The weekend camps are go, it is time. We got this bad boy of a caravan, we ditched the tents, airbeds, stoves, excessive amounts of tables, lanterns, camp kitchens, way too many buckets etc. etc. and the 3 days of preparations just to be able to head into the bush and we've used it only a handful of times. Time to make use of it!
A wee bit of searching online, we found a nice little place just over two hours drive away, perfect for two nights. Let's do it! The beastly Prado went full steam ahead (just!) through the winding, steep roads - least to its knowledge, its big old self is currently doing its last trip.
Driving the last stretch of dirt road just before arrival, it clicked. We've been here before. Our first bush camp with the caravan. We looked the same site up under two different names, not to self for next time. A quaint little spot, quiet, secluded...ish and camping nonetheless. Drink time and on the prowl for some firewood, it's the middle of winter... pretty sure we will actually hypothermia ourselves a treat if it doesn't happen asap.
Wet wood, everywhere, all over the place... just... wet. Usually, we bring some wood to get us going, this time through lack of organisation and more 'spontaneity', we will freeze. Loaded up the goods (yes, wet wood) and headed back to the camp, another family had arrived and set up nearby. I don't mind the odd set up nearby, it genuinely makes me feel less likely to be mass murdered while in the middle of nowhere with no phone reception and some canvas protecting me and my family from the outside world. Nice.
The fire, honestly, I use the word loosely, starts slowly. Very slowly. It is a poor excuse for a fire. We cook dinner, longing for that raging fire people crave when they head off camping in the bush. The only thing that can help this right now, killer tunes.... and alcohol. Lots of alcohol.
Finally, the fire is cranking, the tunes have changed from Miss "I'm two and you'll do what I says" choices. The Friday night shenanigans begin. I can't even believe how many people arrive at a pitch black campsite with no power, in the pitch black, to set up for the night. We've done it once and will never do it again. It is the ultimate nightmare, or perhaps doing it with kids is what tips the scales. Each to their own, but I'm out. I'd rather be that person already set up, bourbon in hand, fire raging, watching people struggling with their tents while they shine the sweet little lights off their car onto the area they attempt to call home.
Blissful nights sleep, though it will be the last. We headed off to Toorongo Falls, we've also been here last time we came. Still quiet and lovely, tranquil waterfalls and all that, until the screeching sounds of our daughter start echoing through the forest because she wants to be carried, then walk, then carried by Mum, then carried by Dad, then walk, then hold hands, don't hold hands, carry me again, I want to walk... on and on and on. I shit you not. When we finally made it back to the car, it was bee line for the Noojee Pub for drinks and lunch before firewood haul 2.0.
A fraction more success on the firewood front, still having some dried out leftovers from the night before was a win. Fire is go, drinks and footy it is. The night pounced on, hubs cooked up a mean butterfly lamb roast for the family and the music was chirpy. How can you not love these times? Our neighbours over the grass put on a show, it started out with an entire Bob Marley album, followed by chowing down on potatoes, onto some mismatched techno blaring through the trees and fire twirling, full on double ended fire twirling in the dark, you do the math. Great to watch, even more hilarious trying to work out what was going on over there!
Bedtime, not so blissful on this magical night. Matilda woke, crying, the sweet sounds of hoons at 1.30am nearby will do that. Finally settled back in with a bottle to no such luck, she wants more. Round two is go. Sound asleep by 4am, thank goodness! Nearer to 5am, they are back - tearing up the campsite. Matilda wakes again. Longest. Night. Ever.
Lies, she was a baby that never slept, longest night in sometime would be more honest.
Loch Valley, you were great for a cheeky trip away, however... even after coming here twice, I doubt we'll be back. Well... not with a toddler who wakes at the sound of air anyway.
As for the Prado, it has now departed... what will the next beast be?