Sunday, January 10, 2010

We survived (and even enjoyed our road trip!)

In the weeks leading up to our holidays I shared my concerns about taking five kids on a road trip with so many people around my suburb, that when it finally came time for us to leave, I think I heard a big sigh of relief ring out across my neigbourhood.

However, it was great fun and none of my concerns were realised.  (Except for Baxter and Abbie fighting when were only two hours into the 16 hour journey from Adelaide to Sydney - nasty!)

Southbank Yarra River Melbourne
The first day of our holiday started early when we left home at 4.30 am.  This worked well, arriving in Melbourne about 4 pm.  We celebrated Rowan's 40th birthday on the way down.  We gave him presents when we stopped for breakfast and lunch. Even though it wasn't an exciting birthday, it was memorable.  We enjoyed staying with old university friends in Melbourne who have four kids about the same age as ours kids.  My children loved a new selection of books to choose from and spent a lot of time reading.  Baxter loved the 'trambulars' that rumbled up and down the street that our friends live on.  A true Melbourne experience!

Port Arthur, Tasmania
We then flew to Hobart to visit Rowan's sister and family.  The kids have never gone on a plane and we've never been to Tasmania so we combined the two 'firsts'.  Abbie just laughed and laughed when we took off - I think she thought it was a amusement park ride.  We had a lovely time in Hobart.  It was fun to see where Rowan's sister lives and to get a feel for Hobart.  We drove down to Port Arthur (an old convict prison) for a day.  The historian in me found this day fascinating.  I felt the distance and isolation of the place - what a long, long way from England.

The highlight for me in Hobart was being godparents for our niece R's baptism.  And then going to carols on the lawn at their little church where hundreds of people turned up, to the surprise of most!  It was very encouraging.

After Tasmania, we flew back to Melbourne, picked up our car, and drove to Horsham (about half-way between Melbourne and Adelaide).  This day we felt like were appearing in our own episode of the TV show "The Amazing Race".  Return rental car, catch plane, get bus to long-term car park, get car, get lost finding the road to Adelaide (we were on our way back to Sydney at one point).  I managed to remain calm and gracious this whole time which I found reassuring.  Maybe I am finally growing up!

Christmas Day in Adelaide
We celebrated Christmas in Adelaide with my sister.  She has six kids about the same age as ours except for 18 month old twin girls.  Abbie saw them and said "Look, Mummy, TWO babies".  She is obsessed with babies at the moment.  The kids played well together and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm sure my sister and brother-in-law were exhausted when we left - they looked after us so generously.

And we survived two days in the car on the way home to Sydney.  Boring driving and hot too.  Thankfully our air-conditioning lasted the distance and the pool in the caravan park we stayed in overnight was fantastic!  Two other tools that helped us cope were a set of brilliant Roald Dahl books on CD (very funny) and a DVD player that we had borrowed.

After three and a half thousand kilometres we felt we had done a lot of travelling.  Then we looked at the map of Australia.  Bit demoralising - Australia is huge!  But it was lovely to get out and enjoy a piece of it with our little family.



2 comments:

Jo said...

What a lovely adventurous holiday for a family of 7!! Glad to hear you surpassed simply 'surviving' .
We have those Roald Dahl books on CD too, my DH has been known to listen to them on the way to work, lol!

Peter Sholl said...

We listened to 'Matilda' and 'The Twits' two weeks ago as we drove from Tampico (on the Gulf of Mexico) back to Monterrey. I've heard it several times but still almost ran off the road because I was laughing so much! Unfortunately, much more concentration is needed when driving here than in Australia!