Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My top 10 reasons to take a mini road trip.

Last Thursday our beloved Frankie Blue caravan came back from a few months at the caravan fixer-up-er-er and on Saturday we hitched her up and took off for a couple of days away.

Originally we had had big plans for faraway adventures, but when it came down to it, we decided a nearer destination felt more doable and just as much fun.

A mini road trip: A trip that took us somewhere less than hour away from home and for a couple of days only.

It was wonderful to be back on the road again and such a fantastic break from everyday life.

Here's my top 10 reasons for taking a mini road trip;

1) Spend time together as a family without the distractions of home.

It was great for us to be together again without the distractions of home and the farm. To really be together. To hang out with Jo-Jo. To not have to collect the eggs, bring in the fire wood and feed the animals. And it was great to remember who we are when we aren't rushing around ticking things off our to do lists all the time.

2) To slow down, explore, and walk.

I don't know about you, but at home I drive in and out of town a few times a day. Between school drop offs and pick ups, activities, shopping and social arrangements I am forever zooming about in the car. For me one of the best things about time away is the fact that there is no rush. And because there is no rush we spend more time walking. And because we are walking we hold hands and piggy back and see so many things that we would otherwise miss when we are zooming from here to there.

3) To be inspired.

To see new things, to see different things and to think about how you can take a bit of it home with you.

I loved how as soon as we saw the pom pom tree in Castlemaine, my kids were making plans for a pom pom tree on our farm, that Miss Indi was taking photos of it and the little girls were babbling excitedly about who saw it first and who made the pom-poms and who put them there and when and why.

I feel like when I am in a new place my eyes are open wider than usual to take more in. That I notice things. That my senses are sharper.

Everything we saw from the golden autumn leaves falling from the trees, to the musical playground, to the pizza oven in the school, to the knitted square wrapped tree, everything made me notice, made me think and made me happy.

4) To drive up a mountain, climb up a fire tower and brave the icy wind to watch the sunset.

Traveling makes you do stuff you just don't do in your everyday life. Traveling makes you take risks, explore and sometimes leaves you spell bound.

5) To discover your local area. 

I have a friend who is so good at this. She is always off on little trips exploring nearby towns. I am not so good at this. I find myself so caught up in everyday life that there's no time.

On our mini road trip we discovered and explored our neighbouring towns. We walked their streets, watched the people and discover the best places to have coffee (the organic place in Maldon has organic milk and coffee!!), the place to find huge, homemade wagon wheels (at the bakery in Newstead), and the best breakfast ( Saffs in Castlemaine).

Now when people talk about the Maldon lolly shop, the cute little handmade shop in Newstead or the piles of rocks in the paddocks of the central goldfields, we'll know what they are talking about.

6) To fill your basket with treasures from op shops, markets and garage sales.

Last weekend I found a gorgeous ball of natural merino wool, some vintage fabric, a baby blue Pyrex baking dish, some yellow Johnson brothers bowls and a Mason jar. I love finding the treasures but I also love how at home they become reminders of the fun times we had.

7) To enjoy new sights and sounds and styles and details and flora and fauna.

The incredible train station and tech buildings in Maryborough, the streets of Maldon, the oldest town in Victoria virtually untouched, the desolate, windswept paddocks outside Newstead...wow!

8) To fall in love with history and imagine yourself in another time and place.

Oh how I want to live in an old farmhouse. To clomp down the wooden floored hallways and drink tea while gazing out of the big, wide windows at the endless paddocks....ahhhh....

9) To be a tourist. 

It was so much fun being part of the caravan crew again. To strap on the caravan mirrors and do the caravan wave. To ask the locals where we should go and to do the touristy things. We loved having our cozy little home with us wherever we went and we can't wait to get out on the road again soon.
10) To hang out on the couch.

Last weekend I sat on the caravan couch and learnt how to do a provisional cast on and how to wrap and turn and then I knitted a whole beanie. At home things like this take days with all the distractions and interruptions but when you are away from home you have time, you make time.

Farmer Bren read magazines and the newspaper, I did the Samurai sudoku and knitted, the girls watched movies, played games and drew.

Now that we've done it once, we are all counting down the days until we can hitch up and drive off again soon. We all had a ball remembering the travelling us, reminiscing about last years' road trip and planning the next.

A mini road trip is easy, not much of a commitment and so much fun.

So how about you, do you like a mini road trip?
Will we see you somewhere down the road?
Do you take time to explore the nearby towns?
Do you know that bakery that sells the best pie, have you been to that museum, have you met that old, old lady, have you visited that antique map shop?

Travel safe my friends.



  1. Hi kate, my sister, mum and I are planning a mini getaway up your way in a couple of weeks, 'a girls weekend ' so more a break from our normal routines than a family bonding holiday, but I' m looking forward to mooching around Daylesford and surrounds. We had really great pies at the Maldon bakery last time we were up that way, i had a chicken pie that was delicious! Love all your pics, they do make me want to get out there and explore. We do the 'Sunday drive' sometimes with the boys and check out semi local spots on the Peninsula, it is nice to be a local tourist and see things with fresh eyes. Have a great week, Julie :)

  2. What a lovely post, Kate! Sometimes meandering around your own area is the perfect sort of travel.

  3. Gorgeous Kate, looks like a wonderful, wonderful time... inspirational - feeling the need for a caravan! xxx Rach

  4. What a fabulous little trip! Thank you for reminding me of all the reasons why a short road trip is well worth the effort. Do you mind me asking where you stopped at night that allowed you to have Jo-Jo along for the ride?

    1. Yep, traveling with a pooch is a whole new ball game.
      We stayed at the caravan park in Maldon.
      It was lovely and quiet and green and clean.

  5. So appropriate...we have been planning a mini road trip for July-August but have been busy thinking up reasons for NOT going! Well here are ten reasons why we should! Thank you.

  6. right now, i'm up to my eyeballs in tidying and packing (and sick kids!) - i'm so grateful for your perfectly timed reminder of why we're doing it.

  7. This is such a lovely post and perfectly timed to make my heart sing. We opened up the van last night ready to pack for a week away starting Saturday. I have lists coming up to my ears and am ferociously working through them so we are ready to head north and see what we can see.


  8. Your little trip sounds wonderful Kate. My family are busy getting ready to move from Adelaide to Melbourne due to hubby's work. Although I am not necessarily happy to move, one thing I am looking forward to is being able to explore a new city and the surrounds. Your photos have given me hope of some little weekend trips that we will hopefully be able to do too. Thank you so much for sharing them.

  9. What a wonderful time there is to be had! My husband and I are in love with roadtrips, large and small, but often find it difficult to get away for the mini ones. Our last one was a few weeks ago (for 8 days), from Brisbane out to Longreach. It was perfect weather for van camping. I love seeing you and yours getting about as a family and do hope that we continue the road trip tradition when we have our own smalls.


  10. I love this post! I have been thinking about this a lot lately...and I do mean a lot! We took a mini, mini road trip for a few hours on Sunday afternoon (& posted today too, but not nearly as eloquently). We talked as a family and made a promise we would do this as much as we can. We are looking into a Farm Stay about an hour and a half away for this summer plus a few spontaneous trips. It is a good thing!

  11. You're a beautiful soul, Kate. x

  12. I do like a mini road trip..even a day trip is fun! We're preparing for a bigger trip and I can't even imagine what kind of car we will be hiring when we get to our destination! Maybe a big old Yank Tank! I'm looking forward to drive in diners, thrift stores, playgrounds, donuts, sunshine, and most of all family time. Be good to see you before we go...I still haven't sorted out my travelling crochet project! Keep warm beautiful one xo

  13. Your mini road trip sounds wonderful. I love exploring new places and scenes- such an adventure outside of the everyday routine which can feel a little smothering at times. well done for making it happen and gorgeous inspiring photos as always.

  14. Sam is so good at the spontaneous hitch up of the van and go. I'm the one who gets in a bit of a flap about what we need to do and take and fussing about getting things at home all sorted before we leave. . . all of which doesn't really matter. We've got lots of good spots a stone's throw from here {as you well know!} so we really don't need to travel far to take a break.

    hope you guys are all peachy. i read every post, but am not so good at regular commenting.

    rachel xox

  15. That sounded like a great trip! We are planning a weekend camping trip soon, having had to abandon our planned camp earlier this year. We forgot that we replaced husband's truck with a sedan, and when we tried to pack my Qashqai, he concluded that it would be either the two boys, or the tent :--(
    We were walking by an outdoor place with rows of humongously huge caravans, at the end a small 30 yr-old, whoch was actually more spacious inside - and I thought of your long road trip :-)

  16. We do just that occasionally and it is the best thing ever. I love the little towns you visited, Maldon is too cute and Castlemaine is amazing. Talbot is a great spot too, check it out if you haven't already.

  17. Oh we are very much in need of a mini break here in these parts.

  18. we are taking Gertie Mae on a short trip this weekend, only 1 1/2 hours away, can't wait.

  19. Love this area of Victoria, it is filled with interesting little towns, well worthy of a good explore : -)

  20. I love this! You are so right - all of these things are so absolutely necessary!
    We need to get out of our groove to really see things and appreciate what we have.
    Thanks Kate. Kx

  21. We bought a camper trailer a few weeks ago and have plans for a mini road trip in 3 weeks! I love little get-aways, when you can't take a week or two off, but a few days can be just enough to recharge the batteries. We're going camping only half an hour from home but to a little town that we don't stop in at very often. Can't wait!

  22. This was our life pre-Australia. In NZ we would spend many weekends spontaneously travelling the North Island..how I long for those days.
    Looks like your mini road trip was just what you needed.

  23. Miss Kate, you certainly have a way with words and I do feel like I've had a little escape too. Many thanks! :)

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  25. We love checking out our surrounding, very quaint towns ( we are in Clunes), and Maryborough is certainly one of my fav places! We arent far off hitching the van and heading off on a short trip ( our van is a renovated 30yr old Coronet)
    Planning on taking it just out of town...to live in it (and shed) whilst we build a new home.
    Hmmm- living in a van and shed whilst homeschooling our gorgeous 4 kids. Crazy? Maybe. An adventure? For sure!

  26. We like to go on mini road trips as often as we can. It's so nice to just get away from the usual hum drum, slow down and just be! Thanks for reminding us how easy it can be!

  27. Hhhhmmmm.... I recognise that gorgeous old bluestone building in a paddock. I covert it too :-) When we moved to our town over ten years ago, every Friday night became fish and chip night. We would jump in the car, pick up our order and then drive in a different direction to the Friday before. It was a great way to get a feel for the nearby district. We might drive for half an hour before turning around and heading home again.

    I like Sparrows at Beaufort for GREAT coffee, the opp shop at Avoca, Vines cafe and the nice women's clothing store nearby at Ararat, I always mean to stop at that shop at Newstead (maybe next time)..... Thanks Kate and enjoy that new oven. I am soooooooo looking forward to seeking a picture of it newly installed, K8

  28. Beautiful, beautiful post Kate. Love your tips. The man in this little home is outside right now loading up our van ready for a long weekend adventure. Winter woollies packed, ready for exploring.

    I love popping back here to read about your adventures, whether they are on the road or at your home.

    Happy weekend.

  29. good on you kate and co. just tonight we were planning a two week road trip back to the flinders ranges for a bit more of a look see. you are so right a micro break is just the ticket. i know that old farmhouse and have spent many a long daydream imagining that it was mine. funny

  30. I am so with you, we took our van away for three days last week and now can't wait to go again. Most likely our next trip will only be a half hour drive up into the hills but being away from home is such a tonic and great for providing quality family time. Mini breaks are ace! Xx

  31. I have come here from 1000 homes of happiness Facebook page. Kellie told me that you had mentioned Castlemaine in your post and she thought I might be interested. We went to Castlemaine for the long weekend. We love caravanning , and it is amazing what you discover in your own state.
    I haven't updated my blog with Castlemaine photos, but I do have some on my facebook
    Love your van by the way.


  32. Hi, just discovered your blog, (ok it's 8am in the morning and I should probably be doing something more useful than discovering new blogs, but hey ho...) and was having a little wander round and when I read in this post about exploring your local area I thought about how bad I am at doing this and that I must go to a place called Maldon that's about 10 or so miles away. And then, blow me, you mention a town called Maldon! Right on the other side of the world from me but with the same name. My Maldon is in Essex in England and is the home of Maldon Sea Salt. I don't know if you have that. Anyway, I felt I had to tell you that at 8.13am on a Friday morning in cloudy old England!
    Happy Day.

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