members meet at Kywong Caravan park Victoria
held on the weekend of Saturday
29th to Sunday
30th September 2007
Paul and I decided to sneak off and head for Nelson a little earlier than
planned as I was on unexpected holidays and we thought we would make the most of
it. We headed off mid morning on Thursday into a very strong head wind. The
drive over was uneventful and the time passed quickly. We just hope the koala
we passed marching up the highway looking for a new tree made it to his
destination as safely as we did!
arriving at Kywong Caravan Park we proceeded to the small-unpowered camping area
to find a non-member camper trailer on our favourite site number 7. After much
debating and taking the direction of the wind that was blowing and which
direction it was likely to change to into consideration, we eventually decided
on a site that hopefully was going to give us some protection. We quickly set
up in very light rain and settled down to a bite to eat and a quiet read to wait
for some other early arrivals.
Rusty and Helen with their grandchildren, Madelyn (7) and Addison (2), arrived
mid afternoon in the rain. After a bit of debating they very quickly set up
their Aussie Swag, including all of the annexe area, to cater for the
grandchildren. Once they were organized we settled in under a shelter that was
protected from the wind by a large clump of bushes for drinks and a few nibbles,
catching up and debating whether we could light a fire or not.
about 6pm the wind abated and we proceeded to have a wonderful warming fire with
the small amount of firewood that we had taken along. Addison quickly pulled
his little chair up to the fire to keep his hands warm. The children were
bundled off to bed soon after tea. With the cloud disappearing it turned into a
beautiful moon and star lit night for a short time before rain came through
sending us all scurrying off to bed for an early night. With the wind rising
and more rain we wondered what the elements could throw at us the next day!
rising Friday morning it was to find Rusty prowling around the campsite looking
for a more protected spot. The wind had changed direction overnight and had
become gale force…. they had almost been blown away. The September gales had
After dismantling the annexe of the Aussie Swag they hitched it up to the car.
Rusty picked up the floor part, Paul took hold of the annexe and any other bits
of flapping canvas and Helen drove very carefully to their new position in a
very sunny, protected corner. Quickly re-setting up found them able to sit out
in the sun where we joined them for a chat.
During all this commotion we had a phone call from our friends Barry and
Marianne to say that the weather was far too awful for them to travel on their
Harley towing their camper trailer. They would keep an eye on the weather and
may be able to make it across later in the day. Meanwhile at camp the weather
was deteriorating badly…. gale force winds, rain, thunder and hail. It was
about at this stage that I was wondering whose idea it was to come to Nelson in
September. Was it the person who organized the last Victorian get together? It
all seemed like a good idea back then.
Another phone call in the afternoon to say that Barry and Marianne had attempted
to come but only got a few kms from home when they were hit by hail and had
turned around and gone home to try yet again the next day.
Rosie and Dave with their CampRanger, arrived early Friday afternoon for their
first get together and on our advice found a relatively sheltered site and
proceeded to set up.
Robert with his Cub arrived shortly after and decided to go it alone on the
other side of the camping area. With some assistance from Dave to put his tarp
up over his trailer he soon decided that it would be safer not to considering
friends Jeannie and Stewart with their son Cameron (16) and friend Ben (16) were
the next to arrive and set up their camper in super quick time. Cameron and Ben
wandered off looking for a spot as far away as possible for their tent and then
off fishing only to find the fish very elusive.
Happy hour saw us all huddled under shelter in our annexe, again debating
whether we could have a fire. As I had promised Roland a welcoming fire it was
decided to go ahead. When Roland and Wally arrived just on dark with the
trailer of wood, the fire was blazing and teas were being cooked, and they
announced that they were staying in a Motel! The excuse was that the hard
sided, hard floored, hard roofed trailer didn’t have a fridge and the tow car
was in bits! But we all know they were really just couldn’t face the weather
like the rest of us brave souls! They didn’t stay long and rejoined Holly who
was already nice and warm and dry back at the Motel.
Saturday morning saw slightly improved conditions and Anne arriving in glorious
sunshine although it was still very windy. Helping Anne set up her borrowed
tent and on lots of friendly advice from everyone it was eventually decided that
it was facing the wrong way. All hands on deck saw the tent picked up and
turned around without having to dismantle it too much.
amongst Anne’s tent being set up someone tried to make a loaf of gluten free
bread only to have it stick in the tin and be totally ruined in the process of
getting it out. But Cameron and Ben quickly demolished it with butter and jam
while still warm. Another and better loaf was soon made.
rest of the day saw people dispersing to go for drives, watching “The Cats”
demolish “Port” at the local watering hole, fishing or going for a walk.
With the gale force winds Addison got blown over by the wind while hunting for
shells on the beach and Ben & Cameron lost the footy to the river with Stewart
rescuing it later on in the canoe.
Another night was spent around the shelter and the fire looking for some
protection out of the wind and once again an early night was had by all when the
wind and occasional shower became too much.
Sunday morning we woke to slightly more conducive conditions for “Walkabout”
where everyone explained why they chose the camper that they did. Rosie and
Dave appreciated the opportunity to pick up some ideas and went home with a list
of things to buy or do.
Sunday afternoon saw most of us heading off for a cruise up the Glenelg River
and a tour of the Princess Margaret Rose Caves. With an inner ear problem I
decided that a boat trip was not an option for me so we drove to the caves.
Whilst waiting for the boat to arrive we checked out the camping sites near the
caves and have put this camping site on our to do list in the near future.
After a tough climb up the steps from the river to the cruise we all joined a
guided tour of the cave. The cave is not overly large, being long and narrow
but still contained many interesting formations to look at. Following the tour
we headed back by road and the others returned via the boat to return to camp to
a fire ready to warm by and to cook tea. Roland and Wally visited again and we
all caught up on the day’s happenings.
Because Robert had not been able to set up his tarp over his trailer, his
kitchen had become the table under the shelter and the fire at night. On Sunday
night Robert was busy stirring his rice when someone, when shifting a piece of
wood covered in charcoal, flicked two very large bits of charcoal directly into
Roberts much stirred pot. After apologizing profusely the culprit proceeded to
remove the charcoal from Roberts rice and offered some curry that was gratefully
Monday continued windy and saw Rusty & Helen & grandchildren depart early. They
were followed shortly after by Rosie & Dave who went away full of smiles, a big
shopping list and the realization that their canvas needed a bit more seasoning.
Anne left just before lunch, with Jeannie & Stewart mid afternoon after Cameron
& Ben had tried the surf out! Roland and Wally came and collected the remaining
firewood leaving enough for us to keep warm that night.
That left Robert and us for the final night. On Tuesday we awoke to beautiful
sunshine and the promise of a glorious warm day and headed of early to unpack
and clean up at home.
highlight of the weekend….. finding out that all of our camper trailers and
tents could stand up to whatever mother nature threw at us, the wonderful
company and the smiles that still prevailed even when the going did get a bit
tough. A big thank-you to Roland for the trailer of wood. Without it we wouldn’t
have survived and the weekend may have ended with all of us heading home much
earlier than planned.
Finally a big thank you to those who did tough it out. Hosting a get together
for the first time was a bit daunting but the encouragement we got from some of
the old hands was very much appreciated. It was only a small gathering in the
end and it is very frustrating trying to organize a weekend when people fail to
answer the icebreaker email! But for those that did attend I hope you enjoyed
it as much we did and we hope to catch up again soon not too far down the track.
Paul & Leanne
rolande & Holly's photos
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