Perth with Young and Big Kids

With two not-so-small and one still-very-small kid, planning a trip now gets somewhat challenging.

Where should we go for this mid-year trip? We need that break, break from balancing hectic work and doing homework and revising for exams with the kids. The kids need their break too after going through all that exam revision stuff.

Should we go somewhere nearby? Nah, too hot. Japan? Will there still be radiation that might be harmful for the kids? Europe? Too far, the baby might not be able to take it. Duh.. decisions.. How about down under? Perth! It’s not too far away, it’s winter there yet not freezingly cold, and it feels like a place to go even without much planning. With that, we set on to plan our trip for Perth.

As usual, we booked our flight on the Singapore Airline and this was the first flight the baby had a seat to himself. The friendly and experienced stewardess on this flight was worried the baby might be clingy and offered me an infant seatbelt, which I found out on the return flight from a newbie stewardess that it’s actually not allowed if the baby already has his own seat. But it really came in useful and I appreciated that offer. The flight was full and Bub refused to sit next to a stranger. He was clinging on to me whenever he could.

Soon after we reached Perth, the kids were energized and all ready for the holiday.

While planning for the trip, we were trying to decide should we self-drive or find alternative transport?

Self driving could be tiring (for the driver) especially if we are planing to go somewhere far, like Margaret River, and we need to have more planning, like, which route to take.

So we started to research for private tours and car hire services. Sounds like a good idea. We decided on So Cal Limo after reading good reviews on TripAdvisor and we sure were glad they didn’t disappoint. They were really very flexible on our itinary and in fact Pierce (our driver) made himself available even on the days that we didn’t plan to take the service. We appreciated that a lot because on some days we really needed the service to move around as the original plan of just crossing the road to King’s Park got foiled by non stop raining. Highly recommended!

Quest West Perth

We love this little cosy service apartment which able to give us 2 side-by-side units, privatized by having an additional outer door to enclose the 2 units so we feel like we are just having 2 fully equipped rooms instead of 2 units. Having 2 sets of everything also allowed us to multitask efficiently. I could wash 2 sets of clothes concurrently, dry then together, hubby and me could cook a meal concurrently while the kids just have fun running from 1 room to another. Service was great too! On some days we left the utensils unwashed and rushed out for our tour and they actually helped us to wash up! We read that most service apartments don’t provide this service so we were wonderfully surprised.

Fruit picking at Golden Grove Orchard

We always like to include one or two fruit picking tours during our trips. It’s fascinating and very cool to see all the fruits we eat daily on hanging directly from the trees ready for us to pick them back. So we found this farm online and Pierce helped to liaise with the farm on the date and time of our arrival and also some enquiries before we went. Nic was complaining about the goat poop (organic fertilizer) all over the floor while the rest of us were happily snipping the oranges off the trees. Just look at our harvest! We tried mandarin oranges, reduced acidity oranges (which was the sweetest and least sour type) , citrus orange (tastes sour) and the big fat oranges that were usually used to make orange juices.

The temperature at farms is usually lower so it was a good idea to bring along warmer jackets, apply lip balm and wear a mask for the kids to prevent the lips from drying up and cracking in the cold especially when there’s wind.

Caversham Wildlife Park

The reviews of Caversham Wildlife Park were nothing but praises so we definitely can’t miss this one. Only problem was how much time should we allocate here? Most people felt that 2 hours was enough to cover the park. But with our three kids and their excitement over the cutesy fur balls, we might end up with half a day there. And we did. We stayed until the park closure and the kids wanted to come again the next day! We fed many kangaroos but some were not that interested as there were already lots of dried food pellets on the ground.

We had fun taking photos with a big fat wombat, a very hungry and not sleepy koala and patted many other animals there. It was really so much more upclose experience with the animals than seeing them at the zoo.

The downside was there was not much food options at the park. Many came prepared with picnic baskets loaded with food which was such a good idea. Luckily we packed some sandwiches which the hungry kids gobbled up in a few minutes. There was a small cafe in the park which we bought some cup noodles, muffins and coffee before we left the park.

Swan River

The swan river is a long stretch of river that spread across the whole of Perth. We dropped by this part of the river for a quick shot. Too bad we couldn’t spot any swans along. We love the peacefulness of the river which reflected the scenery like the mirror lake in New Zealand.

Crawley Edge Boatshed

This iconic boat shed is definitely an insta-worthy site for some good photos. There was already a queue there when we reached. Luckily it’s not too long a wait before our turn and we got a bonus for waiting. A wonderful rainbow appeared in the skyline just next to the shed while it was about our turn

Lakeside Joondalup

Any trip wouldn’t be complete without some shopping done. We did ours mainly at this huge mall where there was Target, Woolsworth, KMart, some other supermarkets, games arcade, bookstores and whatever you need, all under one roof. After lunch at the food court, the daddy and the girls kept themselves busy at the games arcade while the baby was strapped to me while I shopped. I made a mad rush in an attempt to cover my shopping list in 2 hours before the mall closes for the day. Mission accomplished but wouldn’t mind if I had more time to get some more stuff. Shopping time is never enough.

Busselton Jetty

Little captain of the train

Pierce recommended that we could drop by here on the way to Augusta for whale watching to experience the jetty side train ride. No prizes for guessing who was most excited about it. This more than 150 year old jetty is now mostly run by passionate volunteers with the aim of preserving the Busselton history and raise their own funds for the maintenance since government funding was stopped after the jetty was no longer functioning as a port. There’s a small museum here that showcases the history of the jetty. There was also an underwater observatory which we did not try as we need to set off for Augusta.

The nice captain even let all the kids have a go at his seat for a memorable photo!

Whale watching at Augusta

Picture taken on actual trip by on board staff available for download on the official website

It was an epic day of whale watching with Whale Watch Western Australia! We were half expecting that we won’t catch any whales this day as many have tried and left disappointed although they did get a full refund. With the expectation set so low, it was really an amazing experience for us when we spotted not only one but several humpback whales on this trip! Some dolphins joined us for the thrill ride as well! We were so lucky.

The down side of it? The girls ended up with motion sickness and slept though the second half of the trip. The whales were having so much fun in the sea, we were bumping along with them in the choppy water mess they created. We were lucky enough that they didn’t puke like many of the other passengers did, probably because we had given them motion sickness pills before we set off. And luckily, they still caught some of those whales in action before they zonked out.

It was fun trying to snap photos and videos of the giants and trying not to fall overboard or have your camera slip off your hands.

Margaret River

A place not to be missed when in Perth. We went all the way to the river mouth when Margaret River meets the Indian Ocean. We were glad that we made it here after whale watching and before the sky turns dark because day time during the winter season is really short plus the distance from 1 attraction to the other is always so far. A fulfilling day with super long hours of car ride. Prepare lots of food and snacks for such trip. They came in really useful.

King’s Park

It’s no exaggeration when they say King’s Park is 1 of the world’s largest inner city park now that we have seen for ourselves. It’s impossible to cover the whole of the park just within a day, unless you only intend to drop by to see. The kids could be stuck at the same playground the whole day!

We went to 2 different parts on 2 days. The kids love the playground (top pic) while we love the nature park (bottom pic) where you can get so close to river streams.

Perth Zoo

The Perth zoo, unlike our Singapore Zoo, is located in the middle of the city. It feels quite different that on one side we have lots of animals staying together while just across the road we have people living in tall buildings. On that day we went, they were renovating the lion enclosure. The poor boy wanted so much to catch sight of the lion but didn’t see any. There were lots of spaces for family picnics and children playground so it’s quite a nice place (especially under such cooling weather) for a weekend destination for families. Now, if only we have such weather in Singapore, our zoo would be so much more enjoyable.

We tried out an Uber ride from King’s Park to the zoo this day and was glad that transportation nowadays are as easy as tapping a few buttons on the app

Pinnacles

We ditched our Mercedes for the all-terrain Land Rover today to go to the desert today. It was a amazing sight at the Pinnacles where it is full of ancient limestone pillars. Well, at least for the adults. For the kids, they thought they had come to a huge beach and started having fun drawing on the sand.

Lobster shack

We treated ourselves to a lobster feast this day since it was supposedly famous and we were just nearby. They ran out of the smaller ones so we could only order the big set. There were mixed reviews but we were lucky our lobster was fresh and meaty. Very satisfying meal. The lobster burger was kind of disappointing though. I was expecting a piece of fresh burger bread stuffed with lobster salad but it came in as a lobster patty instead.

There was a huge crowd but the service was surprising fast and the thoughtful peeps here set up a kids play area to entertain the restless kids while waiting for the food. The play area was a hit!

Lancelin Sand Dunes

We ended our day at the Lancelin Sand Dunes watching people slide down sand dunes on a sandboard and watching the beautiful sunset. You could actually rent a board and pick it up before going, but we didn’t manage to rent the board so couldn’t try sandboarding here. We tried to borrow from 1 of the tour groups but they said it was strictly for the group members.

Cottesloe Main Beach

A surfer’s beach on some days, this beach definitely has waves so big we hardly ever see back in Singapore. The kids got thrilled over the high tide and fast incoming waves splashing on the shoreline and attempted to run when the waves came in. Unfortunately all of them ended with splashingly wet and we had to dig into our packed luggage for extra pair of shoes to replaced their soaked shoes. A good idea to always bring extra shoes on any trip.

Fremantle Market

This century old market is a must-go when in Perth. From fruits and vegetables to pastries, to burgers, snacks to souvenirs, everything looked interesting. The market is packed on weekends, similar to Bugis Village back in Singapore, so do watch out for your kids. There was also street buskers doing some performances to add to the colour of the market. We got away with some satisfying burgers and snacks, some honey cakes as well as some souvenirs to bring back home.

South Mole Lighthouse

A small lighthouse by the port. We love the clear blue sky and watch boats and ships sail by as well as enjoy the cooling breeze as we stroll along. Definitely a good photo spot.

Bibra Lake Regional Playground

Playground with a fantastic view? Oh yes! Definitely! On the way to the airport, Pierce brought us to this awesome playground which gave the kids unforgettable. With sand and water play, flying fox, swings, numerous slides, the kids had crazy fun here. It was almost too sad our trip was ending. They are already asking to go back! Ok, guess we’ll be back sometime.

Itinary

Day 1:

  • Supermarket shopping
  • Check in hotel

Day 2:

  • Golden Grove Orchard
  • Caversham Park
  • Swan River

Day 3:

  • Crawley Edge Boatshed
  • Lakeside Joondalup

Day 4:

  • Busselton Jetty
  • Augusta Whale Watch
  • Margaret River

Day 5:

  • King’s Park
  • Perth Zoo

Day 6:

  • Kings Park
  • Pinnacles
  • Lobster Shack
  • Lancelin Sand Dunes
  • Watertown Brand Outlet

Day 7:

  • King’s Park
  • Cottesloe Main Beach
  • South Mole Lighthouse
  • Fremantle Market
  • Bibra Lake Regional Playground
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Taiwan with Young Kids and Baby (Part 5) – Tainan and KaoHsiung

Finally back to completing the last installment of our trip to Taiwan.

On the last leg of the trip, we did Tainan and Kaoshiung before heading back to Taipei for the flight back to Singapore.

Taroko Park Mall, KaoHsiung

After a few days at the countryside, we felt back at home after reaching KaoHsiung, another major city in Taiwan. Being a city, here comes shopping, in a mall!

Mr Lai brought us to this very new mall, Taroko Park and my city kids were thrilled to find amusement park and indoor playground, lots of it, over here. The weather was somewhat hot for outdoor play, so we just took the carousel ride and head straight for the indoor one. There were several other rides though as seen on the map.

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Suzuki Circuit Park at Taroko Mall

Then comes the indoor playground. It was huuuuggeee! It seems like a combination of Polliwog, The City and Pororo Park. Good place to park the kids (and the hubby) while the mummy goes shopping!

The best part was that this place was so new, there wasn’t a crowd, yet. So the girls had lots of chance to explore every section. They were exhausted and famished and all sweaty at the end of it but they couldn’t be happier.

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Indoor playground at Taroko Park Mall

We spent the whole day at KaoHsiung on this day and headed back to Deely House in the evening.

Tsou Ma Lai Farm

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Big farm at Tsou Ma Lai

Read on TripAdvisor that there was supposed to to have some farm activities here. But it was quite empty when we reached. Probably because it was a weekday. Feels like we have the whole farm for ourselves. Luckily there were still some playground and we also fed the horses. Should be more fun on a weekend though. 

Chi Mei Museum

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Chimei Museum near Tainan

From the Deely House, we drove around 1 hour to the #1 place to go in Tainan, as on TripAdvisor , the Chimei Museum.

The museum compound was huge! We didn’t manage to view the exhibits as kids might not be keen and it was too big for our group to walk. So we just took photos at the exterior and they looked so grand. Mission accomplished.

Water Fire Cave

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Apparently the fire has been burning for 300 years to date

The water-fire cave is literally, a cave with flower water and fire burning at the same time. It’s a natural phenomena. The fire being constantly fueled by methane gas leaking through fault lines on the rocks. You can’t get too near it but from where we stood, we could already feel the warmth from the fire. How peculiar a sight!

Eight Trigram Buddha Landscape (Chang Hua)

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Big Buddha Temple in Tainan

We weren’t expecting to be seeing big Buddha in Taiwan, but there was one. The Buddha statue was quite impressive but kids were happy just running around on the wide spaces.

Chung She Flower Market

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Chung She Flower Farm. We love flowers!

 Finally, the most photogenic place of the trip. At an unexpected place, the Chung She Flower Farm. There were plots and plots of flowers! I think I went bonkers trying to take the best shots here and am quite pleased with the set of photos we took here. The kids had fun posing around too. 

As it got darker the temperature started to drop and we set off to return to Taoyuan to stay overnight for the flight back the next day.

It was quite a long ride so most of us were just napping on the car 

I think there must be lots more parts of Taiwan we have yet to cover but should be good enough for now. Hopefully we will head for a new trace destination for the next trip! 
Itinary

  • KaoHsiung
  • Tsou Ma Lai Farm
  • Chi Mei Museum
  • Fire Water Cave
  • Eight Trigram Buddha
  • Chung She Flower Market

Taiwan with Young Kids and Baby (Part 4) – Taichung to Tainan

Our next stop is going to be Tainan. As can be seen from the map, there is some distance between Taichung and Tainan. So as usual, we made a few stops along the way to break up the trip

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Starting from Taichung to our hotel in Tainan

 

Fruit Picking

Our first stop is at this fruit farm by the XinFeng recreational farm. The last time we came, we went to pick their grapes. This trip, we came for something different. So we managed to pick from persimmons and oranges here. Its a bit of walk and trek up to the fruit trees so do prepare some insect repellents if you come.

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Picking persimmons and other fruits

 

Lavendar Cottage

Having heard about this place so often, we had to come here to see for ourselves, even though it’s not even lavender season, as can be seen from the big patch of green, rather than purple at the background.

However, even if it’s not the lavender season, this place still gives a romantic and relaxing feel overall. Maybe because it’s situated at a hilltop where the air is cool and it’s away from the city and buildings and traffic. Its nice for dating couples but also fun for kids. Look at the grand carousel. The kids loved it. You could also have your lunch or dinner here at the restaurant inside which allows you to have alfresco hotpot in the open with chilly cool fresh air.

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Xin She Castle (Taichung)

Our next stop is at Xin She Castle. This place is supposed to be a resort, but the open area is open to public for a fee to visit, picnic, gather or do photoshoots because it’s really very photogenic. It’s also a popular spot for pre-wedding photography and we also saw a couple doing their wedding shots here. If you are in Taichung, do drop by this place for some nice photos.

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Scenic spots at Xin She Castle

 

Our Accommodation in Tainan – Deely House, Tainan

This is our second time here. The kids love it so much, we don’t mind coming here again and it happens that we were lucky that the biggest room here was still available so we went ahead to make the booking. As this was our second time booking, we booked the room via direct email communication with Deely House and were even given some discount!

The email was totally in Chinese but it was still okay for us. Then we were given a link to pay a deposit to confirm the room. The remaining payment to be in cash during check in. After confirmation, we were given the WeChat/Line id of the staff on duty so we could make direct contact with the staff for arrival and any other enquiries.

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Making deposit on Deely house website via credit card payment

And here’s our room.. The Snow White room

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The Snow White Themed rom is takes up the entire floor. Ideal for large groups

The kids had so so much fun at the slides and swing and even just running up and down the room. There were also some costumes and hats for role playing but more suitable for even younger kids.

We had 3 double mattresses arranged for us. 2 on the lower level and 1 on top. So the girls took the top level while the rest of us took the the lower level one.

Amenities provided for kids includes bathtub, Sebamed toiletries, towels and a step stool. Adult toiletries and towel were also available.

Snacks and beverages were also provided but you would need to fill your hot water from the lobby in a flask provided.

For this room we had a living area, a dining and washing area, the beds and a toilet area, just like a house.

We met a few groups of other tourists from Singapore again and we visited each others room to check out

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Little Mermaid Themed room for 4 pax

This is the Little Mermaid themed room, suitable for a family of 4. There’s 1 double mattress at the lower level and another at the upper deck. The room size is halved but still has enough room for kids to have fun.

Deely House now provides in-house breakfast, prepared fresh on the spot. For babies, they even prepared season-less porridge with some vegetable and chicken all blended. But we had not started Bub on porridge at that time, so didn’t try.

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Western style, Chinese style and kids style

Deely house also provides other little amenities that make it so warm and cosy.

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Play area at the main lobby

Kids can entertain themselves at this play area while we check in, eat breakfast or come back from sightseeing. There are lots of toys on the upper deck and they can slide down for breakfast once it’s ready. The area is also well visible from the dining area so parents can keep an eye on them.

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Deely House Amenities

Other cosy amenities Deely House provided includes steriliser (both UV and steamer type), slow cooker (for cooking own porridge), some medications, high chair for kids, an open kitchen that you may use if you need, washing machines with laundry detergent and even bicycles for guests to get around the neighbourhood.

Really loved all these thoughtful amenities.

Itinary

  • Fruit Picking
  • Lavendar Farm
  • Xin She Castle
  • Check into Deely House Tainan

 

 

 

Travelling with kids – things to pack

Hubby and me love to travel before we had kids. After the kids came, we still love it. But traveling now is never the same as before.

Before kids, we could book last minute flights.

Before kids, we could travel to nearby Neighboring countries or 24 hours to the other side of the world.

Not anymore. Especially when we have kids so small.

During our last trip to Hong Kong, the kids came back with rashes due to lack of fibre intake (according to doc ) and upper respiratory tract infection due to air pollution. Poor babies and parents ( for paying hundreds of dollars for the medication )!

This is what I’ve prepared for our upcoming trip. Hopefully will resolve the lack of fibre issues. It’s kind of hard to always have fruits and vegetables that the kids will eat while traveling. But this is a sure way.

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Yummi bears fibre gummies + Disney multivitamins packed individually to settle the kids when we need to. A healthy alternative to real sweets! I wanted to stick some stickers on then but couldn’t find them. Never minds.. I’ve tried the Disney cars version but I thought the Mickey Mouse one was nicer due to the size of each gummi.

During 1 of the trips, I also prepared oats for a quick breakfast in the room before we set outside in case we are lazy to buy breakfast.

3-in-1 Quaker oats + instant Quaker oats to add in to the otherwise too watery and non filling oats beverage.
Unfortunately the kids didn’t really like it and we had quite a lot of leftovers after that.

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