The choice of a campsite, even just for one night can have a lasting impact.
There’s the friends you meet. Staying in sites where there’s an adjoining pub or restaurant are a great way to meet people and make new friends. Like we did on the Savannah Way. We later caught up with Doug and Janet in Gympie and had the privilege of experiencing Doug’s famous home brew beer, a beer that doesn’t even taste like home brew beer!
If nightfall suddenly creeps up on you, the big open gravel pits just off the side of a main road make a good overnight stop. But if you’re the only ones there, those damn UFO’s the night time imagination produces, can make for an uneasy night!
But most times it’s great to enjoy the best of nature with a bush camp. While our general rule is not to camp alone without others nearby, there are exceptions… like this one night that had us bolting out of there at 3am.
Heading south of Townsville, the inland road offered a quieter route away from the more congested popular coastal highway. As the afternoon drew to a close, a campsite a further ten kilometres off this minor road was our only option. It had all the criteria of a good choice. On the banks of a small flowing river, it was an ideal setting.
We must have been the last vehicle on this road for the day…. so we thought. We camped just before the bridge, near the waters edge. It was a pitch black dark night and quiet except for the trickly flow of the river nearby. We were set for a good nights sleep. For one of us at least.
Women have an intuitive sixth sense that sometimes you can’t ignore. Like when they are continuously jolted awake as soon as falling asleep with a frightening fear that something doesn’t feel right. With a feeling so strong it was now clear this place did not feel safe to be here.
It was now 3am when I was awoken. Peering out through the canvas window, a vehicle, with its headlights piercing the darkened night, was slowly making its way across the bridge in the near distance. It had just turned back from the other side of the bridge, now slowly making its way back to our side.
I could feel myself stiffening with the uncertainty of what the intentions of this lone driver were. Was it just a tired driver returning home from a long distant journey. By now the vehicle had turned off the bridge and was heading directly towards us. It then turned, parking a short and uncomfortable distance away from us.
Any reasons my mind was trying to rationalise this potentially threatening scenario were suddenly interrupted. There now was no question about leaving. When you have someone lying awake all night next to you with hours of bad feelings about the place, where your imaginary fears suddenly turn to real life, there’s no second guessing.
Within about one minute flat, the roof was down and we were in the car ready to hastily make our way back up to the road. With the engine starting up and headlights now in full glare, it no doubt must have startled our new visitor as we raced past him in the dark of night, engine revving, zigzagging our way in four wheel drive through the sandy track back to the road.
Several kilometres down the road, with no obvious sign of being followed, it was a very quick and nervous stop to finish securing the doors and latches of the camper before getting back in the car as fast as we could to get moving again.
By now it was 4am, a hundred kilometres away. We were the ones now entering a camp site in the middle of the night. But at least for those we may have disturbed, there were a dozen others to have a feeling of security in numbers.
It’s all about the journey, not the destination!
Wrapping up this stage of our Australian adventure from the Savannah Way, Cape York Peninsular and down through the north Queensland rainforests and tropics, here’s a quick video of the week that was…
You gotta love this…. a really neat home brew beer setup on tap but where the beer doesn’t even taste or smell like home brew….!