Australia – Day 10 Butterflies, Beets and Ballina

Distance Driven: 230 KM

Steps Taken: 7305


The place we stayed at last night was spectacular.  Bellinger River Tourist Park has beautiful views, new amenities and most importantly, is full of friendly people.

Day 10 - _0003.jpgOur morning view was spectacular.

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Roland had the chance to play at their little park.

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We met a few dogs but Molly was by far his favourite.  Her owners, Kevin and Ann, were just as wonderful.

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Roland helped Ann with her washing and Kevin shared all sorts of interesting information about himself (he is a Vietnam Vet) and the local area.  We have a few places to add to our must-see list!

Roland even scored a kinder egg and toy truck from Ann, much to his delight!

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Our first, and really only, stop today was a Butterfly House just south of Coffs Harbour.


They have a maze that Roland was so eager to get into that we had to quickly run after him as we though he had just ducked behind a bush!  He found that entrance and was off, quick as a flash and giggling like crazy. (we are in for so much more trouble with this one!)

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The maze inside the maze

They have a wonderful butterfly house with several species.

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As this is a school holiday locally there were several groups of children.

They also have a “Bug House” with several impressive looking local bugs.  Some were very hard to find as the really do camouflage very well into their surroundings.

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We decided to grab lunch at the café before leaving and Dan was rather distressed at the face they put beets on his burger!   I thought it was great!! (I love beets)

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Our drive has given us much more beautiful scenery with the addition of interesting signs like Kangaroo or Koala crossings.  This one, however, was the most surprising!!!

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Roland can get a bit silly in the car when he is stuck sitting for a while.  He does strange things like sucking his big toe, boys are gross.

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One big long drive later (most of which the kids were sleeping for) and we arrived in Ballina.

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Just for the record.  I don’t like prawns.  They make me gag a bit.  I worked in a seafood department at a local grocery store and on occasion we sold prawns.  Their eyes would always fall off and stick to the ice.  Barf.


Tomorrow we will actually have time to discover the place we have chosen.

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So, as I’m writing this, Dan has gone out for a walk into town.  It’s a few kilometers away.  I just heard the first few drops of rain and thought “oh no!” and now it sounds like a torrential downpour. You can image the words Dan is saying right now.


Day 8 – Driving North and Making Friends

Distance Traveled: 248 km

Steps Taken: 10,942


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The Beast


I got to drive today!  Talk about stressful but it truly does get more comfortable as the day goes on.

I think we have hit a turning point, finally.  Everyone had a good long nights sleep, no super early mornings and both kids were dressed super warm.  It was only 7C when we woke up.

Dan doesn’t deal with the cold in the mornings as well so a warm breakfast was on order.  I, however, threw on my running gear and headed out (leaving Dan to deal with “Hangry” Roland) Oh and we ran out of coffee this morning.

My morning run was just what I needed.  There was little trail to follow so I made a few loops of it trying to discover if there was more.



Insert Creepy Music Here!!

I’m not gonna lie.  When I ran down this little side trail and saw this car I expected either someone to jump out or to find a skeleton inside.  Super creepy.




So off we headed and quickly stopped for coffee at the first McDonalds we saw! 

BTW, fastest time yet again!


The main part of our journey today was driving on the M1

These rock cuts are just something else.  Just think of the blasting that went into this and there are so many of these and often the highway is divided by one of these cuts.

We took a break at a rest area near Mooney Mooney in the Central Coast and had the pleasure of meeting two Rural Fire Fighters, Robert and Boyd.  We learned a little about rural fires and how they are “put out” and they had a laugh at the size of the grass fires we get at home (Their last grass fire was 1000’s of archers).


A little further down the road, we stopped for lunch and Roland got to pet another dog (an occurrence that happens as often as Roland can manage!).  Here we met “Darcy” and her people parents, who were on their way home to Nelson Bay.

Everyone we meet is so friendly and happy to have a conversation.  They are warm and welcoming and happy to offer polite suggestions about the are and places we might find interesting.  Even grocery shopping at Woolworth’s provides entertaining conversations with the kids involved.  We learned this with Roland in Belize, children make excellent ice breakers.

I try to keep flexibility in mind as we drive around.  After all, Life is about the Journey.  We happen to see a directional sign for Toronto and just had to check it out.

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Tonight we are setting up in the dark at a caravan park in Heatherbrae, NSW and from here I think we will put a good couple more days of driving in.  Our next major destination is Gold Coast, almost 700km away.






The Making of a Happy Child While Traveling – Roland’s Busy Binder

Busy busy busy Toddlers
Quiet play is so important. Whether in the car, at home while the other little is sleeping or on a 17 hour flight, quiet time is a good thing for everyone.

Enter Roland.

This handsome little dude is busy
In fact, after starting daycare at the age of two, my husband was checking in with one of his teachers. Since he was new to day care we wanted to make sure there were no issues, ( hitting, napping, eating, listening and such).

As Dan checks in with the teacher, she looks him in the eyes and says “Roland is a VERRY…BUSY…BOY…” intensely holding my husbands gaze for extra effect.
So yeah, I will admit. The idea of long periods where sitting is required makes me a little antsy with the thought of this particular toddler.


Now enter in the BUSY BOOK

I have had so much fun putting this together! I made so many things I may actually split this into two binders!!

It truly was a simple thing to make and super easy to customize for your own little one.

Step One: get a binder.

I happen to be in our local office store when I spyed this particular binder that has a zipper all the way around so nothing can fall out, but that wasn’t even the best part. It has plastic rings! No catching, or bending, or pinched fingers!





Step Two: Get a laminator and some sheets

I simply went to Walmart and picked up a Scotch Laminator for about $30. I also bought the 5ml sheets so they were stronger. My other idea was the 3ml sheets and I could print on card stock if I needed to.

Step Three: Let your imagination run wild and fill it up!

Go simple and laminate some pages from activity books or get creative and make your own pages. Once laminated you can use dry erase crayons.  crayola-dry-erase

Yup. They have dry erase crayons!! Just wipe off and reuse those sheets again. 🙂
I found a free trial for software to make these activities. It’s called Boardmaker.

The program is great for getting these little graphics! I cut everything out and used Velcro strips and dots so everything stays secure while in transit.

I went to the local dollar store and found these water colour books. They go blank again when they dry.

Don’t forget good old plane paper and crayons!

 crayola-twistablesI found these great twits crayons that are in a plastic sleeve. I’m hoping the will be stronger and therefore last longer with in the hands of a toddler.
I am also going to make some Ispy bags. I have pollyfill beads for making stuffed animals and a lot of little toys. I will take a pencil case with a clear window, fill it up and tape it shut for good measure.
Scarlet won’t need as much but I may just make her a table tray cover with felt and some fun sensory toys on it.
We have a month and a half left before we leave so this may not actually happen.




I tried to keep this binder a surprise from Roland so it will be new and exciting but he spotted it once already.

He knows there is drawing in it and clearly is interested!!



What are your GO TO activities while in transit?

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