We headed out and looked at a house that was just plain thrashed by the people living there (in addition to being poorly constructed), decided against it and moved on. An hour and a half later of driving through beautiful country side (reminded Steve of driving in Virginia and California and me of driving through parts of Idaho) we came upon Phillip Island. My kids instantly wanted to move there. Not sure Steve's work would be thrilled with that... Its a 2 hour ride to work.
|On the bridge|
We had lunch by the ocean where we saw surfers taking on some pretty good waves. We were up high on a cliff so we couldn't see how big the waves were but they made the surfers look small. After that we headed over to a chocolate factory for a free sample and then headed off to the Koala Reserve.
We saw koalas that were right there in front of us. I could have reached out and touched one! Although they're rather mean so I figured that wouldn't be a good idea. We saw a few wallabies and some ants too. If I can get the video to work, you can see how close the koala was. If not, a photo will have to do.
After we were done there, we headed towards the Penguin Parade. The "parade" starts at sunset but you have to get than hour early so you can get your tickets, a free picture (which of course isn't really free but they're cute), headphones and then head out to the bleachers. You keep quiet and watch all the cute, tiny little penguins come in from the ocean. Steve said it looked a bit like fish getting beached on the shore, the water rushes in, and you suddenly see all of these flopping little bodies as the water flows back out. They stay about 170 meters out until sunset and then head in where they stay in their burrows. You can't take pictures or video which is tough because you just want to catch it all on film! After you're done watching them come in, you can walk up the boardwalk and watch them walk along and into their burrows - or under the car if they feel like it (which is why they warn you to look under your car when you leave).
Penguin calls are awesome. They're loud and they talk to each other. Steve said he'd use the term warbling. Sounds like shrieking to me. :)
The kids LOVED it. Jakob didn't want to leave. And Ashley kept squealing how cute they were. Heidi was just along for the ride. It was dark on our way back and we'd successfully worn out our kids for the evening. And better yet, they didn't ask what was next. I came up with some tips for any trip. This works for our six kids or one kid I'm sure.
- Fill your car with enough snacks to feed an army. Maybe two. This works for a half hour trip up to a day trip. Even with that many snacks you may still get complaints that they're hungry.
- Know where every single restroom is from where you start, to where you end up. Trees will do if you are in the middle of nowhere.
- Be prepared for children arguing over trivial things and have such terms in mind as "Stop, or you get out and walk" or "Do we have to turn this car around?" or "Mommy gets all the chocolate and you get to watch me eat it."
- If your children sing "I Know a Song That Gets on Everybody's Nerves", just be patient and let them sing it until it drives THEM crazy (we did this once. It was awesome. Poor Ashley was sobbing because she wanted her brothers to stop). This of course only works if your nerves aren't already shot. Otherwise, be ready with one of the terms I mentioned above.
- If you get the comment, "Daddy, its boring in the back of the car", you can use the term "You can ride on top of the car. Its much more exciting up there."
- Know where tissues, wipes and garbage bags are at all times. You have kids, your car will get sticky.
- Make sure you pack coats and an extra pair of pants for each child as your seven year old will most likely be a dork and wear shorts even though its winter...
- If you don't want to spend money while you're gone, don't go to a chocolate factory. Just sayin'...
- Sprout five arms in any gift shop so that you can keep a firm grip on each child so they'll stop touching EVERYTHING.
- If the trip is longer, make sure all electronic devices (i.e. DSi's, leapsters, etc) are fully charged. This will keep children quiet for hours - or until the batteries are dead.
Those are my tips. Some don't work when we're in a train or a bus because it's a whole new ball-game. No carseats means that little ones that are normally so calm in a car go wild and want to be everywhere at once in a train or bus. They want to push the button, or look out the window, or get down off the seat and run (which doesn't work when the buses or trains stop at regular intervals - and they are not very smooth stops!).
As we continue on our adventures we'll pass on our little tidbits. Now back to house hunting. Sigh...