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Published August 23rd 2012
A chance to try camping for only $20
At least you can say you took them camping
I'm with the American humorist Dave Barry when he said "camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business."
But I'm prepared to give it a shot for the kids sake and for charity. Every year Big4 offers people a chance to go camping at a greatly reduced rate. Usually fees are around $38 to $50 for a powered campsite but for their Camp and Care night on Friday the 16th of November, you and the family, or a group of friends can get a powered camp site for just $20.
The money goes to local charities. For example the Big 4 Phillip Island Caravan Park donates the money to the Penguin Foundation. Parkgate Resort in the Grampians supports the Motor Neurone Disease Association. BIG4 Wye River donates the money to Wye River CFA.
There are a hundred Big4 caravan parks around Australia that get involved in this initiative. Many of the parks also host additional activities including pancake breakfasts, face painting and BBQs.
While I can't say camping has been high on my list of priorities, I did manage to get to Big4 at Wye River last year and it was one of the best holidays ever. Driving along the Great Ocean Road you could easily blink and miss this place. The entrance to the park is narrow but it opens up onto a beautiful valley setting with large shady trees, green fields and a river running through it. Outside is a colourful jumping pillow which loses the kids for hours.
The second thing I am loathe to part with is good coffee. So the other attraction is the The Wye General Store And Café which has great food, outdoor decks and Melbourne-class coffee.
Camping has also been given a facelift over the last few years. There is a growing phenomenon known as glamping. It started as upmarket camping places offering five star tenting accommodation but in these economic times, it now means glamping up the usual camping experience because it doesn't have to be all gungho and uncomfortable
So here is a list of a few things to take so you will enjoy the experience even more. Perhaps you might have some other suggestions to add in the comments section. Or would like to tell us about your favourite Big4 caravan park.
List of Camping Essentials
Cosy doonas, sheets and memory pillows. If you have to use a sleeping bag think of taking a satin liner.
Ear plugs and eye mask.
A well stocked esky including items such as champagne pate and brie.
Coffee plunger and great coffee. Perhaps some Baileys and Kahlau to slip into it.
Real food and not just some snags for the barbie. Think French toast with strawberries and banana for breakfast and gourmet sausages and asparagus for dinner. You are only limited by your imagination as most of the parks now have great camp kitchens as well as the usual BBQs.
A glass of red usually goes down well while cooking, so don't forget the glasses.
Scented wipes and candles. Citronellas ones are good for as anon once said "camping is nature's way of feeding mosquitoes."
Oh yes, and don't forget the kids. They'll have a ball. And they can never accuse you of not taking them camping.