Knowing that we are both back at work and would be playing the’ juggle the kids’ game, my parents kindly offered to let the kids stay with them for as long as they all stay sane (it could be anything from a day or 2 to the rest of the holidays). I had done a heap of traveling with work over the past few days so they even offered to drive all the way here to collect them, or catch the train to Melbourne at 6am, pick up the kids and return on the midday train. That seemed kind of insane to me so we decided to meet half way, at the service station at Avenel on the Hume Highway in the middle of no-where.
The logical solution was to just meet at the servo have the kids swap cars and be off but somehow that would feel like a bad custody exchange. To avoid the dump and run concept, we needed to do something fun too. Luckily on recent trips to the folks I had seen signs on the freeway advertising a maze in Avenel so we decided to check it out.
Let me say I am glad we did, the place was amazing. I was picturing a maze in a paddock and little more and I would have been happy with that, the kids would have a run and a chance to explore whilst doing something different, problem solved. What we found when we arrived there was vastly different. The maze had a Ned Kelly theme, so not only did we have to find our way through the maze but we had to find clues and answer questions as we wandered. It took us ages to navigate our way through the maze and had to team up in order to answer all of the Ned Kelly questions.
We finished that maze and wandered into another maze. This maze was a little different, instead of being made up of plants it was made of rope strung between tree stumps (from an old maze?) and shrubbery. Again their were clues that needed to be found, this time in the form of letters that needed to be used to answer a question as well as horse shoes and shell casings on fence posts (tree stumps). The clues were really hard to find and we helped each other to find them. I have to admit that we didn’t find 2 of the 12 letters but that was because we worked out the answer to the question!
Once we finished that maze, we relaxed in the shade in the central area between the mazes as man-child went to collect putters and golf balls for us to have a round of mini golf.
Typically I am not a fan of mini golf (or any golf for that matter) but this course was fun, it wasn’t plastic fantastic or crappy portable wooden platforms that made the ball run too fast to control. It was sand greens with rock edges and fit the landscape nicely. Perhaps I am biased about how good it was but I managed to get a birdie and a few pars so it was great for my ego! Girl-child, well let’s just say she tried hard but golf is not her strong point.
Once we were finished mini golf you would think that we would be done exploring but no, there were still more activities to try.
A rope maze that we had races in
The Gaol Break maze that we gave up on. I did take photos of the maze so I can try to solve it for when we go back there! (Any takers to help with the solution? Start centre front and follow the arrows as far as you like in the direction they point, then follow the next arrow. You have to try end up on the centre padlock!)
Then it was over to play a few ends of horseshoes
Before boy-child challenged poppy to a game of checkers
And then it was time to hit the last maze, a rock labyrinth that the kids raced through.
All in all it was a fantastic place to explore and I am sure we will go back there again, I am picturing a family gathering or perhaps a work excursion!
By the way, this is in no way is a paid or sponsored post, we went there as unsuspecting visitors and had a ball. If you want to find out more, check out the website here. Better still, take the kids there these holidays, it is on Upton Road in Avenel, just over an hours drive from Melbourne.