Monthly Archives: March 2016


Hurry!  Only a few days to catch the dinosaurs at Newcastle Museum before they head elsewhere.P1030681Although ‘catch’ is probably not the appropriate word in this context. The tyrannosaurs* were ferocious meat-eating predators with powerful legs, heavy jaws, and very strong teeth. We humans wouldn’t have lasted at all long had we overlapped with the dinosaurs. Lucky for us, then, that they were wiped out by a giant meteorite in the Mesozoic Extinction Event 66 million years ago.P103067066 million years ago. Imagine that. I can’t. Such a huge number, the mind boggles. In fact, so much about dinosaurs defies comprehension, and the exhibition brilliantly showcases the wonders and mysteries of these primitive creatures. 10 life-sized specimens from the tyrannosaurs family were on display, including the king himself, Tyrannosaurus rex (Scotty), who measured an estimated 12 metres in length. Guanlong wucaii, early relative of T.rex, was also present. This feathered fiend has got dinosaur experts the world over oohing and aahing, as it confirms the link between tyrannosaurs and birds. Yup, people, T.rex was a bird in the making.

Wow! I hear you say. You managed to gather all this information at the exhibition with your littlies in tow? And the answer is: Are you kidding?! I read the headers on the day and left the small print to late-evening Internet research. But I didn’t need the detail to enjoy the visit. And nor did the tots. The dinosaur specimens wowed us with their strange forms, giant size, long tails, and scary teeth. Especially T.rex, whose shadow had a mind of its own, and would reach down to grab unsuspecting visitors as they passed underneath.P1030678The interactive side of the exhibition was fun. Ickle and Ettie particularly enjoyed being in their own dinosaur movie, although things did get a little loud at one point. And Bear tried very hard to jump up and down to power a meteorite large enough to wipe out the creatures we had come to see.P1030673We combined our visit with a play in the museum’s Mininova soft play area, morning tea on the lovely grassy lawns outside, plus a coffee and scoot along Honeysuckle.

*Tyrannosaur comes from the Greek “tyrant lizard”.

Flip Flop Tree

20160221_111745-001Australia is renowned for its eucalypt forests and acacia woodlands and shrublands. But never before have I found mention of the flip flop tree.*

We found this unique specimen on one of our family excursions to the beach. We had opted to head to Reids Reserve in Swansea Heads. Mivvy conveniently dropped off to sleep on the way there, so Ickle and her daddy went exploring, while her mummy sat in the car and played around on her mobile phone. Nothing like a bit of downtime ensconced in the driver’s seat.20160221_111819-00120160221_111853-001And father and daughter found a beautiful pathway leading to a sandy beach and honey-rock slab a stone’s throw from the ocean. And on the way there, of course, the flip flop tree.20160221_112611-001The access to this stretch of paradise is strewn with rocks so it was a bit of a scramble, but nothing like our recent rock-hopping experience. Ickle and Mivvy had huge fun playing together in the channel, with the water swooshing gently in both directions (this is definitely not the place to be when the tide comes in). And Mivvy enjoyed picking miniature shells off the rocks and examining them, while Ickle went for a climb to observe the ocean at closer range.20160221_113305-00120160221_114259-001We were tempted to pick a pair off the tree on our return to the car, but decided we’d leave the unusual blooms in situ for others to enjoy.20160221_111807-001*Well “thong tree” really doesn’t have the same ring about it. (In Australian English, flip flops are known as thongs.)