I’m A Little Bit Country…

Do you consider yourself a country or a town mouse?

I ‘d like to think of myself as more of an urban rat, but let’s face it, I’m a mother in suburbia.

Country living isn’t for me. Yes, I look at friends making tree changes with wonder, jealously gasping at the houses and the land.

But I know myself well enough to understand it would kill me to move to the sticks.

And yet, in spite of my need to be a little bit rock and roll (in my dreams), it turns out, I am a little bit country too.

After the Murray Man last week we decided to extend the road trip and explore the Grampians

I could feel the tension of the previous few weeks leaving me as we left the scorching plains of South Australia and moved into the cooler, greener, lusher landscape.

And the mountains.

Oh, my thing. I love beaches, but nothing tops (ha!) a beautiful mountain set against an unending sky.

We stayed in a caravan park at the foot of the hills, near  Halls Gap.

My twitter buddy Andrew had recommended some walks he enjoyed as a child, so first up was the Wonderland Walk – a canyon walk from wonderland car park to The Pinnacle.

It was an energetic walk and the kids did well to manage it. They loved spotting skinks (102 counted), lizards and wild flowers.

No idea, but very pretty

CM enjoying the rest

BW bringing up the rear through a very narrow part of the walk

The Pinnacle

All in the walk took about 3 hours and I would definitely recommend it. You’ll need good shoes and plenty of water. It’s definitely not suitable for strollers.

Although I wasn’t overly impressed with the place we were staying. The kids thought it was heaven. And as we all know, happy kids = happy parents.

CM and V busy recording their day

The boys first wild kangaroo

BW getting excited over the fire

Toasting marshmallows

CM eating a delicious s’more

Sparklers for the last night of the holiday

We had to leave our accommodation by 10 which meant we still had time to explore Halls Gap before our return to Melbourne.

We knew we wanted to return to Mackenzie Falls, where we had stopped briefly the day before, but J had also been given another spot to check out in Halls Gap. The Venus Baths.

A short walk from the centre of Halls Gap, through the car park and behind the tennis court is a track leading to a Botanical Garden. It was beautiful, and made even more special by the fact that it was tended solely by volunteers from the town.

Halls Gap Botanical Gardens

After about 10 minutes, we found the pools. There is usually more water, but nothing could stop the kids stripped to their undies and experimenting with bin bags to see who could slip fastest down the rocks.

Slipping and a sliding

Quite what the family next to us made of these loud, urchin children clad in bin bags, I’ll never know.

After a quick picnic lunch at MacKenzie Falls where we were dive bombed by kookaburra (too fast for my camera), we embarked on the descent to the bottom of the falls.

Mackenzie Falls

Crossing the river

The kids loved crossing the white water to get a closer look at the falls while their chicken licken mothers recorded their bravery on camera.

And then we had to the walk BACK UP! Oh my thighs…

The Grampians were majestic. I think we picked a great time to go as there was lots of spring flowers and it wasn’t too hot for the kids to enjoy the walks.

Being only 3 hours from Melbourne I’m definitely going back!

Have you visited the Grampians? Any suggestions for things to do on our return visit? Or  for country Victoria?

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Not The Cucumber!

Car journeys lasting longer than an hour, when the boys were small, used to be my definition of hell.

As we pulled away from home last week, I looked at them in the back, surrounded by enough electronic devices to stock a small JB-HiFi, and remembered the bum and mind-numbing journeys of my childhood. I tried to tell them, but they just looked at me with pity while inserting their earphones. Sigh.

Judge away, but the peace these electronic devices brings cannot be underestimated. Once we are sure it’s safe (i.e. no eavesdroppers) TS and I have some of our best chats.

But best of all is gazing out of the window, watching the breathtaking Australian scenery go by, the rhythmic sound of tyres over tarmac lulling me to sleep.

Obviously, this tranquillity never lasts.

Pulling over to change drivers, I marvelled again at the scenery, chanting my usual “Can you believe we live here?” mantra.

(Which frankly, TS is bored with hearing.)

I readied the camera.

TS announced he needed a pee.

Expecting him to dodge behind a tree I took aim with the lens.

Bad move.

Here was a man in need of some communing with nature.

He peed next to me.

Face pressed against the car window, CM exclaimed “Urgh…look at the mess he’s making!” (He is his father’s son after all).

Racing back to the car, narrowly avoiding the piss pool spreading out on the dusty ground, I lamented again my existence as the lone female in the House of Trouser.

(TS was to the left of me as this was taken)

Another 2 hours passed. The boys eyes were now fully rectangular and they were whingeing intermittently…”how much further?”, “can I have a snack?” etc.

I returned to window-gazing hoping the peaceful landscape would help me drown out the moaning.

We began to pass signs about fruit flies…What the what the?

And then we saw the road block.

For confiscating fruit and vegetables.

I tried to banter with the “fruit officer” as I handed over our apples and bananas.

Unsmiling, she barked: “Do I need to search the rest of the vehicle?”

I was borderline hysterical with giggles as I said no.

AND THEN  I spotted another contraband item.

TS could not have sounded more English as he exclaimed:

“NOT THE CUCUMBER FOR THE GIN!!!!”

The fruit officer’s face was a picture.

Poms on the road, eh?

Do you love or loathe road trips?

Road Trip!

By the time you read this I will have peeled my eyelids open and embarked on a trip to South Australia to do this.

As a Pom long road trips are a novelty.

In England this is what happens on a busy holiday weekend.

TS and I have been known to just stay home rather than sit in the giant car park that is the UK road system.

Lots of huffing and puffing. Lots of staring at the back of the car in front. Lots of “why did we take this road?”

And the service stations. Hell on earth.

Driving through the lush green countryside of the UK can be wonderful, however, all too soon another town or village appears.

Then.

Australia.

Since we arrived we have driven twice to Adelaide to see my best friend.

Once we left Melbourne,I was staggered at the miles and miles (or should I say kilometre after kilometre) of nothing.

Well, not nothing, obviously.

Wide open spaces. As far as the eye could see. I could not stop exclaiming to TS (who has been in love with Australia since forever and visited several times before we met).

Perfection.

I will never get bored with this.