HOLIDAYS pre-kids used to be different.
Pre-kids, holidays were about sipping copious amounts of cocktails poolside at resorts or staying in fancy hotels and blowing money at shopping centres like an Aussie P Diddy (without the bling and just one babe on my arm rather than 10 of them).
With kids, it couldn’t be any more different.
Nowadays, a holiday destination is chosen on how many parks it has, whether there’s affordable accommodation and if we can arrive without one of the little tackers spewing the contents of their breakfast all over the back seat.
That doesn’t mean holidays with kids are any less enjoyable – in fact, I’ve discovered quite the opposite.
Cue: Three weeks holiday.
The most common question when telling people I was taking leave was: “Where are you going?”
The answer: “Nowhere”. This was more often than not met with sad, sympathetic looks as if I’d just told them of a death in the family.
Well, I can tell you, “nowhere” has proved to be one of the best holiday destinations ever.
It was a conscious decision with the good wife (Princess No. 1) to simply spend time as a family, enjoy the lack of stress involved with packing and unpacking (with kids) and wake each morning treating the day as a new adventure.
Also, when you have a four-month-old baby who sleeps less of a night than Keith Richards, then staying in a foreign environment is frankly not appealing.
So instead, we’ve taken day trips to pools, parks, beaches and the Don River Railway (although Princess No. 2, three-year-old Ella, wouldn’t have her picture taken with the Thomas the Tank-looking train because it “doesn’t have a mouth yet, daddy. I’ll come back later when it has a mouth.”).
One of the holiday highlights has been a dad and daughter trip to Henley-on-the-Mersey, Latrobe’s remarkable multi-faceted festival on Australia Day.
Fair dinkum, there’s ferret races, woodchopping, helicopter rides, pony rides, cherry pip spitting comps – even Denise Drysdale.
Stuff the ferrets though.
All Ella wanted was a ride on the shuttle bus to and from the event – a legacy of singing “Wheels on the Bus” and the fact she’s never ridden on public transport (something she’ll no doubt make up for in her uni years).
To Ella, the bus rides that day were akin to bungy jumping from the Sydney Harbour Bridge … that was until she saw kids eating strange pink fluffy wool-like stuff.
We’d carefully avoided exposing Ella to the wonders of Fairy Floss, therefore naturally she was inquisitive. So, I told her the truth.
“It’s called Fairy Floss, it makes you really sick if you eat it and mummies get REALLY grumpy with daddies if they find daughters have eaten it,” I said, using the most serious face.
Note to Kel: As a trade off for my little fib, you get to tell her about the birds and the bees when the time comes. Sound fair?
Other day trip destinations so far have included the awesome Launceston Aquatic Centre (get there if you haven’t been yet), the good ol’ Dinosaur Park at Ulverstone with adjacent safe beach and the kid-friendly Devonport Aquatic Centre.
So what’s your best day trip destination? Have any secret spots you want to share?