The Uncommon Family: Victorian Alps

The Uncommon Family 4x4 in the Victorian High Country.


Not really knowing what to expect we headed off with only one of our little uncommon family kids Charli  to explore the Victorian high country in Easter 2012. From all the reading and DVDs we had seen we knew we were in for a seriously rugged remote off road adventure!


The tracks are mostly classed as difficult and require a 4WD set up for serious off road action. The tracks are very slow going and one day we only covered 40km the whole day. Traveling this slow isn't a problem as the views of the high country are breathtaking and never get boring! Many tracks are only suitable for one vehicle with no passing and have sheer drops on one side which adds an element of danger and keeps the heart pounding!


The weather was extremely cold which gave it the authentic feeling the same as you would get as crossing the desert in summer. Being easter we hadn't come prepared to camp in minus degrees so nights in the tent were freezing and our fires were huge. Poor little Charli who was only 1 at the time struggled to understand the cold wanting out of the car but as soon as she was out wanting back in...she spent a lot of time in her car seat rugged up watching DVDs.


One of the great things about Victoria's national parks is that there are no fees or permits required, you can have fires and camp anywhere. Allowing you to have complete isolation and create your own camping adventure.


Three of our favourite camp sites from this trip were:-
Lake Cobbler where you camp right on the edge of a mountain lake sitting at 1100m.


A little clearing in amongst bush and tall trees down in Wonnangatta Valley right by our own little creek. We even had an easter egg hunt here for Charli.


Our all time favourite not just from this trip but perhaps all our trips was one that we refer to as Top Of The World where you truly feel like the only ones on earth. It was on the Bluff just past a hut with views forever!


The last night of our trip it started snowing and with only summer sleeping bags and a quick throw up tent we had to pull the plug on camping and head to a warmer spot to be safe, especially with a baby.


The Victorian high country is a must do on any 4WD camping enthusiast list. The fact that its not that far from civilization and yet feels more remote than places we have traveled 100's of kms too gives you a real sense of achievement that you are a true 4x4 explorer! We will certainly be back to the High Country for more adventures one day!




The Uncommon Family

We are excited to add 'The Uncommon Family' to our Rainbow Living family! Penny, Scott, Amy, Alexis, Charli and Tully are your Uncommon family, 6 beautiful people whose love of the outdoors has created a strong family bond and an awesome blog. They live for off road adventures, where they push their 4WD to the limits so they can travel to some of the most untouched beautiful locations in Australia. There are so many times we wish we could take the track marked 4WD only, or burn off down the beach in search of surf. It is a side of camping we would love to explore, but as much as we push our van, she has her limits. So we are extremely excited to jump on board the 4WD adventures of The Uncommon Family and get a taste of the life of some real off-road explorers.



Tell us how Penny and Scott met? 

The first time we saw each other was when we were both getting ready to compete in a 30km trail run event in the gold coast hinterland. A week later we had our first date and that was it...6 weeks later we were living together and learning how to blend a single guy, single mum, teenager and a little one into a family unit by spending time camping, fishing, exploring and planning our future adventures. Three years later we are married and have added to our family with 2 more little girls and we are living a life that is full of adventure and fun!

What is The Uncommon Family?

When we were first dating Scott would refer to me as the Uncommon Human due to my love of outdoor activities and extreme endurance sport...he is very similar so I guess that's why we are perfect for each other. We are not your everyday family just living our lives in the one home, the one job, the one town... we are living a life uncommon, taking life and making the absolute most of it...We take every opportunity even if it is small to get away and when we get the chance plan bigger adventures. A lot of people might take one holiday a year and work all year for it...we take overnights, weekends, long weekends, weeks and turn them all into adventures as many times a year as we can.

We love your 4WD adventure's, do you run into complications with such a big family, including a baby and toddler?

People always assume that is difficult camping and traveling around with little babies and children. We don't agree. We think its easier when we are camping, you still have the same basic jobs you would have at home such as feeding, changing, bathing, playing except you get to do it all outside and in some very unique places. Our kids are very adaptable and the only routine they have is that there is no routine and anything can happen! We want the kids to grow up being open to change and a desire to experience as much of life as they can. The best part about exploring as a family is that we get to really spend time together without distractions of things at home. These adventures have really turned us into a strong self sufficient happy family.

What has been your favourite location and which place is at the top of destinations to visit?

Our trip to Cape York was an amazing trip with some extreme 4x4 and beautiful places. The fact that we eloped on this trip and it was our honeymoon as well made it even more special. Another favourite was the Victorian High Country...the remoteness and the scenery is just spectacular.

I think one of the places that we would most love to explore is the Kimberley Region...there is just so much there to see and we would love to spend a month or more touring around.

Why do you prefer 4WD camping instead of camper van's or holiday houses?

Scott has always been an explorer and wanted to find places that others haven't. I have always loved camping and would live in a tent if Scott would allow it! Having a 4WD gives us access to so many more places and allows us to see what's at the end of every road even the very rough, muddy, dirty ones! Exploring Australia in a 4WD has given us the chance to go places that aren't in the regular travel journals or guides. Camping in spots where it is just our family on a beach, beside a river or on top of a mountain makes you feel like you are the only people on earth!

Where are you heading next?

We try to get away at least once a month somewhere. This month we spent a long weekend out at a great little camping spot on the Nymboida River inland from Grafton white water rafting, making big fires and swimming in crystal clear water with moutains sorounding us. In June we are headed to Red Cliff on the Northern NSW coast for some beach camping. We are also planning a much bigger trip at Christmas time for a month exploring Tasmania. A lot of research is being done for this trip and we are very excited by the amount of off road adventures waiting for us!



Thank you so much to The Uncommon Family for sharing your story with us, we are feeling very inspired to get off the beaten track and live life to fullest. We are so excited to get an insight into 4WD family adventures, can't wait for your first post!

Be sure to check out more from The Uncommon Family blog, link below.




Claudia Martin: Almond Milk

A few years ago when I first discovered I could make my own almond milk, I thought I was pretty clever and felt quite chuffed with myself. That was until I realised that it is possibly the easiest thing in the kitchen to make and that it requires absolutely zero skill! All the better I say, because there is something SO rewarding about making your own milk and having absolute confidence in its freshness and pure ingredients. A lot of the store-bought almond milks have a heap of added nasties (eeek), I also find that this DIY version is much creamier and not to mention yummier! Its simplicity just makes it all the more convenient and achievable, so I hope that you too can make this a staple in your household.

So why bother with almond milk? Here’s a fun fact, almonds have more calcium than normal cow’s milk:

+ 100ml of cow’s milk contains 115 mg of calcium

+ 100 g of almonds contains 240 mg of calcium

That’s some pretty impressive street cred for the humble little almond right? A diet high in lots of calcium-rich plant based foods makes sure that your little bodies have plenty of magnesium to absorb all of this goodness!

We love using almond milk in our smoothies, steel cut oats and even pumpkin soup! It’s extremely versatile and delicious. So here goes:

1. Get yourself some raw almonds. 


2. Soak 2 cups of raw almonds over night in filtered water.


3. Rinse the almonds really well the next day.


4. Add 3 cups of filtered water – or more depending on how you like the consistency.

Here you can get creative and add some dates if you prefer things sweet or replace some of the water with coconut milk if you’re feeling adventurous (this coconut version is particularly delicious). Or add something else entirely and let me know how it works out. We’ve added Rooibos tea before for extra antioxidants and flavour. This is flavoured milk at it’s best!


5. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.


6. Into a separate bowl, pour the blended almonds into a nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Squeeze out all the liquid with your hands (this is a fun activity if you have some little people in your life) and try to get all of the milk out. 


7. And then pour into a bottle. It’s that easy!


Don’t forget to get creative and save the almond meal (pulp) for some delicious desserts.

Now get up from behind that screen and soak some almonds before you forget!

Love Claudia x

All words and photos by Claudia Martin. 



Claudia Martin

We are so excited to introduce Claudia Martin, our first writer for the Rainbow Living family. Claudia will be contributing through posts on all areas of health. Claudia's love of a balanced, healthy lifestyle is obvious, we can wait to learn about things such as DIY almond milk and essential oils. Keep an eye out for her first Rainbow Living post.

Photo by Jac from

Photo by Jac from

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I live by the beach with my little family. I’m a new mum to a 5-month-old baby girl, Eve Indigo - who I am completely besotted with.

My days are filled are with looking after Eve, cooking and being surrounded by a beautiful group of friends and family. I have a real passion for healthy and simple living (that has increased ten fold since bringing a little human into the world). I studied Communications and worked in Marketing and Public Relations for 6 years, but a year ago I began my studies in holistic nutrition.

Have you always felt this way about health?

Short answer? Hell no! I grew up in quite a health conscious, vegetarian family but in my teens I rebelled and became addicted to cheeseburgers and couldn’t care less about the food I was eating. I was lucky enough to always enjoy nourishing meals that my mum prepared, so it never got completely out of hand. I remember caring about the food I was eating for a millisecond, but only so I could still fit into my hipster jeans. 

I actually continued this way for quite a while, but after a very self-indulgent trip to New York a few years ago, I decided that something had to change. I had spent 3 weeks indulging in cheese pizzas, designer shoes and anything my egocentric heart desired. Whilst it was one of the best trips of my life, I left feeling like I needed more and committed to living a healthy lifestyle. It has been a journey ever since!

What are the main wellness ‘rules’ that you try to live by?

I feel my best when I eat a plant-based diet, where vegetables are the main act at every meal.  I avoid dairy, meat, sugar and white flours in my everyday home life. I also avoid all chemicals on my body, on my baby, in my house and on my food. I usually have a green smoothie or juice everyday day and I eat as seasonally and locally as I possibly can (thanks to Farmers Markets and Food Co-Ops). I find that this type of eating is my base and on weekends & holidays I always allow for some indulgences (hello, who can resist a Sunday cafe breakfast without haloumi!?). And exercise, I definitely need to get out and move my body in some way everyday to function at my best.

Have you learnt any lessons along the way?

Many. I’m that person who commits to something wholeheartedly and does it obsessively (also becomes a tad evangelical about it – can’t help myself!) and then has to step back and find a balance with what is realistic. I’m a bit of a book nerd, so I’m forever reading everything I can about health, and I love learning from other passionate and likeminded people – therefore, my knowledge and opinions are forever evolving. I also avoid diet labels now (vegan, paleo etc.), and just prefer to eat in a plant based, whole foods way. My body is a temple, and that’s the age-old philosophy I try to live by.

Excited about this ROAR venture and sharing my love of healthy living with you. 

Claudia xxxxxxxx

Claudia with her beautiful baby Eve. Photo by Jac from

Claudia with her beautiful baby Eve. Photo by Jac from

The Photography was done by our good friend Jac. Please check out their amazing website by clicking on the link below. 




Rainbow Living

We have met so many amazing people through our travels and the Rainbow Network and have been lucky enough to know some awesome individuals who have taught us so much. We just want to share everything, so we have created 'Rainbow Living' as an ongoing forum for our talented friends. It will be a platform were individuals can share their stories, passions and tips. If you want to get involved, send us an email via our contact page. We are so excited to get this network cranking!