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Still in holiday mode…

Posted on: March 20, 2011

"Ooh, plane!"

We’re baaaaack!

Actually, we’ve been back for a few days now, but I’ve been clinging to the last vestiges of the holiday that was, and have been incredibly lazy. Plus, while away, I have rediscovered the novel. I’m always reading, but most of my reading material of late has come from online sources (ie. blogs), which is great, but I have missed reading fiction. Alas, I don’t seem to be able to strike a balance – I vacillate between obsessively reading books, or obsessively reading blogs. Hence, whilst away, I read three whole novels, and have read another two since returning! They have all come from my huge stockpile of books that I borrowed, guiltily, from a friend I hardly see anymore, knowing that I would probably have them for months before finding time to read them.

Anyway, as I slowly come back to reality, I am disappointed to notice that the washing has not put itself in the machine, the house has not tidied itself, and the children have not suddenly learnt to make their own lunches or entertain themselves. The best thing about being on holiday was having Tom around to do at least some of these things, while I sat on the couch to read… but now he’s back at work.

I think I had better recount some of our holiday for posterity, as it may be some time before we get another one!

As planned, Tom drove our car solo up to Queensland, while I took the kids on the plane. Mad, some people said, but those people have not attempted to drive for more than two hours with our children. It cannot be done. Believe me when I say that this was the only option! It went surprisingly well. My mother-in-law drove us to the airport and waited with me until we boarded. I came prepared with heaps of snack food, sticker books and even tv shows (on ipods) for the kids to watch in transit. I was actually more worried about Neave, who I knew wouldn’t want to sit still for the duration, and who can’t yet be entertained by electronic means. I was hoping a good breastfeed would knock her out, but it didn’t, and she spent a good portion of the flight screaming and squirming about in my arms. Until the passenger in front of us did tricks with her bracelet, and all was well.

The only way to fly!

Tom met us at the airport (he arrived ten minutes before we did, freakishly good or what?), and this is when Molly had a major meltdown, but at least it wasn’t on the plane! Our accommodation was the home of some family friends of our – we swapped houses with them for the duration of our holiday, which was a brilliant idea that I can’t even take credit for (it was their idea). We finally arrived, rather ragged around the edges, but in much better spirits than we would have been had we experienced the trauma of two straight days of driving with three shrieking kids…

On our first day, we did the obligatory grocery shopping and boring stuff, before heading out to try out a park that our hosts assured us was AWESOME. And it was! I have to say that Gold Coast parks are waaaaaay better than ours, and I could almost justify moving there, just for the parks. And the beaches (duh!)

Awesome!

On day two we were joined by Tom’s brave parents – they flew up for a few days to help with our holiday-making. See, our brood is so unmanageable that we even need help with this! We attempted to hit the beach that day, but there were blue bottles, so after only a quick dip we had to move to the park instead. As an aside, I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked during our holiday – I was busy being all ‘outdoorsy’, but didn’t want to get sand in my camera!

On day three we played putt putt with the kids, which was an exercise in futility, really. But it got the kids out of the house, and I burned some calories chasing Tiernan from one end of the bloody course to the other… There’s really not much to be said for playing putt putt with anyone under the age of, I dunno, twenty?

Day four we drove up into the hinterland to O’Reilly’s Plateau, which is in lovely rainforest. Again, this trip was recommended by our hosts, and it was great, except I can’t emphasise enough how horrid the drive was – I’ve never come across bendier roads! And the bends just went on and on and on, until we were sure we’d got stuck on some sort of loop from which we would never escape! I don’t usually get car sick, but I was definitely feeling green around the gills by the end of this horrendous trip. We had a short rest at an alpaca farm (sorry, no photos, was trying not to spew), before continuing on to O’Reilly’s. During all of this, we had been wondering when we would actually come to the rainforest (all had been bushland so far), but suddenly we were in it – there was no gradual change; one minute the trees were mostly gums, there was plenty of light and a lot of scrub growing on the ground, and the next minute, the vegetation changed to densely packed pines, with ferns growing on the ground, and creepers up above blocking out much of the light.

Not surprisingly, it was raining when we finally reached the plateau (rainforest!). However, we bravely sat out in the rain and watched the ‘birds of prey’ show (which was fascinating), from under our umbrellas, all the while shivering in our boots (or thongs, actually – it’s amazing how quickly one forgets that mountains are cold, I mean, we live in the mountains for goodness sakes!)

Wedge-tail eagle

Tom and his dad then took Tiernan and Molly on a tree-top forest walk, which I had been looking forward to, but wussed out of, citing my broken toe (which was hurting), but mostly because I was absolutely freezing and wanted a warm drink, indoors. So that’s what the rest of us did. Then, we all got back into the cars for the return journey, which was equally yucky the second time around. Despite this, O’Reilly’s was a lovely place to visit, with stunning mountain views, luscious tropical-rainforest, and cute wildlife to boot.

Next day was a trip to the beach, or inlet rather. This is where I really appreciated having Grandparental help, as a visit to the beach is high on my list of anxiety-inducing activities! Call me over-protective, but I can’t relax around water when the kids are present, especially when it’s churning, dumping, rip-concealing water. Since none of our kids can swim, I reserve the right to remain in flight-or-fight mode until we’re all safely back in the car. However, with Tom’s parents we now had four adults to three children in our group, (the ideal ratio – although, let’s face it, 2:1 would be better!) so I was actually able to relax (a bit), have a swim with the kids, build sand castles and generally hang out. The kids had a great time too – the water was perfect, and there were enough adults around to keep them entertained, happy and fed! We followed the beach up with another trip to the AWESOME park (which was still awesome), and then went home exhausted! That evening we said goodbye to Tom’s parents, as they were returning home.

On day six, Tom and I were suddenly left to our own devices again. We took the kids to Mt Tambourine, where we checked out the boutiques selling fudge, honey, liqueurs, fairy stuff, cuckoo-clocks, cheese, ice-cream and chocolates, (yum!) This possibly wasn’t the funnest day for the kids, but Tom and I had a good time!

For the remainder of our stay, we fell into the pattern of generally vegging out in the morning (we were on holidays, after all), and then mustering the energy to take the kids out somewhere around lunch time (which is usually the worst idea, but, being on holidays, we didn’t care). Afterwards, we drove around trying to find something to eat for lunch (I managed to put on a kilo after all the eating out we did…  and I suppose the chocolates and ice-creams probably didn’t help, either). Twice, the kids fell asleep before we even got to lunch, so Tom and I got ourselves some takeaway, which we ate in the car, whilst driving around looking at the scenery. In this way, we checked out some lovely views along the coast (from the car), and we also spent about an hour lost in the hills, but enjoyed taking in the country scenes while we were there!

There was also another game of putt putt involved (we’d already paid for it so had to); a trip to the pool for a swim – great time had by all; and the bravest thing of all – we actually took them back to the beach. Or, river really, but it was near the beach. There was sand. The kids had a great time, and I enjoyed watching them have a great time, but didn’t enjoy having my heart leap into my mouth every time they disappeared under the water (no waves, but uneven, sandy bottom with sudden drops). However, after they demonstrated (many times) that they could pop back up to the surface without any problems, I was able to swallow my nerves. But still couldn’t relax. (One day they’ll learn to swim and I’ll be fine, right?) Getting dressed when it was time to go was a logistical nightmare, but somehow we managed, just in time for the sky to open up and release a deluge of rain onto us! I got to pretend to be one of those parents who doesn’t care about getting wet, or muddy. But really I did care. Especially when the wet and the mud was transferred into the car…

Random photo of the resident gecko

All too quickly, it was time for us to pack up our things and fly home. Tom drove us to the airport and started his two-day journey home. The trip home wasn’t as good as the trip up – Molly was overdue for a nap and consequently was in a foul mood, which made the flight rather a nightmare, especially when she kept undoing her seat belt and jumping out of her seat during the landing!!! At least Neave slept this time, though. We were met at the airport by my Mum, had a slow car trip home in peak hour traffic, and finally we were home!

In summary, we had a wonderful time. Surprisingly, I am feeling very mellow on returning home and I think a holiday was exactly what I needed. Well, I knew that, but the surprising part is that I actually do feel like I’ve had a holiday – the work load didn’t really change while we were away, but at least there were some extra people to share it with me. And a change of scenery is always nice!

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4 Responses to "Still in holiday mode…"

Enjoyed your post, feel like I was there with you. Especially loved the pic of you and the kids on the bike thing!

Thanks, Fi. I love that photo, too – we look so cute all lined up like that!

Sounds like it was great for you all. We have one of those gecho’s (not sure if that is correct spelling???) at home too. It is so cute. Looks like it is made of Blue tack or something. Where did you stay by the way?

Hi Rheannon, it was a cute little thing! I was surprised at how light its colouring was – have only seen darker ones. We stayed at Julia’s house in Merrimac on the Gold Coast. It was lovely!

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