As a young adventurous family of three …and soon to be four with baby blondie due in July, we love to get out and see as much of our amazing country as we can. So in September last year we hit the road for a family adventure and with the help of our sponsors New Age Caravans we were traveling in style in a 20ft Luxury Caravan with all the mod cons you could ask for!
Heading up the East Coast of Oz we hit some of our favourite spots - Seal Rocks, Crescent Head, Hat Head National Park, South West Rocks and the Tweed Valley to mention a few! We embraced each day with new excitement and wonder, exploring as much of each location as we could.
Taking photos and capturing memories along the way is something we love to do. Tracy is a professional photographer by trade and Rob is an avid GoPro user, especially underwater, so our cameras are never far from our side. The photographic opportunities were endless on this trip with an abundance of wildlife, sunsets/sunrises and of course underwater action as we snorkelled tidal creeks and the tropical waters of Heron Island.
South West Rocks and Hat Head National Park proved to be an amazing haven for camping, hiking, kayaking, swimming, fishing, snorkelling and surfing! The beach which you can drive on with a permit, has awesome waves and endless ‘treasure’ to find dotted along the waters edge and the tidal creek on one side of our camp was perfect for our little girl to explore and swim. Depending on the wind and time of day we could take our pick for the best sheltered areas to explore. We were also excited each night to be able to light a campfire and look up at the stars.
Traveling with a toddler is very different to traveling alone or as a couple. We used to squeeze as much as we could out of each day, often driving to explore a new location, finding a beach and jumping in for a surf, snorkel or fish! This would follow with a quick lunch stop then we were off until sunset doing something else adventurous and exciting!! …But now we have to slow it down a little and stop and smell the roses, pick them… and maybe even make a fairy garden with them! Having our little girl with us has shown us that exploring and traveling is not just about all the fun activities you can do in a new place but also having the time to appreciate the small things around us each day - a spider spinning its web, soldier crabs digging their holes and making sandcastles at the beach.
By slowing down we had the opportunity to really chat and meet our fellow travellers we crossed paths with. There is a real sense of community within the Nomads of Australia and we have met some really amazing people along our journey. Another great camp spot was just outside of Childers called Iron Ridge. After checking in via CB radio and meeting friendly hosts Mark and Jane we had a real sense of being in the outback. With cattle and dams on the property you were free to explore the area and in the heat of the day you could cool off at Woodgate Beach which was only a short 25 minute drive away. At night we could enjoy a fire under the stars which were AMAZING!!! Our little girl Marli loved feeding the cows, collecting firewood with dad and the simple things like lining up as many rocks as she could find in a row… who needs toys when you have nature!!
As we continued up the coast we headed to Tin Can Bay to hand feed the Dolphins, Hervey Bay which is famous for whale watching and Gladstone. Off the coast from Gladstone Harbour you can catch a ferry over to tropical paradise, Heron Island. So for a change of pace we left our ‘home on wheels’ with some friends and spent four amazing days on Heron Island. As part of the Great Barrier Reef the island is so picturesque it looks like you are living in a screen saver!!! You can snorkel right off the beach and swim with tropical fish, giant sting rays, reef sharks and sea turtles!! We had an amazing four days of adventure and took way too many photos but it’s so hard not too when you are surrounded by warm tropical turquoise water, white sand and pandanus palms.
Once we waved goodbye to our island paradise it was back on the open road to find some new places to explore. We like to stay somewhere for a week, or at least a minimum of four days, that way we can have a real good look around and explore as much of an area as we can. We love to go on walking adventures and just pop Marli into our backpack and off we go! On one hiking adventure around a seaside headland we were stuck in a mini downpour of rain and had to take cover under a water tank roof (a lucky find out in the middle of nowhere) Marli thought it was great and enjoyed sitting half soaked watching 3 whales breaching off shore and a few kangaroos hopping by escaping the rain. As we headed off to explore each day we loved finding hidden deserted beaches, one of our favourites was just off Broken Head in NSW. We climbed over the headland away from the main beach to find an empty secluded bay. It was the perfect spot for a picnic and a quick swim. There is something magical about finding a beach with no footprints, the coastline looked so untouched it reminded us of Jurassic Park and we expected a Velociraptor or Terradactal to do a fly-by!
As we travel we post the images we take of our adventures on our Instagram and Facebook pages (The Blonde Nomads) and by doing this we have connected with some amazing people. These connections have lead to some wonderful opportunities and friendships that we will always treasure. Making new friends and meeting like-minded people is something you should always be open to and by doing so on this adventure we had the opportunity to go jet skiing, stand up paddle boarding, fishing on an amazing mother ship and even stay with fellow travellers in their home! Sharing a love for adventure and the outdoors is an easy way to connect with people. Once you get chatting to new friends you also find out so much more about the area you are visiting. There is nothing like a little bit of local knowledge to help you get the most out of exploring a new area. As keen fishermen we managed some great catches from gaining this knowledge… which also meant fresh fish in our bellies for dinner!
Back down the coast at Crescent Head we met more great people and discovered ‘the magic spot’ for collecting pippies! At the end of a fun hour digging in the sand we had buckets and buckets of pippies!!! Most ended up back in the sand but we did keep a few as our new friends offered to cook us up some ‘Pippi fritters’ for tea!! What a way to end the day - enjoying a cool drink under the stars and eating your ‘catch of the day’ with new friends.
We love Australia and its amazing different natural, untouched environment. From the dry, dusty, red dirt in the outback, to the pristine aqua waters and white sands on our beaches to the luscious green rainforests and never ending bushlands and National parks. We can't wait to get back out there as a family of four to explore the West Coast of Oz and beyond! We aim to teach our children to appreciate the simple things in life, only take what you need and to respect mother nature's gifts. We also want to inspire others to break away from the ‘normal’ rules society places on us which often involves working long days, having fancy material things, a large mortgage and little to no holidays. Stop dreaming about that big trip you plan for retirement… make your dreams reality - grab the kids, pack up and do it now!!!
The Blonde Nomads – Rob and Tracy Morris
Website: www.theblondenomads.com.au | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org