After a hard working week the temptation to drive off into the sunset and leave the so-called ‘real world’ behind is often too much to resist. These tips will aid your great escape.
There’s nothing quite like getting out there and enjoying the Aussie bush, far away from crazy schedules, work pressures and the never-ending rat race.
Bush camping is the way to go, but how do you survive without the homely comforts you’ve come to rely on? Here are ten simple tips to help you experience a great weekend away.
There’s a lot to be said for spontaneity, but when it comes to bush camping it pays to be prepared. Check over the car and trailer the weekend before you go to ensure that everything is in good working order.
There’s nothing worse than realising a gas bottle needs to be refilled when you’re thundering down the road on a Friday night.
Space is at a premium when you hit the road, so make sure you take the time to pack the car and trailer well. Be ruthless with what you bring — most people tend to pack too much.
Try to limit the number of loose items and instead pack everything into a bag or box to reduce set-up time. When you’ve only got two or three days on the road, the last thing you want to do is waste time wading through a boot full of miscellaneous goods.
Organisation is the key to easy and stress-free camping.
A large number of bush camps do not have any taps or a water source nearby. Fill up your water tank before you go and carry a couple of 20L jerry cans with you.
If you’re travelling with kids, you might also want to bring collapsible containers, which increase your water-carrying capacity. There is usually a town or a roadhouse nearby where you’re allowed to fill them up — always ask for permission first, though.
Some people like to keep it simple and bring canned food that they can just heat up. Others prefer to go all out and bring the lamb roast with the whole shebang.
Admittedly, I am no master chef, but I do like to eat well when heading out bush. I plan the meals before we go and buy only what we need, although it is a good idea to bring one extra meal just in case you want stay another day or get stuck. Believe me, it happens.
Most butchers will happily vacuum seal meat, which is a great space-saver and reduces the risk of leaking. There’s no need to freeze the meat if you’re only going for a couple of days, just make sure you don’t have any sharp items in the fridge that might puncture the seal.
My advice is simple: limit the number of appliances that require power. A three-way fridge that runs on gas is ideal and does the job. A generator is great but you’ll find that a lot of national parks (especially in WA and NSW) do not allow you to use one.
It pays to check before you go to avoid nasty surprises. Solar panels are useful but can be bulky and expensive.
6. OUT AND ABOUT
Parents with young kids sometimes think their camping days are over, but nothing could be further from the truth. Invest in a baby carrier with back support or a hiking backpack and your little one will later thank you for it.
A hot shower after a day in the bush is wonderful and easier than you think. Cheap solar shower bags are excellent for heating water on a hot day.
If the weather lets you down, boil some water, add it to the bag and enjoy. A shower tent is a great investment and takes very little time to set up. After a long week at work, a shower is a worthwhile and easy luxury.
Campfires are without doubt the highlight of any camping experience. Toasting marshmallows is a kid’s all-time favourite, so bring plenty. Find out if you’re allowed to have fires and whether you need to bring your own firewood. Remember to be considerate of others and never leave a fire unattended.
Some bush camps must be pre-booked, while others have a self-registration system. Jump online and find out as much as you can about your destination. Ensure you have the right amount of cash on you, and involve the kids if there’s an honesty box — it’s a good learning experience.
Kids will happily entertain themselves in the bush. Sticks, rocks, empty bottles — it’s amazing how kids find ways to have fun without a TV or fancy electronic gadgets. Bring a couple of card games, though — like Skip-bo, Phase 10 and Uno — and you’re guaranteed a great weekend away.
Bush camping is the perfect way to experience the beauty of this amazing country, take this from a seasoned camper who has been all around Australia with the hubbie and three kids. What are you waiting for? It’ll be Monday before you know it so make the most of it!
AND DON’T FORGET THE…
- Wet wipes
- First aid kit
- Matches and/or gas lighter
- Insect repellent
- Toilet paper
- Card games
- Ball, footy and/or frisbee