Saturday, 23 June 2018

Brisbane Trip Day 35 - 38: Bimbi Park -> Home

The wind was strong on the first night - I was surprised that it didn't scare me, I usually am uncomfortable with wind. It was loud though and at times I was awake listening to it and hoping that everyone's tents were safe. (All the homeschoolers were fine - one hire vehicle that some backpackers were staying in ended up with a large branch on it, but no one was injured).

The heavy wind continued for all of the next day, then eased overnight which was a relief to everyone - it had most of the adults feeling a bit jittery and exhausted, although it didn't slow the kids down.

I was pretty tired after our 5 weeks away and was happy to sit at our tent up the back of the camping area and chat to whoever wanted to come to see me. I spent much of the first couple of days talking with our friend who was camped with us, and with others who came up to see us. It was great to sit and relax and not have to think too much.

The kids were very happy off with their friends. Caitlin and the rest of the teens wandered around the camp, played games, went for walks, sat in the lounge area of the camp kitchen, took lots of photos of themselves and each other, played on the swing, and forged stronger friendships. Liam and his friends chatted a lot about fantasy games and stories, played tag games, explored the camp grounds, and occasionally played on their DSs. Amelie played mainly with a couple of girls camped near us, they played with pokemon, did roadworks on the path in front of the other girls' tent, played mini golf and ran around a lot.

Various people had fires at night which were great to sit around and chat (for the adults) and the kids came back and forth with marshmallows. The boys played games with torches of an evening. Amelie was quite tired each night and ready to go to bed reasonably early.

On the 3rd day our campsite friend packed up and headed home - his son (Liam's friend) stayed in his tent next to us for the rest of the camp. One of Caitlin's friend's dads also went home, and the friend moved into our tent. Another of Caitlin's friends had his swag next to our tent (his dad had stayed the first night), so we had quite a tribe of extras with us.

Each of the kids and their friends spent time hanging out at our campsite, as well as at other campsites and in the kitchen. At one point all the teens and most of Liam's friends were at our tent, and someone started massaging someone's shoulders, which quickly turned into a massage chain - I had a great massage from Caitlin's friend.

On the 3rd evening I walked up to the top of the nearby hill, it was great to see the view from there and watch the sun head towards the horizon. There were glimpses of the ocean, and views of the forest in all directions. I was also able to get enough mobile reception to catch up on messages that had been sent while I'd been at camp - although this brought me back to the real world a bit and reminded me that our trip was nearly over which felt a little less relaxing than camp.

The next day I went for a longer walk by myself to the lighthouse. The walk itself was along a wide path, mainly through open fields, and occasionally through the forest. It was a sunny afternoon and quite a pleasant walk, although longer than I'd expected. I stopped to look at a tiny graveyard my friend had told me about, with the graves of adults and children from lighthouse families who had died while stationed there. The view of the ocean from near the lighthouse was quite beautiful. On the way back I ran into Caitlin and her friends doing the same walk as me. When they came back they spent time up on the top of the hill watching the sunset and taking gorgeous photos.

I spent several hours each afternoon sitting at my tent chatting to friends and drinking cups of tea. The weather was sunny and warm and it was a very pleasant way to spend the time.

On the last night the wind picked up a bit again and it started raining. I got up and sorted out the potential for leaks. Packing up in the morning was tricky with the wind and rain coming on and off. The kids hung out with their friends and I chipped away and the packing up, and we were ready to go around the middle of the day. I was taking home two of the other kids so we had to pack the car and the trailer differently, it was pretty crowded but we got everything and everyone in. Throughout the morning we said goodbye to people as they headed off and we said bye to the last few families before we went as well.

We drove home via the Great Ocean Road which was beautiful, although very slow because of the frequent roadworks. Coming through the countryside before Geelong someone indicated to me that there was something wrong with my trailer - I stopped and checked and one of the straps across the back had come loose and was dragging on the ground. I tied it back together with cable ties and secured the carpet and trailer again.

We had a fairly easy trip around Melbourne, and we stopped at Bundoora to drop Caitlin's friend off with family. The rest of us kept going and arrived home in the evening. Very exciting to see Tony again after so long, and to see the dogs and cat.

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