A whole lot more with less

WE are gearing up for a camping trip to the coast in January.

Rather than flicking through toy catalogues in the lead up to Christmas, the girls are poring over anything that lands in the mailbox from Ray's Outdoors, BCF, Anaconda or Aussie Disposals.

They’re circling anything from storage containers to quick-fold stretchers, tents shaped like Kombi vans and all things they 'would like’ in between.

Would like, or need? It seems as parents we are forever clarifying the difference.

But on camping holidays, you don’t ‘need’ much.

When we grew up, our 'big' holidays were in tents. Well, one big canvas orange one that could sleep seven, actually.

But that big old tent gave us more memories than any holiday home visited year after year could ever do.

It gave us new experiences every day - and opened our eyes to parts of Australia only seen when you literally go off the beaten track.

We were lucky to do a trip through the red centre and another to the heritage-listed Fraser Island off the south Queensland coast.

Very different holiday experiences, but neither of which you would choose to do any other way than camping.

I recall our family driving along the beautiful white sandy beach to Fraser Island’s Maheno shipwreck. We were surrounded by the coloured sand cliffs on one side and beautiful blue water on the other. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and left a permanent picture in my 11-year-old mind.

During that trip we trekked through stunning rainforest, bathed in Lake McKenzie and had many fits of laughter at being thrown about in the back of the 4WD as dad navigated the rugged terrain.

Perhaps the downside to that trip was hearing dad’s favourite band, The Eagles, played repeatedly for the entire trip. Each of my four siblings and I can sing you every word to every song.

So too can we sing most lyrics to John Williamson after our other great trip through central Australia.

We spent quite a few summers at various spots along the Victorian coast, but our trip to Alice Springs and Uluru was the one we now treasure most.

It taught us much about team work, our family and importantly, our great country.

We didn’t ‘need’ much on that trip, because every day was a new and magical experience requiring nothing more than physical activity and our senses.

It’s not the hand-held video games or Walkmans in the car that we look back on, it’s the open land, the amazing mobs of brumbies, the camel rides, the huge wedge-tailed eagles eating roadkill, overtaking road trains, Sturt’s Desert Peas, opal and gem mining…. every minute of every day was something new.

But the rim walk through the stunning sandstone walls of Kings Canyon, and trip to Uluru and The Olgas, were the highlights.

But taking in the spiritual Dreamtime experiences at such significant Australian landmarks is something all Australians should do, if they are fortunate to be given the chance.

We didn't actually 'need' anything. 

When we grew up, our 'big' holidays were in tents. Well, one big canvas orange one that could sleep seven, actually.

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