Monday, 25 July 2016

Daylesford - Our Last Two Days

The week in Daylesford was so good and ended up on a high.

Friday saw us take a day trip to to Trentham to visit friends of Hubby's parents who Hubby worked for after leaving school.  On the way we called in at Red Beard Historic Bakery which is an amazing sourdough bakery.  We picked up some bread rolls for lunch the next day and a fruit loaf for toast each morning.  It was a cold and rainy day so prefect for visiting friends and staying warm by the fire.  We had a lovely long lunch of local meats, cheeses, bread, pickles and pate (not for me sadly as it is one of the foods off the pregnancy list).  It was late by the time we got back but a piece of the delicious fruit toast with butter was all that was needed for dinner so it was no issue.

One of my friends who I went to high school with and have not seen since 1996 now lives in Australia too.  She drives trucks for a living, saw my facebook post about where we were and let me know she could come and visit on her way to her new job for a different transport company.  As it was a weekend Daylesford was pretty booked out but I was able to arrange a cabin for her at the same campground we were staying out which was great and the owners let me pick up the key before she arrived and go and turn the heater on as it was only 4 degrees at 5pm.  After getting her settled in we all went out for dinner and Hubby patiently let the two of us reminisce all night talking about people we went to school with and what we have all been doing since we left.  It was a late night for all of us as we knew we all had to pack up and head off at about 9 the next morning.  But it was so worth it.

Yep both looking a little tired after a big night of talking
Daylesford and the surrounding towns are really worth a visit and as we found you can easily fill a week in this little part of the world.

Having spent a week here we decided not to push our luck and head down to South Australia which is disappointing but you cannot do it all.  From Daylesford we head north to Mildura, then Menindee and  Broken Hill.  After that we head back east to Bourke, Burren Junction, Uralla then home sometime around the 7th of August.  We need to be home for appointments on the 11th but other than that we can be a little flexible.

Not sure when I will have coverage again but will post when I can.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Daylesford And Surrounds Monday - Thursday

We spent nearly a week in Daylesford from last Monday until today staying in a caravan with a permanent annex, and it was such a good decision to stop here for nearly a week as we are both feeling well rested, we have been warm and toasty ( for the most part) despite the cold weather and we have been lucky enough to have some lovely experiences and sample some tasty food as well.

Daylesford is just over an hour north of Melbourne and is very touristy but hey that's what we are so all the better for us.  The fact we arrived on a Monday and had a number of days free from the mass influx of tourists that happens every weekend all year round was great as we did not have to wait, queue or fight the crowds.

Tuesday morning we headed off to the local information center to get the low down on everything there was to do and experience.  After collecting a lot of brochures, local recommendations and all the tips on local knowledge we headed off to one of the local cafes to have a hot drink, as it was quite cool, and sort out a plan for the week.  Jessie was so well behaved and sat next to us outside the cafe in her double coat combo and lots of people stopped to comment on how cute she was and how warm she looked. We decided Tuesday would be a good day to wander the town and check out some of the stores.  There was lots to see we managed to fill most of the day before heading off to the Mill Markets which is the secondhand/antique center of epic proportions (think aircraft hanger full).

Wednesday we enjoyed a lazy morning with a sleep in a late breakfast followed by a drive out to the Diggers Club Garden of St Erth.  We had intended to do a walk through the garden but it was freezing and starting to rain and after speaking to the staff who were trying to deal with the aftermath of all the recent rain they had had we decided not to.  It was not really the best time of the year to see the garden but that did not stop us enjoying the store and me coveting all the different seeds that sadly I couldn't take home as we will not get to plant them. 

 After that we headed off the the local mineral spa for a good long soak.  I have been cold my entire pregnancy so far which has not helped with our trip south so any opportunity to sit in a hot bath, pool or have a hot shower is very welcome. However before going in I checked on the water temperatures as being pregnant it is not wise to get overheated.  Thankfully the temperatures were perfect and it was soooo good to be soaking in the pool for an hour or so.

We followed our soak in the pool with a shared woodfired pizza of local lamb, rosemary, olive and fetta in front of a fire at a local cafe Koukla.  After lunch we headed to one of the local lakes to take Jessie for a walk and burn off some of the pizza.

 After walking for 45 minutes we went just out of town to the chocolate mill.  We arrived about 30 minutes after a tour bus full of day trippers from Melbourne which was good timing because by the time we arrived they had all watched the movie about the chocolate making, see the process in action, purchased their chocolates and were wrapping up their hot chocolates in the cafe leaving us time to do all of the above with jut one or two other visitors.  We are not sweet tooths by nature so we chose to share a hot chocolate which was delicious but a bit sweet for us along with one truffle each.  Hubby chose the chilli chocolate and I had a quince and white chocolate cream filled truffle.  We also purchased 4 others each to take away which may not seem a lot but they are so decadent that one is all you need at a time.  By the time we were finished we were well and truly satisfied.

Thursday was Hubby's birthday and started with a trip to a local art gallery,

A trip to the Creswick Woolen Mills was interesting but too pricey for me, morning tea was a coffee and cake at an amazing french patisserie.  After a wander around Creswick we headed back to Daylesford for a walk round the Daylesford botanical gardens followed by lunch at the Wombat Hill House then a trip to the Daylesford Cidery.  The cidery was a really great experience and we learnt that traditionally cider was not a fizzy style drink and was flat like a wine.  We tried a range of ciders (all alcoholic so I only had the smallest of sips which in total was probably less than a 60 ml shot glass in total).  I really liked the still ciders and think they will make a good substitute for a col white wine in summer which I might be able to enjoy after peanut arrives.

Over the week we did quite a bit of eating out which is not normal for us but it really made us feel like we were on holiday.

I will post about the last few days tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Channon, Nimbin, Coopernook, The Wattagens, Moss Vale and Wagga Wagga

We set off on this trip know it would be cold and that at the end of the day we would do what we could, what I felt up to doing and if it all get too much we would just turn around and head for home.
Just over a week in and so far so good, we are all travelling well and other than a few cold nights for which we were prepared with lots of thermals and warm clothes we have been happy with our trip.

Our first stop was The Channon where we were camped adjacent to where they hold the markets which made it very convenient and we picked up a few goodies.

We also got up close and personal with a local Koala who came down from her tree with a joey in her pouch and ran through our campsite.  We think the smell of our campfire might have made her think there was a bush fire.  Sadly no pictures of her joey.

We spent an afternoon at Nimbin wandering around and having lunch before visiting their candle factory.

All the wax down the front of the vats was really very pretty.

We also did a bush walk out around the Rocky Creek Dam.

From there we headed south to Coopernook which was just a planned rest stop for a few days to sity around read and crochet.  On the way though we got stuck in a huge traffic jam as a result of an accident on the highway.  We were 15 km back on a single lane section of the highway from the site of the accident and spent an hour at a stand still and there was another 15  km of traffic behind us on a double lane section of the high way.  We ended up setting up in the dark but thankfully we can do that pretty quickly.

After two days of rest we set out for the Wattagens just north of Sydney.  We knew this would just be a sleeping spot for us as we had family to visit in the area.  After a day spent with Hubbys family we packed up again and this time headed to the Balangalo State forest just south of Sydney.  On the way we called in a say my Great Aunt who has knitted a cute little outfit for Peanut when he is about 1.  It is quite an Aussie little outfit for him to wear in New Zealand.

After lunch with my Great Aunt we headed south to set up camp and it was freezing, quite literally. In the morning it was -4 and everything was covered in frost.  It had warmed up to -2 by the time we had breakfast and were packing up.  Time to move on to Wagga Wagga.

While at Wagga Wagga we had wonderful weather and spent a couple of days visiting The Thirsty Crow a Micro Brewery and the Junee Licorice and Chocolate factory which produces all organic products and was well worth the visit and we had a delicious Organic Lamb burger for lunch.

We are now down in Daylesford Victoria where we are spending nearly a week in a cabin relaxing and it looks like good time as there is rain on the way.  We might stay a bit longer and do some day trips further a field instead of heading for South Australia but at this stage have not decided.

Hope you are all well and warm especially if you are in the southern part of Australia like us.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Chicken And Leek Pie

I love a good pie and Chicken and Leek is always a favourite in our house.  I normally make it after we have a roast chicken and have eaten roast for a few days.  My method is made up as I go along but follows a similar process every time hence the recipe below has no quantities.

Chicken and Leek Pie

Pick off all the meat from a leftover roast chicken and set aside.  Place all the bones in a pot and cover with water, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer to create a stock.  Drain the stock and season with salt and pepper.  Thicken with cornflour to make a thick gravy.
In the meantime dice and onion and a leek or two and cook until translucent.  Once the onion and leek mix is cooked I stir in some frozen peas and let the heat of the onion mix defrost them and in turn they cool down the onion mix.
Mix the chopped leftover chicken, the onion, leek and pea mix with the gravy and when cold add to a pie dish and top with pastry or go for a pastry top and bottom then bake.  Or as I did above and just create a pastry base pile the thick mix on and top with another piece of pastry pressing down the edges.

We love this served up with mashed potato and corn on the cob with lashings of butter.

What is your favourite pie to make at home?

Sunday, 10 July 2016

New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia Here We Come

Hubby and I are about to head off on a month long road trip to South Australia and back... camping... in winter.  Yes we are a little crazy.

The two of us and our dog Jessie will be travelling around staying a few days in each spot before moving on.  For us this is a chance to say good bye to some relatives who we are unlikely to see again before we move to New Zealand and to have a bit of a break before the baby arrives.  I am hoping to post during our travels and that we do not end up camping in the snow as it will make those midnight bathroom breaks a lot less fun.

Anyway I will keep you posted.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Planning Our Move To New Zealand - Household Goods

The third part of the moving story is about our household goods.

As I mentioned yesterday we made contact with 4 different companies who we could potentially use to move our things and then continued to ask questions of the 2 companies who provided the best service as at first glance most of the prices seemed to be similar.  We then organised for both of the companies to come and give us a full quote by actually looking at our possessions to make sure what we were planning on taking was going to fit along with our car.

We have been culling our possessions for the past 12+ months and even now there are more things that could probably go and still might.

Both companies that came and looked at all of our things were happy that everything would fit along with the car so that was a relief.  They provided us with all the information about storing our gear prior to moving, insurance costs and the process of packing, shipping and delivery.  In the end the company that we chose (Conroy Movers) was the the company that most convenient in terms of vehicle movements and pre-travel storage.  The other company (Kent) provided service that was just as good and their price was comparable too.  But with everything we have going on convenience wins out.  Now we will see if they live up to our expectations.

The basic process will be us packing what we need while our goods are in transit, the movers come in and pack all of our other things over 1-2 days taking a full inventory and then they come and collect it all on day 3.  It all gets stored at their yard until being delivered to the wharf where it gets loaded on a ship and sent to New Zealand.  The inventory gets sent to New Zealand customs who advise what items they want to inspect on arrival.  On arrival it all gets unloaded from the items that customs want to inspect get set aside and the rest is left packed. Customs do their inspection and will fumigate/treat/clean (at our cost) anything they feel warrants it.  Everything then gets repacked onto a truck and delivered to our address.

We have been assigned a personal liaison who will oversee everything for us and be our point of contact which is great.  There are still quite a few logistics for us to sort out as we have been thrown a bit of a curve ball in terms of living arrangements but that will be a topic for another post.  For now we are moving forward and have a few adventures ahead of us before moving including a trip away and baby due in a few months.

Planning Our Move To New Zealand - The Car

The second part of the moving story is about one of our cars.

The first thing we did was make contact with 4 different companies who we could potentially use to move our things.  To start with all we asked was for a price on a 40 ft shipping container going to Wellington New Zealand.  We then continued to ask questions of the 2 companies who provided the best service as at first glance most of the prices seemed to be similar.  We then organised for both of the companies to come and give us a full quote by actually looking at our possessions to make sure what we were planning on taking was going to fit along with our car.

When it comes to the car it actually only works out at about $2000 - $3000 extra to take the car as well as our gear however even with our car (2008 Toyota Hilux Twin Cab 4WD diesel) there are a few things we had to consider and investigate before booking.

First we had to make sure we were allowed to import it as you cannot just import any old car.  We then had to contact the New Zealand vehicle compliance department who requested the VIN number from the compliance plate of the vehicle.  They then checked if it meet the emissions standards and frontal impact standards.  Even though our car is less than 10 years old it does not meet the emissions standards.  However we can get an exemption for this aspect as we have owned the car since new and we are not allowed to sell it within the first 2 years of importation.
Other things we had to consider is if we would have to pay GST (15% in New Zealand) on the market value of the vehicle plus the import duties.  As I am a kiwi and Hubby as an Australian who is therefore eligible to reside in New Zealand as a resident, we will be able to get an exemption.
On arrival the vehicle will be off loaded and undergo an under-body structural and cleanliness inspection (we will have the car steam cleaned underneath before it is packed) at the removal companies depot which was a deciding factor when we chose a removal company as the other company had to have it transported to another location which adds additional costs.  Then it will be transported to a compliance center for a further inspection and any mechanical repairs to obtain a road worthy certificate (known as a warrant of fitness in New Zealand).  Once this is done we are all done and can drive it home.

We did weigh up selling the car and buying again once in New Zealand but since we have had it from new, own it out right, have looked after it and had it regularly serviced we could not see the benefit. Plus we could end up buying someone else's lemon of a car which might cost more in the long run.