31 July 2013, by Evelyn Tan
Its almost a month now since the time we left Singapore on 5 Jul to travel to Australia for our month-long break from the haze and to recharge before baby 4 comes along. After the ‘ harrowing’ and humbling experience of travelling in the company of friends with our not so well- behaved but terribly excitable kids (please read Darren’s blog) we embarked on our family camper vanning trip on 16 Jul!
We had been looking forward to camper vanning as a family and had been talking about it for a long time before we set off. There were concerns that with the cold weather, it might be freezing cold out in the caravan parks (because it’s winter season now in the southern hemisphere) even with the heater (or reverse -cycle air-conditioning as it is called in Australia) on, so in the end we decided to make the bookings only when we arrive in Melbourne. Alas, lo and behold, it was peak -season at that time and it was only after a morning’s worth of phone calls did we finally get a 6 -berth ( ie for 6 people) that was suitable for our family! Phew! But what was unfortunate though was, it was only available for 10 days—-still better than nothing and so with 3 sets of clothings each , we all set off for the experience of our lifetime !
Since we chose to tour the Great Ocean Drive, throughout the whole trip we were treated to the beautiful sceneries of Australia’s coastline along the Bass Straits. There was of course the ‘must-sees’ that we stopped by for photo taking, like the majestic Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto and the Cape Otway Lighthouse. For a soon to be sea -faring family , the stories of ship-wreck and lives lost along the way only hardened the resolve of my hubby while they snuffed out whatever enthusiasm I have toward a life out at sea. (When I confided in Darren , he again reassured me with his usual most optimistic mariner’s attitude, that technology and skills have advanced greatly in recent years and we have them on our side to steer ourselves away from danger…. Gulp! I have chosen to trust this man I married, so great oceans here I come –after more courses and regional sailing in a convoy first, of course! Lol!)
In the mornings, we would wake up to the beautiful chirping sounds of birds and even kangaroos hopping by or koalas eating away in the gum trees above us. There was always something to look forward to, and that more than makes up for the cold that seeks to keep us under our warm covers.
I guess the most beautiful part of this camper vanning holiday was the fact that we could enjoy Australia’s beautiful sights and nature at our own pace. We stopped whenever we felt hungry and needed to make lunch or when we came to a beautiful spot that might not have even been on our radar on the list of things to do or see! And that freedom to take our time to go according to our whims and fancies really afforded us the time to enjoy our children as we travelled together and even when they ‘ act up’! For example once, Way got creative (-ie mischievious) and starting hopping around in puddles of muddy water in a pair of new trekking shoes that we just got him! When i thought of the washing i had to do afterwards and asked him sternly why he was not careful to keep himself clean, he answered me in the most innocent way, “But mummy I am hopping like them!” referring to the company of wallabies around him .
This was one occasion I could not get angry with him even though he has just messed up big time! Kids are kids and they will have their ‘moments’ that make them as irresistible as they are antagonizing! Sometimes, it really depends on what mood you are in when on the receiving end. This time round the relaxing mood of the holiday plus the beauty that surrounds me just put me in an extremely forgiving mood! And I guess I am just not ready to spoil our holiday fun for something which is really just good -natured childishness!