Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My first ever Tram ride....

I went on my first ever tram ride yesterday.

We went to the Melbourne city.

They go really fast.

They drive really close to the cars.

We went on (2) buses and (3) trams.

It was really fun!!

Bass Strait...

Excitement levels are high in camp today!

At about 5pm this afternoon we board 'The Spirit of Tasmania' to sail across Bass Strait.

We are 'roughing' it a bit as we are sleeping in recliners (an adventure in itself). 

We shall see you 'on the other side'......

A bit of honesty....

The other day James came out with a brave and honest statement....

"Mum you only ever put the 'good bits' on the blog".

I couldn't disagree with him.

The better photos and the 'fun times' only make it onto the blog....

I have intentionally aimed to keep the tone positive.
When we return I intend to have the blog printed into a book form.

This will be great as I won't have to wade through a thousand photos and diaries to create a trip 'momento'.

(5) people in a small space; fatigue; exhaustion; cabin fever; egos; wants; needs etc etc can contribute to 
'trying times' for both the kids and Frank and I. 

Positive parenting techniques are sometimes used and sometimes not.

Obviously the good times totally outweigh the 'trying times'!! It has been an incredible holiday travelling together around this vast country of ours. 

We have seen incredible natural and non-natural sights; learnt so much new information; seen lots of different animals; met different people living different lives; and made some wonderful friends.

We have stayed safe (touch wood) and have only made (2) visits to a Doctor for minor afflictions. 

There are some places we really want to return to one day and some that we would drive by. Some places will be great to revisit at different times of the year.

The memories and anecdotes will be spoken about for years to come. This will bring Frank and I heaps of joy (as it is already).

(33) days left to go......let the fun (and trying times) continue....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sovereign Hill, Ballarat...

We had a great day out with Auntie Julie at Sovereign Hill.

Sovereign Hill is a 'working museum' on a  historic mining site close to the centre of Ballarat.

It is a re-creation of life during the gold boom and tells the city's story from 1851-1861.

The staff here are fantastic at being in 'character'. They spoke to us as if it was the mid 1800's which was quite funny at times. 

There were lots of things to play with:

Not much gold here unfortunately..

Even an opportunity to pretend you are Indiana Jones...

Lots of impressive machinery to watch...

A gold pouring demonstration to enjoy again.

You can never say no to trying to lift a big brick of gold....

A horse drawn cart drive to enjoy around Sovereign Hill..

Ella and James up the front...

Bindi was very appreciative of course.
Any opportunity to pat the draught horses!!

Our other favourite animals were these pigs named Bob Jr. and Gutsy.
They both loved a good scratch and were like two frisky puppies!!

Watching boiled lollies being made using traditional techniques was fun..
Here are some finished lime drops just cooling off...

Old fashioned candle making was a fun place to hang out for a while.... 

We ventured under the earth to experience a couple of underground mine tours which were fantastic. 

This combined with examining the living conditions of the miners gave the kids more of an idea of the hardships experienced in the 'olden days'.

When James came home he felt really 'strange' to be back in 'modern times' after his day in the mid 1800's. 

Very funny!

It is a wonderful 'not for profit' historical attraction.

Great Ocean Road....

It's iconic.
It's spectacular.
It's an example of Mother Nature at her best.
Those wild southern waters have carved out an amazing coastline for us to enjoy.

We had a big day yet again zooming down the Great Ocean Road..
The weather was near perfect.
Blue clear skies with a strong southeasterly wind.
James' long locks show the strength of the wind.

We made Warrnambool our base and drove down to Apollo Bay and back via Colac in one day.
It was really enjoyable to drive back through the lovely green farming country on the way home.
Plenty of healthy sheep and dairy cattle around these parts!

The Bay of Islands....

West of London Bridge. 
We thought it amazing how the cliff faces looked so 'laser cut', nearly smooth..

London Bridge.
The centre of the 'bridge' collapsed in 1990 and there were tourists on the ocean side at the time.
How scary would that have been?
They had to get rescued by a helicopter!!

Loch Ard Gorge...
This area was named after a ship called 'Loch Ard' which crashed just off the coast near Port Campbell in 1878. There was only (2) survivors.

The Razorback...

The Arch...

The western apostles...

The eastern apostles...

Only (8) of the limestone stacks remain after the last one disentegrated in 2005.
It is a bit confusing as some information says there was only ever (9).

Very powerful erosion happening here.....

Hello Victoria.....

7.5 weeks in WA and only 10 days in South Australia.

This is not how we expected things to pan out but not to worry....
We will definitely return one day to the wonderful South to enjoy the 'finer details'.

The wine regions were amazing of course. Grapevines as far as the eye could see, incredible!!
McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Coonawarra were just stunning.
It was a lovely drive..

One little town we will definitely return to one day was named Penola.

It is the town where Mary McKillop began her teaching career and founded the St. Joseph's Nuns.
Imagine the celebrations here when she became canonised!! Plenty of wine around these parts to celebrate with!!

We were zooming through Penola at 5pm so unfortunately everything was closed. A little place full of history!!

It was a fairly non-celebratory border crossing as safety was the higher priority on this narrow bended highway....

We discovered a lovely free camp in a small timber mill town named Dartmoor. It is about 35km East of Mt. Gambier.

The kids squealed with joy at the site of a horse, calves, sheep and a border collie across the road.

"She looks like Black Caviar Mum!" stated our 6 yo horse racing expert.

She didn't enjoy being patted but she did enjoy some fresh long grass fed to her by the kids.

She didn't mind the odd little 'tease' with a bunch of grass....

She enjoyed nuzzling Charlie's ears...

She watched us all the time so it was hard not to cross the road and visit her...

At dusk she seemed to enjoy a game of tiggy with the Border Collie which was hilarious to watch...

We also enjoyed admiring the 'chainsaw sculptured' Cyprus trees which were true works of art.
These trees were planted prior to WWII and were sculptured in 2006.

I haven't photographed this one very well but it's theme was nursery rhyme characters..
Snow white, the seven dwarfs, Jack and the beanstalk, the Cat and the fiddle (and others) were carved out of the tree.

So wonderful, so different!!
Fabulous first night spent in Victoria....