I am back from a camper trailer adventure in Merimbula. We wagged a week of school (it's fun to be a grownup sometimes!) and had a great time. We stayed here...
Our campsite was just behind the building in the 1 o clock posisiton in this photo, ritght near the camp kitchen and amenties but not so close to have heaps of noise. And close enough to the playground to hear the distinctive squark of one's own child without having to step away from camp. Fabulous, highly recommend the park, and Merimbula.
We went to Magic Mountain. Lots of fun.
Let's not speak about the swarm of bees (I had one hand on my epipen and one eye on an ambo colleague I saw across the grass).
Lets not speak about the 3m snake meandering a car length from the jumpy castle.
Lets just not speak about them. I have blocked them out and only remember the squealing joyful laughter of my daughter on the water slide, the 'cool as' from the pickle as he came off the roller coaster, the grin from curly as he came off the 'fully sick' toboggan ride.
The joyful photos of the boys and their daddy catching fish on their 'bloke' day, the goose and craft and chatter on girly day. Dolphins. Sand. Rain, and sun. And yahtzee in the camp kitchen.
And the wonderful community of camping. We chatted and befriended lots of other families. Sharing stories, recommending activities and places to eat. I cradled in my arms a little boy of 2 while his parents enjoyed the waterslide with their 5yo daughter, and they helped the goose too. They were so grateful to be able to do that, and I was thrilled that the goose was able to be a little more independent, but be supervised too. Ahh, camping. It's a village. And I love it.
Now here's the thing...I didn't grow up camping. I grew up living in flats in Glen Iris. Very suburban. My mum's idea of a travelling adventure was to go and stay in a motel, with air conditioning and a pool. In Burwood. 6km from home. Opposite KMart. Admittedly it was for a time the biggest KMart in the Southern Hemisphere. But it was still Kmart. And it wasn't camping.
The Nigelator grew up living by the beach, near Bells Beach in fact. He also had time living on a farm in regional Victoria as a small boy. All bikes, and tractors, and snakes in your bike wheel and dads shooting kangaroos and foxes.
Not quite motels in Burwood, I know, but a childhood of sorts, I suppose.
So it was quite a stretch to consider camping as an option for our family. But I really love it. I remember when we first moved away from Melbourne to live in Tumut, we made friends with people who were 'campers.' They had all the stuff and were happy bush camping, equipped with all the stuff to manage without civilisation for a while. I was amazed. It all seemed so hard. Toilet paper in your pocket, boiling the kettle to do the dishes. Ewwww.
But then they told me a story of them going camping, ironically to the same park in Merimbula. They'd driven for 5 or so hours to get there, a 2.5yo boy and a breastfeeding bub. They pulled up at dusk, she started to feed the baby in the passenger seat, he started to assemble the tent. And then the village arrived...a woman and child took her boy to the playground. 3 blokes arrived and helped pitch the tent. Another bloke arrived with beer. 30 mins later, the sausages were cooking and everyone was laughing and the camp was set. And then they all trickled back to their own camps.
And I love it.