Sunday, June 21, 2009

How I love road trips

Before we made the big trek west, we decided to make a road trip with our two girls. The trip plan was a work in progress and was constantly changing even whilst we were on the road. The trip came about after a friend said that they had scored some cheap airfares to the Gold Coast. We figured we would have a look and fly across before we would need to pay an arm and a leg to do so. When I got the total quote and figured in a hire car it just didn't seen like it was going to happen, until I had a brain wave, why don't we drive!!!

I costed it and it seemed doable so I started to look into accomodation and found a nice 1 and a half bedroom apartment in Surfer's Paradise for a steal, so I went out on a whim and booked it. Were we really going to drive to the Gold Coast with a 2 and half year old and a three month old, how nuts were we. I'm a pretty big planner and a massive list writer, so I got on planning the itinary and booking theme park tickets. Whilst I was googling around I saw that Cirque de Soleil was in Canberra at the same time we were planning on travelling, again I did the sums and figured that Canberra really wasn't that far out of our way. So in the spur of the moment booked the tickets. It now was no longer just a trip to the Gold Coast it had grown to a trip to the Gold Coast and Canberra, and considering we were so close we decided to call into Sydeny as well.

I was so excited about this trip, it was really going to either make or break us having no idea how the girls would go in the car, knowing that I had planned some massive driving stints. But by the time the day (or night) that we planned on leaving came around, we were all packed and set to go on our whirlwind adventure. This is how it unfolded.
27th October 2008

Bright and early (or very dark) at 2am in the morning we set off, first stop Dubbo. We decided that we did not have any real interest in stopping any where between Adelaide and Dubbo, so set off in the wee hours of the morning to knock over some decent kilometres whilst the girls slept the time away. The plan was for me to sleep but after seeing kangaroo heads pop up at the side of the road my nerves were on edge. I also managed to collect the first bit of road kill with our brand new car (it was less than a few days old), a bunny with a death wish met an untimely end. I was a bit thrown after that. We also had to stop (well slow down) for a koala taking it's time crossing the road. The wildlife we saw on that trek was amazing.

However the new car also recieved it's first chip, a rock and our windscreen collided leaving a nice little crack, so on arrival into Dubbo we made a quick trip to Windscreen Obriens for some patch up work before finding our bed for the night. Our room was simply that a bed, there was no room for anything else and with a cranky two year old who having slept most the day away was not tired and given we had had no sleep, it was not a good combination.

28th October 2008

We hit the road early again and make our way towards Queensland. At the border we do the typical tourist thing and pull up on the side of the road and get a photo with the big billboard welcoming us to Queensland. I had all these photos as a kid and I love looking at them so want to do the same for our girls.Driving into Surfers Paradise was a nice surprise as the Indy track was still up so we got to drive on the track to get to our appartment, well once we found our appartment that is. The Navman was giving us the bum steer and took us in the wrong direction but we did find it eventually. We also splurged and went to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and again got the obligatory photos and souvenirs.
29th October 2008

Today we made our way to Dreamworld, I do believe this was a big hit, Miss Taleisha loved it. She went on every ride possible. She loved Nickolodeon central, she went on the Dora Sea Planes, the Blue Clues ride, The carousel, the swing seat ride, absolutely everything. She also went on some of the big kid rides including this canyon one, she definitely surprised me, the girl has no fear!!! Wiggles World however was a tad disappointing.
It was however a massive day out and on our way home we stopped at a couple of factory outlets, however Taleisha was completely worn outIn the evening we had a wander of the Surfers Paradise beach side markets, some gorgeous stuff and such a beautiful beach. Sadly we didn't spend anytime on the beach, maybe next time.
30th October 2008

Todays agenda was Seaworld and OMG it was a hit. It had to be our pick of the parks. There was something for everyone. We got to watch all the shows. Loved the dolphins, it was exactly as I remembered, if not better. I loved seeing Taleisha's excitement about everything, especially Sesame street beach and Elmo, that was definitely a hit.
31st October 2008
The last of the theme parks today, we headed off to Movieworld. We were a bit worried as we had heard soem reviews that there wasn't much there for young kids but we found that the WB kids section was fantastic. Taleisha went on nearly every ride and had an absolute blast. So we would highly recommend Movieworld. We were also very fortunate that given we were visiting parks during the week and out of school holidays the queues weren't crazy and Taleisha could hop between rides without having to wait for an eternity to get on them.

Taleisha was the cutest on the mini bumper cars, she could only just reach the pedal to make it go and when she did she would go round and round in circles.

1st November 2008

We drove up to Brisbane for the day, visited South Bank, what a little beauty that place is. We went to the State Library and caught up with a good friend and her girls. Taleisha had an accident whilst at the library and managed to make a bit of a mess of it, I felt so sorry for the guy that had to clean it up. We also didn't have any spare clothes for her, whoops. After a play at the library we went for a stroll down a local eatery and had lunch, the big girls got an icecream as a treat, they looked uber cute licking their ice creams together.

When we got back to Surfers Paradise we where off on a tour on the Aquaduck, this thing was heaps of fun, the girls even got to have a turn at the wheel when we were on the water.

2nd November 2008

On the road again, today we got up early and were headed for Sydney. It was a very scenic trip and coming out and seeing a hot air balloon in the sky and the rolls royce travelling in front of you was pretty nice. Driving into Sydney the views were simply spectacular.

3rd November 2008

From the last time I visited Sydney and visited Taronga Zoo I have raved about it, so it was a must see place when we were calling through. One thing however that we did not take into account when we headed off to the zoo this fine sunny day was peak hour traffic. A trip that our Navman assured us would only take 40 minutes took some where close to 2 hours, it was insane and quite frustrating. The zoo was just as I remembered it, definitely managed to get a work out, walking up and down the hills with Miss Mackenzie in the sling and Miss Taleisha in the pusher.

In the evening we were very fortunate enough to have a dinner invitation with a good friend and her girls. Our kids got on famously, it was great company, excellent food and a fantastic evening.

4th November 2008

On the road again, headed for Canberra. We had a lunch date with a friend and her little boy so had some distance to cover. However Sydney traffic had other ideas, and it took us a while to get moving. On the way we decided that we were not going to be able to see the things we wanted to see before going to see Cirque de Soleil that evening, so we decided to stay an extra night in Canberra. I cancelled our accomodation that I had planned for the next night and booked another night at the Crown. ( it was our splurge night given we had done the budget thing for all the other nights and I had gotten a good deal, our extra night however was at rack rate and it was nasty but we went ahead with it anyway). Lunch was lovely. We visited Parliament house and got some obligatory photos and then it was off to Cirque de Soleil. The show did not disappoint it was awesome!!!

5th November 2008

Today we continued with the tourist thing, we visited the War Memorial, that place was impressive. We visited the Canberra Mint. We visited the National Zoo and Aquarium, this place was a little disappointing given it is titled as the National Zoo, it did have a heap of renos going on, so it can only improve. Visited another carousel and hit the shops. Managed to run in Jana (whatever her last name is), the olympic runner and her family in pumpkin patch. I also introduce Andrew to the Krispy Kreme donut and he is instantly in love insisting that tomorrow we need to buy a couple dozen to take home with us.

6th November 2008

My birthday and the second year in a row that we were away for it, definitely spoilt. Nothing exciting planned for my birthday though, driving driving and more driving. Whilst on the road Andrew simply mentions, that given we are this close did I want to visit my bestie in Melbourne for a few days. OMG hell yes!!! I call my best mate and see if she can put us up for a couple of days, she is just as excited at the prospect as I am, so it is a deal. So another change of plans. So I cancel our accomodation again and we change our course and head for Melbourne. Woohoo!!!

7th November 2008

Today we visited Aunty Laina in her classroom, Miss Taleisha thought it was fantastic. We then went to the Aquarium as it was one of the few places in Melbourne left for us to see. I do believe we will be going back again, Taleisha loved it and I would like Mackenzie to experience it to. We also managed to do a bit of shopping, factory outlets are really bad, especially on the bank balance.

8th November 2008

Considering this part of the trip was completely unplanned we kind of took today as it came, so first place we visited was the Dandenong Show. It was years since I went to a rural show. However I know one thing that has changed for sure having to pay for parking and entrance fee, ouch. The girls got there first showbags. We made our way to Pancake Parlour and I found my new favourite dish, chocolate panckaes with chocolate sauce, cream and strawberries.

9th November 2008
Homeward bound, what started out as a little road trip to the Gold Coast, resulted in a one way trip to every east coast capital. It was a great trip. The girls were A class travellers. The car was packed to bursting point. Literally. The girls had a complete new wardrobe.

The trip was amazing, an absolutely fantastic experience and as me earning for more. I want to hire a caravan and set off on a trip around Australia. I think the girls would gain so much from that and it is definitely on our one day list. I learnt so much about myself on this trip and I love the experiences as a family that we gained, the memories we made, the photos we have, our first family holiday, it was definitely one to remember and Miss Mackenzie welcomed her first tooth whilst on the road. Can't wait for the next one, I am definitely a road trip junkie, or amybe I'm just a holiday junkie, always have itchy feet!! So many places I want to see, one day, one day.


  1. I'm sure you will find my Caravan Park Photos website very useful for your trip.

    I've photographed and reviews 100's of Caravan Parks particularly in the east.

    Safe travels

  2. we'd love to also do a trip around AUS with our kids! sounds like a fantastic family experience.