Swaggin’ with the kids….

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It’s 5am when i hear Phill roar,”ahhh” from his XL Burke & Wills swag….he’s woken to Harriet who has done a Poo- Armageddon through his swag. That pretty much gives you the idea of our recent adventure!

Prior to having children Phill and I were regular campers. We wouldn’t hesitate to chucking the swag on the roof for an adventure. We also had this great idea of when kids arrive they would just come along with us… boy did that idea change fast.

Due to having the comforts of a caravan we haven’t taken the kids camping in quite a while. So while we wait for our new van to be delivered we thought, for old times sake, lets go.

We were heading up to Tingha, NSW, for a quiet escape over new years. We met my parents at Wallabadah free camping area in town to break up the drive. What an awesome camp it is too! You can’t ask for much more than toilets, showers and an awesome park to entertain the kids all for a donation towards the up keep. The only draw back was it was approx 37 degrees at 9.30pm and we were roasting in the swags. Phill and I had a child each in the swags and even though we had the canvas pulled as far back as possible, with no breeze we were cooking like a sunday lamb roast. We all eventually got to sleep about 11.30pm with wet washers on our faces. I was awoken to the sound of 3 year old Harriet crying at 2am, she was standing at my parents caravan door yelling, “I need to go home, no swags”. The poor little thing was so over tired, hot and generally exhausted the first night she had already had enough. At 3 yrs old, she knew exactly what she wanted, she climbed into Nanny and Poppys air conditioned caravan and fell straight asleep between them! Golly we had 6 more nights of this!

Awaking early the next morning with about 4hrs sleep we slowly packed up and got on the road keen to arrive at Tingha to settle in of a week of rest, fossicking and general exploring.

While Tilly slept quite well between her complaining about being hot, Harriet had woken with another high tempreture we had been fighting the week before. Phill had also woken with a bad tummy bug which was causing him quite a bit of pain. We dropped into Tamworth chemist and happily purchased $100 worth of medcines in the hope of still creating a lovely week away and had a nice slow drive to Tingha.

Arriving to the township of Tingha was lovely. Very neat cottages with picket fencing and extremely clean. We noticed all the houses had small fences around them and then the local herd of cattle were able to roam freely between each persons yard finding greenery where they can. We made a bee line for Tingha Gems Caravan Park were we were greeted by a very quiet camp site, looking very dry in the recent drought. The caretaker Craig came to greet us and not only informed us that they were putting on a free bbq for New Years Eve but children actually are free to stay during school holidays. What a great incentive to get families visiting!

Over the next few days we spent relaxing around camp and exploring local areas. This was all done while we fought terrible tummy bugs and high temps and 40+ degree days. Unfortunetly the kids were hit the worst. They were so tired and exhausted from being up all night with terrible cramps and temps, we were definately thankful of the caravan park laundry we had to visit every day. Over the week we were often greeted with comments like, “not the swag again” or “I’m never going to leave our caravan”. Soon both kids were saying, “I hate camping”.

By the last day we had started to all improve enough to go and do some metal detecting of the old mining camps. This was very interesting to find old relics like an old miners shovel or antique bottles. One thing we love most about the area was the huge variety of gems you could easily fossick for in the area. We bought home a nice little collection of crystals and smokey quartz to admire.

Before we knew it, it was our day to leave and we were all completely exhausted from sickness, heat and general lack of sleep that we realised we had spent most of our time in the toilets, laundry or floating in the dam behind the caravan park trying to cool down.

We had the idea to head home taking our time and stop when we felt to tired rather than applying pressure to arrive anywhere in particular . By the time we arrived in Singleton, it was 42 degrees outside, I had been taken down by the tummy bug and us girls were all demanding real beds with air con. We had a lovely stop at a local motel and the kids greeted us with huge smiles as we opened the door to the motel as Matilda announced, “oh I’m never leaving a real bed again”.

Key places to visit:


National Transport Museum

Copeton Dam


There is plenty of beautiful free camps in this area.


This town is one of the highest in Australia 1330m above sea level.


Well known for the death and mystery of bushranger Caotain thunderbolt.

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