Sneaky Little Getaway. (Flat Rock, NSW)

We finally went camping again! Just a short trip, down the coast near Ballina in New South Wales for a couple of nights. We timed it before the Easter holidays because campgrounds are better when they aren’t full and summer’s been over for a month already and we’d promised the boys our next camping trip wouldn’t be in the middle of winter again.

On the afternoon of departure J and I madly crammed the tent and all our gear into the back of the ute, finishing a scant 10 minutes before we had to pick the boys up from school. Kept driving, crossed the border and an hour later arrived at Flat Rock Tent Park.

Flat Rock beach with the campground just behind it. Ahhh heaven...
Flat Rock, Angel’s Beach with the campground just behind. Ahhh heaven… Image by flatrockcamping.com.au

Had a couple of minor pains in the arse while unpacking:

  • My half litre bottle of clove oil spray (to spray the tent before repacking, to prevent mould in storage, you know) had somehow done a Houdini and emptied itself through the box of kitchen stuff despite the fact it was still screwed shut. Clothes and sleeping bags thankfully spared a soaking.
  • It was really windy and putting up the big tarp was a challenge; even having the kids stand on the corners didn’t help much and they were nearly launched by big gusts once or twice.
  • The big ‘join-the-dots’ books I’d gotten specifically to keep the boys busy while we put up the tent had been completed before we’d even finished driving here, so they entertained themselves by scattering their sports gear all over the lawn and getting under our feet.

Finished just on dark as J got back from Ballina with fush and chups for tea. The boys were tired but didn’t go to sleep until after 8.30pm because of course they were hyped to be camping, and mucking around. They were in and out of the tent constantly, but I was impressed that they zipped the fly closed every time. I can never get them to shut a door at home! Maybe it’s because I’d told them if they left the tent flaps open the brush turkeys would sneak in and shit in their sleeping bags.

They did pass out eventually though.

How they sleep in a bed:

Aw. Invasion of personal space can be so adorable.
Aw. Invasion of personal space can be so gosh darn adorable.

And how they sleep in a tent:

Still trying to figure out how this happened without Finn getting kicked in the head.
Still trying to figure out how this happened without Finn getting kicked in the head.

A bit later a rainstorm hit and I’m glad Roars was asleep because there was lots of thunder and lightning; he’d seen distant flashes earlier on and hadn’t been too happy about it. J and I enjoyed a bit of reading by lanternlight as the rain thumped on the tarp and the frogs went bananas in the reeds next door. They sounded like thousands of rocks being tapped together! J possibly enjoyed our BYO verandah slightly more than me… while I’d been inclined to blow off the big tarp due to it being so hard to put up, he’d been determined. Yes – nice one husband. Annnnd now I’ll never hear the end of it.

By next morning the rain had gone and we headed to the Lighthouse Beach Cafe in Ballina for breakfast.

Had a fantastic view of Lighthouse Beach from our table by the window, and a sea breeze kicked up while we sat there.
Had a fantastic view of Lighthouse Beach from our table by the window, and a sea breeze kicked up while we sat there. Early autumn, late summer, it’s all good…

The food wasn’t half bad either. It tasted twice as good because I didn’t have to make it!

Lighthouse Beach cafe breakfast Ballina
I had the haloumi and mushroom vegie stack on pumpkin sourdough with a poached egg on top. Omg just writing that makes me want it again. The boys had banana bread and maple syrup + ice cream pancakes, with milkshakes… ha! Like they would ever eat healthy shit at a cafe.

Afterwards we walked up onto the headland to check out the views… what a stunning day!

It's a good day to be a surf lifesaver.
And what a day to be a surf lifesaver! This is my kind of office environment.
View from Ballina Head. The beautiful blues of the Pacific and the pandanus palm; just like at home!
View from Ballina Head. Pandanus palms and the beautiful blues of the Pacific; just like home!

Also had a squizz at the Richmond River Lighthouse – I’m a sucker for lighthouses, and this one is particularly cute. Built in 1879 it’s one of the oldest lighthouses in NSW and is still running. It isn’t as grand as some (it’s possibly the smallest I’ve ever seen!) but has buckets of charm.

It's so adorable! We tried to get in but it was locked. It's all automated now.
It’s so adorable! We tried to get in but it was locked. It’s all automated now.
The boys wanted me to get a photo of Peter Pan's "signage".
The boys thought Peter Pan’s “signage” (they mean ‘signature’) was super cool. James Barnet Design isn’t the name of a restoration company as I first thought, James Barnet was the Colonial Architect of NSW who designed the original lighthouse. He also designed several important buildings in Sydney including the General Post Office, Customs House, the Public Library, the Medical School at the University of Sydney and the Callan Park Lunatic Asylum.
porthole, Richmond River Lighthouse Ballina NSW.jpg
I love the porthole window in the door! Very pretty/pirate-y… AVAST!! We’ll rip an’ burn yer Jolly Roger, ye salty, pox-faced kraken- OOO but that porthole is just precious! *squeee*

The boys and I hung out at the campground while J headed to Ballina to find a phone signal for a bit of work. The boys had fun in their ‘secret headquarters’ (the ablution block had a keypad on the door) while I veged out in a camp chair, and we played some cricket too. We had to periodically stop play, though, because the boys had to chase off every brush turkey that came poking around our tent.

Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami). ... He's a Latham? Aw, maybe he just wanted to play cricket!
Ugly mofo isn’t he. Australian brush turkey (Alectura lathami). … Lathami? He’s a Latham? Aw, maybe the poor sod just wanted to play cricket! Image by National Parks NSW.

Watching them was hilarious! As soon as they spotted one they dropped what they were doing, made a quick plan like ‘you go this way I’ll go that way’, then with ninja-like stealth stalked the turkey around the back of the tent. Then I’d hear yelling, the turkey would shit himself and take off, then either hide up in a tree or land and run for it with the boys in hot pursuit. Brush turkey, then Finn, then Rory, disappeared into the distance and I’d piss myself laughing every time. And none of them got tired of it.

When J got back it was beach time at last! Flat Rock and Angel’s Beach were just a short sandy track away, the waves were perfect and the boys were raring to go.

Finn about to hang eight. Fingers.

the boys in the surf

As usual Finn grabbed the boogie board first, but Rory got to break in the new skimboard. The nice shallow beach with long breakers was great for both!

Skimdrifting!
Skim drifting! YEWWWW!

Rory would skim along so fast he’d actually overtake me running, laughing his head off. Swapped over and J had a turn on the tow rope too – it’s hard work dragging their arses around! I was a bit concerned J would do the dad thing and get egged on by the kids shouting “FASTER DADDY!” and take the turns just a bit too fast and sure enough I looked over just in time to see Roars tip over with all the g’s he was pulling and land on his head. And then get taken out by a wave as well. It’s okay buddy, walk it off… Okay Finn you’re up!

Gotta love sandy donuts at the beach.
Gotta love sandy donuts at the beach.

Got heaps of video with the GoPro – I’m still so in love with that thing!

Finn pov
SkimCam!
I'm surfing Mummy!
I’m surfing Mummy!

Since Rory’s okay with getting dunked now he’s also discovered the joys of the surf. He loves it! Notwithstanding the occasional minor wipeout. The beach was so long and shallow and the waves small enough that he found his feet again no worries.

The little wavelets were perfect for getting some air! I was impressed at how well the boys managed to stay on. Not like I was trying to fling them off...
Getting some air! I was impressed at how well the boys managed to stay on. And it’s not like I was trying to fling them off…
Woohoo hi Oma!
Woohoo! Hi Oma! Hi Moesy!

The boys had a great time, and J and I had a great workout, running laps up and down the beach. Then on one particularly vigorous donut J launched Finn up the sand and also onto his head. After that we deemed it safer to play a bit of cricket.

And Rory belts one of Daddy's famous yorkers; that's a four at least!!
With all this practise Rory’s getting pretty good at belting Daddy’s yorkers for six!

The rest of the weekend was spent just hanging around, chilling. We could’ve seen some more of the sights, and we might do that next time, but just switching off and not having to rush around to be somewhere is the best part of a holiday. The boys didn’t get that memo though, and neither did the brush turkeys.

Angel's Beach NSW

– Michelle

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful! The boys sleeping together at home is heartwarming. The beach is so uncrowded!!!! I’d camp if camping looked like this here 🙂

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    1. Michelle says:

      Thanks Huffy! The bed photo is actually from when we stay at Mum’s place… they share one double bed and my sister/husband and I share the king bed. We got tired of the little terrors spinning around in bed and kicking us up the bum all night.
      And uncrowds, that’s why we chose to go before Easter! Easter is traditionally a big camping weekend in Australia. Kind of the last chance before it starts to get a bit too cold and wet. Well, OUR idea of cold and wet. Thankfully we have a shitload of great beaches in Oz, and if you know where to go you can still find places you have all to yourselves! 🙂

      Like

      1. You should specify your sister OR your husband and you share a king. Weird much?
        Lol

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      2. Michelle says:

        Well obviously that’s what the “/” means, ya weirdo! Otherwise I’d’ve put a “&”, and then a 😬 and a *barf*. lol

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  2. I loved this! Okay, first of all, your kids are SO ADORABLE! That picture of how they sleep at home? Precious!!! Second, that part about the brush turkeys shitting in their sleeping bags if they didn’t close the flap absolutely cracked me up! I think I’ll have to use that one on Laken at some point, even if we’re camping in…Buffalo. Also, your PICTURES! WOW!!!! I absolutely can’t believe the ones where your kids are surfing. So, those were taken with the Go Pro? I’m thinking of buying a camera because I’ve been using my phone camera for a while and think it might be time to get a real, live, adult camera. But, I haven’t the slightest clue what to get. How neat is that thing, though! Wow! This looked like so much fun. Todd and I both love to camp and we talk all the time about actually getting out and doing it sometime, but it hasn’t happened yet. I think I need to show him this post. I now want to go camping…AND I want to go camping there. Because, why not pick heaven on earth if you’re looking for a place to set up tent? Wow, wow, wow. Simply gorgeous. As always, I enjoyed your fun commentary and your astonishing photos. Keep ’em coming! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michelle says:

      This is possibly my most favouritest comment ever – you give great comment, Schnitty! 🙂 Yeah I was smiling to myself about the brush turkey thing (parenting can be fun!!) but hey; it worked! They didn’t care about mozzies getting in, or spiders, but the brush turkey threat was apparently a clear and present danger.
      And I’m glad you enjoyed my photos; I absolutely love it when someone says they want to visit somewhere I’ve photographed and blogged because that’s a major reason I wrote the post! I would love it if you came to visit.
      As to the photos, some are with my Nikon digital SLR and some with the gopro… the gopro has the *extreme* wide angle lens meaning it fits in a huge area but it makes the background look curved. Like a fish eye effect. gopros are fantastic for all weather, sporty and action shots (like taking photos while riding a mountain bike for example) but they make the subject look further away. I love my Nikon because I can use the longer lens (55-200mm) to zoom in for closer shots, even during action. The kids, usually; playing soccer, playing footy, swimming, surfing, playing cricket, but also wildlife shots too. And the colours are amazing! We’ve had the Nikon for about 10 years (I kept it on ‘auto’ for the first 7 years then did an introductory course to learn how to use the manual settings which REALLY helped my photography improve) but it doesn’t do well in low light so I need to upgrade the camera body, and the gopro I got a couple of Christmases ago. It’s nice having options, as I feel a bit naked if I don’t have some kind of camera with me!

      Like

    2. Make sure you get Michele to tell you how to do all the tricky shots before you buy the camera 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Can we go camping again soon when I’m up there???? Just make sure my beautiful little boys don’t grow at all before then….!

    Like

    1. Michelle says:

      You will be here in the dead of a Queensland winter. Too cold! But maybe.

      Like

  4. Christopher says:

    That beach is spectacular and I envy the memories your kids will have of that place. Not to mention the memories you have of it.
    I especially like the lighthouse. I’ve seen quite a few lighthouses and climbed to the top of one that’s 49 metres tall. The view was spectacular but I made the mistake of looking down.
    Sometimes small is better.

    Like

    1. Michelle says:

      Go anywhere in Australia and the beaches are beautiful; it’s just a matter of preference as to whether you want one to yourself, or you want to catch the bus to it, or you want a wilder rocky coastline, or you want the beach totally comprised of countless millions of tiny white shells, or you want it patrolled by enormous maneating crocs… I think every taste is catered for! So many beaches… hopefully enough time… 🙂
      I like the sound of climbing a lighthouse! I’ve never been able to get up into one, large or small. 49 metres is quite a drop. Where was it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christopher says:

        It was the Currituck lighthouse in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina. That’s a fascinating place: there are five historic lighthouses within a few miles of each other.
        The beaches are one of many reasons I want to visit Australia, although “many” is a bit of an understatement. My list of reasons to visit Australia is as long and varied as the coast.

        Liked by 1 person

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