Family holidays

One of my earliest recollections as a small child was of being on a camping holiday at Rosebud. It was our summer ritual, four weeks of camping, carnivals, swimming and ice cream. For my four siblings and me, it was always the best time of the year.

When I was ten years old, the family broke with tradition and planned a holiday to the Gold Coast in Queensland. Too costly to fly, my parents chose to drive the family station wagon, a roof rack full of camping gear, three people across the front seat and four in the back. Our annual trip to Rosebud was only a one and a half-hour drive, but the 1,600 kilometre trip to the Gold Coast was going to take us four days.

My twin brother and I were the youngest, and we had to squeeze into the middle of the rear seat, unable to see any of the scenery along the way. It was our version of Griswald's Christmas Vacation. Though getting there was hard, we had the best holiday ever, visiting Sea World to see the dolphins and whales and swimming at the great surf beaches of the Gold Coast. When the holiday ended, we turned around and made the same arduous four-day trip home.

This holiday was a treasured moment from my childhood. The last holiday the whole family went on together, with many shared experiences, memories and laughter. We had the best of times.