Hey all, have been a lurker for some time and will sometime in the next week or two do a full write up of my trailer setup with pics (after another long weekend away camping this coming weekend) but for now thought i would share my story and some pics of our trip this Christmas to Spirits Bay, Far North, New Zealand
We traveled 6-1/2hrs each way with all 4 kids (7yo, 4yo, and 15 month twin girls) to my happy place - Spirits Bay, Cape Reinga, Far North New Zealand.
It has become a tradition for me having now been up there during the Christmas break for the last 5 years, but this year we decided to go early and spend Christmas there and leave the rushing around visiting everyone and stress of Christmas day to everyone else.
We left at 3.30am and kids were all back asleep in the car within about 30 mins and slept for the next 3-1/2 hrs. We made a stop at Coopers Beach (also an amazing holiday spot should you ever get a chance to visit) for breakfast and to get everyone out of their seats for a stretch and play at the playground and beach before continuing on to our holiday spot.
The campground has no power, cell reception etc, water must be boiled or bought in etc. It's as basic as it gets right down to the composting toilets - Just the way we like it.
We arrived to one of the greatest sights I have ever seen, acres of empty campground, blue skies, several miles of empty white sandy beach, and 4 happy children ready to spend the next two weeks exlporing, swimming, relaxing, and ready for our first Christmas in a tent.
We had the entire camp to ourselves for the first 4 days, aside from the occasional tourist coming down to see the beach, but none of them stayed more than a couple hours. The camp eventually got a bit busier on Christmas Eve, but not to worry, there is plenty of space, and we were nowhere near cramped.
Now, we don't go camping to live rough, we go to escape the routine, the mundane realities of life as parents, the constant ringing of phones, and all the usual stresses of life. Hence we have quite the setup.
The tent I had purchased recently, a Freedom Millbrook, what an investment it turned out to be - cool enough for the twins to have 2 naps a day (which is no easy feat when the coolest day of the trip was approx. 29 degrees C) warm enough at night for good sleeps, and dark enough when all closed up that most days we were all waking around 8am.
As well as the tent we have a sun-shelter which gives shade all day and has mosquito net walls to keep the bugs out in the evenings.
My camping trailer has undergone some serious modifications this last year and now sports a full slide-out kitchen with twin gas hob, kiwi sizzler bbq, sink with running water, an underfloor water tank for drinking water with pump, 12v charging station for cameras, phones, torches etc, LED lighting, VHF radio, 2x12v 120ah batteries, 4x 65w solar panels and charge controller, 2.5kw pure sine invertor and a bar fridge. While not a necessity, man did it make life that much easier on such a big trip with the kids.
Christmas came and went without a hitch, the kids specifying that they wanted chocolate-chip pancakes for breakfast, and I was not going to tell them otherwise, after all it's Christmas. Aside from the presents and breakfast, the day was spent like every other day of our trip, naps when needed, swimming, fishing, drinking champagne (us not the kids), sandcastles, crafts, walking the beach searching for interesting shells, and just having fun.
There were the occasional annoyances with the twins wanting nothing more than to run in opposite directions, us parents are used to that, and don't let it get to us right?
At the end of our planned stay, I had a friend come up to spend 2 days fishing with me, and my wife took all the kids home and left us to fish, drink, sleep, repeat for an extra 2 days (did I mention I love this woman!) which was just the icing on the cake of what will forever be remembered by the whole family as a fantastic family holiday.
Sorry for the lengthy story, but I've never been so happy to be a dad as I was seeing my kids take to camping like ducks to water, and not once ask for a tablet, tv, or anything else of the sort.
Hope you enjoy the pics, wasn't sure how to upload so have just linked to my album on imgurhttp://imgur.com/a/2GDFY