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

Two weddings and a Cruise

TWO WEDDINGS

We were planning our own location wedding when we were invited to a good friends location wedding and I was given the honour of being a bridesmaid..what better way than to turn a cruise holiday into an epic wedding vacation.

Cruise

P&O PACIFIC DAWN

I was planning my wedding in Vanuatu and sending my dress measurements to my friend for thier wedding in New Caledonia.

HENS NIGHT

We celebrated our hens night on the 2nd night of our cruise. Of course on this cruise they have strict RSA (responsible service of alcohol)laws. Now when I say strict, I mean, you can’t be too noisy because they will simply cut your service from the bar. So imagine a group of excited girls (who haven’t had a drink yet) preparing to celebate two weddings..🍹Yep, we were cut from the first bar we walked into, to be fair, we were walking into a relaxed blues bar..well actually, we were very enthusiastically entering via a conga line 😂

So a very early lesson was learnt and we very quickly tamed ourselves. Well at least until the nightclub opened later that evening. And I think we tried all the cocktails available on our drinks package through the night.

While the ladies were busy forming conga lines and being refused service (in the blues bar) the men were in the Casino where they didn’t seem to have much luck but they did learn how to play things like black jack & whatever elese they have on offer in a casino.

Hens Night – Out at Sea

ALL YOU CAN EAT

When your package is ALL INCLUSIVE, you find yourself eating ALOT. There was so much variety and I found we were having 2 or more helpings in one sitting..I even found myself eating food that I wouldn’t usually eat, like baby Octopus and WOW what a treat..sorry to any Vegans or Vegetarians 😁

On a couple of nights we dined a la carte and my favourite part was that they seated the kids at thier own table and the big kids helped our little ones out. It was good to see them enjoy the dining experience just as much as we did in all the restaurants.

Fine dining for a 3 year old

OUT AT SEA..OUT AT SEA..OUT AT SEA

FIRST STOP – Noumea

We stopped in Noumea first and joined a ChouChou train tour. This is a MUST when stopping in Noumea. There is a big market of heaps of different items amd lots of music. This stop was a short stop so we were back onboard before we knew it.

Don’t forget your passport. If you like collecting stamps in your passport you can have your passport stamped for $2.00 during your day on the islands. Stalls are located around the markets for passport stamping.

NEXT STOP – LIFOU – Wedding one!

What a BEAUTIFUL day in a BEAUTIFUL location to celebrate the wedding of a BEAUTIFUL couple. There isn’t much more to say. The whole day went smoothly! And they picked a stunning part of the world, we are so grateful to have been apart of the day.

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LIFOU – Stunning. Picturesque. Beauty. When you arrive you are instantly welcomed. The markets are full of local cuisine to try and if anything I would recommend learning some basic french just for communication purposes. In the markets you can try the local Kava and for all the people with long hair, you can have you hair braided for a small fee. There is so much to see on Lifou and always remember your snorkel gear when on any of these islands. There is so much to explore and an abundance of sea life to discover. If you forget your snorkel gear, thats ok, you can hire them on the islands too.

Lifou

Stunning Lifou 🌴

WEDDING TWO – VANUATU

OUR WEDDING DAY…and just as we had hoped our day was PERFECT. Very relaxed and smooth. Our pastor was 2 hours late but this meant we had the time to look around and take in the beauty of the day while the kids went snorkelling.

Our son (the ringbearer) decided he wouldn’t get dressed so he spent the whole day in his undies. But this is how he spends his days at home so I wasn’t about to bust his bubble and create an unnecessary scene that could potentially upset the day.

I kept makeup to a minimum and left my hair naturally curly. Most of our close family and friends who could make it were there and we were so blessed to be spending such a wonderful day with them. I wish I could do it all over again and I wouldn’t change a thing.

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A very cheeky bird drinking from someones drink

OUT AT SEA

The remainder of our trip was spent by the waterpark..Yes, our ship was a small one but they have a waterpark & a waterslide.

The older kids have a kids club available to them jam packed with activites. They did alot of dance lessons & karaoke.

There are also things like a zipline & rockclimbing.

The littles also have a kids club with plenty of activities but we found our 3 year old was happy by our side enjoying the water play.

One thing I will be taking with us next time is: walkie talkies..we are actually hopeless without our mobile phones when it comes to communication 😂 and travelling in a group on a cruise was challenging to maintain good communication, however, the exercise from trying to find each other wasn’t a bad thing when there is all you can eat available.

THEME NIGHTS

We researched our theme nights and packed for the occasions but there is plenty on board for purchasing. Our theme nights were back to school, gatsby, white and you have formal nights as well.

SHOPPING

There is something for everyone!

WHAT A GREAT HOLIDAY WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS

We had a group of 35 of us! And so much fun was had during our week on board Pacific Dawn..And we are planning our next adventure altogether to Hawaii in 2019!! And we can’t wait! 🌴

REMEMBER:

Snorkel gear (or hire for a fee)

Langyard for your cruise ID/card for onboard use or purchase on board

Research your theme nights and travel prepared

Walkie talkies to stay in contact with family members

Swimwear, hats etc of course,

Cameras

& be prepared for a great time!

PS. I went prepared with ginger tablets in case of sea sickness and took them the whole time. This seemed to work for me.

♡Bleakley Family

First family trip overseas – VANUATU

VANUATU 2015

Our first family trip overseas. Planning this trip was so exciting. I hadn’t been overseas since I was a little girl and that was to Papua New Guinea to visit family. Lulu, our eldest, was 10, Preston was almost 8 months old. I think I checked to make sure our passports hadn’t magically grown feet and disappeared about 5 times leading up to the trip. I had also packed and repacked our bags a few times. Our first trip overseas was starting out to be stressful as I was preparing for every scenario, which, for future reference to anyone who wants to take their children on holidays. Let it go, whatever happens will happen, and I really wish I had someone giving me advice and telling me to relax. #hindsight

At the airport – Vanuatu bound!

OVER PREPARED AND READY TO GO

It’s a bit of a mission to get to Vanuatu from where we live in Queensland. Well, I consider it to be when hauling precious cargo like children around.  First, we fly to Brisbane (our capital city in Queensland) and spent the day there with some friends before flying out that night. We are all excited at this stage, until we get to the airport.

Here comes the stressed out #Mumlife bit.. The hauling of luggage, prams and children was enough to put anyone off taking the kids on a holiday.  Then you have the outgoing passenger cards to fill out for everybody.  And I’m thinking, why can’t there be a check box on them for parents to tick for children under one, and just didn’t make sense to me. Alas, I still completed all the forms.  NOTE TO SELF: No point complaining because nobody listens.  All while this is happening my 7 month old has been begging for boob.  YES. I’m travelling with a demanding breastfed baby.  You start to stare at your children and begin to think if it will actually be worth it and if we should have left the kids at home hahah then you’re thinking that they had better appreciate this trip.  (Not really staring at the children, just into space trying to picture paradise)

We get on our flight and there is about 10 people on the whole flight (midnight flight) so we could literally have a whole row to ourselves if we wanted to, though Lulu was the only one who took up this opportunity, she thought it was great.  Dad aka Zac (husband) thought the Nambawan beer was pretty good, and so did I 😉  Preston got comfortable for a feed and he was out to it before we could even get into the air.  This was the best part, finally we could enjoy the fact that we were on our way to paradise.

HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH

Some consider Vanuatu the happiest place on Earth.  And I can understand why.. You’re greeted with beautiful song and the smiles when you disembark and walk through the airport,  Ni-Van locals ALWAYS have big, genuine smiles.  You are made to feel very welcome on arrival – even when you arrive at midnight.  Then, if you arranged hotel transfers your drivers are waiting for you with an adorable shell necklace, cold drink and a cold face towel.   We are pretty much sold on Vanuatu being our home away from home at this stage. Completely loving all aspects.  #easily pleased

What can I say, this was our first trip and it’s the little things that matter 😂

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Local kids stopping to say hello after school

OUR WEEK IN VANUATU

Our week was filled with delicious food, beautiful people and an amazing experience.  This is where I appreciate the fact that I could have my kids with me and that it is in fact all totally worth it.

The Ni-van locals absolutely adored the kids, especially the little fat one.  We couldn’t go anywhere without people squeezing our little fat man.  We enjoyed lunch at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the water and the staff were more than happy to take Preston off our hands while we enjoyed our meal.

Enjoy your meal while staff keep your kids busy

We visited a couple of schools where the kids were more than pleased to show off what they had been learning about and would even share some of their songs they had learned.  If you’re looking to visit schools on your trip to Efate, Vanuatu there are so many to choose from, if you’ve got the time you could almost visit them all.  The schoolkids are so eager to learn and their communities do a fantastic job with them considering their resources are short and if you travel prepared I suggest packing some books and pencils to donate and/or visit with a little extra Vatu (Vanuatu currency) to purchase locally made items.

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Local school built by the community

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Experiences like village tours, jungle walks and dugout canoe rides were my absolute highlight.  These would have to have been my favourite things.  If your really game, try some local Kava, but take this as your warning.  DON’T drink too much unless you want to find yourself in a state of some type of full body paralysis.  The locals have great stories of tourists who have had more than recommended and they needed to be carried home.  I do recommend you ask where a Kava bar is that is made with bottled water.  Some villages make it fresh for the cruise ships that are docking so I suggest to head more towards those bars.

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There are so many places to swim and snorkel so don’t forget to pack your snorkel gear and water shoes.  Vanuatu also has the ONLY UNDERWATER POST OFFICE in the world.

You will never fall short of things to do in Vanuatu!

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short due to Cyclone Pam, so we are yet to discover more of the island.

HEADING HOME

We were extremely lucky to be able to get on the last flight out of Vanuatu.  Personally, I think it had something to do with travelling with a young baby.  The airline called us and told us that they had flights for us free of charge, this was after trying to book a flight earlier in the day with no luck.

The drive to the airport at 4am was a nightmare.  A cyclone was due to hit that day and the rain was so heavy we couldn’t see a thing.  So, I switched on the go pro just in case something went wrong on the drive over.  The airport was absolutely packed full of people trying to leave the country and there were families lined up out the door trying to book tickets.  This is why I thought to be extremely lucky when the airline contacted us with our reserves seating.

What was worse is that Preston had an upset tummy.  We ended our Vanuatu experience with a demanding breastfed baby with diarrhoea in a very congested airport.  Not pleasant but thankful to be flying home.

 

We returned in 2017 and married at a little paradise location we found on our first visit.

Is Vanuatu on your list of places to visit?

All in all it was a fantastic first trip despite the evacuation 2 days early!

♡Bleakley Family

 

 

First of hopefully many blogs..

Our Wedding Location

This photo is my own from Our wedding in Vanuatu

FIRST of all HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.  I hope this year brings you lots of laughter, great health and new adventures.

FIRST POST!!

I’ve been sitting here for the past week trying to figure out how to write my first post. I now have a new respect for writers. Writers block is real and I am, by all means no writer. I don’t even read books but I guess now is the time to start.  It’s not easy trying to think of how to start or what to open with and I think for me it is the uncertainty of not knowing if I’ll be able to actually continue to find things to talk about, but I have nothing to lose, so here I go.

I have little to no writing experience. As far as I go with writing it’s the odd appreciation post on Facebook or if I am updating friends and family on my daughters outstanding sporting achievements and even that was kept to a minimal.  She is a national multiclass athletics champion by the way, with being awarded Sportsperson of the Year, two years in a row..#proudmum

I have been asking my 13 year old daughter (the athlete) for help and she has been reading over what I have written to see if she thinks it sounds good. YES! Mums need help sometimes and what better person to ask than your tech savvy teenager.

Together, we have been thinking of topics to write about and we, including my husband decided that we will stick to family travel & lifestyle with a lot of local. When I say ‘a lot of local’ it simply means we are faced with the harsh reality of needing fulltime jobs and we will be blogging our litte road trips (see what I did there), while we save for our major trips.

THE START

Our journey started when my daughter was diagnosed with a severe rod-cone dystrophy – Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition.  My darling daughter is legally blind. Now don’t get me wrong, the diagnosis hasn’t changed much of her lifestyle at the moment. She is super resilient, has adjusted well and is an oustanding athlete which keeps us busy and I think I struggled with her diagnosis more than what she did, BUT..and the is always a but, being diagnosed with this rare condition means that there is little known about the condition.  Which means, from what I understand, she could go blind at anytime or she could be lucky enough to maitain the remaining vision for a long time.  Being faced with something like this and realising time is precious, it changes your perspective.

We gave her the idea of a visual bucket list, simply, a list of things to see and do before and if she were to go blind. This has since turned into a family bucket list.  And here we are, ticking one little thing off our list at a time.

Sharing our life so publicly is a huge step and sounds a little crazy but what better way to start the new year: with a new hobby.

We’d like to give other families encouragement, inspiration and tips while travelling with children and welcome all the help and tips that you can share with us because lets face it, travelling with kids can be challenging, escpecially with a toddler.

Most importantly we’d like you to start talking about your bucket lists and start ticking things off tour things to do list.  Your bucket list doesn’t have to be huge, it could be as simple as finding out about your local attractions and making the most of what is in your local area. Just because you’re not a ‘tourist’ doesn’t mean it can’t explore the area or book a tour.

And there you have it, our first post!

Bear with us as we stumble our way through learning the ropes of blogging.