*Mrs Doubtfire voice* HELLOOOO! Wow, has it really been almost a full month since I’ve posted something? Sorry for the hiatus there. My lovely mom was visiting us for three adventure-packed, fun and blessed weeks! Because of the extent of said adventures, I’m going to break them up into several different posts over the next few weeks :D
When my mom arrived, I knew those first few days would be a little busy sightseeing, hanging out with some family friends, going out to eat, etc — and would be leading up to an equally busy week in Sydney (attending the Colour Conference + sightseeing there too — more in the next post :)). So, I decided it would be fun to go on a mini-getaway to the Yarra Valley, check out a winery or two, but mainly to go to Healesville Sanctuary, which you might recall Will and I visited last year! My mom was especially excited to see Australian animals in real life, and I knew taking her to Healesville would be a great opportunity (as there are few barriers keeping you from the animals, and plenty opportunity to get up close and personal with them!) We rented a car and headed out for the valley, and had an absolute blast.
First stop – Healesville! My mom loves koalas, so we signed up to get to meet one :) Unfortunately, due to laws in Victoria (the state that Melbourne is in), holding a koala is illegal, as it poses many threats to the animal – such as passing on a disease or sickness and just causing overall stress since they’re used to the zoo’s handlers, and not strangers. Not that that mattered to us, as we were just happy to be able to be within a few inches of one :D we could get as close as possible without touching the koala or its eucalyptus leaves (our hands contain oils that ruin the leaves for the koalas to eat and could make them sick! ha, and we think animals are the ‘dirty’ ones!). Our guide was so sweet, told us a lot of little facts about koalas – particularly about the one we met (Dindi) – and even got professional photos taken with her! I couldn’t resist snapping a selfie of us with sweet Dindi :)
We also went to the kangaroo enclosure to learn more about the ‘roos, and it was very informative – and interactive! One of the ‘roos loves sweet potatoes (seems to be a recurring theme at Healesville ;)) and also loves getting patted on the back, so we got our first (and certainly not the last) wildlife experience for the day! The dingoes were also out for a walk, and I got to pet one – which I’ll admit, freaked me out quite a bit but I just imagined them as really big Shiba Inus (much scared, such dingo). We also got to see a platypus, a sleeping wombat, several wallabies, pelicans, emus, echidnas (love. them.) and more koalas :)
We went to a winery called Yering Station – one of my favorites and also, fun fact: the first winery ever in Victoria! Our last stop was the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery – which is a *must* for the area. We each indulged in some delicious gelato and enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather – and the views, of course!
By this time, I think we were both ready to put our feet up and relax a bit, so we headed out to the most exciting stop of all: our Airbnb! Now, this wasn’t just any Airbnb — in fact, I had had two separate people tell me on two different occasions that this place was an absolute must. After seeing the photos of this gorgeous retreat, I booked immediately, and since it was only a room for two people, Will stayed back home and let it be a ladies trip (hehe, what a sweetie!) When we reached the end of the driveway, we were greeted by the *absolute* sweetest golden retrievers – Gilbert & Sullivan (aka, Sally), who hurriedly ran up alongside our car and greeted us with kisses and furiously wagging tails. Being a dog
obsessor lover, I was already sold …until we saw the kangaroos!!! The owner let us know that the older one (Brynne) had wandered onto their property and found solace in their yard and home, feasting from the apple trees and indulging in the love their owners (and pets) gave to her. Brynne soon disappeared for a bit, and returned with a joey in tow – which they named Rockin’ Robyn! It was total overstimulation for both of us, because we could not believe that we had two tame ‘roos to hang out with, pet and feed, as well as a friendly cat named Felix and two overly-loving dogs who wanted nothing more than to be petted and given belly rubs. Oh, and then there’s the actual property — words cannot describe the beauty of this place! It sits on a rolling hillside overlooking the Yarra Ranges with a stunning pool, trees everywhere and a magnificent house. Our hosts were so friendly, and soon, another couple who were visiting from England also arrived (who were staying in another room in the house). We had read reviews of people coming to stay at the house with the intention of going out for the day to the wineries, but they never actually left… and now, I totally understood, and we were both so thankful we did all of our sightseeing so we could embrace our stay there.
The next morning, we woke up to some doggies running quickly past our room, and the two kangaroos chomping on some food outside our window! It was so incredible. Our host provided us with some breakfast — bread, jam, cereal, tea, coffee and fruit. It was so thoughtful! He had to run off to work, and the other couple had to catch a flight, so my mom and I were left to enjoy the property until whenever we wanted to leave. We took a walk around the entire property, dipped our toes in the pool, fed the ‘roos again :), saw about 100(!!!) WILD kangaroos in a field just down the driveway, and got very dark sitting out in the sun on the deck. It was such a wonderful and cherished morning, spending it together, laughing at the animals and our hundreds of photos and videos, and simply enjoying a little downtime.
Sorry for the all the photos ;) there were hundreds more (seriously – I was constantly running out of space on my phone!), but it was a day that my mom and I will certainly remember for the rest of our lives! If you’re ever in Melbourne – first of all, come say hi to us!, and then immediately head out to the Yarra Valley and book the Kangaroo Room!! I’ve already assured the owners that I’ll be back with Will in tow and hopefully to stay for a month ;) haha!
I’ll be posting about our trip to beautiful Sydney next week, and my mom will also be writing a guest post – so look out for that! :D