Croajingolong National Park 2016
Deciding to head away at Christmas, in the week before Christmas, is always going to be a bad idea. Flat out with work finishing up, school coming to a close, the mad last minute dash to get presents along with the postman knocking on the door daily delivering sweet little online deliveries and of course, the fact that practically everywhere is. booked. out.
Chance would have it, we called a lovely little spot we found online, only a mere 8 hour drive away only to find they had just had a cancellation, we'll take it. Thurra River was our new found Christmas destination. Leaving Christmas eve, bright eyed and slightly hungover early in the morning, with the elf "Pegs" packed away in a take me with you tub (for those not keeping up, the elf on the shelf, a slightly ridiculous Christmas tradition that after 3 years I now totally regret introducing to our daughter, que late nights for the entire month of December trying to figure out what the damn elf can do...) we hit the road. I thought it would be funny and mood lightening to say to the husband "just imagine, if we got all the way there and someone was in our spot, our booked, paid for and 8 hour drive (with a toddler, in the heat... joyful) away spot"... long and behold, we arrived early evening to our gorgeous little site, bushy, tranquil.. if you will and already equipped with a tent set up, a washing line dangling between the trees complete with towels and a confused family claiming that was where they were told to go.
What can you do? Crack open the Engel and watch the show that consisted of them attempting to pack their entire set up, under pressure, in the beaming sun and in record time. Drama. We just watched the drama unfold. As you do.
The y finally cleared off, and by 7.30pm, we were finally set up. A wee bit drawn out, such is life. The toddlers priority, a tree. How will Santa ever see us or know we are here (despite the shopping list left at home with a faint swirl of black pen that allegedly says that this is where we'll be)? So a tree was number one on the list. It had a lean and not a green spot of leafery on it, but it was ours.
Virtually no sleep, various reasons... I'm yet to suffocate the husband for his freight train resembling snore fest that tends to happen every single night of our lives together these days, so seems he's still with us, the wilderness rumblings that are his nose continue. My bad. Kangaroos, oh. my. god. They don't stop, like all night long. Shuffling around, hopping like there's a rave in the bushes... not even kidding, I was waiting for them to demolish the last of Santa's treats. The caravan had a slight resemblance to a sauna and I knew, the whole time in the back of my mind, if I didn't want to totally destroy, quash and burn my darling two year old daughters childhood, I had to be up at some ridiculous hour of the morning to make sure Santa had dropped the presents in the right spot, if at all. Can't sleep. Don't sleep.
The joy that was her Christmas morning though, as they say... blah blah worth it in the end. Job done well. Can I throw in another #parentingwin? Too much? A whole week ahead of doing sweet FA. Just what the madness of playing house wife ordered.
Breakfast of champions (yes yes, bacon and egg sandwiches...), presents unwrapped and first alcoholic beverages downed just after 10am. Christmas is go.
After the madness, or not so when you head to the bush and self sufficient live your life with no phone signal... we decide to start up the husbands unofficial, yet predictable mapped out itinerary of sight seeing and bush walks, plus, we're pretty self sufficient, however... we have two fridges, one in the van and an Engel in the car. One is chockers with milk for the toddler and a few days worth of food and the other, alcohol. Campers gotta' have priorities, right? So, nonetheless, a trip into a town is inevitable, Cann River, a windy, dirt road cruise an hour away was the destination. No food there. It is like everyone in the entire area had the same idea and completely wiped out what was our saving grace. A two hour drive across the NSW border to Eden it was. Make a day of it, lunch, bug spray... all good.
Back to the original point, this place is littered with lovely beaches, secluded, magazine worthy, beaches. Bliss. Along with the second largest sand dunes in the southern hemisphere. Of course, we had to climb them, not just look, climb, with a toddler, who insisted on being carried the entire time. These climbs were as steep as the bridge of your nose, uphill... so. much. uphill. I lucked out for a stretch and ended up lifting her up one part, when I say lifting, I mean throwing, throwing her what felt life 20 centimetres with both arms and then pulling myself up behind her, in 30+ degree heat with every last speckle of energy I could even rustle up. I was not made for this shit. It near enough killed me. Okay, exaggeration is definitely on the cards here, but it was painful.
After finally reaching the top, the decent was up... or down... I know what I mean. Clearly. Followed by a 2+ kilometre walk back through the river to reach the campsite. Can I just say, I well and truly earnt my bourbons that evening. And then some. It is honestly spectacular though, do yourself a favour and check it out if you ever head here. It's magnificent and bring a camera. FYI: you get phone signal at the top of the sand dunes, not that I brought my phone with me. Of course. Murphy's law is my BFF.
A hike up to the rock lookout had to follow (apparently...) along with a short trek to the lighthouse. Ahh the lighthouse, no toilets and several bourbons down, limited attention span to take photos. However... I gave it my all. Focus. Don't listen to the crashing waves at the cliff edge. Focus. We had a mean storm come through while we were down at the beach, the sky was actually unbelievable along with how quickly it went from clear skies full of delicious sunshine to mean ass clouds, darkness and rain. Once again, following in Murphy's law typical beefy ways, I didn't bring my camera. I'd taken it every other day and thought, well I have so many photos at the beach now I'll leave it in the caravan and actually play Mum rather than photographer for a day. True to form, I missed an epic storm without my wee unicorn that is usually within arms length, I felt slightly nude and a little empty, but... I had a great time watching the storm come in with my darling daughter, who thought the lightening was Christmas lights in the sky.
By the time we made it back to the caravan, the campsite flooded, everything was sopping wet as someone (husband) left the windows and roof vent open, every towel was drenched but it was certainly an adventure. The storm left as quickly as it came and the sun made its move... thus, we headed to the lighthouse. The sky was still fairly mental leaving the photos fairly doom and gloom, but what the hell right? Life isn't all sunshine, fluffy kittens and champagne. Or is it?
Thurra River, a little slice of paradise hidden in the Croajingolong National Park. Definitely a place to visit, wander and get lost... okay, maybe not lost in the sense of, legless, not knowing where you have ended up and zip phone signal to holler for assistance, but lost... explore. Maybe that would have been a better choice of word to begin with. Explore. Any who, our first Christmas camping in the bush was a total success, stress free, a little bit of crazy and we will most definitely do it again. We all know what Christmas is like, take that immediate fam bam and ones self and escape the madness.
Thurra River, we'll be back.
Keywords: 4wd, 4x4, camping, canon, canon6d, canonfullframer, caravan, children, christmas, croajingolong, croajingolongnationalpark, croajingolongthurrabeach, eastgippsland, explorevictoria, familytrips, kymfedje, kymfedjedesign, morningtonpeninsula, nissan, nissannavara, offroad, parenting, photography, pointhicks, pointhickslighthouse, questrv, rivercrossing, thurrariver, wandervictoria
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