We're the Williams family. And we're on our Oz Travels. So, we're the Williams Oz Travels (WOT!).
We're a young family of four travelling around Australia for more than 3 months at the start of 2018. We're made of James (Dad), Catherine (Mum), Rosie (3 year old daughter and Lottie (6 month old daughter).
We're travelling from Perth to Cairns via Melbourne, The Great Ocean Road, Canberra, Uluru, Sydney the East Coast from Sydney to Cairns. Plus we'll be coming in via Singapore and out via Kuala Lumpar. We're flying everywhere, except two stints of driving in a camper van on the Great Ocean Road (6 nights) and the east coast from Sydney to Cairns (28 nights).
We've got a blog here and the first of our blogs is here And make sure to click the 'follow our story'' link at the bottom of the pages to be automatically updated on the latest part of our adventure. (Many of the answers below feature moments from our Blog so make sure you have a look and click around.)
We even managed to get an interview with Bill Bryson. Who knows a bit about Australia himself!
'Like' our Facebook and Instagram pages to see the latest part of our journey. You can see where we are at the moment by visiting our 'live', highly technological map - https://williamsoztravels.wordpress.com/stats/
James has always wanted to travel to Australia and Catherine lived here for 6 months and loved it.
We're a very outdoor focused family so knew that Australia would be a great choice, especially to avoid the cold winter in London!
As soon as Lottie was born we started planning the trip as we knew it would be a fairly easy time to travel with a young baby. We regretted not doing something similar when Rosie was first born. Plus, this is just before Rosie goes to school. So it seemed like the perfect time for a life-changing adventure.
James planned most of it and used good old fashioned excel! You can see the templates he created and used on the blog here. Feel free to download them and use them to plan your own adventure!
The main thing was jointly agreeing timings in the major places.
It's a cliche, but just spending time as a family has been the best part. Especially for James who works in an office doing the usual 9 - 5 (except much longer hours than that!) so doesn't get to see the girls anywhere near this much. It's been amazing spending so much time together.
Specifically though, it's been seeing Rosie take new experiences completely in her stride. Whether that's meeting new animals, like her new favourite, the Quokka, in Perth or eating new animals, like kangaroos, in Melbourne.
Apart from cleaning out poo from the camper van on the Great Ocean Road, we're always really mindful of making sure we balance things that Rosie will enjoy, but also that Catherine and James will too. There are lots of museums, art exhibits, etc that we see that we'd like to go to, but often skip because it would be unfair to drag Rosie to those, as she would be bored.
But it's not really been a problem, because (1) we're not huge museum/ arty people, (2) we love most things that Rosie loves, like zoos, playgrounds, beaches, etc and (3) one of Australia's strongest points are the zoos, playgrounds and outside spaces. So it's easy to enjoy them
James loved the Great Ocean Road. Particularly a spot called Erskine Falls where he and Rosie climbed the falls themselves. Catherine and Rosie would say seeing quokkas on Rottnest Island was their favourite. And Lottie would say anywhere that there is a boob!
It wasn't disappointing as such, but we didn't think Melbourne was quite made for families like the other places have been. But the celebrations as part of Australia Day were a disappointment! We thought there was going to be a huge party, but couldn't find one at all!
Although we've only just got to Sydney at the time of writing, so have way more than half of our journey left to make new 'best' and 'disappointing' moments! :-)
Rosie hasn't started school yet and we're only away for 3 months so this isn't a huge concern for us. But we are trying to make the trip educational. We're learning about different animals (biology), places (geography) and letters (English).
We're also learning to count. We're up to 50 now and we're aiming for 100 by the end of the trip :-)
How straightforward it has been. There were big worries about it before we left. About luggage, temperature, food, flights, accommodation, etc. But almost none of it has come to be true.
And that has made us question why we didn't do it earlier. But will also hopefully be an inspiration to other families that this isn't as tough as it looks.
It's made us realise that just about anything is possible and things that might look difficult on the surface, actually aren't. Although this seemed like a huge trip that many people told us would be difficult, we've had very few issues.
As for the children, Rosie has noticeably grown in confidence and adaptability which should be a huge benefit in the long term.
Thanks for reading and don't forget to follow us on our blog and social media platforms.