Gordon River Cruise

Gordon River Cruise

Here’s a short video of our adventure

Cruising the Gordon River on The Spirit of the Wild

The Gordon River Cruise is something everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime. It may be right over on the wild West Coast of Tasmania and require making your way along more than a few narrow, winding roads to get there, but it is definitely worth it! We went with my parents and had a fantastic time.

 

We stayed at the BIG4 Strahan Holiday Retreat http://www.strahanholidaypark.com.au/ Chris and I stayed in our Alucab rooftop tent and mum and dad hired a lovely cabin that backed on to a little creek. They even had a back deck to enjoy the view!

I did the cruise 14 years ago on the older red vessel, but this time we were lucky enough to cruise the Gordon River on the brand new ‘The Spirit of the Wild’ … what a great boat!

65 nautical miles or 120 km was our journey in the 33.8m long catamaran that was launched in 2018 and has super quiet diesel and electric engines.

It’s a floating history lesson delivered by a few wonderful characters that light up the TV screens as you navigate the waters.

We departed Strahan at 8:30am and were on the water for 6 hours (including an hour on historical Sarah Island).

The Spirit of the Wild powered out through MacQuarie Harbour to Hells Gates before cruising to the lower reaches of the Gordon River.

We couldn’t keep the smiles off our faces or the wind out of our hair as we passed by trout and salmon farms and the rugged rainforest landscape of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Side note – it was extremely cold and crazy windy, even in January! So make sure you take your winter woollies and a beanie to keep the hair out of your eyes.

They switched off the diesel engines as we slid into and along the river. The silence and peace as we glided those glass-like waters was highlighted by a dramatic drop in the fierce winds we experienced in the harbour. What a contrast!

The tours of Heritage Landing and Sarah Island gave us a strong sense of going back in time.

Heritage Landing is a 30 minute nature walk where we followed a fairly new boardwalk through the temperate rainforest.

There are interpretative sign all along the way filled with information about the flora and fauna.

Sarah Island was a banishment settlement for the worst criminals sent directly from the transport ships in Hobart, those who’d escaped and been recaptured or had committed further crimes while serving a sentence.

It was also a slave labour camp where good quality ships and boats were built on the slips. For a while it was the largest operation of its kind in Australia with over 130 workboats being built and launched sideways on a slipway.

You can still see the large planks of wood under the water near the shore if you have a good pair of polarized sunnies. I couldn’t see anything until I put Chris’s Oakley’s on!

You can read my blog post on Sarah Island here: http://www.aussiedestinationsunknown.com.au/2019/01/31/sarah-island-tasmani

It’s lovely to take some time to stretch your legs, soak up the history and really breathe in the fresh air after the leisurely cruise down the calm waters of the river.

The buffet lunch was delicious, the boat was very new and quite impressive; the scenery was breathtaking and the staff were lovely. We can’t rate this highly enough.

 

 Gordon River Cruises

 

🗺 https://goo.gl/maps/H1ppQPgor9txagdDA
📍24 Esplanade, Strahan TAS 7468
🌐gordonrivercruises.com.au
📱(03) 6471 4300

Walking. Are You Doing it Right?

Walking. Are You Doing it Right?

That’s a photo of me with my mum and dad doing a long hike to Montezuma Falls in Tasmania. We LOVE walking!

 


 

 If you’re anything like us and spend a whole lot of your ‘spare time’ traveling and exploring our beautiful country … like us, you probably clock up quite a few km on your feet as well as in your car. It’s important to keep moving when you’re not adventuring as well. We aren’t on the road full-time, so adding exercise into the daily routine is a must!

Walking is one of the first major milestones we reach in our lives, and one that is most certainly praised (and shared a thousand times over on social media!) by our loved ones.

You would be surprised that after doing it for so long, that many people are actually doing it wrong.

Yep, I know – crazy right? How could someone be ‘doing it wrong’ when walking comes so naturally?

Walking may not be the most effective way to burn body fat, but it does have some incredible benefits, so it’s well worth taking the time to make sure you are getting the most out of your wanderings. Plus, by ‘tweaking’ the way you walk, you CAN burn more body fat!

Aside from the mental health benefits and the positive effects on your overall health and well-being, walking has been shown to decrease your chances of ending up with heart disease and diabetes and a brief 15-20 minute walk after meals has been shown to reduce your blood sugar levels significantly.

It’s a fairly safe way to exercise with far less injuries occurring during your afternoon stroll than going for a run or a jog. Did you know over 50% of people who jog end up injured?

It makes sense when you think about it. For every 1.5km you run, your feet hit the ground about 900 times. Estimating that you weigh about 70kg, would mean over 60,000 kilos of force pounds against your joints, ligaments and every other part of your body! Wowsers! As much as I love running, I haven’t been for a years due to the pain it has caused in my knees.

Running is also a type of exercise known as ‘steady state cardio’ which has been shown to have a negative impact on overall health and well-being, and fat-loss goals.

With that in mind, walking is a safe and great place to start your exercise journey and a fantastic way to improve your overall health and fitness on an ongoing basis. Don’t get me wrong, you do still need to incorporate some type of resistance training into your exercise regime and you MUST add in some exercise that gets your heart rate up. I recommend HiiT training (high intensity interval training).

Click here for some simple stretching, resistance, cardio and balance exercises you can do anywhere. http://www.aussiedestinationsunknown.com.au/2019/02/21/15-exercises-for-caravanning-seniors/http://www.aussiedestinationsunknown.com.au/2019/02/21/15-exercises-for-caravanning-seniors/

Ok – back to walking! What do I suggest?

The interval power walk – a fantastic way to boost the benefits of walking.

How to:

  • Walk hard and fast for a while (maybe to the next telegraph pole or tree) and then slow down and bring your heart rate back down before doing it again.

Technique

  • It’s not about how long your stride is or how much you swing your arms … it’s all about your belly! Yep – making sure that you draw your belly button in towards your spine is crucial.
  • Engaging your transverse abdominals is key to supporting your lower back. It is also a great idea to engage your pelvic floor muscles for the entire duration of your walk.
    Activating these muscles helps to stabilizes your core so you can generate power safely through your legs.
  • This will also help to tone your butt, legs and tummy. Bonus!

 

Walking Goals

  • Start out by walking for 30 minutes per day 3 times a week.
  • As you get fitter, work your way up to a daily walk, and increase the length of your walks.

 

Sneaky Steps

Here are some ways to sneak some more steps into your week.

 

Walk and talk:
  • Most of us use mobile phones these days, so make the most of them and get mobile! Walk around, even on the spot, for the duration of the call.
Take the stairs:
  • Avoid elevators and escalators where possible and choose the path of most resistance … stairs!
Park at the opposite end of the car park:
  • Don’t look for the park closest to the door, park further away and add those sneaky steps to your daily tally.
Scheduled steps:
  • Schedule your walk into your calendar and stick to it like you would an appointment. It’s locked in – you have to do it!
Make it fun:
  • Walk the dog, walk with a friend, walk somewhere beautiful. If you enjoy it, you’re more likely to keep it up.

 

 

If you are a fan of walking, I’d love to hear from you.

Please, comment below and let me know,

  1. How many time per week do you walk?
  2. How long do you walk for?
  3. Where do you go?
  4. Who do you go with?
  5. What’s the main reason you walk?

 

I hope this has helped motivate you to get out and start walking if you aren’t already!

 

Girraween National Park

Girraween National Park

Check out our video here

This year for Australia Day long weekend, we headed away from the crowded beaches to our beautiful granite country keen to explore Girraween National Park.

We decided it was time to tick something off the bucket list … and on day one we did just that; we climbed the Pyramid! And wowsers … what a view from the top!

It was so worth the incredible steep (and scary) climb. Just epic! 🤙🏼 I must point out that I (Miriam) was the one terrified of slipping down the rock face as we made our way up. Chris was running up in his runners, and I was stepping very carefully with my hiking shoes on. Oh to have his confidence!
He even scaled a rock on top of the rock … 😯

We also walked through, around and Chris walked on top of the Granite Arch as well 😆 It’s hard to figure out why it has the name it does … lol. It’s a beautiful spot from all angles and boggles our brains as to how the rock just balances on top like that! Come to think of it, there are lots of rocks in precarious positions that we spent ages trying to figure out not only how they got there but how they’ve managed to stay put!

 

It was a scorching hot weekend with temperatures soaring up into the high 30’s, so we made sure we had plenty of water, wore our wide brimmed LSKD hats and headed up the rock early.

We were back at the caravan by midday relaxing and enjoying being immersed in nature in an almost empty camp ground. Something you don’t often come across is a gorgeous campground with plenty of empty sites on Australia Day long weekend!

It was the perfect opportunity for us to get out our epic Knobby Underwear collection and snap a few true blue Aussie shots in honour of their Australia Day design. And while there may have been quite a few empty spots around us, we still drew a bit of attention and ended up meeting some great people who wandered over to see why on earth we had done so much washing! We honestly love these undies – we have so many pairs/sets and still look forward to ‘Knobby Day’ when they show up in our letterbox each month! If you would like your own Knobby subscription, head over to the Knobby website and enter our code ‘yhs34y‘ and you’ll get a discount off your first subscription. 

 You can of course purchase a single pair if you don’t feel the need to cover the entire front of you van with your intimates like we did here!

Ok, so we may have also done a few sneaky Knobby’s shots on top of The Pyramid too. One bonus of getting up early and starting the climb while it was still cool was that we had the top to ourselves for ages! We passed lots of people on our way down … I wonder how it hot must have been for them at the top!

Girraween National Park has been undergoing a severe drought and the campgrounds have been closed for quite sometime. There was no water to the amenities other than toilets and taps. It was such a shame about the showers as they looked fantastic! We usually shower in the van, but I would have used the amenities because they looked so darned lovely 😊

The camping areas usually open for public holidays, long weekends and school holidays operating at half capacity and without showers.

👉🏻 Check out campground status here: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/16209.html

 

As it’s a national park, fees are quite low. (taken from the above website)

  • $6.55 per person per night, or $26.20 per family per night;
  • $3.60 per person per night for students and accompanying adults on approved educational excursions.

Family rate

A family is 1 or 2 adults and accompanying children under 18 years.
The family rate applies to a maximum of 8 people in total.

Free of charge for children under 5 years.

On day two we went for a wander to The Junction. We did The Junction Circuit at 7am before it got too hot. It was just under 3km and a nice easy walk, most of it was along the very dry river bed. So. Very. Dry.

It made for some great scenery, but oh – how amazing it would be if there was a swimming hole!

It was so awesome to have Kurt and Carly from Lets Get Outta Here join us 😁

Check them out on Insta and Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Lets-Get-Outta-Here-494857247657662/

https://www.instagram.com/letsgetouttahere_/

 

Let’s sum up our weekend in three words … HOT … WALKING … NATURE 🔥🌿🚶🏻‍♂️🏃‍♀️

We will be waiting for the water to start flowing again and we’ll be back for sure. We’d also like to head back in winter 🥶 ❄️ 😁

 

Map📍
Girraween National Park
Pyramids Rd, Ballandean QLD 4382
https://goo.gl/maps/6mGRgJgvijy

15 Exercises for Caravanning Seniors

15 Exercises for Caravanning Seniors

We know all too well how easy it is to let routine fall by the wayside when you hit the road.

Our regular ‘at home’ routine involves an early morning gym session before work, and my job involves teaching between 2-4 fitness classes a day. Chris has a fairly active job as well, so sitting in the car and relaxing under the awning is quite the opposite of our usual day to day activities.

I teach between 2-4 fitness classes each day

Chris is a sign-writer

As travel is such a huge part of our lives, and not just something we do a few times a year, it’s imperative that we maintain some sort of fitness routine each time we head off for more than 2 nights.

We generally make a pact with each other before travelling that we WILL work out and keep on top of things. This includes all the usual ‘adventure activities’ such as hiking, mountain biking, swimming and so on, but we also throw in stretching and some resistance training as well.

We have found as we get older (we are both in our 40’s) that stretching is one of the most important things to prevent and alleviate aches and pains.

I teach 2 Gentle Pilates classes and one stretch class per week and I notice a huge difference if I skip just one of these sessions. I also stretch every day as does Chris who ends up having a hard time just straightening up if he stops for a few days!

Chris was your typical male who didn’t believe in stretching/yoga/Pilates even though I tried to explain (from a personal trainer’s point of view) that starting young would help as he got older. He also has a history of Moto X and other extreme sports leaving him with all sorts of residual injuries including a shoulder that has been dislocated no less than 15 times. He is now a proud advocate for stretching and all the associated benefits.

I used to push my clients almost as hard as I would push myself!

I have over 20 year’s experience in the fitness industry which means I was teaching classes when the ‘go harder’ motto was extremely popular in gyms as was doing sit-ups and burpees. This has left me with a sore back and aching knees and would have ended up being quite debilitating had I not pulled back and started doing more gentle exercise.

Thankfully after years of trial and error and research I now know that more isn’t always better and going harder isn’t always the way. Training smart is the key, along with consistency and knowing your limits.

Each week I teach Gentle Pilates and other fitness classes like stretch and Zumba Gold to many seniors who have also discovered incredible benefits to having a regular exercise regime.

By doing something small each day you can make a huge difference not only to your physical health, but your moods almost always improve as does the quality of your sleep.

Here are 15 gentle exercises you can do while you are travelling (or even while you are at home). I have included photos taken in our caravan, but of course you can do them outside the van/tent, in your home, in a park or wherever you like! Those who come along to my classes every week swear by these
exercises and I hope you find them beneficial as well. Please drop me a line and let me know how you go, and where you are on your travels!

 

Click here to see my 12 Gentle Hip Opening Exercises

 

Sandstone Point Holiday Resort, QLD

Sandstone Point Holiday Resort, QLD

‘On the glistening shores of Pumicestone Passage, just a stone’s throw from the iconic Bribie Island is the brand new BIG4 Sandstone Point Holiday Resort. Nestled directly in the middle of Brisbane CBD & the Sunshine Coast, there is plenty to do with magnificent facilities, beaches and scenic bushland showcasing the best of South East Queensland escapes.’

Name:

Sandstone Point Holiday Resort

Location:   

1820 Bribie Island Rd, Sandstone Point QLD 4511

https://goo.gl/maps/jE61VorrgsJ2

Date of Stay:  Feb 15-17, 2019 

Type of Park: Resort

Rating: 4.5/5

Staff:  Lovely

Sites:  Large and flat, very new

 

Positives:

  • new
  • close to the hotel (for concerts/meals/drinks)
  • awesome facilities
  • shampoo/body wash in the showers
  • not far from Brisbane (minimal traffic getting home)
  • caters to most people
  • café/restaurant

Negatives:

  • no pets
  • minimal shade (trees)
  • no adults only pool (I wish!)
  • no beach frontage

After reading about this incredible park that was ‘opening to the public’ in November of 2018 and was booking out 6 months in advance, we knew our kids would LOVE it and we had to check it out. We decided that it would be the perfect place to go for my 40th birthday weekend and we booked straight away for the weekend of the 15th of Feb, 2019. (My birthday is Valentine’s Day, lucky me. Lol).

When we invited our camping buddies, we almost fell over when they said they’d booked the same place on the same weekend for Archie’s second birthday and were about to invite us! What an awesome coincidence.

We had to wait for the kids to finish school before heading up, which meant we arrived late in the afternoon as the sun was starting to set. Our first impressions of the park were dusted with golden hues – it was absolutely beautiful.

 

Sandstone Point Holiday Resort is yet another amazing Big4 that has opened its doors offering up a stunning park filled to overflowing with all you could possibly want to keep the kids out of your hair all day and into the night.

The best part for us is that it’s not much more than an hour away which means on the Sunday afternoon return drive, we were ahead of most of the crazy Bruce Highway traffic. Those of you who live in Brisbane or further south and love to head up to the Sunny Coast on the weekend will know exactly what I’m talking about.

The facilities are world class; we are talking an epic water park that even I didn’t want to leave! The rainbow slide was a huge novelty at first, creating a trippy, wet and windy ride – but eventually the psychedelic colours didn’t even register as we raced from slide to slide, getting pulverised by water from all directions, stopping only to wait for the giant bucket to fill up and crash down on our heads or backs or whatever was facing up at the time!

This waterslide brought out the crazy kids in all of us!

The resort style pool is one of the best I’ve seen with floating pillows and just so much space – it’s a brilliant design. There’s an infinity type wall where the water flows into a beach-like shallow pool (perfect for the younger kids), and so many deck chairs, shade umbrellas and big round cushioned swings under the many palm trees. 

The cafe is pretty awesome as are the cocktails you can order while lounging around the pool (so I’m told!)

My only suggestion would be an adults only pool/section. Kids are great, but, well, some adults only space would be a very welcome addition.

The palm trees light up as the sun sinks low and the pool area quietens down and become almost magical with the soft glow from the restaurant and the hum of happy conversations.

Let’s be honest though, this isn’t ‘camping’ … it’s most definitely a ‘resort’ and every part of this gorgeous park reminds you of that.

From the wide, white concrete roads winding through the huge property (perfect for bikes, scooters and skateboards) and manicured lawns/gardens to the many camp kitchens and holiday villas dotted around. There is an air-conditioned gym and 2 air conditioned games rooms complete with air hockey, claw machines, x boxes, play stations, pool table and arcade games.

 

The amenities are fabulous and there is even body/hair liquid in each shower. Perfect for when you forget your toiletries bag!

Outside you’ll find a jumping pillow, full-size tennis court, basketball court,  playground, large chess game and a dirt section to play bocce.

All this plus the water park and swimming pool which is surrounded by beautiful palm trees and the softest artificial grass I’ve ever wiggled my toes in.

 

We had site 57 which backed onto what looked like a little forest of tall straight trees. It’s a prime spot close to the pool with grass to one side and the trees behind.

I went for a bit of a wander as I usually do, and this was when I discovered all the safari tents and villas up the back. Walking down the road past a huge 2 story house with water views, I saw a big thick rope leading down the bank.

I followed it down to the mangroves where there was a thin strip of sand and water lapping gently against the shore. Sadly, it was filled with mosquitoes and I ended up with more than a few bites in my brief 5 minutes by the water.

I walked back up some beautiful timber stairs that led me to a deck and yet another huge camp kitchen. The park is quite big with lots of different sections, all that were being put to good use.

We had babies right through to teenagers in our group and they all had a blast. The adults had a great time too. We had planned on heading over to the Sandstone Point Hotel, but sadly we didn’t get around to it.

Many huge international artists perform major outdoor concerts at the hotel, and Suzi Quatro along with The Angels, Baby Animals, Screaming Jets, Jon Stevens, Moving Pictures and Chocolate Starfish are all being advertised for next months ‘Red Hot Summer’.

I guess that would be something to be mindful of when booking – check for huge acts and avoid if you don’t like loud music or lots of cars in the guest car park. RnB Fridays are also being advertised at the hotel.

The guest carpark was where my bestie parked up when she came up for the birthday celebrations. She paid $20 which gave her a hot pink wrist band allowing her access to the park and all facilities for the day.

I was told by staff that 6 people per site are allowed, and as we had 5 in our family, one extra was fine.

 

While this usually isn’t our scene, we also enjoyed our stay as it caters nicely to everyone. To be honest the best time for us was Sunday after most people had checked out and the pool area and water park had quietened down.

We know what we prefer – and that’s free camping in more out of the way, unusual spots. We aren’t the biggest fans of crowded swimming pools and resort style places. (By ‘we’ I mean Miriam and Chris) but our kids LOVE this and have rated this one right up there!

I must admit, while secluded camp sites are what I prefer, on occasion I do enjoy the resort style caravan parks (in off-peak when they aren’t so crowded) and am happy to bob around in the pool, lay under the shade of a perfect palm tree wrapped with fairy lights, then make my way across the lush fake turf to the immaculate showers before retiring to the van without a speck of sand to be seen … Chris on the other hand gets quite annoyed and wishes he was by the ocean with nothing but our camp shower to rinse off.

We rate this resort up in our top 3 along with Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort (Cairns) and Northstar Resort (Hastings Point, NSW). Rivershore at Bli Bli also rates highly with our kids.

This is the perfect place for families and groups with kids – especially if you want your kids to disappear for hours and have a fun, safe time.

Facilities

  • Amenities Blocks
  • BBQs
  • Cafe/ Restaurant Available
  • Camp Kitchen
  • Caravaning
  • Convenience Store/Kiosk
  • Disabled Bathroom
  • Fire Pit/Camp Fires
  • Games Room
  • Giant Jumping Pillow(s)
  • Groups Welcome
  • Gymnasium
  • Ice
  • In-House Movies
  • Internet – Free Wireless
  •  Kids Activities
  • Kids Playground
  • Laundries with Washing Machines & Dryers
  • Playground
  • Pool
  • Pool – Heated
  • Recreation Lounge
  • Security Boom Gate
  • Sites
  • Small – Motorhome Friendly Sites
  • Tennis Court
  • Tourist Information and/or Bookings
  • TV & Video Room
  • Villas
  • Water Playground
  • Waterpark