Monday, 1 April 2013

Getting down and dirty with my mob

Easter is over again for another year and my family and I had a blast!  David took a couple of extra days off work and the boys have started their school holidays.  I got busy organising and planning our family Easter getaway.....not your standard hotel accommodation with meals, this year we decided to do what a lot of Aussies do at Easter, go camping!  When I say camping, I don't mean out in the bush with no electricity or running water.  With our young family, we opt for the holiday park kind of camping, that has electricity and water connected to your site and a bathroom.  So, while we weren't completely ruffin' it, we still camped in tents in the great outdoors at a fantastic spot that my family loves, Portarlington, right on the beach front.  It's about an hour and a bit out of Melbourne so it's not too far but far enough so you feel as though you're away from it all.  Great location and a wonderful time was had by all!

My mum usually joins us on our camping adventures.  That way, we can all get together and spend a few days and nights with just each electronics, no Internet and no TV.  I love getting my kids away from these things as they have to find ways to amuse themselves the old fashioned way, and they do.  Spending time with my mum like this, makes me feel good too.  This time, we had plenty of good food and drinks to take along with us and having our meals cooked on a camp stove or BBQ and eating out in the open is great for a change.  We still had our hot, espresso coffee, couldn't go without that!  Breakfasts were always hot and cooked with bacon, eggs and plenty of toast.

The kids took their scooters and had a ball riding around all over the holiday park meeting new friends.  Julia  didn't need any encouragement to join in on what her brothers were doing.  Our site was right next to a playground and this provided hours of entertainment for the kids.  I wasn't too sure about it at first, but the boys had plenty of freedom to come and go and have fun.  We had to keep our eyes on Julia because all you had to do was blink and she was off like a shot.  I enjoyed keeping our camp site on track and David took some well deserved time out to relax in a place where the days are long and time goes slow.  I think mum enjoyed this part of it too as her work is also busy during the week.

Camping is a great Aussie past time and Easter is traditionally a time when families go away.  When you think about it, camping gives you the chance to take it easy even though it has very little creature comforts like you have at home.  It's a time for relaxation, lots of reading and snoozing, long walks, enjoying meals that are cooked in the open and eaten just about anywhere you can find a spot. 

 There were kids everywhere and the adults enjoyed chatting with their family and friends.  Particularly at a holiday park, camping means lots of socialising with your friends and family and enjoying a quiet drink.  It was a shame that the holiday park that we went to was so busy, this put me off a bit, but this was over shadowed by being so very close to the beach.  This was magic for me.  One of my favourite places would have to be the beach and I never get bored with it.

Portarlington is a historic coastal township located on the Bellarine Peninsula, 27 km from the city of Geelong.  The hills behind the town feature vineyards and olive groves, overlooking Port Philip Bay.  Portarlington is a popular family holiday destination and a centre for fishing.  Portarlington has sheltered swimming beaches and an attractive foreshore featuring a pier, BBQ and picnic areas, and a large camping area.

 The town's main commercial centre is on Newcombe Street and is dominated by the landmark Grand Hotel which was built in 1886. Parks and recreation reserves occupy the sloping foreshore between the shops on Newcombe Street and the beach, providing good views across the bay and towards the You Yangs mountain range north of Geelong.  Walking around the town, you can find amazing views and historic buildings.  There are great local bakeries and coffee shops and the town's Hotel has great meals with a family atmosphere.  Mum and I went to a craft market there and picked up some yummy home made tomato relish.

You might think that I'm a bit nuts going camping with three young kids, sleeping in tents with sleeping bags and having no mod cons.  I can tell you that it does wonders for your spirit, totally invigorates you and makes you feel alive.  You have no choice but to go slow and spend quality time with your family and friends and the fresh salt water air, being right on the beach, is fantastic.  You have to get back to basics, something that I take very seriously.  In an age where everything is about technology and is so fast paced, taking the time to remove yourself from all of this does wonders for your well being.  We usually go on our camping trips in Spring and Autumn and avoid the extremes in climate of Summer and Winter and it is always such an adventure and creates so many special memories for my kids and us grown ups too.

Getting down and dirty with my mob was what it was all about for me this Easter.  I have to be honest and say that it was sheer bliss to get home to my creature comforts but being away from them for a little while did me no harm.  A little getaway at the beach, doing it Aussie camping style, was a clear winner.  We were all living a lot this Easter break and I have to say that we loved it! :) xxx