We started our morning with a 90-minute drive from Bendigo to Boort, cruising into big-sky country with flat, endless fields. It reminded us of the Canadian Prairies, mixed with a little dry, African bush. First stop was a visit to see some scarred trees and significant heritage sites with three lovely locals - an area where Aboriginal communities lived for thousands of years. Mom hung out at the town's excellent playground and got a great tip to visit the Godfrey & Bear Coffee Shop ,which had milkshakes, espresso, and a terrific sandbox for the kids to play out back. After a quick bite to eat, the kids napped while we drove to the striking granite outcrops of the Melville Caves in Kooyoora State Park, followed by Raquel's first every river swim at the swimming hole in Bridgewater. Locals know best! On the suggestion of our new friend Robyn, we popped over to the local campground where the lovely owners let us use the playground, pool, and have our first encounter with a large jumping pillow (we don't have anything like that back home!). "Is this heaven?" Raquel asked when she saw it. We returned to Melbourne to move into our new home for the next week.
Fruit salad, chicken and avocado sandwich, milkshakes. An early dinner at Bridgewater Caravan Park Cafe & Store. They source their beef from local farmers and grilled us up some delicious homemade burgers, and steak sandwiches. In an amazing turn of fate (which says everything you need to know about small town Australia and the people who live in them) the owner's daughter hand delivered a cake - free of charge - to the playground by golf cart. The kids were having so much fun they didn't want to leave.
My Favourite Pictures Today
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For the next week we're staying at a friend of a friend's place (who judging by the art and decor would surely be our friend too) in the Melbourne suburb of Mooney Ponds, located about 6km from the CBD. Lots of space to run around with gardens in the front and back, and a big park and swimming pool around the corner.
Don't leave a toddler alone with a milkshake because they will bathe in it instead of drink it. 80% of people who are bitten by a snake are trying to kill it. Aboriginal people have been living in Australia for 50,000 years and have a rich, deep and spiritual connection to the land (for example, they seldom chopped down a tree but instead used the bark to create canoes and other things). We learned that conserving water is a major issue in Australia, that a 1.14kg nugget of gold was discovered yesterday near a town we drove through, and that tragedy struck yesterday when someone rammed a car into pedestrians at Flinders Station in Melbourne, the same spot where Dad was walking the day before. Our thoughts with all the Moms and Dads, Sisters and Brothers who have been affected by this senseless act of violence.
Reflection of the Day
Dad's highlight was driving through rural Victoria without seeing another car for miles, visiting Koorooya National Park, learning about Aboriginal history, meeting new friends, and watching Raquel take her first plunge in a river. Overall a great day for Dad. Raquel's favourite part was the jumping pillow and, you guessed, it ice cream. We think Gali's favourite part was finding a trove of stuffed animals in our new house sit, but he can't really speak yet so we're not 100%. Gali making a dash across the Jumping Pillow, going on a guided walk with Paul Haw and Jida Gulpilil, learning about local plant species and finding traces of animals. For Mom, it's the chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc in front of her right now.
Raquel said the worst part of her day was getting cold when she swam in the river. Flies, flies and more flies... everywhere. For Dad, it was scaling the rocks above the Melville Caves to get a photo and worrying about snakes in the cracks. For Gali is was scraping his knees (again).
We'll Always Remember
- Name: Paul
- : Central Australia, the amazing places that aren’t marked.
- : You can forget your work and leave your worries behind.
- : Be terribly honest, get on well with everyone, and be good to each other.
- Name: Jida
- : In my culture, we don’t have favourites, we have connections. The places I’m connected to are my most important places.
- : of the human spirit. Because of the way we interact through culture.
- : Nakila nyernda: It means look, listen, watch and learn.
- Name: Robyn
- : Litchfield National Park, NT
- : I love the great outdoors and I enjoy life.
- : Get outdoors, explore, and have a balance with technology.
- Name: Jamie
- : The Great Ocean Road
- : of the freedom of it.
- : Do everything you can.
- Name: Lola
- : Uluru
- : it’s a non structured life where we’re not dictated by the time...and I hate housework!
- : Just be yourselves, and live in the moment without restrictions.
- Name: Nate
- : Bali
- : I like to see how other people live.
- : Be respectful of yourself and other people.
- Name: Jacqui
- : Hanging Rock, VIC
- : of adventure, and trying new things.
- : Enjoy every minute of everything you get to do, you’re only a kid once.
- Name: Breana
- : The running track!
- : It's something new.
- : Stay safe.
We have come to accept that we will be perpetually late throughout our trip, although we are getting better and making a solid effort. The fact that Australians follow the speed limit at times doesn't help. It's becoming noticeable how many parents we meet think that we are insane to be doing our journey with young kids. We could say the same for any parents brave enough to have kids in the first place! We're always striving to balance the screen time. Today was a particularly good day because it was very much go, go, go. When the kids are bored and restless and can't be distracted with an outdoor activity (and we've got work to do), it's a lot more difficult to say no to the digital babysitter.