Baby in Green Patch, NSW
By Patricia, mother of Amelia, 22 months
Green Patch, in Booderee National Park at Jervis Bay, is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Sydney, so about three hours with a 22-month-old in the back. It’s a scenic drive but Amelia missed most of it as she snoozed.
The camping ground is divided into two sections, D, popular with groups, and Y, which offers more privacy and quiet. The amenities make ‘roughing it’ bearable – there are gas and wood barbecues, well-maintained toilets and hot showers. Luckily Dad is a whiz at putting up the tent on his own, because Mum had to keep Amelia amused. Once ‘home’ for the next two nights was ready, we walked down the 100m to the pristine white beach where the water is calm and flat, perfect for little ones to wade in.
We expected night-time would be the biggest test in our adventure, and I think we passed. We tried to stick to our bedtime routine and started by bathing Amelia in the baby change room. Once her milk was heated over the gas stove, it was time to take shelter in the tent. (Ours is a one-room design, so co-sleeping was mandatory.) Amelia was excited about being in the tent and slept well.
Booderee National Park has several bush walks, beaches and lighthouses to explore. There’s also Hyams Beach nearby and you can drive to the nearby towns of Huskisson and Vincentia. But there’s plenty to see and do at Green Patch and its surrounds, too. The picnic grounds between the beach and the camp site are prime wildlife-spotting territory with kangaroos, rosellas and an echidna.
Time really does stand still when you’re camping. Food preparation takes longer, washing up involves trips to the tap, baths and showers become choreographed feats of juggling toiletries, towels and fresh clothes. Just doing the everyday routine will take up most of your time, especially when you’re keeping one eye on a child. And that’s the beauty of it; your focus is in the moment and the people you love the most.