Coffs Harbour – Big Tourist Time

As we left Port Macquarie we headed into our first spot of poor weather. We planned to stop in Nambucca Heads for much longer than we did, but the rain restricted us to exploring one of the board walks before heading to a cafe for devonshire tea.

We were praying to the great Mother for a moment of clear weather for when we arrived at Coffs Harbour. I did not want to be setting up in the rain. Turns out Mother Nature was listening as the rain stalled for exactly the amount of time it took to set up the camper. It was also nice to know that the camper could withstand a serious downpour with no leaks.

Boardwalk at Nambucca Heads

That night we dined at a nearby pub, where the kids got to watch TV for the first time since leaving home and were transfixed by the magic box. So much so that parents at another table, with similar aged kids, commented on how well behaved our kids were and asked what our secret was. Simple, no TV and massive amounts of exploring outdoors! Needless to say we were pretty chuffed and managed to enjoy our meal in smug peace.

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My helpers assisting with the setup in the rain…by playing Playdough 

We wanted to explore around the coast line in Coffs the next morning. Our mission was to walk to the marina and head over to Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve and stop at the Park Beach for some quality beach time. However, the wind this day was blowing hard but we persisted and tried to complete as much of our sites checklist as possible. We did not make it out to Muttonbird Island, nor did we stay long at the marina, but we did head out onto the huge pier where we saw a sea turtle. It was so much bigger than I thought a turtle would be. This thing was seriously mutant sized, but no ninja skills were witnessed.

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The pier and Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve

We did get to the beach too, but did not stay long as the wind was far worse out in the open. Thankfully all this was in close walking distance to the Big4 Park Beach Caravan Park where we were staying. A quick side note, this caravan park was amazing, the kids playground and pool were epic, especially the resort style pool. The playground had an intense jungle gym that Fletch scaled with ease and Amanda scaled with, well, she scaled it. We later found out that it is currently voted the best caravan park in NSW. It lives up to the hype.

The kids loving the Big4 pool and Fletch showing Amanda how to climb his spider web

That afternoon the weather calmed, so we made the most of it by first visiting the Big Banana. We did not do the fun park as the kids are still a little too young, so instead they enjoyed an ice cream whilst Amanda and I shared the most delicious banana split ever created! After savoring the delicious banana split, practically licking the dish clean, we took the tourist selfie with the big banana and went up the nearby mountain to the forest sky pier lookout.

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Just some little tourists at the big banana

It’s a relatively short drive up the mountain through banana plantations. We stopped where we could along the way to point out the bananas growing in the trees to explain to the kids about where they come from and how they are grown. The car park at the top was quiet and we went straight to the forest sky pier lookout, which is amazing how it stretches out over the forest. Fletch in his excitement sprinted towards the end, giving us a moment of panic as we pictured him slipping at the end and shooting straight through the gap between the base and the balustrade. Of course all was fine, we found him at the bottom in a pile of undergrowth, thankfully the trees and giant ferns had broken his fall…joking. He was never in danger of falling, the gap is tiny. Faux crisis averted and we were able to take in the spectacular view of Coffs Harbor and it’s surrounding coast and mountain ranges. Even just looking straight down into the forest was beautiful with the different levels in the canopy and native birds flying around.

Forest sky pier lookout

Prying ourselves away from the view we trekked one of the short loop bush walks from the car park. Fletch was very interested in the different textures of the plants and the shapes of the leaves. We found giant ant hills, tree ferns and many many stunning grass trees. By far my most favorite of all plants, these were all I could see walking along the track, some only ankle high, others towering metres into the canopy. Many had their unique tall flowers on display, but I had better move on and not bore you any longer about these beautiful and uniquely Australian plants.

As it was with every spare moment at the caravan park Fletch insisted on being in the playground and up the jungle gym and that evening was no different. We managed to pack in a lot of adventuring in Coffs Harbour despite the extremely windy weather. It is a great place to have stayed and explored, but I have to admit that we felt we got all we could out of Coffs and it is unlikely we would stay again, with so many other options along the coast for next time.

Now it was time for us to head of to our final and most eagerly awaited destination Byron Bay.

If you have just found our adventures via this post, I encourage you check out the previous stops of our trip in Nelson Bay and Port Macquarie. Or even better you can start from the beginning of this trip and read about our purchase of the camper and our first leg to Sydney in Part 1.

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below or following #adventuresofduth.

www.instagram.com/josh.duthie

 

 

 

Port Macquarie – Leaving a mark

We felt a little sad to be leaving Nelson Bay, the place had left such a good impression on us all. Reflecting, post trip, we classed Nelson Bay as the little sibling to Port Douglas, with very similar marina, town centre, beaches and chilled vibe. We weren’t sure how we could top our stay there, but we had to move on and Port Macquarie was our next destination.

The day we left was super hot and we found a great location to stop and break up the drive at a little place called Johns River, which had a playground covered by large sails for shade. Nearby there were calves, which Fletcher ran to see, but in his excitement scared them off into the paddock. After another uneventful trip, which with the young kids is a blessing, we arrived at the Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park, our home for the next two nights.

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Halfway along the painted rocks

The weather was less than pleasurable and we had to set up in the heat and wind, our first real challenge with the awning. Rather than wait around for the weather to calm we jumped into the pool to cool off before heading into town along the renowned painted rocks by the waterfront. Visitors for years have been painting pictures or leaving their mark in one way or another. Some families have been coming for decades adding something each year, whilst tourists from all around the world leave a piece of their homeland in art form. It was great to see, bringing some life to an otherwise drab rock wall.

Each Saturday evening the food trucks come down to the beach front and we were keen to grab some grub. However, the few that arrived then quickly left again as the weather turned for the worse with the wind picking up significantly. This forced us back in to the camper to cook our first meal on the stove.

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Town Beach hangs

The next day the weather was perfect! We spent most of the morning at the nearby Town Beach, which was abundant with shells for the kids to hunt and amongst these we even found a number of small crabs and sea snails. At one point a dozen yachts sailed out past the breakwall giving us a spectacle by happenstance. Five days into our trip now and we were all completely relaxed having shed all the weight and expectations of day to day life and this morning, specifically, was the first time I’d been living in the moment for a long time.

Sandcastle empires were raised and felled and after almost 3 hours on the beach we went into town to meet a friend and get some lunch. Plenty of options in town for lunch, but of course we picked a place that had food we knew the kids would eat! Our friend met us at the Westport Park where there was room for the kids to run and, you guessed it, a playground. Other than the water front itself the main feature of the park was a large tree at it’s centre. Kids were clambering all over it and Fletcher, who lately has been obsessed with copying what the ‘big kids’ are doing, insisted he climb it too. However he was a bit short to do it himself, so I lifted him into the tree and he was able to make his way around from there.

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Just a couple of monkeys

Not thinking it completely through we realised he could not get down himself, nor could I reach him where he was. So into the tree I went. I can’t remember the last time I climbed a tree, but it was a lot of fun to be doing it again with Fletcher, who thought it was hilarious. As we sat perched on a branch together I suddenly felt the decades since my last tree climb and I looked to the ground and wondered if it would hurt more to jump from the branch or to try squeeze and stretch myself to get back down the way I came up. I did ‘Dad-up’ though and we both got out of the tree easily.

Port Macquarie Lighthouse

That afternoon we went to the lighthouse and took in the views with rocky outcrops and a secluded beach to one side and the long stretching beach to the other side. It was a quaint lighthouse with little grandeur to speak of, but the views were spectacular. On the way back to the caravan park we stopped at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre and went around the rain forest boardwalk. It was near the end of the day so we rushed around the forest, but we were there by ourselves so it was quite peaceful, especially when it started to drizzle with rain through the canopy. The kids loved the koala sculptures scattered around the boardwalk all painted in a different styles, but the highlight would have to be the large striped goana we saw climbing down a nearby tree.

To finish off our stay here we went to the rocks and painted our names whilst the kids painted big blotches of colour. Leaving our mark gives us something to look for when we visit again, as Port Macquarie sure left it’s mark on us.

Hmm too corny to leave it on that note, so stay tuned for Part 4 of our trip as we next head to Coffs Habour.

Also if you have just found our adventures via this post, I encourage you check out Part 2 of this trip covering our stay in the even better Nelson bay. Or you can start from the beginning of this trip and read about our purchase of the camper and our first leg to Sydney in Part 1.

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below or following #adventuresofduth.

www.instagram.com/josh.duthie

Nelson Bay – Dolphins & Dunes

With our first night in the camper a success we reflected on how fantastic the Lane Cove River Tourist Park in Sydney is located being only a 20 min drive to the city, but still located in a quiet bush land setting. Also conveniently located near the major freeways for getting in and out of Sydney.

That morning the ladies slept in (Immy had a late night, way too excited to settle), so Fletch and I went for a walk around the park where we found some large black bush turkey tail feathers, so started our daily morning ritual of hunting for feathers. These bush turkeys were at all the caravan parks, the bin chickens of NSW muscling out the ibis that we commonly have in Victoria.

Successfully avoiding any peak hour traffic we hit the road at around 10am and were out of Sydney in no time. We only had the one stop at Ourimbah rest stop where I had the best hot chocolate of my life and saw a very large python in a palm tree. There was a little play ground there that the kids went crazy for after being trapped in the car. Before long though we were in Nelson Bay, with little fuss from the kids making for a pleasant drive.

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Python at Ourimbah Rest Stop

In Nelson Bay we stayed at the Middle Rock Holiday Resort who slotted us near the pool and kids play area, which was great. We were able to get the awning out for the first time and it was a challenge trying to set it up, I got a little frustrated, spat out a few four letter expletives until I finally relented and watched an instruction video. What is it with blokes and not reading the instructions!? Amanda very smartly had decided to leave me to battle with the awning and took the kids for a walk around the park. At the camp kitchen she was startled to see a two metre long goana just cruising through. Fletch sprinted back to get me and I admit this dude was massive!

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The goana

Now with the camper and awning all set up (it was so easy) we went into town to check out Nelson Bay. We found the marina and walked around, watched a yacht being launched from the dry dock to the delight of me (Amanda and the kids couldn’t have cared less). We booked a dolphin watching cruise and the kids played on a little beach and playground there. That night we settled in even more relaxed than the night before ready for a big day of exploring in Nelson Bay.

With only the dolphin cruise booked, we took our time in the morning and with the ladies sleeping in, because Immy still loves a late night wake up or two, Fletch and I decided to find the beach from the caravan park. The beach track was probably only 500 metres long and was through some nice bush land that eventually opened up to some large and expansive sand dunes. The beach itself was gorgeous! Seriously one of the most picturesque places I have visited. Fletch was pumped to finally be at a beach, the kid loves the water! We took it all in quickly and headed back to see if our ladies had risen, which they had.

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Fletch on One Mile Beach at dawn

In town we went straight to the Moonshadow TQC cruise boat, which had an all female crew, something you don’t often see and of course they were absolute legends.  Specifically one lady named Evie who was amazing with our kids. It took awhile to find the dolphins and we didn’t get overly close to them, after all we don’t have control over what direction they swim, but the cruise was nice and Evie spoke to us and the kids about the dolphins and the other wildlife in the area too. Part of the cruise was being able to go into the water in a drop down net so you can “swim” with the dolphins. Surprisingly Fletch and Immy were pretty keen to get in and of course we were the first and for a time the only ones on the boat who jumped in!

In the net cruising back to the docks

One thing we didn’t anticipate was that they drive back to the marina with the net still down and you in it. It was fine for the most part as they were going slow and we only had a couple of swells that bashed us. Fletch and Immy clung on tight as we tried to keep ourselves positioned high in the net making sure not to get too low and be swamped by the swell. I did have a moment of questioning “are we good or bad parents for doing this to our kids?” But it was only a fleeting thought as Amanda and I are all about putting ourselves and our kids out of our comfort zones. After all, no great tale starts with, ‘Staying on our couch’. It made for a really fun trip and the kids had an awesome story to tell, especially as the dolphins came in pretty close at one point.

With lunch and ice creams finished at the marina, some guy with a bucket of pellets came over and explained they were about to feed the fish off the jetty. We followed him the the water’s edge and the kids got to feed the swarm of fish and the seagulls who were fighting them for the food. We spent the remainder of the afternoon in and around the caravan park. First taking the ladies to the sand dunes and the beach (One Mile Beach) we found that morning. Unfortunately the beach was windy and choppy so we didn’t spend very long there, instead going back into the sand dunes, which were more sheltered. The kids ran a muck and we climbed one of the higher dunes opening up even better views of the beach and surrounding area. Nelson Bay is renowned for its sand dunes and we were both taken back by how large and expansive they were and these at One Mile Beach were not even the main attraction!

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The sand dunes of One Mile Beach with a rare photo of me (on top of the dune).

The rest of that day was spent in the pool and eating at the restaurant/bar making it feel more like a resort than a caravan park. Our first meal dining out was one of the very few times the kids properly sat and ate quietly leaving us to enjoy our dinner! I could have packed up then a happy man, but alas there was much more to see.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of our trip as we next head to Port MacQuarrie.

Also if you have just found our adventures via this post, I encourage you check out Part 1 of this trip as we set off on our first ever trip with the camper trailer.

 

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below or following #adventuresofduth.

www.instagram.com/josh.duthie

Why do WE Adventure

My wife Amanda and I have always been the adventuring type, through our twenties exploring various parts of the world, trying to cram as much as we could into every year before we decided to start having kids. Not that we thought kids would put a stop to this, but prioritising places we thought we wouldn’t like to take young kids. In our minds’ the perfect trip is to go to new places and see and experience as much as we can, often pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone.

I’ve always categorised getaways into either holidays or travels. A holiday being a relaxing trip that is usually to a single destination where you can recharge the batteries by doing almost nothing (this includes even just staying at home). Then there is travelling where your trip takes you from place to place with the aim to take in as much new sights/sounds/tastes/etc in the time you have away. It is obvious to us that we are definitely the traveling type more than the holidaying type.

Growing up my family went on the quintessential yearly road trips more often than not to the same destination. In addition, my friends from school would often end up at these destinations too, which at the time was great, but in hindsight probably lead me into the travelling mind frame I have now. Don’t get me wrong though I loved those family holidays, we always did awesome stuff and I have great memories associated with those trips, but I have this obsession now with seeing as much of our world as possible rather than visiting the places more than once.

Most important now for us as parents is to expose our two kids to the world, starting with our own backyard taking them to all the cool places around Victoria and Australia. We recently bought a secondhand Jayco Flamingo Camper Trailer that will allow us to escape more regularly and to show the kids a more basic way of living, which is an awesome experience in itself not only for them but for us too!

In short adventuring is about making the most of your time off work, it is about learning new things from the place you go and the people you meet. It’s about educating ourselves and our kids about the real world, not just the one we create in our little bubble and getting back to nature and the basics to get perspective in our day to day life. It’s about bringing us closer as a family as together we experience all the amazing things this world has to offer. It’s about real life problem solving and working together to find a resolution to a unique issue that is completely outside of anything we would have to deal with in normal life. In all though it’s mostly about how happy and free we all feel when we are adventuring together, which is one of the greatest feelings in life!

Our Maiden Camper Road Trip

Late last year Amanda found an online deal for cheap flights and booked a holiday to NSW flying into Sydney and out of Byron Bay. The idea was to test run a camper style holiday in caravan parks to see if we really wanted to buy our own camper trailer. Questions such as, would the kids handle the road trips; could we handle the kids on road trips; what would we really think of staying in caravan parks; how difficult is it to tow and setup these campers and can we be bothered? After all Airbnbs are everywhere and so cheap! Hence the test run was booked.

As the date closed we were still constantly looking up camper trailers. Two weeks before we were due to leave Amanda finds one that we just had see in person. To cut a long story short we said screw the hired camper, we have to buy this one and we did! Yikes did we do the right thing? We would find out soon enough in a baptism of fire as we were now due to leave one week from the time I picked it up.

The travel plans obviously had to change. We could not refund the plane tickets, so Amanda would still fly, as this would be easier for the kids and now I was to drive to Sydney and pick them up from the airport. The night before I got a head start travelling to Benalla, staying at the in-laws’ house with our new Jayco Flamingo where I was to leave at 4am the next morning to get to Sydney airport in time.

IMG_0513The official Duth’s Adventure Apparatus

Without the kids to stir me I slept like a rock! That was until the house phone kept ringing eventually waking me up. I checked my phone for the time and, oh no, It was flat! Hence no alarm. In a time that would have impressed Usain Bolt I sprinted around the house getting all my stuff and jumped into the car and sped out of the driveway. It was 6am.

Finally I was able to speak to Amanda, who was thankfully not angry and just happy to know that I hadn’t crashed! After all I should have been on the road for two hours and ironically was supposed to have called her to make sure she hadn’t slept in. Amanda’s start to the day was not as simple as first planned either as she struggled to find the car park place we’d booked. Turns out it had moved and was not signed, making her super close to missing the flight. This trip was off to an ominous start.

There was some amusing things along the way though to alleviate the pressure. When getting to the Melbourne Airport, Fletch all wide eyed and excited says to Amanda “I love this holiday! Sydney is great!” They were also directed to board the back of the plane that meant he had to go on the tarmac and could see all the plane, which blew the kid’s minds. Once actually in Sydney they had to catch the train into the city (because their driver was now two hours late) and with the exception of Fletch falling into the gap and getting the fright of his life, they loved the whole travelling experience!

IMG_6421Immy & Fletch seeing the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the botanical gardens

They made it safely to Sydney and spent time in the city and the harbour where I eventually met them after dropping off the camper. We meandered around the harbour and botanical gardens, but left soon after I arrived with the kids exited to spend the night in the camper.

Back at the Lane Cove River Tourist Park we were able to settle in as a family, setting up the Jayco for the first official night away. It wasn’t until we left that we discovered that this caravan park was the film location for the Home and Away TV show, remember Pippa had the caravan park?

IMG_0526Our first overnight stay in the Jayco

The kids took to caravan life pretty quickly, chasing the bush turkeys through the trees, all barefoot of course. That night the kids took forever to get to sleep, both absolutely hyperactive with excitement.  Eventually Amanda and I were able to settle outside and enjoy a glass of wine. We realised pretty quickly that we had probably made the right decision, getting this camper could be the best purchase we have ever made for our family.

Stay tuned as I recount the coming days of our holiday and our quirky family tales.

Next in Part 2 is Nelson Bay.

 

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below or following #adventuresofduth.

www.instagram.com/josh.duthie

Beware the Dinosaurs

Inspired by our family adventures, my sister told me of a list she’d created of places to visit around Victoria whilst she was off work for the school holidays. So when she visited us one weekend we decided to tick off something from her list in the Yarra Ranges. We went with the Redwood Forest of East Warburton, which we have been wanting to see for some time now too.

Unfortunately Amanda and Immy missed out, but on Sunday Fletch, Elli and I decided to get out and visit these sentinel sequoias. The trip from Lilydale was about 40 minutes, but the views along the drive are pretty damn good as you get into the mountain ranges from Yarra Junction onwards past Warburton. As we pulled up in the car park there were a lot of cars and I anticipated a packed forest rather than the peaceful bush walk we were hoping for. This turned out not to be the case, although there were people around, we only crossed paths with a few groups over the 3 hours we stayed enabling us to soak up the forest’s tranquility.

However, kids don’t really care for tranquility, so thankfully some legendary person many years ago decided it would be cool to stack the fallen branches into circular piles scattered around the forest floor. Others have since added to these over the years with many stacks now piled high. To Fletch these were amazing, immediately recognising them as “Dinosaur Nests”. So whilst we took in the trees he went from nest to nest checking for dinosaurs and/or their eggs.

Redwood Trip

 Just a couple of dinosaur trackers sitting in a nest, probably a T-Rex one!

 Alas no eggs remained in the nests, which I can vouch for as we had to check them all, it did not dampen his spirits though as he went off in search of these elusive dinos. Our lead tracker Fletch was on point finding many dinosaur footprints and big poos left through the surrounding scrub [note: imaginary footprints and poos]. Now knowing there was definitely dinosaurs here he felt he should pick up every green leafed branch he could find to leave in the nearest nest for the dinosaurs to eat for dinner when they got back.

From the tall redwoods to the surrounding gums and ferns

The dinosaur tracks lead us away from the redwood plantation area into the more common Yarra Ranges bush land of gum trees and tree ferns, where we could either make our way via the beaten path or rough it through the ferns and undergrowth. As we worked our way through the bush we could hear the unmistakable sound of a flowing river getting closer. The dinosaurs must be having a drink in the river, so we got back on the main track and headed towards the water. After a previous outing to the slightly underwhelming Sherbrooke Falls it was refreshing to come across a waterway that looked and sounded like something out of a Tolkien novel. It helped that the path that lead along the river allowed you to get down to the water line and even at places to get into the ankle deep water and show Fletch the smooth rocks and ice cool water. This seemed like a good idea at first until every little ford in the river was a chance for Fletch to splash around and throw the rocks. However, still no dinosaurs only their tracks.

The dinosaur waterhole.

To cap off the Redwood Forest there is a significant open area just in front of the car park, which at the time was home to many picnic blankets. Not having brought a picnic blanket, we made our way to a fallen tree branch that would make for a perfect seat, but before we got there we crossed under a large tree that had dropped all its leaves. I couldn’t help myself and grabbed an arm full throwing them over Fletch. A battle ensued, which I was losing under a shower of leaves, but it ended abruptly as good ol’Dad went a bit too hard with a throw that was also a bit wetter and heavier than the rest that smashed Fletch in the face. Queue some tears and play time over. Luckily food and a little bird friend that kept visiting for Fletch to feed helped distract him back to his happy self.

I know some think of kids as restrictive to take along on outings, but honestly I find they are the opposite. Kids can see what you can’t, always picking up the little things you would otherwise overlook. They are also able to add to the world you are in, opening up a whole new adventure you hadn’t planned on. We could seriously have spent the whole afternoon there, but we needed to get back home to our ladies. At least now we know of a great place to take the kids for a picnic lunch and a back to nature adventure.

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.

www.instagram.com/josh.duthie

A Snow First

With Fletcher’s 4th birthday looming my wife, Amanda, and I thought we would stretch out the celebrations over the whole weekend. With good snow reports over the past month we planted the seed that it would be great fun to go on a trip to the snow. Coincidently he decided the week of his birthday that a trip to the snow would be a good idea.

The original plan was to head to Mt Donna Buang, but it unfortunately didn’t have a good snow report for the weekend, so we changed our plans last minute and headed up to Lake Mountain. We were not disappointed. It took a little longer to get there from Lilydale, about 1.5 hours and it cost $56.00 just to pass through to the car park. As we closed in on the car park though we started to see the mounds of snow on the side of the road, which got the kids (and us) pretty excited. Not having ever seen snow Fletch commented that it looked a lot like sand and Immy just kept repeating “Snow. Snow!”.

The place was really well organized with parking assistants’ and shuttle buses to the summit, but we didn’t leave the car park for some time as the kids took off to play in the snow piled up around the perimeter. The kids faces when seeing and touching the snow for the first time was priceless and worth the trip, and price just to see the carpark snow. Fletch went about digging through the snow getting a good feel for it and Immy, who was dressed to the point of almost immovability just kept yelling “SNOW! YAY!”

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Car Park Snow!                           The Michelin Baby

It’s been about 10 years since Amanda and I were last at the snow and I had completely forgotten how cold it can get. I know, silly thing to say, but the few times I had been to the snow it was bright and sunny. This day was windy, overcast and sometimes raining, so like I said it was super cold! Thankfully we had invested in some decent snow gear and we had some friends who lent us some of their kid’s gear. Poor Immy though was a bit wet and cold by the end, as her borrowed snow suit was a bit short in the legs.

Our main dilemma was what to take up to the summit. We didn’t get a park at the top car park and didn’t want to lug around all our gear, so we had to choose wisely about what to take. In hindsight we could have taken a lot more than we did, more than the nappies and some spare clothes. It would have been nice to take more snack food for the kids as there was not a great deal of choice from the café, which was always packed and outrageously expensive. As we walked back to the bus we noticed a room where there were lockers and a place to have an indoor picnic. All Amanda and I could do was just look at each other and laugh. Now we know for next time. Idiots!

Upon arrival to the summit we headed straight for the first toboggan slope. It seemed really busy, but once you got moving to the top of the slope it was easy to pick a spot to fly down. We only got a couple of runs in before Fletch decided he wanted to make a snowman, which was to Immy’s disgust as she wanted to keep doing the toboggan. We moved to the side in between the two main slopes and played in the snow for a while before going to the second toboggan slope.

This slope was much better, fewer people and much smoother and faster run. In saying this we only got one run down as Fletch got distracted on the way back up and wanted to play in the snow again, this time in the bushland area off the path. This was great as it was covered in soft fresh snow, unlike anything I’ve even seen. We played and explored in there for quite a while, with Fletch wandering around looking at the small streams of snow runoff and hunting for treasure. Immy on the other hand was getting restless, not being able to use her hands in the mittens and starting to get a little wet and very cold. We decided to head back to the packed café to warm up and change her clothes.

The heaters in the café along the walls were prime property, but I found Amanda perfectly positioned with Immy sitting on top of the heaters warming up. I didn’t dare ask how she managed to get the best spot, all I know there is no coming between a mother and her children’s health. After warming and freshening up we figured we should give the toboggans another crack since we had hired them. Immy was pumped and couldn’t get up the slope quick enough, Fletch was the opposite. Being a true Dad I did not want to walk back down the slope after slipping and sliding all the way up, so I loaded him up and we went down the slope with him cracking it the whole way down.  I kept reassuring him that this was heaps of fun, even though we kept getting stuck in all the huge undulations, but when we got to the bottom he looked at me with disapproving eyes and said deadpan “that was not fun”. He was right the slope had degraded and people were all getting stuck like us.

snow stuck

Amanda and Immy stuck after following us down

So we left the slopes and headed back into the bushland where we trudged through the deep snow, exploring through the trees and over the logs looking for mammoths and dragons. Of course Fletch made a path through some of the tightest cluster of trees that had me crawling and squeezing through to follow him because I had to see everything he discovered. At one point, after contorting myself to get through some trees, I looked up and couldn’t see him. I tried to turn as best I could wrapping myself around the trees and logs like a weird game of Nature Twister. I hear Fletch who is standing five metres away in the clearing where we started and saying, “c’mon Daddy hurry up”. [SIGH] Should have stayed where I was!

snow 2

Fletch wanting to go back into the trees…I didn’t follow this time

We did get down the other slope one more time each, but we quickly realised it was getting time to leave. We stopped at the café and got some takeaway food (2 x Sausage Rolls and 1 x Pie = $20). We got back to the car changed the kids clothes and headed home.

So what did we learn from our first outing to the snow.

  1. Get Immy some of her own snow clothes so she is properly protected.
  2. Bring heaps of snack food and lunch to eat at the indoor picnic area or one of the outdoor tables. Food prices up there are crazy and not very healthy!
  3. Buy toboggans when they are on special at Aldi next. We hired at Marysville for $10 each, which was a really good price, but I believe Aldi sell them for a similar price so in one trip they could be paid for.
  4. Only stay for about 2-2.5 hours. All day we saw parents encouraging their kids “c’mon let’s toboggan one more time” the kids reply with tears freezing on their cheeks “I don’t want to I just want to go home”. I chuckled and thought we would never push our kids like that, the poor kids. So we ended up leaving after 3 hours with the kids crying with exhaustion and hunger. Hmmm oops.
  5. Go back again, make the most of the snow so close to home. We want to explore other places too like Mt Donna Buang and maybe Baw Baw.

The weekends are getting away from us in the next couple of months, but we might be able to squeeze one more trip to the snow before it all washes away.

 

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.

www.instagram.com/josh.duthie

The Tentative First

I still look back on this trip as one of the most memorable for a couple of reasons. It was our first proper outing and night away with our first born, Fletcher, who was only about 4 weeks old at the time. Also, it was our good friends’ wedding and if not for this we would probably never have left our little nest we created at home. Looking back I’m glad we did as it kicked off the “Adventures of Duth”.

We were getting some serious cabin fever in those first few weeks, whether we knew it or not.  The only occasion we left the home, which wasn’t to the supermarket, was when I left in an ambulance and Fletch and my wife visited me in hospital. The injury story is too long, but let me just say it made my wife’s life a huge amount harder having to now look after me and a new born baby (I think hard to say who was the more difficult, my wife says there was a clear winner).

Thankfully though this wedding was looming, although I admit with us being exhausted as first time parents and recovering from an injury the thought of leaving seemed too hard. However, with the grandparents and some of their friends waiting for us in Sorrento, all looking forward to babysitting, we packed our bag and three bags for Fletch and off we went. Exhaustion aside, we were excited to be getting out to show off our boy to all our friends and of course for the wedding especially as my wife was one of the Bridesmaids and myself as the MC.

When we got there and settled in to the accommodation we quickly made a new nest and we relaxed. Lucky for me the day of the wedding was pretty easy, tracking back and forth to my wife so Fletch could breastfeed, all as she was primped and polished. This gave me a full day of walking through Sorrento to take in the place. First thing I sense is how zen and peaceful the place is, much like your typical beach town. The sun was out warming us all, steaming off those later than normal Winter chills and giving everyone a sneak peek at what to expect for the rest of Spring. Herhmm, sorry got a little poetic there.

Maybe this is why the locals seemed really relaxed though, all very happy to stop and chat as they came out to enjoy the weather. I will insert a caveat here, I admit it was more than the weather that coaxed people to stop to chat, having a weird cast on my arm and newborn bub in the pram made for an easy icebreaker and won a lot of people over. I’m a pretty chatty person anyway and I certainly made the most of the attention that was coming our way. Honestly, if I had a puppy too I think the trifecta (including newborn and injury) would have instigated some Beatle-like mania, such was the unaccustomed attention.

The wedding itself was on a secluded beach, just out of town, which was lined with beach boxes making for a beautiful setting. I kept thinking it would be a great quiet spot to return to with the family for a day at the beach. The reception after was held at The Baths, a great spot for the newlyweds with the jetty just out the front for those sunset over the water shots. I have to admit it did look pretty amazing.

The day after, it was nice to have my wife back to explore the town. We walked to the ferry dock and along the waterfront, the weather was perfect, so we played on the beach for a little while before we headed back into town. We met up with the in-laws and stopped at a few shops, one in particular is stuck in my mind with its funky garden sculptures and interior decorating pieces.

Sorrento Funky.jpg

Shop Front

All in all only a fleeting visit, one that seemed rushed with both of us exhausted and me pumping endone tablets, so Sorrento has left me feeling that the visit was unfinished. Hence,  it will have to go onto the to do list to visit again and this time we will plan it so we can simply meander around, explore the surrounding areas and stop at that secluded beach with the beach boxes.

Fletch first month

Fletcher’s first month

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.

www.instagram.com/josh.duthie