Tasmania Summer 2018

Tasmania Summer 2018

For many people Tasmania is the holiday destination of a lifetime, especially if you are towing a huge caravan behind you and have a 4WD filled with kids. For me, it was a wonderful opportunity to take my family back home (from Brisbane) and show them where I grew up.

One thing that doesn’t change from first time visitors to those returning home like me, is how much it actually costs to get there! Our van is a 22.6” monstrosity with bikes on the back, so the Spirit of Tasmania alone cost about $2700. Once you get your head around the fact that this will be one of the more expensive adventures to be had here in Australia, you will be fine.

We booked our tickets six months in advance as they sell out pretty quickly, and we locked in our itinerary and caravan park bookings (where necessary). One good thing is that they ask for full payment when you book the SOT, so technically you’ve already paid the biggest chunk – aside from fuel, well before your island adventure begins.

If you would like to see our journey from Brisbane to Devonport, you can watch the videos here:

Heading to Tasmania as tourists during the summer months meant we were definitely not alone on some of our expeditions, however having the insider knowledge that we do allowed us to get well off the beaten track and do some serious exploring of hidden locations that many people would never know existed.

 From beaches covered in razor sharp rocks and sea weed to the base of incredible waterfalls. From ghost towns to the cool, temperate rainforest of the Tarkine. From convict heritage to picture perfect coastlines   – Tasmania is an island paradise just begging to be explored.

We began as everyone does, in Devonport (after taking the inland road to Melbourne from Brisbane and spending the night on board the Spirit of Tasmania). My mum met us for breakfast at the gorgeous Café Squire not far from the ferry terminal, we walked along the Bluff, and from there we headed north west through Burnie stopping off at Penguin so the kids could practise their counting (how may penguins are there on the foreshore?).

Boat Harbour Beach was where we spent our first day in Tasmania. We pulled into the spectacular free camp right on the water’s edge mid-morning and spent the entire day splashing around in the bright blue water and breathing in the crisp, clean air. It was Chris’s kids first experience of daylight savings, so it was a bit of a novelty having the sun still high in the sky at 8 pm.

The following day the sunshine and warm weather were replaced by low lying cloud and a constant drizzle as we made our way to Stanley. We spent some time exploring this cosy coastal town including the obligatory climb up to the top of The Nut, an enormous flat topped, volcanic neck jutting 150 metres straight up from the water’s edge.

The following day the sunshine and warm weather were replaced by low lying cloud and a constant drizzle as we made our way to Stanley. We spent some time exploring this cosy coastal town including the obligatory climb up to the top of The Nut, an enormous flat topped, volcanic neck jutting 150 metres straight up from the water’s edge.

There are so many experiences to try on Tasmania’s North-West and West Coasts so it’s hard to choose what to do in such a short amount of time.

Our first full day on the North – West Coast was spent inside the convict-built Highfield House which is regarded as the birthplace of European settlement in that area of Tasmania. We learned a lot about the history of the local towns and early settlers as we walked through this important part of Tasmania’s heritage. It was here that we began to get a sense of what it was like to live back in the early 1800’s and as we continued through Tasmania this would come back to us often.

Not to miss anything if possible, we stopped by the old Duck River Butter Factory on the way back to the caravan park. I explained to the kids that Duck River Butter would be the best butter they EVER tasted, and we vowed to bring some back to Queensland with us.

 

The Tarkine has always intrigued me. It is a hidden treasure and a forgotten wilderness. Tasmania is only a small state and this cool temperate rainforest takes up 477,000 hectares. It’s the second largest in the world and we spent most of the next few days exploring it.

Trowutta Caves Reserve, Trowutta Arch, Milkshake Hills, numerous sinkholes, Dempster Lookout, Lake Chisolm (one of the sinkholes) and Sumac Lookout were the spots we were able to explore on the first day. Each of them was incredible and well worth the time it took us to get to each one.

The next day we left Stanley and set up in a stunning free camp in Marrawah.  This was our base for exploring another three stops on the Tarkine Drive; Arthur River, The Edge of the World and Couta Rocks (and a few smaller places dotted in between).

 

This rugged coastline, where the wild Roaring Forties (strong westerly winds) batter the coast from across the Great Southern Ocean, really does make you feel like you are at the edge of the world.

By this time, it was almost Christmas which meant turning around and heading towards home, which for me means Grindelwald, the Swiss Village just outside Launceston where my parents have five acres and some very friendly alpacas!

We drove through Sheffield, stopping to have a look at the murals and grabbed a famous curried scallop pie on our way.

During the next few days we spent time with the rellies, relaxed a while and sent the kids off exploring on their bikes. We also took them to a few local places like the Cataract Gorge and Bunnings 🙂

Next on our itinerary was the East Coast. We drove through the winding bends of St Marys Pass, our caravan bouncing all over the shocking roads as we approached Bicheno where we spent the next three days. Here we visited the Blow Hole (where the kids had a blast!), drove to The Gardens, and the boys spent some time surfing at Redbill Beach. Beachside fish and chips are always on the menu at least once, and the line up at The Gulch is well worth standing in!

 Next it was Southbound to Triabunna with lots of little stops on the way including Coles Bay, The Pondering Frog, Devils Corner Wine Cellar, Swansea, The Spiky Bridge and Mayfield Bay Conservation Area.

We spent the day exploring Maria Island which was absolutely incredible. It’s a short 20-minute ferry trip from Triabunna on Tasmania’s East Coast across to the island where we spent the day on our bikes exploring and creating a lifetime of memories. It was one of the more expensive activities but was well worth it.

At 8 am on New Year’s Eve we carried on with our journey south driving through Orford, up Break Me Neck Hill and continuing along to Bust Me Gall Hill (yes, these are real names!) until we pulled into Whitebeach Caravan Park at 10:15am. This gave us plenty of time to set up and explore Eaglehawk Neck and the local Historic Coal Mine Site before the New Year’s Eve celebrations kicked off.

It was a wonderful yet brief stay at Whitebeach and early the next morning we were packed and on our way to Bruny Island where we caught up with my friends and their kids for three days. Although it was fairly windy, the weather was warm, and the kids were happy playing in the ocean. We did a bit of island exploring including the Trugannini Stairs, Cloudy Bay, Cloudy Corner Campground, and all of the lovely little local shops on the island. We just loved the Bruny Island Beer and Cheese Co., and the kids were pretty impressed with the Chocolate Factory. Oh, and there was that evening where Chris asked me to be his wife! 🙂

It was with happy hearts that we left Bruny and caught the ferry back across to Hobart where we spent the next few days based at Seven Mile Beach. Chris and I generally like to avoid touristy spots, especially in peak season, but we thought we should show the kids some of the more famous Hobart ones. And, despite the many tourists, we all had a great time visiting places like Cascade Brewery, Richmond Gaol, Cradle Mountain, Constitution Dock, Mt Wellington and so on.

We spent time with our friends, and I was lucky enough to have my bestie Narelle take me to Pancho Villa, a very, very cool Mexican-style restaurant with a couple of funky bars inside. We’d left her hubby, Chris and all the kids across the street eating ice cream, so we didn’t have time to order food – but we did have time to have a tour and be led out the back, down a dimly lit corridor and through a bookshelf door into the Voodoo Lounge for a cocktail. Think stained glass windows, chandeliers, and Day of the Dead type artwork dotted around. It was amazing. A Mexican feast will be on the agenda when we are next in Hobart, that’s for sure!

Then it was time to say ‘see you later’ to the three kids, put them on a plane back to Brisbane, and continue our journey. Were we sad to see them go? Yes, and no. They loved their time in Tasmania, but they were definitely ready to go home. And while we loved having them, we were really looking forward to some ‘adult’ time.

 

We had the next leg of our trip locked in and ready to go. Back to my parents place we went, and the ‘adult’ fun began. Chris had a nap and I began editing our Maria Island video.  How adult is that? No bored kids in sight 🙂

No planning can be a good thing. While Bridport was our next destination and included a wander through the town and fish and chips at the Seascape Café that was as far as we had planned, so… we Googled and that lead us on an adventure along a little used track, through enormous sand dunes to beautiful, white, sandy beaches and on to other beaches covered in razor sharp rocks and sea weed. The further we ventured the more surprises we came across. There were more beaches, some accessible and some that had ‘keep off’ signs as they were noted as bird sanctuaries.

Our road trip took us through Bellingham and on to Georgetown, but we didn’t have time to explore as we had to be home in time to get ready for the Festival of Small Halls at Rowella. Fru Skagerrak and Liam Gerner were just wonderful and had us laughing, crying and bopping away for hours. What a day!

We couldn’t be in the north of the state without a trip to Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails. If you ride a mountain bike you won’t want to miss these world class trails. All that activity can be tiring though, and on the way home we needed sustenance. A light lunch at Café Rhubarba in Scottsdale left room for scones with jam and cream at the Springfield Tea Room.

After all the busyness we relaxed for a bit (but not for too long!) before loading up the car for our trip deeper into the West Coast. Without the kids we were able to leave the caravan behind which made the notoriously narrow and winding Tasmanian roads a little easier to navigate. It was nice to have mum and dad’s faces peering at us from the back seat!

It’s a long drive to Strahan from Launceston so we made sure we stopped to see the sights on the way. Hellyer Gorge Roadside Park was a welcome ‘stretch the legs’ stop before taking mum on a nostalgic trip through Rosebery and on into the abandoned mining town of Williamsford.

In order to get to there, we had to drive right through Tullah, which was once the most remote town in Tasmania. There was no way we could cruise on by without stopping to read all the information boards and check out Wee Georgie Wood, a still-running, 1929 steam train. We learned so much on our little detour.

In 1642 when Abel Tasman sailed in the waters off the west coast of Tasmania and noticed his compass was misbehaving … he noted that “There might be mines of loadstone around here”

He sighted and named two mountains after his ships Heemskirk and Zeehan and went on his way.

250 years later the region because famous for a spectacular number of mining booms. Tin, copper, silver, lead, iron and rare minerals like osmiridian were found in abundance.

The entire west coast of Tasmania is drenched with mining history and reminders are scattered through the forest and in the little towns that remain – just like this one.

We wandered through the heritage park and read all of the interpretation panels that are dotted around. We climbed on an old rusty train and we even had a peak at Wee Georgie Wood himself inside the shed.

We learned all about this area including how Tullah, which sits on the edge of Lake Rosebury, was established in the midst of a fierce railway war in the late 1800’s.

It is a great place to spend a few hours and if you’re lucky enough to be passing though on a weekend, you could even jump aboard and take the 20 minutes scenic train ride through the town! 🚂

Our first actual ‘destination’ of the day was Montezuma Falls, one of Tasmania’s highest waterfalls is worth the 10.7 km walk in. The track begins at Williamsford and follows the old tramline. It is dotted all along with remnants from the old mining days and various signs explain the history and a bit about the surrounding flora and fauna. Being an old mining area there had to be an abandoned mine, so Chris and I explored it – all six feet of it – while mum and dad waited patiently outside. There is a very impressive, and very narrow, suspension bridge just below the falls that delivers incredible views for those brave enough to venture out onto it (not mum!). Mum found the viewing platform beneath the falls to be exciting enough.

Finally, we arrived at Strahan and were tempted to stay put at the lovely Caravan Park where mum and dad had a cabin and we had minimal set up thanks to our Alucab rooftop tent. But we really needed to eat something substantial and found just what we were looking for at the Bushman’s Bar and Café where we were served delicious food in a wonderful atmosphere by a cheeky waiter! 

The main reason for our trip to Strahan was the Gordon River Cruise. You really can’t go to Strahan and not do the cruise! A new electric catamaran, 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. 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 while the delicious food on board kept us very much grounded in the present! It was a memorable day.

 

The two-hour drive from Strahan to Cradle Mountain flew by. The scenery is spectacular no matter where you are on the West Coast so driving from place to place is never boring. We had a good laugh as we drove through Rosebery. There wasn’t a lot of spectacular scenery in the town but we did notice an elderly man employing a unique way of clipping a rather high hedge- how he got a mattress up there we didn’t stop to ask but it seemed to be working for him as he was clipping away diligently with a pair of secateurs!

If you stopped everywhere that is beautiful and special, you would need far more than a couple of days to explore Cradle Mountain and the walks you can do there. It can be very busy though, so you need to be prepared for lots of people. Sheffield was on our way home and it is a must see as are the stunning views of Mt Roland which towers nearby. It’s not called the town of murals for nothing. It was a trip down memory lane for dad, especially when he saw the police officer who gave him his motorbike license painted in a mural up on the wall right next to the ban.

It’s funny how easy it is to find you need a snack when you stop at some of the places we visited! Honey ice cream doesn’t get any better than what we had at Chudleigh Honey Farm. It kept us going us until we stopped at Honey Tasmania, a quaint little honey shop in Exeter, owned by my mum’s friends Rebecca and Tristan.

We decided that a couple of relaxing nights at Bakers Beach would be a great way to end our holiday. We spent our time on the beach where my childhood memories came flooding back. Wallabies and other wildlife bounced around and often stopped in under the awning for a visit.

Holidays do have to end though and finally we were heading to Devonport for our last night in Tasmania. It was a meandering drive that took us through Port Sorrell, Shearwater and Hawley – and on into Devonport to the Hill Street Grocer for the best meat pies we’ve ever had!

Remember that Duck River butter? Well, mum and dad arrived to have dinner with us on our last night and came bearing gifts! A few blocks of Duck River Butter ended up in the fridge and journeyed back to Brisbane with us! What a fantastic way to end our adventures.

We had the most wonderful time in Tasmania but there is still so much to see. We can’t wait to get back there and squeeze in some of the places we didn’t have time to explore on this trip.

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