The Journey Begins

This is the post excerpt.


People told me not to do it.  Some parents said they would rather eat a cactus than take an active and severely attached baby and a whinging snotty restless toddler on a 14 hour flight to South Africa.  Not to mention the fun for the first 4 days of being awake with them from 1 – 5am eating cupcakes and playing with teddy in a foreign environment

Did someone say cake!
Happy 95th birthday to Granny

But we did it anyway.  Granny only turns 95 once and we heard there was going to be cake, so what could we do!

Once tickets were booked, many a nights were spent scouring the internet to prefect our itinerary, to ensure it was as kid friendly as possible, and that it was not only bearable, but actually fun.  Who would have thought?

The purpose of this blog is partly to remind me of this happy month trip to South Africa for when I’m pining for something more exciting than singing Bananas in Pyjamas 17 times.  The other part is to help out fellow crazy parents who ignore the advice from friends and family, much like we did.

Family shot
The happy family before the flight!

About 6 weeks before our departure date, we started the preparation of our two and half year old toddler.  We borrowed an aeroplane book from the library and we played aeroplane simulation games with teddies so that miss N would be all over this 14 hour flight.  And the 3 internal flights.  Miss N was drilled that when the seat belt sign is on, she has to sit down and wear a seat belt and she can have a lollipop for takeoff and landing. Worked a treat (pun intended). Lollipops take a long time to eat, and she was suitable well behaved for all take offs and landing.

Another parenting win was a memory game I made of activities, animals and people we would see in South Africa.  It was a big hit, and helped us talk about what we would do and see on our holiday.   We printed out pictures from google or photos twice and laminated them.  It was also really light and a good game to play while we were traveling.

We also had a calendar to count down the days until we flew.  And then there were no more days to cross, so we headed to the airport.  We ran around the airport trying to exhaust our kids as there wasn’t going to be much room for movement for 14 hours, but in the end we just tired ourselves out too!

IMG_6615The flight wasn’t actually that bad.  That’s another thing – have low expectations, and the worst thing that can happen is your expectations are met. There was a moment where I had 2 sleeping kids and the food arrived – it’s been a long time since I’ve wined and dined and watched a movie in peace.

We organised the seats with the bassinet in advance, mostly just for the extra space and a place to feed and contain Mr. A, as it would take a miracle for our nearly  8 month old  to sleep by himself for more than 45 minutes at a time. (Never mind that the 3 month old next to us seemingly slept the entire journey!) Plus we ended up with an extra row behind us to ourselves so Miss N. could completely lie down.   It was as good as it was ever going to get.  IMG_6623

Other good things to know about plane trips – Rusks are good for babies, messy but take a long time to eat. Food is good, it is your friend.  Don’t rely on plane food for your toddler, unless you hit jackpot and your toddler eats everything. Stickers, stamps, technology with toddler friendly headphones, water play in the bathroom (and just apologise to the next person in the queue), story telling (the long drawn out type), drawing, aqua doodle mat, a couple of books and then we were there.

Adelaide Cafes

Eating out with a one year old is often not fun unless it involves a picnic so they can run around.  But we found a few entertaining places. Adelaide seemed to have a lot of bistro places that have decent food and the kids play area to run around in.

Jungle restaurant in Kent Town has a big indoor area, with some big animal features ( think Jungle theme) and water and a kids play area.  It also has a big jungle slide which would have been great if my kids didn’t need adult supervision. This place is known for its meat but the vegetarian food was delicious and memorable.

Patch Kitchen and Gardens in Hills – delicious food, nice garden to roam in and see the chooks and a cubby house outdoors with some toys in it. If Miss 3 wasn’t tired and in a foul mood, she would have overlooked that some toys were broken!

Brighton Jetty cafe – we went for brunch with family and they let us use the bistro area with kids indoor play area even though we ordered from the cafe. Just have to organise this in advance. The good news is it’s opposite the beach so when you’ve had enough you can have a run around at the beach.  Everyone was very satisfied with their meals.


Peter Rabbit cafe – this city cafe was pretty busy during the week with city workers but we had a little indulgent treat ( dulce deleche cronut) and enjoyed seeing the bunnies.  Not really a kids cafe but there was an outdoor area for roaming around.

Adelaide Playgrounds

Adelaide has many great playgrounds and many recently upgraded ones that were our saviour in Adelaide for Miss 3 and Master 1.  There were some of our favourites in the area:

fullsizeoutput_4007Princess Elizabeth on South Terrace – a good playground in the south of the city complete with trampolines and a good caste to climb

Morialta Playground – State of the art playground focusing on nature play for all ages.  My kids could spend hours here.  There’s no plastic and there are lots of different structures to climb on and off, jump off and slide one/  It was at time idfficult with two kids as the space is huge , but it was always worth it.  Weekend and holiday parking during good weather is tough.

Jubilee Park Noarlunga Wooden Fort Adeventure Playground IMG_7825

Bonython Park –  Awesome flying fox

Jervois st reserve Plympton – Great sand play

Dunstan Playground St Peters – Really long slide!

Tusmore  – this one was not so much for the playground equipment, but rather the wading pool which was useful as it got warmer. IMG_7410

Thorndon Park Reserve – can also feed the ducks and there is nice walking routes

Hazelwood Playground Burnside –  Great for all ages

Harts mills playground Port Adelaide
some innovatove equipment like the hamster wheel

Civic park Modbury – Great open space






Adelaide Walks

Adelaide has many options for bushwalks within the city, even for kids.

Morilata Conservation Park

DSC09138What a gorgeous area!  Koalas were regularly spotted in the trees. A creek nearby to play in.  The track that goes to the waterfall is pram friendly.  There are different tracks , including one with stairs that lead up to a cave.  Now there is also a fantastic playground at one entrance, which is packed on the weekends.

Belair National Park

We went to this gem on a cloudy day to walk the pram friendly Lorikeet Loop. This park DSC09126usually has a fee of $12 which is a worthy organisation to depart with your money.  However, you can also park at the car park before the entrance if you want to do this walk as you can start on the path through it. There are many differetn walks to choose from but this one was a good distance of 3km, pram friendly and went vis the playground.  Perfect.

My kids didn’t walk for most of it. In fact, any of it it unless you enticed Miss 3 to jump off a certain log or look for sleeping koalas (which there are).  That was until we got to the playground.  Then my kids couldn’t run fast enough. There is a normal swing/slide combo  but there is also so much more.  There are interconnecting tunnels Master 1 dared to explore until he realised some of them were at a steep angle.  Oops.

This park is also relatively close to the city but not sure about public transport accessibility.

Marino to Hallet Cove

IMG_7886I’ll be honest, this spectacular coast walk was fine for me who was carrying our 15 month old up and down all the stairs.  My husband struggled a bit more carrying our 17 Kg daughter, and I didn’t hear the end of it!  The good news was we timed it to perfection (who knew that yopu could actually plan these things) so we would have 2 sleeping kids so we could enjoy at least some of the walk in relatively peace.

It is about a 5km walk plus or minus.  We drove to Marino Roacks train station and started the walk from there so we could finish at Hallett Cove beach station and catch the train back to our car.  Due to kids walking up halfway through the walk, it took us just over 2 hours.  Luckily the kids woke up in a good mood and and enjoyed climbing the stairs and running along the board walk.  We did end up at the beach at the end but didn’t have time to play on the sand or the playground at the southern end but good to keep it in mind for future reference.

Waterfall Gully to Mt. Lofty

I won’t lie, this was hard.  Mt Lofty summit was a slog with kids hitching a ride.  It’s only IMG_75683 km or so ffrom Waterfall Gully, but there are some very steep parts.  The lookout from the top is of course beautiful and it’s nice to have a bite at the top. The souvenir shop next door also entertained the kids although probably didn’t impress the owners. It was warm while walking but cold at the top.



Bridgewater Fairy Garden Heysen Trail

DSC00022This walk was fairly straight forward.  It started off with a playground.  Tick.  It  meanders past an old mill, near a creek, under train tracks and tunnel, and through a National Park to get to a fairy garden.  As I understand this fairy garden was something to be excited about.  It was vandalised and now consists of a few small fairy doors that my children got frustrated that they couldn’t open.  It was an anti climax but the walk itself was nice.DSC00023




Adelaide to Sydney Road Trip

It would have been easier to stay at home.  It would have been easier to take a 2 hour plane trip than to drive 16 hours over 4 days.  But then we wouldn’t have had an opportunity to bring out the tent and eat marshmallows together and watch our kids cuddle each other when trying to sleep (this never happens). Or test how long our 17 month old son could cry for (2 hrs and 9 minutes). Or explore salt pink lakes which delighted my 3 year old daughter when she licked it.

So call us crazy but we did it.  The car was packed to the brim as we staged our exodus from Adelaide. We prepared as best we could with lots of snacks, toys, games, music and audiobooks.  Most of the time the kids were alright, with a little grizzle here and there.  The hardest thing was trying to coordinate sleeps and fun stop overs as the kids are on different sleep schedules, and there are also long stretches where there is nothing to do. Here it goes:

DSC00286We left Adelaide early in the morning at 8:30am and arrived at the opening of Monarto Zoo at 9:30 in the Adelaide Hills.  It is a great zoo that felt more like a mini safari with a bus taking us around to see the lions, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes and zebras.  The little kidlets lasted the hour journey although you can get off at various stops if you needed to stretch your legs. The chimps were great fun watching them play and interact.  It was a nice reminder of our evolutionary history as they closely resembled
DSC00324how my kids play! Recently, a lion encounter has opened where you go in a cage as the lions roam.  While it looked like a great experience, it came with a price tag of $60 that I couldn’t quite justify. There is a basic playground and picnic areas we had lunch and tried to exhaust the kids so they would pass out in the car.  It worked.  The next 2 + hours of driving were a breeze as both kids slept soundly and we only had 45 minutes to go before we arrived at Murray Sunset National Park.

DSC00405The nice attraction to Murray Sunset National Park are the salt pink lakes which are a marvel even to the adults.  We went for a short walk to the lakes edge and walked, danced, jumped, wrestled on the lake, got wet bums and taste tested the lake with a finger sample.  The kids had a lovely time frolicking and exploring the dunes on the way to and from the car.  We set up our tent and had a basic dinner that night. The camp site has a dump toilet and was free and quiet.

The next morning after breakfast and pack down (which in itself takes an hour to re-IMG_8635organise the car) we set off to Hay via Ouyen and Balralnald.   It took about an hour to drive to Ouyen where we stopped at the bakery and playground and then we powered on to Balralnald.  The information centre at Balralnad is entertaining with a discovery Centre next door, a great playground and lots of cute frog toys in the information Centre itself. There is a frog trail around town to see statues of frogs but in the heat of the day that didn’t appeal to us.  We re-energised and resupplied for the last leg of the day to Hay.  Due to the recent rain in the area, we camped at Sandy Point which is another free campsite, but big with a number of grey nomads around.  The campsite has toilets and non drinking water. There is a river at the camp site which my kids enjoyed winding down and wading and splashing in the evening  – another highlight of nature play.


The next day we went to the info centre at Hay and used their showers for a pick me up after a rough night of sleep (cue the 17 month old and the 3 year old who refuses to go in her sleeping bag.)  We went to the sheep shearing museum and demonstration.  It’s not cheap but we the adults enjoyed ourselves, and of course seeing sheep being shorn is fascinating to any little kid (although the talk for 20 minutes before hand was hard to DSC00441contain them except for shoving their mouths with snacks.)  As is the soft toy at the front they cuddled. There is also an outdoor maze which we didn’t touch as it was hot and kids were getting ready for their big sleep in the car. Only it wasn’t that big of a sleep and we didn’t make it to Wagga Wagga in one go.  We had to stop at a rest stop before Wagga and run around and snack.  Not ideal but there isn’t really anything exciting to do between Hay and Wagga.  We arrived in Wagga and pleased the kiddies with a playground, library and treat.  There is a museum next to the library that had a Questacon exhibition on which had interesting things to play with.

IMG_8644We camped at Ouyen Beach about 20 minutes out of Wagga.  It was also by a river although this river was muddy, flowing reasonably fast and looked like it got deep pretty quickly.   Another big free campsite with lots of cockatoos.



IMG_5042After our last pack down, we headed to Gundagai and played at the library and ate food at the Dog on the Tuckerbox rest stop.  By this stage the kids were getting a bit tired and weary, as were the grown ups.  We drove from Gundagai to Canberra during nap time and had a lovely afternoon catching up with a friend at a playground and enjoying their little place with all the new toys to play with.  We thought we would be clever and do the 3 hour drive from Canberra to Sydney after 7pm where the kids would just fall asleep.  Nice in theory but it’s pretty gut wrenching when your 17 month old wakes up after napping for 20 minutes and screams for the next 2 hours and 9 minutes.  At least the 3 year old could be placated with marshmallows.    But sometimes you just have to persevere.   It was  a great little trip but not sure I would do it in a hurry again , except that we have already organised another road trip in 2 weeks to QLD.  AHh!  What were we thinking?!  Might be a bit better when the 17 month old has conquered screen time…….

Adelaide Parks

Inevitably, we usually intentionally went to a playground or bush walk. But occasionally we found ourselves enjoying Adelaide’s nice parks and gardens which the kids had some nice unstructured and exploring time.

  • One fine Spring day in October, we were walking into the city and crossed the Parklands between South fullsizeoutput_4447terrace and Greenhill rd. near West Terrace. There was this magnificent rose garden which the kids enjoyed smelling and running amok. There was also a river with ducks and ducklings and also a monumental waterfall. A great  find for some nature play.


  • Japanese gardens in the southern parklands was peaceful, until we came in! A few IMG_7490spots for hide and seek and a short walk.
  • Elder park by the river Torrens path had some water fountains that the kids enjoyed splashing around in and getting completely wet.
  • Botanic gardens are huge and no doubt we only touched a small part of it. But it is always a nice time to get lost exploring and Miss 3 enjoys  the undercover rain forest walk. It is in a glass house and there is a ramp board walk to go up high that the kids enjoy running up. Miss 3 has repeat requests to go back here.
  • When we lived up in Athelstone in the North a East corner, we lived behind River Torrens and there was some great green space that was great for playing chaseys.  My memory is of cold but fun times
  • DSC09632Mt lofty botanical gardens is stunning any time of year. Just beware that the lower car park entrance us suitable for prams. The upper entrance is not as we soon discovered! Made for some fun exploring though.

Adelaide Markets

Timed well, markets were a fun place for free samples and discovering that my kids like sauerkraut 🙂  they often had music for entertainment and were a good place for a treat!

IMG_4897Central markets I’m going to argue that the Adelaide Central Markets are one of the better Australian markets. It is a delight for all senses with free taste testing at lots of stalls, beautiful colours everywhere and rows and rows of fresh food. The mushroom man cooks some delicious mushrooms with porcini salt which you can taste and difficult not to be convinced that you should buy it.

Goodwood markets – these lovely markets on a Sunday morning were within walking distance from one of our accomodations and although the organic food is on the pricier end of the budget, we found some gems like a tray of 3kg strawberries for $9, and fresh eggs.



Plants 4 Bowden – a nice indoor atmosphere with good falafel, olives, honey and nice vegetarian food.

Willunga farmers markets – this lovely market had a colouring in sheet and pencils to offer our daughter. I remember eating some lovely soup there and my daughter chose her treat of home made dried apples.

Adelaide Outings

Adelaide is lucky to have some wonderful places within an hour drive.   Venturing too far out is difficult with kids but McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Victor Harbour make for some good day trips.

McLaren Vale

IMG_7915As enticing as a glass of red by a fireplace is, I’m just not much of a wine drinker.  I’ll imbibe in a glass every now and again in social circumstances but Pinot Grit, Chardonnays and Nebbiolos are another language to me.  And no I can’t taste the oak int eh Chardonnay or the fruit of the trees from Bali.

But I’ll admit wine regions are stunning and spending a day eating and trying a glass is nice.  Luckily McLaren Vale has kid friendly wineries so kids can be lured by the sand pits, toy boxs or animals.  And it was only a 40 minute drive away.  Bonus.

One thinf I didn’t do well was map out where all the kid friendly wineries are, and whereIMG_7900 lunch would be so we did have an episode of melting down kids.  Kudos to Serafino who improvised by letting us eat outside on the grass and even laid out a table cloth and plates for our picnic so we could eat overlooking the lake with geese and ducks surrounding it.  The food came out quickly and and was delicious. A little pricey but the food and service were great,  My favourite dish was the cheesy mac and cauliflower dish.

When getting in and out of the car got a bit much, we dropped the kids off with dad at the McLaren Vale info centre playground out the back and continued with a few more wine tastings with a friend before returning home.

Victor Harbour

DSC00184We visited this coastal spot on  a hot day and was prefect for a splash in the water.  We discovered that splashing under the jetty is even better as it’s shady!

The playground was nice, but I suspect my kids had a better time playing on the old train stationed at the playground.

We rode on the old horse and tram to Granite Island which was pretty exciting for the kids. We explored for a little bit and did more splashing in water and ice cream on the

IMG_8595island.  We saw the new operator who does penguin night walks and tuna fish diving but we thought we would leave that for another day.

We would have liked to have stayed longer but we needed to give the kids a nap in the car so didn’t get to see the whale centre as we would have liked, but we couldn’t resist one more splash in the whale fountain as we headed back to the car.





DSC09451We went to the Willunga Almond Blossom Festival in the middle of winter to see what all the fuss was about.  We started off at the Willunga Markets and made our way to the festival.

The festival turned out to be a carnival with lots of rides and lots of ways to spend $$ in less than 3 seconds.    Luckily there was also a petting farm and kids play and arts and crafts section run by Splodge.

After the festival, driving on our way home we saw an orchard of almond trees in full blossom which were magnificent.

Adelaide Hills

IMG_4760The Adelaide Hills are vast and have a lot to offer.  One trip we made was a combination of cherry picking in Montacute and then to Gummeracha where we climbed the Big Rocking Horse.  It’s pretty big and Miss 3 had a great time climbing it.   She still talks about a month late. The facility has a great animal park where you can see sheep, alpacas, , goats, chickens, wallabies and ducks.  The animals are a bit brazen and like their food.   This little park will set you back $1 or $3 if you want to buy food.

There is also a little climbing gym for little people next to the cockatoos so that worked DSC00123out nicely, espically as it is under the shade.

Then there was the toy factory we briefly explored before realising they would soon terrorise the place and it was time to leave for lunch.

The drive out here was just beautiful but had some curly parts that the awake kid did not like too much.

Another day we went to Hanhdorf Farm Barn in the heart of winter.  The staff gave the kids a chance to feed the baby animals milk from a bottle, or milk Daisy the cow.  They have a playground with diggers although the cold prevented us from playing for too long.  They also have a big muddy area with roaming animals and some pony or camel rides.

Alon B'Day12