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March 23, 2023

Kristy here, back for some more of our Saturday Series. 

Getting away from home and having a break routine is a sanity saver as a parent, but it has to be something that won't break the bank. 

It also has to be something that feels like a break for everyone. Sometimes travelling and doing hotels etc. just ends up feeling like home with a different view, but without all the conveniences of home.

While I am not a rough-it-kinda-girl, I have become quite partial to camping. Especially since having kids. Camping ticks the boxes for us for price and relaxation, when we do it with friends and/or family we love being with.

So we book a couple of dates in our calendar every year for camping. Both of these camping dates have really special value for our family.

1. Making memories and friends that last a lifetime

Every October we stay close to home, in a large campground that has river, ocean, coffee shops, playgrounds and even a skate park nearby. But the best thing about this camping trip every year is our friends. Each year it is the same crew, and we have been camping with these guys for years. Each year we spend a chunk of time with amazing friends, building a history of shared experiences.

Each year I get to spend downtime with MY friends. A bunch of adults who know each other’s kids and can take turns keeping eyes on the kid crew. Coffee runs, tag team kid supervision, lolly shop runs, group walks, shared water sports equipment and a few drinks in the evening (or not-so-evening ….)

I love that I also get to spend time with their kids and build relationship with them. Some of the kids in the crew are now adults and they STILL COME for our camping trips because they love hangin with us.

I have my fingers crossed that my kids will grow up and want to hold on to the time together too. My girls are making friends for life with the other kids, but also deepening their relationship with my friends so they have other adults to turn to for wisdom in years to come.

Last year. It rained for our camp trip. And I mean RAINED. And rained, and rained.

But it didn’t suck!

Because we were all together. The kids played cards, sang along to favourite songs in a ruckus crazy way for hours, and even had a dance comp. Us parents hopped from marquee to marquee, chatting, relaxing, pushing water off tents, laughing at each other getting drenched by the said water being pushed off the tent and hitting the pusher.

It was totally worth it.

If you have little little people, make sure you include some families with older kids, so there is plenty of big friends for playing with and keep them occupied, giving you some extra space, and over the years those big friends can make amazing family friend role models!

Friends of ours have an annual camp trip with the Mothers' group from when their oldest child was born. That child is now 22 years old, and all those families still camp together every year. It's kind of like extended family they have known each other so long!


2. Detox time - Nature Camp

We try and sneak in at least one other camp each year - off the grid style. Mostly because I love a good camp fire to play with and you can't do that in most commercial camp grounds. But there are other major benefits too.

I sat down to tell you all about this incredible campsite that we found and camped at with all the kid’s cousins one year ….. and ended up on HipCamp rebooking the same site for Easter this year!

Before I get into how AWESOME that trip was, let me quickly recommend HipCamp. It’s a site where you can book to camp on a private property. They have some SPECTACULAR sites.


We booked a gorgeous spot on a cattle farm, right on the river. It was a campsite big enough for 20 people and we had it all to ourselves, so no noisy neighbours.

The river had fish to catch, turtles to feed, and we took a bunch of float-able things and made a floatilla! There was a little bush cubby that the girls played in for ages and a great fire spot that we cooked over and just sat around.

With kids ranging from 0 to 14 years old it was a win! There was something for everyone to do.

When I told the kids after school this Thursday that I had rebooked that site for this Easter they were off the charts excited. That trip was so embeded in their minds as one of the best times of their short lives!

Man, having the kids spend that much time in nature was awesome. Huge Mummy-guilt break!! And the device detox wasn’t half bad for us adults too!

One of the little ones was a little restless and crying at night, but there was space to have the tents set up a bit away from each other on our exclusive camp ground so the noise didn't travel as much. And to be honest, camping sleeping is so different to home sleeping that no one really noticed the night noises.

A few of our camping tips

1. Not too short, but not too long

Three to four nights is the ideal camping length with young ones. Now the girls are older we do 4 nights where possible. We don't camp too long, in case the weather is super miserable, 3/4 nights can be fun without dropping into yucky. Also, camp sleeping is lighter than usual sleep, so longer than 4 nights and I start getting a little overtired. But 3-4 nights also makes the whole set-up-a-temporary-house, pack-down-the-temporary-house and wash and put every away effort worth it.

2. Who you go with

Choose people you want to build a shared history with. You also want to make sure their is the right mix of kids, someone for everyone to play with and no major personality clashes. 

3. The right camp site

Depending on who you are going with, will impact WHERE you go. If you have lots of toddlers, sometimes camping right next to water is not great. Or if you have a fretful one who cries a lot at night you may want a space where you can camp a little further away from others so you don't stress at night that you are keeping everyone awake.

A good Big4 or commercial camp ground can be good with young kids as they have playgrounds and jumping pillows etc. Other parks have great adult facilities like spas. But if you are looking for off the grid HipCamp is great. Read the reviews, look at the pics and see what the set up is as each camp site is unique. You might try a few before you find one you love, or if you are lucky like us, you might stumble onto one you adore and just keep going back.

4. Have a camp set

Half the struggle with camping is the packing and the putting away after wards! While it is totally fine to rustle around the house and pack all the things you need for camping straight out of the things you have at home, it can be easier to have a camp set. We have a few tubs with dishes, cutlery, oil, tongs, toilet paper etc. stored in our garage as our camping set. So rather than have to make lists and pack everything every time we want to go camping (and then unpack everything when we get home), we just pull the tubs out. Then all we have to remember is food and clothes. Each camp we think of a little something that would make things easier and we shop for it when we get home and pop it in our tubs.


Anyway, that's my take on camping with kids from our experiences over the years. I am loving it more and more as I see the long term benefits to our family, and as we get better at our set up, making it easier to get out and doing it!

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