Up country (depending on where you start)

Our camping trip was character building, as they so often are. Don’t get me wrong, it was fab and the kids were delirious with pleasure. It was just character building as well.

I did very much enjoy my camp kitchen. The most successful camping food I made was quesadillas with corn, canned black beans, red capsicum and cheese, with a bonus squeeze of lime juice and red chilli oil on top for the grown ups. The most successful camping meal, however, was the two dozen Tathra oysters and bottle of champy we ate lying about in the heat of the early afternoon on the second day. The oysters are nowhere near their best at this time of year, of course, but still deliciously creamy with that slightly metallic tang. They’re sold from a minuscule shop out the back of a house, but when the owners are not there, you leave your $9/dozen in the honesty box and help yourself from the fridge. Then you listen to your six year old demand oysters from the backseat all the way back to the camping ground.

We had another great meal on the way home, at the heritage listed Royal Hotel in Cooma. The kids had been cooped up in the car, so although the footpath tables looked lovely we asked if we could eat up on the balcony upstairs so we didn’t have to chase them too much. The barman laughed and said we were welcome, but they “hadn’t done anything with it”. I don’t know why you’d want to – a huge wooden floored balcony with cast iron railings and a view of the Rivers outlet store. Digging around afterwards I found that the hotel was built in 1858 and the verandas added in 1900. They are the only ones in Cooma to have survived the demolish and modernise frenzy of the 1950s.

The food was good country pub grub. The menu was soon to change for the warmer weather, but we were in time for a delicious lamb shank with good mash and hand cut fresh veggies, only slightly overcooked, and a proper country hamburger with crispy non-greasy chips. Sage insisted on nuggets’n’chips, and eventually found some use for the nuggets.

The Royal Hotel is on the corner of Sharp and Lambie Streets, a couple of blocks off the main drag. It was honest, solid food in a very pleasant environment. There’s a run of the mill little dining room downstairs, and shady tables outside. Nothing on the menu is over about $16, and our two meals, two large Reschs and food and drink for the kids came to $44. Lambie Street, the first settled street in town, has eleven heritage listed buildings and makes for a very pleasant post prandial stroll.


10 thoughts on “Up country (depending on where you start)

  1. So what is your camping with toddlers survival kit? I confess I am kinda chicken on that front and have therefore not been camping in three years. We are rather overdue for a holiday…

  2. Food wise, kate, or more generally? It’s actually quite easy to go camping with toddlers, certainly not harder than entertaining them at home through a cold winter. My hot tip is go with another family the first time so the kids can run in a pack and you can get a little break.

  3. We have been considering the multi-family travel. I think we might even go in a big extended family gang, so that our lad has two cousins, and two grandparents to entertain him.

  4. or you could just leave the kids at home with the grandparents and get adultly pissed around the campfire like you did when you woz younger and child free …

  5. Well yes. But we probably should include the nipper in a holiday every now and then.

    Mostly I think it’s the lack of security that bugs me about camping with toddlers. The little one is inclined to wander and climb and inspect and he’s so quiet about it one might not notice. We keep our doors locked to keep him in, otherwise I’d find him wandering the streets.

  6. Do you have a portacot? We used one the first time, then just put the zips up the top.

    The thing about camping is that you’re all usually hanging out together anyway. I’d try the pack of kids technique though, and perhaps not going to the “Death Adder capital of Australia” (as we subsequently heard).

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