On 30 September 2013, we left the world as we knew it for our crazy Australian road trip. We figured we could make a year.
That year has just ticked over and the end of the road still cannot be seen.
It was a scary leap of faith, but I knew it was one I had to take if our life was going to go in the direction of our dreams and make them a reality. And it has. We’re happy, our health is better and our bond as a family is tight.
It’s living at its best. We hope that in continuing to do this with our family, we can prove to you that it is possible and you can follow the screams of your heart too.
We travel with our kids to create better memories, and the past year has been filled with stories and precious moments we’ll be sharing for many years.
So far we have driven 30,000 kilometres through five states and one territory yet it still feels like we have only scratched the surface and we’re getting a real feel for how vast Australia really is.
There’s no telling how many kilometres we’ll have travelled once we decide we’ve seen enough, but for now we’ll just keep on exploring.
Below are just some of our highlights from our first year on the road.
Zipping down the flying fox at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat on the Gold Coast
I will never forget this moment. Looking up at the platform in the canopy of the rainforest, 30 metres above ground, and watching this tiny speck walk off the edge and fly through the air for 180 metres.
Our two and a half year old showing us that fear is indeed something to be swallowed. Her elder sister followed soon after, her squeals of joy chomping up those butterflies that so nearly stopped her from trying. We went on it again and again.
O’Reilly’s in the Gold Coast hinterland has so much more to experience, and is in the stunning Lamington National Park. You can read more about it here.
Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef with Kalyra
We arrived at the Marine World pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef. The water was a little choppy and the wind was blowing. It was not the calm crystal reef waters I was expecting. Plus we were out in the middle of the ocean, which just freaks me out. My stomach sunk.
I whispered to Craig I’m not sure I want to go out there.
Kalyra grabbed my hand “Come on Mum, let’s go. I want to snorkel with you.”
She wasn’t a confident swimmer, had never taken on the ocean and had only tried snorkeling for the first time the day before just off the shores of Green Island. I was stunned she wanted to go out. How could I say no?
We slid into the water from the side of the boat holding hands. Big Wally the groper fish swam up in front of us, lining his face with ours with a grin. She squealed with joy and squeezed my hand.
This was the stuff dreams were made of.
She let go of my hand and swam exploring the reef bravely on her own. I swelled with pride and then embraced the colourful underwater world with her.
Stay tuned for posts on things to do in Cairns and how to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef!
Read More: How to experience the Great Barrier Reef
Swimming at Gunlom Falls, Kakadu NP
This was Kakadu Dreaming.
Gunlom Falls was a bit of a hike to get to, but it was seriously worth it. Look at these amazing views from this swimming pool. We visited with friends and it was so joyful to hear the kids playing and squealing with delight together.
It also gave me a bit of private time to swim over to the edge and just stare in wonder.
Check out more about our visit to Kakadu here.
Sunset at Nadrab Lookout, Kakadu NP
Again, visiting with friends, the kids played on top of the escarpment and we watched the sun set over the floodplains. It’s an ancient beauty and timeless wisdom I’ll never forget feeling. Stunning.
Read more about our Northern Territory road trip here.
Bike riding around the wineries in Mudgee, NSW
Mudgee was a fantastic discovery for us on this trip. It’s our new favourite wine region in NSW and one of our favourite Aussie towns. We had so much fun bike riding from one winery to the other and I loved racing Kalyra down all the dirt road hills.
Pinnacles walk in the Grampians, Victoria
My girls blew me away on the Pinnacles walk. I decided that they could only manage about one kilometre. They told me they could keep going and ended up walking the entire 4.2km trek uphill themselves. It was not an easy track either.
I was so super proud of them. We had so much fun singing, laughing and climbing together.
You can read more about our Grampians experience here.
Port Arthur Historic Tour, Tasmania
I loved Kalyra’s enthusiasm for learning about our convict history. She raced around the site to discover as much as we could and her and Savannah put their mud bricking making skills to the test.
She even bravely walked into the most haunted house in Australia with me hoping to find some ghosts, well kind of hoping, but not really!
Staying at Cullen Bay in Darwin
Darwin has some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. It was amazing to stay at this apartment in Cullen Bay and sit on our deck and watch it go down. Then once it was down we escaped to the swinging chair on the roof and gazed at the stars.
We’ll be publishing a post soon on this amazing property featured on AirBnB.
Swimming in Lake Argyle, Western Australia
What a moment this was. A baking hot day, Australia’s largest artificial lake, stunning scenery with the rugged pink and orange escarpments of a billion-year-old landscape. and a swim in the lake as the sun was setting over the mountains and lighting the sky on fire.
We swam around on noodles together with drinks in our hands and much laughter AND, the lake was full of 25,000 freshwater crocodiles.
Before you get in a tizz, they’re freshwater crocs and are more harmless than fish. But so very cool to say you swam with crocs.
Check out our experience at Lake Argyle here.
Mossman Gorge Aboriginal Tour, Port Douglas
Mossman Gorge was my favourite part of the Daintree Rainforest.
We joined a tour of the gorge with an Aboriginal guide who taught us about the flora and fauna of the forest, the bush tucker, and Aboriginal traditions. It was so fantastic to experience it with the girls.
Whitehaven Beach in The Whitsundays
Considering Australia has 10,000 beaches and we’re on a mission to see the best, I can’t leave out our day on what has been the most amazing beach so far.
When you first set eyes on Whitehaven Beach from the water your excitement builds. Consistently ranked as one of the top 5 beaches in the world, your expectations are HIGH. You’ve seen the tourism commercials and watched Oprah’s famous BBQ with Curtis Stone on her Aussie tour.
Did Whitehaven meet our expectations? Yes, and then some!
The feel of the pure white powdery soft sand between your toes and seeing the crystal clear turquoise water is a moment that will live with us forever.
LARC tour in the Town of 1770
Riding around a unique and pristine area in a pink amphibious vehicle has to be on our highlight list.
The Town of 1770, and Agnes Water its neighbour, was an amazing discovery for us and we had a ball on the LARC exploring the scenery, visiting historic lighthouses and sand boarding down dunes.
Check out how awesome this tour is here.
Boodjamulla National Park, Queensland
This is definitely a secret Queensland gem!
What fun time we had here camping, hiking to beautiful views and kayaking and swimming through the gorge. See more about this magical place here.
Hot Springs, Mornington Peninsula
On one of our Mummy Daughter dates I took the girls to the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs.
We had a fantastic day dipping in and out of the thermal springs and doing a bit of cold plunging in between. I had to drag them out a few hours later to their disgust. If you’re in the Melbourne area, take a day trip down here.
Enjoying a Melbourne summer
I just love Kalyra’s enthusiasm for Melbourne. She tells everyone it’s been her favourite part of the trip so far. She’s a real city girl.
One of my favourite memories was Kalyra cycling down the main street in town, Swanston St, squealing with delight at riding in the heart of the city next to trams, horses, bikes and people.
We also had fun riding along the beach and the Yarra River, catching up with friends, pigging out at Frozen High Teas, and attending the Australian Tennis Open.
Read our posts on Melbourne:
- 17 Places to eat in Melbourne
- 11 reasons why kids love Melbourne
- Loving Federation Square
- 6 beaches to visit in Melbourne
Christmas in Bright
We still don’t know where we’ll be for Christmas this year, and that’s the beauty of long-term travel with no fixed plans, but last Christmas was the stuff Christmases should be made of.
A relaxing alpine getaway in a picturesque town with plenty of food and laughter. It was a gorgeous sunny day, home cooked delicious meal, hanging together playing guitar, reading books, laughing and talking. No big hoo ha. Just a good time.
We house sat for a friend for 2 weeks in Bright and loved every minute of it. It was such a special time in one of my favourite Australian towns.
Chilling in Broome
Movies under the stars, boogie boarding each day at Cable beach, swimming in the pool, cafe bumming and lovely dinners out with friends. Broome has been a magical respite on this trip and is where we find ourselves now.
The girls are loving it and I love spending a little bit of normal time with them.
We’re basing ourselves here for about a month and after a couple of weeks of chilling we’re about to hit the Horizontal Falls, a sunset camel safari and we just got back from a two-day getaway to Cape Leveque.
Click here for in-depth posts on things to do in Broome
The journey continues
Plus we still have many more posts to publish on what we’ve experienced so far, and tips on how you can experience Australia whether you have one week, a month or a year like us.
Check out our Australia page for our featured posts and our top 3 picks on beaches, cities, road trips, attractions, islands and where to eat.