Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Our First Family Road Trip: The Drive and Northern Beaches

It is quite a common sight during the school holidays to see the back of cars filled to the brim with household stuff such as pillows, suitcases, eskies, etc because they are off on a family vacation, road trip style.

We decided to do just that on the last school holidays - from Brisbane to Sydney. This is how vast the smallest continent of the world is. 

Driving to Sydney
There are two highways which leads to Sydney - The New England (which is the more scenic, "inland route" and takes 2 hours longer) or The Pacific Highway ( the more direct "coastal route"). No surprises, we chose the direct route.

Preparing for the Road Trip
We had the back of our AWD packed to the brim, worked out an itinerary for each day and filled the snack container between the kids with dried snacks (such as pop corn, rice crackers, dried fruit, apples, etc) and bottles of water. We also had two garbage disposable unit which were essentially two cereal containers lined with plastic bag. Each kid also had activity books, stickers, stationery in their back packs which were secured to the back of the front seats.

On the Road
We decided to make the trip to Sydney in one go and that meant not breaking up the trip by staying anywhere for the night. With that in mind, we also made the choice to share the driving between us and take at least two breaks. 

4am was the time we left our driveway - it was still pitch dark and cold. The husband drove for the first 4 hours while the rest of us slept. 

Our first stop - Grafton

8am We stopped at the local Golden Arches (the most convenient choice) for a quick breakfast and toilet stop.

This place was packed with locals and travelers alike. No wonder, it's Saturday morning and everyone has some place to be. 

We were all relieved to stretch our limbs, get some food into us and on the road again with me at the helm.

(Unexpected) Second stop - Coffs Harbour

The BIG Banana! This is iconic of Coffs Harbour. 

Have I told you that our family loves bananas? Especially Daniel.

There you go. Another reason to stop. 

We walked around the vicinity, bought a few souvenirs (just because), took a photograph in front of the gigantic banana and yes...to the toilet too and back on the road again.

Third Stop - Taree

Nothing of significance to check out here except a purposeful service station with a number of fast food options.

We are now 4 hours drive away from Sydney. Perfect time to stop for a spot of lunch and to reward the kids with their favourite meals for being such fantastic travellers.

You know the drill, eat - toilet - the husband takes over the wheel and off we went.

Arrived into Sydney at 4pm
We did it! 12 hours on the road with a pair of 6 year old twins. We were tired, excited and felt incredibly accomplished that we had made it! We showered, had dinner and went straight to bed.

Day 1  - Northern Beaches and North Head
Given that the previous day saw was on our butts for almost 12 hours in the car, we incorporated a lot of walking into this day, along the coast of the northern beaches. 

We walked from North Curl Curl all the way down to Manly Beach. It was a most picturesque walk as you can imagine.

It was a busy day on the beaches as the weather was simply sublime. Clear blue skies with cool breezes. Sydney had certainly put on a spectacular show for us.

The waters were amazing clear and cold to touch. The waves breaking against the rocks soothed the soul.

The twins gamely went into the rock pool for a swim and loved every minute of it. Such a novel, spectacular and safe way of swimming right next to the ocean. This is such a beautiful part of Sydney.

We concluded the day atop North Head which boosts stunning panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and its surroundings.  What a spectacular start and conclusion for Day 1.

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