Things to Look Forward to..

Our last trip as a family a few weeks ago went spectacularly, and as we turned in our camping gear, I felt like we really knew what sort of items to focus on buying versus renting for our excursions next year. Some camping gear really is the best to rent, both because storing it would be a pain and because the wear and tear on the item generally happens so fast that the initial investment isn’t worth it. However, there are a few pieces of family camping supplies that both my husband and I will be great for next year because we plan on taking some more intense trips. This past year, one of our favorite spots was Berowra Creek, which is a perfect spot for families with small kids thanks to the bike track and playground on the campsite as well as the variety of natural foliage around the area. However, the kids are really getting old enough to go a bit further afield, and by the time next camping season is really in full swing, I feel like they will be ready to take on just about any adventure.

One of our goals is to tackle the sometimes fearsome seeming Cox’s River next year. Generally speaking, this site is considered to really only be fit for intense campers. Luckily, we consider ourselves pretty proficient. With the right camping gear, we won’t need to worry about the fact that the water has to be treated. The kids are both excellent swimmers, so the river will be an endless source of free entertainment for the whole family, and if my son stays as excited about fishing as he has been this year, then renting kids camping gear like fishing poles and other items to help that hobby would be a perfect option. As an avid hiker, I am also really drawn to the plethora of bush trails in the area, though as I understand it, we will have to be on the lookout for feral cows. As a relative newcomer to Australia, I have to admit that the first time I was told these existed, I didn’t believe it. I seriously thought it was some sort of odd joke. I know now that it’s not, which is very strange. There are certain things that I will just never get quite used to about my new homeland. Anyway, I know that Cox’s River is an ambitious goal, but we really feel like it may be possible with all of the experience that we racked up this year. By hiring the right camping equipment, we will make sure to be prepared for anything.

For an easier trip, we might spend up to a week over at Eden. It’s a place that earns its name, and has all of the bonuses of seaside life that my family loves so much. It’s a nice, unpretentious campsite that makes the most of the beautiful seaside, offering plenty of spots to take in whale watching and just enjoy the sea and surf all around you. It even has some cultural bonuses like a whale museum not far. For a family, there isn’t a lot more you could reasonably ask for from a campsite.

 

Cockatoo Island

Even though it’s getting a bit late in the season, my husband surprised me last weekend with a romantic getaway to Cockatoo Island. Now normally, “glamping” really isn’t our thing – we prefer to pack up our camping gear and drive out from Sydney to find true places of wilderness. But with the kids happily ensconced with their grandparents for the weekend, it was so nice to be able to lighten the load a little bit a take few less camping supplies. For one, we are still in process of deciding which gear we want to invest in over time, and so we still rent a lot of our camping supplies. Unfortunately, that can sometimes add up in both bulk and price, especially when you are talking about kids camping gear hire. So driving out to a beautiful, scenic location where a lot of the gear was already taken care was a luxury that we don’t often get to enjoy.

The tents were pre-erected, which meant that instead of losing a bunch of our limited time setting up sometimes complicated and always new-to-us gear, we got to just enjoy all of the awesome outdoor scenes the Island had to offer. From the spot where the tents are located, you can see the harbor and the suburbs, which has the effect of making you feel like both a part of the city as well as pleasantly removed from it. It was a fun change of pace from our normal camping adventures, but I have to admit that after two nights, we were missing our usual, more rough and tumble approach to nature. Cocktails have their time and place…but I’m not sure that for me, that place is camping.

That’s why we’re actually planning one more trip away currently. My husband was also a bit tired of the gimmick that was Cockatoo Island by the end of our stay, and we both decided that we wanted a little more nature for our outdoor experience. Our last major trip this year is going to be out to Patonga, which I have been wanting to see for quite awhile. The mix of beach and creek is going to be perfect for a group that loves water as much as my family does, and we scored some fantastic aquatic-friendly family camping supplies that I am looking forward to trying out. The fact that Brisbane Water National Park is right down the road doesn’t hurt my excitement, as I love a good trek through the bush. The kids are really excited to get back out before it gets too much colder, so I’m glad that we found the time to enjoy one last trip before the cold really sets in. The new camping supplies that we rented should come in handy for the cooler temperature and really help us feel prepped for any situation, which always helps me to feel more confident when venturing out into the great outdoors with two small kids who are prone to getting into trouble. They are their father’s children, after all.

Camping With the Kids

It’s nearing on fall here in Australia, and as a former American who has happily transplanted herself to the Greater Sydney area, that fact alone is still taking some getting used to. Unfortunately, it means that the best times to be outside are winding down – it is getting colder outside, and with two small kids I don’t like to expose them as much to the harsher temperatures if I can avoid it. This is a real bummer because my husband and I both love camping in every season. We actually met when we were camping during a major snow storm, but that’s whole a different story. Anyway, this past summer we’ve spent a ton of time hiking and camping outside, and both of our kids love the additional time outdoors. Now that the season is passing, I am using the extra time to start planning our adventures for next year.

This summer, we spent a lot of time really getting to know some great camping spots around Sydney. For our first trip, we took all of the camping gear that we had rented and drove about three hours out to Seal Rocks, which was a fantastic place to enjoy the sun and surf. Both my husband and I love to surf, and my son has gotten really into fishing lately, so a place like Seal Rocks is great for our coastal-loving group. We also loved watching the whales with some of the kids camping gear that we had hired like the juvenile-sized binoculars. My daughter had never seen a whale before, so it was a really memorable occasion that helped us bond as a family. This site was a great introduction to camping for the kids because it has a lot of things that they are familiar with, like toilets and showers. What the site didn’t naturally have, we found through the many awesome camping gear rental sites that service the Sydney area. After all, when you are attempting to make lasting memories, having the best camping gear is always helpful.

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A few weeks later, my sister came to visit and we decided to take her out to Durras Beach for a true Australian adventure. My husband laughed like crazy the first time my sister saw a wild kangaroo, because she simply hadn’t realized how big they get! The extra hour of driving from Sydney was worth the trip to be so surrounded in the wild nature that always made Australia so appealing to me. When she was surrounded by birds, kangaroos, possums, and more my sister had to admit that Australia has its charms. After hiking every day, we would use our camping supplies to help make our food and create a warm, safe place to sleep where we felt truly one with the nature around us. The kids camping gear even had some great features designed just for them, which made bedtime so much easier for two kids who love routine. Having their favorite cartoon characters on their sleeping bags made them so eager to go down that I am tempted to let them sleep in these bags all the time!