So on Saturday morning, we were up and away by about 10am. [Cue amazed wonderment.] For I had prepared everything the day before. Remember?
We hit the road, M marvelling at the excellence of the new caravan mirrors (purchased for my assault on suburbia a few weeks ago). I, of course, had to be the in house entertainer for the baby who is often not in love with car rides. (Personally, I would also not enjoy being strapped into a seat for more than about 20 minutes…but hey, more about that later). We got near Phillip Island, when M and I began debating where Kilcunda actually was. As the Melways has, yet again, been ‘borrowed’ from my car, we were without guidance.
I suggested that there was probably a turn off to it just before you drive on to the island itself, somewhere around San Remo. I remembered seeing Newhaven on the map when I looked it up. If you followed that link, you will see that, although I remembered correctly that Newhaven was on the same map, so are a lot of places that are not particularly nearby. Anyway, M humoured me and we proceeded toward Phillip Island, stopping once to let Small Z frolic in the caravan, thus circumventing a backseat combustion.
We got all the way to San Remo, where the bridge over to Phillip Island is, and belatedly realised… that there was no turn off to Kilcunda. M went to ask someone for directions. He’s good like that. Meanwhile, Small Z and I played on the swings, and I gazed about, wondering what the hell was so good about Kilcunda, anyway? I knew four things about it;
1. That there were two caravan parks there.
2. That the Powlett River one was recommended heartily by M’s boat building mate.
3. That the GoogleMobile had driven through the OTHER one, giving the world wide web viewers great views of the cabins and caravans in all their glory. I couldn’t believe the GoogleMobile had bothered.
4. And lastly, that at the age of about seven or eight, I climbed across the bottom of the Kilcunda Bridge, and felt pretty cool. (For many, many years, I kept thinking I’d climbed across the San Remo bridge, and would tell people this, and feel somewhat smug when they looked both awed and startled. I now realise this is because:
a) they thought I was great, and that my parents were negligent,
b) they thought I was lying, but doing it with admirable vigor, or,
c) they had no idea what I was talking about and wanted me to hurry up and leave.)
Anyway, as I gazed around at San Remo, M came back from his investigations. I gently suggested that I would be more than happy to remain in San Remo, particularly as I had just remembered scoping out the Phillip Island Caravan Park, just over the bridge in Newhaven, back when I had just purchased my excellent caravan. But M, it has to be said, was mulish. So we stuck tired baby back in the car, I launched into soothing song, dance and food offering routines, and M drove onward to Kil-bloody-cunda.
It only took about 25 more minutes. We passed the Kilcunda Caravan Park (so loved by the Googlemobile) and continued on, arguing about which side of the road the Powlett River Caravan Park was on. “Left!” I kept declaiming. “Right,” said M, through gritted tiny teeth. It was on the right. [Sigh.] We drove in. It lacked in any instant appeal, but as we had finally arrived, we ignored this, assuming that there was some oasislike part that we would discover after we handed over our $18. The man taking the money said to M, “Adams? Thank god for a proper Aussie surname. Can’t spell hardly anyone’s name who come through here. I just hand ’em the book and get ’em to write it themselves.” Not only a great advertisement for the premises, but also a pithy summation of his spelling skills.
There were quite few people in attendance. Just enough to have snaffled all the shady spots. There were also some permanent cabins and caravans, that had Australian flags flying in the wind – and there is nothing more annoying to M than than people flying Australian flags. It’s just one of his quirks, which is pretty funny now that Small Z is in love with flags. Hee hee.
So we pulled up to the side of the oval in the stinking hot sun, and I tried to get Small Z to sleep in the caravan. Not before telling M NOT to unhitch the van, as I was undecided about how long we would be in residence. The caravan had become completely overrun by medium sized black ants. They were very amiable, but evidently unable to understand that they were not wanted.
Small Z would not sleep, and so we went to observe the caravan park’s namesake. There was a lot of water in Powlett River, but the banks were thick with brackish seaweedy mank… there wasn’t anywhere to swim from. The beach was too far away to walk to in the heat. We slumped our way back to the caravan. It had taken about two hours to get to this stupid place, and it was vile. I decided to take charge.
“Right. Let’s pack up. We’re leaving. I want to go back to San Remo and stay there, or go home. And stay there.”
M not only agreed, he sprang into action, packing up bits and pieces, and convincing Small Z back into her carseat. We decided to approach it as a learning experience, and didn’t even bother getting our money back from the orthographically challenged bloke in the office. We were there for a total of approximately forty minutes. On the way back through Kilcunda, we detoured through the other caravan park, and found it also lacking in general atmospherics. It seemed a bit bleak in comparison to the wildly verdant photographs I was looking at online – they were obviously taken a few years back after some proper rain, or have been photoshopped in the extreme…
We made it back to San Remo, and headed for the Phillip Island Caravan Park. We were given the choice of a site next to a straggle of uni students or a buck’s party. M looked beseechingly at the lady and asked about powered sites – they gave us one that is usually booked out every weekend. Serendipity.
From that point, everything improved. Even the ants decided to leave! Except the minor hiccup when I had to own up to M about all the things I had neglected to pack:
– The camp chairs
– Pillows and blankets
– Food (although there was tea and coffee)
Um. Yeah. Basically all the necessities. I did try to point out that I’d packed all of Small Z’s things, and that the caravan was replete with cutlery, bowls, plates and dinky little storage containers, but to no avail. He went off into San Remo to gather supplies, after borrowing a couple of chairs from the permanent site next door. In the meantime, Small Z and I explored our surrounds.
At this point I have to interject into my own ramble and say that I realise that caravan parks do not necessarily evoke joy in everyone. And this caravan park was not my ideal, but compared to the Kilcunda effort, it was princely. It had a big kind of jumping castle thing that kids were going crazy on, so Small Z and I had a bounce, and then went on a five minute stroll from our site, over a small hill to the beach. Where there was NO ONE. It was awesome.
M came back bearing beer and cheese, we all had a swim. Small Z finally napped, and when she awoke we went over to San Remo and got the best fish and chips we have had in a long time. We saw a very large and lovely stingray in the water, and Small Z was delighted by the birdlife – the pelicans and seagulls.
Sleeping in the caravan was not any better than last time, but surviveable. The next morning we cooked up some porridge and eggs, and then set out on a walk. Only to remember that we probably had to check out at 10am! M did a dash back to pack up, while I popped Small Z in her sling and walked OVER the San Remo Bridge. It was lovely.