A long weekend in Launceston….

Since Launceston is home to our daughter’s Grandma, it was the perfect location for an Anzac weekend family trip. As i’ve blogged before, Launceston is a great fix for any faint homesickness, since, as one of the first settlements, it’s architecture reminds me so much of England. It’s also one of the rare cities in Australia where the distances are nice enough to walk, as long as you can brave a few San Francisco-esq steep hills.

img_20160424_151622.jpgFresh off the 50 min Saturday morning flight from Melbourne, we headed straight to Harvest Community Farmer’s Market in the centre of town, where we stock up on Kombucha, organic sourdough and quite possible the best salted caramel brownies in the world. This was followed by Evendale Sunday market. Here I picked up classic 80’s toys in mint condition for under $5 and a Nepalese yak bell, whose sound will forever fondly remind me of my Everest Base Camp adventures.

Amazingly (for parents of a 13 month old) we managed to time our weekend (and our baby’s afternoon nap) to coincide with the Fresh Hop Beer Festival. The rest of the time was spent visiting the fantastic Launceston Aquatic Centre, with it’s awesome toddler pool and water slides. Finally, a must do for anyone visiting Launy with kids; the macaque monkey enclosure at City Park. Again, coincidentally, next to the lovely Victoria Cafe where we sampled Tasmanian white wines and lounged on comfy beanbags in the Autumn sunshine.

 

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Tolmie and Mansfield, Victorian High Country

For xmas 2015 the husband rather mysteriously presented me with a USB drive featuring the film;’The Man From Snowy River.’ For the unacquainted, it’s an Australian 1982 classic set in the Victorian High Country around Mansfield (3 hours drive from Melbourne.) Flash-forward to the Easter long weekend and we booked a quiet AirBnB hidden way off the grid, 15 mins down a dirt road, near to the tiny town of Tolmie. Think birdsong, log fires & scrabble. Bliss.

For those fitter than I (or for those without a cheeky 11 month baby glued to their hip) you can do 7 day rides deep into the bush, taking in Craig’s Hut & many of the film’s locations. I was happy with an energetic 2 hour trail ride run by the fantastic company Hidden Trails. For those really keen, there’s an 1988 sequel; The Man From Snowy River 2. Yes, we watched both.

Wilsons Promontory National Park, Australia

Tidal River is just a 3 hour drive out of Melbourne CBD (I’m thinking like an Australian now with my new attitude to distances!) It’s a perfect family campsite in the beautiful Victorian National Park that is Wilsons Prom. As well as great hiking and the shallow tide river for kids to play in, it has the best feature I’ve heard of in any campsite; an open air cinema! I also got to see my first wombat (although the kangaroo silhouette is steeling it’s limelight in above gallery photo, as its so much more photographic.)

We loved the nearby Squeaky Beach – named due to the sound of the sand squeaking under your feet. Our 11 month old loved every second of having dirt, water & sand to crawl around in. She looked beside herself with excitement when she realised we’d be sleeping outside under the stars. A true happy camper.

 

 

 

Travel with an 8 month old baby…

One of my favorite pictures. 8 months old, 30 degree heat, first holiday and she's happily asleep on a loud, choppy speedboat traveling to the islands from Belize city...

One of my favorite pictures. Our 8 month old daughter fast asleep on the back of a loud, choppy speedboat traveling to the islands from Belize city.

‘You’re traveling to Central America and Asia with an 8 month old?’ ‘You’re traveling by bus overland across the Mexico Chetumal border?’ ‘You’re taking a baby away for 6 weeks?’ were all questions people asked even more than ‘You’re eloping in Belize?!’

To anyone that knows us (my visit list is up to 65 countries now, hubby’s 35) the answer was ‘of course we are – our 8 month old will love it!’ And she did.

Our route was AustraliaLA – Belize – Mexico – UK – Singapore – Australia. 45 days, 8 different beds in 5 countries, 52 hours of flights, hundreds of new faces and experiences.

I’ve honestly never seen her more curious, more happy, or more adaptable. What surprised me the most is how natural it comes to them. She got more sleep on our long haul flights & dealt with jet-lag quicker than both of us! Watching her dip her toes in the Caribbean, charm Singaporean strangers on the MRT and scoff Mexican tacos till her heart is content was utterly worth it.

We found 6 weeks away with a baby a crazy, exhausting adventure, but most of all a huge bonding experience. Our daughter relished having both mum & dad (and grandparents) around her, as well as the overwhelming kindness of doting strangers. Everyone loves a baby. I’d of had one long ago if I knew how useful they are for nabbing the best seats on buses and cutting boat queues :)

There’s so much written about the negatives of travel with children, about baby routines, about jet-lag adjustment schedules etc. People often stress about whether such young babies will miss home or feel secure.

Before we left a friend gave me the following advice, which I absolutely love (in the context of travel and just motherhood in general); “You are their home. You are their safe place. Make all the lists you want of tips, advice, things to pack. All they really need is you. “

Beautiful. Simple. True.

 

Pic of the week; Singapore Stopover

A short and sweet 5 days in my favorite to show our baby where mum and dad first met 2 years ago. Well, that and to break up the marathon Australia flight in Asia and take the edge off the jetlag. And to show off the baby with our remaining friends over a boozy brunch at Cafe Melba. AND because we love a (third!) round the world trip…Ok, any excuse to revisit this city :)

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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