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You Me Mountain River Sun Sea

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16 Travel Apps for your Big Lap around Australia

Before you take off on an epic tour around Australia, be sure to download the Best Travel Apps on the market. There is already so much you need to consider before you set off on your Big Lap. Here is a list of apps to help make your journey safer, smoother, and more fun!

Campsite Apps

You may have a hard copy of the Australian campsites from Camps Australia Wide 8 (Camps Australia Wide 9 is due in February 2017) – be sure to download both the Camps Australia Wide and Wikicamps apps.

  1. Camps Australia Wide is $7.99 to download but it contains indispensable information about campsites in addition to photographs of listings from both the Camps Australia Wide guide as well as the Caravan Parks Australia Wide guide.

camps8

Camps Australia Wide – Android

Camps Australia Wide – iTunes

  1. Wikicamps basic version is free, but the full version can be downloaded for a small one-time fee of $7.99 that will grant you access to the app for a lifetime. Wikicamps is a user generated database which is kept up-to-date with the latest information. It works completely offline so you don’t have to worry about signal or a wifi connection.

You just simply download all the content you need to your device before you go! You will find information about free and paid campsites and whether they are accessible for caravans or camper trailers. It shows you where there are caravan parks, road side rest areas, public dump points and much more! Wikicamps uses your location to show you nearby points of interest so you won’t miss anything cool on your journey.

wikicamps

Wikicamps Australia – iTunes

Wikicamps Australia – Android

Tracking Apps

  1. TrackMyTour is great for keeping family members up-to-date on your location. This app uses GPS tracking to make it easy for you to highlight places on your trip and send photos or other fun updates to loved ones at home. It’s a great app for travel in terms of keeping in touch with friends and family. The TrackMyTour app and website are free to use, but you are restricted to the number of maps. If you wish to create more maps you can then purchase an upgrade from within the app. TrackMyTour is only compatible on iTunes.

trackmytour                    trackmytrip

TrackMyTour – iTunes

The android version is called TrackMyTrip

  1. HemaExplorer – 4WD Maps costs $29.99. This app also uses GPS tracking and it literally follows the exact roads you drive. You do need to purchase maps as they only provide the most basic maps. You can upgrade to HEMA Offline for $99.99 if you are looking at navigating over extremely remote areas, with a real-time offline GPS tracking system and claims to have Australia’s best topographic mapping.

hema

Hema Explorer – Australia – iTunes

Hema Explorer – Australia – Android

WikiCamps also allows you plan your trip and if you need to – move each place as you travel. You can also view your route to help you find and plan other stops along the way. (See link above).

Budgeting Apps

  1. Track-Every-Coin is an app designed for tracking expenses in daily life as well as while traveling. It’s free for download just like you’d expect from a good expense tracker and is a very popular app for travellers.

trackeverycoin

Trail Wallet is a travel budget app designed for iPhones or iPads. It’s free for the first 25 items you track, but then you have to pay to use it.

You could also use Expedition Australia Budget Tracking spreadsheet, hardcopy, or just a book to keep track of your travel expenses.

Fuel App

  1. Fuel Map is a user generated database where the information is added and edited by users showing petrol stations and fuel prices. This app keeps the travellers around Australians in-the-know about the cost of petrol throughout the country.

fuel-map

Fuel Map – iTunes

Fuel Map – Android

Weather Apps

 To keep track of inclement weather conditions en-route to your destination!

  1. Bureau of Meteorology
  1. Weatherzone

weatherzone

Reminder Apps

Use these reminder apps to remember all the important dates and times like when to re-register your car and caravan. It’s easy to lose track of important dates when on the road day-after-day!

  1. Due – iTunes for your iPhone or iPad and E-Reminder for Android

First Aid App

  1. The Red Cross First Aid app is free and it offers access to life-saving information in an emergency.

The Red Cross First Aid app is great to have in addition to your first aid kit.

first-aid

Education Apps

  1. Australian Wildflowers is an essential field guide with more than 70 of the most common species of wildflowers found in our beautiful country! This app will assist you in quickly identifying flowering plants and is a highly valuable reference tool in all locations. This app is well structured and easy to navigate. Perfect for field guides that use picture recognition where every flower in Australian Wildflowers is described in detail showing information about its structure, location, common name, scientific name, botanical family and flowering time. You get all this information with no internet connection – and all images and information is available in real time. Australian Wildflowers is currently only available on iTunes.

aust-wildflower

Australian Wildflowers – iTunes

  1. Michael Morcombe’s Field Guide to Australian Birds app has been called the most comprehensive field guide to Australian birds available in the market today It is complimented by the eGuide featuring an extensive and detailed descriptions of almost all bird species including songs and calls, measurements and breeding behaviour.

The app allows you to save your sightings to a list to include the date and location with room for notes. There is a free ‘lite’ version of the app, but it only lists a handful of the 790 species that the full version has.

Michael Morcombe’s Field Guide to Australian Birds – iTunes Cost is $29.99

Michael Morcombe’s Field Guide to Australian Birds – Android Cost is $28.60

  1. Snakes of Australia is a great app to compliment the First Aid app. Snakes of Australia is a comprehensive electronic field guide of 167 species of Australian snakes. Detailing species profiles including photos, distribution maps, description of key characters, danger rating, similar species, conservation, etymology, pronunciation and more. The great part about this app is the introductory chapters on key aspects of identifying snakes, snake venoms and first aid, and snake biology. No network connection is needed when using this app.

The scale count feature is very handy as is the “filter by location” function cross-checks your location (via iPhone GPS) and shows you only snakes that are likely to occur within your area. This app is currently only available on iTunes

snakes

Snakes of Australia – iTunes Cost is $9.99

  1. Australia is home to many of the world’s most venomous snakes, spiders and marine animals. The free Australian Bites and Stings is an app providing education to our Australian community and will be of use to anyone planning to be out in Australia’s great outdoors – whether it be on the beach, camping, bushwalking or just playing out in a back yard!

A recent study found that despite the vast array of venomous creatures in Australia, the majority of people don’t know what to do if they’re unfortunate enough to be bitten or stung by one. This app is a must have if you are travelling with young children and is also a great compliment to the First Aid app.

bites-and-stings

Australian Bites and Stings

Exploring Apps

  1. GoSkyWatch is a trademark of Apple and as such are only available on iTunes. This app is essential for those nights where you are sitting around the campfire and looking up at the stars! You just point your phone to the sky and start exploring! No buttons to press or selecting modes. GoSkyWatch has a unique rotation scheme with touchless navigation, a red light mode for night vision and magnitude adjustment for great viewing conditions. Planets will show with relative brightness for easy identification, a heads-up information display and a full 180 degree display to see at a glance what is in the sky and where. If you are looking for a particular planet or star – just use the finder and let the arrow guide the way.

goskywatch

Sky Map is the Android alternative with fewer features.

  1. Spyglass is like an advanced compass/GPS navigation App for iPhone and iPad. Spyglass can be used in the car, on a bike, in a boat, on an aircraft, or walking compass. Spyglass is essential for every traveller! Packed with so many useful tools such as a hi-tech viewfinder (HUD), compass, maps, tactical GPS, waypoint tracker, speedometer, and more! Save, track and share your position, multiple waypoints, and bearings, all in real time.

spyglass

Spyglass – iTunes

Spyglass – Android

Added extra…

The National Public Toilet Map shows the location of more than 14,000 public and private toilet facilities across Australia. This is a great App for families travelling with young children (especially when getting out the spade is not an option)

Using the Trip Planner function, you can plan your journey and locate toilets you can use along the way. The information provides location, opening hours, availability of baby change rooms, and accessibility for people with disabilities and the details of other nearby toilets.

toilet

National Public Toilet Map – iTunes

National Public Toilet Map – Android

One last thing before you go – help us by sharing to let others know who may benefit from this information!

We are about to hit the road ourselves in less than 4 weeks time – so if you can recommend any other awesome apps for travelling around Australia – add them in the comments.

Sharing is caring!

Happy travels everyone!

 

wet-photo
Some people feel the rain – others just get wet!

 

 

 

 

 

My WHY – my reason to experience life to the full and travel around Australia!

** Getting to know Lynell from YouMeMountainRiverSunSea **

I recently finished a journal yesterday (I love to journal by the way) and the quote on the front cover says ‘Do not count the days – make the days count’. A reminder, every day, to do just that – make the days count.

So I decided I would do something different – even just the smallest thing – just something different.

It has become a habit for me to hang out the washing on the washing line from left to right; as I am left-handed, I use my left hand to clip the pegs. So I decided to hang the washing from right to left and using my right hand to clip the pegs. I thought at the beginning this was just a silly exercise – but after I finished, I was in tears and I like I had conquered my own little Mt Everest (I’m not far off the washing pile was huge!)

It sounds simple enough right – just switch things around to what you would normally do. Well for me, this was not the case. I really had to consciously think about what I was doing, like really think – and my brain hurt after it. In the beginning my self-talk was ‘this is pretty stupid, you could get it done so much quicker if you did it the way you have always done it’ and ‘I have so many other chores I could get started if I stopped this silly exercise and carry on the way I have always done it’ and ‘I am having trouble opening the peg with my right hand as it seems so unnatural’.

I persevered – and I am so thankful I did. It MADE me actually present to hanging out the washing – like picking up Nathan’s favourite long sleeve shirt that he wears, and give it a quick sniff to see if it smelt like him, (it didn’t – I can’t quite figure out if I was happy or sad about this – I wanted it to smell like him just a bit, but I also wanted to make sure the laundry powder I use does its job) and holding it up and around my body as if he was cuddling me (sounds crazy right) and realising how lucky I am that he chose me as his wife (ah warm feeling in my belly moment).

When I picked up Rainbows first full swimming costume and just marvelling at how it looks so big in comparison to what her newborn clothes were like – and how close we had come to losing her (I may have started crying at the point). As her middle name is Rainbow, I checked to see it had all the colours of Rainbow like the Rainbow song (more tears). I picked up my maternity bra; and marvelled at the fact that I am so fortunate to be able to breastfeed her and share a bond that I, still to this day and after having three children, cannot put the right words to explain how it makes me feel. To know I am one of the fortunate Mums who can give their child part of me, to help her grow, to supply her with the most nutritious most natural milk nature can give.

I picked up Harry’s Hat that he had worn for 4 years at child care (he is only 6 years old) and how even though it has always been too big for him and sits low on his forehead so that when he looks up, he has to tilt his head that bit further – to see you (more tears). His ‘Harry.H’ orange hat that is so battered and worn, but he loves it. The hat he wore when he made lifelong friends already at his age, where I met my best friend as Harry and her son are best mates, (even more tears) at a child care where the carers became like a second family and we have watched families grow together.

I picked up Savvy’s swimming costume and hung it next to Rainbows – I could picture them both there in their costumes, and how throughout life, these two sisters will be by each other’s sides for as long as this life has set out for them (tears are flowing like a river). It honestly feels like one minute Savvy was our firstborn and we did everything by the book; our sweet little baby who giggles anytime you say ‘bum’ to Savvy being my quietly confident rock at times when Nathan has been away for work and Rainbow was not well.

Once she came into my room in the middle of the night when she heard me crying even though I tried to hide it. She comforted me just by stroking my hair and wiping my tears and saying ‘Mummy I love you, you should never hide your tears – that’s what you tell me and Harry. It’s okay to cry’.

It took me over an hour to finish this task where normally it would take 20-25 minutes.
If I had not set myself this (now not so silly) task – I would have just been like a robot and got the job done. Instead, I got to appreciate my family in the craziest way.

I even noticed at one stage I had my tongue sticking out to the side like Rainbow had when she was learning to move a toy from one hand to the next, I stood back once I had finished with my hands on my hips and a grin on my face like Harry does when he finishes building a new lego set, and a slight tilt of my head to the left like Savvy when she asks me a question.

My challenge for you is to do something different every day, even if it means starting small – because it is the small things that start the big things rolling.

Happy travelling!

Lynell

30 Day Countdown before the Big Trip: Medical Travel Checklist

Congratulations! So you’ve got a plan for your Big Trip and you’re on the 30-day countdown.

Most people remember to do a vehicle check and make sure the caravan is in working order, but what about pre-travel health check-ups for you and your family?

Don’t forget to add these Health check-ups to your travel checklist before you hit the road

  • Doctor – Get a full check-up before you leave! Getting a clean bill of health from your doctor can make it much easier to cope with health issues you might encounter once you begin traveling. Women, get a pap smear (that’s right – I said it just like that).
  • Medical Records – Take a copy of each family member’s medical records on a USB stick or a hard drive. That way, you’ll be able to print them out yourself if you need too.
  • Medications – Make a special “Med Bag” for your family that includes a bulk supply of any medications, vitamins, or herbs that you take on a regular basis. There’s nothing worse than being sick in a far-flung place without the proper meds. Having the medications organized and in bulk supply can be a real lifesaver – have your prescriptions ready to go – that way you just need to find a chemist while you’re on the road.
  • Skin Check – Australia has skin centres where you go to annually where the annual check-up involves a whole body photograph, head to toe. (Don’t worry, they’ll give you paper underwear! Sexy, right?!) The centres take numerous photos of your whole body even under your feet, the palms of your hands, and under your arms—to check for possible abnormalities.
  • Dentist – Be sure to have any important dental work done by your regular dentist before you travel. It can be challenging to track down a good dentist when you’re en route from here to there and it never hurts to be proactive about your teeth. You might as well get good use of your private health insurance before it expires!
  • Chiropractor/Physiotherapist – Make an appointment to get any necessary adjustments done. Traveling can be physically demanding with lots of setting up and pulling down the camp on a regular basis!
  • Personal Health Record and Immunisation Books for Children – In many countries, including Australia, children are given booklets that contain immunisation information and health check-up milestones. These books can provide invaluable information in a pinch. And it’s sometimes necessary to show that immunisations are up-to-date. Also, include any allergies family members have. Keep these in a safe place! You can even take it a step further to get a laminated document on hospital stationary with each child’s name, blood type and any allergies printed on it. Keep these in the front cover of their personal health record books.
  • First Aid Kit – Make sure you have everything you may need in a medical emergency and store it in a place that’s easy to find! You could also keep a copy of the laminated card with your family’s blood types and allergies in the First Aid Kit. We have decided to take 3 First Aid Kits – 1 for the car, 1 for the caravan and a smaller one for the day bag or backpack when you are out exploring!

This checklist may seem excessive, however, the first time you encounter a health issue in the middle-of-nowhere you’ll be glad you scheduled those extra appointments! To stay on top of it all before departure, set reminders on your phone and PC or write it all down on a hard copy.

Adding a self-care to the travel checklist may add to the chaos when you’re on the final countdown, but it will also add to your peace of mind later when you’re making your way to spectacular destinations you’ve always yearned to see.

What other medical checklists would you recommend?!

Happy traveling!!!!

 

 

 

Bounce Inc – Trampoline Park – Tingalpa

The first time I went to Bounce in Tingalpa, I thought it was such a fantastic idea. As with a lot of great ideas, you wonder why this hadn’t been thought of before. A big warehouse filled with a variety of trampoline activities, appealing to big and little kids in like measure. Simple! They have made Bounce at Tingalpa a very trendy place to go to, using bright colours and modern design touches to ensure it doesn’t feel like you are in a big warehouse. The Bounce staff are really friendly and they make a pretty decent coffee to cap it off (get it… cappuccino). Whilst our older kids love going to Bounce, I, on the other hand, get mixed emotions. With Lynell assuming babysitting duties, I always get to be the bouncing supervisory adult in attendance.

As an adult approaching 40 way too quickly, the deceptive mind thinks its 16 again when you get to places like these, yet the body soon gives you a reality check that you are a long way past your best-before date for gymnastic capabilities. Following the kids excited lead as they bounce off along the surprisingly responsive and efficient trampolines, a couple of big bounces in and I can literally feel my spine compressing, and my brain straining around in its cranium. It’s a mildly depressing realization that I’m one of the older blokes here, more so that I actually have to jump like it too to ensure an impromptu ambulance trip isn’t called for.

A typical day at Bounce is broken into hourly time slots. A fixed number of people are allowed onto the trampoline floor at any one time to help manage safety. My kids with their enviable limitless energy spend the whole hour that we are allocated running around the various trampoline activities, whilst I try to think of excuses to leave the kids to enjoy it by themselves. There are only so many coffee stops you can have before your kids wise up to you.

If you are thinking of going to visit Bounce, and if you have kids, you really must as I don’t think there is any kid that wouldn’t enjoy this place. Bear in mind it is very popular so you may want to make a booking to ensure that you get a place in your preferred time slot. If you are a 30-40 something adult, just take it easy, have a stretch or two before heading on the trampolines, and remember – what goes up must come down – just hope it is a soft and graceful landing.

Families are well-catered for with baby changing facilities, a café with decent coffee, and a viewing platform so self-respecting parents that don’t want to risk an age-related spinal subluxation – can watch on in comfort. The only thing currently lacking at Bounce is a little enclosed play area for the toddlers and little kids under 3 years of age that aren’t old enough to get on the trampolines. With all the colour, squeals of laughter, music, and excitement – they want to go downstairs and play as well!

A new attraction to Bounce we found on our most recent visit is an adventure challenge course named X-Park. It’s essentially an American Ninja Warrior style training course. So for all you American Ninja Warrior fans – this adventure course is for you! Needless to say, I quickly retreated to the viewing platform for a coffee before being egged on to injury by the little people. You need to purchase an X-Park wristband from reception to record your time – which will then be added to the leader/loser board depending on your performance; whether you are a glass half full or empty kind of person. You also need to wear lace up flat soled shoes rather than the bounce socks.

Happy bouncing!

Cheers.

Nathan

Thunderegg Fossicking

The other weekend we decided we were going to take the kids thunderegg fossicking. Our eldest two kids (and maybe me too…) are big Minecraft fans and Lynell thought it would be fun to do some real ‘mining’.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much as I had no idea what thundereggs were. I thought they were something to do with dinosaurs, and for some reason had visions of pretend eggs in a sandpit kind of image going on….boy did I feel stupid when the day was out!

On reaching Thunderbird Park, we had a quick lunch stop at the Café (delicious salads) and then headed straight to the mine entrance. Turns out we would be digging in a real working Mine for thundereggs which are around 200 Million years old – actually older than the dinosaurs!

We learned that thundereggs are formed from bubbles of air in pre-historic  lava flows that over millions of years of heat and pressure, fill with a variety of minerals to produce hardened egg shaped balls. When cut open they have a captivating appearance comprising of different coloured rocks, minerals, and crystal. I was excited to start mining!

I waved my debit card around enough that we were allowed admission into the mine, and following some safety instructions, we were given a bucket and a hand-pick each and pointed in the direction of the mining areas. After a short walk up the hill full of excitement, we came across the first of two mining areas. Not really knowing where to start digging, a couple of other families gave us some guidance and their best digging holes which had proved pretty lucrative for them. We quickly learned what we were looking for, and the best method of digging the thundereggs out without damaging them. We were all hooked! It didn’t take long for the competitiveness to kick in…..As a parent, more often than not – you allow your kids to beat you at an activity. This day, however, I humbly admit that I got lost in the moment and it was glory for the largest thunderegg finder!

A couple of hours of energetic digging followed by gentle levering of thundereggs from the soft rock deposit, we had a couple of buckets filled with different sized thundereggs. We scored one about the size of a grapefruit, and a number of smaller ones – the smallest being about the size of a large grape. When you return to the Mine shed, you have the option to get some cut open for a small fee per thunderegg. The Mine staff helps you choose which thundereggs may be the better ones, and which are too small. We got the largest ones and a few golf ball shaped ones cut open. After we were shown the first one cut open, we couldn’t resist getting some more cut – these things are awesome!

The Mine shop also sold some clear coat resin to paint on them so that the cut open thundereggs keep a ‘wet look’ finish to them, allowing you to see the detail in them much more clearly. If you go thunderegg fossicking and have some cut open, I would highly recommend getting the clear coat resin to paint them.

All in all the kids and I had an absolute ball; it was one of those memorable days that by far exceeds your initial expectations! You then get to take home a mining certificate and some fascinating and decorative thundereggs that we will be holding onto for years to come. A few weeks down the track and I still find myself gazing into the detail of the thundereggs at times, mesmerized by their age and just the natural wonder of them. I highly recommended this activity for a family day out.

Cheers!

Nathan

The 10 Week Countdown!

Hi, My name is Nathan. My wife Lynell and I have for a long time been planning of traveling Australia with our young children, Savannah, Harry, and Rainbow.

The countdown is on and the time is nearly upon us! What was originally just a wish or pipe dream is soon to become our reality. Both my wife and I have been through a transformative process of increased spiritual and emotional awareness over the last 2 or so years and I now feel this trip will be as much about us becoming more spiritual beings, as it will be about exploring this beautiful country we now call home.

When it became real:

For me, the moment I truly knew we were going to undertake this trip of a lifetime was when we put our house up for sale. The liquidation of our assets to fund the purchase of  a caravan and suitable car for the trip committed us to the process. That was almost a year ago, and whilst we have a lot of the big ticket items sorted, there is still much to do before we leave. What for a long time seemed a long way away – is just around the corner. Nathan

Hi, my name is Lynell. 10 weeks and counting before we leave and I am just so freaking excited! I had my life all planned out, in fact, it was going much better than I planned! I married my best friend, we had 2 beautiful children – a girl and a boy, we had a nice fancy car each and a house with a white picket fence. We both had good jobs and a mortgage – just like in the movies right?

If someone had told me just over 2 years ago that in 2 years from now Nathan and I would not own a property, I would be running an online travel business instead of working in a job, I would be homeschooling/unschooling our children, I would be more spiritually aware of myself, others and our surroundings, and that for a year or so I would be traveling around Australia in a caravan with 3 children (we only had Savannah and Harry at that time) – I seriously would have laughed out loud in their face!

I am sitting here today with a mixture of emotions. I have butterflies in my belly of nervous excitement. I feel sad to be leaving our family and friends who have become like family. I feel blessed to know our children are going on an adventure many children may never experience. I feel confident in the choice we have made to homeschool/unschool our children. I feel relief we have a reliable car and caravan for the big trip – like a massive relief. I feel scared thinking about snakes, spiders, crocodiles and deadly wildlife (just being honest). I feel determined that wherever possible we eat as wholesome and organically as we can. I feel a duty to ensure that the products we use on a daily basis are chemical free and earth friendly in order to protect mother nature and play our part in keeping it green for future generations.

Most of all – I feel Grateful. Grateful to be able to share this journey with my soul mate, my best friend and our beautiful children. Grateful to be able to have the support of our family and friends. Grateful to all be healthy and able to enjoy this adventure. Grateful to have the finances to sustain our trip for however long we are destined to travel. I trust that every experience we have in life was given to us for a reason – now it is time for me to allow it all to just happen. You’ll never know until you go! Lynell

We are putting this blog together to share our experiences with family, friends, and anyone else who is interested. We hope it will inspire, educate or enthrall!

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