Travelling around Australia with 2 kids, our little family will be putting the country's camping spots, a Toyota Prado and Jayco Swan to the test. Our start and end point being the Far North Coast of NSW, we'll be traveling anti-clockwise North through the middle of Queensland to Darwin, around to Melbourne and up the East Coast, finishing in Byron Bay for Christmas 2014.
Saturday, 8 March 2014
Week One: the Far North Coast of NSW
So we’ve been on the road a week. There
have been no spectacular disasters but I attribute that to the fact we’ve been
far from roughing it. Let’s face it: ‘camping’ on your parents’ front lawn is a
pretty cushy way to ease ourselves into the trip. We haven’t had one meal
inside the camper, I’ve managed to read the first two Hunger Games books; it
didn’t even cross Marguerite’s mind that she’d be sleeping anywhere except in her room in Nana’s house. Yes, life is
pretty sweet at the Uys Huis at the moment.
We drove down the M1 from Brisbane,
through the sprawling back suburbs of the Gold Coast and once we crossed the
Tweed River Bridge, I could feel my bones relax as the green hills of the Far North
Coast of New South Wales rolled up to MountWarning
and cane fields began carpeting the flats. There it was: that comforting
feeling of being home.
So we set up on the front lawn of my
parents’ place (minor argument over the spirit level and whether we would be
having our heads pooling up with blood through the night) and eased ourselves
into life with Nana and Poppy.
I went into Bangalow one day and had a
great lunch at Town Cafe, an awesome café doing lunches which I can only
describe as being ‘honest gourmet’- I had pumpkin lasagna with hazelnuts which was great, topped off with the most luscious chocolate brownie ever (as my
worldly friend quipped “calories don’t count when you’re ‘doing lunch!’” I am
so on board with that!!) and a waitress so sweet I wanted to take her home in
my handbag. Apparently they do very upmarket degustation dinners which are
amazing. Aaah how Bangalow has changed from hinterland backwater into a little
town with so much spunk it’s a destination in its own right- no mean feat with
hipster (note: NOT hippie) mecca Byron Bay just down the road.
Fiela and I met up with friends for brunch
at Harvest Café in Newrybar one morning and were reminded why it’s so important
not to live a few hundred metres away
from an uber awesome foodie institution- having eggs Florentine with house
cured salmon gravlax wasn’t enough, I had to go next door to the deli and get a
huge sourdough and house churned butter with seasalt and rosemary. Bread +
butter Harvest style = fatty boombalada.
We went to Minyon Falls for a walk- that’s
in a pending post, celebrated my brother’s 40th birthday with 100 of
his nearest and dearest, celebrated again the next morning when the donations
they had collected on behalf of my brother for the Westpac Helicpoter Rescue
Service were found, having been lost for a number of hours (much to the relief
of my frantic sister-in-law). We’ve had numerous dinners with my family,
extended and immediate, Fiela got a surf in at Wategoes, put the kids in the naughty corner innumerable times as
they throw their weight around in what I can only imagine is a grandparent
inspired rebellion at any form of disciplinary measure from Fiela and I (game
on you little buggers). Culled some crap from the van, fitted the bike rack,
rented out our house (biiiiiig sigh of relief) and generally decompressed after
what was a fairly intense start to 2014.
Now we have said the bulk of our goodbyes
and I doubt there will be tears tomorrow as we head off, timing our departure
hours before our welcome is officially worn out (jokes Mum!). Next stop a
cattle station near Dalby and what feels like the actual start to this
adventure. We are as ready as we are ever going to be.