Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Not camping or glamping. Campbining?

So, Easter.

For us southern hemisphere dwellers, it's the last gasp of summer.  And boy don't we take it seriously.

Not enough to simply book pleasant accommodation, many people prefer to camp.

In the week before Easter, if I had a dollar for everyone who answered 'camping' when I asked what they were doing on the weekend I could have bought my kids Easter Eggs 5 times over.

Camping at Easter is simply, what you do.

Except we didn't.  We went (oh so slightly) upmarket and stayed in cabins. Campbining?  But we were still in a campground.  It's just that we didn't have to go outside to find the loo in the middle of the night.

The company was awesome.

The gorgeous view from our front balcony.  Lots of kangaroos, and kangaroo poo too. 
The campground was heaving.  Chockas.  Large people sat around in camping chairs, clutching cans of beer from about 10am.

Kids with rats tails called Jayden cycled around in packs.

Yes, I know, that's entirely inappropriate.  But it's true, I saw it.

The people in caravans next to us had a rusty 10 gallon drum they used as a fireplace.  They spent Saturday morning chopping up what appeared to be an entire tree with a chainsaw they'd brought.

It takes all types doesn't it?  We brought our Nespresso, they brought their chainsaw.  Each to their own.

On Easter Sunday, once the excited Easter Bunny related screaming had stopped, we exacerbated their sugar high by doing an Easter Egg hunt.  It took about three times longer for us to artfully hide 4 bags of tiny eggs than it did for eleven children to find them.

Over the weekend we interspersed bouts of eating, drinking and playing very competitive games of touch football, cricket and soccer with visits to the caves as chronicled here.

And by the third night, sick of all the Jayden's and their parents having fires and us not having one, and slightly intimidated by the firepits in the campsites, which were all staked out early by large, beer sipping holiday makers, we asked if we could make our own close to our cabins.

Long unused boy scout skills came to the fore, and a neat, rock ringed conflagration was built by one of our number, in the car space allocated to one of our cabins.  As I write, I am wearing the fleece Mike wore as he sat by it.  I smell (not surprisingly) like campfire.


The kids shouted, danced, jumped up and down and toasted marshmallows.  One very organised and talented member of our group created the confection known as 'smores.  Imagine a sandwich with two Marie biscuits instead of bread, Nutella instead of butter and toasted marshmallow instead of filling.


The next morning we made our way home, via the much maligned 'vomit road'.  Instead of going south to Goulburn and then up the freeway we cut across country to Mittagong.  On a single dirt lane with cliffs plummeting away from us.  If we'd met another car on a narrow stretch, we would have had to reverse to a wide part of the road to pass.  

There were frequent signs telling us to "Sound horn at blind curves".

Of course, someone had added a Y on one of the signs.  I'll let you guess where.

From the top.  Once I felt safe to stop. 
We came up out of the Wombeyan Caves valley, surprising kangaroos who bounced in front of the car before hurling themselves off the cliff into space.  We went (crawled) over the mountain and down into another valley, where a beautiful river flowed through another campground, located (bizarrely) next to a scrap metal yard.

I have kept the scrap metal yard out of the picture for your enjoyment. 
The dirt road continued out of this valley and onto a plateau.  From here, we quickly realised we had entered the Southern Highlands, as tidy cattle and enormous houses replaced run down shacks and scruffy goats.

It was a happy/sad moment.  We stopped in Mittagong for good coffee and continued home.