5 Bali Villas for families under $100

*Post contains affiliate links*

A holiday with your family means that we may be doing a little more overtime this weekend just to be able to afford the trip, right?

What if I told you that that you can get the cheap flights to Bali and affordable accommodation for the whole family?  I know what you’re thinking.  This sounds too good to be true? Well pack a bag for the kids because after researching accommodation for my own family holiday I thought I would share with you what I have found.

The trick to finding a cheap stay is to search by affordability, not location.  When you search in the most common areas of Bali you will be bound to find a higher priced booking in the midst of a busy lifestyle stay. If you’re interested in the more cultural experience you will likely find something special for your family that suits your budget away from the Bali hotspots.  Don’t worry, staying amongst the rice paddies and jungle backdrop, will still make an amazing family holiday, if not, better.

We’ve done the searching and here are 5 stays for a family of 4 under $100AUD a night just to get you inspired; that we have found on AirBnB

 

  1. SURROUNDED BY RICE PADDIES 

    Your family will enjoy this family suite situated just 3 minutes drive from the centre of Ubud.  The property is close to town and close to nature.  With breakfast daily and housekeeping this will impress your family.  Sleeps 4 guests with 2 bathrooms.

Description from airbnb listing:

“Welcome home far away home 🙂 This house is combination of new and traditional concepts in harmony with nature. It’s suit for family or group who’s seeking for countryside tranquility with private garden and private pool and rice paddies view. Hidden among the lush quiet, tranquil location on the edge of Ubud. Among thriving rice fields as far as the eye can see.”

airbnb.com

3. A Villa in Sanur

This villa in Sanur will make you feel like royalty with all the modern perks.  A short 15 minute walk to the beach.  The whole family will leave Bali feeling relaxed and like most wanderlust travellers you will most likely be booking your next trip before you leave.

Garden
Image: Airbnb

Description from airbnb listing:

“Our villa is a recent villa with a modern design. Guests will have an access to the living room, kitchen, pool, extra toilet. We propose also some equipments : TV, apple Tv, Hi-fi sound-system, Wifi, fresh water fountain and a large movie library. The villa is close the beach, at 15min walk and 3 min by scooter. We can arrange you for rent scooter, car, transport and give you the best advices for your vacation. All the villa has air-conditioning and a cleaning service everyday.”

airbnb.com

4. Sanur Beach House

If rice paddies aren’t your thing then enjoy the pleasures of this newly renovated beach house just a short walk away from the beach with the luxury of the local shops close by as well.  Book into a local yoga retreat or discover your adventurous side and book your family into some watersports.  All of which are just a short walk from your beach house.

 

Front door of the house
Image: Airbnb

Description from airbnb listing:

“Two bedrooms both with queen size beds, each with its own large bathroom. Fully equipped throughout including linen, towels etc. TV/DVD in lounge room, equipped kitchen. Lovely tropical garden. Short walk to beautiful Sanur beach. Serviced daily. Beach side of bypass, close to shops, bars, restaurants. Quiet street.”

airbnb.com

5. Luxury Villa in Ubud

A two bedroom villa in Ubud with your own private pool is something all families and you will fall in love with this one if you haven’t picked your favourite yet.  Relax by the pool and soak up the atmosphere with a tranquil view of the jungle.  Located a short 5 minute scooter ride or 20 minute walk from central Ubud.

Image: Airbnb

Description from airbnb listing:

“The villa Sun is located close to central Ubud, but aside from big street. This is a very quiet and peaceful new-build villa with spacious territory, 3 lovely green lawns, the private pool and amazing view at the jungle. The land are fenced and safety. There are 2 rooms with solid Balinese furniture and sense of style. Our villa will be the perfect solution for those, who want to stay close to nature and feel a vibe of Balinese culture, but got used to standards and style of 4-stars hotel.”

airbnb.com

Rice Paddies or Beach Villa?

Of course there is so much more available and here we have just given you a few ideas to get you started in your search.  Once you do start your search for the perfect villa for your family you will become excited with just how much there actually is that is affordable.  There is something for every budget and if you haven’t booked your stay in Bali yet; what are you waiting for?  Get excited.  Get adventurous. Get relaxed.

Book your Bali holiday!

(Note: based on 2 adults 2 children for 7 nights)

♡Mrs Bleakley

 

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Cruise Prep Extras!

 

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You’ve booked your first all inclusive cruise holiday for your family..You’re excited and you’re beginning ask yourself all sorts of questions? What do I pack?  Will I need this?  What if I get sea sick? What if the kids get sea sick or any illness for that matter?  Can I buy this on the cruise?

Pack all your usual personal hygiene products in travel size.  If you don’t mind packing the normal size products, go for it!  Or settle for what is supplied on board.

You will mostly likely over pack for your first family trip, and that’s OK; most of us do. As you and your family evolve you will learn what is right and wrong to pack for your family.  Here is a little bit of a guide for you in case you need some ideas.😁

First of all, check your passports are actually up to date. 

Note:  Some cruises will need your passports to be valid at least 6 months beyond the return date.

LAUNDRY

If you’re travelling with kids don’t worry about packing too many every day clothes.  Most cruise liners have a laundromat.  Keep a few dollars in the draw for the washing machines, dryers and laundry powder.  If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to pack a small  packet of your preference laundry liquid/powder.  We used what was available on the ship and it did the job.

Globite Pegless Clothes LineSea To Summit Liquid Laundry Wash

Pack a collapsible laundry basket/hamper to put all your dirty washing into; this way when you are heading to the laundromat it makes your job a little easier.  Folds easily into your luggage.  If you are packing plastic bags; consider reusing them to pack your  dirty shoes in when you are packing your bags at the end of your cruise.

Another GREAT item to pack is a peg less clothes line.  There should be a small one in your shower recess but when your travelling with kids you will have a lot more wet/damp items than the line provided can handle; like wet swimmers and hats. Compact and easy to use.

TIP:  Don’t leave your washing for the last minute.  As soon as you have a full load head down and get the washing done.  

FIRST AID/HEALTH

We pack our usual First Aid kit supplies but I like to be prepared for the unexpected..#Mumlife💊

The little extras that we packed:

  • Paracetamol (for the kids and parents)
  • hydrogen peroxide for all cuts or sores
  • electrolyte supplements (we use the purple Hydralyte sachets)
  • ginger tablets ( worked great for me; our kids didn’t seem to get sick)
  • ask your pharmacist for other travel sickness prevention for your children
  • eye drops (swimming & air conditioning can dry your eyes)
  • hand sanitizer (maintain hand hygiene at all times)
  • throat gargle  (in case you pick up any nasties)
  • antibacterial wipes ( wipe the toilet over before using it, etc.)
  • Pawpaw ointment (I have one in my home, car and bag..all time favourite)
  • cotton wool & tips (just a couple of each in a small ziplock bag)
  • eucalyptus rub
  • Berocca ( this one is great for Mum’s & Dad’s to give you your bounce back after an exhausting couple of days)
  • Probiotic (if you’re super cautious you could even pack these)
  • Fess for little noses (in case your little ones get a stuffy nose or hay fever)
  • Thermometer

Image for Lucas' Papaw Ointment - 25g from AmcalImage for Ocean Healthcare Anti-Bacterial Wipes - 30 Pack from AmcalImage for Betadine Sore Throat Gargle - 120mL from AmcalImage for Gold Cross Hydrogen Peroxide 3% - 100mL from AmcalImage for Hydralyte Apple Blackcurrant 4.9G - 24 Sachets from Amcal

Of course, wherever you are reading from there will be similar products to these options.  These are just my personal favourites we use that I am using for examples only.

I know it sounds like heaps to pack but you can get most of these in travel size so you can easily pack them into a small toiletry bag.  And if you need anything in the middle of the night, you will have everything in your cabin!  Convenient right!👌

SKIN PROTECTION

At the top of the list is, of course, SUNSCREEN & ZINC!  Do some research to find a great product that suits you and your family.   It’s important to be sun safe so don’t forget your hats.  If you’re spending a  lot of time in the sun it may even be a better idea to take sun safe swim wear.

TIP:  Utilize the shade as much as possible when spending the day in the sun.  Especially in the middle of the day.

Depending on your cruise ports I think it’s a great idea to pack some Aerogard or something similar.  Mosquito’s are known to transmit a variety of serious diseases so it’s best to safe gaurd yourselves and reduce the risks.

Here’s a secret weapon that you may or may not want to pack.

After sun aloe vera gel.  Great when you can’t get your hands on fresh aloe vera.  It’s soothing if you are too busy to reapply and get a little too much Vitamin D.☀️

ELECTRONICS

Save the arguments and pack a USB port hub.  This way you can have all your electronics charging at the same time.

If you’re worried about your device running out of batteries, a power bank is another great option.

For the battery operated devices, remember to pack extra appropriate batteries.  It’ll save you a small fortune as purchasing on the cruise ship may be at a higher cost.🔋

2200mAh Colourful Powerbank PinkJ.Burrows 7 Port USB 2.0 Hub Black

DRESS CODES

NIGHTLIFE – There are some nights that have dress codes.  We researched our themes and packed the appropriate outfits and costumes relevant to our cruise.  Our dress codes were:  Back to school, Gatsby, White and cocktail.💃🕺

I know what you’re thinking…’I won’t be dressing up’.. Well I was nervous about it too but I stepped out of my comfort zone and packed matching outfits for the whole family and it was so much FUN!  I can’t recommend it enough.

ACTIVITIES

If you plan on going snorkelling; pack your own snorkel gear.  There is equipment available for hire but this can become quite expensive when you’re travelling with kids.

We packed our own aqua shoes as well. Not very fashionable but the coral can be quite sharp and getting an injury from coral can cause infection quite quickly.🏊‍♀️

TIP:  Before you leave head to a $2 shop and purchase your family LANG YARDS  These are not supplied and can be expensive.

You’ll get a program delivered to your room so it isn’t a bad idea to pack a HIGHLIGHTER to highlight the activites you’re interested in..and if you like BINGO, pack your pens🖊 These are available on the cruise for a small fee, so don’t stress too much if you forget yours😄

FINDING YOUR CABIN

The absolute BEST tip I have been told and one I wished I had used was to pack some magnets or make a fancy door sign.  The halls all look the same so make your door stand out from the rest with some decorations..If only I knew this when we cruised the Pacific.🖍

COMMUNICATION

Another hot tip I learned from our last cruise was to pack walkie talkies…this makes for easy communication with your friends and family during your cruise.  It’ll save your legs when you’re roaming the halls trying to find where everyone is to plan lunch or dinner.  This is particularly helpful when travelling with teenage children.  They are impossible to find!📱📣

Trust me…we are so reliant on our phones that when you are suddenly without one you realise that we have terrible communication skills.  

I have to admit that I absolutely loved being off the radar during our trip.  There are wifi options available but we opted to detox and immerse ourselves wholly in our holiday.


 

When you’re on an all inclusive holiday you can’t help but make an absolute pig of yourselves.  I think we all put on 5KG each.  So maybe walking the endless halls trying to find your travel buddies wasn’t a bad thing.😂

**DON’T FORGET YOUR COMFY PANTS**

Cruise
P&O PACIFIC DAWN

What are your must have bits and pieces when you go on a cruise?

What are your top tips when cruising?

Would love to see if everyone else travels with a fully equipped pharmacy..😂😂

 

♡Mrs Bleakley

 

 

Travel Snack Ideas & Tips

15 Snacks To Pack for Your Road trip!

 

We all have different taste buds, I get that..and I’m not sure if anyone else notices but our little ones taste buds seem to change, ALOT..One week they will be eating strawberries and the next week they will be telling us that they don’t eat them anymore, and so on…

So variety when on a road trip or travelling for that matter is important.  And a I always tell the kids about the junk food last because the last thing you need is a toddler jacked up on sugar early in on the trip.

But I must admit, on some occasion when everything seems to be haywire I will reach for the packet of chips just to quiet them down…we are all guilty of this so don’t feel bad.

What We Pack

  1. Water – we will freeze some bottles of water to keep everything else cold.  This is great when all the unfrozen bottles are either finished or have gone hot.   The frozen bottles are usually ready to drink by this stage and can be very refreshing.
  2. Juice – 250mL, same deal with the juice boxes.  Get your favourite juice boxes, freeze some and put some in cold.
  3. Yoghurt pouches – this one would be one of our main snacks that we always pack.  Vaalia seems to be the flavour of choice for our kids.
  4. Popcorn – Who doesn’t love popcorn!! Make your own and store them into separate sandwich sized lock seal bags.  If that sounds like too much, you can always buy small packets of popcorn with or without salt and/or flavour.
  5. Pretzels – this one is a bit hit and miss.  Some times the kids love them, sometimes they don’t.. I still pack a couple of packets just to add to the variety, plus Mum or Dad will probably enjoy them anyway, so they won’t go to waste.
  6. Fresh fruit – apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries and grapes are the big hit on our road trips.  No mess, no fuss! Well, to an extend!😂
  7. Carrot, Capsicum and cucumber sticks – really happy to say that this seems to be the first to go..to get the kids to enjoy the less ‘enjoyable’ snacks we pack one of thier favourite dips. (eg, french onion or avocado)  This has been our trick to get our darling children to eat their raw vegies. Works a treat!
  8. Sandwiches – you can’t go wrong with packing a few sandwiches with everyone’s favourite spreads.  If you’re wanting to pack some sandwiches with meat on them; as long as you have some frozen bottles or ice packs in your esky or cooler bag you should survive.
  9. Ritz or Jatz – Ritz are my favourite as they don’t seem to be as hard as a Jatz biscuit.  We have already packed some dips for our fresh vegetable sticks so a packet of Ritz will be perfect to add to the trip.
  10. Nuts/trail mix – I’m a little fussy and only like the salted peanuts.  Try a DIY trail mix and creating one with all your family favourites. Include some dry fruit in there as well. (eg. banana, apricots & sultanas)
  11. Muesli Bars – NOT a hit at all in our family unfortunatly. We are a little naughty and get the choc chip ones; for Dad AKA ‘The Driver’ he seems to like this snack the most.
  12. Beef Jerky – Now this is what I’m talking about!! Mum’s favourite!  I could actually live off jerky if I could.  I always buy the biggest packet at our first fuel stop.  Yes, to my disgust, I do share. When I get the not so hot one; chilli is my fave. *insert evil laugh*
  13. Packets of Chips or shapes – The convenient go to.  We always have chips and/or shapes .  When the kids are tired, cranky, exhausted between stops sometimes a packet of chips is the easiest and most fulfilling and in my opinion this is absolutely fine!
  14. Mints – Keep this one a secret…We pack mints for the parents only.  This is our reward for surviving the trip.
  15. Snakes – The Natural Confectionary Co. snakes are a special treat for the kids.  This is what we use for our bribery tool…Eat that sandwich and you’ll get a snake.  I know you all do it; plus it works! and as the old saying goes.. ‘whatever works’, right?
Road trip snacks
Road trip snacks…

Note: before you begin your road trip or journey.  Always check and be aware of the quarantine zones if you are travelling interstate and ensure correct disposal of any restricted products (fruit & veg). For more information on zones in Australia, click here.

Travelling long road trips can be tiring for everyone especially our kids.  Patience, lots of snacks and regular breaks can help the whole family overcome any second thoughts about travelling with your kids.  And if it is a first time, yes it does get better, however there will always be someone who seems to be more tired & cranky.  The best approach is to not join thier chaos. Stay calm.  Talk about all the cool things you will be doing with them when you get there (after unpacking & a rest).  And if you’re on your way home, have a discussion about the good things they get to do and see when they get home (eg. see thier family pet, all thier friends they haven’t seen for a while or just being back in thier own beds).

Tips:  If you haven’t got one already, fit a seat protector on your backseat.  This will help with cleaning out your car and save alot of stress during your trip if someone spills thier juice or drops a berry in a hard to get to place like under your baby’s car seat.

The best way to avoid the mess in the car is to stop for picnics.  This is when everyone can stretch thier legs and go to the bathroom.  Or if you’re stopping to go the the bathroom, make this the time for your picnic.

Pack rubbish bags – put all rubbish into a bag straight away.  This way when you are stopping for the bathroom stop or fuel you can easily dispose of the rubbish.

Of course, our snacks change as our kids grow but these are main snacks when we are road tripping.  The main idea is to pack your favourites that won’t send the kids too hypo and can be easy to dispose of at each stop.  Healthier options are obviously ideal.

The less plastic the better…

 

Let us know what you pack by posting in the comments.

 

♡Mrs Bleakley

Australia’s Capital Territory

VISITING CANBERRA

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If you’ve read our previous posts you will know that our eldest daughter, Louvaro is a National Athletics Champion. We’ve been lucky enough to travel to a few of our capital cities in Australia for different competitions.  We’ve travelled for sport for the last 3 years and this post is about our visit to Canberra.

Canberra is the capital of Australia and less than 3 hours South West of Sydney.  More than 1800km from where we live in Central Queensland.

We flew into Canberra via Brisbane and hired a car for the duration of our trip.

The Canberra airport would have to be the cleanest airport I have ever seen!

This trip started off to be hectic as the airline actually forgot to load our 18 month olds pram onto the plane.  The airline then went on to miss the next flight as well, however, we did eventually get it couriered to us. I have to say that both our forearms got a good work out.

Nevertheless, here are some of the things we got to see and do during this trip.

Australian War Memorial

A world class museum where even the children will be pleased that you dragged them along.  There are free daily tours run by a magnificent team of volunteers or you can explore everything the museum has to offer at your own pace.   This one is great to help the kids understand the sacrifices made and just what happened during the war and teach them why it is important to remember the men and women who served in the Australian Military forces.

Inside you will find memorials, information, simulations and much, much more.  If you’re wanting to look up a loved one, head to the archives, give them a name and they will direct you to where you will find more information.  Buy a poppy and pin it beside your loved ones name on the wall of poppies.  If you hang around until 4.55PM AEDT you can witness the incredibly moving last post ceremony or watch live online.

You can find out more on what the Australian War Memorials displays and tour times, here.

Parliament House

The Parliament House actually caught us by surprise.  My husband took some convincing but once we were in we actually really enjoyed ourselves and for people who weren’t too interested in visiting – we seemed to take the most photos here .  There is plenty of parking beneath the building and to get inside you need to pass through a heavy security screening similar to the screening at the airport.

There are free daily tours, tours you can pay to join for a more in depth experience or you can self-guide around the building.  If you’re taking a self-guided tour make sure you are reading the signs displayed as to where you can and can’t enter.  The foyer is something you just have to see for yourself with a stunning marble staircase and 48 marble columns.  The Great Hall isn’t much to see but if you are into everything politics than you might enjoy it.  Most will also enjoy the parliaments architecture.  We were lucky enough to visit during a non-sitting day so we were allowed to enter  into the House of Representatives and Senate which was kind of exhilarating. Our favourite part was heading up to the roof and a photo opportunity out the front of the house.  I do recommend everyone to go to the gift shop though.  I guarantee you will not leave empty handed.

 

Questacon

With spectacular science shows, displays and hands on activities this is one the kids will LOVE.   There just isn’t enough hours in a day to discover it all.  If you follow the link below you will see just how much there is to see and do at Questacon alone.  Plan at least a half a day here.

Questacon – The National Science and and Technology Centre.  

A large granite stone ball sitting on a large slab of stone, which intern sits within a stainless steel bin. Water flows from under the granite and over the stone to the bin.A rectangular black granite pilar about 1500 milimeters heigh, with for slits running from across the top to three quarters of the way down the sides. The pilar sits on concrete and is located in a garden environment.

Cockington Green Gardens

Handcrafted miniature buildings have never been so cool.  Cockington Green Gardens is for the whole family.  If you have green fingers you probably won’t want to leave; you will be busy admiring the perfectly landscaped gardens on show.  There is also a miniature train ride and  I don’t know about everyone else but I think these rides never seem to get old.

Entry for the whole family will cost you around $60 (up to 3 children).  And it is well worth it!

Image result for cockington green gardens photos

What we missed…

Our daughter was competing in 5 different events so you can only imagine how busy we were throughout the trip.  So here are a few things that we have on our list the next time we visit.

Royal Australian Mint

National Dinosaur Museum

Australian Institute of Sport

National Zoo & Aquarium

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

National Library

MORE INFO

Everything in Canberra is easy to get to and too expensive for a taxi so hiring a car is a good idea.  If your planning a trip to Canberra with children check out the 3infun website.  Here you can purchase a family pass to the Australian Institute of Sport, Questacon and the Cockington Green Garden.  Great value for money if you ask me and a time saver.

Canberra grocery stores have already ditched the plastic bags so be prepared to pay for a more biodegradable bag or pack your own tote shopping bags.

As always, we used AirBnb  and we scored a perfect little cottage behind the owners house.  It had everything we needed and heating for the cool nights, YES there were still cool nights in December.

Pack for both cold weather and hot.  The evenings and mornings were cool (for us Queenslanders) but the middle of the day was HOT.

Note: I will get $25 credit if you sign up, book & stay using our AirBnB link. And we always read reviews before booking.

 

♡Mrs Bleakley

Our TOP 5 things to do in Vanuatu!

EFATE, VANUATU

WHERE IS EFATE?

In the Pacific Ocean, above New Caledonia and West of Fiji.

Languages spoken are French, Bislama and English.

Ni-Vanuatu or Ni-Van is a term you will hear and is used to refer to the locals.

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Just a short, less than 3 hour flight from Brisbane you fly directly into Port Vila, the capital of Efate, Vanuatu.

I’m not sure about everyone else but I found that the short flight was perfect for when you’re travelling with children.  And not just anywhere…to paradise!!

‘The happiest place on earth’…

There is so much to do when you visit the island of Efate and if you get the chance – stay for at least 10 days.  Whether it is for the cultural experience, family holiday or a romantic getaway.  There is something for everyone, GUARANTEED!

SO MUCH TO DO

I thought I’d do a blog post on my TOP 5 things to do; which was extremely hard to narrow down.  Some places I have visited myself with my family (we have been here twice now) and others that I had on my list and didn’t quite make it – no thanks to Cyclone Pam!  But, I am determined to return within the next 2 years to complete my list of things to see and do on Efate.

BLUE LAGOON

This place like most of Efate is STUNNING.  For a small fee you can go in and enjoy the crystal blue waters all day, which includes use of the BBQ areas.  Pack a picnic, take your snorkeling gear and explore whats beneath the surface.  You will discover the tropical fish that appear unbothered by your curiosity.  You may even spot a turtle or two.  And if you’re sense of adventure is waiting for something exciting, you will LOVE the rope swings scattered along the lagoon.  Test your skills or watch the local children show you how it’s done.

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UNDERWATER POST OFFICE  

The ONLY underwater post office in the WORLD!  You purchase waterproof postcards  for $3.00 and dive down to post your card.  Pretty cool, right?  For more information on the underwater post office, click here. This was my TOP thing to do on Efate.  But unfortunately due to Cyclone Pam the Hideaway Island was forced to close and we were actually evacuated the next day.  For those who are wondering, YES we did make it out on time and what an experience it was for our first trip overseas. To read more about our first adventure to Vanuatu you can read that blog here.

VANUATU JUNGLE ZIPLINE 

This is something everyone would like to experience.  Take in the breathtaking views over the jungle as you fly through the air on Vanuatu’s famous zipline.  There are a couple of tours daily and a couple of different tours to choose from so there is something for the beginner and the children or if you’re a little more game and adventurous there is a tour for you too.  If you prefer to sit this one out there is a jungle walk available for you at no cost.  This tour will be etched into you and your families memories forever.

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DUGOUT CANOE RIDE 

Dugout Canoe rideWe experienced a dugout canoe ride in the Epule River.  A dugout is a hollowed out tree trunk.  As nervous as I was with an 8 month old baby on my lap I felt really safe and I really enjoyed the tour.  Our canoe ‘driver’ and I’ll call him a driver because to be honest I’m really not sure what you would call them; an operator maybe?? Anyway, he was dressed in traditional grass skirt and body art, it was kind of magical.  My main concerns was of what was beneath the surface; so I asked the question.  ‘Are there any crocodiles or sharks in the water?’  To my surprise, apparently Vanuatu doesn’t have any of these dangerous creatures lurking in the waters…Nothing like where we live in Queensland, Australia.  We were apart of the round island tour to experience this one but I’m sure if you ask the locals they will point you in the direction if you’re doing a self-guided tour.  The locals are very friendly, accommodating and always happy to help.

CASCADE WATERFALLS

Rated as one of Vanuatu’s most popular attractions Cascade Waterfalls just has to be on your list of things to see during your holiday in Vanuatu.  Venture through Vanuatu’s largest village with a population of about 6000 residents to get to the base of Cascades.  Appropriate footwear is recommended as there is a short walk and the rocks can get quite slippery.  There is a small fee to access the waterfalls, however, if you do book through a tour agency to do a round island tour or half island tour the prices for your attractions is included in the price you pay for the tour.

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If you’re like our family and choose to wing it most of the time, make sure you interact with the locals and get all the information you need about the attractions and fees.  If you don’t have any tours booked and still wish to see any of these attractions you will find someone who will be more than happy to help.

To narrow our top 5 down was tough.  There is so much to see on Efate.  There are hot springs, WWII relics, great surfing, unforgettable fishing, and plenty of snorkelliing  just to name a few.  Or maybe you are interested in visiting the local schools and interacting with the ambitious children of Vanuatu.

 

 

The more you discover the more you will realize that you will be back again.

My favourite place to visit (yes, I’m letting you all in on my secret paradise and where my husband and I married)  is Le Life Resort.  Le Life Resort is on the north of the island and offers deluxe bungalows or for the people seeking the cultural experience they have glamping AKA Glamorous camping.  For the day trippers they offer an amazing traditional lunch  menu.  You will absolutely love the staff, they are very welcoming and make you feel right at home.  The bonus… the stunning views!

NOTE: You will pass Blue Lagoon, village schools and picturesque coconut farms so allow for some stops on your way there. 

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Vanuatu
A very cheeky bird drinking from someones drink

A MUST DO to fully capture a Vanuatu experience is to get involved with the village communities.  In Vanuatu you can even stay with the locals. Book a couple of cultural experiences.  And don’t forget to try some local Kava.  Try finding a common bar where they use bottled water to prepare the Kava.

I also recommend keeping a few Vatu (local currency) on you so you can purchase locally made artifacts for souvenirs.  Most is OK to bring back into Australia but just check the regulations relevant to your destination before you travel.  In some markets you can purchase sealed souvenirs if you want to play it safe.

We used Melanesian Tours to book our round island tour but there are a few options available and we flew directly into Port Vila from Brisbane with Air Vanuatu.

You will find that the Vanuatu way/culture is very special and the more you discover the more you will realise that you’ll be back again.

♡Mrs Bleakley

STANAGE BAY

STANAGE BAY, QUEENSLAND

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Ideal for the whole family or just a fishing trip with mates, Stanage Bay is  a hidden gem located on the Queensland  coast.

Where the dirt road meets the ocean

We’re already four weeks into our new year and our main New Years Resolution was to do more little road trips. Long weekends are perfect to pack the car up and get away.

Our first long weekend road trip of the year found us glamping in Stanage Bay, Queensland.  We had this trip planned before Christmas and we are lucky enough to have a family friend with a hut located 2 minutes from the beach, who let us stay the whole long weekend.  So we had shower & toilet amenities #Glamping 😂

GETTING THERE

Less than 100km north of Rockhampton you turn off onto an unfenced dirt road where you are met with the abundance of Australian wildlife free to roam thier territory.  Take your time, as you will come across lots of cattle and kangaroos crossing, and if you’re really lucky you may catch sight of some emus or a deer.  Some have been lucky enough to even have to stop for a passing turtle, snake or echidna.

Stanage Bay Road is perfect for all those wildlife photographers out there.

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Although, we had the option of spending our nights in The Hutt, we took our tent along to test our camping skills.  And I don’t know about everyone else but ‘THE TENT’ is always the biggest test for us when it comes to your patience and communication skills. 😂

  • Tell us all about your tent set up horror stories in the comments.

Between the 6 of us (10 including our kids) we packed plenty of food.  We had a Webber Q for all out meat and the camp fire for everything else.  Corn cobs and potatoes in the camp fire seem to be our favourite and they go a long way.  On our last night we even cooked the best of what Stanage Bay has to offer on our camp fire, The Mud Crab, which we purchased due to having no luck in the pots that day. YES, you can purchase them from the local Marine and Accommodation Store and Omg, the mudcrabs are an ABSOLUTE MUST! If you’re not allergic.

More info

Stanage Bay will catch you by surprise.  A small town with a population of less than 100.

The town is famous for boating, crabbing and fishing.  If you luck out catching any mud crabs you can always purchase some from the local Marine and Accommodation store . This is where you can also purchase any bait and tackle needs you left behind or if camping isn’t your thing this is where you’ll book your accommodation for your group fishing trip.  Where the Marine and Accommodation store is booked out, give The Barra Lodge a call or you can always look up AirBnb .

If you don’t have a boat, that’s ok! If you’re experienced you can hire one, if available, or take the kids down to one of the deserted beaches to try your luck.  More often than not the kids will be more than happy to spend thier day playing in the shallow waters.

Alligator Bay
Alligator Bay

If you have a 4WD head up to the lookouts (only accessible via 4WD) or head to Porters Creek, our kids LOVED fishing off the rocks. You can camp on Porters Creek but campfires are band in some areas due to the the turtle reserve areas so be sure to check with the locals where these bans are located.   And remember to pack your OWN WATER.

NOTE: If there has been plenty of rain you can ask the kind Coast Guards if you can fill your water containers, all they ask for in return is a donation.

All campsites are maintained by local volunteers as well and you can make donations to the volunteers at the local Plumtree Store.

The Plumtree Store has everything else you may need and at reasonable prices.  We always seem to get anxious with the costs being raised for small towns like this but they are honestly fantastic prices and friendly service.  The shop owners are long time residents and have kept the prices reasonable to keep you coming back.

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At the end of the day be sure to pop into the Crab Pot Bar for a cold drink and enjoy a meal.  The locals are friendly and love filling you in on the history of the town and might even share some good fishing spots with you.

Crab Pot bar
Crab Pot Bar

We all enjoyed ourselves so much that we will definitely be returning this year.  Maybe we will even have our own boat next time!! 😜

 ♡ MrsBleakley

Skydiving!!✔

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It’s been 2 years since Jump Day and what better way to remember the day.. with a blog post.

Our daughter, Lulu, was diagnosed with a rare eye condition as mentioned in previous posts.  One of her things of things to do on her visual bucket list was to skydive.  Funny enough her Uncle had won a skydive through a raffle around the time of her diagnosis and he made it known, pretty much immediately that he had no interest in throwing himself out of a plane.  I don’t blame him – it’s not on my list either.😂

He asked Lulu if she would like to take up the opportunity.  She thought about it and decided she would JUMP!

The process was a long one.  Due to he being the young age of 11 she needed permission from the Australian Parachute Federation.  Yep, you read right, she was only 11 at the time.  They approved her and before we knew if she was getting ready to skydive.

JUMP DAY

It wasn’t until the day that we decided that my husband would be jumping too.

They were strapped and walked through all the safety procedures and up they went in a small plane.  I cannot describe the thoughts that were going through my mind.  I had just let my daughter go off to be dropped mid air from a small plane.  It was intense for me so I can only imagine the thoughts of my daughter and husband.

I drove down to the landing location where all our family were waiting, which was at a local beach 5 minutes drive from the hanger.

We watched these tiny little specs fall closer and closer until we could clearly make out who was who..Lulu jumped first and Zac jumped second but due to the weight difference. Zac was the first to land.

We could hear the excitement from the ground and as they got closer we could see the big cheesy grins on their faces; my mind was finally at ease knowing that they were in fact enjoying themselves.

Skydive
Skydive!

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They did a fantastic video of all the pre jump, during and after interviews and something I would highly recommend to everyone is to purchase the video.

If you’ve had this on your bucket list for some time now, I hope this post inspires you to tick it off sooner.

♡MrsBleakley

BACK TO SCHOOL STRESS

It was the first day back to school for my first born and only child in school. I was prepared for school before Christmas and this is a first.

Usually, I’m like most of the Mums that are still recovering from the festive season and racing around last minute trying to make sure they have everything they need for school.

Then you need to contact ALL thier books. Which you learn to admire the bubbles from your mistakes that become all too common, EVERY YEAR!

Why can’t we get it right 😂 And why are we so anal about getting it right? Why does it matter? We don’t have to look at them everyday 😂 Is it just our motherly anxieties that cause us so much grief in getting it perfect?

We all try different techniques but somehow every way you try it still bubbles. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones that don’t struggle with these problems😜

That being said, I did start getting quite good at it being it was her 9th year of schooling and guess what..My skills were not rendered this year.. I had the luxury of not having to worry about it covering her books. In high school it’s just not cool! 😂

I suppose I am back to square one when my next one starts in 2019! Gosh, I really hope it’s like riding a bike and I pick up where I left off. 😆

SCHOOL PICK UP

I decide to go to our local grocery store which is behind her school, I figure I have plenty of time and there was no way I would be late. It was quiet when we went it to the store but when we came out it was mayhem!

I don’t know what happens to some parents but they get all kinds of crazy of an afternoon. The shopping centre car pack was jam packed full of parents picking thier kids up from the shop and I’m guessing they’re trying to avoid the school pickup line. I don’t get it..what difference does it make? So now BOTH pick up lines (yes we will call the shopping centre car park a pick up line) are full. I’ve put the groceries and my son in the car and wait my turn to move out of my car park into the que.

10 MINUTES LATER

I’m still waiting and I feel my stress levels beginning to rise with the thoughts of being late, so now I resort to pushing my way through to the que very steadily as to give the other drivers time to realise I am going in..AND the looks I was getting was as if I were doing something wrong. 😂Geez!

It’s every man for themselves in the school pick up lines.

And if you’re wondering. YES, I was 15 minutes late but guess what..NO CUE! 😂 I think being late is actually a good thing now😁

♡MrsBleakley

Sports Parents with a Legally Blind Athletics Champion

Australian Athletics Championships 2015
Australian Athletics Championships 2015

FIRST NATIONAL EVENT

I am a big believer in getting kids involved with sport.  Most of the time you will be enrolling your child into all the different sports they are choosing to try before they pick something that they are good at and enjoy.  We have tried dance, cheerleading, swimming,  Oz tag and karate. Try them all if you have to..they will benefit from their experiences even if they change their mind.

The inspiration behind this post is that I have a daughter with a rare eye condition as mentioned in my first post, she is legally blind.  Her sport of choice a couple of years ago was Athletics.  She got quite good, quite quickly. Before we knew it we were a travelling sports family.

When she first started, club days were every Sunday with a rotation of all the disciplines.  At first her favourites became the 100m, 200m, discus, long jump & shot put.  She has never enjoyed the long distance running like the 800m, 1500m or the race walks and I don’t blame her, they are definitely not something I would enjoy either but each to their own.😂

The race walks are a tricky one to master and she tries her best to worm her way out of them but she knows that it’s all about gaining new personal best scores and great for her fitness. Most of the time , not always, she will join in and do her best when they come back around in the rotation.  As she has excelled in her favourite disciplines she has picked up extra training during the week.

CANBERRA – First National Championships 2015

Her first year in athletics we found ourselves in Canberra, Australia. Our capital.  She was competing in 100m, 200m, long jump, shot put, discus and the 4x100m relay as a T13 visually impaired athlete.

Students from all around Australia between the ages of 10 – 12 years were competing.  These kids were THE BEST in their state.  Pretty impressive if you ask me.  They had their own team coaches and tours booked for some fun with their team after the event was over.  You can also purchase State badges for swapping, in our case it is Queensland, and you could see the kids frantically running around trying to swap with other States to add them to their collections on their hats.

As you can tell, I was loving the experience so I can only imagine how much fun all the athletes were having, especially being able to interact with other kids from all around our country.. What an experience!

WINNER.. WINNER!

I was an EXTREMELY proud Mum when she won her FIRST National medal. 😄 A bronze medal in discus!  She then went on to win two more bronze, two silver and one gold.  Her goal was to get one GOLD medal and her final event was her favourite, the 100m.  And SHE DID IT, a Gold medal for her 100m.  I am also too proud to add that she set 5 new records for all of her events.  These achievements meant she received the Sportsperson of the Year award when we returned home.

Bronze for Discus
Awards 2015
Sportsperson of the year 2015

WE ARE HOOKED

This experience has us all hooked.  We stayed in our first Airbnb and we haven’t looked back with a few exceptions when we were unable to get something that has suited us at the time.  Travelling with kids can be challenging but it certainly does get easier.

The experience for the athletes and their families is fantastic, if your son or daughter are wanting to travel for sport, DO IT.  You won’t regret it.  It helps them grow and I feel that the new experience and interaction with other kids from other towns and cities helps with their personal growth and builds resilience.  Also, you get to visit places that you have been meaning to visit and just didn’t have the time. This is the perfect excuse.

If your child has any sort of disability, encourage them to try everything, you will find something they’ll love.

I might add that it wasn’t all fun & games to begin with, the airline we travelled with accidently forgot to put our sons pram on the plane.  So while we awaited the courier to deliver it to us the next day we had to take turns carry him around for the day.  Our arm muscles certainly got a work out.😂

I have so much to tell when it comes to all of her sporting achievements but I’ll have to save them for another day.

Are you a sports Mum or Dad?

Let me know your experiences, we love hearing stories of others sporting achievements.

♡Mrs Bleakley

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