Tag - camping

5 Tips For Lightweighting Your Backpack

There’s you, the trail, and mother nature at her best. What could be better than a hiking holiday? But that backpack that felt so light when you first picked it up seems to get heavier with each passing mile. Travelling light is clearly going to be a help, but you also want to be comfortable, and all the home comforts you can carry need to go on your back. How can you reduce the weight you’re carrying without sacrificing the things you need for a pleasurable holiday? Check out our tips.

1. Choose a Central Campsite With Surrounding Hiking Trails

If you’ve been dreaming of a long trek through the wilderness, having a central home base where you can leave most of your stuff may sound a little unadventurous. But, if you’re into other outdoor activities, doing so will not only lighten your backpack, but give you several extra activities to choose from. Feeling trail weary after your hike? Been investing reels for bass fishing? If you choose the right lakeside camping spot, you can take a break from walking, sit back, relax, and reel them in. Best of all, you’ll only need a daypack for the trails you undertake – it makes things a lot easier!

Hiking path

2. Pack a Lightweight Water Purification Kit

Water is a must-have when you’re hiking back-country trails – but it weighs a lot.  OF course, you can eliminate everything you don’t want in water by pre-filtering and just letting the water boil for two minutes, but it’s quite a process. There are many different approaches to water filtration and purification on trail, and all of them will save you a lot of hassle while most of them are lightweight and compact.

3. Pack Lightweight Foods

If you’re going on a multi-day trek, choosing the right foods to take a long will help to save you from the discomfort of lugging a heavy pack. You do need a lot of energy to fuel all that physical activity, so go for small items that are high in fats like nuts, hard cheese, or salami. Balance out your trail diet with dehydrated foods. You’ll also save some weight and space by getting rid of unnecessary packaging – admittedly not much, but every bit helps.

4. Leave Out Certain Personal Care Items

This is really your choice, but a lot of the things we consider necessary on a regular day don’t really feature when you’re out on the trail. Deodorant, for example, is probably going to lose the battle anyway; it doesn’t really matter if you leave shaving out of your routine for a few days; and make-up isn’t going to do much for you along the way. Towels might seem worth packing, and there are lightweight and compact towels meant for hiking, but they’re also not entirely necessary. If you need a wipe down after washing, any cloth item will do.

5. Weigh Your Necessary Gear and Consider Replacements

You will need a sleeping bag and a tent, and your backpack has weight all on its own. If your basics are unnecessarily heavy, consider replacing them with lighter options. Simply weigh your basics and hit the internet to shop around and see how much weight you can save. You may be surprised at how much mass you can shed.

Add Some Spring to Your Step

The less you lug along, the easier your trail will be. Don’t do without necessities – that can be frankly dangerous – but eliminate everything you won’t absolutely need while you’re on the trail. Long hikes are about “roughing it” and they’re even rougher when you’re carrying a heavy pack. Add spring to your step by lightening your load. 

Preparing for the Worst and the Best for Your Camping Trip

Camping is one of the great American past times. You can be a bold loner ready to pitch a tent on the side of a mountain, an adventurer camping with other enthusiasts in the woods, or a family looking for a chance to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. No matter what your situation, camping is always a great way to have fun and make some memories. 

With that said, camping isn’t a cakewalk. In fact, it requires a great deal of preparation and precautions. If you’re going to go camping, here are a few of the best ways to anticipate the best and prepare for the worst during your time in the great outdoors.

Anticipate Adventure

Once the car is unpacked, the tent is pitched, and the site is set up, you’re going to want to be prepared for whatever adventures may follow. Here are a few ideas for ways to plan for the fun:

  • Pack swimsuits: If you’re near any body of natural water, you’re going to want to have a way to cool off, especially if the weather is warm.
  • Bring bikes: Most campsites are large, and getting from place to place can be time-consuming. Having your bikes handy allows you to move around quickly without the need to use your car.
  • Remember hiking shoes: You’ll likely travel to your campsite in comfortable shoes — after all, you’re on vacation. Don’t forget tough shoes as well, though, especially if you want to hit up some hiking trails while you’re away.
  • Have snacks ready: From trail mix to smores, chips, and drinks, you always want to bring some exciting snack foods along to spice up your time around the campfire.
  • Load up an instrument: A drum, a guitar, a flute, whatever instruments you have lying around, bring them along to create some good memories.

Fun can’t necessarily be manufactured. However, if you bring the right equipment, it can be a lot easier to find.

Be Ready for the Worst

While planning for the best is a good start, if you aren’t ready for the worst, things can quickly break down — quite literally. Here are a few of the most important precautions to keep in mind as you get ready to camp:

  • Bring bug spray: A buggy campsite can make any and every activity miserable.
  • Remember sunscreen: You don’t want to hike or go for a swim, only to pay for it with days of painful sunburn afterward.
  • Review safety measures: Make sure everyone is comfortable with basic camping safety precautions like maintaining a buddy system and using the STOP method if you get lost.
  • Prepare for the forecast: Look at the weather and pack accordingly — also ensure that any young campers are informed, prepared, and ready for a potential curveball from Mother Nature.
  • Make an “unplugging policy”: Decide beforehand if you’re going to remain tethered to the outside world or not, so that you aren’t tempted to check your phone unnecessarily.
  • Brush up on fire safety and outdoor cooking: You don’t want to burn yourself, ruin your food, or start a forest fire.
  • Tell a third party about your trip: If something goes seriously wrong, a friend or family member that knows you’re gone can call for help.

If you prepare for the worst, it will directly impact your ability to enjoy the best parts of your trip.

Thoroughly Preparing to Camp

Camping is a blend of avoiding negative experiences and facilitating positive ones. If you can find a balance between these two prerequisites, you can genuinely enjoy your camping adventures and create some stellar memories in the process.

Essential Items You’ll Need for Camping Off-Grid

Camping is an outdoor experience like no other, so it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular activities. However, if you plan on camping off-grid, there are some things you need to consider. You’ll want to be prepared in case of any emergencies, and make sure that you get home safely. In this article, we’ll talk about essential items you’ll need for camping off-grid.  

A map 

Firstly, one of the most important things for any camper, regardless of whether you are familiar with the location or not, is a map! Accidents can always happen, and with many people getting lost each year, a map might just be your lifeline. Every member should have their own one on their person at all times. It would be best if you also made them waterproof, by laminating them or storing them in a Ziplock bag. 

A good knife 

Every camper needs a good quality knife, as they come with many purposes. Not only can they protect you from predators, but they can also help you get food and cut down branches. You’ll also want to consider getting a high-quality sharpener so that they stay in tip-top shape.  

A high-quality sleeping bag 

In many locations, the temperature and weather can fluctuate, ranging from boiling hot to freezing cold. To protect yourself and ensure that you get a good night’s sleep while camping, you want to get a high-quality sleeping bag. Many of them are made for multiple climates so that they can be used in different conditions. However, you still want to do research before making a purchase. Just remember if you’re walking a while, the lighter, the better!

Light sources 

Another important item for any individuals going camping off-grid is some form of a light source. Whether it be a lantern or headlight, you want to make sure you have something to find your way around in the dark. Make sure you have some extra batteries for backup or opt for something solar-powered, so it can charge during the day. 

A water purifier 

Even though you should aim to take as much clean drinking water with you on your trip, sometimes you may find yourself falling short. If you ever run out of freshwater, then a water purifier can help. These devices can make sure that any water your collect is drinkable, eliminating the risk of illness.  

A fire starter 

And lastly, another essential item for any camper is a good quality fire starter. These devices can make sure that you can always produce warmth, no matter what the circumstances are. There are many different kinds or starters available, but the most common is a flint striker.  

And that’s it! By keeping these few items with you at all times, you can make sure you are prepared for any unexpected circumstances. Just remember to stay as safe as possible, make sure you notify someone of your camping location, and, most importantly, enjoy yourself!  

Without a Trace: Enjoying Nature without Changing It



Enjoying the great outdoors is something that everyone should do. If you live in a city, there is nothing better than getting away from the noise and being surrounded by nature. Canada has so many beautiful places to see that you could easily spend your life exploring it.

One of the most important rules about enjoying the great outdoors is making sure you leave it as you find it. So how should you go about doing this?

Plan in Advance

Planning properly will allow you to enjoy yourself more while making sure you have as little impact upon the natural landscape as possible. Before you go off into the great outdoors, find out about any permits, regulations, and rules that apply so that you can avoid any difficulties when you arrive.

You should also find out what the weather will be like, and take the correct equipment, maps and outdoor apparel for your needs. If you are going hiking, this will help you to get to your destination and avoid the need to have to set up a campfire in an undesignated area, for example, so careful planning is always crucial

Clean Up After Yourself

One of the golden rules of camping or hiking is to avoid leaving any trash behind you. Not only does it look unattractive, but it can also harm the wildlife. So plan your meals beforehand and make sure that you know what you will do with your trash. Then before you leave an area after eating, inspect the surrounding area to make sure you haven’t left anything that shouldn’t be there.

Also make sure you dispose of all wastewater far away from any any streams or lakes. Human waste should be disposed of properly in a deep hole a long way from any areas used by other people, such as campsites, trails, or water sources.

Reduce Your Impact on the Area

You may like the idea of taking a souvenir home with you to remind you of your trip, but avoid the temptation. This can be just as damaging as leaving trash behind. Leave any flowers, rocks, animals, and artifacts exactly as you found them so that other people can enjoy them as well.

Don’t cut down trees or branches, don’t build any structures, and don’t carry out destructive practices such as hammering nails into trees. Remember, the aim is to have as little impact on the natural surroundings as possible.

Be Careful with Your Campfire

Fires can cause unnecessary damage, so if you are camping and you want to have a fire you should be especially careful. Use an existing fireplace if there is one, and choose a spot with a sufficient supply of wood. Keep it small, and make sure it is properly put out before you move on.

Even better, take a stove instead. A stove is light and just as effective, and cleaning up is easier, so it can help you to reduce your impact even further.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors Without Leaving a Trace

Exploring the great outdoors is best when you don’t leave a trace behind you. Follow the above guidelines and leave the natural area exactly as you found it so that the next people can enjoy it as well. We can all do our part, and if everyone follows the basic rules, our wild and beautiful places will remain that way.

Dan Howell has a passion for nature. He frequently writes about enjoying nature while protecting it on nature and camping blogs.

What to Bring for Camping

Archers Nat Park, Moab, UT

Archers Nat Park, Moab, UT

Besides your camping essentials like your tent, cooking equipment and others there are some things that you shouldn’t leave home without. Most importantly you need to bring your sense of adventure! You are living in nature so things like storms happen, solar hot water isn’t 100% reliable but if you are flexible you will make the best of it. Secondly bring what you think will make you comfortable during your trip. lf you are not comfortable, you will not be a happy camper. A few essentials that l would recommend bringing are toilet papers, plenty of drinking water and potable one, mosquito repellent and binoculars.

Do not forget common sense.Camping in a national park can be a very exciting experience, but don’t think for a second that designated camping sites are safe to go wandering around freely. Wild animals can’t read the signs demarcated around the camping area and therefore are likely to go wandering through both day and night which is what makes these spots so special. Make sure you look around constantly and be aware of what is around you.

At night make sure you have sufficient flashlight and extra batteries so that you can check what is around you before moving very far from the vehicle which I wouldn’t recommend doing unless you are on your way to the toilet. Having a camp fire at night helps let the animals know that you are there and will likely curb their curiosity and keep away from you.

Lastly be a respectful camper. There is nothing worse than arriving at a camp site to find garbage or a mess left behind by previous campers. Make use of garbage bins that are provided and if you can’t find one, pack out your garbage. Take only pictures and leave only footprints is the best motto to live by.

When camping near other people, be respectful of their space and control your noise levels. It will be much appreciated and respected by others as no one enjoys rude people.

So start dusting off your tents, get your equipments and supplies together, pack the car or get the tickets and passports ready and get out and have fun!!

The Australian Outback – A Road Trip Survival Guide

The Australian outback is one of the world’s most desolate yet beautiful wonder’s and has become the traditional backdrop to life in Australia through the eyes of the rest of the world.



Taking time to travel through the outback when visiting Australia is a must, but its magnificent views and landmarks hide a treacherous world that can be fraught with danger for the unknowing and unprepared traveller.  So here I’ve listed the top 5 things to keep in mind the next time you pack your car and tackle the Australian outback.

1. It is big. And I mean REALLY big.

A large portion of Australia’s landmass is classed as rural outback and whilst a lot of the land is used for farming and mining, there is also a whole lot of nothing. There are many ways a traveller can tackle the outback but perhaps the two most popular are the Adelaide to Darwin and Adelaide to Perth route. The first is a vertical route straight through the dusty heart of the country and in its entirety stretches for over 3000km. The second is across the completely barren Nullabor plain and is slightly shorter at 2,550km. Both routes have their own scenic advantages but their immense distance cannot be underestimated, even by Australian standards, a road trip through the outback is a big endeavour.



2. Allow enough time Due to the distance

Many tourists are unaware of exactly how long it can take to do either of the main outback routes. Having taken two weeks return to do that Adelaide to Darwin route myself, I can vouch for how much of a feat it is. Even if you are stretched for time try not to commit yourself to more than 5 or 6 hours of driving each day. Any more and you will get tired which could impend on your driving skills and you will end up missing most of the scenery that you drove into the outback to see in the first place. If you are wanting to stop at the tourist sites along the way (and you will need at least a full day at Ayres Rock) allow for at least 4 days to get to Darwin. Keep in mind that a lot of the top tourist spots are also quite a bit off the main highway, and these apparent “short” detours can eat into your travelling time and put you behind if you find yourself on a deadline. Moral is: try to have a flexible schedule if possible.

3. Watch out for wildlife

Because 90% of the outback is so sparsely populated, a large amount of native wildlife roam around after being pushed out of the more heavily populated coastal regions. It is not uncommon to come across a gathering of kangaroos, camels, emus or dingoes on the side of the road – or in fact on the road itself. Luckily, due to the lack of roadside trees or buildings it is fairly easy to spot one coming along the flat horizon. If you come across an animal, or animals, blocking the road don’t panic. The best thing to do is wait for them to move, or try to go off the road a little to avoid them (be careful if you are not in a 4WD enabled car as this could cause some bogging issues!). If you must, a short beep of the horn will normally be enough to move them on, but you will see how nonchalant they are about being in the way; remember you are invading on their territory.

4. Pack spare everything

If you forget something on your outback road trip there is no supermarket that you can just pop down to so it is very important to pack smart. There will be a petrol station in every major (and minor) town along the way but if you take a little detour off the main highway you may find that when you get back on it again, you will run out of petrol before you reach the next town. So always carry a spare petrol tank and keep it full. Same goes for water and oil and anything else you might need for your vehicle. It is also a good idea to pack a cooler bag to keep any food items cool, as even in the winter it can reach mid 30′s during the day, which could very quickly spoil your milk and your trip if you are not careful. Despite the often hot temperatures during the day, the nights in the desert are freezing so pack a range of clothes and be prepared to be constantly changing!

5. Appreciate the outback for what it is

The outback is not supposed to be a luxury road trip. There is nowhere you can stop to have a mud spa or your nails done, in fact there are barely any places to stop to buy bread and water. There is not a lot of phone or television reception but it is the perfect chance to escape the rat race and just be one with the landscape. You could go a whole day without meeting a single soul and hours and hours without passing any other cars. But it is the isolation of the outback that has thousands of international tourists spellbound every single year. The scenery is so untouched and with the native flora and fauna right outside your tent, there is no need to go hunting for the best outback experience: it will come to you.

For more information on planning your next Australian outback adventure visit http://www.outbacknow.com.au/

Essential Camping Gears You Can’t Live Without

    Image courtesy of: flickr.com/emerald isle druid/

Image courtesy of: flickr.com/emerald isle druid/

Exploring the outdoors is a favorite activity for everyone yearning to be close to Mother Nature. When planning for the camp out, it is important to make a checklist of the essential tools that we have to bring. These are the very basic and most essential gears that should be on top of our list:

First Aid Kit

Safety should always be your primary concern in camping. Secure yourself and family from potential harm brought by accidental wounds by keeping a first aid kit all the time. A first aid kit is essential for immediate treatment of wounds and injuries. It is necessary that wounds are given immediate attention and treated properly to avoid infection. It is much better to anticipate accidents while camping so you can prepare well for it.  As a camper, there’s a great possibility of occasional scrapes, scratches and cuts while enjoying your camping adventure. Be prepared by filling your first aid  kit with gauze and bandages of different sizes, pain medicine, sterile wipes, antiseptic ointments and creams, anti-diarrhea medicines and even scissors and body thermometer.

Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool

A Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool is a must have item for every camper, hiker and mountaineer. This tool serves multiple purpose that are all useful to the activities performed by outdoorsmen. The Swiss Army knife has a sharp blade which is very useful in cutting ropes, tree branches, etc. It also contain various tools such as can openers, screwdrivers, mini scissors, bottle opener, etc. These tools are stowed through a pivot mechanism and are kept inside the knife’s  handle. The compact design of this Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool makes it easy for campers to bring it anytime and anywhere without hassle. The Swiss Army Knife originated from Switzerland where top-notch Swiss knives can be found. It is always smarter to buy trusted brands of Swiss knife even though they’re a bit pricier than the other ones available in the market because quality is always assured.

Water Containers

Water is the most important item for survival. No person could live without water and so, outdoorsmen should never forget to bring it. In addition, the strenous activities in camping would definitely require your body to take plenty of water.  Even though there will be available water in streams, lakes and rivers near the camping site, you cannot always trust them because of the possibility that bacteria are living there or the water is already contaminated. Bring large but easy-to-carry water containers where you can keep large volumes of water that will surely keep your body hydrated.

Waterproof Knapsack

An ordinary type of bag wouldn’t do much in camping outdoors.You need to have a waterproof knapsack to easily carry your things and protect them from being soaked into the water especially when the rains starts to fall. Keep your clothes, gadgets, foods, etc. on a safe and secured waterproof knapsack. Buy one from a trusted brand known for providing high quality waterproof knapsack that does not compromise quality and usefulness for price.


In camping, you will need fire just as much as you will need water. You’ll need fire in cooking your food, for clear vision and warmth during the night. However, starting a fire outdoors could be troublesome without using a flint. Unlike matches which easily become useless once soaked with water and lighters which are not safe to use, flint is much safer and easier to use in creating fire.  You can easily start a fire with a flint by scraping it to a rough surface. A flint is composed of ferrocerium metal which is very safe and reliable in creating spark for fire.


Geraldine Mills is an African safari enthusiast and writes travel tips and guidelines for tourists interested in traveling to the southern African Region. She is also a Community Outreach Coordinator for www.andbeyondafrica.com. Follow her on twitter @geraldinewalks.

Camping: 5 Tips for Sanity


Camping tips

My husband and I recently took our four children (all aged ten and under) camping at the beach for the first time. It was, shall we say, not the optimum trip—imagine sweltering temperatures, mutant mosquitoes that bit through clothes, and bathrooms that may not have been cleaned this year, let alone the weekend of our stay. I came away a bit traumatized, but thoughtful regarding the things that could have made our trip more enjoyable. I pen them here for your reading enjoyment and, hopefully, to make your own camping trip, wherever it may be, a bit smoother.

1.  Pick the timing of your camping trip wisely. We went camping in a southern part of South Carolina in early August. In retrospect, the outcome of our trip could have been much more pleasant had we experienced cooler temperatures. Instead, we baked inside our “tent oven” each night while trying to achieve some semblance of sleep.

2. Thoroughly research your campground and, more specifically, even your campsite choice. When we booked a campsite for our two-night stay, we were under the impression that each campsite provided the same amenities: water and electricity. We were wrong. When we pulled up to our campsite and began to unload our mountain of supplies, we searched diligently for the electric box, only to discover that our campsite was a “primitive” campsite—no electricity at all. This would not have been a huge deal, except for the fact that we had planned many of our meals around the ability to use an electric griddle. We also packed a fan for heat relief, which we were not able to use in the least.

3. Select your camping paraphernalia with convenience in mind. I am not a big fan of traveling with everything plus the kitchen sink, but there are certain items that can either make or break a camping trip. Things such as bug repellant to divert the mutant mosquitoes mentioned above, flashlights and batteries for midnight trips to the bathroom, trash bags for carting garbage to the waste disposal site, and cleaning wipes for when our son got sick and threw up in our tent (true story!) all kept us from completely losing our sanity. Think of things that you absolutely could not do without, and make sure to pack those things. Even if they stay in the car and never get used, it will be well worth the effort to take them in case of emergency.

4. Plan for the unexpected. This is a must when camping. There are so many variables with a camping trip, and many of them, such as weather, cannot be controlled. But you can greatly increase the enjoyment of your stay by preparing as much as possible for unexpected situations. In our case, as I mentioned above, the bathrooms were definitely below acceptable. I expected the camping bathrooms to be on the same level as the bathrooms at our neighborhood pool: wet, to be sure…but clean. They were not. At all. In retrospect, I should have brought some pre-moistened baby wipes for the kids to use in lieu of them taking showers during our two-day trip.

5. Don’t forget your sense of humor. This is critical: I cannot tell you how many times my husband looked at me during our camping weekend, and we just shook our heads and laughed. He asked me before we left what my hopes and expectations were for this family vacation, and I replied that I hoped we would come away from the weekend with some fun memories. We did indeed, in spite of all the challenges, and I hope this list will help make your camping trip—maybe your first one—a success that is full of beautiful memories that will last a lifetime!

Ways to stay entertained while camping

    camping, credit-hurleydust.com

camping, credit-hurleydust.com

by Stephen Mattson

Camping is great way to experience and enjoy what nature has to offer. Unfortunately, for people used to routines filled with hectic deadlines, modern technology, and the luxuries of civilization, camping can be dull and boring. How does one survive without Facebook, television, and the internet? By following a few simple tips, anyone can avoid boredom while in the great outdoors.

* Explore!

Once a person stops moving and becomes emotionally and physically stagnant, they get tired and complacent. Take the initiative to explore the wilderness around you. Be daring, and don’t be afraid to veer off the main paths and trails – create your own way! Meandering through the woods ignites a deep-rooted sense of adventure and excitement. Climb rocks, descend into ravines, traverse the rivers, and scale the cliffs. The experience will allow you to witness new scenery and wild animals, and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

* Build!

If you’re next to a river, build a dam, or if you’re deep in the forest, try constructing a lean-to. By working on a project, individuals and groups get a renewed sense of purpose, inspiration, and determination. Upon achieving the task, a camper is filled with a profound sense of accomplishment and pride.  Throughout history natives, trappers, traders, and explorers depended on their industrious creativity to build shelters, paths, lookouts, traps, and various other projects in order to help them survive. Not only does doing these things teach valuable
survival skills, but it enables campers to interact with the various elements of nature.

* Hunt and Track

Camping is a wonderful opportunity to observe animals within their natural habitat. If you have the necessary licenses and follow lawful procedures, camping can offer the perfect time to hunt. Try to outwit prey by using stealth, patience, and cunning. Any outdoor trip can be transformed into a thrilling experience by employing the primal techniques of hunting, and if you’re unable to hunt, try tracking an animal. These games not only provide entertainment, but they allow people the opportunity to examine and study the beauty, habits, and lifestyles of various animals.

* Games

Sometimes the weather can make outdoor activities impossible, so always be prepared by packing games that require littlevmaintenance and are easy to play. Pack a set of cards, a checkerboard, or other forms of entertainment that are fun for everyone. If the weather is nice, have friendly competitions outside by seeing who can build a fire the fastest, throw rocks the most accurately, swim the furthest, hold their breadth underwater the longest, or tell the scariest story.

Even though camping provides an occasion to relax, rest, and benefit from the peacefulness of nature, it should also be an experience filled with excitement, adventure, exploration, and fun. Make sure the time isn’t wasted by being bored, lazy, or inactive, and make the most of every camping opportunity.

Wenderholm Regional Park

Wenderholm Regional Park, Cr-flicker

Wenderholm Regional Park, Cr-flicker

It’s a place as whimsical as its name, if its name casts the same old-world charm on you as it does me. Not that Wenderholm Regional Park, whose name means ‘Winter Home’, is old world much; rather, it lies on the coast of New Zealand, only a half hour’s drive north of the New World city of Auckland.

However, despite its situation not far from the peopled tourist attractions of Waiwera‘sThermal Resort and the increasingly cosmopolitan town of Orewa, it shrugs off urbanity and cloaks itself with an older vibe, one more akin to New Zealand’s pre-European past, and in fact, the area was a centre of Maori settlement for almost a thousand years, as overflowing as it was with kaimoana, or seafood, and this ancient echo seems to reverberate through the centuries. Huddling between outcrops of land within the embrace of the Puhoi and Waiwera Rivers, it shelters from the modern world’s intrusions, its estuary flowing to a primordial lunar rhythm without reference to human presence.

What to do, what to do…

Modern humans, however, are welcome here, but they come in numbers that avoid feeling like an invasion, and out of season, you may find yourself virtually alone, the beaches and the walks beneath trees which have witnessed the gathering of people dead over a hundred years, deserted now. A long stretch of white sand beach invites swimming and sun worship, or contemplative strolls from cliffs along the wooded spit of land which guides the Puhoi River inland. Turning in along the river’s outlet into the sea, the water laps into a series of shallow coves, each with its own personality.

Bring food along, and when hunger strikes, you can set up an impromptu picnic with your choice of surroundings, but tables are available closer to the campground, and can be booked in advance for larger groups.

Bush Trails and Walks

There are also trails through native bush with expansive panoramas out over the Hauraki Gulf and coast and inland towards the historic settlement of Puhoi. Look out for rare North Island robins, or toutouwai, which have been reintroduced into the forest, and other treasured native forest birds like kereru and tui.

History for the Buffs

On the site, historic Couldrey House in its landscaped gardens presides over the park. Built in the late 1800s by the first European landowner in the district as a wintering homestead, hence the park’s name, it is now a museum of local history, open to the public only on weekends as it’s run by volunteers.

All Out to Sea

Besides bush and coastal exploring, there is also the Hauraki Gulf and its islands, and the Puhoi River with its mangroves and local views along the Puhoi River valley across to Mahurangi Regional Park. To this end, there are boat ramps for small to medium boats, and kayaks are available for hire onsite at times during the year.

Where to stay

In terms of accommodation, there are basically two options, depending on taste and budget as always, one being tenting, or caravaning. There are camping sites for up to 40 people, with bathroom facilities and a potable water supply. The small sites lie unobtrusively under and between the native pohutakawa trees so that it feels as if nature is not subdued here, but sanctions our presence. The beach and estuary are brief strolls away on either side, and the incessant susurration of the sea on the shore lulls tired holiday makers to sleep at night.

The other option for overnight accommodation is more elusive, requiring months of foreplanning to book ahead, but so worthwhile. Wenderholm Beach House, another historic building, is unpretentious and quaint, and sits alone at the end of the peninsular, wrapping itself in tranquility and the sound of sea and birdsong. Enveloped in self-imposed isolation, it is often the haunt of artists-in-residence, some of whom have left a creative echo in work which remains at the park. Look out for one such display in the estuary; the outlines of three waka, or canoes, in semi-submerged stone, evoking the area’s seafaring past.

At the height of summer or in the gloom of winter, Wenderholm is a small wonder well worth sampling, and easily accessible from the Auckland region.

Handy Links:

Wenderholm Regional Park information

Wenderholm Beach House information

An African overland Safari part 1: Morocco

“Safari: A journey or trip: a sightseeing safari”

Fruit stalls in Marrakesh market.

Fruit stalls in Marrakesh market.

We were six: more or less retired, too bored to sit and watch the paint dry. So we decided to see Africa.

From Morocco along the west coast, with a detour into the Sahara, a visit to Timbuktu, and thendown towards the south, we spent almost five months on the road, covered almost 16000 miles,and spent around $ 20 000 per couple. A voyage to remember, memories to cherish.

We shipped our vehicles to Morocco, and were badly advised, so had to spend two weeks knocking around until we could start touring. Fortunately we had a long-suffering friend in Fez who was willing to put us up, and show us this lovely city.

Oasis in the Atlas mountains

Oasis in the Atlas mountains

Once the vehicles were delivered in Casablanca, we spent two weeks touring Morocco, crossing the Atlas mountains three times, and getting tempted by Ali Baba caves of shopping. The thought of  20 border crossings with notorious customs officials, and a severe lack of packing space made us wonder if we should not rather have ended our voyage here.

There are magnificent gorges that run into the Atlas mountains from the south. We followed the nomad invasion route up to the Telouet valley, and down into Marrakesh, where we lounged in the luxury of the imperial city for a while.

And then it was time to head south.


Travel Louisiana: Tickfaw State Park

Tickfaw State Park, Cr-Wikipedia

Tickfaw State Park, Cr-Wikipedia

When you come to visit Louisiana don’t forget to visit Tickfaw State Park. Visitors at Tickfaw State Park can explore  a bottom land hardwood forest. You can also enjoy the breathtaking and natural  beauty of the Tickfaw River. There is so much for the whole family to enjoy at  the park and admission is really cheap like one dollar per person and children 3  and under and senior citizens are admitted free.

This park has four ecosystems for you to explore on a mile long boardwalk.  You and your family will see the cypress/tupelo swamp. Visitors are offered the  opportunity of fun and excitement along with educational experiences of learning  about the wetlands and wildlife in the area.

Some fun things that you and your guests can enjoy at the park are canoeing,  night hiking, birdwatching, picnicking and more. It is more interesting because  you can learn about the culture and history of Louisiana. Vacation cabin rental is available. Tent and Rv sites are  available too. You may just decide to spend the day with your friends at the  park. It is truly beautiful. The park roadways offer a place for biking, skating  and strolling. Canoe rental is available or you may decide to bring your  own.

There is also a Nature Center and a gift shop. Tickfaw State Park offers a  great opportunity for you to spend time with your family and friends. There is  also a waterpark for children to enjoy and it is open  from April through September. You and your friends can enjoy about 5 miles of  river trails and cypress and hardwood trails.

Tickfaw State Park is located at 27225 Patterson Road in Springfield,  Louisiana or you may contact the park for more info by calling toll free  1-888-981-2020.