In December 2018 we celebrated our eldest son’s 21st birthday by rafting the Franklin River in Tasmania. Originally it was to be a father and son trip. Our other three kids were all away for the week, so it was a perfect opportunity to do something special with Christopher. I suggested white water rafting as it was something I would never want to do. Bookings were made and I revelled in the idea of a whole week at home on my own.
But then I started suffering FOMO. I reasoned with myself that I hate roller coasters and being cold and wet and that this would be like being cold and wet on a roller coaster for a week. I enjoyed camping but this sounded extreme with no campfires and no facilities whatsoever. I liked the look of some of the trips offered on the calmer waters of the Lower Franklin, but these weren’t being considered by my husband and son.
The deadline arrived to pay the deposit and I decided to go. And then spent the next month leading up to our departure feeling sick about it. What was worse was that it was entirely my own decision. I wasn’t being encouraged or pressured into going at all – actually quite the contrary! So, I couldn’t complain, no matter how much I might come to regret it. Read more
Cascading waterfalls bubble over whirling spa pools which spill into an infinity-edged rock pool. Pink lilies gather at the rim where a water dragon basks in the sun. The pool is deep and cool with fresh, sparkling water. And we have it all to ourselves.
“Over the next few days, we’ll all get to know each other really well, eh?” Our guide, Stu, says in his thick New Zealand accent at our pre-walk briefing in Queenstown.
I look around the room with disinterest. I’m not here to meet new people. I’m here for a girls’ week away, a catch up with friends; to have a break from daily routines, from worrying about who needs to be at what activity when and what to cook for dinner. And, by the by, I’m here to walk the Milford Track. Read more
Lingering on the iconic Rialto Bridge at dusk, we gaze out over the Grand Canal as the sky turns rose-pink. Lights from the opulent Renaissance palaces dance on the water and a gondolier, silhouetted against the rising full moon, silently passes below us. Oblivious to the throngs of passing tour groups and jostling photographers, we kiss.
“Oh yuck!” “Gross!” “Do you have to?” interrupt our children.
I give my husband an I-told-you-so-look. It had been his idea to come to Venice. I was keen of course, but not now when our children are still young. And with us. Read more
“So, how long have you kids been doing this type of volunteer work?” asks Boyd Hastings, a National Parks Field Officer and our guide for the morning, as he hands out gardening gloves, safety vests and digging tools.
Our kids respond with a blank look.
I realise it is time to come clean, both to Boyd and the kids. “They actually didn’t know they were going to be doing this.” I admit. Read more
When I first contacted Mayumi of “The Funny Inn” about accommodating our family of six during our ski trip to Japan, she immediately replied offering availability in two rooms saying: “I promise special time in both room which is very popular for foreigners guests”. Feeling this was an offer too good to refuse, I made the booking. Read more
I’d agree it wasn’t the best way to start a marriage. Spending three months walking 1,500 kilometres across France and Spain with my new husband was one thing. With my father-in law was quite another. Read more
I pull my hood down over my face and make a dash from the car. I feel conspicuous in my brand new aqua-blue gortex jacket. I am the only one giving a Sydney postcode when I check in to the campground.
“It hasn’t rained this hard since the last time we went camping,” I half joke while dripping over the reception desk.
“Oh, you should come more often” replies one of the friendly staff jovially.
That’s the problem with camping with country people. You can’t complain about the rain. Read more
In the early dawn light, the bride stands on the shores of the Katherine River and watches, wordlessly, as canoes are carried to the sand; waterproof barrels are packed with sleeping bags, mosquito repellent and toilet paper; spare paddles tied securely on. She offers no help, or comment. Her husband is excited. This, a three day canoeing trip on the Katherine River in the Northern Territory, is the start of their honeymoon. He has kept all the plans a surprise. And she is surprised all right.
I expected the biggest decision I would have to make would be between a rump and a T-bone. Perhaps what flavour sauce to top the vanilla ice cream. I never imagined we would have before us twice cooked duck and goat tagine with polenta. I am now reluctant to leave the warmth of our fireside table. I am keen to savour our surprisingly special meal, sip our wine slowly. Not venture out into the cold night to wander around an old lunatic asylum. Read more