Boys trip to Wog Wog – December 2022

A few days before Christmas I decided to head out with Ollie for one or two nights, leaving Rosie home to finish up her last few days of work. I decided on the Wog Wog campground in Morton National Park, mostly because it was relatively close to Canberra.

I almost didn’t end up going due to an issue I had had with the rear wheel carrier latch. It had broken off the day before, requiring a ratchet strap to tie it together – not the safest way to travel. Fortunately I found a welding shop in Fyshwick that was able to do a cash job and have it repaired enough for at least until I can order a replacement latch to be welded on properly.

This was to be the first outing in our new rooftop tent. We’d bought a very cheap Kings tent as a bit of a trial to see if a rooftop tent brings more benefits over a standard ground tent.

With everything packed up, we set off. A quick stop in Bungendore for a very excited Ollie – he didn’t want to play on a massive playground in town as he ‘just wanted to go camping’ – and then we continued on towards Braidwood.

We stopped in Braidwood for lunch at the Royal Mail Hotel just on noon and had a pub feed and a single beer, then back on the road on the road toward Nerriga. Well, there may have been an ice cream in there as well.

The recent rains had really damaged this road, though nothing as bad as the road to Wee Jasper. Ollie chose this time to fall asleep and managed to stay asleep all the way to camp. Nerriga road has a small gravel section close to the campground turnoff, and the road to camp is about 5km’s of very loose gravel as well. Easily navigable by a 2wd car provided the driver actually drives to conditions.

Wog Wog campground is very basic and there are probably better campsites in the area. The NSW Parks website says that there is camper trailer and ‘camp beside my vehicle’ camping available, but there’s actually not. You can set up in one of the parking areas, but the actual camping areas are blocked off from vehicle access. So we ended up parking on carpark dirt, which isn’t ideal. The single drop toilet is the only real facility there, and that was poorly maintained and quite full. Not an ideal camping spot, but at least we had it to ourselves.

Honestly, him being asleep probably sped things up

With Ollie still asleep and the van door open for a fresh breeze for him, I set about setting up the rooftop tent for the third time ever. It went pretty smoothly. I’ve discovered the van is so tall that I need an extra ladder to allow me to climb up to the roofracks to unzip the cover, I’ve also needed to get a ladder extension piece for the tent fixed ladder so that it can actually reach the ground and provide additional support for the main structure. Once everything is said and done, it probably takes about the same amount of time as our ‘instant-up’ ground tent.

I discovered as I unpacked the main camping crate that holds a lot of our gear that moisture from the last time we camped had resulted in some mould in a few of the bags and gear. First order of business after setting up was to thoroughly wash and sun dry anything that smelt musty or would be used for food prep or meals. Ollie helped with this bit.

Once we were all set up we set out to have a look around and see what might be of interest in the area. There’s not much to see or do really. The campsite is at the start of the ‘Scenic Rim’ hiking trail, and I think its mostly used for hikers that stay there before or after they do the trail.

Ollie managed to trip over the same log twice while we were having a look around, resulting in a bandaid being applied to his knee, and most of the rest of the afternoon spent playing doctors and applying bandaids to any toy he could find. I should stock up on them before we go on our next trip.

For dinner, Ollie chose some packet noodles and I had some sausages and rissoles. Basic, but it did the job. Afterwards we started a fire to get ready for marshmallows. Things were going great until Ollie managed a massive spew. Not sure what caused it, but he was perfectly fine afterwards and had at least 10 marshmallows later that night. (Not the mould , I made sure his utensils were absolutely clean and sterilised and he ate from the noodle bowl).

The offending noodles

After a big night for him (poor bugger), I sent Ollie to bed in the ‘sky tent’ with the tablet and settled down to watch the fire and have a few beers.

Sky Tent

I was not looking for a big night myself, what with a potentially sick kid and a new tent with a massive ladder to deal with. The tent ended up surprisingly comfy overall, with just two sleeping bags opened up over both of us as bedding. It could use a thicker mattress or topper (75mm currently), but it doesn’t sway or rock as much as I expected and there is a decent amount of room in there. If this cheap little tent works out, we’ll look at a proper 3 or 4 person rooftop tent.

That morning we were woken up by a crazy bird attacking its reflection in the van’s windscreen. It had a very unusual call, similar to a camera shutter and other mimic sounds, but it didn’t look like a standard lyrebird. It was very loud though and it woke us both up around daybreak.

Bird with unusual calls

The morning was pretty low key, but with dark clouds on the horizon we decided to pack up and not spend another night camping.

The tent packed away again in around the same amount of time as our standard ground tent. I’m hoping that over time it will maybe get a little faster, but I say that about every new piece of camping equipment. There certainly is more room in the van with the sleeping bags kept in the tent and no inflatable camp mats.

On soon as we got back on the road to Braidwood it started raining heavily, so we made a good choice. We drove straight home in about 1.5hrs, with rain the whole way. It’s worth noting that BOM said there was only a 25% chance of rain, so once again they can’t be relied on during La Nina.

Boring stuff

I’m still not sure about how the roof top tent is impacting fuel economy. Around town there doesn’t seem to be any major change, but this is the first longer trip so we’ll see how that goes long term. It definitely prevents us from entering any parking garages or drive thru’s anymore though! The extra weight on top (65kg or so) hasn’t impacted the vans centre of gravity significantly, though you can feel it on roundabouts.

All of the kit and equipment is going through the dishwasher or being hand washed with mould killer, just in case.

The vans rear wheel carrier needs a weld-on latch; hopefully I can get one and have a shop replace it in the new year, though the fix should hold for quite a while.

Welded fix to latch

The rooftop tent installation meant that I had to take off my permanent solar panel from the van roof. In the meantime I’ve been powering fully from van power while driving, with some supplementary power from a portable solar panel when parked at home. It’s likely that this extra power requirement may also impact fuel economy. I’ve just got a new smaller solar panel to replace the one that was removed, so hopefully that will do the job of the old one in keeping the centre console fridge always on and cold drinks always available 🙂

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