The Joys Of Travelling With Triplets
The Joy Of Travelling with Triplets
These travelling triplets have more stamps in their passports than a lot of people achieve in a lifetime! As you can imagine having triplets in-tow attracts a lot of attention. A trip to the supermarket can take double the time because of the curious people that stop to have a chat to the children. Travelling with triplets comes with the good and the bad and in many ways I can relate to this too.
The Early Years
I’m a mother of three adults sons but I still remember how difficult those early years were. My sons were born very close in age. When my third son arrived, I had a 16 month and my first son had just turned 3. I remember driving home from hospital and having a minor emotional meltdown, wondering how on earth I was going to manage three children especially when I hadn’t got the first two children to sleep through the night.
Every day was full on and flat out. I had to have eyes in the back of my head! I lived on little or no sleep. My life was in total chaos! My family and friends were very sympathetic and wondered how I did it day in and day out with a smile on my face. Fortunately, we all survived and today we love reminiscing the ‘big tales’ of those crazy days.
I’ll get back on track now and tell you the story of ‘The joys of travelling with triplets as a bystander!’
A little history first…..
Five years ago, my husband and I met a good looking Swedish couple on Phu Quoc, a beautiful Vietnamese Island. We instantly hit it off and although we are twenty years plus older, we shared similar interests, values and the love of travel. Each night, we would catch up for dinner and exchange stories including the adventures of our days. The happy couple shared their future dreams with us which included one day visiting Australia ‘the lucky country’. On leaving, Phu Quoc Island, we exchanged our contact details and added each other on social media. Over the years, we stayed in touch and our friendship grew from afar. Three years ago, we received news that our darling friends were expecting……..triplets. At first, we were secretly shocked and very concerned about the health risks to both Mum and babies. It’s hard to believe any woman’s body has the physical capacity to carry three babies let alone for 40 weeks.
A LITTLE TRIVIA – (What’s the chances of having triplets? Around 90% of multiple pregnancies are made up of twins, with the remaining 10% being triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets and so on.)
The three healthy babies arrived (Girl – Boy – Girl), a little early as expected with very few complications. The triplets are now over three and thriving on their parents unlimited love and patience.
In late 2017, this brave young family took a big leap of faith, packed up, sold their business and boarded a flight to Thailand. After a week stint in Bangkok Thailand, the family set off to Bali for two months with Australia in the headlights.
Two months later, we picked up our newly ‘adopted’ family from Brisbane, a city that is thriving together with near perfect climate and lifestyle.
This is where my story starts……
A few days before the family arrived, we took it upon ourselves and had three child safe car seats installed on the back seat of our car. We potted around home making it comfortable, cosy, child safe and prepared their beds next to a large King Bed. As experienced parents, we gathered that the children would most likely want to sleep in the same room or the same bed as Mumma and Pappa. We guessed right ✅
Excited, happy and somewhat nervous, we were finally reunited in Brisbane. The reunion process was heartfelt, warm and natural. We didn’t overcrowd the children allowing them the time to size us up. The children were a little apprehensive and unhappy about their new car seats especially after being unrestrained for three months in Asia. We needed two cars to transport all of us and the abundance of luggage, a double and single strollers. At one stage, we thought we might need a third car but after loading and unloading several times, everything was in!
The one-half hour drive home was longer than usual due to unexpected roadwork and the drive was very nerve racking. One of the children worked out how to open the passenger door while I was driving at 100k per hour on the M1! We soon found and engaged the child safety door locks.
On the way home, we stopped for supplies! Getting three tired young ones out of the car and into a shopping trolley is a ‘feat unto itself’. Shopping at Coles Supermarket soon became a daily event and the Coles share price has significantly increased since our young family arrived. Loaded up with kids, groceries and luggage we finally reached our destination.
Two of my dear friends lent us toys which I didn’t put much value on until I saw the joy and excitement on their three precious faces. The toys were a great distraction to introduce them to their new surroundings. As a bystander, it’s easy to see children don’t need much to keep them amused and interested. A small assortment of duplo blocks, soft toys, books, bits and pieces has provided hours of enjoyment.
For the next ten days, we explored the small villages and towns of Northern NSW and travelling with triplets has been a real eye opener. I got a sneak peek at the unexpected instant celebrity status that comes with having triplets whether you like it or not! Triplets in tow attract smiles, gawkers, stalkers, touchers, pointers, stares and good and bad comments. The parents of these triplets were in some ways treated like ‘celebrities’ and strangers appeared to either be in awe or horrified. However, what I mostly observed from strangers was genuine kindness and fascination. The parents have spoken of their sincere gratitude for the many acts of kindness, which has made travelling with three toddlers ‘a bit more bearable’.
Having triplets does have its ‘benefits’! This family has been ‘upgraded’ most of the way. Although, none of the airlines have provided an upgraded on flights; boarding and exiting airports has been a quick and mostly positive experience. The ‘priority lane’ has become a best friend!
Our brave, adventurous family decided to go on an Australian road trip from the Tweed Valley, Northern NSW to the big lights of Sydney, which is approximately 850k. Stopping overnight in Emerald Beach was made special on meeting the owner of a local Mexican restaurant called ‘Hacienda’ who was the proud father of triplets as well.
On packing up the following morning, the family were awaken to the true dangers of Australia when they spotted a ‘red belly black snake’ near their cabin accommodation. This snake is dangerously venomous but bites are rare because it is usually a placid and fairly docile snake.
The next overnight stop was in another BIG4 Tourist Park outside of Forster. BIG4 Great Lakes at Forster-Tuncurry is a multi-award winning holiday destination, with a great range of accommodation and sites set amidst great facilities in a stunning lake and riverfront location. The park offers a great family holiday including, heated pool, water playground, camp kitchen, boat ramp, cafe, close to restaurants, shops and beaches. This type of travel within Australia is very popular for families and nomads. Cabin accommodation is usually found within caravan parks and are very comfortable, roomy, well-equipped and reasonable inexpensive.
After a 3.5 Hours drive, the family arrived at Manly Beach tired and looking forward to seeing the spectacular landmarks of Sydney and ticking another destination off the bucket list.
Everyone Loves Sydney ❤️
Like every other visitor, our family fell head over heals in love with Sydney at first sight. The scenery captivated anyone who visits. The sights of the majestic Sydney Harbour, Opera House and harbour views brought butterflies to their stomachs and excitement difficult for them to explain.
To me, Sydney is one of the most illuminated city in the world and is certainly one of the world’s impressive photographic backdrops. The view from circular quay is one of the best in the world; totally breathtaking and unforgettable. Sydney is brimming with history, nature, culture, art, fashion, cuisine, and architecture. A city and State blessed with kilometres of coastline and unspoilt white surf beaches.
TIP: For great shots, head to the Overseas Passenger Terminal, press the lift button marked ‘Public Observation Deck’. To find the spot, look to your left when facing Circular Quay ferry terminal. Just past the Museum of Contemporary Art, on the harbour’s edge. The best free view of Sydney Harbour.
Manly beach situated among the Northern Beaches is easily accessible via a short 30 minute Ferry ride from Sydney’s Circular Quay. Manly Beach is a world famous Australian landmark and one of the most renowned beaches for surfing. This lively beachside destination is dotted with trendy cafes, restaurants, coffee houses, homewares specialty shops and fashion boutiques. After a few days visiting the famous iconic landmarks and spending hours in childrens playgrounds with exceptional million dollar views, some retail therapy became necessary.
After relocating from Manly to Olympic Park, the family accidentally stumbled across a DFO outlet in nearby Homebush. Direct Factory Outlets, abbreviated as DFO, is the name for a no frill group of discount shopping centres in Australia. On discovering that the premium brands were considerably cheaper than in Sweden, they went into a shopping frenzy! The staff at Ralph Lauren and Tommy were rubbing their hands together with glee!
The family decided to fly from Sydney to Melbourne rather than drive. Their visit to Melbourne, voted the most liveable city in the world for the seventh year in a row wasn’t very memorable!
The Tiger flight was delayed for over an hour and to add to the stress of occupying three overtired toddlers, one of the children had a stomach bug making the short flight torturous. Flying with Tiger Airlines, a budget airline, has been their worst flying experience to date. The planes were uncomfortable, crowded, crammed and topped off with poor customer service. Whether you buy one ticket or in the case of our family, 5 airline tickets each flight, how hard is it to be of service!
After staying in 25 different hotels to date, the Melbourne accommodation at the Hilton (recently rebadged Pan Pacific Hotel) has been the best hotel accommodation to date. Receiving an ‘upgrade’ is now a regular occurrence and very gratefully received. Having an ill child in tow made exploring Melbourne a little difficult. They just couldn’t get a good feel about Melbourne and disliked the way Melburnians bagged out Brisbane and Sydney.
However, I was pleased to learn that their best meal to date was in Melbourne at ‘Bangpop’ Thai restaurant as Melbourne is renowned for its excellent multicultural cuisines. Our traveller believe Australia could improve on customer service. The best customer service received was in Coles and IGA Supermarkets. The staff were happy, friendly and helpful.
The return Tiger flight to Sydney was again delayed for more than an hour and was as bad as the first. The family caught up with a long distant family member for the first time in Parramatta and everyone enjoyed a wonderful evening trying to work out how they were related! Loaded up with more luggage than they came with, they said goodbye to Sydney and drove to Newcastle. Although, they didn’t have much time to explore Newcastle, they did like the vibe.
The Australian coffee scene is very well established and it is rare these days that you are served a ‘lousy’ coffee. The triplets Mumma and Pappa are both professional baristas with extensive coffee knowledge. The best coffees to date were from ‘The Farm’ Byron Bay, ‘Blonde Baker’ Tumbulgum and ‘The Columbian Coffee Co’ Mooloolaba.
From Yamba NSW, the family travelled to Caloundra which is located on the Queensland Sunshine Coast. After a long drive and arriving late with no time to explore, the family enjoyed a relaxing night and their first Domino’s Pizza in Australia. Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd is the largest pizza chain in Australia. This successful Australian public company now extends across seven countries including (Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany), boasting more than 2000 stores and is the leading international Domino’s franchise.
Next Destination Hervey Bay
Once again, we were happily reunited with our family and extended in Hervey Bay. We enjoyed hearing about their travels and their description of landmarks, scenery and places visited. The triplets were very excited to see us and were in their element exploring a ‘big’ Australian backyard.
With grass underfoot, the little ones explored the garden with delight, fed the chooks, collected the eggs and played with unfamiliar toys. Outdoor play has become an important part of each day especially after long drives. Watching the children play happily with very few restrictions gave us adults as much joy. The triplets play well together and by themselves. They rarely squabble between themselves and when they do, it is short lived.
The toddlers love their ‘tucker’. They eat just about anything including a love of bay prawns (shrimps), bananas, strawberries, yoghurt, cheese omelette, runny eggs, bread, rice crackers and everything that’s on Mumma’s plate! In Sweden, babies are introduced to cutlery earlier than I think in Australia. The toddlers have mastered the use of cutlery and manage very well unassisted. We found it hilarious watching them eat ice cream with a spoon in total bliss. Not one bit of ice cream is ever wasted or dropped.
Hervey Bay is a layback, peaceful and picturesque seaside city that originally attracted retirees. Today, the Fraser Coast region attracts an assortment of holiday makers, young families and retirees chasing warmer weather.
Fraser Coast is best known for whale watching and nearby Fraser Island, a heritage listed sand island. From July to November, there’s no better place than Hervey Bay for an up close and personal encounter with the majestic humpback whales. Each year the humpbacks travel from Antarctica to the warm sheltered waters off Queensland. After calving in the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef, many pods of whales retreat to Platypus Bay off Fraser Island to relax and play before returning to the rich feeding grounds of the Antarctic.
Hervey Bay began as a number of seaside villages, boasting kilometres of beaches and now offers a vast range of tourist attractions and activities for all ages. Hervey Bay offers a range of accommodation options from five star luxury to beachfront caravan and camping sites. The climate and idyllic sheltered waterways have led to an abundance of water sports activity and fishing haven. There are many charter boats available for fishing, snorkelling, diving, coral viewing and of course whale watching.
Each day, we spent hours walking kilometres on shady bike paths that meander among the trees that traces the entire stretch of sandy beach from the Marina, pass Urangan Pier, up to the last of the grand old beach houses at Point Vernon.
Dotted along the 16k esplanade are alfresco cafes, shops, playgrounds, picnic areas, parklands, water park, piers and marina with stunning views of Fraser Island and the coastline. The iconic Urangan Pier, which stretches for almost a kilometre out to sea, is one of the oldest and longest piers in Australia. The long pier offers a good opportunity to shoot the sunset from various points of views.
Our few days in Hervey Bay were blissful, relaxing and perfect. Mumma and Pappa loved listening to Gordon’s (my father in-law. aged 90) storytelling about how he met, fell in love with June his wife of 65+ years, his work life as a policeman and how they came to live in Hervey Bay. Years and years of family holidays, celebrations and happy times have filled each family member with love and happy memories. June and Gordon are very special parents, in-laws, grandparents and great-grandparents who continually inspire everyone who is lucky enough to cross their paths. We are truly blessed.
Loaded up again. Next destination, Mooloolaba.
Mooloolaba is located on the Queensland Sunshine Coast and was recently voted 6th best beach in Australia by TripAdvisor. Mooloolaba Beach is known as one of the safest and most beautiful beaches on the Sunshine Coast. After travelling for over a month in Australia, the family decided to rent an apartment for a week. The Osprey Apartments at Mooloolaba are perched on a hill overlooking the ocean. The ground-floor, two-bedroom apartment was spacious and located just a short walk from everything including Mooloolaba’s patrolled beach, playground, restaurants, cafes and boutique shopping. Beach holidays are a big part of the Australian lifestyle and a very popular destination on weekends, school holidays, Easter and Christmas.
At the front of the Mooloolaba surf club is a beautiful stretch of soft golden sand, where kids can splash safely on the patrolled beach. There’s also a picturesque beachside playground for a play which wore out these toddlers. Looking after three toddlers at a playground can be tricky! I feel there are many design faults with Australian play equipment especially the stairs leading up to slippery slides. The stair runners appear to be too far apart for 2-3 year old legs which made my heart skip a beat or two.
Helping out a little with the children has been a real privilege and I have loved engaging with them in play and conversation. The children may look a lot a like but they are three individuals with three different personalities. I love their babble, cute mannerisms and precious faces that steal and melt hearts wherever they go.
I am in awe of the parenting skills that this Mumma and Pappa have developed in two short years. If you are a parent, you know parenting doesn’t always come naturally or easy because each child is so different and because children’s needs constantly change. Raising three children of the same age, at the same time can’t be easy. Seeing two dedicated parents put all their combined efforts into showing constant love, care and affection towards their children has been a remarkable experience to witness.
We have shared many laughs, private jokes and funny moments together. I will never forgot Pappa calling me to tell me that we had an ‘eagle’ on the clothesline. It was a Kookaburra! The way Mumma and Pappa called IGA Supermarket – EAGER! The way the children devoured with joy kilos of strawberries, watermelon and prawns.
It is hard to believe that you can fall in love with a family that isn’t blood but that is exactly what has happened. Today, we sadly said our farewells (no goodbyes) as our new family are off on another fabulous adventure. The house is so quiet without them and it will take a little getting use to not starting the day with three beautiful toddlers and their loving parents. To be continued …….