Paint the Town Ford // Day tripping to the Royal National Park

kids in a ford territory

Raffles and Sugarpuff love driving games, especially spotting red cars, but never so much as the one they’ve spotted parked outside our apartment this week… a shiny red Ford Territory Titanium that’s ours for the next six weeks as part of the Voices of 2014 Paint the Town Ford Challenge.

Sugarpuff christens her “Lulu” but Raffles claims the car is a boy and insists on “Terry”. One thing they do agree on is that we need to hit the road to get to know the gender confused automobile better! So we’re trading our usual Saturday schedule of swimming, chores and the kids watching Frozen on loop for a little day tripping!

At least that’s the plan, but clearly my frost-bitten offspring are unable to “let it go” and we’ve barely left the suburb when Raffles announces he’s brought the Frozen DVD with him to try the car’s in-built television. AGH! Is there no escaping the icy parental hell that is Arendelle?

Thankfully Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Co stay in the car when we make a pit stop at pretty Audley Wier in the Royal National Park for a stretch and some fresh air.

Audley Weir, Royal National Park

Our animated stalkers are also silent once we arrive at our destination, Helensburgh’s Sri Venkateswara Hindu Temple, where we’ve come for a hit of culture with a side of dosa (fermented rice crepes).

Sri Venkateswara Temple, Helensburgh

When we open ourselves up to other cultures, beautiful and unexpected things occur and today we must be oozing openness, because magic happens before we even get our shoes off at the temple entrance.

The entrance to Sri Venkateswara Temple, Helensburgh

Raffles has spotted a ritual being performed in the car park and a kindly gentleman has spotted Raffles. Curiously, he directs us into the temple where, with a knowing smile, we’re handed a bowl of fruit into which our car keys are placed.  Umm… This may be starting to sound all very 70’s wah chicka wah wah but we’re told it’s just the first step in a car pooja. Phew.

A pooja is a holy blessing and it turns out that Hindus also perform poojas on inanimate items to protect them from mishap… including shiny new cars.  Who knew? I mean, besides 950,000,000 Hindus.

At a shrine to Lord Ganesh – remover of obstacles and destroyer of sorrows – a chanting pujari (Hindu priest) sporting a fabulous gravity-defying quiff splashes the bowl, and the keys to the Territory, with sacred water before making tilak marks on our foreheads with ash.

Tilak mark on a boy at SVT

Back in the car park, a mesmerised Raffles follows him as he circles the car chanting.

car pooja at Sri Venkateswara Temple

The doors are opened as the mantras continue, and the driver’s wheel earns a tilak mark of its very own.

Car Pooja at Sri Venkateswara

The bonnet is strewn with petals and sacred water before a coconut is opened and its juices sprinkled on the front tyre.

petals on the bonnet of the Territory Titanium

Finally the pujari lays an intricate garland of fresh red flowers across the steering wheel and, genuflecting, leaves us with an automobile who I’ve gotta say is looking and smelling far more “Lulu” than “Terry” with her pretty new adornments.

Car pooja

Raffles, already fascinated by Hinduism’s magical devas and deities, is enraptured by the experience and wants to do it all over again. We suggest he just enjoy the spontaneity of the moment and take him off to do what we do best. Eat!

Sitting in the shadow of the elaborate temple at the vegan Sri Venkateswara canteen we feast on spice infused tamarind rice and Masala Dosa (pancakes stuffed with spicy potato).

masala dosa at Sri Venkateswara Temple

The kids devour a plate of Paratha (a layered flatbread) and we all fall hard for the Poori (crispy fried puffed bread served with a chickpea curry). There’s always room for dessert so we grab a bag of laddoos. The cardamom spiced balls of cakey loveliness are stuffed full of nuts and I wash  mine down with a spicy sweet masala chai.

Laddoos at SVT Canteen, Helensburgh

After our colourful hit of culture and cuisine we hop into the newly blessed Lulu/Terry and head the few kilometres to gorgeous Bald Hill Lookout at Stanwell Park to digest our meal and enjoy the panoramic views before our long drive home.

And to stuff our faces with ice-cream (because like proverbial sacred cows, we have second stomachs for those).

Ice-creams at Stanwell Tops

It’s been a magical day of culture, cuisine and cruising, so much so that Raffles wants to tell you a little more about it! Over to him…

Thanks to Ford Australia and Kidspot we’re delighted to be enjoying our adventures in a new Ford Territory Titanium as part of the Voices of 2014 Paint the Town Ford Challenge. This is the first of three posts we’ll be sharing as we get to know Lulu/Terry over the next six weeks.

58 Comments on Paint the Town Ford // Day tripping to the Royal National Park

  1. Karen Gould
    July 14, 2014 at 8:52 am (10 years ago)

    Awesome adventure! I didn’t even know that place was there.

  2. Jill Sueoka
    July 14, 2014 at 9:05 am (10 years ago)

    Such a clever video! Well done. Akemi and I were laughing and smiling at your awesome little actor. Now is the time to enrol him in some classes!

    It looked like you had a great day. I hope you enjoy your 6 weeks with the car!


      July 17, 2014 at 6:49 am (10 years ago)

      Thanks Jill, never thought about sending him to drama, but he seems to love being in front of a camera 😉

  3. Deborah Dickson-Smith
    July 14, 2014 at 9:14 am (10 years ago)

    What a litte HAM he is – ha ha! So what was the deciding factor on gender for Terry?

      July 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm (10 years ago)

      Raffles IS a total Ham, Deborah. And sadly Terry/Lulu is still swinging both ways 😉

      • Kate
        July 17, 2014 at 9:03 pm (10 years ago)

        You could always go Terri with an ‘i’ 🙂

  4. Seana Smith
    July 14, 2014 at 10:00 am (10 years ago)

    Oh this is cool, I didn’t know about that temple, in fact we’ve never been to a Hindu temple anywhere as a family far less in Sydney. Great combo of travel story and food story and multicultural story – an eye opener for most Sydneysiders, I bet. Thanks for taking us there and making a post we could easily follow on a trip of our own.

    Did you know I used to be a kids TV producer. I’m telling you that Raffles is a natural, how I would have loved working with him – confident and articulate! Love a combo of info and humour.

      July 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm (10 years ago)

      It’s such a fabulous place Seana, in fact the whole drive up through the Royal National park is a winner, as it seems is my little video star 🙂

  5. Lisa
    July 14, 2014 at 10:19 am (10 years ago)

    It looks like you had a fantastic day, and I loved the video 🙂 We can’t wait to see your next instalments.

      July 17, 2014 at 6:50 am (10 years ago)

      It was an amazing day, looking forward to sharing more of them 🙂

  6. stephiemesh
    July 14, 2014 at 10:28 am (10 years ago)

    Fab video, and great shots of what Sydney has to offer. Can you be my chauffeur too… pllllleeeeeeeesssee??

      July 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm (10 years ago)

      Sure… there’s plenty of room in Terry/Lulu 🙂

  7. Lisa K
    July 14, 2014 at 11:10 am (10 years ago)

    Where else are you going in your adventures? Howsa bout putting the car through it’s paces off road somewhere??

  8. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    July 14, 2014 at 11:46 am (10 years ago)

    Can I just say that if I am reincarnated I’d like to come back as one of your kids (hopefully that doesn’t sound weird) because you’re such a fun mum and your kids look like they have the best time! 😀

      July 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm (10 years ago)

      HAHA! I’d happily adopt you Lorraine. Think of the foodies fun we’d all have! 🙂

  9. Louisa
    July 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm (10 years ago)

    Ha that’s epic! What a little star Raffles is. Terry’s cool too….

  10. Aruna
    July 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm (10 years ago)

    How awesome that you got the car pooja! Brought back such a nice memory and so glad you all are continuing the Bald Hill post temple stopover! Raffles is a natural. Looking forward to the next adventure story!

      July 15, 2014 at 1:58 pm (10 years ago)

      Wasn’t the same without you guys. Thanks so much for introducing it to us 🙂

  11. acutlc
    July 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm (10 years ago)

    I love Raffles adventure – the red terror looks fantastic, you had an amazing trip and sugarpuff can really swing that cat

  12. FreshHomeCook
    July 14, 2014 at 6:46 pm (10 years ago)

    Raffles is the best! What a fantastic little performer he is. Also, looks like an amazing day out. I like Terri too – I hope they let you keep him, 🙂

      July 15, 2014 at 1:59 pm (10 years ago)

      Wouldn’t that be fab? x

  13. Louise Shergold-Baker
    July 14, 2014 at 7:04 pm (10 years ago)

    Star performer, an absolute must to watch. Love the car too, kids looked comfy and had a really good view, looks the part too. Fire engine Red – glad you had the Pooja! Lucky you guys, six weeks of cool! Next episode please!

  14. Trevor Laight
    July 14, 2014 at 7:56 pm (10 years ago)

    What did dad tell Raff to say? Shame on him! Looks like a great day out with a wonderful experience and lovely sounding food, all in a comfy car.

  15. Kate
    July 14, 2014 at 9:12 pm (10 years ago)

    Raffles is a superstar! And we can’t forget to applaud guest stars Sugarpuff, Cat and that gorgeous shiny red Ford. I hope you all get to go on many more adventures together in the coming weeks, and I’m so looking forward to reading about them!

  16. Colleen Hinch
    July 15, 2014 at 1:29 am (10 years ago)

    Can you be my Mummy…what a fun day…all these years living in Sydney and didn’t know it was there! Raffles will have to decide between acting and modeling…BTW – hope it’s a girl! Can’t wait to read more!

      July 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm (10 years ago)

      I’m afraid the Lulu/Terry battle rages on… poor gender confused vehicle it is!

      • Kate
        July 17, 2014 at 9:10 pm (10 years ago)

        How about Terri-Lou?

  17. Haidee
    July 15, 2014 at 6:23 am (10 years ago)

    Great video of another family adventure. Raffy is a natural performer and Sugarpuff makes a great co-star!

  18. simonebell66
    July 15, 2014 at 10:24 am (10 years ago)

    I was wondering which country you were in when I saw the ceremony! How fab! And those gorgeous children – born superstars x

  19. Daria
    July 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm (10 years ago)

    What an awesome adventure. We have a same sized car and our kids love it (ours is a girl…Poppy!). Now my daughter wants to have a car Pooja as well 🙂

  20. nik
    July 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm (10 years ago)

    Nice! Way to ham it up, Raff! Your video sure makes me miss you guys and one of our favorite weekend jaunts!

      July 17, 2014 at 6:52 am (10 years ago)

      We might have to visit the US for new fun with you guys 🙂

  21. Mr Eatsworld
    July 15, 2014 at 3:00 pm (10 years ago)

    It was a fun day all round, but my favorite part was the masala dosa. Is that wrong?

    • UK Trev
      August 1, 2014 at 6:52 am (10 years ago)

      Enjoying food is never wrong bro!

  22. yinyangmother
    July 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm (10 years ago)

    Your adventures are fantastic – love how the car had such a part in the day (and the post). Your kids are getting cuter aren’t they?!

  23. Vas
    July 16, 2014 at 11:14 am (10 years ago)

    Excellent! Love it!
    How gorgeous are your kiddies x

  24. Kylie Howard
    July 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm (10 years ago)

    get that boy an agent! 🙂

    • Kate
      July 17, 2014 at 9:06 pm (10 years ago)

      The agents will probably come for him!

  25. jacican
    July 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm (10 years ago)

    Boy that boy can sing. The multi talented Raffles. Fell free to bring the Ford Territory Titanium to Mirboo North any time you want

  26. Robyn
    July 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm (10 years ago)

    TOOOOOOO Cool for skool!!
    That kid!!

  27. Kate
    July 17, 2014 at 9:05 pm (10 years ago)

    Wow! This was worth the wait! I really must discover that area again – not so far away really!

  28. thangatnoodlies
    July 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm (10 years ago)

    I love this place and so glad you got to eat the delicious dosa!!!! so jealous!

      July 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm (10 years ago)

      It’s one of our favourite weekend go to spots Thang. And those Dosa are the best 🙂

  29. Pauline laight
    July 17, 2014 at 9:56 pm (10 years ago)

    Well done Raffles, you have the making of s super star.
    Well done Aleney for a very good blog.
    Pauline (uk)

      July 19, 2014 at 8:57 am (10 years ago)

      Thanks Gran… x

  30. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    July 18, 2014 at 9:25 pm (10 years ago)

    Love me a great day out – nice wheels, although I’m a Freddy girl through and through (Kluger) What a GREAT spot, I want to eat that food now. x

  31. John
    July 21, 2014 at 5:35 am (10 years ago)

    Makes me want to come back to Sydney. Great video, super stars. Can’t afford the car though. Look forward to the next blog.
    Skio from the Uk.

  32. Kell Kelly
    July 21, 2014 at 7:32 pm (10 years ago)

    What an amazing culture filled day!! I think we will have to add this to our must do list. Stopping by from All Mum Said.

  33. Kris
    July 21, 2014 at 7:43 pm (10 years ago)

    Gorgeous story!

  34. Tracey Pedersen
    July 22, 2014 at 12:49 am (10 years ago)

    Oh my. How are you ever going to give Terry back? Sorry, I mean lulu? I would not want to part with that shiny red vehicle!

      July 22, 2014 at 7:34 am (10 years ago)

      It’s gonna be tough! We love our gender confused red rocket.

  35. Sara Chukoian @Green Global Travel
    July 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm (10 years ago)

    What a great time! It looks like everyone had such a fun time. What a great way to learn about the culture. Lovely pictures and story, thank you for sharing!

  36. nadiastennett
    August 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm (10 years ago)

    Cutest video EVER! This needs to be the new ad for Ford. You have a star in your hands there.

      August 18, 2014 at 7:49 pm (10 years ago)

      Aww thanks Nadia. He is a little superstar x

  37. Rene Young - Together we roam
    May 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm (9 years ago)

    Key in a bowl, car pooja! Love it.

    We have a Ford Territory Titanium 🙂 My kids don’t seem to appreciate as much as yours does though. xo


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *

Signup to our newsletter for exclusive subscriber content including expert travel advice, original recipes and giveaways.


Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

Bio pic BoyEatsWorld


© Copyright boyeatsworld 2020. Powered by WordPress.