Even though I've moved to Australia over 10 years ago, I must admit that I haven't fully explored the country yet. I've been to all the main cities/states and territories, but there's still a lot I have yet to see.
In fact, there are still several places here in my "home state" that I haven't visited.
That's why one of the things the hubby and I agreed to do when it comes to our family holidays this year is to discover new places. And, since we've pretty much committed to local holidays only this year, we started exploring our different options a few months ago.
When one of our contacts recommended this place called Renmark at the Riverland in country South Australia, we thought it sounded good. Especially since we've never been there before.
That's why over the weekend, we ended up booking our family into a cabin at the Big 4 in Renmark.
Our cabin was simple, but sufficient - double bunk beds for the kids, double bed for the hubby and myself, a fully equipped kitchen, dining table, TV with DVD player... Not luxury, but still good. Unfortunately, the cabins with the nice views were all booked out, so we didn't get that extra perk.
The communal amenities of the place are great, though. Especially for the family. They have a lovely pool, with spa (the kids couldn't wait to jump right in the moment we arrived). There were a number of playground areas, including a bouncy pillow. There was a games room, a movie room, a kitchen area, and a TV room. It all seems very well-maintained and well-managed.
But, of course, these facilities are just added bonus to being right next to the Murray River. Plenty of the visitors come here to canoe, kayak, fish, catch yabbis, jet ski, and more.
And yes, go for walks...
Big 4 Renmark also offers other activities. You can hire a paddle boat, bicycles, table tennis rackets, tennis rackets, go carts, etc.
I'm not usually one to do "active" things, so the kids were especially delighted that I went on a paddle boat and a family cycle with them. According to them, the family cycle was their favourite activity during the whole holiday.
On our way back home, we decided to explore a couple of other nearby locations to Renmark. We ended up visiting a small town called Monash, specifically, their really cool adventure playground. And, we stopped over at a place called Loxley for lunch.
Monash Adventure Playground is a free park (gold coin donations) available to the public. The kids enjoyed going in the maze, as well as playing on the giant swings and slides. They loved climbing, digging, swinging, and running around. Me? Well, I watched them and took photos. And, ate a jam-filled hot donut at the kiosk. 😉
It was definitely a fantastic weekend.
Yes, in spite the fact that the boy was not feeling 100% for most of the weekend. And, in spite the longish, scary drive back home through strong, high winds, we all loved this mini local holiday. Our only regret is not booking at least another night.
Actually, the kids are already asking if we can come back soon.
My answer: "I'm sure we will. But, we might want to discover more new places. After all, we would have never found this place if we didn't explore areas we've never been to before."
1. Always do some research about the place. Unfortunately, I was so busy with work and other commitments that I didn't even bother doing a quick search about Renmark and its nearby places. So, we didn't fully know what the place had to offer. We had some ideas, but we were lost when it came to the specifics. For example, we didn't realise that the river cruises only ran on Sundays. So, we missed it completely.
2. Ask the locals. We often ask for advice from the locals whenever we go somewhere new. That's how we find new restaurants, activities, etc. In fact, that's how we learned about Monash Adventure Playground.
3. Make memories. I tend to get quite exhausted on trips sometimes, that I often just let the kids play with my very active hubby. I mean, I'm there with them, watching and capturing the moments (that's why I don't normally have holiday pics of myself - unless I ask hubby to take pics, or if he remembers to offer; though nowadays, sometimes, the kids take photos too). Talking to them. Laughing with them. But, I don't usually take an active part. However, I can see how much it means to the kids when I do. So, yes, I'd like to do that more.
4. Do something new too. Going somewhere new is great. But, what makes it extra memorable is when you do new things. In this case, the family cycle - and even allowing the kids to steer the cart. 🙂
5. Explore the area. So, if you're going to a town or a city, don't just limit yourself there. If you have the time, stop by nearby places too. It gives a bigger picture of the new place you discovered.
This post was initially planned for this 'On The Road' daily prompt. It has now become my first entry to the #31Days of New blogging project, where I'm exploring the concept of #31Newness. Would love to hear from you if you're part of this project too! And, even if you're not, I'm keen to find out what 'Newness' means to you. In this particular post, what 'Discovering Somewhere New'.
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.