Tad took us to Hanging Rock - an amazing volcanic outcropping of rock in an otherwise quite flat area of countryside about an hour from Melbourne. We hiked up near the top and enjoyed playing in the rock and taking in the views.
Afterwards Tad took us to her friends place nearby, who has a lovely acreage with an apple forest on it. Not an orchard with trees in a line, but a forest with the trees planted randomly. On the property there were also some lovely mud-brick cottages and buildings as well as a dam for watering. This property was a great example of permaculture....neat to see.
Alice, Tad's friend, had introduced her a few years back to an author named Robin Grille who's written some amazing books: Parenting for a Peaceful World and Heart to Heart Parenting. I'm about 50 pages into Heart to Heart Parenting and just loving it. It's not so much a "how-to" book, but rather about trusting our own parenting wisdom and connecting with our children with compassion and empathy by remembering how we felt as a child, and trying to see the world from a childs perspective. I feel like I'm not describing it very well, but can certainly say it's worth a read!
On our last day in Melbourne we visited Healesville Sanctuary about an hour from Melbourne and saw lots of neat animals. They had just acquired 2 wild baby dingos. Apparently there are only about 40 pure bred wild dingos left in Australia. All the rest (and there are thousands I'm sure) have been crossbred with domestic dogs. This (non-breeding) pair are from a breeding program that is attempting to increase the number of purebred wild dingos, or at least save them from being wiped out completely. They were cute little things and we enjoyed getting to see them close up and petting their soft fur.
We also got to see platypuses - very cool. Such amazing little creatures. They were at the top of Zara's list of things to see in Australia so she was thrilled! There were huge ibises walking around the park, scavenging like seagulls. They have big long black beaks (see photo below).
Bella was sitting in her stroller eating a muffin and one came up and pecked it out of her hand. It just sent her into a panic and she was quite fearful for the rest of the day, freaking out anytime a bird came near us. Two animal sanctuaries and two scary experiences for Bella!!! Oh, I hope it doesn't turn her off animals for life!
After the sanctuary, we headed back into the city to an area called St. Kilda's - a beautiful area right on the harbour. We walked out onto a long pier and then walked around through Luna Park. Tad and Emma hung out with the kids while I did a quick walk down the main shopping street. Fun to see all the beautiful things!
We had such a good time in Melbourne.The only thing we didn't love was the weather! It was pretty chilly much of the time. But we loved spending time with Tad and Emma. Also went out for dinner with Mike and Troy (Tad's dad and brother). It was really nice to reconnect with them all.
Good bye Melbourne..... Western Australia, here we come!
(I have some other photos I wanted to post, but blogger keeps flipping them sideways - they are lengthwise photos...anyone know how to prevent that?)