I love to travel, particularly travelling about Australia. I truly love to get out into the bush or the Outback, set up camp somewhere where the skies are open and the sounds of the wilderness are all about me. Or where the sounds of the bush are a constant carol and the shade of great trees shelter you, and every other creepy crawly, hoppy or slidy creature around which you can hear move in the whisper off in the litter of the earth, deep in the forests of this land.
Having not long come back from Mount Moffatt on the Carnarvon Plateau of central Queensland having revelled in the ancient Aboriginal art sites there which are some 25,000 yrs old, older than the last ice age, I am fresh with the want to head out again. I loved visiting these story sites created by ancient man, which are as breathtaking as the magnificent rock formations created by nature and which were simply amazing.
One of the best things about travelling around Australia is one of the things most tourists to our continent and country never see. I always thought that this was strange that tourist and holiday makers never generally understood where the essence, the spirit of our land really slumbered. Hidden as it is, silent and well away from where people gathered en-mass and where it is not so easy to go.
Most people head to the coastline or the cities, or better still a city on the coastline, including most Aussies but the best of the country won’t be found there. You will not find the true spirit of Aus. in the body of people roasting their skin under our harsh sun on the crowded beaches of golden sand. Nor will you find it commonly in the many tourist places where tour companies and groups will take you. They serve tucker there that is more often haute’ cuisine and fine dining representing many lands and cultures and as lovely as it is, this is not what I know as a Aussie experience.
These places frequented by tourist serve food that is not simply good and filling pub-grub or camp-cooking served from a well used camp-oven which is dangling over a roasting fire beneath a crystal dark sky. The places where tourists generally frequent are what commerce has made of Australia and many people do enjoy such delights quite happily, including me at times.
The real essence of Australia (not the industry) is where there are few people, where the horizons are vast and often bare or even rugged and endlessly mysterious. It is where the silence all around you is so deafening that you are left only with your own thoughts and the thoughts of what few companions you may have with you. It is where laughter fills the air along with song and poetry and the laugh of the kookaburra or the crack caw of the crow or cockatoo greets a crisp dawn and heralds a glorious sunset. This is the best part of Aus. and few visitors see it.
I’m busy at the moment polishing a new edition for the Around the Campfire series about our tour into Cape York, which is a wonderful 4 wheel drive wonderland in the Top End of Aus. on sunrise side. A place that is as remote and as beautiful and yet as challenging as travelling around the wilder regions of Australia can be. The several travelogues in this the Around the Campfire series are all drawn from personal experiences and are generally candid accounts. You can read a bit about the actual adventure of the Cape trip at my Createspace blog where there is an archive of older posts, some 8 months ago in “Forbie Heaven” just follow the link. Worth a peek also is my blog posting “Gearing up to Get-out” which will give you an insight into preparing to travel into the remoter regions.
I am moving my blogging activities over to WordPress as I find the interface much easier, so from now on I will post here. I will ocassionally drop a note on my old site about my move but I don’t know how long that is going to last. You can also find the e-books in the series at Amazon and some of the books are available in print (discounts available on my web site).
But best of all in travelling around Aus is that we love to take advantage of the Freecamps, where the people are friendlier usually and the scenery and entertainments are generally removed from the city buzz and regular tourist trails. Many of these camps are basic, though a few gems have wonderful facilities and it seems that the Freecamps are becoming more and more popular for Aussies and travellers with their own resources, particularly the Grey Nomad set, of which we aspire to be full-time amongst the Caravan Division ourselves. Though we do often join the Swag Division as with the Cape adventure. We have a few favourite Freecamps that we commonly call into on our travel’s around the country, most of these regular stops are closer to home, as we pass them often on the way to somewhere else. Some have become like a home away from home. They are frequented so often that we have even managed to make friends amongst the regular wildlife and have even taken to packing treats for the roving population of wild creatures and camp visitors.
Free camping is an Australian way of getting out into the bush and many Aussies view free camping as a right, one we have, and have always had in this vast country. A belief stemming way back to the Colonial era (110+ yrs ago) when we were busy opening up the country to the world and looking for somewhere to boil a billy. I am amongst these people in this belief btw. These camps can be organized sites, or sites where you organize yourself such as in Cape York where few sites are actually listed. Some country towns in the never-never regions welcome Aussie nomads as an industry, while others just might get their acts together in this endeavour one day and realize the advantages of attracting the touring group. There is a wonderful publication available in Aus which has become the ‘Bible’ for the Freecamper, and God bless the little cotton socks of the Authors for their efforts, it is a invaluable resource.
In Far North Qld in the Cape region camping is welcomed, you can even feed the wildlife! Btw you are on the menu 🙂 the locals are a prosaic and often amusing lot in some things. In crossing the croc’ filled Jardine River (as with all waterways in the Cape) the ferry access pass also includes a pass to camp anywhere within the boundaries of traditionally held lands, which up there are vast. Not so around Weipa on the western coastline, sunset side, in a section not managed by the Land Council but controlled largely by the mining interests. The Cape is so VAST in area that there is no southern demarcation or boundary as the region is harsh and remote… no one bothers to demark it. But a forbie heaven it is, the most notorious section being along the Telegraph Track and I can vouch for the challenges there, so listen up for the publication date and I will let you know when the Cape York adventure hits the e-racks.
By far one of my most favourite tours to recall is the one I took with my Chum-in-law. A tour with two Grannies, two dogs and a Bitch Box and it was a lark of a tour! You can read all about it in the publication ‘Out on the Never Never’ and throughout the tour we stayed at many of the free camps available as we crossed the continent and explored our land coast to coast, sunset side to sunrise side. It was a wonderful experience full of challenges and fun memories. One that just goes to prove the adage that you are simply Never too Old!
Happy reading everyone!
To read more travel tales, or explore the world of the Australian Aboriginal Shaman told in a fictional tale and to discover other works on traveling around Aus. visit my web at http://janhawkins.com.au and check out the discounts available for my readers and friends on ‘Where to find Jans Books’. My books can also be found at Amazon.com in both print and e-book. The Dreaming Series is also available in e-books from $3.99-$5.99 at Amazon.com
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My Blog Space: I am moving my blog to WordPress, here. You can find older postings at Createspace and I will be posting a note ocassionaly on the old site while my regular, and much loved followers sort it out. 🙂 I find the new space more user friendly and easier to manage. My old postings will remain at Createspace as they are too cumbersome to move so if you would like to check them out pop over to the archival listing.
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