Month One of #yTraveloz – Highlights and Challenges

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Holy moly. One month down already on our one+ year road trip around Australia.

Each month of our family road trip we want to highlight the best of our experiences, as well as share with you the challenges, especially in relation to our travel budget and expenses, and things we’d do differently. Hopefully, this will help you!

Highlights of South Coast NSW
Jervis Bay

How we have not been to Jervis Bay before, I do not know! Definitely a highlight of Australia. It’s absolutely stunning, so pristine, and uncrowded. Be prepared to be blown away.

Read More:

  • The amazing Scottish Rocks at Booderee National Park
  • What a day at famous Hyams Beach looks like
  • Making music in the forest at Jervis BayThe sensational “White Sands Walk”

Chinamans Beach, Jervis Bay, AustraliaChinamans Beach, Jervis Bay
Snowy Mountains

The Snowy Mountains have been on our bucket list for years. It did not disappoint and made me realize how much of a mountain heart I have. Very keen to return for the wildflowers in January and a ski season. The Snowies has so much to offer at any time of the year. Posts will be published soon!

Highlights:

  • Yarrangobilly Caves
  • Long Plain Road
  • Thredbo
  • Hiking to the top of Australia (we didn’t quite make it, but got to see snow-capped Mt Kosciusko in the distance)

Climbing Mount Kosciusko in AustraliaThe view hiking up Mount Kosciusko
Best place we stayed
Crystal Creek Meadows, Kangaroo Valley

We loved this beautiful retreat in our Rose Cottage Garden. The girls had a ball, and you know if they are happy, mummy and daddy are. Hands down one of the best hammock swings I’ve had in awhile.

Read More:

  • Why you should visit Kangaroo Valley
  • Chasing Chooks at Crystal Creak Meadows
  • Life is best viewed from a hammock

Crystal Creek Meadows, Kangaroo ValleyView from the porch at Crystal Creek Meadows
Best wildlife experience

For sure, the amount of kangaroos we experienced in the Murranmarang National Park. What a special part of Australia – more kangaroos than sheep in New Zealand.  They’ll just hang out with you like they’re your pet.

Read More: If you want to see wild kangaroos, come here

Best kids activity

This is a toss up between the bobsled rides at Thredbo, which both girls LOVED. Craig and I did too. Or, Kalyra’s horse riding just outside of Jindabyne.

Jindabyne 080

Best meal

Wild Brumby Distilery, Jindabyne.

Not only was their Austrian inspired food hearty and delicious, their hot chocolate was the best Craig and I have ever had, especially with a shot of butterscotch scnhapps dumped in! You can tell the Austrian owners understand what makes a great mountain skiing experience.

Wildbrumbies DistilleryWild Brumby Distillery
Best coffee
Tracies Cafe, Jindabye

We were looking for coffee and saw this place listed on the map, so thought it must have been worth checking. Beanhunter.com.au verified it was good so we went.

A hole in the wall and local’s favourite next door to a petrol station. I love when you find total randoms that don’t look like much but pack a punch, bloody great coffee!

coffee at Traciescoffee at Tracies
Best deals

From using the strategies in our ebook, we saved $48 + 10% off the total price camping at Narooma and $150 off our cottage at Metung.

camping at Naroomacamping at Narooma
Challenges of our family road trip
The travel budget

Good things:

Our accommodation costs have been low thanks to the support of tourism boards.

Most of our activities have been us enjoying the clean fresh air and beauty of nature, and we are having the best time. It’s amazing how much a bike ride and a walk can enhance your travels–it feels like a million dollar reward.

We contemplated paying for whale watching tours, but all along the coast the whales have been breaching and putting on shows for us close to shore. Why spend around $200 for a cruise?

You have to work out what the balance and sacrifices are for you. Some people might have a burning desire to be up close to whales in a boat, we were happy to see them from the shore.

Bad things:

There’s nothing like monitoring your budget to see your bad spending habits (we have spreadsheets for you in our ebook to use)

We’re addicted to coffee. Our coffee spend is ridiculous and we’re in Melbourne so won’t be fixing it anytime soon. We’re calling it research. How could we include who makes the best coffee in these posts if we didn’t?

We’re trying to cut our daily coffee to 3-4 a week. We have made a rule that if we have a high spend day, we are not to buy coffees. Our second rule is to earn more money so we don’t have to worry.

Live within your means until you increase your means!

We’re also spending too much on alcohol. We’re not getting drunk every night, but are having a glass of wine or a beer. We have to keep reminding ourselves this is a lifestyle now, not a holiday.

It’s hard when you have a beautiful cabin with kangaroos playing just off the deck and the sun setting to not take it in with a glass of wine. To reduce it we’re using coupons, buying in bulk, and I’m drinking the goon (If you travel to Oz, you will become a lover of the boxed wine – the cheapest way to drink).

Eating out:

We’re doing a lot better in reducing this. We were a little crazy the first week. One of the problems was staying in a hotel. We try to limit hotel stays as we need places that have kitchens.

Fuel:

Thanks Australia for making this such a high expense. The only way to reduce this is to use coupons for cheaper fuel prices and to travel slower. The less driving time per week, the less fuel. We’re also walking and riding bikes as much as we can.

At the moment we are under budget. We can set our budget at normal living costs, because we are working as we are travelling. This has been the strategy we have used to live and travel the world since 1997. We share more tips about that in our upcoming ebook. It’s the BEST way to have a life of travel.

What would we do differently so far?
Stay at Merimbula instead of Eden

I spoke to my Mum the other day and told her we thought Eden had a weird kind of vibe. “I know. Your father and I said the same thing when we were there.”

It has quite a brutal whaling history and I feel like there is a lot of trapped traumatic energy there. We visited Merimbula for the day and loved it. It’s only 20 minutes north, so we recommend staying there and visiting Eden for a day trip.

Brought my food processor with us

It may seem strange, but if I brought the food processor, I could make beautiful sugar free cakes and sweets every week, which would enhance our health and cut our spending on snacks.

Stay longer at Jervis Bay

Ya know we loved this area! Could easily stay here for at least a week and just absorb the peace and beauty.

Visit the Snowy Mountains in January

We loved it, and although it was nice to have the whole town to ourselves, we couldn’t appreciate it fully and it was lacking in atmosphere. But, the joy was that it snowed and there was enough snow on the peaks for Kalyra to have  a snowball fight with Craig.

Been better prepared for camping

We don’t have the right gear, mostly because of space and awful communication with a company who was going to partner with us and provide a camper trailer. It’s too cold to camp at the moment which increases our accommodation costs.

You can read all posts on our #yTravelOz road trip so far here.

NOTE – You can follow all our live updates on Facebook, instagram and twitter using the #yTravelBlog hashtag. All posts on this blog are roughly 2-3 weeks behind. It takes a while to write and edit the photos and publish! So make sure you subscribe via email for post updates so you don’t miss the stories, tips and highlights.

3 COMMENTS

  1. and I am back again today – I cannot get enough of your blog!
    this is a fantastic post. I leave for my first solo trip on Friday in over 2.5 years and I am going to try this.
    I absolutely love this advice combined with your 5 minute meditation, as being tired was a real concern for me.

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