10th Wedding Anniversary Trip – Tasmania (continued)

Last week I shared with your all the beginning of my husband’s and my trip away to Tasmania to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary a little early (21 April is the actual date).  Today we’ll continue on with our drive to Freycinet/Bicheno.

There is so much green.  Beautiful.  Rolling hills, mountains, farms.  The landscape is breathtaking.  And when the momentum of the car moving didn’t lull me into nap mode, I took it all in.  I crave a tree-change.  I crave space, peace, tranquility.  One day.

After our very delicious breakfast at The Flipped Egg at the Farmgate Markets in Hobart we headed north for Freycinet.  We stopped off in Orford for a pit-stop and to grab a cup of tea to go with our baked goods we had purchased at the Farmgate Markets and then continued on to Kelvedon Beach…

the Spiky Bridge…

and the Freycinet National Park where we did a quick walk along the Cape Tourville Walk and looked at the lighthouse.

We stopped briefly for lunch at Richardson’s Bistro and then made our way to our accommodation in Bicheno.  Cheap and cheerful was the go in Bicheno as we had splurged in Hobart and were splurging in Cradle Mountain and we weren’t spending a lot of time in Bicheno.  We stayed at Winter Sun Gardens motel in the Queen Deluxe room.  Freshly renovated and clean with new ensuite.  Again, still not well from my head cold, I rested whilst hubby went off to have a look at the lookout and the blow hole.

We also booked in for the Bicheno Penguin Tour.  We met the bus and headed off to protected land where the penguins nest.  Very interesting – males prepare the nest, meet a female penguin, mate, hunt and gather, clean the nest once the baby penguins hatch, hunt and gather some more and then spend time at sea for long periods eating as much as they can to prepare for a n new female partner for the next mating season.  The females migrate to a new location each season which assists in diversifying the gene pool in the species.  The males stay at the same location and quarrels can occur between father and son over who keeps the family burrow with the son sent off to create his own. You are not allowed to take photographs of the penguins as the camera flash can send the little guys blind.  Thankfully, Bicheno Penguin Tours email you photos after the event and they have kindly agreed to let me share them with you here.

The next day we started making our way to Cradle Mountain with a few stops along the way.  First stop was Ross for two reasons.  One, we heard you have to have a pie in Ross and two, it bares the same name as my husband!  We enjoyed a lovely look around and stopped off at Ross Bridge.  We then headed to the original Ross Bakery and enjoyed a lovely breakfast of Eggs Benedict for myself and a Bacon and Egg roll for my husband. We got a pepper steak pie and chicken and camembert pie for the road.  All of it was lovely!  And highly recommended.  Beautiful little village and scrumptious food.

From Ross we headed through Westbury and then commenced a very windy drive through the mountains until we reached Cradle Mountain and our accommodation at Cradle Mountain Lodge.  I came across Cradle Mountain Lodge years ago and knew that if I ever went to Cradle Mountain, I wanted to stay there.  This was before a mortgage and children so when looking at it for this trip, the cost made me rule it out but my husband said to go for it so did.  We booked the Spa Suite as we wanted a real log fire.  Upon arrival though, we were upgraded to the King Billy Suite, the best Cradle Mountain Lodge has to offer. Shocked was an understatement.  With great excitement we headed off to check out our suite.  I mean – look at this!

I then headed to the Waldheim Day Spa and enjoyed the Mountain Dreaming Package and an hour in the Private Sanctuary ( dry heat sauna, wet steam room, a large outdoor hot tub and a cool vitality pool).  My therapist was Madison and she did an amazing job. I was so relaxed I kept coming in and out of consciousness!  

When I went to Daylesford with a girlfriend in 2015, we visited a day spa there and enjoyed an hour in their private sanctuary.  I don’t know if it was because we chatted and enjoyed the private sanctuary together or maybe I was too blissed out from the treatments, but I regret spending the money this time.  It seemed unnecessary after what I had already received.   

Whilst I was dayspa-ing, my husband hired a bike and helmet from reception and headed off for an explore around the lodge. 

We came together again, got ready for dinner and enjoyed a pre-dinner drink in the guest lounge.  We enjoyed our drink and then headed to the Highland Restaurant.  With a seasonal menu, we weren’t sure what to expect but it was delicious.  I enjoyed the Grilled Tasmanian Quaill and hubby had the Slow Braised Lenah Game Wallaby for our entree. Hubby won that round.  I enjoyed the Hand Rolled Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi and hubby had the Tasmanian Eye Fillet for our mains.  I won this round.  For dessert I enjoyed the Leatherwood Honey Panna Cotta and hubby had the Anvers Bitter Chocolate Tart.  We couldn’t agree who won this round so called it a tie.

Back in our room we lit the fire.  Is there anything more romantic?  Seriously?  We enjoyed a lie-in the next morning and watched the fire burn.  This suite was lovely to stay in and enjoy.  We wanted to head to the Tasmanian Devil Wildlife Sanctuary so we got ready and headed down to the restaurant for the buffet breakfast.  With the usual buffet breakfast items on offer we enjoyed just enough which meant we didn’t need lunch and I didn’t need dinner!  Good thing this was the only buffet we included in our our accommodation whilst away or we would have gained weight!

We sadly checked out and headed to Devils @ Cradle.  Due to wanting to check out a few other destinations on our way to Launceston Airport, we didn’t have time to do the full tour with an employee but hubby was happy taking a look around ourselves and snapping a few photos.  80% of the Tassie Devil population was wiped out due to the spreading of mouth cancers within the species!  An astronomical figure.  Thankfully due to places like Devils @ Cradle, the species is being bred again in captivity with a view to preparing them for release in the wild.

From Cradle Mountain we started heading to Launceston Airport with stops at Sheffield, Ashgrove Cheese and The Honey Farm. 

Sheffield is known as the town of murals. This may explain it well:

Ashgrove products are available readily at most supermarkets throughout Australia.  We purchased a variety of items to give our family members that looked after the kids whilst we were away.

When at The Honey Farm we purchased the Leatherwood honey used in my dessert the night before.  What was great about The Honey Farm was that they had a hive behind a glass wall and you could see all the bees working away and also spot the Queen Bee too!

We enjoyed a quick drive through Launceston and had a brief look at the Gorge and then sadly made our way to the Airport.

This trip was amazing.  It was wonderful just being alone with my hubby for 5 days without having to parent as well. It was lovely to just be Us without mediating sibling arguments, wiping bums, cooking dinners everyone will like etc!  Whilst we are well and truly back in the thick of it now, we have the memories!

10th Wedding Anniversary Trip – Tasmania.

10 years this year since we said “I do” and to celebrate we left the kids in the care of their Grandparents/Aunties and headed to Tasmania a few weeks early (anniversary – 21 April). 

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It was a very early start of 3.15am, departing home at 3.57am and heading to the airport for our 6am flight. Great drive at that time of day along the M5 and with the return train fare being $73.28 by train, we opted for the convenience of driving in and leaving our car at the Blue Emy carpark for $77.85. Tip: Google Blue Emu discount code for a discount. Thanks AC for the tip!

We collected our Toyota Corolla from Europcar, stopped for breakie at a bakery in Sorell and headed straight for Port Arthur. 

What a beautiful place, despite its convict past/Martin Bryant past. Entry was $74 for the two us and included a 40 minute guided walking tour and 20 minute harbour cruise. 

We commenced walking around the site taking in the beauty of the dilapidated flour mill come penitentiary and harbour. We then made our way to the harbour cruise and took in the penitentiary, Point Puer Buy’s Prison, Isle of the Dead and heard about how the civilians shared Port Arthur with convicts. 

After our boat cruise we took in the Port Arthur Massacre Memorial. A very peaceful and beautiful place. After visiting this remote location of Port Arthur you can understand why so many people died and were injured. It just took too long for local police and other support services to arrive to stop it. 

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We then took in lunch at the Cafe and then commenced our walking tour. It was lovely walking the grounds and it is so quiet there. I can’t imagine being a civilian of that time listening to a convict receive his punishment of 100 thrashings from the cat of nine tails. I also can’t believe that after over 200 years of trialling all sorts of punishments/treatments/rehabilitating activities that we still do not know how to rehabilitate our criminals to responsible members of society.

Upon entry to Port Arthur, you are given a card each which represents which convict you are on the day.  I was 8 of spades and hubby was 10 of diamonds.

After the official walk was over we explored the solitary confinement cells, the asylum, the Visiting Magistrates House and the Surgeons Home.  Port Arthur hadn’t originally been in our plans, but after speaking with friends, we knew we had to make the trip and are very glad that we did.

Time to head to our accommodation but not before stopping very briefly at Tasman Arch.  Stunning what nature can do.

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We stayed at Hotel Grand Chancellor for two nights. Absolutely lovely hotel with this view…

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And champagne on arrival to celebrate our wedding anniversary. 

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On Friday night we headed to Street Eats at Frankie. The wait for our food was ridiculous. Hell, this post up till this point was written whilst I waited in line. The food however was enjoyable and we listened to live music whilst we ate. 

Saturday started with a 7am alarm and a snooze until 7.45. The bed was sooo comfy. Our plan is a new mattress this year. I will also add all new bedding to this purchase. We headed to Salamanca Markets where I embraced my Dutch heritage and enjoyed Ollie Bollen for breakfast. Think doughnut ball with sultanas and apple, deep fried and coated in icing sugar. Not healthy. Dutch tradition is to make them for New Years but my Dad failed to do so this year so I made up for it.  They weren’t as nice as his though 🤤

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Whilst at the markets we bought a few items, but easily could have bought so much more if I’d thought to pay for more luggage with our airfares and if money was no object. 

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When we honeymooned in Europe 10 years ago we caught the Hop On Hop Off Buses everywhere we went. London, Edinburgh, Ireland, Paris, Florence and Rome. We’ve played tourist in our home town of Sydney and caught one there too. It’s a good way to get your bearings on the city you’re in. Hobart was to be no different. We took in Battery Point, Sandy Bay, the Cascade Brewery and the Botanic Gardens.  Although a little windy, it was great and saved the legs – I didn’t expect Hobart to be so hilly. 

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This is when my head cold started to worsen.  I decided to take a rest in our hotel room so that I could enjoy our plans for the evening.  Whilst I rested, my husband headed to Mt Wellington.  He is now going to share a little bit about it with you:

Hi hubby here, during our time in Hobart I made the foolish and amazing decision to drive to the top of Mt Wellington. Although I was not able to take my mountain bike and enjoy any of the trails back down, or one of the walking trails to the summit, the road up gives some brilliant views over Hobart and the Derwent River. 

Only half an hour from the city centre, but 13 degrees cooler at the top of the mountain and then a wind chill of at least 10 degrees, made it the coldest I have ever been. Even though it was sunny and quite warm in Hobart, take a warm jacket, scarf and gloves!

The summit provided 360 degree views but the wind meant taking shelter in the viewing platform or hiding behind the pink granite boulders. 

Cold and very windy! But the views were amazing and well worth the trip.

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Once my husband returned from his very cold trip, we dressed for drinks and dinner.

I put a callout in a private Facebook group I am in for tips on where we should eat/drink whilst in Tasmania.  Sam from The Annoyed Thyroid shared a post with me that she had written about the very same thing.  After reading it, we decided to head to Preachers for a pre-dinner drink, enjoy dinner at Ristorante Di Angelo and have a night cap at The Glasshouse.  Boy, were we happy with our choices.

At Preachers we enjoyed a glass of Tassie Reisling and Tassie Apple Cider.  It was an awesome little pub/bar that has a side yard used as a a beer garden with a retired school bus as extra seating.  We felt very trendy!

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Preachers

We then moved on to dinner at Ristorante Di Angelo.  This place was very busy and I love my Italian food – I had hoped this was a good sign and it was.  From the Bruschetta Pizza Bread as our entree, to the Luciano’s Special – prawns, garlic, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil drizzled in olive oil and Chicken Calzone – chicken, capsicum, olives, mushrooms & sun-dried tomatoes – as our mains, it was all delicious!  It was amazing!  It was also so very filling so we skipped dessert.

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Ristorante De Angelo

Next stop, Glasshouse.  This is one of a few fine-dining options in Hobart but it is not only about the food there.  It is also about the cocktails.  I chose a Lavender and Rosemary Bellini and my husband chose a Leatherwood Rob Roy.  We sat at the bar and enjoyed watching the Bartenders prepare all manner of cocktails, flipping bottles and shakers this way and that before pouring and decorating their creations into cocktail glasses.  I complimented our Bartender that this looked like an art form.  She seemed most flattered and seemed most grateful someone had noticed.

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Glass House

Three venues in one night is a lot for us parents with young children who rarely go out anymore, and also rarely drink anymore so we headed back to the hotel before too much more damage was done to the credit card!

After a lovely nights sleep where daylight savings ended and we had not children waking us up early (this was not planned but a VERY happy convenience for us!) we needed to hunt for breakfast.  Again, I referred to another post Sam from the The Annoyed Thyroid about the best places to find breakfast and coffee in Hobart.  We headed to The Flipped Egg at the Farmgate Markets.  If only I lived in Hobart or perhaps attended Farmers Markets here… the cost, variety and freshness of the produce, the flowers and baked goods was astounding.  I certainly looked longingly at the flowers!

Breakfast at the Flipped Egg did not disappoint.  We both enjoyed the Bacon and Egg Roll with Tasmanian free-range bacon and egg, aioli, tomato relish and summer greens and some Hash Browns.  The addition of the tomato relish and aioli is probably what took the old bacon and egg roll to the next level.

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From breakfast we left Hobart and made our way to Freycinet/Bicheno/Ross/Cradle Mountain.  Check in on 17 April for details on these beautiful places.

Have you been to Tasmania?  Any places you consider a must-see for other readers?

Summer Holidays – Mollymook

We came back last Thursday from a week in Mollymook. A full week of relaxation and swims in the ocean. 

Mum O arranged accommodation and the four of us, together with my sister-in-law and our friend, joined Mum O for a week of family time. 

Friday was all about checking in, heading to the beach and heading to the grocery store to gather supplies.  We were so lucky with the location of the house, 5 minutes from Woolworths in Ulladulla and 50 metres from the beach with access at the rear of our property.  Mum O was organised with dinner already made and just needing to be reheated which was great for our first night.

Our days were pretty much spent at our local beach, exploring other water destinations like Lake Conjola, the Bogey Hole and the Ulladulla ocean pool, following the kids on their bikes, eating out at local restaurants, eating, playing games, small amounts of shopping and napping.

Dining

We ate out on four occasions.  On Saturday night we headed to the Mollymook Golf Club for dinner in the restaurant.  The service was very fast (which is fantastic when you have little kids) and the food was delicious!  I enjoyed the Salt’n’Pepper Prawns and Squid.

On Sunday we ate lunch out at Cupitt’s Winery.  A superb location, with stunning views, live music, delicious wine and tasty food.  We shared a Pulled Pork Burger, Ploughman’s Platter, Margherita Pizza and a Rocket and Pancetta Pizza.

For dinner we headed to Bannisters Rooftop Bar and Grill.  I have to be honest.  We left feeling really disappointed with the service received here.  The food was absolutely delicious, the kids were happy drawing and colouring in (which we supplied ourselves) but the service with extremely slow.  My sister-in-law waited 40 minutes for a lemonade, meals were slow to arrive and empty plates stayed on our table for far too long.  Frankly, the wait-staff looked like they wanted to be anywhere but there.  As I said though, the food was delicious.  I enjoyed the Yoder Smoked Pork Belly Sliders for my entree and the Prawn Linguine for my main.  Due to the slow service, we didn’t have dessert.  A bonus that this restaurant had was that it was a two minute walk from our holiday house.

Tuesday night was a real treat.  A bonus of travelling with family is that you may get the opportunity for a date night.  When Mum O offered we jumped at the chance and I suggested to Hubby that we enjoy his favourite cuisine, Indian.  He initially booked the Mango Tree Restaurant which overlooks Ulladulla Harbour but when he called and subsequently visited to change the time of our booking, something had come up and the restaurant was to be closed that night.  Thankfully, just around the corner was another Indian restaurant called The Bay Leaf.  We shared Vegetable Spring Rolls, Malai Chicken Tikka, Prawn Paneer Pakora, Butter Chicken and Lamb Methi Masala with Garlic Naan Bread.  Everything was delicious, the service was very friendly and at a good pace.  We then enjoyed a drive to Warden Head Lighthouse and then over to Bannisters Head and took in the sunset.

Shopping

We headed to the Ulladulla Harbour Markets on Sunday morning. They had the usual jewellery, homewares, candles and bric-à-brac found at most markets. We grabbed some tea/coffee and donuts there for morning tea.

Mum O and I did the main street of Ulladulla. We looked in some boutiques and $2 store and made a few small purchases.

I guess the main thing to take from this is whilst there are some shops about, Ulladulla is a place for the beach, not shopping.

On our way home, we stopped at Berry for shopping and lunch. I escaped the family and tore off to fit in as much shopping as possible.

Haven and Space appear to be in the process of moving from one side of Albert Street to the other side and there was a sale in the old store. I picked up this beautiful vase for $20!


Maison & More is another store I always pop into. I purchased this little bird and bowl. 


The House

We stayed at this holiday house from Friday to Thursday.  It is in a superb location with beach access to the side of the property and only a 50 metre walk to the beach.  The decor is very dated, but we were very comfortable.  The sea breeze coming in the three sliding doors on the second storey ensured that the house didn’t get too hot.

As I said, the decor is dated, but a full renovation would be a lot of work for the owners and would mean that the rent for this place would have meant it was out of our price range.  I took a few photos of the interesting features/collections within the house.

Certainly very eclectic!

But you guys, the best thing of all was that I relaxed!  I slept well.  I got in the ocean.  I was so relaxed, I even sported a plait at the beach!  Who am I?

We got home about 3pm on Thursday and we commenced unpacking immediately and had the washing machine going. So good to just get it done straight away!

I am of course now planning our next Summer vacation. Suggestions please!  The beach is a must on the to do list. 

Did you get away over the Christmas break?  Any plans going forward?


Girls Weekend Away • Southern Highlands

When BabyMac put a call out that tickets were on sale for a long lunch to celebrate her 10 year bloggerversary, I was on the phone as quick as a flash to see if my best friend of 21 years would like to join me and make a weekend of it.

At 11 o’clock we gladly popped in the car, escaping children and made our way down the Hume Highway. First stop was in Mittagong to show Kyly my dream home at the display village in Renwick. A story for another time. 


Upon arrival at the Burrawang General Store, we were warmly welcomed by Beth and then went inside and met Mrs Woog, Nikki from Styling You, Beth’s Mum, Sue (aka suemacca52 on Instagram) and Wendy Harmer. After following them all for various periods of time, all the fellow guests we spoke with commented that we felt like stalkers, knowing all about them, and them knowing nothing about us!


The Burrawang General Store is a lovely old building serving breakfast and lunch. The staff were lovely and very welcoming and the food….divine!

We were spoilt with the food served. We had:

Entree:

Soup Shot, Carrot, orange and ginger with black tahini

Arancini with store made basil passata

Main:

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with salsa verde

Roasted chicken with lemon and garlic

Mixed roasted vegetables

Dessert:

Mini Meringues with mixed dipping sauces

Individual chocolates mousse and vanilla pots de creme


The lamb was Kyly’s fave and the chocolate mousse was mine! Heaven!!!

Nikki and Wendy spoke beautiful words of their friend. Beth seemed baffled that 60 women would want to have a long lunch with her. I’m not surprised. She’s awesome! Nikki played a little game with Beth called Word Association. You’re meant to reply with one word answers. Beth’s not so good at one word answers but lovely answers all the same. 

There was also lucky door prizes and I was the lucky winner of the Oh Mabel pillow cases. I cannot describe how lovely a soft they are. I am very lucky.

From there we went to the Burrawang Pub. Very cosy and enjoyed a lovely chat with Mrs Woog, Wendy and some lovely sisters from Perth. 

As I was rather tipsy from ??? (I’ll plead the fifth on the exact quantity) glasses of wine, we decided to head to our motel – Motel Melrose. Affordable, clean, basic – exactly what we needed for the 11 hours we were in the room – most of it sleeping. 

We decided on tapas at Biota for dinner. We enjoyed salt and vinegar chips, croquettes, fancy Mac and cheese and a fancy cheese burger. A glass of wine each ended the night with Kyly happy and myself – drunk 🙊! The food was tasty the croquette probably our favourite. Service was a little slow and we gave up on waiting for the bill to be brought to our table and went to the bar ourselves. Sleep ensued very soon after. 

Sunday started with a lovely breakfast in Mossvale in a cosy, rustic cafe called Vale Cafe. 


I enjoyed Croque Madame, sourdough with bechamel sauce, ham, gruyere cheese and fried egg. Kyly enjoyed bacon and scrambled eggs with sourdough and we both enjoyed a pot of tea each. She also collaborated on this post. 

We wanted to have breakfast at Highlands Merchant but sadly they aren’t open on a Sunday morning. I settled for a photo instead. 


We were now set for a day of shopping in the Highlands!

First stop, Susie Anderson Homewares. One word, GORGEOUS! The Mossvale store only opened recently and is much bigger than the Bowral store (in Dirty Jane’s). Sadly the items we loved were out of our price range. From linens to crockery, soaps to garden pots, something for everyone, if you can afford it. 

Next, the Main Street of Bowral. We ducked in to Kikki K, Bed Bath N Table, clothing stores, Dirty Janes etc. Lunch was at a lovely cafe called Palate Pleasure and it certainly did pleasure our palates! After the night before, we were hanging for a burger and fries. We both ordered the chicken burger and it was delish!


Last stop was Barbara’s storehouse in Mittagong. Lots of baskets, cushions, rugs, throws and decor items available and worth a look if driving past. 

And then home, tired but refreshed from a lack of squabbling between children!

Do you like a girls weekend away? Had one recently or planning one soon?  Suggestions please!  This was our second and we plan many more!

Canberra long weekend getaway

As I said on Monday, I work 3 days a week and Hubby works full-time. These school holidays we both decided to work through and arrange care for Miss 5 so that we could save up our annual leave for the summer school holidays.

We also wanted to get away for a few days so we decided to head down the Hume Highway/Federal Highway to Canberra, a 3 hour drive for us.

We only made the decision to do this trip on the Monday prior to going. We had thought of it earlier but with car rego due the same week and the need for two new tyres, we thought we should be responsible with our finances. And then we decided not to be!

The main purpose of our visit was to go to Corin Forest. You can read my post on that here. That took care of Friday. We went from Corin Forest to our accommodation, Forrest Lodge in Forrest.

Forrest Hotel:

Forrest Hotel is a 3 star hotel. Because we left the booking so late, the only room option available to us was the Forrest Queen Room. We booked a single foldaway bed for Miss 5 and took the portacot for Mr 3. We only spent from 6pm til 9am in our room on both days as we were out and about so the cramped quarters were completely fine for us.

The hotel was very clean, beds were very comfortable and the room very warm. We would only have the air conditioning on for about 30 minutes and I would have to turn it off.

The hotel is also in a fantastic location. A few streets back from Parliament House and a few streets from Manuka and all the eateries it has to offer.

Saturday:


We stopped by Parliament House for a couple of photos then headed over to Gold Creek to visit Cockington Green. I haven’t been there since I was in year 6 on a school excursion. The area has changed a lot in those 20 years and there are now shops and real estate all around it. We took a little drive around and then parked. I thought we should get the kids some morning tea before starting Cockington Green and I saw this…

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I am a major tea lover. I don’t drink coffee at all. I love the smell but hate the taste. I gave my hubby the look of “Please! Let’s go there!” and he agreed. He likes coffee.

When we walked in we were greeted by lovely staff members and shown to a table right by the play area. As we walked by I noticed the detail on the chairs.


So cute!

We were presented with the menu and there are well over 50 different tea options available! I chose a black tea called Lovers Leap.


I also chose the chocolate tart caramel sauce macaron. Hubby has the mortal sin choc cheesecake with chocolate milkshake. Miss 5 had the banana bread bites and Mr 3 chose the gingerbread man.


It was all very yummy! With our tummies full, we headed to Cockington Green.

Cockington Green:

Whilst the suburb of Gold Creek has changed, Cockington Green certainly hasn’t, and I think that is a good thing!

Still the charming old British inspired scenes and buildings representing many of the Countries of the world.  Miss 5 and Mr 3 dubbed Ukraine’s St Andrij’s Church, as being Anna and Elsa’s castle!


We enjoyed a trip around on the train and I grabbed some sandwiches from the café to enjoy out in the playground.


Entry cost us:

  • Adults – $19.50
  • Children (4 to 16 years) – $11.50
  • Train ride – $3.00

National Dinosaur Museum:

Hubby took the kids over to the National Dinosaur Museum whilst I had a (very) quick look around the shops. With so many dinosaurs to look at/climb on/play on we just did that and looked in the gift shop and didn’t pay the admission fee. My understanding is that it is a great exhibition but far to detailed for a 3 year old who just wants to roar!  Although, at the time of taking the below photo, Mr 3 was not in the mood!


It was time to get back in the car and make our way to the Arboretum.

National Arboretum:

My mother-in-law brought Miss 5 here recently and we knew we had to visit too! The playground is amazing!

Miss 5 and Master 3 were in there so fast I couldn’t keep my eyes on them. Although a little scared at first, the kids loved going through the acorn pods and netting and finally down the slide. We had to drag them away so we could go an have a look at this beautiful view!

There are some food options available at the National Aboretum. You can either grab a quick bite at the Sprout Café or a sit down meal at the Conservatory Restaurant.  It would be lovely to go back sometime with hubby and enjoy a meal with that view!

From the Aboretum we headed to Manuka for dinner at an Italian restaurant called Le Rendezvous.

Le Rendezvous:

I googled “kid friendly restaurants Canberra” and came across a page called Her Canberra. It listed 75 restaurants around Canberra. I tried a few but being a Saturday night, in the school holidays and 4.30pm, no luck. We managed to get a table at Le Rendezvous in Manuka – very close to our accommodation.


The food was delicious! Kids meals are $15 each and come with a bowl of pasta and a bowl of chips, a drink and icecream. I only wish they’d brought out the pasta first, and not the chips. Her Canberra advised that colouring in was on offer so we didn’t pop back at the hotel to gather supplies. When Miss 5 went to ask they said they didn’t offer it anymore. The kids were tired and restless so Hubby ducked back to go and get it whilst I ordered dinner and tried to remain calm, cool and collected in public with two very tired kids! Technology won out and Ben and Holly came on my phone to keep the piece. I am not perfect!

Hubby and I enjoyed Garlic Prawns and Caesar Salad for our entree and Pumpkin and Ricotta Gnocci with Burnt Butter, Sage and Bacon and Mushroom, Chicken & Crispy Pancetta Risotto. All of it delicious. All of it very filling. We couldn’t eat dessert!

Sunday:

Old Bus Depot Markets:

It had been a few years since we had been and I was excited to have another walk around. I bought a gift for a friend at the first stall I saw! There was lots of fresh produce on offer, timber goods, fashion, jewellery and art. It seemed like there were less stalls available but that was also a good thing as it meant there was more room to walk around. We sat down and enjoyed some poffertjes and tea and coffee and then made our way to a playground for the kids to burn of some energy and make our way home.

It was a lovely weekend away!

Corin Forest

I work 3 days a week and Hubby works full-time. These school holidays we both decided to work through and arrange care for Miss 5 so that we could save up our annual leave for the summer school holidays. The constant balancing act, hey?

We also wanted to get away for a few days so we decided to head down the Hume Highway/Federal Highway to Canberra, a 3 hour drive for us.

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The main purpose of our visit was to go to Corin Forest for the kids to experience snow. We decided to do this on the Friday in the hope it would be less busy than on the weekend.

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As this was the first time for Mr 3 and Miss 5 was 18 months old for her first time, we decided to just do the snow play. Tickets are a very affordable $15 each and we knew the kids would love having a ride on a toboggan and build Olaf from Frozen.

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There are 3 sessions daily:

  • 8:30am – 11am
  • 11am – 1:30pm
  • 
2pm – 4:30pm

We also needed to hire gear as we didn’t want the experience ruined by being cold and wet.

We hired:

  • 2 x Toboggans – $5 each
  • 3 x Snow boots $10 each
  • 4 x Jacket and pants $15 each

Total = $100.00

To avoid disappointment we booked our tickets in advance online for the 2.00pm session as this was the main reason for our visit to Canberra. So glad we did, our session, and every session Friday, Saturday and Sunday was booked out.

We had a blast! The ever cautious Miss 5 surprised us with her enthusiasm to go on her own down the slope many times. Mr 3 attempted a solo trip but stacked it and was too scared to go alone again. We attempted building Olaf but Mr 3 was deconstructing it as we were building it!

Many trips up and down and then it was time to head back, return the hire gear and get warm with hot chocolates and marshmallows.  We sat by the fire and toasted the marshmallows. Delicious. 4 hot chocolates and 4 large marshmallows cost $25.

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Pros:

  • Close location to Sydney
  • Cheaper than going to the Snowy Mountains
  • The two hour brackets are good blocks of times for kids
  • Not as crowded as the Snowy Mountains.Even with the session being fully booked there was plenty of room for everyone to have a great time.
  • There were staff on standby in case of injury.

Cons:

  • With being in the last session, at least two people had already worn our snow gear that we had hired and everything was wet as we put it on.
  • A larger area for check-in and collection of hire gear would be better.  It took a long time to get sorted.  Keep in mind there were two adults and two kids to get sorted.
  • Kids hire clothes started at size 4.  If your kids are smaller than this, look to get gear elsewhere – like the Aldi snow sale in May/June each year.

Tips:

  • Take plastic bags for wet clothes and muddy shoes.  The carpark has a dirt surface and it had rained.  Muddy puddles everywhere!
  • Book online beforehand to avoid disappointment.
  • Keep on eye on the Corin Forest web page/Facebook page/twitter feed for updates on the road conditions.
  • Get there early to check-in/organise hire gear.

Overall:

We had a great time!  Would we do it again?  Definitely!  It’s such an easy drive and so affordable for entry prices.  Yes, when you add on the hire fees for the clothing it makes it more expensive but we would plan ahead a bit better and I would keep an eye out on Gumtree or Buy, Sell, Swap groups or at Aldi for gear in advance.  My kids would also love to learn how to ski/snowboard to we’ll be back for them to have those experiences.

It’s not as flashy as the ski fields in the Snowy Mountains etc, but it provides you with everything you need to have a great time!

Check back in on Thursday, when I’ll share with you what we got up to for the rest of our time in our Nation’s capital.