We're Back!

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We're Back!

Postby Keeks » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:34 pm

And we had a ball!

First of all thanks to everyone for your advice!
Sure made our lives a lot easier going prepared.

We ended up getting a 2.5 kg gas bottle before we left and bought another when we got there.
Ahhh... hubby forgot it at home! :roll:
It was more than enough for us and still has some in it.

The kids were nice and warm in their sleeping bags and with a blanket on top. Also used the 2 sheep skins for the youngest under their sleeping bags so it blocked the cold and a blanket on the oldest. I think the coldest it got overnight was 7 and the highest was 11. Thanks for the tip guys!

Polar fleece hooded tops kept everyone warm in the evening as it started getting cooler. And hot water bottle for me... I'll be bringing heat pack next time as well now that i know they have microwaves.

The kids loved it, we loved it and as a family it was a great.
Why didn't we do this sooner???????
So it is safe to say our first camping trip was a success!
We got back Sunday night but could have easily done another few more days.


The run down...

We stayed at "The Welcome Stranger", in Ballarat one of the Big 4 holiday parks. The owners and staff were all great and helpful. Other than the brochure I hadn't seen it before but we were very happy with the facilities and met my "if we do this camping thing it has to have ... " criteria :grin:

We had great weather all week I even got sunburnt! We had one morning that was very dewy but once the sun came out everything was dry. Remember how I said once the kids would feel how cold it was they would go to bed back to bed in the morning?? Fat chance! They wanted breakfast and they wanted out of there! They had plans! lol Saturday we had showers on and off but again everything dried up quick. Didn't stop the kids doing their thing. :grin:

Our en-suite was great, not as new/nice as the shared facilities which have been recently renovated and the family bathroom which is HUGE with a shower, a bath tub and toilet. With the 3 boys the ensuite was a great idea and I would do it again. Ahhh... and in the middle of the night when nature called it was much easier going the very short distance to the toilet.

The camp kitchen was great with a stove, oven, kettle, microwave fridge and lots of tables and chairs to sit around to eat your meal and a tv. Directly outside the kitchen was two bbq's and tables and benches so you could eat out there. We only used it for the kettle to fill our thermos for our hot drinks for the day and for my hot water bottle before bed. :grin:
After each meal I would gather all our plates, cups etc into the plastic rectangular washing bucket I had bought to wash in but I just went to the kitchen and washed everything and then brought it all back in there and dry it. If there was only a couple of things I used our wash basin in our ensuite.

For the kids... a HUGE jumping pillow (awesome for the kids), tennis court, playground, 18 hole mini golf (we got a voucher for a family game), pool (suppose to be solar heated but was cold), indoor swim spa, games room with air hockey, pool, game machines and table tennis. Games were $1 and for the table tennis you bought balls once off for a $1 and used the bats provided and played whenever you wanted. Movies every evening for the kids on a big screen and on the weekend 2 movies each day and the tv room for the big kids who watched the footy. :grin: Then there was the holiday activities for 2 hours each day where the kids were supervised and they did things like swim, play poison ball on the pillow, mini golf, crafts, watched movies etc etc gave us 2 hours break each day.

I loved how all the kids made friends so quickly and would move around in a pack from one activity to another. How the older kids watched over the younger kids. How my kids actually acted like brothers and looked out for each other!!! Sibling rivalry was kept to a minimum.

What else can I tell you...

Hubby admits I was right that he needs roof racks and a cage on his car for our stuff. And it doesn't matter about ruining the look of his car! lol
We were lucky my aunt who lives in Ballarat was down the day before for Easter Sunday lunch and took some of our stuff up and then we left them with her when we left.

He admits The Pavillion Shelter 3mx3m (the one with the green top with white and green stripes on the legs) we bought from Rays outdoors was a great purchase. Although only shower proof we also bought a 3x6 tarp to go over it incase it poured. Also got a longer one so in Summer we can block out the sun on one side and the rain. Was easy to put up and pegs into the ground, has guy ropes and doesn't flap around in the wind.

Also the mesh that goes around it. I am allergic to bee stings and there was quite a few of them around there and wasps and although we had planned on buying it for the summer, after hearing me complain on the first day we went and got it the second day we were there. Seemed more economical to buy then and there than deal with doctors visits and drugs if I had been stung. But I think he decided it was a must when he heated up milk for the kids hot chocolate that night and in dived a humugus moth in the milk... lol. :grin:

The Coleman Roadtrip Grill was a dream! Used it for bbq's and for pancakes and bacon and eggs and the stove. A good buy.

We took the laptop because I had assignments to complete for school and also used it to play dvds for the kids at night and download pics from the digi cameras. Hubby thought it was a bit much but work was due yesterday so I had no choice but it served us well. He stopped ribbing me when he saw another camp site with a tv out under the stars :grin:

$10 roll up mat (size of a throw rug) I got from the camping show to use in the tent came in handy for the 2 younger kids to sit on and play on and it was warmer to step on than a cold tent floor.

The Coleman lamps we bought were great for the tent but we need something different for outside to light up the Screen house, to give out enough light. What lights do you guys use?
We were looking at the ones you hang off the middle of tent like a work light but didn't know if the wattage was enough in some or they used too much power. Others around the other sites were using spotlights mounted on poles that lit up their sites (but blinding) but they were in the open and not under cover, or they had gas lamps.

I have nothing to compare this place/experience being our first time camping but it met all our needs as first time campers. And yep I would go back there. Was the best way to get an introduction to camping.

OK I think I have written enough! :)

Thanks once again and so glad I found this site!
Looking forward to reading everyone elses adventures.

Keeks

p.s sorry i haven't proof read
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Postby amanda » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:46 pm

Sounds like you had a fabulous time and that you'll definetely be back for more! I'm curious what they charged for site fees, taking into account all of the extra activities they provided for the kids??
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Postby Keeks » Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:11 pm

amanda wrote:Sounds like you had a fabulous time and that you'll definetely be back for more! I'm curious what they charged for site fees, taking into account all of the extra activities they provided for the kids??


For 6 nights it cost us $402 ($67 a night)
During the Victorian school holidays the activities are free I don't know what they do otherwise. Mini Golf for the whole family we got a voucher for a free game for all of us, 18 holes. But the kids played a few more times with their activities so once was pretty much enough as a family. They had a couple of different prices for it but I think for the general public they paid $24 for a family.

The jumping pillow, pool, day/night tennis court, playground with flying fox, basketball ring and volleyball net were all free.

The indoor heated swimma/spa you paid for, can't remember exactly how much but it wasn't to expensive for 30 mins for a family between $5-10.

The games room all games were $1 or $2 for double play on the electronic games. The air hockey and pool were $1 and the table tennis you purchased balls for a $1 and played whenever you wanted.

Movies were all free.

What was good the kids all made friends and they all played the 2 player games with each other. So they weren't constantly asking for money. A comment a lot of us parents made.

I should add we also went to Sovereign Hill for the day. We have been before but the kids enjoyed it so much more this time round being a little older. And we panned for gold and actually found some. lol

Keeks
Last edited by Keeks on Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby CCC » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:47 pm

Sounds like you all had a ball, whens the next trip hehe
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Postby Blue Bravo » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:28 pm

Now you've bitten by the bug (not a bee) you'll be at it more often. You can never have enough space as there are so many things that will come in handy. You've got the old man's presents lined up for years now - just give him a Camping World or BCF cataloge :)
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Postby JM1375 » Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:51 pm

Keeks - I'm happy to hear that you and the family had a good time! :armsup

The tourist park seems like a good option for us beginner campers with a lot to see and do!

I laughed when I read that you took the laptop - we had just decided to take ours to watch DVDs if it got rainy. (Although I would rather play cards.)

Let us know what your next adventure brings now that we've established that you're not selling the tent / buying time share.... :lol:

Cheers,
Jodie
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Postby HGMonaro » Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:22 pm

your write-up "sounds" like you had FUN!
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Postby Family Campers » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:44 am

Fantastic :lol:

What a great trip you had. The place you stayed at sounds like fun and very family friendly.

I would love to see your photos :lol:
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Postby Scolers » Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:42 pm

Welcome back!

great to read you had a good time.

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Postby Keeks » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:11 am

Family Campers wrote:Fantastic :lol:

What a great trip you had. The place you stayed at sounds like fun and very family friendly.

I would love to see your photos :lol:



Have pm'ed you a link of some of the pics i have gone through.
I have taken so many!

Keeks
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Postby Keeks » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:31 am

JM1375 wrote:Keeks - I'm happy to hear that you and the family had a good time! :armsup

The tourist park seems like a good option for us beginner campers with a lot to see and do!

I laughed when I read that you took the laptop - we had just decided to take ours to watch DVDs if it got rainy. (Although I would rather play cards.)

Let us know what your next adventure brings now that we've established that you're not selling the tent / buying time share....

Cheers,
Jodie



Take the lap top too!!! lol.
Dvd's were a good idea at night for the kids to unwind with once in bed. They didn't watch for to long though because they were so dead tired they would fall asleep! We also played lots of UNO, the kids love playing it. They also had their Nintendo DS's which kept them entertained when they didn't want to do what their brothers where doing (quiet play I call it). :) Othello will come next time too :)

Next adventures hmmm... we are booked in for Mildura for Xmas (hoping to get a booking somewhere closer) and back to Ballarat for Easter if we don't find anything else to try. Have called/emailed some other places and have been disappointed with the lack of customer service (another thread in it self!). :grin:


Keeks
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Postby Keeks » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:38 am

Blue Bravo wrote:Now you've bitten by the bug (not a bee) you'll be at it more often. You can never have enough space as there are so many things that will come in handy. You've got the old man's presents lined up for years now - just give him a Camping World or BCF cataloge :)



I think the catalogues are better off with me! lol :***
I am already checking out bigger tents. I reckon in a few years we will need a new tent. The 2 youngest won't want to sleep in the bunks and will want a stretcher like big bro's. :roll:


Keeks
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Postby Keeks » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:52 am

Central Coast Campers wrote:Sounds like you all had a ball, whens the next trip hehe


More than likely xmas to Mildura if we cant get anything closer and then Easter.

Might keep the Easter one in the same place every year and the Xmas camping trip where we try somewhere new.

But a girlfriend and her family who live in Sydney and who are campers are trying to get us to the NSW border so we can camp together. So that is a possibility too. :)

God I can't believe I am actually talking about this!!! If you would have told me a year ago I would go camping i would have laughed in your face!:grin:

Keeks
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Postby CCC » Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:07 am

hehehe like they say

... once the bug has bitten ....
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