Amanda was living a wonderful life with her incredible husband of 30 years and their four beautiful children, when one shocking moment destroyed it all. Her husband came home from surfing at the beach and in front of the family, had an unexpected and violent heart attack. Amanda performed CPR for 20 minutes, but sadly he died in her arms.


Reflecting back to the start of 2020, my life was an empty void. While I adored my amazing adult children and friends, my life had no specific direction.

I heard a great podcast where the speaker asked, ‘What’s your intent?’. He said that, for something to happen in life, you need to have intent.

So for many weeks I pondered, and realised a couple of important facts. I loved nature, exploring new places, hiking, kayaking, camping and diving, and while I was very capable of doing adventures on my own, I preferred sharing those experiences.

As I’d spent 30 years with my husband, I decided I wanted to try and find a like minded man to spend my days with, and sooner than later as I was 60!

Finding Love in Lockdown

This was a challenge, as life was difficult in Sydney as it was the start of the total Covid lockdown. But I stepped out anyway, joined a dating site, and started talking to a lovely man who lived locally.

If it wasn’t for Covid, we wouldn’t have met, as we both had overseas holidays booked. I believe the universe conspired to put Max in my path.


Rediscovering Love and Adventure in Your 60s, Amanda Westwood


We had a common understanding of loss and grief as Max had cared for his wife as she faded away from cancer over many years. Our children went to school together.

Our eldest sons were born at the same time, in the same hospital. We had mutual friends. His uncle and my father were university professors together, and when I was a baby, I went with my parents for dinner at his uncle and aunt’s place.

We were astounded by all the connections. So at sunrise every morning, we’d walk along a local beach 1.5 metres apart, clocking up 100km a week, talking for hours, and becoming best friends.

We were very thankful for Covid as we both needed time, no relationship pressures, and the opportunity to get to know each other. We live five minutes from each other, and we’re inseparable.

Between us we have ten children who we adore, all the same ages, and have many fun and crazy times together. We share an absolute love for exploring and adventure, but most of all, we laugh, cry, dream, and plan our life together.


Rediscovering Love and Adventure in Your 60s, Amanda Westwood

Another Shock to The System

Throughout 2020 we gathered friends, organising camping trips to Blueys Beach, Myall Lake, and Wombarra. We spent many days kayaking around beautiful Sydney waterways and bush walks through our many national parks.


Rediscovering Love and Adventure in Your 60s, Amanda Westwood


To celebrate a friend’s 60th birthday, Max and I catered for ten friends and put together a fun-filled three day adventure, hiking and exploring the Snowy Mountains.

This was an amazing but stressful trip as one of the guys had a heart attack just before getting on the chairlift at Thredbo.

Max and I didn’t hesitate and went to start CPR but thankfully there was a paramedic in line behind us. The mountain rescue team was also there with a defibrillator and our friend was saved. He was airlifted to Canberra hospital and needed emergency surgery.

This experience made us all realise the importance of regular health checks and knowing first aid, especially in wilderness situations.

After the helicopter left, we all looked at each other, not knowing what to do next. The best thing was to get moving, so we spent the day climbing to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, where we had lunch and took a selfie of us all, sending it to our friend in hospital.

He made an incredible recovery and one year later, he and his wife also finished the trip they missed out on that day.

A Perfect Pair of Explorers

Early 2021, when there was an ease of Covid restrictions, Max and I flew to Adelaide and boarded The Ghan train where we travelled to Darwin. Seeing the Outback from the train was incredible.


Rediscovering Love and Adventure in Your 60s, Amanda Westwood


We stopped on the way to watch the sunrise over the desert at Marla, then the next day we stopped at Alice Springs and hiked to Simpsons Gap. The journey was an absolutely incredible adventure, and one I’d never imagined taking. Once we arrived in Darwin we hired a car and travelled to Litchfield National Park.


Rediscovering Love and Adventure in Your 60s, Amanda Westwood


As it was the monsoon season, we virtually had the park to ourselves. We had an amazing time hiking and exploring in the rain, where waterways and waterfalls were at capacity.

Mid-year we realised that overseas travel wasn’t going to happen for some time. Both Max and I wanted to explore and travel and not wait for the future before we set off.

When you’ve had significant loss in your life, you realise the importance of living in the present. We’re both very aware of how limited time really can be and that no moment is ever guaranteed.

So we purchased a new off-road Kombie together so we could take off and explore more of our amazing country. After doing an off-road training course, we took advantage of an easing of Covid lockdowns, and drove north to Cape York on an eight week adventure. I’m also a landscape photographer, so I was in heaven surrounded by the most beautiful scenery.


Rediscovering Love and Adventure in Your 60s, Amanda Westwood


We could’ve been on the road for much longer as there was so much to do and see. So we only came back home for six weeks and left again for a seven week trip around Tasmania.

The distances we travelled each day were small, so we had so much time to explore and hike. Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair, and the Tarn Shelf were sensational.


Rediscovering Love and Adventure in Your 60s, Amanda Westwood


The days that were overcast meant we often had the mountains and valleys to ourselves. The total quiet and isolation gave room to disconnect from everyday life and find an amazing peace in the pristine wilderness.

Back to The Outback

In 2022 we took off on a ten week Australian Outback road trip, starting in Mundi Mundi Music Festival in Broken Hill. 10,000 people camping on the Silverton Plains, where Mad Max was originally filmed, was a memorable experience.

Listening to amazing bands of the 70s and 80s was so much fun, but sadly we spent too much time in the mosh pit and we both ended up with Covid. So we isolated in a small cabin in Port Augusta before continuing north to Coober Pedy, Uluru, Kings Canyon, and onwards.


Rediscovering Love and Adventure in Your 60s, Amanda Westwood


We visited many memorable places. We, stayed in an underground hotel in Coober Pedy, hiked around Uluru and Kata Tjuta, then watched the day unfold and fade over these two ancient monoliths.

We climbed Kings Canyon an hour before dawn, just so we could sit and absorb the early morning as the sun’s glow gradually illuminated the jagged cliffs and rolling landscape.

Our country is unique, and experiencing all it has to offer with someone special is such a gift.

Our favourite places were definitely the roads less travelled, specifically a 37 degree artesian bore on a Charlotte Plains cattle station, in the middle of Outback Queensland.

Luckily we were just able to drive there, as many roads had been cut by recent flooding rains. We negotiated the sticky muddy tracks onto the station, and then set up camp beside this natural bore. Beside the bore head, the farmer had installed old claw-foot baths for the campers to use.

So at 5.30am, Max and I braved the five degree temperatures and dashed to two east facing baths. We quickly turned on the big faucets and filled the baths with artesian water, then sat and watched the steam rise from the small streams that flowed from the bore. And then finally, a spectacular sunrise.


Rediscovering Love and Adventure in Your 60s, Amanda Westwood


For us our new life has just begun. Starting life again in your 60s is scary, and you do feel vulnerable. But each day is precious and full of choices if you’re brave enough to make them.

Max and I were both intentional, we knew what we wanted and found it with each other. We’re excited about life, what the future will bring, and all the incredible places we are yet to discover – together.