"And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling" Shanti
Kilkivan Bushcamp came highly recommended to us by close friends and various caravanning and camping groups. So it is fair to say that we had high expectations of the place.
And we were not disappointed! Even before we arrived, we were impressed. You see we took the wrong exit and were travelling along this country road quite happily until we reached a t-section with no directions and no idea which way to turn. Would you believe along sped this car, pulled up next to us and before we even asked, told us how to reach the campground.
We soon learned that this friendly bloke is co-owner Ralph. At the campground we were met by his partner and wife Antonija. They are both lovely down to earth people – we immediately felt at home. The atmosphere at the campground is very relaxed.
Our spot for the weekend was on the banks of Fat Hen Creek. What a difference to be camping in the country – the sites are VERY generous with lots of trees and grass all round. It is an absolute delight to wake up to the various bird songs.
Fire pits are provided and we made full use of ours! You are transported to another world sitting around the fire and gazing up at a starry sky. In addition, the campground is also pet friendly. All dogs we encountered during the weekend were friendly and well-behaved – their owners weren’t too bad either.
But wait, I am not done yet singing the praises of the place. Saturday mornings from 8am Ralph and Antonia put on a free breakfast for all campers. What a great way to meet your neighbours while enjoying pancakes with a variety of toppings and a warm cuppa.
Another advantage of this place is that there is no mobile coverage. I was quite surprised just how peaceful and relaxing it is to be without a phone and the internet for a while. However, you are not roughing it by no means as there are power and modern amenities.
What can you do here?
Fat Hen Creek is a great spot to cool down. Both children and dogs had a ball swimming and splashing around in the cold water. It is also a great place for birdwatching. We were delighted by the antics of a trusting Apostle bird.
The township of Kilkivan is just a few minutes away where aromatic coffees, delicious food and quaint antique shops await you. Or you could follow the signs in town to Mudlo National Park. It is a lovely winding road (all bitumen after the day use area) to the top of the Mudlo range where there are picnic tables, an open fireplace and toilets.
For some bushwalking head back to the Scrubby Creek day use area. The Scrubby Creek circuit leaves from the carpark. It is a very easy walk crossing the creek twice. Pearson’s Lookout branches off from this circuit and is a 1.4km return walk. However, it is a very steep climb with lots of steps to reach the top.
Kilkivan bushcamp is also a great spot for a base if you like 4 wheel driving. Start by exploring ‘The Chimney’ which is a restored part of the Mount Clara Mine Copper Smelter. The range offers a variety of tracks to explore ranging from very easy to somewhat challenging.
While it takes all kinds to make the world go round, you can save yourself a lot of tribulation by discovering who you really are. You need to know what makes you tick and what ticks you off. Not only will it be of tremendous help in your relationships, be it personal or professional, but it will also enhance and enrich your experiences.
Camping is no different. Once you know who you are and what you want from your camping experience, you can create your perfect environment as well as choose travelling companions that compliments your outlook on being outdoors. Trust me, you will all be happier for it.
You are as relaxed as can be. Your first mission when arriving at the camping grounds is to start a fire. Once that is going, you pull up a few chairs for your mates, kick back and relax.
This laid back attitude weaves it way through everything you do – even preparing food while camping seems to be a breeze. You only ever bring along two pots that miraculously produce delicious stress-free dishes.
Your favourite campsite activities include playing cards, listening to music or yakking with friends. Nothing gets in the way of you having a good time – if it rains you merely retreat to your tent to read a book.
You love the peace and quiet of nature and do not splurge on expensive camping gear. Camping for you is getting back to basics.
The adventurous camper.
You did not come camping to laze around all day. Armed with a map of the area you want to get out there to explore the landscape. Your main criteria for your food is that it should fit into your backpack.
Daylight hours are not to be wasted. You can be found on your bike, kayak or hiking from sunrise to sunset. You are out there come rain, snow or hail. You spare no expense when it comes to your equipment as your very survival might depend on it.
You’ve got style and you are not afraid to flaunt it. Of course you love camping, as long as there is wi-fi. I mean, how else are you going to upload your pictures to social media?
Forget about tents though – they are so prehistoric. Your caravan or RV is equipped with a coffee machine, a Panini press, leather lounges and an entertainment unit.
You love getting away … as long as you can bring the finer things in life with you.
You camp to truly get away from it all. The less you bring with, the happier you are. You do not frequent caravan parks, but rather look for a clearing in the woods or a secluded spot next to river where you can pitch your tent.
You are not afraid of roughing it and are ready for anything nature throws at you. When you camp, you leave technology behind and rely on your common sense and skills to get you through difficult situations.
I am certain that when asked the question ‘Why do you camp?’ most people will respond that they simply love it. However, that answer is insufficient, it is the easy way out. Take some time to think it over …why do you camp?
We camp to get away from it all and be close to nature. What can be better than to sit next to the campfire at night and gaze up at the stars? What a privilege to wake up to the sound of birds, to breathe in the cold freshness of the morning air and to see the horizon ever so gently lighten up as the first rays of the sun emerge.
As our family expanded and the kids came along we couldn’t think of a better way to build a family bond. We wanted them to experience and enjoy nature the way we do and for quite some time it seemed to work. Then they became teenagers and the bright lights, noise and rhythm of city life cast a spell over them.
However, I am confident that one day they will return to camping. You see I hear it in their voices when we reminisce about places we visited. And when I listen to what they deemed highlights of various trips, I also realise that while camping we were building memories to last a lifetime.
In addition to memories these camping trips have also helped to shape the kids characters. For example, trying to sleep in a tent at Port Gregory while the wind does its best to rip it to pieces, taught them to stay calm amid a storm – literally and figuratively. Thanks to that and many other similar experiences they know that difficult situations are merely temporary and that those too shall pass.
They have developed a love and respect for all life forms. We encountered a few spiders, snakes, stingers, bull ants, etc. along the way, but because we also came across cute and cuddly animals we know to treat them all with respect, even the ones we don’t like so much. Those ones you just avoid as far as possible and leave them to go their own way. I can see the kids applying these principles to people too and it works a charm.
Climbing the Sterling Ranges taught them that hard work pays off in the end. It also taught them to listen to their mum, that the wind on top of a mountain is really ice cold not matter what time of year!
Oh I can go on and on about the blessings we received and the lessons we learned while camping. But I think is it clear that we camp because we really love it.
There is no doubt in my mind that timing and a bit of preparation are all that is needed to get kids hooked on camping. The younger you introduce them to nature, the more success you will have.
Little ones are inquisitive – they see the world as a big playground that needs to be explored. Tap into this enthusiasm, hype it up and enjoy it with them.
We’ve spent countless hours building sandcastles, catching crabs, bottoms up in shallow rock pools marvelling at anemones and scrambling up sand dunes or rocky outcrops with our daughters. They’ve drifted on currents clinging to their Dad lost in the magical underwater world at Shark Bay. They fed dolphins at Monkey Mia and spent hours searching for illusive dugongs. They have also endured flies and heat trekking through hostile terrain to experience some or other natural wonder.
What an idyllic childhood they had! Aren’t we blessed to have experienced sunshine and happiness all the way – HA, dream on … they got tired, irritable and just plain bored which could very quickly escalate into a stressful and downright ugly situation. However, with a little bit of planning most of these melt-down times can be avoided or turned around.
I learned very quickly to keep snacks and drinks on hand at all times. Hunger and tiredness were the main causes of end of world melt downs for our girls. To this very day our daughters carry water bottles with them where ever they go. For snacks I usually had a fruit and nut mixture on hand or some muesli bars.
Plan your activities for first thing in the morning when the kids are still full of energy. You should also go in armed with a variety of games they can play at the campsite – both indoors and outdoors.
1. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
Provide the kids with a list of things they need to find, e.g.
· Two kinds of seed
· Man-made litter
· Something rough
· Something smooth
· Two kinds of leaves, etc.
2. Bring their pushbikes with. Most camping grounds have ample room for the kids to explore.
3. Water games. Even when you’ve forgotten the water pistols at home, you can still organise a fun game on a hot day with just a few plastic cups. Get the kids to stand in line, fill one cup with water and have them pass on the water from their cup to the cup of the person behind up…over their head. It is even more fun when there are two teams competing against one another.
4. Teach them how to play duck, duck, goose.
6. A game of cricket
7. Bocce – this was a firm favourite for our family. We played it on just about every surface.
8. Hide and seek
9. Tug of war
10. Sack races – of course most of these games are more fun when parents join in.
1. Board games
3. Reading or telling scary stories
4. Card games
5. Balloon tennis
Of course you can always pull out technology when all else fails. We aimed to keep camping trips technology free – you know the idyllic notion to connect not only with nature, but also with one another.
Source: pinterest.com (RV Funny)
Bribie Island Caravan Park has a lot going for it, not least of all being its location. It is situated only one hour from Brisbane, 30 minutes from the Sunshine Coast and a mere 300m away from the beach itself.
I have to warn you though that there is not a heck of a lot of caravan/tent plots available as most of the park is taken up by villas and cabins. Also at first glance it seems that the camping spots have been squeezed in rather close to one another. However, the park is rather well designed which results in maximum privacy for everybody.
There are a lot on offer for families like a pool, mini golf, half court tennis and games room.
The amenities blocks are open, airy and very clean. The laundromat, kitchen and dump point are sure to delight all campers.
You can take a leisurely walk to beach. Woorim is the only surf beach on the island and is patrolled by lifesavers. The foreshore has large grassy areas, a playground, a small shopping centre and various eateries.
Although all great features, I am sure you can find them all in other parks too. What sets this park apart, is the friendliness of the locals. There are a high percentage of permanent residents and they are the parks biggest asset in my eyes.
We were greeted warmly every time our paths crossed. They are also more than willing to tell you more about the island, e.g. best places to eat or favourite fishing spots. Take the time to get to know them, it truly is an enriching experience.
Up till now our camping experiences were gained with tents. However, as we age, tent camping is becoming more and more uncomfortable …and so we entered the world of caravanning.
My best tip is to know what you need in a caravan before you start looking. What size are you after? What accessories do you want or need? What will you use your caravan for? How much are you willing to spend? Will you be buying a new or used one? These initial decisions will save you a lot of time.
The next step is to consider the towing capacity of your vehicle. Check the caravan’s Tare, ATM and tow ball weight against your vehicle’s specifications. Please note that is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that none of the load ratings of the caravan and towing vehicle are ever exceeded.
After months of research we decided to buy a used caravan. A big factor in this decision was the realisation of just how many extras are just thrown into the deal. We are also not too fussed about having the latest technology or design ideas – Bertus is pretty darn handy and will change these to suit our needs and liking. Buying second hand though requires you to have a slightly different checklist.
You need to take the caravan’s age and ownership history into account. Ask where the caravan has been stored when not in use and where it has been. Does the manufacturer still exist? This will be crucial should you need any spare parts.
Are there any documentation available? Ask for the weighbridge, gas and electrical certificates. It would also be handy to have a look at the service history and instruction manuals. Ensure to compare the VIN plate with the documentation provided.
Look for any signs of repairs. Are the sealant around the windows and ventilation hatches damaged? Check for stone damage, rust or cracks on the axle/suspension. What is the condition of the water tanks and wiring? Do the tyres have good tread? Is there a spare tyre? Check the condition of the battery and gas bottles.
Inside the caravan you should be checking for any smell of dampness or chemicals used to disguise it. What is the general condition of the cupboards? If there is an ensuite, check for signs of mould.
Does the awning opens and closes properly? What is the condition of the canvas? Is there a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher?
Whether new or used, it is a big investment, take your time.
That sentence is usually the opening to a great humorous story. Of course it is funny months or years later, but when you are actually out in the middle of nowhere when you discover you have forgotten something really important you’ll be hard pressed to find any humour in the situation.
We’ve been known to forget to pack a lighter or matches which makes starting a fire unnecessarily hard … or the sand pegs – good luck on getting that tent pitched in the sand dunes without those pegs!
I’ve read an article the other day where the blogger was lamenting because she forgot to pack her plastic table cloth and paper towels on a camping trip. Clearly we are in very different categories when it comes to camping. I would hardly bat an eyelid about forgetting a table cloth. My concern is the forgotten things that could seriously complicate an otherwise enjoyable camping trip like sunscreen and bug repellent. Ever tried camping in the Aussie bush without those life savers?
We have become quite good at remembering to pack all the essentials in part thanks to experience and in part thanks to this list that we cross off as we pack.
Air mattresses AND air pump
Gas stove + cylinders
Torch + batteries
Cookware + cooking utensils
Tableware + cutlery
Handsaw + tools
Fishing rod and tackle
Small fire extinguisher
Rope and clothes pegs
Axe or hatchet
Folding chairs and table
Blankets, sheets and pillows
Plastic storage/garbage bags
Wet weather clothing
Extra tent pegs, ropes, repair kit
Dishpan, dishcloths and detergent
First aid kit
Toothbrush + toothpaste
Soap + shampoo
Towels + face washers
Jerry cans with extra fuel
Car jack and wheel brace
Ensure spare tyre is OK
I work out menus for the amount of days we are going camping and pack food accordingly. Every person is responsible for packing his or her own clothes. Is there anything you would add to this list?