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2018 was our year of simple family travel moments, road trips, and consolidation. Close to 100 % of what happened in 2018 was unplanned and made us embrace that life is clearly unpredictable and uncontrollable. We in the Western world tend do believe that people make their own luck, and create their own destiny, but this year we had to appreciate that no matter how hard you try sometimes you can’t. When you can’t control your own destiny trying to do so only creates a sense of dissatisfaction.
So for us, there was no big family holiday 2018, but a series of simple travel moments.
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Here Are Our Top Family Travel Moments Of The Year
Beach Swimming Lessons – Denmark Western Australia
In January, we headed down south for two weeks of beach swimming lessons on the south coast. For the grand sum of $13 you get two weeks of classes and, more importantly, learn more about swimming in the ocean. Plus, laid back days, ice-creams and camping at a beach shack!
You can read more about charming Denmark here.
Just two hours from Perth, we felt we had discovered a hidden gem in the Ferguson Valley – food, farms and plenty of bush experiences. We particularly enjoyed our stay at the Ferguson Farm Stay and also Glamping at Potters Gorge. Ferguson Valley was one of our great travel moments of the year.
Beaches Of The South Coast
We were super lucky to make several trips to the South Coast of Western Australia throughout the year. We spent lots of time walking, beach combing, and picking up marine debris.
Read more about the South Coast here in our post “11 Great Things For Kids On The South Coast Of Western Australia”.
Was it a good idea to buy a drone? Read how we have integrated a drone into our family travels in our post “Our Families Experience Traveling With A Drone”.
Busselton – 2 Weekend Getaways, As A Base For Further Exploring Margaret River
Though entirely unplanned at the beginning of the year we ended up making 2 weekends getaways to this great seaside town. We could keep visiting the Busselton (also known as the Margaret River Wine Region) over and over as there is just so much to do here.
Check out our post “Things To Do In Margaret River For Kids” for our top recommendations. We need to update this post again because there really is so much to do and see!
During our weekend getaways, we stayed at Abbey Beach Resort and Broadwater Beach Resort. You can read our review for Abbey Beach Resort here and our review for Broadwater Beach Resort here. The Margaret River wine region always makes for great travel moments, and these two places enhanced our experience.
Busselton is also a great place for a winter getaway from Perth, having several indoor heated pools. “Accommodation in South West WA: Best Indoor Pools For A Winter Family Escape” has loads of great properties.
Winter in Walpole
We’ve often visited the Walpole Wilderness area in the warmer months, but this year we headed south in deep winter. While there were some appalling days of rain and storms, the result was rushing rivers and a complete sense of freedom in the forest. Two of our favorites were Fernhook Falls and Circular Pool.
Albany, Western Australia
During our visits to the South Coast, we also had some time to explore this regional city which has plenty to offer the family looking for a great base, plus some great activities nearby. Open until April 2019, is the Field of Lights Albany. Also, check out our recommendations for family accommodations in Albany Western Australia here.
Perth Parks and Playgrounds
Without the pressure of a big family holiday 2018, we had time to re-visit the parks and playgrounds of our home city Perth, as well as enjoy the many free activities on offer around Christmas time.
What Did We Do Instead Of Travel Or Taking A Family Holiday 2018?
I clearly realized that our priority on travel has meant that we have sometimes missed out on other parts of our children’s lives that are vital to their sense of self and belonging at this stage. This might be very different for other children, and other families, but we have had to accept that for our kids, this is important. Maybe it won’t be in a few years’ time, but right now it is.
The other thing is MONEY. Yes, you need money to travel and unfortunately, it doesn’t grow on trees!
Our daughter, born in Peru and has traveled around the world at least 4 times by her second birthday is our reluctant traveler. Now 8, she opted to stay with her grandmother during our last road trip.
In February, she got guinea pigs, which despite being “unmated” produced a number of offspring … to her great joy! Then, in December, we made a huge commitment to get a puppy. This was something that we had avoided largely because we felt it didn’t fit into our (the parent!) aspirations for a travel lifestyle.
This year we participated in gymnastics, karate, Auskick (Australian Rules football) and little athletics. Instead of missing important dates or a few weeks here or there, our daughter really enjoyed and indeed thrived through her participation.
We Bought Household STUFF
Our lawnmower, vacuum cleaner, and washing machine all stopped working during the year. According to our belief in not throwing stuff out… we paid for the lawnmower and vacuum to be repaired. (Almost as costly as replacing them.) Unfortunately, the washing machine was beyond hope, and we needed to buy a new one! Then our tiny flat screen fell off a table, and we reverted to an old-fashioned TV for the year (it doesn’t connect to the internet).
Papa Woodwork Tools
With our weekends a little less filled with travel, and less pressure to utilize every minute, papa began to indulge his woodworking dreams. Suddenly a stream of woodworking tools began to arrive in the house. I know that if we had taken a family holiday 2018, for sure he would not have been able to afford these purchases. As a result, he discovered how much he enjoys tinkering with wood.
Our Organic Vegetable Garden
Since moving back to Australia we have always enjoyed gardening and having a vegetable garden. This year not only did we go 100% organic (no snail killer!) but we also were home in order to tend the garden all year round. As a result, we’ve had some delicious harvests and once again we have reflected on the benefits of Gardening with Kids.
Papa’s Trip To Nicaragua
A member of papa’s family was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and he decided that he needed to visit urgently. This was in early July when Nicaragua had been struggling with the shadow of civil war for over 2 months.
The streets were blocked; he had to pass over 20 barricades to make it from the airport in Managua to his home town of Granada. This emergency trip was vital, but totally unplanned and made the budget much tighter if it wasn’t already!
Finally, we were joyously blessed with another child! Despite being given close to 100% of the baby items and clothes; we discovered there was one thing we desperately needed to fit our growing family (and puppy). That was a new car. We decided to upgrade to a bigger car and get a 4wd, so we could explore more in 2019.
To compare our 2018 travel moments, see what we did in previous years, by reading our “Best of 2017: Remarkable Family Travel Experiences” and “Incredible Family Travel Experiences – Best of 2016”.
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