Another Cool Thing About Camping

Echidna spikes

There were so many wonderful and unplanned moments during our holiday – stuff that really made the holiday all seem worth it.

Callum posing with Mr EchidnaWe stumbled across various wild Australian animals – kangaroos, emus, lizards, sea eagles, and an echidna! A huge one! In the wild! They’re a weird version of a porcupine, and cousin to the platypus, the only kind of egg-laying mammals. The kids were completely amazed.

We spent a significant portion of the trip telling our kids everything we knew about everything in the world – why kangaroos have pouches. Where sea eagles build nests. Why some lizards run on four feet and some on two. Which sea creatures are poisonous and why. Why shallow water is warmer than deep. Stuff that made us feel like really cool parents.

The Beach With No Name

Shell Arrangement

One morning, while camping, we met some scruffy surfers on the beach. They were crusted with salt and seasoned by the sun, and they were doinkg tai chi on the rocks overlooking the bay.

We stopped to chat and gained some local knowledge about a super secret beach nearby. The directions were obscure and a little dubious, but we set off anyway.

It was pretty hard to find. And I was pretty stressed about the car unfriendly roads. In fact, the track was so messed up that we had to stop the car and walk the last bit.

The Perfect Tourism PhotoAfter what felt like an eternity, we found it! An exquisite bay, a crystal clear lagoon, a deserted beach, and coral reef rock pools teaming with shells, clams, starfish, crabs, fish, slugs. Every crevice was exploding with colour and movement. The beach was littered with amazing aquatic treasures – broken corals, cute pebbles, sparkling shells and whale bones?

It was unmistakable that not many people had ever walked on this beach.

My 4 year old snorkelled with my husband, while I danced through the rock pools with my 2 year old.

We spent a glorious afternoon there. We made a pile of treasure on the beach. We took photos. We explained to the kids why we couldn’t take things away from places like these. Then we left.

A part of me felt heavy. To think that perhaps in 10 years time, there might be a 5 star resort, a multitude of visitors, a barren tourist beach, speed boats and all this could be gone. A mind boggling thought. And because I want this beach to remain just as it is………it shall remain nameless on my site. Sorry!

The Exquisite Agony of Being Sean

Sean

While we were on holiday, Sean battled with a spectacular display of sickness – fever, diarrhoea, headaches and grumpiness, which then flared up eczema and hives all over his body. He ended up sleeping a whole lot – which was what the doctor ordered anyway.

It wasn’t going to deter the rest of us from enjoying our holiday. And so, the dazzling beauty of Turquoise Bay, over looking the Ningaloo Reef, was lost on him.

Adding to his discomfort, we lost his sunglasses and bought the LAST and ONLY pair of kid’s sunglasses available outside the metropolitan area – and unfortunately its funky holiday design didn’t quite compliment his mood.

The Best Thing About Camping

Milky Way

Every night, whilst in the Australian bush, we braved the cool night air to show the kids the blazing Milky Way. The sky glowed gloriously high above our heads. It glowed!

The distant clouds of stars illuminated the darkness between each sparkling star, twinkling with blues, purples, pinks and green. We saw shooting stars, satellites and various planets. It was simply breathtaking and one of the reasons I love camping.

Image from NSF.

Red Bluff

View from the tent

We arrived safely at Red Bluff and it was all worth it! It was stunning! We had an incredible time! Extraordinary, in fact! All due to the fact it was isolated, unspoiled and – really – not for a faint hearted driver, like myself. Only about 20 other camp sites were dotted along the hilly coast. We found a bit of dirt, behind a shrub, right next to the beach, and called it home.

There were a few things to get used to. No fresh water (really – you have to bring your own). No showers. No electricity. No shop. No petrol station. No ranger. The toilet was a pile of worms that you poop on top of, and then cover with a handful of sawdust.

There was something deliciously wild and pure about being so far from the rest of the world. It was a strange sense of freedom, power and abandonment. The significance of the environment and what we chose to do with it, was suddenly magnified in our everyday activities. Keeping track of the high and low tides. The direction of the wind affected where to pitch the tent, where to cook, where to stand. The sun was our only clock.