Well, I suppose it could be argued that I'm on a 3 year (so far) holiday and shouldn't really complain. There is plenty to do within a short drive and actually the kids are more than happy to be left to lie-in, play with stuff they don't get the time to during term and generally chill out. However, as all you parents will know, this only lasts for about an hour then everyone is bickering and telling tales, so we have to GET OUT.
You'll know by now how much I love the beaches. Not as a bikini-clad sun-bather, more a swim/walk/read a book/have a coffee type appreciation. I have decided that I need to be able to see the sea at very least once a week. It restores me in a way I hadn't understood before. So when it is nice, we pack a picnic and head to the beaches up at Port Stephens, about 45 mins from here, the beaches are a bit more sheltered which is good for the wee ones. Previously Shoal Bay has been our beach of choice for a day out, but we have been introduced to One Mile which is a bit closer and has enough wave action to keep the big boys happy. John can also stop at Murray's Brewery on the way and is developing a love of local beers!
If we just have an afternoon, then it's usually Bar Beach for a swim or a walk from here to Merewether where we can now buy (non Nestle) ice creams and coffees at the new Surfhouse and then spend an hour or two chucking balls and digging holes.
Another walk we love is the along the breakwall at Nobbys. We can watch the big ships coming and going, the boys like to spot the flags and guess where they're off to. If we have Dog then we usually end up splitting up and some walk back along the beach, it was my turn this time. We took ages and got into trouble - oops!
We also have Lake Macquarie 10 minutes in the other direction where we spent a day kayaking with our surrogate Grandpa!
Other than beaches there was time spent with friends, grown-ups talking until too late at night while kids run wild, kids having pals over, creating with Hama Beads, playing on the ds's and wii, lots of Lego building and catching tiny lizards.
One of the last activities of the holidays was a crafty way to exercise the kids, dodge the rain and educate them all at once with a walk from Nobbys to the Newcastle Museum. They met up with school friends and played for ages in the Supernova, learnt about the production of steel and then spent most time mucking about at the fantastic photowalls.
Now that everyone is back at school I can get back to my walks with Dog, a bit of writing in some great cafes and maybe even some beach hooky...
Edited to add: If you want to know more about Newcastle, it is being featured here all week. Enjoy!