Going camping for Christmas is a well-known Australian tradition for families who love the outdoors.
This year thousands of Queenslanders will pack their car and head to the most popular camping destinations, including Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island, Fraser Island and anywhere available along the state’s coastline.
With temperatures ranging between 27-32OC during December, campers can expect most tropical campsites to book out and huge crowds at local beaches over Christmas. To ensure the crowds don’t take the relaxation out of your holiday we’ve listed a few tips to help you survive the busy festive season.
Book in advance
The secret to securing the perfect campsite over Christmas or any other busy time of year is to book in advance. Organise your travel dates with family and friends months prior to Christmas, pre-book annual leave at work and remember to pre-book any additional travel requirements such as ferries, barges or beach permits as these may book out too.
Arrive early to find a good spot
Travelling on the road over Christmas is almost as challenging as conquering the daily work commute. To avoid gridlock traffic, arrange to leave home during off-peak travel times and be prepared for delays (factor in rest, toilet and fuel stops). It’s best to try and leave early in the morning so that you can have extra time during the day to find the ultimate camping spot. Don’t camp on top of other campers, it’s polite to keep your distance. Find a spot which gives space to those around you and avoid walking through other people’s campsite when looking for a spot.
There’s a good chance that other campers may need to rely on the local shops for urgent supplies, which means stock could be limited. Pack extra firewood, water, fuel, food and recovery equipment in the event of a bad weather. Carrying extra could also save you money as retail prices tend to rise over Christmas, especially in remote locations.
Make friends with your neighbours
Be polite to the campers around you because they will be your neighbours for the holidays. Camp etiquette is important so make sure you keep your noise down, be friendly, keep an eye on the kids, respect local wildlife and share the campsite facilities.
Buy gifts that can be enjoyed on the trip
To minimise your camping gear, try and include gifts which can be enjoyed on the trip. This could include beach accessories (swimmers, boardshorts, hat or beach umbrella), sporting equipment (beach ball, fishing rod or surfboard) or new camping gear (camp chair, esky or torch). Plus, the kids will love being able to use their gifts straight away!
Obey the law
Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Queensland Ambulance Service and National Park rangers. Make sure that you watch your speed, organise a designated driver and secure your car’s load safely for on and off-road adventures. Firm penalties will apply over the festive season to keep everyone safe.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service may declare a fire ban
when conditions indicate that fires could be difficult to control and pose a danger to communities. Make sure you check if there are any fire bans in place before lighting camp fires.
"Leave nothing but your footprints" is a common saying for experience campers. While you may be tired or hungover from the Christmas or New Year’s Eve celebrations it’s important to clean your campsite before leaving it to protect the environment. Pick up any rubbish including left over food, bottle tops, balloons, sparklers, confetti, straws or cigarette butts place it in the local bins.