This past weekend was one of my favourite weekends since we moved to Australia. We celebrated McKay’s birthday with an amazing group of friends in Kangaroo Valley. It was my first time camping (and absolutely not my last). I would recommend this trip to anyone.
Day 1 – Friday: McKay and I left Sydney at about 4PM with a whole GoGet full of food and drinks for 12 people for the weekend. I was freaking out a tiny bit. It’d been raining for 3 days…and Friday was no exception. One quick stop at BOC Gas & Gear (the only place in Sydney where you can buy dry ice on the spot) and two and a half hours on the road later – we made it to Bendeela Camp Ground.
*Note – There are no signs for Bendeela Camp Ground – follow the signs for Bendeela Picnic Area. You still may get lost. Have faith – you will find it.
Though it was rainy, and though we had zero cell reception and no way of letting the three cars of friends who were planning to meet us exactly where we were – everyone found one another and got their tents up in the rain. Bendeela Campground was a great first stop. Wombats, Kangaroos, families who pro-camp, and us. They don’t allow campfires at Bendeela, but Lucien and Madeline brought up their gas Webber so we could BBQ for dinner. Worked perfectly.
Day 2 – Saturday: Luckily we woke up to the most gorgeous weather one could ask for. We headed over to Kangaroo Valley Safari’s to get geared up for our canoe ride. The folks at Kangaroo Valley Safari’s were fantastic. Super friendly and helpful for weeks leading up to the trip, providing us information on what to expect and items to bring. We came prepared with all our camping gear, tents, sleeping bags, a mini charcoal grill, a gas cooking stove, lunch food, breakfast food, snacks, dinner and drinks for 12 people. Kangaroo Valley Safari’s provided us large water-tight barrels to load our stuff into, the canoes of course, and van-transport down to Tallowa Dam where we began the 3 hour canoe ride to Shoalhaven Gorge.
There are several camp-sites along the 3 hour canoe ride, but since we started a bit later in the morning and since we were such a large group – we did have to go a bit further down to find an unoccupied area, but the camp-site we ended up with was absolutely perfect and worth the bit of an extra paddle.
*Note – there are no facilities at these campgrounds (though we did paddle down a bit further to find one camp ground that some call “Fossickers Flat” which does have one toilet. Ours did not. Kangaroo Valley Safari’s supplies you a shovel. Yes a SHOVEL – so be prepared for that.
Our camp site even came complete with an awesome fire pit.
We came pretty prepared with heaps of snacks, several conveniently packaged (and surprisingly good) boxes of wine, and Spaghetti Bolognese to warm up on the stoves for dinner. And of course birthday cake and glow sticks to celebrate McKay’s birthday as well as S’mores (because what camping trip is complete without S’mores?).
Day 3 – Sunday: We woke up, again, to the most beautiful weather and surroundings you can imagine. After cooking up some breakfast potatoes and baked beans in the campfire as well as scrambled eggs and bacon on the stove… we packed up our gear and headed out for another three hour canoe trip back to civilisation.
All in all – an amazing trip. McKay had a pretty memorable birthday and it was an amazing first experience for me – both camping and canoeing. My arms only were sore for a few days or so after! 😉 We rewarded ourselves with a pitt stop at “The World’s Best Pies” shop – which admittedly has some good pies and some delicious milkshakes!
See all of the photos here.