I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

1600 kilometres later...

...and we're still not only having the time of our lives, we have yet to kill one another. I can say with some certainty that all five members of my family are still alive and well. I can't comment on the dog because he is holidaying with my IL's, but I trust he too is still with us. (IL's, feel free to leave a comment and let us know.)

When I last blogged we had been in Canberra two nights. The next day we spent not nearly enough time at the War Memorial - somewhere I was going along to mostly to humour DH (who, in addition to being as Aussie as they come) loves all things military related. I honestly expected the kids (and me, let's be frank here) to be whining about being bored about five minutes into it. Instead the kids AND I were all quite disappointed to have to leave - we did a 90 minute tour and all of us felt we really only scratched the surface. There is SO much more to see there that we have already planned a trip back. From there we went onto Parliament (where I had a slightly heart-rate raising moment when we went through the explosives check and I got pulled aside). Parliament, too, is another place we could have spent more time. The last stop on our "Geek's Tour of Australian Government Icons" was the Royal Mint - disappointing only because it was not a working day for them and so we did not get to see all the machinery in action, but otherwise fascinating in many respects.

Our last day in Canberra dawned a bit overcast, but we pressed on with our plans to visit Cockington Green - a minature town of replica buildings. Bitty bitty people in bitty bitty buildings doing things like playing bitty bitty cricket games. For me this was our most disappointing stop, because not only was it a bit expensive, but I don't remember it being as ...meh...as it was. The kids enjoyed it, especially the ridiculous kiddy train ride (so small each of us took up an entire bench in a carriage) and it was fun but I don't think I'd go again.  From there we went on to the CSIRO Discovery Centre, which, as the name suggests, is a place for older kids to discover a lot about the work CSIRO does (did you know they invented WiFi?). We were the only ones there, which was a good thing as it means the kids (okay, DH and I) could run around madly pressing buttons on stuff and not have to pretend like it wasn't us who made the little solar powered lolly machine continually give out lollies.

From there we pressed onto Wallerawang - not the bustling metropolis you might imagine with a name like that, but a small town in the coalmine area of NSW. En route we stopped in Goulburn, supposedly to have lunch and get petrol but really to take pictures in front of the giant Merino. Not giant as in "Wow, what a big sheep" but giant as in "Let's climb up into it's body and look out of it's eyes onto the road below." Onwards (and a few wrong turns along the way) we ended up in Wallerawang. It turned out to be a lovely town, with a lovely hotel in a former school - the owner of the hotel was actually a student of the school for most of his life, which is such an "only in Australia" sort of thing, isn't it? Dinner at the local Chinese (delicious, shame about the horrible waitress, but then with no competition to speak of I can't imagine anyone is too worried about things like customer service!). Morning saw us up and about and heading for Jenolan Caves - and to give you some time perspective, that was this morning I'm talking about.

Jenolan Caves is one of those places which cannot really be described with words - and apologies about the lack of pictures, but uploading from our various phones and cameras is a bit more fiddly than I feel like dealing with, so I'll do some photo posts on our return. We spent our entire day on a couple of tour caves (translation: in awe of the caves, in awe of the sheer number of stairs, in awe of the number of photos it's possible to take), walks around the blue lake (more @&*@# stairs!) and eventually a very happy but weary emzee family made it back to the car (guess what? stairs to the carpark, too). Unequivocally it was one of our most adventurous days yet - and we worked out that by the end of it we had climbed or come down over 1,600 steps. Goodness knows how we will feel tomorrow!

Afternoon had us heading into Sydney and to our accommodation for the next week - sadly a disappointing 'granny flat' place under a home in Allambie Heights (just outside of Manly.) While it's mostly clean, it's clear that the owners are not experienced at having people stay - no dishes, no cutlery, no real bin (!) to speak of, and so on. I'm pretty certain the fridge was stolen from a few grotty fraternity boys - and in terms of cooking 'equipment' the best we have is an electric frying pan...so suffice to say our emergency Coles run had items like tea towels, big bags, spatulas, toilet paper and so on make their way into the trolley. I'm pretty disappointed but as usual the kids don't give a shit and are rolling with it - they were just thrilled to see a Scrabble board in the cupboard!

I have to say the real heroes of this trip have been the children - they have soaked up every moment of it, revelled in the adventures, taken more photos than I will ever know what to do with, and just LIVED in each moment of every day. To be sure we have asked a fair bit of them, but they've taken it all in their stride and have proven themselves far more flexible than I ever anticipated. The electronic sanity device has yet to get out of the box, even though they discovered it's existence early on in the piece. They are laughing, smiling, engaged kids - and while they have tried to get on one another's nerves now and again, generally speaking I throw a handful of Werther's lollies back there and all is right with the world. They have even tolerated us playing endless Beatles CD's (thanks DH for the music selection) but in turn we've sat through hours and hours of their books on tape (DS picked audio books which a) go on for HOURS and b) require a lot of active listening. Bless him.) They have already decided that "road trips rock!" and that the ONLY solution to this problem of not seeing all we want to see is just to repeat this exact trip next year, but go to the places we just did not have time for.

We've all been having so much fun that we've forgotten both the date and the day of the week - today DS asked me what the date was and I literally had no idea. I'm pretty sure that's what this vacation was for, just to forget about life for a while. In which case - objective achieved.

Tomorrow it's the pinaccle of this trip (although in hindsight, maybe not..) - the Harry Potter exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum. I'm going to sign off now because DH and I have some planning to do for the rest of our days in Sydney - and connecting to the 'net via my mobile phone is probably costing as much as ...well...a lot.

Sydney, I hope you're ready for us, because we've got big plans for you...! (Pylon lookout, Chinese garden, Manly Aquarium, clifftop walk from Bondi to Coogee...and so on!)


BIL said...

Great to hear the trip is going so well and that the kids are discovering how much fun these trips can be. AT their age there a few good years to go when these trips will work and so much territory to cover and discover.

Teddy is doing just fine, spoiled with attention and thoroughly enjoyed getting washed yesterday. Bouncing all over the place afterwards, a very happy chappy.

Love to one and all, happy new year, be safe, be well, HAVE FUN!!!!

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