Write your own campsite review

Write up an amazing review of a campsite here in Australia.

If you have been to a campsite (or campground) here in Australia and want to share your opinion (good and bad) with readers of Australia, then we are accepting reviews by others.  

Before you start typing madly, we need to put it out there, that we are a little particular about campsite reviews because the whole point of our website, is to provide people with key information before they go.     It's the information we wanted when we were new, yet couldn't find online.     So we want that tradition to continue, but need your help.

So what do you need to know?

Full details are at this page  - you will need to read up to see if you are up to the challenge.

Key points are

- Detail, detail, detail.   Information that a new camper to that location would find useful
- Photos.  Everyone likes a visual idea of what they can expect
- This is different to a guest post, so different rules apply.

Remember, please read up on the campsite review information at this link before you send us anything.

Any further questions, email us.

S'mores Australian Style: how to make Australian S'Mores

How to make Australian S'Mores guide

S'Mores is a camping treat you hear a lot about when reading stories from the USA.   It's a big thing over there.    No American camping trip is complete without partaking in the ritual of having a S'More.     But in Australia, it's doesn't register as a camping experience we must have.      

In the interest of all things camping and because chocolate was involved, I bravely decided to venture into an unknown cooking territory and try to replicate this traditional dessert here in Australia.

Wikipedia says they are a

traditional night-time campfire treat” and made up of “roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker”.

The marshmallow and chocolate – no problems – a trip to my cupboard and we have them.

The graham cracker – what is that?         

Australian S'Mores 
Photo credit:  D.Niblack

The graham cracker is elusive here in Australia, though some stores that stock American food products, will also stock these.  But it's not something you can grab from any supermarket here in Australia readily.

So substitutes are needed.

McVitie Digestives seem to be the closest.  I have also heard that Arnotts “Marie” biscuits are worth a go.

So  we decided to try to make an Australian S’More.   Here was "the plan":

    • Gather around a campfire
    • Get a Marie or McVities biscuit and put a piece of chocolate on it.
    • Cook a marshmallow over the campfire using a stick or whatever preferred method is.
    • Place the browned marshmallow on the biscuit that has the chocolate on it
    • Create a sandwich by putting the another biscuit on the marshmallow, let the marshmallow spread a bit eg.ooze
    • Wait 30 seconds for the warm marshmallow to melt the chocolate
    • Eat and enjoy!

      Well, let me tell you that after our first experience with a S’More, it needs some refinement.     We hit a couple of problems.....

      • Choice of biscuit – Marie by Arnotts.  It seemed a bit too thick and sweet.  It was like sugar overload and not in a good way.   See the bottom of this story for the alternative option using Oreos (found in all supermarkets) 
      •  Chocolate that goes on the biscuit – we used a Cadburys Twirl broken in half.    When the marshmallow went onto this chocolate, it just did not melt.   I waited 30 seconds but that chocolate stood firm long after 30 seconds.
      • Marshmallow – to get it really gooey, I sort of set it on fire, so it was all blackened (not sure if I am meant to do that), but it didn’t seem to retain heat to melt chocolate.

      Where did I go wrong?  (apart from not using a microwave)

      My kids enjoyed this new camping treat, but I was a bit disappointed.  

      I think it comes down to my biscuit choice.   
      Or maybe my chocolate choice.    
      Or then again, maybe my marshmallow cooking!!!

      We tried our own version at Easter.     You can see Easter S'Mores here

      Australian S'More
      Searching for S'Mores information is impressive for a newbie to the world of S'Mores - there are sites dedicated to recipes; how to cook them; bizarre S'More alternatives; and even a Facebook page dedicated to S'Mores.   

      This site had a delicious sounding recipe for Peanut Butter S'Mores.  Makes my mouth just water thinking about that combination.

       Or maybe you want to make your own S'More in a virtual experience?  

      Yes, at the Hersheys site you will be able to pretend you are making a S'More and create your own ultimate S'More without ever leaving your computer........Unless your computer keyboard is a giant S'More (see below)

      Australian S'Mores

      So, despite there being a lot of info out there for beginners, my S'More experience was not a huge hit.   

      I am not planning on giving up anytime soon - all those Americans can't be wrong - but I think the key elements to make a good S'More needs a small re-think on my part.

      Update:    Aldi has been selling the S'Mores Kit in June 2017, for the bargain price of $6 and you get 12 S'Mores out of it, and using all the American products to recreate this S'More delight.    I can't guarantee how long this supermarket will have them, but worth having a look! 

      Alcoholic S'More Alternative

      S'Mores not for you?    Then  adults, you need to seriously consider this drink - S'Moretinis

      But wait - there is S'More.........

      S'More ideas!   Ways to enjoy a S'More (not always the traditional way)
      Please include attribution to www.berries.com with this graphic.

      S'Moreo  (when Oreos get involved) 


      So you don't have the crackers, but you have Oreos?    Then you are ready for a new taste sensation.   The S'Moreo. 

      See how to make it here:

      (FYI:  This post was originally published in 2012, and has been updated to maintain accuracy and be informative as possible).

      Lead photo:
      "S’more" (CC BY 2.0) by  smith_family 

      Camping with Kids - Games to play at night

      Camping games at night

      This is Part 2 of camping activities for children.      You can read Part 1 here.

      We focus on some ideas for after dark.    

      After dark games can work depending on the age of the children and your environment.      Games like Tag or Hide-and-Seek in the Dark, may not be appropriate or safe where you are camping.    We have tried to list  mainly games that don't mean you will have children scattered all over the campground.

      Glow Stick Ring Toss

      Need to plan ahead for this game?   YES

      Now you can buy this set here,  or you can make it yourself.  

      You need glow sticks (get them at reject stores or Cheap as Chips sells a pack of 50 for around $6) that can be made into a ring (some come with connectors included to make larger shapes by connecting two or more glow sticks).

      Then you set up something that the glow stick rings can be thrown onto - it might be another stick in the ground (attach a spare glow stick to it to it stands out in the dark), or might be a branch on a tree. Whatever you find will work.

      Each child has a set number of glow sticks to try to toss onto the stick/branch from a distance.   Smaller children may need to be closer to give them a better chance of success!

      Start tossing!

      glow stick toss

      Prizes optional.

      Glow in the Dark Bowling

      Glow in the dark bowling

      Need to plan ahead for this game?   YES

      If you have glow sticks and empty clear water bottles (you would need at least 6) you can add to the bottle, water and an activated glow stick.    Some sand is optional at the bottom of the bottle as that helps stabilise the bottle and make it less prone to falling over.

      Set the now-glowing water bottles up, and with a ball roll or kick it, to see how many water bottles you can knock over from a distance.

      (above photo via Instructables)

      Other Glow Stick Options

      So if you still want more glow stick options, try the following:

      - Glow Stick Hopscotch  (using the glowsticks to form the hopscotch pattern but without the numbers.   Forgotten how to play this game - read here for a refresher!

      Need to plan ahead for this game?   YES

      - Glow Stick Hide and Seek     Activate the glow sticks before dark, and hide them.     As night falls, they will start to glow, and the child who collects the most wins.     This does take some planning ahead as you need to activate and hide in daylight!

      Need to plan ahead for this game?   YES

      Glow Stick Safety - Make sure you use Glow Sticks carefully

      Before we leave glow stick games behind, it is a good time to remind everyone that glow sticks contain chemicals.   Therefore precautions do need to be followed.   

      To find out about glow stick safety (and what you need to be aware of), please take the time to read this website:   

      Flashlight Tag

      Need to plan ahead for this game?   NO

      Best  for larger groups of children.     Choose one person to be "it".  They must have a flashlight.    "It" needs to count to 50, whilst the other children hide.   When "it" sees another player he turns the flashlight onto them.    Everyone else, needs to avoid being seen by the spotlight.     If you get "flashed" by the light, you are now "it".

      Around the campfire games

      There are lots of games you can play sitting around the campfire.     The success of these games depends on the size of the group and the ages involved.

      You can see the list of 10 suggestions at this website Escape Adulthood.

      There are classic games such as charades, truth or dare, the winking assassin and ghost stories.   Ghost stories are fun, but make sure you choose age appropriate ones or you will have younger children up all night worrying.   The scarier the better for my children but you need to use your judgement!

      Below are some websites that specialise in scary stories to tell around the campfire if you are stuck for ideas:

      Reddit Stories
      Creepy Stories to tell after dark

      Need to plan ahead for this game?   NO

      This is just a few games to think about when the sun goes down, but the kids still have energy to play.  Adults might like some of them too!

      Further Reading:   Scavenger Hunt (downloadable ideas for you, and you can try them at night as well)