Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The benefits of camping close to home

We organise a group camping trip every October long weekend. It always rains, but somehow, we still manage to get people to join us (it must be our scintillating company?!?). It is always lots of fun and the kids look forward to it each year, as do we.

Last year I chose the location based on my commitment to attend my 20 year school reunion (yep. I am that old).

This year we needed to stay close to home because the Geege had to work at our store. It was either that or we cancel.  Hilariously, we ended up exactly six and a half kilometres from home.

The weather was marginally better than last year (Saturday was actually quite lovely), but we did experience the usual torrential downpours that we have come to expect on these camping trips. We came prepared with our raincoats, umbrellas and gumboots. And the kids had more fun playing in a huge puddle for hours than I thought was even possible. It was all good.

Each year it is getting a little bit easier (we didn't even have to take port-a-cots this year!) as the youngest kids are getting older and the older kids are getting more independent. We even managed a lovely group bush walk this time, and the twins were among the walkers (i.e. not being carried). I see a light at the end of the tunnel, people, oh yes I do.

I have to say that I wasn't expecting the impact that camping so close to home would have on the trip. Once you get over the weirdness of it, some of the noted benefits are:

1. There is no time lost 'on the road'. You pack in the morning, drive out of the driveway at 11am and arrive at the campsite at 11.10am. No planning involved.

2. Packing is less stressful. We had a 'if we forget something, we can just come and get it' attitude. We didn't really need to (if you don't count the kid's bikes and scooters) but it was fantastic having a fall back position.

3. You can still go to work while out camping because you can slip home for a shower as needed. The idea of the week long October school holiday trip was born because of this. A plan for 2012.

4. You don't need to freeze your meat and hope for the best in the esky. The Geege just picked up some supplies out of the fridge on his way down in the evening.

5. You can have visitors/day trippers which means that friends who aren't 'campers' don't have to miss out on all the festivities.

Have you ever camped close to home? Or do you prefer a more adventurous destination? Tell us some of your favourite spots.


PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

That is awesome. You may well have convinced me that I could do camping {mainly because then I could sneak home to go to the toilet... Yep, weirdly phobic of camping toilets, particularly those horrid long-drop numbers. E. U. W.}

Mama of 2 boys said...

Oh this is so lovely and what a great tradition. You paint an appealing picture of camping close to home. We are not campers as such, but doing it this way, would most definitely be a nice gentle transition, if we do decide to try our hand at camping :o)
Love the pic of you and your fab four, gorgeous! xo

Photographer Mum said...

Ahhh yes, we have camped in the very same spot you were when we lived around the corner from your place (this is pre kids mind you). It was so good. So conveniently close to home for all those reasons you mentioned.
We last went camping in January this year in Coffs Harbour. Was fun, but keeping 3 smalls entertained in the car for 6-7 hrs was hard. I think closer to home is a must next time!

Diminishing Lucy said...


We have a camping spot near us and other "wiser" folk take the piss out of us if we ever chose to camp there.

But it is a ten minute drive away, in the hills, on the river, and it is a blissful spot near a pub and a wildkife park.

It's called Cuddlee Creek. The name alone makes me smile. We have had some TOP weekends there.

SO I am a huge advocate for close to home camping!

MM - this is such a cool post - we didn't camp this long weekend, but you have made me yearn for it...

Mum on the Run said...

I love camping.
Not middle-of-nowhere-with-no-amenties bush camping as Hubby would like it, but camping nonetheless.
You've got me all excited for our trip next week.

We're taking 'virgin' campers (including a princess) so we've chosen to stay only an hour away from home in a park we know is really clean and lovely. We've packed some pretty fairy lights, nice doonas and lots of wine to try to cushion her introduction!

Alice Becomes said...

I haven't been camping in years. I would like to but having braved it with the boys yet. My biggest concern is keeping M2 from taking off! But if you say there is light at the end of the camping tunnel then I live in hope

Gill x

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Looks like you had a lovely trip.
I love camping. We're planning a trip down the road (about 20 kms away) after Christmas for all the wonderful reasons you mention.
To anyone who's never taken their kids camping, I say do it. It seems scary, but kids love it. LOVE IT. There is no greater incentive for good behaviour as to stay up past their bedtime chatting with the grown ups around an open fire.

Mrs Woog said...

Everyone talks about camping. To me it means getting into a sequinned frock and dance with a feather boa down Oxford Street x

Naomi Hart said...

WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!!!!! i love camping...apart from running from the shower cubicles never totally dry and being cold again by the time you get to the tent. and the rain. Oh boy do i hate camping in the rain. we went on a camping trip in norway and my new husband heated rocks by the fire, covered them in foil and placed them in my sleeping bag to warm me up. if i hadn't already i would have married him after that! xx

Ms Kate said...

We 'camped' once. Got the kids in the car, packed bags, tent etc, it was pouring with rain, so we decided that we'd surprise the kids. We drove around the block, and came back to the house. We put signs up for the campground, toilets etc, as you would at a campground, and put the tent up in the lounge. The kids got totally into it, and had an awesome time.

Megan Blandford said...

Any way to get away and have a change of scenery sounds good to me! We're off on a camping trip this weekend - the first since the start of the year - and I can't wait.

PS - I've been meaning to come by and say you've won one of those Garnier skin cream packs from my blog! Can you please email me your postal address so I can have it sent? Thanks! (

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

I dream of being a camping kind of girl. But I am just not. Dad 101 took me once, pre-child, and I froze the whole time and he forgot the can opener so food was a bit of an issue, and the toilets smelt, and it was overall a bit of a disaster. But I tried!

Anonymous said...

The idea of camping close to home does sound convenient, but I think the adventure is half the fun sometimes! I guess it depends on where you live. I always love stocking up on whatever I need from camping page at The Sportsman's Guide, stuffing the wife and kids in the van and hitting the road. It's a big headache to get everything ready and do all that driving, but that's all part of the experience. It makes relaxing at the campsite all the sweeter. That's just one man's opinion though!

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