the beginners guide to camping

The three rules of camping…

  1. Choose an awesome group of people to go away with.
  2. Camp at a beautiful spot that makes you feel happy every morning you wake up.
  3. Just roll with it.


When friends invited us to come camping with them, I firstly jumped at the chance as I grew up camping. But then as the date neared I had so many doubts and was this close to cancelling! I was worried about breaking the routine, getting no sleep, having no cot for the first time, how to entertain kids for long days…but I went. And I had the BEST time, as did the rest of the crew.

Left: where she started each night….Right: where she woke up each morning, after our 4am chats…lol

Entertaining the kids…when in doubt, a bucket of water never fails! Also colouring books, playdough, books to read, temporary tattoos…you need less than you think. We were lucky and had an amazing pool at the park so spent hours there but generally sand and water + the novelty of being with other kids all day is more than enough to keep them happy.

On a personal note, I am always so thankful to the children who include Peyton in their playtime. She often says hello to older kids and they just ignore her as she’s younger. She loves playing with others, so to the parents of the children who we camped with, thank you so much for your amazing children; they gave me daughter the best weekend and I am so grateful for that.Β 

Essentials…if you’ve never been camping before, you don’t need as much as you think you do. A tent, bedding, torch/lamp/lantern, winter pyjamas (seriously, nights in a tent get cold!), kitchen things (plates, utensils, sharp knife, frying pan), clothes, food for a couple of nights (most camps have a communal fridge), books/toys, beach supplies, insect repellent. We didn’t bother with a table or cooktop, opting to use the camp ground facilities instead. But if you’re planning to go often, it would be cool to have a gas cooker so you do do everything around the campsite.


Just roll with it…the first night away was pretty bad with a certain someone crying/screaming “home home” but when she calmed down she slept okay, not great but okay. Then we had the most amazing day on the most amazing beach and the previous night was soon forgotten. So whatever happens, it’s only temporary and IΒ promiseΒ you the memories you make will be 100% worth it. Bedtimes were later, there were more ice-creams, we were in the pool after dinner but it was so relaxing. Routines can be broken and the kids will cope. After one night in my own bed, I was ready to get back on the camping buzz and even little miss “home home” asked “bed in tent tonight?”


Added bonuses…if you have kids who aren’t quite old enough for bush walks or water sports, then look for facilities that have things like swimming pools, playgrounds and day trips around the area. As we were in Cooks Beach, we were able to head over to Whitianga for a morning. A short ferry ride, a great waterfront playground, brunch, quad cycles…it was just nice to mix things up a bit.

So, get planning for next summer! Or there’s still plenty of long weekends this summer to find a last minute booking…do it. We are so lucky to live in a beautiful country where camping is so safe and so easy.

Now I’m just thinking, where to next???


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