Adventure family, Chris, Ben, and their three kids (AKA Our Sandy Days) set off in their renovated van, Sandy, on a road trip along Australia’s east coast.
Soaking up incredible scenery and creating special memories along the way, they journeyed from QLD's Hervey Bay to Narooma in NSW.
After three very long days of driving flat out (over 2000km!), Chris and Ben had assured the kids that the next stop would be a touch of paradise.
And it was! They managed to dodge impressive thunderstorms and arrive at BIG4 Hervey Bay to enjoy the sunshine from the pool.
'We’ve been lucky; all the storms seemed to go around us. A local told us that apparently Hervey Bay has its own bubble around it!'
From Hervey Bay, the family of five left their van in storage and set off on an adventure to K’gari (Fraser Island). Catching a barge from River Heads to Kingfisher Bay, they were ready to start exploring.
They ventured on a cruise to the island’s western side, dipped their toes in the warm waters off Pelican Bank, and looked for seashells on Picnic Island.
Taking the 4WD out for a spin through the sandy tracks, the family explored the eastern stretch of the island the next day. And over on the east side, they ticked off their bucket-list destination of Eli Creek.
'What an amazing, natural gem this is. The water temperature was perfect. We were told it would be freezing, but it’s the water temp we’re kind of used to. We all loved floating down the river and walking back up the boardwalk to do it all again.'
Of course, a trip to K’gari wouldn’t be complete without a visit to stunning Lake McKenzie, or Boorangoora as it’s known to the Butchulla people. It’s said the Butchulla people believe the goddess K’gari created both the island and lake, and Lake McKenzie is known to be one of her eyes.
'It’s honestly some of the purest waters we’ve ever swam in. It’s incredible. Just what you’d imagine but better. And the kids couldn’t believe how warm the water was. We went at sunset and were the last ones there. It was a truly magical experience.'
Next stop, a little piece of paradise: South West Rocks in NSW.
It’s home to Smoky Cape Lighthouse, so the family trekked up to catch an idyllic view of the Tasman Sea.
'And what a view it was!'
Nearby NRMA South West Rocks Holiday Resort is the perfect base for a family, with an epic water park and pool, huge jumping pillow, mini-golf, tennis court, and games room along with kangaroos bouncing around.
'The kids didn’t want to leave this one!'
Further south, NRMA Forster Tuncurry Holiday Park is a great place to drop a line, as Chris’ and Ben’s keen little anglers discovered. They started with an early morning fish and were hooked, heading back to try again as the sun went down.
'Every time you drop a line, you get nibbles and, if you’re lucky, catch a fish!'
There’s nothing like waking up in a beautiful location to a morning cuppa right by the water.
'How good is caravanning and rocking up at new spots? Getting prime real estate and changing scenery all the time?'
Being so close to the lake, the family had friendly visitors to their site (below) at the next stop: BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Lake Conjola. The kids may have wanted to keep them as the new family pets, but these two were just looking for some snacks.
The last stop was a highlight: BIG4 Narooma East’s Holiday Park.
'We fell in love with this little seaside town as soon as we arrived. The park is amazing – beautiful, clean sites, amazing inlet views, and a great location, close to parks and shops.'
The kids were as happy as pigs in mud when they found the water park and were even more excited that this one was indoors! It’s perfect for those cooler days when you still want a splash. They also loved zooming around the park on the pedal karts.
Just a short walk from the park, they stumbled across sweetly snoozing seals, which apparently are so famous they even have their own social media hashtag #sealsofnarooma. You’ll find them just next to Australia Rock on a rock wall where they come up to rest.
'It’s a privilege to see these animals in the wild, doing their thing, snoozing and swimming in the surf.'