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!

02 December, 2012

Eltham, NSW

On Tuesday the 13th November, we left the Gold coast and headed south toward Eltham.  As we drove along, we crossed back into NSW.  This was the first time that we had been back in our home state for more than a year!
Heading back into NSW!
We drove to Mike’s brother and sister in law’s house where we were staying for the next week.  The kids didn’t waste any time re-acquainting themselves with their cousins Oliver, Grace and Hannah; and were playing happily in no time.  Baby Hannah took an immediate liking to Uncle Mike (much to Mike’s delight) and would happily go to Mike any time.  Mike’s Brother (Rich) had been working in Gladstone and wasn’t due back for a day or two.  We spent the afternoon playing around with the kids and catching up with Naomi.  After a great dinner, Sam enjoyed a real bath – which is something he looks forward to whenever we stay somewhere with a bath.  Mike has another brother (Chris) who lives in Bexhill, which is about 10 mins away from Rich’s house, so that evening Mike dropped over to Chris and Alison’s house for a quick catchup and a cup of tea.
Our van parked at Rich & Naomi's house

Natalie and Grace

Hannah with Uncle Mike

Playtime with the cousins

Sam hadn't seen so many toys in a long time!
Unfortunately on Wednesday Sam came down with a fever and was sick, so we hung around at the house and the caravan for the day and just laid low.  Natalie and Josh did some school in the morning.  Oliver was at school, but Josh was more than happy to play with Oli’s Bionicles, and Natalie continued to enjoy playing with Gracie and Hannah.  That afternoon, Mike had a go of Rich’s ride-on Mower - which is such a better way to mow a lawn than a hand mower!

The next morning Mike mowed the back lawn while Josh and Natalie did school.  Sam was feeling better by Thursday, so after morning tea, we headed out to visit Byron Bay.  We have been to the Most Northerly (Tip of Cape York), Most Southerly (Wilsons Promontory) and Most Westerly (Denham) points of Australia; so we wanted to go to the Most Easterly - Cape Byron.  It was a beautiful day, but was blowing a gale at the Byron lighthouse.  After we’d had a look at the most easterly point, we went to look at the Museum inside the lighthouse.  When we were there, one of the volunteers gave us a tour and explained some of the artifacts in the lighthouse, which was quite interesting.
Liz and the kids at Cape Byron Lighthouse

Cape Byron

This completes the North, East, South and West of Mainland Australia
Mike’s brother arrived home on Thursday afternoon, so we had a good catchup that afternoon.  That evening, Mike went to ‘Craft Night’, which is a fortnightly occurrence which his brothers Rich and Chris have established where they meet at someone’s house and build boats.  So far they have built 5 large Canadian style canoes, and now they are in the process of building a catamaran out of wood from a set of plans.  Mike went along to have a chat and lend a hand – it was great fun.

Mike and Rich
Rich had been working non-stop for 10 days, so he took a day off on Friday (and Oli missed a day of school) and we all headed down to the Ballina River and went canoeing in one of the boats that Rich and Chris had made at ‘craft night’.  We had a great time paddling around the river for a while.
Ready for a paddle on the river

We had some lunch down at the river and then Sam started to feel unwell, so we had to head back to the house where Sam could have some panadol and lie down.  At 4pm on Friday (and with Sam dosed up on Panadol) we headed over to Mike’s Unlce Paul’s place.  Uncle Paul lives on a Macadamia Nut farm.  We had organised to have a cup of tea with Paul and we were also keen to have a look around the property.  The kids and Mike rode around the property on the back of Uncle Pauls’ ute with Lizzie the big, friendly German Shepherd.

Rich and Naomi had kindly offered to host a BBQ at their house on Sat 17th November, so we invited Mike’s Uncle Paul, Mike’s Cousin Steve and his 2 kids, Chris and Alison and their 2 kids over to have a BBQ lunch.  There were 10 kids and 8 adults and it was lots of fun to catchup with everyone. Our kids had not seen Chris and Alison’s kids (Chloe and Jay) for a while and were thrilled to play with them.  They also enjoyed seeing Steve’s kids (Zaliah and Toby).  We really enjoyed having everyone together.  Unfortunately, Natalie got a fever and started feeling sick (just like Sam) on Saturday and needed to lie down in the van for a while, and then the panadol kept her going.

BBQ in Eltham

The kids table (Toby is the only one missing)
On Sunday Morning, we joined Mike’s cousin Steve and his 2 kids at their Church in Lismore.  It was great to see Steve’s church and their new building, right in the middle of Lismore.  After Church, we went over to Chris and Al’s place (and joined Rich and Naomi with their kids) for lunch.  It was a fairly hot day, so after lunch, we all went to the school where Chris works as a teacher, and we went for a swim in their 33 yard pool.  When we’d finished swimming, we headed back to Chris and Al’s place where Mike spent a bit of time with Chris having a look at their new boat.

We had a great week in Eltham with Mike’s relatives and our time there went way too quickly.  Thanks to Rich & Naomi, and Chris & Al for having us at your places – it was great to see you all.

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