Camping with the Dingles! Sit!!
Trip Start Jun 05, 2008
98Trip End Jun 14, 2009
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We left Nambucca Heads and made a rather uncomfortable journey down the coast to Port Macquarie via an extremely welcome service station along the way. Port Macquarie was so so. Some of it gets a little repetitive sometimes but we stopped for a break and a Maccy D's, mine was a quarter pounder with hair. Yuk! The plan for the day was to get to Port Stephens by around 3pm, where we would pack up our tent and go and camp in the dunes. Katie camped there last year on her road trip and, when I saw her photos, I knew I had to see it for myself.
Eight hours of driving, and lots of phone calls for directions later, we finally arrived in Anna Bay, Port Stephens. We stocked up in the local supermarket with some essentials and drove around trying to find an entrance to the dunes. We did ask a few locals but to be honest, I don't think you're actually allowed up there so we didn't get an answer of any use to us. In the end we parked the van up in a country lane and hiked for half hour through a conservational area until we got there. It was a pretty good guess too because we ended up in the very same spot Katie woke up New Years Eve last year. Result!
It's not easy to put into words how beautiful the dunes are, but then, you've all had long enough to look at the photos to see for yourself, sorry about that. We've been busy finding a job and somewhere to live. There weren't any footprints in the sand at all when we arrived. Not human ones anyway! There were a few dubious looking slithery trails and some worrying paw prints that belonged to Dingos! Uh oh. We'd humped all our gear here now, we weren't prepared to bottle out and go back. I don't know if any of you have tried to walk up a forty foot sand dune with a full backpack, but it's no easy feat. Walking got us nowhere. Three steps forward and slide back down. I quickly adapted my climbing method to wearing my flip-flops on my hands and scrambled up like a lunatic on all fours. That did the trick. I was up there in no time, admiring the most stunning views I have ever witnessed. Truly breath taking. Something was missing though...Where's Katie?? Poor Katie was puffing and panting her way up the side of the dune, laden with carrier bags of food and goon etc. Falling over and cursing every two seconds. Oops! Oh well, she's seen it before anyway. When she finally got to the top and joined me it was time to head back down and set up camp, but not before I came over all Billy Connolly and stripped of and ran around like a loony (see photos). Katie also followed suit (You'd like to those photo's wouldn't you? Not in this lifetime).
Where do you set a tent up, when surrounded by dunes, in Dingo territory, where the buggers can't creep up on you? Where the hell is Ray Mears when you need him? After much consideration, we just thought "Sod it, if they're gonna come, they're gonna come" and plonked our Tesco tent in the least windy spot. We didn't want sand in our goon as well as Dingos did we? We had an absolutely fantastic night. We ran and tumbled down enormous dunes, watched the best ever sunset and just the usual antics really. It wasn't until it got dark that thing's got a little eery.
We had gathered a small amount of firewood in preparation of nightfall but couldn't light it until we were absolutely sure nobody would see the smoke and come to evict us. We drank some goon to combat nerves and Katie drew some concentric circles in the sand around the tent so we could see how close any wildlife had come during the night. If we were to last long enough to find out. It was too awesome an experience to be too scared and soon we were having a ball again. We renamed Dingos "Dingles" and interrupted every other sentence by shouting "SIT!!!!" every few seconds. Dingos are dogs after all, so it was worth a go!!
It was a magical night, one that will be with us for a very long time to come and I can't thank Katie enough for sharing it with me. SIT!!! I'm still doing it!!
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