Our camp last night at Finnan Park on the southern shore of Grahamstown Dam north of Newcastle is a good example of how we remain free to camp in areas that are sign-posted with no-camping signs. When we’re walking in godliness, we can over-night anywhere with the blessings of the locals!

After leaving the Hunter Region Botanical Gardens where we’d attended a family reunion, we made a short drive to a random park that I’d noticed on the map. We often look for parks with playgrounds to provide entertainment for our children and enough space to park our rig.

Camping at Grahamstown Dam, November 2011
We like camping at Finnan Park because it provides undercover spaces great for meal-times as well as fresh water on tap, playgrounds and toilets.

No camping sign at Grahamstown Dam, November 2011
Finnan Park is clearly marked with a no-camping sign, but as we soon discovered, it didn't apply to us!

As the sun went down, we didn’t make any effort to pack up. When a security guard drove in, we greeted him politely. He informed us that he needed to lock the gates to secure the park and asked if we planned to camp here tonight. When we replied to the affirmative, he said that he wasn’t sure when the gates would be unlocked in the morning. We indicated that we didn’t mind, as we didn’t plan an early start.

“Right,” he said. “It’ll be a quiet night for you, then!” And he left.

Security locking the gates at Grahamstown Dam, November 2011
The security guard locks the gates on us.

We understand that there are places where we cannot stay overnight, but we don’t need to be fearful of no-camping signs. Instead, we approach each place individually. When a local invites us to stay in a place overnight, we know that we’re welcome. If we’re cranky and tired and unthoughtful, then we’re not in the right frame-of-mind to camp where no-camping signs are posted. While on the road, we’ve been learning that there are no hard-and-fast rules about signs — the spirit of the rule is what is important.

Aisha playing with the hose, November 2011
Today has been really hot, and the girls have loved cooling off with water. While playing with a sprinkler, Aisha is delighted to discover she can make a rainbow.

After a lovely time by the water, we’re heading into Newcastle to visit relatives and buy some supplies before we head into the bush. We’ll also try to book our truck in for a warranty service, so there’s lots to be done.