A weekend adventure camping with friends is the perfect way to ease yourself into the idea of roughing it.
Our weekend adventure with some of favourite people, involved a 2 hour drive south of Adelaide at one of our favourite camping spots, Deep Creek Conservation Park. Deep valleys, views of Kangaroo Island and steep cliffy coastline with walking trails and a range of campgrounds to choose from makes this spot a popular choice for families and groups.
We had checked the weather in the week leading up to our trip and it was looking dodgy for a bit of it. It might be a windy and wet affair. We packed light and threw in the ponchos just in case.
Setting up our tiny little tent at Trig Campground, we felt very minimalist. Our friends had the site next door for their Jayco poptop caravan – what a cosy set up! All the mod cons and able to operate off battery and gas – they could keep a fridge going for the perishables. Nice.
Arriving late in the day meant we had to set up quickly before dark. We had our usual first night BBQ before settling around the fire for drinks, chats and laughs until we were all virtually falling asleep in our camping chairs. Midnight called us to bed.
Almost as soon as we hit the hay, the winds started. First we could hear the trees moving and swaying with the breeze but as the night wore on, the winds picked up. It was a sleepless night and by morning, anything left out loose overnight was long gone. The dust and warm wind meant we sheltered in the caravan for breakfast. Around us, campers were salvaging tents and gear – by 9am most of the campground was vacant and we were the only ones left.
The weather warnings started to come through and with the winds getting up near 80km+ an hour, we decided to pack up. A massive tree also decided to fall about 30 metres from our tent. Decision made.
By early afternoon we had vacated but not before checking out the other campgrounds which were also virtually deserted other than a few day walkers heading to the waterfall.
We decided to do a visit to Second Valley beach to show our friends the island we had discovered on the previous weekend but also due to the tide and weather we couldn’t access the causeway to get to it. Arriving at Second Valley, we found the beach sheltered and missing out on the high winds experienced just 20km away and so we decided to risk the tide and the huge waves that hit the pathway in cycles to explore this island and make an adventure of our own.
Timing the passing of the pathway was critical, you could end up soaked if you got caught by the waves. With 6 of us, 4 adults and 2 little people aged 3 and 5, we made a dash for it. We made it.
The waves sucked the pebbles and rocks out to sea with the undertow and we skimmed flat pebbles into the surf. Well some of us did, some of us struggled with the art of throwing a “skimmer”. We explored the cliff lines, found caves and then decided to make the second crossing along another narrow causeway which was crashed by waves every few minutes. We made the dash over and made it to the rocky island where a piece of old machinery lay rusting to show what kind of shipping and fishing activity had started here as early as 1855. We were blown away by the age of the heritage listed causeway and the fact it used to have a horse drawn carriageway along it to service ships that visited.
We lingered a little too long taking photos and watching the rough surf against the colourful coastline, with high green hills with rocky faces that dropped straight in to the sea. We decided to make our way back but the causeway was now being hit by waves continually. We got wet feet and legs and managed to get back to the beach before one last dash in front of the cliffs to return to the jetty where our rocky little adventure started. An adrenalin rush of sorts – not that we were ever in real danger, for the little people it was described as “epic”.
You would need to time your run to do this island adventure with little people at Second Valley (as we learned) but if you are there at the right time and can see the tidal movement is working in your favour, it is an interesting little place to visit.
The best thing about calling it a day and coming home early was beating the rain. When we woke the next morning, home in our cosy beds, it was pouring. If it wasn’t for the dangerous winds we might have stayed on and toughed it out. It might have meant a wet tent to pack up and breakfast inside our buddies van (again) and an early getaway. We have camped in the rain plenty of times and used tarps and all sorts to create a group shelter where we can all sit together and enjoy each other’s company and still have fun.
Camping in its own way is always an adventure and our weekend didn’t disappoint. Our friends mentioned to us the next day that their little people wanted to stay in the van one more night so they camped in their carport and slept overnight in it when they got home. And the highlight of their weekend was the island adventure – they were still talking about it at dinner the day after returning home.
Getting kitted out is easy (just go and visit our friends at Snowy’s Outdoors, or check out their awesome website for online shopping) with cost friendly tents, sleeping bags and mattresses. If you can’t have a fire to cook on (not all campsites permit you to have a campfire), you will need a gas stove or BBQ. And people are happy to share their advice on gear and gadgets. It is easy to get caught up in it all and want to buy everything. My advice is to start small and add slowly.
When is your next camping adventure?