Setting up camp

It is best to camp early and so allow plenty of time before dark to pitch tents, settle in and prepare meals. You should not create a new campsite if there is an established or natural campsite nearby. Camp where there is shelter and water. Never cut down vegetation for purposes such as furniture and bedding. Sleep on a mat or your softer gear.

Check the area for potential hazards such as dead trees or overhanging limbs (especially on red gums), and for the likelihood of polluted water, flash floods or the spot becoming a watercourse or a puddle after heavy rain. In electrical storms avoid camping in an open area with one standing tree or on the crest of a hill. If it is likely to be windy, don’t choose a hilltop as you may be blown away. The sides of a valley floor are less windy than the middle.

Campfires, once the only means of cooking food in the bush, are now becoming a rarity. Bushwalkers and ski tourers have seen the degradation of popular campsites resulting from the stripping of almost everything that will burn. Most experienced bushwalking leaders now encourage their group members to use liquid-fuel stoves. They are much more convenient and controllable, and are not very heavy to carry.

Before making a fire you should check to see that it can be lit safely and will not cause unacceptable environmental damage. Make sure that any fire is downwind of tents and well away from them. Observe all fire regulations, and note that in the parks which permit open fires, fire regulations apply all year round. Use an existing fireplace if available, and keep the fire as small as possible for your needs. Unless a fireplace is well established and in keeping with the surroundings, make sure that you remove it before your departure. First collect all unburnt rubbish in your litter bag, and then scatter the cold ashes and unburnt wood.