Camping is one of Australia's great joys - and whether you prefer a caravan, a tent or anything in between - the frustrations can often be the same. We've compiled a list of things that will help make you more courteous, more conscious and more confident while away this summer!
Everyone loves music - it doesn't matter a person's age, gender, religious affiliations or how much money sit's in a person's bank account. Music is universal, it transcends the usual cultural boundaries and is accessible to anyone, anywhere. This is what makes music so great, it's bigger than us, often going beyond just being audibly pleasing by even evoking feelings and memories in people.
But music, like all art forms, is also diverse and open to interpretation. What I like and why I like it are going to be different to the people in the campsite next to mine. This is especially important over the summer holidays as most campsites are filled to capacity.
So instead of blasting your music all day and all night remember that the people around you are on holidays also. That means they have their own pace and their own soundtrack - let them have it - they've earned the right to be there as much as we have.
Anti Social Behaviour
Australian's are know the world round for loving a good drink, especially while on holidays. We're no different, regularly enjoying a Jack & Coke or a beer on the beach as the sun sets over summer... The smell of the BBQ cooking in the back ground, the sound of the waves gently lapping against the sand - it would be almost criminal not to have a few drinks.
But alcohol can cause problems too; the potential for violence and antisocial behaviour can grow exponentially with every drink. Worse is that this is often increased again when you're talking about large groups of people gathering together.
The answer here isn't to stop drinking, heck it's not even about not getting drunk from time to time, it's about being careful. No one wants to hear someone vomiting on the beach next to their caravan and nobody wants to find people passed out in deck chairs the next day.
Have fun, drink and go a bit wild - but be careful and considerate at the same time. Your head will thank you the next day and your neighbours just might do the same thing!
Encroach On Others
We all dream of our campsite being vast and open, next to a river or a lake or the sea... The image of ourselves reclined and reading in the serenity of nature is one we all know and love. But the realities of most campsites are the complete opposite.
Camping has become so popular in Australia that in the peak seasons campsites are crammed meaning you're lucky just to find a spot. What you can expect is a small site - maybe 10 metres long by 5 metres wide - and on either side of that is another caravan. Row after row after row of them; almost one on top of the other!!
This shouldn't deter you from camping, in fact the reason so many people do it is because it's so damn great!! Just be aware of what you're actually buying into and as important as that; be aware of those around you.
Another frustration, especially for those camped closest to the beach, is people walking through their site. Treat this like you would anybody else's property, if you don't have express permission to be there, walk around.
Keep an eye on how many cars are parked on your site, whether you have any ropes extending into or hoses draining onto someone else's patch of dirt. And, please, if it happens to you remember your patience and manners when asking your neighbours to fix it.
Campfires are one of the great joys of camping, whether you're roasting marshmallows, staying warm with friends at night or cooking a meal for the whole family. They are attention magnets, drawing people in around them, the perfect centre-piece to any evening away. Personally, I'm a watcher; as the night rolls on I often find myself quite happily just staring into the fire while it gnaws away at a log.
The problem is that most of Australia is both hot and dry for the majority of the year - this combination is why Australia has been home to some of the worst bush fires in modern history.
In 2009, after Black Saturday, a few of us we're responsible for running a camp for over 150 local kids who had lost family or suffered significant trauma as a result of what happened. This experience was both humbling and eye opening as it gave us real insight into the devastating damage caused by out of control fires.
The truth is the most common cause of fires here in Australia is people - either deliberately or accidentally. That means with a bit more care and consideration we could eliminate the vast majority of our bush fires - saving homes and lives in the process!
Campfires are there for us to use and enjoy - but after you're done just spend a few minutes making sure the fire is completely out!! Simply shovelling some dirt on top, unfortunately, won't kill fire starting embers. All it really does is insulate them; a big enough gust of wind can uncover these embers and send them hundreds of metres away into area's ripe for ignition.
Use water, as much as is needed and don't skimp - even if there is no tap nearby a few back and forth trips with a bucket to the waters edge will do just fine. Lastly, if you're feeling particularly generous you might even leave a pile of fresh twigs and some logs behind for the next person.
We've all said it... And if you're going to pretend you haven't sung the Bonnie Doon song - we're calling you a LIAR!! :P
Aussies love the great outdoors - and why wouldn't we? We have one of the largest land masses on the planet and only 25,000,000 people to call it home. In-fact, at 7.7 MILLION square kilometres, Australia is almost as large as Continental Europe!!
Now with the rise of Instagram our remote and beautiful icons are becoming more and more popular with tourists flocking from all over the world to see it. Keeping these places clean is how we can make sure they last for future generations.
Having a plan for your camping 'left-overs' is a MUST - whether it be trash, recycable's, bio-degradable's or even human waste! Most campsites these days are equipped with easy waste management solutions. So take your time while planning and make sure you or your campsite has a sustainable solution to all of our disposables.
Damage or Misuse Communal Areas
Communal area's at campsites are one of the features that make camping here so accessible - these can include amenities like showers and toilets, BBQ area's, laundries, playgrounds and even the pathways.
These are shared by hundreds of holiday go-ers every single week over the peak seasons - so the more conscious we are of these spaces the better. That means removing rubbish and wet clothes, it might mean wiping over a dirty bench when you see it or cleaning up the BBQ after you use it.
If you see any unnecessary mess or damage to these spaces - don't just leave it for the next person clean it up or report it to campsite management.
These facilities are here to make everyone's life easier - not harder - so respect the community and the infrastructure to ensure everyone has a great time away; not just your crew.
Here's a handy little article written for people sharing dorm facilities in the US. You can copy and paste ANY of these for a starting point on campsite facilities.
Lose Track of Your Kids
Don't get us wrong - we've been known to use the holidays to purposely LOSE track of our kids from time to time too. It's much quieter when they're in somebody else's campsite, after all!!
But there are some obvious reasons we encourage every parent to be aware of so they can make sure they know where their kids are at all times.
Safety is obviously the number one reason: We hate to think anyone would hurt a child or worse, take them away without you knowing. But that is an unfortunate (albeit small) reality of life. And whilst the vast majority of people are good and safe and honest - it only takes the action of one person to leave emotional scars that can last a lifetime.
Beyond remaining responsible for your child's safety is the responsibility you also have for your child's behaviour. Do they have the self awareness to be as respectful of the area as everyone else? Are they annoying other campers by going into and out of other people's campsites without permission? Have they left a pile of wet clothes on the floor of the bathroom or dangerous holes on the beach?
We don't want to stop ANYONE from having a great time on holidays, especially the kids. We just wan't everyone to be aware, be patient, be considerate and most important to have fun!!
If you're a camping regular and you have some frustrating experiences to share or solutions to camping problems; we'd love to hear about it!!