I haven’t been camping in a very long time, mostly due to Mum being too deathly afraid of no technology, so when her boyfriend and his two kids invited mum, my brother, my boyfriend and myself to come camping with them, I was excited! We camped at Cape Hillsborough National Park, an hour north of Mackay, Queensland – a beautiful little resort where you can see kangaroos, possums, bush turkeys and kookaburras everywhere! We planned to stay for three nights, but, well, that didn’t quite go to plan as you’ll soon find out if you read on!
We arrived at the park around 11am and set up our tent, gazebos and tarp in the midday heat. After a quick lunch, we all headed down to the resort pool to cool down, and it was surprisingly quiet! It was just the seven of us and one other small family. The water was so nice and it definitely cooled us down straight away.
Not long after getting back from the beach, we decided to trek over to a small island off the beach to check out what we heard was a great fishing spot. It was low tide, so we could walk there from the beach. We ended up getting stuck in a huge patch of mud, then having to rock climb along the side of the island before giving up and heading back over the rocks, NOT the mud!
After a rest, we settled in for dinner and prepared for a night of fondue and card games… before a MASSIVE storm hit that had winds equivalent to a cyclone! I posted about this night on camp previously, so if you want to read about this stressful and crazy night, check out my I Went Camping In A Cyclone post! After it all finally calmed down, we dried off and went straight to bed – we were exhausted!
Day 2 began with patting some friendly kangaroos outside the bathroom block, before embarking on a 2km walk to Hideaway Bay to try our luck at fishing. Unfortunately, it was too rocky and too close to the mangroves to even throw a line out, so we headed back and attempted to head down to the beach. We knew it was high tide, but we didn’t expect the high tide to reach well above the sand line! We had to call that one off, too, and settled into our campsite to have lunch before the rain began again.
We played a few games of Uno while it was raining before realizing that the rain wasn’t going to stop, and that we needed to do things we wanted to do regardless of the weather. Therefore, we decided to go hiking despite the incoming storm. The hike up the hill was covered by trees, so we avoided getting too wet, but it offered a great relief from what would have been horrible heat!
We made it up to two different lookouts and encountered a snake-looking stick, multiple giant spiders and a toad, before finishing the two hour walk and drying off under the gazebos. After dinner, we played a few rounds of the card game Phase 10, while eating fondue with strawberries, marshmallows and banana. Before long, we were all tired and headed to bed.
Early on, we headed down to Hideaway Bay again to get some phone reception to check the weather and contact family that were coming up to visit, only to find that it was raining so hard back home that my aunt had decided not to come. My grandparents were already there, however, so we headed back to camp to see them.
Not long after, the rain began. Horrible, torrential rain that was flooding the campsite in minutes. The tent began to flood and the rain was pushing so much water in that none of us were dry. We had to make a quick decision – stay and get flooded, or pack up and leave.
We chose to pack up and leave.
In torrential rain, we began packing up our site and running things to cars. We were all cold and wet and time was running out to make it home before the roads flooded over, but luckily the tarp and gazebos kept us mostly sheltered. When we eventually had to take those down, it was freezing cold and all our warm clothes were already packed away. Regardless, we finished packing up, jumped into cars soaking wet and headed off.
About ten minutes into the drive, we stopped. A road had flooded over in the high tide, so we had no choice but to turn around and have lunch back at the park, where the staff provided us with dry towels and let us use their barbecue to cook lunch. Some of us changed into dry clothes we found after rummaging through the backs of cars, and we waited for the rain to subside.
Eventually, we headed off again and the road had cleared, so it was smooth sailing all the way home, and we were finally home – safe and dry.
It was an adventure, that’s for sure.
Sarah May xxx