Boys Big Weekend!
My son is turning 10 this week and we’ve decided that we need to do the big talk. You know, adult topics he will have already been exposed to during his school conversations.
I can’t leave it to chance. I can’t let the internet or his friends be the main influence to his young mind in these matters. I’d like to provide a safe place where he can run to for opinions, clarification and standards. And as boys go, we need to do stuff together before we can open up and chat. Here’s what we did in Melbourne over the weekend and if you’re a dad to a pre-teen son or daughter, I’d be happy for you to copy and paste this weekend itinerary to your schedule so you too can chat to your son or daughter about the big stuff.
7am Ward Round at RCH and St.Vincent’s Private (This is optional)
9am drive to Lysterfield Park (Horswood Rd car park) for a morning of Mountain Bike Riding. Good entry level track with a few areas for skills practice with small hills and jumps.
1pm Head towards Australian Rainbow Trout Farm at Macclesfield. You will pass through Emerald. A few good cafes there for lunch and a Woolies for last minute camp groceries.
2.30pm Fishing at Australian Rainbow Trout Farm. You can fish for a small trout, a golden trout, a rainbow trout or even Atlantic salmon. My son caught a beautiful brown trout. It’s an easy catch so try the hard lake first before moving to an easy pond. They’ll gut and fillet the fish your son/daughter catches. And that’s dinner cleaned up for you.
4pm drive to Healesville Camp ground. (We chose an unpowered tent site at Big4 Healesville. You can do cabins, belle tents, pods, AirBnB, Bed & Breakfast, etc. Choose your level of comfort). We chose camping because the act of setting up and staying in a tent would be fun.
6.30pm dinner. My portable stove nearly blew up on me. Good thing the camp had a kitchen, BBQ hotplate, fridge, etc. We cooked some noodles, spam and the fish he caught. He loved it. We brought some vegetables, but being boys, we forgot to eat it.
8pm: walk around and marvel at the glorious stars above the gum trees. And then STAR WARS in the tent on the iPad.
Breakfast of champions: bacon and eggs. (And the cup noodles he wanted.) Kick a few balls and ride bicycles around the camp ground. Feed some birds and play in the small creek on camp site. Pack up tent.
11am drive to Healesville, stopped by some shops and art galleries.
1130am Gin tasting at Four Pillars Gin Distillery (This was for daddy! If you’re not into Gin, you can swap that with Innocent Bystander brewery/winery 5min away, or a lunch at any of the fantastic Healesville foodie places. Lots to choose from.)
1.30pm Trees Adventure Glen Harrow Park Belgrave for tree surfing/zip lining. (This was actually a birthday party of his schoolmate, but the activity fitted perfectly to our schedule.)
5pm Head to SkyHigh Mt.Dandenong, Observatory Rd overlooking all of Melbourne. Here we parked the car and finished up the CD we were listening to and had a quiet moment to chat about everything else we’ve talked about over the weekend.
6.30pm back to Melbourne for Pizza dinner at his favourite restaurant.
If you notice, the drive between places are only about 30-45 min long. Lots of activities to do together (mountain bike, fishing, camping, movie, zip lines).
And most importantly, the soundtrack for the weekend. I cannot recommend enough this resource from The Parenting Place NZ. We found out about this when we were in NZ. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. The way the topics are approached is spot on. Very safe and very appropriate. Check out the list of topics on the pics below. DOWNLOAD their resource now on iTunes Store (search The Parenting Place, The Big Weekend) and have a listen yourself. You’ll know why I highly recommend this for boys and girls, dads and mums of pre-teens. And because it’s kiwi, we smiled and remembered our own kiwi experience.
There you go mums and dads. The big weekend is not just for boys, the girls can do same and modify the activities to appropriate options around the same areas we’ve visited. Instead of mountain bike, have a walk around the beautiful Lysterfield lake. Instead of fishing, go visit some nice tulip and art gardens in the Dandenong ranges. Do whatever your boys and girls would like. I plan to do the same itinerary with my daughter in the future. Why should she miss out on these adventurous stuff? Take the plunge and talk about these stuff with your kids.
We as parents need to prepare them for their turbulent teenage years in the current society we live in. Don’t let the internet be their guide. Let’s be that safer and stronger influence on our kids. This weekend and it’s soundtrack just gets the ball rolling. I can’t answer every question he has and he will have more to ask in the future. The key is opening that door and letting him know that his parents are safe people to go to.
Let me know how you go!