Where was the first overseas trip you ever took, and what are your strongest memories from it?
I was 13 and my parents took my oldest brother, my older sister and me to the Gold Coast to visit my other brother who was working over there. We didn’t have a lot of money so it was a real treat for us to all go away as a family like this. My strongest memories are going to DreamWorld and going on a hydroslide for the first time, eating at one of those cheap family restaurants with all the gimmicks and thinking it was amazing, staying in Brisbane at our cousin’s house and seeing cane toads in the swimming pool. There was a lot of “don’t touch the cane toads!!” that holiday.
What was a standard family holiday like when growing up?
Every summer our family rented a caravan and awning down at Opunake Beach in Taranaki, about a 15 minute car journey from our house on the farm. We had the same spot every year, next to the same people, who were usually close family friends who were also from our district. It was the highlight of our summer. We would pack up everything into our car and trailer and set off down the beach.
Because there was a row of us families altogether it was like a little community. At night we would always be having parties. Our parents loved a drink! There would be lots of group singing of old songs on the guitar, while us kids ran amuck around the campsite and onto the sand dunes. One year a piano was even brought down on the back of a trailer and set up – that’s how big the singalongs got.
Us kids usually had to check in every half an hour or so to make sure we weren’t injured or up to no good. One high pitched whistle from Dad across the campsite, and we knew it was time to call it a night.
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