Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coward Springs via Lake Eyre

We headed off from here toward Coward Spring, via Lake Eyre. Well, to be completely honest, I wouldn’t say that it was the most exciting part of our trip. We could see the water from the lookout but it was miles away. To top it off, I opened the back door of the car to get a snack out for the boys and the damn fire extinguisher fell out onto my foot…. Holy Crap it hurt.

We got in late and had to bribe the children for good behavior with the promise of a swim in the “spa”. We couldn’t disappoint, so at only 29 degrees the 3 boys plunged into the natural spring. The kids had a ball. They didn’t care about the temperature until it was time to get out!! More marshmellows on the fire. The boys are so cute, they don’t like their marshmellows cooked so we just put them on sticks and they just eat them off.

Before we left I decided that 3 days without a bath was probably long enough for Milla so out came all the "stuff" from the box and in went the warm water and the baby. Not to be left out, after Milla had her bath (which she LOVED!!), in hoped Casey Jack.

They kids had a ball playing with the water. Gee I am blessed to have children who can keep themselves amused.

Flinder's Ranges & Farina

Today can only be described as breath taking. We hit the Flinder’s Ranges Brachina Gorge and were completely blown away. Every where we looked one of us was exclaiming, “Oh wow.” We saw emus, kangaroos and rock wallabies. This kids loved it.

We found our way to a little homestead in the old town of Farina. The camp site is accessed by driving through the ruins of the old town. There was a shower that was heated by an old donkey heater. The queue for the shower was huge and we decided we could wait til the next day. I braved the toilets with the kids and had to wait until Nath had finished weeing before I pointed out the 4 baby frogs that were calling the toilet block home. I decided I could wait…

The boys finally seem to be settling into life on the road and are brilliant at keeping themselves amused while the van is set up. Today they rode their bikes around and around and around. Well, actually Nathy did. Casey just likes to push his!!

The next morning we went for a drive back to the ruins and had a look around the old buildings. It was so interesting. In it’s hey day Farina was a thriving town. Farina is Latin for flour and someone in their wisdom thought that it would be good land for growing wheat. Unfortunately it was not to be so. The town was one of the main stops on the Ghan Railway line. It had 3 police stations, 2 general stores, bakeries, a pub. The town would have been amazing. It’s last resident moved on in 1982.

Wilpena Pound

From Peterborough we headed to Wilpena. I had no idea what we were in for but the Flinders Ranges are magical.

We stayed in the caravan park of the Wilpena Pound Resort. We pulled in about 5pm which is starting to become the trend. Once we drove around the camp site about 10 times we found our site and started setting up.

Talk about a small world, the family we were next too were related to a bloke Neil works with. (see picture)

Not long after we had set up a caravan arrived and pulled into the spot behind us. Out piled 4 kids aged between 11 and 2. Don’t you think the boys were excited. Casey and the little 2 year old Jemima became instand friends and before we knew it we were all sitting around our camp fire chatting. They were such lovely people, it was about 11 when we decided to pull the pin and go to bed. Anyone who knows me knows that this is unheard of! We arranged to have a breakfast date for pancakes the next morning.

Sure enough, true to their word, we awoke to pancakes being cooked. These pancakes were the best we have ever had and Richard was kind enough to s

hare his recipe. Mmmmmmmmmm pancakes…

We got ourselves organized, packed a picnic lunch and headed off to catch the shuttle bus up the mountain to a different part of the pound. I pointed out to Case the beautiful scenery and he replied, “Yes, the bus is beautiful Mummy.”

There was a 1km walk at the end of the shuttle bus which was alright for most of it but toward the end it became very rocky and hilly. The kids and I called it quits a couple of

hundred metres before the end as Case is not known for his

mountain goat prowess. The view was magnificient none the less.

Back home for a rest before preparing dinner for a BBQ with our neighbours and

another lovely couple we met from Germany. It was a huge feast finished off with a marshmellow melt off.

The next morning, the friendly German’s cooked us all up a feast which translated to “Emporor’s Crap”. Didn’t matter what it was called, with it’s rum infused sultanas it was a big hit.

We sadly packed up and eventually managed to get on the road. We had the most amazing time with such a brilliant bunch of people. If this is what the holiday is going to be like then bring it on.

Peterborough - The Boys are in Heaven...

We arrived at the local caravan park and wondered what we were in for. It was surprisingly brilliant. There were a lot of grey nomads all of whom were very friendly and a bit shocked when we explained what we were doing. They all wished us luck!!

We had dinner in the camp kitchen and they even had a bath so the boys had a wash before bed.

The next morning saw drizzle yet again…. When will it end??

We went into town and checked out Steamtown.. It was fantastic. We did an hour and a half tour which managed to keep the boys attention the whole time. It was a tour around the old rail works which included the roundhouse, turntable, work shops and the chance to climb aboard a huge array of old trains. Of course DS1 & 2 were in heaven.

From here we went to lunch and had “The best chips ever” as declared by Nathan.

The Barossa Valley

We decided that the weather was beating us so decided to stay in a hotel for the night. We headed to the Barossa Valley and Neil couldn’t resist going to Seppelfield’s Winery. I stayed in the car with the kids and Neil came back with a rose, a port and red. The funniest thing is that 2 out of the 3 wines actually come from Rutherglen and not actually the Barossa…. DOH..

From here we found the Weinert Motel which was brilliant. Ah, a hot shower in our room. We went out to dinner at the Motel Tavern which was pretty average. The boys decided to help some kids who were in the middle of a championship game of snooker. They ran past and swipped the balls all across the table and into the holes….. The kids were lovely about and one declared, “Oh, that sucks.”

The next morning we were met with rain again, but at least this time there was minimal packing required. We went to the local supermarket and stocked up on groceries as we were on our way to the desert. The lady packed all my things into a cardboard box which I then went to move to my trolley. Just as I was lowering it in the bloody bottom gave way and all of my items crash landed into the trolley. The only casualty was a container of pasta sauce. Messy….

From here we went to Peterborough on the recommendation from Di. It is a town that thrived in it’s day thanks to a MASSIVE rail network. With our two little train buffs it was a big hit.

The Big Rocking Horse - Gumeracha

It has been way to long since I last blogged and I hope you are all in for a HUGE post... We have been out of range for a while. I hope you enjoy catching up.

We left Hahndorf with the crappiest weather. Neil decided that he loved the Merlot Jelly so much that we had to go back into town for another jar. I was thewet pet that got to run in, trying to avoid floating away. It truly was such a change to the beautiful day we had before.

We made it to Gumeracha just in time to see a huge branch fall from a large gum, narrowly missing a new Landcruiser. Secretly I was hoping that one would fall on the T-Van…

We had a fantastic time at the “World’s Biggest Rocking Horse”. They have a fantastic toy shop with the most beautiful wooden toys. Some of which they make themselves. We tol

d the boys they could have one thing each which thankfully didn’t turn out as bad as it could have. They both chose these cute little robot things that are held together with elastic. You press a plate on their base and they collapse. I am sure you all know what I mean.

We were there in time for lunch so had a great feed and the kids had a play on some of the toys they had set up in the café. I just love this photo of the 3 of them on the rocking horse. Casey is actually holding Milla, he did a great job.

The rain then stopped long enough for the littlest boys and I to climb the Rocking Horse. Casey came with us to the first platform, Nathan then decided that we were going to climb to the head!! Yeh, goodcall kid. Don’t you know that it is blowing a gale and your Mum is petrified of heights??

Anyway, I dropped Case back with Neil and put on my brave face. Nath climbed like the monkey he is and did a great job with his slippery gumboots and frozen paws. I thought he would be satisfied with getting to the horse back. Who was I trying to kid!! Nope, I am met with “C’mon Mum, let’s go to the head. You’re not scared are you??”

The view was beautiful from what Nath tells me. I was too busy peering through my fingers!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eating Our Way Through Hahndorf!!

OK, this trip is definitely all about eating at the moment. I am sure that is going to change once we hit the desert!!

That pizza I went off to order last post, well, it was the biggest bloody pizza I have ever seen. Nath was so excited. It was the funniest thing. Tasted good toowhich is always a plus!!

We had set up the whole annex and family room for the stay at Goolwa so needless to say it took us HOURS to pack the whole lot up yesterday to hit the road.

The weather was awful as well which made things a lot less enjoyable. I had the fun task of taking the kids off to mini golf while Neil and Dad pulled the annex down.

Once we were packed we left the van at the caravan park and headed into town for an awesome lunch at a local cafe. We walked the streets of Goolwa before saying goodbye to Dad.

We decided to head over the bridge to Hindemarsh Island where we could see the mouth of the mighty Murray. We could see some cars on the beach on the other side so decided to give the 4WD a bash. The patrol has never seen beach 4WDing. Neil had to get out and touch the water. Hillarious...

It was such a beautiful drive and the Patrol was in it's element. Casey was excited, he fell asleep after about 5 minutes!! We saw a HUGE piece of rope which had washed up on the beach from a ship and lots of other strange things which had been washed up on shore. I stopped and collect some cuttlefish which bought back memories of being a kid and going to the beach with Mum and Dad to collect cuttlefish for our birds.

We went back to the caravan park to collect "Tommy" and it was the first time that I felt we were on holiday together. As much as I enjoyed "riding solo" it was nice to join the family.

We drove for about an hour to Hahndorf and arrived here around 5.30pm. We sat the boys in front of a movie, I got some food on the go for Milla and we proceeded to set up the van AGAIN!!

We then made the mistake of deciding to go into the local pub for dinner. It was about 7pm by this stage, WAY past DS1 & DS2's bedtime. It was schnitzel night of course and the place was packed. Nath proceeded to chuck the biggest wobbly when we served him up vege's and schnitzel and not chips!! Anyway, lesson learnt.

Home to bed for a good night sleep for all.

Today would have to be the BEST day of the trip so far. We got up, had breakfast and decided to spend the day in town. It is just over a km walk and was lovely. There are some gorgeous houses and buildings along the main drag along with animals galore which kept the kids happy.

Our first stop was Hahndorf Produce Haus and Chocolate Shop. Talk about nice country folk. The lady in this store was amazing. We ended up buying Chocolate Rocks (thanks Laura!!) and white chocolate rocky road and then some cashew mustard, merlot jelly and some huge sausage thing!! We knew we were in trouble after leaving here as she pointed us in the direction of the cheese factory and a cellar door.

Walking past the Post Office and another lovely local came running out to tell us about a magic cave further down the road that the kids would just love.

We decided to stop for lunch and of course had to order something German. I would try and write it but I don't think I would get it right even if I tried to do it frenetically. I am a little scared about here, I took the boys to the toilet and found this old dude just sitting in the toilet, door wide open, pants down on the ground. EWWWWW.......

We found an awesome Fairy Garden where a lady hand makes all her own ceramic fairies. I cannot wait until we have a house again and Milla is a bit older. I already have plans for a half pirate / half fairy garden. Hmmmm, what can I get Neil to make?

While we were hot on the trail of fairies we came across the Magic Cave that the postmaster had told us about. From the front it was a very unassuming toy store but through the back door was the most amazing cave with various scenes, moving animals and narration. The kids thought it was amazing, actually we all did.. No photos were allowed unfortunately, we found this a lot throughout town.

As if the kids weren't exhausted enough we found a park for them to burn some more energy. More walking bought us to the cheese factory which was amazing. We love all of the cheeses they had but settled on a brie, a blue and some goats cheese thing. They also did an amazing red onion dip.

It was a huge day so decided to head back to the caravan park. Neither of the boys would sleep so when we got back to the caravan park we decide to run every last ounce of energy out of them and Neil took them to the playground!!

After dinner the kids were straight into bed, I am sure they were asleep before their heads hit the pillow. Neil and I have been pigging out on 5 o'clocksies.. ie, cheese, dip, biscuits, meat and red wine. Ah, this is the life. We both agree that today is the first day we have really felt settled and really enjoyed the whole day.

We are packing up early tomorrow to try and avoid some really nasty weather that is coming our way. We are hoping to get to Peterborough via the giant Rocking Horse.. photos to come.

Goodnight xoxo

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Last Night In Goolwa

It is coming to that time when we are facing the big pack up again!! Dad is thinking of heading off back west tomorrow so we are going to have to do some serious organising before he leaves to make sure that all the extra crap is loaded into the Jeep..

Yesterday we finally managed some serious sight seeing and all headed into Victor Harbor for the day. It is the most beautiful old town which fantastic sea side parks, lots of interesting historical things to see and most importantly.... a great pub meal...

We parked the cars right near an old steam train turn table which had the boys, young and old fascinated. There was also a wash down near by which bought more smiles to the little Thomas fanatics faces. We met a lovely couple who were doing geocaching. It sounds like a heap of fun. Kind of like a treasure hunt for big kids. I had never heard of it before but apparently it is world wide and you can get onto their web page, enter a postcode and it will give you the "clues" in the area you are in. You then go and find the "caches". Once we are a little more settled we may give some a go.

We headed from there to the local pub for our first pub meal of the trip. I am pleased to report that it didn't disappoint. They even had a miniature railway which ran around the ceiling of the pub (are you seeing a pattern here for Victor Harbor's history??). Unfortunately it wasn't working but it kept the boys amused none the less.

From there we walked the main street for a bit before I headed off to my dentist appointment. All things going well I may avoid a root canal!! Yep, no point doing anything by half. I had a huge portion of my tooth and an old filling that had disappeared and another huge decayed part... OUCH.. I forgot my iPhone headphones so had the pleasure of listening to the drill for an hour. Did I mention that I HATE the dentist?

The family came and waited for me after Neil heading into the polling station to get our voting out of the way. Back to the car via some great little knick knack shops and home to the caravan park.

Last night the winds picked up and I am not exaggerating when I say I thought the annex was going to blow away. It hasn't stopped for the last 24 hours, at least the kites have been flying!! The locals said they haven't seen it like this for years... of course not I say, only when the Hemo's come to town.

It has been a day of bumming around the caravan park, riding bikes, playing on the swings, mini golf, movies and kite flying. Neil ended up having a telephone interview for a job in Perth so we will wait and see how that goes.

Off to order wood fire pizza for dinner. xoxo

Monday, August 9, 2010

We Made it to Goolwa

Ah, we are finally staying in 1 spot for more than a night :-)

We left Tailem Bend around lunch time on Sunday and headed to Murray Bridge to fill in time before picking up Dad. We headed down to the river and had chip butties for lunch while the boys had a great time playing on some old steam trains which were on the river bank.

The sky turned grey and dumped a heap of rain on us as I tried to load 3 kids into the car. The boys thought it was the funniest thing ever. I headed off to Adelaide and Neil and the kids headed to Goolwa.

Dad and I made it to Goolwa around 4.30 to find Neil with the main annex of the van almost up. The baby lying in her cot and the boys watching a dvd. Good work Dad. It was an early night after a dinner of bacon and eggs...Yummo.

The weather was against us again today, not that the boys minded. We hit the mini golf at the caravan park this morning with a tennis ball and had a great time jumping in muddy puddles. They thought it was great.

After lunch, Dad and I headed into Victor Harbor about 20km's away to Ultra Tune. The blokes at Ultra Tune said that the engine warning light was on care of the oxygen sensor and had no explanation for the gas not working. What ever they did worked a treat and the car is driving like new. $65 well spent.

When Dad and I got back, Casey and Milla were both asleep and Nath couldn't wait to tell me about the game of mini golf that he had played with Casey.

We are starting to think that Nathan may be having trouble with his ears again. Either that or, as Danni pointed out, his "Male Selective Hearing" has kicked in at the age of 4!! Hopefully it is nothing to serious. I will try and get him into the doctor tomorrow.

The boys wanted a BBQ for dinner so I grabbed some snags and started cooking them while they were playing on the playground equipment. When I went back to turn them, there was one missing. I thought I was going mad until I turned around and saw a very content looking magpie enjoying it. I got Dad to come out and finish cooking them while I went and fed the baby and when I turned back the magpie was sitting above the BBQ on the pergola roof, leaning over and looking at Dad. Bloody cheeky bugger.

It is starting to get cold so I am out of here into my nice toasty warm bed. xoxo

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Putting in the Big Hours

Tonight we are sitting in a little caravan park near the Murray River in a place called Tailem Bend. We pulled in to town around 5.30pm which is a bit later than we had anticipated. I am picking up my Dad from Adelaide Airport tomorrow so we needed to be within 100 or so km's to avoid a mad panic.

The kids have been fantastic today, it is a bit of a change from yesterday when Nathan declared that "This is the worst holiday ever!!" Ah, the joys of putting in the long hours to make up time and not having an in car DVD player. I might just add that I am greatly enjoying "Riding Solo" in my car, the only whinging I hear is over the CB and I can always turn it off.

When we left Port Campbell we decided to back track a little and have a look at the 12 (or how ever many are
left) Apostles. The weather was magnificent, unlike the day before and the kids had a ball. Unfortunately some of the board walks were closed for renovation but there were still some awesome vantage points.

We spent last night in Nelson, our last night in Victoria. We stayed at the most beautiful caravan park which had Kangaroos everywhere. It was so clean and had a brilliant camp kitchen. It also had a faulty dryer which was still going with my load of washing in it this morning when we got up!! I had started it at 8.30 last night!! Thankfully nothing caught fire or shrunk too much.

It was FREEZING last night and at about 4.30 we had all 5 of us snuggled into our bed. We have a small fan heater but are too scared to leave it running overnight.

We have only been setting up the main part of the TVan as we have only had overnight stays the last 3 nights. We have come up with the idea of putting up our shower tent outside and basically unloading any of our extra items into the tent. It is working really well.

We went to Mt Gambier today and saw the Blue Lake. It is beautiful. Currently it is a deep deep blue colour but apparently in November it turns grey. Mt Gambier is a beautiful town, it would have been nice to see a bit more of it.

We drove through Kingston and saw the big Lobster. Neil made the mistake of calling it the big Crayfish and now poor Casey is all confused.

We are looking forward to the next few days with Dad and being able to just stop in one place for a while. Hoping to do some fishing and hoping even more for better weather.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We Finally Left Angelsea!!

Yes, believe it or not we finally got brave enough to pack up all our crap and get a move on. Andrew and Alyssa looked after the boys while Princess Milla slept in her pram. We seem to have a bit of a system going. I will pretty much pack the belongings away in the van and Neil will pack the canvases etc. It took us a good hour and a half this morning as we tried to sort things as we went. Hopefully this will not be the case in a couple of weeks time!!

We had another very sad morning of farewell's as we said goodbye to the Hart Family. xoxo

We left Angelsea at about 11am which we were pretty happy with. It would have been a little earlier if the Jeep didn't have a flat battery!! We had planned to get to Lorne and have some lunch but 2 out of 3 children were asleep so we decided to keep on going. Oh yeh, I forgot to mention that during our time at Angelsea, the car seats were swapped over so I am riding solo in the Jeep while Neil has all three darlings.. :-)

We ended up eating sandwiches in the car and I fed Milla while we had a 15 minute wait at a roadworks block. The poor baby is getting used to eating cold baby food..

Would you believe that the gas refused to work on the Jeep and my fuel light came on. It was telling me I had 19km's til empty and the nearest fuel stop was 29k's off. Thankfully I managed to limp it there. It was mighty close.... The Jeep has not been my friend today.

The weather has been awful and we decided to pull up and spend the night at Port Campbell. We arrived here at about 4pm. We put up the TVan, cooked up some left overs and are now trying to get the kids to sleep... Wish me luck... xoxo

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We Are On The Road!!!

Sunday the 1st of August bought rain, hail, sunshine and chaos. Talk about being disorganised. We woke up to the remnants of a party which saw the clean up of beer bottles and pizza boxes before we attempt to pack the van.

Alyssa's Mum, Kay came over in the morning and was awesome. She took control of the kids and made sure they were loo
ked after and fed. She also helped with the pack up.

Denise came over with piping hot coffees which went down a treat and Timmy popped in to pick up the 80's gheto blaster and some left over bits and pieces... he left with more than he bargained for. Timmy saw how much rubbish we had left over and offered to go home and get his trailer. Timmy, you are a legend. Where the heck would we have dumped a whole trailer load of stuff??? We did consider the railway line like every other bugger had over the years!!

We had grand plans to leave home by 3pm, this ended up being "If we leave before 5.30 we will be happy!!" Our lovely neighbours Jason and Rachel came by to make sure we were going and we did one last walk through of our home.

It was a mighty sad afternoon with lots of tears. With a heavy heart we drove out of our driveway for the final time. The home that we bought our babies home to, came home as husband and wife to and had many wonderful parties and memories in. :-(

It is day 3 of our holiday and we have still only made it to Angelsea… We were only supposed to be here for 2 nights but we have found ourselves to be so extremely disorganised that we cannot bring ourselves to leave while we are in such chaos. Thankfully we have both our cars here because have so much crap.....

We said a very sad goodbye yesterday to a very special family. The Clarkson's came down to Angelsea with us for a couple of days and we had a ball. The kids (big and small) went nuts on the jumping pillow, nearly got blown off the beach and played like mad in the playground. Jac, Timmy, Mitch and Lyssy, we love you so very very much xoxo

It has been raining on and off since the Clarkson's left which has been a little uncomfortable. Thankfully the TVan has no leaks and the Hart's are here still with their cabin!! Nathy stayed for a sleep over in the cabin last night with Mackenize and Milla had a sleep over in Mummy and Daddy's bed because it was so damn cold.

I discovered the hard way that I have holes in my shoes and have ended up with countless pairs of wet socks. I have made friends with the laundromat and seriously considering opening one when we finally stop travelling. Those things are money spinners.

We will be leaving tomorrow to make sure we make it to Adelaide on Sunday in time to pick up Dad.

Thanks to all who have been following our blog, we are having a ball. xoxo