This was our last stop on the way out of this beautiful Victorian spot and wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The owner of this great establishment and I have mutual friends and had met at their wedding previously so we dropped in to say hi and let the girls have a pony ride. This was a very exciting day as not only did Cam teach them all about how to approach the horses, catch them (that had varying success) and lead them back in but by the end they were able to ride around by themselves (in a very small enclosed corral I should add!) That amounted to a few steps actually, once their very savvy horses realised that the little legs couldn’t actually reach past the saddle to give them a ‘giddy up’ in the ribs they soon stopped moving. Never the less it was unaided riding and these were two happy girls – Sophia has now decided she would like to be a horse vet (well, plus cats) – even after Cam demonstrated how you take a horses temperature – which resulted in gails of giggles and genuine concern for the horses, um, comfort??!!
We returned to the ‘mainland’ from Tasmania without incident or sea sickness (phew) and moved into my dad’s place en-masse for a few days. My dad and step-mum are always good natured about these invasions, dealing with the noise, chaos and mess in exchange for cooking, cuddles, fresh made juices and for my dad assistance with the odd job. The husband had lined up a bunch of modification to our camping setup after the trial run in Tassie – which at first I thought was just more male tinkering. However, it was proved he does know what he’s on about (no-one tell him though) as the carpet on the floors absorb noise, dust that would otherwise end up in beds and stop our feet from freezing. The new high density foam on our bed has dramatically improved our quality of sleep (and lowered the level of crankiness) and a hand held vacuum? Worth every penny with the camper now carpeted! Dad and husband spent a day making some very nifty movable steps for the girls to climb into their bed without demolishing the couch cushions and I think there were other things that were technical and essential but slip my mind – not being directly related to comfort or security.
After all this busy-ness it was a little reluctantly (again) that we packed up and hit the road for South Australia. First stop was the Grampians National Park, I hadn’t been to this area since I was a teenager on Youth Camp but I had vague memories of it being beautiful. Apparently I’m not senile yet as it is an absolutely stunning part of Victoria, driving into Halls Gap there were kangaroos literally everywhere – in the school grounds, camp grounds, by the local shops – everywhere! This was exciting until I walked around the back of the camper one morning with the girls in tow to find a reasonably large buck just lolling around behind our living quarters! He didn’t seem in a hurry to get away from us and the girls were almost hypnotised by him so we all just stood for five minutes and stared at each other. This impasse ended when Craig came to investigate and the kangaroo stood up to full height in quite a threatening manner – apparently even male humans aren’t popular with these boys.
Seemed to like the girls pink pyjamas !
Once again we subjected our children to the cruel and unusual practice of hiking for hours on end over mountains but to their credit there was only one truly monumental melt down otherwise they were complete little champions about it all. It would have been good to do some of the more challenging hikes and access the stunning scenery from these paths but that is just going to have to wait until the girls are older. Evenings were spent around the camp fire toasting marshmallows and we were glad that it was this route we had decided on rather than the Great Ocean Road (also beautiful but done many times before).
Post Short Person Melt Down – I’d had enough too!
Big Day for Short Legs!
Looks like a face to me!
Follow the Leader
Beautiful View after a Very Long Walk!
Coming up the Canyon at the Peak
The only down side of this stop-over was a slight safety malfunction that was extremely embarrassing considering I am a so called safety professional (don’t mechanics always have the worst cars??) One other modification Craig made in Melbourne was a connection for the van stabiliser legs that allows us to use an 18V hand held drill to wind them down instead of man (or woman) power. I objected initially as it seemed like quite a good upper body workout while on the road but Tim the Tool Man insisted. So in Halls Gap he passed me the drill and requested that I wind up the stabiliser legs – after looking at him blankly I think the penny dropped that I really am not that familiar with electric drills – especially not in this capacity! So a very brief instruction session followed which included making sure I slowed the drill down as the legs were nearly up – the first two were a bit quick so the next I bent down to check what where the legs were and obviously loosened my grip on the drill. I’ve never been punched in the face but in the movies it never looks like a big deal – I’m assuming this is incorrect if the big heavy handle of an 18V drill smacking me in the eye socket at full speed is anything to go by. To the husbands credit he initially cradled my head and made sure my eye was still in it’s place before commenting that people were going to think he hit me! Although no-one accused him of this, as the beautiful blue, purple, green and yellow hues of my eye emerged I did get a lot of funny looks – and very few souls actually worked up the courage to ask me what happened, I’m assuming in case I said I walked into a door (because the drill story is so much more plausible!) There have been many jokes about me not doing as I’m told or listening and needless to say I haven’t been authorised to use power tools since then….
After the very long slog driving from Brisbane to Melbourne (‘are we there yet’ on repeat) we arrived in Victoria to driving rain – and all the locals exclaiming about how wonderful the weather had been until now – I think they were making that up so we didn’t leave straight away! At least we now have definitive proof that the car and camper setup is totally waterproof while mobile, which is a very good thing when all your warm clothes are in the storage bag on the roof of the Prado and the temperature plunges to 14 degrees five minutes after the rain starts.
We have taken refuge with my dad and favourite step-mum in Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula for a few nights, last interlude before we commence the camping phase so we are making the absolute most of having a real bed, bathroom inside and washing machine on demand – oh and seeing family of course! Luckily for us the rain has cleared, the sun is out and the view out to the bay is spectacular . Staying here always involves catching up with our loud, boisterous, fabulous extended family, much consumption of wine, good cooking (usually by my dad and husband), game playing and general hilarity. The banter between my German father on his fourth marriage and my Pommy stepmother who counters all conflict with wit and humour is better than watching television, seeing as everyone tells me I married my father I’m thinking I could learn a thing or two here, might start taking notes!!
Hoping to get a few photographs of this beautiful part of Victoria while the sun is shining as I love the Mornington Peninsula, in the mean time here is the view from the back deck of our family’s home and Sophia practicing to be a vet for the RSPCA with poor unsuspecting Missy the dalmation!
Next instalment should be embarking on the Spirit of Tassie, getting a little nervous about the sea-sickness aspect, apparently they recommend everyone take tablets before they board just in case – and predictions for Wednesday is swell up to 2 metres, surely that is just a ripple in the pond for the Spirit – right??!!