Family Fun at NSW Sport and Recreation Family Camp
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By ellaslist explorer
As life becomes busier and the routine of everyday means little time to try new things, holidays are the perfect time to reconnect with family members . When our family holidays together, we love a mixture of activities and relaxation. We recently attended a Family Camp run by NSW Sport and Recreation from Friday 4pm until Sunday 4pm at the Myuna Bay Centre and found that they offer the perfect balance of both.
Our destination of Myuna Bay was a short 2 hour drive from our home in South Sydney. The camp is located on the Central Coast of New South Wales and is surrounded by natural bushland on the side of Lake Macquarie. The centre was approximately 10 minutes after the town of Morisset and was well signposted.
When organising holidays, I always try to plan a few activities to help keep the kids entertained. The NSW Sport and Recreation Family Camps offers a safe and supportive environment to try fun activities together. With trained staff at each activity you can be reassured that you are in good hands. At the commencement of each activity staff provide an overview of what will happen during the allocated time and also safety instructions. During our stay we participated in 6 group activities. Sessions are supportive, fun and everyone on our camp was encouraging as people tried new things, often out of their regular comfort zones.
Choose According To Your Interests
For each main group activity, families had a selection of 3 choices and each session ran for 2 hours. Some families opted to do activities together, whilst other families attended different sessions according to their interests & ages of children. Staff were readily available during activity selection times and we found them to be incredibly helpful as they gave us information about what the session may be like. We absolutely loved the activities and we were able to experience canoeing and kayaking, archery and rogaining, rock climbing and a bush walk which included cooking damper over an open fire.
Canoeing, Archery and Rogaining – Oh My!
The canoeing/ kayaking session was held on the lake and we had a choice of either raft. Miss 5 opted for a canoe and after some reassurance that she would have fun, she was quickly giving instructions for hubby to “paddle faster”- take note this is a great arm workout! The session involved some practice of safety drills which were made in to a fun game and one brave participant even attempted to walk across the canoes while they were in the “rafting up” position, though unfortunately he did have a short swim. Archery is slightly slower paced than some of the other activities offered but was still great fun.
We learnt the correct technique to ensure no one was hurt and after everyone had grasped the basic skills our instructor added some further challenged by pinning balloons to some of the targets and placing an apple on top of another which was great fun as we attempted to hit these with our arrows. Following the archery session we did rogaining which involved following a map to locate letters and numbers which were hidden around the camp. Once we had all of our letters we worked as a team to unjumble the letters to find our secret word. The activity was fun though my top tip is to not take the map as an exact indicator of the letter’s location as some required further searching than from where the map indicated.
The Best of the Outdoors with Rock Climbing & Bushwalking
Rock climbing was a brilliant challenge and it was fantastic seeing everyone working as teams and encouraging each other to make it as far up the wall as they could. Many commented that the wall we used on our camp was rather challenging (the wall has two sides which are varying levels) but many still made it up the top and rang the victorious bell to celebrate their achievement. Our last activity before heading home was a bush walk. The bush walk took us through the gorgeous natural bushland which runs alongside Lake Macquarie. Mid way through we helped build a camp fire (we were lucky due to the recent rain there were no fire restrictions) and cooked some yummy damper which was served with golden syrup. The bush walk follows a walking path which is relatively flat and Miss 5 was fine with the distance.
Miss 5’s absolutely favourite activity over the weekend was canoeing and she loved spending time out on the water and even spotted wild black swans and pelicans. Hubby’s favourite was rock climbing due to the new challenge and I loved the archery as it had been something I’ve wanted to try for many years and while I didn’t get a bulls-eye I did manage to get a few arrows on the target. Other activities available during our weekend included fishing, a high ropes challenge course, flying fox, giant swing and a low ropes course.
Family Fun With Scavenger Hunts and Trivia
Two whole-group activities were offered over the weekend; a scavenger hunt and a trivia night. The scavenger hunt was a great introduction to the camp site as we headed all over the grounds becoming familiar with the different areas and facilities on offer. On night 2, a trivia night was held and was attended by most families. The trivia included questions for the kids and some which needed help from the parents. The night included some bonus rounds which had teams making paper airplanes, eating Weetbix, dancing and drawing staff members. Trivia was an absolute ball and many laughs were had by all who gave it a try. I highly recommend going along and giving it a go!
The Family Camp’s offer a great balance between structured activities and free time. The Myuna Bay Centre has excellent facilities that can be used during free time, all of which are included in your camp cost (hooray for not having to pay for tennis racket hire!). Facilities include a large swimming pool with a great toddler area that is covered by a shade sail, tennis courts, mini golf course, soccer field, a fenced playground, open grass fields, basket ball courts, an indoor sports hall and spacious well maintained gardens. As you can imagine with our recent hot weather the pool had frequent visits during our stay and the playground was a clear favourite for miss 1 who often attempted to escape our lodge to go and play. In the event of rain, our instructor shared with us that some activities do go ahead (so remember to pack your raincoat), whereas for safety some are unable to and that alternate fun activities would be run in either the large indoor sporting hall or alternate areas of the camp.
The accommodation is clean and comfortable, with each family on our camp being allocated to a lodge with their own room and private ensuite. The lodge has a shared common area which features tables, chairs, a laundry (complete with washer, dryer, iron and ironing board), kitchen facilities and a TV area with plenty of lounges. During our camp we shared our lodge with 4 other families and we had plenty of space. The shared main living areas provides a great opportunity to meet others on camp and by Saturday night the adults had established our own games night which was a great opportunity to share some laughs and have some fun once the kids were safely in bed. The lodge area featured 2 televisions at either end of the room however during our stay only 1 was ever used and shared really well between the kids from each of our different families. It was great seeing them take turns and negotiate fair ways between themselves to ensure everyone was happy and comfortable with what was being shown.
The bedrooms featured bunk beds with comfortable spring mattresses (covered in a plastic type cover for hygiene), pillows, hanging space and cube style shelving which had adequate space for all of our belongings. We were required to take our own port-a-cot along for Miss 1 which was easily tucked into a corner and we still had enough space to walk around the room. The ensuite bathroom included a spacious shower, single vanity and a toilet. Other rooms featured single beds or 1 set of bunks. One room within our lodge was also equipped with a disabled toilet and featured a more spacious layout which would allow enough space for a wheelchair.
Food, Food, Food
One of the best features of the camp (well, as a mum) was that all meals were catered for and are covered in the cost of your holiday. Meals tasted fresh and there was plenty available for many who wanted seconds (and thirds). Breakfasts included options of a hot meal- toast, sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns, baked beans and sausages, fresh fruit platters, yoghurt and a large selection of cereal. Tea, coffee and juice was also available. Lunch on day 2 included options of wraps, meat (ham, chicken, tuna), an assortment of salads and wedges. Lunch on day 3 was roast chicken and roast veggies. Dinner on night 1 was chicken breast schnitzel, veggies and desert of apple crumble with custard and night 2 was a selection of meats (sausages and steak), salads, rolls and desert of jelly, tinned peaches and cream. Morning and afternoon tea was fresh fruit; apples, oranges and banana’s. The camps are able to cater for special dietary requirements and a similar style meal was provided with a generous serving size.
Who Should Give It a Try?
The camp is open for all ages, however I would recommend that you have at least one child who is aged over 5 years. Some activities do have age restrictions for safety reasons including the high ropes course – children must be year 5 or older and for the Giant Swing, Rock Climbing, Flying Fox and Sailing, children must be in year 2 and older or able to safely fit in the harness- staff were able to assist with this and make appropriate recommendations. Families that attended on our weekend had children from a range of ages with several having siblings under 5 years and the oldest child attending on our weekend was 16 years.
We would highly recommend attending a NSW Sport and Recreation Family Camp and have had a fantastic time trying new activities and meeting new people. The camp allowed us to try a varied range of activities that we probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise and the ease of having everything nearby over the course of the weekend was extremely convenient compared to our usual holidays whereby you can spend much of the day driving to different things you may have planned. Staff were friendly, helpful and approachable- knowing our names by the 1st morning. The camps are excellent value for money and we loved that it is a fully inclusive cost.
For Further Information
NSW Sport and Recreation run Family Camp’s throughout the year and more information can be found here. NSW Sport and Recreation also run school holiday programs for children and young people, more information can be found here.
ellaslist Top Tips
- Pack some board games, puzzles and activities to do as a family in the evening. Holidays are a great opportunity to step away for the usual ease of television entertainment and the common area in the lodge provided a great space for shared activities. -Don’t worry if you don’t have any or forget, staff were very helpful at locating some board games for those of us who asked.
- Pack your own pillow. The camp does provide pillows however there is nothing quite like a home comfort. The cam provide pillows for attendees if you opt not to take your own however these felt quite high and hard.
- Follow the suggested packing list. Prior to attending camp we received a thorogh information pack which included items to bring. We followed the list and found we had appropriate clothing and footwear for all of the activities we wanted to participate in
- Pegs. With lots of swimming and activities on the water it would have been helpful to pack some pegs. There is a reasonable size washing line outside of each lodge however during our stay no pegs were supplied. If you plan on doing a load of washing dont forget to pack some washing powder.
- Get in early. Activity booking sheets are put out at breakfast each morning. We made sure we arrived a little bit early to ensure we had pick of our choice after a returning family suggested doing so :) Activities are limited to a particular number of participants and once an activity is full you will need to select a different preference.
- Pack snacks. The camp provided ample food at each meal however of an evening it was nice to have some holiday treats and also to have a few extra’s to get the kids through to the next meal after burning lots of energy during activities.
- Go with a positive attitude and willingness to try different things. We had an absolute ball at camp, as did the other families who attended and we spoke to. Many were returning families who had experienced the Family Camp previously and those who were first time attendees were all seeking for a fun, all inclusive holidays whereby they could have fun with their kids and try new things.
GET IN EARLY! Bookings for the Autumn Camps Open on Friday 22 January. Check the NSW Sport & Recreation Website for more details.
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