Updated: Jan 8
I had two days to play with. Two whole days where I had no commitments, no appointments and no plans. Deciding it was time for a road trip and weekend away I decided on Mudgee. Yeah, most people would choose the Central Coast, the blue Mountains or even the city but I had done all of those options so many times.... plus the Mudgee Running Festival was on this particular weekend! My decision was made and I informed my hubby of the plans.
Since we only had two days with my husband off work we had to make it count.
So I started planning....
* accommodation for a family of five
* a plan for the day we were there with a decent interest rating
* snacks for the road that said "holiday" yet didn't put the kids on a complete sugar high
* some educational experiences that I could count towards their schooling
With my mission ahead of me I put on my superhero cape and got to work.
Finally the weekend was upon us. The car was packed, I had snacks for the drive and the car was fueled and ready to go.
8.00am Saturday morning - heading towards the mountains for our mini holiday. It took a total of 4 and a half minutes before the kids started asking for snacks (even though they had just eaten breakfast) so I distracted them with an amazing game of "Would you rather?"
8.50am Stopped by the Bilpin fruit bowl to reminisce about coming here when I was a kid. It looked exactly the same, except for the fact that it looked 20 years older. Got out of the car to take a photo of my children in front of the giant fruit bowl. My son then face planted off the edge trying to reach his dad. Fortunately Jonathon managed to mostly catch him and there was no blood, teeth were all in place and there were limited tears so I counted it as a win and we jumped back in the car.
9.00am "We're hungry! SO hungry!! Please we need food!" - I told my husband to buy his own food. My plans to have morning tea around 10.30am looked like they were going to jump out the window.
9.02am The kids munched away on apple slices allowing my husband and I to actually talk to each other for a few minutes.... queue sound of crickets...
9.04am With the apple slices gone, they moved onto the yoghurt pouches.
9.30am I have now gone through my "Would you rather?" cards, discussed the girls grammar skills by listing verbs, nouns and adjectives, done some bible quizzes and even practiced some spanish.
9.32am Stop for a toilet stop in Lithgow at McDonalds. Felt like I won the lottery when the kids didn't complain that we weren't buying anything.
10.15am Played a game of "Family story" - One person starts off a story with a sentence then each family member takes a turn to keep the story going.... I'm not sure how my husband ended up getting eaten by a shark in every story. Yep, even the one that was set in the desert!
10.45am My kids start beating each other up in the back of the car. Zac manages to pinch his sister really hard and she throws his toys on the floor. I contemplate walking the rest of the way.
11.00am We make it to Mudgee!!! We check into The Big 4 Holiday Park and are served by the sweetest lady ever at reception. She lets us do early check in and we go to our little two bedroom cabin to unpack and have some lunch.
Straight after lunch we jumped back in the car and headed to the Great Dripping Wall. The Great Dripping Wall is a beautiful walking track through the Goulburn River State Conservation area. It's located in Ulan which is about half an hour out of Mudgee. Usually there is water that drips down the cliffsides into the river below and makes a beautiful echoing sound through the amphitheatre below . Unfortunately with the current drought, there wasn't much water so we were unable to experience this.
I was pleasantly surprised to see water flowing through the river at all though, so that was a nice surprise. The hike along the river was really beautiful and even the kids enjoyed the almost 3km return walk without complaining (much). They had leaf races on the river, collected more rocks for the pockets in my car and watched out for dinosaurs.
Jonathon and I really enjoyed the hike and the surroundings were so beautiful that Caitlin was transformed into a nature lover and asked to do more hikes as a family.
After the hike we climbed back in the car and headed back to Mudgee. According to the children it was top priority that we returned to the holiday park so that they could try out the jumping pillow. As it was already getting dark my husband watched them jump while I cooked some dinner.
The next morning I rose and donned my favourite active wear, pinned on my race bib and headed into Mudgee Town Centre to join in the running festival. I had decided to do the 10km.
With my family cheering me on I meandered my way through the people and got settled in a pace I could keep up.
The run was good and I was stoked to get a personal best! At the finish line I was handed a medal and I, feeling very accomplished, sat down on the ground in a heap to catch my breath. A few minutes later I took a good look at my medal. It said Mudgee Running Festival Winner! I looked at it again. Wait, that's not right! I'm not a winner, it should say finisher. I mean, I know I got a PB and all but I'm not that fast.
I casually walked over to some other finishers and asked to see their medals. Theirs said "finisher". I walked back over to the finish line and told someone they had given me the wrong medal. I showed them how mine said "winner". I was secretly hoping that I had actually accomplished the impossible and won the race for my age group but alas no. The woman quickly took my medal saying it was a misprint and thrust a normal medal at me. There, now I was not special anymore and my medal said "finisher" like everyone else's. My husband asked if I wished I hadn't taken my medal back but I told him that I only wanted a "winner" medal if I actually was a winner. Maybe my goal next year will be to try and place in something.
I felt slightly cheered up later on when my husband looked up my official time on the website and told me that I came 7th in my age group! Okay there were only about 35 people in my age group but that made me feel like a bit of a winner! Maybe I could have kept the first medal ;)
After the race, we went back to the tourist park where I had a nice hot shower and we packed up the car to return to Sydney. The kids were sad to leave so we prolonged our drive back by doing the tourist thing.
We stopped in Lithgow and visited the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum. On a fascination scale from 1 - 10 my family rated the visit as such.
My husband - 7
Me - 4 (i was really trying but history has never been my strong suit)
Caitlin - 3
Brianna - 2
Isaac - Me to Isaac "What did you think about the Arms museum where you saw all the guns?" Zac's response: "go McDonald's" (he's two, so what did I expect?)
In all honestly it was a really great little museum and for my husbands sake I'm really glad we went. I actually did use the opportunity to teach my kids a couple of things while we were there. In case you were wondering, they now know what a magazine is (no, not the one you read) and what a hand grenade is (yes, very important knowledge).
We completed our trip with a visit to Hassan's Walls lookout. It was a fantastic view of Lithgow and surrounds and you walk along walkways to get out to the edge of the lookout. The children got involved in the sightseeing and took a bunch of photos on their iPads (I'm not sure they will be photos worth looking at but they may be very artist images of their feet).
Have you been to Mudgee or Lithgow? I'd love to hear your experiences too. Share them with me in the comments or send me an email.