CAMPSITE # 33 - Dalmeny NSW

Don't you just love when you stumble across something absolutely beautiful? This is exactly how we found Dalmeny Camping Ground, we weren't looking for somewhere to stay that night but once we saw the gently sloping hill with perfectly manicured lawns directly overlooking the ocean... we both instantly knew where we were staying for the next few nights.

We're starting to feel the brunt of being away from home and being on the road over Christmas. Obviously with Tom being English & me Australian, one of us will always be spending Christmas away from our family but when you're out on the road and you're away from all of your friends and family enjoying the party season over Christmas, it can take it's toll.

At the top of our "To Do List" was posting Christmas presents. Cleverly, Tom's family made a pact of not exchanging any gifts this year so we were just posting our Christmas presents back to my family in QLD. We've been building up a rather bulky supply of presents over the last few weeks and when you live out of such a confined space, less is more! And because that they were being sent interstate, we had to leave plenty of time to make sure they all arrived. One thing we stupidly didn't factor in when getting the presents - was postage $$$ thanks to the ridiculous weight in each parcel. Next time we're on the road over Christmas, the entire family are getting pillows for Christmas and if they're lucky, we might splurge and get the cases to go with it :)

Busy wrapping the pressies...

 with quite the view!!

We're really glad that we have familiar faces to look forward to over the festive season - Christmas with my Uncle & Aunty and New Years with our friends in Melbourne. Without them, I think Tom and I would be having a rather lonely time. Don't get me wrong, obviously we love each other's company but Christmas just has to be spent with loved ones... damned if I was going to sit around a 20cm tall plastic Christmas tree with just Tom & I giving each other our designated presents. That's right, as we don't treat ourselves very often, we thought rather than surprising each other with a present, we would both establish what we would truly love to have as a treat over Christmas. I chose getting my hair done. No hairdresser in three months results in my greys taking over my world. I feel like my hair is made of straw and I'm turning into a ginger... much to Tom's disappointment. Tom, the five star fisherman, has chosen to get fishing tackle for Christmas... which I'm very happy to support considering all of the free fish meals he's brought to the table.

Even though we're two unemployed travellers with no fixed abode, slugging it on the open road, we both had that burning desire to soak in and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.
- Plan and purchase presents. CHECK.
- Hang tinsel and fairy lights in the Troopie cabin - CHECK.
- Stay up late at night listening to our favourite Christmas Carols - CHEESY BUT CHECK.

It's hard to not spoil yourself all of the time just by using the use "Oh, but it's Christmas". And what a good excuse it is!! Lately, we've had to continue to remind ourselves - yes, it may be Christmas but if we spend $$$ like it's Christmas, we'll be going home by Easter!!

We are finding it difficult to have enough willpower to stick to our guns 100% of the time, particularly during one of the many rainy days where you're a drowned rat strolling down an avenue crowded with people enjoying coffee and lunch in the many restaurants and cafes. All of the aromas from the freshly cooked meals just wafting past our noses. Only to return to camp for a peanut butter squashed bread sandwich. And if you feel like warming yourself up - it'll just take a slow 14 or 15 minutes for the water to boil or a cup of tea, that is if it's worth tackling the rain while waiting for it to boil. I once waited 2.5 hours for a shower after making Tom sift through wet wood to make a fire, waiting for the fire to get hot enough and then waiting for the water to boil. Only to then get into the ignition powered bilge pump shower and have it conk out on me within the first two minutes - hair lathered with shampoo. Camping certainly isn't for those who enjoy a fast paced lifestyle. I think how good you are at camping will often be determined by how good you are at improvising...

Dilemma #1 - What's that, only got wet wood and the fire won't start?
Thomas Attenborough to the rescue - Melt a tea light candle over your kindling.

Dilemma #2 - Oops, forgot to bring a fishing net?
Tom Grylls to the rescue - Tie some mozzie netting around a hose pipe. 

Dilemma #3 - Love to drink copious amounts of alcohol but don't want to fund it?
Who said you can't buy happiness? - $12 for 5 litres of not-so-fine wine. 
Dalmeny stands amongst our more preferred Tourist Parks to date. A major plus, rare to most sites like this, is that they allow campfires. Although, you do have to hire an old washing machine drum for $5 a day and pay $8 for a small bag of firewood that even a 5 year old boy could carry in one go. Luckily, we were given some fire wood by some departing neighbours. They gave us the equivalent to about $32 worth if we bought it from the caretaker. Don't you just love holiday seasons and how much they'll try to milk you for every last cent!!!

Tom got some great lightning shots...

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