Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 Summertime Photo Scavenger Hunt: Doorknocker, bridges, etc.

I'm attempting to do a better job than previous years with this year's scavenger hunt.

 #2 An ornate doorknocker. The Little Girl was playing violin at a High Tea at Tay Creggan on Sunday so I snapped a photo of the door knocker on the original door as we went inside.

Door Knocker Tay Creggan

Here are some of my finds from our roadtrip.

#5 People playing a board game or card game. We played lots of games of Family Feud on our travels but this is a photo of the kids playing Monoploy Deal in the bar at Wilpena Pound. I'm guessing The Boy is pretty happy with how the game's going, The Little Girl not so much.


#6 A metal bridge. We stayed the night at Murray Bridge on the way to and from Central Australia and I got a few photos of the bridges. This is obviously the road bridge.

#16 A panoramic view taken while standing someplace high in the air.  I took this photo of the copper mine when we were in Burra. We were standing on the museum balcony and The Boy wouldn't come outside because there were "no supports connecting the balconies to the ground" (the balconies were cantilevered).

... and let's talk #12 public toilets shall we? You get to see a lot of them on a two week roadtrip.

First up we have Kulgera where we stopped for lunch. A mural decorated the toilet wall.

The entrance was on the other side ...


Many of the National Park toilets and road side stops are drop toilets. This one was at Kathleen Springs ... a not completely unpleasant example. The worst was probably at Kata Juta (The Olgas) which has multiple drop toilets and probably a reasonable number of overseas visitors. In spite of multiple signs the lids had been left open and the reek filled the whole building. Note to visitors: please put the lid down after using a drop toilet! The next person will thank you.

This last one was at Curtin Springs and features the truly Ocker labels "Sheilas" and "Blokes". It was here that we learnt to check the wind direction before parking the car ... you do not wnat to park down wind of the toilets.

I found a few more from the list on the rest of our roadtrip which I'll share next month.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

This week's links ...

Today we are doing a massive overhaul of the kids activity room which first involves a major cleanup ... so I've snuck away to let The Boy tackle the lego. Here's some links ito sneak away to.

1. Journal prompts to tell your story.

2. Blog post idea: 100 words of now.

3. As the mother of a wiggly kid who displayed a marked increase in ability to do his language exercises when rolling down a grassy hill as opposed to sitting still (although he is not ADHD) I agree with "Let the wiggly kids wiggle."

4. Now that my papers are purged down to a miniscule amount it might be time to think about creating an In Case of Emergency document.

5. Getting Big but not urgent projects done ... the 7 minute strategy.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Melbourne to Alice Springs Roadtrip: Day 2 Murray Bridge to Wilpena via Burra

This post continues the series on our two week roadtrip from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back during the July school holidays.

Depart Murray Bridge 7:36am

Toilet stop Gawler: 8:37-9:42am; 94km
The winding Barossa Roads upset the kids tummies so a bit of fresh air and a toilet stop was in order. The toilets at the information centre were shut but we had a win using the toilet finder app.

Morning Tea and Lunch at Burra: 10:28am-2:40pm; 206km.
Copper was found in the Burra area in 1845. The mine became the largest in South Australia before falling copper prices and exhaustion of the the famously high grade ore saw the mine close in 1877. A self-drive historic trail leads you around a large number of historic sights and buildings around the town. If you have time you can purchase a passport at the information centre in town which gives access to the key to enter the sights. We only had a few hours but we were able to view all the sights from outside, the mine site is open to foot traffic and the museums can be entered by paying individual fees.

Chimney at Burra Copper Mine

We visited the excellent museum in Morphett’s Pumphouse at the mine site.

The lady in charge gave a short talk on the history of the mine and in particular the workings of the pumping engine which was well worth the entry fee.

Other sites include the Redruth Goal
Redruth Goal

and the miner's homes dug out in the creek bed.

The drive to the Flinders Ranges was particularly scenic with an increasingly number of road side lookouts the closer we got.

Elder range Lokout

Leaving one stop we had our first glimpse of kangaroos, the number steadily increasing as dusk approached.

Wilpena: 4:30pm
For some reason we had booked our accommodation at Wilpena Pound Resort for the wrong dates but luckily there was a two bedroom apartment available and we didn’t need to find alternate accommodation as there is none. After checking-in we had a drink in the bar and watched the walkers arriving back through the trees while the kids played Monopoly deal.

Total distance travelled: 510km.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Currently ...


Reading Moby Dick. I know I'm STILL reading it. It's not really a book that you can speed read though. I extended my library loan the maximum number of times, then had to return it before I was finished. A week later when I was at the library I checked and it was on the shelf, the same copy I had borrowed before, with the ribbon still where I'd left it. WIN!

Training Riley. He is starting the Kintala Ideal Dog course this week. He has calmed down a lot while we away ... Barney (another golden retriever) taught him some manners, pushing him down whenever he tried to jump on a human.

Cutting back The Little girl's activities. This year she has had a revolving selection of viruses and colds, has been 'forgetting' to go to music lessons and a lunchtime recital. She is supposed to be doing six sessions of swimming a week so Hubby and I gave the ultimatum ... either she stops swimming or she needed to cut back to one sport and one music instrument at school. So before the holidays she emailed the teacher coordinating soccer to let her know she would be unable to do soccer this year. She has a piano exam on the 16th of August and after that will take a break from piano. She was not that happy with us but her life as it was was unsustainable.

Finding ducks in our pool on Sunday morning.

Celebrating Hubby's birthday.

Hoping no one catches The Big Girl's cold.

Selecting subjects ... well the kids, not us ... but we're helping them. The Boy needs to pick his LOTE and a summer and winter sport, The Little Girl needs to pick her LOTES and then four other electives like art and food technology etc. The Big Girl is selecting VCE subjects so that means five for next year (English is compulsory). She wants to study architecture at university so VCD and maths are pretty certain and she'll probably add in a second maths, and some sciences.

Listening to the wind roaring around the house and feeling grateful that there is no rain forecast for later as The Little Girl has a school athletics meet this afternoon.

Trying to remember to eat fruit. I almost always have some fruit at breakfast but I've got out of the habit of having my second piece. This month it's time to remedy that.

Picking up running after my holiday. Last Tuesday I really didn't want to run, so much so that I seriously considered giving running up for good. I managed to drag myself out the door and with each run it has got a little easier.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

This week's links ...


First week of term and we are getting back in to the swing of things. The Little girl is at music camp this weekend and Riley was back at dog school yesterday for his pre-IDA morning. My sister and her two kids stayed with us on Friday night before they flew back Singapore and we had my other sister and a cousin's family for dinner as well. Add in Hubby's birhday and lots of good things happening. Here's some links for your weekend ...

1. Books to Inspire Meaningful Living. I've read 4 of these books so the others are probably worth a look too.

2. Gorgeous travel organiser and free printables.

3. Information to put in your travel journal before leaving.

4. I think I mentioned that I've read and started to implement the advice in "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." Unfortunately there was no way it was practicable for me to do the whole house in 6 months once I got back into uni but I've decided to tackle certain items in short bursts so that at least those particular things are organised. Here's one person's experience 6 months on.

5. Would love to do living wall planters on our fence outside the windows on the south side of the house.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Melbourne to Alice springs Roadtrip: Day 1 Melbourne to Murray Bridge

After a very long day with parent-teacher interviews, running kids to swimming, stocking up supplies, finishing up and handing off work and dropping Riley at Hubby's sister's we decided to push our planned departure back from 7am to 8am. We almost made it except for a last minute dash by The Big Girl back into the house to get her sunscreen.

Depart Melbourne: 8:05am; 0km

Morning Tea: Beaufort at 9:59am; 170.5km
A collection of quaint historical buildings, award winning pies and it's location approximately 2hrs form Melbourne make this a pleasant stop. Lamb and Rosemary, Chicken and Plain Beef were all sampled and given the thumbs up. Even The Big Girl, who normally avoids pies due to the preservatives got in on the action.

Beaufort Fire Station

From here the Western Highway continues though Ararat and past the Grampians,


... a place we must bring the kids back to. Halfway between Stawell and Horsham at Dadswell Bridge is the Giant Koala. I just couldn’t resist stopping and getting a photo with this rather creepy replica of an Aussie icon, with its strangely rendered hairy ears and red eyes.

Giant Koala

Rest stops along the highway are listed in advance and I was intrigued by the listing for the Pink Lake. Would it really by a Pink Lake? The answer was yes.

Pink Lake

The Wimmera is sheep and wheat country. Fields stretch out for miles and even tiny towns of a few clustered buildings are visible from a distance marked by the ubiquitous wheat silos that dominate the surrounding countryside.


Lunch: Nhill at 1:25pm; 382km.
Nhill is set right in the middle of wheat country. The centre strip of the main street is occupied by the public park with a gazebo, picnic table and public toilets. The toilets had piped Beethoven … but only for the ladies.

The South Australian border is 63km from Nhill but my plan to take a photo with the sign was frustrated as we were passing it before I realised we were there. The quarantine bins are located a couple of kilometres down the round and all fruit and vegetables must be disposed of here.

SA border quarantine

Afternoon Tea: Keith at 3:30pm; 506.9km

Arrive Murray Bridge: 5pm (5:30pm Melbourne time).
We arrived at Murray Bridge at sunset. Murray Bridge derives it's name from the road and rail bridges that cross the Murray River at this point.  After picking up petrol we headed straight down to the river for some sunset photos of the bridge.

After picking up some more supplies at Woolworths we drove to the Oval Motel where we were staying the night. It was fairly basic motel accommodation but clean, everyone had their own bed and there was a full size fridge, kitchen sink and crockery and cutlery as well as somewhere for us to all eat.

Total distance traveled: 662km.

See all roadtrip posts here.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Melbourne to Alice Springs Roadtrip: Preparation and Planning

 It must have been two years ago that we first raised the idea of a trip to Central Australia, possibly meeting up with friends to travel to Uluru and Kings Canyon. They were flying but we decided to drive and give the kids an idea of the large distances involved in opening up the outback and also the changing scenery on the way. I did a similar trip with my family when I was in high school but back then a large section of the Stuart Highway was unsealed but passable in a conventional car. Now the Stuart Highway is sealed all the way and we have no intention of subjecting the car to kilometres of unsealed outback roads so we limited our sights to those easily accessed by conventional car.

Our first step was to work out travel times, sights we wanted to see and from there plan an itinerary. Since we are a family of five and accommodation choices can sometimes be limited, if like us you like to stay in a single room or apartment, we pre-booked all our accommodation last year. Then three weeks out we booked a 4WD tour in Coober Pedy and in the last week I finalised our proposed sight seeing and possible stops for snacks and lunch. The day before leaving we stocked up on breakfast and lunch supplies and with dad's car fridge that can plug into the car and also the mains power supply our plan was to self-cater breakfast and lunches and eat out for dinner.

I will be linking back to this post as I blog through the trip (although with sporadic internet access and long days a lot of the blogging will be done post-trip).

Our itinerary:

Day 1: Melbourne to Murray Bridge
Day 2: Murray Bridge to Wilpena via Burra
Day 3: Around Wilpena
Day 4: Wilpena to Coober Pedy
Day 5: Around Coober Pedy
Day 6: Coober Pedy to Alice Springs
Day 7: Around Alice Springs
Day 8: West MacDonnells
Day 9: Alice Springs and West MacDonnells
Day 10: Alice Spring to Kings Canyon
Day 11: Kings Canyon
Day 12: Kings Canyon to Yulara
Day 13: Uluru and Kata Tjuta (Ayers Rock and The Olgas)
Day 14: Uluru to Coober Pedy
Day 15: Coober Pedy to Murray Bridge
Day 16: Murray Bridge to Home