Mulled on the Mountain 2013

Finally the Queens Birthday weekend had arrived and we were off to Warburtons Bridge for a long weekend of camping with friends.  We’ve done it a couple of times over the years, camping over the long weekend in June.  It’s usually cold and we enjoy a mulled wine over a roaring campfire.  photo 2

Some were able to come for a day, others an overnight stay and the rest joined us for the whole weekend.

We had such a good time and many a laugh was had late into the night. We had some amazing campfires that kept every one warm and we now look for a huge tree root, from hereon to be named the “after dinner log”, to keep the fire going well into the wee hours of the morning.

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It was the first time we’ve had a good usage out of our caravan heater and I can honestly say it made a huge difference to the enjoyment of the weekend.  It wasn’t a cheap item to have put in the caravan but its worth every cent.  I’d highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you have kids.  Happy kids, Happy parents.

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We spent a lot of time just relaxing at the camp site but also took a trip into Castlemaine followed by some geocaching on the trip back via some bush tracks.

We did discover that the female partners do a lot of talking on the UHF radios when the men are doing a walk ahead to scout the track.  Apparently they have already decided if we will be going ahead or not. 🙂

Our two daughters, Grace and Matilda, are enjoying hunting for caches more than ever now so we may just try and do it more often.

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Tilly had a great time carrying the caching bag and finding the caches.  Big thanks to all those who stood back helping her find discover them first.  It gave her such a thrill to think she was the one finding them all.

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The girls enjoyed spending time with Tilly dog too.  If you look closely you can see Tilly dog had her tail and her paws coloured for the occasion.  photo 3

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We spend some time learning about the history of the area as we searched for caches. It’s quite amazing some of the stories and I think next time we come back we may explore some more.  There is even a Dingo Conservation center in the area.

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A trip to one of the caches on the roof of Mark and Dianne’s camper was a highlight for the girls.  A bit like an old fashioned hay ride.

photo 3 copy The kids playing on the banks of the Loddon River in a makeshift cubby.
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It was great catching up with everyone and don’t forget to keep the 2014 Queens Birthday long weekend free in your calendar.

Grampians Grape Festival 2013

Imagine waking up to this every morning.  It was the sight that greeted us over the last weekend which we spent at Halls Gap in the Grampians with two other families.

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The weather was amazing which made the trip even better as we visited this beautiful piece of the world for the annual Grampians Grape Escape.  This is the second year we have attended and it’s always held on the first weekend of May each year.  A first class event that I recommend to anyone.

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The local oval is the venue and is host to numerous local wineries and some local eateries (go with the pizza) all eager to showcase their trade with the festival goers.

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They have many activities including food demonstrations (this year Poh from MasterChef), grape stomping, kids activities, local bands (check out Buddha in a Chocolate Box  ) and much more to keep everyone entertained.

It goes over two days and this year we extended our stay to Monday so we could take full advantage of the weekend.  At only $40 per person for the whole weekend entry is very reasonable.

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Back at our campsite just a few hundred meters from the oval we had many other local visitors pop in.  Ducks, Kookaburras and Kangaroos were everywhere.  They are still wild but come close enough for the kids to have a good look at these amazing Aussie animals.

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Sunday nights dinner was a real chore.  We spent the better part of three hours watching the lamb turn on the spit.  Its hard being a gourmet chef when you’re camping.  It was one of the best lamb roasts I have ever had.  Slow cooked to perfection.

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We had an amazing time and have booked in again for next year.  One of our group has set the challenge for us to walk to the top of one of the nearby peaks to watch a sunrise so who knows what next year will have in store.

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As Mr Kangaroo says, “See you next time around.”

Mt Franklin.

In previous years we have been part of a group who go away on the Queens Birthday weekend and get together for a “Mulled on the Mountain” trip. This trip usually coincides with the colder months and is a chance to stoke up the fire, eat good hearty food and drink a glass or two, usually more, of mulled wine.

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve done this trip so we decided to go out this last weekend to scout out some spots to hold the event.

We have been looking at Mount Franklin, just out of Daylesford, as the venue so we based ourselves here for a night. It’s such a nice spot and our girls, who originally didn’t want to go bush camping had a ball. They played non stop and made some great friends. One dad had bought along a tyre swing which he hung out of a tree and let all the kids use. It was such a great idea and I am going to do a similar thing in the future.

I’ve been to Mount Franklin many times over the years but never to stay overnight. It was a great group of people and at night was very quiet. It surprised me just how quiet considering you camp inside the crater and the acoustics mean that you can here any noise from other campers. We stoked up a nice fire and cooked a chicken on the spit and roasted marshmallows after dinner. The girls and I also made a batch of damper and baked it in the camp oven.

Even though we had such a relaxing time, we decided to check out two other locations the next morning on our way home. One ended up being too small and risking taking a large group wasn’t an option.

The second spot though was perfect. It’s a huge area and very flat. It is well maintained and fire pits are built into the ground with a large gravel circle around the pit to accommodate camp chairs. We’ve found out spot for the next “mulled on the mountain”.

So if you’ve been to a “mulled on the mountain” before look out for your invite because you won’t want to miss out.

Easter 2013 – Warrnambool.

The two weeks before Easter we spent trying to decide if we’d go away for the four day break.  It wasn’t until Good Friday that we decided to pack up our van and head to Warrnambool.

Matilda playing on the beach

Our tardiness in making a decision meant we ended up getting a site in the overflow area of Surfside Caravan Park, called Shipwreck.  Surfside was packed to the gills and we had a very quiet area with virtually nobody around.

Playing in the dunes

Being only about fifty meters from the beach was a bonus and right beside us was a large area for the girls to play and ride bikes and enough room to fly our kites right beside the van.

Kites

It was a very relaxed weekend and on Saturday morning Grace and I got up very early to take a walk along the beach.  We happened across quite a number of racehorses being trained up and down the beach and amongst the waves.  It was pitch black and we could just make out thier shadows as they raced up and down at the low tide mark.

It was such a great Dad and daughter time and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Grace about so many different things as we took our hour plus walk.  The sun soon rose and on the return leg we stumbled across a number of chalk writings along the beach foot path.

Chalk Writing

We did a bit of sight seeing over the weekend and visited some of the main attractions around Warrnambool and along the Great Ocean Road.

Sadly we were a bit early at Logans beach for a whale sighting.

Pano at Logans Beach.

The Twelve Apostles.

12 Apostles

Grace

Mum and Girls

London Bridge.  I remember as a kid being driven out to the edge by my dad.  You cant get close anymore.

London Bridge

Over all we had a great family weekend.

The three "kids"

But the story Grace wrote after the weekend really made me realise just how important it is to take the time to spend with your kids.

My letter

The morning we spent walking along the beach. just the two of us having a chat was her favourite part.  Not the playgrounds, or the Easter eggs, but the time I took to spend with her.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.

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