11 January 2013

Back from Tasmania

Happy new year! 2013 has well and truly kicked in, and we have got back into the home, school and office routine.

Our year-end family vacation in Melbourne and Tasmania was a nice 3-week long family bonding time, with lots of time spent out in nature, bush walking, doing a scary flying-fox routine above the tops of trees, enjoying Australian food and relaxing!

We went on 3 short boat rides during this trip - at Strahan, Port Arthur and Bruny Island - and my son developed a love for fresh raw oysters! Much to the surprise of everyone, as we think this culinary appreciation usually kicks in during adulthood. My little girl refuses to touch the stuff!

Australia is as my husband and I know and remember it from our student days - a familiar place that we like to go back to. With its weather, geographic closeness to Malaysia, excellent range of international-standard cuisine, abundance of outdoor activities, cleanliness and general safety, it is a sure bet for family holidays. Except for the strength of the Australian dollar!!! It's getting expensive to go to Australia.

The Hollybank Treetop Adventures  was a unique experience for us, a little scary for my 7-year old girl. She and I doubled up - we had our individual harnesses but shared the same heavy hook that clasps us to the cables- and as we zoom down the steel cables, she would hook her legs around mine and sit on my lap.

My boy did very well as he didn't double up with an adult and did all the 7 high-wire canopy rides by himself. I knew he was nervous and the whole family encouraged him. Due to his weight (under 40 kg) and the strength of winds that day, he only made it halfway down 2 of the longer cables; he was taught to do the "walrus", basically trying to wiggle yourself forward until the guides waiting on the other end of the cable can slide their locking-mechanism towards your hook, clamp on and reel you in like a fish. On the longest cable ride, my son couldn't walrus forward very much, so he had the privilege of being "rescued" by his guide - the guide hooked himself back onto the other parallel cable and climbed out towards my son to clamp the locking mechanism onto his hook. There my boy was, dangling very very high up above the tree line but calm.  I was very proud of him.

We had a different, and less frightening, tree top experience at the Tahune Air Walk . It was pleasant and refreshing to walk amongst the tops of the tall Australian trees on securely constructed steel bridges.

My little girl took one of her longest walks yet - when the family took in the sights of Cradle Mountain-  6km around the Dove Lake Circuit. Poor baby, and she was having a stomach bug too at that time. We stayed at a very charming log cabin at Highlander Cottages, complete with a fireplace, bunk beds and visiting wallabies every night. 

These were a few of the main highlights of our 2012 family holiday, and I am grateful for the good health and safety of my family then, in 2012 and pray for my family's well being into 2013. As well as good wishes for health and happiness to all my friends and readers in this year of the Snake.

(pictures from Hollybank, Tahune FB page and http://www.cradlehighlander.com.au/)

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