Honeysuckle Campground -Namadgi National Park

So after a long, long time in lockdown with a toddler, it was finally a possibility to pack up the van and head out for a quick night away from the house. We decided on Honeysuckle Campground because it was close to home, had good reviews and there was no other campsites in the ACT available that weekend.

Not even all the gear!

With the van loaded up with what seems like more and more equipment every trip, we set out on a windy Friday afternoon. Namadgi experienced massive fires in early 2020, but you wouldn’t know based on the regrowth and wildlife at Honeysuckle campground. It’s only when you drive in that you notice pine forests still decimated by fire along some of the hillsides.

Quite green this time of year

The drive into Namadgi and Honeysuckle was without incident, though there was a lot of roadwork going on while we were there. There was limited signs for Apollo Road as well, probably due to the fires burning them down. We’d recommend turning on the GPS if you’re looking to head up there.

People usually overtake rather than follow the van

Honeysuckle used to be the site of massive tracking antennas, famously used to receive and transmit the words from Neil Armstrong ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ to the rest of the world. There’s no buildings or equipment left on site, but there are several concrete slabs and a few signs up showing what used to be there.

Not a lot of flat ground at this campsite

The campsite itself is quite spread out, but note there is a lot of sites with only sloping ground. The website states there are 4 sites suitable for caravans or camper trailers, but for the most part there are barriers preventing you from parking next to your site. Toilets were clean long drop toilets and there are large fire pits and picnic tables scattered around the site.

Helping to set up is hard work

Due to COVID, the numbers allowed at campsites must be right down as the website was showing the site fully booked, but we only counted two other groups staying overnight while we were there.

As very special guests for this camping trip, Rosie’s parents came along with all their brand new camping equipment and ute. We hope they had a good time, despite the very cold night. They were very welcome additions – thank you for getting Ollie to sleep in the tent!

We set up the tent and equipment without any fuss and settled in. Ollie was a big help with the drill in tent pegs. The in-laws managed very well with their new equipment and no fights were observed at all setting up and packing down the tent – very well done! Some cheese and meat in the afternoon sun, with some bubbles and beer, and we could feel the lockdown stress start to fade away a little. Ollie was gifted a PJ Masks ‘CatBoy’ mask, which he then put on a proceeded to activate ‘Super Speed’ again and again. We went up to see the tracking station site as well just as a short walk, with CatBoy leading the way.

Stop criminals! Super Speed!

A lot of wallabies came to the campground once the sun started setting, and they were quite tame as well. That is, until CatBoy decided to chase them away.

Ollie worked out the safety switch immediately

The wind was blustering in from all angles that night, but it died down around 9pm. We chose to use our own (new) folding firepit to get a bit more heat out into the cold night, rather than the provided large but fully enclosed firepits. The Darche 450 firepit worked just as good camping as it had over lockdown in the backyard. The night was unusually cold for this time of year, with temperatures dropping down to about 3 degrees overnight.

After a cold nights sleep, the birds started their dawn chorus around 5.30am. It sounded amazing, with birds of all types singing out to greet the dawn, but I couldn’t help thinking that if they had shut up for a bit longer I could have had a slightly better sleep. Rosie prepared us a wonderful breakfast wrap that morning, with coffee provided by my father-in-law from his new pump action expresso maker and Jetboil. A quick pack up and we left the site as we found it, getting home around 10.30am.

Helping grandma and grandpa pack up their mattress

A big thank you to Rosie’s folks for coming along and for being such good sports about the cold weather. We promise the next trip will be warmer.

Helping pull out the tent pegs in the morning

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