We like to camp off-the-grid in spots where we don’t have many visitors, don’t have to pay and can access some sort of cool water for swimming. In order to find these places, we often need to detour off the main roads and explore new territory.

When we were packing up from our comfortable camp at Grafton, it took all morning. In just three short days, we had settled ourselves so comfortably that it took half a day to retrieve, sort and pack our belongings.

When we were finally ready to go, we discovered that the Pritchards had only just concluded their own long-winded loading session. The fact that we were ready at the same time was a sign of the wonderful harmony between our two families.

I remember many times in our marriage when David and I have not been in harmony, and one of us has been left waiting impatiently in the car, fuming at the inconvenience of being delayed by the other. Those days are thankfully behind us now as we have both found how to share love and unity that comes from our Father.

When we drove out of South Grafton, we were united with a particular destination in mind. We were all aware of the Nymboida Canoe Centre and headed towards it. However, as we drove past the property, we were repulsed by the vast quantities of campers already in position. Also, with young children,w e preferred to find a quieter river or creek where the kids could play freely without being swept away by the current.

So instead of turning off into the canoe centre, we kept driving. A side road looked promising, and we drove up there to discover about half an hour later — with only one dead-end of enquiry — a low bridge over the Nymboida River.

Siesta time in the truck, December 2010
During rest-time, the girls ended up all falling asleep in this configuration.

Playing in the Nymboda River, December 2010
The Nymboida's current was so strong that David tied a rope to the bridge and hung onto it so he wouldn't get swept away.

Aisha holding the Flip, December 2010
Aisha was eager to capture David's antics on the Flip. She's a keen photographer and is always requesting an opportunity to take photos.

After the guys had tested the current, we all cooled down in the water with a quick swim. Our girls were hot and sweaty from their siesta in the truck, and they were eager to go for a swim. Because the bridge was so close to a road, it wasn’t a lovely place to camp, and so we drove off again.

Playing in the Nymboida River, December 2010
On the other side of the bridge, the water was a bit calmer, and we could all go in to cool off.

When Jason turned down a dirt track sign-posted “Old Cunglebung Road”, David and I gasped in surprise. Not only were we travelling with someone who had the same appetite for remote campsites, but we were actually following someone who was taking us on the path we would choose to go.

Riding in the top of the truck, December 2010
While we were driving slowly along the dirt track, I took the girls to the top of the truck and opened the top hatches so we could all look out.

Greeting horses, December 2010
We stopped to greet some horses. Sarah and Grace offered some long grass to the horses to lure them to the fence for a pat.

Jess in the top of the truck, December 2010
Jess saw us riding up the top and when we stopped to greet the horses, she asked if she could have a ride up the top too. She loved it!

After passing through one unlocked gate, we found ourselves winding through tall forests, along cattle paddocks and over a stoney creek bed. The grass was long and green, the cattle were few, and there were no houses in sight.

After crossing a stoney creek, the truck started to slip on the muddy track up the other side. Jason and David attached a tow rope and with a bit of help from the Pritchard’s Kluger, we made our way up the rest of the slope.

David and Jason stringing a tow rope, December 2010
David looped the tow rope several times around, and Jason's car helped pull us up the muddy slope.

The paddock at the top of the rise was flat with a little, clear stream nearby. It was a good spot to stop and after our close encounter with the mud, David and I were happy to park. Jason ventured further up the track until his vehicle was stopped by the mud too.

Once we had parked in position, Jess quickly set up her own tent. I was impressed by her initiative and gave her a hand with some of the poles.

Jess setting up her tent, December 2010
As soon as we were stopped, Jess started working on setting up her tent.

Brioni and Aisha exploring the creek, December 2010
Brioni and Aisha went down to the creek to check out the water's depth.

Setting up camp, December 2010
The kids played on a scrap of carpet while the grown-ups set up camp.

While I made dinner, David took his chainsaw to collect firewood. As the petrol-fuelled roars echoed across the hills, we joked that David had blown our cover. However, the truth was that we were so remote that no one heard the noise.

Jess with Delaney and Brielle, December 2010
The babies and older girls all adored Jess, and we were thankful for her involvement in watching over all the children.

After the kids got to bed, sitting around a fire gave us a focal point in the dark. The stars freckled the night sky and we alternated our attention between them and the smaller flames close to our feet.

This was a good, peaceful location — off the beaten track and full of promises for tomorrow. It’s good to be camping again.

Some photos in this post were taken by Jess and Sarah. Thanks for sharing!