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Platypus Safari (things that go wrong when camping with littlies)

December 20, 2011

And we’re back from our first real camping adventure with the kids. We travelled up to Eungella National Forest, where there’s reportedly platypus in the creeks and river systems, and stayed at a camp ground that overlooked the entire Pioneer Valley. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

I’d told the kids we were going to hunt platypus. Which of course was taken the wrong way by all and elicited squeals of delight and despair at the thought of ‘hunting’ platypus. The delighted ones won’t be named of course. Though I will keep an eye on them for future reference.

Driving up the mountain was frightening, sheer drops all around and cars coming at you from the opposite direction. But the further up we went the more the whole thing started to look like Fern Gulley (Miss4’s fav movie of the moment). She was more than excited to spot fairies and platypus. He who shall not be named just wanted to hunt them (I love my children, really, I do).

Our camping spot was right on the edge of the mountain. It was gorgeous. A breath of fresh air. The kids were busy playing on the swings so they didn’t help set up the Taj Mahal (without instructions). Now the measure of a good marriage is how well your hubby takes instructions when you’re trying to construct the seventh wonder of the world. After a few minutes he finally decided I was right and we eventually got the structure up and running. The tent went up, the air beds were pumped up, the bags/food, etc. placed inside. And we had lunch, as paleo as we could make it.

Here’s the view from our tent:

Yes that is a sheer drop right in front of us. And yes I was scared that one of my children (he who shall not be named) would wonder if he could fly and run off the edge. He has no fear, no fear at all and it scares the life out of me. Apparently his father was the same.

The Taj Mahal was a source of wonder for the kids for about five minutes, then they went back to looking over the edge, two of them fearing for their lives, the third mentally constructing a set of wings from glad wrap, sticks, and string (McGuyver you’ve got competition).

I don’t think a sleeping bag would make for a good paraglider my boy, you can think all you like but until you finish your university aerodynamics course you will refrain from throwing yourself off the edge.

The signs all said they were there, but you and I know it’s a tourist trap, pulls you in with the lure of platypus. Just like Santa and the Tooth Fairy, damn.

But the walk was nice, Fern Gulley’s got nothing on Eungella. Absolutely amazing walk. Except for the leeches. Apparently I’m a leech magnet, they love me, they think I’m the bees knees, and of course I’m the one that got attacked, while other adults were left alone. I told him it’s because he’s too smelly for leeches. He didn’t care as long as they weren’t sucking on him, double damn.

I think the noise may have something to do with the platypus hiding from us. It’s hard to concentrate on being a platypus when these kids are singing Wiggles songs at you.

But we had an amazing time on our walk anyway, leeches and all. And then came the night.

Imagine you’d set up your tent at this amazing campground. Beautiful views, calm, crisp mountain air, and then the clouds roll in.

Ah, yes, transpiration is a wonderful thing, water cycle, circle of life… yeah, well, one thing I didn’t remember is that on a cliff face you get the full blast of the winds and well it rains a lot on mountains, hence the ferns and delightful plant life. What I also didn’t expect was the cyclonic winds that kept me awake all night and nearly tore our tent off the ground. The kids slept happily while I tried desperately to get some. By 5am the kids were refreshed, the wind was still howling, the rain was splattering down and hubby was ready to pack it in. By 8am the winds had died down slightly, the cloud was firmly entrenched on the mountain making me wonder if I had accidentally injected myself into a Stephen King novel. We packed up and headed down to Finch Hatton Gorge.

Our platypus safari was a dud. But we weren’t going to give up.

Finch Hatton Gorge is just down the mountain side and is worth the drive/walk. Here’s some shots of the gorge, the water is freezing, straight from the mountain top.

Lovely and cold. I had to stop the kids diving off the cliff edge, hey it’s water, they’re attracted like bees to pollen.

I don’t think the young German couple who turned up while we were searching for platypus really knew how to take our tribe of noise makers. They gave us wary smiles and kept to themselves.

And of course hubby was the only one brave (or silly) enough to dive in.

So what have we learned from our little adventure? That camping with little kids is possible, choosing a campsite which doesn’t have cyclonic winds would be a good idea in future, and ensuring that we never, ever stop at a fast food restaurant and imbibe in their terrible food causing the kids to go hyperactive in the back seat on the drive home, would be wonderful.

No platypus spotted, but fun had by all. I guess that’s all you can ask for in a camping trip.

Maybe next year.





2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2011 1:05 pm

    Wow, did you camp at the Chalet? They have a crazy drop off… Eungella’s beautiful, I love it.

  2. December 20, 2011 2:19 pm

    I loved it Kel, but man oh man it was windy and cloudy. We stayed at the Haven.

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