Free Camping


Matilda HighwayBefore you ask, the answer is “Yes, we own the Camps Australia book”. But we don’t use it apart from to find dump points for our porta loo, and cheaper caravan parks.

When we bought our first Coronet Prince van, we decided we weren’t really going to be the free camping type vanners. And we weren’t. It had no shower and toilet, no deep cell battery or solar panels. But it was a mighty good van. When we bought our second custom built Coronet Prince, we saw no reason to change all that (toilets and showers and all the rest cost lots extra and we still weren’t “into” free camping, or cleaning showers, carrying extra water etc.). BUT when we saw a generator for sale at Aldi for $299.00 we thought “why not” and bought it. We figured we only needed to use it about 10 times for it to pay for itself.

After around 5 years of staying exclusivly in caravan parks, we decided when we free camp with our noisy Aldi generator, we want to be on our own, so now we get out the book, look at the suggestions and avoid them. We decide how far we want to travel, then start looking for our site for the night. Our usual plan is find some recent road works and look for the Sunset over our free camp sitegravel dump that they used.
Those and Telstra/emergency repeater towers are the best spots we’ve found. Once we find a likely site, we do a walk in, make sure the site is clear and level and there’s room to park and turn around. We also make sure it’s not a local “party site” (lots of empties will tell you that). Evidence of a few fires is OK, we’ll probably light one too. And we want to be well off the road and out of sight.A fire to light the night

Yesterday we left Cobar and headed north once again. We went through Bourke and headed to “the Back o’ Bourke” (another Australian saying most would recognise as meaning the end of civilised life as we know it). It was a lol moment for both of us when we realised the Shire of Bourke ended at the border and Queensland is actually the “back of Bourke” Fitting I think!.

We will mostly travel the Matilda Highway to the gulf but took a detour at Cunnamulla down the Bulloo Developmental Road, The Eulo-Quilpie Rd and the Diamantina Developmental Road. Thursday we join the highway at Longreach

Bacon and egg pie MmmmmmLast night we camped in a gravel dump somewhere between Cunnamulla and Eulo beside the Bulloo Developmental Road. It wasn’t the best spot we’ve had, but it was quiet, spacious, the stars were gorgeous and it was free. We had our homemade bacon and egg pie and ratatouille for dinner and a bottle of wine by the fire.

This egg and bacon pie is based on my mum’s. She liked enough parsley so as it formed another layer, tomato under the pastry so it didn’t dry out and she broke her eggs and pushed them about a bit with a knife (no beaten egg in here). I like my bacon and onion cooked (not browned though), I’m not sure if she did.
Egg and Bacon Pie

  • 2 sheets shortcrust pastry (savoury not sweet)
  • 250g bacon, rinds removed, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Eggs (enough to fit the pie dish)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley, or to taste
  • 2 tomatoes sliced
  • A little milk to glaze the top

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190c.
  2. Cook bacon and onion until onion is softened (I find if I watch it it doesn’t need oil)
  3. Line a pie dish with one sheet of pastry, prick the base with a fork. Scatter over the bacon and onion.
  4. Break the eggs around the pie dish breaking and pushing them gently around with a knife. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle over the parley, then arrange the tomato slices over it. Top with the second sheet of pastry. Crimp, trim the edges and decorate with pastry scraps if you like. Prick a couple of times with a fork to allow steam to escape then glaze with milk.
  6. Bake about 35 minutes or until cooked through (I test this with a sharp knife and my eyes).
  7. Serve hot, warm or (my personal preference) cold. Great picnic food!

Today we drove around 500ks through very varied countryside-sometimes dry and depressing, sometimes green and gorgeous but never boring. We saw lots of cattle, emus, birds, the occasional roo and some beautiful brolgas.

Tonight and tomorrow we are at Windorah shire CP ($10 a night and $2 for the washing machines).

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