It’s a liberating feeling, hitting the road with everything you own in one van. We were completely packed the night before and there was just enough room left to nestle ourselves into the cosy front seats, knowing that the road was now our home for however long we wanted!
After getting through the heavy Melbourne traffic, we were finally on our way to my parents’ place in the tiny village of Candelo, Southern NSW. We passed through lots of regional towns along the way, stopping at a bakery in Bairnsdale for lunch and devouring tasty pies and vanilla slice. The country side started to change, as we made our way towards the coast to Lakes Entrance. This town is situated in a beautiful location, where a man-made channel links the Gippsland Lakes with the Bass Strait and Tasman Sea. The crystal clear blue skies gave us a perfect view over the network of water ways.
From here, it was a long, winding forested road which scouted the coast. We narrowly missed a big brown snake, as it slithered over the highway! Reaching Eden in the late afternoon, this pretty coastal town offers magical views over the ocean – depending on the season, you can often see whales from the lookout here. As we drove out of town past the golf course, some kangaroos could be seen grazing on the golf course.
The last half hour stretch was magical. The late afternoon sunlight spread a mystical haze over the green hills, as we wound our way into the sleepy village of Candelo. My parents live in a beautiful paradise. We parked our van on the freshly mown patch of lawn by the old shed, before my parents greeted us and took us through their abundant garden.
It’s amazing what two passionate gardeners can do to one patch of lawn in less than a year! What used to be grass is now full of fresh vegetables, fruit trees, a rose garden in the shape of a crescent moon and another flower garden. The smoky pink house was as charming as ever and a big surprise awaited us from my highly creative mum (see her blog at candeloblooms.com). She had designed and hand-embroidered us an Australia cushion for the van. Every little detail has had a lot of thought put into it and we love it!
The stars shone so brightly that night, you would swear we were on a different planet. We spotted a shooting star just before we got into the van that evening. I’ll take that as a good omen!
The next day, we explored the village, going on a lovely walk up to the top of the hill and then through the main street, admiring all the local shops and meeting the shop-owners and sometimes even their dogs! People in the country are so friendly and welcoming. It didn’t take too long to see the heart of the village, which consisted of a post office, local school, general store, garage, a few cafes, a pub and a football field. We even had a swim at the local pool in the afternoon, a refreshing break from the hot sun.
With home-made cumquat marmalade on toast for breakfast, salads straight from the garden and freshly baked breads, biscuits and mulberry pies, not to mention endless cups of leaf tea, we’re off to a great start to our holiday!
In the afternoon, we relaxed in the van, as the Summer rain pelted down and the thunder cracked loudly overhead, vibrating the whole vehicle. I love heavy rain, but the thunder felt a little too close for comfort! For dinner that night, we had a large batch of homemade rice paper rolls, a recipe I learnt in Vietnam.
We finished off with Tim Tams, tea and a movie. It’s now night time and we are cosy in the van, under the mosquito net with all the curtains drawn and music playing lightly in the back ground.
Looking forward to exploring more of this area!