Today, I am passing the baton over to a fabulous guest blogger, Jo, from the wonderful Little Melbourne. THE guide to all the latest happening's in & around Melbourne for Babies, Toddlers and Kids. Those of you in Melbourne, those of you who want to be in Melbourne, and those of you who are planning an interstate or international holiday to Melbourne, you have to check out Little Melbourne.
Jo is here to tell us about her tips for travelling with the hips...enjoy, and thanks so much Jo.
So Jo, tell us a bit about you and your family?
In our little family you'll find:Jo - mumma and founder of Little Melbourne
David - Proud Papa
Ruby - 'Busy as a bee' Toddler
Henry - Our Christmas Day babe
& Ash - our senior citizen cat!
And where have you been of late with your little ‘hips’?
Auckland, New Zealand
How did you get there, and where did you stay?
We stayed at Grandma's house right next to the Botanic Gardens. She immigrated to NZ from the UK about 7 years ago.
We travelled with Air New Zealand.They were fine until we arrived at Auckland airport and we realised our Maclaren stroller was missing! After a restless night we received a phone call saying it had been located and sure enough a courier delivered it at 9.00am that morning. Very impressed!
On board staff did everything to make our journey as comfy as possible, we were given a few bottles of Only Organic food, a sippy cup, an activity pack and one flighty fished Ruby a muffin from business class!
Your biggest challenge?
Definitely getting Ruby to eat proper meals. This was a new challenge for us as she normally devours everything on her plate. There were tears, tantrums and lots of refusals, but she did find a new love though....Kumara (sweet potato) and happily devoured a 'fluffy' (babycino) at the many cafe stops.
Any big recommendations?
This time we did quite a bit of touristy stuff;
Kelly Tarltons Antarctic encounter, which was a bit over-priced and we personally found our underwater world in Melbourne way better.
Butterfly Creek was a big hit - a great day out with the family, there is an animal farm, train ride for the kids, playground, crocodile encounter, butterfly house, a cafe and so much more.
We made daily trips to the Botanic Gardens, fed the ducks, ran around on the grass with a ball, spent money at the cafe and like Melbourne, they have a children's garden too.
One of our highlights was the Ambury Regional Farm Park. The park sits on ash-covered lava flows from Mangere Mountain and has views across the harbour to the Manukau Heads and Waitakere Ranges. It's a working farm and you can mingle with the farm animals in their paddock. Bring the wellies!
Other than this, it rained A LOT during our visit, so we ventured off to lots of kid friendly cafes; The Library Cafe welcomes kids and families and I have never encountered a more friendlier cafe experience. They had it all and I felt happy to support their eco practises and the fresh organic food was divine!
What are your main tips for travelling with kids?
Be organised and always try to plan ahead (or have some idea of what you'd like to see and do!) I always research our destination before we head off and read lots of books about travelling and aeroplanes to our little one. We also took some time 'studying' a map of the world to give Ruby some kind of indication we were going on holiday and leaving home for a little while.
What would you not have left home without?
We have a list of things.......;
Trunki (hard case suitcase on wheels) was Ruby's fantastic travel companion. They're a must have for any toddler and so much fun at the airport when you need to get from A to B in a hurry.
Brauer's Calm - A natural medicine to help soothe irritable or restless children.This worked well for both flights.
Tiger Tribe magnetic play books - to ease the boredom.
Baby Wipes - We like Gaia natural's as the top closes and they don't dry out.
Sigg water bottle.
Rafferty's Garden smoothie pouches and muesli bars, they're quick and easy snacks for when you're on the go.
Whole kids organic sultanas - we love these
Ipod with a long playlist including favourite songs by Yo Gabba, In The Night Garden, Justine Clarke, Playschool and Music Class.
Ruby's bedtime friends, Teddy Bear, Minty, Dolly Katie and Suki.
Books, Colouring Books and Micador travel pack of crayons and pencils.
And finally, anything else you want to add?
Some great links we found very useful:
www.thelittlehiptraveller.blogspot.com - Great tips for travelling with the hipsters
www.kidsfriendlytravel.com - great site for visiting NZ
http://www.librarycafe.co.nz - Very Family Friendly Cafe
http://www.brauer.com.au - Brauer Calm Relief
www.metromum.com.au - To purchase Trunki
http://www.butterflycreek.co.nz - Butterfly Creek
www.littlestyles.com.au - Tiger Tribe Magnetic Play Books