Cold weather camping


Despite the less the than perfect weather forecast, nothing was going to stop us heading to Bruny Island for one last camping trip of the season.  Some said we were bonkers, made of stern stuff, but really, camping in cold weather has many benefits including no crowds and almost no bugs.  Besides, I don't mind if it pours with rain, or blows a gale, I just love the feeling of being outside.


The first day brought perfect weather for fishing, long walks along the beach and fireside whittling.   On the second day, however, we got hit by a downpour and took shelter under a fly we suspended between several trees. There, we huddled around the fire, listening to the sizzle of raindrops as they hit the flames, carefully rationing the remaining firewood until the next delivery arrived at 4pm.  The children retreated to the tent, warm and dry, to spend hours happily playing ludo and dominos.  

The rain passed and the winds came up and helped to somewhat dry the sodden fly.  We baked potatoes in the coals and serve them with butter, baked beans, cheddar cheese and plenty of sriracha sauce followed by campfire peanut brittle.


The wind died down a little, the fire is stoked and wet layers of clothing replaced with clean dry ones.   At night we boil the billy one last time to fill hot water bottles, and sleepy children are tucked under cosy cotton sleeping bags covered with vintage woollen blankets.

Cold bones warmed with whiskey in our bellies, the parents sit around the fire, talking nonsense whilst listening to the soothing crash of nearby waves and the rush of the wind through the tall eucalypts, captivated by the glorious night sky and the green glow of the southern lights.

I take my cue from the children who are so happy to be here. Wet weather doesn't phase them at all, there are too many other distractions.   Secret paths cut through the forest lead to the Land Of Sticks, and they are oblivious to the wet bracken that brushes against their clothes and chills their little feet.  The shore is filled with treasures for beach combing and they find whopping big sea bird feathers and make quill pens and their own ink by grinding charcoal with water.  I'm happy to watch their goings on, fortified with books to read and plenty of tea.







Puddles in the tent, wet socks and smokey clothes are all part of the charm of cold weather camping, "you smell like bacon!" cry the little ones.   On the last day, after we've packed up the car, we take one last walk along the beach before we head home on the ferry. The wind blows cold and another southerly is approaching, bringing more rain.  But I don't care,  I close my eyes, feel the wind on my face and know that this holiday is perfect, because we're outdoors, it's peaceful and we're together and that makes it perfect, proven by the fact that no one wants to go home just yet. 

And as ever, when I visit Bruny Island, I dream of living in a tiny shack, in a forest by the beach, just like this one, so I can walk along dark and moody windswept beaches every morning.

33 comments:

  1. I love the last camp of the season also, and there is no better place than Bruny! Beautiful words and photos. x

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    1. Thank you Holli, the last camp of the season is the best. x

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  2. Just gorgeous Michelle. I love the simplicity of camping...even if the weather is less than perfect. Yay for no crowds. This sounds like a perfect holiday and how about that peanut brittle! I love all of your photos but the second shot it magical. Is that teeny shack on Bruny Island? It is perfect. Happy Sunday to you x

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    1. Thanks so much Jane! That shack is actually a fancy boat shed on Bruny Island, but I'd happily move in! Happy Sunday to you too xx

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  3. Almost makes me want to leave the couch... but we're not yet such seasoned campers!

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  4. We are tent hunting at the moment and this just makes me want it all the more.
    As I say to my kids all the time, "what happens if you get wet?...you get dry". Rain isn't to be scared of.
    Lovely, lovely post Michelle.

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    1. Exactly Brydie! Good luck with tent hunting....what a minefield!

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  5. Thank you for your Bruny Island posts; so sweet and so full of memories for us. We're cold weather campers here too, for us in QLD that means we can camp year round. I do miss the Tassie beaches though. So raw, wild and deserted.

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    1. Thank you Deborah Lee - the Tasmanian beaches are pretty special.

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  6. CAMPFIRE peanut brittle! *faints* xxxxxxxxxxx

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  7. It all sounds so romantic and beautiful, and I love going along for the ride from the comfort of my laptop. Maybe with a little more space and time I will be able to go camping again, but our last attempt was a disaster. Two words - tummy bug.

    Maybe once this next baby of ours is a little older we will try again! :)

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    1. Practice makes perfect Christina! I've found as the children get older it does get easier. It's such a great affordable holiday for us. x

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  8. looks lovely. I don't mind cold weather if I can get warm.

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  9. That sounds about as perfect as a family holiday gets, in my opinion. Oh my. That campfire peanut brittle - be still my beating heart!! What a beautiful post :)

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    1. Thanks Heike! Peanut Brittle - I know!

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  10. Oh please, please can I come too?? I LOVE the thought of beach hut living...

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    1. Yes of course! The thought of it is so appealing!

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  11. You have written this so beautiful that I SO want to be there now. Sounds so free and comforting and despite the weather relaxing. I love getting closer to nature and this is close to nature.

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    1. Exactly Sabrina! Thank you!

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  12. Your descriptions are so lovely I feel like I just had a little camping holiday...

    And that peanut brittle - please tell me there is a recipe for that somewhere? Made my mouth water!

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  13. A lovely post Michelle, thanks for taking me along with you.

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  14. Oh that sounds like a dream! xx

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  15. I would love the peanut brittle recipe as well.....I did some camp cooking recently, scones and maple syrup chicken and roast veggies......... that would make a perfect dessert. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  16. Oh I can smell the fire and the salty air.. So beautiful and such great inspiration for me to begin planning our little one's first camping trip. xx

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  17. Oh mercy, you've just explained what I'd like a cold-weather camping trip to be! I'm uncertain how I'm going to feel during my first Melbourne winter in fifteen years. Queensland has spoiled me, weather-wise. I WANT to be brave, I want to be tamping about in boots in the damp, I want to watch the kiddies frolic in hand-knit beanies, with rosy cheeks and bright eyes. I naturally feel as though I'd like to hibernate in the cooler weather, but I want my kids to not inherit my inclination for the indoors. So I will probably just drink lots of whiskey ;-)

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    1. Wool thermals Stacey is my secret, and whiskey helps too!

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  18. You summed up cold weather camping perfectly! (I know I'm late to the party I'm catching up on my blog reading!) We too camp through the cold weather - the smell of fire, the hand knit clothes and soulful cooking. People think we are crazy but we wouldn't have it any other way.

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  19. I have never heard of campfire peanut brittle before... is it easy ? Please tell me how x

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  20. I too have never heard of campfire peanut brittle but I must make some! Cold weather camping is something we did when I was growing up. I loved it. (new to your blog...it's simply gorgeous!)

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