Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Eli kite flying in Mystery Bay

Trip to Narooma

We took advantage of the long (Australia Day) weekend and headed down the coast to Narooma.

A lot of Canberrans clear out during the holidays with the south coast being a really popular spot. We tried to steal a bit of a march though by heading off early on Saturday morning meaning that we arrived at our destination (via the great Braidwood bakery) without much of an issue.

Narooma is the oyster capital of the Southern Coast and as well as that it's a great spot for seeing whales and dolphins when the weather cools down in July and August.

We were there at the wrong time of the year for whales but the right time of year to enjoy the beautiful pristine beaches. We had lovely weather - high 20 degrees with a cool sea breeze.

The cabin we stayed at was a short 3 minute stroll to the beach but raised up enough on the hill to afford us beautiful views along the coast.

We spent a lot of time on the beach - the kids loved dashing in and out of the waves and we also took a great day trip on the Wagonga Inlet - our guide Charlie entertaining us with stories of his youth and then treating us to a cream tea and fresh oysters pulled from the inlet.

We also drove down the highway a bit to the fascinating Central Tilba - a town managed by the National Trust which had quaint gift shops and cafes (the kids enjoyed lovely ice creams from the cheese shop).

On the way back we stopped at Mystery Bay to fly our kite and poor Eli got stung by a jelly fish. Fortunately our friend had recommended Bluo detergent as a remedy and Eli who had been crying uncontrollably on our race to the supermarket following his sting stopped crying immediately the detergent was poured on - its effects were miraculous.

We enjoyed Australia Day at the Surf Club and mingled with locals as they raised the Australian Flag.

Nearby there was also Australia rock (the clue is in the name) and we spotted a seal on our walk there.

Narooma definitely got a big thumbs up from the kids (and Amy and I) I'm sure we'll be back before too long.

Here's some pictures of our stay...

Fun in the surf at Surf Beach
Mermaid Audrey
tired boy
The Wagonga Princess
Australia Rock
Ice creams at Central Tilba
Kite flying at Mystery Bay
Potato Point
The packed Surf Beach in Narooma

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The 'snake' that wasn't

The kids were playing by the garage a few days ago with a couple of their friends when one of them spotted a snake. None of them could be sure whether it had legs just that it had disappeared inside the garage.

Australia is home to a lot of deadly snakes (they spotted a Brown Snake at the kid's school last year) so you can never be sure. The next day though I spotted this blue tongue lizard sunning itself by a hole in the fence so the mystery was solved. Blue tongue lizards are quite large (this one was about 10 inches long) but they're harmless and eat insects and berries.

Bike riding around the lake

We've done a fair amount of bike riding around Lake Burley-Griffin recently. The kids enjoy it as most trips end up with a gelato at the small café on the lake.

Mapping Our World

The four of us went along to a great exhibition at the National Library.

It was an interesting (if eclectic) exhibition tracing early attempts to map the world (a 1448 map by a Benedictine Monk) up to more modern day maps by Captain Cook. The kids loved the early maps as they featured pictures of monsters in unmapped areas. It was also interesting to see how Australia had been mapped over time, with early Portuguese and Dutch maps plotting out the west of Australia before Cook completed the picture on the east.

We spent quite a lot of time there - it was a free exhibition and was really fascinating with over 100 maps on display. It's easy to take things for granted now with Google Maps allowing you a birds eye-view of your neighbours garden, but it was excellent being taken back to a time where entire countries were vague squiggles and monsters lived just off the coast.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Catch up with Kerry and Peter

My lovely Adelaide friends, Kerry and Peter, stopped in Canberra on their way to New Zealand for their cruise holiday. It was great to catch up with them and all the gossip. Hard to believe I hadn't seen them for about 7-8 years. We haven't change a bit - OK, maybe slightly rounder and greyer!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


The Canberra climate and soil seem to suit Agapanthus – you see them in a lot of gardens here. They’re originally from South Africa and seem to be loved and hated in equal measure. They grow relatively profusely but don’t take much/any looking after and reward you for your neglect with big blooms of blue or white flowers throughout summer

We had a large space by our back fence in need of brightening up and I was given (via freecycle) about 20 agapanthus plants. I wasn’t sure if they’d flower in their ‘first’year – they haven’t all – some of the smaller plants obviously need a bit more ignoring before they prosper, but about 6 or 7 have got lovely flowers on them.

Audrey learns to ride her bike

One of the highlights for me at Christmas was watching Audrey learn to ride her bike without the need for stabilisers/training wheels.

She's had a small Barbie bike for a couple of years and over the Christmas holidays we took the training wheels off it and with the help of one of her friends who showed her what to do she got quite adept at riding. It probably only took her a couple of sessions.

The old bike really was much too small for her though - I'd scoured the small-ads for second hand bikes (especially with the knowledge that a lot of kids would have received new ones for Christmas and therefore may have an old one they wanted to get rid of) but in the end Eli and I took a trip to the 'Green Shed' - at the tip - a huge warehouse where people give stuff to be sold for charity rather than chuck it away. There's so much there from old surf boards, to furniture, toys and a huge rack of old VHS videos!

Unfortunately there wasn't one that suited Eli (he later got given one from his friend Jack who had outgrown his) but we found a bigger Barbie bike for Audrey which was a snip at $10. Audrey's helmet came from the school fete for $1 - yes, the best things in life ARE free - well at least they're $11 all in!

Here's a lovely afternoon the three of us spent at Mount Stromlo bike riding. Eli went for a spill (at the end of the video) but he sustained nothing but a hurt pride.

See also this from just over a year ago