A Week Down The Coast In Winter + The Holiday Photos We Don’t Take

Collingwood beach Jervis BaySo we’re back in Sydney after a week away down the south coast at Jervis Bay. School’s back and I’m flicking through the photos we took.

Now, I don’t know about you, but our family has had some pretty unfortunate family holidays… more like survival expeditions than relaxing breaks. Thank goodness there are less of them as the children have all grown up (and the parents too.)


But still, it’s never all beer and skittles, is it? And it made me laugh to see that there are no photos illustrating all the moments that were less than idyllic.

But let’s not start with the downsides, here’s a list of the fun stuff we got up to last week at Jervis Bay.


The Cool Things We Did Down The Coast This Winter

  • Lots of watching sport on TV (World Cup, State of Origin)
  • Whale watching trip from Huskisson
  • Lunches and dinners out, loved trying new places: the Waterhouse, Five Little Pigs, Main Deck, all in Huski
  • Visiting Booderee National Park, the visitors centre and Cape St George Lighthouse
  • The kids and our Intn’l Man of Mystery played heaps of golf at Vincentia Golf Club and at Sussex Inlet Golf Club
  • Running (slowly) along the walkway by the beach then jumping into the sea for a VERY REFRESHING swim afterwards.


This is not me swimming, it’s a humpback whale! The whales are heading north at this time of year, we saw several out at sea, a long way off; this photo has been cropped a lot.  In October and November the whales come south again and are often seen inside Jervis Bay itself.


In the spirit of full disclosure though, I cannot pretend that there weren’t some sticky moments.

The ‘No Fun’ Bits of Our Winter Week Away

  • Kids’ bickering, the twins are experts at it, it does my head in!
  • Teenager boys getting aggro with each other, it’s like the bickering but more physical- take it outside boys.
  • Teenagers not wanting to be there…. actually we got around this. I was quite sympathetic to Teen14 who wasn’t keen to leave the city and his pals. We made a compromise and he went back to Sydney by train on the Friday. Despite himself, he did enjoy the time away.
  • Freezing to death up a tree. Entirely our own fault… we went to Trees Adventure again in Nowra, but didn’t take warm enough clothes. There were lots of people on the section the twins and I were on and they kept getting stuck so we had to stand around on platforms for ages... in a howling gales, without enough clothes. Luckily the teens and dad did have a great time, but twins and I didn’t – our own fault, live and learn.
  • GiantTeen17 does go on and on and on and in a very monotonous tone… ask me anything about heavy metal music and the English Premier League, esepcially about the latest signings at Newcastle United. Sometimes listening to him feels like having a hole drilled into my skull. Yes, I know, holidays are an excellent time to focus on improving our special needs kids social and conversational skills. I know!!


Luckily the weather was sunny most of the time, it’s always windy down there in the afternoons, but the mornings were more still.  I could go and watch the waves to calm down, as necessary.


That large son on the right was once a BABY!!!  Like the pony tail?


You know the holiday is almost over when a shave is needed this badly.

things to do jervis bay winter

Delighted to report that my beloved and I were very mature, no bickering between us. How cool is it when kids are old enough to take photos? We’ve hardly got any of the two of us together.

Did you enjoy the recent school holidays?

What’s the worst bit about beach house holidays with your family?

And the best?


For loads of activities and expeditions around Jervis Bay, see my post 25 Things To Do At Jervis Bay With Kids



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  1. Hi Seana,

    I love the pic of you two together. We hardly have any as a couple either and few of me. I’m always taking the photos too 🙂 Your photography seems to be coming on well and I’m jealous of those whales. Haven’t seen one up our way yet! Ah the bickering and fighting. It never seems to end. Unless I yell SHUT UP really loudly but that ruins the idyllic family moment too 🙂

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Ah, there are few genuinely idyllic moments here, but when they do occur, it’s gold. We did have a good time overall, very good… and I think I did the right thing to let Teen14 get back early. We get about one photo of him and I a year, this ones better after a crop, a straighten and a fiddle with the exposure… I must teach the kids how to frame a shot – just for the vanity aspect!

  2. says: Averil

    Looks like a lovely break, so refreshing to read about the reality of holidays with kids! We just got back from a week at the Gold Coast, a lovely holiday but gee the whinging and fighting starts to wear thin!! You’re right about the idyllic moments though, they are gold when you get them and make it all worthwhile!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Thanks Averil, sometimes I see other families cycling by or down on the beach and worry it’s just us that have many ups and downs! My kids were glad to get back to school and have a break from each other, I think.

  3. says: Julian

    Hi Seana,
    It’s heartening to share with your holiday adventures, bickering and all. I have to admit that when is comes to bickering with my partner, there’s little of it when we got away from home and our day-to-day routines. Even more reason to get away regularly!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Quite right Julian. Do you remember going skiing many years ago at Ben Nevis, I was reminded as I just read a great post about skiing here in Oz, which we’ve only ever done once and I’d love to do again… but not game to take the four bairns on my own and P is not that keen. Anyway, maybe one day… P and I don’t bicker generally bt maybe there’s just no space to do so with all the kids squabbling!!

  4. says: Bee

    Hi Seana,
    Am currently on hols with my husband and our 3 and 5 year old. We had a fantastic day yesterday but today was an absolute disaster of over-tired whingeing and, I hate to say it, brattiness of epic proportions! Reading your post made me feel a bit better… So thank you for keeping it real. You must be a superwoman to deal with 4 bickering kids. 2 are hard enough, I found out today.
    Here’s to the good times outweighing the horrible.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Thanks so much for popping over Bianca and I completely agree, here’s to the good times outweighing the bad…. and for mums and dads who don’t mind sharing the realities of being a parent. I can be such hard work and so mentally gruelling… and so joyful and uplifting too. Funny old life. Hope you guys have a good day today.

  5. Great shot of the two of you. I so know what you mean about drilling a hole in your head. I am sick of hearing about the merits of Xbox games and the like. So boring, but what can you do?

    Glad you blogged the bad bits too. After 5 days at the snow, my 11 yo said “Don’t take this the wrong way mum, but I’ve had enough of you now.” One reason we were on the trip was because he never gets me on my own. I guess I should see the positive side and conclude I had done my job well.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Great that he could say it! I really loved what you wrote about him in your post (which I highly recommend, click over to Caro’s blog straight away!) I very much relate to the joy and excitement in seeing kids starting to flutter their wings… and the relief too that we get some of our own life back. Felt that way about Teen14 getting the train home.

  6. says: Megan Blandford

    Love the photos, Seana! It sounds like a (mostly) lovely break. And YES, how cold are those trees adventure places – I got caught out on one in Tassie a couple of weeks back, not nearly enough layers.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      It can be when the weather is not great. Have you been to the Bay and Basin pool? We went there a lot when kids were little.

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