MS. ULB

a Mother in Search of the Unbearable Lightness of Being


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Koh Samui with a Toddler

Olive’s +66 trip at 16 months small

Travel period: 18 Feb to 22 Feb 2016 (4 nights)

Weather: Tropical climate, year-round summer with temperatures averaging at 30°c.

Stay: Nikki Beach, Lipa Noi, west coast of Koh Samui.

Eat: Anything and everything since Olive has reached toddlerhood.

Moving around: We took the taxi to and from the hotel. We were total beach bums this holiday and didn’t move around much. Our main purpose for the trip was to attend a wedding so no research was done at all. Zero, zilch, nada! If we weren’t sleeping, we were either by or in the pool, or by the beach or in the sea.

Staying connected: We purchased pre-paid sim cards at the airport.

Useful Information (since I cannot provide you with much)Koh Samui with Kids: Your Ultimate Guide

Best part about not doing any research or planning for a holiday is the dolce far niente. Yes to the unbearable lightness of being and ultimate nua-ing (i.e. lazing around in Singlish)! I could do this all day, everyday. Will let the pictures do most of the talking.

Itinerary:
18.02.16 Thu Day 1: Checked in to Nikki Beach Resort. Eat. Swim. Dance. Repeat.

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Olive’s 26th flight out @ 16 months small.

19.02.16 Fri Day 2: Eat. Swim. Play. Dance. Sleep. Repeat. And of course attending our dear friend’s wedding at Ban Suriya, a 6 bedrooms villa by the beach.

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Ready to bum around all day! Hip hip hurray!

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Olive loves the sea as much as I do, maybe even more. Can’t wait to go scuba with this kid!

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Olive’s first destination wedding!

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Olive with the gorgeous flower girl and page boy.

20.02.16 Sat Day 3: Eat. Swim. Play. Dance. Sleep. Repeat. Plus a recovery BBQ party.

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Olive making friends wherever she goes.

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The little animal whisperer.

A short story: If the goodness of one’s character can be gauged by his/her love and compassion for animals, then there’s no doubt that Olive has a heart of gold. I was observing Olive play with 2 older boys and a cat. The witty boys were role-playing and named Olive Obi-Wan Kebaby, and the cat was Catlo Ren. I watched Olive interact with the Catlo Ren, whose ears were wounded, red, and raw. She tilted her head side to side, observing Catlo Ren so intently, and petted him on his back in the gentlest manner. It was as though she knew he needed a little more tender loving care. Moments like this are so special and memorable, especially so when I get that warm fuzzy feeling. I sure hope Olive will continue to love and care for animals the way she does now.

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The little coconut head enjoying her coconut.

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Shots please?

21.02.16 Sun Day 4: Eat. Swim. Play. Dance. Sleep. Repeat.

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Fambam!

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Olive just wants to eat.

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The one and only time we tried to get out of the resort for dinner at a nearby restaurant. BUT…

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this happened. Olive ran into the sea the minute we walked on the beach. We ended up in the sea, by the beach, in the pool, and had dinner by the pool instead.

Documenting a conversation with a stranger who came back to shore from a dip in the sea.
Stranger: Excuse me, do you speak English?
Oska: Yes.
Stranger: I’m drunk but my psychic ability only comes when I’m high. She (referring to Olive) is very smart and knows exactly what she wants.
Oska: Er…ok.
Stranger: Just let her do what she wants and be what she wants to be. She’s a smart one.

So the Oracle has spoken. Imagine if the stranger dished out a less than ideal prophecy instead!

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Sunset walk.

22.02.16 Mon Day 5: And we’re out! IMG_8290


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Staycation @ Kempinski Jakarta

Oska and I made an impromptu decision to book a one night stay at Kempinski Jakarta last weekend, with his Agoda points. Coincidentally, Olive turned 19 months that Saturday so it ended up as a mini celebratory weekend for her. It was our 2nd staycation at Kempinski and needless to say (but I’m still saying anyway), we love it there!

Here are the top 5 reasons why:
Location
1. We live in the suburbs east of Jakarta so staying right in the heart of Jakarta in itself was a nice change. Truth is, every time we get to staycate in the city center, there’s only one word that pops up in my mind, “Civilisation!”. Oska would roll his eyes or frown reading this because yes, I exaggerate. But you know, the city girl needs her bustling city living every once in a while at least.
2. Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia malls are right next to Kempinski. That means lunch at Tim Ho Wan , dinner at Tim Ho Wan again or an alternative Chinese restaurant, and desserts from Llao Llao and Union Deli. The Chinese girl needs her Chinese food fix too because that’s what we lack where we live.

Service & Engagement
3. Service at Kempinski was nothing short of excellent.
4. First time we were at Kempinski, I posted a photo of Olive on instagram enjoying her stay. Next thing we know, the lovely people at Kempinski sent her some toys and souvenir. This time for our 2nd stay, we got a room upgrade. Because of that we never made it to the swimming pool as the bathtub was enjoyable enough.

Amenities
5. I love Kempinski’s focus on the little people they call “little VIPs”. Apparently, we could have just called the concierge if we needed bottle sterilisers/warmer, baby cot, kids bathrobe and slippers, bubble bath, bath toys, changing mat, stroller, car seat, carrier, babysitting services etc. Damn! I really should have called the concierge for the bath toys at least seeing that we spent so much time in the bathtub. Also, there is a little VIP indoor playground at Signatures restaurant where we had our breakfast at. That means us parents get to spend more time savoring our food while the children play.

Now, photos.

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Hahaha! Can’t believe I’m back again, with Chuck Chuck.

Grand Deluxe Room we got upgraded to.

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Olive’s reaction when she saw the bathtub.

Taking care of Chuck Chuck before taking a nap.

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Nap time is always fuss free on hotel beds.

Heading out for dinner.

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Early Learning Centre, the must-visit toy shop. Olive spotted ELC from a distance away, flung our hands away and dashed into the store.

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Puffy-eyed Olive heading to Signatures Restaurant for brunch.

Signatures Restaurant.

Croissant in one hand, and a spoonful of omelette on the other.

Our little big eater goofing around and clapping hands to food, oh glorious food!

Free play time!

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Kempinski Little VIP Playground

Spending most of our weekend in the bathtub. IMG_8553

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Cartoons and water play. Getting Olive out of the tub was as difficult as trying to catch a greased little pig. She kept slithering out of my hands. 

Olive having snacks on the bed, on the chair, everywhere.

Olive hiding behind curtains. What’s the fascination with peekaboo anyway? 19 months on and she’s still loving it. Well, whatever rocks your socks, baby girl!

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Couldn’t resist taking extra photos of this girl in this handmade romper by @elisevaughn. If you are instacrazy and love handmade clothing, you would understand. 

That’s not all the photos I wish to spam but I really should stop. Till our next staycation then!


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Back in Bali with a Baby

3 months after Olive’s first trip to Bali, we found ourselves back in the tropical paradise again. This time with Olive’s paternal side of the family.

Olive’s Bali trip at 9 months small

Travel period: 20 July to 23 July 2015 (3 nights)

Weather: Year-round summer with temperatures averaging at 30°c.

Stay: We booked a 3-bedroom villa at Villa Kubu Boutique Villa Hotel and Spa for a travel party of 5 adults and a baby. There are 17 villas in this estate ranging from private one-bedroom villas for couples to 2- and 3-bedroom villas for bigger groups. This villa passed the baby test with its cleanliness and contemporary Balinese design.  It is conveniently located in the Seminyak district, minutes away from the beach and steps away from restaurants, bars, and boutiques. The service from the guest relations officer, Ms Ika, was excellent from the time we made a booking. They were very comprehensive in what they had to offer knowing that we had a baby in tow. Possibly a standard protocol for bigger establishments as compared to privately owned villas, this was the list of things that could be pre-arranged:

  • Meal upon arrival;
  • Champagne on ice;
  • Baby items (baby cot, high chair, pool fence etc.);
  • Massage at Spa Venus;
  • Special items in the maxi bar;
  • Restaurant reservations;
  • Tour programs, car or motorbike rental;
  • Fast track immigration services;
  • Nanny services

Ms Ika also took caution in asking if any of us had food allergies or special dietary preferences so as to inform their manager and chef in advance, for the preparation of our breakfasts. We were so laid-back to the extent that we even had to be reminded to provide our arrival and departure details in order to arrange for the complimentary airport transfer. I would definitely recommend Villa Kubu for families with elderly and kids.

Eat: Some useful Bali food guide links:
Bali’s best restaurants 2015 by The Bali Bible
Bali food guide – 35 restaurants, eateries & bars you have to visit by Ladyironchef
Again for Olive, I brought myself, the milk cow, and food pouches for her pureed meals.

Moving around: We hired a driver or cabbed to get to places not within walking distance of our villa and also walked around Seminyak for food. There are many boutiques to shop at in Seminyak but mostly targeted at tourists, thus overpriced. Child seats are not required by law but if you are concerned with road safety, it is best to book transport and a baby seat in advance. Lesson learnt from our last trip was to ditch the stroller and babywear instead since Bali is not stroller-friendly.

Staying connected: Prepaid sim cards can be purchased at the airport. Most, if not all the restaurants we went to had Wi-Fi access.

Others: If your accommodation does not provide the necessary baby equipment, check out Bali Baby Equipment hire where you can rent anything and everything you might need for the baby at very reasonable prices.

Itinerary:
20.07.15 Mon Day 1: Flew in to Bali and checked into Villa Kubu.

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Olive waiting to board her 8th flight out.

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Not too excited about the plane ride?

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Olive testing out the sofa @ Villa Kubu.

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Private pool.

21.07.15 Tues Day 2: Breakfast and swimming in the villa before lunch at Sardine, followed by Potato Head Beach Club and the beach.

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We actually brought the foldable Stokke bathtub with us for Olive’s baths. No harm, with sufficient luggage space.

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Getting dressed to head out!

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Lunch at Sardine.

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Daddy & daughter bonding under a tree.

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Fambam.

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Mesmerised by the rice paddies.

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Olive giving Daddy her best smile.

Olive has a knack for making friends (or acquaintances) wherever she goes, strikingly reminding me of me. Looking back at all my travels, I cannot think of a destination I had been to where I hadn’t engage in hearty conversations with flight passengers, B&B owners, local guides, and random strangers. Then again, even when I am back in my home country, I find it interesting to just chat up with people. I hope she will stay the way she is, and never be too shy to interact with people from all walks of life, maybe even learn a thing or two from them or simply just enjoy a tête-à-tête.

We wanted to have dinner at Potato Head Beach Club but there was no chance, without a booking in advance. Just look at the crowd!

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Potato Head Beach Club

So we enjoyed the beach a little, and went back to the villa for dinner instead.IMG_7519

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Olive, trying to kiss-attack another baby girl.

21.07.15 Wed Day 3: Drove all the way down to Uluwatu, on the south-western tip of Bali. Had lunch at Finn’s Beach Club and went to Tanah Lot for sunset and to visit 2 of the 7 coastal sea temples.

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Olive at Finn’s Beach Club.

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Inclinator down to the beach.

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Olive’s first ride on the inclinator.

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Beach please.

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Pura Tanah Lot, a pilgrimage temple and popular cultural icon in Bali.

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Pura Batu Bolong, another temple within walking distance of Pura Tanah.

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Groupshot featuring the corn on the cob.

22.07.15 Thu Day 4: Relaxed in the villa before we bade Bali bye bye!

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No guesses who enjoyed the most this trip!

Till next time!


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Bali for Babies

Olive’s Bali trip at 6 months small

Travel period: 25 April to 28 April 2015 (3 nights)

Weather: Year-round summer with temperatures averaging at 30°c.

Stay: Villa Mojo, in the heart of Seminyak district, with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms for a travel party of 8 adults and 1 baby. Unfortunately, Olive did not take a liking to this villa. She wailed the minute we got into the room nearest to the pool and did not stop until we got out and switched to another room. Coincidentally, a driver who came to pick some of us for our rafting adventure made a comment that went “No good vibes. This villa.” the minute he stepped foot inside. Eerie much? We did not have a good experience with the service staff in the villa too so I honestly wouldn’t recommend this villa to anyone else.

Eat: So many restaurants to dine at, but so little time. Some useful Bali food guide links:
Bali’s best restaurants 2015 by The Bali Bible
Bali food guide – 35 restaurants, eateries & bars you have to visit by Ladyironchef
For Olive, I brought myself, the milk cow, and food pouches for her pureed meals.

Moving around: We hired a driver or cabbed to get to places not within walking distance of our villa and also walked around Seminyak for boutique shops hopping and food. Child seats are not required by law but it is best to book transport and a baby seat in advance. Bali is not stroller-friendly so it was a bad idea to lug the Stokke xplory along this trip. It was after this trip that I swore by using a baby carrier for all of our subsequent travels.

Staying connected: Prepaid sim cards can be purchased at the airport. Most, if not all the restaurants we went to had Wi-Fi access.

Others: Check out Bali Baby Equipment hire where you can rent all the baby equipment you need at very reasonable prices.

Itinerary:
25.04.15 Sat Day 1: Flew in to Bali and checked into Villa Mojo.

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Olive lazing around before the flight.

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Villa Mojo

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Little bed tester.

26.04.15 Sun Day 2: Exploring Seminyak.

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All smiles going from one boutique shop to another. Also wearing the baby too low.

 

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Getting a whiff of beer for the first time at Naughty Nuri’s, now called Hog Wild.

Dinner and dance and Potato Head Beach club.

27.04.15 Mon Day 3: Taking a half day off from the baby for some white water rafting adventure. Perks of traveling with the family, especially with the ever doting grandparents.

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Coffee tasting.

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View from the coffee plantation.

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Oh life.

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Grandma giving Olive a bath in the basin. Coming back to this happy face made my heart feel so warm and full, also less guilty for leaving her for half a day.

28.04.15 Tues Day 4: Relaxing in the villa before our flight back to Singapore.

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Breakfast.

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Never knew that putting on sunscreen can be so much fun.

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Pretty babes. One with long luscious hair, one without.

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And we’re out!


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Great Ocean Road Trip with a Toddler

Oska and I love road trips. We met through a motoring club back in our university days. The road trips we took, as part of the club activities, played a part in bringing us together as a couple. We did a few road trips when we were dating. From Lhasa to Mount Everest Base camp, Florence to Rome, George to Capetown and most recently, Australia’s Great Ocean Road (GOR) with a toddler in tow. Look how far we’ve come!

So here I am, documenting our 3 days 2 nights GOR trip pitstops and highlights, with a 14 months toddler.

Our 3D2N GOR Route (summarised)

GORT

Day 1: Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens hotel > Werribee Open Range Zoo > Colac (lunch & Olive’s poopstop) > Port Campbell Jetty > Portside motel (check-in) > The Arch > The Grotto > London Bridge > Port Campbell (dinner) > Twelve Apostles Port Campbell National Park (sunset)

Day 2: Loch Ard Gorge > 12 Apostles Helicopters > Apollo Bay > Cumberland Lorne resort (check in & lunch) > Explore Lorne

Day 3: Teddy’s Lookout > GOR Memorial Arch > Aireys Inlet Splitpoint Lighthouse > Bells Beach > Torquay (lunch & surf shop outlet shopping) + Australian National Surfing Museum > Diamond Railway Valley > Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, Yarra valley (check-in & dinner)

Note: Most people would have taken the coastal Great Ocean Road from Melbs city to Port Campbell (estimated 4hrs 15min no stops) and back via the faster inland Princes Highway route ( estimated 3hrs 15min no stops), but we did the reverse due to constraints from last minute booking of accommodations.

Top resource: Check out www.visitgreatocean.org.au, more specifically the official touring map which had all the information I needed in 2 pages.

GOR Map

Screenshot of the GOR official map. Pretty neat, huh?

GOR Highlights

Torquay
The official start of the Great Ocean Road. We went there to check out the surf shops and chanced upon the Australian National Surfing Museum. Also checked out Bells Beach because Olive, our little mermaid, needed her beach fix.

Aireys Inlet Split Point Lighthouse
We missed the Cape Otway Lightstation at the tip of the Southern coastline, so we went to Split Point Lighthouse instead.

Memorial Arch
This is where we battled the notorious summer flies and the buses of tourists to get a mandatory shot of the famous memorial arch and ‘diggers’ statue.

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Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch

Olive, doing the Simba at the memorial arch.

Lorne
Stayed a night at Lorne which was a great base for our road trip.  The beach and the playground were enough to keep Olive busy the whole day. This seaside town is definitely not to be missed. IMG_0998IMG_0987

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The Playground, Lorne.

Went to Teddy’s lookout for yet another spectacular view of the GOR coastline.

Apollo Bay
Olive enjoying the sun, sand, and sea at Apollo Bay! Just like every parent who thinks their kid/kids is/are the best, here’s my BEST KID EVER:
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12 Apostles Helicopters
We went to 12 Apostles Helicopters for Olive’s first helicopter ride. Prior to the trip, I wrote to them enquiring about the possibility of having an infant/toddler on the flight, safety aspects etc. so here are some useful information gathered:

Minimum age restriction: None. Apparently they fly infants every day because modern age parents are cool and adventurous like that.
Price: Price for children 3 years of age and above are the same as for an adult as they are required to occupy a full adult seat. Infants who have not yet reached their 3rd birthday may sit on the lap of an adult for a flat fee of AUD20.
Prices are per person and start at:
$ 145.00 – approx. 15 mins for 12 Apostles – London Bridge
$ 235.00 – approx. 25 mins for 12 Apostles – Bay of Islands
$ 570.00 – approx. 60 mins for 12 Apostles – Bay of Islands – Cape Otway Lighthouse
Other safety requirements: Only one infant may sit in an aircraft and must be seated in the rear of the aircraft.
No bookings required.

We took the shortest and least expensive ‘London Bridge’ flight, and were lucky enough to have a chopper all to ourselves.

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View from the top.

Twelve Apostles Port Campbell National Park
I had the best sunset walk ever, along the stunning coastline which shone and shimmered at dusk. Hand in hand with Oska and Olive, my heart felt full yet light. It was one of those remarkable moments where Oska would ask me, “we won’t ever forget this, right?” As long as my memory doesn’t fail me, NO, NEVER! This is it! The unbearable lightness of being I seek.
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Loch Ard Gorge

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The GrottoIMG_0396IMG_0351The Arch

Finally, let me leave you with my top 5 survival tips for parents with kids on a road trip:

1. Stock up whatever you need in the car, and make it as self-sufficient as possible.

2. Mark your pit stops, pee and poop stops, and never miss the food stops!

3. Be flexible even when things don’t go as planned because they almost always don’t go according to plan, especially with kids. We missed some places we wanted to visit, like Gibson steps, Cape Otway and Kennett River but quality time spent at the other sights more than made up for what we missed.

4. & 5. Go easy, go with the flow & enjoy every minute and every second of your trip!


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Diamond Valley Railway fun

Oh what fun it is to ride on a miniature train!

So glad we made a pit stop at Diamond Valley Railway from Great Ocean Road to Yarra Valley. We only managed one ride in a slight drizzle before it started raining, and what a memorable ride it was. Just look at the glee on Olive’s face!

There weren’t many people when we were there due to bad weather, just two other families with kids. One boy in particular seemed to have taken more than 10 rides, and exasperated ticket-buying Dad had to play tug of war every time his boy got off the train. Mom was just going with the flow, accepting her fate as train ride buddy. So kid won. Every. Single. Time. Until rain came and saved the parents’ day. The end. Now let’s wait and see how Oska and I manage Olive’s toddlerhood.

If you are travelling in Melbourne with kids or if you are a railfan, I would highly recommend making a trip there.

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Running Times: Sundays only 11am-5pm
Tickets: AUD3 per passenger per ride; free for children under 2
Location: Eltham Lower Park, Eltham Victoria 3095

Interestingly, this railway is staffed by volunteers only. Those we met all looked like Santa Clauses in different shape and sizes, who were taking a break in summer by doing some volunteer work. They were friendly and informative, and chatted with us while we waited for our mini train ride to commence.

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The look on Olive’s face when she spotted the train! Oooooh!


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Sydney & Melbourne with a Toddler

Olive’s +61 trip at 14 months small

Travel period: 12 Dec to 27 Dec 2015 (2 weeks)

Weather: Summer with temperatures between 23°c to 33°c in Sydney, and 22°c to 42°c in Melbourne. Experienced a major heatwave in Melbs with temperatures soaring to  40°c and above.

Stay:
Sydney – Meriton Serviced Apartments Campbell Street
Blue Mountain – Lurline Guesthouse
Melbourne – Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens & Oaks WRAP on Southbank
Port Campbell – Portside Motel
Lorne – Cumberland Lorne Resort
Yarra Valley – Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa
Phillip Island – Seahorse Motel

Eat: Anything and everything, anywhere and everywhere since Olive has reached toddlerhood. Plus, Sydney and Melbourne are both kid-friendly so we had plenty of food options

Moving around: We took the public transport mostly in Sydney with our Opal card, rented a car via Avis to get to Blue Mountain, and rented a car via Budget for Melbourne. Check out DriveNow website for car and campervan hire price comparisons across the car rental companies. Child seats required by law in Australia.

We took a taxi from Sydney airport to Meriton at Campbell street and we were allocated a maxi-cab with car seat by the taxi traffic manager. This trip set us back by AUD90+ or more, I can’t quite remember the exact amount, but definitely way too expensive! My heart was racing together with the taxi meter. So I found out from the NSW Taxi Council website that (1)  there will be a 50% charge on top of the standard charges if you request for a maxi-cab but you are not using a wheelchair, or if there are 5 or more people in your group, and (2) in taxis, children 12 months up to 16 years do not actually need a baby seat, just a suitable seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened would suffice. So we could have avoided paying a premium if I had done my research earlier. We took a shuttle bus from Meriton at Campbell street to Sydney airport for our return flight via AirBus airport shuttle which cost AUD30 per adult.

Both Sydney and Melbourne are stroller-friendly and I was recommended by friends living there to bring a stroller along. But we made do with our trusty Ergobaby 360 carrier since Olive preferred to walk run around on her own anyway. Also, we were moving around quite a bit so we decided to ditch the stroller for greater mobility.

Staying connected: We purchased prepaid sim cards from Optus when we arrived at Sydney airport and there were various plans available, from AUD2 a day to monthly plans. The salesperson advised us on which plan to go with based on our needs. We got the AUD40 ultimate plan for more data in case we needed to stream Youtube videos to keep Olive occupied on our road trip.

Itinerary:
12.12.15 Sat Day 1: Caught the 7hrs red-eye flight from Jakarta to Sydney. Checked into Meriton Serviced Apartments Campbell Street.

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Olive’s 19th flight @ 13 months going on 14!

13.12.15 Sun Day 2: Circular Quay Station and around. Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Royal Botanic Gardens, and The Rocks.

14.12.12 Mon Day 3: Celebrating Olive’s 14th month at Taronga Zoo via Captain Cook Cruises Zoo Express, Sydney Tower Eye, and Hyde Park. Window shopping at Queen Victoria Building.

15.12.12 Tue Day 4: Picked up car from Avis. First stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park en route to Scenic World Blue Mountains. Checked into Lurline Guest House. Explored Leura village and went to Echo Point.

16.12.12 Wed Day 5: The day we were stuck at the airport as heavy storms hit Sydney with tornado, hail, strong winds, and flash floods. Most flights were grounded, the rest delayed. Jetstar failed us and Tigerair saved the day for our domestic flight from Sydney to Melbourne. And yes, we purchased another set of tickets on the spot in order not to mess up our itinerary, mostly the prepaid accommodation bookings. Checked into Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens.

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Rain, rain, go away.

17.12.12 Thu Day 6: From hailstorm in Sydney to heatwave in Melbourne. But we kept our cool and travelled on, with our spirits soaring as high as the temperatures. Toured Melbs city on the Visitor Hop-on Hop-off Shuttle at AUD10 per person (free for children 9 and under) and visited Harbour Town and Royal Botanic Gardens which was right across the Shrine of Remembrance. Walkabout around Flinders street station, where Federation Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and Hosier Lane are closely located. Took the free City Circle Tram back to Radisson hotel.

18.12.12 Fri Day 7: Picked up car from Budget for the start of our Great Ocean Road trip! First stop at Werribee Open Range Zoo en route to Port Campbell via Princes Highway. Most people would have taken the coastal Great Ocean Road from Melbs city to Port Campbell (estimated 4hrs 15min no stops) and back via the faster inland Princes Highway route ( estimated 3hrs 15min no stops), but we did the reverse due to constraints from last minute booking of accommodations. Checked into Portside motel and went straight to Twelve Apostles Port Campbell National Park for sunset to see the remaining 8 apostles, and also checked out The Arch, The Grotto, and the London Bridge.

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Safari tour @ Werribee Open Range Zoo.

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Indoor play space, Ranger Kids.

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Sunset at the Twelve Apostles.

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Show your teeth when you smile, Dada!

19.12.12 Sat Day 8: Went to Loch Ard Gorge before Olive took her first helicopter ride at 12 Apostles Helicopter. Drove to Apollo Bay for lunch and some beach fun. Checked into Cumberland resort at Lorne and explored the seaside town.

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Apollo Bay with the BEST KID EVER!

20.12.12 Sun Day 9: Teddy’s lookout. Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch. Aireys Inlet Split Point Light House. Bells beach. Lunch break, surf shop outlets, and the Australian National Surfing Museum at Torquay. Diamond Valley railway for a miniature train ride en route to Yarra Valley. Checked into Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort and had dinner at Rae’s restaurant.

21.12.12 Mon Day 10: Healesville Sanctuary for our animal fix. Coombe Yarra Valley Melba Estate for lunch. Domaine Chandon for a winery visit. Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery for an overdose of chocolates and ice cream.

22.12.12 Tue Day 11: Puffing Billy train ride from Belgrave to Lakeside and back. Picnic lunch at Emerald Lakeside Park. Drove on to Phillip Island. Checked into Seahorse motel, had dinner and off we went for the Penguin Parade.

23.12.12 Wed Day 12: Maru Koala & Animal Park for Olive’s animal feeding and petting fix. Brighton beach for her love of the sand and the sea. Dinner at Humble House near the beach. Checked into Oaks WRAP on Southbank.

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Little mermaid as happy as can be.

24.12.12 Thu Day 13: Last day in Melbs. Walked around Crown and along the Yarra river. Flew back to Sydney. Checked into Meriton Campbell street.

25.12.12 Fri Day 14: Took a bus to Bondi beach for a picnic and of course, again, the beach on Christmas day. Another walk in Hyde Park.

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Back hug for Dada on Christmas day @ Bondi beach.

26.12.12 Sat Day 15: Brunch at Sydney Fish Market. Harbourside shopping and Olive’s play date fun with a friend at the children’s playground at Darling Harbour. Last stop at the Powerhouse Museum where we checked out The Art of the Brick: DC Comics by Nathan Sawaya, a temporary exhibition which will close 1 May 2016.

27.12.12 Sun Day 16: Flight back from Sydney to Jakarta.

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Olive’s 22nd flight and counting.

So the question I’ve been asked by fellow mamas, “Traveling with baby/toddler, yay or nay?” Look above for what we have covered with a toddler in tow and I say HELL YAY! It is true what Peter Pan said, that all you need is faith, trust, and pixie dust! Have faith in yourself, trust that your kid will amaze you by how adaptable they are in many ways, throw in a little pixie dust (in the form of a prayer, or milk, or snacks, or toys, or whatever works for potential parent/kid-meltdowns) and you are good to go!

Ending off this post with our super trooper who is proving to be mama’s best travel companion, aside from Oska of course.

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The little traveller.