The Touring Toddler, Part II

May 3, 2012 at 6:16 am (Uncategorized)

We’re currently in beautiful Noosa, QLD, thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and sea air. We are at heart coastal creatures, and this little duck definitely prefers the mercury rising, so it’s been absolutely wonderful to be here. This is our last night – sob! – tomorrow, on to Llew’s cousin’s wedding in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

The following post was actually written last Sunday when we were still on the farm… time continues to elude me!

Due to some bizarre miscalculation – perhaps thanks to Moving Day Madness – what we always planned as a two-week stretch at Llew’s uncle’s farm is in fact one: we have to leave tomorrow and press on northward. The dates got badly scrambled somehow, and it’s a real shame – we’re just getting into the swing of things. The Touring Toddler even slept until 4.15 am this morning – his best night BY FAR since we left Sydney, practically a sleep-in from our point of view – and Llew and I are both just beginning to unwind. This is the perennial problem with road trips and holidays in general, isn’t it? By the time you finally manage to relax, it’s time to go. That’s definitely the situation here.

Time has unexpectedly flown by. It’s hard to know where to begin describing the rest of the week… but we had a daytrip on Tuesday I’ll tell you about because it was just so awesome. We made the trip to Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo (about 1.5 hours west of here), and it’s an amazing zoo experience because it’s such an open, expansive site. We also rented bikes there and cycled around the entire place: brilliant. All enclosures are gigantic by regular zoo standards, and the animals live in as open an area as possible – in places like the well-populated giraffe enclosure, for example, one might almost forget one is in a zoo at all. There is a sense of sanctuary about the place that so few zoos successfully engender – it’s an idea that sits uncomfortably alongside captivity, after all – but Western Plains really does seem a beautiful, peaceful home for the animals.

As you know, the Touring Toddler and I love a bike, and Llew’s no slouch when it comes to pedal power himself, so we made three very happy visitors once we were astride our two-wheeled chariots with Master J’s seat fixed firmly behind Llew’s. Cycling around a zoo circuit: what a genius idea. You can also rent a cart or even drive your own car, but I’d have hated the latter and I suspect Master J would have arched his back at that option too. Hopping in and out of your vehicle every few minutes instead of coasting downhill with the wind in your hair…well, there’s no contest, is there? Still, once you’ve forked over admission – something we didn’t have to do because our Taronga Zoo membership extends to Western Plains – families are no doubt motivated to stay in the car to save some cash. With zoo admission set at $46 per adult and well over $100 for a family, with bikes and carts extra, it’s a big day out. But with our zoo passes and a packed lunch in tow, we got out of there for thirty bucks – incidentally the same amount we paid to get into the Old Dubbo Gaol earlier in the day. Given the Touring Toddler was totally traumatised by that little side excursion (hmmm, could it have been the isolation chamber; the creepy, lazy-eyed mannequins in period costume; the hangman’s mask or the padded cell, I wonder…?), the zoo by comparison was a red-hot bargain.

Mind you, it’s not as though we’ve had to travel far to see wildlife in action. Driving home from Coolah after dark the other evening, we realised an owl was flying directly ahead of us on the road, using our headlights to better hunt wabbits. The owl’s poise and stealth instantly called to mind a sleek fighter jet, all aerodynamic perfection and deadly skill. Right on cue a terrified rabbit appeared by the side of the road, jumping, skidding and weaving in and out of the long grass at improbable speeds of his own. I guess bounding for your life will do that for you. The owl passed over the bunny then flew back into the beam of light, clearly coasting with intent. Llew immediately slowed the car so as to avoid hitting the poor creature now streaking blindly alongside us; the owl, apparently disgusted by our failure to keep up and thus fulfil our potential as accomplices, flew off into the black night to continue his search elsewhere. I tell you, it’s a non-stop live-action drama out here.



  1. litlove said,

    It’s wonderful to hear you sounding so relaxed and I’m thrilled to know you’re having such a great time. I completely agree about the relaxation.The first couple of days of any holiday, I used to spend feeling DREADFUL as I gradually unwound. And what a bargain the zoo was for you!

  2. Lilian Nattel said,

    Zoo on a bike sounds fabulous! And I’m glad the owl went elsewhere for his dinner. He must have it of course, but not in sight.

  3. Pete said,

    Your holiday sounds lovely so far. Am glad to hear that Master J is enjoying it too.Am off to read the first part now.

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