PenUltimate Destinations

Big4 Free Friday

Who thought this was a good idea? On the back of the wettest start to November since Noah downed tools, we connected the Trackabout to the back of the Prado, met up with our travel partners in crime, and joined Friday afternoon traffic heading north out of Sydney on the F3.

Our intended destination was the Big4 Lake Macquarie Monterey Tourist Park. Big4 had a promotion offering free camping on the Friday night, so we decided to take up the offer, and then stay the Saturday as well.

The closer we got, the heavier the rain became. The darkest clouds in the distance seemed to be hanging over our destination. Being the (fool) hardy souls we are, we pressed on and decided to make the best of a bad situation. Heck, last time we packed up wet, so setting up in the rain is no big deal, right?

So with 2 sets of kids locked in the cars, 2 sets of parents got wet as we hurriedly opened up our tents and awnings. I reckon we were set up in just on one hour, which wasn’t too bad given the conditions and the rising stress levels as kids got a little cranky being stuck in the car (don’t understand why?!!).

In retrospect, we’ve decided that this strategy probably wasn’t the smartest given the conditions and time (dinner time!). Next time we might send the Mums and kids to the camp kitchen to get food cooking, while the Dads set up the trailers one at a time. Should hopefully reduce the stress levels, and keep everyone just that little bit happier!

Friday evening, and Saturday morning brought a significant amount of rain. We had a couple of tiny dribbles inside, where the interior frame was stretching the seam stitching a little. Certainly nothing major, and that would have been a good spot of extra seasoning!

A break in the weather on Saturday morning. Our Trackabout, and friends' GIC behind.

We decided to make Saturday all about the kids, so took them to ‘Lollipops’ – an indoor kids playground attached to The Entrance ‘Diggers’ Club. They had an absolute ball, money well spent. We took our picnic lunch to Long Jetty, on the shores of Tuggerah Lakes as the sun made a welcome appearance.

When we arrived back at the campsite, the weather had cleared enough for the kids to have some fun riding scooters and bikes. We had forgotten to pack Ella’s scooter (bad parents), but thankfully little Millie was kind enough to share her little ‘zoomer’ bike with Ella. The kids (camp council) had their gourmet dinner (2 minute noodles) on the shores of Lake Macquarie. The weather was just kind enough to give us a glimpse of how nice this place would be on a nice summer weekend.

Camp Council having dinner on the banks of the Lake.

Sunday morning dawned an absolute pearler. Beautiful, sunny, warm. Perfect for drying canvas so we didn’t have to pack up wet (happy campers!!). Dave and I packed the tents as the girls and kids had a bit of a walk and play, and we headed off to find somewhere for lunch.

Packing away DRY canvas for a change!

We headed towards Gwandalan and Summerland Point. We turned around in a carpark at Gwandalan, as some guy ran up to us to tell us about his favourite camping spot. We followed his directions down a narrow 4WD track to find a beautiful little place on the shores of the lake. We got the butane burner out and cooked up some hot dogs for a fantastic lunch stop. Probably the highlight of the weekend.

Gorgeous 'secret' lunch spot!

We even got to use low range 4WD on the way out – most of us were pretty excited about that – and actually using our off road campers OFF road. (Not just on a dirt road)

The way out - it is steeper that it looks!

A short drive to Sydney and the weekend was over all too quickly. The best part about the camper trailer here was that we were all packed up and showered less than one hour after we got home. There’s just no way that would have happened with a tent.

Next stop… Canberra.

Home from Mannering Park at EveryTrail

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