We finally went camping again! Just a short trip, down the coast near Ballina in New South Wales for a couple of nights. We timed it before the Easter holidays because campgrounds are better when they aren’t full and summer’s been over for a month already and we’d promised the boys our next camping trip wouldn’t be in the middle of winter again.
On the afternoon of departure J and I madly crammed the tent and all our gear into the back of the ute, finishing a scant 10 minutes before we had to pick the boys up from school. Kept driving, crossed the border and an hour later arrived at Flat Rock Tent Park.
Had a couple of minor pains in the arse while unpacking:
- My half litre bottle of clove oil spray (to spray the tent before repacking, to prevent mould in storage, you know) had somehow done a Houdini and emptied itself through the box of kitchen stuff despite the fact it was still screwed shut. Clothes and sleeping bags thankfully spared a soaking.
- It was really windy and putting up the big tarp was a challenge; even having the kids stand on the corners didn’t help much and they were nearly launched by big gusts once or twice.
- The big ‘join-the-dots’ books I’d gotten specifically to keep the boys busy while we put up the tent had been completed before we’d even finished driving here, so they entertained themselves by scattering their sports gear all over the lawn and getting under our feet.
Finished just on dark as J got back from Ballina with fush and chups for tea. The boys were tired but didn’t go to sleep until after 8.30pm because of course they were hyped to be camping, and mucking around. They were in and out of the tent constantly, but I was impressed that they zipped the fly closed every time. I can never get them to shut a door at home! Maybe it’s because I’d told them if they left the tent flaps open the brush turkeys would sneak in and shit in their sleeping bags.
They did pass out eventually though.
How they sleep in a bed:
And how they sleep in a tent:
A bit later a rainstorm hit and I’m glad Roars was asleep because there was lots of thunder and lightning; he’d seen distant flashes earlier on and hadn’t been too happy about it. J and I enjoyed a bit of reading by lanternlight as the rain thumped on the tarp and the frogs went bananas in the reeds next door. They sounded like thousands of rocks being tapped together! J possibly enjoyed our BYO verandah slightly more than me… while I’d been inclined to blow off the big tarp due to it being so hard to put up, he’d been determined. Yes – nice one husband. Annnnd now I’ll never hear the end of it.
By next morning the rain had gone and we headed to the Lighthouse Beach Cafe in Ballina for breakfast.
The food wasn’t half bad either. It tasted twice as good because I didn’t have to make it!
Afterwards we walked up onto the headland to check out the views… what a stunning day!
Also had a squizz at the Richmond River Lighthouse – I’m a sucker for lighthouses, and this one is particularly cute. Built in 1879 it’s one of the oldest lighthouses in NSW and is still running. It isn’t as grand as some (it’s possibly the smallest I’ve ever seen!) but has buckets of charm.
The boys and I hung out at the campground while J headed to Ballina to find a phone signal for a bit of work. The boys had fun in their ‘secret headquarters’ (the ablution block had a keypad on the door) while I veged out in a camp chair, and we played some cricket too. We had to periodically stop play, though, because the boys had to chase off every brush turkey that came poking around our tent.
Watching them was hilarious! As soon as they spotted one they dropped what they were doing, made a quick plan like ‘you go this way I’ll go that way’, then with ninja-like stealth stalked the turkey around the back of the tent. Then I’d hear yelling, the turkey would shit himself and take off, then either hide up in a tree or land and run for it with the boys in hot pursuit. Brush turkey, then Finn, then Rory, disappeared into the distance and I’d piss myself laughing every time. And none of them got tired of it.
When J got back it was beach time at last! Flat Rock and Angel’s Beach were just a short sandy track away, the waves were perfect and the boys were raring to go.
As usual Finn grabbed the boogie board first, but Rory got to break in the new skimboard. The nice shallow beach with long breakers was great for both!
Rory would skim along so fast he’d actually overtake me running, laughing his head off. Swapped over and J had a turn on the tow rope too – it’s hard work dragging their arses around! I was a bit concerned J would do the dad thing and get egged on by the kids shouting “FASTER DADDY!” and take the turns just a bit too fast and sure enough I looked over just in time to see Roars tip over with all the g’s he was pulling and land on his head. And then get taken out by a wave as well. It’s okay buddy, walk it off… Okay Finn you’re up!
Got heaps of video with the GoPro – I’m still so in love with that thing!
Since Rory’s okay with getting dunked now he’s also discovered the joys of the surf. He loves it! Notwithstanding the occasional minor wipeout. The beach was so long and shallow and the waves small enough that he found his feet again no worries.
The boys had a great time, and J and I had a great workout, running laps up and down the beach. Then on one particularly vigorous donut J launched Finn up the sand and also onto his head. After that we deemed it safer to play a bit of cricket.
The rest of the weekend was spent just hanging around, chilling. We could’ve seen some more of the sights, and we might do that next time, but just switching off and not having to rush around to be somewhere is the best part of a holiday. The boys didn’t get that memo though, and neither did the brush turkeys.