A summer in Wanda the retro caravan. A journey with stylist Claudia Martin and her family.

Bindi and Eve playing at the table after a morning at the beach

Tell us how you spent these summer holidays with your family?

We decided to spend the entire summer in our 1962 Franklin vintage caravan, exploring the South Coast of NSW and the Victorian Coastline. We’ve always wanted to explore more of Australia and an almost 3 month trip was the best option for us right now. It’s given us a real taste of what it would be like to do an entire lap of Australia!

Camp set up at the Lakes Entrance, Victoria

Highlights of your big trip?

So many! But mostly just being able to escape reality for a while and really spend some quality time together away from the regular daily stresses.

Spotting wildlife and seeing my girls get excited to see seals, penguins and koalas was also a big highlight. They were so curious about all the animals and we did so much research and learnt so many things along the way.

And of course taking in the beautiful scenery. We really loved hiking up to Mt Kosciuszko on New Years Day, visiting the amazing Wilson’s Promontory and driving along the beautiful Great Ocean Road. We went as far as Port Fairy and really enjoyed our time in that sweet little town.

The caravan being towed on the Great Ocean Rd
Eve and Bindi sitting on the light house steps in Port Fairy, Victoria

Do’s and dont’s of a caravanning trip?

You always need a lot less than you think you do, so pack lightly.

Do keep things as easy as possible when travelling with kids! We haven’t exactly been roughing it this trip, we’ve stayed at great caravan parks with clean amenities, hot showers and fun playgrounds. A good caravan park can be kid heaven, so Wikicamps will become your best friend.

Do invest in a good bed for the caravan. It makes all the difference in the world.

Don’t plan things too far ahead. We didn’t book or really lock anything and we were able to organise our destinations as we went along. It gives you flexibility to stay longer in places you really love.

Do ask locals for advice when you arrive in town, they’ll be full of helpful tips.

Bindi eating nectarines on the kitchen bench

Favourite packing essentials?

A good coffee machine!

Bikes, scooters and surf boards.

Board games and cards to play before bed.

Books. I’ve miraculously been able to catch up on a lot of reading.

And lots of snacks to keep the kids occupied in the car!


Any wise words for families attempting a road trip for the first time?

You won’t be able to see and do everything you’d perhaps like to, just keep it simple and go with the flow. We didn’t want to spend huge days in the car, it was more about taking things slowly and exploring the small towns along the way. When you’re on the road for a while, you need the kids to feel pretty comfortable and settled. We allowed ourselves plenty of travel time, so that we never felt rushed or were setting up in the dark.

Claudia and Eve just before swimming in Port Fairy, Victoria 

Luxury hotel or caravan road trip, which one would you choose?

A caravan trip, but only if you’re travelling with the entire family! The beauty of a caravan is that you don’t need to do too much setting up, need to pack & lug bags around and the kids feel like the caravan is their home, so no matter where you are they feel settled and comfortable. But I definitely wouldn’t say no to a night or 2 in a luxurious hotel on my own right about now!

Where to next?

Portugal in a couple of months! We’re about to do the complete opposite of what we’ve just experienced, so fingers crossed we can still keep the slower pace going in Europe too.

Entire family (Claudia, Levi, Eve and Bindi) at the 12 Apostles, Victoria

Follow more of Claudia and her lovely little family adventures here x

Shop Small // AMEX Experience

The best thing about putting together our BIG new guide to Byron Bay is playing the tourist in my own home town and supporting local business!

That’s what American Express Shop Small month is all about – shining a light on the small businesses that make our communities great, and giving thanks to the hard-working merchants at the heart of those businesses.
I’m excited to team up with American Express to share my pick of the best small businesses in Byron Bay – all the while spoiling myself and our little family in our own neighbourhood.

SHOP
‘WE ARE PAMPA’

Nesting! The feeling is real. I spent hours at one of my favourite local stores @wearepampa (easy to do by the way) to source a new rug for the baby’s room. I ended up buying two!

‘SPELL AND THE GYPSY’

With a newly renovated boutique which opened its doors in early Nov, Spell and The Gypsy’s space is more beautiful than ever before. Their hugely successful bohemian clothing line captures the essence of Byron lifestyle. Its easy to fall in love with this carefree brand (and fill your suitcase to the brim!).

 

STAY

‘RAE’S ON WATEGOS’
My favourite thing about staycations is pretending you live this life full time. This boutique hotel based on the sands of Wategos Beach is a luxe as it comes. Rae’s rooms styled by the likes of ‘Lucy Folk’ are divine, the food is delicious and there’s a brand new secret cellar bar offering a range of great cocktails, (milktails in her case) and local wines.

 

SPOIL

‘THE BLUE OLIVE’ & ‘SUN BISTRO’

We filled our basket full of our favourite bits and pieces from local gourmet stores – brie cheese, olives, fresh bread and cold beer (for the husband) and headed for a picnic. It’s a short stroll from the carpark to the lighthouse, we perched ourselves here at Australia’s most easterly point to watch passing whales until the sun began to set. What a vista!

DINE

A fairly new comer to town is this sweet nook, tucked away just off bay lane @lightyearsbyronbay we go for the steamed bao buns then always stay for the salted coconut margaritas – could you blame us?

‘BARRIO’
Who knows how much longer we will be a girlie duo before bub number two comes along…? So I took Delilah out to dinner to celebrate her “becoming the best big sister around”. Plus I’ll always make any excuse to come to @barriobyronbay, Chef Francisco’s Argentinian inspired food is just THE BEST!

Now it’s your turn to get involved in Shop Small month. You can go in the draw to win a $5,000 Helloworld travel voucher, simply by shouting out your favourite small business. Post to Instagram explaining in 75 words or less why this business your Shop Small Fave and you could win a voucher for both you and your nominated merchant. Tag #ShopSmallFave, #ShopSmallAU and @americanexpress to enter, and make sure your profile is set to public! Competition closes November 14, with winners announced November 21. T&Cs apply.
All images by Matt Rabbidge.

Girraween National Park

A wander through the Australian wilderness perfect with little ones, brought to you by Country Road...

I recently found myself describing Girraween to a friend as much like Australia’s version of the Joshua Tree National Park…

Indeed it was these incredibly unique natural rock formations which drew us to explore this beautiful part of the world.

We took a 4hr drive from northern NSW via Tenterfield to this magic part of Southern Queensland. ‘Girraween’ meaning place of flowers is made up of stunning granite platforms moulded by flowing waterways. With enormous boulders dramatically perched on one another balancing against a sky of blue and gums.

With more than 17 km of walking tracks, there are plenty of options from a short stroll to an all-day trek – some more suitable with littlies than others;

Here are 5 park trails to get you started:

1.Granite Arch 1.6km (30 mins round trip)

For a gentle stroll choose the Granite Arch. Cross Bald Rock Creek and walk past blackbutt and stringybark forest before passing through Girraween’s very own natural stone archway.

2. The Pyramid 3.6km (2hrs return)

The Pyramid trail will challenge both your legs and your nerves. Passing eucalypt forests and grassy flats, the walk culminates in a steep climb up exposed rock face. Take some time at the top to take in views of Balancing Rock and the Second Pyramid.

3. The Junction 5.2km (2hrs return)

The walk along Bald Rock Creek to its junction with Ramsay Creek is a highlight of this picturesque trail. Time your walk for spring to see the wildflower displays that attract all sorts of birdlife from fairy-wrens to thornbills.

4. Castle Rock 5.2km (2hrs return)

A challenging walk that takes you from moderate gradients to a rocky and steep climb. The summit offers incredible views as far as the eye can see.

5. The Sphinx and Turtle Rock 7.4km (4hrs return)

A popular all-day hike that includes a gentle walk along a ridge taking in stunning views of the country. While the distant views are incredible, the stars of the show are definitely the rock formations from which the hike gets its name. The Sphinx is a granite pinnacle with a large balancing boulder on top while Turtle Rock is a granite monolith resembling a turtle shell.

We stayed overnight at the quaint Diamond Vale Cottages by the riverside. Spacious and comfortable cabins and cottages, surrounded by sweet country gardens.

A perfect evening was spent here by the fire with red wine flowing below a sea of stars.

Vista Tip:

Collect water and picnic goods for your adventures as you travel through Stanthorpe.

Jam Works Cafe and larder was our go to coffee house just on the edge of town.

All images by Lisa Sorgini

Matt, Delilah Bee and Julia all dressed by Country Road.

YOUR 24hr GUIDE TO BRISBANE CITY

Was 24hrs really enough time...? certainly not - but we gave it a red hot go!

Here is an itinerary which will certainly keep you on your toes, and even dip them in the water.

4.00pm

Check in at Spicers Balfour followed by a drink in the hotel bar on sunset.

5.30pm

An early (kids hour) dine at Happy Boy, a new and popular modern Chinese restaurant with chic industrial design. The salt and pepper prawns come highly recommended. A great wine list too.

7.00pm

A stroll back to the hotel to catch the pretty bridge lights shimmer across the Brisbane River, and a swim in the tub before bed.

7.00am

Breakfast of yummy, fresh sautéed greens, eggs and halloumi in the Spicers Balfour courtyard.

8.30am

A second coffee and juice stop at the nearby Miss Jones.

9.30am

Off to the arts precinct, GOMA & GOMA Bookshop! Check the programming before you go, this gallery attracts some incredible exhibitions by internationally renowned artists, often with specific activities for kids.

10.00am

Queensland Museum is fantastic for kids, with more dinosaurs and taxidermy animals than you could ever imagine. Plus and interactive light show which we loved – head to level 4 for the action.

11.30pm

A quick juice stop at the all new Three Blue Ducks, take in a scenic view of the Brisbane river.

1.30pm

Homemade style sandwiches and excellent coffee at the long standing, Jamie’s Coffee House

3.00pm

Afternoon Tea at a locals favourite (which quickly became our favourite too), Scout Cafe.

4.00pm

The historic Powerhouse Museum is situated right next to New Farm Park playing host to live arts, weekend farmers markets and moonlight cinema.

5.00pm

A short ferry ride and stroll through South Bank under flowering arches of bonganvillia to the beach! Well, the city beach aka ‘kids heaven’.

The highlight…? Being so centrally located at Spicers Balfour in lovely New Farm. Walking distance from a great foodie scene, the river and city ferries which are such an easy and scenic way to get around – especially with kids.

If you have more time these great Brissy spots are really worth checking out;

London Fields Cafe at The Stores, both a cafe and bar serving fresh foods and craft beers in a lovely, airy al fresco courtyard space.

Nodo Donuts a chic looking space with mouthwatering treats

Range Brewing a relaxed space for cold beer and hot pizza!

Rainworth General found in Bardon, a sweet area leafy area of Brisbane. Well known for their coffee, wonderful food, friendly staff and a great big veggie patch for the kids out back. Community and sustainability is the focus of this business and it shows.

All images by Matt Rabbidge

SPRING FLING

Mukti brings your skin out of winter hibernation with a few quick tricks!

Winter can leave us all a little more scaly than supple. In addition to the cooler weather, we tend to take our showers hotter and drink less water leaving our skin dry and prickly.

Its time to tune back in and change our habits as the spring season is here.

We love these Mukti products to awake and stimulate the skin. We trialled this 4 step ritual twice a week and could see and feel the difference straight away. Winter skin be gone!

STEP ONE: FACE

This gentle 2-1 Resurfacing Exfoliant is made up of fine bamboo particles and native fruit extracts.

Use light circling motions to applying targeting your dry areas (for me its above the brows) and wash with a warm water cloth. Skin instantly feels softer.

STEP TWO: FACE

Deep Cleanse Antioxidant Masque

Unlike other masques this one will not leave your skin feeling parched or aggravated. Use plentifully covering face and neck and leave for 15 – 20 mins.

With natural extracts including Kakadu Plum, Banksia, Silky Oil Grass the skin feel cool and nurtured. Remove with a warm cloth and reveal smoother clean skin.

STEP 3: BODY

Bio Active Body Polish

The warmer weather is here and its time to bare all! so exfoliating old wintery skin is a must. This is a beautiful, nourishing and easy way to do so.

Bio Active Body Polish applied with hands onto the body will target things like stretch marks and cellulite. We apply first on our legs, feet and bottom, then shoulders, arms and backs of hands.

STEP 4: BODY

Bio Active Body Elixir

The final step is to replenish. You will love the feel of this oil and how beautiful it smells, with an exotic combination of ingredients like Sandalwood Seed, Kangaroo Paw Flower, Rosella Flower and Wattle Seed.

The Body Elixir is especially good for keeping stretch marks at baby for baby mamas, plus rubbing oils on your belly is one of the nicest ways to connect with Bub. Happy baby, happy muma x

All natural, all organic – Mukti never ceases to amaze us with her beautiful and gentle products.

I must also make mention of Mukti’s newest and exciting project! – her beautiful and informative new book, ‘Truth in Beauty‘.

Providing insights into deciphering labels, finding natural alternatives and intern conscious decision making for you and the environment.  This book is now launched to the world wide market.

Shot on location at the stunning ‘Pretty Beach House

Please feel free to use my special 20% discount code when making your first online purchase of Mukti product! Quote ‘THEVISTA20’

Julz x

SPICERS PEAK LODGE

90 mins from Brisbane QLD, and a world away from it all...

With a tranquil expanse stretching out as far as the eye can see – this unique, luxury property is set upon 8,000 acres.

Around 20% of this land is dedicated to cattle farming, and the rest is reserved for natural preservation of a world heritage listed national park.

The emphasis at Spicers Peak is placed both on relaxation and luxury – so if the resorts fine dining, bar and day spa aren’t enough to allure the pristine grounds and surrounding nature walks certainly will…

Pregnancy massage is offered by the lodge’s wonderful therapists. The spa also come complete with an indoor and outdoor bath to extend your relation time as you wish.

Artful additions to the property like this London style telephone booth keep things a little quirky.

King size beds in each room ensure all baby moon guests have the very best rest possible.

Spend cozy afternoons here together in the lounge by the lodge fire.

Witness a spectacular sunset over Queensland’s Scenic Rim from the upper balcony, complete with a library and pool room or take part in cheese and wine tasting on the grounds.

Our favourite memory of the space was the outdoor hot tub which takes in a view of a million stars at night.

Walking the trails around the property on sunrise we spotted a brand new highland calf with its mother, she had given birth at dawn.

Gourmet breakfast by the pool. All costs of your stay are inclusive from the mini bar to the wine.

Spicers Peak Lodge is the original property of the Spicers collection. We very much look forward to discovering the rest (perhaps after this next baby of ours comes along!)

Book your romantic baby moon escape HERE

 

 

Pretty Beach House, NSW

Nature, nurture and luxury - it's all here...

It was a long time dream of mine to visit Pretty Beach House situated in the tanquil Bouddi National Park, approx a 1.5hr drive from Sydney city.

En route our springtime visit was welcomed by fragrant fields of native wildflowers. As the gum trees parted and the main homestead came into view we knew we had arrived in just the right place.

With 4 luxurious private pavilions (with incredible beds may I add) it’s easy to sink into a beautiful way of existence here, surrounded by the smells and sights of nature.

Soak away in your choice of heated pool or take to the deep baths situated in all rooms, complete with great sound systems and even a collection of great vinyl to choose from.

Each space is designed with the environment in mind –  a warm combination of natural design aesthetics using wood, sandstone and glass welcoming the perfect vista from all angles of the property.

Let us not forget the food…the glorious food! Your personal chef on request will create a range of delicious plates to your taste.

Whether its your baby moon, 40th birthday, romance or just a well deserved indulgent escape – Pretty Beach House certainly comes with our highest recommendation.

Book HERE

Julia wears marigold dress by MLM The Label.

White linen dress by All That Remains

Sun hat by Worn Store

All images by Leaha Lockley

Bells at Killcare, NSW

Just the right recipe for a perfect baby moon...

We had many emails and messages from fellow pregnant ladies out there who wanted to find a great space to escape and reconnect with their love, bubba to come and most importantly themselves before their next birth…so we took it upon ourselves to find just that.

Welcome to Bells at Killcare, situated on the New South Wales Central Coast (approx 90mins from Sydney airport). This Hamptons style resort is equip with everything you need to keep your feet up and your mind at ease.

Starting with great food! Bells at Killcare prides itself on an incredible selection of fresh gourmet foods (plenty of which are grown onsite) and matching wines. Service is incredible and the fact that you can literally add truffle oil to absolutely anything you wish is truly a pregnant woman’s dream is it not…?

For breakfast, choose from the à la carte menu or the fresh buffet style selection of fresh fruit, yogurts and delicious pastries.

The bells dining room complete with a cozy food fire.

We loved creating a garden style platters from a range of local cheeses, nuts and seeds from the Bells pantry – word of warning you can help yourself to the pantry at anytime…we certainly encourage this!

A cute pool bar serves a range of cool drinks and snacks throughout the day, allowing you pick a sunny position and post up by the water as long as you wish.

A highlight for us was the incredible spa. Lead by a team of experienced therapists, you immediately feel that you have stepped into a space where you will be completely nourished.

Inspired by the indigenous people of the area each treatment or ‘journey’ uses a combination of native ingredients including lillypilly, desert lime, Australian sandalwood, Tasmanian kelp, wattle seed polish and quandong fruit.

We selected a combination of ‘Lowana’ a facial along with a hand and foot treatment and a ‘Marma Koko’  a rhythmic body massage applying traditional Aboriginal techniques and using macadamia and Camellia oils to nourish and hydrate skin. This was a supremely nurturing experience for a mum to be.

An O’Yarrang “smoking ceremony” of local gum leaves, paperwork, oak moss and lemon Myrtle to begin the transportive journey.

All in all, the Bells Killcare experience is designed with a focus on you, the perfect thing you will long for in these last days of pregnancy. Babymoon away Mama x

Book Bells at Killcare HERE

Mention ‘THE VISTA’ on booking your overnight stay and receive a complimentary Vista add-on of heated quandong hair treatment and scalp massage, with any massage in the Bells Day Spa. *Valid until 01.01.2019.

Julia wears clothing from All That Remains

Leather bag from Sancia the Label

Straw hat from Worn store

All images by Leaha Lockley.

HOSHINOYA TOKYO

HOSHINOYA Tokyo is hospitality at its finest. Beginning at its entrance, a grand foyer that instantly takes you a world away from the bustling streets outside.

Here it’s shoes off (a traditional custom in Ryokan style stays) while you’re warmly greeted by the lovely staff.

The rooms are a considered blend of traditional and modern design, a favourite feature was the exterior building patterns that cast stunning shadows across the suites rice paper walls in the morning sun.

Hoshinoya’s restaurant offers an exquisite selection of foods, aimed at engaging all five senses. This Japanese / French inspired experience was a true highlight of our stay.

Each guests dining space is in a simple private room where the food does the talking. Every level of the hotel also boasts a central tea room – open all day and night serving snacks, tea, coffee and sweets.

Venture to the rooftop to discover the hotels onsen – tapped from hotsprings over 1000m below the earth. These unique open air spaces allow you enjoy ultimate relaxation whilst viewing the stars far above the Tokyo skyline.

Everything about this hotel is overwhelming beautiful, it’s attention to each delicate detail translates as true luxury.

Book HOSHINOYA TOKYO HERE

Download your copy of the complete vista guide to Japan HERE

THE VISTA X TOOSHIES BY TOM

A little conscious living goes a long way - we chat to these gorgeous parents about how they make greener choices for their families both at home and on the road. Plus, enter our giveaway to win a 6 month tooshies by TOM subscription x

These gorgeous photos were taken on location in Byron Bay featuring our friends and their bubs sporting tooshies by TOM nappies, captured by Amelia Fullarton.

Jasson dad to Taro and uncle to Dali

The more we practice something the better we become at it. Ignoring what we know to be right is practicing ignorance. I think it is much better to practice the opposite and cultivate a state of higher consciousness. One little decision at a time. No matter where you are, you can listen to that conscious voice that indicates the right course of action and move in that direction.

Mia with son Taro 

We’re lucky enough to live in an area that’s super eco conscious, so it makes living mindfully a lot easier. Fresh organic produce, endless plastic free options and almost everything comes in biodegradable form! However, it can be hard to maintain this lifestyle when you’re travelling, and it’s easy to get attached to only eating/shopping a certain way but part of travel is experiencing and being open to new things. Which for me, often means letting go of some of my preferences. But my non negotiables are clean water, fresh food and minimal amounts of refined sugar, msg & preservatives.

Hana mum of Dali

Once you become aware of the waste that’s been created and the use of harmful and toxic sprays been used within the food industries and the impact all of it is having on the earth and all its inhabitants, making conscious decisions becomes a necessary in your every day life. There’s so many little things you can do that make so much difference. We each have a keep cup, if we don’t have it we don’t get a take away coffee, Gelatos are only ever ordered in cones – why create more waste when you can eat a delicious waffle cone instead. Bees wax wraps and Tupperware containers are you’re best friend. Preparation is key we shop at local markets, take our own jars to fill at Whole Foods stores. Always have shopping baskets in the car. Before we head on the road or overseas i’ll google where the closest organic/Whole Foods store is to stock up on food and snacks, and I’ll easily spend a day looking up places to eat that support and use locally grown produce. It’s about acting with awareness in every little decision we make – We’re all part of this big beautiful earth.

Molly mum of Willa

I have always been conscious to do my bit for the environment, I’m no saint, but having a baby has really made me want to conserve this planet for our little ones…and their little ones. Just obvious conscious decisions like recycling waste, carrying my own shopping bags and coffee cup, not owning a microwave, buying preloved clothes for me and my babe, spending quality time together as a family instead of watching TV are all ways we can do our little bit to reduce the impact on this earth of ours and set up good habits for our future generations.

Holly mum of Della

We try and make conscious decisions on the way we live as much as possible. For Bub, we try and use the most eco-friendly nappies we can get our hands on. We also have little rules in our household, like only use bar soap and bamboo toothbrushes for Della, glass bottles are also great and last so much longer than plastic. My fave is Lifefactory. We use Nature Baby cotton squares for cleaning up spills around the house and washing her face. We try to buy her clothes second hand and don’t offer too her much in the way of toys. She’s happier playing with her dads work tools anyway! I love simple, everyday hacks that make our footprint a little smaller. On the road, we buy most of her snacks from the bulk foods store to fill her lunch box for our adventures. Since she was born, I’ve always carried around a reusable box for wipes that is always stocked up, this means I’m not buying a new pack of wipes every time we have an emergency! We also have an array of reusable calico bags I use for sorting all her bits and bobs.

Julia & Matty parents of Delilah Bee

Matty and I both feel that little things can make big change. We start at home with compost and recycling teaching DeeDee as we go. She even has her own little section of the veggie patch which she grows and cares for. When traveling we love to seek out farmers markets to buy groceries and snacks, supporting local industry – whether we are in Bangalow, Japan or California!

 

ENTER HERE for your chance to win a 6 month subscription to Tooshies by TOM

 

Hana and Mia wear dresses by All That Remains

Holly wears St Agni

Julia wears Auguste the Label dress

Bubs Nature Baby clothing

Delilah wears Millk clothing

Hanging mobile by Bernii

Shot on location at Temple Farmhouse

All images by Amelia Fullarton