Past Events

Sandy Beach weekend meet


Sandy Beach
near Wantabadgery NSW

held on the weekend from Saturday 13th to Sunday 14th December 2008



    This was my first foray into hosting a CamperTrailers Group meeting. I would like acknowledge the assistance given me by Rob and Carol who provided advice about how easy it is to host these meetings and to Alf Atkin who organised a meeting last year at this site, for his valuable input into the location and environment. Additionally, Alf’s previous research and description and report greatly simplified the process of getting the meeting information onto the web page.

    I would like to also acknowledge all the participants who made it to the meeting as it would not have happened at all without them. I accept that a camp at this time of the year can have all sorts of implications (both work and personal related issues) that prevented some of the original registrants from making it to the meeting and I do regret the fact that I didn’t get to meet you all. Perhaps this will be remedied at future get togethers.


thursday 11th

    I decided to travel on the Thursday and get there first to inspect the camping areas and decide the best location. After a fine drive from Melbourne, I arrived at around 1600hrs taking a left turn off the Hume Hwy onto the Sturt Hwy and then heading northward by turning right onto the Mundarlo Road and then on the Main South Road. There is a section of dirt road here and a couple of hills but nothing to worry the Suby and trailer. There is a turn off to cross the Murrumbidgee River to the north side about two kilometres before Mundarlo (according to Google Maps, but it is not clear if the location shown for Mundarlo is accurate!). At the T-intersection turn left and at about 8 kilometres is a left turn onto the Sandy Beach entrance road.

    There are two levels for this camping area. The lower flood plain area is smaller, doesn’t seem to have much level area, and has not been so well maintained. I don’t recall that there were any facilities, and the best of this sites already had occupants in residence (more on this later) who had been there for a couple of weeks. After introducing myself and explaining the purpose of the visit, I set about investigating a suitable spot to set up the trailer. The upper and larger of the flood plain area was by far the best maintained with two toilet facilities and several picnic shelters and fireplaces. There were also a few watering points where water, supplied from a header tank, could be collected for cooking and washing. More were in the process of being installed. There was provision for some camping directly overlooking the river and I chose a suitable level area with water views!

    Having set up camp I relaxed and was able to appreciate the surroundings, especially the massive great Red River gums. Some of these must have been nigh on a 1000 years old – magnificent. Then there were the cocky's. At dusk, and as I subsequently found out, at dawn their raucous screeching was something that I hadn’t heard for a long time. Mind you, as I explained to the campers later, it was very much a more preferable background to the roar of traffic on the nearby freeway at home. I’m sure that I will be able to live with it for the next few days.

    So far this looked like being one of the more enjoyable camps, but wait... After settling-in and having an evening meal there were changes afoot. A rather strong wind started up, not unpleasant at first given that it was still quite warm, but slowly gaining intensity. So much so that it became strong enough to disturb sleep that night. Was this a portent of things to come? Couldn’t be, I thought, so dismissed the idea of bad weather out here at this time of year, yet I seem to recall that just before leaving Melbourne I checked that long range forecast, and now I remembered that there had been some changes in the predictions, but it was supposed to be for Saturday and Sunday. Oh well we, as stoic camping enthusiasts will just take it as it comes…won’t we?


friday 12th

    With last night’s wind came the rain. It started early in the morning and by around 1000hrs, it looked as if it had settled into a steady drizzle for the rest of the day. So much for weather predictions! I guess the old farmers method of holding one end of a piece of rope is most reliable: when it gets wet, it’s must be raining; and when it swings around it must be windy!

    Around 1200hrs Alf, Vikki and their friends Neil and Marylin arrived having driven through rain from Yass. Fortunately around this time the rain cleared a little, allowing them to set up camp in relatively dry conditions. I must admit to being somewhat amused at the site of Alf’s tiny (maybe “teensie weeny”) Camplet against the comparative ginormous Jayco. Even more interesting was when these couples conjoined their camps into a single covered area using an array of tarps. And just as well it would seem for later in the day and in later days it became the most protected area under which some of our happy hours would be spent.

    Ken and Marie made their arrival during the afternoon and set up their traytop next door to me overlooking the river. Allan and Mary Anne also arrived in rain during the late afternoon and set up their traytop wondering what they might have been in for weather-wise. And right away there was comment about Allan’s famous Akubra. As can be seen in to photos, it looked as if it had been to the Andes and back, or had been used to sled down Kosciusko (in the summer!). He seemed determined to get the most from it, even if it was only the brim remaining! Cheers, Allan

    Well, the break in the weather didn’t last and Phil and Sandra arrived in their Light Weight Camper as rain started to bucket down quite heavily around 1500hrs. They brought with them some promising news of finer weather and a prediction of 34°C for tomorrow. Sounded good at the time, but we’ll just have to wait and see (I’ll have my piece of rope forecaster ready just in case!). After the welcome to the camp they drove around looking for suitable camping spot, and drove around, and drove around and…well, we started to wonder what was going on for a while. Finally, they settled on a spot on the northern side of the camping area., and eventually all was revealed. Evidently their camper is most susceptible to not being level and also needed to be on slightly elevated ground. The reason, it seems, was that they were using the vehicles battery to run things so needed a place where it would be possible to push start the vehicle if necessary. Sorry Phil, you did have us kinda puzzled for a bit!

    Last arrival for the day was my colleague Brendan with his Jeep and swag. He also came equipped to catch THE big Murray cod. Well, at least he thought that that was what was going to happen. Hah…no chance. After all Alf had been trying to get a fish since his arrival and not a nibble. Still it didn’t faze Brendan. He tried and he tried and he tried, lost I forget how many lures and the best that he could do was land…wait for it…a piddling little carp. Guess them’s the breaks, huh?

    The evening brought back more rain and happy hour was arranged under tarps courtesy of Alf and Neil’s pre-arranged shelter. They obviously knew something the rest of us didn’t - thanks guys; you sort of saved the day. But there was to be no campfire this evening so most of us retired early.


saturday 13th

    After a rousing awakening from what must have been at least a million cockatoos, the day started off quite sunny. But it wasn’t to last long when clouds started to roll in from the northwest – a reversal of yesterday’s direction – but it did stay dry until late in the afternoon.

    Terry and Brenda arrived in their Cub Supamatic around midday and set up camp next to Alf’s and Neil’s camp. A little later Marty and Susan arrived in their relatively new Complete Campsite.

    This was to be the complete compliment and fortunately the weather had improved during this setting up phase. It also remained dry enough to consider gathering some firewood for a campfire this evening. Sensibly, the fireplace closest to our refuge (I mean Alf’s and companions combined awnings) was chosen for the first campfire.

    While the weather remained somewhat to our advantage we proceeded with a show and tell from around 1500hrs, but we did caught out towards the end with some squally showers. It was interesting, as always, to get some insights into the various rigs and how it suited each of the owners. Both Allan – Mary Anne and Ken – Marie were keen to show off the finer points of their tray-tops, both Alf –Vikki and Phil – Sandra were laying claim to the title of owning a Tardis (for those who don’t follow Dr Who it looks the size of a phone-box from the outside, but when entered, well…). And both the Camplet and the Light Weight Camper do have a surprising amount of internal space when fully expanded. I was interested in comparing some of the features of my Cub Supamatic with Terry and Brenda’s newer version. Marty and Brenda's Complete Camper is perhaps one of the largest camper trailers I have ever seen for its style. When the annexe(s) are added there is a huge amount of living space and it also had rear access, I think, for the addition of en-suites or additional rooms. (Marty, correct me if I’ve not got this wrong!)

    About now was time to get on with happy hour and all retired to the shelter of Alf’s ‘marquee’ if I can call it that. Of course, without mentioning anyone in particular, for some happy hour seemed often to have started much earlier! A few stalwarts (including he of the now well known ‘hat’) decided to brave the out-of-doors, at least for the time being. Lighter showers became a bit more frequent, but enough dry wood was about so the fire was lit and once it was going, it did kind of compensate for the inclemency of the weather.

    After the evening meal, we again gathered around the fire, ducking under cover when the occasional squall came through. People had been asked to front-up with the handiest gadgets that they could think of, and now was the time came to the party for a prize for the handiest, most unusual or innovative piece of gimmickry. A few people (some late-comers) hadn’t been properly apprised of this event and a few were taken a little by surprise that this was a somewhat common sort of fun and games event at Victorian camps. Still, surprisingly, there were some interesting things brought forth.

    For example:
• Phil produced an interesting looking tent-peg puller,
• Allan tied himself in knots demonstrating the various applications for his fold-up portable toilet seat,
• Marty and Susan came along with a rather novel looking wine-bottle and wine glass holder that can be stuck in the ground anywhere. And at one point illustrated how easily it can be tripped over (sorry Marty),
• Alf seemed quite rapped with his small but useful wind-up torch – should be one in every glove box or tool box,
• Terry and Brenda were keen to wax lyrical about the shelf attachment to the side of their camper trailer, but while extremely useful (I wouldn’t mind one myself), I wasn’t sure if, as a sort of built-in, it would qualify as a gadget. We’ll let the judges, or rather judge decide, and
• Finally, the judge, Brendan, (with a little guidance from your’s truly) decided to award the prize of a digital tyre pressure gauge) to Neil who brought forth with great aplomb his pride and joy – a small electrical gadget. Hard to describe really. It was a sort of battery unit that would do all sorts of things and had plugs and sockets and…well, whatever. Claimed it would do nearly everything except make a good brew of coffee!

    And on that note, congratulations Neil and all those who made a presentation. Now let’s get on with the real business of the evening


sunday 14th

    At last, on the last official day of the meeting, there was the promise of some fine weather. Started off windy but fine and cloudy. Later in the morning the skies cleared to ‘Kodachrome’ clouds and remained quite sunny for the rest of the day. Alf, Neil and partners started packing early, as they needed to get back to Yass by around lunchtime – a trip of about one to one and a half hours. They left at 1000hrs. There was still some disbelief, by those who hadn’t seen Alf arrive, at how such a roomy camper could pack into something akin to a large wheelbarrow.

    Allan and Mary Anne also got on the road late morning heading to visit folks in Young, I think, while Marty and Susan headed off about the middle of the afternoon after a few quick hints on backing the trailer. Marty, you see, had explained that his first attempt at home when he first got the camper he managed to back it into the driveway no problems (beginners luck, I expect). After that he had had no end of trouble. So he was up for a few hints while at the campsite. (Well Marty, if you’re reading this, I hope that we were able to help and that you are now getting the hang of things - good luck anyway).

    Phil, Ken and myself were in no great hurry to leave, while Terry and Brenda were staying ‘til Monday. Phil had mentioned that there was a winery on the road into Wagga – in fact the Wagga Wagga Winery and wondered if anyone was interested in taking a look. So with no urgency for other priorities Terry, Brenda, Phil, Susan and myself ventured into the winery to sample and some their wares. There were a variety of varieties – if get my meaning, and for me some quite unusual tasting wines. But I am pretty much a Shiraz person and bought a bottle of their finest. The others bought selections from the other available choices. It was an interesting place that included a restaurant and the place was decked out with a fine collection historical memorabilia. Some of the artefacts brought back many memories: old wall mounted telephones. Arnotts biscuit tins, Coolgardie safes etc etc. Just fascinating.

    Happy hour was a little less populous today, but having noted that some rapport had been generated between some of the campers and our residents Ray and Bev, I once again made an invitation for them to join us at my annexe for a happy hour. As it turned out, I think this was one that was the most enjoyable. There was a great amount of story telling and everyone (including Ray, who hails from Townsville and wondered if the weather was ever going to warm up enough to restore his circulation). Ray, I know you won’t see this but cheers to some of stories you gave us. It kind of merged into mealtime and then into a sort of campfire around my little fold-up BBQ and campfire. It was, in fact, the finest of the day’s endings of the get together.


monday 15th

  This was to be the first and only fine and completely sunny day of the camp – not a cloud in the sky. In a way I was glad that I had chosen to stay another couple days and just enjoy the fine weather and the serenity.

    Terry and Brenda and Phil and Susan both left around the same time just before lunch-time. Terry and Brenda, who came prepared for some kayaking and had dipped the oars a couple of times during the camp, decided to have one last paddle before leaving the mighty “Bidgee” behind. Ken and Marie weren’t in any great hurry to leave as they were only heading to Wagga to catch up with Marie’s dad, before heading to Melbourne later. They casually packed up the traytop rig and by mid-afternoon were ready to say their parting “goodbyes”.

    So that just left me. And I have to say that it was just nice to relax, wander around and reflect on the past days events, the people and all their interests and personalities. One thing that I think I’ve learned from any of the CT meetings, and consolidated much by this one, is that you can meet people that you might never have had an opportunity to meet but through this common interest, and get to know them and meet them again always as friends. It’s a kind of comforting thought. I packed next morning and left to head north for Christmas with family.

    Finally to everyone who attended the camp, I wish you all well for the coming year. Thank you all for your lively chats and good humour. I would take great pleasure in any opportunity to catch up again somewhere out there on the wallaby.



• Great company & fine Happy Hours.
• The famous ‘Hat’.
• Phil having trouble settling on a campsite.
• Alf, Neil and company for provided a timely shelter from the elements.
• Marty and his efforts to master backing a trailer.
• Just being there.



Marty & Susan Alsford – Complete Campsite
Alf & Vikki Atkins – Camplet
Neil & Marylin Brown – Jayco
Ken & Marie Root - Utility Campers C190 slide-on
Phil & Sandra Reid – Light Weight Camper '98 Model
Terry & Brenda Coleman – Cub Supamatic
Allan & Mary Anne - Wombat Slide-on Camper
And yours truly: Dave Bulman – Cub Supamatic LX
with guest Brendan Bartlett


Dave Bulman