Well we made our next jaunt out from Melbourne to Cathedral Ranges. I wasn't keen on going on the easter weekend but I was having withdrawals after nearly six weeks not camping and had to take the opportunity. The place was tent city, much worse than I expected but I guess not too bad depending on what you expect from a camping trip. In spite of the main camping spots being full of cars and trailers and tents, there was still space if anyone turned up late like we did and wanted to camp in a city of tents.
We didn't though, so we kept going past all the main camping grounds and finally found a place to pull up off the road with a flat area up an unused steep track opposite. The place was absolutely dry as, so I made a very small fire pit for making dinner, surrounded it with rocks and used up all the dry stuff around in for a couple of metres for kindling. It was a perfectly clear night, not too cold at all and the days were just perfect.
After dinner I brought out the fabled vegetarian marshmallows, without too much enthusiasm. lol They are smaller, maybe half the size of the 'real' chunky ones, and don't look all that appetizing. But they toasted like a dream! They were just as tasty as I remembered toasted marshmallows being, and my son loved them as well. Yay! He did try one without toasting though and wasn't impressed, so we just stuck to the toasted ones. So they were a success! Just don't ask how much they cost.
So Beren had his first taste of toasted marshmallows, but his real first as a camper came the next morning when we dug a little hole to toilet in. Now
he's a real outdoorsman.
If anyone else does plan to travel there you are supposed to bring your own firewood. Technically though we didn't break any rules as we had gone past the actual State Park when we passed the final Carpark/Campsite in the night.
If I do return there it would be during the week and not school hols when it is likely to be pretty quiet. Or I might just get a Donut Van franchise and go back next holidays and clean up at all the tent cities.
After this week though I've decided these big campsites aren't for me as a rule. So rather than go for the trailer, which I can't afford anyway I'm reducing right back down to backpack. That way I can get away from the big touristy campsites, even if it's only a couple of kilometres into the bush with Beren's young legs. I've now bought us some -8 degrees sleeping bags, which is the most expensive thing we need- I already have the pack. And I think next we'll head back to Lerderderg Gorge. It's got no river but that's not a big deal in winter anyway, and it does have some cool gold mines to explore.
I'll still have to stick to the Toilet Block Campsites when my teenage daughter joins us most likely, but I do look forward to really 'going bush' again.