Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't Plan On It

Our plan of spending the long Easter weekend on the historic Birdsville Track was destroyed by recent storms.  Not only had the dirt road been washed out, but much of the area was still under water.   The track isn't scheduled to fully re-open until the end of June.  So we were faced with what to do with a 4 day weekend and a 4wd.  
As we tried to make a plan, we discovered that many campsites--especially those on the coast or in the mountains--required reservations.  Of course, as we began to make phone calls, we found that everything had been booked out months ago.  We switched our focus to some of the more isolated inland State Parks.  We found two parks near the South Australia/Victoria border that didn't require reservations.  We figured that the large parks, which had plenty of dirt and scrub but lacked in water and facilities, wouldn't be  coveted vacation spots.  Each park boasted several longer bush hiking trails and we figured we could keep busy for a couple of days. Unfortunately, the treking would consist of crossing sandy, flat ground.  
After hours of pouring over regional maps, it was determined that we could throw in a bit of a challenge by stopping off at the northern edge of the Grampians--a mountain range famous for its rugged rock outcrops--to hike Mt. Zero.  We planned to take the longer trail from the Stapylton campground.  We figured if we arrived early enough on Friday morning, the first day of school holidays, we wouldn't have a problem securing a camping spot.  Also, this campground offered no facilities, which from our previous experience made a campground non-popular with families.
Our journey began Wednesday at noon.  Our first stop was the Little Desert Campground.  We were encouraged when we landed a riverside campsite.  There was only one other large group in the campground.  We kept our fingers crossed that our luck would continue as we set out early the next morning.  As we pulled into the  Stapylton Campground we realized that in our planning we had forgot one important fact, where there are rocky cliffs there are rock climbers.  Every Uni student from the state of Victoria and South Australia had converged in this one campground.  Colorful tents filled the area like sardines packed in a tin can.  If we had wanted we could have found a spot to squeeze in our tent, but when in the bush I like to listen to the  wildlife rooting around, not to my neighbors root.
At this point, sensing a melt down,  Mark pulled the RAV over in the day use parking area.  As he pulled out the map he calmly announced that he had a Plan B.


  1. Hi Maya, sounds like the beginning of a very interesting long weekend. That place looks really packed. Looking forward to how plan B went on your nice long Easter weekend. Hope it was fun.

  2. I hope plan B worked out. We're considering a car camping trip this year so I've enjoyed reading about your camping trips. We need to get a new tent first and we'll be looking at them this week. I'm amazed at how different they are now.

  3. Reminds me of the time we took a trip to Big Bend National Park. Remember? It was Spring Break and every students in the huge Texas university system seemed to have chose the same spot. Lots of music, booze (and of course, rooting). Also some "don't bother with the bathing suits" hot springs. Your 9-year old eyes were popping! Crossing the river into Mexico and riding a donkey into the small village made it all worth it. Do you remember?

  4. Hi Kathy, the first place was packed, and an interesting start to a long weekend.

    Marta, we never really imagined getting back into camping when we moved to Oz--especially since we didn't have the gear. We ended up with a cheap 25 dollar tent from a discount place and have loved it. It doesn't even leak, at least not yet! It is also really easy to put up and take down.

    Mom, unfortunately not many memories. I vaguely remember the river crossing, but nothing that was worthy of eye popping. Would love to go back to Big Bend one of these days but not during Spring Break.