Our first port of call with our Jayco Expanda Outback! Arriving at the Discovery Park Warrnambool, we were given a lovely sheltered site, courtesy of the Management team. Remembering not to reverse with the Hayman Reese Weight Management System bars attached, we took a moment to dismount them, before Paul parked the Jayco in beautifully!
To say the kids were excited about the caravan would be an understatement! Paul jumped inside to start the preparation, but the kids had to wait outside. It was such a joy to watch their eyes pop when Paul raised the pop top. It was hilarious watching their jaws drop collectively as the bed ends were expanded, and clapping their hands as we rolled out the awning. THEN we opened the door. One by one they stepped inside and gasped. “It’s so pretty!”, “It’s like a hotel!”, “I want to sleep in the other double bed!”, “ I bags the top bunk!”.
It was a lovely afternoon as the kids explored the Jayco, marvelling at the storage, the seating areas, the kitchen, and the fridge. The three taps on the sink confused them a bit, but they’ve since figured it out, and we’ll clarify it for you later!
If you haven’t been to Warrnambool before, the Lake Pertobe precinct is a delight for children of all ages. Different playgrounds, a maze, a flying fox for littlies, and one for older kids (and their parents). Not only that, but there are opportunities to hire paddle boats or petrol driven boats on the lake. All this was only a short stroll from the Discovery Park. Warm in the sun, the kids ran non-stop, while Paul and Kirstine envied their energy. As the sun began to set, a chill settled in the air, so we retreated back to the Jayco and its heater.
At the mouth of the Hopkins River, near Logans Beach, we took Luna and the kids for some beach fun. Luna adores swimming at the beach, and the safety of the mouth of the river, where it can overflow into the ocean when it floods, is a safe place for water play, and an off leash area for dogs. Luna met several good mannered dogs, but her favourite was definitely a 7 month old whippet. Talk about run! For the first time, Luna couldn’t keep up with this canine bunny rabbit tearing up the sand, but she had a darn good go at it. It’s so wonderful when she gets to meet other dogs and have such fun, even better when the owners have raised their dogs right, and everyone plays nicely.
We left the Discovery Park with everyone comfortable with the Jayco and it’s many features, and ready to catch up on some work at our next location. Still Warrnambool! Needing to get our eldest son back to Melbourne for the end of the school holidays, it was going to be easier to stay in town so we could pop him on a train.
The Surfside Holiday Park had been very patient with us as we organised our plans at the last minute. We had an awesome site in a sheltered area, and another with with a Jayco Expanda poptop arrived too. Our kids played with theirs, Luna played with their dogs, and the grown ups shared their fondness for Jaycos. Thankfully the kids went off exploring at the beach, so Paul & Kirstine could sort photos, write blogs and make contact with media. We felt strongly about the latter, we’d travelled through areas like Terang and Cobden, devastated by the massive bushfires of St Patrick’s Day and thereafter. With Paul’s experience in this field, he wanted to make sure that our trip was a reminder for emergency services staff to speak up about their mental health if they are struggling.
The ABC South West Victoria was very interested in our story, and Daniel came out to record an interview and take photos. A lead to the story is on Facebook, and the radio interview was broadcast early this morning. If we can get a link to it, we’ll share it!
The morning came for us to leave, and with it a state wide warning for destructive and gale force winds. Definitely not ideal for towing! Kirstine checked with the front office staff, and they were happy for us to stay another day, waiting out the winds! It was cold, very windy, it rained and it even hailed! All the while, we were safely ensconced within our Jayco. The kids watched a movie, Paul was busy sending emails, and Kirstine got to work trying to catch up on reviews on Tripadvisor for the caravan parks we’ve stayed at, and attractions we have enjoyed.
How bad was the weather? The very important South West Emergency Services Capability Forum had been scheduled for that day. It had to be postponed, as it was the kind of weather that meant that the emergency services would be needed, and they were. The Victorian SES alone, responded to over 1060 Requests for Assistance across the state.
We loved making new memories in Warrnambool and are very grateful to the holiday parks that supported us as we inducted the kids to the world of our Jayco, and then caught up on much needed work. We genuinely hope that some of the local emergency services have seen our photos on Facebook, heard our interview or been told about it. When your career, either paid or voluntary, involves helping people in difficult and disastrous situations, you cannot underestimate the effect this has. If you have an Employee Assistance Program available, or even mandatory counselling after traumatic events, find the courage to be honest. As hard as it may be, as trivial as it may seem at the time, speaking up will change the course of your life for the better!