Blog: Are offroad stops for you?
Tony Allsop weighs up the pros and cons of offroad camping.
THIS YEAR, DENYSE and I travelled over 16,000km writing stories and shooting video. We toured in our caravan through Qld, NSW, Vic, SA, NT and back to our home in Mackay. On this trip, we stayed in a mixture of offroad camps and caravan parks.
There are two reasons we stay offroad:
the first is to save money; the second is that there are many offroad camping areas we really enjoy.
We love to sit around a small campfire with a bottle of red, watching a sunset on a still evening and waiting for the stars to light up the sky. We enjoyed such an evening at Wonarah Bore on the Barkly, and it was made perfect when a fellow RVer piped the sun down on his bagpipes.
This year, the billabong at Camooweal was full, and we had a good camping spot overlooking the water with a great variety of waterbirds, including noisy brolgas. Cooking dinner over a campfire, watching brolgas pass over a brilliant sunset and a quiet peaceful night make offroad camping an absolute
There are disadvantages in offroad campsites, too. Noise is a common annoyance, either from generators or loud music.
We tend to camp well away from any shelter shed, as backpackers often pull in late with music blaring and stay up late, while we try to enjoy nature and the serenity of a quiet spot.
ON THE OTHER HAND, when we arrive at a town or a place we wish to stay at for several days or longer, we prefer the comfort and convenience of a van park. There is always washing and shopping to do, plus there's the comfort of
hot showers, reliable mobile phone and broadband, and hopefully a clean slab or grass (instead of a dusty offroad site).
Further to this, we would never leave our caravan on its own in an offroad camp, as we have known of several robberies, even in national parks. We find that offroad camps close to towns are often visited late at night by hoons, which makes them less desirable for RVers.
Many vans are now set up for offroad camping, and this year we found many more RVs staying in offroad camps than in previous years.
We found that free camps in good locations were often full before lunchtime. A number of van parks have reported being down on figures, even though RVs are being manufactured in record numbers.
Have your say: Have you stayed in offroad overnight camps this year? Why, or why not?
WORDS AND PICS Tony and Denyse Allsop