Hillocks Drive - heat, snakes, gale force winds and a water bed!

It was the October long weekend in South Australia and so along with half of Adelaide it was time for a trip to Yorke Peninsula.  Surf boards on the roof, TrakShak attached, bikes strapped on boat loader and we were ready for a getaway.  

Now, before we get into the challenges of the particular weekend, I would like to say that Hillocks Drive, Butlers Beach, is an awesome spot just outside of Marion Bay, South Australia, it offers bush camping with basic (well managed) facilities and great campsites for groups.

However, it would have been great to know that Mother Nature wasn’t keen on anyone camping on ‘Yorkes’ that particular weekend.  As we drove into camp on the Friday afternoon it was a balmy 32oC … not pleasant … but it was the special visitors though that really made it quite exciting.  

Brown snake no. 1 crept across camp within around 30minutes of us setting up, brown snake no. 2 was spotted some 15minutes later and brown snake no. 3 tried to slither into our annexe around an hour later .  All made more exciting with the dogs at camp going nuts.  It appears that it was breeding season at Hillocks and our camp was in direct line of the migrating, excited snakes.  

This, however, was a minor hiccup in the weekend crazy.  Waking on Saturday going for a walk along the cliff tops we decided to head out for a surf, some gnarly weather was expected and we wanted to be home before it set in.  

As we drove out of camp the rain began, Brett and daughter were determined to get a wave and so we drove the western coastline to Berry Bay surf break where Brett was able to head out to the left-hander and the kids mess around in the shore break.

By the time we had made it to The Howling Dog Tavern, Corny Point [highly recommended - say hi to Pete from the Fishers] it was pouring and we weren't excited about returning to camp.  

But return we must! 

Now we have camped in challenging weather, but the combination of 35 knot winds and torrential rainfall and things were getting ridiculous. The team gathered and it was charades in the caravan - the only dry place left - we squeezed 8 adults and 7 kids in!

However, it was time for bed and it soon became apparent that things weren't quite right.  Firstly, Luna (German Shephard) wasn't interested in entering the tent.  We soon realised that as you stepped into the tent area the floor felt like a water bed.  Water was flowing under the tent - up side the material wasn't leaking.  So, Luna was set-up for the night in the car, she was happy.

Next, the girls climbed into their side of the bed and we realised that as the wind was hitting their side of the camper first the mattress was soaked through as the seams in the canvas had been seeping into the bed frame.  Fortunately the other bed was dry.  So in we all climbed - mum, dad, child one and child two - squeezing in.  

And here is where adversity becomes a special memory, things were so off track at this point, we weren't sure how much sleep we would get and so we pulled out the Uno pack and as a family we played a few games.  I can't remember who won or lost, but sometimes it is those moments when surely nothing else can go wrong that you have that clarity of what matters.

Finally setting up head to toe across the bed and closing our eyes to finish the day.  The next day we decided to head home and so we packed up dripping wet and knowing that we would have to get everything out to dry off when the sun next decided to shine.  

And of course it did ... just a few days later our camper was set-up in the back garden to dry.

Things go off track all the time, and the weather is one of those things that can change an experience completely.  Adapt and enjoy is all you can do!


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