We are certainly not in Cairnsas any more Toto! Yes we have moved from the tropical weather of the north to now be experiencing -4 degrees in sunny Canberra. Our little heaters have been working overtime and we are using every spare bit of clothing and all of our rugs in an attempt to keep the icicles at bay. We have also been a little slack at our blog postings and have to admit we are on our way home mentally and soon to be physically. We have decided to push home a few days earlier to enable me to prepare for a return to work and also to finalise the renovations on our home. Last time I wrote we were in the gold coast awaiting the arrival of the Harry clan. It was fantastic to have some time with Kate and Matty and the kids. The cousins were all so excited to see each other, they had been counting down the hours until they arrived. We all spent the first two nights together in the camper which was very cosy but also a lot of fun. I imagine the kids will have great memories of bunking down together in the cammie. The kids went with Kate and Bec to dreamworld and whitewater world and had an absolute blast. The weather was a little cool for the waterslides but the rest was great. Indy our resident adrenaline junkie showed her courage yet again with two rides on the rollercoaster and even Maggie had a go second time around. Bec had to go on first time around and is still putting her vital organs back into place even now after two loop the loops! After our second day on the goldy it was time to head to Byron where we stayed in a beautiful home in Tallows right on the beach. The kids had an awesome time and loved the space of a large home to explore. Gus just kept running around in circles in the lounge room again and again, it was like a wild caged animal that had been let loose for the first time. The beach was incredible and just a short walk out of the back yard. We had a bonfire on the beach the first night and then the kids made this huge cubby house on the beach the next day which stood there until we left, much to the annoyance of a few of the Byron locals! My little nephew Maxie showed he is our very own Bear Grills. We had some great activities for the kids on the beach and also in Byron itself, it was a great time all around.
We left Byron and the cousins struggled with their goodbyes. We initially headed for one mile beach, about four hours away but as we took the turn off realised it was an 80km round loop of our route and decided to push forward towards Canberra. On the way it started to get dark early and the weather was coming in so at the last minute we decided we would stop at a place called Norah Heads. We drove in the park ready to set up and noticed we were on a boggy grass site that just wasn't going to work for us. So we stood there in the lightly drizzling rain, darkness approaching very quickly and pondered our options. Well not really, I said "we're not staying here" and got in the car ready to drive off, Bec just kind of stood there trying to process our options. So we were in the car again, after about 7 hours of driving and heading in the general direction of Canberra with the rain coming in heavier and approaching Sydney's peak hour traffic, only we could put ourselves in this position. We were well on our way to Canberra when we realised that the parks may not allow us to check in after dark and sure enough a couple of quick phone calls confirmed there was no check in options available to us in Canberra. In desperation Bec pleaded with one of the parks for some guidance and they suggested we bunk in at Goulbourn for the night. Good old '1234' and we were connected with a Best Western that had one family room available for the night and plenty of parking space for cammie. Do you think we were all happy to arrive and just be able to put the kettle on, have a hot shower and get in to bed after 10 and a half hours of driving! And that's what we did. Next morning we had a very short 40 minute drive to Canberra and proceeded to try to find a decent park. After about the fifth park we drove into we realised that this was an impossible task and we settled for what resembled an old drive in movie theatre, the Canberra motorhome park.
Canberra has been really great and we have had fun filled days packed with various iconic venues and experiences. Over a few days we visited the National Gallery, the national portrait gallery, the war museum, questacon, parliament house, the royal mint and frequented many nice eating places. Canberra is an awesome city to take the kids and for the most part these amazing attractions were free, a very different story to our experience up North. We caught up with the Wade family (Bec's cousin and her family) which was fantastic and the kids loved playing with the big kids. We decided to push straight for home, shave a couple of days off our trip and get ourselves organised for the challenges ahead assimilating back to 'normal' life.