ellaslist Reviews: A Night Under the Stars at Centennial Park Camping
Promising to be a unique experience, I gave camping under the stars in the wild green heart of Centennial Park a go with my two girls and—spoiler alert—it was one of the best-organised activities we've ever taken part in. It’s a popular choice for families with kids of all ages, who want a real outdoorsy experience, with plenty of support from rangers. Here’s what you need to know.
Centennial Park After Dark—The Experience
Just 10 minutes from the CBD, Centennial Park’s camping experience is ideal for those seeking a super-easy nature escape. It truly feels like a camping hotel—thanks to a whole lot of help, support and guidance on offer. After booking our spot online, we packed our own tents and sleeping gear and headed on over to the Wild Play Discovery Centre in Centennial Park.
The park rangers were ready and waiting with trolleys to help us roll our gear into the camp, and they then set about helping us put up our tents. This was nothing short of a huge blessing for us as camping novices; our brand new, straight-out-the-wrapping tent said on the box that it would take 3 minutes to assemble—but a disjointed pole (our fault), had 3 rangers and the park director fully engaged for at least an hour. Phew! Luckily, the tent was set up thanks to the super-helpful rangers, and we were ready for the next stage of the adventure.
The afternoon kicked off with ranger activities in the WildPlay Centre before dinner was called. After a communal BBQ and getting to know some of the other parents and the rangers, there followed more activities into the evening.
The activities were all incredibly exciting and engaging for kids; ranging from making boats, identifying leaves and watching possums to bush walks with rangers, learning how to build fires and more. The rangers truly were the park pied-pipers; as kids followed them by night into the twisting and turning ‘swamp’ woodland walk—stopping at each point of interest to let kids spot the wildlife with torches.
It was truly memorable watching thousands of bats fly out of their treetop and into the night sky, before heading back to camp to watch 30 mesmerised kids gather in a circle to learn how to build a fire, before getting down to the serious business of toasting marshmallows!
Alongside the endless (and we mean endless), activities for kids on offer; there are plenty of separate adult activities, too. We’re talking yoga, tree-hugging, and forest bathing to name but a few.
We all know that planning ahead when it comes to food is a fundamental part of parenting—and that hangry kids are not a fun time. The experience includes food; and we enjoyed a delicious, relaxed buffet-style BBQ dinner and breakfast. Snacks are a must; so make sure you pack enough.
While campfire stories were being told, the excitement of the day started to catch up with the kids; and (for just about the first time ever), they started asking to go to bed. There are no showers, but you can brush your teeth etc at the toilet block. When it came to falling asleep, the kids were out like lights (and the adults weren’t far behind…).
Our Top Tips
- Make sure everyone brings proper shoes in order to be prepared for any eventuality!
- Take snacks—if you have hungry little ones who are used to eating as soon as they wake up, make sure you bring your own snacks or cereal.
- Bring baby wipes, because…kids!
- Take a tarp to cover the tent in case of bad weather
- Pack warm pyjamas—it gets cold overnight!
- Pack light; the beauty of this experience is how easy it is and how little you need to bring.
- Arrive at the recommended 3 pm start time to ensure you get the absolute most out of the experience.
Ultimately, the Centennial Park camping experience gave us memories to really treasure. It allowed us to connect with nature, connect with each other, and enjoy some much-needed time exploring our city in a new, unique way.
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