As I sit here today pondering and reflecting on just why I go camping. Now I am not sure that my reasons might reflect on why everyone else gets away. I have been lucky over the years to have explored a lot of this country but honestly it's just been a scratch on the surface. I have been away with some amazing people that have become and will stay long time friends, where we have all shared places, experiences and just laughs. On that note I really think that you can go to the shitiest place and if the people with you are in the right frame of mind it makes the trip a whole lot better. Even places that I have explored with a partner will always hold special memories for one reason or another.
There are so many amazing places to visit around the state then around this country where it can be a bit overwhelming, but this is where you just need to take your time and explore. Maybe write down locations where you travel and rate them. I keep notes where I go and am lucky enough to be able to memorise these spots too. Most spots I would def go back but there have been a few where I have thought, yeah been there enjoyed it and probably won't venture there again - happened just last week. Even been through different areas and seen them in severe drought then next year the windflowers have been the best in 20 years. You get to see some amazing sights, really wouldn't bother going overseas anymore.
I get asked a lot for advice when people come here for the first time and it's always nice to meet new people and set them up with a camp, a few maps for a drive with a few POI thrown in. It's the same for when I go away most people are very happy to help and that makes for a great trip away.
Sitting around the camp, getting that total relaxation feeling or trying to decide what to do for the day is the bomb I reckon, and def don't forget just sitting beside the fire chilling- can't get better than that. Even the wood gathering can be satisfying knowing that us men used our gathering skills to find timber to keep warm and even get the kids involved with the smaller stuff it's all fun. And that's what camping should be all about.
It's always satisfying pulling into camp in the afternoon or finding a new camp on your travels. When going through a new area we always stop at a pub or bakery, one to see what is on offer and ask for advice regarding camps, great places to visit and of course to buy something. Works most of the time.
I can look back and feel proud as a dad that I have shown my daughter some amazing spots and she can share those experiences with friends and hopefully her family one day. Even in the past few years since she has been coming away there has been a increase in track closures and campsites. It gets bloody hard when you rock up at a campsite with a camper trailer and you either have to drop the side over some bollards or worse still peg into hard bitumen. This has happened a few times and is bloody frustrating especially after paying good money to camp at these spots.
I don't mind travelling, exploring or camping in crap weather, but hate setting up or pulling down. The reason ?.... Well I suppose it's just uncomfortable when it's wet, and you can never get dry and warm. I can remember one trip we did it got down to -6 overnight but because we were setup and prepared it wasn't an issue- big fire and big doona. I believe too that if you go to bed toasty you'll stay warm all night.
Generally we have a plan for the trip but always allow for some down time in case of breakdown, emergency or just a rest day. These days can be the best too, I mean we have had a few of these rest days on different trips and have found some amazing sights. Like gorge drives, lookouts, local only spots and walks. And be flexible, if I am planning the trip the suggestion is always out there for other ideas or input, as you never know the other travels might have been to where you are going and know a little secret.
Most of my trips are west of the coast ( well I cant go east !! ), not sure why. It might be because I like to go west to see the harshness before coming home, or maybe the vastness of the outback. For some reason travelling north to the cape doesn't interest me right at this point, BUT, I might consider it one day before it gets shut down or the tar goes right to the tip. It might be because I consider the coastline here on the east coast one of the best in Aust, pristine beaches, no crocs or stingers and decent waves. Might be a bit fussy but that's the way I see it.
A lot if my adventures have been towing a camper trailer which has been great, queen bed, kitchen, heaps of shelter and storage. But last year I did an outback trip with out the trailer. So my 4wd is fully setup with power to recharge things, fridge, awning and other essentials, along with a good tent an a roll up mattress I camped simplify but comfortably. It was great, not having to worry about another set of wheels behind me or being cautious at bumps and intersections. It was that good. It is to the point now wether I keep doing trips in just the car or downsize the trailer because even though it might be an overkill havering a trailer for one there is still satisfaction in completing a trip towing a good off-road trailer. And it's good to know that you've set your 4wd and/ or camper up right and got home safely with a bucket full of memories and the sense of adventure to head out again. I am pretty sure that I haven't had many issues with gear over the past 20 years, but when we have it's just suck it up and deal with it, it might matter at the time, but soon it just blends into the trip. This is how I have learnt regarding the quality of gear too, buy cheap and you'll buy it twice. I try to buy the best I can afford. Realistically if your camping once a year at a local park, then buy a cheap tent, but if your going away time after time buy some good quality gear- don't skimp. The good gear is more expensive but like a good mate told me" you'll soon forget about the price, when all you'll talk about is just how good the product is with reliability and it's durability”. But it’s not really until you get back and think, “gee, everything worked so well”, and yep l do feel proud as I have done all this myself.
So if you get the chance wether it be for a night or a week, go and make some memories and go camping. You'll never know what you'll see.