With Rosie about to head off to wine country for a boozy and kid free long weekend, I decided it would be a good idea to take Ollie out for a 2 night camping trip. We chose Green Patch in the Booderee National Park at Jervis Bay. I’d been there before and thought the facilities were pretty good, but hadn’t gotten to see a lot of the national park or beaches in the area.
So with a day off work I set out to pack up the van on the Friday morning, horrifying Rosie with our lack of pre-planning. Given it was May, we packed a lot of extra blankets and warm clothing. Once the van was loaded up, Ollie and I set off down the road to do some food shopping. He got to choose a lot of the snacks we would be taking, including marshmallows for the fire. Once that was all done and the fridge was full, we headed into Queanbeyan for a quick bite to eat then onto the road to Nerriga.
Ollie chose this time to immediately fall asleep.
After a fairly uneventful drive down on some pretty badly torn up roads, we managed to make it to Green Patch and found our allocated campsite.
There’s a variety of campsite types to choose from at Green Patch, but we’d chosen to camp next to car in a small space. And a very small space it was too, barely fitting the van with awning and the tent at the back. Campsites are separated by raised mounds of dirt and greenery, which prevents overspill onto other campsites but isn’t good if you have multiple groups wanting to set up as a big community.
We started setting up, with Ollie helping and making things take at least twice as long. He really enjoys drilling in the tent pegs with the impact wrench, but you need make sure he’s got everything lined up properly. With the tent all pegged out and the van awning out, we set about exploring the camp site. Ollie had been super keen to create ‘barky boats’ on this camping trip as a direct result of watching an episode of Bluey, so we found an interesting little creek bed just up the road that could be used to send leaves and sticks on their way.
I had to carry his camp chair – I don’t know why we brought it on our walk.
Ollie had an early dinner of sausages and assorted snacks and fruit, then we went for another wander with our torches this time as it started to get darker.
The weekend was forecast for light showers and overcast for the entire weekend. We had prepared to get a little wet during the camping trip, but nothing like the rain that came down on Saturday night. On the Friday night we had some light showers coming through, enough that I set Ollie up in the tent with a movie on the tablet.
While he was in there we met a very unafraid possum who boldly strolled into camp and had a sniff around for any food that might have been left out.
After his movie, Ollie came out to help me create a small fire next to the tent in our portable firepit. Apparently you’re not allowed to have fires in the campsites themselves – you are required to use designated firepits in the central areas, but everyone else seemed to be ignoring this rule so we created our own as well. After some marshmallows, fire poking and burning of leaves, it was time for my dinner and then for Ollie to go to bed. We both slept pretty well that night, with sleeping bags and a blanket enough to keep us both warm.
The next morning we woke up around 7am and headed out into the damp cool morning air. Breakfast was some porridge for Ollie and a basic breakfast burger for myself.
We went for another walk in the morning, heading all the way down to the beach this time. There is a wooden bridge that traverses a creek/lagoon that blocks your access to the beach, but it was boarded up and closed off. Despite that, we used it and it seemed safe as there’s no other way to get to the beach without getting wet. The water was cold this morning and the sun hadn’t come out at all, so Ollie limited himself to a few jumps in the waves only.
Heading back to camp, we found a couple of currawongs had gotten actually into the van and found a packet of turkish bread. Very brave animals in this area, keep your food locked up at all times.
Ollie had a morning tea sausage and we packed up the awning and went back into Vincentia and Husky to find things to do. We found a couple of playgrounds, but Ollie was getting cranky so we headed to the Huskisson Pub for some hot chips and a beer.
Afterwards we headed to another playground, but the weather was starting to change and it was obvious a rain shower or two was on its way. We headed back to camp to make sure that everything was safe and dry.
The rain stopped that afternoon for a little bit so we started up a fire and had some more marshmallows. Ollie had some two minute noodles for dinner, and any scraps were cleaned up by the same possum from the night before. He also got into a cup that had held milk and ran around for a bit with the cup covering his face.
The showers started coming more heavy and more often, so I sent Ollie to be with the tablet and tidied up and had some dinner. Eventually the rain was constant with heavy squalls, so I made sure everything was packed away and headed in for an early night.
That night a massive storm came through. The forecast before we went camping showed around 2-5mm of rain forecast for Saturday night, and that was upgraded to 10mm on Saturday morning. Unfortunately we ended up with 42.4mm of rain on the Saturday 22nd and another 39mm on Sunday 23rd. The storm hammered at our little Aldi tent, but I’m happy to say we stayed mostly dry. Some water started to run underneath and seep through some worn areas of the floor, so we had a small puddle under one of the mattresses in the morning. Some water also seeped through a wall where a pillow had rubbed against the wall overnight. But overall this cheap little tent did it’s job well and continues to impress.
You know it’s heavy rain when it’s too loud to hear the movie you downloaded for the trip on your tablet.
The next morning we found a lot of puddles in our campsite, but nothing was broken or damaged and the stuff in our tent was mostly okay. Any wet clothes or linen went straight into a garbage bag for washing back at home, and the tent fly went into another garbage bag as well to dry when we got home. Ollie had a bit of a stop around with his gumboots in some of the puddles, and took his new balance bike on a bit of a trip up the road looking for more puddles to splash through.
We packed up fully, checked the site for any rubbish and then headed into town to visit some friends, before heading straight back to Canberra. Ollie continued his trend by falling asleep for the entire trip back.
Overall the campsite facilities were very basic. There are hot showers and flushing toilets, but the lights didn’t work in the amenities block and the toilets weren’t very clean. The campsite we were at (D block) was a fair distance from the beach, so that’s something to keep in mind if you have kids as well. We were provided with an allocated campsite, I’m not sure if you can pick your preferred location for larger groups. They seem to allocate campsites in order, so everyone was bunched up around us and the other areas were almost completely vacant. On their website they say they have wood piles so external wood isn’t required, but this was completely empty when we were there.
So overall the boys trip was a success, but if I’m honest having Rosie there makes definitely makes things go more smoothly. It’s exhausting having a little toddler stuck to you while you try and get things done!