Camp Nature Play returned to the stunning Wharncliffe Mill in Margaret River on 23 – 25 June 2017 for its second edition. With 140 attendees, the event was a huge celebration of unstructured play and camping.
After a wild week of weather in Perth, we were lucky to be blessed with mostly blue skies and sunshine for the weekend of Camp Nature Play (and a bit of rain for some muddy play!) Little nature players were joined by grandparents, mums, dads, aunties, uncles and friends, all coming together to enjoy the ten camping missions specially designed for the weekend.
Families started arriving at Wharncliffe Mill on Friday afternoon – coming from Perth and throughout the South West area. Upon arrival they signed up for missions and collected their camping packs, including the essential marshmallows and biscuits for s’mores! As night fell, families gathered around the campfire for songs with the brilliant Daniel Burton and volunteer Kamil on the ukuleles. A fantastic start to the weekend!
The campers rose early on Saturday morning for bacon and egg rolls and the official welcome ceremony. Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming Cultural Experiences opened Camp Nature Play 2017 with a beautiful Welcome to Country and a song on the didgeridoo.
Saturday and Sunday at Wharncliffe Mill were a hive of activity. Adults and children alike enjoyed a variety of activities, including:
- Clay play
- Kite making and nature crafts
- Cubby building (with branches collected by the wonderful staff at Wharncliffe Mil)
- Campfire cooking with our camping experts, Isaac and Mitchell
- Aboriginal Cultural sessions by Koomal Dreaming Cultural Experiences
- Fantastic Nearer to Nature programs, including "Curious Creek Critters" and "Camouflage Creatures from Mud Mountain"
- An introduction to Geocaching with our geocaching expert, Breht
- The senses trail
- Camp fire singing with the crew from Nature Play WA
- Plus our very own digital scavenger hunt, which had families searching high and low for clues throughout the camp site!
Families forged great bonds, kids found new friends, and memories were made that will last a lifetime.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to all that were involved in the camping weekend, including Apex Club of Busselton for cooking us delicious breakfasts each day, Margaret River Free Range Eggs and Brumby’s Go Margaret River for once again providing us with fantastic local produce, Nearer to Nature and Koomal Dreaming Cultural Experiences for being part of the event and sharing their knowledge, Margaret River Burger Co for coming along with their van on Saturday night, Yahava Koffeeworks for providing beautiful coffee and hot chocolate, our good friends Breht, Isaac and Mitchell for sharing their knowledge of geocaching and camp fire cooking, as well as the fantastic Claire and Adrian at Wharncliffe Mill for hosting us and answering any and all questions.
Nature Play WA would like to thank each family that attended and allowed us to be part of your family camping weekend. We hope to see you all again soon!
Words by Nicole McNamara, photographs by Ellery Spychalski.