Leading up to the middle of January we had to make an emergency dash to K-Mart in Chatswood to purchase some camping equipment.
The Reason? Our friend Allan was celebrating his 30th name day by going camping in a place called The Basin, in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
So there we were in the checkout with; a cool box (Aus: Esky!), pop-up tent, 2 folding chairs, ice bars and plastic wine glasses. All we would now need was a lift to the campsite. Within a few days we had secured a lifted from Karen’s friend Cindy.
One of the only ways to reach the campsite is to catch a ferry from Palm Beach Wharf. The only problem here is that there is not nearly enough parking. We could have gone early in the day but when you are contracting the formula is
Time = Money!!
So instead we ran the gambit of finding a space around 6pm, after work. Some smart thinking by Cindy and some quick running by Karen, to physically occupy the space and we had managed to get the car unloaded and parked. We had timed our arrival well as Eoin and Jayne were also getting the 7pm ferry across. Their friend Clodagh, who was over visiting from Ireland, was with them.
In a supreme example of it being a small world, Clodagh had a number of connections with John:
1) She was his mother’s hometown of Tipperary Town
2) She went to Rockwell and played tennis with John’s cousin Aidan
3) Both John’s mum and aunt knew her father… ‘The Doctor’
So on the 7pm ferry we went with all our camping gear and a crate of cider! As soon as we landed at the Basin, the park ranger took an instant dislike to our group. Cider and a Cork accent can do that sometimes. After the umpteenth warning of a 10pm curfew he let us enter the campsite, where we were greeted by the early crew of Ciara and Allan.
Within 2 minutes JKRoaming’s tent was constructed and the blow-up mattress was inflated, and as Karen and Cindy preparted dinner, John stowed all the gear away and went back to the wharf to help the rest of the guys with their gear off the next ferry.
That first night was spent drinking and chatting, away from the tents at some benches and the fun was almost destroyed by some idle threats from the Park Rangers. I say almost, because instead of saying that they would call the police, they said they would call the ‘water police’. Karen after a few drinks thought this meant ‘coppers with super-soakers’ and as this notion dissipated through our ranks we all burst into laughter!
The next morning we were awoken by glorious sunrise and finally managed to get a good look at The Basin itself. It would be easy to describe it as a little piece of heaven but it would also be true. The water was crystal clear and the beaches were lined with giant trees. The grass areas were lush and expansive and the whole place was very relaxed.
The morning was spent swimming, playing one touch football (that included a few cameos by our neighbour, Channel Nine anchorman Peter Overton) and being set upon by a lizard!
Lunch was another BBQ (Ooh such a harsh life 🙂 ) before sunbathing, more football and some dodgy frisbee action.As the afternoon was setting in we moved to another beach and, thanks to Janne, played some beach volleyball with an actual full size net! To say this was a competitive set of games is putting it mildly!
As this was one of the first camping trips we had gone on, we had brought an absolute ton of food. Therefore the Saturday night dinner was a feast with a plethora of dishes. Avocados, salads, bread, cheese and some pretty good steaks!
We followed that up with birthday cake and some drinking games to pass the night away.
Sunday morning came a bit earlier than usual as a swamp wallabie tried to rob some of the groups food. The earlier smugness from having put up their tent in record time backfired massively on John and Karen as they could not get the bloody thing down again. 6 people offered assistance but no luck, and as everyone else enjoyed a relaxing breakfast and had managed to pack up the camp John was still fighting with the tent and losing it big style with Karen over the whole thing. Such a grumpy boy!
He managed to get his composure back for the group photo at the end until the tent popped up again as we unloaded the boat. Janye, Eoin and Clodagh were going on to Palm Beach for the day, as it is the setting for the fictional Summer Bay in the TV show Home and Away. Everyone else was driving back the same direction we all agreed to stop in Dee Why and have some brunch.
We got back to Kirribilli at around 1pm but it would not be much of a lazy day as we had bags to pack to go to Tasmania, early the next morning!
Big thanks to Ciara and Allan for organising the weekend and to the Park Rangers for having more bark than bite!