After limited opportunities during the Xmas break to go camping, mostly due to constant rain, this Jan we were looking for any opportunity to get out and fully test out the new rooftop tent.
Rosie and Ollie had spent two days at the coast visiting some friends, so it was decided I’d catch up with them around halfway at the Island Bend Campground in Kosciuszko National Park on a Friday afternoon for 2 nights away.
There’s a bit of a gallery of photos of Rosie’s trip below:
The plan worked well, with both of us catching up with each other at the entrance to the park ($17 per night per vehicle!). We drove down to the campground together, with the van slowing Rosie down considerably.
Island Bend has two main areas, with upper and lower campsites available. We’ve stayed at the lower campground before, pre-Ollie. We chose the lower campsites again because of how close they are to the river. Going down the hill is pretty easy, though a standard car might have difficulties as the track is steep and has several speedbumps.
We found a pretty good site and started setting up immediately. It’s a good thing we got that particular site, as there were people looking for sites for the rest of the afternoon and early evening. Because the rooftop doesn’t have enough room for 3 people, even if one of them is fairly small, I’d brought the giant swag to use as well.
Once set up we just hung around the van having a few drinks while Ollie explored. He did not appreciate the giant march flies landing on him and trying to bite him. We gave him his own can of insect spray and he then proceeded to secure the whole campsite from these biting flies.
Over the course of the weekend I managed to kill well over 20 of these giant buggers with my hand – I’m not sure why they were so prevalent in this area, it was like being back on Fraser Island again.
Rosie fixed us up some cheese and meats and we snacked as the sun lowered down behind the surrounding mountains.
We were so full from snacking that dinner was cancelled that night. Ollie had noodles as usual. It’s one of the only foods he’s currently eating. We had a small fire that night, but didn’t stay up too late. Ollie and Rosie slept in the ‘sky bed’, while I bunked down in the swag. All of us had a fairly comfortable night.
The next morning we woke up and had a bit of breakfast, then had a short walk down to the Snowy River. Ollie was in a bit of a hangry mood, so we had a quick paddle and then had to walk back after he slipped and got his clothes wet. Apparently only swimmers can get wet, not clothes. The weather was overcast, muggy and very hot.
Once back at the site, we fed the small monster and Rosie had a walk around by herself to check out the rest of the camp. She found a much better bit of river down a 4wd only road. We packed up properly this time and headed down that way to have a bit of a paddle in the freezing cold water. After a half hour or so down at the river, a massive storm started coming through complete with very loud thunder and an impressive lightning show. We hurried back to the van just in case it started raining seriously.
The change in weather cooled us down and we had a few drinks under the van awning while the rain quickly came and went. For the rest of the day there was lightning and thunder, but not a lot of rain. Early that afternoon we set up another fire for some toasted marshmallows and when evening came through we had a simple dinner and more drinks – tinned soup with some good sourdough bread.
That night Ollie and Rosie slept in the Octonaut base (swag), while I got to luxuriate in the rooftop tent by myself. The wind picked up quite a bit that night, but we were both unaffected.
The next morning we packed up camp and headed into Jindabyne for a bit of breakfast. Ollie chose to go in Mum’s car again. As we were driving home a lot of rain came down, so we’d managed to miss nasty weather once again.
Overall the campsite is quite good, however the cost for park entry is a bit of a downer if you’ve got more than one car. The campsite does have limited mobile reception, including internet. The drop toilets are very well maintained, though bring your own toilet paper as they were out when we first arrived. There’s heaps of bugs around, including biting march flies, as well as kookaburras and other birdlife. There’s also plenty of possums, none of whom seem very afraid of humans.
The van averaged 14.23L/100km, which is pretty good considering the new rooftop tent. I guess it shows how un-aerodynamic the van is with or without a 60kg lump on top of it.
The battery seems to be voltage sagging a whole lot more powering both fridges in hot weather. It’s an AGM battery that’s been continuously working since 2017, so it’s probably losing some effectiveness after so many duty cycles. I’ll need to start researching new LiFePO4 lithium batteries soon to replace it – all the electrical kit can be switched over to lithium settings, so hopefully it will just be a simple drop-in replacement.
This is for embarrassing you on your 21st birthday mate.