Adventures on a Budget?

24 Jan

I am not sure if I have mentioned it here or not, and at the moment I am too lazy to check past posts to find out, but as a family we have decided that we should spend more time together having adventures.  The plan was that we would just pick a location at random and set off to explore.  We had a trial run last month that I posted about here and it was a great day.  

I then had grand plans that I would take the concept one step further and blog about said adventures.  The theory was that I would base my writings upon a show I saw a few times when we were in New Jersey a few years ago.  I can’t remember what channel it was on, but I think it was some public broadcast station that wasn’t on all the time but somehow I managed to catch a few episodes.  Anyway I wander, the show was called ‘New York for $10 a Day’ or something similar and showed a range of more obscure but really interesting things to do with only $10 a day and it included places to eat.   My blog posts were going to be called ‘$10 and a Train Ticket – Fun in Melbourne’ and list the different places that are worth visiting, the costs involved and places to eat.  Of course the $10 was going to be per family member and not $10 for the entire family.  Add to that the cost of a train ticket these days – $6.80 for a full fare and $3.70 for the kids it isn’t such an inexpensive day.  It was starting to look as if our adventures would be more cost effective if we drove there!  

It really bugs me that public transport here is so expensive.  Sure the running costs of a car are huge and fuel prices continue to increase, but there are actual financial benefits to having a car and driving frequently.  Surely it would be better for the community, for the environment, for other road users and essential services, for everyone,  if public transport was more affordable.  But again, I am wandering on a tangent.  I guess realistically our trips would be on a weekend so we could get the weekend daily tickets.  That would be $15 per person but can be used for 5 days, making the daily transport costs $12 per person.  We would also have to plan in advance to order weekend tickets as they aren’t available in many locations.

Despite the new found possibility of cheaper public transport, we were out and about this morning in the car.  We had to pick up a few things from Bunnings so we timed the shopping to coincide with the kids craft activity.  Boy child wasn’t really interested in the activity – making creatures from polystyrene balls, glue, glitter, feathers, pipe cleaner and other random scraps, so he stayed in the play area.  Girl-child happily made decorations for her garden, firstly a scare crow and then a heart on a stick.  (If I had a photo, I would insert it here, but I don’t).  

Once the shopping was completed and paid for, we made the walk back to the car, via the sausage stand.  Despite not actually being hungry, the monsters ate a sausage in bread anyway.  We could have stayed in the area for hours longer by adding in a trip to the massage chairs as we did on another day, but thought we would adventure somewhere new.  

On the way home we made a detour to a park that the monsters have admired from a distance.  It was a great park, or so the kids said.  I was too lazy to get up and climb, besides I was actually wearing a skirt and the visuals would have been all wrong!  As well as the larger than usual fort/swing/slide combos there was a huge webbed pyramid to climb.  They played Gladiators chasey on the pyramid for ages.

Climbing High

Climbing High

When they were done in the park we headed towards home, but became a little distracted.  We ended up in at Docklands.  Wooho0 – $5 parking with the first hour free.  We knew that there was kids entertainment nearby, but got a little sidetracked before getting there.  

First there was the Tawny Frogmouth that had set up camp on top of a sign on Level 2 of Harbour Town.  


The Tawny Frogmouth

The Tawny Frogmouth

It was sitting so still that the kids weren’t sure if it was real.  Then of course there was the ToyWorld outlet.  Now that the kids are getting real pocket money, they have the burning desire to buy stuff.  Fortunately, they didn’t find treasures for themselves but there were great craft sets that we bought for the upcoming birthday season.

By the time we were ready to actively find the kids entertainment, we realised that it had just finished.  We did get to see ‘boxing kangaroos’ people in sumo-like suits and oversized boxing gloves fight.  It wasn’t particularly entertaining, more like watching ‘Funniest Home Videos’ with the sound turned down and you realise that it is the voice-over guy that actually makes the show funny.  Instead of sitting to watch all of the ‘fighting’, we continued to wander through the area, in the general direction of the food court under the observation wheel.  The kids couldn’t decide on what they wanted to eat other than icecream.  I was hoping for something a little more substantial so that I wouldn’t have to make dinner.  

We ended up at the Harbour Town Hotel.  The kids were happy, as we entered they were given paper placemats to colour and decorate.  They were a little disappointed that I didn’t let them have a Coke fizzy drink (not after last weekends hyperactivity), instead they ordered orange fizzy.  Instead of some sickly sweet soft drink, they were served juice with mineral water and we were all happy – they had bubbles and I had much less sugar to have to contend with.  The meals were delicious and fast arriving, the staff were attentive but not obtrusive.  As a dining experience it reminded me of eating out in the States, where service is actually service.  The food was more pricey than I wanted to pay.  That doesn’t actually mean it was pricey, it simply means that I wasn’t planning on eating out today!  Overall it was a wonderful place to eat, and somewhere I will visit again.  

So our first attempt at an adventure on a budget failed, but it failed more in the planning stages – we didn’t plan on having an adventure today, it just evolved.  Despite that, it was a great day out.  The errands we had to do were done with a minimum of fuss, we all ate well without having to make a real dinner and we even had time for a hit of cricket in the park.  All in all, a great day!


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