For me I think camping is in my blood. It’s something that we did growing up in South Africa every year from the time I was a baby, with all of our extended family. It’s the one holiday that we absolutely looked forward to and I have so many wonderful memories. It’s a tradition that I knew I wanted to start once I had my own little family. My husband was a novice at camping, so it was very exciting introducing it to him and I am so glad that he now too has the camping bug. However I get that camping is not for everyone, but it is such a great thing to do with kids.
When we were living in Sydney, we went to the camping expo and bought our first tent and a few essentials to get us going. Kiara was only 2 year’s old when we went on our first camping trip to Forster, we stayed at the Hallidays Point campground.
At the time we bought a 4 person tent, and boy was it tight! The thing I soon realised is that if you really want to test your relationship, definitely try putting up a tent with your partner! Here are some photos from our trip! All we had was the tent, a table/cooking hub and a couple of chairs. We stored all of our food etc in plastic bins and we had air mattress es to sleep on.
As you can see our tent was slightly lopsided!!! After doing a quick walk around the campground, Adam realised he did the guy ropes wrong! We just had a little two burner gas stove.
Camping in the Sydney heat is quite something compared to that of New Zealand, but the good old paper plate served as a makeshift fan!
Fair to say we survived our first family camping trip. We learnt a lot from this trip and were armed for our next one. We moved back to New Zealand when we were expecting baby number 2. I knew that we would be doing more camping and what better way to explore this beautiful country. We started setting up our camping gear, we couldn’t bring over our tent (thank goodness). First thing was getting a tent, that was big enough to last the distance and our family as we grew. So we ended up buying the Retreat 360 tent from Kathmandu, or as my husband call’s it, the beast! It sleeps up to 8 and is 7m x 7m.
As you can tell it’s pretty big, but fits us all in, plus all our cupboards etc.
Now just to put it out there, even though I love camping, I am not that keen on going to the Doc sites where there are only cold showers and long drop toilets!! That to me is on another level, not sure I’m ready for that just yet, maybe one day. I prefer hot showers and toilets that I can flush. I also take a few comfort items from home, we take a little 129L fridge and we have that in our tent as we book powered sites so we plug it in. We have a couple of double cupboards in the front room which we use for pantry stuff, and two other single cupboards in the back room which we use for our clothes. I also take my clothes horse for our washing. A good checklist that we use is from Kiwi Camping and it has everything on it. You may not necessarily use everything on the list, but it’s handy to just have a look through, you can find that here. When we started camping we used air mattresses, however, every time for some reason they always end up with a hole and by the time we wake up in the morning we are on the ground as the air has all gone!!! We now use stretcher beds which has a foam mattress on it as well.
The great thing about camping is there is such a good community feel in the campgrounds, the kids all end up playing together and they make new friends, there is no technology (even though we pack these as back up for bad weather) and once you have the tent up and everything set up then it’s all relaxing.
So keep an eye out as I feature each week a campground that we have stayed at here in New Zealand and I will go through the pro’s and con’s of each one. So hopefully you will find one that you will like to camp at.