Camping Kaitoke

April 2014, by Tom

In a flash of inspiration, both Jen, Dave and us decided we needed to get a tent for Christmas. Alan and Trish helped out, and on Christmas day, both families were now proud owners of massive tents! Jen and Dave's - four room, ours a more modest (but still bigger than we could ever need) three room.

After the end of summer, and rolling through Autumn, and neither of us having used our new tents, we thought we should just book in a weekend and just go for it. I did a bit of a google and decided on Kaitoke, basic camping in a nice setting. I'd been here before with mates back in school

Finally the weekend was approaching when we were having our first family camping expedition. The weather was looking a little up and down, but not too bad, so it was all on. We managed to rummage through our tramping gear, and with a trip to Kathmandu,† we were set to go. With the boot fully chocker, Lyon shared the back seat with Olive (his first time on the back seat in the new car).

The drive to Kaitoke was only about 45 minutes. The great thing about the Kaitoke camping ground is that it is very minimal. It is just a large area of trees and grass alongside a stream, with a basic toilet block in the middle. It is also dog friendly, so Lyon could come and join in on the fun. We arrived mid morning and found a lovely spot under some trees and started on the tent. Once we realised we followed the instructions wrong, it was actually pretty easy to put up - with colour coded poles making it all the easier.

Jen and Dave arrived and had their tent up in no time (having practiced before, up in Taupo). The kids played around in the tents and in the van while we sat around drinking coffee and relaxing in the sun. The campsite sits alongside a stream, where we decided to take a walk so the kids could paddle and sail stick boats. It was such a lovely tranquil setting. Lyon was on his best behaviour. We didnít need to cable him, and he was quite happy to stay near us, and have a run around with a couple of other dogs who were also camping.

The afternoon came along and Nige, Lana and Anthony turned up for a drink. It was also time to stoke up the coal BBQ. This was a bit of trial and error, and we never got it roaring hot, but it was hot enough for the sausages, and some tasty smoky steak. Unfortunately not hot enough for Nigelís lamb, which he ended up taking home with him. Next time we will be better equipped.

By night time, it was getting cool, so we donned our warm gears and stood round the BBQ toasting some marshmallows on sticks. The kids thought this was great fun. Now, though, came the hard bit - getting the kids to bed! Olive has been sleeping very well for the last week or two, so we had our fingers crossed on this night. Luckily she was quickly out like a light. With the kids all asleep, we sat around drinking coffees and trying to keep warm until about 10.30 when Olive decided to wake up. Her having no nap can lead to her waking in an hour or two - and on this occasion we think waking to a pitch black room upset her a bit, so we got her up, looked at the stars and the moon for a bit - which was amazingly clear, then all went to bed in our room sharing our double air mattress. A rather restless night sleep for all, but we made it to 7am.

With morning here, we had cereal and porridge followed by bacon and egg butties for breakfast. Yum! We managed to pack up and squeeze everything back into the new Pitz and head home, a little weary, but happy to have finally made it camping.

We look forward to summer when we can venture out again for maybe three nights of camping Kaitoke!

T
Olive and Violet loved playing in the Van (or Bus as Anthony called it)

Olive and Violet loved playing in the Van (or Bus as Anthony called it)

Paddling in the surprisingly warm water

Paddling in the surprisingly warm water

Anthony comes for a play

Anthony comes for a play

Toasting marshmallows!

Toasting marshmallows!