What is it that makes camping a good holiday option for Aussie families?
Camping is a great chance for families to get together and spend some quality time without the interruptions of TV, work and the internet. You have time to focus on your family being together and getting back to the simple things in life that make you happy, like sharing a story and telling a joke. Being outdoors is great for the kids as well, it gives them a chance to exercise and run around, plus for mum and dad, they can relax knowing the kids are safe from harm.
Can you suggest some activities whilst camping to make the time more enjoyable for the family?
My favourite activities have always been water based. So kayaking and swimming are definitely two of my favourites! Obviously for some families taking a Kayak along for the trip isn’t really an option so it’s great that we have the Quikpack K5 Kayak which is basically a backpack that converts into a Kayak! This is much easier to take with you and works just like a regular kayak.
If you don’t camp near the water then bush walks and exploring the natural surrounds are always great fun and an excellent chance for some family bonding. Playing games like making musical instruments out of things you find and spotlight are always favourites.
Can you suggest some popular camping areas around Australia that are suitable for families?
This depends on if you want to have more facilities or if you want to really get back to nature. My personal favourite campsite is the Big4 on Lake Macquarie, its where we held our first Family Coleman Campout so holds a special place. The facilities are first class, it’s a beautiful spot on the lake so perfect if you have a boat. If you want good facilities you can’t generally go wrong with any Big 4 campsite, there are hundreds of them around the country. If you want somewhere that feels a bit more adventurous, Bundeena Campsite, in the Royal National Park in Sydney is fantastic. It still has great facilities but is much smaller and feels more remote than a campsite chain. It’s actually only a couple of minutes away from Bundeena town and the shops (and RSL). It is a beautiful spot on the water with the bush behind.
Do you have a checklist of recommended items to take to ensure a successful camping trip?
Definitely, I think the most important items are:
- A good sized tent that fits the family. Make sure you have enough space for all of you. A lot of people like multiple rooms so the kids are separate to mum and dad. The Coleman Montana 12CV is perfect for that. However, if you have never put up a tent before and are a bit daunted, go for the Instant Up 8, which literally is set up in seconds. - Sleeping bags for everyone and make sure the temperature is rated to the coldest that it will get at night. So if it gets cold at night make sure you have a suitable bag. All good bags should have a temperature rating.
- A quality air matress is really important. You don’t want something that is going to be going down throughout the night.
- A good sized Esky such as the 65 litre Ice King. This Esky will fit everything your family will need and comes with a 10 year guarantee so it’s built to last all of your family adventures!
- Lanterns and torches . It’s really important with lanterns and torches that you have enough power to run them through out your trip. The CPX 6 range by Coleman can either be run on disposable batteries or can be run using the CPX Rechargeable system. My recommendations would be the CPX 6 Rechargeable Duo Lantern as you can give the kids one of the pods while they run around and you are still left with an area light.
- A good quality gas stove such as the Coleman EvenTemp. No one wants to be hungry!
- Make sure you take something to sit on. Before you buy a chair sit on it in the store for a bit to make sure it is comfy. I personally love the Coleman BigFoot chair.
- If you want to get a bit flash take an outdoor shelter so you can sit under or prepare food under it. The CPX 6 Lighted Shelter is great for night time BBQ’s or hanging outside with the family and runs on the same power as the Duo lantern.
- Accessories, like lighters, cooking utensils, plates, washing brush, towels etc are always easily forgotten. It’s a good idea to put together a box of essentials with a checklist on it so you know you have everything.
- I also always make sure I take a pillow, eye mask and ear plugs as I don’t like waking up when the birds and sun decide it’s time to get up!
Are there any other hints and tips you could offer our families about how to plan for the Easter break and on how to keep holiday costs low?
Think about where you want to go on your holiday and plan ahead. Gather your supplies over time rather than forking out in one go. Spend the most money on the things that will really make a big difference like the tent, airbed and sleeping bags. For the smaller things maybe go cheaper to start with and build up over time. Also think about what the family generally enjoy doing, there’s no point buying mountaineering equipment when all the kids want to do is play beach cricket! Finally get booking ASAP, Easter is a really popular time to get away, so you don’t want to be disappointed.