It’s a warm summer’s night at the RAC Margaret River Nature Park, a beautiful family-friendly retreat nestled within Margaret River’s Wooditjup National Park. The moon and the stars light the lush bushland around the grounds, where I lie, quiet, and in wait.
I’m two days into a three-day family camp-out at the nature park, just a stone’s throw away from the town of Margaret River and its restaurants, cafes, galleries and shops. There’s also world-renowned surf breaks, underground caves, prestigious wineries and boutique breweries, all within reach.
It’s the first time in a long while my large extended family have holidayed together, and it’s conjuring up all sorts of nostalgia. When we were kids, we’d play spotlight – after dark hide-and-seek-chasey – all night long. As adults, we realise nothing much has changed (subtract the late-night curfew and add next morning’s aching back and bones).
Twigs in hair and something wriggling up my leg, I edge slowly towards the nature park’s playground, the elected finish line for this evening’s game. But it’s too little too late. A beam of light hits my face and “SPOTLIGGGGHHHT” rings through the trees, quashing my dreams of a triumphant victory. A sore loser then and a sore loser now, I slink back to my eco safari tent to sulk in privacy.
Midway between camping and glamping, the eco safari tent features a very comfortable queen-sized bed, bunk beds and a private verandah with a barbecue. It’s perfect for the lazy camper – i.e. me – while camping and caravanning sites, two-bedroom cabins, a four-bedroom eco-lodge and dorm rooms offer budget and comfort options suitable for any traveller.
After a night of brooding, I wake to the sounds of chirping and chattering. A mecca for wildlife, the nature park is home to some unique species of birds, including the illusive red-tailed black cockatoo. Keen to spot one, I take off on a morning stroll along the Chimney Trail, one of the many walking trails that lead deep into the forest from the camp.
Two of my cousins ride past me on the way back to my tent. They’d been exploring the Bramley Trail Network – a series of mountain biking tracks of varying difficulty levels that weave through the Wooditjup National Park – and, just like old times, their adventure had ended with a fight.
Experience has taught us that nothing quite cures an argument like a feast, and lucky for us, Margaret River has a bounty of tantalising eats. We soon find ourselves at the Margaret River Farmers Market, a melting pot for local produce and delicious treats. In our baskets goes gourmet croissants, crusty bread loaves, fine wine, gooey cheeses and even a roast – the perfect last meal for a weekend worthy of a toast.
RAC Margaret River Nature Park awaits
Choose from cabins, safari tents or stay on a powered site surrounded by national park.Check availability