Frying Pan Creek

I thought I’d start off todays post by explaining how this little blog came about.  As you’ve seen we are a family who loves to camp and we wanted to meet some more like minded peeps so we created a “secret” Facebook group (this means that only the members of the group can see the posts) so that we could plan a monthly camp in a different destination each time. We invited friends and family whom we knew loved to camp and told them to invite others.  This way we would get to explore new areas and meet new people.

We also use the group page to share different tips and tricks and have a few laughs.  Its all in good fun!

Our first ever camp we planned was at Frying Pan Creek in the Chichester State Forest about 30 minutes from the small town of Dungog in the Hunter Region. The camp ground is quite easy to access with a 2WD and a caravan but in wet weather it would be recommended to have a 4WD as it can be quite slippery.

There is over 100 camp sites at Frying Pan with the creek for swimming, one drop toilet that is kept as best can be by Forest Rangers and a couple of tree swings.  The area is dog friendly but they are to be kept on a leash  at all times and obviously you need to clean up after your dog.

There is plenty to do up there from swimming in the creek, bush walking, 4WDing, fishing or take your push bike or motorbike and explore that way.

We arrived on the Friday on a beautiful sunny day to a flat camp ground of lush green grass and shady trees.  We set to work setting up camp with a stop for lunch and a quick beer.

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We like to set up in  a big circle so that we can have a cosy camp fire in the middle.

That afternoon was spent relaxing around camp and Trish and I decided to take our cameras and go for an explore.

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Can’t you just imagine this as a little fairy garden!

The next day we awoke to another beautiful sunny day and after breaky it was time to hit the river. The FREEZING cold river! The temperature stopped me from getting in but not the kids….or the big kids!

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There was a perfect swimming hole not far from our camp that was about waste deep and had a nice little sandy beach to walk down into the water.

 

That afternoon there was a massive downpour of rain that lasted a couple of hours. But we didn’t let that stop our fun, we had  fantastic group of people and even though it was wet it wasn’t cold so it just didn’t matter.

We all ran from camp to camp pushing up canvas and quick shades making sure nothing caved in from the weight of the water and the kids played all afternoon in the rain.

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Who needs an umbrella when you have a rubber dingy!
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Time for some bubbles after the rain

That night we had planned to have a big camp oven cook up on the fire…sooo it was time to improvise and we all put our camp ovens on our little propane burner stoves and still managed to hook into a delicious roast whilst the rain kept coming.  It was a good test for everybody’s campers and tents because it rained steadily all night and luckily nobody got wet!

We awoke on the last day to another lovely sunny day.  We all had a slow breakfast having a big cook up.  There were smells of bacon, eggs, sausages and pan cakes all over the campsite and then it was time to pack up.  Luckily those of us with canvas campers and tents had all put tarps over the top so our setups were all quite dry.

After pack up on the last day we try our hardest to get a group shot at all of our camps, of course that doesn’t always workout for us but if we can manage it, its nice to have the memory of everybody that attended.

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The Aussie Camping Capers Clan

Frying Pan Creek is a beautiful spot and we’ll definitely be heading back there, especially with so many different camp grounds to explore!

 

Cheers

Ez & Trish

xx

 

(Words by Ez, photos by Trish)

Cape York – Part 4 – The Tip

So…where were we…oh thats right! Car trouble…again! The Hilux had gone into limp mode, the boys stopped and worked on it a few times but eventually we took it to the RACQ mechanic at Bamaga who was kind enough to let them work on it in his workshop and use his tools but it was soon obvious that the Hilux would be staying at the mechanic workshop, at least for the night.

We ended up having to hire a small car to get around and spent our first night at the Seisia Holiday Park.  Our friends J & K had to get a cabin since their roof top tent was now living at the Mechanic with their ute.  Marty and I camped next door in ours with Wilso in his usual spot swagging it under the ute awning.

Seisia is the most northern community on mainland Australia. The holiday park is right on the beach and has stray/random dogs (quite a lot have collars on) roaming around everywhere…along with horses that you occasionally see one of the local kids riding…no saddle, bridle or any other gear…just cruising around on possibly a wild horse…which is pretty cool!

The amenities were clean and therefore fantastic! Especially after spending a few nights free camping without any, and there is a kiosk/cafe which again is amazing when you haven’t seen decent coffee for a week or so!

That night we decided we couldn’t be bothered cooking and needed a decent meal, we headed to the restaraunt at the Cape York Peninsula Lodge.  We were a mess, hadn’t showered in a couple of days but didn’t care, we deserved a delicious meal and that it was!

The next day was spent getting ourselves organised. The boys went back to the mechanic to go through a process of elimination to try and work out what was going on with the Hilux whilst K and I set about finding a place to stay that would house all 5 of us.  We decided on Loyalty Beach.  The only problem was that the little Toyota Yaris that we’d hired to get around in was not allowed to go off the tar roads so it was back to the car hire office to find another (Marty and I had actually taken one of the seats out of the back of the Navara for a second engle fridge that we used as a freezer and therefore made it only a 4 seater, not very helpful with 5 people). We decided that a Land Cruiser would do the job to get us all around together.

We hired the “beach house” at Loyalty Beach….which actually turned out to be a two story open air shed…not quite the luxury we were hoping for…but hey…it did the job!

Loyalty Beach is another beach front park with a small kiosk at the front desk and you can also book tours there, I can’t speak of the amenities as we didn’t need to use them.  The staff are all very friendly and all came over for a chat to hear our story (which I’m sure they’d heard many times before) when they saw that we had the whole of the inside of the Navara pulled out, airing out in the sunshine for days on end! The park also has a fantastic restaurant and bar that has a great vibe and delicious food.  Perfect for happy hour that then continues onto dinner whilst you watch the sunset over the beach.

So today was the day we were going to the tip! We all piled into the LandCruiser and off we went.  There is a bit of a walk when you get there but it is definitely worth it!

We had vowed that when we finally made it to the tip we would do the Salty Rain Dance….its amazing the looks you get when you break out into dance at the top of a hill….

After we’d had a beer at the sign, had a swim in the Coral Sea and done our little happy dance at the top, we headed on back down and dropped into Punsand Bay Corrugation Bar for a drink and some lunch and ended up sitting with some other campers and sharing stories of our trip.  It was great meeting other people and seeing how they had faired the Tele Track.

On the way back past the local Mechanic we dropped in to check on the Hilux and were informed that they couldn’t find the issue and there was no way it was driving back out of town.  We’d have to book it onto a barge to be sent back to Cairns.  We decided to make the most of our time up here since we’d be spending another couple of nights until we could get the ute on the boat and the others on a plane!

The next day was a tour of Thursday Island, an Island of the Torres Straight Islands located approximately 39kms off the coast of the Cape York Peninsula. You can get a return ticket for around $116 each on Peddell’s Ferry and they also combine tours with your ferry ride.  We did the Thursday Island Tour with a local Guide.

The bus tours takes you around the whole of the Island and stops off at Green Hill Fort with its under ground tunnels and rooms that house the historical museum.  You’ll also stop off at the local cemetery where you learn about the traditions and rituals of the local islanders regarding the death of loved ones and see the beautifully decorated headstones.

There is then plenty of time to check out the lovely bars and restaurants before you head off back to Seisia on the Ferry.

We had one more night before Marty & I had to start heading back down towards Cairns. We spent the night back at Seisia and went to the local fishing club for burgers, footy and karaoke.

We were lucky enough to meet another couple, Gaz & Lyn, who would be heading off the same day as us and therefore we didn’t have to travel alone. We stuck to the bypass road for the trip back down but stopped in at a couple of little spots on the tele track to see a few of the crossings that we missed on the way up.

We spent the night at the Archer River Roadhouse.  The camp ground was nice and shaded, the amenities clean and you could get a feed and some general supplies at the roadhouse.

Marty and I decided to take a different route after Archer River and turned off at Musgrave Station to go through the Lakefield National Park and would meet up with Gaz & Lyn at the Lions Den Hotel that afternoon.

One of our most favourite places on the whole trip was the Lions Den Hotel on the Bloomfield Track between Cooktown and Cape Tribulation and of course it was the one time in the whole trip that I didn’t have my phone or camera attached to me at all times so I have no photos.  You walk in and are surrounded by history…and underwear…I’m not kidding, it is hanging on the walls all around you!

There is powered and unpowered sites along with onsite cabins and safari tents.  The amenities include showers, toilets and a laundry and there is also bbq facilities and a kids play ground.  The meals and atmosphere are great and then in the mornings you can score breaky and a coffee…although you do have to be willing to line up!

We headed down the Bloomfield Track towards Cape Tribulation.  We’d heard that it could be a tricky road with steep climbs and river crossings.  It was quite windy and steep but we’d had a LOT of hot weather since we’d been away and did have any trouble with river crossings or slippery roads, although we did stop for lunch and a swim in one of the river crossings!

Marty and I had been to Cape Tribulation before so apart from stopping to have one last beer with Gaz & Lyn at the the Cow Bay Hotel where you’ll find the Bulls Bar, the longest single timber bar-top in the world!

After leaving our new travel partners we headed into Port Douglas where we would spend one last night before meeting up with J & K and Wilso in Cairns the next day.

I won’t do a post on our time in Cairns or the trip home.  Due to the fact that Marty and I had been there only 12 months before and the others were running low on cash after having to pay for flights and putting the hilux on the barge from Bamaga we really just hung out at the lagoon on the Esplanade, did a few touristy things like the Kuranda Rail and Skyrail and the night markets.  After we left Marty and I headed home on our own and stopped at a few spots until we got to Caloundra where we stayed with family for a few nights before heading home to Maitland.

As I said in my very first post of this series one of the best/worst holidays we’ve ever had!

Have you ever had a holiday like that?? Comment and let us know.

 

Cheers

Ez. x

Cape York – Part 3 – The Old Tele Track

So it was time to hit the Old Telegraph Track. Another regret we have from this trip is that we didn’t just bite the bullet and do the entire tele track, we only did the northern half. We went in via Bramwell Station and saw that Palm Creek was a mess, it was very steep and muddy and there were old bits of 4WD’s scattered everywhere…looked like carnage ha! So we decided that we liked our ute’s a bit too much to trash them at the first crossing and headed up the bypass road, which in hind sight was probably worse! Those corrugations were nasty!!

This post is going to be a bit of a photo vomit, because once we did hit the Tele Track it was fantastic fun! So here goes.

All of the river crossings were so much fun until…..Nolans Brook….

We drowned our Nissan Navara! In short…we were unprepared.  We had been having such a good time going through all of the river crossings and had walked each one before driving through but didn’t have any of our recovery gear set up and ready to go in case of an emergency.

The ute filled with water up to the gear stick and with it so did all of our stuff in the back.  The boys acted quickly and set up the snatch strap and got it out and luckily a man in the group that went through before us was a mechanic so he and the boys in our group spent the afternoon working on our ute and got it going again for us whilst we emptied the back and dried out our gear.

We ended up spending the night at Nolan’s Brook and watching many many other groups cross the river…each one making sure they had their recovery gear ready to go before beginning….oops! (We soon found out that Nolan’s is notorious and many cars are actually lost there…in face we even bought a stubby holder that says “I lost my car at Nolan’s and still made it to the tip”).

The next morning we repacked all of the soggy gear into the car and headed off for the last river crossing, the Jardine River, which thank goodness had a ferry.  We had to stop every 5-10 minutes to drain the bottom of the fuel filter and then prime it back up again to get the water out of the fuel.

So we fueled up, paid for our Ferry Pass and crossed the river into Bamaga…

and then…

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The Toyota Hilux died….

To be continued…

Cape York – Part 1 – And We’re Off!

So a couple of years ago Marty and I decided that we needed one more big holiday before heading down the parenting path. It was a toss up between going to the United States or going to Cape York. We weighed up the pros and cons and figured that after setting up the ute and buying all the gear we’d need for a big camping trip, it would probably cost around the same as a trip to the States only we’d have all of that gear forever to plan more trips in the future. So the Cape won!

Quite a bit of work had to be done to Nigel the Navara, but that will have to be a post for another time, and quite a bit of gear purchased to prepare for a 4 week trip through the Queensland outback and straight to the tip!

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So on 7 September 2013, 5 of us bounced out of bed at an ungodly hour with way too much energy and set off on what would be our most memorable holiday ever. It was somewhat of a disaster but also some of the most fun we’ve ever had.

After around 10.5 hours of driving we stopped in at St. George, Queensland for lunch on the Balonne River and a quick schooner at the St. George Hotel across the road, now it was stated that this hotel had “the best beer in Australia”…but that could have been 10.5 hours of driving talking so we’ll just say that that drink went down well!

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Then it was back onto those long straight roads to our first stop for the night, Mitchell QLD at the Neil Turner Weir.

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A slightly less early morning the next day and we hit the road heading for Ilfracombe with a population of around 360.  We stayed at the Ilfracombe Caravan Park, a really neat little park with friendly owners and clean, tidy amenities and the Artesian Spa is just up the road, but just be careful of the local emu’s who like to block the gate!

After dinner we headed up to the Wellshot Hotel where we chatted with some locals and played fetch with the owners border collie. It would would actually pick up tiny pebbles and rest them in the back of your shoe to get your attention to play some more.

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The Council Bi-Laws hanging in the Wellshot Hotel

Ilfracombe is also home of the “Machinery Mile”, an outdoor machinery museum, some of the machinery is very rare and all of it has been collected within 100 miles of town.

 

20 minutes down the road is Longreach so we stopped in there for some breaky and a snoop around the Stockmans Hall of Fame

 

Now when your leaving Longreach and heading through Outback Queensland you can’t NOT stop in at the Walkabout Creek Hotel at McKinlay, it would be an insult to growing up in the 80’s if we didn’t have a drink at the pub from Crocodile Dundee!

That night we stayed in the small town of Cloncurry, had a quiet dinner and an early night ready for another early start the next day.

Today we were heading for Lawn Hill National Park, a good 6 hour drive in front of us through MASSIVE stations, it really was an eye opener!

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This was the beginning of the never-ending red dirt!
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Be careful out here in the outback…..cows eat cars!!!

The Lawn Hill National Park, which is actually now known as the Boojamulla National Park is in the Gulf Country region of North West Queensland near the Northern Territory border.  We got a big shock driving into the Lawn Hill Station, it was very red, dusty, baron land that seemed to be in serious drought….and then we hit Adeles Grove.

Adeles Grove Camping park is 10 km outside of the National Park and from the Lawn Hill Gorge.  It is beautiful and lush like a forest! We set up camp and spent the afternoon swimming in the beautiful clear (and quite cold!) Lawn Hill Creek…that yes apparently does have fresh water crocodiles in it but we didn’t see any and then relaxed with happy hour!

 

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This is what happens when your too big for the rope swing…sorry kids!

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The next morning we headed out for some kayaking and swimming in the amazing Lawn Hill Gorge.

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I think I’ll leave you with the amazing images of Lawn Hill and pick up on this on another day!

 

To be continued….

 

Ez.

Glamping

It all starts with a beautiful drive to a fabulous, tranquil location……

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you might say an enchanted forest…..
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set up your miniature pink tent with fabulous bedding……….

Spark up a mesmerising camp fire.

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Collect beautiful wild daisies from the side of the river…….
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arrange them in your best camping vase…..an empty cider bottle
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& enjoy a glass of wine & your favourite magazine………..
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while your partner brings you incredible yellow butterflies,  well moths really but butterfly sounds so much more glamorous…….
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Ah, the life of a wanna be princess.

It just goes to show, you can style the heck out of your camp site & bring a bit of girlie glamour to your weekend, even if it means spray painting a milk crate pink for the occassion.

Are you a “glamper”?

CHEERS

Trish xo

 

Im addicted…

I had never been camping before I met my husband, not out of any dislike for it…I had just never really considered it.  Holidays were always at motel’s or cabins in caravan parks…Enter Marty into my life, he’s a camper, he’s one of those guys that takes his swag and his esky and sets himself up next to a fire by a lake or a river somewhere with his mates, so he set out to convert me.

Our first ever trip we headed off to BCF in the morning, purchased a tent and it poured…I thought to myself “surely we’re not still going” but apparently it turns out that my friends are diehard fans and insisted we still go…I was pretty horrified.  But you know what, it was one of the most fun weekends ever and I thought to myself, if this is going to get me holidays then I’m in!

Our set up and our gear has evolved over the years.  We started out with a little tent.

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Moved on to a Roof Top Tent….

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and now we’re in our decrepid old camper…

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So to follow on from our first post, I’m Tricia’s sister Erin, but call me Ez, please follow along with us and share in our adventures, our favourite products, camping gear and tips & tricks that we’ve learnt along the way and if you have any advice or questions, drop us a line, we’re always up for a chat!

Cheers!

Ez. x

 

 

Can we do this camping thing?

About two years ago we went on our first camping trip. Feeling very unsure about whether or not this was going to be the right style of holiday for our family but we figured we might as well give it a shot. Resort accommodation really was getting out of our price range, especially with 4 kids. We borrowed a friends tent, planned a weekend away with my sister  & brother-in-law who were also new to this camping world  & off we went. Guess what, we’ve never looked back.

1st camp

I’m not saying I would knock back the opportunity to stay in a luxury resort if the option was there, but I can honestly say I really do enjoy roughing it in the great outdoors. Waking up with the sun & the birds chirping is an incredible way to start the day.

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We tend to mostly “FREE CAMP” which means we stay in areas that don’t charge fee’s, like state forests, beaches,& national parks. Some of these places you do need permits  which are a small cost. There is no power of course & sometimes absolutely no facilities what so ever but we are pretty set up for those situations, but that’s for another post.

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We never leave home without the cricket set, a soccer ball & push bikes. There’s lots of chatting, relaxing & crazy games of sport .We always seem to end up with random strangers joining in on the fun. It’s such a great way to meet people, some of these strangers have ended up becoming good friends  & even joined in on our camp.

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There is nothing better than having your morning coffee or afternoon “happy hour” by a camp fire.

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As you can see Erin & I really do love our photography & are happy to get in ridiculous positions to really try for that great shot!

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Australia really is a beautiful place with so much to see from the city to the bush, the ocean to the desert  we hope to see it all & of course share it with you.

We will share the adventure, the set up, location reviews, tips tricks & products that we love & make camping with kids that much easier.So please bookmark our blog, follow us on Instagram & don’t forget to leave us a comment even if it’s just to say hi. Let us know your thoughts, ask us a question or  recommend your favourite camping spot.

Cheers

Trish xo

(All photos used are our own, please ask permission before using them)