As a family we LOVE to go camping – every single chance we get, off we go for a few nights – sometimes with friends, and sometimes by ourselves. Before our first camping trip, only 12 months ago, I was positive that I was going to absolutely hate it. I am a girl that always stays in nice, clean (preferably 4+ star!) accommodation, so the idea of sleeping on a blow up mattress somewhere with no toilets or shower facilities, cooking over a portable stove made me cringe. My husband told me that I would adjust and love it, and his favourite saying for the few weeks leading up to our trip was “suck it up princess”! Well, I did suck it up, and I had the most amazing time – on so many levels!
What I discovered was that camping with our girls is one of life’s simple pleasures and each trip has the potential to create lifelong memories for our whole family. To not have mobile phones, ipods, ipads, DSi’s, or be checking email’s every hour was so liberating and made me realise just how much these electronic gadgets take away my full attention from the girls. Every minute away counts, is productive, is full of laughs (and sometimes tears) and amazing new discoveries!
And so began the Hart family tradition of camping every chance we get!
Over Easter we ventured down to the Otways (along the Great Ocean Road) and stayed at Bimbi Park. I had heard good things from friends who had stayed there previously, but it completely surpassed my expectations. The park is clean, well laid out, excellent facilities (toilets and shower blocks were large and clean) and each night there was something different on for the kids and the family. The other fantastic thing was that there are so many things to do and discover within 30 minutes drive – Apollo Bay, Rainforest walks, Otway Fly, beach and the list goes on!
One night was “Pizza Night” and one of the staff cooked the most amazing Wood Fired Pizza’s. You took your plate down, paid your $8, selected your toppings and waited until Pizza Perfection emerged! It really was exceptional pizza! The next night was Outdoor Movie Night – they have an area set up for movie viewing under the stars and played a family friendly movie every few nights. This was a wonderful adventure for my girls, who were more excited at been up after dark (gosh that makes me sound so strict!!). There was also horse riding, rock climbing and an excellent play park for the kids. The shop is limited in its selections though – so pre-plan your grog consumption accordingly!!!
Close by is the Otway Treetop Walk – can i say AMAZING!!! We were walking up among the tops of the trees, looking down for what felt like miles – quite a moving experience really when you think about how old the trees are, how long they have been there, what stories they could tell if they could talk! Miss 6 enjoyed the Dinosaur Trail the most, and kept muttering to herself “get going lazy butt – don’t stop”. I was a bit startled when I realised what she was saying, and asked why she was calling herself that. Her reply – “my butt cheeks are hurting, so I think my butt wants to be lazy, so Im telling it off – just like you do to me mummy”. Out of the mouths of babes….
The Koala’s each night made for entertaining times – they make such a HORRID sound when they are calling out to a mate, and caused many occasions where one of the girls jumped up, shrieked and slid in to our sleeping bag – it seemed all in one co-ordinated move! When cold feet hit your back in the middle of the night its a one of a kind experience!!!
We also went to the Dinosaur Museum, displaying all the bones that were found at Dinosaur Cove in the Otways. Miss 6 is fascinated by Dinosaurs, which seems to be a right of passage for 5/6 year olds – and for a few days after was lost in a land of imagination where Dinosaurs roam free and live as our pets. I wasn’t going to burst her bubble so let her mind wander freely and she is now convinced she can can have a baby long neck for her Birthday!
Next up was Triplet Falls – beautiful, amazing, serene and well worth seeing…. BUT when we looked up this walk it said a “nice leisurely bush walk, easy for children”. Well, i think they might have got that one wrong! I have never EVER walked up so many stairs in my life! Miss 3 ended up on HH shoulders, Miss 6 powered along with her “walking stick” but none of us could walk the next day – our butts were so sore!!!
All in all an amazing trip and one i am looking forward to repeating!