So what a busy year 2016 was for us, particularly the second half of the year. After arriving back from our Western Australia trip in September, we only had 1 totally free weekend between then and Christmas! We already have many things booked in for 2017, so yes, life is pretty full on at the moment!
We wouldn’t want it any other way though. After losing Shelly’s mum fairly suddenly a few years back, I think it hit us both pretty hard and we changed our whole outlook and attitude to life. We no longer worry about the little things, we try not to put things off to ‘another day’, we live for the moment and do what we want, when we want. We’ve come to realise what’s important in life and to be totally honest, that’s our happiness. That might be different for each person, but to us it means being happy in ourselves, spending time with family and friends and exploring and experiencing new and interesting things. We don’t want to wake up one day and think ‘gee I wish we had of done that when we had the chance’. You never know what’s around the corner, so go for it, do what makes you happy.
So this is how our 2016 panned out
The year started off on a very sad note, when we got the phone call that our beautiful friend, Kristy, had passed away suddenly. This was a huge shock for us and all of our friends. Kristy was only 35 years old and left behind her beautiful young daughter and husband. It was great to see the huge turnout at the funeral, including all of us Sydney-based friends making the trip up to Qld. It’s still emotional while writing this now, even recently a song came on that was played at the funeral and both of us burst into tears! It’s one of those things that just hits you at random moments.
Shelly & Kristy at Lions Den Hotel
This is a family we have known for many years and had done many travels with them, we’ve been to each other’s weddings and we’ve had a lot of laughs and memories shared. For those that have been following us for a while, they are the friends that joined us on our Cape York trip back in 2013, but they didn’t quite make it when their engine blew at the beginning of the trip and they ended up missing the trip (but did get to see a lot of Weipa and Cairns!). We finally caught up with them again at Cooktown and did get to spend a couple of days travelling with them before we headed off over to the NT.
In 2018 there is a group of us heading back up to Cape York, including Kristy’s husband and daughter, even thinking about it now we know what an emotional trip it’s going to be, but you will always be in our hearts Kristy, we will get you there, you will finally make the trip you had planned for and dreamt of xx
6th March 2016 marked the birth of the gorgeous little Levi.
Shelly’s sister and husband gave birth to this beautiful little boy who we all fell instantly in love with. It’s been amazing watching this little bundle develop and watching his own little personality coming out.
He’s such a good boy, very relaxed and chilled out ….. I think he secretly knows how cute he is and that everyone will love him and he and plays on that! Exciting times ahead watching this little boy grow up.
At Easter our daughter/step daughter, Min, came back from the UK for a visit. She had moved over there the previous year after getting a job as a Chef over there.
She is absolutely loving it and doing a great job, so much so that she was promoted to sous chef not long after arriving. We
both couldn’t be more proud of her, and as hard as it was for George to watch his baby girl leave and move to the other side of the world at only 19, it is amazing to see her grow into this independent young lady who is seeing the world and doing exactly what she needs to do at this stage in her life.
It was great to see Min and spend some time together. The whole family even got together and spent the day at the Easter Show! She also got to meet her new baby cousin, Levi!
The Festival of Shelly
This year also became the Festival of Shelly! It was the big one, she turned 40!
What better way to celebrate than to take off on a mini 3 night cruise with family and friends. Three days of cruising around, sipping on cocktails, playing bingo and eating more than we really should have! Aside from 4WDing and camping, cruises are another one of our favourite holidays.
A group of 10 of us set sail for a weekend of fun and laughter. We had a great time and most of the same group have even planned another cruise for 2017 to celebrate another 40th birthday!
Of course the Festival of Shelly didn’t stop there! Now Shelly does normally tend to have a ‘week of Shelly’ for her birthday celebrations, but this year it seemed to go forever! We had the cruise, then had her birthday dinner, birthday party with family and friends and Horizontal Falls tour during our holiday to WA (present from George!)
The Year of Celebration
2016 was a year of parties and celebrations!
We attended 3 weddings of family and friends. We had a few baby showers and new little babies being born. We had friends engagement announcements, numerous 40th birthday parties, a 70th birthday party and a 1st birthday party! It was certainly a busy year for celebrations!
The Camper Trailer
This year also saw us bite the bullet and buy our camper trailer. We’d been discussing this for years and always said ‘one day’!
Well that one day arrived, we decided to purchase our little Cub Brumby. We love him (yes it’s a ‘him’, he doesn’t have a name yet, but we know it’s a him!)
He accompanied us on our trip to WA and we loved it, couldn’t have been happier with our purchase, all the research and planning paid off, we certainly made the right choice.
Our trip to Western Australia
This year we escaped the Sydney winter and headed over west for the warm weather. We left on 1 July and arrived back at the beginning of
September, if only we could do that every year and live year round with nice warm weather!
Western Australia is amazing, every place you visit is amazing, just as you think it can’t get any better …. it does! If you haven’t visited, it definitely has to be on your bucket list.
We explored the top end and although we did see
a lot during our 2 months, we could have spent a year exploring the area. It is a long way for us based on the east coast, but it’s certainly worth the effort to get there. We have explored a lot of Australia already, but have never seen anything like some of the places we visited in WA.
Santa comes to visit ….
Christmas means different things to different people, but to us it’s spending time with family, reflecting on the past year, celebrations, lots of food and lots of presents! Of course we all enjoy receiving presents, but we also love the feeling of gifting a present aswell. Christmas is an exciting time, particularly for Shelly … both her and her sister are still like big kids on Christmas day!
Of course we never forget those less fortunate than us, whether it be donating gifts or money to our local charities …. or a few years ago we donated gifts for a local charity that looks after the pets of homeless people, so we made up little packs with food and toys from our pups to the ‘homeless pups’! It’s the little things that not only make you feel good, but they can mean the world to the person receiving the gift.
This year’s Christmas celebrations started with a pre-Christmas party us our house to catch up with some friends, followed by work Christmas parties and a family pre-Christmas party. This latter party even had a visit from Santa (where George hilariously played Santa for the kids! Apparently Santa now rocks it in an open jacket with t-shirt showing, socks and no shoes!)
Christmas Day was spent at our house with the whole family. Both sides of our immediate family came for lunch, the first time ever that we’ve all been together for Christmas. Lots and lots of presents were exchanged, we got to celebrate the first Christmas with the cute little Levi and also have all of our beautiful niece and nephews together.
Of course the pups didn’t miss out either, they each got their own stocking too.
Last holiday of the year
Our year ended with us celebrating New Years Eve in a caravan park at Urunga, near Coffs Harbour.
We left early on Boxing Day and headed up to Urunga for a week of camping with one of our friends and his kids. We had a great spot on the water, away from all the crowds, couldn’t have asked for more.
View from our campsite
Now this is camping!
We managed to visit all the tourist places, fit in a bit of 4WDing, go to the beach and do some fishing. What a relaxing holiday. Always great to get away from Sydney and this place is perfect as it’s far enough away from Coffs to not have all the crowds, but close enough to still have all the convenience of town.
Part of the track on the Rover Trail we drove
Day at the beach
New Year’s Eve was spent at the caravan park, the kids spent the night fishing and we spent it chatting with our camping neighbours who we invited over for drinks and nibblies. There were a few little parties happening, but it was surprisingly quiet! Did we make it till midnight? …… well …… yes, we were already in bed, heard other doing the countdown, said happy new year and went back to sleep!!
The video below shows our campsite decorated and ready for NYE.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our family, friends and followers for their support over the past year. We love being able to share our adventures and knowledge with others and hopefully we are inspiring some of you to get out and about as well.