“A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step” - Lao Tzu. Well, after months of planning I’ve finally taken that first step. Now I find myself in a foreign city on the first day of my Wanderjahr. Thankfully (due to smart planning) ...by dcampSaturday, 20 July 2013
Zoos are a place that we've all visited at one time or another. Some are good, some not so good. Well, over the weekend I cam across a place that made me look at the keeping of animals in a whole new light. It's called the Pearcedale Moonlit Sanct ...by dcampTuesday, 02 July 2013
I think I must have been about 12 years old when I first started to seriously dream about traveling. It all started when I went with a friend to an enormous used book store (more like a barn) near my home in New Jersey. It was here that I came acro ...by dcampSaturday, 14 December 2013
On my travels throughout the world, I've seen many, many great sites, met a lot of interesting people, and tasted lots of food (some good and some not so good.) Although I certainly am not a fruitarian, I do have a keen eye for fruit – and on my tra ...by neytiri12345Wednesday, 02 October 2013
When the travel bug first hit me I wrote down all of the places I wanted to visit in a 150 destination Global Bucket List. Who would have ever thought that this wouldn't end up being enough? You can find the list by reading my blog: A Tale of 2 Buck ...by dcampMonday, 14 October 2013
Yes, I've been meaning to write a followup to my earlier blog post "Sunsets" – but, you know how things always get in the way... been busy travelling, you see... A personal goal of mine has been to see a sunrise on as many continents as possible, an ...by foamfollowerThursday, 25 July 2013
My obsession with traveling around the world came from two primary sources – both books. The first was Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Vern and the second was A Vagabond Journey Around the World by Harry Franck. Both of these books made it abu ...by dcampMonday, 15 July 2013
At one point or another everyone dreams about exploring the world and experiencing all that it has to offer. I first developed the travel bug when I was a young boy and its stuck with me for my whole life (and I'm not exactly a young boy anymore). ...by dcampFriday, 13 December 2013
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Life is a funny thing. After years wandering the world, exploring its wonders, I’ve now entered a new stage of my life – one that many other life-long travellers have no doubt gone through before me. I’ve gone from being an intrepid wanderer, who is always up for the next great adventure, to a Homebound PlanetHopper!, who now placed the wants and needs of a young family above everything else in life. Talk about evolution of the species!
But even though I might not be jaunting off to foreign lands - at least for the moment - it doesn't mean that I'm just sitting around the house! There are more than enough adventures waiting for the entire family just a short trip from home – namely on the Mornington Peninsula. This little slice of heaven is located about an hour south of Melbourne (Australia) and has been featured in one of my previous blogs (Walking with Wallabies).
Today's adventure revolved around something that all kids love – Fairy Tales! Specifically, it takes us on a journey to the top of Arthur's Seat – a 305 meter high "mountain" that overlooks the Mornington Peninsula to the Enchanted Maze Garden. Named for another "Arthur's Seat" (in Edinburgh, Scotland), as a place from which the legendary king of Britain sat to survey his kingdom. No doubt he used the Australian version while on summer holiday "Down Under" as it provides unequaled views in all directions, as you can see below.
The journey up the mount takes you past the old Arthur's Seat chairlift, which is now sadly closed. In its day, the lift ferried thousands of people to the top of the hill to enjoy the view. Unfortunately, the "Public Liability" Fairy visited and sprinkled foreclosure dust on the venture in 2006 and it's been collecting another kind of dust ever since. We can only hope that someday someone with deep pockets comes along and breathes life back into the venture. Where's King Arthur when you need him?
As you approach the top of the hill, the signs for the Arthur's Seat Maze - or Enchanted Maze Garden - are clearly posted. I remember visiting the maze years ago – shortly after moving to Australia – and it was essentially only an English-style maze garden. Well, fast-forward about 10 years, and it still has a maze, but now it also has much, much more. But let's not get ahead of ourselves!
When you enter the grounds of the garden, you immediately encounter a variety of topiary figures sculpted out of the hedges, beckoning you in. The kids especially loved the animals that seemed to move under their own power in the breeze. I can only imagine the time it must take to keep everything in tip-top form!
After about a half hour traversing the various mazes, the kids were ready to move on to the next adventure. This came in the form of a slight variation on the maze theme with a series of interactive "puzzles" for the kids to figure out. My favorite was a series of huge tires positioned in a color-coded formation. The object was to reach the center of the maze, but only by moving from tire-to-tire in a red-blue-green sequence. Sound easy? Hardly!
When the kids had finally tired themselves out, we made our way through a series of beautifully manicured gardens to a central lake that was home a large family of ducks (and some very unique artwork). This provided the perfect opportunity for all of us to catch our breath and decide what to do next. Needless to say, after one look at the map of the grounds - which you receive upon entry - the decision was made – Tire Hill!
As you may have surmised from the name, this is a hill that you can slide down on large intertubes. As you can see from the photo below I think I enjoyed it as much (or maybe more) than the kids!
After easily a dozen trips up (walking) and down (sliding), we decided it was time to break for lunch. The garden's central café provided the perfect place to sit down and have a light meal to recoup our energy. The adjoining Candy Shop also provided a tasty dessert with just enough of a sugar hit to send us on our way.
As the kid's slowly attacked their lollipops, we took a leisurely stroll through an extensive sculpture park that housed an amazing array of carvings and statues. Along the way, there were a variety of activities to help burn off even more energy. Whoever designed this place obviously must have had kids and knew how to tire them out!
When we made our way to the end of the pathway through the sculpture park, we found yet another one of the garden's hidden wonders – a tree-top walk! Imagine an intricate network of ropes suspended 5 meters above the ground, and you'll get an idea of the fun on offer! While not for young children – it was perfect for teenagers and adults who don't mind heights!
While my kids weren't quite old enough to hit the ropes, they enjoyed watching the older kids traverse the lines from tree-to-tree while harnessed up. No doubt they'd be up for this in a few years, which made a return trip all of a certainty.
It was just around this time that the kid's reserves of energy began to run out. After roaming through mazes, traversing puzzles, sliding down hills, admiring artwork and dreaming about things they would do when just a little older it was time for a wonderful day to come to an end.
In summary, the Arthur's Seat Enchanted Maze and Garden can be summed up in one word – enchanting!
Come for a visit and I'm sure you'll agree! See you there...