It's no secret around here at Daisy Graze that we love caravanning but with two kids in school plus my husband and I running businesses we decided not to hit the road full time for now and instead do and see as much as we can during weekends and school holidays.
Our long awaited new van arrived just days before the winter holidays so we packed it up and headed off for a long weekend at Boorumba Deer Park with friends to give it a test run.
Our Lotus Trooper 22' van is approx. 500kg heavier than our old Aussie Five Star of the same size. This extra weight was the most noticeable thing towing but it was also definitely a lot more stable! I must say we have also been super impressed with off grid capabilities of the airbag suspension, solar and battery systems and overall high quality of the van.
Three nights at Boorumba Deer Park saw us all taking turns to cook a meal each, all of which were outstanding. We also did the obligatory trip to Kenilworth Country Bakery and Kenilworth Dairies to stock up on amazing donuts and cheese. The park itself was great with plenty of cute deer in a paddock, pigs and goats you can feed, an impressively large timber playground, mini golf and creek the kids all had fun playing in. Some days the staff even go around and drop gold nuggets around for kids to find and if they do they can take it to the office and cash in for a lolly or ice block.
We headed home on the Monday to wash everything and reset the van (and get some work done!) for our next trip in 3 days time.
Come Thursday we were packed up again and headed off early, first stop being at NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall for two nights. The first night there, myself and a friend took our 11yo daughters to see Amy Shark for their first ever concert experience. They loved it! The holiday park was in the best spot being on the water and easy walk into the town centre, big playground and cafes and restaurants. I recommend stopping in the The Little Shack next door for amazing vibe, drinks and food. This park is a place you could easily spend a week at in summer and be super relaxed.
After this, we departed in the rain and headed south around Sydney until we got to Golburn to stop in at overnight and left again in the morning to get onto our Hipcamp just outside of Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains. The view was good and the fire was ready to build and keep us warm in the chilly 6 degrees of the afternoon.
The next morning we headed up to Perisher in our car (an hour later and $29 for the National Park pass we were there). The kids were booked in for a 3 hour snowboarding lesson so we dropped them at the meeting point and made our own way to the main lift to get some runs in ourselves. The weather was a little rainy and wet and the crowds were big being school holidays but we still made the most of it. The second day we did the same plus the kids spent plenty of time in the snow play area with our hired toboggans, a lot of fun! These areas are free use so if you want to take the family up to the snow for the experience and to play around without the hassle and expense of skiing or boarding, it's definitely recommended.
After 3 nights here we starting our journey back home, stopping at a cute little historical town called Hall just north of Canberra for lunch and then overnight at Canowindra. Being the hot air ballooning capital of Australia we were lucky enough to witness a balloon set up and launch in the ground right next to our caravan site. Kids were very impressed!
The next day saw us head off early and stop in at the famous Dish just outside Parkes. It's as big as you would probably imagine and very impressive to see up close. After a quick snack at the onsite cafe, we jumped back in the car and headed to the Dubbo Zoo for the afternoon. Now this would probably be a highlight of the trip, it was more impressive than I thought it would be. So many amazing animals there, all spread out amongst the large park. The best part is that there's a road within the zoo that snakes around for 5km and you can either hire bikes, buggies or even drive your own car around it and stop at each exhibit to get out and see the animals. Because we didn't book in advance the first two options were booked out so we took the self drive car option. This allowed us to see everything at our own pace without the kids getting tired and sick of walking.
Once we'd seen it all, we headed a bit further north and stayed at a Hipcamp just outside Coonabarabran. Great spot for stopping in overnight, we had the place to ourselves, had a fire and set up beside the creek which was too cold to swim in but interesting enough for the kids to around it.
The next day was another driving day, we stopped at Narrabri for brunch and let the kids out to play in a playground and then off to a farm stay at Inglewood. They had a beautiful spot up the back of their farm for camping surrounded by paddocks of cattle. The owner Ben also took us on a farm tour the next morning to show us what they do and how it's different to most cattle farms, very interesting for the adults but a little technical to hold the kids interests. They did however love looking at the dairy cows, pigs, peacocks and alpaca though.
After purchasing some of their beef (which turned out to be mouth-watering delicious) we packed up and begun our last leg home to Brisbane with just enough time to unpack the van and get ourselves ready for dinner out with my family for my dad's birthday.
So yes, that was it. Would I do it again? Absolutely, but the only thing I would change would be make it longer, even a few more days would have been good to see a few more things and not be driving everyday towards the end.
Let me know if you've done this similar trip and if there's anything you would recommend as well....
Daisy Graze Founder/Owner