We went camping over the weekend. We found the perfect little spot only one and a half hours from home, right on the beach. It's been over 5 years since our last camping trip, I had always found camping a little uncomfortable and a little too hard when the boys were younger but now they are older we decided to give it another go. Also the fact it poured down rain the last couple of times we camped didn't help the cause! We decided to put together a camping wish list that would ensure we had a relaxing weekend and this helped us to have a wonderful time.
Our Camping Wish List
*Must be within 2 hours of home
*Beach front or a feeling of space around the site
(no neighbours too close or people constantly walking by)
*Grass site - no concrete or dirt
*Town close by for coffee, snacks etc
*Toilets and hot showers
*Spacious and comfortable tent with room for 5.
(has to be quick and easy to set up)
(no rain forecasted)
We picked the boys up from school at lunchtime and headed down the coast. The car was packed and we had lunch for them to eat on the way. About 10 minutes from arriving at the site it started to drizzle and I had visions of us setting up the tent in the rain but luckily the rain stopped. Phew!
It was our first time using the bell tent but Simon had went through the assembly instructions and had unpacked the tent at home to have a look and suss it out. The boys were eager to help out and the tent was up in no time. We parked the Kombi alongside the tent as the kombi has hooks attached to the internal gutter from which we secured a 3m x 5m tarp to be used as an awning for some shade through out the day.
After our camp was set up the boys all went for a quick surf out the front. The water was very cold. Goodbye summer! Wetsuits definitely needed. We ordered a wood fired pizza and garlic bread to pick up from the local shop 10 mins away and then Simon and I settled into our chairs for a couple of drinks as the sun went down. Bliss! We lit a fire (we brought along our own fire pit) and the boys roasted marshmallows but decided they preferred them uncooked!
To make the weekend a bit easier we didn't want to have to make our own lunch and dinners. We were happy to pick up takeaway from the town nearby. I did bring along cereal, bread, vegemite, fruit and snacks for us to eat through the day. Also an esky full of water, milk and a few beers, Pimms and Gin & Tonics ;) Of course you could bring a bbq or use the camp bbq's if you prefer.
The sun was shining when we woke up bright and early on Saturday. It was great to stick our heads out of the tent and be met with such a beautiful view. Simon and Finn went out for a surf while the little ones and I had our breakfast and soaked up the sun.
We all headed down to the beach later and it was great to see that the beach was patrolled and was perfect conditions for both swimmers and surfers. Later on we drove in to town to have a little look around and pick up some muffins, juice and coffee for morning tea.
Being so close to the beach there was always a lovely breeze and we spent the afternoon reading, playing uno, listening to music and using the ipad until the battery ran out! Although the Kombi has a second car battery which we used to charge our phones and ipads. I know it's not really camping to have all your gadgets but they were great to have after a long day at the beach. I guess we were "glamping" more than camping!
The tent was also a lovely space to lounge around in. The high roof and windows and door open made the space feel airy and I had brought along our linen and pillows so we were all comfortable.
Our bell tent is 4 metres in diameter and we easily fit in a double air mattress and 2 single ones.
Noah slept in between Simon and I on the double but next time I will bring another single air mattress as there was plenty of room. I made up the beds with sheets and doonas, as sleeping bags make me feel claustrophobic plus we don't have any! I hung a few strands of battery operated festoon lighting and this gave the tent a lovely glow at night and was enough to read by. The rug was an old cheapie that we had in the garage and was perfect to wipe the sand off your feet before hopping into bed.
We really had a wonderful and relaxing time and will definitely be doing more camping trips in the future. I think 2 nights was enough for us to start with but we might eventually stay longer.
I'm looking forward to checking out more camping grounds near by.
Info on our bell tent
We had lots of questions about the bell tent from the other campers and people asking to have a peek inside. We bought our tent from Wild Things Gallery and had looked at it set up in their store and decided the 4 metre tent was the perfect size for us but they also have a 5 metre one if you want something bigger. We loved the style and the fact that it was made from a durable, waterproof canvas.
Plus it had to be easy to set up and transport. The bell tent comes in a duffle bag which is so easy to pack up and carry.
We placed a tarp underneath the tent when setting up to give the vinyl floor extra protection from any sticks and stones hidden in the grass. You need a claw hammer to hammer the tent pegs in (use the claw to leverage them out when packing up). We also packed a dustpan and broom to sweep the floor so it packs away clean as dirt stains the canvas.
Our Camp Packing List
Airbeds and linen/sleeping bags/mat
Foot pump for beds
Lights for tent
Torches for kids/toilet trips
Awning and poles - shade
Fire pit- firelighters, firewood/heat beads, lighter
Side table to pop your drinks etc on
Table for food prep
All food kept in a large sealed plastic tub
Disposable plates, cutlery and cups
Esky + ice
Books, cards, football
Surfboards and swimming gear
I think that was everything we needed for a great weekend away.
Although as we were close to town and anything we needed we didn't really need too much.
We camped at Coledale, 1. 5 hrs south of Sydney.
The towns nearby were Austinmer and Thirroul. They had that old school coastal vibe.
Are you a camper or glamper?
Any camping trips coming up? What's your camping must have?