Recently I took my family on a weekend getaway like we had never experienced before. We live in Melbourne and love the idea of packing the car on a Friday after school and work and heading somewhere for a short stay away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It’s often harder to make these plans during winter. The cold nights and the short days that signals the beginning of winter make it easy to consider staying home in the warmth and comfort of home. The lure of predictable and safe loom over us. Yet a winter escape can be a tonic to nurture the soul at a time when it can be ignored. Winter is a magical time to marvel at nature, to immerse into new surroundings and even if the comfort barriers are shaken and tested, it is a time to connect with what is happening around us and at the same time disconnect from interference that can come if we accept the status quo.
I also had another reason for a winter getaway. To challenge us with a sustainable choice. I wanted to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, to try new things and be surrounded in an environment that wasn’t predictable and had us searching for ways to find a harmony between human and nature.
The best way to do this, I felt was to completely break with the tradition of booking into a hotel or self-contained accommodation. So, we chose a site that offers Glamping packages for families and groups. We also teamed up with Dalcheri — a company that I have had a long-standing relationship with and who are passionate about ethical and natural fibre apparel. If we were going to be glamping, I knew our natural fibre clothing would be essential!
We arrived in the dark on Friday night with the joy of knowing the tents were ready so, we turned on the lanterns, lit the fire and began to cook a simple bbq for dinner. The kids loved using their flash lights keen to explore their immediate surroundings.
Keen to further explore more of this area we visited Point split Lighthouse for a 40-minute tour with fascinating history of the build and also the development of the Great Ocean Road. Did you know the Great Ocean Road is a memorial to our World War Veterans and was built by return soldiers beginning in 1914 and opened in 1932.
After lunch in Anglesea, it was time for a Mother/Daughter horse riding tour in the bushlands of Moggs Creek. Coming from the vast open sea views we had witnessed atop the lighthouse to the juxtaposed denseness of the Australian bush had all our senses awakened. Feeling connected to land, sea and animal in one day was honestly like a balm to our minds. Constantly in awe of the beauty around us.
Our second evening at our Campsite we sat by the fire, roasting marshmallows and talking about our day. We looked up into the sky to marvel at the bright stars that always seem so dim and lacklustre in the city. We were together, whether it be walking through nature, collecting firewood, making hot chocolate or doing the torchlight walk in the dark to visit the bathrooms. A winter escape where the elements were are all part of the experience and made it all the more memorable.
Tips for making your own Sustainable Winter Escape
1. Choose a low impact accommodation
Be brave and try something new or different! For us, glamping in the winter time offered us the joy of camping without the hassle and stress of needing ALL the equipment to camp. Tall Trees Camping was brilliant and we loved connecting with nature. To be without electricity is a great incentive to really disconnect, get off the technology and lower your impact on energy use. No movie time at night, but I dare say the cave-mans TV (open fire) is more than enough to watch, ponder and of course chat around.
2. Set some time to just be
We purposely wanted to really enjoy some quality family time, that we find often is harder to nurture during the cold winter months. Sitting by the fire, chatting over hot chocolate and getting out and about collecting firewood really helped us connect not only with each other but with nature. Choose an outdoor walk, hike or like us a horse-ride.
3. Pack the essentials
If you are braving the elements during the winter time, packing properly is essential. We were thrilled to have the support of Dalcheri for this winter escape who came on board to get some photos for their winter range. I cannot tell you how lovely it is to be in garments made purposely for warmth in an ethical and sustainable way. So make sure you have plenty of warm clothes, beanies and scarves. The lovely folk at Tall Trees Camping provided hot water bottles for us all it was a lovely comfort to have.
4. Minimise waste
Try to reduce your waste by bringing food in containers and ensuring you collect your rubbish after yourself. So much plastic ends up in oceans and streams that every step we take (no matter how small) to keep our rubbish away from polluting our environment the better. Bring a reusable coffee cup with your on holiday or better still, take the time to spend ten minutes enjoying your preferred brew at a local cafe.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.