Another week another trip. This time round its closer to home and just Toby, Kristin and I. A seven hour drive to the rural town of Wagga Wagga (pronounced Wogga), staying in a lovely little cottage for five days whilst Kristin attends lectures and an exam for her University course.
Recognising that New South Wales is different to every other State in Australia, the drive to Wagga was very much likened to England. Beautiful greenery; farms, hills and sheep upon sheep.
We stopped off in Goulburn on the way through, famous for its Merino wool and holds the iconic ‘Big Merino’. When I was first told about these “Big Things” dotted around Australia I had no idea what people were on about. In many towns very large statues represent something that is iconic to the place. Like the Giant Mango in Bowen, North Queensland and The Big Banana at Coff’s Harbour in New South Wales.
After a very long journey, that would have taken five hours if we didn’t have a wriggly toddler in the back, we made it to Wagga where we stayed in a motel for the night before moving to our cottage the following day. The cottage was set amongst a large housing estate centrally located. Cottages are extremely different to lovely, hobbled, wobbly cottages at home. Lacking character and history, Australia haven’t quite got the architecture or style of England. But I admit it was a sweet place, decorated in 1950s style furniture and all the mod cons available. It was much colder during the days and nights so a lot of time was spent snuggled up to the gas fire.
Flexibility and freedom of choice with things to do and see during the day to keep the little one entertained was limited, obviously, being away from the colourful, entertaining offers in Sydney. They were long days but we both managed to fill them and made the most of the time to explore the ‘big’ little town, taking our first trip to the soft play centre, Noah’s Ark, which quite honestly was horrendous. Dirty, dark and dingy, full of country mums and screaming kids scoffing down fat hotdogs and chips that smelt stale and greasy. Chasing Toby down the slide making sure he doesn’t break a leg on the way down whilst older children push and shove him out the way. And yes mum I do remember Where ‘M Out in Tonbridge…yuk!
We also checked out the local swimming pool, with a long struggle to get Toby actually in the pool we both enjoyed a morning splash. A quick trip to the town centre to check out the shops and just a short walk from the cottage was the Botanical Gardens, which held beautiful gardens, a great playground for Toby and a miniature zoo, all for free. Sun shining and blue skies everyday, with the cool fresh air and walks in the gardens made the days lovely.
The day before our drive home Kristin was to sit an exam, and to her delight Toby hits her in the face and damages her eye. After dropping her at University an hour later I am picking her up and off to hospital. With a scratched pupil and lost vision it gave her the privilege of a doctor’s note for extra exam points. A long wait in hospital on a Sunday, no doctors on duty, with an unhappy Toby was not ideal.
The chilly evenings were thoroughly enjoyed though, with no access to internet, I made the most of chilling in front of the telly after long baths and catching up on some writing, and sleep!
Although my days were busy and long I enjoyed experiencing a new place in Australia and exploring it through the eyes of a toddler.