Crystal Creek, NSW


I asked Oscar if he'd like to go camping there for his birthday, and he said "no, its too perfect".


This was not your usual camping trip. Correction - this was not MY usual camping trip.


It was flawless.


Until about an hour before departure.

Crystal Creek, NSW




ONE PARENT CAMPING


Pros:

  • Everything

Cons:

  • Nothing

OK, but seriously:

  • Flushing toilet

  • Hot shower

  • One big site - when it says "private" it actually means "private"

  • Beautiful creek for swimming and kayaking, and a big uprooted tree to jump off of

  • Amazing views

  • Property owner has fresh honey and eggs for sale

  • Not too far, maybe 1.5 hours from Brisbane

  • Short drive to Murwillimbah if supplies are needed

  • Pet friendly, like super friendly

  • Turtles, eels, and fish in the creek (not for fishing but for kids to get excited about)

I honestly can't fault this place.


The Weekend


What an amazing weekend. Crazy and ridiculous but amazing. As this is another Hipcamp site, I'd had it on my list for a while, just waiting for the right weekend to go. We made it a three night trip - sometimes two nights just isn't enough. Ironically, we almost got two weeks there...


This trip was my family, Carol and Will's family, Brooke and Ellie, and Cameron and his girls joining us on the Friday. One big group of my favourite people with no one else to play music too loudly, swear at the kids in passing, or ruin the atmosphere with general boganry.


A couple of nights before we left, Brooke pulled out. There was still covid lingering a bit too presently in Australia and a few clusters in Sydney and Melbourne left her feeling that going across the border wasn't a good idea. I secretly crossed her off my "favourite friends" list but told her I understood. I also tried to make her feel bad by telling her about all the fun she was going to miss, however, she's far too determined and far too clever to be swayed by the likes of me and held her ground, which put her back on my "favourite friends" list, just for simply being as bloody stubborn as I am. Love you, Brooke.


It rained all weekend. There were rare moments of sunshine and blue sky, but they were few and far between. Luckily, none of our kids seemed to care, and it wasn't cold, so they still spent most of the weekend swimming and kayaking. During the odd dry hour in the evenings we'd have a fire going but just because fires are fun, not necessarily for needed warmth.



Poor Will


Its an on-going joke with Carol and me. Poor Will. All the things he's helped me with and researched for me and in general just been a fucking good guy. Every time I need help or shamefully request assistance with something, my texts to Carol will end with "poor Will". Well, Thursday night was a "poor Will" night but not because of me. At some stage during the day or sometime prior to the camping trip, Will had cut his finger, and it had painfully become infected. He hardly slept Thursday night and was up on Friday morning in need of a doctor. Just to get some antibiotics. So Carol and Will went into Murwillimbah to find a clinic (and a cup of coffee and more firewood).


When they got back, the first thing Carol said to me was "you don't have mobile reception out here, do you?". Oh shit, what have I missed?


Day 1 of a 3 day lockdown in Brisbane is what I'd missed!


When Carol had hit reception, her phone had gone completely nuts with messages from her sisters telling her of the three day emergency lockdown Brisbane had declared, and the pending two week quarantine that was to be put in place if the newest covid cluster didn't calm the fuck down. And sure enough, Cameron was 20 minutes from leaving when he got the news of the lockdown. With a family trip planned a week later and his gorgeous wife being an essential worker, there was no way he could risk crossing the border and being stuck in quarantine for 2 weeks. He texted the camping group a message and luckily Carol got it. He was not impressed. Bloody covid. Our four families were now down to two.


So Carol and I opened up a drink while the kids swam and poor Will had a sleep, and we joked about how Brooke would be laughing at us for being dumb enough to cross the border. We also dreamed of being stuck in NSW for two weeks of quarantine, hoping we wouldn't be allowed back into Queensland. Having found the most wonderful place we've ever camped with no computers or even mobile access, the idea of staying longer than we had planned was like a beautiful fairy tale.


The campsite


I try to go to a different campground every time we go camping but I can guarantee I'll be coming here again. I have a few basic requirements: toilet, dogs allowed, and somewhere close by for the kids to swim (preferably somewhere they can swim while I drink, and I don't have to carry my camp chair to). This place gave us all that and more.



It was only us. As in, the people you want there were the only people that were there.


The camper trailers were set up creekside. I didn't have to take my chair anywhere to watch the kids swim.


The creek was deep enough for the kids to jump off a tree and into. And long enough to explore a good distance with the kayaks, but again without me having to get out of my chair.


Flushing toilets that the kids could walk to without needing an adult. A beautifully hot shower was the icing on the cake.


The dogs were basically off-leash the whole time (except for Goose first thing in the morning when she wanted to go find those noisy roosters she'd never heard before!).


The view across the creek was a beautiful hill with a paddock full of cows and bulls (two of which got into a 24 hour battle and were butting heads and locking horns throughout the night and into the morning - so exciting!)


The creek was full of lots of fun stuff for the kids. We saw eels, catfish, and there were so many turtles! Max and Emilia decided they wanted to catch one and showed patience that most adults aren't capable of. They ended up with one and were incredibly proud of their efforts. So were we!



There was nothing about this place that I didn't love, and I'm almost inclined to not provide the link as I don't want it booked up the next time I go!

Here's where the fun starts


It stopped raining in the morning. Just enough to not have to fully unpack the camper when we got home to dry it out. Only just though. It started again right when Will was trying to zip up my camper cover. During the struggle, one of the boys came up to me and said Goose's lip was a bit funny. I responded the way I respond to one of the kids saying they're unwell by saying "you're fine, don't be soft". Parenting at its finest.


About 10 minutes later, they came back and said again it again but with a bit more urgency. I listened this time. Thank goodness, because at some stage of us packing up and trying to beat the rain, Goose had run off and eaten herself a bee. Within about 15 minutes, we no longer had a cattledog, we had a sharpei. Poor bloody Goose.




Thankfully Carol was there (always thankful Carol is there - maybe it should be "poor Carol"?). Being the animal expert she is, gave great advice, checked if Goose's windpipe was blocked (it wasn't) and made sure she was OK. She was. But that didn't stop me from taking her to the emergency vet when we got back to Brisbane at Carol's suggestion.


The drive home was perfect. The three day lockdown made the freeways practically empty, and no lines at the border crossing. The policeman didn't even check our declarations, he just seemed happy to see another person at his remote location to talk to!


Things got a bit hairy when we got home. I was a bit flustered and in a hurry to get Goose to the vet, and wanted to just unhook the camper trailer, plug in the fridge, and get her there. I parked with perfection and first thing I thought was how stoked I was to be able to write about my brilliance in the camping blog. My high was short-lived however, when we got the jockey wheel down, unhooked the camper, and it rolled down my driveway and hit my garage.




Seriously, if there was ever a time to swear in a blog, its now.


No. Fucking. Chocks.


Why not? Well, I asked Max to set them up, and then forgot about it as soon as it came out of my mouth. I didn't do the right thing and check, I didn't look to see if they were in place and ready to take the weight of the camper trailer (its a tonne, by the way) before unhooking from the towbar. No, I was too busy thinking how I needed to get Goose to the vet to make sure she was fine.


For the record, in case you ever need to know, a 65kg body can not stop a one tonne camper trailer from rolling down a driveway. I tried. It didn't end well.



At this stage, I didn't know what to do. So I just left it there and took Goose to the vet. She was fine, was given a couple of shots and some emergency antihistamines (for future altercations with stinging insects). And she was pleasantly calm and relaxed for the night, which was a nice change of pace for our energetic heeler! While I was at the vet waiting, I sent Carol the photo of the trailer with the caption "fuck" underneath. "When do you want us there?" was her reply. "After the vet, please. Poor Will" was my reply. But for real, poor Will.


Without going into too much detail, Will and Carol came over and sorted it all out with me. Well, for me. I just did as I was told by Will and we got the camper back up to level ground. In that time, I had sent Cameron a photo of the camper as well, since he's the one that claims its not a Chantal camping trip without something going wrong! I had to prove him correct. He replied asking if I needed help with anything but I missed the text and didn't end up replying. That didn't stop him from coming by though, four kids in tow, and while I was with Will down the road switching tow balls, fixed my garage door. You can't even tell it had been run into. I have such good friends.


The fate of the camper trailer? From the outside, the slightest dent in the bar at the back. We were lucky enough that there was a recycling bin in front of the garage door that took the impact of the smash, leaving little damage to the camper. At our next camping trip (next blog) there had been the slightest bit of internal damage, with a couple of pins dented and slightly out of place clasps. But nothing that needed repair or replacement. Thank Christ.



I do consider this a successful camping trip. It rained 85% of the time, the kids didn't let it dampen their spirits (so punny) and there were no humans behind the trailer when I couldn't stop it from rolling down the driveway. Win win.


One camping trip left to go and I'm all caught up! Hoping to get it done before going away on the next!


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