MEET LAUREN. A BEER DRINKING BABE WHO LOVES DANCING AROUND THE CAMPFIRE IN ALL THE NOOKS AND CRANNIES OF AUSTRALIA! HAVING COMPLETED THE “BIG LAP” LAUREN SHARES SOME OF HER HOT TIPS AND FAVOURITE PLACES.
So, you have been lucky enough to have already completed the infamous ‘BIG LAP’. How long were you exploring Australia for in a camper?
Soooo lucky!! It was bloody amazing! It was my dream since I was about 17 and I finally hit the road (with my partner at the time) when I was 30. We were on the road for 12 months in a high top Troopy all set up as a camper. We missed so many places, 1 year is not enough time!
If you had the opportunity to do it again would you? And would there be anything you would do differently?
OMG yes I would do it again in a second! If only I won lotto….. It was definitely the best year of my life so far, I was so blown away with the beauty and diversity of Australia. Best country in the world I think. There are a few things I would do differently, nothing too major. I wrote a blog post about this on my website if you want the finer details, but basically the things I would do differently on my next lap (and it WILL happen, just not sure when) are:
- Free camp more often (this is a no brainer, it would save so much money)
- Talk to fellow campers and locals more (their knowledge of the area may be priceless, info you wont find in any guide book, and potential lifelong friends)
- Stuff: ensure the next vehicle has a built in water tank, take less clothes!, better laptop with more storage.. there are a few more things I talk about in my blog post
- Learn more about simple mechanics
- Spend more time in Tassie! We only had 2 weeks here and I think you need at least 4 weeks, it is so amazing.
Here is the link to my full post if you are interested 🙂 http://auscampingadventures.com/lessons-learnt/
During the Big Lap did you mostly free camp? Any hot tips on how to stealth when it comes to free camping?!
Actually we worked out that we only free camped about 25% of the time over the 12 months we were on the road. Here is an around about breakdown of our accommodation:
- 40% National Parks / Reserves / Homestays
- 25% Free Camping
- 25% Caravan Parks and
- 10% staying with Friends & Family
When we first left we weren’t really aware there were so many awesome free camps in Australia. As we got better at life on the road we became a lot smarter with free camping. My number one hot tip for making the most of free camping when you are on the road would be to download the app ‘WikiCamps Australia’. It only costs $8 worth every cent. I still use it all the time for any camping trips I go on. You can see thousands and thousands of camp spots, with details such as cost, if there are any facilities (toilets, potable water, camp kitchen etc), if campfires are allowed, if you need a 4WD for access, if pets are allowed and HEAPS more. You can put a filter on your search and only see camps that are free (or any other filters you like). The best thing about WikiCamps Australia is you can read comments from other campers and get a really good idea of a free camp from these comments. I personally avoided any camps that had comments about noise or dodgy characters.
Another tip I would give about free camping is to trust your instincts. If you don’t feel ‘right’ when you drive into a place then keep driving ang go to the next spot. I especially rely on my instinct when I go camping on my own. Most free camps don’t have any facilities so make sure you take enough water, a shovel (for you know what) and take any rubbish with you. Please please please take your rubbish with you!
Amongst the current binge-exploring you are squeezing in some Overseas travel. How does exploring Overseas compare to Australia for you?
I feel like I have done quite a lot of travelling in my life and there are so many different cultures out there. Travelling in Australia compared to travelling in a country like Asia or Central America where there is a language barrier and completely different standard of living is hard to compare. I feel like Australia is so big, especially WA, you can literally go hundreds of KM’s without seeing another car or person whereas other countries I have been are generally really busy (with crazy traffic!). Obviously every country is really different and it is great to get out of Australia and learn about how other people live, as well as see amazing scenery that you would never see here. BUT I absolutely love the freedom of jumping in a car and driving anywhere I want in my own country. I just feel more comfortable and at home here. There are so many places I still want to see in Australia, even just around Perth where I live. Also going on camping trips in Australia is just so affordable if you are smart about it, anyone can do it.
Your absolute favourite wild swimming spot in Australia?
Wow good question. My absolute favorite swimming spot in Australia would be Manning Gorge off the Gibb River Road in Western Australia. Most of the swimming spots off the Gibb River Rd are amazing but I loved this one because it is a bit of an effort to get to (about a 6km return walk) which makes it even more special when you get there. The waterfalls here are beautiful and there are heaps of cool ledges to jump off.
How many consecutive days have you not showered for? Be honest, we are not judgemental here and plus, this is a reality of #camperlife right?!
Ooooo you know it was probably only 2 or 3 days and this would have probably been in Tasmania. We had one of those 20L solar showers that is basically a black bag that you fill with water and put in the sun. If we forgot to fill it up or if the water wasn’t hot enough and it was cold outside I just went without! Or used baby wipes instead (nothing wrong with that right?! haha). I am one of those people that like to be clean but I had to accept that I wouldn’t be able to have a proper shower every day. It got a lot easier as time went on and sometimes I even wore the same clothes for days at a time. It is a reality of life on the road that the facilities won’t be what you are used to but it is possible to stay clean if you want to.
Set the scene of your IDEAL campsite.
It would be away from everyone in the middle of nowhere with an amazing view. Some of my favorite campsites have been up on a breakaway or hill with views over the land or distant ranges. I would have a campfire and it would be a moonless cloudless night with no wind. You can’t beat looking at the stars, it really puts life into perspective! Of course there would be good tunes and an esky full of cold beer. In saying this I also love being in the middle of a forest as well as right on the beach.
Living out of a camper, not being grounded and having no routine is very daunting for some. In two sentences how could you change their minds on it forever?
Life is too short to keep putting off your dreams. Living a simple life on the road is amazing, it really puts things into perspective and you realise how little you need to be happy and free.