Early Monday morning, Sean and Nat headed off to the Yarra Valley region to collect eighteen very excited children.

After a long and tiring journey, we returned to The Cottage and were greeted by dinner.  Learning about the camp agreement was on the agenda before a tour of the grounds and a beautiful scenic walk along the beach. The moon lit our path and reflected off the ocean; creating a serene and peaceful view.

Tuesday marked the first full day at Cottage.  We ventured out for a walk around the neighbouring town of Point Lonsdale.  The pier was a hit amongst the children.  A group of local fisherman provided the entertainment. Their prized catch included a bucket full of fish!

Our friends from ‘The Rolling Pin’ graciously donated meat pies for lunch.  Full bellies and satisfied grins were a telltale sign that lunch was well received.

There was just enough time to play some games before walking to The Marine Discovery centre.  We observed maps of the local coastline, dipped our hands amongst the sea life in the rockpools, and learned a thing or two about rock lobsters and seahorses.

Eventually it was time to set off once again.  We summoned our hiking skills and trekked back to cottage along the beach.

Back at The Cottage, the low ropes course awaited us.  A challenge for all involved, the low ropes demanded effective communication and team building skills. We observed precarious balancing acts and agile footwork as well as a few stumbles here and there.

Before we knew it, dinner time was upon us and the incredible kitchen staff provided another delightful meal.  After dinner, we enjoyed a few rounds of our favourite night-time games – sardines and camouflage.  The day ended with laughter, smiles and a cohort of content but exhausted children.

We rose Wednesday and boarded the bus for a short trip to Barwon Heads. Famous for its basalt rock pools that teem with wildlife, Barwon Heads was the perfect spot to find crabs! We found more crustaceans than we could count!

We headed back to cottage for a quick lunch. It was then time to don our wetsuits for the highly anticipated game of dye dodgeball.  Thriving on a bit of healthy competition, the children embraced this game whole-heartedly. Dye soaked sponges soaked hurtled through the air. The game required concentration and utmost focus. 

We cooled off by heading down to the ocean and jumping amongst the waves. It was collectively agreed that the beach was a highlight.  Living so far from the coast, most of the children wished they could, “swim all day, every day.”

Thursday morning, we visited the marina.   After a leisurely stroll at sea level, the children were excited to see the sights of Queenscliff from higher perspective - at the 360Q.  We observed the boats docked below and the children ambitiously imagined themselves aboard their favourite charter!

Lunchtime rolled around and soup and lasagna were on the menu.  The children thoroughly enjoyed this dish - not a drop went to waste.  Fueled up for an afternoon of adventure, we grabbed the surfboards and headed to RAFFS, a quiet local beach spot.  Relishing the surf, the children’s smiles were larger than the waves.  When it was time to go, The Cottage staff struggled to rally the troops – none of them wanted to leave!

The children were spoiled on their final night at camp with pizza for dinner. The aroma from the kitchen was mouth-watering. Bags were packed and everyone retired for an early night in preparation for the long trek home the following morning.

After a jam-packed week, full of activities, food, adventure and smiles, we can happily say we thoroughly enjoyed having these kids at Cottage by the Sea!