One of the greatest delights you have when you are a traveller is the people who you meet along the way. We have met some delightfully adventurous types, as well as those content to sit back and enjoy the scenery. So many of those travellers we meet are memorable and some have become friends who we meet up with commonly in our travels while on the wallaby.
After you have done the lap… of which there are many ways and roads to explore, the adventure doesn’t end. This is for us a lifestyle choice and we delight in our choices. There are many places we will revisit over the years, and many we have yet to visit such as a much anticipated leisurely tour of the Apple Isle, Tassy, which is up and coming this year and into the next. However revisiting some of our favourite freecamps, reserves and forestry camps is an ongoing pleasure.
We are kicking around central NSW at present, a prelude to a quick trip to the west coast of WA coming up in a month. Being that it is getting damn cold in the NSW hinterland now, we are enjoying a very different experience. We have been chasing the sun for near 3 years and settling to the misty winter mornings and bone chilling nights, often enjoyed around a campfire deep in the forest, has been something of a novelty and a pleasure.
Those who join you in this lifestyle are from many walks in life and not many of them are cashed-up and fancy free as is the popular belief of the Grey Nomad and traveller set. The reality is that the majority of like travellers, freecampers and even local holiday makers are anything but cashed up. They live on a fixed income, regulated by Governments and Taxation constraints wether you enjoy the benefits of a fixed pension or not. Few, very few to none, are what could be termed as the old world ‘bludgers’. Most have retired, or are semi retired and have fed the social and tax demons for decades. They are now enjoying an entitlement for which they saved long and hard (via tax or super) and so many of the media paint these tired, (as in re-tired) as not worthy of the entitlement they have worked towards and now enjoy as they choose. Many have worked themselves into the ground over the years and now have, not a great deal of stamina or fine health left for the workhorse.
If you live at home, or in a re-tirement village and continue to feed the domestic demons then this is fine… it is seen as acceptable. But if you’re reasonalbly hearty and able, and venture out to enjoy your retirement then this is not, it seems at times, acceptable. You must feed the commercial demons or be banished to the never world from where you should never creep forward.
It is about time we debunked the myth that the grey nomad’s are all cashed up and just avoiding those often overpriced and over-serviced Caravan Parks for which so many families aspire to enjoy during the national holiday periods. Lets accept that Grey Nomads, of which there are thousands upon thousands travelling this vast country of ours, do not all aspire to live in caravan parks. It is not at all the experience they are seeking. Let’s accept that most Grey Nomads merely wish to be left alone to enjoy life as they choose. Lets accept that it is not common, and certainly not in my experience, that Grey Nomads and all travellers have the habits of many wicked campers, bogan locals and hell bent media, looking to sensationalize popular beliefs of misuse and abuse of public area’s. In fact many travellers take the time to clear messes, attend to problems and even plant and tend to the forests and reserves as man should care for the Earth.
Some of the wonderful people we meet along the way have truly remarkable and interesting stories to tell of their lives. History is a wonderful thing and travelling this country freely is firmly part of our history. This is why Aus’ attracts many backpackers and international travellers which in turn enrich our rural economies.
Rest Area’s, freecamps, forestry camps and reserves as well as some valued lower costed caravan parks cater to these travellers. Heavily tariffed Caravan Parks are commonly the preserve of holidaymakers, they provide the entertainments that many holidaymakers look for and they also provide a valuable service, but it is not a service everyone wants. We are travellers, not holiday makers. We value the freecamps, the places we can rest-up freely while we travel and the town reserves which cater for travellers.
The places we value most are usually quite, have simple local interests and activities we can enjoy and are not over crowded by the holidaymaker. Such places as Ellenborough Reserve west of Wauchope NSW. Here travellers gather at the freecamp and they usually are a delightful lot. Such as the 70 year old, newly separated from his spouse, who was travelling Aus’ on his own, preferring this to a retirement village or park bench, and for the first time discovering the joys of a motor bike. Around him gathered a number of the camp bachelors and like travellers as they gather joked about like teenagers once more, discussing the merits and risks of such an challenge for a newbie 70 yr old. He mastered the challenge no less, without incident or accident and was last seen wearing a helmet this time as he scooted around the reserve, practicing on his now toy.
Many forestry camps are gems, born of old forestry camps of yesteryear. Once they serviced the woodsmen, they now cater to the travellers and campers. Another favourite of ours is Coopernook Forestry camp, inland from Crowdy Bay on the coast, beyond what was historically known as ‘The Great Swamp’ region on the coast. Coopernook camp is a gem. On-site and in the process of preservation by valued volunteers, is the old foreman’s cottage which has reached its heritage status, being over 100 yrs old. Also to be found here are a fine, strong avenue of pines planted by our return soldiers, this deep into the Coopernook Forest. The camp served part of our history that is often overlooked in that it also provided a refuge for returned servicemen in need of recuperation. The old loggers huts have been cleared sadly, but the foreman’s hut remains.
This is a camp loved not only by travellers, grey nomads and the like but also celebrated by the locals who volunteer their time to preserve our heritage. As I dive into the history of the camp I hope it will inspire you to venture away from the coast… delve into the forests and discover a world often forgotten by time.
Jan is an author and writer, who write’s about her travel experiences as she and The Man tour the vast continent. From the blue oceans to the red deserts you can read all the many varied experiences of traveling across this land.
Delve into the richness of the ancient Indigenous Lore of the land and discover many of the mysteries of the Serpents, the hidden world of Ancient Lore, still present across a forgotten land. Read more in the tales of The Dreaming. Follow the path and lives of the Featherfoot and learn more about the Lore of the Kadaitcha. The stories are a journey with the men and women who live within the boundaries of the Lore, in fictional tales of adventure and love.
You can discover more about her publications at Amazon.
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Full of Australian tales, and the travelling experience of a wandering lifestyle, you can experience the richness of life on the wallaby. Come join us in an adventure. Discover Australia and Her Ancient Lore.