Travelling long distances with kids has its moments of enjoyment, but for the most part it can be classed as pure exhaustion, frustration and total agony.
Over the week and a half (2012 Easter holidays), my family took an epic never ending journey drive across two Australian states.
Part 1 of our journey started out from the SE Gippsland region of Victoria (VIC) (about 1 hour from Melbourne CBD). With the final destination on the map being Sydney (SYD).
Setting off at 4.00am on Maundy Thursday with 8 suitcases, sleeping bags, an Esky (the largest you could possibly buy ~ 95L Cooler) ~ full of supplies. Books, toys, 7 kids, 2 adults and not forgetting to mention the cat (we had no one to look after Mithrill).
Leaving in darkness (and after a quick breakfast), the van was silent. All 7 bodies (including myself) were slumped in their seats snoring away while hubby drove through dawn and then sunrise.
This silence only lasted a short while as the cries of hunger (even though the kids ate breakfast before leaving) started taking over their boredom.
After about a 4+ hour drive and a fuel refill (sorry I don’t quite remember where we stopped on the map below) the journey continued then by crossing the VIC/NSW border from Wodonga into Albury.
|Melbourne (VIC) to Albury (NSW) Route Map|
Crossing the Murray River is total excitement for the children as they shout “we are in Sydney”! Ha NOT quite kids!
Then those very words I have written in the title are finally spoken “Are we there yet”?
Of course we are not even CLOSE and this is when the reality of our journey hits rock bottom.
Firstly if you are wondering about the vehicle we are travelling in, you can read here. And although it would appear to have plenty of room to space out the family ~ believe me when I tell you that a 49 seater bus probably wouldn’t have helped either.
Children (as well as parents) confined to a small space and their seats for so MANY hours can bring out the most shocking behaviours.
For starters; parents begin verbally yelling at the children and then at one another. Reasons for this are either because the kids just wont SHUT UP be quiet or either partner is telling the other how to drive (back seat driver syndrome).
As for the children; their behaviours vary from hair pulling, kicking the seat in front, punching, yelling, screaming, crying, sulking (all due to someone annoying another). We even had the above fuss because one child was singing either too much or too loudly and another child didn’t like it.
“Oh the joys of car travel”. From one time to another, the following phrases were also uttered:
“GIVE IT, GIVE IT”
“ARE WE THERE YET”?
“HOW MANY MORE HOURS”?
“CAN I HOLD THE CAT, IT’S MY TURN NOW”
“GET OFF ME”
“SHE/HE HASN’T GOT A BELT ON”
etc etc (notice the CAPS were on for a GOOD reason and feel free to comment and leave a few more phrases below while you at it).
Continuing with the trip; for lunch of part 1 of our journey, we made it to Holbrook ~ the Submarine Town.
We had a stretch (kids ran around) and bite to eat and then I took over at the wheel until we got to the outskirts of SYD (with a stop here and there along the way to refuel), hubby then did the final leg in the CBD.
Albury (NSW) to Sydney (SYD) Route Map
After 11 hours of driving, we arrived in Sydney at 3.00pm. Once all piled out of the car, unpacking was in order. Nothing left in the van apart from the remaining food scraps, rubbish and crumbs. The children had to take their suitcases to their rooms (at nonna and poppa’s house ~ my parents) THEN, they could run wild and release all stored up energy from the confinements of the car (even the cat could finally be free ~ actually she was the most well behaved and happily roamed the car, sat on laps or in her carry box).
As for hubby and I, the first stop was the fridge for a cold beer and a glass of wine ~ both very essential!
The next few days (being the lead up to Easter) was spent attending church services including Thursday evening (yes the day we arrived – all went along with my parents except myself and the little boys), Good Friday again we went to church and afterwards enjoyed a meal with our family and a visiting friend.
Saturday morning (and most of the day) my 13yr old daughter and I got in some MUCH NEEDED retail therapy.
Then that very same evening ~ Saturday night, the older girls, hubby and I went to the Midnight Mass service (Vigil for Easter) and were home around 2.00am Sunday morning.
That very same morning ~ only 4 hours later at 6.00am, we hit the road again for the Part 2 of our journey.