Melbourne: Enchanted Adventure Garden (1)

The Enchanted Adventure Garden was a star find for us in the trip. There were a number of activities at Mornington Penisular, I can’t remember the exact reason why we chose there. Maybe because it promises a lot of activities. And yes we had so much fun that I think it’s fair I split the place into 3 posts. Hopefully it’s easier for you all to digest.

 

The pretty view that welcome us as we enter the garden.

 

We reached there in the morning after our breakfast. We had intended to spend just half a day there, but we took longer than we expect as there were too many activities. We sign up the boy for the “Tree Surfing Nippers” which happen at a certain time. So before he gets his tree surfing, we went to try out the mazes.

The mazes comes in all sorts of manner. Those at the front requires you to really walk through it to find the exit. But it is not so simple, you are expected to find some things along the way. There are instructions sign just outside the entrance.

Buddha head that we are suppose to find in the maze.

For example, we are required to find a few (can’t remember the exact number) Buddha head before we can find the final location. It’s not easy as you have to recall which ones you have previously found. It’s certainly easier to play maze on paper. Lol.

The final objective might not be to get out, but to find a nice place like this.

 

There are also mazes that brings you walking around with no objectives.

This maze brings you to the center to see the dragon and out. You choose at the starting point to see if you go the longer or shorter route. Suitable for young kids as instructions are simple.

 

Apparently, there is also a children’s section. But we didn’t go as we were not ready for a picnic. A big mistake we realize later. 

After you have enough of the big mazes, you can take a break and lookout to the pond to calm your mind.

There is a “dinosaur” at one part of the pond. Loi was trying to press the button to make him roar. Kids just love buttons, don’t they. Mine had some fun just pressing the buttons.

 

After you have clear your mind, you will reach an area with IQ maze. These mazes are small but requires some thinking. I recalled a maze with ropes of different color. You need to wear a belt and hook to one of the colors, then find the way out to unhook yourself. Not easy, but not too difficult.

This was the maze that took us a fair bit of time to solve. 

For this maze, if you try enough, you will still reach the objective. But we wanted to look for the shortest path, hmmm, let’s just say we got lost trying to trace the steps. It was fun though.

If you walk further up hill, you will see some mini obstacle course, but we didn’t really try it as we were looking for something else. The indoor spooky maze. It’s a little like haunted house, but not as scary. I recall there were lots of mirror to make you confuse. But it wasn’t that difficult to get out actually.

So this is part one of the post. Dedicated to the mazes. In the next post I will share on the tree surfing the boy did.

PS: Oh I forgot to mention, if you are going there, remember to pack your own picnic basket. They have a nice picnic area. Forget about the food in their cafe. They only serve finger food like nuggets, fish and chips.

Have you been to a maze garden before? Share with us your experience!

Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum

Melbourne: Moonlit Sanctuary

After we left Phillip Island, we make our way to Mornington Peninsula. We did somewhat a down and back up trip so that we can take the Great Ocean Road back to Melbourne city. It was a little de-tour, but we make stops in between to make the ride better.

At Mornington Peninsula, we paid a visit to the Moonlit Sanctuary wildlife reserve. This is our chance to get up close and personal with Kangaroos, Wallabies and Koala Bears. 

This was what greeted us when we enter the sanctuary.
 

The Sanctuary is pretty big. We took half a day and cover about 3/4 of the grounds.

Some animals like this emu are kept in cages.

Apart from the emu, we also saw enclousures for the Wombat and Dingo. For some of the animals, write up were also provided.

  

Some animals are free ranging.  

We also saw some Kangaroos in an open enclosure. We got quite close but didn’t dare take photo as they were quite huge and we were scared. LOL.

The highlight of the visit was the feeding. Feeds are available for purchase at the visitor center at the front when purchasing the tickets.

Zai feeding a Wallaby.
 

While we are scared of the Kangaroo, we had lots of fun feeding the Wallaby. They are in some enclose areas but the wallaby are free to come out, as they were fence out by ropes. We have to use the feeds to attract them over. 

Zai was initially scared of feeding them. So he threw the feeds into their enclosure. But upon some encouragement, he finally took the courage to let the Wallabies eat from his palm. And he likes it. 

Zai feeding a goose.
 

We also tricked him into using his palm to feed the free ranging goose. He found it ticklish to have the goose beak feeding directly from the palm and wouldn’t do it again. LOL.

We ended the visit with a photo taking with the Koala bear. They were sleeping all the way when we were there and woke up briefly for the photo taking. We won’t allowed to carry it, but just sending next to it while they remain on a branch specially for the photo taking. But Zai took the opportunity to pat it though.

  
I’m sure there are many wildlife sanctuary in Melbourne. But this is our first time visiting one, and we pretty much enjoy ourselves. When you have kids who love animals, it certainly make these visits more memorable.

Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum

Melbourne 2014: Churchill Island Heritage Farm

When people talked about visiting Australia, farm stay are kind of like a must. So initially when we decide to visit Melbourne we also thought of doing a farm stay. Especially when the boy loves animals. Unfortunately, due to procrastination, we didn’t manage to find a farm stay, so we decided that at the least we should have a farm visit.

So during the planning, we came across Churchill Island Heritage Farm which is in Phillip Island and a short drive from other attractions. We were also very fortunate to be offered a package pricing when we bought the Penguin Parade tickets.

We went out early that day, but we didn’t check out the activities happening on the farm before hand, so we were there too early. The farming activities only happened in the afternoon! Which was why we ended at Panny’s Chocolate Factory. Fortunately, the drive was short and we manage to have our lunch over at the Churchill Island Cafe. Just to mention, the view at the cafe is nice and the food is decent. Price wise definitely not cheap, but is an option if you don’t want to drive out.

The interesting souvenir store at the farm that is beside their cafe.

After we had our fill, it’s about time to start exploring the farm. It is quite a big place to explore, but we were rushing for the activities, hence we didn’t have time to look at the gardens, what a pity.

Zai milking the cow.

The first activity we manage to catch is cow milking. And yes, we get to “hands on”. The boy was a little apprehensive at first, but he manage to pluck some courage and tried it. I asked him how it was after he finished. He told me it felt warm. He was referring to the milk coming out of the cow.

Sheep waiting to be sheared.
Sheep waiting to be sheared.

After another mad rush to the sheep shearing area, well a short 1 minute walk actually, we arrived and saw a crowd already gathered there. The farmer was explaining something, unfortunately we were a little too far to hear. Chubby mange to let Zai sit on his shoulder to watch. While I join the uninterested Loi in some photo taking.

Wagon with no horse, but kept Loi entertained for a while.

There were also some free roaming animals which can entertain the kids in between the activities.

Free roaming animals at the farm.

Next was the whip cracking activity. Basically they showcase how they can use the whip to make crackling sound. It was not easy as they did got some visitors to try it out. And well this didn’t catch Zai attention either. Instead, he was more interested in this handsome horse near it.

Horse at he whip cracking area.
Horse at he whip cracking area.

The last activity was working dogs. Where the farmer dog whisperer explain to us how he train the dog to work in the farm and explains from which age can a dog be trained. It was definitely more interesting then the whip cracking.

The sheep that the dog has to chase back to the pen.

We were suppose to walk back to the front area where the visitor center is after the activities. But Zai wanted to see the animals a little longer, so we went back to the horse and we saw someone feeding the horse with hay. Zai tried to pick up some hay that has fallen on the floor to feed, but was too scared as the hay was too little.

Fortunately we venture further and saw a barn. We went in and sneak out some hay and the boy was happily feeding the horse away. 

When we run out of hay, the boy reluctantly left and we make our way back to the front area. And much to the boy delight, they were having a proper feeding session there. The boy manage to feed an apple to the horse and even got to brush the horse hair. It certainly was a very good experience for the boy.

All in all, I think the farm is still worth a visit for city kids like us. There were hands on experience and the huge area can definitely let the kids dispense their energy, especially after visiting the chocolate factory.

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Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum

Melbourne 2014: Pannys Chocolate Factory (Phillip Island)

Back in 2009, when Chubby and I was having our honeymoon at New Zealand, we visited the Cadbury Chocolate factory. Well, it’s some kind of experience but we weren’t really impressed. Maybe because it’s very technical explaining how chocolates are made.

So when we visited Melbourne Phillip Island last year, we were contemplating whether to visit the chocolate factory there, since it’s much smaller in size then Cadbury we thought maybe it’s not worth the visit. However, a sharp eye Zai spotted the factory when we drove pass it while going for the penguin parade. He asked what is it and when I told him it’s a chocolate factory, he requested us to go the next day. And coincidentally we were too early at the farm we wanted to visit the following day, so we decide to just drop by the chocolate factory for a quick look. And I’m glad we did, cause we had fun!

This tour is unguided, so you can spend as much time as you like inside the factory and areas that you like.

The display greeting us when we stepped into the factory. And yes we are sold just by looking at how pretty this thing is.

The first section of the factory show cases some exhibits made entirely with chocolates.

A town made entirely with chocolates except for the train track where a few toy trains run on.

I was quite impress with this town already until I see this display.

Pardon the bad lighting. I filmed it with my iPhone so its quite bad. you will be more mesmerize when you see the actual product. Even the kids couldn’t help but watched it a few times.

After being awed by their craftsmanship, it’s time for some educational “tour”. You guess it, the process of making chocolates. They tried to make it more interesting by adding in some “interaction” to the exhibits.

The kids get to pound on the chocolate powder to “make” chocolates.

After all the educational tour, you reach the Tikam Tikam section. Basically there were a few un-man game stalls. If you manage to complete the game, a small ball will drop out. If you collect enough of such balls, you can exchange for a small packet of chocolate balls at their retail outlet. And yes, we spend most of our time there. Even the kids have fun trying out the games.

Zai trying out a game to win some chocolate balls.

After we ensure each adult gets a pack of chocolate balls, we decide it’s time to move on (LOL). If I didn’t remember wrongly, it’s a continuation of the making of chocolates. And in one of the chambers, you will find a machine that dispense out different flavor of chocolates. For free! I tried the dark and milk chocolate I was delicious. The kids kept on wanting to go back to the machine. But was stopped by me. I really do not want them to go on a sugar rush.

After the chamber with free chocs, it’s their “machine” room where they mould the chocs into different shapes and patterns. There is also a large machine in the center that allow you to “write or draw” some pattern using melted chocolate. The chocolate will then pass through a conveyer belt to harden and you can collect it at the end of the belt. It was not easy to write with the machine and takes quite a while to reach the collecting end. And when it finally did, if you didn’t catch it in time, it might fall into the bin and break. So we weren’t really successful in our attempt. But the boy was very happy picking up the broken pieces and stuffing it into his mouth. (Yes, we spend sometime there as we took turn to write and waited for the end product. So the boy had many chances to sneak chocs into his mouth).

Our “handwritten” chocs passing thru the conveyer belt. iIts suppose to be Zai’s initial, but it failed terribly.

There is also a retail shop at the end often tour. You can get some of their chocs home.

Some special chocloates you can get from their retail shop.

All in all we found the visit quite fun with the interesting displays and games. We spend half a day there before proceeding back to the farm for lunch.

You can check out more from their website.

Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum

Melbourne 2014: The Nobbies and Penguin Parade, Phillip Island

When people talk about visiting Melbourne, Phillip Island always appears on the list. And when people talk about Phillip Island, the Penguin Parade is a must see. So when our family went Melbourne last year, we also paid a visit.

The Nobbies

Further down from the Penguin Parade, is this place called The Nobbies.

The Nobbies is at the tip of the island, so it offers a breathtaking view of the costal line. And according to the website, you will be able to see fur seals on the Seal Rocks. Unfortunately, when we were there in late March it wasn’t the season, so we didn’t get to see the seals.

However, while we were walking back to the car, we spotted some penguins hiding in their burrow. That was the closest encounter we have with the Penguins. And the kids were fascinated.

So if you have some time to spare, you can pay The Nobbies a visit before heading down to the Penguin Parade.

Penguin Parade

This seems to be the highlight of the island. Indeed it was a very special experience for us. Unfortunately, no photos and videos are allowed.

This is a ticketed event, and I suggest you pay for the Penguin Plus Viewing Platform. It cost more, but the experience was good. For the Penguin Plus, we were seated at a platform while waiting for the penguins to arrive. This can be quite a wait depending on what time the sun decides to set. And with kids and all, the viewing platform will be better. Besides, there are volunteers at the platform to do some background explanation to us.

Basically, the penguin parade is about the Penguins returning home after a day in the sea. In the morning, the Penguins will head out to the sea for food and also to escape the “eyes” of the predators like the eagle. And when sunset, and visibility is low, they will come out of the waters and head home. (There was a family joke when we were there. Zai was asking why the Eagles eat the Penguins. And I told him it’s because the Penguins are food for the eagle. Just like the chickens he love to eat. And the boy reply was “But I don’t eat the chicken on the floor…”. My young and innocent boy then.)

At the platform, you will be one of the first few to see the Penguins emerge from the waters. They are really cute, and when they march in a line, it’s even more adorable. You can follow the penguins on their way home. You will be walking on some build up pavement, while they march beside you. It’s a pretty close encounter. The kids likes it too. But the walk is a little long. So my young kids (4 yo and 2 yo) lost interest after a while.

As with most tourist attraction, there is a visitor center. You can find the usual souvenir shop and a cafe there. The kids had a bite before we head out for the parade. And if my memory didn’t fail me, there is a complimentary drink with our tickets.

If you have animal loving kids, then I think you shouldn’t miss this. Please visit their website for more details.

Have you visit The Nobbies or Penguin Parade before? What are your views? Share with us.

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Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum

Melbourne 2014: Silverwater Resort, Phillip Island

Ok, I’m so back dated on my post. We went Melbourne in April 2014 and now I’m trying to do some catch up post on that. Hopefully it’s still relevant to whoever is interested.

For this Melbourne trip, the first place we visited was Phillip Island. This is like the must visit place for tourist right? Lol. Anyway, we decide to spend 3 days there so we booked a resort for a two night stay.

Chubby being the king of procrastination, didn’t get any booking done until we were very very close to our trip. And his way of doing is to go to Agoda and see what they offer, open up Google map, check the location and if it is decent enough he will make the booking. So this is how we “stumbled” upon Silverwater Resort.

Location
Location wise Silverwater Resort is not at a “best” location. It is straddled between the touristy area of Phillp Island and the Melbourne city. There is no supermarket or restaurants near the resort also. So why did Chubby chose this place? Well, this is the first place we will visit after our red-eye flight. We weren’t sure the drivers will be able to handle too long a drive. We didn’t want to repeat the mistake we made the other time we went New Zealand, where we had a 5 hour drive after our flight and Chubby could hardly keep his eyes open. So he decides to choose a place in Phillip Island but is “nearer” to city. However, I’m glad he chose the place, cause although the location is not at the best, other factors do make up for it.

Accommodation
For our family of 4, we chose the 1 bedroom apartment that comes with a living area, dining area, balcony, toilet and a bedroom.

1 Bedroom Apartment @ Silverwater Resort
1 Bedroom Apartment @ Silverwater Resort. The boy is checking out what is available in the room.

As you can see from the photo, the “kitchen” area is not very big and is actually very close to the “living room”. But it is decent enough if you just want to heat up some pizzas like we did. I like it that they have a dishwasher so you just dump everything inside before you leave the resort for the day and the dishes will be clean when you are back! Ok, its my first time using a dishwasher and I’m impress actually.

Another plus point of the room is that it comes with its own washing machine with dryer! Yipee. No need to queue or share with others. I dump everything in before we turn in for the night and wake up to fresh and dry laundry in the morning. The best part, laundry liquid is provided by the resort too.

However, do note that there are apartments that is on the 2nd level. We were lucky to have ours at the first, which means we need not lug our luggage up and down the stairs just for 2 night stay.

View
A very big plus point of the resort is the view.

Breathtaking view taken just behind our apartment
Breathtaking view taken just behind our apartment

The view of the resort is really breathtaking. I will really call this place a resort, cause it just relaxes you. We have a decent view from our balcony and would love to bring my breakfast out and enjoy the scenery while eating. Unfortunately, the weather was too cold and with two jumping kids, well, maybe next time.

Facilities
Being a resort, the place has very decent facilities for the family. There is a heated indoor swimming pool. I’m sure the kids would have love to take a dip but unfortunately I didn’t pack their swim wear for the trip. Who would pack swim wear for cold weather?

There is also a decent size playground to keep the kids entertained while the adults prepared dinner. Well, that is what happened to us on the 2nd night. While Chubby and my MIL were preparing dinner at my SIL 2 Bedroom Apartment, I brought the kids out to dispense their energy at the playground.

The kids and adults having fun at the playground!
The kids and adults having fun at the playground!

Notice the picture at the bottom left. I dunno what it is called, but its kinda of like a big air-bag which allow kids and adults to jump and bounce happily on it. There were 2 big ones there. I would love to try it, but unfortunately, Loi was a little scared of the bounciness and I had to play with her at the playground instead.

But the playground out in the open has a downside. It was raining and rather cold the 2 nights we were there. So unless you are bouncing non-stop at the “air-bag”, its actually a little cold to be playing at the playground. And the flooring of the playground which is cushioned using soft wood, also meant that your socks will be damp by the end of the play. Well, this make the in-room washing machine all the more important.

All in all, we enjoyed our stay at Silverwater Resort. Its one of the better ones for the trip. The kids have things to entertain them, while the rooms are very well equipped. I would probably opt to go back there again if we decide to revisit Phillip Island.

Have you stayed in a resort at Phillip Island before? Where did you stay? Leave a comment for us so we can compare it out should we be going back in the future. T.I.A.

Kluang 2014: UK Argo Farm Review (5)

Finally, into the last installment of my review on UK Argo Farm. Sorry for having so many posts, the kids have so much fun that we think this should be documented down properly.

The following day is F&E (Free and Easy) day, there is no guided tour, but there are still activities to fill up half a day before we check out of the chalet.

Breakfast
As mention, breakfast is included as part of the stay. Again, we found the food a tad on the oily side but still edible. We were served fried bee hoon, eggs and samosa. For drinks there were coffee and milo with goat milk. You bet the girl enjoyed the milo lots.

After the kids had their breakfast, we allow them to run around at the back “garden” beside the canteen. It’s so great to see the kids running around in the open. They enjoyed themselves, while we continue to have our slow breakfast.

The boy enjoying his "morning run". Isn't it great for them to have a place to run and breathe in fresh air?
The boy enjoying his “morning run”. Isn’t it great for them to have a place to run and breathe in fresh air?

Pony Ride
The boy has been bugging us to let him go on the pony ride when he saw it’s available since our arrival at the farm. And so we paid RM15 to fulfill his little dream.

Look at the smiles on the boy face before he start his ride.  He is such an animal lover.
Look at the smiles on the boy face before he start his ride. He is such an animal lover.

The ride is not long. I think at most 10 minutes. The kids were put onto a little pony, and the staff will bring the pony around the area. It’s quite safe and nothing exciting. The boy actually asked us if the pony can go a little faster. Well, I guess we have to work harder to bring the boy to real horse riding in countries like New Zealand, where the horse can really gallop in nature.

Swings
There were some old school swings just beside the pony riding area. How can the kids resist them right? Especially when it’s so different from the rubber seats we get in Singapore.

Even Chubby cannot resist having a try on the swing. Looks dangerous for younger kids, but its more fun for the older kids as they can stand and swing!
Even Chubby cannot resist having a try on the swing. Looks dangerous for younger kids, but its more fun for the older kids as they can stand and swing!

Chicken Feeding
Remember we still have a packet of feeds left? Well, don’t forget to bring them out the next day. Cause it’s here at the entrance of the mini zoo that you get to use them to feed the chickens. And the chickens are certainly hungrier than the ostriches. The kids have fun throwing the grains and watching the chickens peck on them.

There is a small barricade between the chickens and the kids. So Loi who is afraid of animals can safely feed them.
There is a small barricade between the chickens and the kids. So Loi who is afraid of animals can safely feed them.

Mini Zoo
This is at the end of the “cornered area” of the farm, walking distance from the main lobby. The area is not very big and can be completed within 15 minutes. But because most of the animals were free ranging, the boy likes it lots and spend quite some time there. He was asking for more after we completed two rounds, but I have to reject him as the rest of the family has gone back and we are rushing to check-out so as to avoid the jam at the causeway.

Some of the animals we saw there. Most were free ranging!
Some of the animals we saw there. Most were free ranging!

Ice-Cream
We were given free Potong ice-cream as part of the stay. We decide to redeem it after our mini-zoo walk, as we were feeling quite hot. As you guess it, the ice-creams were made from goat’s milk. Initially, I dare not try it, but I saw how the boy ate without complain, I knew the smell wasn’t strong. And true enough there wasn’t much smell. But disclaimer, I ate the durain flavor, which I think should have the strongest smell to cover whatever that is from the goat’s milk.

Look at how the boy is savouring on his goat milk ice-cream.
Look at how the boy is savouring on his goat milk ice-cream.

With that we ended our short 2 day tour of the farm. Actually, if you go down early, you can complete the farm in a day. But we didn’t want to make the rush and chose to stay over. We didn’t take their lunch too, as we find their food a tad oily and we wish to head home earlier to avoid any weekend jam at the causeway.

Have you visited the farm before? Let us know how you find it. Or do you know of any other farm that is near to Singapore. Tell us by leaving a comment, we will like to visit it. T.I.A.

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