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W I N a M I N e l a b X-T e R R a 7 0 5 M e Ta l d e T e c T o R , va l u e d aT $ 1 1 0 0

December 2011 – January 2012 Issue 76 Aus $5.95 NZ $7.95

E xplore Island holidays Top 10 beach camps Lady Elliot Island, QLD Tarkine Wilderness, TAS Rainbow Beach, QLD

Walk YuraYgir Coastal trail, NsW

Discover

4WD

turtle time BeaCh photographY War oN Weeds CatCh salmoN

garig guNak Barlu NatioNal park, Nt dampier peNiNsula, Wa

ISSN 1320-5706

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gear to go

Gift SuGGeStionS 9 771320 570009

need to know

10-Step car once over

win!

outdoor connection Weekender tent

4wd techniques outback protection


The first Engel with the patented Sawafuji swing motor with only one moving part, specially designed for off road use.

In 2012 Engel celebrates 50 years and still remains the leading manufacturer of portable fridge freezers in Australia. And we’re celebrating by releasing a strictly LIMITED EDITION 50th ANNIVERSARY 40 litre model.

As a offer, special fridge ld o g h the mes wit also cod edition e it m a li nd gold black a it bag! s n a tr

For your nearest stockist or to view the entire range of Engel Fridge-Freezers and accessories, call 1300 302 653 or visit www.engelaustralia.com.au

With the latest Sawafuji electronics including built in battery monitor and digital thermostat control, the Limited Edition Gold Engel fridge freezer will become a must have for anyone with an appreciation for quality.


FOR FULL SPECS AND FEATURES , SCAN CODE USING PHONE QR READER

NOTHING SLOWS DOWN THE EXO TENT.

1

The new Exo range of tents by Companion have been designed without compromise to deliver unrivalled speed when pitching your tent. The unique alloy exoskeletal framework features a precision engineered auto-locking system so you can set up in minutes without the need to connect poles together and thread them through fabric sleeves. The durable alloy feet also provide maximum contact with the ground, providing unparalleled stability to ensure your Exo tent remains standing in all weather conditions.

2

FEATURES

EXO CROWN MECHANISM

• • • • • • • • •

All alloy frame and components 100% waterproof tent and fly Large awning area Built-in door mats Large D Doors Zip up guy rope pouches Zip up power cord inlet Wall storage pockets Carry bag

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AUTO LOCKING FRAME SYSTEM

www.companionleisure.com.au

e n g i n e e r e d

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luxury rooftop tent & annex

InStant awnInG

1000D waterproof PVC ‘on car’ cover

Premium quality waterproof, breathable ripstop canvas

Luxury 65mm high density foam mattress

High lift extension kit available (req. when tent sits above 1.9m)

Retractable aluminium ladder with entrance under cover

Mounts directly to most roof bars and racks

Optional enclosed room available

Optional mosquito netting available

1000D waterproof PVC cover

Sizes available: 2.0m Long x 2.5m Out 2.5m Long x 2.0m Out

$1650

AWNING

ROOM

295

440

$

$

165

1.4m Long x 2.0m Out

AWNING

SwaGS

MOSQUITO NET

$

ROOM

285

• Single and double dome available

MOSQUITO NET

420

$

$

$

155

• Heavy duty 320GSM ripstop canvas • Insect mesh protection • Heavy duty carry bags included • Lightweight alloy poles • 7cm high density mattress

Single

Double

345 $395

$

StronG arM CHaIr

Soft arM CHaIr

Durable powder coated steel frame

Durable powder coated steel frame

Heavy duty steel arms

King size, padded seat and backrest

King size, padded seat and backrest

Insulated drink holder and cooler box

Folds for easy storage

Folds for easy storage

Carry bag included

Carry bag included

79

$

69

$

6 perSon pICnIC Set

QuICK folD taBle

43 Piece set

Strong and durable 1200D Polyester

Strong aluminium extrusion legs with locking mechanism

Adjustable twin shoulder straps

Insulated aluminium cooler and wine compartment

9mm Melamine coated MDF top with aluminium edging

Integrated carry handle

Zippered front pocket

PVC zippered wash bag (For dirty dishes)

Adjustable feet height to level table on uneven surfaces

Setup and folds away in seconds

Carry bag included

$

89

99

$

Prices are RRP only, they do not include freight or fitting. Prices are subject to change without notice

VICTORIA SHOWROOM Cnr Centre & Westall Roads, Clayton, Victoria 3168 Telephone (03) 9532 1111

QUEENSLAND SHOWROOM 1 Hinkler Court, Brendale QLD. 4500 Telephone (07) 3482 9500

PERTH SHOWROOM Unit 9/511 Abernethy Rd Kewdale, WA, 6105 Telephone (08) 6254 4444


80W SOLAR KIT

SENSOR HEADLAMP

• F olding Aluminium solar cell frame

• Wave hand in front of light to turn on and off

39

• U p to 94 Lumens output from the Ultra bright white LED

• Built in charging regulator

$

• Manual or IR Sensormatic operation

• 5 M Automotive cable with connectors

• T wo Nichia white LEDs offer additional illumination & SOS flash function

• Built in support legs

• R ear battery pack incorporates red warning light with flash feature

• 3 year warranty

$

590

LED LANTERN / TORCH

LED TENT FAN

LED TENT LIGHT

• 180 Lumens max output power

• Two speed fan with foam blades

• 21 Premium white LEDs

• U p to 25 hrs (high) continuous use

• E nergy efficient CREE white LED (Rated 50 Lumens)

• Multi-functional tent light

• 3 Mode operation (High / Low / Flashing)

• Carabineer hook included

• Dimmer control function

• O perates with 4 x D batteries (Not included)

• T imer control with three settings - 15, 30 and 60mins

• U p to 48 hours fan run time on low, up to 24 hours on high

• Durable ABS housing with transparent lens

• G reen ‘slow flash’ LED indicator for locating light in the dark • C ompact and lightweight aluminium body

$

• Water resistant

• 100+ hours light run time on low

55

• Night Light

$

46

• A ttach by using the swivel hook located in back of light • Batteries included

30L Capacity

• German Danfoss BD-35F compressor

695

• 3 Stage battery protection

$

• Multi-Voltage DC 12-24 & AC 100-240V • High efficiency, low current draw

40L Capacity

• Dual setting - Max & Economy modes

750

$

• Digital control panel • Internal LED light

5 Year

Compressor Warranty

3 Year

Components Warranty

• Removable fridge basket

50L Capacity

• Strong carry handles / tie down points

$

• Rugged polypropylene construction

FRIDGE BAG SOLD SEPARATELY - $75

WIRELESS FRIDGE THERMOMETER

FRIDGE STAND

• Wireless connection

• Heavy duty aluminium frame

• LCD read out • M onitors fridge & ambient temperature • M inimum & maximum temperature recording

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$

33

$

825

• Maximum weight capacity 100kg • 2 height settings for fridges • A djustable leg height to level stand on uneven surfaces

• Digital clock

• S oft touch foam to protect fridge from scratching

• Includes 5 x AAA batteries

• Carry bag included

• 12 Month warranty

35

$

Prices are RRP only, they do not include freight or fitting. Prices are subject to change without notice

Products available from over 800 stores Australia wide For your nearest distributor call 1300 731 137

www.ironman4x4.com


contents

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4 | Go Camping Australia


12 14

34

16

62 22

26

34

Shout It!

Send your letters in and win an Outdoor Connection Weekender tent!

46

50

54

40

58

66

Australia’s most wanted

68

Road ready

70

Festive fun

72

Outback protection

74

Turtle time

Outdoor news from around Australia

By Kerry Heaney

Awe inspiring Arnhem Land

By Emma George If it were an easy place to visit, NT’s Garig Gunak Barlu National Park would be inundated with tourists exploring the beautiful beaches, dunes, rainforest patches and rich marine life.

Walk

Hunting emu in Yaegl Country

By Fiona Harper Fiona Harper explores the 32km Yuraygir Coastal Walk.

Top 10

Best beach camps

By Lee Atkinson Lee Atkinson checks out 10 great coastal camping getaways.

Remote

Grumpy old men on the Dampier Peninsula By Rod Blitvich North Kimberley beach camping in paradise.

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62

Update

4WD Adventure

Experience

Dashing flippers

By Kara Murphy All you need are keen eyes and ears to spot nesting turtles on Lady Elliot Island.

76

Explore

Dipping into the deep blue

By Jennifer Chapman Explore Jervis Bay Marine Park from Booderee National Park.

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Fishing

Sand, surf and salmon

By Martin Auldist As a sportfish, salmon are pretty much the complete package.

Getaway

Action

Chills and thrills

80

By Jo Hegerty Make the most of nature’s playground at Rainbow Beach – where adventure comes in all kinds of colours.

Giving Back

By Kerry van der Jagt War on weeds.

Need to Know By Lee Atkinson Give your car the ten-step once over for a trouble-free summer motoring holiday.

Dine

By Regina Jones and Julie Bishop A cool and colourful collection of Christmas recipes from our family and friends.

4WD Techniques By Mark Allen Perhaps your 4WD is insured, but there’s more to protecting your pride and joy for bush travel.

Wildlife Watch By Lee Mylne Turtle nesting time on Australia’s beaches can provide one of summer’s best wildlife experiences as you travel.

Gear to Go Top new gear

By Kerry Heaney Looking for a gift suggestion? Here’s some sure to put a smile on a camper’s face.

Photo Smart Fun at the beach

By Danielle Lancaster

Holidays and Horror Days

Beach blanket fantasies

By David McGonigal The enduring symbol of an Australian summer is the beach.

Islands in the stream By Kerry van der Jagt

Wilderness

The edge of the world

By Kevin and Barbara Weimer You don’t have to look far to find the edge of the world in Tasmania’s Tarkine Wilderness.

Go Camping Australia | 5


PTH0325/C

Make a big load feel small. Pathfinder Ti 550 V6 Turbo-Diesel. With a braked towing capacity of 3,500kg,170kW of power and a whopping 550Nm of torque, the Pathfinder Ti 550 V6 handles big loads effortlessly. Visit your Nissan Dealer or go to nissan.com.au/pathfinder


Show 1

SA Caravan and Camping Show

YOUR DeSTInATIO

TWO ShOW

Find your destination to adventure a with the Outdoor It’s two times the fun

Whether thriving on adrenaline from relaxing caravan or camping holiday

Kayaks Mountain Bikes

Bushwalking

Rock Climbing M

Adelaide Showground Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26

All information was correct at time of print


Show 2

SA Outdoor Adventure Show

On TO ADVenTURe

WS In One!

at the SA Caravan and Camping Show r Adventure Show. with two shows in one!

mountain biking or simply enjoying a y, don’t miss this once a year event.

Motor Bikes Camper Trailers M’homes Caravans Solar February 2012 www.SACaravanAndCampingShow.com.au An initiative of the Caravan and Camping Industries Association of South Australia


www.fitovers.com.au

Sunglasses designed to be worn over prescription eyewear

16 styles, 35 frame colours and five polarised lens tints available

Call 1 800 068 828 Try our Virtual Try-On at www.fitovers.com.au Publisher

go

Michael Vink

camping

Editor Kerry Heaney E: kerry@vinkpub.com

australia

Proofreader Karen Belik

Graphic Designers Matt Limmer, Richard Locke

Advertising Manager Georgina Chapman T: (07) 3334 8007 E: georgina@vinkpub.com

Contributors Mark Allen

Fiona Harper

Kara Murphy

Lee Atkinson

Jo Hegerty

Lee Mylne

Martin Auldist

Kerry van der Jagt

Rod Blitvich

Regina Jones and Julie Bishop

Jennifer Chapman

Danielle Lancaster

Emma George

David McGonigal

Published by VINK Publishing ABN 3107 478 5676 Bi-Monthly Head Office: 38-40 Fisher St, East Brisbane Q 4169 Postal: PO Box 8369, Woolloongabba Q 4102 T: (07) 3334 8000 F: (07) 3391 5118

10 | Go Camping Australia

Kevin and Barbara Weimer Go Camping Australia is distributed through newsagents and camping stores across Australia. Recommended retail price A$5.95. Annual subscription A$33 includes postage within Australia and GST. Distribution by Gordon and Gotch. Editorial and photographic contributions welcomed. Disks, transparencies and self-addressed stamped envelopes are required. The publisher takes no responsibility for the views expressed in articles or advertisements herein. The publisher could not possibly ensure that each advertisement published in the magazine complies with the Trade Practices Act. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.

Print Post approval No. PP43718/00020. Front Cover: Camping Indian Head, Fraser Island, QLD Tourism Queensland.


Peak cooling performance.

Includes wireless remote temperature read out.

PRIMUS SERIES III 60L FRIDGE/FREEZER. RRP. $1199. ®

If you’re thinking of buying a high performance Fridge/Freezer, and want value for money with unique features – look no further than the Series III Fridge/Freezer from Primus. The Primus® Series III has all the features you would expect from a top of the range unit and much more. Clever features like a door open alarm, an internal LED light and wireless remote temperature read out means worry-free refrigeration while you’re out tackling the extreme. Powered by the revolutionary Polar Compressor and backed by a 3 year Australia wide warranty, the Primus® Series III really is the intelligent choice for the smart buyer. For your nearest stockist or for more information on the Primus range and accessories call Primus on 1300 657 022.

www.primusaustralia.com.au

PACKED FULL OF FEATURES: FINGERPRINT RESISTANT STAINLESS STEEL WIRELESS REMOTE TEMPERATURE READ OUT INBUILT 240v AC + 12/24v DC POWER SUPPLY ADJUSTABLE BATTERY CUT OUT QUIET OPERATION DOOR OPEN ALARM ENERGY EFFICIENT POLAR COMPRESSOR INTERNAL LED LIGHT AVAILABLE IN: 40L - 60L - 80L CAPACITY

PRI2237

The Smart Choice.


Shout It!

viewpoint

Have your say and win!

Your Say

Win an Outdoor Connection Weekender tent

Caravan and camping holidays have been the fastest growing tourism sector in Australia for the past 15 years and definitely don’t appear to be taking a back seat. Is the great outdoors in danger of being loved to death? Generally, I think not as this is a wide open country with plenty of space for all to explore. But with time at a premium and holidays under pressure, there are plenty of reasons for campers to want to stay closer to home and this is definitely causing problems. Overcrowding at camp sites is a sure way to ruin a holiday and seems to bring out the worst in some people. Like the people who consider it their right to take over prime beachfront spots every year for weeks on end. You know who you are. So when you are travelling, remember to take your manners with you and try to stay away from the crowds. It’s a big land but it would be even bigger if we all shared it a bit more. Recently I had the opportunity to learn more about four wheel driving courtesy of Nissan in Mount Hotham. What they didn’t put in the invitation is that I would be pulling a Nissan Pathfinder out of a ditch with my own labour. It was all in good fun and I’m happy to report my time wasn’t the slowest (well maybe nearly), and I have another skill to add to my CV. Read the full story next edition when we’ll be taking you on a road trip around Australia. Until then, Enjoy! Kerry Heaney Editor kerry@vinkpub.com

12 | Go Camping Australia

Why is Christmas a special camping time for your family? Share the special moments, the traditions or the laughter of your family’s Christmas camping adventure to be in the running to win an Outdoor Connection Weekender tent valued at $299. The Outdoor Connection Weekender tent is perfect for those weekend getaways! It has large front and rear doors, floor to ceiling inner windows plus Ventraflow panels on both sides which allow crossflow of air low down where you sleep

keeping you comfortable on those hot summer nights. The front and rear awnings can be erected with three adjustable poles and the unique Hornet Pole system gives exceptional headroom and internal space. A simple addition of the Optional Awning side walls give a proper all weather awning area not found on other dome tents. The UV-PROTEK treatment resists fading and fabric degradation from UV light. Be the envy of the camping ground in your Weekender tent! The Outdoor Connection Weekender tent finished with the highest score in the “What to buy” section of CHOICE tent comparison. RRP $299. For further information visit www.outdoorconnection.com.au Send your letter (100 words or less) to kerry@vinkpub.com by January 1. The best letter will win the tent.

A friend indeed We were nearly at our destination and a vehicle drew alongside, with lights flashing and horn blaring, signalling us to pull over. We did and found that our caravan was on fire and, despite the efforts of the local fire brigade, it was gutted in 20 minutes and we lost everything.

bottom and bailing water out with coffee cups just didn’t match the amount flowing in from around the doors and up through the floor. Tow ropes tied together pulled us out backwards between what we imagined to be circling crocodiles. Then, oh the shame of it, we caught the barge instead!

Our rescuers and their friends insisted that we stay with them until we had sorted ourselves out and felt like driving home. It was lovely to find such wonderful people and we have gained some new friends.

Rodeo verses Hilux

It was still raining when we crossed the river and found a shed at Captain Billy’s Landing. We were delighted when other families made room for us. While we were drying out the car, the contents and ourselves, Jill Hopson and her family fed our family a three course meal with all the trimmings. Now that’s Nice!

It was 1995 and we were crossing the Wenlock River. We got stuck on the

Lyn Stiller, QLD

Maureen and Kevin Harris, WA

PS. The Hilux won...

CONGRATULATIONS! Maureen and Kevin Harris have won a

Thermos Shuttle Chef® valued at $420 for their letter above. Hope this helps restock your new caravan!


Follow the leader.

garminoutdoor.com.au

GO YOUR OWN WAY

The legendary eTrex® series just got better! The newly redesigned Garmin eTrex lineup retains the core functionality such as rugged construction and long battery life while adding capabilities normally found in premium handhelds all at an affordable price. The eTrex 10 is great value featuring a 2.2” monochrome display and a worldwide basemap making it easier than ever to see where you are and where you have been. The eTrex 20 and eTrex 30 add a 2.2” 65k colour sunlight readable display and internal memory plus a microSD™ card slot for additional maps including TOPO Australia and New Zealand*. eTrex 30 adds a 3-axis electronic compass that shows your heading even when the unit is not held flat, as well as a barometric altimeter that provides precise elevation readings, and wireless unit-to-unit connectivity for sharing waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches.

See the new eTrex range at garminoutdoor.com.au *Optional

The new eTrex range Rugged construction. Long battery life. Affordable price.

eTrex 10

eTrex 20

eTrex 30


Update

outdoor

news from around Australia Words: Kerry Heaney

smArtphones finAlly Access sAtellite networks SPOT Connect™ is a new device that allows Australians to use their Smartphone to access satellite phone networks to ensure that they can always stay in touch, even when venturing ‘off the grid’. The device allows users to update social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, send emails and texts as well as issue SOS emergency beacons with GPS coordinates and a personal message, to allow for a coordinated and efficient rescue operation. According to Pivotel Managing Director, Peter Bolger, the device is set to provide Australians who regularly travel off the beaten track with the simplest and most cost effective way yet of staying safe and in touch. When activated in a critical or life threatening emergency, SPOT Connect’s SOS function continues to notify the GEOS International Response Coordination Centre of your location every five minutes as well as inform local emergency response agencies and private rescue contractors, anywhere in the world. “Many people don’t realise that regular cellular networks only cover less than a quarter of Australia’s landmass, so it’s extremely important to be prepared while outside metropolitan areas in case something goes wrong.” The SPOT Connect module is available for $279 plus an additional subscription to utilise the satellite tracking and messaging services. For more information on SPOT Connect and where you can buy the unit visit au.findmespot.com *SPOT Connect™ is made to integrate with iPod touch (2nd, 3rd and 4th Generation), iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and Android devices with platform 2.0 or later.

All on show! The 2012 Perth Caravan & Camping Show is happening on March 15–19, once again at the Claremont Showground. Check out the latest gear and equipment, speak with experts and get inspired by a huge range of ideas on where to go and what to see. Holiday destinations and caravan parks from across the state and around Australia will be on display giving you the opportunity to pick up some insider tips and holiday spots. You can check out hundreds of displays of the latest caravans, motor homes, camper trailers, 5th wheelers and camping equipment, along with a huge range of accessories including fridges, generators, tools, TV antennas and satellite dishes, boat lifters, kayaks, gadgets and much more. There will be many free seminars covering a variety of topics. Visit www.caravanandcampingshow.com.au for a full seminar schedule and more information on the show.

14 | Go Camping Australia

Ask the expert Caravan and camping getaways are the number one choice for many holiday makers throughout Australia and as the trend continues more families and couples are likely to dip their toes into the water and trial this great holiday option. However, there are a couple of things that everyone should know before they purchase a caravan or set up camp for the night. Barry Baillie, the CEO of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW has some tips and hints for beginners. “The best thing about a caravan or camping holiday is that there is something for every budget,” Barry says. “From a $200 tent to a $500,000 motorhome, whatever your choice of accommodation, everyone can still enjoy their greatly deserved holiday.” “I would suggest beginners who want to go caravanning should hire a van first to see if they are happy towing and, most importantly, like the lifestyle,” he says. “First time buyers should also do a towing course.” Comfort is another must when going camping and there is definitely no shortage of luxury accessories available to give you that home away from home feeling. According to Barry, you won’t regret the choice of a good quality mattress or camp chair. “Two elements crucial on any caravan or camping holiday are the first aid kit – health and safety are always a priority, and a great esky to keep the beer cold,” he says. “An increasing number of parks are accepting dogs so you don’t have to leave your favourite pet behind any longer. “My greatest piece of advice would be to try to get the best equipment you can so you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying your holiday and less time doing the dirty work. Find a park with a good feel about it with lots of trees, grass and water. Make the most of interacting with the great outdoors and the new friends you will make along the way. Take the time to say G’day.” For more information on caravan and camping and for a comprehensive listing of parks and product providers go to www.caravan-camping.com.au


A perfect roast every time.

N

othing could be easier. Light it up, put the roast on and go walkabout for three hours. It won’t burn or over cook and it will never be dry. A cup of red wine and some garlic in the moat around the fire will keep it moist and add flavour.

Jump on a Segway Segway tours are the latest craze popping up all over New South Wales as kids and adults alike take to tracks and trails aboard an all-terrain, zero emission Segway Personal Transporter. In the Blue Mountains, Tracks And Trails offers the unique and exciting opportunity to glide around effortlessly on a Segway, taking in the sights and sounds of the local environment within the grounds of the Fairmont Resort. Segway Central Coast runs tours through the Mt Penang Parklands with leisure rides for beginners and around cross country tracks for the more adventurous. Enjoy an eco-experience with Time Out Xperiences’ Segway tours in Coffs Harbour or hit the dirt for an extreme tour on an all-terrain Segway. Lake Crackenback’s new Segway Eco Tours zip along quietly so as not to disturb the local wildlife and pass by the resort’s alpine lake and stream, before linking to trails on the outskirts of the property. In the Hunter head along to the Hunter Wetlands Centre for a Segway Eco Guided Tour, an amazing way to discover this 45 hectare site.

The stainless steel Cobb weighs just 4.5kg and packs down to 270mm high in its carry bag. It’s easy to store and you won’t need an oven in your van. (That could save you around $1000 and some very valuable space). And with a Cobb you can cook anywhere. There’s no smoke and no mess and it’s cool to touch while it’s working, so you can safely pick it up and move it if you need to. Some Cobb owners roast on the go.

The Cobb is also a smoker, a BBQ and a stove. At $239.90 with a carry bag and a two year warranty, it leaves everything else for dead. And there’s more. See it all at www.cobb.com.au or call us on 1300 462 622.

TIME voted Cobb one of the best inventions worldwide in 2001 Go Camping/REV

Go Camping Australia | 15


Awe inspiring

Arnhem Land

Words and photos: Emma George

16 | Go Camping Australia


1

If it were an easy place to visit, NT’s Garig Gunak Barlu National Park would be inundated with tourists exploring the beautiful beaches, dunes, rainforest patches and rich marine life.

A

s we crossed the East Alligator River into Arnhem Land it was as though we had travelled to another country. Lush green grass of the Gunbalanya floodplains swayed in the wind, whistling kites circled above and the awe inspiring Arnhem Land escarpment dominated the landscape. There was almost a magical silence as we left the constant barrage of four wheel drives and caravans behind in Kakadu. We felt privileged to enter this very sacred place and were looking forward to spending a week at Garig Gunak Barlu National Park with its pristine, rugged coastlines and white sandy beaches overlooking the Arafura Sea.

Main Photo: Crossing the East Alligator River is tide dependant and crocodile infested, so be careful. 1: We spent many sunsets casting from the rocks catching trevally and queenfish.

Go Camping Australia | 17


4WD Adventure

1

2

3

4

Our first stop was a cultural one to visit the Injalak Arts and Crafts Association in Gunbalanya (formally Oenpelli) to take a tour and view some of the oldest rock art in the world dating back 50,000 years. The permits to Garig Gunak Barlu National Park do not allow stopping during transit so a second permit to visit Injalak was required. A ‘quick’ stop at the store before our tour had us and our travelling party leaving with didgeridoos for our boys, hunting spears for the men as well as beautifully hand woven baskets and screen printed t-shirts. We collected our guide, Wilfred who took us to the escarpment where my husband, Ashley, and I put our youngest kids in their carry packs ready for the haul up the rock face. A short but steep climb had us in front of a rock wall filled with very detailed and beautiful paintings. The more we climbed, the more rock art we found. With Wilfred explaining the cultural significance and stories behind the art, the tour was a real highlight. Although it does take a bit more planning, it should be on your ‘must do’ list. 18 | Go Camping Australia

It was a great morning but as we were only 15km into our journey, it was time to discover for ourselves just how bad the road to Garig Gunak Barlu really was. As one of our three vehicles was towing a hire boat, it could be slow to cover the 260km and thousands of corrugations. Although the road was better than expected, it still took us five hours to reach our campground at Smith Point, with several repairs and a new spring required for the boat trailer. We had enough light to scope both campgrounds and decided to set up for the week at Campground 1. As we were staying for a week, we opted for the ‘full set up’ which involves our TVan, annex, Oztent for our three boys, solar panels, kids’ bikes, hammock and a swing. When the Park Ranger visited us the next morning to say hello and check our permits, we were delighted to hear we were the only visitors in the park and felt very fortunate to have this special place to ourselves. We were also reminded of the restricted roads within Garig Gunak Barlu National Park. If we were found on these roads, the penalty would be immediate expulsion.

There are some tracks to explore, one of which is the Ocean Loop Drive. This is very scenic and starts at the campgrounds, taking you along the eastern coastline and back to the main road. The drive hugs the picturesque coastline and there were several spots we stopped to cast a line for trevally and queenfish. Although we had a boat with us, it was great to wander along the beach and rocky outcrops, casting as we went. There were plenty of fish and we all managed to catch a few as well as enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Arafura Sea. The second drive into Caiman Creek is a bit rough but well worth the effort. The creek flows into Port Essington and is teeming with fish and birdlife. The boys enjoyed picking up hermit crabs, chasing sea snails during low tide and watching eagles scoop baitfish from the creek. As we visited in early September, the wind had eased and the days were around 33 degrees, which was great for fishing and boating but a bit warm at camp. The beaches were so calm and inviting, it was


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heartbreaking not being able to swim or even dip your feet in the water due to crocodiles and box jellyfish. With a croc crossing linking the beach to a very swampy billabong (complete with big slide marks) between the two campgrounds, there was an ever present concern that crocodiles were never too far away. This was confirmed during a night time stroll along the beach where we saw crocodiles less than 400m from camp. Garig Gunak Barlu is rich in history, with Aboriginal people inhabiting the area for over 40,000 years. In 1838, Victoria Settlement was established in Port Essington by the British in response to French and Dutch expansion in the southern East Indies. The settlement was abandoned after 10 years and by completing the 3.7km walk around the ruins, you can understand the hardships they would have endured. The structures are still impressive and you can see chimneys, remnants of the hospital and numerous buildings. Victoria Settlement is a 25km boat trip from Black Point Ranger Station and a great

way to observe the variety of marine life, numerous beaches and abundant birdlife. On our way home from the ruins we visited Record Point, where manta rays were barrel rolling beside our boat, fish were leaping into the air and hundreds of rays were cruising the shallows. It was an amazing place to visit and if you don’t have a boat, there are charters that can take you there.

1: Exploring the rock art at Injalak with guide Wilfred was a fantastic tour. 2: The roads into the park are very corrugated and took its toll on the boat trailer. 3: The Ocean Loop Drive is very scenic – remember your camera and fishing rod. 4: The boys entertain themselves chasing hermit crabs and sea snails at Caiman Creek. 5: Sunset at Garig Gunak Barlu National Park. 6: A swing at camp provides hours of entertainment for the kids and takes little space which is always at a premium when we travel. 7: Taking a boat to Garig Gunak Barlu is a mission but the fishing is fantastic.

Go Camping Australia | 19


4WD Adventure

Our week went too fast and it was soon time for us to make the journey home, and we were hoping the boat trailer would withstand the corrugations. It was good we left early as the repairs and precautionary checks were numerous, with the journey to Cahill’s Crossing taking us 10 hours from Smith Point. As we made the river crossing, we were farewelled by a very large crocodile just metres away from the car. If it were an easy place to visit, Garig Gunak Barlu would be inundated with tourists exploring the beautiful beaches, dunes, rainforest patches and rich marine life. The isolation is what makes it unique and with a maximum of 20 vehicles allowed, you are never going to have to share with too many (or you may get the park to yourself if you are lucky).

Fact File Getting there

Black Point Ranger Station is 560km from Darwin and 270km from Cahill’s Crossing. Once you cross the East Alligator River (this is a tidal, croc infested river so ensure you check tides before you cross), it is an unsealed, rough 4WD road through Arnhem Land. Caravans and motorbikes are not permitted and ensure you have enough spares and tools to complete the journey.

When to go

The roads are only open during the dry season (May-October), depending on rains and may close for ceremonial reasons with little notice. The best time to visit is between August and October when moderating east to southeast winds prevail however the later you go, the more humid it will get.

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Where to camp

There are two designated camping areas near Smith Point, Campground 1 and 2 (Campground 2 has provision for generators). Both campgrounds have fresh bore water, clean drop toilets, camp tables, solar hot water showers and shady spots (some with shade sails). There is a limit of only 20 vehicles at any one time in the park and there are no shops or fuel available. You need to be totally self-sufficient during your stay and carry enough fuel to drive a minimum of 640km, plus any touring you may wish to do (we travelled 900km return to Jabiru). Take a comprehensive first aid kit, drinking water, camera, fishing gear but no bathers as there are crocodiles and box jellyfish.

1: We saw crocs on this beach, the sign was right - don’t swim no matter how inviting it looks!

More information

The trip necessitates thorough planning and a permit is required from the Northern Lands Council before entering Arnhem Land. This must be organised at least a week in advance and longer during peak periods. A permit, camping and road fee is $232.10 per vehicle, which covers 5 adult passengers for up to 7 nights. Contact: Permits Officer Cobourg Peninsula Sanctuary P: (08) 8999 4814 E: pwpermits.nretas@nt.gov.au

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Hunting emu Words and photos: Fiona Harper

22 | Go Camping Australia

in Yaegl Country


Fiona Harper explores the 32km Yuraygir Coastal Walk.

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ormerly widespread in northeastern New South Wales, coastal emus are now almost extinct and listed as endangered. It’s hard to believe that a native bird which stands almost two metres tall could almost disappear, but that’s what’s been happening as these flightless birds fall prey to domestic animals and road traffic, amongst other hazards. Moves are afoot to protect those that still survive. NSW Parks and Wildlife are talking with Aboriginal communities on Yaegl traditional homelands, using Elders’ knowledge to help with the emus’ preservation. The coastal emu footprint has been adopted as the symbol for the recently opened Yuraygir Coastal Walk, which crosses through these same traditional lands. I’m fortunate to share a yarn around a campfire at Sandon River Campground, midway through our walk, with Yaegl Elder Ron Heron, who grew up nearby on an island on the Sandon River. Highly respected, with a couple of archaeology degrees under his belt, Uncle Ron tells a story of Emu Men who would show themselves on the beach or around the campsite, changing from human to emu according to traditional legends.

Main Photo: Sections of the trail take hikers across long stretches of sandy beach. 1: Hikers on Yuraygir Coastal Walk (YCW) follow the trail of the coastal emu.

Go Camping Australia | 23


Walk

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“This place has always been a camping area, for thousands of years,” Uncle Ron says, gazing across the flames at the multitude of pitched tents belonging to weekend campers. “It’s good to see the tradition continue,” he enthuses, noting that ancient middens are buried beneath the entire campground. From his bag he pulls out a sample of stone tool relics, telling us that many of these stone axe heads and knives were produced in the ‘axe factory’ nearby on Plover Island. Next morning, after extracting ourselves from our tents, we swing by the factory, which is really a miniature quarry, as our trek continues. Crossing Sandon River by kayak, thoughtfully provided by the campsite manager, and heading south, we’re about one third of the way into the 32km Yuraygir Coastal Walk. The trail skims along broad stretches of glorious beach between Angourie in the north and Red Rock campground in the south. Just 20 minutes’ drive to the trail head at Angourie, Riverside Calypso Caravan Park at Yamba is a good place to start. Though the walk can be tackled in either direction, it’s best to walk southwards to avoid walking into the sun. The terrain varies from beach sand to rocky outcrops on headlands through to coastal forest and low lying scrublands. The level of difficulty is rated easy to moderate, so it’s feasible for people with moderate fitness to complete the walk over four days. The 24 | Go Camping Australia

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toughest part is the necessity to carry a fully laden backpack as there is no portage service on offer. Well-tended campsites are dotted all along the trail, some with toilets and fireplaces like those at Sandon River, others merely offering a picnic table and space to pitch a tent on a grassy shaded spot. Mostly passing through Yuraygir National Park, teeny coastal villages like Wooli and Minnie Water allow walkers to stock up on provisions if required. For hot and sweaty trekkers, caravan park showers at these two towns are a tempting luxury. Though, with such clean, unpolluted beaches at hand, a salt water swim and body surf is a rather more satisfying end to a long day on the trail. There are also a couple of freshwater streams around Diggers Camp with pipes jutting out of the dunes at head height to provide an open air fresh water rinse. Rain does its best to dampen our enthusiasm during one overnight stop. It lasts long enough for a pool of water to collect near my head, just beyond my flimsy tent wall, at 5am. Having hung my entire weekend wardrobe out to air overnight, rather lazily I decide to roll over and go back to sleep rather than retrieve the soaking clothes and boots. By 7am when I wake again, the sun is out, the sky is clear, and the ocean beyond the dunes beckons to shake off early morning sluggishness. And my clothes and boots are starting to dry.

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Back on the trail again, rain showers are interspersed with intense sunshine. We spot plenty of grey kangaroos both in the coastal scrub and on the beach, but the elusive coastal emu proves, well, elusive. A couple of Park Rangers, Mark and Damian, join us on the trail, pointing out native flora and the ongoing battle to contain noxious weeds such as the pesky bitou bush. At certain times during the year they even go so far as to spray this weed by chopper in an endeavour to prevent it taking over the native bush. At one point we come across a lizard trail which shows gracefully curved lines etched into the soft white sand. “Once you see things like this, you realise where Aboriginal art gets its inspiration from,” Mark notes, pointing out the elegant sweeping line of a tail dragging across sand, edged by distinctly pronged footprints. It’s not the spoor we hoped to see, but spotting the rare coastal emu will have to wait for the next visit.

1: Beachside campground on YCW. 2: Hikers pause to admire the view, looking out for whales and dolphins. 3: Kangaroos graze on beachside dunes. 4: Hikers cross Sandon River in a canoe provided by Sandon River Campground’s Park Ranger. 5: Stunning beaches provide opportunities to cool hikers’ weary feet.


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Lee Atkinson

Words: Lee Atkinson

26 | Go Camping Australia


Teewah Beach, Sunshine Coast, Qld

Lee Atkinson checks out 10 great coastal camping getaways.

S

ummer by the beach is an Aussie institution. Combine the beach with camping and life is almost perfect as are these top ten picks from the Australian coastline.

North of the Noosa River is a large expanse of relatively undisturbed sandy beach backed by a river and lagoon system rich in bird and wildlife. Much of the area is part of Great Sandy National Park and only accessible by 4WD or boat, and offers some great campsites along Teewah Beach where you can camp in the dunes with absolute ocean views. This is a beach best visited outside the holiday season or on weekdays: during summer holidays the 4WD traffic on the beach highway can be a bit like the traffic on the Sunshine Coast Highway in peak hour – but with less road rules and more hazards, like toddlers and fishermen and sunbathers. Lower your tyre pressure and check tides before you go – even at low tide you’ll sometimes have to drive through axle-deep water. Take insect repellent. Drive time: Cooloola is north of Brisbane, between Noosa Heads (about 155km) and Rainbow Beach (about 240km). You’ll need a permit if you want to drive in the Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park. They cost $15 and are available from the National Parks Information Centre in Moorindil St, Tewantin, near the north shore ferry or call (07) 5449 7792. Discover more about action sports at Rainbow Beach in ‘Chills and thrills’, page 62.

Main Photo: Campsites along Teewah Beach offer absolute ocean views.

Go Camping Australia | 27


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Lee Atkinson

Tourism NSW

Top 10

Bouddi National Park near Gosford featuring wonderfully deserted beaches.

Bouddi National Park, NSW Central Coast Stretching north of Broken Bay on the Central Coast, Bouddi National Park is a beautiful pocket of bushland surrounded by urban development, 20km south-east of Gosford. Featuring wonderfully deserted beaches flanked by rainforest and eucalypt forests, steep hills and sandstone cliffs, there are a number of great walking tracks that lead down to the sea, although what goes down must also come up and many of the tracks can be quite steep in places. There are three campgrounds in the park, and all of them are walk-in only. A favourite is Putty Beach, where you can set up camp adjacent to the car park. Gas barbecues, water and toilets are provided. You have to carry your camping gear (and your own water) 750m from the car park down to Little Beach, where facilities include gas barbecues and composting toilets. If you really want to get away from it all, the most remote campsite at Bouddi is Tallow Beach, which involves a 1km walk down a fairly steep track.

Lee Atkinson

Drive time: Bouddi National Park is 20km south-east of Gosford, not far from the village of Kincumber.

Sunrise beneath the Coffee Rock cliffs at Black Rocks, Bundjalung National Park.

Black Rocks, Northern NSW Bundjalung National Park, between Evans Head and Iluka (just across the mouth of the Clarence River from Yamba), is a beautiful expanse of coastline. The Esk River, the largest untouched coastal river system on the north coast, runs through the southern half of the park, which also contains the World-Heritage listed Iluka Nature Reserve, the largest remaining beachside rainforest in NSW. The Black Rocks campground, roughly mid-way between Evans Head and Iluka, has room for just 26 people in a great little camping area hidden behind the dunes of Ten Mile Beach. It gets its name from the Coffee Rock formations on the beach, a crumbly chocolate-coloured soft rock formed from ancient river sediments that really does look and feel like spent coffee grounds. Drive time: Bundjalung National Park is 50km south of Ballina, 60km north of Grafton off the Pacific Highway on Iluka Road.

Paddling kangaroos on the beach beside the campground at Lake Arragan in Yuraygir National Park.

Yuraygir National Park, NSW Mid-North Coast If you are looking to combine your beachcombing with a spot of wildlife watching then the beaches of Yuraygir National Park between Grafton and Coffs Harbour are the place to set up camp. The park protects the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in NSW – 60km of rocky headlands, cliff-top lookouts and deserted beaches flanked by wetlands and forests. The Sandon River claims to be the cleanest river in NSW and according to the ranger these isolated and empty beaches are one of the few places in the country where you’ll see emus on the beach. At the other end of the park, you’ll often see kangaroos on the beach near Lake Arragan. You can camp at both spots: Sandon River is a popular spot with fishos and okay for small caravans, and in the northern section you can camp on the headland at Lake Arragan and Red Cliffs, where there are 65 sites, all suitable for caravans. Drive time: Yuraygir National Park is roughly an hour’s drive north of Coffs Harbour (42km) or 45 minutes south of Grafton (39km). See ‘Hunting emu in Yaegl Country’ on page 22, for a walk through this fabulous location. Go Camping Australia | 29


30 | Go Camping Australia


Lee Atkinson

Tourism Queensland

Top 10

Storm clouds gather at West Cape in Cape Conran Coastal Park.

Cape Conran, Eastern VIC Near Marlo in East Gippsland, this coastal park features heathlands, rivers, wild, windswept ocean beaches and banksia woodlands brimming with nectar-feeding birds. While the beautiful beaches are the main drawcard, the park is also a popular spot for scuba diving, particularly around West Cape Beach and Salmon Rocks, while rock pinnacles and rock pools also provide plenty of interest at low tide for snorkellers. An added bonus is that because Cape Conran is a coastal park, rather than a national park, you can bring your dogs with you as long as they stay on a leash. You can camp at Banksia Bluff Camp and East Cape Beach. Both campgrounds have large shady unpowered sites, basic toilet facilities, cold showers and are only a minute’s stroll to the beach.

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Drive time: Cape Conran Coastal Park is 420km east of Melbourne, via the Princes Highway (turn off at Cabbage Tree Creek) or via Orbost and Marlo.

Memory Cove on the Eyre Peninsula was named by Matthew Flinders as a reminder of the tragic accident which took the lives of his eight crewmen in 1802.

Memory Cove, Port Lincoln, SA Spectacular ocean cliffs and extensive sand dunes, sandy beaches and sheltered camping sites are just some of the highlights of Lincoln National Park on the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula. The more sheltered, northern section of the park has a string of pretty bays and calm beaches and there is a variety of beachside camping. The most popular is Memory Cove, a pretty beach protected by two headlands that was named by Matthew Flinders as a reminder of the tragic accident which took the lives of his eight crewmen in 1802, but you will need to book at Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre and it is 4WD only. Other good campsites include Fishermans Point, Surfleet Cove, Taylor’s Landing and September Beach (each with toilet facilities) and beach-side bush camping at Carcase Rock, MacLaren Point, Spalding Cove, and Woodcutters Beach. Best campgrounds for caravans are at September Beach or Surfleet Cove, although neither have power. Drive time: Lincoln National Park is 15km south of Port Lincoln, which is 650km south-west of Adelaide. Access to Memory Cove Wilderness Area is limited and is locked; the key is available from the Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre, 3 Adelaide Place, Port Lincoln. P: (08) 8683 3544.

Cape Moreton Lighthouse, Moreton Island.

Moreton Island, QLD The most natural of the large sand islands in Moreton Bay, most of the 38km-long Moreton Island is national park. Highlights are freshwater creeks and lakes, coastal heath, rocky headlands, paperbark swamps, an historic lighthouse and the ruins of coastal forts. Mt Tempest, the highest sand dune on the island, is the highest stable coastal sand dune in the southern hemisphere. Migrating wading birds flock to the island between September and April, nesting turtles occasionally come ashore in summer and watch for migrating humpback whales in late winter and spring. There are five campgrounds and four camping zones along the beach and most are accessible for off-road caravans and camper trailers (apart from The Wrecks which is walkin only and popular with school groups, and North Point). You will need to bring your own drinking water and a portable toilet in remote sites. Be prepared for busy holiday times and you must obtain a camping permit before arriving on the island. Drive time: Moreton Island is 40km by ferry or barge from Brisbane. All roads on the island are 4WD only and all vehicles must have an access permit, available from www.epa.qld.gov.au or the barge operator. See the website for barge departure points. Go Camping Australia | 31


Lee Atkinson

Lee Atkinson

Top 10

Set up camp behind the sand dunes near Point Ann in Fitzgerald River National Park where, on a good day, you’ll be able to see whales just beyond the breakers.

Point Ann, South-West WA

Murramarang National Park, NSW South Coast The rugged coastline between Ulladulla and Batemans Bay make Murramarang National Park one of the state’s most popular parks in the summer with its beautiful beaches, rock platforms, spotted gum forests, rainforest gullies and beautiful Durras Lake. There’s good snorkelling, swimming and surfing and a range of bushwalks. Keep an eye out for eastern grey kangaroos on the beaches. There are several good camping areas within the park: the largest, Pretty Beach, has 70 sites (including powered caravan sites) and facilities include hot showers. Pebbly Beach is the best place to go to see kangaroos on the beach and has 20 sites, cold showers and gas barbecues, but is not suitable for caravans. Depot Beach is another good spot and also has powered caravan sites and hot showers. Bookings are essential during the summer holiday season. Call the Depot Beach Park Office on (02) 4478 6582, the Pebbly Beach Office on (02) 4478 6023 or visit www.environment.nsw.gov.au/ NationalParks Drive time: Murramarang National Park stretches south of Bawley Point (10km south of Ulladulla) to Durras, 10km north of Batemans Bay.

Drive time: Fitzgerald River National Park is 180km north-east of Albany. Best access to Point Ann in the western section of the park is via Bremer Bay. All roads within the park are unsealed and unsuitable for caravans, buses or large motorhomes. Lee Atkinson

Lone surfer in Murramarang National Park.

Fitzgerald River National Park is one of the most diverse botanical regions in the world. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, more than 1800 beautiful and bizarre species of flowering plants thrive here, nearly 20 per cent of Western Australia’s plant species. Other highlights of this large tract of coastal wilderness include deserted beaches with 4WD access, inland lakes and rivers, spongolite cliffs full of sea sponge fossils and whale watching at Point Ann, just one of two places in Australia (the other is Head of Bight in South Australia), where southern right whales come to calve in large numbers in the calm waters of the bay. There are two whale watching platforms that extend out from the headlands over the sea and offer great opportunities for whale watching between June and October. There are several good campsites spread throughout the park, but the best is St Mary Inlet, a sheltered site behind the sand dunes near Point Ann, where, on a good day, you’ll be able to see whales just beyond the breakers. The campground has toilets and a gas barbecue, but no drinking water, so make sure you bring your own.

Campsites at Lime Bay on the Tasman Peninsula have million dollar water views and suitable for both tents and caravans.

Lime Bay, Tasman Peninsula, TAS Tasmania’s first operational mine, the Coal Mines site was developed both to limit the colony’s dependence upon imported coal from New South Wales, as well as a place of punishment for the ‘worst class’ of convicts from Port Arthur, and provides a very different, self-guided look at our convict past than the more popular Port Arthur site. You can wander freely among the evocative ruins of Saltwater River Convict Station, with its cramped and gloomy underground cells denying the prisoners the spectacular water views. A cruel punishment indeed. One of the best-kept beach-side camping secrets in Australia is here at beautiful Lime Bay, just a few minutes’ drive further north from the Coal Mines. Think shady campsites with million dollar water views, suitable for both tents and caravans, although facilities are basic and you’ll need to bring your own firewood and water. Drive time: From Hobart, take the A3 to Sorell and then follow the Arthur Highway (A9) around the shores of Norfolk Bay. It’s 111km south-east from Hobart.

Lee Atkinson is author of Caravanning Australia: 50 Great Destinations and Australia’s Best National Parks: A Visitor’s Guide. Both are published by New Holland, rrp $29.95 each.

32 | Go Camping Australia


South Australia Tourism Commission


Grumpy Old Men on the

Dampier Peninsula Words and photos: Rod Blitvich

34 | Go Camping Australia


North Kimberley beach camping in paradise.

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hree hours north of Broome are beautiful, peaceful beaches where you can set up camp near the water and watch the tides come and go in blissful solitude. The road up the Dampier Peninsula is 200 kilometres of contradiction. After ten or so kilometres, you hit the red dusty track and the bitumen disappears. The dust and dirt get thicker and bumpier and the palms get sweaty on the steering wheel making towing a heavy trailer difficult. A small dip at 60 kilometres per hour can put quite a stress on the tow ball, as the vehicle and trailer bounce in the dip.

We rocked and jarred along for an hour or two to be pleasantly relieved as we hit perfect bitumen after 100 kilometres! We cruised smoothly along for a while until I did the calculations and realised we were on track to reach Leveque sometime after 5pm when the office may be closed. We radioed Kev and Steve in the other vehicle behind us, who were prone to plodding. Kev is so tight he likes to save two or three dollars’ worth of fuel by driving slow. Gary and I put the foot down and zoomed onward to Leveque leaving the lads in our wake, disappearing in my rear-vision mirror.

Main Photo: Sunset lights the Red Rocks, West Beach at Cape Leveque.

Go Camping Australia | 35


Remote

Kevin Castensen

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At ten minutes to five Gary and I bounced through the last few kilometres of dirt track at the end to arrive at the new Cape Leveque office. We paid our fees and got directions to a palm-frond beach shelter just 20 paces from the water. As we walked out of the office, the boys in the ‘slow’ vehicle arrived. On our left shoulder was the still, blue ocean and just down below the red cliffs. What a sight! We drove down to our camp, reversed the campers, unpacked a few things and enjoyed a cold beer savouring the view of the bay. The next days were spent pleasantly. As our palm-frond palace sat on a northerly peninsula, we were graced with a spectacular sunrise over the ocean each morning. Whales would frolic in the sea during the day. A swim would involve a leisurely 20 steps down the small cliff to the sparkling water. With much grunting and groaning we carried the dinghies down to the beach and each morning 36 | Go Camping Australia

would set off to troll for mackerel and tuna. Unfortunately, the fish were not cooperating so each evening we would dip into the Engel of cryovac meat for something to throw on the barbeque in front of our shelter. These simple shelters were ideal for the conditions with room to roll out the swags for an afternoon nap and the evening slumber. A large picnic table and a fresh water shower in one corner made our Shangri-La for a few days. One morning, after giving up on the strangely unproductive fishing, we motored up into the mouth of Hunters Creek. There I spotted the biggest mud crab I have ever seen, plodding along the bottom in about a metre of water. A quick scoop with the landing net saw him waving his claws in a menacing fashion as he sat in a large plastic tub in our boat. Destined for the wok that evening with lashings of garlic, chilli, tomato and onion, it made a very satisfying entrée for four hungry blokes!

Late afternoons would find us on the west beach with a cold drink, watching the sunset over the ocean as the red cliffs smouldered in the afternoon light. Leveque is beautiful, but we moved on after a few days for a quieter location. Sixty-five kilometres south of Cape Leveque lies the peaceful, laid-back Middle Lagoon with a couple of small beach shelters in the sand, several rustic chalets and lots of nice campsites. There are even hot showers and a washing machine. A nice sandy, blue-water beach lies on the south-facing lagoon, whilst the west beach sits below rocky cliffs where campers gather to bid the sun farewell each afternoon. A hard sandy beach allows boat launching on all tides. A narrow, bumpy and sandy track led us into the last 20 kilometres of Middle Lagoon where we found our lovely isolated campsite, ‘Lino’s’, perched on a small dune with commanding


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views of the lagoon. Soon camp was pitched and a cleansing ale was enjoyed by all. Middle Lagoon is a place where you wake in the crisp, still, pre-dawn to the sound of small waves crashing on the sandy beach below the dune. You stare through the pandanus trees over a blue and glassy ocean as the light gets stronger. Sipping on your coffee, with the sand between your toes, you watch birds diving on bait schools in the bay as you contemplate a day of fishing, swimming and sunbaking – all in a quiet laidback atmosphere. One morning we boarded the SS Grumpy (my small dinghy) and motored south for 20 minutes to a wide tidal creek which went inland about two kilometres. Crab nets were set and we then spent an hour or two tossing lures. Best catch of the morning went to Steve Allen who engaged in a protracted tussle with a rather large

mangrove tree hooked about four metres up in the canopy. Although our mouths watered in anticipation of more garlic chilli mud crab, we sadly were not successful. After stowing the nets we enjoyed a refreshing swim at a sandy beach midway back downstream. The tides in the Dampier Peninsula are huge. There can be an eight metre difference between high and low and every six hours they peak and ebb. Each day we would marvel at the sight of the local young indigenous boys, who would madly paddle a small dinghy around the lagoon with one balancing precariously on the bow holding a spear, looking for rays to spear. “They taste good after we throw them on the fire!” Our days were spent in pleasant solitude fishing and swimming and admiring the view. One late afternoon we packed a

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bottle of white wine and headed out onto the western cliffs to witness the most enthralling sunset as we sipped our wine and reflected on this amazing trip. A bank of high clouds on the horizon provided a mesmerising panorama of reds and pinks, changing every few minutes, painting nature’s picture as only nature can do – a fitting memory to end my daydream on the Dampier Peninsula Beaches.

1: The local lads after a fish. 2: Collecting firewood on the way to Middle Lagoon. 3: Whale Tale. Whales would frolic out to sea during the day. 4: Gary Dinsdale with a Spanish mackerel. 5: View from Cape Leveque beach shelter. 6: He’s going to be dinner!

Go Camping Australia | 37


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Take the Cape Leveque Road from Broome and drive 200 kilometres north. The last 100 are sealed. Middle Lagoon is on a well signposted track about 20 kilometres west of this road. Allow 2.5–3 hours from Broome.

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flippers

40 | Go Camping Australia


All you need are keen eyes and ears to spot nesting turtles on Lady Elliot Island.

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ady Elliot Island, in the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, teems with green and loggerhead turtles during the turtles’ nesting and hatching season. And while you may need a manta ray-sized span of luck to witness the hatchlings’ sprint to the ocean, all you need to locate the nesting females are keen eyes and ears. My husband and I saunter back from dinner along a coral strewn beach, its dazzling whiteness muted by the starry

night. Our eyes quickly adjust to the minimal illumination as our words become naturally private, sheltered by sea breezes before being drowned in the gentle waves licking the perimeter of this 45ha coral cay. Though Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, located 80km northeast of Bundaberg, can accommodate up to 150 overnight guests, we seem to have the beach to ourselves – other guests are still pecking away at the dinner buffet (included in overnight rates for all styles of accommodation, even the permanent tents), sipping wine in the lagoon bar, or settling into the reef education centre for tonight’s Valentine’s Day ‘date night’ movie. The film may be

an appealing idea for some, but we can’t imagine sitting indoors staring at a screen when the outside world promises a far more enticing show. February falls within turtle hatching season, and the only thing that could make this Valentine’s Day any more special would be coming across that undeniable proof of turtle romance: a hatchling or a hundred scurrying towards their vast ocean home. The presently waxing moon aids our quest – fortunate since using a torch to seek out these tiny creatures is taboo. Hatchlings are attracted to any light source and can become easily disoriented. As such, the resort asks guests to keep torch use to a minimum when on the beach. Though sexually mature females (generally aged 30-50+) lay over 100 eggs per clutch and nest multiple times per breeding season, only one out of a thousand hatchlings typically makes it to adulthood. We certainly don’t want to reduce their odds of survival any further.

Main Photo: The sea turtle searches for food in the waters off Lady Elliot Island.

Go Camping Australia | 41


Experience

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A hundred metres past the end of the island airstrip, I notice a metre-wide track in the sand, leading from the water’s edge towards the island interior. Venturing up the beach, we hear the turtle before we see her. Her flippers make a slow swishing sound as they flick sand into the surrounding vegetation. Not wanting to spook her (she’ll abandon her pit digging, and thus her egg laying, attempts if we do), we silently and motionlessly keep our distance, awed by her toiling and lulled by the grave tempo of shifting sand. If she’s undisturbed and successfully lays her eggs, the hatchlings will emerge in 8-12 weeks, most likely surfacing in the relative coolness and safety of night and immediately racing towards the water. Female turtles travel 42 | Go Camping Australia

back to their place of birth to breed because they imprint on the earth’s magnetic field during their initial dash down the beach. This is why, a resort staff member explained earlier, we must never deprive them of that first sandy journey, even if we come across a disoriented hatchling in need of redirection towards the water. Since we’re still hoping to spot a hatchling, we leave the nesting turtle in peace and retreat back towards the resort, eyes wide, fingers crossed. After ten minutes or so, we notice another mature turtle – presumably another female looking for a safe place to exit the water – swimming in the same direction, close to the shoreline. Fearing our ambling might distract her, we plop down on the sand to observe her progress but lose sight of her.

1: A resort guest/camper prepares to snorkel in Lady Elliot Island’s lagoon. 2: One of many signs marking known turtle nesting sites on Lady Elliot Island. 3: A turtle hatchling races towards the water, Lady Elliot Island. 4: Waves crash on a rougher section of beach, Lady Elliot Island. 5: A few of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort’s permanent tents, known as eco cabins.


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F Midge Point e p u CUMBER l se L AND RA Bay Mount Elsie Mt William ISLANDS NG Natal Dow ns Seaforth E Fi 1259 h a Scawfell Island 1: ‘Campers’ relax on the patio of oneNeof Lady Elliot nch Hatton Maria nn Yarrowmere n el Island Eco Resort’s permanent tents, known asGlenden M W A alkerston C M K ou A nt M Do Y E ou uglas NG Aberfoyle ecoLacabins. Su Hay Point RA ke t to M r Sa 2: White capped noddies reside on Lady Elliot Buch R rina A anan NH Island year-round. DE Nebo Koumala Moray Downs Go on Corinda 3: Colourful giant clams are also common in NORTHU M BERLA Lady Elliot Island’s lagoon. ND Mora Lake Galilee Coppabella Frankfield Saltbush Pa ISLANDS rk Eastmere BROAD Peak Downs Sau ma rez Ree SOUND SHOALWAT Saraji f ER BA Y Townshe Dysart Blair Athol nd Island Aramac Clermont Port Clinto Getting there O Cape Clin Midboth Seair offers nton dlemount Surbitonthrice daily flights to Lady Elliot Island from Marlborough Tieri Hervey Bay (40 minutes) and Bundaberg (30 minutes). MoreJucostly Cap nee Byfield Peak Vale (Redcliffe) and Coolangatta R flights from Maroochydore, Barcaldine R Mt Tabletop RuBrisbane Fi ie Leura byvale z n three Jericho are available upon request. Hervey Bay isElocated Yeppoon eor merald 290km Yaamba 3 An Bogantun83 akie er ck the gan take Grea R iv a hours north of Brisbane; the Bruce Highway and then R O Alpha MBlackwater CK Emu Park t Keppel Island R Lake Maryborough-Hervey Bay Road. Co m et G ra Maraboon el Bay ce mere Kepp Bluff Kinrola Caprico Yalleroi r n Grou Durrandella C Dua ringa p When to go Heron Is Mount Mor Port Alma urtis I DA land gan South W Temperatures are warmer in summer, but you can swim, dive, and G LADSTON Blackwater Mount Larc Springsure om Blackall snorkel off Lady Elliot year-round. November E to February is the Nando Port Curtis Castlevale Woora Calliope binda Lady Elliot Island Ta n nu optimal time to see turtles nesting, while February to April is theBaralaba m Sands Rolleisland’s st on best time to witness turtles hatching. The website includes a C allide Ba R AN G E Lad y Ell Moura Agn as well as climate information. G Onature Tamcalendar Biloela bo iot I Miria m Val es Wa ter RE R Consuelo P A e Th an go ol W 11 Mt Drummon Where to camp d ES RA 859 DAW CA In addition to pricier ensuite accommodation, Lady Elliot Island Th Eco eodor RN Yanda ra n AR M onto VO (eco huts), all located Resort offers 12 permanent safari-style tents Bargara N Gin Gin Cape RA within 20-30m of Sunrise Beach. Each hut sleeps four and boasts B U N D A M Cr B o unt Perry polished wooden floors, a fan, electricity, linen, and a small entry E Eidsvold HERVEY RG Point Augathella Childers patio with a table and chairs. Shared bathroom and laundryTafacilities R bathala B A Y ro om N n M t Hu et t are located nearby. Visit www.ladyelliot.com.au Howar Mundubber HERVEY G a Biggendden BAY Injune E Gayndah Both Hervey BayCand Bundaberg offer plenty of places to pitch a tent k MaryboroFRASER I AN Charleville D ugh before and after your time. In Hervey Bay, the 4.5-star, 8-acre Morveisland Wando n Tiaro an Fraser Lodge Holiday Park (20 Fraser Street, Torquay) offers powered a l Westgate lla Mungallala Proston Wa um Tin Can B geprivate ensuites sites with (from $41, R suitable camper Mitche oladdi ay bcaravans, ll oma llfor illa Murgon An leba trailers, tents, RVs, and motor homes) as well as regularYupowered ndai Gympie Dulacca sites (from $35) and smaller powered/unpowered sites (from $32). Miles Kingaro Chinchilla Several styles of ensuite accommodation are also available. Facilities Cooroy NOOSA H Jandowae y Wyandra EADS include two swimming pools, two Ta camp kitchens, a tennis court, N an N a an m g Surat bour n Yarraman o games room, and WIFI access. To book, ring (07) 4124 9999 or visit in Glenmorga CALOU2011 e Kilcoy www.fraserlodge.com.au n Tara © Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia) NDRA Bribie Is Mea ndarra Dalby Crows Bongareeland Nest Esk Cape M Kum Lake Wiv Cabooltu oreto Cec il Plain barilla O enhoe re MAustralia Go Camping s akey Lake Kajara oreton Is | n 45 Bollon Moonie land Moreton Pittsworth Gatton River Bay Murra Murra St Geor Mil Longton


Dipping into the

deep blue Words and photos: Jennifer Chapman

46 | Go Camping Australia


1

Explore Jervis Bay Marine Park from Booderee National Park.

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s the night air begins to cool we huddle closer to the camp fire. The orange flames are casting their spell on us as they lick marshmallows on the ends of our crooked sticks. As we turn our dessert rotisserie-style, we hear a loud scuffle to our right. Or is it to our left? It is dark, after dinner time, for us anyway. Sitting in our picnic chairs we peer into the inky distance, looking for silhouettes. We have no luck but again hear a thump on the forest floor – closer this time. We sit anxiously wondering about the size of this animal we suspect will soon invade our personal space. We are not scared (much) but are concerned about our presence in a bush home that isn’t ours. We are always vigilant about not introducing human food to wildlife. I grab the pack of Pascalls and bury them in my jacket pocket. My partner and I pull our sticks from the fire and gobble down our ignored and now charred mallows. Then, like a Tchaikovsky crescendo, we hear twigs snap, the crunch of dry gum leaves and a thud, and are startled by a possum that’s jumped onto a tree stump behind us. We spot another pair of eyes glowing to our left – a second possum is just visible in the light of the dwindling wood fire.

Not sure how used to people these marsupials are, and with our marshmallow roasting plans dashed, we make a hasty escape back to the main camp area. This is our introduction to Booderee National Park, on the NSW South Coast. My partner and I are here for a week of camping because we are eager to check out Jervis Bay, the body of water on the north side of the park. Although we have come with a loaded ute and closed-in box trailer to carry our toys – paddleboards, wetsuits, kite boarding and snorkelling gear, and a back-up gas barbecue – it doesn’t hinder us from finding a site close to the car, metres from Bristol Point Beach and deep enough within Booderee to steer clear of crowds. We have chosen well, too. Bristol Point, the second campsite along the sealed Jervis Bay Road, is relatively empty. We are joined by two other couples and a small group of uni students. Despite the students’ penchant for a night-time disco, it’s peaceful. Main Photo: The soft white sand and aqua waters of the beaches around Booderee National Park entice weary campers and holidaymakers. 1: The tops of tents poke through the thick vegetation at camping grounds in Booderee National Park.

Go Camping Australia | 47


Explore

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Although the weather is cool, over the next five days we are frequently in the deep blue. About three hours south of Sydney and north-east of Canberra, Jervis Bay is a sheltered inlet. There are plenty of walking tracks and picnic spots within the park, while sailing, kayaking, fishing and swimming are popular too. Jervis Bay Marine Park is home to an abundant number of marine creatures, including sharks (Port Jackson, grey nurse and wobbegong), black rays and bottlenose dolphins. One morning as we paddleboard across the mirror-flat bay in front of Bristol Point, we are joined by a pod of inquisitive dolphins. I count seven, and no matter how slow I paddle they stay with me until I change course to explore Scottish Rocks, back towards the shore. Another time, I spot a ray gliding underneath my board in the vodkaclear water – I am so excited I almost fall overboard. 48 | Go Camping Australia

We don’t see these animals when we snorkel at spots in and outside of Booderee, but the number of small fish is enough to keep us happy. When we submerge wetsuitclad into the water at Hyams Beach (bordered by Jervis Bay and Booderee National Parks), we are even content with looking at the ocean floor. The Guinness Book of World Records has rated Hyams as having the whitest sand in the world – whether you agree or not, it’s a pleasure to look through our snorkelling masks at the ripples in the sandy floor and the shells gracing its surface. Visitors to Jervis Bay can also go humpback whale watching (June-November) and on boat trips to seal colonies, however interactions with fauna are not limited to the water. Along with the friendly possums that welcome us into their world, flocks of rainbow lorikeets entertain us as they screech along the ground and in eucalypt trees. They’re often joined by crimson rosellas that balance on our tent guy ropes.

Also hanging around like a toddler by mum’s side is a curious wallaby, while elsewhere in the park grey kangaroos abound. More than 200 species of birds reportedly call Booderee home and twitchers and flora enthusiasts should stop by Booderee Botanic Gardens for a closer look. Being amongst nature and waking to the sounds of birds’ singing are two of the biggest joys of camping – paddleboarding with dolphins and snorkelling at the ‘world’s whitest beach’ are just a bonus.

1: Flocks of rainbow lorikeets and crimson rosellas entertain campers as they screech along the ground. 2: Inquisitive dolphins join paddleboarders making their way across the mirror-flat bay in front of Bristol Point. 3: A curious wallaby inspects campers and tents at Bristol Point. 4: The Guinness Book of World Records has rated Hyams Beach as having the whitest sand in the world.


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50 | Go Camping Australia

Words and photos: Martin Auldist


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As a sportfish, salmon are pretty much the complete package.

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n southern waters, if there is one fish that could be considered a beach bum it would be the Australian salmon. These spotted, silver speedsters are never found too far away from the sand and the surf. Given that Australian holiday makers are similarly fond of spending time at the beach, it’s not surprising that the Aussie salmon is one of our most popular and commonly encountered angling species. As a sportfish, salmon are pretty much the complete package. They are a strong, broad-shouldered fish with a powerful tail and a reputation for fighting like there’s no tomorrow. When hooked, they strip line from reels at a sizzling pace, and usually take to the air in a series of desperate and spectacular jumps. They are a schooling species that are often encountered thrashing the water to foam in a feeding frenzy – so when you catch one you’ll almost always catch lots. What’s more they’re not too fussy about what bait they eat and are also happy to smash all manner of lures and flies. Who could ask for more?

Species and range Australian salmon are not a true salmon at all and are not related to northern hemisphere salmon such as Chinook and Atlantic salmon. In fact the only close relative of the Australian salmon is its substantially smaller cousin the Tommy ruff, or herring. There are two species of Australian salmon in this country, the Eastern and Western varieties, which can be very difficult to tell apart. The Eastern Australian salmon ranges from the Queensland-New South Wales border all the way down along the east coast to Port Phillip Bay in Victoria. This species grows to a maximum of around 7kg. The Western variety occurs from Kalbarri in Western Australia, down around the coast of South Australia, and across to the eastern parts of Victoria. This Western species is larger, growing to over 10kg. Australian salmon are also found in Tasmania, as well as in New Zealand where they are known as kahawai. Time and tides Yet another great thing about Aussie salmon is that they are a genuine all-year-round target. In the southern states, they are

probably most commonly targeted during winter and provide one of the few realistic options at the time of year. Nevertheless there are still good numbers available for anglers year round. As with most other species, by far the best time to try for salmon is around the change of light. In other words, try and be out there fishing either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. Under some circumstances however, especially in a boat off shore, salmon can also be encountered feeding in the middle of the day. The stage of the tide is probably not as important as time of day, except for surf anglers who sometimes rely on high tide to provide enough water in their chosen gutter. If I had a choice I would find a beach on which high tide occurs right on dark or just after dawn. Main Photo: When surf fishing, try to cast your bait into deeper, clearer water. That might be quite close to the beach. 1: Lachlan Auldist landed this solid salmon when it took a soft plastic meant for a flathead in Mallacoota Inlet, Victoria.

Go Camping Australia | 51


Fishing

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Surf In southern waters, Australian salmon are easily the most popular target for surf anglers. The species loves to hunt in packs along the gutters and channels of the surf zone, where they chase down bait fish and search for other morsels of food in amongst the churned up sand. To catch them, you’ll need surf fishing gear consisting of long rods (approximately 3.6 metres) and oversize threadline reels loaded with plenty of monofilament line. Fishy baits such as whole or cut pilchards, garfish, bluebait or whitebait are generally the best, rigged on either a running sinker rig, or a paternoster rig with two hooks above the sinker. Hooks can be either of the suicide or long-shanked variety, choosing a size that matches your bait. Before you even cast, take some time to study the beach from a high vantage point. Look for the deeper holes and gutters that have waves breaking into them but also have some clear blue water. These are the places you should cast your baits – and often they’re not too far from shore. Use heavy surf sinkers to keep your bait in place but check it often, especially if there are bait-stealing crabs and sea lice about. Fuse wire or elastic thread can be used to help keep your bait on longer if you are having problems. When fishing the surf, it’s best to hold your rod whenever your can, but specially made sand spikes can be used to secure your rod if you need to give your arms a rest. With the continual crashing of waves on the line, it can take practice to detect when a salmon strikes. When one does, strike back to set the hooks, then wind in your prize. In the final stages of the fight, try and use the waves to wash your 52 | Go Camping Australia

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prize up the beach. Don’t try to hold it back against the retreating water. Salmon in the surf can also be targeted using lures. You won’t need such a long rod, but you will need a rod and reel combination that will allow you to cast heavy metal slugs a long way. Simply walk along the beach casting your lures out and winding them back as fast as you can – sooner or later a salmon will intercept your offering on its way back to the beach. Offshore When the weather permits, it can be highly productive to target salmon from a boat in offshore waters. If no schools are obvious the best way of prospecting for salmon is to troll lures behind your boat. You’ll cover a lot more water this way. Your lures usually don’t have to dive very deep, so just about any lure of an appropriate size will do as long as it is silver and shiny. Heavy metal slugs and spoons are ideal, but weighted soft plastics and bibbed hard-bodied lures will also work. When you hook up, try and relocate the school by working the spot over with more trolling or by casting lures back to where the fish were. Happily for anglers, salmon schools are often painfully obvious. They love to swarm in massive schools in the clear water out the back of the breakers, where they herd schools of hapless baitfish to the surface and cut them to ribbons. The presence of such a swarming school is often betrayed by dozens of seabirds that hover above the action, diving time and time again to harvest their share of the baitfish bonanza. Even in the absence of birds, a feeding school of salmon is easily identified by a patch of water that ‘shimmers’ much more than the surrounding ocean

due to the bait fish being pushed hard up against the surface. It’s not subtle – even a novice will notice it – while often the salmon themselves can also be seen splashing and breaking the surface. When a salmon school is located, carefully approach it but do not under any circumstances drive your boat through the school. I repeat, do not drive through the school! To do so will only send them down, ending your chance of catching any and also incurring the wrath of any other anglers present. If you are trolling, carefully troll around the edge of the school so that your lures drag through the fish. You will almost certainly hook up time and time again. If you are casting lures, approach in your boat to just within casting range and cast towards the boiling fish. Silver metal slugs and spoons come into their own in this situation because you will be able to cast them a very long way. Simply cast them out and crank them back towards you as fast as you can. More often than not the action will be fast and furious and you will catch a fish a cast until the school decides to vacate. Estuaries and inlets Australian salmon also occur in the sheltered waters of estuaries, bays and inlets with one proviso: that they are frequently connected directly to the open ocean. In such enclosed waters, salmon are usually encountered by anglers casting lures or bait fishing for other species. In addition to fish baits, salmon will also take sandworms and Bass yabbies (nippers), and many are the bream or flathead anglers that have had his or her arms straightened when a big salmon has jumped on the end of the line unexpectedly.


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At times, salmon school on the surface in enclosed waters in a similar way to the way they do offshore. Under these circumstances they can be targeted deliberately using similar techniques. In bays and estuaries, however, the salmon are often smaller so it may pay to downsize your lures. A small Wonder Wobbler is an ideal lure for trolling up salmon in estuaries. On the plate If there’s one area that salmon might stand accused of underperforming it is on the plate. As table fare they simply don’t stack up next to more delectable species such as flathead, whiting or snapper. That’s not to say that

salmon aren’t perfectly palatable if treated correctly. The smaller specimens, especially, are tastiest if bled immediately by cutting the major blood vessels under their chin (give them a little tap on the head first to send them off to sleep). Then eat them while they are fresh, without freezing. With their slightly oily flesh, salmon also make excellent fare when smoked. So, next time you find yourself down at the beach with some time to spare, why not have a go at getting acquainted with a piscatorial surfie, the Australian salmon. They are great fun, easy to catch and there are plenty of them near most holiday spots in southern Australia.

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1: Salmon are great for pulling the kinks out of your kids’ arms. Callum Auldist caught this one at Mallacoota, Victoria. 2: Daniel Kent with a pan-sized salmon. Fish this size are perfectly acceptable on the plate if eaten fresh, and even better smoked. 3: Silver metal slugs are perfect lures for salmon. 4: Trolling is the best way to prospect for salmon offshore. The author caught this solid specimen off Apollo Bay, Victoria. 5: Feeding schools of salmon can be located by patches of rougher water that ‘shimmer’ more than the surrounding sea. This school is offshore from Apollo Bay, Victoria.

snowys.com.au Australia’s #1 online camping & outdoors store

Free Delivery … Australia-wide! Go Camping Australia | 53


Islands stream in the

Words and photos: Kerry van der Jagt

54 | Go Camping Australia


Australia is rich in offshore treasures.

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othing says getaway like an island holiday. Castaways like Robinson Crusoe, Gilligan and even Tom Hanks and ‘Wilson’ have long ignited our island fantasies. Not only do we live on the world’s biggest island, we have another 8222 smaller ones to play with. WA has 3747, Queensland has 1955, Tasmania has 1000, NT has 887, SA has 346, Victoria has 184, and NSW has 103. From glamping to beach camping here are ten of the best.

Go Camping Australia | 55


Getaway

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On Kangaroo Island, off the tip of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, half the native bushland is just as it was when explorer Matthew Flinders named it in 1802 and more than a third is protected as a national or conservation park. Walk within metres of hundreds of rare Australian sea-lions, watch little penguins waddle home from the sea or swim with the island’s resident pods of dolphins. National parks offer a range of camping options from designated bush camping through to sites with cooking and bathroom facilities. Getting there: Kangaroo Island is 45 minutes by SeaLink ferry from Cape Jervis in South Australia www.tourkangarooisland.com.au Tasmania’s Maria Island was once a convict settlement and then a whaling station before National Parks took it over 40 years ago. Now it’s a place for walkers, wanderers and wildlife. It’s also a bit of a rock star with dramatic limestone fossil cliffs, Painted Cliffs and the towering dolerite columns of Bishop and Clerk. There are basic camp grounds near the ruins at Darlington, French’s Farm and Encampment Cove. Getting there: a half-hour ferry trip from the wharf at Triabunna Visitors Centre www.parks.tas.gov.au 56 | Go Camping Australia

The Tiwi Islands, comprised of Bathurst and Melville Islands, 80 kilometres north of Darwin, are renowned for the geometric art forms that are produced there. Aboriginal owned and administered by the Tiwi Land Council (TLC), four beaches have been made available for boat operators to camp for up to seven days by way of a permit. Any camping on the islands must be arranged through AFANT - Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the Northern Territory. Getting there: the Tiwi islands can be reached by light plane or private charter www.nt.gov.au or www.nlc.org.au The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail follows the footsteps of the Ngaro people, the traditional owners of the Whitsunday area. Opened at the start of 2010, the trail is a blend of spectacular bushwalking over land and sea across South Molle, Hook and Whitsunday Islands. The largely self-guided Sea Trail is dotted with campsites and the waters are generally calm and easy to traverse in a kayak or small boat. Another option is to be dropped off at a Whitsunday island of your choice by Scamper, a barge-like transfer boat that drops people directly onto the beach for camping. www.whitsundaycamping.com.au Getting there: the 74 islands of the Whitsundays can be accessed from Shute Harbour and Airlie Beach www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au

Get shipwrecked on Wilson Island, a small coral cay 15 kilometres north of Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef, without leaving a dirty carbon footprint. With just six luxuriously appointed safari-style tents on the entire island, you’ll see more turtles than humans. For bare-foot luxury at its best, you can even rent the entire island. Getting there: boat transfer or helicopter from Gladstone to Heron Island, then a 40-minute boat transfer to Wilson Island www.wilsonisland.com Woody Island, off the coast of Esperance in Western Australia, is a pin-up for sustainable holidays. With plenty of wildlife like little penguins, southern right whales and Australian sea lions, a marked dive and snorkel trail and enough species of birds to keep twitchers twittering for days, Woody has something for every castaway. Visitors can stay in safari huts, pre-erected tents or BYO tent from late September to early May. Getting there: Woody Island Nature Reserve is located 15 kilometres south-east of Esperance in the Bay of Isles www.woodyisland.com.au


Hiking and biking Located 19 kilometres from Fremantle, Rottnest Island is a popular destination for Perth families who come to cycle its car-free roads, walk its many trails and swim, surf, fish, and snorkel at its 63 beaches. Rottnest Island Bike Hire is the largest facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere with over 1,300 bikes and specialty equipment available for hire. Sea kayaking, scuba diving and enjoying the wildlife all add to the experience. Campsites can be booked through the Rottnest Island Authority. Getting there: ferry services run every day from Hillarys Boat Harbour in Fremantle (25 minutes) and Barrack Street Jetty in Perth’s city centre (45 minutes) www.rottnestisland.com Bruny Island is made up of North and South Island, joined by a narrow isthmus called the Neck, home to the Neck Game Reserve, famous for its short-tailed shearwaters and little penguins. There are plenty of walks throughout the island, many within the bounds of the national park, varying in difficulty from short 15-minute

strolls to full day hikes. The island is home to Australia’s southern-most pub, southernmost winery and some of Tasmania’s finest produce – a point to consider when deciding which walk to take. Camping is available at the Captain James Cook Memorial Caravan Park. Getting there: a 40-minute drive from Hobart to Kettering, then a 20-minute ferry crossing www.brunyisland.org.au

City limits Cockatoo Island is the largest island in Sydney Harbour. Located at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers, Cockatoo Island was once an imperial prison, industrial school, reformatory, jail and the site of one of Australia’s biggest shipyards. Falling asleep under the shadows of dormant cranes and chimneys and waking to sunrise over the Harbour Bridge is a special treat. Camping options include; glamping package, camping package or tent site. Getting there: catch the Parramatta or Balmain/Woolwich Ferry Service from Circular Quay www.harbourtrust.gov.au

Phillip Island in Victoria is a hop, skip and two-minute drive across the bridge from San Remo. Famous for penguins, pelicans and petrol heads it also has a swag of activities for those not yet ready to go completely troppo; scenic helicopter flights, hot-laps of the grand prix circuit, French cooking classes, day spas and wineries. There are plenty of caravan parks with campsites. Getting there: an easy 90-minute drive from Melbourne via the South Gippsland Highway www.penguins.org.au

Main Photo: Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island. 1: Camping on South Molle Island. 2: Fishing the Tiwi Islands. 3: Seal Bay Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island. 4: Island sunset. 5: Tiwi Island art. 6: Wilson Island tent.

Kangaroo Island. So close but yet so far away. Only 45 minutes by ferry but you’ll feel a million miles away. Take your van or camper trailer on the ferry - it’s easy! Regular services - bookings recommended.

Call 13 13 01 or visit sealink.com.au Go Camping Australia | 57


World The Edge of the

Words and photos: Kevin and Barbara Weimer

58 | Go Camping Australia


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You don’t have to look far to find the edge of the world in Tasmania’s Tarkine Wilderness.

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asses of large logs, more like drift trees than driftwood, washed up by the relentless wild ocean and strewn all over the beach and a small ocean cliff top monument marked The Edge of the World, a rugged Southern Ocean coastline created by inhospitable Roaring 40s winds. If you were to sail due west from this point, the next land mass would be South America – 22,000km away, south of and by-passing the African continent. After travelling one and a half hours from Stanley, home of the famous ‘Nut’, we had arrived at Arthur River, a small fishing village on the north western border of Tasmania’s Tarkine Wilderness. The village is an outpost of civilisation in this massive wilderness, an area so remote that rumour has it that the legendary Tasmanian tiger may still exist here. Arthur River village takes its name from the river. We set up camp at Peppermint Campground, one of the three local national

park camping areas – a small but convenient campground across the road from the general store and next door to the ranger station. We had arrived early and set up camp before lunch, so there were many hours left in the day for exploring and we didn’t waste them. Arthur River village is at the mouth of the Arthur River, one of Tasmania’s last truly wild and untouched rivers. Attractions for visitors include a choice of two cruises along the pristine Arthur River, walks to Bluff Hill Point and along the coastline, which can be more like an obstacle course as you pick your way over scattered bits of lumber. Off road 4x4 driving is also a popular activity. However, if you intend driving on beaches or tracks in this extremely fragile area, you will need a permit which can be purchased at the Arthur River Ranger Station. Main Photo: The rugged coastline at Couta Rocks. 1: Impenetrable and magnificent rainforest lines the banks of the Arthur River.

Go Camping Australia | 59


Wilderness

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The sealed road to Arthur River from Stanley via Marrawah passes through an important Aboriginal cultural area with many campsite middens along the coast. Aboriginal engravings can be found at Sundown Point to the south, while Mount Cameron West to the north is one of the most important Aboriginal art sites in Tasmania. After lunch, we were keen to explore further south along this rugged coastline, and then inland into the Tarkine Forest. The South Arthur Forest Drive took us to Couta Rocks, a remote sleepy little cove with fishermen’s shacks scattered along the shoreline. From there, we drove on through dense rainforest tracks as far as Lake Chisholm, a permanently flooded sinkhole in the middle of the rainforest and an impressive sight! No creeks or rivers flow out of this deep pool of water, and, on a clear day, there are crystal clear reflections. On our visit, however, it was overcast and a slight breeze was blowing, so unfortunately we didn’t get to fully appreciate these wonderful reflections. From here we backtracked to Arthur River as it was not possible to continue the circular drive back. The Tayateah Bridge was washed away during the 2007 flood and not yet replaced. Back at our camp it was an easy walk to the river, where kayaks and canoes were available for hire. Two boats, the M.V. George Robinson 60 | Go Camping Australia

and the A.R. Reflections, offered cruises down the totally unspoilt Arthur River for 15km to its junction with the Franklin River. Both cruises include lunch and a walk in the rainforest. We chose to book for the following day’s five hour cruise on the M.V. George Robinson, a restored wooden steamer – and what a memorable day this turned out to be! When we boarded the steamer we were greeted by the two crew members – Robert, who provided a thoroughly entertaining and detailed commentary, made coffee, took his turn at the controls and gave us a guided walk through the rainforest – and Mouse. She drove the boat much of the time, manned the mooring ropes and cooked our barbecue lunch in the rainforest. There were two children on board and, under Robert’s supervision, they ‘steered’ the boat on the way home. Robert also showed the children a small wooden house in the forest, which he called the fairies’ house, hidden under a log in the rainforest, and later painted their faces using palm fronds shredded into paint brushes. Having lived in the area all his life, Robert was a wealth of information and local history. He pointed out and named the various rainforest trees, and, as we cruised down this truly magnificent river, informed us that unlike other Tasmanian wild rivers, the Arthur River will never be considered for damming as its

banks are not steep enough. The rainforest along this river is so dense in some places that no human has ever set foot there. We came close to sea eagles on high branches, but they were not interested in the fish we threw to them. We saw a gigantic sea eagle’s nest, about 40 years old, and heard tales of fights between sea eagles and wedge-tailed eagles, which the smaller sea eagles usually win, because they are faster and have sharp talons. Walking back up the hill to our camp after such an enjoyable day, we dreamed of a nice, warm shower to round off the day. The campground had only a cold shower cubicle in the amenities block but once again our trusty bush shower bag filled with warm water did the job. After a couple of very enjoyable days at Arthur River we headed south along the remote Western Explorer road to Corinna.

1: Lichen-covered trees dominate the rainforest at Lake Chisholm. 2: The M.V. George Robinson at anchor at Arthur River. 3: Looking south along the beaches from Arthur River.


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M.V. George Robinson – P: (03) 6457 1158 www.arthurrivercruises.com

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Arthur River Cabin Park, 1239 Arthur River Road – P: (03) 6457 1212

© Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia) 2011

Parks and Wildlife Service, Arthur River Field Office – P: (03) 6457 1225

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Further information

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There are three national parks campgrounds: Peppermint Campground in the centre of the village; Manuka campground 1km north; Prickly Wattles Campground 2km south. Arthur River Cabin Park has powered sites and hot showers.

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Summer is the best time to visit. This area receives the full force of the Roaring 40s winds, which can be very bleak in winter. River cruises do not operate in winter.

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Arthur River is 14km south of Marrawah, the western end of the Bass Highway, and approximately 70km south of Smithton along the Arthur Forest Drive.

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Getting there

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Fact File

Discover endless cooking options with the Furphy camp oven range. FURPHY’S FOUNDRY SALES PTY LTD Drummond Road, Shepparton VIC 3630 Phone: (03) 5831 2777 Web: www.furphyfoundry.com.au

Go Camping Australia | 61


Chills

and

thrills

Tourism Queensland

Words: Jo Hegerty

62 | Go Camping Australia


Jon Ashmore

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Make the most of nature’s playground at Rainbow Beach – where adventure comes in all kinds of colours.

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nown to most as the gateway to Fraser Island, Rainbow Beach is a sleepy little town at the end of a long drive through endless plantations and national park. But don’t be fooled by the gorgeous pub, trendy cafés and chilled-out backpackers, Rainbow Beach is a place of action and adventure – from sun up to sun down. As the only township in the northern section of the Cooloola Recreation Area, Rainbow Beach attracts walkers, waterlovers, anglers and thrill-seekers alike. Kitesurfers particularly love this area as it offers some perfect spots and the chance of winter wind. North of Rainbow Beach, Inskip Point is a thin, hook-shaped peninsula providing a sheltered bay and plenty of space to launch. Meanwhile, Double Island Point, accessible only by 4WD, has the potential for surf and flat-water fun. Double Island Point is also a great place to catch some waves on a surfboard or play with stand-up paddleboards. If you’re yet to discover this new sport, it pretty much does what it says on the tin. Using a big, steady board and a long paddle, you can ride waves or pootle along in flat water. Rainbow Waters Holiday Park makes a great base-camp for SUP fans as you can set out straight from the park’s pontoon into Tin Can Inlet and explore the estuary at a sedate pace.

If four-wheel-driving on the beach is your idea of fun, then let down those tyres and hit the sand right in front of town. The drive to Double Island Point is spectacular, with the pounding sea on one side and crumbly multicoloured cliff faces on the other. It’s not hard to see how these towering walls got the name Coloured Sands – with honeycomb, ochre, chalk and rust-coloured sections, it’s like driving beside a giant Dulux palette. Keep an eye out for dolphins and sea eagles after Middle Rocks, and know your tide times. Mudlo Rocks are impassable for several hours a day, as the sandeaten, upturned Pajero there proves. This stretch of coast is just breathtaking, but no more so than from the air. You can book a heart-stopping skydive, landing right on the beach before Coloured Sands, or go for a more sedate experience tandem paragliding, where you soar like a bird for 30 minutes or more, getting a whole new perspective on the great sandy wilderness. This area is one of Queensland’s top ten locations for para- and hang-gliding; you’ll find plenty of information on both at Rainbow Beach. Main Photo: Paragliding from Carlo Sandblow, Rainbow Beach. You can see some of Coloured Sands as it curves to the left. 1: Approaching Double Island Point, Rainbow Beach and Coloured Sands in the background.

Go Camping Australia | 63


Action

Jon Ashmore

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If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, there are plenty of great walks, ranging from a couple of hours to wholeday trips – or more. There are a couple of easy walks from Rainbow Beach, including a trek down the beach to view Coloured Sands, or the short track to Carlo Sandblow, a 15-hectare bald patch in the woolly forest above the coloured cliffs. From here you can carry on through undulating woodlands and rainforest to Bymien picnic area, a five-hour round trip. For a full-day adventure, set out early from Rainbow Beach for a 30-kilometre trek to Double Island Point Lighthouse and back, walking on both sandy bush tracks high in the dunes and at sea level. This walk is particularly special during late winter and early spring when the temperatures are mild and the wildflowers bloom. 64 | Go Camping Australia

Nature-lovers of a different kind will also love Rainbow Beach. Famed for its beach- and rock-fishing, there are kingfish and mackerel to be caught and cooked over a fire. You can also charter boats to the nearby reef where red emperor, coral trout and snapper are there for the taking. Tin Can Inlet is another great spot for boat fishing or crabbing. If all of the above doesn’t keep you entertained, there is, of course, the world’s largest sand island just 10 minutes away from Inskip Point. A guided day-trip will take in all the highlights, including a swim at Lake McKenzie, Central Station and floating down Eli Creek. Alternatively, you can take your own 4WD over to the island on the MantaRay barge, which departs from Inskip Point. There are those (ie. me) who sometimes prefer the great outdoors to be a more passive

Tourism Queensland

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experience. For all the excitement that it offers, Rainbow Beach also does a pretty good line in relaxation too. All camping options are set in peaceful natural settings, from the formal sites like Rainbow Waters (great for small children and tents), Rainbow Beach Holiday Village (ideal if you want to be close to the beach and town) to the five bush sites along the Inskip peninsula, shaded by casuarina and cypress pines and spilling onto the white, sandy beach. And when you’ve had your fill of all that nature, there are always the cute shops and funky restaurants to check out… 1: Setting out for an evening stand-up paddle from the pontoon at Rainbow Waters Holiday Park. 2: Kitesurfing at Inskip Point, Rainbow Beach. 3: Bushwalking in Cooloola rainforest near Poona Lake.


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Giving Back

most wanted Australia’s

Words and photos: Kerry van der Jagt

War on Weeds.

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cross Australia there lurks an army of rebels. Some are deep undercover, others parade across the landscape, smothering, strangling and choking everything in their path. Don’t be fooled by their pretty combat colours. These guys are experts at blending in and masquerading as locals, when in fact they are natural born killers – public enemy number one. From alligator weed to pond apple, introduced plants rank as the second biggest threat to our native species (after land clearing) costing the Australian economy more than $4 billion annually. Most of these pests have escaped from backyard gardens or hitchhiked from overseas. But their partying days are over. The Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) program targets 66 | Go Camping Australia

Australia’s worst weeds and has drawn up a hit list of ‘20 most wanted’ weeds. It is currently leading a counter attack which should have these unwelcome visitors shaking in their roots. The problem Introduced species represent about 15 per cent of all native flora, and of the 30,000 species introduced, about 3,000 have gone feral. These shady characters threaten biodiversity by changing the composition of the landscape, out-competing existing native species and bringing about changes to natural fire patterns. The most cost-effective investment of resources in weed management is in prevention and early detection. Outdoor activities, such as camping, fishing, boating, bushwalking and four wheel driving, all have the potential to spread weed seeds, however, if recreational enthusiasts keep their eyes peeled they can help in the early detection of some of these major weed threats. It pays to acquaint yourself with the Top 20 before leaving home (see box on page 67). Many WoNS are attracted to water and are likely to occur in areas where campers

like to gather. Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is near the top of the hit list. This nasty restricts water flow, deoxygenates water making it inhabitable for fish and can dominate floodplains. Floating aquatic weeds such as salvinia are another culprit. It has prolific growth rates and when left unchecked can cause watercourses to become unusable. Similarly, pond apple (Annona glabra) is one of the few weeds capable of invading intact ecosystems and can transform watercourses into pond apple monocultures making it unusable for swimming, fishing or boating. Other baddies include the giant sensitive tree (Mimosa pigra) which has devastating impacts on wetlands in northern Australia, the weedy blackberry family (Rubus genus) which can infest large areas quickly, smothering natives and preventing regeneration, and the dreaded bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera) which has invaded 80 per cent of the NSW coastline. The program The Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) is a joint program between the Australian Government and various state governments


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AustrAliA’s Most wAnted 1........... Alligator weed 2........... Athel pine 3........... Bitou bush/Boneseed 4........... Blackberry 5........... Bridal creeper 6........... Cabomba 7........... Chilean needle grass 8........... Gorse 9........... Hymenachne

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10 ........ Lantana 11 ........ Mesquite 12 ........ Mimosa 13 ........ Parkinsonia 14 ........ Parthenium weed 15 ........ Pond apple 16 ........ Prickly acacia 17 ........ Rubber vine 18 ........ Salvinia 19 ........ Serrated tussock 20 ........ Willows

under the Commonwealth of Australia 2010 bringing together community groups and industries to combat the problems posed by Australia’s worst weeds. The program funds national WoNS coordinators who are located across Australia to coordinate priority strategic actions for the WoNS. Funding has been made available by the Australian Government through initiatives such as ‘Caring for Our Country’ for on-ground works on WoNS. In turn, much effort and many resources have been spent by local, state and territory governments and community groups such as natural resource management bodies and Landcare groups. The solution Ensuring new outbreaks are found early and treated straight away can prevent the weed expanding to an extent that is physically and economically difficult to manage. As the saying goes, ‘be alert but not alarmed’; a quick phone call or email is all it takes. To report a suspected sighting, call your local council or visit www.weeds.org.au to find contact details for the relevant WoNS coordinator.

A photo taken with a digital camera or mobile phone can help WoNS coordinators make a positive identification and a coordinate taken with a GPS helps weed officers locate your find. There are some simple steps everyone can take to reduce the risk of spreading weeds:

Remove weed seeds from animals by brushing them thoroughly and cleaning their feet (or hooves) before and after travel. Clean all clothing, shoes and camping gear before leaving campsite.

Visit Weeds Australia (www.weeds.org.au) before leaving home to find out about weed threats in the area you are heading to.

Use only weed-free feed for horses eight days before entering country areas and throughout your trip. Ask you feed supplier for a Weed Hygiene Declaration.

Stay on established roads and tracks when driving or walking.

More information www.weeds.org.au/WoNS

Remove any plant material from boats, boat trailers and fishing equipment such as nets before moving to other locations or returning home. Clean vehicles of mud and plant material at wash down stations (many local councils operate such facilities) or before leaving the general vicinity. Contact landowners before entering their properties and check what their requirements are for preventing the spread of weeds.

Main Photo: Conservation Volunteers working on a revegetation project on Montague Island. 1: Bush walkers are in a good position to spot weeds. 2: Many local councils run Bushcare groups for tackling weed infestations. 3: Pig face looks pretty but is very invasive in coastal areas. 4: Giant sensitive tree infestation.

Go Camping Australia | 67


Need to Know

Road ready

Tourism Qld

Words: Lee Atkinson

Before you leave home this year to hit the beach...

Give your car the ten-step once over for a trouble-free summer motoring holiday. Ask the expert – play it safe and get your vehicle serviced by a licensed mechanic before you leave home. The good oil – engines like fresh oil, so treat your engine to a lube. And check it regularly while on your trip to make sure it doesn’t get low. Power rangers – you’d be amazed how many people get stranded with a flat battery, especially if they are running portable fridges, chargers or night lights. Carry a spare and make sure you turn appliances off overnight.

68 | Go Camping Australia

Keep your cool – check your radiator coolant level and top it up if necessary. If you’re heading a long way from help, carry some spare hoses and a bottle of coolant with you. Keep the pressure on – carry, and use, a tyre gauge: many service station gauges are inaccurate. You’ll most likely find the recommended tyre pressures for your vehicle printed on the inside of the fuel filler flap, the door opening near the driver’s seat, or inside the glove box. Before you leave, check the tread and make sure you have a spare in good condition and correctly inflated. The right tools – a basic tool kit should include a jack, jacking plate and wheel replacement tools, spare tyre, emergency

fuel supplies if heading off the beaten track, engine oil, coolant, jumper leads and spare radiator hoses and fan belts and the tools you’ll need to replace them. You should also make sure you have an easy-toreach fire extinguisher (dry chemical extinguishers are best for flammable liquid fires) that has been recently checked (all fire extinguishers are required to be pressure tested every five years from the date of manufacture, but ideally they should be checked every 12 months).


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First aid and water – never travel without a first aid kit and always carry extra drinking water. A good basic first aid kit should include bandages and sterile dressings, band aids, antiseptic cream, tweezers, scissors, saline eye wash or drops and headache tablets. The NRMA recommends including sterile gloves, which could come in handy if you are in a position to help an accident victim. Pack it in – don’t overload your car or carry unrestrained items in the back seat – even a flying book can cause serious injury in a crash. If it won’t fit in the boot, don’t take it. If you’re travelling in a wagon or 4WD, install a cargo barrier. Metal rubbing against metal causes black friction marks. To avoid this pack saucepans, etc. separately in old pillow cases or plastic bags. Pack loose items in plastic ice cream containers. Use square, rather than round plastic containers as they will fit together better and use less space.

turn the map upside down for it all to make sense. Many also include added extras such as blue tooth phone connectivity, MP3 players and even digital cameras.

Take the right maps – sounds simple, but most people don’t. Fighting over which is the right way to go is a major cause of holiday (and marital) breakdown. Consider investing in a portable GPS navigation device (sat nav), available from most electronic stores. Once the reserve of luxury cars, the new breed of pocket-sized electronic navigation aids can be taken from car to car, and slipped in your pocket if you’re on foot. They feature up-to-date maps of pretty much anywhere, can tell you exactly where you are at any given moment and lead you to the nearest petrol station or car park. The voice guidance systems will take you from A to B and back home again, without any sarcastic comments if you take a wrong turn, and understand that sometimes you need to

Play it safe – make sure your vehicle and home insurance is up to date. Cancel any home deliveries, get the neighbours to collect your mail and install a light timer so the bad guys don’t know you’ve left home. Join your state auto club, such as the RAA or NRMA, to help you out in the event of a breakdown. Main Photo: Fighting over which is the right way to go is a major cause of holiday (and marital) breakdown. Take the right maps. 1: If you’re travelling in a wagon or 4WD, install a cargo barrier. 2: Make sure you have a spare in good condition and correctly inflated. 3: Use a tyre gauge: many service station gauges are inaccurate. 4: A basic tool kit should include a jack, jacking plate and wheel replacement tools. 5: Don’t let a flat tyre ruin your trip.

Go Camping Australia | 69


Dine

fun

Festive

Words and photos: Julie Bishop and Regina Jones

Sweet and simple summer fun!

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ur recipes this Christmas are a cool and colourful collection from our family and friends. Enjoy your holiday time together and ask all to be involved in camp kitchen catering.

70 | Go Camping Australia

Christmas Camembert split ingredients:

200gm camembert cheese 2 tbsp Leggo’s Pesto Traditional Basil 2 tbsp Leggo’s Pesto Sundried Tomato Chill camembert to be firm enough to slice in half so you have two rounds. Spread the basil onto one side and tomato tapenade on the other side. Put the two rounds together gently. Place onto a plate and with a sharp knife cut into triangles. Result is a Christmas red and green camembert wedge.


CARAVAN SERVICES Recreational Refrigeration Services Turkey Mince Balls ingredients:

500gm turkey mince ½ cup breadcrumbs 1 onion, finely diced 2 tsp dried parsley

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce 1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice Oil for frying

Except for lemon juice, place all ingredients in a large pot and mix thoroughly. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice and mix through. Add the second tablespoon of lemon juice if mixture is not moist enough. Shape into bite size balls. Heat oil in the frypan and shallow fry the bites until brown all over and cooked through. Serve with sweet chilli sauce as a happy hour nibble or shape into burger patties as a family meal.

We are Queensland’s largest independent sales and service outlet for most brands of Camping, Caravan, Motor Home, 4WD, Gas and Electric and DC Portable Refrigerators, Air Conditioners and associated products. Full installation facilities. And guaranteed best prices. We service, repair, stock spare parts for these brands

Handy Hint: When planning camping recipes for holidays, cook a double batch, then freeze the leftovers.

PeTra’s Fire roasTed diP ingredients:

½ jar 340g Always Fresh fire roasted pepper strips 2 tbsp dried parmesan cheese 150gm crushed cashews 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Place all ingredients into a Tupperware hand chopper or use a stick blender to make into a chunky dip. Serve with crackers. More information on A Women’s Look at Camping at www.wlacamping.info

Service agents for most brands

(07) 3209 5044 www.caravanservices.com.au

4/68–72 Perrin Drive Underwood 4119

info@caravanservices.com.au Go Camping Australia | 71


4WD Techniques

Outback

protection Words and photos: Mark Allen

Perhaps your 4WD is insured, but there’s more to protecting your pride and joy for bush travel.

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ep, carrying around all that extra weight may suck a little performance from your 4WD, draw on your hip pocket for a little extra cash to pay for the supposed increased fuel usage and yes, you may even have to upgrade your tired, sagging old suspension to carry that weight. But there are some huge advantages to fitting a bull bar and rear bumper-come-wheel carrier… provided you use your 4WD for what it was intended for and not just picking up the kids from school. The bull bar not only provides a spot to mount your electric winch, driving lights, antennas and sand flags, but also gives you and your mates something solid to lean on while perusing all those maps of outback Australia that are often laid out on the bonnet…you wouldn’t want to lean on the duco and scratch it, would you! Seriously, that same bull bar will also provide your 4WD with unparalleled protection from animal strike as well as minor driving incidents in the bush (no, not touch parking at the school pick up area), which is the number one reason for fitting. 72 | Go Camping Australia

With today’s modern vehicle design and high tech inclusions of airbags and the like, it’s extremely important to ensure your chosen bull bar has been specifically designed and developed to suit your vehicle. If you choose a bull bar that is not air bag compatible you’re basically kissing your insurance goodbye. Yep, it’ll be totally void once the inspectors find your bar contributed to the lack of airbag activation, which of course added to the occupant’s injuries. The commercial-style bull bar, as used on this LandCruiser, is not only airbag compatible, but also designed to fit the 100 Series LandCruiser to allow for maximum approach angles, has Hi-Lift jacking slots, two antennae tabs and two driving light tabs – and of course it provides that all important bar to perch on while chinwagging over the maps. Upgraded models may also include fog lights and a few cosmetic extras which do provide a superior finish. Plus, of course there’s the decision of steel, aluminium or plastic bar work, which should reflect the type of vehicle the bar is being fitted to. Those standard weak plastic bumper bars at the back end of your 4WD that always hook up on terra firma while out 4WDing end up costing a bomb to fix (even though they’re only plastic) and can easily be replaced with a steel version. Added to the well-engineered, sturdy steel bar, a few extra swing-out carriers to take on either one or two spare wheels or even a jerry can makes it a most useful accessory for remote travel. The rear bar we are using utilises gas struts to help open and hold each wheel in place, although when parked on steeper angles, there are locking pins to help hold them steady – a good security measure to


prevent the wheels slamming closed while you’re unloading gear. One wheel carrier also incorporates the number plate and a reversing light – a much more usable light than the pathetic original reversing candles. This bar has allowed us to remove the low-mounted, gravel-rashprovoking, underslung spare wheel up to a safer and more easily accessed position, plus of course now we have two spares instead of one – great insurance for that remote travelling! With the underslung spare removed, we can also opt for an extra fuel tank or even a water tank to fill the void. The rear bar also incorporates a heavy duty 3500kg rated tow bar, which means we scrapped the factory tow bar saving some weight. There are two laminated (double layered) towing points, plus Hi-Lift jacking points and there’s provision for an optional antenna bracket and camp light. Pretty much the only discernible downside to fitting all this heavy gear is the additional weight, which was taken into account when we fitted the upgraded suspension kit. The twin spare wheels carried further back from the rear axle have slightly changed the ‘feel’ of the cruiser on road, but again, that suspension upgrade has reduced the effects. Does the extra weight cause a slightly higher fuel usage or reduce the big cruiser’s performance? Yep, it does a bit, but that’s a small price to pay for the huge benefits. Am I frowned upon when I pick my kids up from school in a big 4WD kitted out for proper bush travel? Probably, but who cares! At least being able to see the extremities of my vehicle (the bull bar), I can be sure of parking in the tight spots without nudging those around me and I’m confident while travelling the outback that I have the best protection for my 4WD. Above: Ensure your bar work is airbag compatible.

Finally, the Journeyman camper is a believable alternative to the “best”. Simple to set up... ground level operation, quick and easy, swing over top. Relaxing to live in... above ground, standard working height, interior layout. Easy to drive... compact, off road capable, clear tow visibility, air suspension. Durable... plated chassis, hot galv, resilient, easy clean materials throughout.

cleanable, stainless wa ter ta hygienic, nk age • r out • loads of inclusi h o g u t o r s h t f s o o e r n u s s t a d e f a o e • l novativ bed in n e • que stem put ter y sy Call for a free brochure 1300 552 702 y a t st let • GM ba i o t PO Box 9083 Wynnum Plaza QLD 4178 rd A a/h onboa 0 r • e 4 z e 2 e r s• fridge/f canva • 60 litre lity h/d a u q •

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Go Camping Australia | 73


Wildlife Watch

O

Turtle time

Turtle nesting time on Australia’s beaches can provide one of summer’s best wildlife experiences as you travel.

Tourism Queensland

Words: Lee Mylne

f the seven species of marine turtles in the world, six occur in Australian waters. They are the flatback, green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley turtles, and the best places to see them are on the beaches of central Queensland and Western Australia’s Ningaloo coast. Nesting occurs between November and February, and the hatchlings emerge between January and late March. Although turtles nest along the isolated beaches of Queensland’s “Turtle Coast” between Woodgate and the Town of 1770, the best place to see them is at Mon Repos, a small beach 15km east of Bundaberg, which is the nesting ground for hundreds of turtles. Access to Mon Repos beach is restricted during the turtle season so the best way to see these endangered animals up close is on a nightly guided tour from the Mon Repos Visitors Centre. Tours are hugely popular, so book as early as you can. Mon Repos (French for “my rest”) has the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the Australian eastern seaboard and is one of the two largest loggerhead turtle rookeries in the South Pacific. Tours throughout the turtle season offer two completely different experiences. During

Your favourite cooking on the move. Cook delicious one or two course meals with ease as you actually travel. Enjoy anytime or at day’s end. A must for Caravanning, Motorhomes, camping or at home! Includes exclusive recipe book dedicated to the art of thermal cooking. Non-electrical, no continual fuel source! No power cord required! Uses no constant gas, electricity or charcoal beads. Eliminates the need for constant supervision. Enjoy hassle-free, portable, safe and enjoyable cooking; anytime and anywhere! It’s the ultimate thermal cooking experience!

The trusted market leader for 15 years!

The DreamPot team provides expert thermal cooking advice, superior product knowledge, and dedicated customer support.

74 | Go Camping Australia

Miracle cooking experience. Imagine a roast that cooks itself, or a soup that stays hot all day without any constant supervision. Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? It’s a fully portable thermal cooker or cooler and multiple saucepans – all in one unit. The DreamPot is 6 appliances in one: it’s a rice cooker, yoghurt maker, bread maker, cooler, BBQ food warmer and bain-marie. It occupies just over 30cm of space, so it hardly takes up any room on your trips. A must for all travellers!


see turtles nesting and hatching. Nature enthusiasts looking for hands-on experience can sign up to join the “Turtle Trackers”, a volunteer group that helps record turtle nesting data. The centre has displays on turtle biology and ecology, and turtle viewing advice. A short film on how to observe nesting marine turtles is regularly shown at DEC Milyering Visitor Centre in Cape Range National Park during the turtle breeding season. Large turtle rookeries are also found along the Dampier Archipelago, Eighty Mile Beach and Reddell Beach in Broome. All marine turtles are protected, so never approach a nesting turtle or disturb the nest if you see one. If you are lucky enough to spot a turtle on a beach without guided tours, be patient while the turtle performs her nesting ritual which can take several hours. Keep clear of her, stand still, wait quietly and don’t shine a torch on her. Her crawl ashore and up the beach can take up to an hour. She will then dig a body pit and egg chamber, using her flippers to form a large hole. Once settled into laying – which can take up to 20 minutes – the turtle won’t be disturbed by soft lights, but make sure you have a low wattage torch. She will then cover her nest. Stand clear of flying sand and give the turtle space to complete nesting.

MORE INFORMATION Bookings are essential for the Mon Repos turtle experience. Tickets can be purchased at the Bundaberg Region Visitor Information Centre or booked on line at www.bookbundabergregion.com.au For more information on volunteering with monitoring and tagging programs at Ningaloo, visit www.ningalooturtles.org.au Lee Mylne is the online editor for Wild Discovery Guides www.wilddiscoveryguides.com

1 Tourism Queensland

nesting season visitors can get within inches of the giant turtles as they painstakingly drag themselves up the beach and spend hours laying hundreds of eggs before returning to the ocean. Cocooned in their sandy nest, these fragile eggs incubate for almost six weeks until the hatching season, when masses of tiny turtles emerge from the sand and scurry across the beach to the safety of the onrushing waves. Sadly, only one in every thousand survives to return to breed. Loggerhead turtles generally begin breeding around the age of 30, with some turtles laying eggs until 60 years of age. If island camping is on your agenda, you can also see turtles on Lady Musgrave Island, off the coast from Bundaberg. Another great place to see nesting turtles is Western Australia’s Ningaloo beaches. Three of the world’s seven turtle species head to Ningaloo’s shores to lay their eggs, where the safe, protected beaches between Gnaraloo and Exmouth have numerous turtle rookeries. Here, adjacent to the Ningaloo Marine Park, you will find green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles. At the Jurabi Turtle Centre, 13km west of Exmouth between Hunters and Mauritius beaches, visitors can take guided tours in the evenings from December to March to

Main Photo: Turtle hatchling. 1: Turtle hatching, Mon Repos.

Fulfil an experience that’s over the top! Enjoy an exclusive journey sailing on board Australia’s last remaining passenger-carrying cargo ship

One-way trips available either north or southbound. You can sail with your vehicle and complete the journey overland in the other direction. Freight charges apply.

FROM

$

775*

per person

return travel, including all meals Thursday Island Horn Island

Enjoy a journey of discovery as the MV Trinity Bay cruises its way through the protected waters inside the Great Barrier Reef of Far North Queensland. Viewing the wild inaccessible coastline and National Park areas with rocky headlands, rainforests and sweeping bays.

Seisia

The MV Trinity Bay departs Cairns every Friday. A round-trip takes 5 nights with the vessel calling in at Horn Island, Thursday Island and Seisia Wharf (Bamaga). There is the opportunity to partake in optional tours to complete your experience of this remarkable and remote region.** With only 15 passenger cabins, ensuite or shared facilities, you are advised to book early to secure a place on this unique and popular voyage.

CAIRNS

For more information visit our website: www.seaswift.com.au To request an Information Booklet or make a booking call 1800 424 422 or email: bookings@seaswift.com.au *Fare based on triple share cabin, shared facilities, for travel between November 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012. Rates between April 1, 2012 and October 31, 2012 start at $1075 per person triple share. Prices include GST and are subject to change. All departures and schedules are subject to cargo and weather considerations. For Terms & Conditions, see our website or request an Information Booklet. **Optional tours are operated by outside companies. Extra charges apply and their operation is subject to weather conditions.

Go Camping Australia | 75


Gear to Go

top

new gear Words: Kerry Heaney

Looking for a gift suggestion? Here’s some sure to put a smile on a camper’s face.

Socks for thongs

Finally there are socks for thongs! Thox are a comfy, thick black cotton sock, specially designed to be worn with thongs, turning the ordinary sock into something more comfortable and practical. The latest necessity when you’re off camping, Thox have arrived just in time for those who may be struggling with this year’s Christmas gift ideas. RRP $13.95. Find out more at www.thox.com.au

Pocket-sized companion

Sidekick and Wingman are the latest offerings from iconic multi-tool manufacturer Leatherman. The 15-tool Sidekick and 14-tool Wingman are stainless steel, providing superior corrosion resistance, and feature Leatherman’s patented one-hand opening and newly-designed spring-action jaws. The two multi-tools vary slightly between designs but include a file, knives, screwdrivers, pliers, openers, removable pocket clip, wire cutters and much more – all in a compact, pocket-sized tool that measures less than 10 centimetres. RRP $79.95 and $59.95. Find them at outdoor and camping stores or call 1800 064 200 for stockists.

Gas safety

For all the family

Formulated with all natural ingredients including Australian certified organic aloe vera to moisturise and heal, natural grapeseed oil to protect skin from premature ageing and shea butter to help skin retain moisture and elasticity, WOTNOT 30+ natural sunscreen was nominated safest sunscreen by Friends of the Earth Australia in their Safe Sunscreen Guide 2011. RRP $25.95. Find it at pharmacies and health food stores or visit www.wotnot.com.au

When you take to the road, it pays to ensure your BBQ cylinder is safe and leak-free. The Black and Stone Gas Safety Gauge is an all-in-one safety device that screws easily onto the gas BBQ cylinder and automatically shuts off the gas should a major leak occur. It also monitors how much gas is in the cylinder so you’ll never suffer run out of gas miles away from the nearest town or store. Available from leading hardware and barbecue retailers. RRP $34.95. Call 1300 089 001 or visit www.blackandstone.com.au

Quick clean up

Coleman’s All-in-one Sink has portable nesting tubs, a drip tray and spray nozzle powered by 4D cell batteries or upgrade to rechargeable CPX™ 6 pack (sold separately). It’s great for washing up (can use hot water), cleaning fruit, fish or other foods, and perfect for washing down table surfaces and for washing hands. RPP $79.99. Visit www.colemanaustralia.com.au for more information.

In the light

Shed some light on your camping with Coleman’s LED Hang Anywhere lantern. It runs on power 4D batteries or the Coleman® 6V CPX™ rechargeable power cartridge (included). The nifty hook and loop handle allows the lantern to be hung in multiple orientations, even sideways. Runtime is 25 hours. RRP $89.99. Visit www.colemanaustralia.com.au for more information.

76 | Go Camping Australia


Gear to Go

Fun and light Be safe

The St John Camping Safety Kit is part of the new St John Just In Case range that combines a first aid kit with safety items. The Camping Safety Kit has been designed for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking or bushwalking, and contains standard first aid items such as bandages for sprains, strains and snake bites, saline solution to clean wounds and scissors to cut dressings or bandages. There’s also waterproof matches, a whistle for attracting attention, a compass and disposable poncho all contained in a durable bag. The Just In Case Camping Safety Kit retails for $34.99 and can be purchased from Big W, through St John metro and regional branches, through the St John online shop or by calling 1800 ST JOHN.

Quicksilver has released three new light weight rigid inflatable boats which deliver hull strength, with the exceptional stability of an inflatable, in one extremely light package. The tubes are constructed from premium quality materials and include a fibreglass seat, non-skid floor, davit lifting points and lifting handles, a double action pump and repair kit and paddle securing clamps. Ideal as tenders for larger boats or a fun recreational boat, they come in three sizes, 2.60m, 2.80m and 3.10m. For more information visit www.cunninghamsmarine.com.au

Extra size, extra comfort

Outdoor Connection’s new King Lumbar chair is an extra-large, very comfortable chair with lumbar support and a 140kg weight limit. Constructed from a strong 22mm hammertone powder coated steel frame, the King Lumbar chair has an adjustable lumbar support pad for maximum comfort and support of the lower back. With a drink holder in one arm and a cooler bag in the other, this chair was designed with relaxing in mind. This compact chair is perfect for keeping in the boot of the car or caravan – ready for any occasion. RRP $79.90. For more information visit www.outdoorconnection.com.au

Over the top

Fitovers Eyewear® by Jonathan Paul Eyewear are sunglasses designed to be worn over prescription eyewear, offering a stylish and cost effective alternative to prescription sun-wear. This season there are new styles from Jonathan Paul – Nagari with sleek new frames that exclude the trademark side lenses to give a more contemporary sunglass appearance. There’s also Fitovers with two toned Swarovski crystals that add glitz and glamour, while other frames suggest a hint of brilliance. All models retail for $74.95 – $84.95. For your nearest stockist call 1800 068 828 or visit www.fitovers.com.au

Strong stable table

Latin for strong and stable – the new FORTIS table from Outdoor Connection has a sturdy hammertone powder coated steel frame with an aluminium slat top. Measuring 107cm long x 70cm wide and 70cm high, this compact table takes no time at all to set up. Simply remove from the carry bag, open the frame out, roll out the slat top and fix each end with the ring pull fixings to ensure the top stays in place. The Fortis table will easily accommodate four chairs making it perfect for meals or games when camping and has a static weight limit of 25kg. RRP $99.90. For more information visit www.outdoorconnection.com.au

High performance tyres

The new Cooper Discoverer A/T3 uses a balanced combination of technology, design and compounding to produce a tyre that will perform equally well in nearly all types of terrain. Cooper engineers have come up with a modern aggressive 5-rib tread design featuring a broken centre rib to improve all-terrain traction without sacrificing on-road handling. It also features a new ‘Chemically Bonded Silica Tread Compound’ improving the rubber’s ability to mould to uneven surfaces providing improved wet traction and handling on the highway. The new tyre features Super Tensile Steel in the belts resulting in higher impact strength for better puncture resistance as well as stronger cord in the sidewalls for less damage and a higher load capacity. The new and updated features mean you get better stability, stronger sidewalls and improved wet traction and handling. For sizes and more information visit www.coopertires.com.au or call 1300 COOPER. Go Camping Australia | 77


Photo Smart

Fun at the beach Words and photos: Danielle Lancaster

S

urf, sand and sun and fun days at the beach: that’s what summer is all about in Australia for many. Let’s face it – we live on one huge island. Beach photography can present many wonderful opportunities and at times be challenging. Here are a couple of tips to help you take that frustration out of your photography on the beach this summer: Time of the day Dawn and dusk are some of the best times. Usually there are more clouds (which help create dramatic images), less people and the sun is at an angle emphasising textures and shadows. Night can be turned into day. Try creating night landscapes – it is fun! Give your subject room to move If it’s a surfer surfing the waves, children running along the beach, fisherman fishing: give the action room to move.

Photo: Night landscapes are loads of fun!

Don’t forget the thirds One of the most important items of any image is how it is composed. Ask yourself what is most important: the land, sea or sky, then frame to suit not leaving broad spaces of nothing such as a long unbroken horizon. This is even worse if the horizon is not straight.

Protect your gear Salt and sand are corrosive and could mean the death of your camera. At the end of the day when the camera is put away avoid leaving it anywhere in bright sunlight. Wash your tripod and carry a short stiff brush, blower and cleaning kit to clean your camera and lenses.

Pop the flash Particularly helpful if you are photographing people with hats on and their faces in the shadows. Even if you have a point and shoot, pop that flash – their face will now not be a black blob.

Use foreground interest and have your focal point nice and large Foreground interest could be some driftwood, a boat or a shell.

Work with reflections They are so much fun! The best way to often see them is to get down low especially in the wet sand.

Danielle Lancaster is a professional photographer who loves sharing her passion with others. Her company Bluedog Photography shoots a range of imagery for corporate and private clients and runs Bluedog Photography Courses, Retreats and Tours P: (07) 5545 4777 www.blue-dog.com.au

Filters Use a UV or Protector Filter to protect your lens against salt and sand. A polariser filter is a must. This filter reduces reflections, increases colour saturation and contrast and is another I have on every lens.

HANDS-FREE LIGHTING. FIND MORE HOURS IN EACH DAY.

Tikkina 2

Tikka 2

Tikka 2 Plus

Tikka 2 XP

NEW PETZL CORE CORE

Facebook. com/Petzl

www.petzl.com.au www.spelean.com.au for stockists

78 | Go Camping Australia

USB rechargeable and programmable battery


SubScribe & Win!

Start your adventure today wherever you go! Subscribe to Go Camping Australia and you could WIN a Minelab X-TERRA 705 Metal Detector, valued at $1100 rrp

The ultimate in all-purpose detecting The X-TERRA 705 is the most advanced and versatile ADVENTURE detector. The ultimate all-purpose X-TERRA 705 is very easy to use, with dedicated Coin & Treasure and Prospecting modes, just choose what you would like to search for, and then start detecting. The large backlit LCD screen gives you all the important information needed to identify coins, relics and jewellery, you will be recovering more valuable finds than you can possibly imagine. The X-TERRA is ideal for your first detector. Family detecting adventures - parks, picnic areas, ghost towns Beach detecting - have fun finding all the lost coins and jewellery Holiday detecting - just perfect for the caravan and camping trips For more information on the Minelab X-TERRA 705 visit: www.minelab.com

You never know what you will find with a Minelab Metal Detector!

Yes, i want to subscribe/renew for my chance to win a minelab x-teRRa 705 metal detector valued at $1100 rrp Please:

■ Start ■ Renew my subscription ■ Send a gift subscription for ■ 2 years – 12 issues at $60 ■ 1 year – 6 issues at $33

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Post this page (or a photocopy) with your payment in a sealed envelope to: Go Camping Australia, PO Box 8369, Woolloongabba Qld 4102 Note: All subscriptions start with the next issue and include postage and handling. Payment to accompany subscription form - Not refundable.

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Entries close on Friday, 27th January 2012. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The prize must be taken as offered. There is no cash alternative.

Conditions: the minelab x-teRRa 705 metal detector/Go Camping australia subscription competition is open to all readers who subscribe, renew or receive a gift subscription for one or two years. the winner will be notified by mail and/or telephone.

December 2011 / January 2012

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Holidays and Horror Days

Beach Blanket

Fantasies Words and photos: David McGonigal

S

un, sand, surf and sex are the enduring images that thousands of shivering Aussie ex-pats utilise to sustain themselves through the bleakness of a London winter. But is it all a mirage? How much do dreams and reality overlap? The first dampener will be milling crowds, all walking hand in hand and sipping champagne, or toasting each other with a vintage red or white by moonlight. At least, a visit to any dating website will reveal that drinking wine while walking along the beach is the main recreation of most potential partners. Or perhaps I’m confusing that image with a cocktail list that invariably features “Sex On The Beach”, a vodka-based cocktail. Inevitably, the alcohol-free version is “Safe Sex On The Beach”. The uncomfortable truth is that beaches are gritty, uncomfortable places. I defy anyone to erect a tent on the sand and not be shaking sand out of the bedding days, weeks or months later. By day, the Australian sun turns every beach into a shimmering hotplate, set at a temperature to char-grill the feet of the shoeless unwary. Or was that just my childhood? The only alternative in those simple pre-Crocs days was to wear cheap rubber thongs that would chafe the space between big toe and second toe into a bleeding pulp before the strap invariably broke and my feet were forced back onto the burning sand. On a perfect Sydney summer day, about the time my sunburnt nose started to blister, the Southerly Buster would strike in all its skinstripping fury. Back home, whole dunes formed in the tub as I washed the sand from my hair.

80 | Go Camping Australia

The enduring symbol of an Australian summer is the beach.

My dislike for the beach at night was formed a long time before puberty. Dad was a non-discriminating fisherman: jetty, dinghy or beach were all good for him. Beach fishing requires a long fishing rod and the ability to cast beyond the waves. Anne Hathaway may have inherited Shakespeare’s “second best bed” but, after my older brother, I only got the third best rod and reel. That, and my complete lack of skill, meant beach fishing nights at Hawkes Nest consisted of hours of anticipation, mere seconds of casting pleasure and the rest of the night huddled over a hurricane lantern trying to untangle the wad of matted fishing line that hid the evil reel within. On the nights that I took to heart the advice to increase the reel tension to avoid it overrunning, the hook didn’t even make it into the water but successfully snagged my still-bloody thonged toes as I whipped the rod back. The fish were safe that night, too. By the time I finished school I’d given up fishing for the equally unfulfilled quest for girls. Many parties ended up pre-dawn at one of several suburban beaches with cheap wine and multiple guitars. In retrospect, the singing – and our choice of songs (La

Bamba anyone?) – may have been more painful than a fish hook through the toe. Today, the illusion of a perfect day at the beach remains but reality has kicked in. Skin cancer is such a threat that we smear ourselves in dollops of sunscreen, slip on our sun-protective coverings and slap on wide-brimmed sun hats. In his 1993 very politically incorrect book “Give War a Chance”, PJ O’Rourke wrote in an essay on the Middle East: “Which leaves us with the question: What do Saudi Arabians do at a beach resort? The women are dressed in tents, you can’t get a beer to save your life and it’s hard to play beach volleyball in robes that drag on the ground.” I wonder if PJ has been near an Australian beach recently? Doctors are reporting our sun protection is so effective many are suffering from a lack of sun-given Vitamin D. It turns out that survival and modesty produce similar beach attire. Yet the theme of hedonism amongst the dunes is universal. Kota Bharu is a town on the conservative east coast of Malaysia where, as Cole Porter may have written, “a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking” without embracing the next couplet that “now, heaven knows, anything goes”. Yet even in this unlikely locale you’ll find the Beach of Passionate Love. I hope there’s now a sign on the beach declaring “it’s just a name folks” because try it and you better hope Kevin Rudd is ready to ride to your rescue. I bet ex-pat Malaysians working in cold climates fondly recall their beach holidays too. Solutions Slip, slop and slap are the sounds of caution winning out over hedonism.


CONNECTION

Quality gear for the best of times Weekender Dome Tent

(Shown with optional side walls)

The Weekender Tent finished with the highest score in the “What to buy” section of CHOICE Tent Comparison. This innovative tent features Outdoor Connection’s Hornet Pole Design which gives excellent internal space and headroom with near vertical side walls. Ventraflow panels and large windows and doors guarantee excellent ventilation for hot summer weather. The unique optional awning side walls help make a truly usable awning area. The Weekender is the one room tent in Outdoor Connection’s Resort Range which all share the Hornet Pole Design, large windows and doors and many other features. Tents in Resort Range:-

Weekender 1 Room

Heron 2 Room

Brampton 3 Room

www.outdoorconnection.com.au

Bedarra Deluxe 2 Room

Go Camping Australia - Issue 76  

Go Camping Australia - Issue 76 - December 2011 - January 2012

Go Camping Australia - Issue 76  

Go Camping Australia - Issue 76 - December 2011 - January 2012