How many of us enjoy the prospect of a few hard days out on the road? After all, it’s difficult to beat the satisfaction we can get from successfully navigating a rugged and unfamiliar section of track, to uncover a hidden gem – whether it’s an unexpectedly pretty stretch of High Country river; a remote campsite that morphs into an evening air-lane for native birds; or a patch of salt lake that turns into a moonscape after dark under the reflected light of a billion stars.
But sometimes it’s good to take the foot off the accelerator and simply let the outdoors wash over you – with minimal demands to overcome, surprises to accommodate, and with few kilometres to traverse. I tend to be drawn to these opportunities when day-to-day pressures begin to build.
So, what happens when we all ‘buy-in’ to the same vision of a quick bush escape? It’s hard to deny the reality that we’re a nation of beach addicts. With 70 per cent of the population living within 100km of the coast, national park or commercial campsites along coastal fringes are inevitably at a premium among those of us looking for a bit of easy R&R.
We go there because of the proximity of the sea for swimming, fishing, boating and beachcombing. We also like the amenities, the prospect of level ground, and the windbreaks that may be offered by the vegetation. Besides, these places are often readily accessible from well-maintained roads – so they’re easy to get to. All of which probably means that, when we live near a metropolitan centre, the likelihood of finding an undiscovered gem close to home may be pretty slim.
I know my ideal ‘quick escape’ is on the coast less than two hours from home. The first time I went there was after a particularly challenging week in the office. We arrived, backed the rig into one of five designated camper-trailer bays, before I took a short walk to find a fantastic little beach with a section of safe water and some great rock pools. It was the first time in my life that I’d physically felt the week’s tension flow down my neck and shoulders and dissipate out of my body.beach
I wasn’t exactly sure where the stress had gone at the moment, but I suspected it had been caught in the salty breeze and tossed-out into the ocean. I kinda hoped it had been gobbled up by a shark somewhere out there in the depths.
While we don’t get back to this magic spot as often as I’d like, I certainly holiday there in my head quite often when I’m looking for a mental boost. And the reminder that it’s time to hitch up the rig and go back ‘properly’ comes periodically from my six-year-old daughter when she asks “when are we going back to my rock-pool garden?”
The trouble is that I can’t abide the thought of turning up there to find it host to a horde of people who I’d hoped to have left behind in the ‘big city’. So how can I enjoy the place that everybody else wants to enjoy – without everybody else?
I guess it’s a matter of timing.
If we’re lucky enough to be able to get there midweek, or if we choose to visit during the low season, I know there’s a good chance that my secret escape will look a lot like it did the first happy time we visited. And, like then, we may be lucky enough to find a small number of like-minded families, nestled-in, enjoying one of the best little patches of coastline that I know around here.
And we’ll be packing up and leaving before the swarms from the metropolis find us there.
Check out the full feature in issue #111 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.