A number of years ago (before kids), soon after we first got our boat, David discovered the ultimate camping spot on the very southern tip of North Stradbroke Island. It’s just off a protected bay, sheltered from the wind and not far from great sand dunes, seasonal freshwater lakes and fair dinkum wildlife.

When the Ts invited us to go boating with them this weekend, we jumped at the chance to share our spot with them.

The Ts followed us out the island by motoring their sailboat, and we moored up together. Kerrie and Richard have two boys the same ages as our girls, and we usually play together at least once a week, so the kids know and are really comfortable together.

We set up a tent and the Ts slept on their boat, so we weren’t really in each other’s pockets, but we did share meals and part of each day together.

It’s still quite cold at night, and chilly during the day — much too cold for swimming. But the kids ran around with not much on during the day, and I rugged them up well at night. We brought along all the bedding we had in the house so we would sleep warmly (which we did).

 Arriving at North Stradbroke Island, August 2008
It was fun to take the Ts to our favourite camping spot on the southern tip of North Stradbroke Island. They moored their sailboat alongside us on a sandy beach. We used the canoe to ferry things (and people) to and from their boat when the tide came up. You can see Aisha in the front right of the picture licking the salty sand from her hand, something she did all weekend.

Calista, 4 months old, August 2008
Calista was happy to fit into our activities. When we were out and about, I carried her in the sling (here, she's lying on it), and when the tent was set up, she slept in there quite nicely. Especially as she's not yet on solid food, I found it was VERY easy to camp with a baby.

Aisha, 3yo, Brioni, 23 months, August 2008
On Saturday morning, I made up peanut butter + Cheerio sandwiches for the girls' breakfast.

Brioni, 23 months, August 2008
The girls liked seeing the pelicans that hung around the area. We tried feeding one some chicken scraps, but he (she?) spat them out after initially catching them in his (her?) bill. They must only like fish.

Aisha, Brioni, Alex, Damien + Richard, August 2008
Richard was the master of holes, and no sooner would he have a big one dug, then it would fill up quickly. Forget the rising tides, small children fill up a hole much quicker!

David with Brioni, 23 months, + Aisha, 3yo, August 2008
When David was carrying Brioni back to camp, he noticed that she stopped responding to his comments and questions. She was so relaxed on his shoulders, she fell asleep! As it was mid-afternoon, we spotted some large kangaroos foraging for grass, but they very quickly hopped away.

Aisha, 3yo, Brioni, 23 months, + Calista, 4 months, August 2008
The girls were so worn out, they fell asleep immediately, with the two older ones each in a mirror pose. Throughout the night, I had to keep rearranging Brioni, who would roll off the small mattress she was sharing with Aisha and onto Calista.

David, Aïcha and Brioni, August 2008
At our campsite first thing in the morning, there's something deeply satisfying in stoking up the fire and waiting for the kettle to boil for that first cuppa.

Calista, 4 months old, August 2008
On the boat ride back, I held Calista under a sleeping bag to protect her from the wind, sun and spray. Brioni snoozed on the floor in front of my feet.

David, August 2008
I held the camera up from where I was sitting to snap this picture of David driving the boat. You can see the prow of the boat and the water reflected in David's sunnies.

We haven’t been properly camping since having children, as the Freedom Truck camps are hardly roughing it, so I was a bit apprehensive about how it would go, but we had a terrific time. I feel really encouraged to get out more and do it again (once I get rid of the sand in all our bedding!).