Plus it always reminds me of my most treasured carefree family holidays as a child. When ciggies were only 50cents a pack (I remember because my parents smoked them!) and you could buy a bag of mixed lollies for 5c and get a creaming soda for a special treat! Happy days when you're a kid on an Aussie summer holiday.
This year we travelled to Kingscliff, a town just south of Coolangatta and about 40 min north of Byron Bay. First time there, but many of the Instagram girls on the Gold Coast I follow, and many in Brisbane frequent it and rave about it, so I thought we should give it a go. Thanks for the tips ladies!
We decided to travel the inland route up north so that we could visit a very dear friend of mine from school who owns a large property near Quirindi, about an hour south of Tamworth. It was about five hours drive to the property and we arrived at dusk. Just as the kids were starting to say "This is sooo boring!"
This is a quick snap while driving, from the car window at sunset. I love a sunburnt country....springs to mind.
The dirt driveway to my friend Tim's property is about 10km long and meanders along the Liverpool Plains, some of the most fertile and productive farming land in Australia and which is currently under threat from BHP/Chinese mining conglomerates and our governments to destroy it with a coal seam gas mine. Can you imagine?
Imagine driving through here and looking at a vast and ghastly coal pit pouring toxic smoke into the atmosphere, destroying the land and poisoning this agricultural area and the water table beneath it. As if the Hunter hasn't already been ruined by coal mines. It's practically criminal.
The kids woke early with great excitement. Nothing like sleeping in a big old country homestead with more bedrooms than you can count and hallways that go on forever. We sat outside on the verandah and drank in the breathtaking view of the plains and Tim's farm land as the sun rose.
All the amazing palm trees were brought in during the 1930s. The garden has developed over the past century and been tended to by Tim for many years.
I have been here several times over the past 25 years, but the beauty of this place has really sunk in to me now that it is so perilously under threat. It's almost inconceivable that they could even contemplate putting a coal mine there, right in the middle of that photo. But I guess the greed of mining companies and governments blind them to the beauty and value of our land.
Tim's family were early settlers and have farmed this land for over 150 years. His grandparents built this home early in the 1900s and lived the high life of the landed gentry, passing it down through the generations. Tim now works full time for the anti-mining cause to try to save this family property and the heritage that is attached to it, and the case is due to be resolved in the high court later this year.
This amazing cactus plant had the most glorious flowers on it and climbed up the palm tree.
These old posts were cut from trees from the property.
Tim bought these wonderful old gothic beds at auction many years ago. Aren't they fabulous?
If a little phallic!
Nothing like a big industrial size fridge and freezer. But I guess when you live about an hour from the shops you need to have plenty of space for supplies.
The giant country kitchen, which you could play football in with the oversized black and white floor tiles. Tim is an amazing cook so there's always something wonderful cooking here.
You can't have a country kitchen without an Aga and copper pots to boot.
I love collections like these, that have been added to over the decades.
The following day we continued our drive north, which took another 9 hours! Not to be recommended on a stinking on summer's day. Can't tell you how pleased I was to see this view of the coast after that long drive through western NSW.
We rented a house through Corporate Boardies, a holiday rental company based in Kingscliff and they were fabulous to deal with. We had a spacious house, with lots of room for the kids to lark about, a pool and all the mod cons you could want. It was only 5 mins walk to the shops and restaurants, and the beach. The local village, Salt Village, is a bit like being on the set of the Truman Show, but it's safe, great for families and close to the beach.
Always squabbling over who gets to the use the iPad. I have to put the timer on 5 minutes, so that we can swap!
Amelia wearing her new Mini Sandcrabs sunsuit.
We also stopped by the local Peppers Resort at Salt which has a wonderful lagoon pool, perfect for the kids. The beach at Kingscliff is a bit rough for the little ones, so we spent a bit of time camping here! Apparently everybody in the village uses the pool - it's a community
We took a day trip south to Bangalow and Bryon Bay. I love Bangalow, a charming coastal/country town with lots of lovely shops and restaurants. I stopped at a gorgeous shop called Wax Jumbo and bought three pretty embroidered dresses. The kids got to sit in the local fire truck and we got a tour of the station. Sirens blaring at all.
The beach at Byron is so perfect for kids. Wide, flat, gentle surf and the view is amazing.
I found another lovely dress shop called Sweet Papillon (thanks Leanne for the tip) in Byron and bought a few more pretty dresses - not expensive, on sale and great for summer.
Love watching a game of beach cricket with this kind of view. Charlie and Tom teamed up with another Dad and son at the beach. I had the baby sleeping in my arms, so was stuck in the tent, but it was wonderful taking in this picture. Blissful really.
The beach at Kingscliff was lovely on the day we went there, but it is so hot on the beach by mid morning, that we all end up retreating to the comfort of the pool for some respite. A bit hard with such a young baby.
Amelia gets stuck in the sun shelter, but it's a hot and bothersome place to be in the heat of the midday sun and she gets fed up pretty quickly. It takes forever to lug all the stuff you need for kids to the beach, set it up and sit down. So to turn around an hour later and pack it all up again when they are all whinging it's too hot, is a bit of a pain in the bum!
Strangely, Poppy has taken a liking to eating sand. Not sure what the appeal is, but she seems to quite enjoy it!
Amelia is such a water baby. Loves the pool, the sea, the bath, anything involving splashing and being wet and cool.
New Year's Eve at the local pub for dinner - only chosen because it has a giant kids playground in the middle of it. So we had a couple of hours to relax and eat, finish a bottle of wine and hardly be disturbed by the kids. Makes a nice change not to get indigestion eating at a restaurant! This is a weird angle self-portrait. It's the only way I get a photo of myself on the holiday - nobody offers to take one of me!
We promised the kids an outing to Wet n Wild on the Gold Coast. It was an easy drive from our house, only 45 mins and I can't help but wonder why the roads in Qld are sooo much better than ours in NSW!
This was the pirate ship at about 10am.
And this was the pirate ship by midday!
This is how many people were crammed into the small spaces underneath the tents for lunch. Way too many semi-clothed, hot and sweaty people in close proximity for my liking! Charlie did declare it was the best day of his life though.
|Images by Melinda Hartwright|
What did you do for your summer holidays? Go anywhere or stay home?