How many annual repetitions does it take to make something a tradition? If it’s twice, with the promise of more to come, then I do believe we’re on to something good here.
For the second year running Steve, the kids and I loaded up the car and trailer and set off camping with my brother and his family. Last year we headed to Imbil, where we discovered that A) camping was something we all loved, and B) despite our love of the beach heading to the country and setting up by a creek is a great way to spend a holiday.
This time we headed to Yarramalong in the Scenic Rim, located a stone’s throw from Lake Moogerah in Charlwood. A dam upstream and plenty of rain meant we had green paddocks surrounding us and a full creek to swim and paddle board in, as well as a resident catfish lurking under the rope swing who had bitten four people that we knew of by the time we left.
Our days were as lazy as they can be with young children, filled with multiple swims; drives to nearby Boonah, Kalbar, and Aratula; bushwalks to the lava flow; naps; and books when the kids let us sit for a decent period of time. New Years Eve was a glass of bubbles and sitting around a fire with good company while a full moon rose and the kids ran screaming happily and waving glow sticks. There was koala and kookaburra spotting and goannas walking pretty brazenly through the campsite, and playing. So much playing. I’ve never seen a group of kids so filthy and so happy. It was glorious seeing them streaked with dirt and with black fingernails playing school, climbing rocks, sitting together reading books and even attempting a sleepover although Jman decided to return to our tent in the small hours.
It was also a week of slowing down. Turning my phone on to flight mode for 90 per cent of the time after deleting social media apps, of waking at dawn for a final breastfeed – who am I kidding, it was far from a final breastfeed for the day – and listening to the birds calling while watching the light grow through the tent. Of sitting in comfortable silence with my sister-in-law Kim (the best kind of friends are those you can be silent with), and of giggling with my brother. Of sitting in a waterfall with Steve, drinking a beer and feeling just so damn happy.
So here’s to a new tradition!
Where to go: Lake Moogerah dam. Our kids were convinced it was the dam from Frozen II. The nearby towns of Kalbar and Boonah were cute, and I really want to go back for a wander through their op shops.
What to do: Swim! Walk over the dam wall. Bushwalk – we traded turns where 2 of us walked from the campgrounds to the dam (over steep lava flow that required spider walking and shoes with good grip) and the other 2 walked back the other way. Paddle boarding in the creek, however, actually wasn’t great due to a lot of submerged boulders, so rent a kayak instead.
Where to eat: We were camping, and most restaurants required a drive, so we limited them. That being said, we did eat at the Kalbar Hotel (kids eat free on Wednesday FYI) which was a pretty location and decent if standard pub food. Also Arthur Clive’s Bakery in Boonah made great pastries and coffee, and a quick glance showed if you didn’t fancy take-away there is a pretty garden out the back where you can sit back.
Other things of note: We were fortunate to be camping with a group of families that all had kids, so we weren’t hugely stretched to keep them entertained. Plus kids and tents generally work out well so long as you don’t mind getting up with the sun. If you don’t have enough kids to form a pack capable of amusing themselves and the thought of constant swimming doesn’t entice you, you may want to plan a few day trips. Luckily there are wineries nearby and the Scenic Rim is home to a bevy of great food producers.
We also personally found water shoes to be a great idea to minimise cut feet while swimming in the creek.
And here are a few photos of our time camping.