Road Trip – Vic to QLD 






KIAMA

I am the eldest of three girls. My sisters and I were born in New South Wales and moved to Queensland when our Dad retired. Queensland was home for all of us for nearly 20 years. When we were all (nearly) out of home my parents decided to sell up the family home, buy a small apartment and a large motorhome and hit the road. 

My sisters and I fell in love and moved away from the area too.

 So now, I live in Central Victoria, my middle sister Dayna lives in Grafton, my youngest sister Corinne lives in Pottsville, and Mum and Dad, twelve years on, are still following the sunshine or visiting one of us in their motorhome. We all don’t like the distance between us. It was just how things happened. We try and have annual family holidays together and try to visit as often as we can. It’s just not as often as we would like. 

So with the Winter school holidays, Ben having meetings in Sydney and Casuarina and wanting to see family, a road trip was the perfect idea. 

We decided to drive straight through to Kiama on the first day so we could be near the ocean and close to Sydney so Ben could go off to his meetings. We hadn’t been to Kiama before. It is so pretty. Gorgeous beaches, and inlets, rainforests, bike riding, parks and of course the blowholes!

 Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the greatest but there is a lot you can do around the area while the sun is hiding behind the clouds. Our cloudy day highlight was the hike up to Minnamurra Falls. It was really spectacular. We saw lots of Lyrebirds scratching around and the rainforest was just stunning. Ben said it was one of the most beautiful walks he has ever done through a rainforest. They have built paths to guide you on your chosen track. The paths are slightly elevated and it feels as though you are floating through the rainforest. We also ate fish and chips by the ocean, we swam (briefly) in the rock pools, we collected shells from the beach, we ate ice cream while watching the blowhole, we watched episodes of Mrs Marple. We thoroughly enjoyed our time together in this cute little town. 


Our accomodation 

https://www.stayz.com.au/accommodation/nsw/south-coast/kiama/184871

Rainforest walk

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/the-falls-walk

Japan

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My first trip to Japan was nearly 30 years ago. I was the same age that our daughter Eden is now, 15. I went there on a six week exchange and stayed with a Japanese family. The experience was something that was so significant to me. I learnt so much about myself and fell in love with Japan and the Japanese.
My Mum always said to me that I left a little piece of my heart in Japan.
I went back a couple of more times in my 20’s as a dancer. They were fun times.
It has always been a place that I have really wanted to share with Ben and the kids.
In April, my Mum and Dad planned to come and visit us and offered to look after the farm and the kids and gently encouraged Ben and I to go away for a couple of weeks.
We had never been overseas without the kids, but decided to embrace the offer and spend some quality time together in Japan.
I have to admit, I do love being spontaneous. We booked a couple of nights in Tokyo, arranged to visit my Japanese family but for the rest of the trip we just decided to go with the flow..
Ben and I love design, art, food, and coffee. Tokyo excelled in all these elements. The attention to detail was extraordinary.
We only touched the surface of this incredible city, spending most of our time in Ginza and Shibuya.
We took the train down to Kyoto. It happened to be Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing). The busiest week of the year for Kyoto.
We shuffled our way through the narrow little laneways and drank in the history and beauty of this ancient city. We hired bikes and road up to the Botanical Gardens to watch the locals admire the sakura. We ate handmade ramen, okinomiyaki, and sushi washed down with warm sake. We snuck glances of Geishas rushing off to appointments.
As I mentioned, Kyoto was bursting at the seams with visitors. To fully appreciate this city we would really like to go back in the quieter months.
When I worked as a dancer, many moons ago, I was based in Onsen towns. I really wanted to share with Ben a traditional onsen town, somewhere off the beaten track. On the train to Kyoto I did some research and found a town called Kinosaki. It was exactly what I had hoped for. A small traditional town, nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains and sea. The entire town felt like one large ryokan. The train station being the entrance, the streets the hallways, and your ryokan the room. After changing into our yukatas we wandered up and down the small streets, slipping into the seven different onsens when we felt the need. We indulged in their local crab dishes and drank pour over coffees while still in a meditative state from baths. We discovered local makers creating beautiful pieces from local materials using traditional methods. We felt like we had stepped back into time. A slow, quiet, traditional, beautiful place.
The last few days of our travels were spent with my Japanese family. Oh, my heart!
To be back with them after nearly 30 years. Over a family dinner we laughed, we cried and we reminisced. My host father presented me with platters of my favourite sushi. (he had remembered after all that time!) I am so grateful to this family for all they have given me, even now 30 years later. I love and admire them deeply.
To be able to share my Japanese family with Ben was really significant to me.
Taking Ben to a country that has meant so much to me and to share the love for the people, the history, the culture, the food, the coffee, the design was amazing.
I missed our children on this adventure but I loved my time with my Ben.
Japan inspired us to be more conscious of the beauty in our daily rituals and to consider the detail. When we eat a meal, when we drink coffee, when we are sit with each other, when we do our activities.
To slow down and appreciate that moment.
Tash xx

 

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Our Accommodation-
Tokyo – http://www.apahotel.com.e.ju.hp.transer.com/language/shutoken/31_ginza-kyobashi.html
Kyoto – http://kyotosanjo.theb-hotels.com/en/
Kinosaki – http://www.japanican.com/en/hotel/detail/6318038/?ar=28&sar=280802
Travel – http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/

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Italy

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I turned 40 in July 2012. Ben suggested we celebrate in Italy. What do you say to a suggestion like that? Yes!
When we started talking about the places we might like to see, the things we would like to do…there were so many choices. When we travel we are not ones to visit a place for a day, see the large monuments, tick the boxes and move on to the next. We like to sit in a place for as long as we can, usually at least a week, and immerse ourselves. So with six weeks in Italy we tried to do just that.
Our first stop was Venice. This was Maya’s favourite place in Italy. We rented a self contained little apartment near the Rialto Bridge.
http://www.thekeytoitaly.com/Rio-Terra.html
We are extremely passionate about eating. So one of the first things we like to do is find a local market or supermarket to buy snacks and other basic necessities. This is always so much fun. We LOVE wandering the aisles to see the local foods and try and work out what things are. The Rialto Fish Market was an easy stroll and full of beautiful fresh local produce.
The following days were spent getting lost in the stunning laneways of Venice. Stopping for gelato and coffee and more wanderings. We found a quiet spot along the Grand Canal and watched how this incredible city flowed. Ben is an Urban Designer, so trying to understand how a city such as Venice functions was quite mesmerising. Actually most of Italy fascinated him in regard to the town planning aspects and lack of.
We reluctantly left Venice, vowing to return (but in a different season) and caught the train to Florence. I won’t post the link of the apartment we stayed in, in Florence, because I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. The location was good…
We had spent a lot of time before the trip immersing ourselves in the history of Italy. For the children some of this ancient history was like a tale from the Brothers Grimm. They were particularly enthralled by the Medici family, so Florence really was that open air museum for them.
Ben and I got up early most mornings to jog around the city while most people were still sleeping or sipping their first coffee. I love doing this, not the jogging part, but those quiet early mornings when you have the streets to yourself is really quite magical. We really loved Florence and again made that vow to return.
From Florence we hired a car and drove down to Siena. Ben did an amazing job making his way out of Florence in our little Fiat. I, on the other hand, have no sense of direction and are a terrible navigator, so was completely useless! We drove for several hours and by the late afternoon arrived at what would be our home for the next two weeks. (We were only planning on staying for one week but didn’t want to leave!) You know when you find a place that just fills your heart? A place that makes you sigh deep happiness? A place that you know that will stay with you forever? This was the place.

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The ancient house is on top of Rocca D’Orcia. Nestled in a little town of 150 inhabitants. Surrounded by a medieval fortress. We found our little piece of heaven. We walked, we read, we swam, we ate. We embraced every moment. We watched the locals scurry up to their small terraces to pick fruit, vegetables or herbs for their next meal. We drank wine looking over the olive groves and vineyards. We realised how much we enjoyed the simplicity of it all. It was here that really made us think about what really mattered to us. What did we want to be doing? Where did we want to be? How did we want to live?
At the time we were living in inner city Melbourne. It was fun. It was stimulating, but it wasn’t feeding our souls.
This slow, conscious way of life had always interested us and was something we wanted to try, especially while the children were still young enough. This was the turning point.
This was the Here + There.
We left Rocca D’Orcia and Italy with a new appreciation of connection. Connection with the land, the seasons, with food, and with family.
A year later we moved to our little farm and our connection to this adventure is always so close to our hearts.
Tash xx
p.s here is the link for our little piece of heaven..
https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/VacationRentalReview-g187902-d1754061-3_camere_da_letto_molto_accogliente_casa_a_Siena-Siena_Tuscany.html

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Here + There

 

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Here + There is about our life and travel adventures. A place to share how travel changes and enhances our everyday lives.
My name is Tash. My husband Ben and our three children, Eden, Kobi and Maya, live on a ten acre farm in Central Victoria. The farm is a place that we have opened up to share with our friends, family and our local community. We are sharing through the produce we grow and opening our barn for gatherings and workshops to local artists and makers. I write about our farm, what is happening in the garden, details of workshops and farming experiences here at http://www.aplotincommon.com.au/menu-2/
Here + There is a place for me to share in more detail about our daily lives, our adventures and how these blend together.
We love to travel. We love trying new things, seeing new things and learning new things. Travel for us is not about escaping our daily lives, but about learning ways to enhance our daily lives. We travel to places that are meaningful to us in culture, tradition, history, food, or lifestyle. There is a real consideration on how our travels will impact us and our current lifestyle.
I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures and what they mean to us.
Tash xx

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