Friday, 31 October 2014

Moonee Beach and Coffs Coast

Traveling further down the NSW coast, we discovered towns even more stunning that offered relaxed beach lifestyles. We decided to stay at Moonee Beach overlooking the bay and one of the Solitary Islands which has a beautiful big lighthouse and homestead standing on it. Being a huge lighthouse fan, I could have stared at it all day. 


The big grassy headland was unusual and breathtaking and we walked up there everyday ...


Through the rainforest  track ... 


To the massive green lawn headland (no trees) overlooking the Coffs Coast and Solitary Islands.


 
... And a walk back down via the beach where all boys would have a splash before freezing in the wind ... 




Soooo colourful and picturesque, Moonee Beach and nearby headlands all the way along the Coffs Coast. We drove to most of the headlands ...


And played in cleverly designed playgrounds ...



... and swam at a few beaches, too. It would take a few attempts for us to get the right beach where dogs were permitted. But luckily the dog-friendly beaches were protected from the wind and were the calmest surf for us, so Tim got straight into building...


At Sawtell, this rock pool was just divine (no dogs allowed so we only had the quickest dip)...



We also ate picnics in beach carparks where the boys sat in the back while Tim made our plates up ... 


with cheese, celery, pesto and hommus and rice crackers ... 


We went into town in Coffs to promote my book but ended up on the toboggan at the Big Banana ... 


And at the Old Holland miniature railway, where everything down to each tiny roof tile had been crafted by hand... 



It was a busy 4 days and we loved the Moonee Beach caravan park because we really didn't have to go far to feel refreshed. We played tennis, jogged around the neighborhood in our new runners, and kept getting wet in the surrounding lakes.  




I can totally understand why people move to Coffs Coast, and why tourism is so big here. We might come back one day soon, but for now, there are more beautiful sights to see further south ... 




Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Ballina, Lennox, Byron and Mullum


It's amazing the way our perspective has changed since we haven't had a house, a job, a 'base', to go back to. Everything is more beautiful, and we really give ourselves to the experience.  



Dusty took the photos above after we arrived in Ballina, he's getting good at operating the camera! We parked our caravan in my cousin Geoff and Nadine's front yard and they were amazing hosts - to have us, welcome us, enjoy spending time with us and the kids, to encourage Dusty to get more familiar with the drums ...


... To teach Dusty how to crack a real whip...


... To let Maxie bathe in their front yard ... 


... To show the boys how to catch yabbies with sand pumps... 


... And to take us on a guided tour of South Ballina, where we crossed the river in the car on a ferry.


We had a ball driving down the beach.


Geoff taught Dusty and Maxie how to catch pippies in the sand. 



When we climbed a sand dune, a very excited Dusty discovered he was actually afraid of heights and it wasn't as fun as he had hoped it would be.



We left the beach before the tide could catch us.


My auntie said later, as we pushed the pram on the walkway running beside the Ballina River, that Ballina is one of Australia's best kept secrets. 


She is right. I've always loved Ballina because it's where my cousins are, but this time we got to see it through new eyes, as we had 4 days to see Ballina, Byron, Lennox and Mullumbimbi the way tourists, or even house-hunters, might. 

Tim showed the boys the job site at the Saint Helena bypass where he drove the crawler crane last year. 


And I performed a reading of Dusty's Wonder Bug at the Rainbow Gardens Family Daycare at Mullumbimbi, thanks to Maxine, and thanks to friend Amber of Rainbow Bridge, who we had a lovely afternoon catching up with at Brunswick Heads.

We also visited the Crystal Castle and they enthusiastically agreed to stock our book Dusty's Wonder Bug in their bookshop alongside their amazing selection of holistic health books. It is truly an honour to have my book available in this amazing tourist and cultural venue.


Back in Ballina, fishing in the river in sensational weather was a highlight, especially as the fish were happily biting and the boys caught dinner pretty quickly. 



Knowing we are going away for our traveling adventure makes it all the more special sharing time with people we love. We were lucky to see my auntie and uncle and cousins Julia & Nathan at least a couple of times. After we walked the main esplanade (and of course, used the beachfront playground) of Lennox Head, Julia and Nath taught Dusty and Maxie how to play a bugle over a sensational parmigiana dinner.


And Siah, our big red superstar, was once again a beautiful traveling companion. Asides from a short bout of food poisoning from not having his usual diet from our old reliable butcher, he is having the time of his life. We were so relieved when he got over his rough patch and will plan his meals more carefully, which is a bit of a challenge, but a priority.


Until next update, love and laughs from our family to yours. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

A little stay on the Gold Coast

We returned to our home town, the Gold Coast, and stayed with my parents for just over a week. We had a lot of stuff to re-think in the caravan as we were carrying 150kg more than we wanted for safe caravan towing on the road. It's harder than it sounds to find 150kg of homewares, clothes, books, kids toys and tools/hardware to leave behind, but we felt heaps cleaner and lighter when we were done. Tim also worked on the caravan while we were there (re-did wheel bearings and seals, fitted new spare wheel rack, power and stereo improvements etc.) 

The little boys had a ball catching up with aunties Kylie, Lisa, grandma & pa and nanna & poppy, plus spreading grandmas toybox across every square inch of her home and swimming in the pool ... 


... Picking a few mulberries off the tree, and visiting the horses next door ... 


... Having a picnic, romp in the bamboo and walk with treasured friends at the botanical Gardens in Ashmore ...





Story-time, gem-discovery, clay-moulding, music-making and playing at The Orchard Waldorf School picnic with friends in mudgeeraba... 



... Dinner with our long-time best friends Kel & Luke, and little Van, at their home, and a BBQ with Camilla and Terry, with cousins, Stevie and Bodhi at their home, too.


The kids, my mum and I visited a dozen healthy shops/cafes along the Gold Coast highway and surrounds to promote Dusty's Wonder Bug, with all of the venues agreeing to stock the book on their shelves. I was overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm I received from the Gold Coast community. If you are interested in seeing which places I visited so you can take your families to these health hot-spots, jump onto the Dusty's Wonder Bug facebook page -https://m.facebook.com/dustyswonderbug?_rdr



The last night I treated myself out to dinner with gorgeous friend Melissa, our first night on our own without 5 kids in tow. 

The most important thing that we did, that last day, was visit our old home to catch up with our neighbours and good friends, Sachiko, Markus, Mia and Serge. The new owners of our home at Bluebelle let Dusty have a cuddle of his treasured pet chook, Goldie (I think she recognized him). And Dusty picked up 'his future', too. In his own words, the night before, he had explained he was so upset that he had left his future at Bluebelle House and someone else was living his life, and we couldn't travel without going back to collect his future. Bless his heart! So we asked the new owners to help put his future in his pocket, hugged and waved everyone goodbye, and noticed Dusty's spirits really lift, ready for the next leg of our trip.

And now into NSW ... Turning the clocks onto daylight saving time knowing we are full steam heading south from now on!