There’s something captivating about gemstones. My younger daughters love collecting and handing me (only to look after, of course) interesting-looking stones and shells. My siblings and I were the same in our younger years. I remember being fascinated by my Granny’s extensive collection of rocks and minerals – sometimes, we’d even get to select one and take it home!

Maybe it’s the prospect of ‘striking it rich’ by digging something precious from the earth that captivates us, or the way a gemstone dances as light refracts through it, or maybe it’s the adventure of the entire endeavour. I think it’s all of the above, and for me, as a kid, gemstone hunting was at the top of the adventure list.

My Dad, the matchless Warwick Marsh, was and possibly still is the king of gemstone-hunting adventures. He’d be the first to admit he’s not perfect (who is?), but during my childhood years, he perfected the art of family adventures, especially if prospecting for precious gems was involved.

As a family, we crisscrossed Australia, initially in an old Toyota Coaster bus and caravan and later in a maroon Mercedes-Benz O302 coach, playing music. During our travels, we sieved for sapphires in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, fossicked for opals across dusty Coober Pedy in northern South Australia, and watched with wonder as powdermen detonated the earth to extract iron ore in the craggy Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Dad took the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss literally, and ran with it.


One warm day near Crookwell, New South Wales, we were sieving for corundum gems in a creek. Dad went for a walk, presumably to find better creek banks, and being a brave 9-year-old, I decided to follow. Trudging across a floodplain to catch up with Dad, I managed to disturb a rather large and aggressive snake.

I shrieked, which seemed to enrage the snake further, and it charged towards me. Out of nowhere, like an action-movie hero, Dad appeared with a large stick and proceeded to expertly flick the snake into the air. Time stood still. My short life flashed before my eyes. Once, twice, and then a third time, Dad flicked that snake high into the clear blue sky.

After the snake crashed earthward for the third time, it gingerly slithered away, no doubt with a very sore head. Crisis averted, thanks to my Dad, my hero!

Here’s the thing about adventures: not only are they educational and great fun; they create incredible, never-to-be-forgotten memories that you and your kids will cherish forever.

That’s why each year, Dads4Kids holds a Dads and Kids Fun Camp on the beautiful South Coast of New South Wales. My girls and I look forward to it, and it’s so great to get away and create some memories with your kids. As Alex explains in the video: ‘The Dads4Kids camp is really good because we get to hang out with Dad without Mum’s supervision.’ Thank God for mums, but every now and then kids need some one-on-one time with their very own hero’s, their dads.

This year’s camp is coming up soon on 3-4 November 2023 at Coolendel Camp, located on the beautiful Shoalhaven River three hours south of Sydney. Craig Shipway, a great Dads4Kids friend and father of 6, is helping to organise it. Find all the details and book here! Please contact Craig on 0418 241 457 or via email at if you need more information.


If you’re near the New South Wales South Coast, plan to be at the Dads and Kids Fun Camp from 3-4 November 2023 – spread the word or, better still, bring a friend! If you can’t be there, plan your own adventure. Remember, it doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive – if it involves fossicking for gemstones, you may even strike it rich! Work towards making memories with your kids – you won’t regret it.

Yours for adventure,
Nathaniel Marsh

PS In the unlikely event a snake shows itself at Coolendel Camp, never fear – Warwick Marsh will be there to save the day!


Photo by Tatiana Syrikova.

About the Author: Nathaniel Marsh

Operations Manager and Qualified Trainer for Dads4Kids, Nathaniel is passionate to see hearts turn to the Father. As a professional filmmaker, Nat worked in advertising and television for 20 years and has been helping Dads4Kids behind the scenes since 2002. Nat has been married to Jodi since 2004, and they have five daughters.

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