The people around you can make a camping experience great or it can be your worst nightmare.
People go camping for a number of different reasons, but regardless of why you are there it’s important to respect others and the environment around you. No one wants to spend their holiday arguing with others, so by following these simple rules you can help create a happy camping experience for all involved.
1) Respect other people and their space. This should be such a simple thing to do, but it’s something that so many people just don’t understand. It’s all about good manners and common sense (which seems to be lacking with a lot of people!)
Don’t set up camp too close to other people. Obviously if you are in a campground with pre marked spaces you don’t always have the option, but if you are in a free camping situation or in a large area, spread yourself out, make the most of the room! We’ve stayed on properties where there are acres and acres of camping area, yet you get people setting up camp within a couple of meters of you! Why??!
DO NOT WALK THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE’S CAMPSITES! Why is this so hard to understand? You don’t take shortcuts to the shops via your neighbour’s front yard or by jumping the back fence into someone else’s property, so why is it ok when you are camping ….. oh that’s right, it’s not! It doesn’t matter if it takes you 5 extra steps to get to the toilet, that’s not our problem. You should walk around other people’s campsites, not through them. You should also teach your children to do so as well. Yes they are kids and they don’t understand, but they are led by example, so teach them early the right way to act.
If you do need to walk close by a campsite, at least acknowledge the people there, a simple ‘hey mate’ will suffice. At least it’s something after your whole family has just trudged through our campsite!
2) Rubbish. This is a big one as many people seem to think that once you are away from home you can do whatever you like. So many campsites are littered with rubbish, anything from cans and cigarette butts to toilet paper, chip packets and dirty nappies. It really is a problem, it’s unsightly, it’s unhygienic and it’s the reason some of our camping areas are being closed down.
*If there are no bins in the camping ground, take your rubbish out with you and place it in the first bin you find. Don’t just dump it somewhere and leave it for someone else to deal with. These spare wheel rubbish bags are a great idea.
*Don’t leave your rubbish lying around the campsite overnight or when you aren’t there (even if it’s in a bag). There are lots of wild animals just waiting for you to leave so they can rip open the bag and spread your rubbish far and wide.
*Don’t drop cigarette butts on the ground, put them in the bin or carry something with you to put them in.
*When you leave a campsite it should be spotless, the next people don’t want to clean up your dirty mess. Everything you bring in should be taken out.
3) Watch your kids. Kids will be kids and most people realise this and have a little tolerance, BUT at the end of the day, your kids are your responsibility and you need to teach them how to act while you are camping. Teach them not to run through campsites, not to be too loud, not to play in the bathroom. So many times we see kids acting up and parents sitting around not doing anything.
4) Travelling with dogs. Dogs are part of the family right, so why wouldn’t they go camping with you. But there are a few points to remember, one in particular which so many people seem to forget about …….. pick up all your pet’s droppings! It’s not a nice job, but unless you can train your dog to pick it up themselves, unfortunately it’s your responsibility! Always keep your dog on a leash if required and don’t just let them run up to everyone and every other dog. Not all dogs are friendly, and while yours might be, the dog it runs up to trying to play with might not be so friendly and the outcome may not be nice, so be careful.
Also remember that while you love your dog, not everyone else will (our little Gelly needs to learn this rule too!). Some people don’t want your dog running through their campsite or jumping in their caravan, they may not want to be covered in fur and doggy kisses or they may just be scared of dogs. Never let your dog visit someone else’s campsite unless they’ve made it clear that it’s ok.
5) Noise levels. Be respectful of your fellow campers. Yes you are on holidays and want to have a bit of fun and a few drinks, but be mindful that not everyone around you may want to do that. Remember that large groups are obviously loud, so be mindful as the night draws on and try to lower the noise accordingly. By around 10pm at the latest noise should cease (and most caravan parks have their own noise curfews of around 9-10pm). Remember that as things quieten down at night, the noise can travel far and wide, so while you think you may be away from the other campers it doesn’t mean that they can’t still hear you clearly. Same goes for early mornings, as a general rule most campers tend to rise early and make the most of the day, BUT if you are up really early try to limit your noise so as not to disturb others around you. If you are packing up early, do it as quietly as possible. The other big thing is mobile phones, if you are talking early in the morning or late at night, be as quiet as possible! We recently stayed next to someone that thought it was acceptable to talk very loudly on her mobile phone at 5.30am. Was she in her caravan, no, because that would disturb her husband, she was wandering around outside waking up and annoying the rest of the campers!
6) Toilet. If the campground has facilities, make sure you leave them clean and tidy for the next person. If the toilets flush, make sure you flush them! Seems like common sense doesn’t it, but again, a lot of people seem to lack this!
If you are using a pit toilet make sure you put the lid down to avoid attracting flies (why would they want to hang out there with that smell anyway!). Don’t put anything down the toilet that shouldn’t be there, basically if you didn’t eat or drink it first it shouldn’t be going in that toilet!
If there are no toilets and you need to do a bush wee (or the other) make sure you clean up after yourself. This means, girls, take a zip lock bag with you so you can put your used toilet paper in it, don’t just leave it lying around. If you are doing a No 2, go well away from any camping area and dig a deep hole to do your business in, once you are done make sure you burn the toilet paper and cover up the hole. No-one wants a dingo or wild animal to dig up your business and spread it around, so make sure you dig a deep enough hole!
7) Generators. All caravan parks will have rules on when and where these can be used, all will have cut off times of when they must be turned off. A lot of national parks won’t allow them and the ones that do often have a separate area for people using them. Even if you are in a place where there are no set rules, be considerate of your fellow campers, is there really a need to leave it running all night and annoying everyone around you?
8) Watch your speed. All caravan parks have speed limits (generally of about 10km per hour). If there is a speed limit, obey it. These are there for safety, particularly for kids that tend to run around. Caravan parks are quite often very crowded and busy areas and you won’t have much chance of seeing someone as they run out from behind a tent or caravan. They are also there to reduce dust, no-one wants to be sitting at camp and then be covered by sand/dust/dirt as you speed by.
8) Wildlife. Everyone has seen the signs that you should not feed the native animals, well there is a number of reasons for this. One being that what we think might be a nice snack for the animals to eat could actually be harmful for them or even deadly. Secondly, these are wild animals and they shouldn’t be allowed to become reliant on humans as their main food source. What if one day there are no more humans in that area to feed them? These wild animals need to remain ‘wild’ and know how to hunt for their food.
Lastly and most importantly, we don’t want animals becoming too tame, as at the end of the day they are still a wild animal. This is particularly important in the case of dingos. While these are beautiful dogs and to a lot of people they are just a cute little puppy that looks like it needs a feed, we don’t want them to get used to being fed by humans as that ultimately could turn into someone being bitten or attacked. It is a well-known fact that dingos that become too tame or brazen with their approaches to humans end up being killed to ensure that there is no potential for an attack.