Coastal Cruising: Lakes Entrance to Kiama

Making a commitment to blogging is certainly seeing me stick to it … even if I am once again very behind.

The great thing about travelling is being in the moment, and us girls seem to be all about the fun. Which means the laundry and computer time seems to get put off till I decide a ‘catch up’ day is needed or we run out of clean undies. Another reminder that you take ‘yourself’ wherever you go – I didn’t start van life and become the organised launderer I had dreamed I might!

So … winding the mind and the odometer back again to the gorgeous town of Lakes Entrance (thank goodness I do take notes):

Lakes Entrance: We loved this town so much; we got to stay in a stunning, well-equipped holiday house called the Lakes Beach House with a friend I made whilst walking the KIWT (Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail in 2017). It was nice to be in a great big space again, and we parked Frankie and explored the house and got excited about all the rooms – especially the kitchen. It’s a cook’s dream, so we ate extra well whilst we were there, as I just love having a big kitchen to cook for everyone in.

Now Lakes Entrance has some major draw cards, one of them being mini golf. It’s everywhere!! We played and laughed our way around the course on the main street. I never knew Harper had some many little cheating tendencies – like getting down low and blowing the golf ball towards the hole. There are about six mini-golf places to choose from (well, ok, maybe just four, but it seemed like lots!).

My other top tip is to do the hike out to ‘The Entrance’ that Lakes Entrance is named after. Our friend ‘guaranteed’ that we would see dolphins and seals – and we did! The walk is great, even with a four-year-old on your back most of the way. There is stunning scenery and an array of bird life, including the lovely whip bird that you get to hear but not see. Once at the Entrance, it’s easy to spend an hour or two watching the seals play and chase fish etc, or if you’re lucky like we were, a police boat pulling a little dingy over. The girls loved this.

There is a family fun fair that runs over the holiday period right on the Esplanade. These fairs are always fun, but they are also money pits, and as we are on a tight budget and I am consciously trying to ensure the girls have some delayed gratification, the first night we were there we just walked around the fair. While we were doing that, we each decided on three things we would do the next day. This was actually a really fun way to get excited about going to the fair and having a good look around without actually doing anything (ie, spending money).

 The local fish ‘n’ chips are great, and we had a lovely picnic in the park. Cycling along the shared cycle/walking path is beautiful too. When we left, it was lovely to be back in our van, and it was then that I realised Frankie has become our home, and travelling with the girls is more compact and ‘easier’ in a sense in the van than staying in a house.

Some friends we made in Traralgon who are doing their lap of Oz this year recommended Eden as a good place to spend some time, and I’m so glad they did.

Eden is not only my daughter Harper’s middle name, but she is named after Hacienda Eden in Mexico – a very special place where I spent many months in my mid-20s. Being on the road and visiting Eden, NSW has taken my mind back to my travels in Mexico and the people I met there, and how the experience shaped me.

Eden, NSW has a stunning Art Deco whale museum with stories galore. Our favourites are the stories of ‘old Tom’ the killer whale and how he worked with fishermen. And also the story about the whale that swallowed a man who was later retrieved alive, but had lost his hair, his skin was bleached and he’d lost his eyesight. The girls really engaged in lots of learning at this small museum. I love having as long as we fancy to explore these little treasures along the way. The learning for the girls goes deep, and I love watching them take it all in, ask questions, and then later tell people we meet the stories they have learned along the way.

In Eden, the walk along the coast and along the river system is lovely and popular with locals and their dogs, which Gem loved. There’s lots of fish to be seen and of course Bob the Blobs, as my girls call jellyfish.

Tathra… Wow! I spent most evenings having a look at for houses here. Tathra exceeded our expectations. What a dreamy little spot; there’s something about the hills, cliffs, bay and quaint little town that makes me want to return every year, buy a holiday house (let me dream) and have friends join me for holidays. The kids can play at the fair and surf the break by the surf club. It’s got a sweet holiday vibe, and the bush alongside the sea is dreamy. 
During our days we rode along the bike path down to the Bega River, walked the tracks up to Tathra town, counted lizards and played for hours on the beach. Harps took a surf lesson and learned lots about getting out past nasty shore dumpers with @coastlifeadventures. We explored the local shops, including the op shop for the vintage find of the year – a times-tables monkey, see photo – and fell in love with a variety of puppies all here on holidays. We also spent an afternoon at the Tathra hotel listening to live local music and enjoying the new park! We also went to the fun fair, a great cafe @wildorchidcafe and the wharf, and spent ages in the sweet, informative museum. When we weren’t doing those things we were in the most divine pool at the caravan park, and Gem found her inner mermaid. It’s great to be able to set the van up for a few days and not drive anywhere. Beyond glad the we got the bike rack and brought bikes with us. Tired, Happy, Sun Kissed Days.

Bega. I must admit, I didn’t know much about Bega or have much expectation, but Harper has some family there as she does at Tathra. They welcomed us all, and we could have just stayed and stayed. Whilst visiting Bega, we stayed just outside on a gorgeous little farm, got to pick veggies and had the most stunning view to wake to. We spent a whole day on a gorgeous little beach called Arraganu just out of Bega, a truly magical place ♥️. We played, swam, talked, walked and immersed ourselves in just being there with each other and my heart felt full! 

Begas Heritage Centre is also a must visit if you like cheese taste tests and fancy slipping into a cheese coma from too much cheese … lol. There’s loads of vintage machinery and history of the farming in the local area there. We went twice. Candelo is a little town out of Bega that won my heart. Check it out if you’re near there.

Bermagui was our next location and the weather gave us a stormy welcome, our first bit of wild weather. The next morning the clouds had cleared and we walked to the Bermagui Blue pools and spent the most splendid day exploring, Snorkelling and swimming and mermaiding on rocks (Gem). We introduced Gem to kayaking on the river and loved riding along the bike track here too. We did have to say goodbye to two pairs of thongs here – one pair lost, one pair broken =(.

I have found synchronicity with timing when one is travelling is a very real thing and unveils all sorts of treasures – and this is certainly happening on this trip. A phonecall to my aunt when we were on the farm in Bega resulted in us finding out a friend from home has a dad who has a protea farm out of Cobargo a – another town you must visit if you are ever in the area. So we phoned our friend’s dad and had a night on the protea farm – there was so much magic there. The kindness, the roast dinner, the storm that rolled in, the amazing view. We got a protea farm tour, explored the creek, and left with a fridge full of homegrown produce, our lungs filled with county air and our hearts brimming with joy. This experience reminded me of a saying I once read ‘strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet’ (obviously not always the case) .

The drive to Kiama felt long for some reason, so we had to stop in Batemans Bay for a game of mini golf, and I’m happy to say, Harps didn’t cheat and was well and truly improved.
When we arrived in Kiama, we found our park was super exciting. The Big4 is right on a gorgeous little bay, and we were lucky enough to be camped next to a lovely family with whom we shared lots of time over the next three days. The park was once again a family dream with something for everyone. In pool sunbeds (me), waterslides (Harper), creek to fish in (Gem), beach to play on each day (all of us). It also has a jumping pillow, and an indoor and outdoor playground. I can see why this park is popular, the coastline, attractions and facilities are amazing! We also caught up with the travelling friends we made at Traralgon. It was fab to see Harper reconnect with their kids and the ease at which relationships are made on the road. The blowholes are really powerful and the girls were interested to watch them for a long time. Kiama will forever have a special place in our hearts, days filled with facepainting, swimming, fishing, beach play, hoola hooping and more …

Frankie is going so great and gets lots of interest at caravan parks and when we are out and about. People love looking at the layout and how we live. We even saw another Jayco FD19 on the road the other day and mashed to connect via instagram. Loving this van life and all the adVANtures it brings.

Next stop Sydney... please leave a comment if you read something that resonates with you. Or leave a question if you have one. I hope the blog is helpful and I’m happy to be recording it for myself and the girls too.

The good ol tea cup ride at Lakes Entrance Fair

At the Entrance where we watched seals, dolphins and a police boat 🚤
Enjoying stretching out in all the space at the Lakes Beach House
Lakes Entrance not quite a helicopter ride but this suited our budget better
The Eden museum. We loved it!
Monkey maths . What a find
Protea farm creek magic
Wine and a playground ! Tathra pub is awesome
Kiama is pretty special too! x
Bermagui turned on the storm weather then the most perfect day at the blue pools

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