One of the best things about living in a caravan and freecamping, particularly in wilderness and remote regions, is that if you wait around long enough you truly abandon society and become part of the wildlife. We recently were very surprised to realize that this too can occur in a caravan park, albeit that the wildlife is a tad tamer than usual.
Usually we free camp bush side but at the moment we are parked up in Lake Hume Tourist Park, in Victoria, right on the border and while a caravan park is an unusual choice for us there are definitely times when they are welcome. This time for us we had need for a car service that The Man couldn’t do himself. So we chose the ‘holiday’ option for convenience and comfort.
There are a couple of caravan parks cluttered around the lake, as they commonly are on any large body of water that can offer the many and varied water activities we all enjoy. Usually, we prefer the quiet, certainly the peace of freecamping but there are times when you choose the holiday option. When we explained this to the manager they were happy to accommodate us in the quieter area’s of the caravan park. This meant of course, ditzie Internet links to their Wi-Fi, a long walk to the utilities block, which we don’t use anyway, and usually in general it means uneven sites and being tucked into a corner. All of which were true here, but this is just as we prefer it anyway, for the familiar peace and quiet as well as the uncluttered outlook.
The week-long experience has been a delight as we were camped up on the dam’s edge. It’s a fair way down to the water’s edge and the fishing is crap but we feel as though we are freecamped up with the convenience of electricity and a water tap.
Sitting right on the State border as we are, it is an amusing thing. Fishing in the dam is now controlled by the State of Victoria, but if we pop over to the River Murray above or below the dam, it is controlled by NSW. It was once explained to us that these controls were developed by reason of law. You see if there was a death on the river it created an uncertain problem as to just which State had to deal with it. The Victoria side was reputed to have pushed the bodies into the water and in doing so, save themselves the cost. NSW of course wasn’t above a bit of a tow when it came to it either. It is the sort of thing that makes for a good story, if not a tragic circumstance, particularly in the old Bootlegging days and when the paddle steamers once plied the river in years past.
Today it is more about fishing licencing and the concessions available to pensioners and children are a wonderful thing. Time for us travels on a different track than with so many of the working demographic. We forget… if we ever remembered to renew those pesky passes and licenses that commonly are necessary bane of our existence.
But back to being a-part with the wilderness… it’s the birds usually at first that recognize and welcome you. I enjoy scattering seed on the ground for the tiny wrens and raucous cockatoo’s or gallah’s to enjoy. I love to leave out small crumbs floating in water and maybe with a touch of honey for the sweet-beaks in the feathered fraternity and under taps I have a habit of leaving a bird bath, or drink receptacle or container of water free-standing for the duration of our stay. It is a dry place in many parts of Aus’ and things like that can be a godsend to birds on the wing.
We rarely feed the other wildlife, though there are some exceptions. You need to judge these things. This hasn’t stopped wildlife from visiting as the dingo did happily in Ormiston Gorge last year. The wallabies are usually shy, but they often see us as part of the environment particularly if you don’t have the radio blaring, or other distractions of our society.
Next time you bush-side, turn off the noise of our world for a time, sit quietly and listen. The wild creatures are companionable usually and will often creep into your campsite. They will take over the chorus of the bush at dusk and dawn and you can always tell when the sun is on the very edge of the world and ready to dip you into darkness, the bird song becomes a cacophony of sound. Or when the dawn light is just about to shatter the darkness completely… they will welcome the day for you and often wake you in a truly Australian Tradition. Our wildlife and wilderness are a unique and beautiful thing… lets protect it.
Jan is a author and traveller, you can find out more about her publications at her web site