The great outdoors and six kids 

TAKE the kids camping they said, it’ll be fun they said, so we did.

Wyangala Dam is our choice for this year’s December/January break, in our super sized twelve-man tent.

Now I have to admit camping is not my thing, never has been and I can’t say it ever will be. Unless my campsite comes with staff, then I may rethink that. Having to assemble my entire accommodation, and chase half a dozen children at the same time in the middle of the day heat is not my idea of fun.

It didn’t help that we didn’t get off to a great start thanks to the GPS which took us the Dakar Rally route, and tacked an extra hour or so onto the trip. According to the lady on the damn dam gate, GPS devices have done that to a lot of people from Goulburn.

Finally we arrived, hot tired and hungry. We picked out what we thought was the flattest bit of land left in the camping grounds, that came with its own complementary wind tunnel, (and with some cursing and hammered thumbs) we got the tent up.

In bound the kids who see a tent as a place, that when they enter it suddenly gives them the skills of a rock and roll wrestler, and the desire to bounce off the walls overwhelms them. Tent rebuilt and threats made, a very late lunch is prepared. Only when camping does it seem acceptable to eat meat as a side dish and a main, because let’s face it I don’t feel like getting anything else made, especially when I only have limited utensils to do so in the first place.

Children fed and watered we head off to see the sights, being the water in the dam. While I’m talking about water it seems that for half the day we were drinking the wrong water.

Yep, there is a special tap for drinking water (with no label on it thank you very much) other campers in the know helpfully pointed it out when they saw us filling up. Blue green algae belly here I come.

Anyways back to the sights. We approach the “beach” and the special spot designated for swimmers, kick a couple beer bottles out of the way and we frolic. And frolic hard dammit because I’ve driven this far in this heat, and built a little canvas house with a little canvas kitchen, so you kids are going to bloody well frolic and remember it fondly because memories are made of this right?! Damn straight they are.

With the sun finally a little lower in the sky we return to camp to make dinner. At this time of year it’s going to be Christmas ham leftovers for a few days, maybe a week, depending how big a ham you got. That sunset cannot come fast enough, because that means children will fall unconscious and I can relax and stop pretending to be a model parent to the other campers. 

By now I am sure they are quite sick of hearing me say: “Put down the stick!” 

However bedtime means more furniture needs to be assembled, and three sets of stretcher bed bunks are squeezed into our tent along with our air beds, much to the amusement of our neighbours who will soon regret camping next door. 

All tucked in by around 9pm and this includes the husband and two little doggies. It crosses my mind that if I can fit all these children into such a small abode, why do a need such a big home? 

It’s a thought that is quickly tossed aside, once I mentally replay the afternoon’s insanity in close quarters. My side of the bed appears to have a slow leak, and just now as I type, my bottom gently touched down on the ground.

At 12.44am my neighbours are still up chatting loudly. Apparently we must be camped on a footpath, because half the parks guests find it necessary to walk right by my tent in very heavy boots, to go have a shower at this very late hour. Or very early depending how you look at it.

Tomorrow we shall rise and do it all again, well when I say we I mean the kids and husband will, because I’m heading over to Cowra for another bed by the feel of it. Ah the serenity...

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