For us Canadians, September usually means back to school and changing leaves. Here in Australia it signals the beginning of spring, and the end of another school year with warmer weather coming soon.
For our last school holiday before the end of the year we decided to play closer to home and spend some time seeing and doing some things around us that we hadn't had a chance to get to yet. All while making some time for the kids to spend with their friends over the holidays as well.
We live at the foot of Mount Dandenong, and have never been to the top. So our first stop was a trip up the mountain. It was a cloudy day, but we could still just make out Melbourne in the distance.
Igor the giant is rumoured to have lived in the area for hundreds of years. He's happy to share his chair,
but if he comes back looking to have a rest
you'd better move!
Hannah and Tyler picked our next destination as the Werribee Open Range Zoo. We've seen plenty of zoos and heaps of amazing animals, but today we treated ourselves to a "safari tour" through the grounds to see some of the animals closer up.
The giraffes were a highlight! They walked right up to our truck and got as close as they could trying to check us out.
Something else we keep meaning to make it to is the War Memorial and the Royal Botanical Gardens, so we waited for a warm sunny day and got to it!
The memorial is gorgeous, surrounded by grass and trees. The memorial is square with steps and lines of remembrance etched on each side, and the dome shaped roof has a glass window in its peak allowing for the sun to shine through onto the tomb of the unknown soldier at 11am on November 11. (Much like the war museum in Ottawa, except the sun almost always shines in November here!)
The botanical gardens were lovely. Long winding pathways and large grassy areas with enough room for the kids and wildlife both and perfect for our picnic lunch.
Melbourne Cup weekend is coming up in November, but in the meantime the show grounds are used for 2 weeks in September for the Royal Melbourne Show. Complete with livestock, produce, rides and more. We checked out a couple of the dog shows, walked through the gourmet "taste of Victoria" pavilion, the arts and crafts and the kids zone.
The high light for me was getting to tour the Masterchef kitchen. We've watched 2 seasons of the show here and were eager to get a look into the kitchen we spent so may hours watching on television!
Anytime you can find a hot dog for lunch, Tyler thinks it's a good day :)
And rides, don't forget those!
The highlight for Hannah and Tyler was the show bags. An Aussie tradition at the show, there was an entire pavilion full hundreds (380 precisely) of stalls selling the goodie bags. After a half hour of checking out all their options (lollies, toys, makeup, fitness, health and wellness), they settled on a Wonka bag getting them $30 worth of product for just $12!
We finished off the week with a movie and a couple of sleepovers. Week 2 takes us on a road trip to Canberra, the capital of Australia.