Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Great Ocean Road: Numero Uno

The Great Ocean Road really and truly is Great! The name is not just a marketing ploy, it is true! In fact, it is so great that I am making it my personal mission to get each and every person I know to go on this holiday "straight away!" 

We flew from Sydney into Melbourne on an easy 1.5 hour flight. The boys were immediately disappointed at the entertainment offerings on the 737 as they are accustomed to the A380. I think the feeling melted away as soon as they got off the plane in the same hemisphere, in the same day, in less time than it takes to board the A380.

From Melbourne it was a 2 hour drive to Phillip Island to see THE PENGUINS! OMG! These little guys are the cutest littlest bluest penguins I have ever seen. We stayed in Cowes, a super cute little town, with the requisite awesome playground. If you stay at fantastic The Waves Hotel you will be right across the street from it! As a side on life here in Oz, along the way we stopped in a tiny, nameless, no gas station town that had a $20,000 playground. Baffling and wonderful!

phillip island australia
And they just keep coming...thousands literally!
They are coming up to do a number of different things
depending on the season. Jan/Feb is chick feeding
time. You can hear the little chicks calling for their Mamas, awww.
"Self" Portrait #1 Cowes
Can you see "Prince Phillip" the penguin in his hand?
"Self" Portrait #2, Cowes
Start 'em young! 
his "iPad"
At the Koala Conservation Center

What is the sign in the back warning against???
Giving koalas large torch like enemas if I had to guess.

The boys are nothing if not surprising!
The winery visits were some of their best times on the trip.
No, we did not mellow them out with a good Pinot.
The wineries all have toy bins and some have playgrounds!
CH took this picture! I love it!
Churchill Island Heritage Farm
(pretty boring in our opinion)
Beautiful, yet still boring
Playing checkers at Phillip Island Winery

Yes, I promise these are my children relaxing at a winery

Ahhh, that's more like it!
At the Phillip Island Circuit,
which they would have thought was waaay cool if they were just a bit older.

Losers acting like winners :)

The Nobbies Phillip Island...incredible, breathtaking, unreal!

Oh, he was so so so happy to go to the chocky factory on PI.
His cheapo parents decided to skip the $30/pp factory tour.
Confusion and hysteria ensued, until samples were doled out.


In the Mornington Peninsula

After Phillip Island we drove through the Mornington Peninsula(famous for wine) to Sorrento
to catch the fairy to Queenscliffe to start the GOR.
A dolphin entertained us most of the way, jumping, doing barrel turns and just being amazing!
I wish we had more time in both Sorrento and Queenscliffe, they looked great as we passed through.

Yes, a playground on the ferry.

I wish this pic from the ferry turned out...
as one of the residents had their own helicopter pad on the beach.
I could not make it up!

That night we slept in Torquay, at the Wyndhamhotel, not the car to be clear...stay tuned! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

All the latest news...

or news that happened 2 months ago and I was too lazy to post.

The boys are back in school. They are loving it and are making so many friends this year.

Here are some pics of how cute they were on the first day. 2012 is on the left, 2011 on the right.

What a difference a year makes! Especially once you've discovered strangling each other is way more fun than cuddling!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ready to BARE all!

This weekend we were invited to a "picnic" at the home/beach/recreation area of one of LK's colleagues. Why all of the slashes on the location? Why the quotes on "picnic?" Why all the confusion??? My question exactly, why all of the confusion?
Western side of Bare Island

Do you ever hear men say, "I don't know if we are free let me check with our social director." I am our families unofficial social director/keeper of the family calendar. But...when it comes to social invites from work friends, he is of course the lead dog. Well, our lead dog must have caught the wrong scent for the hunt. As he has been super busy with work the whole invite slipped his mind until Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning rolls around and we are packing up for what may or may not be a picnic which may or may not be held at the beach where we may or may not need swimsuits. We have it for the kids, swimsuits in case of a swim, our picnic rug, plastic wineglasses, food to share, extra clothes you get the idea. We are ready for anything as we know nothing! We arrive at Bare Island, with our giant esky and other accoutrement to a giant locked gate across the foot bridge and a sign that clearly says no visitors. Hmmm...that's odd? I look at him with the annoyed look of a teenager complete with annoying eye roll. He is sure this is the meeting place. Then his work colleague comes out with her husband(parks services employee) and kids. Key in hand, she unlocks the gate, ushers us in and locks it behind us, to the disappointment of many other tourists stuck on the other side. HUH???Then the pieces start coming together... Of course...they live in the 150 year old fort at Bare Island! Bare Island, historic site, where many scenes in MI II were filmed, where they still have two cannons, of course that is their home!!! They have invited us to a lunch at their home to which we show up packed like we are going to a picnic, esky, rug, our own food and the kitchen sink! Seriously, how far did I advance the dumb American thing this weekend? Pretty far is my guess!

Pics of the kids with the canons coming soon!

From wikipedia:


Bare Island was part of the traditional land of the Gweagal and Kameygal Aboriginal tribes. In 1770, it was described as ‘a small bare island’ by early explorer, Lieutenant James Cook.
In 1877 it was decided that a fort was to be built on the island. Botany Bay was considered the back door into Sydney, thus making the city vulnerable to a seaborne attack. The construction of a fort on the island would reduce the odds of an attack from this entry point. Plans for the construction of a fort were drawn up by the Colonial Architects Department and tenders in 1880. Government tender for construction was awarded to John McLeod and Co, who also built the Georges Head and Middle Head fortifications. Construction of Bare Island fort was completed in 1885 at a cost of 34,000 pounds. Work inside the fort began in 1889. The Bare Island Fort was designed by Colonel Scratchley, the plans were prepared by Mr Morell, CE and supervised by James Barnet (1827-1904). [3]
Bare Island Fortification facing south-east
In 1890 a Royal Commission found that construction of the fort was faulty due to the use of an inferior grade of concrete. The whole project started to crumble before it was completed. The Royal Commission was very critical of the material used and were reluctant to refer to the material as concrete. The two clerks who were responsible for the operation, Henry Purkis and Edwin Colley, were found to be neglectful in their duties of inspecting the site. The contractor responsible was asked to repay some of the money that was paid out to him. He was also banned from any other government contracts. The Colonial Architect Mr James Barnet who is more widely known for designing many of the beautiful sandstone buildings in Sydney was eventually blamed for failing to oversee the project and to limit the amount of extra funds paid out to the contractor. This led to his resignation in disgrace from government office.
Though bristling with guns, the fort was soon made redundant by advancing technology. By 1902 Bare Island was decommissioned and ceased to exist as a military fortification, with only a handful of military personnel manning the fort. In 1912, Bare Island became a retirement home for war veterans from the Crimea, Sudan and China campaigns. It continued to operate as a retirement home until 1963, after this the Randwick District Historical Society became caretakers of the island. In 1967 it was passed onto the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service for use as a museum and tourist attraction. The Bare Island fort has now been declared a historic site.[4]