Category Archives: 3+ hours from Sydney

Top 10 tips: How to pack an easy picnic

One of the advantages of travelling on your own doorstep is having all the conveniences of home at your fingertips. Picnics are much easier when you have access to table wear, your picnic rug, access to your own kitchen and/or know where to go to get all the best picnic food locally. Picnics are also a hell of a lot easier when you have your own car to carry your load of picnic gear to your chosen destination!

Many of my suggestions for things to do in Sydney are based around picnics, so here is my fuss-free guide for packing the most delicious (and practical) picnic. Continue reading Top 10 tips: How to pack an easy picnic



It’s no secret that our family loves to go camping. This time though, we headed further afield, six and a half hours north to Arrawarra, just north of Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast. Although we love bush camping, with two small children the lure of on-site amenities, pool with a waterside and a giant jumping pillow was still attractive so after a little research we found the perfect location for our five day camping adventure.

Continue reading Reconnecting

‘Campfire’ in Harrington

We brought new meaning to ‘campfire’ on our first family camping trip in Harrington in NSW’s Manning Valley in October 2013. A few days before we were to set off we were alerted that the Big4 Holiday Park we were booked to stay in was evacuated due to an out-of-control bushfire in Crowdy Bay National Park!

After much deliberation and calls to the Rural Fire Service and Big4 staff, we decided to press on with the camping trip… but when we arrived we were greeted by the whir of helicopters water-bombing fires still raging in the National Park and as the sun set we could almost read by the glow from the fire! Continue reading ‘Campfire’ in Harrington

A weekend at Blues on Broadbeach 2014

The end of May was my Mum’s 60th birthday. She, like most mums, is always going out of her way to support her friends and extended family so this year was our opportunity to do something special for her.

For the last few years mum has celebrated her birthday by spending a weekend away at the Blues on Broadbeach music festival on the Gold Coast. Mum’s original request was that the whole family join her and her friends for the weekend but, mum being mum, she didn’t want my brother and I to go to the expense of travelling to the Gold Coast with our respective families. So… My brother and I decided to surprise her and left partners with the kids back at home in Sydney.

I had no idea how many great Blues musicians were on the bill at the festival and I was completely blown away that not only were there internationally renowned artists but it was all free! From Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges to Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Russell Morris to Juzzie Smith the quality of the music was amazing.

The stages are dotted around the outdoor malls in Broadbeach and music runs from 10am, throughout the day and into the night so there is always something to see. I was, however, one of the few festival goers with no grey hair (I guess I was there to celebrate a 60th birthday!) but it was fantastic to see so ‘mature’ people able to enjoy the festival without a heap of young people overwhelming them in the crowd.

The weather was amazing so we chose to mix roaming the festival stages with walks along the beautiful Broadbeach, browsing the beachside markets and fish & chips on the balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

On our final night we dined at Mecca Bah. This was the second time I’ve dined here and it did not disappoint. I love Moroccan food & the banquet was delicious!

Although it was only a long weekend, it felt like much longer. It was such a great time with family and with cheap flights to the Gold Coast, shared accommodation, free music festival, markets and the beach it was still a very economical weekend away and a great way to celebrate my Mum’s 60th birthday

Enjoying a drink in a bar by one of the stages
With my brother & parents in our ‘Blues on Broadbeach’ Blues Brothers hats
Mum really enjoyed the surprise
Juzzie Smith- a regular at north coast NSW markets- performs at the festival
The view from our apartment

Bluesfest 2014

Complete with 5 days tix to Bluesfest we headed out to day 1 with the kids. Traffic congestion due to the Pacific Highway upgrade aside, we arrived at the festival site super excited to introduce the kids to some Blues.

The girls loved the festival atmosphere and were keen to explore the many stalls and stages. It wasn’t too long before they found other kids to dance with and enjoy the music.

The kids found the live music exhilarating
Face painting is just one of the great activities for kids at the festival



The girls wanted to get up close to the music
Great entertainment as well as great music
Lots of great food to choose from or else you can pack your own
Getting close to the action

Lennox Head

Lennox Head holds a special place in my memory bank. For many years our family holidayed at Lennox Head Caravan Park- we had a permanent caravan there & I spent many summers among the pandanas trees and flitting between the beach and then washing off the salt in the Tea Tree lake.

In later years we lived in Lennox Head and I remember unsupervised weekend parties at our unit in the township & late night walks along the beach, fires in the wood bbqs at the Lake & sing-a-longs.

Since having kids of my own it has been really special to start building new family memories of Lennox Head. Walks along the beach for a swim at the boat channel, ice-creams at In the Pink, sand castles in front of the surf club but always washing off in the gorgeous Lake Ainsworth. It might have something to do with the grandparents being on hand, or maybe the general vibe of NSWs far north coast, but I always feel immediately relaxed when I arrive for a holiday.

Things to do & places to go
Lake Ainsworth
In the Pink ice-cream
Harvest Cafe
Bungalow Markets
Crystal Castle
Minyon Falls
Summerland House Farm
Victoria Park
Fig Tree Restaurant
Macadamia Castle
Pighouse Flicks
Lennox Markets
Lennox Headland

Seven Mile Beach

Pandanas Trees

The beach to ourselves

20140713-132347-48227579.jpgThe amazing Christmas lights at Sanctuary Village Van Park in Lennox Head

Exploring Minyon Falls

Victoria Park

Bushwalk at Minyon Falls

The fantastic Juzzie Smith busking at Bangalow Markets

Exploring Crystal Castle

Checking out the aboriginal art at Crystal Castle

Squiggly Gum in the National Park

The gorgeous Fig Tree Restaurant in Byron Bay

Barefoot Bowls At Lennox Bowlo

Spotting Goldfish at Crystal Castle

Bush tracks at Crystal Castle

Just stunning!

Minyon Falls