Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to have a great family adventure and there are things on your own doorstep that can create special family moments and memories.
We are fortunate enough to live in Adelaide, South Australia, which comes alive in the month of March for what is commonly known as “Mad March”. There are a myriad of activities that fill the city every night providing a plethora of entertainment options for all ages. One such highlight is the Parade of Lights.
When I told the kids about this activity they remembered a similar experience we had in San Antonio Texas where a central building was projected upon each night on a half hourly rotation depicting the story of The Alamo. If the kids thought that one building was great - the Adelaide Parade of Lights was going to take that entertainment value to a whole new level.
Part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival the Parade of Lights is an open air free exhibition projecting imagery, short film and laser displays onto the buildings of North Terrace.
Eight buildings along North Terrace feature in the spectacular each providing a unique exhibit captivating the strolling crowds of the balmy Autumn evenings.
A special highlight was the Northern Lights display where a mixture of laser light and a smoke machine provided a rough replica of the Aurora Borealis.
Given the distance between Adelaide, South Australia and Iceland, the art display provides a glimpse into the northern lights that many South Australians will most likely never actually experience.
The thing we loved about this activity is that it was free, we were outside enjoying an awesome Autumn evening and the displays were captivating for all ages.
We also opted for a pre Parade of Lights dinner in North Adelaide, left the car a little out the city and walked a 5km loop. A great option as it turned out the traffic in Adelaide at this time of the year is CRAZY!
The Parade of Lights runs from 8:30pm - 12am each night of the Adelaide Fringe from February 16 - March 18, 2018. If you are in Adelaide during March be sure to check this activity out.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
They call it “Taking on the Icon” and that is a pretty fair summary of the experience that is the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb.
Every city has an iconic building or feature, in Adelaide, South Australia, the Adelaide Oval has to be it. Many sporting greats have created memories on the hallowed ground, the iconic turn of the century score board still stands proud amongst the now high tech stadium with a capacity to house 53,500.
Some 18 months ago, the opportunity to “Take on the Icon” was born - since then thousands of people have scaled the roofs and experienced angles of the stadium otherwise unseen.
The experience takes roughly two hours, the preparation itself taking some 30 minutes. Climbers are taken into a dressing room where a custom jump suit is provided to go over clothing and harnesses strapped on and secured. All loose items - watches, rings etc, are placed into lockers, including cameras and phones.
Climbers are taken in groups of 10-16 with a lead guide who communicates with the group via a headset microphone - all climbers wear a receiver and ear piece.
We took a twilight tour - departing at 5pm (5:30pm by the time we were ready to go) and took in views of the sparkling city lights. As it was during winter, we just caught the tail end of the sunset so we did not see the sun disappear, but the sky was a gorgeous orange glow until it went dark.
A purpose built climbing track takes climbers on a journey starting at the Western stand before weaving through the front of the Southern stand to the ultimate lean out point 50 metres above the southern goal posts. A height incidentally equivalent to the spires of St Peters Cathedral which are a great spectacle to see at night from this vantage point.
Winding around the back of the Southern stand to take in the picturesque Adelaide riverbank views before descending again on the Western side, the track is some 1.5kms in distance.
When crossing from one stand to another, a connector bridge is ascended which may give those scared of heights a bit of a challenge, however the climb is not a major physical feat at any point - so can be enjoyed by most fitness levels.
The tour guide provides a great commentary which includes the history of Adelaide, the oval and the scenery. They also carry a camera during the tour and capture photos of climbers that can be purchased at the end of the tour. There are a couple of points where climbers are encouraged to ‘do the lean’ making for some fun photos and moments along the way.
One of the more interesting angles is given when winding under the canopy of the Western Stand. An engineering feat, it is fascinating to hear the science behind the physicality of the stand. Albeit a little scary when you discover that essentially only two major poles are holding the structure in place!
The Adelaide Oval Roof Climb operates all year round with a variety of climb options including the Twilight tour we took as well as day climbs and Game Day climbs that operate whilst sporting events are in full action and stands packed with spectators. Climbs are priced from AUD$99 which includes a climb certificate and group photograph. Additional photos can be purchased from AUD$16.
If you are visiting Adelaide, even for a weekend, this is a great tour to add to your itinerary. The oval is within walking distance of the CBD and accessible from city hotels. For details and tickets visit www.roofclimb.com.au
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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Ahh mother’s day - breakfast in bed, relaxing sleep in, new fluffy slippers and cups of tea delivered while I indulge in the Sunday paper. Right? Umm not in my house! Does anyone really have this?
Mothers Day in Australia will be next weekend - Sunday May 14, 2017. This will be my 11th mother’s day and never have I experienced this hallmark moment.
And not to the fault of Master 10 or Miss 7 – it has really been my own creation.
The first year of motherhood I am sure hubby made a big deal of it, but to be honest I was too tired to notice.
And for the last nine years I have circled the Adelaide Torrens Riverfront as a participant in the Mother’s Day Classic, awake and in the city for an 8am start.
In 2010, a beautiful friend lost her battle to cancer and left behind two young children. At age 30 she never really got the chance to enjoy Mothers Days either. Each year I do the run in honour of her and the many other Mother’s who have lost the battle to cancer.
The Mother’s Day Classic is a fund raiser for Breast Cancer Research. Participants can run or walk either a 4.6km or 7.3km course. The city becomes a sea of pink as thousands of participants showcase the colour for support and hit the track to bring awareness and raise much needed funds for the cause.
The event, which first began in 1998, is run Australia wide with both major cities and regional towns hosting a course for people to participate. To date, the event has raised some $30 million.
My proudest mother’s day moment was when Master 10 joined me for the first time. In 2016 both kids and hubby joined me on the track and we will do it again this year, with a time now to beat.
Miss 7 is the leader, we cross the line as a family so really it is her 38 minute record that we are aiming to improve. A year older, with longer legs to take her on the course - I am sure that is achievable.
Of course, I could sip cups of tea for the rest of the day – however whilst I am still fortunate enough to have a mother and mother-in-law in my life, it is to them I will bestow the honour.
After all, I believe the real test of a good mother is the adult children they release into society. That is a test I am yet to pass so will happily wait my turn rather than indulge in any premature celebrations.
If you would like to donate to Breast Cancer Research, you can contribute on our fundraising page. For more details about the event, head to the Mother’s Day Classic website.
Follow the Itchy Feet Family on Instagram and Facebook for updates from the track next Sunday.
How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Have you started any traditions for your family?
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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Weekend at Carrickalinga Beach
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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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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
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For the second year, P&O Australia have positioned the Pacific Eden in Adelaide for a six week period allowing South Australian travellers the opportunity to experience a cruising holiday right from our own back yard.
Departing from Outer Harbour, Adelaide residents have finally been given the opportunity to take a cruise without the additional expense of a flight to reach the departure point.
The cruises on offer have been short three or four night breaks with destinations including Port Lincoln, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne or Nowhere! We opted for the nowhere destination - and we loved it.
The Sea Breaks are themed with additional non-ship based entertainers on board for the weekend. In 2016 we took a Food and Wine Cruise over Easter and backed it up the following weekend with a Comedy Cruise.
In 2017 we could not resist and once again headed to Outer Harbour on a Friday lunch time and sailed up and down the coast for the weekend on another Comedy Cruise. The cruise had us landing back in port on Monday morning bright and early enough to get to work and school for the day.
The Sea Break cruise is a great way to travel with friends and family. In 2016 we had more than 30 people in our travelling party, in 2017 a group of 20. And Adelaide being Adelaide, we of course bumped into people on the ship that we knew and did not even know were going to be there!
Cruise bookings generally average groups of eight people, cruising is always more fun when you have friends and family on board. With the concept of weekend cruising new to Adelaide it was great to be able to enjoy the trips with larger groups of people we knew. Other travellers obviously also got that memo as there were clear groups of hens and bucks nights on board as well as groups of work colleagues on weekend seminars at sea.
As a family, having other families on board with kids was a great bonus. Miss 7 and Master 10 had a posse of friends and cousins to keep them entertained. Whilst my little travellers love kids club regardless, it added an extra element of enjoyment for them to have their mates on the journey. They were able to build special memories such as singing Karaoke with their mates - something they would never usually do.
For mum and dad it meant more adult dinners and time to enjoy the late night comedy and other live entertainment around the ship. Even the option of relaxing and soaking up the sun with a cocktail in the Adults Only pool deck!
If you have never cruised before, a Sea Break is a great option to try your sea legs. If you have cruised before, the Sea Break out of a home port is a perfect excuse for a weekend away!
Your weekend cruise fare includes your accommodation, all your meals and your entertainment. A night out in a nice Adelaide restaurant, a show at the Fringe and a hotel in town would nearly cost you the same!
The Pacific Eden is in Adelaide until early April 2017 when it then heads to Fremantle. The ship will be back in Adelaide in February 2018 for an even longer season with further options for cruising out of Adelaide including a return trip to Tasmania.
For prices and itineraries, head to the P&O Australia website.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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Penny, an avid Trip Advisor Reviewer, is the author of ITCHY FEET FAMILY. A family of 4 living in Adelaide, Australia, and taking every opportunity to travel and explore the world.