Happy Days in the Outback: The Travel Spotlight TOP 10!


Longreach & Winton in outback Queensland.

The Stockman’s Hall of Fame


There are regular flights from Brisbane to Longreach, and it will take you a little over 2 hours flight time.  Travelling to Longreach by car is also a popular way to go, and you’re looking at roughly 1,200 Klms one way (about 13 hours of driving).  You can also take the Spirit of the Outback and visit by rail. You’ll be onboard for about 26 hours, and Longreach has its own train station so you conveniently disembark right in the heart of town.  Car hire is available in Longreach once you arrive.

Winton is about 170klm northwest of Longreach.  The county roads can be challenging at the best of times, add into the mix road trains combined with dirt roads, and this can create more challenges.  If you don’t feel confident driving and would prefer to join an outback tour, there are several providers.  Joining these tours means you can sit back and relax and the tour group will drive you around.   


The Qantas Founders Museum was without a doubt the Longreach highlight for us, particularly the night time Light Show.     

The Stockman’s Hall of Fame was partially closed due to renovations, however that didn’t stop us from wondering around outside and taking in the aura of the building, splendid grounds & standing beside the iconic statue of the Ringer.

If you’re a “Crown” fan take the short trip out of town to Camden Park Station.  During the Australian Royal Tour in 1970, The Queen and Prince Philip visited this property, which today is still a working cattle & sheep station. 

There is a little town called Ilfracombe (about half an hour drive from Longreach) and it has a great little pub that does fantastic meals.  The pub is very child friendly, with a big verandah wrapping around the pub and a big back yard for kids to run around in.    

We were pleasantly surprised at how good the shopping in Longreach was, with several little boutique shops along the main street, coupled with bigger shops if needing essential items.

And finally we must add the Cobb & Co stage coach ride, Captain Starlight Lookout and Thompson River Cruise to the Longreach highlights list too!

The dinosaur trail was definitely the Winton highlight!  Visiting Lark Quarry and seeing dinosaur footprints that are believed to be over 95 million years old was mind blowing & amazing.  The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum has the world’s largest collection of Australian Dinosaur fossils, and we must add the Canyon walk onto the highlights list too. 

Winton is the birth place of Waltzing Matilda, so we felt it almost necessary to visit the museum.  

After a big day of dinosaur bone hunting, culture & history, we can recommend the Winton public swimming pool & waterpark, as a great place to cool off and relax.   


The average maximum temperatures during summer in Longreach is 36-37C degrees and 23-26C degrees during winter. During winter, temps can get down to between 7-8C degrees, so definitely pack a jumper if you’re visiting during the winter months.   

Summer in Winton has averages between 36-38C and during winter temps average between 25-27C. 


The greater Longreach region records approx. 3500 in population with Winton checking in at around 1600 people.


The Longreach area has many accommodation options from motels & hotels to caravans, cabins & camping.  There are also some great self-contained options. We stayed at The Albert Park Motel and it was clean and tidy with a pool and restaurant attached.  Pricing was approx. $120 per night for a big room sleeping comfortably 2 adults and 2 children.

I have included the link below for more options to help you make the right accommodation choice for your family:


Unfortunately, our accommodation in Winton proved to not be the best choice for us, so I am reluctant to put it on the recommendation list.  However, Winton has many more accommodation options as listed below:

  • Winton Outback Motel
  • North Gregory Hotel
  • Boulder Opal Motor Inn
  • Matilda Hotel
  • Banjo’s Holiday Units
  • Matilda Country Tourist Park
  • The Pelican Caravan Park


Dining in both Longreach & Winton is plentiful with a variety of options to choose from.  In Longreach we can recommend the bakery, RSL, Harry’s and The Longreach Tavern.  They all had good fresh food (big portion sizes) at reasonable prices.  All places were extremely kid friendly & very welcoming.

We didn’t have one bad meal experience in Winton either, with the food highlight being The North Gregory.  The pub has an outdoor dining area with lots of grass for kids to run around on and even includes a small kid’s playground.  The meals came out quickly & with the kids entertained, it was a nice place to relax and enjoy dinner.  


Flights with Qantas Link were approx. $500 return (from Brisbane) per adult and $470 return (from Brisbane) per child.   Admission into the various museums and other tourist attractions can vary depending on what activities you want to do and also the time of year.  Links below with admission details to help you with the budget:






We’re giving this trip a 4 out of 5!


# Did you know that Longreach is the official home of Qantas?  It is in fact the birth place of Qantas & the first EVER Qantas flight took off from the Longreach airport!

# The water in Winton smells putrid (due to it being sourced from the artesian basin), however it is safe & drinkable.  Just hold your nose while you drink, or buy yourself some bottled water!

That’s it for today’s travel spotlight!  Have a safe & happy day out with the little people in your lives.

Enjoy your travels,


The Mighty Top End

If you have yet to explore the mighty top end, please add it to your list – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!  Whether you visit during the dry season (May – October) or wet season (Nov – April), there is plenty to see & do.  Make sure you research your trip before you visit, as opening and closing times do differ depending on the season. 

Let me start by saying Darwin is more than just a gateway to the surrounding National Parks, it really has its own experiences, history and culture.  Darwin has been described as a blend of ancient Aboriginal custom, European pioneering & WWII history…and I would agree!

Darwin has an annual art festival, and as a result the street art and murals are a sight to be seen.  During the 2019 festival, murals were painted by local artists, and as you walk around the streets of Darwin make sure you keep your head up, looking at the multi-story murals (they are amazing).

We loved the Darwin Waterfront which has a wave lagoon and is fantastic for kids.  It is open 7 days and entry is very reasonable (under 2 yrs free entry, and only $5 for 2 – 15 yrs and adults are $7, family passes are available too).

This is “Croc Country” folks, so get ready to have a crocodile overload!  One place I would recommend visiting is Crocosaurus Cove.  Located in the heart of Darwin, it allows you to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s largest salt water crocodiles.  You can experience croc feeding, and also dive with the crocodiles as part of their “cage of death” experience!! 

Darwin is also famous for its Mindil Beach Markets (not operating during the wet season).  If you visit during the dry season, vising the Markets is a must.  Known for its sunsets over Mindil beach, visitors can experience the vibrant, friendly atmosphere, while enjoying eclectic culinary delights, handmade art & craft and live entertainment.

The Museum and Art Gallery is the main museum in the NT, and is located in the inner Darwin suburb called Fannie Bay.  It has a wide collection of exhibits including indigenous rock art, fossils & seafaring history.  The museum is also home to the much loved “Sweetheart” a 5.1m long crocodile who passed away in 1974.  The spectacular ‘Cyclone Tracy’ display is an experience that didn’t disappoint either!    

Now for some WWII history….

As I’m sure you are all aware, during WWII, Darwin became the first mainland site of Australia to come under attack.  On the morning of February 19th 1942, a squadron of Japanese planes paid a surprise visit, dropping catastrophic bombs on Darwin – a town that was not at all prepared for an air invasion.  

Because of this event (and others during the war), you can explore Darwin’s WWII history in sites scattered all across the city. 

For a full hit of history, head to the Darwin Military Museum.  The museum provides a powerful & interactive experience, and includes a 3D movie that uses actual footage from the attack to depict the bombing as it happened over 75 years ago.  There is also an outdoor section of the museum, so grab yourself an ice-cream in the little café and walk around outside to take in other military displays.  This museum is very child friendly, with plenty of space for kids to move around.    

We also toured the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels.  These tunnels were built during the war (after the initial bombing) to protect the oil stored in Darwin from any future air attacks. 

If you are claustrophobic then this might not be for you, as the tunnels are underground!  The space is enclosed, confined, musty and damp, however I’m so glad we did it and it is really worth a tour.  The tunnels are great for kids as there is plenty of room for kids to get around and experience the adventure under Darwin city.  Parents will love the history aspect too.   

Here are a few more ideas to add to the Darwin list:

  1. Crocodylus Park
  2. The Fun Bus
  3. Big Buoy Water Park
  4. Darwin Ice Skating
  5. Foreshore Nightcliff

After exploring Darwin, we then headed off to experience Kakadu & Litchfield NP’s.  Driving over the Mary & Adelaide Rivers was a thrill in its self, looking down spotting Crocodiles!!   Growing up in Australia I have seen plenty of documentaries & TV ads for the top end, but to actually see it for myself was an emotional & exciting experience.

Just remember if you’re planning to visit National Parks in the top end, you must obtain a travel permit before entering.  We purchased ours at a Roadhouse enroute to Kakadu.

Visiting little towns like Jabiru was fascinating, and we also visited the Information Centre at Bowali to get some great advice and assistance in helping us nut out the next few days.    

The Aboriginal rock art at Burrungkuy was breathtaking and I would also recommend a visit to Ubirr to experience the wonders of more Aboriginal rock art.  Also include Cahills Crossing to your list, it has a lovely picnic area and perfect for croc spotting!

Aboriginal Rock Art at Ubirr

Out of all the things we did, I would highly recommend doing the Yellow Water cruise.  It is a 2 hour wildlife filled cruise through the wetlands of the yellow water billabong.  This experience is very popular, so bookings are necessary. 

Spotto a Croc on the Yellow River Cruise

Next day we drove to Pine Creek and stopped at the Adelaide River War Cemetery.  During the Darwin bombings the Post Office was a direct hit and 9 office staff were killed instantly.  They are buried in the Adelaide River War Cemetery.  Walking around the cemetery’s immaculate grounds, is a sobering reminder of the sacrifices made during war and a place to pause and pay respects to those that lost their lives.   

Adelaide River War Cemetery

Litchfield NP was absolutely breathtaking, and even though we were visiting in the wet season, the swimming holes at Florence Falls and Wangi Falls were open.   Swimming in Wangi Falls was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.  Wangi Falls is a segmented waterfall that descends from an elevation of 84 metres.  Swimming in the little waterhole at the bottom, looking up at the view of the waterfall was a breathtaking experience.  We swam across to the other side and climbed up onto the rock and found a gorgeous little rock pool to sit in.  The water was cool & refreshing and a welcome relief from the heat of the Top End.   

Due to time constraints we didn’t get to Katherine Gorge – I guess that will be for the next trip!

Whilst we did Kadadu and Litchfield by car (4WD), there are several other ways to explore both NP’s and these include scenic flights, cruise boats & air boats. 

The jumping crocs tour was something we really wanted to experience; however it was closed during our visit (late Dec – early Jan).  I hear it is a great experience, and for any readers who have done the “Croc Jumping” I would love to hear about your experience. 

Back in Darwin for our final night, we went to the beach.  Plenty of room for kids to run around and the whole family can watch a famous Darwin sunset.  Because our visit was during the wet season, we were also treated to several natural light shows watching the monsoonal storms roll in each afternoon.

Darwin Sunset on our final night!

From the top end, wishing you all safe & happy travels with the little people in your lives,

Megan xo


Oh, What A Lady!

On today’s blog we are talking about warm sun, the smell of the ocean, sand between the toes and a lady!

We have found the perfect family beach holiday and it happens to be a snorkelling paradise too.  Lady Elliot Island is the southernmost coral cay of the Great Barrier reef, and flights depart daily from Harvey Bay and Bundaberg.  The Island has its own airstrip, and you land right in the heart of the resort. 

The Island got her name from a ship that sailed past in 1816, with the captain of the cargo vessel naming the Island after this ship.  

In a nutshell LEI is an eco resort that welcomes both overnight stays and day trippers.  It is a natural beauty with a rich history and once you’re on the Island you enter peace and quiet with no distractions from the outside world.  There are no TV’s in the rooms and no mobile phone service on the island….and you won’t miss either! 

There is plenty to do while on the island, including a stack of activities for kids!  There is a shaded children’s playground, activity centre (along with a reef education centre) and also a kid’s club called Junior Reef Rangers.  There is also a swimming pool & beach volley ball nets set up. 

Then of course there is the magical underwater world to explore and you don’t need to be a scuba diver to experience the magic.  Snorkelling is a great way for kids to get up close & personal with the marine life and explore the reef.  Whether it is a short snorkel on the reef or a longer snorkel on the other side of the island known as the “deep blue”, you will experience the magical world and see plenty of manta rays, cow tail rays, turtles, black tip reef sharks, colourful coral and an abundance of tropical fish. 

If you are not keen to snorkel or scuba dive, exploring the reef on foot is another great way to see the reef.  Glass bottom boat rides are also on offer for those that wish to stay dry!

The bird life is amazing on the Island and there are several educational programs you can get involved in.  The night tours are handy to find out about the nocturnal animals and also the resident ghost on the island!!

Accommodation types differ from resort units, glamping tents & cabins that are all designed to minimise impact on the island & keep within the eco practices.  Meals are included in the packages, so there are no hidden surprises at check out.

Along with the kid’s club, there is also baby sitting on offer.  The other great thing we found convenient was the movie house situated right beside the restaurant.  Each night a kid’s movie is screened, and we found that handy to keep kids entertained while we had dinner.

We really enjoyed our time on the Island and can highly recommend this destination to visit with kids.   

Have a happy day out with your kids!

Megan xo


First day of Winter folks, and nothing better than sitting in front of the fire to write this blog. 

We recently holidayed in Melbourne and it was a wonderful time away.  If you’re intending to visit Melbourne with your kids for a holiday, then you’ve made a great decision.  To help you with a few ideas, here’s what we got up to…

We landed in Melbourne to a cool 12C, and we used the first few days to walk around and explore Southbank.  Right on the Yarra River, Southbank has a lively and electric atmosphere, with so many restaurants and cafes to choose from, and has the added advantage of free entertainment with street performers everywhere. 

Still in Southbank, we found ourselves at Federation Square and spent hours exploring this magnificent building and all that it has to offer.  It sure is the home of cultural attractions, but there is also an array of restaurants, bars and cafes to choose from too.

Federation Square

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), which is in Fed Square, was one gallery that was child friendly!  Yes, there was the walking around looking at art and constant reminders “not to touch” but up on level 2 there was a kid’s disco area where children of all ages could let off steam and run around!  Enjoying music and colourful flashing lights, all of the children looked and sounded like they were having a blast.   

We found the price of admission, food and drink at the NGV very reasonable too.   

We also found a great park right beside Fed Square.  Nothing like giving kids a run around in a park to re-set the clock before entering yet another art gallery or museum!

Park, with Fed Square in the background

If you’re not keen to take your kids into one of the galleries, ART PLAY may be a better option for you.  Art Play is situated right next door to Fed Square and it is a place where children (babies – 12-year old’s) can explore their creativity side.  Art Play have workshops on offer (long & short) as well as art displays (which are all designed for kids)……there was not one “DO NOT TOUCH” sign on any of the displays.

Bookings are required for most workshops, however there are free drop in events available.  With more than 300 workshops, events and performances every year there is plenty to choose from.

Art Play

The other delightful activity we stumbled across, was ice skating in the Winter Village.  The Winter Village is a euro-style winter wonderland at Fed Square and is open from May – August each year.  The village offers igloo dining with plenty of food and drink options and of course ICE SKATING!  Areas are accessible for all, and pram friendly too!

Ice Skating

Still in the vicinity of Southbank, we took the kids up to the top of the Eureka Tower.  The tower is 297.3 metres tall, and it is the highest public viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere.  The express lift takes you to the 88th floor in 38 seconds. 

The Tower is named after the Eureka Stockade, which of course was a rebellion during the Victorian gold rush back in the 1800’s.  The top of the building has a gold-plated panel, and as the story goes, when you reach the top you have found your gold.

For those that want that extra thrill, you can have an ‘edge’ experience where you hop into a glass cube and you’re projected out from the 88th floor!  YIKES….and there you are suspended over Melbourne to enjoy the view!   

If you would rather keep your feet on ground zero, an outing to the Melbourne Zoo can be recommended.  It really was a journey through a world of wildlife right in the heart of Melbourne.  Pricing was very reasonable and they allow you to take your own food, which really helps out with the Budget.  Prams are on offer to hire and all the pathways around the Zoo were very pram friendly.

Melbourne Zoo

Without going into detail, here are a few more tips on great things to do in Melbourne with kids:

  • Aquarium
  • Tram Ride (city circle is free)
  • Luna Park (St Kilda)
  • Yarra River Cruise
  • The Melbourne Museum and Imax Theatre
  • Scienceworks (Science Museum in Spotswood)
  • Aquatic Centre at Albert Park
  • Visit the MCG and look around the AFL Museum

If you have time and want to experience a regional town, Geelong is a short train ride (approx. 1 hour) from Melbourne.

Supa Tramp in Geelong kept everyone happy and busy on the wet days, by offering indoor trampoline jumping, ninja circuit and rock climbing.

In fine weather a walk along the Waterfront is great with plenty of space for the kids to run around, and the waterfront has several parks to choose from.  Running around the bollards seemed to be a fun activity. 

We didn’t go, but I hear Fairy Park is a magical place to visit.  A short drive from Geelong, Fairy Park is designed for kids to discover the fairy-tale stories.

A quick tip (and depending on your time restraints), you may also like to take in The Great Ocean Road.  It stretches 243 klms from Torquay to Allansford.  Whilst you can do the drive in 1 day, with many accommodation choices along the way, you can take your time and do the drive over a couple of days.    

12 Apostles (Great Ocean Road)

We are out of time, so that’s it for today’s blog.  Enjoy Melbourne (and their great coffee) and here’s to happy days out with kids!

Take care,

Megan xo



Ahoy me hearties! Thinking of taking your kids on a cruise for the first time?  Do it! They’re bound to love it.

We recently went on a 9 night Christmas cruise around some of the Pacific Islands and on a whole it was a wonderful experience.

We were at sea for 2 days before any Island visits which was good as it gave us time to acquaint ourselves with the ship and workout where everything was situated onboard.  14 Levels to explore and find cafes, restaurants, exercise gym, beauty day spa, pool, waterslides, water park, outdoor hot spas and activities like flying fox, walking the plank, Titanic experience, night shows and outside movies on the big screen (just to name a few!)

Kids Water Park

One point that didn’t work well for our family, was the fact there was only 1 pool and it was not ideal for young kids.  There was no shallow end…just a deep plunge pool and with the sway of the sea, most days it became one big wave pool. Good fun for older kids, but for the little ones it ain’t fun.

Our first onshore visit was to the Isle of Pines and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  We entered the Island by the ship’s tenders and this was an exciting experience for the kids.  The crystal-clear water was gorgeous and we found a little bay (called Kanumera Bay) to snorkel, swim and play on the beach.  Snorkelling was fantastic here, just off from the beach we found colourful coral and bright tropical fish, including a sea snake!!  We spent hours on the beach, drinking coconut milk and eating coconuts and trying other local foods like chocolate crepes & banana donuts!  The Isle of Pines also has a rich history as it was once a French penal colony.

Trying some local foods (Isle of Pines)

Our next onshore visit was to the capital of New Caledonia, Noumea.  Noumea can be described as a peaceful port city with colourful European architectures, reflecting its colonial history.   The city sits on a large peninsula, surrounded by picturesque bays and I was surprised at how mountainous it was.  We caught a local bus to the Bay of Lemons, or as the locals call it “Baie de Citrons”.  The bus ride can only be described as a roller-coaster ride!  We all hung on for dear life, and of course both of the boys had the time of their lives hanging on as the bus driver sped up and down the hills and around corners at fast pace. Thankful to arrive in one piece, Baie de Citrons was well worth visiting and experiencing the exquisite still clear waters.  

Catching the local bus (hanging on!!)

Our next country was Vanuatu with a visit to Mystery Island and then to the capital Port Vila.  Mystery Island is a designated marine sanction with a ban on fishing.  Snorkelling was fantastic here both off the Island and out by the reef.  The whole Island is approx. one square kilometre in area and to walk around the whole Island takes about 45 minutes. We also found a gorgeous little tea house which was really nice to stop and have a cup of tea looking out to such a delightful view!

Taking tea with a view
Tea House

Being the capital, Port Vila is the main hub of Vanuatu and is well known for its lively market stalls selling produce and local handicrafts.  The National Museum of Vanuatu is well worth a visit and if you have time, take a drive to the Mele Cascades, which is a peaceful waterfall with rock pools in a rainforest.

While in Port Vila we also did a glass bottom boat ride and snorkelling in the harbour.  The kids loved the experience of the boat ride and snorkelling, however compared to other places we snorkelled on the trip, Port Vila Harbour snorkelling was average.  Visibility was fair to middling and I would not give a spectacular rating for coral or tropical fish.  In saying this though, we saw plenty of clown fish and the kids were super excited to see Nemo again!

Christmas Day and Boxing Day was spent at sea en route back to Brisbane and the cruise ship sure knew how to help us celebrate Christmas.  Santa entered the ship via flying fox and all the children gathered to receive a gift each.  The ship was beautifully decorated with Christmas trees and decorations and in some parts a winter wonderland was created with fake snow falling.

Restaurant entry on Christmas Day

I’m almost at the end of the blog and I have not yet paid tribute to the KIDS CLUB!  A flipping good time was had by both our kids in Turtle Cove (ages 2-5) and Shark Shack (ages 6-9).  Both centres had a range of toys, games and fun activities (which were educational too), plenty of arts & craft, theme nights, talent shows & concerts.  I have one word to describe kids club…..HALLELUJAH!

As I sign off, I hope you had a Merry Christmas with your loved ones and I would like to wish you all a safe and happy 2019.

Keep on cruisin’ and have a happy day out.

Megan Carige