Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Week 9: Our First Family Roadtrip

Over the weekend Hubby, Micah and I drove our way up to Wollongong, NSW for 3 nights to visit hubby's grandparents whom we haven't seen for more than 5 years. Well, we did see Nana Peterson about a year ago when she came down to Melbourne... but otherwise we haven't been up to see them since our first roadtrip to NSW when I first arrived in Australia in 2006, before we were married.


The trip from Berwick, VIC to Wollongong, NSW is approximately 887km and takes about 9 hours. So, on Saturday morning we got up nice and early (3am) and got ready and finished packing. I gave little Micah a feed before we left and finally left the house at 4.30am. We always say a prayer before we leave for a big trip, for God's protection and a safe trip.

At the Submarine Museum Park, Holbrook
Micah is a great traveller. He is so easy going. He sleeps in his little capsule while we're on the road and we make regular stops every hour and a half to feed, change and stretch. We mostly stopped at Service Centres on the highway for convenience, but occasionally we drive into a town to quickly check out some interesting sights and scenes.

Giant windmills on the Hume Highway
"Big Merino" in Goulburn, NSW
We arrived at our accommodation in Wollongong at 3.30pm. That's a total of 11 hours on the roads including breaks. It wasn't too bad actually. We made a good decision to leave nice and early so by the time we've arrived, we feel like we still have the rest of the day to enjoy and it's not just one whole day of just driving and sitting in the car.

We stayed at the Belmore All Suites Hotel on Smith Street. It was quite a good accommodation place considering its location (walking distance from the Town Centre and Street Mall, also very close to the Beach / Harbour) and it's quite reasonably priced. We paid $139 per night for a One Bedroom apartment. It's not the most modern accommodation but the rooms are quite spacious and had all the facilities we needed.

Belmore All Suites Hotel @ Smith St, Wollongong
Our One Bedroom Apartment
Full kitchen facilities
Our bedroom
Micah's bedroom / play area
Micah absolutely loved sleeping in his little portacot (with bassinet attachment). It's like a hammock that can swing slightly so we usually "rock" him to sleep and he's off to dreamland within minutes!
Every night while we were there we went and had dinner at Nana's. It was great to spend time with her and have dinner with family, as we also caught up with one of hubby's uncles on the first night. My sister in law and her family also made the trip up from Melbourne the same time as us. It was great that not only was this our first trip away as a family with Micah, but we also got to travel with my sister in law's family.

On Sunday, hubby and I decided to order some Room Service for breakfast because we didn't manage to go to the shops to pick up some breakfast. The "Big Breakfast" was enough to feed the both of us!


Then, we made our way to Wollongong Harbour in the morning to check out the views. It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies so my photos below turned out alright:


Then, we went off to Crossroads Christian Community aka Fairy Meadow Anglican Church for their 10am church service. Hubby knew some people at the church so it was good to visit their church. It was a nice and simple church service - and Micah and I got to sit in the baby "cry room" so he wouldn't disrupt the service with his baby noises.

Part of the Creche especially for younger babies and mums at the church
After the church service, we made our way down to Nan Tien Temple at Berkeley approx. 15 minutes away for lunch and some sightseeing. The Nan Tien Temple is apparently the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere and attracts quite a number of tourists and visitors each year.

Nan Tien Temple - front entrance
When we arrived, I was actually quite impressed with the size of it. It was also the Chinese New Year festival at the temple, so there were lots of people and some special prayers happening in the temple. There were also a few rooms with special displays of ornaments and calligraphy, as well as a Museum, but we weren't allowed Photography in those areas.

The courtyard / garden
Tree of Prosperity
Entrance to the Main Worship Area
The Lotus Pond @ Nan Tien Temple
The Pagoda
We had lunch at the Dew Drop Inn Tea House at Nan Tien Temple, where they only serve Vegetarian dishes. To read about the Tea House, please head over to my Food Blog at www.kimbaskitchen.com for a full food review.

After we were done walking around the temple, we went back to the hotel for a rest and then dinner at Nana's. The next day, we picked up Nana at 11am and went to visit Granddad Peterson at the Nursing Home. That was a special moment especially for hubby and my sister in law, and I know they are both very glad they got to see him and very glad we made this trip.

After the visit, we took Nana out to lunch at a Cafe on Bulli Beach. It was just nice to relax and have lunch with beautiful views of the beach.

The Cafe at Bulli Beach
View from the Cafe - some kids are having swimming lessons and it was freezing cold!!
Free clean up, lol.
Classic Fish and Chips
Salt and Pepper Squid
After lunch, we went back to the hotel again to put the little man to sleep. Then, we had our last night of dinner at Nana's and took some family photos. We went to bed nice and early that night, as we were up at 3am again the next day and left Wollongong at 4am and arrived in Berwick at 3pm. It's great that we managed to arrive back nice and early so at least we got to have a rest before going to the first night of the Alpha Course at church that same night. Today, I am absolutely exhausted but it was a wonderful trip with some great memories and I am so proud of my little man for not just surviving the trip, but did so very well at just being relaxed wherever we take him. In fact, Micah had his LONGEST SLEEP EVER whilst we were in Wollongong! On Sunday night, he slept from 10pm to 4am.. that's 6 Hours straight and a new record for him! Unfortunately he hasn't done that again, but at least hubby and I got to have one of our best sleeps then ever since he was born!

So proud of you buddy! *HUGS*

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