Monthly Archives: May 2013

Happy 4th Birthday To Lexi

IMG_2592 img-130417160845-001I know, I know – 2 blog posts in 1 night is a bit much but Lexi turned four today, and I wanted to record the ocassion for posterity!  This birthday has been long awaited as ‘the day before our big trip starts’.

So, I know I am going to regret this when she uses it against us forever more, but it was not the greatest birthday event we’ve ever put together.  To start with, aaaargh – I’m so going to regret admitting this – we haven’t yet bought Lex a present.  Lucky for us friends and family had mailed some pressies down to us so she did have some goodies waiting on the camper table today for her when she woke up, but we just haven’t had time/figured out what we are getting her yet – terrible parents.  I also didn’t make her a cake.  Choosing a cake from the ‘Women’s Weekly’ cake book is a bit of a tradition for our kids, but I just couldn’t get there for Lex this year (but I did make cupcakes for her to take to Kindy on her last day on Wednesday so surely that counts for something?!?!).  We didn’t have a party for her – she asked all day ‘when are my friend’s coming over?’ – ouch!  And here’s the worst bit ………. I organised her 4yr old vaccination needles for today – yep – a needle in each arm for her birthday because I wanted them done before we hit the road.  We are never going to be able to live this birthday down!

Despite all this she still had a pretty good day I think!  She was spoilt rotten with gifts from friends at school and my wonderful workmates at BMR had even organised a cake and candles and a bag of Freddo Frogs for her when I dropped in today to get some paperwork signed – so grateful to the BMR crew!  We finished the day with a Pizza dinner and a Coles mudcake with the Hanstede family.

Birthday Cake at BMR

Birthday Cake at BMR

The lovely birthday cake from the BMR crew - saved my bacon and made Lexi's day!

The lovely birthday cake from the BMR crew – saved my bacon and made Lexi’s day!

The birthday girl in the camper - yes I did let her eat half a packet of cruskits for lunch because I could not get into the cupboard to organise anything else - no judging!!

The birthday girl in the camper – yes I did let her eat half a packet of cruskits for lunch because I could not get into the cupboard to organise anything else – no judging!!

Birthday dinner with the Hanstede family

Birthday dinner with the Hanstede family

I’m going to finish below by inserting the email Matt sent out to the friends and family after Lex was born, just thought I’d include it here as a record for ever more – some of the ‘in-family’ speak won’t make a lot of sense to those of you who’ve never actually met us but you’ll get the gist!

“Yes it’s a girl!!!

The story:

Yesterday morning Jess told me she was having contractions and keep my phone nearby. This has been the norm for a while now so honestly, I didn’t think anything of it. But then last night about 10pm Jess reckoned things were getting serious. Again, I didnt think anything of it. Sooo i fell asleep…. Then Jess wakes me at  0130 and says ‘I think we need to go’, I, didnt think anything of it. I figured i’d call Kate B to come round just incase. (Actually thinking we might need to give Kate a couple of hours notice to, well, sober up, I mean it was Saturday night!) It rang out the first time so I figured I would have to post a comment on her Facebook to get her attention quicker, but we got ahold of her the second time. Soooo I went back to sleep. At 0400 Jess wakes me and says ‘I think we need to go…. NOW!’  This time there was some thing diferent in her voice, what would you call it….. hmmm…. Terror, yes, it was the subtle hint of terror in her voice that made me say, ‘oh alright, i’ll have a shower and we can go I guess’

So off we trot to the hospital, I was starving and wondered if it would be at all inappropriate to take a labouring wife to Hungry Jacks drive thru at 5am. Turns out it is. Who-da-thought? I don’t think the drive thru opperator will forget this day in a hurry!

So we walked into emergancy and the nurse took one look at Jess ‘walking’ towards her and grabed a wheelchair and an orderly and sent us far away from her. She had that ‘Hell no, I am not delivering a baby 20 mins from the end of my 12hr shift’  written all over her face! (Melissa, I am sure you know this face well!)

So the orderly, Pad Thai, got the job of wheeling Jess to level 5. The terror on his face was not quite as sublte as in Jess’s voice earlier.

On arrival at the lvl 5 baby factory, Karen Yates’ twin sister ushered us into suite number 1, which I thought was ironic, being that Jack was born in suite 3 and Lexi was to be born in suite 1.

Anyway, ‘our’ birth plan was simple. Eppi at the door thanks! Unfortunately, the public health system had other ideas because all the anesthetists were in theatre so Jess had to wait patiently. Now anyone who knows Jess, knows that patience it not one of her many strong qualities. Now imagine Jess, being patient, in the throws of labour…. yeah, and I still believe in the tooth fairy!

So I tried to slip Karen’s twin sister a ‘fiddy’ to get the eppi happening. Now even though Karen’s twin sister could take the AUD$50 back to ‘Un Zed’ and buy a new car or something, she didn’t seem interested. So I gave her what every New Zealander really needs, a copy of ‘The Dummies Guide to Rugby’ which I just so happened to have in my pocket.  This got things moving along and before we knew it the anethisitist ‘McSteamy’ was ready to go. It seems Lexi had other ideas though because while McSteamy was trying to paint picasso on Jess’s back with antisepyic wipe, Jess ‘quietly’ mentioned that she had to push. Karen’s twin sister didn’t believe her and told her keep sucking the gas, Jess then even more ‘quietly’ mentione that she just pushed, Karen’s twin sister decided she had better have a look and low and behold there was Lexi sayin’ hello. One more push and she was out!Now, for all the women scanning this email for the details.Lexi in the pink corner has tipped the scales at 3.215 kg (7pound 1oz in yesteryear speak) Meaning she is officially the fattest of them all, and based on her instant attachment to the feed bags, she will probably maintain this title for a while. She was 49cm long (19 1/2 inches) with a head circumference to match the other girls in the house.

So both the ‘gals’ are doing really well, Jess has once again totally amazed me, and Karen’s twin sister as it turned out.

Now sorry about the photos, I have left the good camera at hospital so these are just from my phone. Better ones to come.
Well off to the shot gun shop for me I guess……
Matt

Lexi the Baby Bump - oh we look young and that was only 4 years ago!

Lexi the Baby Bump – oh we look young and that was only 4 years ago!

The Fealy Five

The Fealy Five

A beautiful baby girl to love

A beautiful baby girl to love

So happy fourth birthday Lexi Lou – we’ll do better next year!  Love you lots xoxoxox Mum, Dad & the boys.

Categories: About Us | 3 Comments

The Night Before Departure

Lovely farewell message from Toby's teacher outside his classroom today.

Lovely farewell message from Toby’s teacher outside his classroom today.

Exhausted.  It is June the 1st tomorrow – a day that we have been seriously planning for over 18mths now.  I wish I could say we are excited – and I know that we really are somewhere in there – but we are just soooo tired and emotionally drained.  I know that we are sounding like big whingers and you’ll all be thinking ‘buck up – get into it!’, but I’m trying to truthfully record this adventure and dog tired is all we’ve got tonight.  That and a whole lot of gratefulness for all the kindness’s we have been shown over the last couple of weeks.

We moved into the camper at ‘Camp Hanstede’ yesterday – in the pouring rain – we even sat down for dinner (kindly made for us by Stella – thank you!) and there was a huge clap of thunder and lightening – what the????  We’re really trying to take that as a good omen!  When I say moved in to the camper – I mean we squeezed in amongst all the bits and pieces that we have no idea how we are going to make fit in here!

Jack reading a bedtime story to the kids on our first night moved in to the camper.

Jack reading a bedtime story to the kids on our first night moved in to the camper.

Yep - it is a real mess!

Yep – it is a real mess!

I honestly thought we would have time as we were moving out of the house to be packing the camper at the same time – didn’t happen!  Then I thought – no worries – we will sort it all out while we are staying at the neighbours – didn’t happen.  Now I am thinking that we are just going to jam it all in somewhere, hit the road tomorrow somehow and figure it all out as we get travelling.  It is just time to get going and know that it will all come together.  I thought I was being ruthless with my packing and that we would have no problems fitting it all in – I was very, very wrong!!  Maybe we will just head to the beach somewhere and spend the weekend getting it all sorted – who knows?  We’ll decide in the morning and that is the beauty of the trip I guess!

Matt finally finished work today – hooray!

Matt's farewell gift from his team at work - he is very happy!

Matt’s farewell gift from his team at work – he is very happy!

Matt with 'the FCL Captain'!

Matt with ‘the FCL Captain’!

The kids had their last day at school, which was surprisingly a little sad for them!  Both the boys teachers did a lovely little farewell for them in class, a big thank you to Miss Jane, Mrs Donaldson and Mrs Blakey – wonderful teacher’s who have all been so supportive and helpful with putting together some materials to help with the kid’s schooling on the road.

We did also manage to get our spare tyre for Peter Prado sorted this week, the tear in the camper wall stitched up like brand new (great Canvas stitching place at Morayfield!) and all done in an hour for only $60, our mail redirection is on and we have just about said all of our goodbyes including a lovely afternoon tea with the Van Schoor family to check out how they have settled in to ‘our house’ – a little strange seeing it with a new family and looking so different, but also nice to see it so loved!  The goodbyes have been tough – we will miss the wonderful friends we have established in Samford sooooooooo much!  Our neighbours and friends have been like family to us over the last few years – particularly as most of our family live away – so big thank you shout out to the Seaborn, Sheil, English and Hanstede family’s who have been a big part of our lives over our time here – we will miss you!

So with all of the hard stuff out of the way, and no more work and school to worry about, things should start to feel a little easier.  Off to bed now for some sleep and to wake to the start of our adventure, let the freedom begin!

PS. And finger’s crossed for sunshine in the morning so we don’t have to load up in the rain and pull the camper down wet!

The Day has finally arrived!

The Day has finally arrived!

Categories: Planning | 3 Comments

1 Week to Go!

Where to start?  I can’t really believe that this time next week we will already have spent our first few nights on the road!  Very surreal that something we have been planning for two years is actually happening!!!  I don’t think it had really sunk in that we were leaving until we saw the tow track struggling to lift the container filled with all of our belongings, onboard.  Even more surreal is the fact that container is now sitting in Far North Queensland waiting for us to relocate up there at the end of our trip!

Filled to the brim!

Filled to the brim!

Padlock on for the first time - we unlocked at least three times to squeeze in last items nearly forgotten!

Padlock on for the first time – we unlocked at least three times to squeeze in last items nearly forgotten!

Unloading in Far North Qld

Unloading in Far North Qld

Last week was a huge week filled with the final (hooray!) packing and cleaning!  I must say a huge thank you to my Mum who did the lion’s share of the cleaning of our house while I finished the packing and ran around after the kids.  We were soooooo lucky she was here – it was a huge job in the end – we hadn’t realised how big our house was and how much wall space, blinds and windows there were to clean, and how lacking my housework had been!!!  I don’t think our house has ever been cleaner – it was tempting to just move back in and live in it all sparkly and fresh!  We managed to squish all off our belongings in to the container but only just!!

We enjoyed the last moments with our fireplace - pizza picnic on the last night in our house - we spent our first night in our house this same way five years ago!

We enjoyed the last moments with our fireplace – pizza picnic on the last night in our house – we spent our first night in our house this same way five years ago!

We moved in to our neighbours house last Friday, which is where we will spend most of this week, house-sitting, petsitting and childminding while they are away.  The kids are having a ball but I am finding that washing, making lunches and breakfasts and dinners for five kids is testing my organisational skills hehehehe!  We were so appreciative though to have a house with a fridge, beds and carpet, a shed to put the camper in and dump all of our yet to be packed stuff, after camping out in our house for the last ten days or so!  Eeeek – I am now a bit worried about how I am going to last on the road if I felt this grateful to be in a fully functional house after only 10 days of ‘semi camping’!!!!!

Fealy & Sheil kids at 'Sheil Farm'

Fealy & Sheil kids at ‘Sheil Farm’

We handed over our keys on Saturday to the new residents of ‘our house’, which was a relief on one hand that the packing/moving was over but sad to being saying goodbye to our home on the other.  It was very strange seeing a removal truck there today and turning into the driveway across the road is very strange too!!  Saturday afternoon was spent enjoying the freedom of not having a looming deadline and a mountain of work to do!

Kids final play on their fort

Kids final play on their fort

On Sunday we headed to the local pub for a very laid back farewell lunch with friends and family.  I need to write a seperate post on how grateful we are to all the friends and family that have been soooooo good to us over the last 5 years that we have lived in Samford.  We feel so thankful to you all and hope that you will know how much we appreciate your kindness and support as we have prepared for this trip!  We got some very clever and thoughtful gifts including some handmade place-mats for each of us to use in the camper, itunes cards for the kids, a care package of snacks, wipes, and pencils, along with some lovely cards.

Farewell lunch

Farewell lunch

Friends, family and fun

Friends, family and fun

Very hard to be leaving my little sister behind - we love ya Kate - you'll have to find someone else's pantry to raid on weekends now!

Very hard to be leaving my little sister behind – we love ya Kate – you’ll have to find someone else’s pantry to raid on weekends now!

Goodbye Johnson Family - thanks for the good times!!

Goodbye Johnson Family – thanks for the good times!!

This week is still super busy!  We need to pack the camper – everything is currently in our neighbour’s house or shed and now needs to go into the camper – there still seems to be a lot of ‘stuff’ depsite my best efforts to be ruthless in my trip packing!  I hope it all fits in!!  Today we had the roof racks for the car replaced by Tigerz11 as they were rusting!  Hopefully this one will be ok!

Rusting roof racks!

Rusting roof racks!

Tomorrow we need to take a panel of the camper wall over to have a tear repaired, as well as have our spare tyre fitted to the Prado rim we were generously given as a loan for the trip.  Other than that lots of small jobs like finalising our mail redirection, last meetings with the kids teacher’s, finalise car and camper insurance, buying a new camping chair each for Matt & I, some grocery shopping for the road, haircuts. beauty treatments, organise a present for Lex for her birthday, birthday cupcakes for kindy and oh I don’t know, heaps more stuff that I can’t remember!!  Oh, and the small detail that we still haven’t sold our little Toyota Yaris which is the petrol money for our trip – very stressful!  And we still haven’t found a home for our cat Slinky yet either!!  Nothing like going down to the wire I guess!!!  We are still planning to leave Samford on Saturday, the 1st of June, but will probably only make it over to the other side of Brisbane at this stage as we are hoping to say hello to Matt’s little brother who is flying back in to Australia that day after nearly five months in Europe.

So close now and we are getting very excited!!!

Anybody able to adopt or foster our cat Slinky?

Slinky - 5 yrs old femaie desexed

Slinky – 5 yrs old femaie desexed

Very child friendly cat!

Very child friendly cat!

Or want to buy our little car?

http://www.carsales.com.au/private/details/toyota-yaris-2010-14833838

Categories: Planning | 3 Comments

Farewell to Matt from Skroo Turner – Flight Centre Limited

Farewell to Matt from Skroo Turner – Flight Centre Limited

We have had a really great weekend, successfully moving out of our house, a lovely farewell lunch today with great friends and family and the first of some tough ‘goodbyes’.  I have lots to share about the last week but am just too tired tonight.

Instead – I wanted to share a blog post from Skroo Turner with a farewell to Matt from Flight Centre – it has definitely been a journey at FCL over the last 10 years – some lows but lots of highs too!!  We are grateful for the opportunities Flight Centre has given our family and Matt’s time there will certainly not be forgotten!

Categories: About Us | Tags: | 2 Comments

2 Weeks to Go!

Not many days to cross off now!

Not many days to cross off now!

Well, thought I’d better do a quick post so you all know we are still alive – just – and we haven’t decided to call the trip off just yet!  We have however, spent the last week arguing over whose dumb idea it was to head off around Australia in a camper van for 8 months – especially heading off in the middle of winter!  We have decided that we never, ever, ever want to do this moving gig again – the next move will be it!

Having said all that – we are getting there – the container is just about full, the house is mostly empty and we are probably a third of the way through the cleaning.  It hasn’t been all bad – I am finished up at work – yippppeeee (I will miss you though BMR crew!!) and my mum is here visiting (ok – not so much visiting as slave labour, but nice to have her here all the same!) and it does feel good to have done a bit of a sort of our life possessions (probably not ruthless enough)!  We have been feeling very grateful for the kind friends we have around us!  Big thanks to Michelle for dropping over a yummy batch of freshly baked muffins on the weekend, it was a big lift when I was feeling pretty over it all and wondering how on earth we would get it all done!  Also thanks to Luke for giving Matt a hand to lift the really heavy stuff after I went on strike, cried, and said ‘I wasn’t a man and I couldn’t lift any more’!  And thanks to Luke and Duncan for the loan of the trailers again – we should have bought shares in those trailers!!  We really appreciate all your kindness neighbours and friends!

With hopefully only a few more days of stressful cleaning and packing to go to make our ‘handover keys’ deadline on Saturday – a little bit of excitement is starting to creep in!  I can’t wait for next week when we will just get to focus on finalising all the packing into the camper!  Less than 2 weeks to go!

The muscles are very sore from all the lifting and carrying and mum and I have to get back to work – tackling the walls in the lounge room tonight so must drag ourselves away from the fire and get back to it!  Hopefully the next post will see us all moved out!!  Anybody got any good cleaning tips for us????

Spoilt on my last day at work with a farewell morning tea, lunch, card and gift!

Spoilt on my last day at work with a farewell morning tea, lunch, card and gift!

Awww - lovely farewell cards!

Awww – lovely farewell cards!

Watching Grammy's plane arrive!

Watching Grammy’s plane arrive!

Mum & I hard at work late one night packing up the kitchen.

Mum & I hard at work late one night packing up the kitchen.

Packing chaos!

Packing chaos!

Container, camper, rubbish -  piles going into each!

Container, camper, rubbish – piles going into each!

Empty container

Empty container

Container Tetris started

Matt is very good at Container Tetris 

Halfway Makr

Halfway Mark

Trailer load off to Vinnies

Trailer load off to Vinnies

Camping out already - at least we have a fire in the house though!

Camping out already – at least we have a fire in the house though!

Camping out in the lounge room - enjoying the last days with our fireplace!

Camping out in the lounge room – enjoying the last days with our fireplace!

A quick trip out to Bribie Island to see my Aunty Glenda who is visiting from New Zealand.  And to meet my Dad's cousin Cheryl.

A quick trip out to Bribie Island to see my Aunty Glenda who is visiting from New Zealand. And to meet my Dad’s cousin Cheryl.

Packing, packing!

Packing, packing!

Grammy slave labour - the things you have to do for your kids!

Grammy slave labour – the things you have to do for your kids!

Giving his chooks some quality time before we go!

Giving his chooks some quality time before we go!

Categories: Planning | 4 Comments

Coral Bay Tragedy

We have been given a very harsh reminder over the last couple of days, that things can go wrong when travelling in remote areas.  A reminder that we need to be careful and extra vigilant while travelling.  A reminder that there is a serious side, and some risk to our adventure that we must always keep in the back of our minds while we explore some of the ‘not so travelled’ parts of our country.

Those of you in Australia have probably heard the sad news about the travelling family at Ningaloo Reef, this is an article from ‘The Australian’ online;

Police name couple in Coral Bay tragedy

Canberra woman Kathreen Ricketson, who drowned while snorkelling

The mother who drowned while snorkelling at WA’s Ningaloo Reef has been named as Kathreen Ricketson. Source: AAP

THE mother who drowned while snorkelling at Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef has been named as Canberra woman Kathreen Ricketson, as the search for her partner Rob Shugg continues.

The body of Ms Ricketson, 41, washed up at Elle’s Beach south of Coral Bay on Wednesday afternoon as her two children, a 13-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy, watched.

Mr Shugg, 48, is still missing despite a massive air, sea and land search on Thursday.

WA police said the couple and their two children were on their dream trip at the beach with another family they had befriended on their travels.

The couple’s son raised the alarm after realising his parents were in trouble when he went into the water to swim with them and saw them face down.

The other family activated an emergency beacon just after 4pm (WST), south of the coastal hamlet near Ningaloo Reef, which alerted authorities.

Police said there were failed attempts to resuscitate Ms Ricketson, and Mr Shugg disappeared before he could be recovered.

“It must have been horrific. It must be any child’s worst nightmare,” Inspector Dominic Wood said.

There were no evident injuries on the woman’s body, police said, seemingly ruling out a shark attack.

Family members from Tasmania flew to WA as the search continued.

Expert police divers travelled from Perth to help the land and sea search for the missing man, assisted by the Department of Environment, State Emergency Service (SES), Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS) and Coral Bay Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue Group.

Senior Constable Barney Hutchison, from WA Water Police, said hopes were dimming as time passed.

“The missing man has been in the water a long time and hopes of finding him fade with each passing hour,” he told ABC radio.

“We have been in contact with the family and they’re making their way over to WA from Tasmania.

“But as I said, we are really hoping to get a favourable outcome if we can.”

Ms Ricketson’s website said she and her husband were planning to write a book about their travels around the country.

“The book is not just any old travel book. It will be part on the road memoir, part family camping adventure how-to, but mostly it will be a whole bunch of fun projects that can be done in a day or a weekend by those who want to get away from it all and reconnect with their families,” Ms Ricketson wrote.

On a blog, Ms Ricketson described the trip to Ningaloo as a “dream come true”.

“We are bush camping at a station on Ningaloo reef, Western Australia. A dream come true – is that totally corn ball?” she wrote.

My heart goes out to this family.  A fund has been set up to help support their children, you can find the details here http://whipup.net/2013/05/17/how-you-can-help/.

I really don’t know what to say except to send a big virtual ‘hug’ and condolences from the Fealy Family to all of those who knew and loved this family.

Stay safe out there to all of those currently travelling!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Categories: Camping | 1 Comment

Bribie Island Camp

DSCF2162Probably my favourite ‘practice run’ camping trip leading up to our big trip around Oz has been our long weekend away at Bribie Island in late November last year.

Bribie Island is less than an hour’s drive north (65km’s to be exact) of Brisbane.  It is linked to the mainland by a road bridge.  It is beautiful, with lots to see and do and such an easy camping weekend away!

We camped at site ‘K’ in the Ocean Beach Camping Area which was a site suitable for a camper trailer and a tent – perfect for us and Ben, Amy and the kids who joined us on this camp.  It was lovely and secluded and we had our own private stretch of beachfront!  This was our first experience camping without any amenities, and our first attempt at taking Karen Camper on to the beach.  We were very nervous!  Especially when we stopped in the car park entrance to ‘air down’ (drop the air pressure in the car and camper tyres to a suitable level – about 20 PSI – for sand driving) and we had some people come over and say to us that they weren’t sure we would get the camper down onto the beach – eeeek!  But we decided to give it a go anyway as the whole point of this camp was to test out the camper and ourselves with some beach driving/towing.  We were fortunate that a nice man offered to drive ahead of us down on to the beach and make sure we made it through the ‘cutting’ okay.  We were chewing our fingernails even more when we hit the cutting and saw a Prado bogged in the sand in front of us and they were not even towing anything!!!  But – we followed the car in front who had visited Bribie many times and we made it through just fine – phew!

On the beach in front of campsite 'K'

On the beach in front of campsite ‘K’

The next challenge was then getting the car and camper up the sand dune and into our campsite!  It took two goes for Matt to get the camper in after backing out on the first run when he realised he hadn’t given himself enough of a run up and power to get up, and managing to reverse out!  It is very nerve-wracking being on the beach, knowing the tide is coming in and not being sure if you are going to be able to get your camper off the beach and up into your campsite – I had visions of our camper having to be left on the beach at the mercy of the ocean while we watched from the top of the dunes!  I guess this is what doing something new/having an adventure is all about, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get stressful sometimes!!  The campsite was quite small so it was definitely a test for Matt’s reversing skills to finally get the camper in to position for the weekend.  We suffered a small dent to the front of Peter Prado when Matt hit one of the National Park ‘bollards’ (posts that mark out the campsite) so we didn’t entirely avoid a small amount of swearing!

Great view from our campsite

Great view from our campsite

Our setup - there wasn't a lot of shade

Our setup – there wasn’t a lot of shade

Kids having their before breaky swim at 7am in the morning

Kids having their before breaky swim at 7am in the morning

Over the course of the weekend we tackled the ‘Fort Bribie’ walk which was a 5km return trek that ended up being quite tough for the kids but they managed!  The walk wasn’t very well signed so we got a little lost a few times but did make it to the Fort in the end with hot faces and scratched arms and legs!  This is an extract about the walk from the National Park website;

“Near the northern tip of Bribie Island, you can take a walk through coastal plant communities featuring casuarinas, melaleucas and some rainforest species to heritage-listed remains of gun emplacements and searchlight buildings. Wayside signs provide information about the forts and the men and women who served here during World War II (1941–1945).

During World War II, Fort Bribie was strategically located near Bribie Island’s northern tip to secure the passage south. Moreton Bay’s shallow waters are scattered with small islands, banks and sandbars, so large ships are limited to the main north-west shipping channel that runs close to shore near Bribie Island.”

A bushwalking challenge!

A bushwalking challenge!

Jack having a look at one of the gun emplacements

Jack having a look at one of the gun emplacements

Fort Bribie

Fort Bribie

We were pretty cranky to find that we could have just driven up the beach to the Fort rather than bashing through the bush!

We were pretty cranky to find that we could have just driven up the beach to the Fort rather than bashing through the bush!

We opted for the walk home along the beach rather than through the bush again!

We opted for the walk home along the beach rather than through the bush again!

We also had a fun afternoon four wheeling driving along the Northern Access Inland track and checking out the Poverty Creek camping area.

An afternoon of 4wding along the inland norther access track on the island - Roma Rav bogged!

An afternoon of 4wding along the inland northern access track on the island – Roma Rav bogged!

Can you tell that Matt is just a little happy to have a chance to use the brand new 'snatch strap' and get bragging rights over Roma Rav??

Can you tell that Matt is just a little happy to have a chance to use the brand new ‘snatch strap’ and get bragging rights over Roma Rav??

Afternoon stop at Poverty Creek - beautiful Glasshouse Mountains in the background

Afternoon stop at Poverty Creek – beautiful Glasshouse Mountains in the background

Amy at Poverty Creek

Amy at Poverty Creek

And other than that we just spent time lazing on the beach and cooling off in the Welsby and Mermaid Lagoons on the island.  The lagoons were very shallow and lovely and warm – perfect for young kids!

Mermaid Lagoon

Mermaid Lagoon

Welsby Lagoon

Welsby Lagoon

Cars on the beach in front of Welsby Lagoon

Cars on the beach in front of Welsby Lagoon

Another great weekend getaway so close to Brisbane – I think Bribie Island would even be an awesome day trip!  We loved it and just wish we had more time to go back again.  The kids, and me, even survived our first bush toileting experience of digging our own ‘bush toilet’ hole!  If you live in Brisbane and have a four wheel drive then definitely go and check out Bribie Island!

I cooked my first chocolate cake in the camper oven while we were there - going to take some getting used to cooking with but tasted ok after we cut the burnt bits off!

I cooked my first chocolate cake in the camper oven while we were there – going to take some getting used to cooking with but tasted ok after we cut the burnt bits off!

Kangaroo visiting our camp site

Kangaroo visiting our camp site

Evening fishing on the beach - very quiet and peaceful

Evening fishing on the beach – very quiet and peaceful

Tackling the cutting after racing the tide up the beach to head home

Tackling the cutting after racing the tide up the beach to head home

The worst bit about beach camping - the cleaning up and hosing down when we get home

The worst bit about beach camping – the cleaning up and hosing down when we get home

Very thankful for 'sand grabber' floor mats!

Very thankful for ‘sand grabber’ floor mats!

Categories: Camping, Qld Camping | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

3 Weeks to Go!

IMG_2690Well, the container which we have purchased to pack our house into arrived today.  This signals the start of ‘Hell Fortnight’ for us.  By next Saturday the 24th of May we will need to be all packed up in the van and the entire contents of our house –  4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, shed, deck and garage full of stuff into a 20 foot shipping container – eeeek!

I have heaps of posts I still want to write, hopefully I will get an update out this week on where we are at with our ‘Light Bulb Moment’ – we’re still excited about it but finding it hard now to fit in time for all the research and connecting we would like to do!  Please stay with us if you find the Blog posts a little less frequent over the next couple of weeks – we will be back on track once we hit the road!

Only two more days of work left for me which is exciting!  I have really enjoyed the last five years at BMR Business Solutions and will miss the lovely people there – if you need a good accountant in Brisbane definitely give Brett a call!!  I was so lucky to have such a flexible boss and rewarding role all only 7 minutes from my kitchen to my desk!!  However, it will be nice to have a break from tax returns, financial statements and excel spreadsheets for a while!

Last week Matt did the final service on the car, replacing the brakes and fluids – something to do with coolant and diff oil??, put new windscreen wipers on, made a set of longer mudflaps for the car, and a few other things that I forget now – something to do with a secondary fuel filter install I think!  He didn’t finish until 1am (thanks again to ‘talktotheroo’ from Prado Point for showing Matt the ropes)and made lots of mess and noise on the driveway!  He is feeling very ’empowered’ about learning some new ‘blokey’ skills so I will leave it to him to fill you when he gets a chance!

Matt's first go at making our own mudflap extensions to avoid having to spend lots of $$$ on buying something to do the job - we'll see how they go!

Matt’s first go at making our own mudflap extensions to avoid having to spend lots of $$$ on buying something to do the job – we’ll see how they go!

Other than that last week was filled with a little more packing, some final purchases, one of which was a cheap inflatable kayak from Gumtree so that we can paddle out with one of the boys at a time in their kayak when we are in ‘safe’ water territory.

Cheap kayak off Gumtree

Cheap kayak off Gumtree

Matt also got a great bargain of water proof jacket on sale at Anaconda after he finished his shift helping out with the Scout BBQ.  Also in the shopping basket on this day were some sand pegs as we didn’t yet have any, a fishing rod (a goal for the trip is for us to learn how to fish), a life jacket for the kids and some mosquito nets to go over our hats, oh and a new sleeping bag for me (to replace my 15 year old one that no longer zips up) and a warm polar fleece liner for Lexi’s sleeping bag.  And that about rounds up all our pre-trip purchases – hopefully we have everything we need now to get started on the road!

I have been madly washing all of our sleeping bags and camper linen, but since I hung it out on the washing line two days ago we have had bits and pieces of rain which means they are all not getting that lovely sunny, line dried freshness and smell grrrr!  Oh, and Lexi and I have been doing some ‘Procrastination Baking’ too – fun but not helping get the packing done!

Procrastination Baking

Procrastination Baking

Other than that I had the best Mother’s Day yesterday!  This year was the first year the kids remembered all on their own!  I was treated to a 7.45am sleep-in (6 am is the normal wakeup from the kids usually to an ‘I’m hungry’ or to break up a fight happening in the lounge room!) and was then brought breakfast in bed (albeit a bowl of soggy nutrigrain – but it’s the thought that counts!) and some thoughtfully choosen gifts using their $2 each at the Mother’s Day Stall at school – a candle from Toby and a pot plant for Jack along with a handmade bead braclet and chocolates which had been made in class.  I also had a lovely sign made for me and stuck to the kitchen bench!

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

So grateful most of the time to be mum to these three!!

So grateful most of the time to be mum to these three!!

Now I’m just counting down the sleeps until the BEST mum in the world – my mum, arrives on Wednesday – can’t wait!!

PS.  Just had to share this little picture that I took from Toby’s workbook which I was shown during his parent/teacher interview last week – makes us feel like we are making the right decision with our trip!

'Prep's had to draw a picture of a person of personal significance to them in their family'

‘Prep’s had to draw a picture of a person of personal significance to them in their family’

Categories: Planning | Tags: | 7 Comments

Elanda Point Camp

Elanda Point November 2012

Elanda Point November 2012

We still have so many blog posts to add about our lead up camping forays before we head off, but time seems to be galloping now!!  We really should have been blogging as we were doing these things like we planned, but hopefully better late than never!

Our third trip away with Karen Camper and Peter Prado was in November last year to Elanda Point which is a one and a half hour drive north of Brisbane.  We camped at the Elanda Point Education Centre and Adventure Park which had great facilities but unfortunately no campfires allowed – bummer!  The campground is set right on the edge of Lake Cootharaba.  When we arrived it was very windy so despite the fact that I desperately wanted to camp right on the water, we opted for a quiet spot at the back of the campground after several campers who had been there the night before showed us the damage that had been done to their annexes and awnings – we couldn’t risk having that sort of damage to our camper.  Apparently it is very common to have severe winds down on the water at Elanda Point.

Our 3rd setup - Elanda Point

Our 3rd setup – Elanda Point

Heaps of Kangaroos all over the campground

Heaps of kangaroos all over the campground

Kangaroo

Kangaroo

We had Matt’s brothers and Amy join us on this trip, along with the Fealy cousies.  Elanda Point is great for young kids as the water in Lake Cootharaba is very shallow – basically knee deep for hundreds of metres out and very warm.  Our kids had a ball playing in the water – especially on the Monday when we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves!

Gotta love Uncle Jimbo!

Gotta love Uncle Jimbo!

Lexi Lou!

Lexi Lou!

Helping to set up Uncle Ben and Amy's new tent.

Helping to set up Uncle Ben and Amy’s new tent.

We camped here for three nights and could have easily stayed longer.  There was heaps of room for the kids to run around and lots of lovely shady spots.

Took the hammock this time but I think the kids were the only ones who got to use it!

Took the hammock this time but I think the kids were the only ones who got to use it!

The kids doing some 'rest time' activities in the shade

The kids doing some ‘rest time’ activities in the shade

Jacko spent the whole weekend rescuing baby birds that kept falling out of their nest in the tree - and trying to bring them home!

Jacko spent the whole weekend rescuing baby birds that kept falling out of their nest in the tree – and trying to bring them home!

Lace Monitor

Lace Monitor

There are a few great walking tracks that you can tackle from Elanda Point.  As our kids are still quite little – we choose a walk that left from the campground and which was just a short 3km return walk to Mill Point, the place where a timber mill township flourished from 1862 to 1892.  It was a really easy and scenic walk with quite a few interesting spots to stop and see along the way – a fun way to give the kids a bit of a history lesson!

An afternoon walk to the old 'Mill' site at Elanda Point - an easy 3km return walk for the kids and quite interesting

An afternoon walk to the old ‘Mill’ site at Elanda Point

The 'Family Tree' - Fealy Cousins at Mill Point

The ‘Family Tree’ – Fealy Cousins at Mill Point

We used Elanda Point as our base to try out the first of our 4wd tours from the ‘Dirty Weekends’ book.  It was a bit of a disaster!  We blew a fuel line on Peter Prado at about 20kms into the drive so spent the rest of the day worrying about how much diesel we were losing!  Then we got a bit lost and couldn’t pick up the track that the Dirty Weekend’s book was directing us to (a first lesson for us that we are not going to just be able to rely on our iPhones/Ipads for help when lost as we had no reception!!!) so we ended up driving all the way to Rainbow Beach along a forestry track, which was not the scenic 4wding experience we were hoping for!  We would definitely like to go back and do a bit more exploring of the Cooloola National Park!  Despite the frayed tempers, frustration and disappointment, we still managed to have a pretty good day and see some beautiful spots!

Time to go 4wding!

Time to go 4wding!

We found the first stop on the 4wd tour ok - Harry's Hut.  It all went down hill from there!

We found the first stop on the 4wd tour ok – Harry’s Hut. It all went down hill from there!

Noosa Everglades - beautiful - would love to go back with Kayaks.

Noosa Everglades at Harry’s Hut – beautiful – would love to go back with Kayaks.

Group photo (credits to James) at Freshwater Campground - Rainbow Beach where we stopped for a very late lunch!

Group photo (credits to James) at Freshwater Campground – Rainbow Beach, where we stopped for a very late lunch!

A bit of beach driving - it was a spectacular afternoon!

A bit of beach driving back from Rainbow Beach to Noosa North Shore – it was a spectacular afternoon!  We drove past the beach camping at Teewah Beach – it looks great, definitely something we would still love to do!

Red Canyon - Rainbow Beach

Red Canyon – Rainbow Beach

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

The car ferry back to the mainland at Noosa North Shore

The car ferry back to the mainland at Noosa North Shore

Zip tying the fuel hose back up with the assistance of a very helpful man at the Noosa North Shore car wash.

Zip tying the fuel hose back up with the assistance of a very helpful man at the Noosa North Shore car wash.

A pretty good weekend away but we did blow our first tyre on the camper on the highway on the way home, which was a bit of a downer way to end the weekend, but all a learning experience for us!

We blew our first tyre on the camper coming home - this is where we discovered we had no tools - not even a tyre iron that fit!  Definitely a wake up call and thankful for our RACQ membership!

We blew our first tyre on the camper coming home – this is where we discovered we had no tools – not even a tyre iron that fit! Definitely a wake up call and thankful for our RACQ membership!

Categories: Camping, Qld Camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The ‘Worry’ List

IMG_2677At this point in our trip preparations I am flipping between being totally excited about heading off and the places we will see, the time we will have to spend all together and the adventure of it all, or like today – totally freaking out about what on earth we have gotten ourselves in for!!

I know I am a stressor and an over thinker.  I know we are heading off on the 1st of June no matter what and that our reasons for doing our trip are important to us.  But I’m worried and just a bit scared and nervous. Not helped by the fact that today the kids were little terrors – misbehaving, fighting and making so much mess!

So here’s my ‘worry list’.  I’m concerned ……………………………………

  1. About how on earth we are going to get our 1 acre block, 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 5 person house all packed up and cleaned in time.
  2. That we will be so freezing cold and miserable for the first few months of our trip as we are heading off in the middle of winter.  I’m worried our sleeping bags won’t be warm enough and nor will our clothes!
  3. About our kids thinking that life is just one big holiday and not knowing the value of hard work!  I’m sure with all the camping/travelling we have done with them it seems like all we do is go on holidays!
  4. I feel a bit guilty, that maybe we don’t deserve this trip.  Some people work their whole lives before they get to go off on an adventure like ours.
  5. I’m worried that after 8 years of shift work and crossing paths like ships in the night most of the time, that Matt and I won’t know how to spend so much time together anymore!
  6. About the kids fighting ALL of the time and driving us all nuts!
  7. That we haven’t had enough experience with 4-wheel driving or travelling in remote areas.  I’m not sure what we are in for!  We really wish we had of joined a four wheel drive club a year ago.
  8. That by probably getting to the Kimberley in August we have left it to late and won’t get to see the true beauty of that area.
  9. I’m worried about leaving behind all the great friends and community we have here in Brisbane and not finding anything like that again!  It has taken us this long to finally start feeling like we belong!
  10. About the kids schooling and that we won’t do enough with them while we are travelling and they will get too far behind and have to repeat a year.
  11. I love routine and organising.  I’m not sure I will like not having that.
  12. That something major will break down on the trip or on our house that we are renting which will throw our whole budget for the trip out!
  13. About our little car not selling and having to offload it for whatever we can get, therefore significantly reducing our fuel budget for the trip.
  14. That we are not going to fit everything in the 20ft container we have ordered to store our house.
  15. I’m worried that our dog is losing his marbles and is going to be a burden on those who look after him for us.

And there are so many more little silly things but those are the main ones!  What on earth are we thinking doing this trip?!?!

I’m taking myself off to bed, I am sure it will all seem better in the morning and hopefully in a few months I can laugh at all these worries.

Nothing Great is Easy, Nothing Great is Easy, Nothing Great is Easy …………………………………..

Categories: About Us, Planning | Tags: | 11 Comments

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