13 Aug 2018
The sunny Australian coastline isn’t just a favourite for Aussie families. It’s also a popular spot for international families who take to the coastline for sun, surf and family fun.
WATCH: Meet the Meyer family from across the globe soaking up the Aussie sun.
Swiss couple Catherine and Hans Meyer first fell in love with the coast on a trip to Australia when they were backpacking around. This time, they wanted to show kids Lynn and Joel what the fuss was about. “We wanted to show the kids the lovely places,” Catherine says. “We’ve done everything before. We camped, we went hiking and backpacking.”
They say it’s the idyllic campgrounds and peace and quiet of the New South Wales and Queensland coastlines that keeps them coming back. “We don’t have many campgrounds in Europe, so this is one of the places you can really travel around like that with nice campgrounds,” Hans says.
Why caravan? They wouldn’t have it any other way. Travelling all the way from Switzerland, the family say caravanning gives them the freedom to do as they please, choosing their own adventure. “In Europe, you would do this only in summer season, and then it’s very crowded, so you can’t go from one place to the other, you have to stay in one ground,” Hans says. “Here, you can move on or if we like it here, we stay another night. You can’t do that in Italy or France.”
Having arrived in Sydney where they hired their van, the family are travelling up the coast to Cairns. “We chose this trip because there’s more things to do for the kids, and lots of stops. We first went to Blue Mountains. Port Stephens, West Rock,” Catherine says, “and then Coffs Harbour and Byron, Noosa, Hervey Bay and Fraser Island.”
Fraser Island has been a trip highlight for the whole family. While the weather wasn’t so kind (the sunshine state not so sunny), they say it didn’t make a difference. The best part? Lake McKenzie. “Oh my goodness. That’s my personal favourite of this trip,” Hans says. “It was just pouring down, but who cares.”
As the kids run off to the in-park bouncing pillow in Discovery Parks – Coolwaters, Yeppoon, Catherine and Hans share their tips for travelling with kids. “You just need more time,” Catherine says. “You have to be more relaxed. You have to let them play.”
During their time in Yeppoon, the weather has been a tad dreary, so they’ve taken the extra time to play cards under the shade of their cosy caravan verandah, and cook meals together in the camp kitchen. These are the things that make memories, they say, and sometimes a more flexible schedule leaves far more quality family time to relax and enjoy one another.
“Less is more,” Hans says. “The kids have been great, but then they need a day where they can move around and go on the slides and jump on the jumping pillow and then it’s okay. The drive we’ve done yesterday is larger than Switzerland is from left to right.”
Next time, the family say they’d love to try their hand at hiring a car and stay in the park cabins. Without their large home on wheels, they can explore the hidden roads when the kids are a little older. “If you want to go to national park or something, you can’t go with large campervans like this everywhere because it’s not four-wheel drive,” Catherine says.
For now, the campervan suits the Meyer’s perfectly, with enough space and creature comforts to make a comfy home base between salty stop-offs. As the kettle boils their next brew and the kids race back to their deck chairs under the palm-strung washing line, Catherine and Hans set up the next card game on the table. There’s talk of scuba diving tomorrow, or perhaps a trip to Rockhampton. Adventure awaits.
But for now, Uno.
For another great story from a family travelling on the road around Australia click HERE.
If you’ve got a story from the road travelling Australia we’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
This travel feature was published in G’DAY Magazine.