Saturday, 29 August 2015


Ahhh, we had missed living in our camper and the camping life! After a week in Castlemaine, staying with family, we were more than ready to get back into our holiday and back into our routine of camping.

We arrived in Echuca and remembering some advice from an older couple we chatted to in Sydney, we checked into the Echuca Caravan Park, in the centre of town and with its big new amenities block! We were most impressed with the heaters in the showers and the big family bathroom, which made bathing the kids a lot easier!

We were able to walk from the park to the Port, where we took a Paddle Steamer ride down the Murray River on the P.S Pevensey. Luckily we got the 2 for 1 deal (running in August only) so we decided to pay to look in the discovery centre as well.

The kids enjoyed the paddle steamer ride and listening to the history surrounding the area. The discovery centre gave the kids a spotto sheet and they liked completing it and receiving a lollypop at the end! The centre was full of written history of the Echuca area and I was surprised to learn that in the early 1900’s this place was the third biggest port in Australia (after Melbourne and Sydney!). There were also some hands on activities such as having a turn of putting wood in the steam engine and blowing the whistle. And having a go of the hand pumps that were used in the olden days! There was hardly anyone else there and the staff were so kind to the kids, chatting away and helping them with their spotto sheet.

We had lunch at a cute little café called ‘Wisteria’ where we sat by an open fire place and had a white table cloth laid out for us! The café was well priced, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was just what we needed on a sunny, but cold winters day in Echuca.
Sitting by the fire doing some drawing at the cafe

Wisteria Cafe

After lunch we headed to the Holden Museum for Craig to have a look. Got to see a convertible VL commodore, which was a highlight!

The following day we were due to leave but since the sky was lovely and blue in Echuca (and raining in Melbourne) we decided to stay another night. We spent the day taking a horse and carriage ride down the main street. And having some old fashioned photos taken. Then made use of the brand new recreational room (with a heater) at the caravan park to do some school work.

us in the olden days!! Abigail was pissed off as she wanted a hat like Matilda's!

Our horse and carriage ride!

I really liked Echuca. The history, the buildings, the town itself. Our family enjoyed our stay and we will be back one day in the future. Craig is keen to fly over here and hire a house boat and sail down the Murray. So no doubt we will do it when the kids are a bit older!

Glenrowan and Castlemaine

We left Canberra and reluctantly headed south, to more cold weather. We had a conversation one night during our stay in Canberra and I suggested going back to Perth via Broome where the weather was a lovely 30 degrees every day! Craig was so tempted by my suggestion that he looked up how many kilometres it would be! But we wanted to do a lap. And we wanted to stick to our rough plan. And we needed to see my family who were in central Victoria. And Broome was a long way away! But geez we were tempted to turn around and go back north!

From Canberra we drove to Gundagai to see the dog on the tucker box. 

We then headed to Glenrowan and came across this fantastic little park.

We loved it so much we stayed two nights instead of one.

Glenrowan was our coldest camping night yet, with temperatures dropping to -3 over night. We have hot water bottles, blankets, sleeping bags, doonas and a heater in the camper. If we stay zipped up all night, we are actually pretty cosy. But the second you step outside you know about it!

Next day was icy cold. We spent a few hours at the local pub (which had a wood heater) and had a $15 parmi for lunch. The kids enjoyed colouring in and Craig and I sat back and relaxed. Gotta love a country pub! We then had a look around the streets, visiting the Ned Kelly museum and the siege site.

We left the next morning and headed to Castlemaine; to spend the week visiting my nana, uncles and cousins. I lived in country Victoria for the first 12 years of my life and have visited every couple of years since then. Castlemaine is a beautiful place full of gold rush history. But you don’t appreciate the old buildings and heritage until you don’t live there.

The town is full of memories for me. Everywhere I turn is nostalgic.

My old house that used to be cream but is now partly blue, my old school, the little milkbar where I got bags of lollies from. The park in the middle of town where my brother, sister and I used to go play in. The shop my uncle and I got hot chips from. Walking the same footpath my mum used to walk along, pushing me in a pram, 32 years ago. My nana’s house with its little cottage kitchen where I used to bake cakes. My grandpa’s house with the big iron pot he used to cook his dog’s food in. The neat lawns out the front of my other grand mother’s house.

Very little changes. I’m happy to visit but I’m always happy to leave.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


We left Sydney late on purpose, so we could avoid the early morning traffic on our way to Canberra. I was designated driver on the way into Sydney and the way out. Craig is happy to drive long distances on open roads but I am a lot more patient than him and I can deal with the kids noise etc, so I was in the drivers seat again as we departed Narambin and made our way straight through the centre of Sydney. Six lanes of traffic, tunnels, toll roads, intersections, people who cut in.... All with the camper on the back! Lucky the GPS knew where to go so I just followed along. I set the kids up with a DVD so there was minimal noise from the backseat. 

We originally were going to stop in Golburn to catch up with a mate of Craig's. But the girls were all snotty and had a flu, Charlotte being the worst and was on antibiotics from the medical centre in Bathurst. I suggested that dropping into someones house with 3 sick kids was probably a bit rude, so we will save our visit for next time. Sorry Brett and Sonia!

We always were going to keep our accommodation card up our sleeve for Canberra because we knew it would be freezing. We stopped in at the tourist info centre and they booked us a Cabin at a nearby park. We grabbed a map and brochure and made a short list of things to do. Craig and I both grew up in Victoria, so Canberra was the place we both went to for school camp in year 6. We could remember bits and pieces and were keen to revisit some places. 

War Museum (Craig and I)
Art gallery (me)
Questacon science gallery (kids)
Institute of Sport (Craig)
National Library (me)
National Portrait gallery (me)
the Mint (Craig)
Botanical gardens (me)
Australian of the year walk (me) 
Parlament house (Craig)

Luckily most of this stuff was inside, so we kept warm most days.  

We also did a day trip to the snow from Canberra. This was on the list of things to do before we even left Perth! 

On first impressions Canberra is the sort of town that would suit a person with OCD! All the streets are lined perfectly with perfectly manicured gardens and trees. The buildings are neat and symmetrical. The grass and the lake are well maintained with perfect walking tracks. 

I would like to go back here kid free one day. It wasn't the most kid friendly place but ours did really well being quiet in the galleries and allowing us time to have a quick look through most of the stuff on our list.  Unfortunately we ran out of time so never made it to the mint, the library or to the portrait gallery.  

Here are some pics of the places did visit. 

Parliament house. 

Botanical gardens 

Dinosaurs at the botanical gardens 

Australian of the year walk

You bloody good thing Johnny!! 

war museum 

one of the many sculptures in the grounds of the war museum 

Simpson and his Donkey

the interactive room at the war museum was great for the kids 

I love the paintings by the war artists, men who were commissioned by the government to go to war and paint 

jackson pollock painting is amazing 

kids watching one of the multicultural dances at the gallery 

Questacon science museum was the perfect way to spend an afternoon 

kids dancing behind the screen 

the snow! 

warming up by the fire with a hot chocolate