Tag Archives: travel

Around the World:Days 3 and 4

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I’m going to do a brief recount of these two days for the sake of getting caught up. We stayed at Middleton Beach in a place booked via Airbnb (Albany B adhesive Apartment). It turned out to be a brilliant accommodation for us. There were three bedrooms with ensuite in all of the rooms. The owners lived across the hall in the adjoining house. 
The first morning we got up and had our breakfast and readied ourselves for the day. On our way out the door we ran into the owners who recommended a couple of parks for us. We first walked over to a small park with beach access (Middleton Beach) and had a walk on the beach down to the larger park and cafe (Three Anchors). Tom got us coffees and a snack while the kids played. Once we finished up our coffees we took the kids over to the newly renovated EyrePark. The kids had heaps of things to choose from. I left them there with Tom and took Serafina back to the house to eat and change her nappy. 

Once they all came back from the park we had some lunch and packed up to go on a drive. As we started driving out of Albany I started getting a very familiar migraine aura, flashing lights on the right side of my vision. I hadn’t had this in years. Worried about getting a terrible migraine, Tom dropped me, Sofia and Serafina back at the apartment and took Alex out for a while. They visited the TV tower on top of the hill and then ran some errands before coming back. I never did get a migraine, only a slight headache and I felt very tired from taking a Valium. Sofia watched a movie quietly in the bedroom. 

We had a quiet evening, the kids watched another movie together, Tom made dinner and I looked after Serafina. The kids got to bed fairly late. We have been pretty lax with bedtimes as they will be jet lagged often on this trip. 

The next morning we got up and got ourselves ready for the day and took a drive over to the town of Denmark. We had some lunch at Mrs Jones Cafe. Alex had a cheese toastie and chips, Sofia chicken skewers, salad and chips and Tom and I shared Kashmiri chicken (mediocre). We returned home midday and started to get ourselves organised for departure the next day. Tom and I did some laundry, the kids played imaginary games, etc. we made sure everything as organised to make things easier to pack up in the morning. The kids were ready for bed much earlier tonight because they were tired. Off to the Margaret River area on Tuesday.

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Around the World 2016: Day 2

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The family woke quite early considering our bodies are two hours ahead on Sydney time. For some reason it took us hours to get out of the house. All four of us showered which took some time. Everything takes twice as long for me with a newborn, even with family help with her. We had no breakfast so after packing up the car we stopped off for Egg McMuffins at Maccas. Today we drive from the outskirts of Perth down to Albany on the south coast of Western Australia. 

We got a long stretch of driving done first thing after eating. The kids begged to watch shows on the iPads so after their loud talking and asking a million question drove us to insanity we caved. They ended up doing who knows what on them. Games most likely. Sofia has a propensity to have motion sickness so she had a motion sickness pill. Out of the blue Alex mentioned that he didn’t feel great. He often says this when he wants to stay home from school. We didn’t know if he really meant it (The boy who cried wolf) or not. He did. He vomited all over the floor mat, his booster seat, the seat in front of him and his jeans and jacket. This happened not long after I changed Serafina’s nappy and managed to mess that up s badly that he clothes were covered in wee. Back to the car. It smelled BAD. Tom did the best he could to clean up in the middle of nowhere while I got Alex into some clean clothes. Back on the road with no iPads.

It was 1pm when we got to Katanning to find some lunch. After doing a quick scan of the town we settled on a corner cafe. As we all piled out of the car I watched the last two staff members walk out and lock the door. On to something else. Luckily in the distance I could see another cafe sign so we walked down to see what we could find. We ended up at The Daily Grind for lunch. Tom and I shared a Caesar salad with chicken and beef rashers (it was Halal) and the kids had fish fingers (fish don’t have fingers) and chips. We passed through Katanning a few years back and had a destination in mind. There is a place called the All Ages Playground with oversized structures for playing. The kids had a blast last time so we were off to revisit. Last time Alex was scaring me to death with his climbing. He was so little and had no qualms about climbing the highest structures so I had to follow him to help. Luckily the highest one was partially disassembled this time, but the kids went crazy for the rest of it. It looks like it belongs in a deserted Soviet town.

After burning some energy we hit the road again as we still had a while to go to get to Albany. It was an uneventful drive into the town. We did stop for groceries on the way to our Airbnb apartment. Tom and Alex dragged all of our bags into the house and I unpacked us so we could settle in for three nights. Tom cooked some dinner while I dealt with little miss fussy Serafina. The kids worked on their journals and watched the iPad before bed. Tom did a load of very smelly laundry (from Alex’s mishap earlier in the day). The weather outlook for the next few days looks grim!

Around the World 2016: Day 1

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17 June 2016

The family was up early with the nervous anticipation of starting this long holiday. The kids will be out of school for two weeks before school holidays and two weeks after school holidays so they are thrilled with our decision to pull them out of school. We spent a few hours finalising packing, refereeing the big kids, keeping baby Serafina happy, fed, and feeling loved as well as attempting to get everyone ready for the day. 

We attempted to pack light. With five of us travelling it isn’t easy, especially since we have a week in Australian winter. Our winters are mild in comparison to some, but we still needed warmish clothes as wind and rain was forecast. We also had to worry about Scotland; who ever knows what sort of weather you are going to get up in the Highlands, even in summer. Most of the other places we will visit need warm weather clothing. Our main luggage consisted of two medium-sized roll-aboards. Along with our luggage we have Serafina’s car seat with base and pram as well as a booster for Alex. Three backpacks and a carry on for spare clothes, nappies, etc rounds out our haul. 

Our taxi van arrived to pick us up around 11. After the standard drive to the airport with two very talkative and loud children and very quiet baby we unloaded at Qantas domestic and checked in for our Business Class flight to Perth. Once the rest of our luggage was offloaded in oversized luggage we were off to the Business lounge for some lunch and drinks before taking off.

All in all our flight was uneventful. We were downgraded to an older plane instead of the nice business class seats we had expected. It was all good, though. There was a bassinet for Serafina (she spent very little time in there). Alex and Tom sat together by the window and Sofia and I sat together in the middle section. All three kids were very good on the flight. The big kids glued themselves to iPads and Serafina did her part to catnap and be cute. Several flight attendants had a cuddle with her so I could have a break. She only made a little bit of noise when she was hungry. She had a very successful first ever flight.

Out flight was slightly delayed on departure but that time was made up in the air. We landed in Perth, collected our luggage and then picked up our Nissan Pathfinder. Arguments happened because both kids wanted the third row of seats. Ultimately Sofia won out because there were no Isofix points for his booster seat. Poor Alex was not happy. It took ages to get everything arranged in the car, car seats installed, etc. Our accommodation for the night was a 3-bedroom Big4 cabin in the Swan Valley. It worked out to be a decent place to stay. We were all pretty exhausted and soon got off to sleep trying to adjust ourselves to the two hour time change from Sydney. 

Oahu Adventure: Day 8

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Today we visited the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) in Laie. This is the most visited attraction in Hawai’i and it has an interesting story. Laie is the Pacific headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. There is a branch of Brigham Young University in Laie and owns/runs the PCC. 

I booked tickets for us to visit the Polynesian villages with activities, the Luau dinner and the evening show, Ha: The Breath of Life. We arrived just as the Canoe Parade started. Each nation had a double-hulled canoe with people in traditional costume dancing. It was brilliant. From here we moved on to visiting some of the villages starting with Samoa. The sun was out and it was warm! We had to have a traditional Hawaiian snack, shaved ice. We continued through some of the other villages and tried some activities. We all tried weaving with coconut palm leaves, tasting coconut bread, and waited to take a canoe ride but it was taking forever. 

We needed to check in for our luau dinner so the last bit of our visit was rushed. If you come to the PCC it really is a good idea to come at 12 when it opens. We didn’t think there would be enough to fill our time but there definitely was. Upon arrival to our luau dinner we had our photo taken and got souvenir necklaces. We were seated right in the middle with good views to the stage and close to the buffet. The sheer number of people in there made me wonder how they were going to manage so many people and a buffet. I was pleasantly surprised at how orderly everything went. It was set up so well that there was little waiting and no chaos. 

All of us tried new foods. Taro rolls, poi, poke, bbq pork cooked in an underground pit, salad, teriyaki beef, sweet potato salad, fish….the list goes on and on. There were several dessert options as well: chocolate cake, pineapple bars, guava cake, bread pudding made with taro bread. The luau show was excellent as well. I haven’t seen Alex so serious or concentrate on anything for so long. He was mesmerised. After the kids tired of the show we took our extraneous things back to the car and pick up our light jackets before the 7:30 show in the Pacific Theatre. 

We walked back over to the marketplace area near the theatre. The kids had a great time chasing bubbles and learning traditional poi twirling. At 7:20 we went to find our seats. When we checked in at the box office we changed our seats to a different area so we could sit on the end in case we needed to get out for some reason (bloody nose, toilet, etc). Our seats were ok considering we purchased mid-tier tickets.as we were settling in an employee came up to me and whispered to all get up, make our way through the portal closest to,U.S. And go back around to the next one. In a bit of confusion we did as he said. Lucky us, he moved us to front row seats. Awesome views. So grateful. 

Ha: The Breath of Life blew us away. Really awesome. The dancers were spectacular and so professional from facial expressions to little nods of their heads. All in synch with each other, truly impressive! No cameras were allowed at the show so I can’t share any photos. At the end the dancers/actors all came out to shake hands with the audience and thank them for coming to the show. I would definitely go back to PCC again!

Oahu Adventure: Day 7

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The weather has been cooler than I expected here on Oahu. Lovely breezes and a bit overcast but pleasant. 

Tom’s flight landed at 11:30 today. We had to stop for fuel and then drive about 45 minutes to the Honolulu Airport. We ended up circling a few times but Tom got out of the airport quickly and was waiting on our third circle. Because Waikiki was overrun during Memorial Day weekend we skipped the aquarium. Because we were in the area we promised the kids we could go since we were close. We scored a parking spot in the tiny car park in front of the aquarium which is quite miraculous. As we approached the door a man handed Tom free passes for the kids. Score.

We checked out the outdoor exhibits and then headed inside. Alex had the handheld tour guide and he wanted to stop at every display so we could listen to the information. It was cute the first five times. He eventually grew bored with it. After we checked out the indoor tanks the seal show started. The aquarium has two Monk Seaks that can not be released into the wild. So much fun for the kids to see.

Because lunch was long passed we made a McDonalds stop after the aquarium. The weather had made a turn for the worse so the lovely drive we were going to do up the coast wasn’t going to work. We went back to the house and Tom had a little sleep. Once he was coherent we took him down to the beach a few houses down from our rental house for some wading, collecting of nature and time with the kids.

Oahu Adventure: Day 6

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Each day I am waking up earlier and earlier. Today? 5:30! I was much happier seeing 7 or 8. The kids slept until after 7 this morning. After breakfast I let them have iPad game time for a while while I showered and booked tickets for Kualoa Ranch, a 4000 acre ranch and tourist park on the Windward side of the Island. Kualoa Ranch

Sofia has been in charge of the fish pond since we have been at the house. The fish need to be fed twice a day. She also keeps tabs on the frogs and snails. She is truly in her element. There are also crabs living on the edge of the property that she checks on all the time. We haven’t had any luck with fish in the ocean in front of the property but I think the water may be a bit too rough.

We took the 15 minute drive up to the ranch and collected our tickets. By now the rain was coming down and I wondered how this was going to go in the rain. It turned out to be ok. It rained for only part of the tour and then picked up again once we were done. 

The guides loaded about 24 or so of us into three Swiss Pinzgauers for our tour. 

 
Our guide took us all around the ranch on dirt roads, up and down hills stopping every now and again to explain Hawaiian Gods, taro plants, the islands, ancient fishing pond, etc. there were two amazing viewpoints over Mokoli’i Island and Kāne’ohe Bay. During our stops Sofia and I made sure to check out vegetation and ask questions about animals we saw or other things along the way. The guides were very knowledgable and were very happy to answer questions. 

  

Because of the rain we didn’t spend much time exploring the area. An obligatory stop was the petting zoo to see the turtles, pig, goats, horses, etc. From here it was a grand tour around the gift shop to pick up a few things. I got a dress, Sofia a shirt and Alex a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. The kids also got gummy bears for their classrooms and a few more miscellaneous items. 

   

We left the ranch and headed toward The Shrimp Shack. My kids don’t like shrimp, prawns, seafood in general unless it is fish so I didn’t have high hopes that they would eat anything. I ordered coconut shrimp and we all ordered floats with ice cream and fruit juice. I had a scrumptious guava and strawberry float, Alex ordered orange passion fruit and Sofia pineapple orange. They weren’t too fond of theirs at all. Happy they are trying new things though. I did manage to get Sofia to have one bite of coconut shrimp but she didn’t like that either…
 
Tomorrow we need to drive down to pick up Tom at the airport in Honolulu after his jaunt over to Los Angeles to see U2 for two nights with a friend. Tonight I read a book and the kids worked on their school journals. Only a few more days to home….