Travelling around Australia with 2 kids, our little family will be putting the country's camping spots, a Toyota Prado and Jayco Swan to the test. Our start and end point being the Far North Coast of NSW, we'll be traveling anti-clockwise North through the middle of Queensland to Darwin, around to Melbourne and up the East Coast, finishing in Byron Bay for Christmas 2014.
Saturday, 4 January 2014
1770 Camping Trip November 2013
A few years, prior to having children, when we were all grey
hair and care free, we went camping with like minded friends in the Town of
1770 on Queensland’s CapricornCoast.
We set off on a number of misadventures, sorry I mean trips, and they’ve all
merged into one funny memory.
There was the time we spent a number of pre-dawn hours
beside the road near Gin Gin, having blown a tyre on the boat trailer. There
was the time it poured torrentially and we sat huddled underneath the gazebo as
a little river of rain ran in between our feet. The time a friend brought his
then girlfriend along and we watched the grass grow/ the paint dry every time
she spoke. The time the campers 200 metres away had a kid called Courtney. She
was in trouble a lot, though we never caught sight of her, just heard her Mum
yelling “CAWTNEE!!” (that’s quite possibly how it was spelt) repeatedly over
four days. The time the campsite lost our booking and we had to set up and down
four times in six days. Aaah, good times. But really, we all have a good laugh
now that there are a few years between us and what were mind altering-ly
irritating and frustrating circumstances
So November 2013 was supposed to be the one where we broke
the 1770 curse. We all expressed positivity that yes, this would be an awesome
holiday, filled with relaxation and great times spent together as friends and
family. Our friends, Geoff and Peppa, weren't camping with us this time around and were rather staying in an apartment with their 3 year old and
6 month old about 200 metres from our campsite, where we would set up the van on
an awesome site looking out over the beach. Perfection, right? Almost.
The Uys Huis in action
Luckily, I had booked well in advanced, and whilst we
couldn’t get a beach front plot, we did manage the second row back, directly
opposite a beach access point with shower and the best surprise: a permanent table and
chairs at the front of the plot. The 1770 Camping Ground is really well run
with good facilities. There’s a real mix of people too which is quite nice,
from backpackers in their Wicked campers to cashed up miners enjoying some down time in their brand new vans and of
course, the Grey Nomad crew. There’s also a new café in the park, right on the
water with cheap (and big!) eats, BYO and very friendly service.
The weather was great over the next 5 days, and the tide was
in over the morning and middle of the day (it’s very tidal here, at low tide
there really isn’t anywhere for the kids to swim, but high tide is fantastic
with about a 1 metre depth and sub-tropical warm water). The kids exhausted
themselves swimming in the morning, and we enjoyed a few beers in the shade
over lunchtime while they ‘rested’. The afternoon was spent exploring the
rocks, feeding pelicans and generally ‘having adventures’ as Marguerite liked
to put it. Fiela got out fishing a few times, Igot into Agnes Waters for coffee and a magazine but best of all
was spending time with our friends. Most notable were the mudcrabs Peppa bought
off the professional mudcrab fishing boat (no, not our boat unfortunately) and we had a great evening trying to
collectively get gout. All in all it was a great trip, but the curse has
definitely not been broken…
Our view - beautiful 1770.
It hit us as we drove out of our driveway, with an ominous
‘click’ as some electrics shorted out in our Prado. The airconditioning (OK I
can survive without that) and the indicators (no, can’t really do without them)
were gone, so our first stop was the Toyota
service centre in Noosaville. They fixed it after about an hour and a half of
mucking around, and luckily Fiela had the presence of mind to buy a few extra
fuses just in case they blew again (which they did, twice). The 4 hour trip
then took around 5 and a half due to roadworks and us going probably the longest
way possible. Tired and cranky, having listened to Caesar grizzle, scream and
cry for about three hours solid, we pulled into the 1770 Camping Ground as the
caretaker was about to close the gates.
The next day, actually every day, the kids woke up at 5am or earlier. Uuurgh horrendous... but that would mean they’ll sleep over the lunchtime rest period, right? No. Not
really. Caesar cried for the first 4 days; he was sick, possibly teething and
also a bit put out that no, he couldn’t just go wherever he wanted.
Marguerite’s behaviour became progressively worse over the time as sleep
deprivation and general bloody exhaustion took hold. She was really put out
that no, she couldn’t go wherever she wanted by herself because “I’m a big
girl”. Other campers started to look sideways at us and actually comment on the
volume two tiny kids could emit (always followed up with a “We’ve all been
there, love” and a silent ‘but really, shut them up would you?’). Lots of naughty corners, chairs, sand, trees etc were found.
Fun at 5am
There were the usual fights between the wives and husbands about ways
to parent and when and how exactly the other person should
“fuck off!” (thankfully only a few of these, and as it always goes, one set was
fighting while the other looked smugly on and thought ‘wow I’m glad that’s not
us’ only to take their turn later on). The kids fought a bit. One child pooed
her pants almost every day despite being toilet trained AND being asked repeatedly
whether she needed to go.
Probably the worst error in judgement was the decision to
put the crab pots out the night before we left and “just quickly” pick them up
in the morning on our way home at 10am. Unfortunately, and I’m not sure who to
blame so I’m going to take a scatter gun approach, Fiela and Geoff had not
properly moored the boat in a place where they COULD “just quickly” go and get
the pots. Instead, the light of morning showed that the boat had drifted 100
metres down the beach, and was now high and dry until the tide came in.
Probably around 10am. When we were supposed to be leaving. We did eventually
leave without any crab to speak of, after 12pm and a bout of gastro had hit one
of the kids.
Morning tea and a view for the kids.
So ended the 1770 camping trip of 2013, in a blaze of shit,
vomit and a noticeable lack of crabs and fish… The curse lives on, but so do
memories of fun times with friends, which will undoubtedly become funnier as
the years and further attempts at breaking it pass by. Thank God time heals all wounds or really, who would bother
camping or leaving their house ever anyway?