Classic Outback #7

This is the seventh in a series of pictures portraying classical aspects of Outback Australia.


Having just a few days ago driven up the coast road from Melbourne to Sydney (the Princes Highway, about 1000 kms) – and enjoyed the fabulous scenery compared with the relatively bland views afforded by the Hume Highway – I was reminded of Australians’ great love of camping. It was of course summer school holidays, probably the most popular time of the year for camping.

We passed dozens of camping areas visible from the road, some beside a river, some near the ocean beach, and every one of them looked fairly full. Some people bring a caravan or motor home, but the majority use a tent.

Recently I read Bill Garner’s excellent book Born in a Tent – How Camping Makes Us Australian. He traces the importance of tents in Australia from the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 up to the present time, and there are many interesting illustrations. I recommend it!

As one who has taken many people on trips to the Outback, I realise that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who are campers, and those who are not. As Bill Garner says, “To call yourself a ‘camper’ or ‘not a camper” is far more than a statement about the way you like to holiday; it speaks of your personal and social values, your attitude to material consumption, and your connection to the environment.” And it might also say something about how old and flexible your body is!

The Australian Outback provides a multitude of opportunities for camping, ranging from well-appointed camp grounds with every possible need catered for, through to pure bush camp spots where the only facilities are those you bring with you.

The picture above shows yours truly at the very pleasant camping area near Chamber’s Pillar, south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.


About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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11 Responses to Classic Outback #7

  1. Kev Florence says:

    I am also a Camper…. So many great memories from childhood when my parents would pack the car & head off on another road adventure, camping all the way.. o/night stops would be at roadside shelters or bush camps & when we reached our destination, up went the tent & great times were had by all…. I am now 72.. just love the outback & always travel with tent, swag & my troopy..
    I LOVE IT!!……….. Kev

    • dazzlerplus says:

      Good on you, Kev! Garner says in his book: “The camp enshrines the supreme virtues of freedom, equality and sharing, and is a primary site of mateship. These are the constitutive elements of his [Henry Lawson’s] socialism.” Which helps me understand why my hackles tend to rise when someone pulls into the camping area with their 30-foot caravan, and then proceed to spend the evening inside it eating their microwaved meal and watching TV.

  2. Nice looking set-up there. I love camping — but I especially love camping in Australia. The scenery is wonderful — plus, if you go toward the center or the north, if you time it right, you can be pretty certain you won’t get rained out. My favorite camping has been in the Center, up on the Mitchell Plateau, in the Kimberleys, and in the Hammersly Range. The Corner Country isn’t bad, either. So many great options. Thanks for the photo — and the memories.

  3. Sue Emeleus says:

    I still remember some wonderful nights in a tent shared with Judy. Blessings on you both. Sue

  4. Mandy says:

    The Princes Highway hey? Well I hope you called in on Mum 🙂

  5. Lavinia Ross says:

    That intense orange-red soil against the vast, stark blue horizon is always intriguing to me in these photos of the Outback, almost other-worldly. The leaves on the trees and shrubs appears to be more of an olive-green. Are the leaves in these drier areas more waxy or have a tougher cuticle to help preserve moisture? I see this in more arid areas here.

    • dazzlerplus says:

      Yes, Lavinia, that classic Outback combination of colours — red, grey-green and blue — is wonderful! A chap from Ireland (the “emerald isle”) once commented to me that Australia seemed to have no “truly green” foliage, as one might see in Ireland. We tend to get used to our greens being mixed with grey or brown or blue.
      I’m no expert on plant morphology, but I suspect our native trees do have ways of preserving moisture, since some of them survive in the most arid areas, and tend to have deep root systems for accessing a deep water table.

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