Okay it was our winter holiday.
I was drooling over sunshine, beaches, swimming and just balmy days.
Just so you know, the Blue Mountains is freezing during winter, so a nice warm change was needed and deserved.
So where did we go for our ten day winter holiday?
We flew to Melbourne to holiday in Ballarat. Yes the weather as you can imagine was very much the same, COLD! Although I was not keen due to the cold … we had a fabulous time. Yes a wonderful time was had by all.
There was plenty to do and we kept ourselves very busy indeed. I must say due to picking a colder location there were not a lot of people where we were. This surprised us due to it being school holidays, but maybe it might have been different if we chose Fiji as a destination instead. So think about this for your next holiday. Go were others are not, and you will avoid the crowds and still have a brilliant time.
So our first hurdle was to get to the airport with everyone intact, no tantrums and everyone relatively happy. We managed this and then made our way to check in our luggage and get our boarding passes.
My tips to keep kids happy on a plane:
1. Have electronic devices fully charged and ready to go. I make sure to charge the iPad and iPhone the night before so that they have full battery power. This way the kids can make use of the inflight entertainment.
2. If they get bored with the electronic entertainment I make sure to have pens/pencils in a bag with a colouring or activity book. Even a blank book to allow creative drawing is ideal. This way your little artists can go mad and draw their masterpieces.
3. Have some snacks just in case they don’t like what is on offer on the plane. I have two very fussy kids so making sure they have some snacks that meet their approval is ideal and also creates less arguments and annoyance. (Mainly for the parent – really this is for you to make sure you have a calm and stress free flight)
4. Since I have twins (even if you have more than one child) one parent sits with one child one way and then we swap on the way home. This way each child gets a chance to sit next to mummy/daddy.
5. When we book in and get our seats we try to get a window seat so that each child can have the view if there is any out the window.
6. One big tip is we make sure the kids go to the toilet before we all board the plane. I know they might not really need to go but I make them anyway. If the worst does happen, there is a toilet on board but you don’t want an emergency dash to the loo to happen when you have to remain in your seats for take-off!
We arrived at Melbourne airport, got our hire car and then we were all on our way to Ballarat.
What did we do while we were in Ballarat?
- Pop up Ice Skating Rink/Tobogganing, The Tangled Maze, Kyral Castle.
- Ballarat Wildlife Park, Sovereign Hill, Ballarat Gold Museum, Daylesford Markets, The Amazing Mill Markets and The Melbourne Museum.
As you can see we kept very busy and saw a lot of the sites.
Our hotel did not have a restaurant and therefore we ate out for dinner every night.
Two of the restaurants were amazing and such a standout, we were super impressed with the service, food and atmosphere.
So what are these fabulous places to eat?
1. The Forge Pizzeria @ Armstrong Street, Ballarat
Due to the fact our kids are fuss pots with eating we thought that a good pizza would be the way to go. The kids I am sorry to say are not that adventurous, so they stuck to the cheese pizza.
The Forge had a great cheese pizza for the kids and was kind enough to take off anything green like parsley or fresh herbs. Yes if there is anything green on it, it gets met with a confused look and the kids just freak out. The team at this pizzeria understand kids and made sure that the pizza was all cheese!
For the adults they have an excellent choice of pizzas with all sorts of wonderful ingredients. Anything from pumpkin, pulled pork, garlic prawns to sauerkraut.
While we waited for our pizzas to be cooked the kids occupied themselves with colouring in and drawing at a big table at the end of the restaurant. This was great as the kids were happy being there and due to it being at the end of the restaurant it was safe and you could keep an eye on the kids.
The environment is rustic and very warm. The tables are recycled and some are very long that it allows big groups and families to all share dinner or lunch together.
Once we received our pizzas we were amazed at how wonderful they tasted. The dough was so light and just melted in your mouth. Devine! Simply amazing. I was not planning on eating the whole pizza but ended up finishing it due to how tasty it was. I could not help myself.
We were so taken with the place that we had to come back. A few days or so after our first meal at The Forge, we came back for our second meal. The waitress that helped us when we were first there was working that night and remembered us. She even remembered what drink I was drinking and organised it all for me. She was very helpful and how amazing to be remembered.
If you are ever in Ballarat you must try The Forge Pizzeria. You will be in love with it as much as we were. It is family friendly, tasty meals, kids had a blast and so did we.
The Forge Pizzeria has even been named one of the Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in Australia by MTV.com.au
2. Fu Man Lou Dumplings – @ Camp Street, Ballarat
I was craving dumplings and due to having fussy eaters we did not entertain going to a dumpling restaurant for dinner. However we stumbled across Fu Man Lou and saw that they had Chicken Sang Choi Bao, Fried Rice, Prawn Chips and more. The kids would love this and they can try the dumplings.
The first thing you will notice about Fu Man Lou is that the place has a sense of humour. Even their menu is fun. Instead of saying entrée, they call it the small stuff, the mains are referred to as the bigger ones. If you wish to have just water or soft drink that is in the no booze category. Plastered all over the walls is Fu Man Lou propaganda poking fun of the Maoist Regime.
If you are like me and crave dumplings every now and then, you can have a dumpling taster or just order a few dumplings and then see how you go.
It was great for kids as they made sure that the kids got their food first. The girls loved the Chicken Sang Choi Bao and did surprise us when they tried some dumplings.
Fu Man Lou is fab for families and has a fun atmosphere. My favourite dumpling was the Wontons in Chilli Oil, it is so yummy!
If you are ever in Ballarat and need to get a dumpling fix, Fu Man Lou is your place.
We all had a great time in Ballarat and surrounds. Initially I wanted to be somewhere warm and sunny. However we had a great family holiday and we did not have to fight any crowds.
Maybe we need to look at where others might not go next winter? Nope I still want to go to the beach!
Did you plan to go somewhere and then it did not work out. Was it the beach and you ended up somewhere cold or was it the reverse? Let us know. Did you end up having a great time anyway?
Disclaimer: I have written this post for the Virgin Australia competition for the Problogger Event. If I am lucky to win, I will get a lot of velocity points and write for Virgin. How amazing would that be! I hope you enjoy the post.