One of my favourite pasttimes: camping with the family. Bush camping, that is: not in a caravan park, away from roads and other people. The weekend after Easter John and I, with Tess and Yarrow (and Chicco our dog) set off with our dear friends Willa and Andrew (+ Myki and Liam), plus old friends of theirs (James and Mitti, and their two young sons) to spend four days camping in the wilderness on the banks of the Clarence River, some 30 km south-east of Tabulam. The locality is known as Alice Flats. John and I put our gear into the horse float, which doubles as our "tent", and headed off cross country, well off the beaten tracks.
Yarrow and Tess in the foreground, Liam and Myki just visible in the tree behind. These are big old Callistemon trees, by the way. Check out the moss!
There is gently sloping sandy access to the river, which of course, is the focus of most of the activities: swimming, stone skipping, surfing (you tie a rope to the tree, and 'surf' the rapids on an ex-camping-mattress), fishing for yabbies, and generally lounging about.
|John practising for the big stone skipping competition :-)|
Chicco loves coming along ... and is not only good company, but keeps the campsite free of cattle and the odd brumby who might come wandering through, with her loud warning woof at their approach.
Evenings brought lovely campfire, music, and superb campfire meals ... delectable.
Here's a clip of Yarrow singing a campfire song written and accompanied by Myki on guitar (inspired by The Waifs). Just listen...
Mind you, some of the creative cookery done by the kids was a tad *interesting*. Here Yarrow and Myki have made salted crackers with melted chocolate and marshmallow fillings, toasted on the camfire hotplate... Do we say yum? No? What do we say?
The return journey was exciting indeed, as we had to get the Hilux (plus heavy horse float attached) through some deep sand and rock terrain, and got bogged well down to the axles several times. Some solid spade work by all of us helped, as well as John's excellent 4WD skills. I know, horse floats aren't meant to be 4WD vehicles... never mind. There was a *particularly* exciting bit which involved sliding the Hilux plus float down a large, 45 degree sand dune ("there's no way but down"). We finally got the to 'main road' (a dirt track leading away from the river); and when John said "Well, that's it ... bye, river!", Yarrow piped in with huge overtones of relief "Oh...Hello, ROAD!!!"...