Monday, 14 July 2014

Mudgee Madness...Wait A Minute!

Alas...all good things had to come to an end. We left Dubbo so early that we had time to have breakfast at Mudgee and lunch back at Sydney! Thank you Dubbo for a lovely long weekend.

Up and out before the sun came up

On the way home

Hang on...its Mudgee. We've been here before say the children!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Sights of Dubbo

We spent the day exploring Dubbo. If there was a sight to see or place to visit, we did it. Old Dubbo Gaol, Japanese Gardens, Dubbo Convention Centre (craft exhibition), playground, tenpin bowling, two shopping malls, Heritage Walk...

Paleo breakfast

Old Dubbo Gaol


Exercising the convicts

Uncle Joey you're a crim!

The cells

A very welcomed lunch break! 

We couldn't resist...Chinese for dinner!!

Lounging around after dinner


Friday, 11 July 2014

Westerns Plains Zoo

When one has to exert physical energy, the appropriate sustenance needed to be consumed. We headed early in the day to the Village Bakery Cafe to have their Award winning pies for breakfast prior to driving to the Zoo.

Bacon and egg meat pie

The reason for our weekend away
We had a lofty cycle around the zoo. One child had only learnt how to ride a bicycle recently and another could only stop by throwing himself off the bicyle. Attempt it we did and fortunately we were successful. Western Plains Zoo is a beautiful sprawling flat zoo, ideal for cycling. The roads were wide and all one way with stops for the various exhibits well marked with plenty of parking for both cars and bicycles. They also had a good range of animals and the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We had initially wanted to camp overnight at the zoo but was glad that the tents were sold out as it was absolutely freezing as soon as the sun went down!

The support vehicle keeping an eye out on the cycling members of the family

The rare and endangered white rhinocerous

Park the car and bikes and walk to the various animal exhibits


Paths were nice and wide

Only just in control of his bike!

Is that an animal on the side of the road? Let's feed it...

Mother Cheetah...

...and her two cubs

Two very noisy apes

A break in the sun admiring bison

An Australian zoo would not be complete without marsupials!

These things can move faster that they look!

The children so happy to have buddies! And yes it was cold!

Nothing like continueing the animal theme through to dinner

Food not too bad!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Destination Dubbo

It was never going to be easy finding somewhere warm to go in Australia during the winter school holidays that was we thought we may as well embrace the cold and go inland. We found travel companions in the form of the Kohs. Neither family had ever visited the acclaimed Western Plains Zoo. Thus Dubbo it was! It was going to be at least a five hour drive which worked out well with Malcolm's need to leave before sunrise when embarking on a driving holiday. We had to maximise the short amount of time we'll have during our brief weekend away.

A brief stop was made at Orange, a delightful town with great local produce, to stretch our legs. Our stomachs were refilled at Miss Daisy's Teahouse, a quaint little cafe on the way to Mount Canobolas (near Orange). The rest of the day was spent completing the long drive to Dubbo. The only thing of note being that Malcolm forgot the bicyles were on top of the car and hit the roof of our motel! Oops! Luckily no damage was done to the roof. Our roof rack however...Thankfully, the motel owners were kind and pleasant about the incident. There wasn't much we could do except tape the rack to the car as best as we could and hope it held!

Why oh why do we have to leave so early?!?!

Heading west!

Our obligatory McDonald's breakfast stop

Getting fancy with their breakfast options

Gloomy day...trying to keep up with lead-foot Koh!

Orange, our midway stop to stretch our legs

Buying a few snacks made from local produce

Lunch at Miss Daisy's Teahouse at Mount Canobolas near Orange

Home made dessert...mmm

Driving through the vineyards on the way to Dubbo

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Mandarins and Mushrooms

After months of blog inactivity, I was given a kick up the bum by a visiting fellow blogging Melburnian. I'm not even going to enter into the excuses. So here is the resurrection and I will slowly add posts retrospectively as we go.

We decided to take a break from house, building and gardening projects and enjoy the warm sunshine. What better way to do it then to go fruit picking! We had seen a post for the Watkins Family Farm on facebook a while back and the thought of freshly picked mandarins, possibly the family's winter fruit of choice, beckoned. The decision was so last minute that I didn't even pack my camera so the trusty iphone had to suffice to document the day.

In order to get the family to the farm, the massive beast had to negotiate the notorious Galston Gorge Rd. If you have not been on the road before, feel free to google image Galston Gorge Rd and you'll understand why we were nervous about the hairpin turns. The car often could not make the turns within our lane and I had to close my eyes and pray for no oncoming traffic! It was followed shortly by travel on narrow single lane dirt road which helped contribute to the sense of adventure. I should mention that this is maneuverable by non-4WD vehicles as proven by the many that we saw that day.

The farm is nestled in a valley and provided a lovely setting for fruit picking. There were rows upon rows of mandarin trees. Malcolm, the mandarin snob, will only ever eat imperial mandarins, so it was fortunate that that was what the farm had for harvest! The farm charged $10 per bucket of mandarins and you were allowed to eat 2 each whilst picking. We estimated that we got around 5-6kg of mandarins in our bucket (not counting the ones that we ate at the orchard!) so it was good value.

Watkins Family Farm

The children had a ball picking mandarin. Looking for trees that still had ripe mandarins low down enough for them to pick gave them great satisfaction. It was still fortunate that we had at least one tall person in the family who was able to reach for the fruit on the higher branches! The farm also provided mushroom picking at $5 per bag. There were many families who brought food to have a picnic at the farm. The farm had simple plastic tables and chairs for this purpose. I would recommend coming here early as it was already packed by the time we left at 1130am.

Why are all the good ones so high up? 

Yay for someone tall

That bench is even better!

Bucket full. Let's go!

Stopping this menace from continuously chomping on the mandarins was a challenge

Time to pick some mushrooms


Elliot's lone giant mushroom amongst the rest

We chose to lunch at nearby Wiseman's Ferry, a small town right on the Hawkesbury River and headed home via Dural.