Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy campers?

With S away on a business trip, and the promise of a 'Tasmanian Heatwave' - this I had to see- I scooped the kids, a tent, bathers and not much else, into the car and away we went to see the East Coast. Tasmania is breathtakingly gorgeous; it never ceases to impress my inner aesthete. I encouraged the girls down a steep ravine in a Forest Reserve to see Hardings Falls. We were somewhat shocked to have the place to ourselves. Yes, it was 33 degrees, and we had to schlep it in with backpack, water bottles and food supplies, but to have not one, but two fantastic deep and bone-achingly cold rock pools to ourselves was good fortune I didn't anticipate.

And Bicheno is easy on the eye too, but I wont go on about it, as I'm sure you'll all just get jealous!

But camping? Not so easy, perhaps. To me, camping seems like an opportunity to air your dirty laundry in a public place, literally. Its a great leveller. No point whispering when you've lost your patience and you telling them for the 3rd time to 'clean their teeth and get to bed' as everyone can hear everything anyway. Just yell at them will a full throttled bottom-of-yer-lungs style bellow, cos that's precisely what everyone else is doing! Actually I was pretty amazed by how easy I have it: my two girls were remarkably independent, there was simply no need to bellow at them, which is just as well as I don't really subscribe to yelling as a parenting tactic. (Just so you know I'm not holding my own parenting skills up as a paradigm of perfection, I have been known to yell at them sometimes, although I'm not terribly proud of this) Yet it is strangely reassuring to know that other parents also get to the end of their tether at 9pm!

And its not just the campers (read lower end of the socio-economic food chain) that were lambasting their kids. The cabin dwellers (with fancy Audi station wagons) were just being more private about their disciplining. (Although those cabin walls are pretty thin too). Its pretty clear that smacking and yelling, although derided in current parenting how-to-manuals is still being practiced. But I'm not about to enter this fraught territory of parenting blogs, as there are others that do so far better than I. And really, there were many great things about living communally like this; the camp kitchen become a great site for ping-pong showdowns, the out door BBQ a great spot for a beer and a chat. And if you forgot a can opener (like I did) there were about 50 people happy to help you out.
And the kids really enjoyed the free range lifestyle of the caravan park; something I do remember doing as a child myself, so I'm sure there will be a repeat the event real soon...we still have the North West and South coasts to explore.

Oh, and a Tassie heatwave?...its really just another term for beach weather.


  1. the beach looks glorious! and camping, you're a champion! bet you all had a wondreful time. i wondered where youd got to...

  2. Good to have you back! It sounds great! We go at least once a year to a caravan park with the bikes and the tents. It is so good to see the kids enjoy such a nice sense of freedom and independence.