Switching Off, Locally.
Every now and again we all need to switch off from the craziness of life, but sometimes planning a trip to de-stress can be stressful in itself or is just not feasible. This is often the case for me since I don't have a car but I do have a cat, so going anywhere always involves a little bit of extra organising.
For me, to switch off I really only need my camera, and a nice spot to use it. I do alot of hiking for this reason (and to make myself feel better about the glasses of wine I drink during the week).
Recently I decided I needed more than just a day hike for a bit of R&R and for the purposes of feasibility booked myself a night at my local caravan park, Lane Cove River Tourist Park, which is not more than 5 minutes drive from my house.
Sounds ridiculous right?
To pack all your camping gear to go 5 minutes away?
Yet there's something undeniably relaxing about knowing that although I was fully immersed in my secluded tent surrounded by bush hiking trails, home was so close, and the effort required to get there was, well, zero really.
I'm quite lucky to live somewhere where I can be so close to the city and yet remain a stones throw from nature in this way. I was 10 minutes from my office but my job couldn't have been further from my mind.
I have a pretty good little set up for camping alone, and although I love my swag, it's nice to have the privacy of a full tent, especially when I leave my things to go on a hike. Sea to Summit make some rad cooking and camping gear, all which take up next to no space in my backpack, leaving space for more important items, like a tripod ;)
Now, not leaving town doesn't necessarily mean you're not leaving nature. I love Sydney because it is unique in the way that you really don't need to go far to fall knee deep into local wildlife. I barely had to leave the campground to be surrounded by water dragons and a variety of beautiful birds. I read a review where one avid birdwatcher said they had spied 43 different bird species on their visit to the campground and surrounding hiking trails. That's pretty epic.
Camping usually means early nights for me, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, unless I'm feeding a possum or trying to catch a glimpse of those cute little bush mice, once I've cooked, eaten washed up etc there really isn't alot to be doing other than relax. Secondly, there's nothing worse than being hungover in the bush, in the heat and a long way from your shower.
This night I decided to spend the darker hours try to snap one of those Instagram type ultra cool campsite shots. I'm pretty amature with the Canon, and even more so in the dark. I can't tell you how many shots it took to get this one! I do however like that it captured the airplane, a small reminder that I was still in the big smoke.
The highlight of any hike or camping trip for me is always the wildlife. When I'm camping I especially loving watching the kookaburras plan their attack on unsuspecting campers and their breakfast. I love that they use teamwork, and so often I've watched (and giggled) when one kookaburra will perch close by and while campers "ooh" and "ahh" at his cuteness kookaburra number 2 will swoop in and out with an entire sausage, creating such a distraction that kookaburra number 1 can easily take a sausage for himself also. Good work guys, nailed it.
After a quick pack up (another pro of backpack camping), it was a quick 5 minute Uber ride home. I usually feel the stress build up again pretty immediately after a trip when the fun is over and you have to make the journey home, then unpack, wash, and catch up on the housework you didn't do before you left but the benefit of this trip was it was so close that the journey was less effort than grabbing milk from the corner, and the unpack was totally minimal. Additionally, only going away for 1 night meant I didn't need to fork out for travel, food and supplies, or a pet sitter.
For a quick switch off the city nature escape was perfect. You'll definitely find me there again after a busy work week.
Lane Cover River Tourist Park is located 20 minutes north of Sydney CBD
Unpowered sites cost $41 a night and must be pre booked.
The park has full amenities including a pool, phone reception and sells basic supplies.