This year we ran away from Christmas.
The year before we had spent a few days post Christmas down near Esperance and I’d conceived a desire to spend a remote time in Cape Arid National Park. Wayne had to take time off work off over Christmas and I’d decided, for a number of reasons, that five years doing wine tours was enough and I wasn’t going to be helping other people enjoy their festive season so I had lots of free time as well.
One of my daughters was overseas; the other usually spent the day with her father’s vast clan. Not having to do any cooking, buying, wrapping or gifting sounded amazing. So we decided to take a few weeks and head off via Kalgoorlie to stay with a friend for a few days and then camp down at Cape Arid National Park, on the edge of the southern ocean, at the start of the Great Australian Bight and just before the Nullarbor Desert.
Wayne finished work on the Friday and I packed up our car: a little 2 door Suzuki Grand Vitara. A lot of people might sneer at this kind of car as a ‘soft’ 4 wheel drive or SUV for you northern hemisphere people, but I bought it almost five years ago for off roading because it was a light vehicle that could go almost anywhere, with care.
Wayne made a roof rack for it, which we sometimes use and sometimes don’t, depending on whether or not we have a third person travelling with us. If it is just the two of us, I find that I can pack everything we need in the back with the rear seats folded down. I generally do the preliminary packing because I am better at it: he invariably gets frustrated because he doesn’t think things can fit it but if he sees that that they can, initially, no problem on subsequent days!
Our basic equipment usually consists of:
A tent, a double canvas swag with pillows and bedding, a fold up table and attached 4 chairs, two camp chairs, a dual fuel double burner stove, a jerry can of petrol, 3 containers of water, 1 plastic storage container of food, a box of cooking and eating equipment, a lantern, a shovel, a first aid kit, a tyre re-inflation device.
Then there is personal gear, tons of books, booze, solar panel and other sundry things like a hammock, electric stuff etc.
As far as food goes, I mainly take dried things and some frozen meat. The frozen meat goes right in the middle of an insulated cooler, surrounded by bottles of frozen water and I take out the meat as I need it. It can stay cold for days this way.
Breakfast/lunches tend to be salami, which keeps well, and cheese and crackers. Dried fruits. Little bits of snacks of things. Rye bread keeps really well and peanut butter spreads well.
Dinner is usually two courses and there is always some rehydration involved. I’ve often dried some vegies at home myself and pre-packaged them.
We find that we enjoy taking along beer, wine and whisky when we camp. The beer comes in a plastic keg form that you attach a tap to; this gives you pressurization and saves taking cans or bottles and the waste of room – remember, it is pack in and pack out. Wine comes in a box and only whisky is in a bottle.
(I once did transfer some port to a plastic device with a tap so that the glass wouldn’t be a hazard but, alas, the corrugated roads turned the tap on and two litres of port quietly leaked out all over the car, which reeked like a wino’s armpit for months, so these days we take our chances with screwtops and glass!)