11 September 2013

Postcard from an enthusiastic tourist

My dad is the ultimate tourist.  When he goes places, he likes to see the things along the way as well as the thing he is going to see.  He researches the places, takes photos and is guaranteed to find an abundance of random facts about his destination with which to gleefully regale you both during planning and when sharing the photos.

He even does a splendid 'uninteresting tour of Canberra' for people.  It's probably the funniest and most interesting 'uninteresting tour' you'll ever go on.  Because that man really knows some obscure facts about obscure buildings on obscure roads.  If any of his six offspring know a random fact about a place we don't even recall going, it's a pretty fair bet we have retained it from one of Dad's journeys.

Thing is - I'm an enthusiastic tourist too.  I like going to places I have not gone just so I can say that I've been there. And when I go there, I like to visit all the things there are to visit.  If I have to go somewhere I didn't know I was going to go, I still like to find time to check out the sights.  I particularly like the big histories of small places and knowing about the people behind the stories.

I've married a man who can go to a place, have a coffee there and be perfectly content with his 'discovery'.  I have friends like that too.  The advantage to being uncool is I can be unashamedly enthusiastic about everything.  Everything.

We're on the first of our family holidays that is just the four of us.  We drove from Sydney to Tenterfield and spent the morning wandering around Tenterfield - the birthplace of Federation. We had breakfast in the courtyard of the building where the famous speech was made.  Luckily there were toys.

 It's also the birthplace of Peter Allen and his infamous song 'The Tenterfield Saddler' about his grandfather.  So we went to the saddlery and it was closed for renovations.  But that didn't stop me.  I pressed my face to the glass and still found things to photograph.  

Feet! At the Tenterfield Saddler
Tenterfield Saddler beer
  
Through the window - over a saddle
And then, I discovered that Tenterfield is home to what is believed to be the world's BIGGEST cork tree. Exactly!  Do I know what a cork tree is? No.  But do I love visiting the biggest one - yes!  

I knew I shouldn't have showed Mama the map
Off we wandered.  First we found cows.

We may be city folk but we recognise cows
Then we checked out the cork tree.  Was appalled at the misuse of an apostrophe in the tourist sign. Channelled our inner cork trees.  
Apostrophe misuse

Pretending to be cork trees
Nick was finding my enthusiasm for Tenterfield slightly disconcerting - so he went incognito.

When my baby smiles at me I go to... 
Got back to the cow and checked with the girls what was their favourite thing in Tenterfield.  Answer: The cows.  Sorry Tenterfield - I'll bring them back when they are teenagers and make sure they fully appreciate the cork tree, the saddlery and the birth of federation.  

And then we drove to Kingaroy in Queensland, where we are staying at a farm with Old Pete, Josephine, Chicken Nuggets and Gravy.  And that's just the kangaroos.  My cousin and his family also live at the farm which the Tullinator finds hilarious - "That's silly Mummy".  Turns despite countless renditions of "Old Macdonald had a farm" in the last three years we failed to help her understand that these animals weren't living alone but actually shared the farm with Old Mac and his family.  Kids are seriously odd.   

Anyway - I digress. Kingaroy's blurb promises People, Power and Peanuts so we pootled into the Kingaroy Peanut Musuem where we hunted peanuts, and read up on the history of Kingaroy and looked at these giant peanut harvesters invented and built in Kingaroy originally but are now the basis of all the best peanut harvesting gigs in the world.  Or something.

Peanuts all three
An old computer. Nothing to do with peanuts

VIP stood for Very Important Peanuts

A lot of nuts
Last but by no means least, we discovered that peanuts grow in the ground.

Seriously - who knew?  Not me. 

It's the holiday that just keeps giving.  And we're only a couple of days into it. One thing for people coming to Kingaroy though that none of the literature mentions - this place has a dearth of shoe stores.  For if by accident you forgot a pair of shoes and you needed some that might appeal to somebody not at school or in retirement - you're going have to suck it up until you get somewhere else.  

And one more thing - Kingaroy does NOT have a penis museum.  No matter what the toddler says.

You're welcome Kingaroy Tourism.