The phrases I commonly hear from my 8 year old daughter are “mum when you were little…?” and “Mum do you remember when…?”. She loves to learn more about my life at her age. The things I did, the places I visited and the special moments and memories I shared. My sharing of memories helps us connect to each other. She gets to imagine me at her age and I am reminded of what it is like to be the magical age of eight. So this year we decided to show her the holiday haunts of my childhood with a coastal walk down memory lane.
My childhood holidays were almost always spent in the same location. My grandfather owned a holiday house on the South Coast of NSW and all of my cousins would take turns to holiday at the house, using the family speedboat for waterskiing. I recall packing our suitcase and departing Sydney in darkness or early in the morning before the heat of summer shone through our windows. We would have a brief break at Ulladulla, feeding the seagulls and then continue onwards with many “don’t look out my window” arguments with my sister to pass the time. Usually we would nod off in the backseat of the car and our dad would carry us into the house. We would wake up in our bedroom, the sound of Currawongs outside the window and the sandy, salty smell of holiday house in our nostrils. We knew we had arrived. Time to play cricket on the lawn, waterski in the early morning, fish for prawns later in the evening, get dumped over and over again at the beach, pry off bluebottles tangled around our calves, ride our bike and out race magpies. My memories of holidaying at this house are strong and wonderful.
Road trip Adventure
Nowadays there are so many holiday options promoted to families. Elaborate international holidays that are a far cry from the kind of holiday many of us experienced as a child. Disney themed international holiday cruises anyone? While travelling overseas is a great experience for families and something we have done, it is not essential for a wonderful family holiday. There is nothing wrong with the humble holiday roadtrip. We all survived being packed in the car with the family for a camping/motel/ holiday house affair.
Plenty of people feel that when the budget doesn’t allow for a fancy family holiday or luxury that they are letting their kids down. That the holiday won’t be as great. We have found this to not be the case. Budget doesn’t matter to the kids. When we see holidays through the eyes of children we see that often the destination is not the most important point. It is seeing mum and dad being relaxed and having time to just hang out and play. Sleep ins and later bed times. Slipping into bed clean after a day covered in sand and sunscreen at the beach. Ice creams and dinner at the beach. Only having to wear thongs and a sarong. Staying in your swimmers all day long.
This year we didn’t have the budget for a fancy holiday. We had instead what we would call a humble holiday but what turned out to be absolutely incredible. We all felt relaxed. The stresses of 2016 were washed off in the waves. Our souls soaked up the sunshine and stored it away to draw on during the colder Melbourne winter. Our disconnect from friends was rectified with time spent hanging out, exchanging stories, catching up and laughing over drinks and board games.
We were fortunate enough to spend a couple of days catching up with my friends at a family property on the South Coast of NSW. The hospitality was wonderful and allowed us plenty of time to just hang out together, share meals, bottles of wine and relax. The property was gorgeous and we enjoyed this far more than staying in an impersonal apartment or hotel room. Our friend brought her daughter and the kids amused themselves. Who wouldn’t relax in a divine setting like this. I was ready to move in!
Ate and Played like a local
We visited all those places I remembered from my childhood, using local tips to avoid the crowds. Nothing like local tips for the quietest beach, best ice-cream shop,best lookout views and best place to see the wildlife.
The weather was absolutely perfect and while I floated on my back in the ocean, sun shining down on me I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.
Walk down memory lane
After our stay with friends hubby packed up the ute and we all began the road trip home. It was the perfect opportunity to show the kids my old stomping ground. The old holiday house and the local beach. As we followed the coastal route, crossing bridges and getting closer I felt exactly the same as I did as an 8 year old child. That excitement that you can feel in your stomach as you begin to recognise the familiar landmarks.
Then finally we arrived at Camel Rock Beach. Now with a little bit more signage, easier access to the beach and lifeguards it was still essentially the same, gusty stretch of beach. The kids loved it. Raffy in particular loved the camel shape.
After farewelling Camel Rock it was time to check out the old house. The lawn where many a cricket ball were fielded now resembles an overgrown jungle but otherwise everything still looks exactly the same. All the houses, with their faded summer exteriors remain. It was like time had stood still in this coastal lakeside suburb.
Back in the car we headed to Cobargo for morning tea. This tiny town has some new cafes but the well visited Pottery shop still remains. Our son was very excited to have morning tea inside a train. Hubby and I were excited to find the soy cappucino’s were excellent.
We asked our kids at the end of our road trip if they had a great time away. Our son loved the stingrays the most and Raya loved making new friend and playing board games with us. Hubby and I both enjoyed the sunshine, warm weather and catching up with family and friends.
If you are on a budget for your family holiday and thinking about a humble holiday then go for it. The things that makes the holidays the best ever aren’t dependent on having a lot of money.