So you want to try something different? Sick of the luxury of a warm soft bed? Sick of hearing traffic? Sick of the modern world? Well maybe camping is just what you need. If you choose to venture out into the wilderness and be at one with nature, it's best done with someone who's been there before, and has the appropriate gear to camp with. If it's your first time, keep it short, say three days. You need to stay at least two days, because by the time you set up the tent, and the rest of the gear, you'll have to pull it down. But on your first trip you don't want to keep it too long, because when it comes to camping, you will quickly find, you'll either love it, or hate it with a passion. And for those who dare, there's only one way to find out.
There are two different types of camping: camping where you are located next to a national park where there are modern bathroom facilities, and a local shop near by, or there's true bush camping. For me I prefer the latter. I figure if you're going to be in the bush, then surround yourself completely in it.
Camping in Australia is an incredible experience; you'd be amazed at what wildlife is around. The deeper you go into the bush, the more friendly the animals, as humans haven't scared them as yet, (so don't go scaring them, and don't feed them)! Australia offers a huge area of camping spots over the entire country. I have only experienced camping on the South Eastern side of this country, but each time was magical. If you choose to go bush camping you have an astounding choice of two kinds of camping, camping by the ocean, or camping inland.
One of my favourite places to camp is in southern NSW, near a small fishing town called Eden, in the Ben Boyd National Park. A couple of my friends introduced me to it 5 years ago, and when I have time I always go back. This area is the place to go if you want to camp with a group of friends. There is a tiny camping spot around 30 minutes from the nearest shop, called 'Salt Water.' If you don't go during school holidays, then you'll find you have the whole place to yourself. There is an area marked for camping, as you are in the middle of a National Park.
On my first visit I was stunned to see what this area had to offer. On one side of the camping ground was a salt water creek, and on the other side a fresh water creek, both of which empty into the ocean. The beach is rather small, but it's a beautiful sandy bay. On either side are incredible rock formations, where you can 'rock hop' when the tide is out, and can find some interesting aquatic life.
Back in the bush, you will find small grey kangaroos literally everywhere. I have tried explaining it to friends, and it's hard unless you've been there. These kangaroos will actually follow you, and I have to admit are a little scary at first, but you get used to them, as they're there all the time. In warmer times of the year, you're almost guaranteed to see goannas - they're great to look at, but try and stay a good distance from them, as they will run at you if antagonized. At night the nocturnal animals come out, including wombats, possums, and bush rats. One night camping during winter, I looked at the shoulder of my ski jacket, and a bush rat was sitting on it. By this stage I had luckily desensitized to the friendliness of the local animals.
If you haven't tried camping in Australia, it's a must. You may need to do a little research in order to find the area most suited to your liking, but if you do, and you find you enjoy being immersed in nature, you'll fall in love. Oh and don't forget your camera, it's also a must!
- Louise Ganey