Bathwater Empire – new innovation!

I have added a new innovation to my bathwater siphon system.

Look what I did – I added a sprinkler! It actually had enough pressure to work.

I should explain the excitement. Melbourne is such a low-rainfall part of the world that for about a decade, we had permanent water restrictions. We have about half the annual rainfall of Sydney – a little known fact!

Stage 2 Water Restrictions were eased back to Stage 1 level in 2012, but there are still permanent water rules in place.

Sprinklers and watering systems can only be used ‘overnight’ (from 6pm-10am.) You can’t wash concrete driveways or paths with mains water at all. Many people install ‘grey-water’ recycling systems or tanks to harvest rainwater from the roof.

On Saturday it was 31C here, Monday is predicted to be 33C, Tuesday 34C. This is the time lawns start to brown right off for the summer. We have drought-tolerant grass breeds that brown off to prickly tufts over summer – the whole yard turns brown. It revives again in autumn as the rainfall returns.

Our fruit trees need constant hand-watering with buckets or hose which is quite labour-intensive.

This is one of our 2-year old pear trees (about 2 metres tall now) that we would like to keep alive this summer:


The smaller, cross-pollinator pear tree (about 1.5 metres tall) is just over a year old. It will need lots of water to keep it alive this summer.


To our sadness, the mandarin tree (already producing very sweet fruit) died suddenly while we were away on holidays.

It was planted in a part of the yard that has a history of dying trees. It often has mushrooms growing there in winter. I suspect water pools under the surface.

The weird lemon-lime mutant tree is still going strong after about 10 years:


And this is one of the huge Messmate Stringybark Eucalypts Trees on our fence line. This tree would be about 200 years old.


I’m elated to have all this ‘free’ water that we can use.

It would be absolute bliss to sit on the verandah on a 40C day and have cool, GREEN grass to look at (and living trees!)

Awesome Water Saving Hack!

I cannot believe this worked – I am elated!

I was working in the backyard yesterday when a childhood memory re-surfaced of my bricklayer father draining 44 gallon drums of water on the job using a garden hose. It seemed like magic to me to see water flow ‘uphill’ from the drum and out.

I wondered: would this work to drain bathwater onto the garden?

I tried it.

My 11 year old still has baths every night, not showers. So we kept his bathwater in from last night and I took the garden hose upstairs, left one end in the bath and threw the rest of the hose out the window:


The bath end of the hose is pinned down by the nearest heavy object – the fancy glass bowl that I normally use to store soap.

The outside part of the hose trails down the outside walls of our two-story house and onto the 3 year old fruit trees we are still establishing in the garden:


Initially, nothing happened. I had to ring Dad to find out how you actually get the siphon going.

What you do is this:

  1. connect the outside end of the hose to a garden tap and turn it on for about 5-10 seconds
  2. this sends water upstairs into the bath for a few seconds
  3. obviously, have a heavy weight on the bathroom end of the hose to keep it pinned!!
  4. disconnect the garden tap end and the siphon will be established
  5. water will start flowing downstairs strongly from the bath

I can’t believe it was literally that easy.

Within seconds, I had a really strong flow of water coming out of that bath onto our trees. It siphoned all but the last couple of inches of water from the bath.

The trees aren’t fruiting yet as they are immature ones, so it’s ok to use ‘grey-water’ to keep them growing.


We’re heading for 31C today in Melbourne with strong winds…exactly the sort of day we normally water our garden to keep the establishing trees alive.

We also have 200-300 year Messmate eucalyptus trees in the reserve next door. Their root system is everywhere under the grass in our backyard. Simply draining the bath onto the lawn occasionally will provide many hundreds of litres of water over summer to help to keep those huge trees healthy.

Generally, our October to March bills increase by at least $400 due mainly to garden watering. I’m hoping to really cut that extra cost by re-using grey water.

I’m going to attach a hose end and cord to the bath end of the bath, so I can just haul it up the side of the house neatly when needed. That way, it won’t be left in an unsightly mess hanging from the second floor.

Our garden tap is right on the wall of the house, so instead of draining the plug, we just need to go downstairs, open the laundry door, turn on the tap for a few seconds and ‘Bob’s your uncle.’

Definitely worth the extra few minutes of effort on those 30-40+ C days till next March.

I’m really happy with this hack!

If it does save us money on our water bills, I’m allocating all of it towards a new holiday next year!

Holiday Spending Wrap-Up and Sea World

And now for the truth on trip costs for the Gold Coast Extravaganza.

My Tax Return Credit was $3,250.00 and the final trip cost was $3,925.00 (details outlined below in between Sea Wold pix.)

If you are thinking, “OMG!” – yes, it was an expensive holiday.

We could have made many other spending choices with this unexpected Tax Windfall. We have home maintenance that needs doing and relatives who need help. We could have donated it to charity, as in this amazing piece by Alison.

But in this case, I still can’t regret this spending. It was just a particularly good holiday. Mr D and I had a lot of quality time together on this trip – not to be sneezed at after 15 years of marriage and 20 years together in all.

Mr 11 loved it and thanked us every day for this trip. We had very little of the bickering that sometimes makes trips with kids more of a hassle than they’re worth.

We have come home fully rested and revitalised and very much re-focussed.

We didn’t budget or save for this trip before we left, so it’s not surprising there was a cost over-run. However, I have the June 2015 Tax Return going in this week and the difference will be covered by another (smaller) return.


Sea World

The final Theme Park that we visited as part of our ‘3 Parks Pass’ was Sea World.


This was a change of pace, focussing less on rides and more on animal exhibits and environmental education.

We only did one ride – the Storm Roller Coaster – but this park was perfect for the final day of our trip.



  • Free on Points


  • $2,345.00 ($335 per night – we could have had 14 days not 8 days for the same price if we had booked earlier!!)

Sub-Total: $2,345.00



  • $325.00 – 7 day Bus Pass (including longer distance Theme World travel)
  • $  59.39 – Taxi to Gold Coast Airport, 8th day
  • $111.18 – Melbourne Airport Parking (long-term parking for our car in Melb – necessary with a 4am departure Day 1 and a midnight return, Day 8)

Sub-Total: $495.57


General Entertainment

  • $89.00 – 3 Parks Pass Adult 1
  • $89.00 – 3 Parks Pass Adult 2
  • $89.00 – 3 Parks Pass Child 1
  • $20.00 – Flow-rider (extra price ride at Wet ‘n’ Wild)
  • $10.00 – Locker, Wet ‘n’ Wild
  • $10.00 – Locker, Movie World
  • $15.00 – Share of Cabana, Wet ‘n’ Wild

Sub-Total: $332.00



  • $38.50 – slab of beer
  • $13.00 – bottle of bubbles
  • $35.50 – 6 pack beer + champagne (both brought home as we didn’t use them)
  • $48.60 – Surf Club ’round’ for group

Sub-Total: $135.60


Dining Out

  • $9.90 – Surf Club Kid’s Meal
  • $47.70 – Surf Club Adult Meal x 2
  • $112.00 – Mexican Restaurant (2 adults, 1 child)
  • $ 2.00 – Kid Desert (Sundae)
  • $19.30 – Burgers (lunch)
  • $69.90 – Pizzas for a bunch of people

Sub-Total: $260.80


Snacks and Drinks

  • $4.88 – Coffee
  • $4.88 – Coffee
  • $28.00 – Purchase Drink Cups with Soft Drink Refill Station voucher
    (I wasn’t a fan of these, a minor snippety moments on the trip!)
  • $16.00 – Drink Refills, Movie World
  • $ 8.00 – Drink Refills, Wet ‘n’ Wild
  • $10.00 – Churros, Movie World
  • $ 4.00 – Churros, Wet ‘n’ Wild
  • $16.28 – Ice-cream Sundaes, Sea World
  • $34.56 – Lunch final day (after check-out)
  • $11.65 – Kid Dinner, Airport final day (Queensland)
  • $10.95 – Adult Dinner, Airport final night (Queensland)
  • $17.85 – Adult Dinner, Airport final night (Queensland)
  • $11.30 – Kid Hot Chocolate and Snack (Sydney Airport 2 hour Stopover)
  • $25.45 – 1 beer and 1 wine (Sydney Airport 2 hour Stopover- ack!)
  • $25.45 – 1 beer and 1 wine (Sydney Airport 2 hour Stopover – ack!)

Sub-Total: $229.25




  • $28.95 – Ride Photos, Wet ‘n’ Wild
  • $15.99 – Ride Photo, Movie World
  • $17.98 – Postcards, Kids’ Souvenirs

Sub-Total: $ 62.92


Guys Night Out

  • $11.10 – Taxi to venue
  • $21.90 – Dinner
  • $31.70 – Round of beer
  • $9.44 – Taxi back

Sub-Total: $74.14

GRAND TOTAL: $3,925.28