Chosen simply for its location on our western route and recommended highly by an old-timer who stopped to eat his sandwich near us at Archer’s Crossing, in the afternoon we found ourselves driving into the parklands surrounding Judd’s Lagoon outside Yuleba.

Judd's Lagoon, November 2010
Our campsite at Judd's Lagoon was a beautiful, tranquil spot close to the water.

The grounds were mown short with large barrel bins placed at intervals for rubbish collection. Large trees framed the casual campsite, and we saw that there was only one other motor-home in the area. We chose a level spot close to where the bank sloped gently down to the water of the lagoon — a lake that stems off Yuleba Creek and has no current.

After we pulled up, I donned my wetsuit and set off to investigate how deep the water was. The older girls eagerly joined me in the water, and we swam around, startling a family of young ducklings that were enjoying a peaceful paddle. The water was layered with different temperatures — the surface was deliciously warm and the layers underneath cooler and even cold. It was a refreshing swim after our drive, and I felt invigorated enough to try my hand at some more bush cooking.

David set about collecting wood for the fire. Being a well-frequented campsite, the area was devoid of dry, dead branches, but a little forest nearby yielded some good logs. I prepared a simple meal of pasta and sauce, which we enjoyed eating together, sitting around the campfire in the late afternoon.

While camping, I like getting into a different rhythm of the day where we eat when we’re hungry and go to sleep when we need to. Usually we end up in sync with the sun, and eating our main meal in the late afternoon while it’s still light certainly beats trying to prepare a meal at the “proper” time after it’s dark and you have to cook by artificial light!

The toilet at Judd's Lagoon, November 2010
Although there was a toilet at Judd's, it was firmly locked.

The girls had an early bedtime in the truck, and David and I enjoyed sitting out by the campfire for a couple of hours afterwards. We sing and talk, enjoying the view of the flames and each other’s company, fending off the mosquitoes with liberal sprays of repellent.

David was up with the first light of the dawn, and during his walk he saw numerous wallabies grazing. As a family, we only glimpsed one through the trees. It was across one finger of the lagoon and hopped away pretty quickly.

Wallaby, November 2010
We had just a quick glimpse of this wallaby before it hopped away.

While coming back to camp, David heard a shuffling noise and stopped to see what would come out of the long grass. When the strands parted, an echidna walked right in front of him and rolled into a ball when David reached down to investigate it. Very carefully — for they’re spiky critters — David managed to lift it up and bring it back to camp where we all had a good look.

Lauren with the echidna, November 2010
I was thrilled to get to hold one of these shy native creatures!

Touching an echidna, November 2010
The girls got to properly feel the end of the echidna's spines.

Brioni holding an echidna, November 2010
Brioni was brave enough to hold the echidna. (She's always bold with animals!)

Soon after breakfast, the girls headed off to the water again. They investigated a section of the bank where tree roots provided holds for climbing in and out of the water. Aisha and David saw a little water-snake swimming close by, but they didn’t disturb it.

Later, David took the canoe out, giving Calista a long ride and stopping to explore other parts of the wilderness. They climbed trees and pointed out birds. We especially like the long-necked herons that swim in the water for great distances underwater, bobbing back to the surface where you least expect them to be.

David canoeing with Calista, November 2010
It's always special to take Calista out on the water. She's hesitant at first but soon becomes comfortable and enjoys the activity.

When she was back on the shore, Calista stayed close to her sisters but didn’t want to get into the water. When David started canoeing up one arm of the lagoon, Calista elected to stay with me instead of joining her sisters.

Canoeing at Judd's Lagoon, November 2010
David's procession set out with the two older girls — one in the canoe and one following in the water.

They found a branch overhanging the water and climbed out to try jumping into the water. After David demonstrated the technique, it was the girls’ turn. Brioni tried, but ended up just falling from the branch. Aisha declined to participate though later she took the canoe out for a paddle by herself.

Canoeing in Judd's Lagoon, November 2010
It's bittersweet to see Aisha growing up — paddling her own canoe!

When we finally packed up camp and drove away from Judd’s Lagoon, we were satisfied with our exploration of the area. The girls have been loving all the swimming opportunities, and each day they demonstrate more proficiency in the water. This was really a beautiful spot to camp, and if we had still been in the company of others, I wouldn’t have minded lingering in at Judd’s Lagoon for longer.