My kids are 4 and 6 and their favourite activity is going to Target. I’m deadly serious. Forget Bounce, the Beach, playgrounds or grandma’s house. It’s ALL about Target. I blame Youtube and the endless parade of toys being unboxed or played with, that inspire my kids to shop. And if you’re wondering about Youtube, yep, they LOVE that as well. My kids are addicted to phones and shopping. A chip off the ol’ block. So yeah, it’s official. My parenting skills are pretty much bottom level. But 2018 is the year that all changes. Or so I hope.
My husband and I are both business owners, so we work hard. And we work long hours. It means we absolutely cheat when it comes to entertaining our kids, and when we need to get work done, we can’t supervise an exciting beach session or painting on the dining room table. It means popping on their favourite Netflix show, or handing them a phone when we’re in a pinch. And we hate ourselves for it.
So at the end of last year we bought a caravan. Our families and friends couldn’t believe it. I guess we don’t come across as a camping sort of family, but I actually grew up holidaying in caravan parks, and even had a stint as a camping instructor in the outback and the Rockies. It was time to give our kids some childhood memories, and to detach ourselves from our digital life. It was time to unplug.
So knowing virtually nothing about caravanning, we asked my gray nomad parents for a little advice, and got lucky when we bought our caravan from a guy who turned out to be our caravan fairy godfather. It was a great buy but we needed to test it out. And we didn’t want to go far just in case we forgot stuff and needed to pop home for it, or needed to hit up some camping stores to get supplies. There was also the possibility that we couldn’t cope staying with our 2 small, intense humans in such a tiny space for too long. The opportunity to abort and go home was certainly on the radar.
So like many new travellers before us, we booked a couple nights at BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park in West Beach, and it was the best thing we ever did.
- The sunsets while we were at West Beach were incredible
Not only did we have a fantastic time, but the kids did too.
The kids somehow managed to find a TV in an adjoining caravan within a matter of hours of us setting up, but even that lost their interest quickly, as the abundance of on-site activities became apparent.
The giant inflatable jumping pillow had them entertained for HOURS and they made friends with lots of the kids staying in the park. Some of my best memories as a kid, was roaming around with groups of kids in caravan parks, so it was great to see our girls embracing the social side of things.
- The inflatable jumping pillow
- The pool
- Enjoying a sunset swim
The playgrounds were great, the pool amazing, and the kids are STILL talking about the go karts/bikes that you can ride around in on the internal road system in the park. We didn’t even get time to check out the games room, the water park, and the mini golf which was next door – but I tell you what, the kids won’t get bored. There is PLENTY to do. And that doesn’t even include the fact that you’re RIGHT on the beach. Our site had an incredible view, so book early if you can, because the premium spots are definitely worth it.
We were personally won over by the concept of the ensuite – which we were lucky enough to book – which is essentially a small bathroom building, just for your site, which includes a nice new toilet, sink and shower. Saves those longer walks in the middle of the night to the larger caravan park toilet blocks, if your kids NEED to go and can’t wait. Don’t forget to lock them though. We had our toiletries disappear on the first night, so to whomever nicked them, I hope you’re enjoying our toothbrushes, and the airplane comb and moisturiser from China Southern Airlines.
- More sunset action above our caravan
- Not a bad view from our “master bedroom”
We were having such a fantastic time in fact, that we didn’t want to leave. And while the location was perfect for our trial caravan trip, it’s also a place we’ll go back to for a holiday in our own city. We relaxed more in two nights than we have in months, and we loved every minute of it.
The locality of the Adelaide Shores also proved a winner. We needed to hit up BCF, Bunnings and the supermarket for forgotten supplies (which are now all locked and loaded ready for the next trip), plus we were nice and close to Henley Beach, Glenelg, Harbour Town, Beau’s Pet Hotel (where our puppy holidayed during our caravan trip), and even the city. While we didn’t need to venture out this time, if we stayed longer it’s nice to know everything is SO conveniently close!
If you’re not quite at the caravan stage of your life, there’s also camping sites, and cabins available, plus some glamping tents too!
Our only advice? You have to plan ahead. It seems that we’re not the only ones on to this gem, and spots book out early.
Find out more about the BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park at www.adelaideshores.com.au