So what is all about? Well... hopefully, by the time we are done, it will be a comprehensive journal about a family of 5 who have travelled around Australia to see the sights and also do some volunteer work around the country! In Mid 2010 we started thinking about what it would take to fulfil a life-long dream... We wanted to bundle up our 3 kids, pack-up the house, jump in the car and hit the road - probably for about 12 months. It sounds so simple ... At the start of January 2013, after almost 15 months on the road; we finally completed Our Big Aussie Road Trip. We hope that you enjoyed following our adventures, trials and tribulations as much as we enjoyed having them!

31 December, 2012


We had really enjoyed being in our cabin over Christmas, but on Boxing Day, it was time to packup and move out of our cabin because we were driving to Devonport for 2 nights before taking the ferry back to the mainland.  Camping around Tasmania has been lots of fun, but it has been very hard to go from a tent to a cabin and back to a tent – twice, while we’ve been in Tassie, because life in a tent is always harder than in a cabin (or in our caravan!).  We drove from Launceston to Devonport on Boxing Day.  Not far out of Launceston, there is the Tamar Island wetlands, and we decided to do the 1km walk to the island and look at the wetland.  It was a nice walk with lots of birdlife.  We also saw a small tiger snake next to the path.
Tamar Island Wetlands was really beautiful

The Boys walking along the Tamar Island Wetland Boardwalk

We think this is a small tiger snake which was just off the path

Two black swans at the wetlands

We had planned to stay at a site just outside of Devonport at the Seventh Day Adventist campground.  Previously on our trip we had found that SDA campgrounds are very well priced and generally pretty good (like Perth and Townsville), however when we arrived at this one, we decided we didn’t want to stay, there were no hot showers because this campsite is normally only used for conferences and doesn’t have an onsite manager looking after the campground. So we drove into Devonport and setup the tents at a caravan park right on the river where we could see the Spirit of Tasmania coming and going.  It was quite late in the afternoon, so we just had dinner and went to bed.

Thursday the 27th December was our day to explore Devonport.  We took a short walk along the foreshore near the caravan park, and then drove over to the ‘Spirit of the Sea’ sculpture on the other side of the river.  While we were on the viewing platform, Sam lost one of his crocs into the ocean.  We hung around to see if it would get washed up onto the rocks, but it just stayed bobbing up and down on the river, so we had to abandon it – much to Sam’s disappointment.
Liz and the kids with Devonport in the background

Mike trying to fish out Sam's croc (shoe)

The kids always like to play around on the fitness equipment!

We then drove to the lighthouse and had a walk around the headland.  We had some lunch at a nearby beach and then went exploring on the rocks (as it was low tide) where Natalie and Sam caught some small crabs while Josh and Mike built a pyramid of rocks.
The Devonport Lighthouse

Josh, Sam and Natalie with Bass Straight behind them
Our final stop for the day was at the Mini Golf centre, where we all enjoyed playing some crazy mini golf – with some very hard holes on it – but it was heaps of fun.  Golf took a bit longer than we thought it would, so after golf, we headed back to the tent for some dinner and our last night in Tasmania.
We all enjoyed a game of mini golf in Devonport

30 December, 2012

Christmas in Launceston

We drove from Bicheno to Launceston on Sunday 23rd December.  We had booked a Cabin in a caravan park in Hadspen (just outside of Launceston) so that we would have a cabin on Christmas day – just in case it was wet, and also to have somewhere to stack our presents under our ‘tree’ because there isn’t much room in our tent!  We also wanted to cook our own Christmas Lunch this year, and we could only do that with a cabin.

The cabin wasn’t going to be available until 2pm, so when we got to Launceston, we headed to Kmart to finish our Christmas Shopping.  Thankfully, we managed to battle the crowds and complete all our shopping for Christmas.

Later that afternoon, we booked into our cabin and unloaded everything from the car for our 3 night stay.  After a look around the caravan park, and around Hadspen, we all watched a movie before dinner.

The next day was Christmas Eve, and we had a nice slow start.  We had spotted a skate park near the caravan park, so the boys went for a skate on Sam’s scooter (which was a present from his birthday the week before).  We then headed into Launceston to do some food shopping and look around Launceston.

After a drive around Launceston, we drove out to Cataract gorge where we had lunch overlooking ‘First Basin’.  We watched the chairlifts heading over the gorge, but we decided to do the short walk across to the other side and over the suspension bridge via a nice lookout over the gorge.  When we’d had enough, we caught the inclinator back to the top of the hill and then drove to ‘City Park’ where there are some Japanese monkeys.  We watched the monkeys for a little while and saw two tiny babies with their mothers – the babies were very cute.
The "Christmas tree" in our cabin took pride of place!

Mike and the Kids in Cataract Gorge

Overlooking Cataract Gorge, Launceston

Walking across Alexandra's Bridge

A mother Monkey and her Baby
Later that afternoon, there was a Christmas eve BBQ being held at the IGA next to the caravan park, so we headed over for some food and drink.  Santa was also driving around Hadspen in a Fire truck, and he drove right into the Caravan park and handed out lots of lollies, which the kids loved!

Santa arriving at our caravan park in the fire truck

Santa handing out lollies
The kids were all very excited that night about Santa coming and leaving some presents for them the next morning, that they all found it pretty hard to get to sleep, but they finally succumbed to their tiredness and Santa came to the cabin that night.

Christmas day was a pretty early start.  Josh was the first up, and got into his Santa bag very quickly,  he was soon followed by Natalie and Sam.  When everyone was up, we did some presents followed by a yummy breakfast and some more presents.  Sam was thrilled with the Ukulele that he got.  Josh loved the two Bionicle (Hero factory) toys that he loves so much at the moment, and Natalie was very excited with her Barbie doll and some ‘girl’ lego.
Excitement on Christmas morning

Sam and his Ukulele

Josh was very happy with his Hero Factory
Soon enough it was time for us to head into the city to go to the church that we’d seen the day before.  St John’s Anglican Church in Launceston was a beautiful old church building.  There were plenty of people at the service, and it was a nice service with carols and a brief message.  The kids sat through it pretty well. After church we headed back to the cabin to enjoy a nice big Christmas Lunch followed by the last lot of presents for the day, lots of playing with the new toys and watching a DVD that Josh had received.  Just like normal, we all ate too much yummy food, and ate too much sugary chocolate, but had a great day as a family in Launceston – our second Christmas on our trip around this wonderful country.
The kids proudly showing off Presents from Aunty Lyn - Thanks Lyn

Our Christmas Lunch
Late in the afternoon, we went for a little walk down to the river to walk off some of the Christmas Lunch we’d eaten!  That night, with tired eyes, full bellies, and nothing as exciting as Santa to wake up for the next morning, we all slept well in our cabin.
Down at the river in Hadspen

29 December, 2012


We left Hobart on Thursday 20th December, but we didn’t leave until nearly midday as we stayed at the great apartment in Seven Mile Beach until we had to check out.  The kids played Wii while Liz and Mike packed the car again, ready to head to Bicheno.  We drove to Bicheno, and then, once we were all setup in the caravan park, we had a quick drive around the town to see the blowhole and what else was in the area.
The Bicheno Blowhole
Friday was going to be great weather, so we headed to Freycinet National Park.  After a short look at the visitor information centre, we went to the wineglass bay lookout walk.  We walked up to the wineglass bay lookout and it was a very busy bushwalk.  There were lots of other people doing the lookout walk and the lookout platform was really busy.  Nonetheless, the beautiful views over Wineglass Bay were worth the walk.
Josh, Sam and Natalie with Wineglass Bay in the background

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park

Once we were back at the car, we headed to Cape Tourville Lighthouse and walked to the lookout.  The ocean was so still and it was a beautiful view over the Freycinet coastline.  It was time for lunch, so we headed to Richardson’s Beach for a picnic lunch overlooking Coles Bay.
Overlooking the ocean at Cape Tourville

Sam and Natalie at Cape Tourville

The kids enjoying the sand at Richardson's Beach

On the way back to Bicheno, we turned off and drove to Friendly Beaches for a look at the Northern End of Freycinet National Park.  The Orange lichen growing on the granite rocks are definitely a beautiful aspect of this part of coastline.  We had fun climbing over the rocks and exploring rockpools at Friendly Beaches.

The beautiful coastline of Freycinet National Park

The kids in front of some of the Orange rocks in the area

That night, after dinner, we walked along the beach and found plenty of Penguin burrows and more rocks to climb on.  Once it was getting dark enough to think about bed (which wasn’t until after 8pm, and it is still light until well after 9pm this far south), we retired back to the tent.

On Saturday the 22nd, we spent the whole day around Bicheno.  The kids had made lots of new ‘friends’ at the caravan park playground (just across from our tent) and so they spent a bit of time playing with them throughout the day.  However, we also got out and about and did lots of things around town.  We walked through the shops looking for Christmas presents or other bargains.  We climbed up the two lookouts in town – The Rock lookout and Whalers lookout.  Both of these lookouts gave a great view over the town and surrounding coastline.  We walked along the beach and then walked over to Diamond Island (which you can only walk to on low tide), and we saw some penguins hiding in their burrows on the island.  We scrambled around the rocks and tried to walk around the whole island, but some nesting Albatross didn’t want us around their newborn chick, so we didn’t quite make it all the way around, but it was great fun exploring the island.
At the top of Rock Lookout in Bicheno

Walking over to Diamond Island

Mike, Sam and Josh rock hopping on Diamond Island

Overlooking Bicheno from the Whalers Lookout
Bicheno is a lovely spot to explore and see the beautiful coastline around this area.  The water isn’t warm enough to comfortably swim, so we didn’t get any swimming in, but there were plenty of other things that we got to do while we were there.

24 December, 2012


Although the drive from Strahan to Hobart is only about 320Km, it is quite a long drive due to the terrain that you must cross to get from the West Coast to Hobart.  In fact, if you flattened Tasmania out, it would cover more area than Mainland Australia, so you can tell there are lots of hills on the island!  Throughout our travels for the last year and a bit, everyone has travelled really well.  Natalie would occasionally complain of a sore tummy on winding roads, but overall everyone travels well.  Unfortunately, since hitting Tasmania, Natalie has had a lot of motion sickness (Kwells help a bit though, which is good).  We drove from Strahan to Queenstown and then on to Lake St Clair where we stopped for lunch and a look at Australia's deepest freshwater lake.

Lake St Clair, Tasmania
We were then heading for Hobart, where we had been given a 4-night stay at a luxurious resort as a gift!  Not only had we been given the resort stay as a gift, but it was a Presidential suite at the resort!!!  So we went from being in a wet tent on air mattresses, to being in a 3 Bedroom villa with a King size bed, a fireplace, 3 TV’s, a Wii, a DVD player, 3 baths (2 Spa Baths) and as much space as our house in Sydney!

It was soooo luxurious, and we were just blown away with how nice it was.  We were sure that the next 4 nights would be superb.  When we got to the villa, we unpacked all our gear and explored all the amazing things that we had at our disposal for the duration of our stay.

The kitchen and dining room of the Presidential apartment we were given

Josh enjoying the Wii
On Mon 17th  we played some Wii after breakfast, then we drove to some nearby shops to re-stock and buy some presents for Sam’s birthday, which was the next day (and also buy some Christmas Presents while we were in Hobart).  After the shops, we had lunch at a park where the kids had a bit of a play, and then we headed to the Cadbury Factory at Claremont.  We were expecting to pay the normal entry fee, but they were having a fundraising that day and we only needed to make a gold coin donation to enter which was a bonus.  Also, we were pleasantly surprised to each be given 2 big blocks of chocolate after we’d made our gold coin donation!  We listened to the 2pm Presentation about how chocolate is made and packaged and then spent a little bit of time browsing through the Cadbury Shop - which has lots of chocolate at very cheap prices!  I wish I could say that we resisted the temptation to purchase a few things!
The kids with their complimentary blocks of chocolate
After the Cadbury factory, we drove through the Hobart CBD and made our way to Mount Wellington.  When we got to the top of the 1100m Mountain, we got out of the car and it was freezing with a cold wind blowing.  We had an explore around the mountain for a bit and went to the viewing shelter and platforms before succumbing to the cold and heading back to a nice warm car.  It is a fantastic view from Mt Wellington, and we loved heading up there that afternoon.

The view from the top of Mount Wellington, Hobart

Mike and the kids at Mt Wellington
Tuesday the 18th of December was Samuel’s 5th Birthday.  Needless to say that all the kids were excited about getting up that morning!  Presents were the first thing to happen and Sam ripped through his pile of presents in no time - and was thrilled with each thing he got.  Sam wanted Pancakes for breakfast - so pancakes it was!  After breakfast (and playing with some of the birthday presents for a while), we went and got some bikes to ride around the resort, and to ride along the road parallel to Seven Mile beach.
Sam was pretty happy about being 5

One of Sam's birthday presents

The kids on their bikes in front of the Apartment
We rode for a while and explored around the resort (including finding the playground) and then we rode to seven mile beach for a look.  When we’d had enough riding, it was time to think about getting a ‘Birthday party’ lunch ready for Sam.  Sam and Natalie decorated the cake (which we got to bake in the oven in the apartment) and then we had a birthday lunch and birthday cake for Sam.
Decorating Sam's Birthday cake

Sam's 5th Birthday
After lunch we watched a DVD that we had picked up from reception.  The rest of the daytime was spent playing with presents and enjoying the facilities in the beautiful suite we were lucky enough to stay at (including the Wii, the outdoor spa bath and the 3 TV’s).  At dinner time, Sam chose to go to KFC, so we headed to Sorrell for a KFC meal.  It was a nice low-key day and Sam had a great birthday.
The kids enjoyed a swim in our private outdoor spa
Wed the 19th of December was a very quiet day for us.  We didn’t drive anywhere in the car and we stayed in the resort and made use of its wonderful facilities.  We used the Wii and the DVD player in our suite, and we also got to use the resort’s: pool and spa, the games room.  We also hired equipment for Tennis and Boules (Bocce), as well as playing in the playground.  The kids all played with Sam’s new presents too and so it was a nice quiet day on our last full day in the resort.
Playing checkers at the resort
We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay at 7 mile beach.  It really felt like a bit of a holiday because we could just relax and use all the beautiful facilities we had available to us.  It was a shame to have to leave it, but it was time to start heading north again.