CAMPING101

Guide for be­gin­ners Read­ers’ tips Recipes

Caravan, Camping and Holiday Parks with Kids - - Front Page -

Think­ing lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion

We’re blessed across this sun­burnt coun­try to have a wealth of camp grounds, hol­i­day parks and wide open spa­ces speck­ling our soil. Choos­ing a camp­ing haunt is half the mis­sion... and can also be half the fun. If your kids are old enough, en­cour­age them to re­search some Aussie des­ti­na­tions they’ll en­joy. The more in­volved they are in the plan­ning process, the more ex­cited they’ll get. Think about whether you’re a clan that prefers ac­cess to sun and sand, or maybe you’d pre­fer bush-based fun. Or do you want the best of both worlds? A na­tional park by the sea could be the way to go.

Tent tips

The essence of any camp­ing trip is the tent setup – and for be­gin­ners, know­ing what to look for in a tent is tricky. First con­sider how many peo­ple it needs to fit. Are you look­ing for one big fam­ily tent, or would older kids en­joy the free­dom of their own ‘room’? Also don’t take the term ‘ four-per­son tent’ lit­er­ally. They’ll fit ly­ing down... but only just. That’s not even con­sid­er­ing the bags and sleep­ing equip­ment you’ll need to squeeze in. You also need to make sure you can stand up in­side the tent com­fort­ably. Our ad­vice? Mi­nus two peo­ple from the sug­gested ca­pac­ity. All tents are also given a wa­ter head rat­ing to show weath­er­proof cre­den­tials. If it’s likely to be bad weather, aim for a rat­ing of around 3000 and def­i­nitely try to steer away from any­thing be­low 2000.

Crea­ture Com­forts

You don’t have to rough it just be­cause you’ve gone bush. If you pack lit­tle lux­u­ries like a fan for the tent, eye masks and ear plugs, cit­ronella can­dles, MP3 speak­ers, sea­son­ings (even just ba­sic salt and pep­per) and mois­turiser, you’ll be sur­prised at how clean, calm and com­fort­able camp­ing can feel. Also, in­vest­ing in a good airbed, pump and soft sleep­ing bag can be all it takes for fam­i­lies to be wide- eyed ad­ven­tur­ers and not a hoard of zom­bies. Or even pack the doonas – vac­uum-pack bags are great space-savers if you go for this op­tion. You can even up­grade to stretch­ers with airbeds on top – raised and padded is a sim­ple joy. Don’t for­get your pil­lows!

Bush tucker

Speak­ing of com­forts, there are few com­modi­ties that scream ‘glamp­ing’ bet­ter than a We­ber Q (RRP start from $289). You’ll be able to whip up ev­ery­thing from ba­con and eggs for break­fast to roast din­ners in the evening. Reg­u­lar bar­be­cues are the pop­u­lar way to go – just make sure you don’t for­get your gas sup­ply. If you want to get more rus­tic and re­source­ful but don’t want to cook ev­ery­thing in billy cans, look into buy­ing items like an ever-faith­ful Tran­gia stove. They’re small and sim­ple to use, and the kids can even learn some bush kitchen tricks. Also, con­sider tak­ing a pres­sure cooker, they make boil­ing rice and veg­gies a whole lot eas­ier. If you do choose to go some­where more re­mote and you’re not sure of the wa­ter sit­u­a­tion, a portable Ster­iPen can make any wa­ter safe to drink.

Kid con­trol

Camp­ing is a golden op­por­tu­nity to en­cour­age teched- out kids to get ‘back to na­ture’. Leave iPads at home... or at least in the boot for un­ex­pected down­pours. Many hol­i­day parks of­fer a kids’ pro­gram, es­pe­cially over the sum­mer hol­i­days. If not, there’s prob­a­bly equip­ment, jump­ing pil­lows, pools or the ocean on hand – it will amaze you just how eas­ily kids make friends in such an en­vi­ron­ment. They’ll be swap­ping snack packs and camp­fire sto­ries in no time!

If camp­ing solo or your chil­dren are a lit­tle shy, have a stash of ideas up your sleeve to get them in­ter­act­ing with their sur­round­ings. Teach them ‘camp cook­ing’ by toast­ing marsh­mal­lows or bak­ing ba­nanas over the camp­fire, or cre­ate a pre-de­par­ture scavenger hunt and see how many things they dis­cover. If they’re crafty, get them a scrap­book, scis­sors and some glue to doc­u­ment their mem­o­ries, or help them make ‘bush sculp­tures’ out of found ob­jects.

Lit­tle jobs like fetch­ing wa­ter, gath­er­ing fire­wood, even wash­ing dishes will be great fun for kids and will give them a feel­ing of ac­com­plish­ment. Oh – and fam­ily board games, cards and billy tea at night around the lantern is a must.

01 Camp­ing is fun for all ages 02 Dunns Swamp camp­ing ground at Wollemi Na­tional Park 03 Ed­ward River in Mathoura 04 Royal Na­tional Park in NSW is a great spot for camp­ing 02

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05 05 Get the kids away from the com­puter and in­volved in all kinds of ac­tiv­i­ties

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