Easter Weekend to the Itchy Feet Family means an opportunity to get away. There is no way we would ever let a four-day weekend go by without breaking routine and heading off on an adventure.
But a holiday does not always have to mean taking a flight or a long road trip - simply breaking routine is enough to be refreshed and ready to head back to work to earn more funds for the travel kitty.
This year we packed up the car and headed just 60km South of Adelaide to a small beachside town on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Carrickalinga.
We rented a large two-storey home via the Fleurieu Accommodation website, which we shared with another family. Four kids - four adults and four days of fun! These were the highlights of our weekend.
Sunrise and Sunset Beach Walks
The beach at Carrickalinga was a great running/walking track at both sunset and sunrise. From our spot at Carrickalinga we could walk 3kms along the beach to reach the Normanville Jetty - a great 6km return trip. In the morning people ran, walked dogs, strolled taking in the stunning sunrise and fished from both the beach and the jetty. The beach is clear and free of sea-weed and the sand soft and inviting. In the afternoon the water was warm enough to enter and the kids boogie boarded and body surfed.
Just a short 15 minute drive South is Second Valley. This is a great spot to explore and an absolute hidden gem in South Australia. At age 42 I could not believe I had not been here before! With a short jetty for fishing, crystal clear water for swimming and plenty of rocks to explore and search for crabs we spent a few hours here soaking up the sun. It was a bit too chilly for swimming, but I have heard it is an awesome spot for snorkelling and with crystal clear waters I can see why. Will definitely have to return when the weather is a bit warmer.
There is something quintessential about stopping at a country bakery whenever road tripping in Australia. When we were passing through Yankalilla we simply could not drive past without stopping at the Yankalilla Bakery. The country air must just make for good baking - there is something to be said for a pie or pasty at a country bakery, washed down with a cream bun or vanilla slice. Of course we all know that calories don’t count on holidays!
Whilst visiting the coast at Second Valley we came across Leonards Mill restaurant. A restored flour mill, this was a great spot to stop for a drink on the lawns. Plenty of room for the kids to run around, shelter was provided by the large trees in the garden as we perched on stools around wine barrels to soak up some sun and a local brew.
We had not made a booking, therefore were unable to stop for lunch, however the friendly staff accommodated us for a short drinks stop. The menu utilises local fare and looked like a great spot for lunch or dinner with dining options both inside the gorgeous mill, or out in the alfresco dining area.
Board Game Challenge
I love a good board game, but we never seem to make time for them at home. A great way to pass the evenings at our wi-fi free rental house was with board game challenges. We had the usual scrabble of course - but we also played Sequence which was new to our family and a great one to try if you are after something new.
Have you visited Carrickalinga - what were your highlights.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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New Years Eve Cruise: Pros and Cons
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Y'all Come Back Soon - Visit to a Cowboy Ranch in Texas
When we go on a holiday we love to spend time together as a family doing things we would not normally do. We have so many cherished memories that have been formed together as a family unit whilst on holiday adventures.
And whilst I love spending time with the kids - I also enjoy being able to have time without them! A family holiday that includes a kids club or child minding has always been a favourable criteria on the list for us when choosing a holiday.
Whether it is the kids club on a cruise ship, a resort child minding program or a babysitter, it is important to balance your holiday so that everyone comes back refreshed and having had a break.
These are my top five reasons for including a kids club on your family holiday.
Whilst I love having a meal with children where I have to clean up their spilled drink, feed them their vegetables, take them to the toilet five times and stop them from fighting with siblings, there is something to be said about a quiet adult only meal. We enjoyed ten years as a couple before the kids joined Itchy Feet Family - the occasional meal together as a couple whilst relaxed and on holiday is almost an essential rather than a luxury.
2. Cultural Experiences for the Kids
I really love the kids being surrounded by locals and learning some of their customs and traditions. Whether it be taking your shoes off before entering a room in Asia, learning to weave a basket and say Bula in Fiji, or having a Cowboy in Texas teach you to ride a horse - the kids gain experiences that are personal and memorable. I have never come across an un-caring child care worker in any of the kids clubs we have utilised around the world and they love to pass on their culture.
3. Opportunities to Perform
Kids clubs love giving kids an opportunity to perform in front of parents and guests and my kids love it! Master 10 emceed a kids end of cruise show in the theatre of a cruise ship, performed a stand-up comedy routine and danced with fellow cruising kids. Miss 7 performed a solo gymnastics/dance routine on stage of the same ships. Together they have performed cultural dances on the Hard Rock Hotel stage in Kuta as well as traditional Fijian dances in front of diners at a Nadi resort.
These opportunities don’t come up for kids every day and whilst they still have the innocence of no inhibitions I absolutely encourage it. Not because I want them to be performers - but I just want them to have an attitude to life that they will give anything a try.
4. Forming Friendships
The Itchy Feet kids love a holiday that means they get to form friendships and hang out with kids they meet on holidays. We have had holidays where they jump out of bed in the morning busting to get back to kids club and hang out with their new friends. There have been times where we have had to beg them to hang out with us! But what more could you ask for than your kids being kids hanging out and playing - that is what childhood is all about.
5. Lasting Friendships
With the digital world, kids can now make friendships at kids clubs that continue past the holiday. As we did in the bygone era of writing letters to Pen Pals, kids now exchange Musically or Instagram accounts and continue the conversation post-holiday. Who knows how these connections will pan out - I would love my kids to keep those friendships alive and learn the art of long-distance communication.
What have been your experiences with kids clubs on family holidays - what benefits or unique experiences have your kids had?
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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Recently we took a weekend Sea Break P&O Cruise out of Adelaide departing Outer Harbour on the Friday, sailing around the coastline to nowhere in particular, before coming back to land on the Monday morning and heading off to work for the week.
It was a fantastic weekend away on a cruise to nowhere! And the added benefit of the departure in and out of Adelaide meant there were no airport connections or long drives required for our quick break.
The cruise we sailed on was billed as a “Comedy Cruise” which to be honest I really had no idea, nor cared, what that meant as I was just happy to get away. However it become apparent that there were cruisers on this particular journey for whom the Comedy element was the main drawcard.
So what can you expect and take away from a comedy cruise?
If you are a budding comedian, or have any desire to tick off your bucket list standing in front of a large crowd and giving it your best to make them laugh - this is a perfect opportunity to do just that. Not only did this cruise come complete with nightly comedy shows, it also offered passengers the opportunity to learn from the masters before giving it a try.
Our first night at sea we were warmed up at the Sit Down Comedy Club. An adults only show performed at 9pm in the ships main theatre featuring our MC/Host for the cruise and a stand up comedian. For our weekend we were entertained by Kehau Jackson and recent Adelaide Fringe award winning performer Luke Heggie.
On our first full day at sea passengers were given an opportunity to join a Comedy Workshop with Kehau Jackson. Tips on joke writing, delivery, knowing your audience, stage presence and more were handed out to budding comedians posing as passengers on the cruise.
On Saturday night the 400+ seat Marquee theatre filled again at 8:30pm for an all ages performance and then at 11pm for an Adults only Comedy Gala. This evening we were entertained by Pete Rowsthorn of Kath & Kim fame, Bev Killick, Elbow Skin and an encore from Luke Heggie.
For cruisers with little ones wanting to see the late show the kids club is open until 10:30pm at no extra charge, for a minimal charge of just $5 per hour you can leave the little ones in until 1pm so you can make the most of the comedy on offer.
For our last sea day the comedy continued and was packed into the day and night. Starting with an up close and funny session with the comedians at 2pm, this lead into the Comedy Gong Show where passengers hit the stage. The twin deck theatre was packed as budding comedians took the microphone and did their best to make us laugh, impress the judging panel and avoid the sound of the gong ready to be hit at any time by the entertainment director.
I must say I was surprised at how many passengers hit the stage. There were eight contestants brave enough to get up and give it a go. Granted, some of them probably shouldn’t have! but credit to them for giving it a go - it was more than I could do!
For our last night at sea a new act performed, Moments of Magic and Humour with Jonas Jost followed later in the night with one final Sitdown Comedy Club performance that featured Kehau Jackson and Bev Killick.
With all this entertainment included in your cruise fare, along with your accommodation, meals and child care - what a great value weekend. A night out to a fancy restaurant, a show at the Adelaide Fringe, a hotel in town and a babysitter for the night would almost cost you the same!
Whilst I loved the weekend, my only negative was that we sailed in 2016 on the Adelaide Comedy Cruise and we saw some of the same comedians - who disappointingly used much of the same material again in 2017. I would love to do the weekend again in 2018 and really hope that P&O can find some new fresh talent before then as a joke is only really funny once…….
Have you done a comedy cruise before - let us know what you thought?
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
Other blogs you may be interested in
- Cruise to nowhere - weekend at sea
- Christmas Cruising - the pros and cons
- Dixie Dude Ranch - our stay at a real cowboy ranch in Texas
- Lest we forget - visiting battlefields of Long Tan