Everyone who knows me, knows that I love camping, especially over the Christmas break. Over the years we have learned how to avoid the crowds and have amazing camping spots mostly for ourselves despite everyone traveling during that time. It is a matter of leaving early and avoiding the coast after Christmas Day.
This Christmas we went on an epic camping road trip with our friends up the coast to NSW’s beautiful North Coast and then back via New England and the Hunter. All in all we almost traveled 2,000 km within a week whilst enjoying three very different bush camping spots. Yes, it is a lot of kilometers and I am very much aware of the fuel consumed during this trip. We have though downgraded our car this year from an old Pajero to a newer Nissan XTrail and fuel consumption has almost halved to around 8.8 liters per 100 kilometres. I know this is far from ideal when trying to live as sustainably as possible, but I still believe that it is more economical and sustainable to do a driving holiday and enjoy secluded camping spots, rather than fly to Fiji and stay in a big hotel. And it is so much more fun and cheaper anyway. 🙂
I like to be well-prepared when it comes to food to minimize our waste during that time as much as possible. So I stocked up on bulk foods and organic fresh produce at the Manly Food Co-Op to get us through the first few days. Fresh milk, eggs, mangoes, bananas, apples, apricots, lychees, beans, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions and some treats for the long drive to come. I already had pasta, quinoa, rice and more in jars and a few tins of baked beans and crushed tomatoes. I am also taking my produce bags, paper bags and a whole range of containers and reusable bags with me for when we need to stock up.
We left Sydney at 5.30 am on Friday, December 22 and drove all the way up to Yuraygir NP, arriving at Boorkoom campground in the southern section by 2 pm. Within no time the tents and the awning were up and we could enjoy the beautiful beach and perfect summer weather with no other soul in sight.
From there we visited Wooli, a little coastal town just a few kilometres away and paddled in the river which is supposed to be the cleanest river in all of Australia. The town is secluded and quiet, a great place to spend some time away form the city.
We also drove up to Byron Bay for diving for one day. I love Byron, no matter what time of year. The eclectic mix of different lifestyles combined with the most beautiful beaches, zero waste store options like Santos Organics and The Source Bulkfoods and the newest addition for fresh produce and a proper farm experience being The Farm, absolutely lovely. We stocked up on their free range eggs, tomatoes, eggplant and freshly baked sourdough while being surrounded by chooks scavenging for crumbs.
Still, with Byron having this environmental image of reducing waste etc. (the council is labeling their general waste bins as ‘landfill’ which I think is a great idea), there is no incentive to not use plastic bags. Walking through the local Woolies we were shocked by the amount of plastic bags and packaged food (even fresh produce) people bought. There is still so much to do to raise more awareness of plastic waste destroying our wildlife, oceans and beaches …
After a wild night with several thunderstorms closing in on us and little sleep we decided to move inland to avoid more thunderstorms that were scheduled to hit the coast later in the day. But not after a delicious breakfast and loose leaf tea. I always take my own loose leaf tea, not tea bags, with a little strainer and my reusable Joco glass cup. This is the perfect start to the day. I love Earl Grey tea and I have started mixing it with dried lavender for that little twist. I get both completely packaging-free from my local organic bulkfood store, the Manly Food Co-Op.
The next two nights we spent at Oxley Wild Rivers National Park at the Dangar Falls campground close to Armidale. What a change in scenery (forest and waterfalls) and drop in temperature! The falls are stunning and well worth a visit. We did a 13 km hike to walk off the Christmas indulgence and the boys set up a campfire at night.
After stocking up in Tamworth and visiting the Golden Guitar we started exploring Warrabah National Park, a hidden gem about an hours drive from Tamworth. The river provided the perfect relief with the temperatures soaring to around 34 degrees and we spent our time lazing, paddling in the pool and scrambling along the river bank. As always food was important and we cooked up a storm and snacked away.
During the whole trip we saw a lot of wildlife: goanas, kangaroos, wallabies, all kinds of birds, cicadas and so much more. The song of birds woke us up in the morning and hundreds of stars were out at night. Being away from civilization, even if just for a few days, is so refreshing and rewarding. It fills you with new energy and brings new experiences.
And it is really no big deal, not having a hot shower each day. You make do with the ocean, rivers and if must be a quick rinse from the solar shower. All these luxuries we are used to in the day to day are not necessary and I did really not miss them while camping. Still, the first shower back though felt amazing. 🙂
Happy New Year! What was your latest camping trip?