We recently took the family on our first camping trip in the ACT. After a bit of research, we decided to try out Woods Reserve, close to the Tidbinbilla nature reserve, in Canberra's southernmost vales. Our decision was heavily influenced by the ability to take dogs to Woods Reserve.
Following weeks of 'persuasion' by Miss 8, we agreed to go for one night only, as we are not really equipped for longer camps and rain was forecast.
After stuffing the car full of gear, we made it down and got our huge four room tent - aka 'the palace' - up. A few minutes later, a huge storm rolled in over the mountains and we all bundled into the tent to batten down the hatches. While it hailed the size of peanut M&Ms and poured down outside, the kids bounced off the walls and the beds inside. DH and I found ourselves in camping hell.
An hour or so later we emerged a bit moist but unscathed, congratulating ourselves for having set up camp at the top of a hill. However, a creek had sprung up within centimetres of our tent, and the kids quickly got wet. We got our gas stove out and cooked some bacon and eggs under the tent flap as it was still drizzly. Not too long after it started to get dark and we tried to settle the kids down for an early night.
I was awoken at 6 am the next morning by a hysterical kookaburra, obviously finding mirth in my night of wobbling around on a cheap airbed. The kids woke up soon after and within long were tearing around the shared campsite and talking in very LOUD voices.
After breakfast we finally had an opportunity to explore our surrounds, and how wonderful they were. Situated in a deep in a valley, with a river running through it, Woods Reserve really does feel remote. Kangaroos grazed behind our tent, much to the chagrin our tethered dog (dogs must be on leads at all times). The creek/river, fed from the towering Gibraltar Falls, could have been taken straight out of a Tasmania calendar it was so perfect. I also saw the biggest moth of my life in the toilet block (we're talking inches), which I guessed to be that tasty bush tucker morsel known as the Bogong moth.
The campsite itself features fire pits, picnic tables, a toilet block with free hot showers and washing up facilities. To me, it was the ideal mix of roughing it and essential creature comforts like toilets and hot water.
The friendly rangers came by a bit later, eager to see how the campers had fared in the storm. I paid the $8.50 per adult nightly fee before they went about their business stocking up toilet paper etc. It was encouraging to see that we daft campers weren't completely alone in the bush!
It didn't take us too long to pack up and jam everything back in the car, although we had to dry the tent out back at home before packing it up properly. Needless to say, I was pleased to be home after one very long night in the ACT wilderness!