We went camping at Lake Cootharaba earlier this year and gee it was a lovely place to camp. So picturesque and serene - we had a wonderful, relaxing time.... well almost...
The first day we were there was perfect. The weather was gorgeous and the Lake was calm. We took the kids for a walk along the banks of the river and sat around a campfire that night.
The second day the rain set in and ruined the ambiance. We went from being camped 50m from a lake to having our very own lake right outside our caravan door.
The mozzies went from being bad on dusk to constantly bad and we all sat miserably inside the van wondering what to do.
It was decided that we would spend the day 4wding. 4wding is an activity that both Ben and I enjoy. Ben enjoys it because he sees it as an adventure and I think he almost hopes we will get bogged somewhere to make it all a little bit more exciting. I enjoy it because I get to sit on my bum, usually with my feet up on the dash, sipping diet coke and coaxing Ben into D&M's.
I don't think the kids are particularly fond of it. Rohan and Jazzy are usually lulled into a deep sleep from all the bumpy driving and miss the whole thing and I'm sure Kylah sits up the back bored senseless from my constant jabbering to Ben about rubbish. Occasionally, if all the kids are awake we will sing or play games but this is unusual.
This particular day is the first time Ben and I have been bogged while on one of our family 4wding trips. Unfortunately for us we were bogged in the middle of nowhere with no mobile reception and in amidst a giant mud puddle. After spending an hour trying to dig the car out by hand (Ben forgot a shovel) he decided to leave me, the 5 kids (we had a friends son with us) and all the mozzies in the mud pit while he went for help.
Trying to keep the kids calm and happy in a mudpit for over an hour wasn't as easy as it may sound. Usually I have no aversion to mud.... anyone who has seen the picture of Rohan and Rainbow Beach will know what I'm talking about... but this mud STANK!!! It was sooo disgustingly smelly that I was worried if they got too much on them I would never get the smell out!!
Kylah, my drama queen, started bawling about how she was too young to die and screaming out "help us!", "somebody help us!!". Rohan was in a foul mood because he had been rudely awoken from his deep slumber when the car abruptly stopped. Luckily for me the other 3 were being well behaved. I just gave them a bit of food and we made up some games to pass the time.
Ben came back with the good news that the RACQ was on their way to tow us out. Luckily for me (me?? or Ben??), Ben had bought me RACQ deluxe membership for my birthday. Yes - I think Ben must be the romantic present buyer ever!!! No, it wasn't racq membership and a box of chocolates or diamond earings... it was just the membership. As my friend Trina so eloquently put it 'isn't that just like paying a bill for your birthday??' Anyway, Ben assured me that one day I would appreciate his gift and I did appreciate it that day. If we had not had the membership it would have cost us about $500 to get someone to tow us out and I'm sure that I would then have had to put up with a dark mood from Ben for day's to come.
After finishing on the 4wd track we drove back towards Lake Cootharaba via the beach. Beach driving is so much fun. We stopped so the kids could burn some energy running up and down the sand hills. I used up some energy by converting the choccies we had eaten in the car into chocolate breast milk for Diddabell.
There was no campfire that night due to the rain and the mozzies so we spent our time in the caravan doing puzzles and playing board games with the kids. Weather like that makes you so grateful to have a caravan!!!
The next morning brought with it enough sunshine to enjoy the benefits of being camped next to a lake. We hired a kayak (or maybe a canoe... not too sure of the difference) and the kids played on the beach and in the water.
That afternoon, while in the middle of a 5km hike, the torrential rain began again. So we all got extremely wet and muddy trying to dash 2km back to the car. Poor little Rohan and Jazzy cried the whole way about being wet and muddy. Because the rain was so heavy our insect repellent washed straight off and we had no protection from the 1000's of mozzies. The rain was so thick you could barely keep your eyes open in it.
The amenities at Lake Cootharaba were spectacular!! They were soooo clean. Cleaner than my own at home! I was quite comfortable using the toilets there AND the showers so we all cleaned off after our hike before settling in for another night of puzzles and games.
All in all it was beautiful spot to camp. Even with the crappy weather we still had a fabulous time!!