experience 06

14-15feb14 — d+k+e — cedar grove
After hearing about our great Neurum Creek experience, K decided she wasn’t going to miss out again, so we finally got to do our first two-kid adventure. This gave J (who we never talk about because she doesn’t like camping) a weekend to herself.

One of the big attractions of this trip for the kids was a day off school. I was hoping that a Friday nighter would prove to be a quiet night in camp — no such luck. Cedar Grove is a popular camp site and was already quite crowded by the time we turned up mid-afternoon. More people continued to turn up into the evening.

This isn’t really my style of camping. For me, the whole point of getting away is to, well, get away. What I really don’t need is some idiot playing FM radio in the next campsite — there’s no place in the bush for shitty pop songs and crappy ads from harvey-bloody-norman. We had music coming in from three different neighbours. But this is the trade-off for camping in an easily accessible place with toilet facilities — not to worry — at least there were no generators. Lesson 12 — big, popular campsite = more humans : more humans = more noise.

Cedar Grove sustained serious damage during the floods in early 2013 but underwent major reconstruction works later in the year. This campsite now has the most outstanding toilet blocks you’re likely to find anywhere.

But the real attraction of Cedar Grove is the superb waterhole — very cool, very refreshing and chock-a-block full of cute turtles. And we ended up in the site right next to the walkway that leads down to the creek.

K says : Dad, E and I stayed at Cedar Grove for two nights. The first night I slept in the tent. The boys slept outside. Then the second night I slept outside. We went swimming four times. Dad got in once — we forced him. One other time he just sat in the shallow. We also went on two bush walks and we had to scavange some termite-infested wood from the side of the road for the fire. We sprayed the wood to kill the termites and we had termite smell in the car.

We saw heaps of interesting wildlife such as monitor lizards, turtles, fish, black cockatoos, deer and turkeys. There were also lots of cows and bulls. We had an amazing time and we were sad that we had to leave. But I was a bit glad because we got to see mum and we also got to get away from heaps of mozzies. Yes :)
K's Cedar Grove drawing

The ground on our site was a shocker. It was level and reasonably grassy, so it looked perfect. But we destroyed quite a few tent pegs in trying to get our shelters up. We made a doomed attempt to sleep all three of us on one mattress under the tarp the first night. K was the first one to crack and decided to spend the night by herself in the tent instead.

Saturday morning we went back up the road to the Amama day use area. Here there’s a nice little rainforest walk into the cascades. This would be quite spectacular after a decent amount of rain but was still pretty cool. I got to test out my new tripod in photographing my particular obsession — the juxtaposition of the organic and inorganic — rock and root.

I also got a couple of great pics of what I thought was a dragonfly because I believed dragonflies are distinctive in the way they rest with their wings outspread. But it turns out that some damselflies do this too. The other things which show this is not a dragonfly, on proper inspection, are the ‘x-formation’ of the wings and the way the eyes are set apart. No doubt an entomologist could point out half a dozen other differences as well. I did a little research and it looks like this might be the Common Flatwing (Austroargiolestes-icteromelas). I don’t really care what humans call it — it’s an awesome little critter.

Later in the day we were walking along the creek bed back at camp and saw something odd looming in the distance — it looked a bit like some kind of jungle treehouse :
strange structure in the distance

But once we got closer it became obvious that this was something even more awesome. A massive tree brought down in some previous catastrophe — taking with it the huge deck that had been constructed around its base. This is a great testament to the engineering skills of the builders, but an even greater testament to the ability of nature to reclaim itself.

E says : At Cedar Grove Dad, K and I went camping. We went swimming and we jumped off a cliff. For the first time we used the portable stove and we ran out of gas. I saw some bulls and cows. I thought the bull was going to charge us.
E's Cedar Grove drawing

In between our occasional walks, we spent most of our time down at the waterhole. Our second night’s sleep was more successful — all three of us on two mattresses under the tarp. This gave us the chance to watch the nearly-full moon glowing through tall trees and wispy clouds as we fell asleep — fantastic.

The kids reckon they were eaten by mozzies, but I think it’s more likely that they got attacked once we got home, as they weren’t itchy in the morning. There was only one little downer at the end — we’d run out of gas — so it was a cold breakfast. But a final splash in the waterhole before the return trip made everything right.

Cedar Grove is inland from Gympie, just a few Ks back from the other campsite (Amamoor Creek) where they hold the annual Gympie muster. As with most National Park campsites, there are flushing toilets, running water (boil before drinking) and fire rings. It’s easily accessible, but not quite as well sign-posted as other sites — so it makes sense to have a good idea of where you’re going before you set off.

Close-up section of Amamoor State Forest map
click to view full Amamoor State Forest map

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