We have travelled vast distances in the last few days, across The Top End, headed to a pre-arranged rendezvous. We are travelling fast, sleeping under the stars in the swag at night and settling up for longer breaks in the tough little camper trailer. In places we are revelling spotlighting for croc’s, enjoying the birdlife, the dancing brolga’s and breathtakingly majestic eagles feasting on varied offerings of varied road-kill on these dusty Outback roads of the Channel Country in the Carpentaria’s Gulf. We have been enjoying the wildlife along the dusty tracks, the wallabies, emu and so many others along with the fattened cattle healthy from the lingering Wet season… the Stations are preparing to muster.
The bush pilots in their choppers across the Outback can be seen dancing in the skies of The Carpentaria, and dusty drovers are honing skills and pushing cattle carefully to mustering paddocks.
For the moment however we have hoed up for a few days relaxation. We have reached the wilder Northern Territory and are resting at Calvert Crossing on the Savannah Way. Here we have found a lovely oasis. It is a rest stop or camp for the traveller and tucked away in a corner not very far from the road is a bubbling, singing stream, which is winding its way down to the more dangerous main river.
The river is full of croc’s and there are warnings, a must to be heeded, as this is the territory of the Johnston River Croc. It is also the territory of the roaming ‘saltie’ but about our bubbling little brook the only threat here are the wild boar.
We had one visit us last night, a fearsome, healthy sow with a litter, looking to wallow in the mud on the other side of the brook and feast on the fresh offerings of young fern. We have a strong spotlight for just such occasions, as well as handy brick sized rocks scattered about. She gave us such a fright when we heard her thundering through the fern nearby. When the ‘spottie’ picked out her litter she was none too pleased and after grunting a belligerent warning she smartly took her litter off back into the concealing bush. We were pleased to see her go though we listened carefully for sound of her inevitable return.
In the vein of other pigs that you find in the wilderness, we have been carefully burning off those disgusting little white flags of toilet tissue where we find them, and gathering up other litter left by belligerent campers who wage war on decency and have no sense of responsibility or are lacking in a love of the land and its wilderness. This considered land-care and love of our beautiful wilderness area’s is often shared by many a travelling nomad (grey or otherwise) those who explore and adventure across the country and take care of the land and its wild animals.
I fail to understand such campers and travellers, who attracted to the wilderness by merit of its pristine beauty… then proceed to defile it so carelessly. If there is no bin… then TAKE your rubbish with you, it isn’t rocket science idiot! The little forest Jongorrie or little mystic bushman can’t cope with all your crap! Carry a shovel and match to carefully burn your toilet tissue or bury your body effluent and treasure our precious waterways and the life they foster.
Unfortunately many ‘wicked camper,’ adventurer, or travelling backpacker has gained a reputation for their unsocial habits. Known for their littering, leaving toilet tissue like flags where they go and stealing anything from public toilet tissue to equipment, quite aside from destroying what is beautiful, they fail to appreciate and understand the value of wilderness and respect for the country through which they pass.
It is not only these travellers though, I have seen locals of all colour and creed on a days outing show an amazing disrespect and disregard for their land. There are nomads who being from the city or town who have no concept of who cares for the wilderness… there is often no garbage collection ya’ ditz… think about what you leave! Travellers are always blamed, but I have heard of photographers in the north of WA, an area notorious for its lack of travellers rest stops, turn up from the local papers with bags of trash… promptly dump it, photograph it and then tout the photo to their local rag along with a story about neglect and disrespect, leaving the evidence for nomads to clear. This often when there is a $ to be made by a caravan park or local councillor.
I have often thought that with our terrible road toll and vast distances covered by the normal traveller, Main Roads or a Federal body rather than the local councils should govern the provision of rest stops for travellers, particularly near towns. Hopefully such a Federal body would more concerned with safely than personal profit. Any town or city worthy of the name should have at least a 24hr, serviced rest area. These things are becoming like public toilets and public seating… a rare commodity in some regions in a $ hungry world and we are the poorer for such lack of essential public services, hospitality and public respect for such things.
May the $ obsessed and/or thoughtless traveller, who find no value in such things, placing themselves and their personal behaviour and/or profit above decency, integrity and responsibility be warned… “karma is a bitch”
Jan has published a ebook on her recent travels for ease of reading. You will find it under ‘Oldies at Large’