29 October 2013

What makes a holiday? {Guest post by Little Gumnut)

This week's guest post comes to you from the lovely Sophie at Little Gumnut who is currently residing just over the ditch in Australia. Sophie, her hubby and 3 kids are no strangers to travel, having lived in the UK, France, New Zealand, and Fiji. Sophie has written some fantastic posts about travelling with kids and in this post, Sophie explores what makes a holiday on their trip to Melbourne.

Sophie's post really resonated with me as we embarked on a similar trip to Melbourne last year with a 2.5 and 5.5 year old in tow and we also had to make sure that we didn't overdo it by trying to cram too much into each day and wear ourselves out.

I was so glad I re-read this post before we embarked on our big adventure as it was a timely reminder for me that we needed to plan enough time for rest and relaxation in-between the adrenalin rush of sightseeing.


Little Gumnut: What makes a holiday?

Iconic Melbourne.  Big City Challenger to Sydney.  Home of a bazillion crafters and makers of handmade goods.  Shopping and cafe destination extraordinaire.

What makes a holiday?  Do you have to see everything in a place?  Should you sightsee til your legs drop off or should you do nothing and simply rest?  What makes it relaxing?  Should work take precedence over family time?  At the end of the day will we say I wish I had worked overtime on that project or will we say I'm glad we carved out time for holidays with the kids when they were young?

The list of the things we didn't see is as long as your arm, but as we walked around downtown, three adults and five kids, I watched smartly dressed lawyers, fashion luvvies and business people rushing about I felt privileged to be on holiday, privileged to be taking time out of life and spending family time together.

With five children under 10 between us, we talked about what holidays used to be like before kids.  Long lie ins, eating where and when we liked, no limit on the amount of walking we could do.  Having kids however, does also give you some perks... a legitimate excuse to go to theme parks, zoos, ziplines, cool science shows and museums for kids are a darn sight more interesting.  There's the added bonus of balance too.

Seeing Melbourne in a week after doing a 10 hour roadtrip meant three days of sightseeing followed by two days of rest.  Bushwalks were gentle, casual affairs rather than exhausting goal conquering exercises.  We saw key parts of the city but also got have lots of coffee and snack stops and called time half way through each afternoon.  Oddly enough, we came away relaxed, feeling as though we had had two weeks away rather than just one.

If you only have a week to see Melbourne with the family our top picks are:
  1. A walk in the Dandenong Hills and tea at Sassafrass or Olinda villages.  They currently have a Spring Festival on in the Hills.
  2. Ride the Free Tram round Melbourne's town centre.  Yes, that's right, a FREE vintage tram!  It takes you round the major sites of the city on a 48 minute tour.  If we'd had more time that day, we would have done the full monty.
  3. Flinders Street Station and the surrounding area seems to be really central.  Next time we'll go on a historic walking tour of noteworthy historic buildings, shops and cafes in the area.  This time we walked through Chinatown in Little Bourke Street, down Collins Street, home to the Regency Theatre, lots of historic churches and the Town Hall, and down to Flinders Street and the National Art Gallery.  A very do-able walk with small children and not too long.
  4. Victoria Street Markets is a fun place to be.  Make sure you go earlier rather than later in the morning and grab a coffee and something yummy to eat.  We arrived just before it shut at 2pm!
  5. Drive over the West Gate Bridge and through the CBD at night.  All lit up, Melbourne is a beauty and on our date night, the hubster and I had coffee in Williamstown, admired the city lights from across the river and then drove over the bridge, past the Casino and through the CBD.  Admittedly we did get lost on our mission to find away through the one-way system but it was very pretty!  Don't forget Melbourne has some pretty strange road rules due to the trams taking precedence to drivers but if you can navigate your way through, you'll love seeing it all lit up.  Parking was about $32 for a full day in daylight hours but only about $12 for the evening so when we go next time we'll probably park and visit one of the cafes in the CBD.

Have you visited Melbourne?  What are your top picks to visit?  What makes a holiday relaxing for you?

Original post over at Little Gumnut here.


Sophie is an amazing and engaging writer and captures the beauty of life so effortlessly in her words. She's involved in many creative pursuits, and growing up abroad has given her a unique perspective on life which she shares wonderfully and openly in her writing. You can follow her blog at Little Gumnut, or via Facebook: Little Gumnut or Instagram: @littlegumnut. Do head on over and say hi!

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