We are back…have been home since Saturday at lunchtime. Despite all my fears I actually had a great time. The house was still standing when we got home, tiger flights all went super smoothly, money was tight – but not too tight, I was mostly better by the time we left and I slept a little most nights.
We headed off to the airport on Tuesday and by 6pm (our flight got in early) we were in a taxi and on our way to our hotel. It wasn’t some fantastic five star establishment, but it was in our budget, slept six people and wasn’t a backpackers. There was a woolworths up the street allowing us to eat very cheaply (the kids ate noodles, cereal & sandwiches and ate lots of microwaved vege & tins of salmon). To be honest it was the highlight of my whole holiday. I know we homeschool and have our kids with us 24/7, but having us all in the one room (not off in our separate corners as we often are at home) and all to myself (rather than having to share them with sports, friends, playdates & excursions) was just so lovely. One of the twins ended up sharing my bed (I had a melt down prior to leaving and spilled my guts to hubby who made sure he slept elsewhere the whole trip) in Sydney and listening to them snore lightly next to me was just so precious. The girls have always had their own beds (we never co-slept, even when they were babies) but I can definitely see the appeal of co-sleeping now.
The weather was PERFECT! It was sunny and 22 degrees when we headed to circular quay on Wednesday. We walked from Potts Point (where our hotel was) through the domain and met my Nan & Uncle before jumping on a ferry over to Taronga. Our Sydney trip was made much more affordable thanks to the presents my nan got the girls for xmas – Zoos Victoria & Museums Victoria memberships. This ended up giving us free entry into Taronga and all the Sydney museums. The girls had a great day and it was so lovely to spend the day with my Nana and my Uncle and have them meet the twins as bigger people (my nan last saw them when they were two & my Uncle had never met them). They did seem more interested in wanting to have photos taken with every animal statue at the zoo (this continued everywhere we went all holiday) than the animals, but at least they had fun right?
We ended up spending about seven hours at the zoo and after not sleeping the night before I was looking forward to getting into bed. We walked back to the hotel again and I got to remember just how hilly Sydney is (Melbourne is crazy flat in comparison).
Day two saw us taking things a bit slower. We were barely out of the hotel by 11am. We walked to Kings Cross station to catch a train into the city (Being that my Sydney personality had come back I couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to walk). Walking along I got the opportunity to explain to my daughters what strippers were thanks to every second store being a strip club…that was awesome (note the sarcasm). We got off at town hall and walked over the Pyrmont Bridge to our first stop of the day – The National Maritime Museum. The girls didn’t seem too fussed on this one, but I found it fascinating. We opted not to worry about paying extra to see the big boats as we had already visited the Endeavour when it came to Melbourne and we had just been to HMAS Castlemaine – which was a WWII navy ship similar to the one they had. They may have liked the submarine but we decided to spend our money somewhere better that night. After about an hour the girls were well and truly over that place so we walked down to the Powerhouse museum. This was one of my favourite places to come as a girl. I spent a lot of time there dragging either my poor nan along or being dragged along from one exhibit to another by my dad (my dad is really into science). We headed straight to the playground as the two elder girls had been talking non-stop about it since we visited during the Harry Potter Exhibit. It was also the right time for a lunch break.
We spent the rest of the afternoon looking around the powerhouse and I think we all ended up most getting into the Eco exhibit. As we had been putting a lot of the practices into place lately (trying to recycle more, moving away from disposable drink bottles and using a food host/buying local in season produce) it was great for the girls to be able to see just what impact that has on the environment. They also had a mini exhibit there of photographs of items in the powerhouse taken by a very old large format camera – which of course totally tickled my fancy. After another play on the playground we headed off to catch a tram (sorry “lightrail”) to the casino for our super special treat Adrian Zumbos Desert Train.
We happened to arrive during “happy hour” too which meant all the pink & white plates were $4. I decided to eat as close to normal while on holiday as I was only just recovering from being sick so I stuck to watching the girls deliberate and eat choosing instead one small peach iced tea zumbaroon afterwards.
Day three saw us pack our bags & check out of the hotel and start walking towards the Australian Museum. Another favourite place of mine when I was little (I have always been a total history & science nerd my kids are the same). IIt was this time Sydney choose to change the weather up providing us with a massive windstorm. Our suitcases where not wheeled behind us – instead they sort of floated the wind was that strong. As we were just leaving kings cross a lovely trans “lady of the night” wearing the most awesome silver sequinned dress and red fishnet stockings stopped us to ask if the kids where all ours. She proceeded to tell us how we looked like the brady bunch then high fived hubby while calling him a rabbit. It was awesome (take note there is no sarcasm this time)
It was then I realised how much I had really missed Sydney. My gran did almost all her costume jewellery shopping in drag shops. I saw my first drag show we I was just 5. I grew up with gay uncles. I spent a lot of time hanging out with my grandmas friends who mostly lived in kings cross and I loved it there. It’s just a bit more “colourful” than my life in the Melbourne suburbs. But I digress…
My Nan & Uncle again came in to meet us at the Museum. Just as well as it turns out I totally forgot to get a photo of them with the kids. We had a nice look around and the kids seemed more into this place than any other we visited in Sydney. We were about half way through the mineral exhibit when a little boy walked past me crying. He would have been about three. I could just tell he was lost…he looked petrified. I asked him if he was lost, he nodded then started screaming and facing the wall. I tried to get a name, but at that point it wasn’t going to happen. I scooped him up to head down towards the museums counter but he promptly kicked me (fair enough). So instead I sent hubby off to find a staff member. I sat with him until the staff came but as he still wouldn’t give his name they just sent his description around. Two minutes later his dad came along and as he threw himself into his dads arms he sobbed “I thought you left me all alone”. Poor little guy. The museum staff seemed to think we had done something extraordinary…which just makes me wonder how many other people ignore kids who seem lost? I would damn well hope someone would do it for my girls and I didn’t see the big deal. Once he went off with his dad we kept going on our merry way.
Apart from Miss 12s freak out in regards to the dinosaur room (she is petrified of dinosaurs, especially anamatronic ones) – which I skipped with her the day was over pretty quickly. At 1pm we walked across the park and jumped on a train to the airport.
It was time to say goodbye to Sydney. Our plane took off on time (which is impressive given the issues all the planes were having with the wind) but it was certainly a bumpy take off. Just sitting on the tarmac (while still attached to the areobridge) the plane was rocking furiously. Taking off was like a roller coaster, we dipped from side to side and had that falling feeling a lot in the first few minutes, but soon we were above the weather and we touched down on the Gold Coast (early again – Go Tiger!) and were on a bus pretty quickly. The 702 bus (a regular pt service…not a specific shuttle bus) took us to the corner where our hotel was.
The only major panic I had during the whole trip was now as we looked at a very locked up reception and the sign that pointed out reception closes at 4:30pm. I was almost crying at this point as no where on the website or the booking form mentioned it. He called the number I had which rang out. We had rang the bell which said after hours but no answer. Then a few minutes later someone came through the intercom and asked for our names. We were told the code to the gate and the mini safe behind which had our keys ready and waiting for us to check in after hours. We went straight up to our apartment (which was GORGEOUS) and got the girls settled in, bought some fish & chips for dinner and then had an early night.
and here ends part 1 – stay tuned for poolside relaxing, beach side fun & roller coasters galore.