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Wkend Getaway 1: South West WA - Planning, Camping, Travel

Saturday - Monday: Harvey... Gnomesville... Donnybrook... Busselton Jetty... Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse... Ngilgi Cave

View Wkend Getaway 1 - South West WA (Mar 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

What worked... or didn't! ... for us.


Considering this was going to be our first weekend camping trip for the year, and first one as a family of four... the planning felt like it took quite a while, was more involved, and generally bigger than what it hopefully will be for future weekends.

  • Where to go - I did a lot of online research. Finding things and places that looked interesting, and placing them onto a My Custom Google Map so we could get an idea of where abouts things were located. I showed Clancy the map and let him choose where he'd like to go/see... and that was it. A few destinations, and general direction chosen!
  • Where to stay - Considering the whole idea was to camp... we obviously needed somewhere that allowed camping. I would've been quite happy to set up a very basic camp anywhere in some bush, but Clancy wasn't too enthused with that idea. So a compromise was met and it was decided whatever campground had availability in the area that we were in at the time, would be the place to camp.
  • What to take

Food & Water
Cooking/eating equipment
First Aid


Looking back through all the weekends photo's. The only one we could find related to the actual camping side of things was this one taken by Miss 3yr old Sonia whilst setting up the tents :)

Hm... what's this?

Hm... what's this?

  • Campsites - Considering it was a long weekend, we weren't expecting many of the bigger, more common campgrounds to have any sites available. Harvey information centre confirmed this, stating most people who wanted to camp were being redirected to Logue Brook Dam. We preferred to keep heading further south, so after a bit of ringing around, found space available at the Kirup Tavern Camping and Caravan Park for Saturday night. This was a small but friendly campground beside the Kirup Tavern. Decent showers (Even had a baby bath and change table!! Still found the wash tub more practical though), basic kitchen and laundry facilities, grassed area for tents, and small playground across the road.

For Sunday night around the Busselton/Dunsborough area it was very similar. Needing to ring around a bit before finding somewhere that had a site avaliable. We ended up camping at the Four Seasons Holiday Park Busselton. This was a rather large, well established, older campground. The site we were given was a vacant site, located in a permanent van section of the park. Relatively close to the amenities and playground. This campground had a bigger outdoor kitchen with picnic style gas BBQ near the playground and amenities. So while Clancy got tea organised, I watched the kids, watch the hoards of other kids play! I could have given them their baths at that time, but considering the numbers of other parents doing just that, and the fact that they were yet to get rather messy eating... decided we'd wait till things had settled down a bit after tea.

  • Tents and Bedding - Figured we'd trial using the two small old dome tents we currently have. 4 person tent for us, 2 person tent for the kids. Set them up with openings facing each other, and worked rather well. The only real downside we found was that both tents were low, so constant bending over, resulting in sore backs. And having to open numerous zips, then climb through numerous small openings to check on the kids. So we're now planning to seriously start looking at maybe a taller, larger tent that will accommodate us all.

Bedding had been one of Clancy's main sticking points with not looking forward to camping. Not being able to sleep on a comfortable mattress. So prior to this trip, we decided to upgrade our single swag mats, and splurge on a 4WD Mat as it's commonly called. Self inflating, 10cm thick foam mattress. Definately not for hiking or backpacking! Deciding between 2 singles or 1 double, Clancy decided we'd go for the 1 double to share it's rolling up. He wasn't too impressed when I stated that if we got 2 singles, I was quite happy to roll mine, but he'd have to do his own!

  • Food etc... - To save on buying every meal, we took enough for each meal that we'd have while we were away. The 'fridge stuff' (ie, salad, cheese etc that normally requires a fridge (No meat though!)) I packed in a box that went behind the drivers seat, under Sonia's feet (covered with towel and pillow). With us slowly reducing it's volume, all the 'fridge stuff' survived the trip rather well. Despite the warm weather. Everything else, went into a cardboard fruit box with lid, that got packed on the tray of the ute (easily accessible, under a folded silver tarp for some insulation) with all the other baggage.

We took a small foldable camp table and stools, a bucket, and my old Trangia cookstove incase we stayed somewhere without kitchen facilities. The table, stools and bucket got used, but the Trangia ended up staying in it's bag on the back of the ute. Both places we stayed at had microwaves, which turned out being the easiest and fastest way for us to cook what we'd brought for the evening meals (thankfully some of the containers we had food in were microwave safe).

  • Miscellaneous - Once again... my trusty set of multifit plugs came in very handy! Some basic familiar toys for the kids were also appreciated. Along with a book or 2 each to maintain their regular tea, bath, story, bed routine.


Putting the question to Clancy (didn't worry me for this sort of trip), he decided we'd take my old dual cab hilux for easier packing, and access to all our equipment and baggage. This worked fine for this trip without any rain... however we're going to have to rethink our options once rain starts to threaten as we currently don't have a cover for the tray!

Kids and driving... they were both pretty good. But then again, they've both been brought up with fairly regular long driving trips, allowing them to get accustomed to it from a very young age. One thing Sonia enjoyed, was having a map of her own to look at.

Posted by Goannaray 21:49 Archived in Australia Tagged camping tents miscellaneous western_australia planning campground toddlers weekend_toddler_adventures_wa south_west_wa wkend_adventures_swregion

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