A Travellerspoint blog

The Final Packup 21/8/2010

As this is our final destination on our 18 week roadtrip, there is sadly a very big pack up to undertake. Greg’s dad Ian offered to fly to Cairns and to drive our car and trailer home to Adelaide. We willingly accept, as otherwise Greg would be doing the return trip on his own – it was one of Jane’s provisos for undertaking the trip that she and the kids would only be driving one way.

It is both an easy and difficult pack up. As it is our last we can simply load everything into the trailer and can abandon our careful labeled and organised tubs, but we want to travel lightly on the plane so have to carefully select the essentials that we’ll need in Adelaide.

It is also a melancholy pack up as we have experienced a great deal over the course of the 18 weeks and it is sad to think that it had come to an end. We are also looking forward to being home, we have missed all of our friends and family - while we caught up with some who were able to take holidays to visit us, there are many that didn’t. The obvious comforts of home – our own beds, knowing the local shops, for Jane the kitchen – will be very welcome.

We leave Cairns very early on Friday 22 August, on a 6am flight for Adelaide. This means a 4am wakeup to ensure we get to the airport with plenty of time. It is a bit of a rude final chapter but we decide a direct flight with our two young ones is better than an extended stop-over.

We arrive back in Adelaide at about 9am. Jane's Mum is there to collect us from the airport. We head back to our house and Nadia immediately runs off to play with all of her forgotten toys. We have a number of friends and family drop in throughout the day to welcome us home and it is great to see everybody.

Despite all the challenges that we faced it was an extremely rewarding trip and we saw and experienced some amazing places. The East Coast of Australia is truly beautiful and it was well worth the trip.

Greg is very keen to attempt the trip again in 12 months time, but Jane is not so sure. She thinks it might be wise to wait until the kids are a little older and can appreciate it a bit more. We’ll keep you posted....

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Kewarra Beach, Cairns Northern Beaches, 16/8/2010-22/8/2010


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Our final 6 nights are spent at Kewarra Beach in a large 4 bedroom beach house. We are joined by some more friends from Adelaide – Jan Marie, Lee and their two girls Chante and Scarlett, whom we met through Jane’s Mums’ Group in Adelaide. Chante is the same age as Nadia and Scarlett is the same as Isaac. They have been in tropical North Queensland for a week with Jan Marie’s family and have bravely decided to spend their final days of holiday with us all in the same house.

The house is located right on the beach, with only sand dunes between the backyard fence and the beach. We have our own swimming pool and with a large enclosed yard; a great outdoor entertaining area and the main living area is large and open plan.

Optimistically we attempt to have the two older girls share a bedroom but despite the general excitement and enthusiasm from the girls, it is not a success. By night 2or3 Nadia ends up in her portacot in the laundry – it’s amazing how useful these rooms can be as additional bedrooms when space is needed!

During the week we take advantage of the house’s pool and its location to the beach with quite a few swims. Nadia is becoming more and more confident in the pool and Chante who has been taking swimming lessons back in Adelaide is also able to show her some moves!
All the kids are very well behaved during the week despite a few minor disagreements over the odd toy. The older girls are particularly good at keeping themselves entertained and disappear into their bedroom (eventually Chante’s only) for dress-ups – usually each other’s clothes! It is lovely to see them playing so well together.

We undertake two day trips, one into Cairns where we experience Muddy’s Playground again (see our Palm Cove entry) and attempt a shopping trip at the local DFO; the second we drive up to Kuranda Rainforest Village. Jan Marie and Lee take their girls on the Scenic Railway for a daytrip and return via the Skyrail. Greg and Jane have already done this trip a few times so decide to meet them up there for lunch instead.

The drive is particularly windy and Jane starts to feel a tad carsick. Nadia is also very quiet in the backseat and as soon as we arrive we realise why... as soon as she gets out of the car she is very ill – but given this is our first case of carsickness in over 4500 kms its not too bad an effort!

Once in Kuranda we enjoy the Butterfly House; have a picnic lunch in a park and go for a wander through some markets. Jane and Greg have been to Kuranda a number of times and realise that it is very quiet compared to previous visits and that the markets and general vibe of the place is quite down – the economic situation and resultant drop in Tourism is very evident.

The four adults also enjoy some child-free time over the 6 nights. Luckily all the kids are usually in bed by about 7.30pm after long activity filled days, so we enjoy some great alfresco barbeques and on one night actually get to go out for dinner in Palm Cove. Jan Marie’s parents, who are staying in a caravan park nearby, offer to babysit for the evening.

We have a great Italian meal and are even chauffeur driven there and back so we can enjoy some cocktails and wine – thanks George (Jan Marie’s dad!)

Nadia, Isaac and Chante get wet at Muddy's Playground

Nadia, Isaac and Chante get wet at Muddy's Playground


I spy a butterfly

I spy a butterfly


Chante and Nadia cruise around the Kewarra Beach Holiday House

Chante and Nadia cruise around the Kewarra Beach Holiday House


Isaac well and truly on the move - commando style

Isaac well and truly on the move - commando style


Nadia and Isaac at Kewarra Beach

Nadia and Isaac at Kewarra Beach


Nadia and Isaac Kewarra Beach

Nadia and Isaac Kewarra Beach


I can't take the ride anymore dad!

I can't take the ride anymore dad!


Kewarra Beach Pool

Kewarra Beach Pool


View from backyard of Kewarra Beach Holiday House - straight to the beach

View from backyard of Kewarra Beach Holiday House - straight to the beach

Posted by mudie 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Palm Cove 9/8/2010 - 16/8/2010


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During our week at Palm Cove we have visitors from Adelaide. Greg’s sister Dana, her husband Paul and their two girls, Claudia and Kate have flown up to escape the Adelaide cold. Their arrival coincides with Nadia’s birthday, and it is her first big surprise of the day.

We are all staying at an apartment complex just off the main Esplanade. Unfortunately the two apartments aren’t next to each, or even on the same floor, but the girls have a great time running between the floors to visit during the week.

We celebrate Nadia’s birthday with a family reunion pizza dinner and we have the requisite chocolate birthday cake complete with Dora the Explorer candle (her only real request for the day!)

The biggest highlight of the week was definitely the amount of time Nadia got to spend and play with her cousins. Other than a few days at Twin Waters with Tia back in June, Nadia has not had any real playtime with children (especially with ones she knew from home.)
The three girls have lots of time swimming in the complex pool, playing on the beach and the playground; as well as the time in the apartments drawing and enjoying Nadia’s toys.

The eight of us head into Cairns one day and spend some time at Muddy’s Playground – an amazing facility on the Cairns Esplanade which is made up of normal playground equipment and a number of “wet” areas, where the kids can run through water fountains and enjoy getting soaked in their bathers. While we are in Cairns we have a picnic lunch and then go to the Cairns lagoon (similar to the one we visited at Airlie Beach), as Cairns central has no beach to speak of.

Dana and Paul do an all day sea Kayaking tour to Fitzroy Island one day and we look after Claudia and Kate. We head back to Muddy’s and the lagoon and then once back in Palm Cove spend some time on the beach.

Our week at Palm Cove includes 3 nights out (a record for the trip!). One night we head to the local surf club and while it is not a glamorous establishment, the food is good and the beer garden out the back is great for the kids to run around. They end up playing with a large group of kids from Brisbane and soon the adults are able to sit back and relax (Isaac is asleep in the pram). By the end of the night we are chatting to the parents and have a big group photo.

On another night, Greg and Jane get the chance to head out for dinner on their own while Paul babysits our kids (we reciprocate for Dana and Paul the next night). We head to a Greek restaurant and while the food is good, we realise how spoilt we are in Adelaide – with some great food and restaurants all close to where we live!

Our final night at Palm Cove is spent at the local Tavern, next door to our apartment. It has a kids indoor playground and the three girls have a great time running around, while the adults sit back and enjoy the tropical night.

Jane, Nadia and Greg - Nadia's 3rd birthday

Jane, Nadia and Greg - Nadia's 3rd birthday


Kate, Claudia and Nadia celebrate Nadia's 3rd birthday

Kate, Claudia and Nadia celebrate Nadia's 3rd birthday


Mudies and Meseckes group photo

Mudies and Meseckes group photo


The kids in the Elysium Apartments pool

The kids in the Elysium Apartments pool


Claudia reads to Nadia and Isaac

Claudia reads to Nadia and Isaac


Greg and Isaaac, Palm Cove

Greg and Isaaac, Palm Cove


Jane and Greg about to go out to dinner

Jane and Greg about to go out to dinner


Nadia playing in the sand

Nadia playing in the sand


Isaac and Jane, Palm Cove

Isaac and Jane, Palm Cove


Isaac, Claudia, Kate and Nadia

Isaac, Claudia, Kate and Nadia


Nadia and Kate at the water's edge

Nadia and Kate at the water's edge


Palm Cove  - Elysium Apartments

Palm Cove - Elysium Apartments

Posted by mudie 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Port Douglas, 2/8/2010 - 9/8/2010


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On our way from Mission Beach to Port Douglas we stop off in Cairns for some vital birthday shopping. Nadia will turn 3 in a week!!

We arrive in Port Douglas and have booked into Cayman Villas, the same self contained apartment complex that we visited when Nadia was one year old. We are in a ground floor 3 bedroom apartment right next to the complex pool.

Our visit to Port Douglas is unfortunately not the highlight that we had anticipated. Isaac gets his first real illness of the holiday and is unwell for most of the week. We have two Drs visits and one phone consultation. He has a fever and screams one night and day for hours. We have visions of a repeat febrile convulsion and UTI. The local Dr is amazing and luckily by the day we leave (Nadia’s birthday) he is well and truly on the way to being back to himself.

Despite these hiccups we still manage to get in lots of swims in the pool; trips to the beach; a visit to the Habitat Rainforest Zoo where Nadia gets to feed Kangaroos and Wallabies; and Jane does some retail therapy.

Our final morning at Port Douglas is Nadia’s birthday. Once we finish packing up we all go out for a birthday brunch before we revisit the Habitat Zoo for a last minute visit to the kangaroos and ducks. We then make the short drive to Palm Cove for our second to last week!

Port Douglas apartment pool

Port Douglas apartment pool


Nadia with an elephant sculpture

Nadia with an elephant sculpture


Nadia and a Gorilla sculpture

Nadia and a Gorilla sculpture


Nadia feeding wallabies at Cairns Tropical Zoo

Nadia feeding wallabies at Cairns Tropical Zoo

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Mission Beach 24/7/2010- 2/8/2010


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We leave Magnetic Island and head for Mission Beach. We’ve pre-booked into a self-contained two bedroom apartment in a beachfront resort. It is one of the few places that has availability for the Saturday night and we’ve booked for a one week stay. It is one of the more expensive places that we will stay in but we are hopefully that it will have some great facilities for kids and we know that as we head further North the great deals are not as easy to find as everyone else is also heading to the warmer weather.

When we arrive at the resort we find that our “self-contained apartment“is little more than a hotel suite with two small bedrooms – the kitchen is a fridge and microwave with no capacity for cooking or preparing meals. We are both very conscious that it is not suitable. To confirm our thoughts it has started pouring with rain and we can’t imagine a few hours let alone days confined to such a small place with two very noisy children.

During a break in the rain we decide to clear our heads and we go for a walk around Mission Beach. As we are out and about Greg notices a holiday house rental sign and when we get back to our room he does a quick internet search and phones the Mission Beach Holiday Rentals. Amazingly they answer the phone at 4.45pm on Saturday afternoon. Greg explains our situation and Nancy is amazing and goes out of her way to help us find a solution. Greg makes a quick trip downstairs to the resort reception and thankfully they are happy for us to check-out the next morning with minimal fuss. After another confirmation phone call to Nancy we secure a 3 bedroom house in the nearby Wongaling Beach – at a price cheaper than we were paying for our tiny hotel suite.

On Sunday morning we pack-up after our shortest stay and head to our new accommodation. It is our dream holiday house overlooking the beach. It has its own swimming pool in the front yard, louvers to let the breeze through and a lovely open plan living space with amble bedrooms for us all.

We are very fortunate to have such a great place as during our first 4 days at Mission Beach we have unseasonal rains (I don’t know how people live through the months of rain during the wet season!) We are confined to our house for much of these days and had we still been in our original accommodation I am positive we would have been divorced or in need of serious therapy! Instead we have the luxury of sitting back and reading, cooking in the great kitchen and there is heaps of space for the kids to run and move around both inside and outside under the large deck.

Initially we only book for a few days but once we realise it is raining everywhere along the Northern Coast of QLD we decide we may as well be in a great house, so we extend and end up staying for 8 nights (9 in total at Mission Beach).

Despite the rain we have a great time at Mission Beach. We didn’t realise but Mission Beach is the term used to describe about 4 small villages along the coast. We are staying at Wongaling Beach.

We get to explore the Beaches between showers and from our house we can see the regular Skydivers who land on the beach close to us.

Greg takes a white-water rafting trip on the Tully River and has a great day – the rain has probably helped the rapids and let’s face it you always get wet anyway! Initially Jane contemplated doing the daytrip too and getting the kids looked after by a babysitter, but once we realise it’s a 7.30am – 5pm day we know that our kids are too young (Isaac especially) to be left with strangers.

On about day 5 the weather comes good and we spend some time using our holiday house pool and playing on the beach. One day we go hunting for Cassowarys and Nadia has a great time doing the Children’s Walk where we follow the Cassowary footprints to its nest.

We also do a daytrip to Dunk Island. We can’t get on the scheduled Water Taxi but are able to use an Amphibious vehicle service that is more flexible as there is no timetable and we can be picked up and dropped off from the beach without getting wet. It is a fast 10 minute ride to the island. We spend the day at the resort pool, have a poolside lunch and Nadia goes for her first pony ride. Greg also has a go on the stand-up paddle boat. We have all had a great day and think it would be nice to stay there one day.

Overall we have really enjoyed our stay at Mission Beach and will definitely be back for another family holiday.

Mission Beach Holiday House pool

Mission Beach Holiday House pool


View from Mission Beach Holiday House, over the pool to the beach

View from Mission Beach Holiday House, over the pool to the beach


Greg takes on the Tully River

Greg takes on the Tully River


Nadia's first pony ride, Dunk Island

Nadia's first pony ride, Dunk Island


Nadia and Isaac hanging out at Mission Beach

Nadia and Isaac hanging out at Mission Beach


Nadia, Isaac and Jane at the Mission Beach Holiday House pool

Nadia, Isaac and Jane at the Mission Beach Holiday House pool


Isaac at Mission Beach

Isaac at Mission Beach


Nadia found some cassowary eggs

Nadia found some cassowary eggs


Nadia's about to hunt for cassowarys

Nadia's about to hunt for cassowarys


Jane with the kids at the Mission Beach rainforest walk

Jane with the kids at the Mission Beach rainforest walk

Posted by mudie 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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