Sunday, 16 October 2016

Relax, unwind and do nothing at Tooleybuc!

We free camped on the opposite side of the river from the town – allows dogs – expect nothing except space, and plenty of it (and we were there Oz Day weekend). Toilets are a short drive over the bridge so do not despair – as was a playground – club, pub, general store and post office.

Tooleybuc has a population of 250 in the township, and services the surrounding area of 5000. Industry is cereal crops and orchards (plenty of places to get fresh seasonal fruit after you leave Swan Hill). Wineries a-plenty and ‘boutique tourism operations’ who maybe should promote themselves as we found none of them???

The river was refreshing for a dip (once you got through the Murray mud). We saw (and felt) plenty of fish, and there was plenty of fisher-people on the banks and in boats looking for them.

We took a drive to Kyalite – consisting of a pub and caravan park a fishing and boating destination – again with free camping on the other side of the river from the town. This looks nice, but if you don’t fish not much to do.

Lucky Phil at the general store, was probably nicer to locals. The hotel served nice food, but took forever (we had takeaway). The township itself is beautiful. Great park and play area for the kidlets (mine wouldn’t leave), walkways winding around the river, picnic areas, boat ramp and clean toilets.

The gardens in the township showed that the community took great pride in their town – and plenty of people stopped on their way through to use the toilets, play in the playground and have a picnic.

To us Tooleybuc was a great getaway – we stayed for 3 nights and had 2 full days exploring. We relaxed and recharged after a busy end of year and Christmas period – ready to start our 2016 energised. You may find it a useful stopover to another destination.

This is our second time camping on the Murray and we have always found it quiet, peaceful and recharging – probably the effect of consistently flowing water.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Shh Don't Tell Anyone About This Spot

It is rare to find a camp site that is cheap, great, close to the beach, not packed and doesn’t take days to get to. And yet between Christmas and New Year we have found one such campsite and it was only 3 hours drive from home (Ballarat).

We hesitantly share this spot with you – as you know when you find a hidden gem you don’t share it, because then it gets ruined when all the crowds go. We share it in the hope that you will also enjoy and respect it as those who camp there now do.

The locals now about this little spot, bringing their families out from Mt Gambier to enjoy one of the nicest beaches in SA and cheapest camp ground around.

The Australian coastline is dotted with fishing villages. Some have expanded and grown particularly thanks to tourism, some haven’t. Carpenters Rocks is one of those places that still is a fishing village. It has a General Store (very general-not much that this shop does not have including a laid back attitude), a Tavern, shacks and fishing fleet to match. The local Progress Association have created a community hall complete with tennis court, playground, BBQ, toilet and large campground with ‘100 sites’.

Camp fees are by donation at the general store – they ask a minimum of $5 per night. There is no power. We saw a snake. There is plenty of space and dogs are allowed (horses too!) The beach is a 5-minute walk across the road. There is a toilet that flushes. Good strength 3G.

There is walking tracks, 4wd’ing, fishing, swimming, boating and well a whole heap of relaxing to do!

A word of warning the toilet gets cleaned every few days – I wouldn’t like to see it if the campground was full. It naturally ran out of paper (but prepared campers have their own right?). Additionally, the lock didn’t work when we were there – so you get to ‘meet your neighbours’.

Port Macdonnell is a short drive away and Mt Gambier is not far away either if you feel the need for a change of scenery or to replenish supplies.

We spent 3 nights at Carpenters Rocks which gave us an opportunity to explore the area and see the comings and goings of the camp ground. Most people came and went in 1 night. Many were groups from Mt Gambier. Noise was a minimum, no late nights and no early mornings. Everyone was considerate of other campers – just as it should be. Apart from the horse (and rabbit) poo there was no evidence of any other animals. There was  no rubbish around, bins were supplied.

This is a great campsite for short or long trips!

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Friday, 6 March 2015

The Curious Thing About the Plastic Bag

I set off on this tour of NSW with two aims - the first to buy local produce (failed) and to not take home a plastic bag from the Supermarket. I was getting very disheartened by the attempts of the last aim, until I arrived in Canberra.

Turn back the time to 2011 the ACT introduces a plastic bag ban - all lightweight bags were replaced with heavy bags and shoppers encouraged to bring their own bags. In 2013 a report was requested by the Opposition (Liberal), their theory was that the ban hadn't worked and Canberrians wanted them back. The study showed the following:
* 65% supported the ban, an increase of 7% over a similar survey held in September 2012, while those against the ban fell to 26% from 33%
* 71% said they did not want the ban overturned and 68% said the ban should be implemented nationally
* 171 tonnes of plastic bags were sent to landfill, a 36% decrease from 6 months prior to the ban
* While the sale of bin liners increased after the ban, sales were now lower than pre-ban
Source ACT Government

All good news; wouldn't it be terrific if we had a country wide ban on lightweight plastic bags? Less wild animals being injured; Less rubbish floating around our waterways and parklands (the Australian Government spends more than $200 million per year picking up rubbish); Less bags in landfill (takes hundreds of years to breakdown) to name a few (check out this link from NT EPA for more).

Here is the thing, if Government or Corporates will not take a stand on this issue, it is then up to the individual. So I grabbed myself this handy dandy insulated shopping basket (folds down to take up minimal space when travelling) so that I was armed and ready to complete my mission of no plastic bags!

And when I would excitedly arrive at the checkout ready to pay and put my groceries in my own shopping bag the checkout person would go into an absolute spin. You help them by getting the basket sorted, but they are still trigger happy to get those plastic bags out. When you say no plastic bags, they are lost - where do they put your groceries. When you explain that you brought everything to the counter in your bag and that it should all fit back in they can't cope. Is it that we need to train checkout operators how to pack in non-plastic bags? I just don't get it.

On one particular shopping trip we had arrived in Coffs Harbour after a long hot day on the road, fluked a park in the carpark with the Camper Trailer on the back. Grizzly child and husband. Stressed mother and wife. I gave up, I gave up trying to save getting plastic bags and I felt like we were drowning in them. They were everywhere on the fruit and vegetables, items packed in double bags, 2 items in a bag (WTF). I almost cried. It was so sad.

After that I still insisted on using my own shopping basket and packing everything back in it. I asked for boxes in bottle shops. I kept trying to keep the good job up. But I was so disappointed in how we as a society were just being so wasteful with plastic bags, when it is just so easy not to use them.

And then I arrived in Canberra, PLASTIC BAG BAN. It was one of the things that impressed me most about our Nations Capital. It is a start and hopefully other Governments follow. Maybe even corporations take more of a stand and stop using plastic in their shops, Bunnings, IKEA, McDonalds, Best and Less are some that come to mind who do not have a plastic bag in their shop. Sadly Target could not keep the course on no free plastic bags.

It is up to us as individuals to take a stand - buy yourself a great re-usable shopping bag and keep on using it!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Forced Unplugging

Day 3 of the longest (in distance & length of time) camping trip I have ever been on – and certainly the longest period of time we have ever been ‘away’ from our business location. But it is only day 3, no time to worry about that yet.

The Sapphire coast (as I have discovered it is called) is a place that I have travelled through and also spent some time when I was younger. I have fond memories of spending time with my family here and also our friends. It is lovely to be back in this part of Australia, another un-commercialised and remote part that is so easy to get to.

We are camping at Gillard’s Beach, a few people around but not too many. The pit toilet has been flooded and it is unhygienic! It is one of the debates that we have not been able to settle – the best method of toileting.

Our neighbours here are kangaroos, wallabies and those gorgeous little wrens that seem to be everywhere you go. As seems to be the practice with camp ground kangaroos they just go about their grazing around you, most inconvenienced by the fact you have pitched your campsite where they would normally eat and rest. The wallabies are super friendly venturing close (very close) to us, seemingly in search of a sausage. Miss S has even been telling one of them all about Frozen (Mum the Wallaby knows all about Frozen!).

The best part of this campsite is no internet,  no phone, no distractions from the outside world. This is unplugging at its best. Where you do not need to have any level of strength to not just check Facebook or your e-mails or answer that call-you can’t there is no coverage. You can-not be reached.

Not having reception used to really annoy me, how was I to survive without my hourly dose of Facebook. What if I missed an e-mail that was really important or a client wanting something done. 

What if I missed a phonecall that I really needed to take. What if....well guess what I am not a super hero and by becoming unplugged for a couple of days will not cause the world to stop turning. Accepting that realisation has been difficult.

I am not looking forward to arriving ‘back in reception’ tomorrow and having to go through 2 days of emails and phonecalls-but an hour or so while in the car driving and I am positive it will all be sorted. 

It is really a small price to pay for a piece of paradise, a pristine beach and time out with my family and for myself.

Even when you take your business with you on the road it is still important to have ‘rest’ days.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

An Organised Camper Trailer

I am over the top organised, and that makes my life better.

I have hunted Pinterest and blogs looking for the best way to organise our Camper Trailer, taking small spaces and ensuring that we have everything we need. I have a dream that we can decide to go camping, throw clothes in a bag and leave - no stress. To do that I needed organisation and systems!

None of what I have come up with is original, I have taken bits from here and there and created something that works for me, maybe some of it will work for you.

FIRST I created lists - cause I am a list sort of person. These are saved in an excel document on my computer, I also print them and put them in a ziplock bag on the inside of the corresponding box. The real benefit of this comes into play when you are re-stocking.

SECOND I found out how much space I had, including the size of boxes. A tip here is to invest in good quality, strong boxes, with lids. We are using cheap ones at the moment (left over from a project we were working on) and breaking/smashing at least one a trip!

THIRD Pack everything. Stick to the list and the size of boxes and you will have no issues!

FOURTH Have last minute lists and a last minute box to just throw things into in the last day or so - this will save you unpacking and repacking the camper trailer. This graph includes a list I use on my last night camping before returning home, this helps to get ready for the next trip with little pain.

I hope you find some tips in here to help you with lowering the stress of your travels! Maybe you could share some of your packing hints and tips below?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The start of the journey

It is Saturday of the Melbourne Cup long weekend 2014. We are camping in the Barmah National Park – just outside of Echuca. It has been raining this morning, but the sun is trying hard to break through the clouds and warm us. The wind blows but that is OK we are sheltered in the annex of the camper trailer and Sophie is playing with her toys on the floor of her ‘bedroom’. The firewood is stacked ready for a fire later tonight (marshmallows on the ready). We have a walk planned when Miss S gets ‘bored’.

I have checked e-mails, and returned a call to somebody who wants to ‘get their Christmas cards organised’. Life is good. We have been working towards this moment – where we can travel, run our business and spend quality family time together.

It is beautiful here. We are on the banks of one of the arms of the Murray River, a family of pelicans inhabit the shore along with frogs and other bird life. The river gums are tall and the bush seems to go on forever, giving you the secluded feeling. The wind in the trees, the sound of birds, kids playing, a guitar being played and Craig’s music – it is serene and what an office!

It is only our second trip away in our camper trailer, the first to Yambak Lake was absolutely for rest and relaxation. It seems fitting to ‘birth’ the new blog on this trip, the blog about making our dream a reality and sharing that journey.

I have been very lucky, even as a child we travelled and saw different parts of Australia. I took my first overseas trip at 15 to Japan as an exchange student for 2 weeks. A trip at 21 to Thailand was quickly followed by a month in the UK and after a feeling of not wanting to leave, a ‘working holiday’ visa ensued that saw adventures in the UK (mostly Scotland) and a 4 month solo voyage through  Europe – I was a traveller.

Depression, a mortgage, boyfriend, business and child put a (temporary) end to my international travels. Purchasing our camper trailer this year (instead of a trip to Thailand or Bali) has reignited that inner traveller. It has also been the final step in our ‘planning’ and ‘talking’ about creating a business that does not rely on us to be geographically based somewhere. To become ‘Digital Nomads.’

Craig has also travelled – all over the world when he was 4 and 5 – his story is for him to tell – albeit to say that he has travelling and camping in his blood also, and makes a very useful (and fun) companion. Our daughter has no hope really-she will grow up loving the great outdoors and travelling or hating it-for now she gets ‘so excited’.

So, our business – Visionary, is largely a consultancy, our slogan says we ‘Create and Market Online Business’. We also have many other services that we provide – all we require is internet to fulfil them all. And that is the way we have evolved the business.  We can and do conduct all of our business online or via phone – and providing Telstra can continue to support our telecommunication needs that is all we require.

And so begins our journey to becoming ‘Travelling Enterprisers’. This is the beginning of something we hope is very exciting and inspiring. And so births this blog – with the purpose of telling this story and chapter of our lives.