Upper Big River State Forest

We decided to do a quick camping trip to try out our new equipment... so we packed up the car on Saturday morning and set off for the "bush." The campsite was more bush than we bargained for... We mis-read the information in the guide book and the camp turned out to be almost 20km down a dirt road that, itself, was 20km from the nearest tiny town! The campground was unimproved (no running water, pit toilets, no fire pits or picnic tables) and it was so jungly that it was hard to figure out which areas were camp sites! At first I was feeling a little intimidated by wildness of it all...

Eventually we settled on a site next to the path that led to where Frenchman's Creek joined the Big River. As we unpacked the car, a visitor landed on the tree next to us. It then hopped onto the car door looking for handouts:

The kids quickly made friends with the families who were camped near us. Together the kids hauled wood for a bonfire:

Made fishing poles out of sticks and string:

And floated down Frenchman's Creek on boogie boards:

Despite it's tropical appearance, the water of Frenchman's Creek and Big River was icy. Frenchman's Creek was shallow enough that the kids could easily walk up and down the stream; Big River had deeper sections that made great swimming holes for the bigger kids and grownups. I am not sure my kids would have spent so much time in the water if they hadn't made friends who refused to get out! Ian did a bit of swimming and I even jumped in once to cool off.

I did spend a bit of time wading, looking for rocks, and panning for gold. Nik was very dissapointed by the experience of fossicking for gold. I think he expected to reach into the stream and find large nuggets... instead we spent hours sifting through sand and silt only to find a few tiny quartz crystals and a pretty rock. Not the riches of Nik's dreams. He is undeterred... next time he wants to go fossicking for gemstones.

We did have one scary moment: I went to the car (which was parked in tall grass) to get some water out of the trunk. I looked down and a snake was coming out from under the car towards me -- a venomous one. I shrieked and jumped backwards. The snake was startled, hissed at me, and slid off back under the car. The neighbors were a little alarmed -- they had never encountered one in the bush before. We confined the kids and dog to the dirt areas for a while until we were sure it was gone...

It was a wonderful weekend of being totally lazy... we sat around, the kids played and swam, we drank wine and chatted.

At night the stars were incredible. We listened to the night sounds of the forest and watched a satellite track across the sky. The air was crisp and fragrant with eucalypts. The sound of the stream running behind our tent was soothing and we quickly fell asleep. The next morning we were awakened by a chorus of kookaburras, raucous parrots, and sweet, tiny songbirds.

By the end of the weekend the woods bush felt comfortable and familiar and welcoming and we are already planning next week's camping trip... The boys want a mountain lake. Me? I am ready for another trip to the beach...


Tina in CT said...

The pictures of the stream look so pretty. Seeing a parrot in the wild - how cool. Seeing a poisonous snake would have sent me packing and back home though. I am so afraid of snakes.

I take it no crocs are in the area.

How nice that you met up with another family with a daughter around Ben's age and even a dog.

I'm sure you all miss Shadow. How is he doing?

Enjoy your upcoming camping trip next weekend - maybe to the beach.

Anonymous said...

Sound like a wonderful weekend!
Strange forest!
And I love your first visitor, still can not believe that you did not just park your car in the pet shop.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the Southern Cross?

Elle said...

Your bush was comfortable, huh? Kidding. Glad you're becoming one of them! Can't wait until Julesy is a year older so we can do this. Sounds like a great time!