Campervanning With The Kids

The twins, the teen and myself were beside ourselves with excitement as we hit the open road. Ah freedom! Travelling in a campervan made us all feel like gypsies, or perhaps snails, carrying our home with us. A campervan expedition had appealed for years, but my hubby was dead set against, being strictly a five star traveller.

Independence is my middle name, but I did worry that I’d never manage one of the bigger campervans around safely on my own. So when Dad and the Giant Teen spent a few days golfing, myself and the three younger kids grabbed the chance to jump into a smaller campervan and head for the hills. We tried the 4-berth Jucy Grande and it worked out really well for us. The seats are very large and comfortable and really the van wasn’t much bigger than the 7-seater I usually drive. In the Grande, you make a double berth inside the van by pulling seats down. Then there’s the small double berth on top, called the Penthouse.

There were great debates and disputes amongst the kids about who would sleep up top.  Generally my 13 year old slept up there with one of the six year old twins, whilst I slept with the other twin in the van itself. My six year olds are quite brave little people and they enjoyed the adventure of sleeping up on top of the van. They were probably only just old enough for it, and they did have an elder brother up there with them. The great joy of a little van like this is that everything has its place. There are nooks and crannies for everything, the chairs stow under the seats, the kitchen has all sorts of clever drawers. I think that using the kitchen in the back of the van was the highlight of the expedition for my little girl and I.

There’s a mini fridge, a little sink with a cold water tap. There are plates, pans, cutlery and tea towels, all cleverly and neatly stowed. I spent my childhood holidays sailing around the Western Isles of Scotland in a small boat and knew the joys of small places, of everything going where it belongs.  It is a bit like living in a dolls’ house and my little girl loved this aspect.

One of my holiday bugbears is the useless curtain, the one that lets through loads of light which wakes the kids horrifyingly early. Well the Jucy had none of those issues as there are thick blinds that come down for each and every window, and they have press studs to hold them tight.  No light penetrates and a mini sleep-in is possible. We did a glamping sort of camping, choosing to have a powered site with an en suite at the Valley Vinyard Tourist Park in the Hunter Valley. This meant we had our own little bathroom with a shower and big laundry sink as well as smaller vanity sink.

That space made our trip much easier as we kept our bags in there and some food too. It didn’t cost too much at all to have that en suite powered site so I’d really recommend it for non-hardcore campers like ourselves. The holiday park also had a huge pool and that was a bit of a life saver as the weather was boiling hot. The kids could cool off and so could I. You can’t get away from the fact that campervans, like tents, are hot when the weather’s hot. So some nights were a bit sticky and sweaty in the van. But that’s all part of the outdoorsy type of holiday, isn’t it?

This post is written by Seana Smith. Seana was born and brought up in Scotland. She became a passionate fulltime Sydneysider 14 years ago when she turned up with her husband and her first son.  Three more children came along to add further chaos.

Seana’s first book was ‘Sydney For Under Fives’ now in its third edition. Seana blogs at: Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel. Her latest book is ‘Sydney’s Best Beaches For Kids.’ Seana loves sharing her knowledge of family travel and Sydney’s best places for families. Drop in anytime!

Seana and the kids were loaned the campervan by Jucy Rentals – many thanks Jucy.

Camping at Sandy Creek Qld- Review

My husband and I have been wanting to do real camping with the children now that they are a bit older and more independent.  Our first excursion was at Sandy Creek Campground about an hour and a half drive from Brisbane between Woodford and Kilcoy.  The drive up was easy and quite quick and we were  pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it was.  Nestled between the hills, the scenery was gorgeous.  We set up tents next to the creek which was not very deep, nor fast flowing.  We let the children wander and jump on the rocks and splash in the creek, not fearing being swept away.  They caught tadpoles, found nests of fish eggs, saw catfish (and a few water spiders).  I was woken at about 5:30 one morning by my 6 year old son so excited at having seen a wallaby.

About a 5 minute walk from the campground on the site was was the ‘Swiminole’ that was calm but a bit deeper for some real, get all-wet fun for the children and the adults.  The kids all jumped off the rocks which were about a meter high into the swimming hole.  Even the youngest child in our group, who was 4 years old, could easily touch the bottom and have his head above water.

The wide open spaces were perfect for soccer games and Frisbee tossing.  And where we pitched our tent, there was a swing that the children fought over frequently.

There is an amenities block which has showers, toilets, sinks, and mirrors.  While the showers don’t have the best water pressure, it’s wonderful to have a quick rinse and look up at the sky while doing so.  The amenities block is very clean as the owners, Brian and Narelle, come check on them several times a day.  They wave and say good day as they drive by and may stop for a quick chat, but were never intrusive.  They did come and speak to one of the groups next to ours about their loud music too late in to the night which the rest of us campers appreciated!

The kids thought that our first ‘pitch a tent and sleep on the ground’ experience was ‘the best holiday ever!’ and can’t wait to go back.  We will definitely make a return trip to Sandy Creek!



Great Camping at Kingscliff – Surfari Tents Review

We have recently discovered a fantastic spot for people who like camping but don’t like lugging all the camping gear, putting up tents and sleeping on the ground!

The Surfari Tents at Kingscliff North Holiday Park are awesome.  Located just 2km from the relaxing township of Kingscliff, Kingscliff North is perfect for anyone wanting a beachfront holiday, without breaking the budget. With the Pacific Ocean on your doorstep peace and quiet are assured!

The Surfari Tents are camping in style! ‘Tents’ pitched on wooden floors – it’s the feeling of camping without the hard work!

What we love about the Surfari Tents

1. 20 meters from the beach

2. They have bathrooms with enormous showers, sinks and toilets

3. Also have kitchenettes with toaster, microwave, bar fridge and sink

4. Bedding includes queen size bed and bunk beds (sleeps 4)

5. TV (totally unnecessary while camping, but must admit, in the middle of the day ABC2 came in handy!!!)

6. No need to pitch tents, or bring camping chairs, as there is an outdoor setting there too

7. 300 meters from a park

8. Bike path just outside holiday park

Disadvantages of the tents

1. You have to bring your own linen – sheets, towels, blankets

2. No campfires

3. There is only one BBQ area for whole campsite… we recommend taking a small camping BBQ or Weber so you don’t have to rely on this area being free when you need it.

4. There is not much storage inside so you have to keep some things in the car.

Overall these tents are fantastic and high recommended for a family weekend away or holiday, and from only $85.00 per night, they are great value! See link here for further information and bookings.

Please visit Haggus and Stookles E-store. We sell Car Accesories and other high quality products for your kids. Visit our store, there are variety of products to choose from.