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.