From time to time, we all need to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature. In my 32 years on this planet, I have never been camping (unless you count sleeping overnight on the beach in swag as camping), so I figured it was about time I gave it a try and escape the stressors of work. I didn’t venture too far from home – heading to Honeymoon Pool Gelcoat.
A swimming hole paradise located on the banks of the Collie River about a 2 hour drive from Perth, Honeymoon Pool Gelcoat is an open campsite where the bushland meets the river and provides a truly unique experience for swimming or kayaking in the crystal-clear water.
Surrounded by peppermint trees and an overstorey of yarri, jarrah and marri eucalypts, there is nothing better than waking up to the gentle sounds of the wind whistling between the trees and the birds blissfully singing their morning song.
Day time included hikes on the many trails surrounding the campsite whist night time involved sitting around the campfire, snug and warm, drinking wine and toasting marshmallows.
However, my tranquil experience was short lived by other campers. While camping styles may differ, there are common etittique rules to follow to make everyone’s experience a spectacular natural wonderland. Some may consider these rules come from experience, but as a first time camper – it seems like common sense to me.
Following these camping etiquette rules on your next camping trip (whether you are a newbie like me or a seasoned professional) not only helps you protect the environment, but they respect fellow campers and ensure everyone has an amazing trip.
Do not walk through other people’s campsites
Walk around them. And teach your children to do the same!
It is considered rude to walk through someone else’s campsite, even if it provides a shortcut to the river. Be respectful of other camper’s space – and yes it is their space as they have most likely booked and paid a fee to camp at the site.
Take your rubbish with you
Firstly, think about what you will need for your camping trip and how you can reduce the amount of rubbish you will create. Bring a few garbage bags with you and drop your rubbish in the bins on your way out of the camp site when you leave.
It is not acceptable to leave your rubbish lying around – not only is it harmful for the environment – it is hazardous to scavenging wildlife as they can become sick or injured from eating it.
Unless you are only going to throw rubbish in the fire that is going to completely burn – do not throw it in the fire pit! Aluminium foil, glass bottles, steel and aluminium cans do not burn. You definitely should not throw things in like plastic, as nobody wants to smell the fumes which are toxic to your health and the environment. Rule of thumb – if it isn’t paper or wood – take it with you!
Control your children
Just because you are on holiday doesn’t mean you can allow your children to create mayhem for everybody else on the campsite. Teach them respect and manners (along with these camping etiquette rules) so that everybody can have an enjoyable time.
If you are taking a baby, remember tents are not sound-proof and sound travels well – especially at night, so if you have a baby that has a tendency to cry all through the night, consider setting up camp a fair distance from other campers. If this is not possible, consider taking your baby camping when they are a little bit older.
Sound travels at night – so late night parties need to be toned down. Most campers have early starts so like to retire early. Be respectful and ensure your partying does not affect others. Generally during the hours of 9:00pm – 6:00am are considered ‘quiet time’.
Camping is usually about getting back to nature – so leave the electronic world behind and spend time in the real one. If you do need to take your devices, be respectful of other campers. If you are listening to music or watching TV – be sure to wear headphones. If you need to use your phone, be sure to turn it to silent. And no alarms! Why not wake up naturally to the beautiful sounds of nature.
Do not steal other people’s firewood (or anything for that matter)
Don’t be a jerk. You shouldn’t steal from anyone at home, and you should definitely not steal from someone while camping. Most paid sites provide firewood for campers to share. If you run out of fire wood then ask your neighbours if you can have some of theirs or call the Ranger and ask if you can pick up more.
If you haven’t booked the site – don’t gate crash.
Camping fees apply to most camp sites in Western Australia’s national parks and contributes to park management, protection of the environment and the development and maintenance of services and facilities. Do the right thing and book and pay for your site. Don’t ruin it for everyone else.
Respect the wildlife
While camping in Western Australia, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the company of some interesting wildlife. If you see an animal at the campsite or on the trail, let it be and admire from afar.
As cute as they are – do not feed them. Feeding wildlife habituates it and can lead to dependency problems and illness.
Also, make sure you put food away so you do not attract animals to the area – unless you want a visitor in your tent!