This year has been full of traveling for our family. We were so lucky to win a competition which enabled us to travel to California, Palm Cove and Broome. I was also gifted a trip to Hervey Bay. There’s also been trips (sometimes just me, sometimes just Twiggy, sometimes all of us) to Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney, Darwin, Bali, Barossa Valley, Clare, Pt Vincent, Byron Bay and even the West Beach Caravan Park a couple of times (which is just down the road from us). It’s been such an amazing year. Here’s a list of my favourite spots.
Top 6 Travel Destinations of 2014
PALM COVE, Far North Queensland
We welcomed the new year on the beach watching fireworks over the water and listening to the sounds of children playing and champagne corks popping. The waves gently lapping at the shore. It was absolute perfection.
Everything about Palm Cove is luxurious and relaxed. The stretch of boardwalk is filled with hotels and restaurants, old school fish and chip shops sit proudly next to fine dining establishments. Families walk along the sandy footpaths, while couples meander hand-in-hand at the water’s edge. Days are spent swimming, nights are spent dining or just picnicking on the beach watching the sunset. It is one of my most favourite places in the world.
PORT VINCENT, South Australia
Situated in Yorke Penisinula or “Yorkes” as South Aussies like to call it, Port Vincent is a typical seaside town.
It’s small, it’s free from much development, it has a fabulous butcher, a pub, a fish and chip shop and a kiosk which sells the most amazing King George Whiting burgers and hot donuts. We take our caravan Audrey and stay at the Port Vincent Foreshore Caravan Park. We’ve been there are few times now and last year we luckily secured a much sought after permanent spot over the Christmas holidays. The sheltered bay has little or no waves and makes the perfect spot for little kids. People set up their sun shades in the morning and drag their little boats or canoes down to the water and anchor them. And there they spend the entire day relaxing. The crabbing is also awesome. The water’s not the bluest, the sand’s not the whitest, the town’s not the flashiest, but it is full of soul. It is the quintessential seaside summer holiday destination. And for that reason it’s one of our most cherished spots to relax together as a family.
When we won our trip to California the first question everyone asked was if we were going to Disneyland? You know I wasn’t that excited about the prospect of a manufactured world, I was more excited about the rest of our trip, but once I stepped inside the gates I was a kid again.
It was one of the happiest places on earth, it really was. No money’s been spared putting the park together. Everyone that goes to Disneyand is treated with respect and given the experience of a lifetime. It is truly awesome. Our children thought it was one of the most amazing places ever in the history of the world. To be honest, so did I.
VENICE BEACH, California
What? I can hear you all saying. Yes, we went to Yosemite and San Francisco and Death Valley and Santa Barbara and Lake Tahoe and all these other amazing, stunning, awesome places in California and I’ve picked Venice Beach.
But you know what, it meant more to me than just a destination. It was gritty and full of tourists. It was a little dirty and grungy and I adored it. Whenever I dreamed of going to LA – it was Venice Beach I first thought of. The roller skating, the skate boarding, dreadlocks, beachy bodies, the tattoo shops, the smell of dope in the air – everything about it lived up to its expectations. I watched all the skaters with a renewed love, my new skates tucked away in my suitcase. We walked the boardwalk, ice cream running down the girls’ arms, Twiggy and I smiling because we’d just experienced three weeks traveling in California and on our last day we’d made it to this ultra cool LA landmark. It was gnarly in every sense of the word.
HERVEY BAY, Queensland
I will never forget seeing that first whale. It looked right at me. It was surreal.
Hervey Bay is once again a typical sleepy seaside town. I can’t wait to take my family back to spend some time just chillaxing. It has amazing restaurants, beautiful beaches and loads of fab places to visit for day trips. But the stars of this place are the whales. From mid-July to early November the whales travel through the waters off Fraser Coast and a short boat trip from Hervey Bay will take you right up to them. You can almost reach out and touch the whales. It is a spiritual experience and one you will never forget. It’s an experience which will stay with me forever.
BROOME, Western Australia
There is something special about Broome. I think it’s because it’s where the red dirt from the Australian desert meets the whitest sand from the Indian Ocean. It is simply stunning.
It’s a peaceful oasis – a place to sit and watch the world go by. In the dry season, (the best time to visit) the heat builds up throughout the day and at night the cool breeze blows through or if you’re there during the wet, the heat becomes unbearable and then the rains come. This place is all about the weather and the environment and the people. The spirit of this place is so strong. The connection to the land as vivid as the sunsets. You instantly feel grounded and by the time you go to leave it’s like you’ve reached into your soul and cradled it gently in the palm of your hand. Broome is a must-visit destination. Next time, I’d like to drive there so we can explore the Kimberley, perhaps a trip from Adelaide to Perth up the coast to Broome and across the Kimberley to Darwin and straight through the centre. It’ll happen, one day. It’ll happen if I dream it.
We’ve been so very lucky this year and we are already planning more trips away. First, a visit to the Grampians in Audrey and another to Port Vincent and we’ve booked in a family holiday to Bali. But we’ve all got the travel bug and it’s not one I see disappearing anytime soon. We just can’t seem to stay in one place for that long.
Have you got any holidays planned?