23 November 2023

Swags, stars, and campfire tales create unforgettable moments for five friends.

Image: Kelly, Megan, Shaun, and Cameron at Dean's Green Paddock.

In October, five housemates supported by Life Without Barriers in the Hunter embarked on a camping trip at Dean’s Green Paddock, a charming hobby farm nestled into the beautiful Martin’s Creek, located about an hour north of Newcastle.

On arrival in the mid-morning, and after rolling out their swags, the campers were greeted by the hospitable owner of the property, Dean, who provided a tour of his land.

Image: The campsite with a group of people sitting around a campfire.

The wheelchair-accessible campsites were decorated with an abundance of fruit trees, a thriving veggie garden, luscious green grass, and a snaking creek as the centrepiece, with a collection of both domestic and wild animals scattered throughout the property.

During the tour, Dean explained the activities the campers would be engaging in, which included feeding lunch to his friendly animals.

Two of the keen campers, Cameron and Jason, reported that feeding the animals was the highlight of their trip.

“We fed the animals milk and carrots,” said Jason, “a stock horse, some goats, and sheep.”

Image: A collage of campers feeding animals at the farm.

Deciding not to completely forgo all the modern conveniences enjoyed back home, Dean’s Green Paddock also boasts a crystal-clear pool. Cameron said that while getting up close and personal with the animals was his favourite part, jumping in the water was a close second.

Image: A collage of campers swimming in the pool.

Following a full day of activities, as the sun began to set behind the mountains, camping chairs were deployed around the fire for some classic campfire cooking and a chinwag before jumping into swags and tents for a well-earned night’s sleep.

Image: A collage of campers sitting together around a fire.

Shaun’s Support Worker, Jackie Mitchell, remarked that the trip had been perfect.

“Overall, it was a great time, from the animals to swimming in the pool, spending time with each other, talking and telling stories around the campfire under the stars. Shaun had the best night's sleep of his life, peaceful in his cocoon (swag).”

Image: Shaun resting in his swag. A swag with fairy lights decorating the entrance.

While it was bittersweet to hear nature’s alarm of bird calls, as it meant an end to the trip, everyone agreed that it was a huge success and started making plans for the next one.

Lauri Cox, Disability Support Leader, shared that it was lovely to see our Support Workers encourage and display the wonderful active support we have at Life Without Barriers.

“The diversity of the participants coming together at the holiday and witnessing every support worker trying to make everyone’s experience the best they have ever had was the best part of our experience at Dean’s Green Paddock.”

Image: Jackie and Jason stand side by side at the campsite, smiling at the camera.

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