8 Aug 2018
Making the most of the coast with two little ones and a campervan.
Travelling with toddlers doesn’t have to be difficult, according to Tara and Mark Kunze, who are avid caravan and camping fans.
WATCH: On the Road with Tara and Mark in Tannum Sands, Queensland as they share tips and tales of travelling with two young children.
The couple from Forest Glen on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast are on a long-awaited five-week family holiday up the coast with children Zane, 4, and Taya, 2. We caught them in Discovery Parks - Tannum Sands to hear all their tips and tricks for travelling with toddlers on the road.
“We pre-booked a lot of the campsites,” Tara says, “and I’ve got an itinerary of exactly where we’re going, how long it takes, how many kilometres it is. We have to be pretty organised, especially with kids.”
They’re careful with their planning. “We try to make sure we aren’t travelling more than five hours in the car a day, otherwise it just gets too long. You have to stop every two hours with the kids for toilet breaks and lunches,” she says.
Tara and Mark not only met in Queensland, but they both grew up here, sharing a love of camping with their own families. “We met at Red Rooster, as you do,” Tara says. “I asked for her number in the drive-through,” Mark says with a laugh. “I grew up fishing and camping,” Tara continues. “We used to basically live at Double Island Point [south of Hervey Bay], and we were always camping at Rainbow Beach and fishing every weekend.”
Now, they love taking their own children on family camping holidays, a priority for the young couple. “We try to get away even more than our parents did,” Tara says. “It is because of the memories that I guess I generated with my family,” Mark says. “I think that’s what I want for the kids. It’s a good feeling.”
While the pair love camping in tents, they say with kids in the mix, the campervan is the perfect addition to the family holiday. “We always used tents, but it just got too hard with the tents with the kids. Mark wanted a boat, so we compromised and got a campervan.”
“We thought we’d use this more...there’s more family time in the campervan,” Mark says. The couple bought a Jayco Swan camper trailer last year and have never looked back. The best part? The assembly is easy. “Mark can basically do it himself,” Tara says. “So if the kids are going crazy I can just take them to the park. Otherwise, they just sit in the car while we wind it up and pop it out, and they just eat in the car while we get organised.”
They say it’s all about making the best decision for your family, and allowing for how much room you need. “I guess space was important for us,” Mark says, “and good storage. There’s plenty of storage in this thing, it’s great for that. And it’s more suited for a family, as well.”
“It also sleeps seven, so even if we added to our family, we’d still be able to fit more kids in there,” Tara says, “and it’s got a good fridge, I can do the dishes, I can cook. We’ve also got the barbecue out the front if we want to cook any steaks or anything.”
When it comes to travelling on the road with youngsters, Tara and Mark say it’s all about keeping them occupied and fed. “Colouring-in books, bubbles, the iPads definitely help,” Tara says. Mark can’t wait to bring out the deck of cards, trying it on for size with son Zane already. “That’s what we used to do as kids,” he says.
Including the kids on the road is also important, this stretch ideal with a number of ‘BIG’ icons to spot along the way. “On the way up, we saw the Big Giraffe and the Big Crab,” Tara says. “Because we nearly live at the Big Pineapple, Zane associates those things as places to see. We’re going to the Big Banana in New South Wales and when we go up north we’re going to see the Big Mango. Just seeing those little things like Zane pointing out the window - ‘look, there’s a big giraffe!’ - those are really special moments.”
When it comes to rest your head, they’re new regulars to Discovery Holiday Parks, lapping up the creature comforts on offer. “When we actually bought the Jayco, we got given membership to Top Parks, so we utilise them a lot more. A 10 percent discount helps. Every cent helps,” Tara says.
She says the hospitality makes all the difference. “I actually got a text message from them [the park reception] when we arrived which is really funny. It was so lovely and made me feel so welcome and at home. It reassures you that you can actually go into the reception and have a chat,” she says.
With a campervan, making most of the facilities of the park is essential. “Here in Tannum they’ve got a bath in their laundry so last night Mark and I could both take the kids and have a bath. It makes it so much easier. I couldn’t imagine not bathing the children for days or having to bathe them in a bucket. It just makes them feel more at home as well when they can have a bath like they do at home.” So what’s next? “We’ve got Yamba booked for Christmas. And then we’ve got another long weekend in October,” Tara says. “Most long weekends we plan something; we have to!”
If you enjoyed Tara and Mark's story from the road, you're going to love Catherine and Han's experience travelling with kids HERE
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This story from the road was published in G’DAY Magazine.