Entries from December 2015

COFFS HARBOUR

December 16, 2015

This is the last post on our road trip from Albury to Brissie for Merrick & Australia…sadly the weather was pretty wet & wild; we were washed out on the Central Coast which was such a shame…our spot beside Lake Munmorah would have been perfect for the kids had it not been bucketing down.

Fortunately, by the time we hit Coffs, there was a break in the rain; the sun broke through the clouds!

We had an activity lined up that has always been pretty high up on my bucket list, though to be honest this was not how I imagined it would go down. In my mind, it was to take place somewhere warm, tropical, somewhere free & easy…not in a giant swimming pool in Coffs Harbour. I was apprehensive, but willing to give it a go.

We were getting in the water with a beautiful young specimen called Jet.
JET IS A DOLPHIN!!!!

I have mixed feelings about aquariums and animals in captivity, and I realise that people have very strong feelings about it, and so I asked lots of questions… Jets mum had been rescued and released back into the wild, not once, but twice, and so when they brought her in a third time, with her tail fluke all but severed by a fishing net, they decided to start a breeding/conservation/rescue/education program. This species of dolphin are not endangered here in Australia, irrespective of this, the program has helped hundreds of injured marine animals since its inception, and on the day we visited, there were kids and families everywhere enjoying the up close contact with the animals at the park. The keepers are big into educating visitors on human impact on marine environments, and how we can ensure their survival in years to come. I think that perhaps if more people leave the park in love with the animals and are more aware, then the park has done some good?

We have been to aquariums overseas, in Singapore and in Japan, where the animals were listless, bored, and obviously not thriving, and walked away feeling angry, and if I’m honest, dirty! This is not the case here in Coffs…the animals are obviously happy & full of beans, and actively seek out human interaction.

And so it was time to get in the pool, which was freezing, because that’s the way the dolphins like it! Jet reminded me of a boisterous puppy, and he was very obviously in love with his keeper. We played, we learnt all about dolphin anatomy & behaviours, and then we swam! It was exhilarating!!!!! It is not a cheap family day out, but it was a very special day out. Sealed with a kiss. From a seal, with super fishy breath!

After the excitement of the porpoise pool, we headed to our caravan park, with the obligatory selfie at the Big Banana of course. We arrived at the Lorikeet Tourist Park just on 3 pm, which is when they feed the local lorikeets….hundreds of them! It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen; both kids covered in rainbow birds! Love!

We stayed at The Lorikeet Tourist Park, Arrawarra

Dolphin & Seal swimming encounters with thanks to Dolphin Marine Magic, Coffs Harbour

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Coffs Harbour

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CANBERRA

December 11, 2015

We found ourselves Canberra bound on the second stretch of our road trip for Merrick & Australia, en route to Brissie.

I have long wanted to pop in to Cockington Green, for a number of reasons. One, the most puerile of reasons; the name makes me giggle every time I say it! Super juvenile I know, but I can’t help it!! The second reason was that many moons ago, the fashion editor at the time of the Sunday Mag, Inez Garcia (you can find her here for witty fashion observations and advice Inez Garcia) shot a fashion spread there that was BEAUTIFUL. The clothes, the colours, and the whimsy have stuck with me ever since. I had to go there. Finally, we drive past it every time we drive in to Canberra. My curiosity was well and truly piqued. Cockington Green was calling my name…

For those not in the know, Cockington Green is a miniature village on the outskirts of Canberra in a complex called Gold Creek that also houses the National Dinosaur Museum, a walk in aviary, a reptile zoo & an indigenous art gallery. The miniature village is named after a real village in Devon. Quaint!

We were there in early spring, so the gardens were pretty fab, but also very wet. We were lucky to have had some breaks in the rain, and enjoyed it nonetheless. The model makers seem to have a sense of humour about it all, and in most scenes there are ‘hidden in plain sight’ funnies…Wolfie was beside himself when he spotted Obi Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader completely out of context having a light sabre fight in the middle of one village scenario. Also ace for younger kids are the interactive exhibits where you can control the moving parts on windmills, trains, cable cars… We really loved the International display…excellent attention to detail!

There is also miniature steam train that does hot laps of the park, a playground for very small guests, a cafe and a gift shop… and the park owners are currently working on an Australian houses project, depicting in miniature every style of house constructed here, from Aboriginal structures through to present times…one to keep an eye out for!

It is on the expensive side, but the kids were captivated by it all, so a worthwhile pit stop after all.

As a side note, later that afternoon we also visited QUESTACON…it is incredible, but be sure to go in a team; one adult for each child! There is SO much to do there, and it is SO busy during school holidays, I found it super overwhelming…trying to field questions from both kids, and keep an eye on both kids was too much. This has been a public service announcement…you’re welcome!

Cockington Green
11 Gold Creek Road Nicholls ACT 2913.
+61 2 6230 2273

QUESTACON
02 6270 2800
King Edward Terrace, Parkes, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia, 2600

We stayed at The Alivio Tourist Park Canberra

We at at Tu Do Vietnamese Restaurant
2/7 Sargood St, O’Connor ACT 2602

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ACT

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