• Singing. Jason Rosewell/Unsplash
    Singing. Jason Rosewell/Unsplash

Natalie Powell finds singing show tunes is a great way to occupy her kids on their first overnighter.

"My husband and I love bushwalking and we’ve taken our children on day walks from a young age. However, overnight hikes have always seemed an elusive dream. Until this summer. Sealers Cove in Wilson’s Promontory National Park, Victoria, with its vast beaches, spectacular scenery and family friendly walks was ideal for our inaugural overnight expedition.

Our kids aged 9 and 11, expressed a mix of excitement and concern over the prospect of carrying their packs. At first, it took our son a while to get into the rhythm of walking but after some cajoling, he was ‘in the zone’, chattering about the many skinks skittering on the path.

We traversed sandy paths, shaded forests, steep rocky stairs and a peaceful boardwalk. Our daughter sang a litany of songs from Annie, The Sound Of Music, Oliver and more. This entertainment, along with stops every hour for nourishment, helped encourage us towards our destination.

Reaching the beach at Sealers Cove is a breathtaking moment. The pristine sand and the turquoise water is such a reward for the journey. Getting to the campsite requires a shallow river crossing and the kids loved having to wade through this barefoot. We set up camp as they scuttled off to explore, discovering new energy they (and I) didn’t know they had.

When cooking dinner on our small fuel stove I was reminded that dehydrated food seems to taste deliciously gourmet when hiking, whilst in other circumstances can be just unpalatable.

The kids wriggled into their tent and fell swiftly to sleep after an action-filled day. We woke in the morning to the serene sounds of the earth and its creatures.

The hike back the next day was a little tougher than the first, as the weather was much hotter. Our daughter chanted ‘The Ant’s Go Marching One By One’ to keep her going… longer than expected …the Ants finally stopped marching at four hundred and thirty by four hundred and thirty and we still had further to walk! We ran low on drinking water and the sun was fierce. This made for a long walk.

My son asked “Mum, do you think we are walking in circles? This walk seems longer than yesterday”. However, a freshwater creek midway gave welcome relief as we filled our hats with water and dumped them over our heads. What joy!

We finally arrived back and applauded each other on our achievements. I know the term ‘bucket list’ is bandied around these days, but I can truly say that taking my kids on this adventure was a real moment for me. I loved it – sharing my love of nature with my family, watching the night sky, and witnessing that special spark light up in my children’s eyes and souls. I’m already dreaming about our next hike."

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