The Walsh Family Need Your Votes to Be Crowned Australia’s Most Adventurous Family. Chrissy Jones chatted to Loreena about their once in a lifetime adventure …
Matt and Loreena Walsh and their 3 children have been on a whirlwind journey, after being chosen as National Geographic – Nissan X-trail Adventurers. They are now in the running to be crowned Australia’s Most Adventurous Family, but need your help to get them over the line by voting for them at www.natgeotv.com.au/nissanxtrail
What did the competition consist of?
Nissan and National Geographic Channel have chosen 3 families to compete as Australia’s Most Adventurous Family. Each family was given $5,000 and a Nissan X-trail to use for 5 days and camera gear to capture their chosen journey.
We flew to Melbourne to pick up the car, and drove around 3,000 km over the 5 days. The final part of the competition where we’re at now is to gather as many votes as possible. The family with the most votes will be crowned Australia’s Most Adventurous Family and win their very own Nissan X-trail – something that would be life changing for us.
We were really surprised to be chosen. We saw the call for entrants while we were watching a documentary on Nat Geo TV and thought we had nothing to lose by giving it a go. We were then shortlisted and had to provide further information, which we did. I think you could hear our excitement from all around the Hastings when we got the call to say we’d made the cut.
There was lots and lots of planning and working with National Geographic and Nissan to get the holiday just right, and it’s definitely an experience we’ll never forget.
What was your chosen holiday destination?
We were so lucky to be able to choose our own family adventure. We’d always wanted to drive the Great Ocean Road and even more so, always wanted to visit Kangaroo Island, so we decided that was our dream trip. We had to get the itinerary approved by Nissan, who loved the idea of such a big road trip, so we submitted our itinerary and waited with excitement until the time arrived to hit the road. We didn’t want to take part in a clichéd adventure, and Kangaroo Island was somewhere we knew we’d be years off seeing without taking part in something like this. It’s so unique, and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
What was your itinerary?
The entire week was totally flat out! We headed to Melbourne a couple of days early, and managed to get so confused using the tram network, we opted for walking everywhere instead!
When the time came to pick up the X-trail from Nissan Headquarters, we somehow managed to head the wrong way – but it was a good thing, because we ended up on the Mornington Peninsula, which is one of the most stunning places we’ve ever seen!
When we got going, we didn’t stop.
• Mornington Peninsula
• Surf Museum Torquay
• Great Ocean Road
• Bell’s Beach
• Erskine Falls
• Split Point Lighthouse
• 12 Apostles
• Loch Ard Gorge
• Camped at Princetown
• Helicopter Flight over the 12 Apostles
• Thunder Cave
• Rescuing a wild koala from the road
• Crossed to South Australia
• Blue Lake Mount Gambier
• The Coorong
• Stayed Victor Harbour
• Got to Cape Jervis about 8am
• Caught ferry across to Penneshaw
• Film shoot with Nat Geo Crew
• Found Blue Ringed Octopus
• Quad Biking
• Remarkable Rocks
• Got up close to an echidna
• Camped Vivonne Bay
• Explored Vivonne Bay
• Watched Fur Seals
• Visited Admirals Arch
• Went to Cape Du Coeduic
• Took the X-trail onto the salt lake.
• Took the X-trail for a cruise along the beach at Emu Bay
• Went on a Dolphin Cruise
• Explored Kingscote
• Parndana dinner/camping
• It was Byron’s birthday
• Re-visited Remarkable Rocks
• Up close to Rosenbergs Heath Goanna
• Caving at Kelly Hill Caves
• Sandboarding at Little Sahara
• Sea Lion tour
• Left KI
• Dinner @ Victor Harbour
• Camped at Frank Potts Reserve
What were the highlights?
The two major highlights included swimming with wild dolphins off Kangaroo Island! We were treated to a pod of around 25 dolphins coming to play and even a couple of babies. Just as amazing was flying in a helicopter over the 12 Apostles! Seeing the 12 Apostles from the lookout is wonderful – taking in the views from above is unforgettable! We learned that there are actually still 12 standing, contrary to what we’d heard before we arrived. The pilot counted them out for us.
Our first day on Kangaroo Island we had our own private National Geographic film crew who got some professional footage – which was a strange but fun experience. The crew actually told us we’d captured some of the best koala footage they’ve ever seen.
We rescued a koala from the Great Ocean Road, got up close to Australian Sea Lions at Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island, came into contact with so much wildlife, went sand boarding at Little Sahara, the biggest sand dune we’ve ever seen (and had to climb!), went quad biking, visited the Melbourne Aquarium and so much more!
What happens now; how can people help?
Now the final stage of the competition begins. From March 26 to April 21 people can vote for us and go into the draw to win a $10,000 Flight Centre voucher to create their own holiday by heading to www.natgeotv.com.au/nissanxtrail
We’d love if people could spread the word for us. To win the title of Australia’s Most Adventurous Family and an X-trail would really change our lives. People can also check out our travel blog: www.littleaussietravellers.com.au or ‘like’ us at www.facebook.com/LittleAussieTravellers, where we’ll be sharing more photos and stories from our travels.
Thanks Loreena, and good luck!
This story was published in issue 77 of Port Macquarie Focus