Map Guy planned it all and if the whole cartography thing ever falls through I'm sure he could rock it as a travel agent or tour guide. Apart from the infographic, we had daily maps and directions with a list of activities to do every day. It wasn't a "you must do this", more an idea of what was available. We ended up doing most of his suggestions because they were bloody good and involved a lot of trains for the short train-obsessed blond kid in our group.
He also booked all the accommodation. First up was a gorgeous farm stay in Harvey overlooking the valley and the dam, where Tricky
This was also the time when we went to a local winery to find wine that was two weeks past it's use by date (really, they have use by dates?) being sold at $1 a litre. That is not a typo, friends. I was in wine heaven and bought a dozen to divvy up.
Then we got to the next location, our base for the next four days, and it was amazing. A 1950s mill town turned in to a holiday village, with kangaroos and emus all around. They were kinda cute until we realized they were incredibly used to humans and would hunt you down for food.
We bought the special kangaroo mix to feed them with... turns out not only do they have insanely sharp claws but they remember who had the food. Those bastards followed me around trying to get in to my bag for the rest of the trip and completely ignored MG and Tricks. Twice they got in the back door while I was getting firewood (because I'm an idiot and left the door open).
And don't get me started on the emus. There were about four or five all together and amongst them were two males that were walking around with eight chicks between them. Talk about your overprotective dads! A few times they had a go at the kangaroos around us and they'd come towards me quite menacingly - given that emus look pretty menacing most of the time this didn't surprise me. They scare the crap out of me in a "haven't-forgotten-they're-related-to-dinosaurs" way.
Map Guy will tell you differently. He will tell you they ignored him completely so I can only assume that they somehow knew I'd eaten emu before, could smell my fear or had a personal vendetta against me. One of the bastards even tried to get in to our cottage. Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the raptors learn to open doors? THAT! That is what I'm afraid of!
On a side note, do you know what you do when a kangaroo and an emu try to get in your cottage and you're freaking out? Take a blurry photo then run like fuck screaming for your husband.
Nestled in to the middle of nowhere, the old houses were so quaint with all the original features including an ancient wood stove. There was also an electric stove in the corner for city folk like me which was great or we'd have been eating cereal and fruit the whole time. There was no TV, a handful of streetlights, a dozen other people in the whole village and our nights were spent sitting by the fire, drinking wine and
The cottage also had it's original plumbing meaning a solid ancient bathtub and outhouse. Yes. Outhouse. At first I thought "oh how quaint" and then the reality of wild animals and redback spiders hit me and I nearly died.
I know, I can hear you all telling this princess to toughen up. But I'd like to remind you that despite the fact that it was spring, when you're that deep in the forest, it dips below freezing over night, and, oh that's right THERE WERE FUCKING DOOR OPENING EMUS AFTER ME.
I'm not ashamed to say I invented my own outhouse rules. If it's after dark, freezing cold, there are emus after you and you're incredibly pissed on $1 wine, then you're allowed to pee in the bath.
On one of our day trips out from the cottage we went to a Lavender and Berry farm because we'd heard they have awesome pancakes (they do) and some animals that Tricks could feed.
Well, the little dude was more interested in their playground (we did ten playgrounds in eight days - more daddy brownie points there!) so I attempted to. I went to feed the alpaca and freaked out it's insane devil eyes. Did you know alpacas have rectangular pupils? Apparently it took offense at me saying that, because this happened:
That was also how I found out I'm allergic to alpaca saliva. Who'd of thunk it?
We couldn't not stop by the Donnybrook Apple Fun Park - the largest free entry playground in the country. Of course Tricky didn't want to go on the normal sized slides and instead embraced his inner dare devil and climbed to the top of the three story slide (with poor Map Guy following after). Normal slides are for pussies.
A visit to the Valley of the Giants saw acrophobic Map Guy impress us all by doing the treetop walk and even attempting the Bicentennial Tree... as did Tricky who cracked the shits, his cries echoing through the whole forest, when we wouldn't let him go any higher than the fourth rung. Did I mention dare devil?
We wrapped up the holiday in comfort at the in-laws' in Albany. We ate doughnuts, saw whales but best of all the child was constantly entertained, our meals were cooked, our washing was done and there was, above all else, an inside loo.
Do you have outhouse rules? Ever been chased by a wild animal? Allergic to anything weird?