While Brandon and I have both had yards of experience camping–so many of my childhood memories involve freezing my butt off at some cold and windy camp ground somewhere in Tasmania–we are both new to camper trailers. If we are going to be running our ship* like a well-oiled machine by the time we head off in late July, we will need quite a lot of practice setting up the camper and packing everything away again. If we want to set off at 7am one morning, I don’t want to have to get up at 4am just to make sure we have enough time to pack up! And if we only stopped driving at 6pm the night before, finished setting up camp at 9pm… well, you get the picture. Lots of practice is needed!
So off we headed this past weekend on the first of our practice trips.
We chose somewhere reasonably ‘safe’ – close to home should anything go wrong, close to shops should we forget anything, a powered site with water, and plenty of things to keep Charlotte occupied. It was hard to find somewhere at the last minute but we eventually booked in at Treasure Island Holiday Park on the Gold Coast.
The park is very comfortable and certainly had everything we needed for our maiden voyage. We were given a nice powered site, close enough to one of the 4 pools (!) and the toilet block to not be inconvenient, but far enough away to not be bothered by noise. The park was busy but it certainly wasn’t full. We found our assigned spot easily and set about ‘bumping in’ as I’m inclined to call it.
I’ve heard from a lot of people how friendly many people are at campsites and how everyone becomes friends quickly. So I shouldn’t be surprised that at one point in our set up we were visited by “Kingie” who decided he wanted a closer look at our camper. Forward fold campers aren’t as common as soft-floor or rear fold hard floor campers, so they tend to attract a bit of attention. They are certainly becoming more common, and in fact there was another model forward fold camper just a few sites down from ours, but as a rule they stand out from the crowd and can be beasts to look at. So camping men in thongs and holding a stubby of beer are naturally attracted to the shiny newness of it all (note: my use of the word ‘camping’ as an adjective here may not provide the image I was initially going for!). We didn’t mind showing Kingie around, although amusingly he was a bit like the kangaroo from that YouTube video of visiting kangaroos that went viral [check it out here – it’s really very amusing] – Kingie came back a few hours later with his son-in-law and grandchild in tow and asked if he could give them a looky-see as well! (Naturally we were happy to show her off.)
Back to the set up… take a look for yourself and let me know how you think we went…
[The original video went for one and a half hours, which represents how long it took us to set up. Clearly a lot of room for improvement! After we stopped the video we ended up putting the rest of the sides on the annex but not the floor. That may have been a bit of a mistake, as we learned later that night 😦 But that’s a tale for another post.]
Other than learning about bumping in and bumping out the camper, I was also keen to see how Charlotte went with the camping lifestyle. Unless you count the Peppa Pig play tent she once had set up in her room, she’s never been camping before so it was a good opportunity to see how she would respond. Turns out, nothing to worry about! Water, duck, back. I’m not sure what added more normality – the television viewing or Daddy building Lego with her 😉
So the trip was a success. We had a fun time, we learned a lot about the camper and what we’ll need to improve on for future, but we also glimpsed a picture of how much fun we’re going to have on our trip. Can’t ask for more than that 🙂 There were a few other aspects of the trip worth noting, but I’ll save those for another post.
* We have yet to name our camper trailer but I feel this is a must, if not for ease of communication in later posts. Come to think of it, Brandon’s car doesn’t really have a name either, except that we once thought about getting personalised plates for B’s car that read “Mudbug”. So I will most likely refer to the Landcruiser as MudBug… but what shall the camper be called?