Ok, not quite 10 years ago, but “that trip I took 9 and 3/4 years ago” doesn’t have the same ring to it. These are some pics from the archives. A whirlwind trip to the UK and a Contiki tour through Europe. This is as close as I can get to overseas travel right now which is painful for my itchy feet. I want to go back, even if it’s just to take some better photos!
Canterbury – I think
Shakespeare’s house. Possibly.
A castle in Wales
Roslyn Chapel – This place could have a post all of it’s own, I have so many photos.
Some famous tower in Paris
The weird and wacky and amazing La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.
I am currently in that happy after-glow of a weekend away mixed with the general displeasure of being back at home and not somewhere more exciting.
We set off on Friday morning on the longest road trip we have ever done with the kids. They did remarkably well considering how long they were in the car for.
Starting from the general region of Sunbury and heading to Portland, we stopped in Colac for something to eat and a play at the playground.
We arrived in Portland in the late afternoon and headed out for dinner on the foreshore after checking in to our motel. Absolutely loving it and already starting to relax. Driving tires us out and we were all asleep by 8:30 that night.
The next morning we headed off bright and early on a 90 minute drive to the Princess Margaret Rose Caves. The caves are situated in the Lower Glenelg National Park that straddles the border of Victoria and South Australia. The morning was misty and damp and the road to the caves was surrounded by gorgeous green forest and the occasional glimpse of ocean, before turning inland and heading up the border.
Driving up Border Road, I have never seen so much road kill on one stretch of road. It was rather unpleasant.
We arrived at the Caves at 10am, a full hour ahead of our tour time, so we had time to explore the National Park and see some living wildlife.
Then it was time for the Cave Tour. The tour starts with 68 steps down to the floor of the cave. The stairs pass under the original entrance which was a 17m hole in the ground discovered by Mr Keith McEachern in 1936. He and his wife built the staircase and opened the caves to the public in 1941.
Here’s some photos of pillars and stalactites and stalagmites.
The caves were enjoyed immensely by Millar, our aspiring spelunker and the reason we chose to visit the caves. Xanthe, on the other hand, became bored after about five minutes and then suddenly claustrophobic. At the end of the tour she ran up the stairs with me struggling to catch up behind her. She could not get out of there fast enough. However, later that day she said she wanted to go back. Argghh! Three year olds!
Back to Portland and back to the motel. We spent the afternoon relaxing and then BBQing. My heavily pregnant body was exhausted and I was hoping for another early night and a great night’s sleep but Xanthe had other plans. She suddenly developed an earache that had her yelling and crying in pain every 30 minutes for most of the night. Portland has no late night chemists and none of the supermarkets sold paracetamol or anything suitable for her age group and we had left ours at home. That’s the last time we’ll make that stupid mistake. Xanthe started feeling better at around 2:30am, thankfully.
On the road again at 8:30am with plans to drive the coastal route along the Great Ocean Road for a more scenic experience. We arrived home just after 6pm, so it was a full day of driving, but worth every minute.
I’m already looking forward to our next trip and have an urge to start planning immediately. But I think I may have to wait until after this baby is born. I was already struggling with my giant baby belly and it’s only going to get bigger.
Saturday was a busy day for us with the quick visit to the snow in the morning and then we headed off to ScienceWorks for the afternoon and finished the day off with dinner with the Sister in Law and her Husband.
I was lucky enough to get some free tickets to ScienceWorks so we could properly check out the new Think Ahead section and visit the Planetarium.
I am loving the new Think Ahead section. It opened in January this year and we saw some of it last time we went but this time we spent a bit more time there and were able to enjoy some interactive exhibits and email the recordings to ourselves.
Here, Xanthe is designing a futuristic car. She was able to chose all the body parts and materials and the colour. The car is then displayed on a large screen in the “showroom”. We were able to email those designs to ourselves.
As you can see above, you are able to name your design. Millar chose his own name while Xanthe went with “Aeppkkbvcg”.
We also played a virtual reality game. The kids LOVED this. There are two booths with large screens and the player needs to stand on the red carpet strip to be seen by the cameras.
Inside the booth, everything is controlled by your own body movements. The player is able to choose the body parts they want superimposed onto themselves and then they play a game to see how many targets they can hit with hands or feet and it is all displayed on the screen in front of them. Afterwards, you can select your game from a screen outside the booth and email it to yourself. Which we did and for some reason I cannot get the little videos to embed on this blog, so you’ll have to take my word for it!
Xanthe being scanned before the game
Playing the game and hitting the targets.
One of my favourite sections is the sound booth. The subtleties of this one is lost on my kids as they run around pushing buttons and kind of missing the point, but I would love to spend more time in here creating the perfect calming sounds with lights to match.
Think Ahead is a permanent exhibition so it will be around for quite some time. The old favourites Nitty Gritty Super City and Sport are still there too.
If you’ve never been to ScienceWorks then you don’t know what you are missing. It is my favourite thing to do with the kids in Melbourne. The price is so reasonable that we are able to visit often. My kids never tire of it and would spend all day there if I had the energy to chase them around all day. Hands on action with an educational slant. Love love love.
Child (to 16 years)
Lightning Room Show
ScienceWorks is part of the Museum Victoria family, so MV members can enter free of charge. We should really get a family membership, it would be well used!
The new Rescue Exhibition has replaced the circus section and we didn’t visit it this time but it is on the list for next time, along with the Lightning Room.
This time, we visited the Planetarium. Arriving too late for the show aimed at young kids, we chose to see Black Holes instead. Millar is very interested in space and has been asking about black holes a lot lately. I can’t answer those questions so I’m glad that the lovely Geoffrey Rush could do it for me. The show is long enough to be informative and short enough so that Xanthe didn’t have time to realise she didn’t understand what was going on and get bored. After the show about black holes, we were treated to a night sky tour. This is always very interesting and inspires my kids to look at the stars at night and point out Mars and Venus and the Southern Cross.