Camping in the Outback

The best thing about traveling in a camper van or RV is that you are self contained.  Hotel prices in Western Australia can easily run $100 a night for a couple – spending $100 a day on a camper van is a super bargain.  We carried our own dishes, cooking stove & sink to clean up.  And the freedom of driving when and where you want – versus taking an organized bus tour – can’t be beat!  Andrea and I took turns driving and when she was driving (above), I was usually playing with the camera.

Our lodging cost outside of Karijini was $0 and camping fees inside the park were very reasonable.  We just pulled off the side of the road and made camp whenever we were tired of driving.  All around Karijini there are millions of acres of untouched desert land covered with scrub wood from decades old trees.  In a matter of 10 or 15 minutes we had enough to build a proper campfire.  Sitting under the stars by a fire with a cocktail in your hand after a wonderful dinner is a lifestyle that is hard to beat.

One morning after we departed our overnight campsite I took a photo.  Below you can see what our ad hoc “just outside the park” Karijini campsite looked like.  Our grey ash ring from our camp fire is visible in the photo.

We passed a man on a bicycle unlike any that I’d ever seen.  We ‘interviewed” him and then I posed for a photo.  Behind the tree on the right is his bicycle followed by three wagon-trailers that carry his food, drinks, clothing and camping gear and spare bicycle parts.  This man has been traveling around the Outback for close to a year.  We talked with him and he told us stories of riding right up on Kangaroos (I guess they are used to cars, not bikes) and Dingos, camping alone in the wilderness and having a “proper meal” from time to time as he passed petrol stations along the highway.  He says that he travels for months on end and when he runs out of money, he takes an odd job for a few months, saves some more and then gets back on the road.  He’s been traveling like this for years.  A few years back he traveled from Alaska through Canada and all around the United States.

Meeting someone like this really makes you question the sanity of driving to work Monday-Friday just for the “privilege” of two days off at the weekend and a few weeks off each summer for holiday.  Every time I think about this guy I am half tempted to sell my 401(k) and hit the road for 2 or 3 years.

We stopped at camp grounds from time to time – having running water and a picnic bench was a nice change of pace.  There really is something to be said for a “home cooked” meal instead of some restaurant burger and fries.  I’ve come to love Andrea’s veggie pasta ~ she would mix in some vegetarian rashers (pseudo-bacon that isn’t great a la carte but tastes super when cooked into something) and some pesto sauce and mushrooms.  A fresh salad and drink of your choice and it felt like 5 star dining.

While in Australia I traveled by Greyhound bus, organized bus tour and in a camper van and I have to say that I enjoyed the camper van the best.  If I return to Australia for another long trip, I would certainly buy a van, drive in it for the length of my trip and then sell it before I came home.


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