Tag Archives: farmstay

Day 2 – Great Ocean Road

Trudi from Macka’s farm called on us at 830am the next morning. The kids had milks, eggs and biscuits before they went out to follow Trudi on her working trail in the farm. We had to put on the gumboots to walk around in the farm as there were droppings all over the barn.

Z helped to bottle feed the lambs, rabbits, chickens, goat, pigs and Alpaca. Alpaca was seldom seen in Singapore, or was it never, and I had only read about it in books. Trudi said they had purchased Alpaca to guard the farm because they were very alert, fast and cautious animals. They would not eat even if we fidgeted slightly because they had thought we meant to ambush them! The resident cats and dogs at the farm were great fun too. They followed us through the trail and Andy the dog was always ready for a game of Fetch with Z. Andy would not release the ball to me and opted for Z to throw for him to fetch.

We were done with the morning run and was invited to be back by 430pm for the evening feeds and milking of cows.

We headed out to 12 Apostles. I had wanted to do the touristy stuff and take a helicopter ride. Z was scared stiff and adamant about staying put on land. We had an equally good view from the lookout points and a field day answering Z on how the apostles were formed and destroyed.

My boy model with what was left of the 12 Apostles
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Along the board walkIMG_7822.JPG

From a viewing point (after 15 minutes’ of board walk)
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We also popped over to Lord Ard Gorge where Z quizzed us as to why a ship could hit the rocks and sank off coast.

Lunch time
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We had lunch at Karoa in Port Campbell where they served up an awesome calamari salad as well as a steak brioche and a eggs & bacon brioche. There was a famed food trail in the area so we headed over to the nearby visitor’s information centre to enquire.

The only thing that interested us was ice cream and chocolates. We headed up to Timboon ice cream located at Timboon distillery. It was a 20min’s drive.

It was disappointing that we could not see the making of whisky or ice cream. However, the Timboon ice cream was superb. It was so rich and creamy that it was actually chewy. Having tried the poorer cousin of Yarra Valley ice cream and probably every other less than spectacular ice cream later on, we appreciated the fineness of Timboon ice cream.

Timbon Distillery
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We drove over to Gorge Chocolates. They also did not show the making of chocolates. We got a bar of marbled chocolate and a cup of hot milk chocolate. The former tasted like Cadbury and the latter was too milky for my liking. Gorge chocolates was not impressive but it had a beautiful farm property. We saw ponies and even a turkey which was hilarious.

Pony at Gorge Chocolates
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We returned to Macka’s farm because it was time for the evening feed. Z and I tried our hands at milking. We learned that because it was a working farm, it was a lot more efficient for them to use electric pumps to draw out the milk which would pass through sterile tubes into a sterile steel container. Trudi filled a jug of milk for us to try. I asked her why I saw many Devondale signs on other farms along Princetown area. She explained that those farms supplied to Devondale and her farm supplied to another brand. They were paid about $0.50 per litre of milk. Boy, were there a lot of milk! There was so much milk that Trudi joked that she could have a Cleopatra’s bath. Practically every baby animal on the farm was on cows’ milk.

Our fresh jug of milk in hand at the barn
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In the evening, we also helped to bottle feed the baby calves. We learnt that cows had to deliver babies because they could nurse and lactate. Well, that made sense… But that was something which I never really associated with. New mummy cows had colostrum too! That was also critical for the growth of the baby calves. Trudi said that some companies had wanted to buy colostrum at a much higher price but the nutritional benefits for their baby calves were far more important.

We also helped to shoo the chickens back into their coop. It was funny to note that chickens liked shade and bread crumbs. Once we were done with the feeds, we played this toboggan-like device. Z also spent his time playing with Andy.

Z & Andy
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It was a lot colder and there was no flies, so yay! However, we also found out that Z left his water bottle at a store in Port Campbell so we had to drive over to pick it up. En route back, we stopped over at Gibson Steps to experience how cold it was… And it was super, duper cold!

Freezing!
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We rounded off the night with Z drinking the fresh cow’s milk and exclaiming that it tasted like the milk we bought from the supermarket. It was hilarious and also showed us how little impact verbal communication had on kids. We told him many times that milk came from cows but still… It certainly took a farmstay to help him learn where milk came from.

Day 1 – Arrival/Great Ocean Road

It had been a tough call to make to decide to go Australia. Apart from work, the last time Mr H and I travelled to Australia was 8.5 years ago. The high Australian dollar exchange rate, the early closure of shopping hours and the lack of love for wilderness kept us away.

However, X had been such a terrible toddler and he would be turning 2 years’ old in 2 months’ time that we did not think it was wise to go on any flights longer than 8 hours. While the initial idea of bringing the boys to see snow in Switzerland had been beckoning, the recollection of how Z had thrown tantrums hourly in wintry Paris still sent shivers down our spines and eardrums.

Hence, we decided on laid back Australia.

To be honest, at the end of the trip, we realized it was a good call. We were on the road for the first 9 days and spent the last 3 days in Melbourne city itself. The long drives were made bearable for the kids with snacks, music and naps.

We took the 9pm departure flight from Singapore. To help the kids sleep better on the flight and for the peace of other passengers, this was our usual wind down routine to expend some energies. It was such a regular routine that Z looked for the playground immediately after clearing the customs.

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The last time we would be entitled to the bassinet row, and X would soon have a seat of his own
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We arrived in Melbourne at 7am the next morning (Day 1 of the holiday!). We took some time to clear the immigration and were immensely thankful that with the declaration, we were able to bring rice and basic children’s snacks in. I had read online on how some people who had some bread rolls but failed to declare and was levied with a fine.

We took a long time at the Optus counter to purchase the prepaid SIM card because one customer jammed up the queue. We purchased the $2 unlimited local calls/sms+500mb data a day plan. We prepaid $30 per card. Over a span of 12 days, it meant we would use $24 and have a credit of $6 left for international calls.

Once done, we exited the building for Hertz which was located opposite the airport. We had opted for Hertz though it was pricier than the other brands. I had read online about how other brands had older fleet of cars or lesser stellar customer experience. Envisioning breakdown in a far flung location with 2 kids was enough to make me pay a premium for reliability. With the quadruple miles and 10% discount promotion for Krisflyer members, Hertz was a good choice.

At Hertz, we decided on paying extra for $0 excess cover, accident insurance and roadside assistance. It came up to an additional $37 a day for this peace of mind. I reckoned we needed all kinds of cover with 9 days on the road with 2 kids!

We had to walk to lot where our car was readied for collection. We brought a booster seat for Z but rented a baby car seat for X. I had wanted to save some money by buying a secondhand car seat from Singapore at S$30 and discarding it in Australia. Mr H felt that he preferred the convenience of renting so that we did not have to lug it alongside with a 31″ luggage, 29″ luggage, a cabin suitcase and 2 kids. Given that Hertz had fixed up the car seat and also saved us time in moving off and Mr H could save his energies, it was not too bad to have rented the baby car seat after all.

The only annoying bit was the GPS which was old, low battery and had a loose charging cable. We had to get Hertz to help us on that.

Beautiful Blue Sky which had been missing in Singapore for a long while, no thanks to the haze
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We were soon on the road and set the first stop for a supermarket in Geelong. We would be staying along Great Ocean Road (GOR) and read that it was best to stock up on food because the further we went up along GOR, the lesser variety and more expensive groceries (it was right – a pack of Tim Tams cost $2.50 at Woolworth and cost $4.90 at a Port Campbell General Store) would be. Furthermore, the farm which we would stay was a working farm and would not provide any meals.

The kids had a field time picking up snacks. I bought eggs, raw and cooked chicken, cooked pasta, vegetables, water and condiments. By then, it was 1130am. I had wanted to stop by Anglesea for lunch but the kids fell asleep so we decided on lunch at Lorne’s which was an hour down. It was almost 2pm when the kids were roused from their naps and we tucked into fish & chips.

After which, we had intermittent stops till Cape Otway at 430pm. It was too late to scale the lighthouse but there was an alternative path for the lighthouse lookout.

A fairytale lookalike path leading to the lookout of the lighthouse
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We continued on to Macka’s Farm which was located 3km away from 12 Apostles. It was 630pm when we reached. It had been an incredibly long drive with many scenic lookouts along the way.

We had opted for Lodge 1 which was the closest to the working farm and had the best view of the 3 lodges. It was also the only lodge where the double bed faced the trundle bed.

Beautiful view from the Lodge
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Exterior view of the Lodge
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The working farm which were 30 metres down from the Lodge
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Partial interior view of the Lodge (taken from the trundle bed)
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It was a good thing we had cooked food. All we had to do was to pop then into microwave. The only thing I really had to cook was porridge for the boys in case they did not like the cooked pasta.

We almost could call it a night till I realized the perils of staying on a farm for a city dweller like me. There were fruit flies and other flying bugs all over. It was a stressful moment because I had to ensure my makeup pouch was zipped and suitcases were shut. Mr H took on the honorary role of bugs’ chasing with a spray can.