Winter School Holidays: Sunshine Coast, Australia

Looking South from the top of Mt Coolum

Looking South from the top of Mount Coolum


The Candy kids are now enjoying their two week Queensland winter holiday. They’ve had fun and enjoyed the opportunity to do stuff that’s usually strictly forbidden, like watch TV and play on their computer games in the mornings. Ahem, they might be doing that right now actually.

But when I’ve got a bit of writing done, I’m always keen to get the kids out of the house and exercise them. We’re all happier with lots of running around and fresh air. Free activities are best, so the last two weeks have been an endless round of walks in national parks and on the beach, scooting, frisbee, football, handball, fishing, tree climbing, playing tiggy, basketball and loitering with intent at various playgrounds. Swimming at the Noosa Acquatic Center isn’t quite free but it’s got to be one of the best deals in town. There have been plenty of play dates and sleepovers too, so we’ve usually had more than three kids to entertain.

Explore the Sunshine Coast More

We’ve had time to visit a couple of new places in the Sunshine Coast too.

Kennilworth

This one horse town in the Hinterland, about a 45 minute drive from the coast, has a brilliant kids playground with a flying fox, a merry-go-round and a lot of unusual equipment. There’s a dairy opposite where you can have a cheese tasting and buy an ice cream. Take a picnic or grab a pie in town. Another great free day out. Next time I’ll combine this with a trip to Maleny which has lovely bush walks.

Mount Coolum

The landscape round the Sunshine Coast is quite flat, but every now and then a mountain rises up out of nowhere. Some are perfect cone-shaped peaks, but Mount Coolum is more of a dome. It’s a steep walk but after half an hour you’ll be rewarded with stunning views all down the coast both north and south, and inland to the hinterland. We even saw some whales spouting out at sea. Free activities don’t get much better than this and just like fellow Kiwi Sir Edmund Hilary, who we were discussing on the way there, the kids loved being fearless mountaineers and conquering the mountain.

Caloundra Rollerdrome

This was a blast from the past. Overcome your fear of shared footwear and ignore the pong of hundreds of sweaty feet. Buckle yourself into some rollerblades or rollerskates and whizz, stumble or fall round the rink, while the DJ plays Michael Jackson, Abba and Beyonce for you. They even organise games, which stops the kids from getting bored and keeps them rolling for the full two hour sesssion. It all comes in at just under $50 for four people but we had a laugh and got a free workout so I’d love to go again.

Enjoy the Photos!

Hinterland views from the top of Mt. Coolum

Hinterland views from the top of Mount Coolum

View north to Noosa from Mount Coolum

View north to Noosa from Mount Coolum

Weekend fun at the Noosa public pool

Weekend fun at the Noosa public pool

Everyone loves the red rocket

Everyone loves the red rocket

Adorable Roller Girl

Adorable Roller Girl

Thanks for reading, please add your comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe by email now if you haven’t already so you don’t miss out on the next installment.

Good luck with all your plans!

Read More About Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

If you haven’t already read these stories about things to do on the Sunshine Coast check out:

Culture Shock for New Immigrants to Australia

Sunshine Coast Tourist Guide: Family Activities

Sunshine Coast Tourist Guide: Australia Zoo

Advertisements

Follow Your Dream: You Only Live Once

Me and the Kids, Antigua, Guatemala

Me and the Kids, Antigua, Guatemala

My article, Live Your Dream in a Material World, struck a chord with many of you. In it, I described how we sold most of our belongings in order to make our dream come true and move to Central America.

Now I want to share the first page of my book about our experiences. It tells how we followed our hearts, ignored other people, took a risk, and put up with hardships to follow our dream. I hope that our story will inspire other people to be brave and follow their dream. Here are the first 900 words:

Our First Day in Guatemala

As I looked around the tiny hotel room, now stuffed to capacity with a family of five and our eleven bags, I wondered if we’d done the right thing. It was hard to believe that we’d sold our large, comfy home in New Zealand and most of our belongings in exchange for this. Outside the streets of Antigua, Guatemala’s best known colonial city, beckoned, but I wasn’t sure I could handle the kids here by myself. My husband Rich, my faithful travel companion for sixteen years, had gone on strike suffering from exhaustion and jet lag. My only ally in a 10,000 kilometre radius lay prone on the bed and refused to budge.

Meanwhile my youngest child, Kiara, aged two, was whining. With unfortunate timing, she’d broken her arm and developed a terrible tummy bug about ten days before our departure so a once happy and energetic girl had been replaced by a miserable, lethargic cry-baby. At the opposite end of the emotional scale her brothers, Max, five, and Luke, eight, were running round the minute hotel courtyard laughing uproariously. The colonial hotel with its inner courtyards and fountains, its tiled floors and decorative touches just hadn’t been designed for a large, noisy family. These small spaces were created for smaller, slower and quieter people than us.

Where We Came From

Our children were born and raised on Waiheke Island, just off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island, a thirty minute ferry ride from Auckland City. Waiheke’s a serene and beautiful place, well known for its perfect beaches and famous vineyards. Up until this point the Candy kids had spent the majority of their time running and playing barefoot in a place with only 8000 residents, little traffic and no traffic lights.

Waiheke Island is the perfect place to raise young kids, and the Candy kids had enjoyed a sheltered existence with the security of living and growing up in a familiar place, surrounded by people they’d known since birth. Now we’d turned their world upside down, immersing them in a foreign culture with an unknown and incomprehensible language. The only familiar objects were the ones we’d brought with us. Exhausted after our 27 hour journey, I needed to remind myself why we’d done it.

Our Journey Started in the UK. Where Would it End?

Both me and my husband were born in the UK, but Rich was raised in Kenya. We both love travelling and we met in the Sinai in Egypt, so that’s where our adventures together began. For years we travelled, worked or studied in Africa, South East Asia, the USA, France and the UK, before finally deciding that enough was enough. It wasn’t that we wanted to settle down and stop travelling, just that we wanted a base, a place where we could keep our stuff, a home where we could one day live forever and raise a family.

Neither of us wanted to settle in Britain, but New Zealand fitted the bill: safe, unspoilt, and under populated. After a long, arduous process involving endless application forms, medical exams, and procuring certified copies of every official document that ever crossed our paths, we managed to get New Zealand residency. Our friends in England were horrified, especially our Australian friends who seemed to take it as a personal slur. The typical response from family and friends when we told them the news was disbelief:

“New Zealand? What do you want to go there for?”

But we were used to this. It seemed as if every time we packed our bags and went to a new place we got that same reaction of horror, combined with total incomprehension. Ten years later when we left New Zealand and told people we were moving to Panama the reaction was the same again:

“Panama? What do you want to go there for?”

I’d love to know what you think of this opening to my book. Would you like to read the whole story of how we moved from New Zealand to Panama, then ended up living in Costa Rica for a year, before finally moving to Australia? I’m excited about this chance to get feedback from my readers now as I complete my manuscript ready for publication.

Thanks for reading, please add your comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe by email now if you haven’t already so you don’t miss out on the next installment.

Good luck with all your plans!

For More Inspiration Read

>> Live Your Dream in a Material World.

>> What Can You Give Up To Live Your Dream?