Literally 2 nights after we got home from our last camping trip to the South Coast, we packed up again and headed down to Wee Jasper for what is becoming an Australia Day tradition.
After a fairly uneventful drive there along a road we’re very familiar with now, we pulled up into Billy Grace Reserve and found our friends camped up the top with a decent creek camp site. The campgrounds were packed as to be expected on an Australia Day weekend with good weather forecast, but the place our friends had cheekily reserved for us was a good distance away from anyone else.
Once we were set up, we immediately set off down the slope to the creek for a few drinks. Ollie found the other kids and they all chased insects with nets. We got to see a lot of proudly displayed dragonflies.
The rest of the day was more of the same, alternating between sitting in the water and sitting on the grassy area up the bank. The kids spent most of the time in the water with a blow-up crocodile, ring duck and 2 eggplants.
Just after we got there some other friends came down and set up near our group with their caravan, so there was a lot of discussions on the relative merits of each type of camper.
At around 5pm a herd of cows were mustered past us on the road on the other side of the creek. We’d had enough beers by this stage that this was a highlight of the day.
Dinner that night was sausages for Ollie, and marinated lamb chops for the adults. There was quite a bit of lamb left over for, but I just called that ‘breakfast lamb’. Quite a few beers had been consumed at this stage.
To end the night, after the kids were all tucked away in their respective beds, we gathered around in a circle for a chat. I lit up the ‘Thick Wick’ citronella candle from our last trip out and put it on a stool in the middle of the circle. It put a nice flickering light that was very similar to that of a campfire.
The candle was so similar in fact that a firetruck drove past on the main road, saw the light, circled back off the main road and came and visited us to check that we didn’t have an actual fire. It was interesting to see how our friends reacted to a situation like this – a few of them froze, and one (no names) was ready to throw me under the bus and have me dragged to prison if necessary.
The firey was a nice bloke and had a laugh when he saw the candle putting out the flickering light. He said it was fine, but in it’s elevated spot on the stool it definitely looked like a campfire from a distance. On his way back out he chucked on the firetruck lights as he went past, getting a cheer out of us, and once he was on the main road he blipped the siren as well, getting even more of a cheer. It was a great way to end the night, and most of us went to bed after that.
The next morning was a fairly lazy one, with our camper staying in bed until 8.30am. This was not the case with our friends that had had a 6am start – ouch! As with any stay at Billy Grace Reserve, I’m sure everyone was woken up by the screeching cockatoos at dawn anyway – these are always present and always annoying at this campsite! There were a couple of sore heads, but nothing dramatic.
Breakfast lamb was had, in the form of a toasted sandwich with feta and tomato.
Given the atrocious condition of the closest long drop toilet to us, we chose to set up the chemical toilet. Originally we had it in the van-attached ensuite tent, but that was on a bit of a slope and Ollie managed to fall off the toilet (hilariously).
Fortunately I had the standalone ensuite tent that I could set up on some flat ground a bit further away. Emptying one of these toilets is not a fun job, but it sure beats having to use a long drop toilet that should have been emptied a couple of weeks earlier.
This day was more of the same, relaxing in or by the creek, drinking a few beers, fixing the various complaints from various kids and generally just chilling out.
The Triple J Hottest 100 songs were playing on the radio for a lot of the day, but only one radio had reception and it was at the top of the hill so it got ignored a fair bit. It’s not like we recognised most of the songs anyway – too old. We did manage to guess that the number 1 would be Paint the Town Red – Doja Cat, but that was a fairly obvious guess given how popular that song was in 2023.
That night was a quiet one, with the giant citronella candle making an appearance but no firey’s turning up to check on us. Everyone went to bed fairly early.
The next morning we were packed up and on the road by10am. We had a straightforward trip back to Canberra, with 1/4 of a tank left over (pretty good for us!). After unpacking (and emptying the toilet) we settled down for a day of rest, getting ready for Ollie’s first day of kindergarten on Tuesday.
A big thank you to our friends that invited us out to Wee Jasper for Australia Day. We really enjoyed the laid-back couple of days and it was good for Ollie to get out and play with some kids rather than just his parents.
Boring technical stuff
After the last trip worries with the camper battery, this trip was much more relaxed. I’d replaced the old DCDC charger with the Renogy unit from the van, and fully charged the camper from AC prior to setting out. It made a big change on battery usage, and for the first time we arrived at the campsite with a fully charged battery. I’ll keep an eye on things, but it’s behaving better. A few more tweaks to both the van and camper electrical systems will get everything tidied up and in their permanent positions, hopefully without any more big purchases.