Family life can easily become an endless cycle of school, work, homework, school lunches, uniforms, sport and washing. Days roll into weeks, weeks roll into months and suddenly a whole year is gone and what have we done together as a family that is building memories and giving the kids new experiences of adventure?
We’ve set out to show that you don’t need a ton of money, expertise or even time to have a valuable family adventure experience – a microadventure on a school night!
Pick the kids up from school, head off for a local overnight adventure and have them back at school in time for the bell in the morning.
Possible? Yes. Fun? Yes. A little bit crazy? Definitely! But sometimes it’s the crazy things we do with our kids that they remember…
Here are some of our School Night Adventures so far…
Sunrise at Governors Chair, Spicers Gap
We picked the boys up from school and headed off for an adventure … a 16 hour adventure, and that includes time spent sleeping. What sort of adventure can fit into those constraints? Well, it turns out, a pretty good adventure!
It was about a 40 minute drive to the campsite – Spicers Gap National Park Campground. This was a really nice, quiet campsite. We were the only ones there (well, it was a school night, so I guess that’s not surprising!) Read my post all about the campsite here.
We used a OzTent 5 man tent that literally takes 30 seconds to set up and then it was time to play with our latest toy – our new drone, a DJI Mavic Pro. We had a fire in a brazier and ate our dinner (pre-cooked, straight from our Thermoses).
This was the first school night adventure, and around the fire, the boys were discussing how weird it felt that they were at school that day, and they would return to school the next day and here they were, sitting around a fire, miles from anywhere. It was good-weird, they decided.
In morning, while still dark, we woke the boys and bundled them up in the car – blankets and sleeping bags included. It took a little bit of effort to convince Zach, our teenager to end his slumber, but we succeeded after a few attempts. We drove up the road to the carpark at the top of Spicers Gap.
From there it was a very short walk to the lookout. The horizon was just starting to glow with a deep red colour. We sat together snuggled in blankets, watching as the sky became a canvas of ever-changing hues of red and gold until the sun peeped over the mountains. The boys have told me that watching the sunrise was what made this trip memorable.
Back to our campsite to quickly pack up, and back to school in time for the bell.
Despite living in Boonah for over 13 years, it never really occurred to us to camp at Mt French. But why not? There are a couple of campsite that are accessible by car, you just need to book on the National Parks website. It’s close to home so it was perfect for a School Night Adventure!
We have walked to the lookout on the Logans Lookout Track (720m) dozens of times before, but we’d never walked the Mee-bor-rum Circuit before, so we did that. This is a really easy 840m walk to a spot where through the trees you can see a nice view of the mountains to the East. If you keep going past the lookout area, the track gets a bit rougher and you get different views to the South and West as you follow the circuit around back to the day use area.
We watched the sunset at the lookout on the Logans Lookout track, and then after dinner we returned to see the night view. It was a crisp, clear night and the stars were out. There were a lot more lights in the countryside than we expected, and it was really interesting to watch the lights of the trucks and also to pick out different locations based on the position of the lights. Simple fun, and I can’t believe we haven’t done it before!
And … back to school the next morning. With a big smile.
16 hours in total. We kept it simple. We are so glad that we took time to hit the “pause” button and sneak out for this quick adventure – well worth the effort!
Mt Cordeaux Moonrise Hike
There’s something special about watching the full moon rise while the horizon is awash with pinks and blues of the alpenglow, or reverse sunset.
Mt Cordeaux is a perfect spot to experience this, as the lookout is east facing, and perched high on the Great Dividing Range at Cunninghams Gap, about 45 minutes drive from our home.
A perfect School Night Adventure!
The track is well graded and well signed, and it’s not particularly steep, although some level of fitness is required. As we gained elevation, the track leads around towards the western side of the mountain and offers views towards the Darling Downs. As you get higher, not only does the vegetation change, but for us the afternoon light was also changing rapidly.
We timed it perfectly so that we reached the lookout platform at the top of the hike just in time to enjoy the panoramic view while the eastern horizon reflected the changing red and gold hues of the sunset. We sat, eating our dinner, watching carefully to spot the full moon when it started to rise above the smoky horizon.
Needless to say… it was pretty special.
Just a hike. Just a mountain. Just a sunset. Just a moon-rise. Just dinner. But, put it all together and it really is a recipe for a family adventure that we’ll never forget. Since we started sharing our adventures on social media as “Sons of Adventure”, we are constantly reminded that adventure is all around us. We just have to take the time and make the effort as a family to get out and experience it. And after this hike, we can definitely say that Mt Cordeaux is worth the time and effort!
What’s next? Well, we’ve got plenty more School Night Adventures planned … We’ll keep you updated.
What School Night Adventures are you going to do? Let us know!