Tuesday, 25 June 2013

How's the serenity?

We went camping on the weekend.  It was supposed to be the perfect way to start the school holidays- quality family time, see some more of this amazing part of the world that we live in and to simply relax.

Well... two out of three ain’t bad!

Now, I know family holidays aren’t generally relaxing.  In the words of Claire Dunphy (Modern Family), “I'm a mom traveling with her kids.  It's not a vacation, it's a business trip.”  

Also, I'm not a huge fan of camping.  I don't cope well with bugs, dirt and toilets of questionable hygiene.  But I had hoped that there would be maybe ten minutes when the kids were asleep in the tent and I could sit with my feet up next to a roaring fire, sip a wine/hot chocolate, hold hands with my husband and be all “How’s the serenity?” (By the way, if you have not seen the Aussie film The Castle, do so now!)

Instead, we had a sick baby who barely slept, cried most of the night and woke us all up again before 6am vomiting everywhere.  So, we cut our trip short,  but there was a bit of good stuff first...

There is always a fun sense of anticipation at the start of a big road trip.

Stops for fuel and ice cream on the way.
The kids were great, even on a four hour trip!  Thank goodness for PSPs and Peppa Pig on portable DVD players!  They even read books and did colouring in too. (You can even see a giant Termite Mound out of the window next to Hamish)
Some of the trip was dirt road.  This is the smooth bit... (the photos I took of the rough bit are a bit blurry from all the bumping.  Boy, was it rough!)
We borrowed (and broke on all the bumping) Bappa's camper-trailer.  It was nice and easy to set up and had heaps of storage space.
Our camp site had a nice view of the top of the falls.
We had some great family time.  The little ones did not have to share their Dad with anyone or anything.
 This cheeky guy seemed fine at dinner time.
 We had a yummy Chicken Cassoulet- perfect camping food.
Travel builds up an appetite!  We cleared our plates then had chocolate pudding jars (slipped into cut up socks to protect our hands from the heat) for dessert.
After our rough night we decided to do all the things we came here for before we headed home.  This meant re-stoking the fire...
 Learning to be safe around flames...
and toasting marshmallows after breakfast...
 Hmmm, S'mores.
 Okay, so I got a good five minutes with my feet up in front of the fire...
 Rohan was feeling a bit fragile...
 ...but cheered up with some cuddles.
We decided it was silly to come all this way and not see the falls, so we took an adventurous climb up to the top of a waterfall. (Rohan fell asleep in the backpack)
 The rock pools at the top were stunning.
 We enjoyed an amazing view from "nature's infinity pools".
Had fun exploring.

 Splashing on our private beach.
 Pretending to climb the Cliffs of Insanity...
...and digging up a "dinosaur skull".
Then we struggled down the mountains, packed everything up and drove all the way home!

Do you like camping?

We stayed at Gunlom which is in the southern part of Kakadu National Park. 
After a record breakingly dry wet season, the falls weren't flowing much, but I'll bet this place usually gushes.  Still stunning, though and a croc-free place to swim!

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