18 December 2018
Yesterday, Rochelle had told me all about the different theme parks in the area: Movieworld, Dreamworld, Seaworld etc. Dreamworld sounded like the best bet for Cornelia – loads of rides she could go on, and lots of different areas to explore, so I bought tickets online and she was VERY excited that we were going to go together. I’d offered Ian a day on his own, so he could relax, go for a walk, or do whatever he wanted to do. He isn’t a fan of theme parks, and I love going with Cornelia because seeing her so happy, makes me so happy!
Rochelle and Carl were at work again today, and the twins were at Kindy. I offered to take Jacob and Daniel, but they were going ten pin bowling with Avis, so it was just me and Bugsy for the day. We took our time in the morning getting ourselves sorted, and doing a few admin things, including booking a trip to Vietnam for January, when we leave Australia. We still have our final eight or nine days to book, then that is us done. I can hardly believe it!
Anyway, Ian dropped us off at the entrance shortly after midday, and we made our way in without any problems.
Cornelia immediately spied a snow cone kiosk and as she’d never had one, I was happy for her to try it out. She had a raspberry one (she sounded a bit disappointed when she realised that chocolate wasn’t an option) but it was a bit of a nightmare. She was holding the cone quite tightly, which made all the syrup spill over it onto her hands and clothes, and then the ice was difficult for her to scoop out. After a couple of attempts, she told me she didn’t want it, and I was quite happy to put it in the bin.
Cornelia fell in love with DreamWorld straightaway. There was a Magical Fairy store, a Lego store and she even loved the map showing all the different sections of the park. “It’s so beautiful here, Mumma,” she said. “But I wish it was called Dreamland like the one in the Magic Faraway Tree!”
We decided to go to ABC World first, where she went on the Playschool Balloons (a ride which took longer to get the kids in, than the ride actually lasted!), then she explored the Banana in Pyjamas maze, went on the Wiggles Big Red Car ride (that I got to go on too!) and the teacups ride (that, thankfully, I didn’t need to go on!). Her favourite ride was the Hop and Hoot, which she went on three times in a row! It had started to rain already, but she didn’t mind in the slightest, and it meant that there were no queues anywhere, as everyone else took shelter.
Leaving ABC World, we saw the little train at the nearby station, so decided to hop on that, while we decided what to do next. It was a great little trip, and we got off at Corroboree in search of the koalas.
I don’t know who was more excited to see them munching away on their little eucalyptus trees. Probably me! You can hold a koala and have your photo taken here, and as there was no queue, we were straight in. We met Hazel, a beautiful and soft eight year old koala, and her keeper, Rebecca. I think that usually, once your photo is taken you are herded off, but as there was no-one else around, we spent at least ten minutes there. I cuddled Hazel almost the whole time, and Cornelia petted her very gently, and Rebecca showed her how she could hold her paw and stroke that too. Rebecca told us a very funny story about how she had had a eucalyptus lolly and had breathed on Hazel to see her reaction to the smell… Hazel had stared at her, then shoved her nose right into Rebecca’s mouth! Luckily, Cornelia did NOT have a lolly to try that out!
We reluctantly said goodbye to them both, and collected our photo – another for the mantelpiece at home! But our animal entertainment wasn’t over, for as we walked on, we met a couple of kangaroos just hanging around. Cornelia, brave as ever, was right up there to stroke it, and then a kind family who were already feeding one of the other kangaroos, gave her a couple of handfuls of food for her to give to the animal. Bugsy was a bit startled by the low-five the kangaroo gave her, but then she giggled and carried on. Phew!
Next was the nocturnal animals section, which didn’t impress Cornelia much, although she did quite like the tree kangaroos which we saw on the way out of this particular animal area. She really wanted to get her face painted, and the map showed that this was available around her. I had to ask a guy where we could get it done, and he said that she was just mixing up some more paints and would be out in a couple of minutes. Fifteen minutes later, she appeared, although to my surprise, she just had one white paint on a plate, and proceeded to draw traditional markings on Cornelia’s arms (roads travelled and waterholes), before asking what she would like on her face. She wanted a koala, and although that’s what the lady said she got, I wasn’t convinced. But I didn’t say anything, and told her how fabulous she looked, and she spent the rest of the afternoon being Hazel, the pretend koala.
We hadn’t bothered with lunch, as Cornelia wasn’t hungry, but I felt she should really eat something. So I bought her a Cornetto as we waited for the tiger show to start. ;o) The tigers were magnificent. Two white and two the usual colour performed a few tricks for us. I’m not usually a fan of such shows, but as with the koalas, they were very mindful of the animals’ moods and clearly cared for and loved the creatures very much. I cannot imagine how confident you have to be to get into an arena with a tiger and a lump of meat!
Leaving the arena, we passed through the store, and Cornelia was allowed another new Gang member – Tiggy the Tiger. I also bought tiger masks for her, Zara and Levi. It was impossible to resist!
Cornelia was getting a bit tired now and said she didn’t want to go on any more rides or see any more animals. Ian had arranged to pick us up at 16:30, so we started wandering slowly back to the entrance, via DreamWorks where she posed for pictures with Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and his motley crew, and the characters from Madagascar. She didn’t mind standing with them, as they were just statues, but despite assuring me that she wasn’t scared of people dressed up any more, she saw a lion and hid behind me, refusing to open her eyes. Bless her, she said “I’m just a big scaredy cat. I’ll close my eyes and you can steer me where I need to go!”
With about fifteen minutes until Ian was due to arrive, I duly steered her into the Fairytale Treasures shop, which was pink, sparkly heaven. If you like that sort of thing. Despite NOT liking that sort of thing, I managed to find quite a few Christmas presents for Cornelia and a couple of other girlies who really do love that stuff. By this point, I should add that Cornelia had now opened her eyes…!
She closed them again as I took her through the Lego shop (thankfully – there was SO much I could’ve bought for her there!) and just as we were walking down the steps to the car park, we saw Ian, and Cornelia was very excited to tell him all about her day, as he drove us home.
Carl and Rochelle were back by the time we arrived, and Carl who is just so thoughtful, had bought Zara and Cornelia a dress each. On went the tiger masks, followed by the dresses and it was a very quick turn around before we all headed out once more, for fish and chips by the sea.
The fish & chips shop was amazing – full of really fresh seafood, including lobsters and crabs which the kids loved to watch. With the food ordered, we found an empty table next to the play park and the kids had some time in there, before Cornelia decided to have the mother of all tantrums. Zara had come to me very upset and told me that Cornelia had grabbed her mouth and scratched her. I confronted her immediately, and she went completely ballistic. She knew she had done wrong, but refused to apologise and went into meltdown. I carted her out of the park and into the car, while she screamed and lashed out at me. Then I sat in there with her, until she suddenly stopped and apologised. I told her that she needed to apologise to Zara, and after a few minutes of disagreeing, she realised she was going to have to do this face to face. Once I was quite certain that the tantrum was over, we rejoined everyone for food (which had arrived while we were in the car) and she did indeed apologise. She gave Zara a cuddle which was reciprocated and a very understanding Zara said “That’s okay” and all was well again. Thank goodness!
I would’ve hated to go home at this point (which twenty minutes earlier was totally an option), as we were off to see the Christmas lights on Forest Oak Drive, famous for their amazing displays. We were not disappointed. Once we’d parked (and it was a miracle that we found two spaces opposite each other!), we walked along the dark streets, turned the corner, and there they were! SO festive and bright, you couldn’t help but smile and feel VERY Christmassy. Almost all the houses were decked out from top to bottom, including the gardens. They were quite magical. One had a machine that spurted out foam, and Cornelia and Daniel covered themselves in foam, and ended up looking as if they were half melted! The music was blaring, and one house even had trees decorated as faces, whose mouths moved in time to the words of a song. It was bloody brilliant! Carl bought all the kids glow wands, which Cornelia only let go of to have a good old dance to the music. The grand finale was a ginormous Santa, and a truly enchanting display of lights twinkling to music. It was so beautiful and creative. Cornelia looked like a little fairy exploring the mystical grounds!
But by now, Levi and Zara (who had both been at Kindy all day) were exhausted, and Levi was falling asleep in Rochelle’s arms. She had been carrying him for ages, and a sleepy four year old is even heavier than an awake four year old! The boys had already gone ahead of us with Zara, so we made our way back to our car and managed to strap Levi and Cornelia in without too much difficulty. By the time we arrived home, he was fast asleep. Cornelia made it to bed without a shower (despite being covered in soap) and she went straight down too.
The four of us then watched some TV together, before calling it a night and heading off to bed. I can’t believe we are leaving tomorrow!