Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Murramarang Camping Weekend, Part 1

We rolled into the Pebbly Beach campground at Murramarang National Park after dark on Friday; not an ideal situation but Sam and I wanted to make the most of our long weekend.  The fact that Jackson and Alex have become absolute experts at setting up their tent was a huge bonus--I think our tent bag wasn't even unzipped before the dim outline of their bodies were seen proudly declaring that they were done, and with nary a punch thrown or even a pinched word of frustration or superiority.  Seeing as though we're less than two weeks away from our next big road trip with plenty of opportunities for tent setup and breakdown, I'm psyched that this solid level of teamwork has carried over from our first big trip in January.

Pebbly Beach is a beautiful, well-maintained campground with nice cooking and restroom facilities, while still maintaining the rustic camping feeling.  Spotted gum trees meet a grassy field which runs to the ocean; it is here that we hoped to see what Pebbly Beach is known for: its kangaroos, which can be found right on the sand.

As morning light hit, I handed out slices of the berry coffee cake I'd made (to appease the rabid dragon Kenyon) and we quietly walked towards the beach, hoping to spot kangaroos.  As soon as we hit the path leading to the beach, we saw this handsome fella:
We observed for a few minutes and headed onward towards the beach.
We moved slowly and watched from afar, but as we made our way closer the kangaroos continued to nibble on the grass and plants without any signs of caution.

Even though they are used to humans, they are still wild animals, so we didn't pet them.

Okay, fine, we did pet them.  How could you not? They are fuzzy and soft and didn't seem to mind at all.
offering some beach grass to my new friend

Our friends Kylie and Josh and their two children Xavier and Issy showed up later that morning, troopers for making the drive and setting up camp for just one night (although we were thisclose to making you stay for another night, weren't we, Josh? Ha!).

It's great to have the beach right by our campsite, and we went to bed each night to the sounds of the waves.

Alex and Issy were fast friends since their initial meeting, and they enjoyed a long stint on the beach together working in the sand.

We wanted to share our American traditions of camping with our friends, so I brought s'mores fixins, or the best I could approximate in a country that doesn't make s'mores.  No graham crackers here, folks, so I used Marie biscuits.  And the marshmallows?  I don't know where to begin.  First of all, they're about 1/3 the size of their Kraft jet-puffed American counterpart.  And the strangest part is that you can't buy plain white marshmallows--all the bags come in an assortment of white and pink, and the pink is some sort of fruit flavor.  Let it be known that that's the kind of country Australia is, forcing flavored marshmallows on its consumers.  I futilely attempted to thwart the oppression and high-grade the bag for the white ones, but the fruity flavor permeates all the mallows.  If I became a United States ambassador to Australia, these are the sort of oppressive issues I'd bring to light.  Luckily, I had no problem finding dark chocolate.

Sam made sure there were plenty of sharpened sticks for the boys to play with, because camping isn't camping without flesh wounds and Lord of the Flies-esque savagery.

This campground is home to tons of gorgeous birds--king parrots, crimson rosellas, and rainbow lorikeets.  As we walked back from the beach in the afternoon, we saw this:

Another camper had brought bird food (which turns out to be a big no-no, but since we didn't know it at the time, we happily joined in for the feeding).

There was plenty of bird life outside of the parrot family as well.  Alex got up close and personal with a kookaburra while climbing a tree.

We also saw a satin bowerbird, which are known for their distinctive methods for attracting a mate.  They build a stick structure and decorate the outside with blue objects.  While I didn't get a picture of the bird, I thought this glimpse of his nest was worth sharing.

Just down the path from our campsite was a lovely gate that read 'Alexander's Cottage'.  Naturally, we needed to document our Alex's presence there.

All of this--the kangaroos, the birds, the beach, the quality time with friends--was awesome.  But the true highlight of the weekend (and surely, my year) was to happen the next day...


  1. Wait? WHAT??

    We don't make s'mores? I call bulltwaddle. I make awesome s'mores. AND I USE THE PINK MARSHMALLOWS. Three of them. Perfect! ;)

    That aside, your camping trip looks awesome, and having your boys put up their own tent without conflict is a *huge* achievement. Next step? Getting them to put up yours! lol.

    1. I am clearly tired--I first read your comment and thought that you called s'mores "bulltwaddles", so I Googled them to see if it was some Australian nickname. Ha! Time for bed.
      Great idea about the tent--we already have them cleaning our bathroom, so I'll have to ease them in slowly so they don't catch on to my slave labor plans. :)

  2. Awesome post. Penny

  3. Looks like so much fun! Jackson is very brave to let those birds all over him. And seeing you in her summery pants and barefeet makes me long for summer!! Tell the fam I said HI!

    1. It's rarin' towards summer in D-town as we head towards won't have to pine for the season too much longer. Jackson loved having the birds on him, although their claws did scrape a bit. They were GORGEOUS birds!

  4. Book Alexander's cabin for daddy and I to stay in. Tell that cute roo I expect him o be there so I can pat him. I will bring the graham crackers and some REAL marshmallows!!! Can't wait!!!