A taste of the outdoors - camping at Neurum Creek

March 28, 2016 Explorer Gabor 0 Comments

Neurum Creek Bush Retreat

When friends suggested we all go camping, the kids were keen, even though we had hardly any camping gear. It was about time we explored camping as a family so we agreed to go...despite the poor weather forecast.

Growing up in North Queensland we loved the outdoors and were regular campers, content to sleep on camp beds under the stars and cook over an open fire.  Camping in Southern Queensland has never had the same appeal.  All the good campsites were really crowded or too far away.  So we sold our 4WD and most of our camping gear, preferring to stay in more luxurious lodgings.

With this in mind, I was a little hesitant when friends suggested camping.  As it was at a campground near Woodford, with designated camp sites, fire pits, toilets and showers, we agreed it was worth exploring.  It also helped that our friends had boys the same age as ours and they were all experienced campers.

Neurum Creek is about an hour north of Brisbane, just past the sleepy town of Woodford.  It's part of the D'Aguilar National Park, a beautiful forest that is picturesque and serene.  The Neurum Creek Bush Retreat borders the National Park, offering over 50 camp sites, some with power.  Each site is quite large, with most nestled amongst the bush to give you some privacy.  We were a short walk to the main office, so the road past our campsite was fairly busy, though not annoying.

Our modest camp site

Of our remaining camping gear, we had a small tent with mattress for the boys, with hubby and I to sleep on camp beds.  We forgot to pack a sheet and blanket for the boys, resulting in them sharing one of the sleeping bags and hubby using the picnic rug from the car. The weather was warm and cloudy, with rain predicted and we were glad we brought a large tarp to sleep under.  As you can see, our camp site was modest though not exactly waterproof.

After setting up we headed to Wallaby Waterhole, the only spot open for swimming due to the lack of rain. The Waterhole was a tranquil oasis, despite the water looking brown due to the muddy bottom. It was a refreshing dip as most of the Waterhole is in the shade.

Wallaby Waterhole

With five hungry boys we started to think about dinner, making a campfire with wood bought for $11 a bag at the shop.  One bag was plenty for an evening fire.  Sausages cooked over an open campfire were delicious, washed down with a cup of tea brewed in the billy.

It was nice to have a hot shower before bed. The showers were clean and had plenty of hooks to hang your clothes.   As the Retreat uses creek and tank water, you have to bring your own drinking water or boil their water.  This made it a little tricky cleaning your teeth, so we cleaned sans water.

Campfire Cooking

Settled into our sleeping bags, or picnic blanket, by 10pm it was quite relaxing, until noise started rising from a nearby campsite. Our camping neighbours decided to drink and talk very loudly till the early hours, infringing on our precious shut-eye time. Around midnight it started to rain lightly.  Even light rain is noisy on a plastic tarp, which meant very little sleep.

By morning it was still raining lightly and most of our gear under the tarp was wet and muddy.  As the boys tent was quite old, it had perished in some parts allowing water to seep in, wetting underneath their mattress and some of our gear.  Yes, almost everything we had was wet or muddy.

Despite the frequent showers, we were able to get the campfire going again to boil the billy and cook some damper. The damper was great, crisp on the outside, soft and scone-like on the inside.  It was another first for the boys and I'm sure they'll be back for more in the future.

Camping at a non-powered site at Neurum Creek Bush Retreat is $12 per adult and $6 per child per night. Rates are slightly higher on long weekends and school holidays.

Beautiful spot for a bush walk

The best bits:  not too far from Brisbane, the toilets and hot showers make it quite a civilised camping experience, it's not expensive.

The so so bits:  if there hasn't been much rain, swimming options are limited; the Neurum Creek Bush Retreat is a large campground and gets quite busy - if you are looking for isolation, you won't get it here.

So did we enjoy our camping road test?  Despite the rain, wet gear, lack of camping gear and lack of sleep we enjoyed ourselves.  Not sure when we'll have a chance to explore camping again, but when we do we'll buy a large tent (think 9-man size) to keep us dry and get a good night sleep.

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