29 Jan- Aire Crossing

As people left the campground we decided to spend another day swimming and exploring although the weather was markedly more cooler than yesterday. But seeing some fish and having the place to ourselves we ran with it. Some slow backpackers were the only ones around (and then needed us to take a photo of them). Some parkies came along and, to their credit, made an effort to pick up any little bits and pieces of rubbish that eventually accumulate – bottle caps being the biggest culprit. They offered us some brochures that they had for the area and we took one map we hadn’t seen before.

We had a relaxed afternoon with some uneventful fishing (although Amy has never flicked and retrieved lures so determinedly ever, ever before) – obviously dreaming of a nice trout being smoked over some smouldering Mountain Ash coals The trees here were huge – the Mountain Ash we camped near was pushing the 400+ year old mark for sure – we were a bit nervous about branches.

Again, the camp gradually filled, we hit the tent early to get the boys to sleep and relax and read. Unfortunately, it didn’t matter that we were out in the bush – the free camps app pointed people here – it didn’t matter what time of night – they just drove in. If you are in a camper van or you are sleeping in a car (as more and more backpackers seem to be doing) – what is the exact point of coming to a bush campsite in the middle of the night? Why not just stop anywhere? At 11.30, a car drove up to our tent with headlights on. Then reversed back and forth and eventually stopped. They slammed doors for an hour and then went to “bed” (two blokes somehow sleeping in a corolla?). At 1.30am, more door slamming and one came over to our tent, went down the side and did a wee……we listened to them weeing next to our tent like they’d found a brick wall to hide behind to go to the toilet.

We got what sleep we could, but realised that we were still in the Great Ocean Road “zone” and the huge tourist numbers and large pressure on campsites anywhere in this area was understandable – the feral backpacker behaviour is inexcusable – but they haven’t been brought up with the standard, common camping and bush etiquette that we were raised with as Australian kids.

But with little enforcement of any campground rules by the ParksVic people we’d come across – we decided that we were steering clear of these small campsites – and the chaos that them being free brought. We are 100% setup to be self sufficient in the bush and we might as well drive to the clearing 2kms or even 10ks down the track to camp in peace rather than stop at a campground that is going to be overcrowded and uncomfortable (yes, yes…here endeth another rant …”some of my best friends are backpackers…”).

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