Escape + Explore – Top Ten Responsible Travel Tips from ASTW

Bay of Fires Beach Walk-24

The Bay of Fires walk was certainly a low impact way to see that spectacular and scenic part of Tasmania.

Just a quick post from me today as I’m jet lagged and feeling quite unusual.  Really, though, the journey from Glasgow to Sydney was easy. I was able to spend a week with Mum in Scotland only because I was able to use my husband’s many air miles and upgrade to Business Class on Emirates. I’m telling you it’s bloody luxury.  

But I’m still a touch jet lagged… and there are always piles of washing when mums get home.

Recently I was approved to join the Australian Society of Travel Writers, starting as an Associate Member. This is a wee thrill for me as I remember hearing about the ASTW when I first came to Sydney at 23 and hoping one day to join. Didn’t expect it to take quite so long, but life got in the way.

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At Home With Mum In Scotland In The Springtime

Scotland 2013-9

The back of the house, with conservatory and courtyard suntrap.

I’m feeling so lucky and so very grateful to have been able to come over to see my Mum in Scotland this past week.

Mum’s hip replacement seems to have gone well and she is getting about on crutches OK.  I’m here to report that looking after one not very mobile older lady is a piece of cake compared to wrangling the household in Sydney.

Would you care to join me on a tour of my Mum’s lovely house in the countryside of Scotland, just 12 miles outside Edinburgh?

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Escape and Explore – Sydney, Bali, Botswana and A Blog

Club Med Bali pool-1 Club Med Bali Upgrades

Have you been to Club Med Bali too? My twins and I had a lovely break there last year, and now I’m foaming at the mouth to get back to check out the resort’s latest luxurious improvements.

The adults-only Zen pool has been completed and these photos of it are courtesy of Club Med Bali. I can just picture myself spread out on one of the day beds enjoying the sea views.

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Escape + Explore: Australia’s Best Family Travel Blogs

Going Anyway copy

The Going Anyway family on the Great Wall of China.

This Friday’s holiday and travel inspiration comes courtesy of some excellent Aussie family travel bloggers. Check out my list below and you will find literally hundreds of ideas, with very practical information for families.

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Escape + Explore – Family Travel Ideas in South Australia and Beyond

WordsToGo 4

Well I’m just back from an all-too-swift visit to Adelaide for the Tasting Australia festival of South Australian food. And I’m desperate to get back to South Australia, not just for the grub but to experience some of the fantastic animal encounters I heard about.

I was one of the lucky bloggers invited to attend ‘Words To Go,’ a day long conference for food and travel bloggers. We heard such interesting talks from many people, including Greg Snell, the young Canadian who is currently holding one of The Best Jobs In The World, that of Wildlife Caretaker for South Australia.

WordsToGo Greg

Greg showed us some of his videos and many photos and I quizzed him later about the trip I’d most love to do with my kids.

Snorkelling With Sea Lions off South Australia

Greg said that swimming with sea lions was the most interactive animal experience he’d had in his life. I’m keen to jump into the water and come nose to nose with these beautiful sea mammals. Greg recommends  Adventure Bay Charters in Port Lincoln and Baird Bat Eco Experience.

Here’s a photo of Greg from his blog Greg Goes Global. Pop over and check out his photos and videos, you’ll love them

Greg sea lions
And where are these places? No idea! Here’s a Google map of Port Lincoln. Doesn’t look too far from Adelaide at all. Can’t stop… off to pack up my snorkel, kids, flippersand wetsuit.

Responsible Tourism 2

I’ve been reading a bit more about Responsible Tourism. Can I introduce you to a couple of organisations:

The World Tourism Organisation -   the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

 The Ethics and Social Responsibility Programme (ESRP) of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) –  is tasked with the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

I read a blog post in the marvellous Going Anyway blog about hill tribes in Thailand, and it sounded like a good example of responsible tourism. Read it here. 

The Going Anyway family organised their stay with a company called Natural Focus, so I had a look at their website and liked what I read:

‘We believe that Community Based Tourism provides an opportunity to exchange knowledge and understanding between visitors and the local community, and promotes local cultures and the natural environment.’ 

So much to learn, about responsible tourism and about this big, wide and beautiful world we have the privilege to inhabit.

I’ll leave you today with a quote that I read this week and just had to immediately write down. A sailing analogy always goes down very well with me. I spent my childhood and young adulthood mucking around in sailing boats.

Sail away 3

Sail away smaller

Do you have constant itchy feet like me?

Hope you have a happy weekend.

Safe travels.


Road Trip: Sydney, Dubbo, Orange – Things To Do and Accommodation

Dubbo Gaol, the stocks

Rusty Rocket in the stocls of the Old Dubbo Gaol

Here’s a little grabbag of info from our recent road trip out to Dubbo. Some reviews of our accommodation and thoughts on the trip itself. Hope you find something useful.

‘Take the road less travelled’ is a fave motto of mine, and admittedly it’s an attitude that has led me up some blind alleys. But on our recent road trip to Dubbo  we were glad to avoid the busy M4 and head out of Sydney via Richmond and the divinely named Bells Line of Road.

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Escape + Explore – Aussie Family Holiday Friday


Kayaking in Southern Queensland Country – so much to explore.

Happy Anzac Day to all the Aussies and Kiwis, hope that you are having a restful day today, and thinking, as we are, of our servicemen, living and passed away. Great gratitude from this household.

Ah, where shall we wander to?  Where do you fancy?

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Billabong Camp at Taronga Western Plains Zoo – Our Family Review

Billabong Camp Dubbo Zoo-17

It was all ‘westward ho’ for myself and the twins last week.

We went on a four day, three night expedition to Dubbo, with the main focus being a trip to Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

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Escape + Explore – Aussie Family Holiday Friday

Maria 2 Oh who doesn’t adore a bit of escapism?

I may spend a lot of time doing the dishes, but that never stops me dreaming of… Sydney, Australia, Asia, the wide wide world!

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What are you doing over Easter? Some School Holiday Ideas, Activities and Outings

Easter eggs kids.jpg

Do you tend to make a few plans well before the school holidays arrive?

I do, especially for the school holidays when my husband will be away at work. He arrives home a week after the kids go back to school. So handy. Not.

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Aussie Family Holiday Friday – News, Ideas and Inspiration For Your Family Holiday


Hello, it’s Friday, thank goodness and here’s my weekly round-up of news, tips and hot travel topics for this week.

My first question is, do you go with the family to foodie festivals? Would that work with your family? Read on for news of two food festivals that are coming up.

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How To Have A Real Scottish Holiday – A Guide For The Misguided

Real Scottish

On Tuesday Beth from Baby Mac innocently asked whether any readers had been to Scotland and where they’d recommend she and the family visit when they go in June this year.

Cue a deluge of excited comments suggesting lovingly remembered places and times.  We all love a chance to share about places in our heart, don’t we?

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Camping At The Basin on Pittwater- Sydney’s Best Secret Camp Site

Basin text
Please welcome today’s guest poster, the lovely Robyn from MrsDPlus3. Robyn and her family have just celebrated three years of living here in Sydney. They have found lots of great spots to visit, and here is one of them: The Basin up on Pittwater, a wonderful spot for family camping or just for a gorgeous day trip.

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Pemberley Grange, Broke – Hunter Valley Accommodation For Lovers Of The Countryside

Pemberley Grange Broke Hunter Valley

I cannot tell a lie, the highlight of my stay at Pemberley Grange was meeting these three little guys.
They’re miniature donkeys, and yes they are young but fully grown at this cute size.


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Aussie Family Holiday Friday – News, Ideas and Inspiration for Your Family Holiday

10. Tutles

Welcome to the third Aussie Family Holiday Friday, bringing you terrific ideas for all sorts of expeditions and adventures.

Here’s to travelling well with your family, even when it’s just to the park down the road.

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Aussie Family Holiday Friday – Travel News, Ideas and Inspiration for Aussie Families

20140315 Sunrise Jervis Bay

Sunrise over Point Perpendicular at Jervis Bay last weekend – click to see photo at full size.

Happy Friday to you!

Here’s my weekly round-up of news, ideas and inspiration for Australian families planning a holiday.

Or a visit, or a school holiday activity because Easter is coming very fast. Can you feel it?

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Four Lovely Wineries in Broke Fordwich in The Upper Hunter Valley – A Beginners’ Guide

 Broke Regional Images Hunter Valley

We all love our children, but isn’t it sometimes

 refreshing to have an adults-only break?

The Hunter Valley is a perfect easy getaway for Sydney mums and dads.

I was a bit of a vineyard virgin before my recent trip to the Broke area of the Hunter Valley.

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Aussie Family Holiday Friday – News + Inspiration For Your Family Holiday

image003 Welcome to the first Aussie Family Holiday Friday. I’ll be posting some news you can use each Friday, things that I have noticed over the course of the week.

So read on for some ideas and inspiration!

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Broke Fordwich Wine Country In The Upper Hunter Valley- Seven Tips For Planning A Trip

Broke Regional Images Hunter Valley It’s rural and rustic, simpler and slower, authentic and highly appealing to Sydneysiders and others looking for a country escape from the city.

Broke Regional Images Hunter Valley

Broke Fordwich in the Upper Hunter Valley is a very special area, one of the first settled by colonists yet not at all over developed today.

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Quamby Estate near Launceston, Tasmania: A Hotel With History

11. Homestead in Autumn 1

This photo courtesy of Quamby

Welcome to a wee tour of a magnificent hotel that Paul and I stayed in the night before we joined the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk.

Come along as we step back in time, to the convict era of the 1830s, early in Tasmania’s colonial history.

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