Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sundowner National Park

Sundowner National Park was my first 'proper' camping trip. When I say 'proper' camping trip I am refering to camp sites that do not have amenities that are serviced daily and which allow campfires. We went in the January of 08 and this trip was very special to me as it was the last time I went camping with my dad.

My family and I had planned to go camping at Rainbow beach, but that year there was some sort of horrendous weather incident that prevented us from going. At the last minute Ben suggested we all head out to Sundowner, as the weather didn't look too bad there. So while Brisbane and the Sunny coast was bombarded with torrential rain, we were soaking up the sun just south of Stanthorpe.
The trip started off quite badly. When we arrived Dad was in a terrible mood because his Navman had given him a massive bum steer and it had taken him up a dirt track for about 80kms then the track just stopped. In the middle of the bush. So it took him and mum much longer to get there than it should have. I was not too impressed when I arrived because they had no 'proper' shower and one of those awful drop toilets. Usually drop toilets are bearable. But this one was completely unbearable. I was 5 months pregnant with Rohan at the time and completely freaked out at the thought of having to use that toilet for the next few days. It had a really strong amonia smell and was completely gross. I started bawling and hyperventilating at the thought of having to use this loo. Then Kylah stepped on a prickle and all hell broke loose. In her defense it was a pretty bad prickle. She let out the kind of scream you always imagine your child would make if they broke their arm or were being attacked by a rabid dog. This is all on top of Kristy shouting at James because he was parked on his bum with a beer while she put up both tents and set everything up without him lifting a single finger (... his fingers that were firmly clasped around the beer were moving so maybe that statement is a little unfair...).
I remember thinking to myself. Holy crap, what have I gotten myself in to?????
But things calmed down after dinner. Mum piled Kylah full of comfort foods (chips, lollies, chocolates) to ease the pain of her prickle, Ben calmed me down by promising to take me for 25km drive to the nearest servo with a flushing toilet everytime I needed to do a #2. Kristy and Dad cheered up after they had both got a few beers into them. And our first night was quite nice.
The next morning Jesse found a tick. My memory is a bit fuzzy on whether it was a tick on him or if it was just on his clothes or within viewing distance of him, but it was a tick nonetheless. After 3 independant sources identified it as a tick I started to freak out. I checked every inch of my body that I could see (my bump was prohibiting me from viewing some parts of my body which I had to get Ben to inspect). Then I checked every inch of the kids and every inch of our campsite. Then Kylah started bawling about missing Grandma and was inconsolable. I began to think we had made a huge mistake coming.
Luckily for us Kristy saved the day. She explained to me that the ticks were only after the Kangaroos and weren't going bite me or the kids (amazingly I wasn't too worried about them getting Ben). She then told Kylah she could talk to Grandma using the UHF radio in Grandads car. So while Kylah sat in Grandads car talking to 'Grandma', Kristy sat in her car with her UHF pretending to be 'Grandma'. She didn't even disguise her voice!! Kylah fell for it hook, line and sinker and cheered up. So with everyone happy we relaxed and began to enjoy ourselves.
Sundowner has lovely big campsites which are sectioned off from each other. There is a massive swimming hole which is just lovely to swim in. There are also a lot of walking tracks, 4wd tracks and views to look at. You can have campfires, which I now consider to be a MUST for camping. The only downside of Sundowner is the terrible ammenities. But it ended up working out in our favour. Ben and I enjoyed the drive we would make each day for me to visit a flushing toilet. There is some beautiful country around that area and we got to do a bit of exploring. (another bonus was that I got to spend an hour or so in the airconditioning).
Now that we are seasoned campers I would love to go back there. It has some special memories for me and I will make sure to take my camp toilet and camp shower.
I would highly reccommend it for outdoor loving campers who don't mind getting dirty and peeing in the bush :-)


  1. ROFL!!! I nearly wet my pants at this one B!!!!

  2. Kristy said.. I still cant log in! it just goes in a continuous loop of logins requests and those stupid strings of letters requests.
    Anyway here is my comment.

    you forgot to mention the leechs in the river and the maggots in the toilets! Plus there was platypus there. Did we end up seeing one? i dont remember if we saw one or just a nest.

    This was a great trip, it was such a nice spot. We should go back there one day. Not in winter though!


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