‘CIRCUS – The Show’ coming to Melbourne Fringe Festival 2022 

“Roll up, roll up!” The fastest growing family circus spectacular – CIRCUS : The Show – is heading back to Melbourne for an incredible return to the stage, as part of a trailblazing new  festival hub right near Queen Victoria market, for Melbourne Fringe 2022! Who’s excited?  

CIRCUS is an Australian trailblazer in children’s entertainment featuring world-class  illusions, tumbling acrobats, highly skilled jugglers, breath-taking and elegant  aerialists, comedy and an endearing clown. The show has received countless 5 star  reviews as well as winning the award of Best Children’s Show at Adelaide Fringe. 

Following a sell-out debut season at the 2021 Adelaide Fringe, overwhelming  demand for tickets at the Melbourne Comedy Festival – which saw the entire 16  performance season sell-out in just two days – PLUS ground-breaking seasons at Her  Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide and both Theatre Royal and Princess Theatre in  Tasmania – the latest return to Melbourne is bringing with it a star-studded cast that’s simply not to be missed!

For the return Melbourne performances, CIRCUS’s Ringmaster will be played  by Magnus Danger Magnus of Showmen Productions – one of Australia’s most  prominent touring circus companies (The Greatest Magic Show, Adults Only Magic  Show, CIRCUS); while the clowning talents of Simon Wright will be on full display in  a range of hilarious stunts including climbing completely inside a gigantic 6FT  BALLOON! Simon has just completed an invitation-only residency at the famed  Philippe Gaulier clowning school and is one of the most famed clowning talents in  Australia! 

This season will also star several high-class Melbourne-based performers; including  aerialist and hula-hoop extraordinaire, Chelsea Angell, who will be presenting her energetic and unique aerial performances of grace and beauty while keeping  everyone fully captivated with hula-hooping tricks you will have to see to believe!

Also joining them is Bavo Delbeke, an urban circus legend from the Norway who  brings his energetic experimental style of circus in a completely unique display of  basketball juggling which has graced halftime performances at NBA games in the States; alongside one of Australia’s top jugglers – Richard Sullivan – who was trained  by the best in the world in Stockholm, Sweden before returning to Australia to star in  shows produced by companies including Circus Oz, YUMMY, Circus Trick Tease  and now Showmen Productions!   

CIRCUS brings together years  of experience and skill in the industry. We have some of the most talented family  circus performers on the Fringe circuit on board to help teach children the  importance of celebrating difference. The show concludes with a powerful message  to always embrace your weirdness and never lose sight of your dreams – no matter  how wild!’ CIRCUS producer and performer Sam Hume

“What you have experienced keeps you smiling, wondering and shaking your  head long after the show is over!” The Advertiser ★★★★ 

“This is definitely a winner in family entertainment!”  GLAM Adelaide ★★★★★ 

“A punchy 60-minute fun ride full of thrills, spills, gasps and laughter”  The Clothesline ★★★★★ 

“The Greatest Circus Show Around!” KIDDO Magazine 

Showmen Productions – the creative team behind CIRCUS and The Greatest  Magic Show! – have toured to the Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and  Edinburgh Fringes to critically acclaimed reviews and sell-out seasons in all cities.

Make sure you and the fam don’t miss what promises to be one hell of an extravaganza!!!


All the details!

WHERE

Runaway Festival Hub – Near Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent + The Vault 

WHEN

Saturday 8 Oct, 11:30am & 3:00pm – The Vault Sunday 9 Oct, 11:30am & 3:00pm – The Vault 

Saturday 15 Oct, 1:00pm – Magic Mirror Spiegeltent 

Sunday 16 Oct, 1:00pm – Magic Mirror Spiegeltent 

Saturday 22 Oct, 1:00pm – Magic Mirror Spiegeltent 

Sunday 23 Oct, 1:00pm – Magic Mirror Spiegeltent 

TICKETS

Adults: $27.00 

Concession: $23.00 

Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au 

Social Media: Facebook Instagram

Show Website: www.showmenproductions.com.au/circus-the-show

Duration: 60 Mins

Age suitability: 4+

Event warnings: This event has haze effects, some infrequent/low pressure audience interaction.

Step into Spring at Puffing Billy Railway these school holidays!

Yassss! It’s almost the end of term three and the start of school holidays and that can only mean one thing! It’s time for a trip to Puffing Billy Railway ! It’s the perfect time to get outside, keep the kids moving and exploring, and make family memories that will last a lifetime.  

Start your outdoor adventure on board Australia’s favourite steam train as you all dangle your legs from Puffing Billy’s traditional open-side carriages; a truly iconic experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Feel the wind in your hair and watch the trees pass by in front of your feet as the train winds through the most magnificent scenery of the Dandenong Ranges, only one hour from Melbourne. This is truly magnificent and the kids will love it!

From Monday 26th September to Sunday 2nd October, passengers travelling to Lakeside Station will discover a free spring-themed arts and crafts activity zone at the Lakeside Visitor Centre for little ones to enjoy. You can also stop in at the Centre’s free Lakeside Hall Museum, home to a collection of steam artefact displays, including Puffing Billy Railway’s first ever locomotive, 3A, and also see the ‘Animal Tales’ photographic exhibition currently on show from award-winning artist Karen Alsop.

Once you’re all puffed out, take a seat at the Railway Café and choose from a range of tasty treats to indulge in, like satisfyingly crunchy baguettes, sweet and puffy Danishes, delicious beef and chicken burgers or even tender calamari. 

The lakeside views are stunning and the perfect spot for a picnic before you take advantage of the various outdoor activities available in Emerald Lake Park. Families can hire a COG Bikes Australia bike and ride through the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail, jump aboard a paddleboat* to play on Lake Treganowan, visit to the Emerald Lake Model Railway & Miniature World* for a look at one of the largest model railways in Australia, or take to one of seven walking tracks through the lush green foliage of the precinct, with plenty more picnic spots along the way. 

Pre-book an adult or children’s picnic pack and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding manna gums, tall chestnut and oak trees, and blossoming tree ferns of the forest, before jumping back on board, legs out and all, for the return journey. 

Passengers aged between 2 – 15 travelling on Friday 23rd September are encouraged to wear their favourite footy colours to celebrate the AFL Grand Final and redeem a special prize from the Lakeside Visitor Centre gift shop. 


Train services available during the school holidays

Monday – Friday 

  • 10.00 am Belgrave to Lakeside return
  • 11.15 am Belgrave to Lakeside return
  • 2.15 pm Belgrave to Lakeside return

Saturday – Sunday  

  • 10.00 am Belgrave to Lakeside return
  • 11.15 am Belgrave to Gembrook return*
  • 12.20 pm Lakeside to Gembrook return*
  • 12.45 pm Belgrave to Lakeside return

*Leg dangling is not permitted from the Lakeside to Gembrook section of the railway line.
*Lakeside Paddle boats and the Emerald Lake Model Railway & Miniature World are operated by separate businesses. Entry fees apply.

About Puffing Billy Railway:

Puffing Billy Railway is Australia’s (and the Wilson’s) favourite steam train and one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. The railway, which commenced operation in Australia on December 18, 1900, is a genuine relic of more leisurely days.

The historic steam train ran regularly in the Victorian mountain district and was built to serve at the turn of the century to transport goods and passengers throughout the district. The railway travels 24kms through the forests and fern gullies of the picturesque Dandenong Ranges to Emerald Lake Park and Gembrook – the original terminus of the line – and is one of only two survivors of five experimental narrow-gauge lines used to develop rural areas in Victoria during the early 1900s.

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE
Facebook – @PuffingBillyRailway
Instagram – @puffingbillyrailway
#puffingbillyrailway
www.puffingbilly.com.au

Get Excited!! Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ coming to Melbourne

Exciting news today that none other than Shane Crawford is about to make his musical theatre debut in the role of the Pharaoh in the Australian premiere new production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! Yes! You read that right! It’s time to get excited!!

Book Your Tickets Here

Tim Lawson in association with Michael Harrison and The Really Useful Group are thrilled to announce that AFL legend, Shane Crawford will star exclusively as the Pharaoh, in this dazzling new production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, for the strictly limited Melbourne season.

Shane will join an all-star Australian cast that includes Euan Fistrovic Doidge (Kinky Boots, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) as Joseph, and Paulini (The Bodyguard, Australian Idol)as The Narrator. Enjoyed by over 30 million people worldwide, this reimagined, feel-good musical is sure to enchant new audiences and longstanding fans alike. 

Shane Crawford will play the Pharaoh. Photo Credit – Chris Pavlich Photography

Shane Crawford has a truly diverse and remarkable career which includes his decorated AFL career, his wide-ranging television background, as an author and for his work as an ambassador for Breast Cancer Network Australia. This will be Shane’s first role in a major theatre production, adding to an already impressive career. 

 “To be offered an opportunity like this is amazing. I have done so many different things in my sporting and media career, but I have never performed in a musical, and I can’t wait! To be given the chance to be on stage, working with so many talented performers, entertaining an audience will be a huge buzz. Playing the role of the Pharaoh in this new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is going to be fun – and a little daunting.  Bring on the rehearsals!” Shane Crawford

THE AUSTRALIAN CAST

Shane Crawford is one of the AFL’s most marketable players, with a successful 16-year career at Hawthorn Football Club, he is one of the few players who has made a seamless transition into life in the media. The charismatic premiership player has demonstrated a range of talent that has won him many fans, with his quick wit, empathy with a wide audience, and natural ease on camera.

Having had a long association with Channel Nine as a key member of the Footy Show, Shane has been a presenter on the Today Show, Sport Sunday and Postcards.  In addition, Shane joined the fifth season of Australian Ninja Warrior 2021 sharing the hosting and sideline commentary duties.

In 2019, Shane appeared in I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! on the Ten Network and exited the Jungle in third place. 

Shane is an ambassador for Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA).  In 2010, Crawf – as he is affectionately known – completed an amazing feat to make Aussies proud, walking from Adelaide to Melbourne to raise money and awareness for BCNA.  That’s What I’m Walkin’ About lasted 12 days, raised $620,000, and saw Shane run back onto The Footy Show set through streets lined with supporters dressed in pink.  In 2013, Shane raised more than $1.3 million for BCNA after riding 3,600 kilometres from Melbourne to Perth in 22 days on his marathon Tour de Crawf. Shane is also an ambassador for Just Like Jack.

Euan Fistrovic Doidge as Joseph. Photo Credit – Chris Pavlich Photography

Euan Fistrovic Doidge is well known to Australian audiences having starred as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and as Marius in Les Misérables. He was the youngest ever nominee for the ‘Helpmann Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical’ for his performance in A Chorus Line.  Euan has also appeared in many other musicals including Fun Home, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pippin, Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde and Grease.  In 2014 Euan released his debut album Let It Sing.  Euan is currently appearing in the national tour of Cruel Intentions.

Paulini as The Narrator from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Credit – Chris Pavlich Photography

Fijian born songstress Paulini rose to fame through the first season of Australian Idol, making it through to the final four.  Post Idol Paulini rose to the top of the Australian ARIA Charts with her debut Platinum album ‘One Determined Heart’ and her Platinum smash single ‘Angel Eyes’, both hitting the #1 spot and receiving Aria Number 1 Chart Awards. 

Paulini went on to become a part of the chart-topping group the Young Divas, who had two top 10 albums and two top 10 singles.  On the stage Paulini played the lead role as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard Musical, was a lead vocalist in Saturday Night Fever, and played Dionne in the 50th Anniversary of Hair the Musical.  Paulini returned to television in 2019 in the hit show The Masked Singer, and more recently appeared on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, where fans fell in love with her again for her voice and sincerity.

ABOUT THE SHOW

Released as a concept album in 1969, the stage version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has become one of the world’s most beloved family musicals.  The multi-award-winning show, which began life as a small-scale school concert, has been performed hundreds of times in over 80 countries worldwide.  The show features songs that have gone on to become pop and musical theatre classics, including Any Dream Will DoClose Every Door to MeJacob and Sons, There’s One More Angel In Heaven and Go Go Go Joseph.

Told entirely through song with the help of The NarratorJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat follows the story of Jacob’s favourite son Joseph and his eleven brothers.  After being sold into slavery by the brothers, he ingratiates himself with Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife.  While imprisoned, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, and he soon finds himself in front of the mighty but troubled showman, the Pharaoh.  As Joseph strives to resolve Egypt’s famine, he becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man and eventually reunites with his family.

“A rip-roaring Joseph for the 21st century” – The Sun, UK

“This is a dream of a production. Go, go, go” – The Stage, UK

“A musical firing on all cylinders . . every performance oozes personality and mischief” – The Guardian, UK

Most recently the Pharaoh has been played by Jason Donovan in this production at the London Palladium and he can still be seen in the role on the current UK tour of the production.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice.  The production is directed by Laurence Connor (Les MisérablesMiss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock), choreographed by Joann M Hunter (School of Rock), with music supervision by John Rigby. The creative team includes Morgan Large (Set and Costume Designer), Ben Cracknell (Lighting Designer), Gareth Owen (Sound Designer) and Richard Mawbey (Hair, Wigs & Makeup Design).

In Melbourne from November, playing at the Regent Theatre, for a strictly limited season.

What a blast … triumphantly reborn”  Evening Standard, London

Book Your Tickets Here

The Dog Lovers Show is in Sydney THIS WEEKENED

Get excited Dog Lovers as the southern hemisphere’s largest doggy-dedicated event returns to Sydney this upcoming weekend (Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August) at the Sydney Showground

One of the pandemic’s surprise legacies has been the unprecedented surge in pet ownership, soaring more than  60% since 2019. In terms of paws on the floor, an estimated 30.4 million furry friends are currently keeping owners company across the country, including one million new dogs welcomed into Aussie homes in the last two years*. 

With so many new pet owners across the country, the return of the award-winning Dog Lovers Show to Sydney  Showground this winter – headlined by Australia’s beloved TV vet Dr Chris Brown – couldn’t be better timed. 

Anyone who loves dogs deeply and wants to better understand  their pets will be rewarded by attending the Sydney Dog Lovers Show this August. The timing is perfect to provide thousands of ‘pandemic pet parents’ with trusted, reliable information from the country’s most trusted pet experts.  Many new dog owners had been thinking of welcoming a new pup and the pandemic gave them the time to be  actively present at home to ‘on-board’ the pooch they have dreamed of for so long.” Show Founder and CEO, Jason Humphris

Over one jam-packed weekend, you can meet and interact with over 800 beautiful dogs, representing more than 100 breeds. (That’s a lotta doggies) The Show’s iconic program has been re-invigorated to cater for a new wave of new dog owners with essential tips on training, nutrition, separation anxiety, puppy proofing, canine mental health and overall wellbeing. 

For the first time since 2018, Dr Chris Brown will return to the Sydney Dog Lovers Show presenting inspirational and  educational talks twice daily. Joining Dr Chris Brown in his Sydney hometown is iconic TV vet, Dr Katrina Warren,  who will be presenting live demonstrations in the Vitapet Arena with animal training extraordinaire Kelly Gill and  The Wonderdogs – who are set to ast-hound onlookers with a slew of new tricks. Crowds will also be wowed by the  new ‘K9 Ninja Championships‘ show which will see dogs work their way through a wild obstacle course hosted by Big Brother star, Dave Graham.  

So what’s on at the show?

  • Over 30 free educational talks will be hosted each day across the PETstock Stage and PETspot Ask-The-Breeder  Stage, by some of Australia’s leading dog and animal experts including Lara Shannon and Rose Horton. 
  • Some of the nation’s biggest canine social media stars will strut their stuff on the PETstock Stage red carpet, while  the NSW Police Force Dog and Mounted Command present an awe-inspiring live demonstration each day. 
  • Outside, the crowd-favourite Black Hawk DockDogs will make a splash with Big Air, Extreme  Vertical and Speed Retrieval competitions as a team of talented canines launch themselves off a raised dock and into a 100,000-litre pool.
  • Meanwhile, the remarkable pups at Australian Working Dog Rescue will soar to new heights in the  Extreme High Jump competition and herd real-life sheep in the Sheepdog Speed Trials
  • Visitors keen to take a break from all the action can unwind in the Pet House Pat A-Pooch Zone, providing a safe and comfortable space to get up close and ‘pawsonal’ with dogs of all shapes and sizes.
  • Budding pet owners can meet dozens of  pups looking for fur-ever homes in the PETstock Adoption Zone, with an A-Z of  breeds to explore throughout the massive PETspot Breed Showcase
  • From dog-friendly clothing to puppy retreats and bespoke kennels, Australia’s biggest canine supermarket will boast stacks of new products and exclusive show specials. Those looking to strengthen their paw-renting knowledge will also have  access to the country’s leading emergency vets and nurses at the SASH stand, offering tips for raising happy and healthy pets. 
  • Future fur-parents can discover the best breed to suit their home and  lifestyle in the Bow Wow Meow Perfect Match Zone with dozens of giant Breed Information Posters and a free ‘K9 matching’ survey.  
  • Kids can channel their favourite breed in the Animal Welfare  League’s new Kids Zone with Free Doggy Face Painting and the chance to snap show memories in the new Glitter Selfie Wall.  

EVENT LOCATION Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park  

DATES & TIMES Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August 2022, 9.30am until 5pm daily

TICKETS + WHAT’S ON dogloversshow.com.au/sydney (pre-booking essential as tickets will sell-out) 

The Dog Lovers Show will also return to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 14th until 16th October 2022.

Puffing Billy Railway lights up the night in an Aussie first!!

Victoria’s iconic steam railway presents a must-see travelling light show spectacular this winter.

Get rugged up in your warmest winter woollies these school holidays and experience the magic of Puffing Billy Railway at night with the Train of Lights; a mesmerising train travelling light show and the first of its kind in Australia! 

From Friday 24th June – Sunday 10th July 2022, the Train of Lights will take passengers on a return journey that departs from Lakeside Station to Gembrook, immersing guests in bright colours, hypnotic patterns, and native wild animal projections that leap from open-side carriages and onto the passing dark Wright Forest, historic timber trestle bridges, and open rolling hills of the Gembrook countryside. 

Partnering up with acclaimed lighting specialists, Resolution X (White Night, VAMFF), this special evening experience is the perfect way to view the Dandenong Ranges from a different dimension as the passing forest and open farmlands transform into a Technicolor feast for the eyes.

With the journey beginning at Lakeside, passengers will have the chance to explore the new Lakeside Visitor Centre and all its state-of-the-art amenities, including the Puffing Billy Railway Lakeside Hall museum, licensed Railway Café, and unique gift shop.

Ticketholders wanting to make a day of it can visit the Emerald Lake Park precinct early to enjoy the photographic art exhibition, Animal Tales, inside the visitor centre, before stopping in at the Railway Café for some dinner ahead of their Train of Lights trip.

Once arriving at Gembrook Station, passengers will enjoy a 55-minute stopover, where they can warm up by the open fire with a hot chocolate and other winter warmers and capture a quintessential selfie of the lit-up train and station.

Pairing Puffing Billy Railway’s iconic whistle with a rainbow of dazzling lights that play on the surrounding scenery, the Train of Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all to enjoy. 

Train of Lights tickets go on sale Wednesday 25th May with limited numbers. You must book online at https://puffingbilly.com.au/events/train-of-lights/

  • Adult (16yrs+) – $75.00
  • Child (4-15yrs) – $38.00
  • Toddlers (1-3yrs) – $25.00   

For those parents looking to keep the kids busy throughout the day during the mid-year break, Puffing Billy Railway’s general excursion trains depart daily from Belgrave to Menzies Creek and Belgrave to Lakeside. With two daily services on offer, passengers can choose to visit the Menzies Creek Museum or stop and enjoy the Lakeside Visitor Centre, Emerald Lake Park, and the many outdoor activities in the surrounding precinct, including hiring a bike and taking to the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail, or jumping in the paddleboats on Lake Treganowan for a peddle around the lake. 

Here’s a little more about Puffing Billy Railway:

Puffing Billy Railway is Australia’s favourite steam train and one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. The railway, which commenced operation in Australia on December 18, 1900, is a genuine relic of more leisurely days.

The historic steam train ran regularly in the Victorian mountain district and was built to serve at the turn of the century to transport goods and passengers throughout the district. The railway travels 24kms through the forests and fern gullies of the picturesque Dandenong Ranges to Emerald Lake Park and Gembrook – the original terminus of the line – and is one of only two survivors of five experimental narrow-gauge lines used to develop rural areas in Victoria during the early 1900s.

Make sure you check out Puffing Billy on Social Media here:
Facebook – @PuffingBillyRailway
Instagram – @puffingbillyrailway

www.puffingbilly.com.au

Master Wu Needs You these school holidays for LEGO® NINJAGO® fun!

Look out folks, an awesome, activity-based experience is already underway at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne and if you’re not Ninja fast you’re gonna miss out!

Until the 25th April uber Ninja, mentor and leader, Master Wu, is opening the doors to his exclusive Ninja Training Camp as he looks to train and recruit a new crew to join his Ninja team. 

LEGO® NINJAGO® is under threat and Master Wu needs more Ninjas than ever to help save LEGO® NINJAGO® from the evil forces that threaten it’s very existence. Young Ninjas can enroll to attend LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne, join the Ninja Training Camp and level up their Ninja skills to master the six Ninja virtues – courage, balance, honesty, generosity, curiosity and wisdom. 

Your kids are going to have so much fun as they adventure through a series of exciting challenges! The new recruits will be taken on a journey to prove their Ninja skills and make it into Master Wu’s elite team of Ninja: 

Level Up BALANCE – Make your own Ninja stop motion video 

Level Up HONESTY – Make a pledge to be truthful 

Level Up GENEROSITY – Build a unique gift for Master Wu 

Level Up CURIOSITY – Join the Ninja hunt and search MINILAND for our missing Ninjas

Level Up WISDOM – Show quick thinking and play our Ninja Bingo 

“The journey to Ninja mastery continues, and we are excited to bring Master Wu’s Training Camp to  LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne. Focusing on the six Ninja  virtues – courage, balance, generosity, curiosity, honesty and wisdom – the children will be immersed  in a real-life LEGO® NINJAGO® master class, an exciting Training Camp Experience, helping to train the  body, heart and mind and to help save LEGO® NINJAGO® from looming threat. We can’t wait to open  the doors to our Master Wu Training Camp and inspire kids to experience the values that LEGO  NINJAGO represents and create some fun memories at the same time.” ” General Manager Katie Isaac.

Take your kids to this exclusive event and see them revel in an engaging, enjoyable and rewarding experience that will leave them bursting with a fantastic sense of accomplishment. They will earn a Ninja certificate, a Ninja headband, and a virtual gift from Master Wu. Plus, as part of the entry into the LEGO® NINJAGO® experience, guests can go on to enjoy everything else within the LEGOLAND  Discovery Centre too. We’re IN!!!! Who’s coming??

Buy Your Tickets Here

Welcome the year of the Tiger with a feast of flavour at Sovereign Hill

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Victoria’s iconic living museum, Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill, is celebrating the goldfields’ rich Chinese history this Lunar New Year with a food festival fit for an emperor.  Held in collaboration with the Chinese Australia Cultural Society – Ballarat, the weekend of the 5th & 6th of February will see a riot of colour, noise and movement as the Year of the Tiger is welcomed with a bang. 

Bursting with multi-cultural life, Sovereign Hill’s iconic streetscape will come alive with Chinese lantern decorations, lion dancing, parades, outdoor activities, music and an abundance of Chinese inspired food created by the renowned Peter Rowland Group

In celebration of the Year of the Tiger, Trudi Gray, Head Chef, Peter Rowland Group at Sovereign Hill, has infused her own history and heritage into this year’s Lunar New Year menu. Trudi’s grandfather was born in Hong Kong where Chinese food and family banquets have been part of her life for as long as she can remember. Having worked in Asia, learning from local chefs, Trudi mastered the skills, techniques and special flavours that now layer her own cooking.

Open until 9pm on Saturday 5th February, visitors will be able to experience all Sovereign Hill’s much-loved experiences during the daytime and bring in the Year of the Tiger with a feast of flavour in the evening.

Head to Main Street in the evening for ‘LNY@Night’ and indulge your cravings. There’ll be steamed dumplings, roast pork buns and classic sweet tarts, then for a more substantial second course, head further up the street to the Universal Transit Office or Charlie Napier’s Hotel, venture inside and choose from a range of delicious noodle and rice dishes to take you to the goldfields of old.

If you prefer a unique, sit-down dining experience, the New York Bakery is hosting a Lunar New Year Banquet on Saturday 5th February with pre-booking and payment of tickets required to secure a limited place at the table. Excellent value at $59 per adult, $25 per child, the banquet will celebrate the culinary traditions that Chinese migrants brought to their new home with a moving feast of soup, starters, roasted and traditionally prepared meats, fish, rice, desserts and a range of classic Chinese teas to choose from.

Head to https://summer.sovereignhill.com.au/event/lunar-new-year-banquet/ for more information and bookings (Sovereign Hill entry is not included).

If you’re a dedicated lover of Sovereign Hill’s Hope Bakery and the New York Bakery you’ll love the Chinese-inspired pie, available for a limited time only, from late January until the conclusion of the Lunar New Year festival.  The Chinese Char Siu pie delivers a flourish of flavour, and is chock-full of Char Siu pork, bok choy, mushrooms, baby corn and with a sprinkling of good year luck, it’s sure to be a roaring success.


Visit https://summer.sovereignhill.com.au for information and bookings about Sovereign Hill’s Lunar New Year Festival and Summer Series.

Sovereign Hill is located at Bradshaw Street, Ballarat and sits on Wadawurrung Country.

Like Sovereign Hill on social media

Facebook –  www.facebook.com/sovereignhill

Instagram – www.instagram.com/sovereignhill

Around Australia at 80ks – Your Summer ‘Must Read’

Summer is almost upon us, and despite international borders reopening (*ahem sort of/don’t hold your breath) I think many of us are still planning to adventure closer to home this year. If, like me, you’re hanging out for an adventure within Australia, this is the book for boundless inspiration. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of experiences, insider travel tips and dog friendly fun, and is full to bursting with possibly the greatest photography of our beautiful country I have ever seen. If you’ve ever wondered what it may be like to hit the open road and really explore what Australia has to offer, here is your inspiration. As you turn each and every page, you could almost be there inside Meredith & Sean’s bright yellow combi, patting Bandit the pup; the warm, salty wind blowing in your hair! Yes, it’s that good!

This great Aussie road trip took Mez, Sean and Bandit across four states, one territory and over
22,400 kilometres. They drove over dirt roads, down four-wheel drive tracks, onto ferries and
boats, to the edges of cliffs, across beaches and up mountains. They ventured through dust
storms and croc-infested waters, over red dirt, into some of the most ancient lands on Earth,
and along some of the most isolated roads in the world. All in their trusty vintage 1975 kombi,
Meredith’s camera at the ready and with a true sense of wanderlust to fuel their journey.

As a photographer, Mez knew this once-in-a-lifetime adventure would offer her the
opportunity to capture Australia in her own unique way, particularly after the dramatic
changes to our landscape since the devastating bushfires, and boy did she do this.. with a cherry on top!


When it comes to travel, Meredith is full of encouragement and enthusiasm.
‘It took guts to head out across this great big country in an old yellow kombi. I hope every
page gives you a little more of the confidence and comfort you need to set out on your own
adventure. If we can do it in a 1975 kombi you can do it too!’


One of my favourite things about this book is the oodles of great tips this awesome team share so you and I can explore to the fullest when we dust off our suitcases. From dog-friendly highlights (yay) and the best camping spots, to locating the tastiest cheap eats and the finest coffee, this is just as much a travel guide as it is an insanely beautiful coffee table book to share with the fam. After our trip to Kangaroo Island earlier in the year (best holiday ever) the children were thrilled to turn the pages and see the little yellow combi getting on the ferry & hitting up all the sites we’d loved too.

Around Australia At 80ks provides all the inspiration you need to get out on the road!

If you’re looking to elevate your next road trip or you know someone who’d love to live this adventure, you’ve got to get this book. I’ve had a copy for a couple of weeks and have picked it up over and over again, diving into a new landscape every time. Whether you’re ready to hit the road, or you’re happy to live vicariously through Mez’s adventure, this is the road trip that keeps on giving. Enjoy xx


About the author


Meredith (aka Mez) is an Australian photographer, writer and educator, based on the South Coast
of New South Wales, Australia. Specialising in landscape, travel and documentary photography,
her passion is in telling stories and capturing images that evoke a response – visually, emotionally,
intellectually or otherwise. Outside of photography, Meredith is an avid car collector and restorer.
She can often be seen at her local beach with Etta, her beloved yellow kombi, Bandit, her dog,
and Sean, her husband. They travel around Australia getting off the beaten track to discover this
amazing vast and wild country. Around Australia At 80ks is her first book.

You can follow Meredith & see more of her work on Facebook, Instagram and on her website.

Around Australia at 80ks
Two humans, one dog and a bright yellow kombi
on the road trip of a lifetime
WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEREDITH SCHOFIELD

Out now. Buy here

Affirm Press
RRP: $35.00

Take your family on a city skyline glamping experience!


Oh wow Melbourne! How many million years has it been since we were allowed to roam the city streets, pick up glorious cups of much needed coffee from the laneways, and visit all the fabulous corners of this city we call home? It feels like forever doesn’t it? However long it’s really been, it’s been far too long and I know lots of us are crying out for some city time. Well, it looks like we may not have to wait much longer, and I have a feeling I’ve found just what you and the kids need to give you all those Melbourne city vibes!

Unique & unforgettable experiences

Just to remind you why our city is so magnificent, Melbourne Marriott Hotel have come up with a glorious city glamping experience for you to enjoy with your family. Imagine their little faces when they see this pre Christmas treat. Awwwww!

When you book this long awaited escape, your 5-star room, which comes with a private courtyard, will feature a glamping teepee for the kids plus all the necessities such as sleeping bags, pillows and outdoor chairs.

The kids get to enjoy a fun night under the stars whilst mama & papa get to snooze in the comfort of a dreamy Marriott bed! We have totally earned this after the year we’ve had! I can picture myself there now. Hotel beds are just the best aren’t they? An added bonus with this package is you get a late check-out up to 1pm, so there’s plenty of time for a lazy brekkie, a little walk and even more fun time in the teepee for the kids whilst you kick back with the paper!

What’s included?

Private courtyard with Tepee tent

Large double bed

Range of custom cushions and blankets

Sleeping bags for 2 children

Fire pit with fairy lights

Individual courtyard mood lighting

Relaxation camp chairs for parents

Picnic table and chairs

Selection of games and board games

Family Picnic Hampers are also available to order to have in the courtyard or take to the park.

Reservations

For reservations or enquiries: Email: mhrs.melmc.ays@marriotthotels.com

Tel: (+61) 3 9662 3900

To book your family’s once in a lifetime adventure under the city stars click here!


About the Melbourne Marriot Hotel

Discover 5-star amenities and an enviable city center location at the wonderful Melbourne Marriott Hotel. Situated downtown, this contemporary hotel is just a short walk away from theatres, shopping, parks, attractions and restaurants. Unwind in stylish, spacious accommodation, featuring plush bedding and complimentary Wi-Fi – many rooms with stunning Melbourne city views. For relaxation, the Marriot offers a fantastic fitness center with an indoor pool and high-tech gym. Grab cocktails in the Elements Lounge and Bar or indulge in modern Australian cuisine at the hotel’s on-site restaurant. The Melbourne Marriot has an ideal downtown location, exploring top attractions with your family couldn’t be easier.

If people slept outside under the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently – Unknown

I’d love to know if you book this adventure, so keep me posted xx Liv

Covid and the accidental author

Charlie Golding is a mum on a mission to help children better understand the world we are living in right now. When The World Went Inside is a beautifully written children’s book, perfect for starting conversations with our little ones about life inside a pandemic. Charlie shares her story here xx


It was an ordinary bike ride in an extraordinary time.

At least that was what I was aiming for. If I could get out of the house.My 3 year old clung to the door frame, crying and refusing to leave; as I wrapped him in my arms and felt his heaving wracking sobs against my chest it dawned on me that this was no ordinary tantrum. This kid was frightened. As I held and shushed him, he finally started to talk. As the mumbles became more coherent it dawned on me what was going on. And with that realisation came a bolt of ice through my heart.IMG_2239

He was scared of COVID-19. 

At just 3 years old he was unable to discern between a virus which he could manage and control, and a monster which was hiding behind the bushes, just waiting to leap out and grab him!

This was March 2020, and COVID was just starting to get real in Victoria.

I had missed the memo about Doomsday prepping. In February I was living my best life as a working Mumma to three glorious dirtbags. I simply popped my proverbial fingers in my ears every time someone mentioned the dirty C-Word. Whilst I definitely enjoyed the virus memes and toilet paper jokes, all of that was safely contained within the internet. I was living in the real world – and it wasn’t going to affect me. 

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And then one day I walked into the supermarket and came eye ball to eye ball with a terrifying figure in a full HAZMAT suit and gas mask. I looked around me and the aisles were empty. My core chilled and I wanted to cry. Except I couldn’t, some bastard had just made off with the last box of tissues.

Suffice it to say that I didn’t handle the start to COVID well. However, as I sat in my hallway holding my sobbing baby boy, I realised that whatever I did next – I had to aim higher for the kids. 

At this stage of the crisis very little existed to help children understand COVID-19. Hell, there was very little out there for the adults. But I dug deep and came up with a Tumble Science podcast. The kids reacted enthusiastically and we listened to it again and again. They loved the science behind it – learning how the virus had mutated and where it came from meant something to them.

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But you can’t cuddle up with a Podcast. In our family we use bedtime stories as a springboard to deeper conversations; I’ve used fictional books to cover topics on history, sex, gender, race and equality. The story never covers everything there is to talk about but provides a baseline that propels the conversation forward. Naturally, my first instinct had been to go looking for a friendly family text; but being so early in the pandemic one didn’t yet exist.

Believe me, my immediate reaction was not to put my hand up to write one! I had a job, and a family and a crisis to deal with, after all! However, COVID-19 was dominating our conversations. I realised that the more we spoke about it, the more reassured we all felt. I communicate openly, it comes as second nature to engage children in honest yet challenging conversations. However, my locked-down friends were telling me that they weren’t sure how to have these talks. How much information to provide and what to withhold? After all, what information do little brains need? Can we damage inherent innocence by laying it all out too honestly?Microscope

My experience tells me that children will only absorb what they are ready to hear. If you talk confidently and provide facts reassuringly then you can trust kids to take from that conversation what they need. 

When The World Went Inside is our lockdown story.

It’s an illustrated book for children that emerged from our lived experience. It’s a powerful story told simply, written with the hope that children would see their own experiences mirrored within the pages and feel less alone. 

Hot on the heels of this global health crisis, is a mental one. There’s a lot that 2020 has asked of our little ones – from stopping and starting school, to living life as never before. Thankfully, they’re resilient little critters. 

Every time I hear from a parent or teacher about their child’s reaction to the book, my heart soars. Parents we’ve got this!!!

The creative world has stepped up and there’s now a toolkit of resources out there to help guide your conversations with your children; maybe my book will be one of them. However, my purpose for writing this is to plead with you to prioritise your mental health, whatever that looks like. Our children need us happy, healthy and whole. With us standing strong by their side they’ll continue to thrive, no matter what the world has in store.

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About When The World Went Inside

Learn how to stay safe and keep having fun in a world with COVID-19. This fun and beautifully illustrated book is best for kids aged 3-10 years old. If you’re parenting in a pandemic then join in the chatter in the socials!

www.whentheworldwentinsidebook.com

Facebook instagram

Tumble Science link: https://www.sciencepodcastforkids.com/blog