Sleeping Beautytells the story of Princess Aurora, who by a single prick of her finger is put to sleep for 100 years. Doomed by fate, only a Prince’s sweet kiss can break the spell and awaken the sleeping beauty.
For all you British expats out there, you will be pleased to hear this is proper British panto… with a sprinkling of Oz! If you’re anything like me you’ll get all homesick this time of year. It feels like we should be celebrating all things Christmas but it’s June and not even remotely Christmassy! Having said that, this pantomime is absolutely the perfect ‘winter’ pick me up for the whole family! OzPanto is by no means a cheap imitation of panto; this is true, old fashioned pantomime with all the singing, dancing, cracking jokes and cheesy lines. It’s exactly what winter in Australia needs!
Rhonda Burchmore plays the wicked fairy ‘Carabosse’. Rhonda stole the show with her terrfying presence, huge voice and her incredible legs. Yes I said it! Green eyed monster right here! Carabosse brought the theatre alive with “Boo’s” every time she stepped on to the stage, just as panto should be.
Kev Orkianas ‘Silly Billy’ made us all belly laugh. There were tears streaming down our cheeks at points throughout, and it was all down to his impeccable timing and hilarious stage presence.
The Dancers -Wow, the incredible dancers. The children were full of energy and super talented. Absolute stars in the making.
British Expats or Aussie this is a must see! For the Brits it will take you back to your childhood, and for the Aussies, it’s a wonderful introduction to the timeless art of British Pantomime. Bonnie Lythgoe has brought the true magic of pantomime all the way to Australia for our families to enjoy, which means our expat kids aren’t missing out on what used to be a family tradition back home!
Before we go any further… Coles have definitely not sold out of scones, or cucumbers.. So your party will go ahead as long as you don’t wear out your flag waving, butter spreading hand before Saturday!
Are you one of millions of Expats across Australia going nuts for the upcoming nuptials of possibly the most bizarre (but gorgeous) couple on the planet? I feel like we’ve only just got over Eurovision and we’re straight back on it with the flag waving and frantic public displays of patriotism!
I would love to say I am all over this wedding, but I feel very disorganised. I’m almost beginning to panic.. As if I’ve got a real invite. *Trust me, I would have been on a massive diet if I had!
I feel like maybe I should have made as much effort as my expat friends, but…. I just haven’t. I don’t have cupcakes waiting to be baked, I am not planning on whipping up cucumber ‘sarnies’ and a cream tea and I probably won’t be attending any parties, although I think at last count I had been invited to 6. Yes 6! Not because I’m popular just because all 6 of my friends are having parties!
Watching the world (and Australia) in particular going all out for this wedding makes me wonder whether Expats become more patriotic and possibly more Royalist once we’ve left the country?
Us expats are marking our territory, and making sure you all know Meghan is going to be “OUR PRINCESS”! We want to make it bloody clear that (although she’s American, and we’re in Australia) she belongs to us Brits now and we’re gonna throw the biggest bloody party in our garage (because that’s where the big telly and the beer fridge is) with beef snags, (because that’s all we can get) and loads of our expat mates, because like I said, we’re BRITISH and we own this bloody wedding!
I wonder if we would all be frantically covering our houses in bunting, buying new outfits and getting Meghan loves Harry tattoos if we were living in Berkshire? Would we be charging into our local Tesco’s in Guildford demanding the highest quality cucumber for our “Royal Wedding Party”? Would we be buying job lots of these ‘Hazza and Meggie’ cozzies for all our girlfriends if we were back in Blighty?? Brrrrr just the thought of it… Is Britain going as nutty about this as us lot overseas?
Here, in the land down under, Brits in their thousands are gearing up for a mammoth ‘sesh’ in front of the telly on Saturday night! Please don’t forget though we will not be listening to the legendary Huw Edwards charming us through every step of the wedding, we will be watching Aussie coverage of the Royal Wedding! This has enormous potential to turn out to be an infuriating 6 hours of drunken Aussie students being interviewed on Pall Mall holding inflatable Kangaroos! Yes, it may leave much to be desired if their current coverage from Tower Bridge is anything to go by! *Please prove me wrong Channel 7!
When Kate and Wills got married in 2011, I had a party at my house and wore a shirt made out of a Kate Middleton tea towel,” – Edwina Bartholomew from Sunrise
I totally love the magic of a royal wedding. The costume, the carriages, the surprise attendees.. “Whaaaat, Elton isn’t invited”… (I’m sure he is btw). I love the precision timings, the tabloid gossip and the ‘sheer class’ that only the British can bring to a Royal Wedding. In the UK it will feel very different to here. The ceremony doesn’t get going until 9pm Down Under, so we’ll have waited a lot longer than the UK, and the anticipation will have been building..aaaaaallllll day!!
At 8:59pm we will finally see the bride and at 9:00pm on the dot we will be glued to our screens as she walks down the aisle at the wedding of the Century (sorry Kate)! Union jack flags covering the house (and the ute), and G&T (*make that beer) fuelled women in ballgowns and tiaras, passing out in their living rooms before Meghan utters the words “I do”…
So Harry may be funking (yes that says FUNKING as in FUNKY!) up the Royal Household by marrying a super hot American ACTRESS who has been divorced… **GASP, and the Royal family may be curling their toes in their brogues as they walk into St Georges Chapel on Saturday, but I think it’s wonderful, and it seems like a bazillion other expats do too! If only Clarence House could arrange an overnight wedding next time so as we can watch it with our breakfast…in bed!!
We headed into Melbourne for the opening night of STOMP! I have always wanted to see the show, but never had the chance! Oh my… it exceeded all of my expectations. If you have seen the posters and heard the buzz, you know NOTHING!! You have to see and hear it to believe it, and even then you wont believe your ears or your eyes.
For someone who struggles to put one foot in front of the other some days, the rythmn that the cast have firing through their veins is just mind blowing. I mean, who on earth can bounce a basketball in a rhythmic way, alongside 7 other people, THEN PASS THE BALLS AROUND WHILST STILL BEING IN TIME AND CREATING MELODY...?
STOMP has become a global phenomenon over the last 26 years and has been performed for over 12 million people in 55 countries across six continents. There’s a good reason it’s such a hit!!
Eight incredible performers create musical magic from all sorts of everyday items, including a humble supermarket trolley! (I have since tried this rhythmic trolley magic in Woolworths and was asked to leave after frightening a small child)!
I don’t want to ruin the magic for anyone going, so I won’t tell you too much.. Just know that if you book to go and see STOMP you will be blown away by 8 cast members who’s connection through the sound they are making, creates a show that will not only have you tapping away at your kitchen bench as soon as you get home, but will give you the most tingly goosebumps, and an insane urge to see if you could recreate THAT SOUND….
Zippo lighters, bin lids, and even the kitchen sink are used to hammer out an explosively feel-good rhythm. Trust me, you won’t be able to resist having a go.
The choreography, the connection between the cast members, the industrial percussion, and continuous comedy made this one of the best shows Mr W and I have seen on stage. Mouth wide open kinda stuff!! Go and see it when it STOMPS into your city!! *see what I did there?
“BIG, NOISY AND IRRESISTIBLE” – Sun Herald, Sydney
“BRILLIANT AND VERY FUNNY” – The New York Times
8 shows on
Melbourne – Comedy Theatre 1st May – 6th May 2018 (BOOK)
Gold Coast – The Star 31st May – 3rd June 2018 (BOOK)
Adelaide – Adelaide Entertainment Centre 6th June -10th June 2018 (BOOK)
Sydney – Capitol Theatre 31st July – 6th August 2018 (BOOK)
Located just 25 minutes from Adelaide, Handhorf is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement and celebrated 175 years in 2014. It still has a strong German flavour most evident in the small goods outlets, bakeries, pubs, restaurants and cafes that line the bustling main street’ – Adelaide Hills.org
Handhorf is a truly picturesque little town founded byPrussian Lutherans in 1839. It is so close to Adelaide, you really don’t need to leave it out of your trip. We visited in January, and the weather was lovely. We have been told that Autumn is spectacular too because of the wonderful colour of the leaves on the trees.
Driving in to Handhorf, it hits you how German this little town really is. The bakeries are pumping out freshly baked pretzels, there are sausages hanging in the windows of the butchers, German flags proudly swaying in the breeze, and souvenir shops selling all kinds of Germanic keepsakes including huge beer steins. We particularly liked the aprons which made the children look like they were wearing traditional German costume…Monty liked playing the accordion… The shop assistant didn’t enjoy it quite as much!
I always find it fascinating to think that people came to Australia, seeking a safe place to rebuild their lives, and they ended up somewhere like this. The journey must have been daunting, such a huge trip. Then, to build a town so much like home, a community and a brand new life, it’s incredibly brave.
We visited The Handhorf Academy which is the regional centre for art and heritage. Originally a boarding school, and later a maternity hospital, this 19th Century Heritage building could tell some phenomenal stories of courage, excitement and fear as early settlers built their new lives.
There are four galleries, a migration museum and a shop selling locally handcrafted products. This is also the home of the tourist information office, otherwise known as the place where Monty left his shoes.
A visit is a must. Go in and be captivated by objects and stories relating to the lives of Hahndorf’s pioneering families. We particularly liked the outfits worn by the Lutheran children, the ladies ornate lace dresses, and the children were amazed by the furniture and an old pram.
After a bit of a walk and the purchase of some salami type sausages that nearly blew our heads off, it was time for a trip to the play park! We like to use Monkey Bars all over the world. No Monkey Bars are ever left out!
Once we were too hot to swing, we headed into the Seasonal Garden Cafe which was heavenly. Fresh produce from their own garden, and juices squeezed right there for you to enjoy! We lazed in the sunshine sipping on green juice, until Mr W’s phone ran out of battery, Monty squealed and Poppy insisted we head off to our next destination! Bliss ruined…
Top Handhorf hints
Take a walking tour of Handhorf if you have the time. They take about 90 minutes, but you get to visit places that the general public can’t. We love a guided tour, as you learn so much more about a place, and the children have to be quiet too! Win win!!
The Handhorf Leathersmith is a great shop! And if you walk right to the back, they have the biggest bunnies you ever did see! The kids will be asking you to buy them one all the way home!
There are plenty of cellar doors in Handhorf, and a craft brewery there too. Gulf Brewery are a micro brewery, who offer tastings at the cellar door, or for those who have a little more time, they pair food with beer for another truly Handhorf experience.
Handhorf is a shoppers heaven. The high street is filled with local craftspeople making wonderful wares. You can find anything from hand crafted leather wares to cuckoo clocks to toys, books and candlemakers. We just bought food, (surprise surprise) but were tempted by so much more!
One of Australia’s most famous artists, Sir Hans Heysen’s home is nearby on Heysen Road. Visit The Cedars, explore his garden, home and studio.
The Prancing Pony craft brewery is about five minutes away in Totness. If you didn’t get chance to sample the beers in Handhorf this is definitely worth a visit.
Beerenberg Family Farm has ‘pick your own strawberries’ from November to April. There’s also a wonderful shop selling a huge range of jams, sauces and relishes. Their website if full of lovely recipes too! (drool)
Wineries surround Handhorf, so there is no possible way you could miss out on sampling some of the Adelaide Hills local wines.
The children will love the Hahndorf Farm Barn. It’s a farm/wildlife park and a great place to spend a few hours. They have picnic areas, tractor rides and the children get to try their hand at milking a cow or even holding a python!! Family tickets for 2 adults + 2 children is $47
The Adelaide Hills are like a treasure chest, full of wonderful food, wine, beer, and adventure. It’s a fabulous place to spend time together exploring. Head to Handhorf and wind your way through the surrounding area slowly, taking it all in as you drive! You won’t be disappointed!
Flights – We flew direct to Adelaide from Melbourne with Tiger Air. For all four of us the cost was approximate cost $450
Car Hire – We hired a car through Avis at Adelaide airport – approximate cost $179 for three days.
Hotels – Adelaide and the surrounding areas have so much variety when it comes to hotels. Whatever your budget, it wont be hard to find somewhere that fits!
A new exhibition has opened it’s doors at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum and I can say with all my heart, it’s one of the most moving exhibitions I have had the pleasure of visiting.
‘Between 1947 and 1981 nearly 1.5 million Brits arrived in an Australia that was predominantly white and British – it had worked hard to be so’
A few weeks ago I went along to a preview of the new exhibition ‘British Migrants, Instant Australians?‘. We were treated to Devonshire Tea, a cup of Earl Grey, and some magnificent guest speakers, before heading in. It felt quintessentially British, although there was no driving rain or fog to be seen!
Paul Jennings, best known for his writing of many children’s books, got up to speak about his migration from the UK at the age of six. He told us of the distress he felt leaving behind his beloved Grandmother. Sitting there listening to his heartfelt words, I felt as if I was listening to my own children speaking in 30 years time. I could totally relate to his feelings of homesickness, longing, and upset at leaving the only home he’d known; I had a lump in my throat!
‘When I was six I left England, with my parents and my little sister Ruth, to come and live in Australia. That was in 1949. In those days, people came to Australia by boat. The one we came on was called the Ranchi. We sailed for five weeks before arriving in Melbourne’- Paul Jennings
His story was compelling, and a real tear jerker. It’s so easy to overlook what migration was to families back in the 40’s. It’s especially hard to consider what that journey must have been like whilst living in todays modern world of round the globe flights, and Skype calls! British Migrants in the 1940’s left home simply thinking it was ‘for the best!’ Expats still take this risk when they move far from home, although being more aware of the world possibly makes it less of a “culture shock”.
Red Symons also spoke about his migration from the UK. He told us of his everlasting memory of stepping into a land with an immense amount of sky. The single storey houses, the flat landscapes, and the endless blue skies. His words made me wonder what my children will remember from our early days Down Under? That moment we arrived in the dead of night, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the accents. So different to home!
‘Newcomers from Britain had all the advantages of a shared language, culture and history. So fitting in should be easy. But reality is never that simple’
The thing that struck me most about all the speakers at the grand unveiling of the latest exhibition was how their hearts broke at leaving family and friends behind; yet they recognised the opportunity they had been given. They all got stuck in, pushed their homesickness and worries to one side and made the best of their new lives. They went over and above to “fit in”, they changed their accents and worked hard to build friendships. The chance to leave behind post WW2 Britain, the grey skies and limited job opportunities, for a land which had everything they could wish for in abundance was too good to ignore.
The exhibition holds some wonderful, heartfelt stories of lives well lived, cherished friendships, and of the “migrant” feeling of being ‘too foreign for home, too foreign for here, and never enough for both’.
Whilst wandering through the exhibition, I couldn’t help but go back to those nagging thoughts in my mind… “Will my children grow up feeling like this?” “Will they look back with sadness at what they missed when we moved?” “Will my children grow up with a constant longing in their hearts?” Honestly, I’m not sure. Today’s “migrant” is so incredibly different from those who arrived in Australia all those years ago. The world is so much smaller and the internet bigger than ever. We can keep in touch without lifting a pen, or licking a stamp, and we can see distant loved ones at the touch of a button.
I’m not sure my children feel any different to their peers. No one comments on their accents (anymore), no one really even asks them where they’re from. We’re learning we’re not that different after all. This is an indication of just how migration has changed. My children are not really seen as ‘migrants’ in the classroom! I’m not sure any of us are! Is an expat a migrant anymore?
Not only is this new exhibition a fantastic insight into the lives of thousands of migrants and their voyage to Australia, but it’s a real showcase of bravery, courage, and human kindness which will teach all visitors a lesson in the need to show compassion to people migrating to this wonderful country!
The Immigration Museum has beautifully showcased artefacts from treasured family collections, with words spoken by those families themselves. They have taken time to cleverly and sympathetically tell people’s stories of migration, with a mixture of mediums including handwritten letters, memorabilia and old posters promising a life rich in work and sun.
As an expat myself, who has brought my British children to Australia, I found the exhibition moving to say the least. I cannot begin to imagine what the 1940’s migrant must have thought arriving in this warm, far away land, with nothing but the bare essentials; some of them not knowing what to expect. To think that they came here and managed to build new lives, away from everything they had ever known, with no modern technology to contact home is just mind blowing to me. Honestly, their courage astounds me, and I highly recommend this exhibition.
Emma and Rich moved from the UK to Australia in December 2016. They live in a delightful little harbour city called Fremantle in Western Australia. Emma blogs about her travels and life as an expat at Distant Wanderers . Here Emma tells her story about being more worried about not taking the plunge, than actually doing it!!
If you’d have told me 4 years ago when I was planning a year of backpacking around Asia and Australia, that I would meet a British born Australian citizen the day after I arrived ‘Down Under’ and would end up moving to the other side of the world to be with him, I most definitely would not have believed you. I was planning to spend a year travelling and then return home; never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would call Australia my home. When I met my partner, I was excited by the fact I’d met someone who shared the same inexplicable love for Australia, something I’d never been able to explain, but I knew part of my soul belonged there. Our mutual love for Australia, travel and adventure meant we instantly hit it off.
Fast forward a couple of years, living in the UK, we both knew that Australia was where we were meant to be. We had talked of going back for so long, and both being ‘doers’ and not just talkers, we took the plunge and booked a one-way flight. This, for me, made it seem much more real and as the months started ticking by I started to doubt whether I was doing the right thing.
Rich had lived in Perth before, so he didn’t seem as anxious. He knew what to expect and had a good network of friends there.
I had moments where I was terrified; giving up my entire life to start somewhere completely new, where I didn’t know anyone, where I wouldn’t have full working rights, where I would have issues with jobs, money and visas etc. I was feeling overwhelmed with the decision I’d made to move to the other side of the world and sad to leave behind my family, an amazing network of friends and a good social life. More than once, I wondered what on earth I was doing. I was a bag of nerves and frankly, a mess. It was probably a good thing that we’d already booked the flights as I most definitely would have backed out otherwise.
I started to research moving to Australia and soon realised that it was the very idea of not doing it that scared me the most.
I was more scared than I liked to admit about moving overseas, but the idea of living the rest of my life wondering ‘what if…’ filled me with dread. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a fabulous opportunity, one many people would love to have and I should run at it with open arms. It was scary, but it was also amazing and exciting and I knew home wasn’t far away if I wanted to go back; we at least had to try first.
We’ve now been in Perth for just under a year and I can honestly say that moving abroad was the best thing I’ve ever done. People ask me what it is about Australia that I love and why I moved here, but I think it comes down to more than just the place.
It’s stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning things about yourself, throwing yourself into a completely bizarre and new experience, learning about another country and ultimately, yourself.
I came across a quote online that struck me so deeply; it made me realise that what I had done was massive and I had been brave to follow my dreams.
‘Nothing is comparable to the new life in a new country. Though I am still always myself, I am changed to the marrow of my bones.’ – Unknown.
Living overseas changes you, makes you appreciate and see things differently. You’re far away from everything and everyone you have ever known and loved and it can be lonely, overwhelming and tiring. However, when you stop to think about what you have accomplished, you realise how proud you are of yourself for uprooting and starting afresh.
I miss my friends and family so much and think about them every single day. I wish we lived closer so they could just pop in for a cup of tea. That’s the hardest thing about moving overseas. I try to fully immerse myself in daily life here; I want to feel as though I am making the most of the beautiful surroundings that are on my doorstep. Australia is a truly amazing place, the weather is stunning; the relaxed lifestyle and wonderful natural beauty are of course a massive bonus. I feel as though I belong here, that it’s home and that my life is here. I am joining clubs, meeting people, going out for walks and exploring this amazing place that I live. Though I miss my life back home, I have no desire to move back there any time soon. Rich and I try to get out as much as possible and explore as much of diverse Western Australia as we can, there’s so much to see and do, I don’t feel like I need to go on holiday– we have it all here!
Moving abroad is scary, but as they say, ‘Ships in harbour are safe… but that’s not what ships are built for.’
The idea of never fulfilling my dreams is far scarier and for me, I just think life is too short to not go after what you want.
We are lucky that we’ve been given such a fantastic opportunity to come and live in Australia but we made it happen, we made our own luck. If you’re scared or worried about taking the plunge and moving overseas, that’s OK, it’s perfectly normal. It’s scary, amazing, terrifying, and exciting all at once but it might be the best thing you ever do; the only thing anyone can ever do is try. If it doesn’t work out, at least you tried. If you’re scared, have a little faith that things have a funny way of working themselves out and it could be the most wonderful experience of your life.
Thank you so much Emma.. What a great story, proving to everyone that it’s important to grab the bull by the horns and absolutely ‘Go For It’!! Olivia xxx
I’m currently sitting in a beautiful coffee shop in the lanes of Melbourne, sipping a Long Black and wondering what I used to do on Friday afternoons before we ended up here.. Melbourne is the most magical city. Just meandering through the laneways is enough to make me grateful for being alive. It’s that kind of place! It really does make my heart skip a beat! People everywhere; sightseers, office workers, artists, musicians, shop owners, even bloggers like me, immersed in their surroundings and getting all sorts of inspiration from the bustle around them. It’s hard not to be inspired here. There is just so much to love about this city; my city!
We’re fast approaching the end of another year ‘Down Under’ and there don’t seem to be any signs that we may be adventuring off to pastures new just yet.. Thank goodness. I am amazed at all the things we’ve squeezed in to our first year in Melbourne, and there’s still so much to explore. I’m so full of love for how this city has become home to us so quickly! I never would have imagined a few years ago that we would be here, doing this, and absolutely loving every minute!!
It seems like a lifetime ago we hopped off that plane in Sydney, to see what Australia had to offer. To dip our toes in the clear blue waters of the world famous Bondi Beach. The memories feel like a scene from a black and white movie.. Mr W, whisking us off to explore a warm and distant land. If it had been on the silver screen, I’d have been played by Olivia De Havilland (Obvs), and Mr.W played by Humphrey Bogart! We’d arrive in the Southern Hemisphere, embrace each other at the bottom of the plane steps, and get chauffeured off to our glamorous new abode in Sydney Harbour.
In reality it was nothing like that!
Monty had spent the first 12 hours of the journey vomiting into supermarket carrier bags that I had cleverly stashed in my hand-luggage. Poppy spent 24 hours watching re runs of Peppa Pig, and I sobbed most of the way! By the time we landed in Sydney, we looked more like the Aadams Family than glamorous 1940’s movie stars. Hello Australia, we’ve arrived, and NO we’re not staying for long, I left my besties crying at Heathrow!!!
Now almost three years on from the landing, and…. wait for it… (*Mum grab a hankie)… I’m not sure I could….. go back……
I know, I know, it sounds a little ‘out there’! *All my friends are currently deleting my blog from their newsfeed, muttering “I told her she’d not be back”… Mum is sobbing into her cup of tea, and for some reason, I don’t feel too terrible… In fact, I feel relieved to have finally put it out there.
That’s not to say I don’t yearn for my girl crew, and I don’t miss lots of things about the UK; it’s just that Australia, well Melbourne.. oh gosh I’m so sorry…is home now….
It had to happen eventually. There had to come a time when we all started to think of Australia as “home”. Expat’s all over the world; since being an expat was even a thing, have always struggled with knowing where home really is. I’m sure people stop themselves calling their host country ‘home’, so as not to upset Aunty Brenda, or to keep hold of friends who have promised to disown them if they don’t return!!! The pressure to have just one home, and not love anywhere else as much.. or dare I say it.. MORE, is too much to handle. It’s a strange feeling, as if I’m letting the whole of the UK down, by saying “thanks anyway, but I think we’ll stay put”. I’m sure that’s what makes my stomach churn and mimic homesickness. It’s possibly not that I’m missing the chips and gravy with mushy peas, or the local pub with the log fire, it’s the terror that I’ll be cast aside and never welcomed home with open arms again! I’m a traitor, fair and square!!
We never came here with the intention of staying forever, but you can’t help but build a life for yourselves, and your children. You can’t help but make friends; close friends. You can’t help but join clubs, get jobs, volunteer, join the school committee, find a local pub, join sports teams, become part of a community… You can’t help but make a new life, and somehow that’s what we’ve done. (And no, I still don’t resemble Olivia de Havilland)
We came here for four years, and now with only 14 months left on our visa, I am truly panicking about what will become of us all if we do have to leave our…. ‘home’??
The UK isn’t our home any more. Is it?? We left a life behind, and have created something different, something new, something exciting, something we’re certainly not ready to let go of.
I think what I’m trying to say is, no matter what we do, or where we go, we will always be in a position where we’re living without something or someone. And without doubt, in this crazy ‘expat’ life, we just have to go with the flow; think about what we really, really want, and as selfish as it sounds not give anyone else a second thought! We have one life, one chance at getting it right and only we know ‘where‘ we’re happy! For The Wilson’s, now… dare I say it….? I think we’re home.
“The most beautiful things in life are not things. They’re people, and places, and memories, and pictures. They’re feelings and moments and smiles and laughter” – Unknown
By 9am, the car was loaded up with the kids and a picnic, and Monty had already informed us that he was most looking forward to the Lions eating his big sister. He has a talent for kickstarting a good day! We were heading to the zoo..
Melbourne Zoo opened in 1862, is the oldest zoo in Australia and the world’s first carbon neutral zoo! I know.. Amazing right!! It has been on our list of places to visit for a while, and last weekend we finally got there to see it in all its glory! It is a truly magnificent zoo, and the conservation work they’re doing is incredible. It’s a fantastic place for a fun day out, and to learn about a diverse range of animals and their delicate ecosystems.
“Our mission is to be the world’s leading zoo-based conservation organisation” – Melbourne Zoo
Sometimes when you visit a zoo you get the impression that the animals are bored or unhappy. Not here! The kids agreed that they would quite like to live here as “all the creatures look so happy!!” *their bags are packed…
We had all day to explore so we handed the maps to the small people and let them decide how we were going to get round everything. They love map reading and being in charge so this worked perfectly; one map each and we were off. The zoo is split into different zones, and incredibly easy to navigate. Thank goodness.
We started at the Gorilla Forest which I was pretty pleased about. Seeing the Gorilla sitting there staring back at us, was magical. This huge magnificent creature who was almost as fascinated with us as we were with him.
Next we saw the Seal keeper presentation. Monty was so fascinated by the Wild Sea exhibition and the enormous glass tanks, he did a runner to explore some more. The rest of us had a hairy 10 minutes of thinking he’d gone all Free Willy on us and was letting the penguins out!! Thankfully Mr W had located him by the time the seal was teaching us all about the dangers of balloons for our marine friends.
The day rolled on, more wonderful enclosures, stunning animals, and the weather was beautiful as we zig zagged our way around the zoo. Our route made it pretty obvious the kids were in charge!
Before lunch we caught the Giraffe Keeper presentation which was fab. Giraffes are so graceful, and at Melbourne Zoo they seem so close. It was wonderful to see these majestic creatures. You can book a Giraffe Close Up when you visit and have a go at feeding them yourself!! I know my two would love this!
We spent about 5 hours winding our way through the animals. We saw every creature there was to see, we climbed the best climbing tree, we played on the grass, we picnicked, and the sun shone for our whole visit. It really was a perfect day out!
The Butterfly House – the children were just bowled over that they could hold out their arms the butterflies would land on them. It was so lovely to see their little faces when their arms were full of butterflies!
The Palm Oil Supermarket- After visiting the beautiful Orang-utans we headed into the ‘supermarket,’ to learn about Palm Oil, and the devastating effect it is having on their habitat! We scanned every day items to see if they contained palm oil! This hands on, interactive display taught us so much, and it’s been talked about lots this week!
The Platypus- This graceful, but cheeky looking creature, swimming around, really entertained us. How awesome are the Platypus?!
The Koalas – Hey, Koalas are always a bonus for us expats! They are so iconic, peacefully snoozing away in the trees. You have to look hard to find them!
The Elephants – We loved the way it felt as if we were in the jungle in Thailand when we visited the Elephants! Amazing animals! Poppy was confused as to why one of them had two trunks! She was mortified when I explained what the trunk at the back really was!
This is not a zoo created for us to stand and stare aimlessly at caged up miserable wildlife. This is a haven for saving species and teaching us all how we can make a difference, so that our children and our children’s children will know the true wonder of wildlife.
If we save our wild places, we will ultimately save ourselves – Steve Irwin
Don’t forget about Melbourne Zoo for the school holidays!!!
The What’s On page on the Melbourne Zoo website is full of fantastic activities coming up! *All Trolls fans need to check it out!!
Melbourne Zoo are a not-for-profit conservation organisation dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction. They do this through breeding and recovery programs for threatened species and by working with visitors and supporters to reduce threats facing endangered wildlife. You can get involved here!!
Opening Hours – 9am – 5pm every day of the year (Animal areas close from 4:30)