Campings - Readers Reviews
|My family loves this type of camping because it brings us altogether in a way that inspires family, friendship and a love of the great outdoors. We much prefer to set up by the ocean or a lake - for the scenic beauty as well as getting back to nature and swimming, playing in the sand, fishing and searching for interesting hideouts and mysteries as kids love to do!|
Our two favourite places are in Queensland:
1) Lake Cootharaba – a huge expanse of water that is knee deep for 100m out - perfect for kids and watersports and you can camp right near the water!
2) North Stradbroke Island - so incredibly beautiful with lots or little to do. Set up camp by the sea, fish until the sun sets, head off to fresh water lakes when you are tired of the salty water for a bit. Laze about or live it up.. it has a bit of everything and most of all the most beautiful water/beaches anywhere!
At both places the kids love to swim, swim, swim - play in the sand, go fishing, hire a boat, go on day trips to explore the surrounding areas, play board games, climb trees, make friends with other campers, draw and explore!
No uninspired food for us... for lunch, you will see everything from steak burgers to hot dogs to sandwiches and pancakes. Dinner food we always enjoy camping includes: spaghetti bolognaise, chicken schnitzels, barbeques, curries, Mexican wraps...nothing is impossible really!
Five things we would not be without are: comfortable bedding; at least two tables and a chair for everyone; cooking facilities; torches and general good lighting; and a decent esky or ice box!
|My family and I go camping in state forest like Barmah State Forest in Victoria. We rough it as it makes the experience a lot more fun and the kids enjoy no TV or phones but have the best fun. We take the motorbikes, quad bikes, tents, fishing rods and a shovel, of course! We cook pizzas and spuds in the open fire but the best things you can cook are roast in the ground with hot coals. We eat like kings and queens. Five things I need when camping are: food & drinks; chairs; first aid kit; clothes & sleeping; friends.|
My family loves camping because it is a time when we can sit at night and watch the stars and really relax with no outside problems with the world.
|We keep a list of all our camping items on the computer and when preparing to go camping we print off the list and work through it ensuring nothing is left behind! We love to take our girls (aged 22 months and four) camping at national parks in South East Queensland and Northern NSW. We especially love Mt May Reserve at the foot of Mt Barney about 1.5 hours drive from Brisbane because: it’s free!; not many people know about it (whoops should I really be writing this!?!); it’s tranquil and peaceful with very little traffic; fires are allowed; there’s a shaded shallow creek, crystal clear waterfall and water hole and a breathtaking 360 degree view from Mt Barney.|
There is so much for the kids to do including: paddling in the creek; walking to the waterfall and swimming in the water hole; cooking marshmallows on the fire; wearing glows sticks and twirl sparklers at night; spotting possums; swinging – take your own or make one!; hand feeding the rosellas at Queen Mary Falls.
Five things I would NOT be without on a camping holiday: baby wipes – what can’t you clean up?; Port-a-loo – best Mother’s Day present ever!; insect repellent and spray – obvious!; fruit bowl – kids are always hungry when camping; reef shoes – great in creeks, damns, streams, rivers and at only about $10 a pair they’re a bargain.
My family loves this type of camping because it’s cheap and easy, it doesn’t take long to get there and it’s always fun when we do!
The Mahoney Family
|I first went bush camping when I was six weeks old ! In 1973, my parents had an old four wheel drive and a tent with no floor in it, and my bassinette sat on their canvas camp stretcher…Maybe that’s why I was so keen to get my daughter started early - so off we went with baby Imogen at three months old.|
My favourite spot to go camping is the Gunbower State Forest on the Murray River - the slow, lazy river flowing past, cold clear nights with big red gum fires, kids splashing in the shallows, Easter egg hunts and long walks looking out for birds and kangaroos.
Because we camp with friends or relatives, everyone is happy to help out with the ‘camp jobs’ like doing the dishes, firewood collecting, cooking meals, watching the kids while they swim or helping with yabby nets and tangled fishing lines. We spend time with the kids hanging hammocks, making mud pies, cooking damper and looking at insects.
What would be my top five things to take? For general camping with kids, I would suggest:
1. A well-stocked first aid kit including calamine lotion, Bandaids and bandages. If you take a tiny kit, you’re bound to run out of basics.
2. A rubber-backed rug or a cheap tarpaulin to peg down. It keeps toys and eating areas for kids clean and is easy to move around to keep in the shade.
3. A good esky - worth the investment! Alternately, make sure you hunt around for block ice…
4. A bush shower - canvas style and very cheap - lots of fun and keeps the kids clean.
5. Water-free hand sanitiser- easy for everyone to use and essential if you don’t have access to a toilet block.
Because I’ve been camping with a real littlie, here’s my top five for the under six months old:
1. A good head torch for midnight nappy changes in the tent.
2. A thermometer (yes, I know you’d take one, but it sets your mind at ease when it’s in the first aid kit).
3. A designated baby bath - NOT the washing up bowl!- so you can give bubs a bath on site (and use your rubber backed rug).
4. A designated billy for dummy/bottle sterilising.
5. Either a baby seat (the bouncinette type) or your pusher, so bub has a safe spot to be while you’re cooking or moving around camp.
My family loves this type of camping because it has become part of our family folklore and a tradition that we all travel far and wide to do together - a way of spending time with kids far from the distractions of TV, traffic and our busy lives.
|My husband and I love to go to a place called Coolendel, about two hours’ drive from Sydney. We just love this place, it’s not too far to travel with our kids (Georgia, 7 and Keely, 5) and they always ask us when we are going again. We like it because it’s so spaced out and you don’t feel like you are camping on top of other families. |
The kids love the open space to ride their bikes and go for walks and the wildlife is out of this world. Their favourite walk is Wombat Hollow – it’s like going into the magical woods up and down all the tracks and in and out all the wombat hollows...fantastic!
You can have an open fire anda the kids just love jaffles made in the jaffle iron and toasted marshmallows on the campfire. It also has a river for swimming and the kids love to go down the rapids on their floating mats and jump from the rocks.
Seeing is believing with this camping site. We always say, ‘Next time we will have a change’ but we always go back to the same place.
The five things we would not be without are: a hot shower; clean toilets; fridge; jaffle iron and chairs for around the camp fire
My family loves this type of camping because it’s so relaxed. You don’t have to worry what you look like, the kids can just get up in the morning and play to their hearts’ content, No stress, no timetable, and it doesn’t blow the budget.
|I loved camping as a child, and my kids are now growing up loving it, too. We usually head to places well off the beaten track; away from the hum of generators and the smell of toilet blocks! We usually car camp, because with three kids aged six, four and nine months we have quite a bit of gear these days. But at times we hike in to national parks with small packs and these are some of our favourite camps. My son was six weeks old when we first did this, me with him in a baby carrier and my partner with a pack containing our tent and food.|
We don't need to take a lot of toys because the kids find lots of ways to entertain themselves but we do take a scrap book, glue stick, pencils and sticky tape to create a holiday journal. We create a page for each day of our trip where we record what we have done and stick in objects like bird feathers or leaves. We might include postcards, national park notes, drawings of places or events that the kids create. These journals have become part of our family history...we like to look back on them and remember that great trip to Kakadu, or the Easter when the Easter Bunny hid the eggs up in the crown of the tree ferns in southern Victoria.
One thing the kids particularly like is camp cooking; marshmallows, baked spuds, roast lamb and golden syrup dumplings cooked in the camp oven. There are several items I wouldn't be without when camping with the children these days, and the camp oven is one of them, as we can cook up big feeds in it with ease. The jaffle iron also comes along on every trip. The list of jaffle ingredients is endless, from the old standard of baked beans and cheese, to banana and easter egg!
The playpen is very handy when camping with babies and toddlers. It keeps them contained in a safe space, you can keep them out of the dust by putting down a blanket in the bottom, and if you camp with pets, it keeps them from being licked and jumped on.
We love this type of camping because it allows us time to stop from our busy life at home and come together in the beautiful Australian bush for fun, relaxation and pure family enjoyment.
|I married into a camping loving family and I must admit I am a convert. Moruya Heads on the NSW south coast is our Christmas getaway. Not only a perfect spot but the area has several families that are regulars and all have been there every year way before my time. These professional campers have taught me many things that have made camping more fun and interesting. It’s nice to have ‘holiday friends’ - something that I think has been lost and that kids growing up today are missing out on. Kind of reminds me of Baby’s summer vacations in Dirty Dancing (ok, without the great dancing). We hope to find more precious spots all over Australia as our family grows and we meet more holiday families to make lifetime friends with. |
I love the time out with kids to DO NOTHING, slow down and have time to do activities together with no time restraints, like swim all day - not just for an hour after school... Staying up till we finally fall asleep ‘cause we don’t have to be anywhere in the morning... Brushing teeth over a bush and watching the kids laugh at doing things outdoors… When it rains and you have to play a board game inside four tent walls… Drawing all day with no concerns...
What do the kids do? Everything, and nothing. Swim, walk on the beach, look for pippies. Learn that Mum and Dad can do things like fish, make fire and cook marshmallows in it. Find bugs, ride bikes, bush walk and cook – the kids love helping. Washing up from a bucket, showering outside... it’s all fun and a novelty.
The food is always yummy - everything cooks in foil, roasts, veggies, potatoes, toasties, and the best bit is eating it all muddled up - toasties for brekkie roasts for lunch, cereal or 2 Minute Noodles for dinner - and marshmallows.
The five things I would NOT be without on a camping holiday are: foil, my kids, husband, dogs (if they are allowed) and a lighter – I can’t do the ‘fire from stick’ thing.
My family loves this type of camping because it allows us to be together. With a husband in the military, family time together is often a long time coming and we just want to teach our kids to appreciate every second.
|Our favourite national park was Purnululu National Park (the Bungle Bungles). With the Bungle Bungles, there is a satisfaction of knowing that not everyone can make it into the park. The 50km dirt road into the park takes most travellers about two hours to drive with creek crossings, big hills up and down (which the kids love) and some of the most spectacular scenery Australia has to offer. Being able to camp in the park meant that we could get up before sunrise and travel to the iconic domes in time to see the blazing reds and oranges of the rock as the sun hits them. The best part of this walk was that by the time we got into Cathedral Gorge the sun was up yet it wasn’t too hot and we had the whole amphitheatre-like structure to ourselves for about an hour. This meant that the girls could make as much noise as they wanted and run madly around without annoying anyone. As we started to head out of the amphitheatre, the first tourist group of about 30 people arrived! |
Back in the carpark, we sat and watched the beehive domes change in the morning light while we enjoyed our breakfast and prepared for our second walk of the day into Echidna Chasm. The travel between the two walks was about 30 minutes of rough dirt road, just enough time for the girls to have a quick kip and be ready for more exploring! We just made it into the chasm before the sun disappeared. At a certain time of morning, the sun blazes into the opening at the top of the chasm turning the 200+ metre high walls a brilliant rocky red.
On the drive back to camp we saw our first dingo cross the road in front of the car. As we packed up the next day, our neighbour asked Jasmine what her favourite part was. “Seeing the dingo cross the road!!” she answered. Always remember the simple things for the kids!
The walks through the Bungle Bungles are quite kid-friendly and our campsite neighbour managed it with her two young girls on her own while her husband completed an overnight trek. Apart from the walks however the campsite was full of kingfishers, corellas and plenty of other birdlife to amuse the girls. A hundred or so birds in the trees would suddenly all fly out of the trees, around in a circle and back into the trees all in unison!
Our favourite meal for all the family was Soy Chicken cooked in the Dream-Pot. I would put it on at lunchtime with potatoes and carrots (in a separate little saucepan in the thermal pot) and it would be ready and waiting for us to eat after our sunset photo opportunities. Other favourites were falafels, easy to make and tasty. We would roll them up in mountain bread or tortillas as these last much longer than regular bread or rolls.
The five things I would not be without on a camping holiday are:
1. My DreamPot – makes life SO amazingly easy when you are travelling a lot through your journey. Just cut up the veges, boil them for 10 minutes and leave them in the pot cooking while you drive, then have them for dinner that night. We barely wasted anything!
2. My WAECO Wind up Torch. When we started, out the girls each had their own torches but we were going through batteries like nothing else. With our youngest only three, she got a little worried at the start of the trip about it being so dark in the middle of nowhere. The WAECO Torch was always handy and all you needed to do was give it a couple of winds of the handle to be able to see. IT ALWAYS WORKED!
3. Our cameras – we all had a Canon PowerShot camera, even our three year old. Our girls were too young to keep their own journals as they couldn’t write. We encouraged them to take photos of whatever they wanted so that we could see what they enjoyed the most and how they saw Australia. Twelve months on, they can tell me where all of their photos are taken – a photographic journal has made their memories so much stronger.
4. My TomTom GPS system – so many times we didn’t have a map and Tom saved us every time. From finding supermarkets and caravan parks to finding a chemist in an emergency, Tom was awesome.
5. Camps book – The Camps book (I think she means Camps Australia Wide? Gill) was also a valuable source of free and cheap camp sites. Considering we never really researched our locations too well (on purpose might I add, as we wanted to be surprised) it was handy to have the Camps book to tell us some great locations that we might not have otherwise found.
My family loves this type of camping because of the great scenery, great people and great family time. You don’t need full-time entertainment - kids remember how to make their own fun!
Even when our children were babies, our family much preferred to camp well away from civilised caravan parks, although this is getting more and more difficult as the population increases. Even though we lived on the northern beaches of Sydney, mid-year holidays found us in the country by a quiet river or beach and summer holidays for many years were spent on the beach at Picnic Point, Mimosa Rocks National Park, near Tathra, NSW. This area has now been modified so not as many people can camp there, but no doubt this saves it being ruined by overuse and it is still a beautiful area.
The absolute relaxation of a beach holiday is amazing – no pressures to be somewhere on time, no stressed parents trying to get themselves and their children organised. The only thing that matters is the weather and if the tide is high or low as this influences which beach you go to! Our children are quite close in age and get along very well together but there are always other families when they need other playmates, who would also return each year so they struck up many friendships. It is also good for mum and dad to have some time to get to know one another again.
We would go out about every five days to Bega or Bermagui to get food and water and to visit various places, such as the waterfalls on Dr George Mountain. We usually ate cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and BBQ and salad for dinner, so it was very plain food. When my son was old enough, he usually looked after the campfire for me and we experimented with camp-oven cooking, making dampers, cakes and casseroles. Usually we would all be so tired after a full day in the sun with lots of swimming and walking that we were in bed pretty early (the birds wake you up before dawn when you’re in the bush) but after dinner we would play cards or board games or sometimes have concerts around the campfire.
The five things I wouldn’t be without when bush camping with children are:
1. Three-way fridge (it is best to run it on gas when you are camped in one spot for a long time).
2. Three x 20lts water containers (depending on the time you will be away).
3. A food preparation bench separate to the dining table (which the children often use while you are getting dinner ready).
4. Solar shower (nothing like a fresh wash down after being salty all day).
5. Games, books and writing/drawing materials for the children (for those quiet times).
My family loves this type of camping because it allows real quality time together and you remember what is most important in life – enjoying your family and being in a natural environment.
|The place I love to take my kids camping is called Green Patch in Booderee National Park. It’s a favourite with me and my kids.|
We love the fact that we are only two and a half hours from Sydney, yet it seems like we are a world away. There is no power or lighting which really adds to the charm of the place at night and even though there are some gas barbecues you still have wood fires to sit around and cook by.
The bushland setting is only a stone’s throw from the clear waters and clean sand of the beach, which makes this campsite a magic one for our family. We always go snorkelling along the rocks and are amazed by the variety of fish.
The five things I would not be without are: a fridge that will keep all my food and drinks cool without having to worry about ice; a comfortable inner spring mattress bed; a kitchen that just slides out of the side of the camper trailer; reliable lighting – there’s nothing worse than having to grope around in the dark trying to find things; and good food.
My family loves this kind of camping because we really feel that we are away from civilisation, all the entertainment is there in the bush, the beaches, the wildlife and the nights. The kids are never bored and we really can stop to smell the eucalypts.
|We love roughing it at Treachery Point campsite because the beach is huge. You can see whales, dolphins and dingoes. I always take damper ready just to add the water. The kids roll it out like sausages then wrap it around a nice big, long stick (always fun finding just the right stick!) then they brown the damper on the fire embers. You know when it is ready as it will slide off the stick. Then the piece de resistance…you fill the hole in the damper with honey.|