Oldies at Large – Little Joys and Annoys of Freecamping

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.17.16 pmWe are coming up to near a month now where we have been ‘on the road’ freecamping and it has been a wonderful experience. We have only stayed where we have been happy to camp and I have to admit that we have overstayed the odd time embargo at what are idyllic spots. Naughty us… I know. But in these cases we have been welcome to do so with the agreement of those who oversee the management of the freecamp. They really just want you to respect their towns and care for what they value, peace, nature and what is their home.

We have travelled barely 600klm from home base, which has shocked some rels, but we aren’t in a rat race to anywhere so why hurry? We have seen a great deal, most which we haven’t seen before and we have met some truly lovely people … I am not thinking of those rednecks!

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 8.37.56 amOur absolute favourite people have been two octogenarians who having led a rich and varied life pioneering in a development industry who suddenly hit a wall of ill health several years ago and wondered what the hell they had done to enjoy each other and their lives. Working hard in life brings its own rewards and so they were able then to kit out and hit the road to enjoy life to the hilt freecamping around the country they had come to know so well in their working lives.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 7.13.20 pmSome people are just gems and we had the privilege to meet two very special people. You can also meet them in the ‘Hall of Fame’ in Alice no less but I will leave you to explore these wonderful places and wonder at just who it was we met. We spent a wonderful short week, camped together at a freecamp in the hinterland region of the central coast of NSW while swapped stories and laughed a lot over cups of tea and little delights. These are some of the best things about touring the freecamps of Aus. … the people.

There is talk that they will close this little freecamp tucked into the escarpment and it is the Council that talks I hear. It is well loved by many and well used particularly at holiday times as now, but the trials of keeping the bins clear and the toilet paper up to the loo are a full time task, one met by a little army of wonderful volunteers. I’m not sure what it is that the Council actually does … maybe it mows the lawn on occasion. The park after all was a donation to the people to begin with.

The Council however feels that they are giving something away for free and I believe they now want to make a buck. The local shops and those from the local village know that little is truly free and they enjoy the custom of the campers, custom which we have been told often runs into hundreds of dollars over what are a few short days for most of the campers.

We, for instance, have spent several hundred dollars locally as we have stocked and tweaked the van and the thing that has kept us parked here, aside from the wonderful company at large, has been the services in the town nearby. Quite frankly if we had to move to the local caravan park, which is full of itinerant temporary residents and the homeless unable to find rental accommodation then we would not stay. For the sake of a few bucks… and a few freecampers who are twits the Council would loose the valuable custom bought to their town by the many freecampers who value the park. That is truly a short-sighted and mercenary view in the extreme.

Very much like the view now taken by the council officer who is issuing unjust fines to people stopped along the oceanway in Coffs Harbour. Some of who have now turned up here. Sorry Coffs… but I was going to spend my $1,500 in your town but now it sits in someone else’s till… you can keep the $75 fine you issued for my 20 minutes stay in a parking zone … you said it was camping because I was sitting in a seat enjoying the view, therefore I was camping. I must admit, I had contemplated just that. Then again… I might just argue about that reality which unfortunately is going to cost your bureaucracy quite a bit more than $75 in time and trouble. Such is the tale of one freecamper.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.53.54 pmOther Twits … you ask? Yes there are a few of those. Like the stupidest freecamper I have ever met. See the pic!  This bloke arrived in the late arvo with another two who slept in the car. He however set up his air-bed barely feet from the main drive entrance into the camp, crawled under a doonah and slept for the night. We were all just waiting for someone to run over the silly bugga!

You have to remember that campers arrive at all times during the night, many in cumbersome rigs…  many just seeking a few hours sleep for the safely and welfare of others. He was an arrogant little prick too I might add and took no heed in the warnings of other concerned campers.

Then there are the backpacker busses. Now I have always celebrated these groups, for their freedoms, their courage and willingness to explore the world and their companionship. I don’t mind the noise that at 1am it can be irritating but then so can teenagers. But for those who leave having stolen ever square inch of toilet paper … I wish you to constant constipation. You are thieves and may your reputation follow you to eternity and back! God bless the volunteers of the world who attend to these small matters with the welcome donations of freecampers, be it money or loo paper. To the thieves… may the dunny budgie follow you every place you crap and beyond.

Honestly though… I love this life. I love watching the people parade at times and I love the noisy silence of the bush. I love not having somewhere to be and the freedoms of choosing a spot on a map to explore. I love the people and the ingenuity of a life on the move. We have seen some truly inventive solutions to common problems of power, water, solar and general living and it’s truly and wonderful adventure.

This is not just a world of big-rigs and money, nor one of $2 tents and itinerant people. This is a life on the move, new people, new adventures and new places where you can see life at liberty in all its richness. You can touch the youthful and free spirit that is Australia and another that is a truly ancient land of freedom, life and the freedom to step quietly through the land, combined.

I luv it!

You can read more of our adventures on the ‘Oldies at Large’ page where past posts are listed.

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