21 January 2009

A Camping We Will Go...

It's been four years since we attempted tent camping. The last time, we went to Kai Iwi Lakes when Dash was 2 and Princess was 5 months. We had to construct a perimeter fence around our campsite to stop Dash from (a) dashing off into strangers' tents (b) dashing off into the lake and (c) dashing off in the path of oncoming vehicles.

It also took til 10pm each night to get the kids to sleep. And then we got SOOooooo rained out. We woke up one morning to find that our tent floor had turned into a water bed - a new Kai Iwi Lake had formed under our tent as we slept. To put it simply, it was a nightmare.

Ahhh the difference four years makes! Six and Four are SUCH better ages for camping!

And Martins Bay (near Warkworth) is so beautiful. We had a beachfront site; you wake up in the morning, step out of your tent and there is the vista of pohutukawa trees stretching along a wide sandy beach. We were there with two other families who had kids of a similar age. There was no fighting, just lots of swimming and boogie boarding and digging, with a bit of tree climbing thrown in.

Of course nothing is without some challenges... like how the kids went through nearly all their clean clothes on the first day, and how it took them a while to get in the habit of slip slop slap. Or how tents are so un-soundproof, which can make it difficult to get the baby to sleep when the family in the tent next door are having a birthday party... but all minor stuff!

Dash taught himself to ride his two-wheeler while we were setting up the tent (what a thrill to see him zipping proudly all over the place - he did it all himself!) His bike is kinda funny, just wee bit small for him... he did somehow resemble those clowns in the circus, but hey - he's riding on his own. Who cares? There was also the thrill for him of going in a kayak, catching some crabs and fishing off a boat.

It was such a safe beach; we could relax and let the kids off the leash a bit. At night they played til it got dark while we chilled out with our friends.
One day the dads took the kids on a trek up the big hill where they played commandos while the mummies went for coffee at Morris & James in Matakana (mmmm lovely).

On the last night we BBQ'd on the beach, and sat around cuddling the kids on our knees as the stars came out. There a glow stick for each of the kids, which they thought was simply magical.

We snuggled into our sleeping bags in the tent, when they could hardly keep their eyes open any more; the tent glowed pink and blue glow from the glowsticks.

We have booked our spot for the same time next year. You just can't beat a kiwi camping holiday in summer. Magic!

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