As the girls have grown older, we have managed an overseas holiday about every two years. The planning and the waiting for these special holidays are all part of the excitement. We have been to Mauritius twice, the lure of my brother and his family living there was just too strong to go only once! Singapore (tagging along on a conference Dude was attending) and our last holiday was to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia (visiting a childhood friend and staying in his amazing hotel). Next year, (or very late this year) fingers, toes and eyes crossed, we will have an overseas holiday once again.
Each year though, since the girls were very young, we have tried to do a "at home" holiday, in our own state, beautiful Western Australia. A diverse and fascinating place to have an adventure.
When miss 14 was Miss toddler, we ventured only as far as we could tolerate a squirming, bored 2-year-old. Usually to our wine country, Margaret River, about 3 hours south of Perth. Finances were tight, the car was old and a holiday like this was plenty. These trips became a training ground for longer car journeys and beds away from home.
After years of short trip practise, the girls were seasoned car travellers and we began to extend our journeys to places much further away from home, both north and south of the state. We have climbed Bluff Knoll, in the Stirling Ranges, with a 4-year-old. A three-hour round hike up a steep, rocky slope , 1099 metres (3606ft) above sea level. We had a glorious picnic up the top in the howling wind and rain setting in. Pure elation.
We have investigated the whaling history in picturesque Albany. We have roasted marshmallows and been scared silly by a thunderstorm on the Bibbulmun track.We have panned for gold in historic Kalgoorlie, driving there on the longest, straightest stretch of road we have ever travelled. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
We have been to Mullewa, in the wheatbelt, to see nature put on her wild flower glory. A photographers dream landscape.
We have taken the long way round to Kalbarri, in our North, driving through numerous pastoral stations, opening...and shutting gate, after gate, after gate. (Dude has a fetish for unsealed dirt roads, the muddier the better!) We have witnessed emu's enjoying a mud bath on the side of the road, race horse goannas sprinting as fast as our car and had a mysterious and extremely large bug, fly in the window of the car with all of us inside!! Now that was a noisy car trip with loads of screaming from the two young ladies it landed on!!
One of our favourite trips to date has been to stay on an extensive, huge, enormous cattle station, inland from Carnarvon. What an eye opener for all of us! It was a 10 hour drive to get to this outback home. Settled on the banks of the Gasgoyne River, "Doorawarra's" history is long and fascinating. We shared residents with spiders, pythons, frogs (in the toilet!) and even a ghost, which luckily we had no dealings with. The girls just took it all in their stride!
We saw eagles and emus, lizards and snakes, brumbies (wild horses) and hundreds of goats!The girls learnt how to drive on the airstrip and collect wood for the "donkey", a burner that heats up the water at the homestead. They fed the hand reared goat, Louisa and remained gob smacked that the property only had electricity for a few hours a day - when the generator was working!! They fossicked for treasures and engraved memories and a love of the bush in their young minds.
This is why we do these "Toughen up Princess" holidays. To get their hands dirty and their feet tired. To raise capable girls, who aren't afraid of a bit of heat and dirt and a lot of bugs. Who love the peace and beauty of the land and understand its amazing history. To take them away from shops and the t.v and life in the suburbs.
To toughen up our gorgeous Princesses and teach them how to be a tourist any where new they lay down their hats.We are not sure of our next "at home" destination, but I'm sure it will give us plenty of fun. Where are your favorite places to visit in the state you live in?