relatively dry) we were ready for the next leg of our journey.  The Strezlecki Ranges.

 Namely, the Grand Ridge Road.Which I'd found while googling late at night.

We fell in love with the rolling hills, the green-ness and the wind-break hedges. There was a little stopover in the quaint little town of Mirboo North.

Soon, the rolling hills made way to towering old forests covered with tree ferns. And still, the weather stayed clear.

I remember wondering during these days if our expectations for holidays were too high? Life is not easy with three kids. Were we just shifting our family with its often challenging dynamics to a different location and expecting things to be calm and rosy?

But I think what I needed to do was to lower those expectations. Camping can be hard, but rewarding work (hopefully with a little rest thrown in there). We had to adapt our camping style a little. Some meals indoors.  Cereal instead of bacon and eggs. Using a dryer for the first time in many years. It took us a good few days to really start to enjoy ourselves.

To find our camping feet once again.


  1. I do remember camping being quite challenging with three little ones, at times. And it does take a little while to relax into it, a different rhythm. But so many beautiful memories also. Very brave of you to go camping in the rain. Well done, the children have such different memories of these holidays than adults do!

  2. looks like an awesome adventure. violet is just stunning. x ashley

  3. i would LOVE to road trip with the kids...but that would require a bus (literally) and i'm too scaredy cat to drive a bus!


  4. Our most memorable holidays have been spontaneous trips where we just pack and are off...of course it was far easier for us to do that back in NZ as we had either friends or family in most towns. Camping was something we did every year back home come rain, hail or many wonderful memories.

    Our next planned road trip is from the West Coast to the East later this year...can't wait!


  5. Thanks Tania for yet another honest post. You are right, it really just IS taking the family, with all its challenges, with you, quite literally, to another spot. Also, the 24/7 togetherness, camping or otherwise, takes a little getting used to sometimes. Still though, always worth it and many memories to be made to smile back on later ;-)

  6. You are a braver woman than me...we have been on a holiday since the twins were born and i know we shall have to brave it soon or miss teen will be leaving the nest....but oh such energy, lol!
    I enjoyed your photos and looks like you managed some fun amongst the rain which is great!!

  7. I think you made a lot of memories for your children

  8. "yes - it's a chocolate railway" - that is probably the best photo caption I've ever read!
    Ah, family holidays with small kids... never quite what you might hope but somehow it's the good bits you remember forever :)

  9. Thanks for showing us another part of Australia that I would love to see one day! Your photos are always divine...and your knitting is looking fantastic!! Glad to hear you stayed dry through the floods. Jamberoo was pretty saturated, but it just helps me get more crafting in! Blessings, Shani

  10. Hi Tania! I'm back!!!! I am sooo sorry that I have been absent without warning in blog land and I am so disappointed that I missed your traveling posts as you weren't far from me and it would have been amazing to meet you somewhere...maybe? It looks like you had a great family break!


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