The slog of city living can take a toll. The inertia of the daily commute, in and out, air conditioned offices and air conditioned trains. ‘The Grind’ does what it says on the can and sooner or later you need an escape the messy man made sprawl.
There is something therapeutic about road trips and camping. Hit the open road, pull out your Dad’s daggy rock and pull the windows down doing 100. Sooner enough you’ll be shaking the cobwebs off your insides.
If you’re gonna escape the city and really get back to nature, you’re going to need a few things. Here’s a quick guide to a few of the essentials of any good camping trip, nail these fundamentals and you’ll find yourself finding yourself in no time at all.
Find a high quality tent that is the right size. Too small and you’ll be sleeping in your work cubical, too big and you’ll spend your whole holiday setting up and packing down a wedding marque. Get something that fits whatever you are sleeping on and has a little extra space for clothes, a torch near your head and a favoured bottle of go to whiskey to help you through the cold. If it’s just you and your better half, you won’t need anything over a three man tent. It might seem like a luxury to have three rooms, but it’s just not worth it.
On a 7 day trip we used this Poler two man tent and it was perfect. Light and easy to use, it let us stay flexible with what we were doing, while not being a burden.
The Day Pack
Leave the tote bag at home and get yourself a handy day pack. We thoroughly enjoyed the convenience of the Stuffable Pack by Poler, big enough for a spare jumper and some snacks, and when you’re not using it folds into itself for space-saving storage.
Not the most glamorous part of your trip, but it pays to be organised. Getting 3 or 4 55L plastic containers will help you separate your gear, store it, find it when you need it and protect it from possums when you’re sleeping. One for Food, one for utilities, depending on how big you are going. K-Mart is probably good enough.
Coffee and Cooking
Sustenance is so important when you are camping. But if like me, your main source is caffeine, you need to come prepared. A life chained to the keyboard gives you a certain taste, quality coffee if hard to come by in the bush. I would recommend getting a bag of fresh beans lightly roasted, get them ground. I used a V60 filter system, boiled the water with our gas stove and finished it off in a classic Poler camp mug. The gas camping stove is essential camping in Australia, fire bans can happen as easily as it can be 38 degrees.
After coffee, you are gonna need water. H20 comes easy when you are in the burbs, but the bush can be a little patchy. Get a big thing of water when you buy your food, it’ll do you the biggest favour.
On food, remember, without a good esky, meat will go off and going a few days without isn’t going to break you. Not every camping ground has a barbecue, so sausages isn’t the answer. Mix it up, don’t buy anything that needs a microwave and remember boiling water is easy, but don’t boil potatoes in the same pan you boil water for coffee.
Where to Go
Once you’ve packed it’s time to skedaddle. Here are a few suggestions from a Southern NSW coast and Victoria where we’ve been recently:
Green Patch, Jervis Bay, NSW
A family favourite and a good place to start off with camping. Green Patch is situated on the southern end of Jervis Bay, before it hooks around to the head land. It makes the beach there very calm. Camp sites are soft with sand, easy to navigate and need to be pre-booked, desperately. Don’t be surprised if you have to kick out some Swedish girls from your site. Along with the Swedish girls, you’l probably encounter wallabies, possums and other fauna. It’s a beautiful place and very easy to get absorbed in nothing, if you get my meaning.
Aragunnu, Mimosa Rock National Park, NSW
Pass up Picnic Point, too many families. Aragunnu, is tucked away off the beaten track. The ranger drives a Camry, so don’t worry too much about the dirt roads. There are three camping spots, each within a walk of one another, but all very distinct. There are less services and less distractions there. Stay at the second camp site, sleep to the sound of massive boulders washing in and out with the tide.
McKillop Bridge, Snowy River National Park, VIC
Not for the faint of heart. McKillop Bridge is in the middle of nowhere, half way to no place. If you are coming from the South it’s about 2-3 hours from Bucchan Caves (another great stop). Turn East off the road that heads North to Jindybyne and follow a dirt road for a long time. It is one of the greatest drives I’ve ever done in my life. Your destination, is deep in the Snowy River National park, right on the river. You will be hundreds of kilometres from any other human, it’s the return to nature that you’ve been seeking.