Just before Christmas I had been up in the mountains of Victoria, south of Corryong, on a fleeting trip on some of the back tracks in the High Country and decided that Viv and I should head up that way for a more leisurely jaunt in the new year. Then along came the horrible, devastating, bushfires and that was the end of that plan.
In the meantime, we were planning some serious 4WD travel in the USA and North Africa in our US-based Ram 2500 and FWC camper, with plans in advance to then ship the rig to Europe. We had airfares booked and had carried out some pretty expensive maintenance on the Ram, preparing it for a two or three year sojourn through Europe, North Africa, Turkey and Central Asia.
We’ve had a bit of a hiccup with that scheme with a major health scare, and now the fast moving Coronavirus has surged onto the scene, ruining not only our travel plans but the travel plans and dreams of thousands of people, not only here in Australia, but around the world.
While the bushfires were a huge hit to tourism operators in the affected areas, this virus is having a much more wide-ranging effect and looks like having dire consequences for many travel operators, tour guides, shops and services that depend on tourism for a living.
In the meantime, we’re being told, for our own safety, and to slow the spread of the virus, not to shake hands, kiss a friend’s cheek, gather in groups of 500 or more people, to stay at home if you feel a bit crook, self-isolate if you’ve come in from overseas and to sit one-and-a-half-metres away from one another, even if you are in a small group.
They are all reasonable measures to deal with this ongoing crisis but, I reckon some remote camping has got to be a bloody good defence against the spread of the Coronavirus, and a lot more enjoyable, so a long camping trip seems to be a good plan.
WHAT DO YOU RECKON?
Our latest plans have now coalesced to the point that we’ll be heading off in early May. We’ll cruise up along the western side of the Great Dividing Range, poking into the occasional town to buy supplies before finding a bush camp in a park, reserve or state forest. Once we get to Queensland we’ll head to Roma and the Carnarvon National Park, a place we haven’t been to for 40-odd years.
Swinging further westward, we’ll pick up those great rivers that flow down through the heart of the state and wander north along their banks to Winton and McKinley before poking our way south to Boulia and the Diamantina NP. There’s been a bit of water moving around western Queensland in the past month or so, so the country should be looking pretty good and the waterholes should be full and the birdlife, magic.
We’ll head to Innamincka and stick around there for a time. By then it’ll be July and, depending on what the virus is doing, we may wander west to Birdsville and across the Plenty Highway to Alice Springs. Or, if the virus emergency is over, we’ll come home, fly to the US and set our overseas travel plans into action.
The key will be to stay flexible and to camp remotely. That way we’ll be enjoying ourselves and doing our bit to slow the spread of the virus while slipping a few dollars into the coffers of the small communities and tour operators along the way.