Byron Bay Camping
By Kokoda Gear

A Backpacker’s Guide to Byron Bay Camping

For those travelling Australia, backpacking in Byron Bay is a rite-of-passage. Famous for its laid-back beach vibe and its culture clash atmosphere, in Byron Bay you’ll find surfers, backpackers, families, retirees, and business people all rubbing shoulders and enjoying the Byron Bay way of life together.

However, while the town oozes a relaxed hippie vibe, unfortunately, the prices don’t reflect this. Visiting Byron Bay is expensive!

To save money on your trip and to experience the town true Aussie-style, we recommend camping instead of splashing the cash on expensive accommodation.

We’re here to help. Here’s our guide to Byron Bay camping so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.

About Byron Bay

Found on Australia’s popular East Coast, Byron Bay is a small coastal town loved by visitors and locals alike. On a typical itinerary of the East Coast, Byron Bay is one of the top spots that travellers visit, and there’s a good reason why.

There’s a lot packed into the small town, so there’s plenty to keep anyone occupied, no matter what their interests are. There’s vibrant nightlife, cosy restaurants and cafes, a diversity of alternative therapies, fantastic shopping, and of course, stunning beaches. There’s also plenty of adventure activities to do too, but we’ll get to that later.

A magical vibe surrounds Byron Bay, which is why both overseas tourists and Aussies return to visit again and again.

How Much Does Backpacking Byron Bay Cost?

As Byron Bay is so popular, unfortunately, that means prices are high – it’s not cheap!

However, Byron Bay is still a hub for nomads and travellers living out of a van, a car, or a tent. So, if you’re happy to embrace the back-to-basics hippie lifestyle, then you won’t need to spend too much money to experience the Byron Bay way of life.

If you’re a traveller who’s content with camping with the bare necessities, then you’ll love spending your time in Byron soaking up the sunshine on one of the many sublime beaches, plucking your guitar, and people-watching in the town.

Want to save money? You’ll need to reduce your visits to hipster-style cafes and will need to opt for a communal campsite instead of a fancy air BNB stay. When it comes to food, stick to supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles and try to do as much cooking at the campsite. Not only is it cheaper, but something is liberating about cooking dinner at a campsite, surrounded by like-minded people.

Some might opt for campsite accommodation and (mainly) cooking food from the supermarket, if you do you’ll be able to cover your daily food and accommodation for around $50 AUD. The fun extras on top, such as booze and the various activities around Byron Bay can push your budget up to around $80-$100 AUD.

Luckily, you’re not short of accommodation options when it comes to campsites and caravan parks. And while these camping spots may be more expensive than you’re used to paying, remember – you’re paying a premium for the location.

Holiday Parks in Byron Bay

As mentioned, if you’re looking for cheap accommodation Byron Bay, then camping is your answer! Plus, who needs a fancy five-star resort when you can watch millions of stars from your tent?

Camping in Australia is a must-do, and somewhere as beautiful and exciting as Byron Bay is the best place to do it. Just make sure you invest in a quality tent and camping gear such including a decent stove, so you can embrace the camping experience. Plus, you never know when it might rain – and you certainly don’t want a leaky tent!

There are plenty of campsites in Byron Bay with most of them costing around AUD 20 a night. While they aren’t the cheapest campsite fees, you’re still saving a ton of money than if you were staying in a hotel or even a hostel.

And remember, Byron camping can get very busy especially during Christmas and the school holidays, so always try to plan, especially if you’re thinking of travelling to Byron Bay during these peak periods. Nobody wants to be stuck without a spot for the night!

Here are some of our favourites holiday parks in and around Byron Bay.

The Arts Factory

While The Arts Factory isn’t the cleanest or most modern of campsites, that’s all part of the charm. The Arts Factory has been around for years and years and can be found nestled among the subtropical rain forest.

The Arts Factory isn’t just a campsite and offers heaps of other accommodation options such as van parking and staying in the hostel. The atmosphere of the place is what makes it so special – you’ll be surrounded by like-minded travellers staying on the outskirts of Byron rather than living in a campsite without much character.

Many of the other holiday parks are more geared towards the typical tourist rather than the backpacker, so at The Arts Factory, you’re bound to meet more of your kind.

byron bay arts factory

Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park

If you’d rather camp by the beach (we certainly don’t blame you) then the Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park is a great shout.

Pitch a tent or stay in a camper-van or caravan to set up camp right next to one of Byron Bay’s dreamy beaches. Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park offers regular specials for powered sites especially, so be sure to check the website or make a query over the phone when booking. You never know, you may grab yourself a bargain!

Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park

Free Camping in Byron Bay

Experienced camper? you may be used to camping in free spots. So, spending around AUD 20 on a campsite may seem a bit dear!

Unfortunately, due to the popularity of the town, Byron Bay is particularly difficult to find free spots to camp in.

Even if you just find a random spot to pitch in or sleep in your car on a side road, you’ll likely face a fine for illegal camping by a ranger. As you can imagine, these can be quite hefty, so it simply isn’t worth the risk.

If you’re willing to drive slightly outside the town, then there are some nice rest areas you can set up camp in. However, you should always research the rest area beforehand to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules otherwise again you may risk receiving a fine.

The rest areas around Byron Bay also only offer basic facilities, so don’t expect much more than a toilet! Many of the nearby beaches offer showers, so you may be able to have a rinse there.

Remember to avoid driving in the dark to your campsite, so you can avoid hitting any of the adorable native animals that are attracted to the bright lights of your vehicle during the night.

Here is what we can recommend.

Yelgun Rest Area

The Yelgun Rest Area is a free camping spot located about 25km North of Byron Bay, around a 25-minute drive from the town. You won’t need to worry about any fines, plus, its conveniently located next to the stunning South Golden Beach.

As its one of the only free campsites surrounding Byron Bay, it gets very busy so make sure to arrive early.

What to Do in Byron Bay

Now here’s the fun part – planning what you’ll do in Byron Bay! To make the most of your time in Byron Bay, you’ll want to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery and soak up the hippie vibes of the area.

For beach lovers, there are many gorgeous beaches to chill out on, catch a few rays, work on your tan, and swim from.

There are also plenty of water sports activities to dip your toes in, such as scuba diving, surfing, and hang gliding to name a few.

Julian Rocks off the coast of Byron is a famous snorkelling spot in Australia. Expect to spot sea turtles, fish, rays, and even sharks! Don’t worry – they aren’t a species that will try to gobble you up.

The bay is also an excellent spot to watch whales on their northern and southern migrations, and dolphins can be spotted all year round.

And did you know that Cape Byron is the most easterly point of Australia? And that the sun rises in the East?

That makes a sunrise visit to the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse top of the list for any traveller. Prepare to take plenty of snaps!

Need a break from the ocean? Alternatively, the surrounding lush rain forest makes for a great spot to hike and explore.

For the party animals out there, Byron Bay’s nightlife is kicking, and you can head out every night of the week at one of the many pubs, bars, or nightclubs. The town is also host to a variety of fun festivals that are internationally known, such as Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, and the Byron Bay International Film Festival.

Ready for Byron Bay Camping?

If you’re in the process of planning your Byron Bay camping trip, you may need some advice, especially if you’re new to camping outdoors. After all, it can all be a bit overwhelming and you don’t want to forget anything important before a big camping trip!

We’re here to help. Here are the top ten camping tents and supplies you need for your next camping trip. Happy travels and enjoy Byron Bay!

By Kokoda Gear

The Best Sydney Parks to Visit with Your Family

This year, the number of people visiting Australia from abroad is set to be a record-breaking 10 million! But did you know that even more people make domestic trips to the Sydney each year? Whether for one of the many Sydney parks, events, or tourist destinations on offer.

11.4 million domestic visitors made an overnight trip to Sydney between March 2018 and March 2019. And a whopping 23.4 million visited the city for a day trip.

Sydney has loads to offer. You could visit the iconic opera house, wander along Bondi beach or muse your way around the Museum of Contemporary Art. But what if you just need to give the kids a run around for the day?

In that case, you should visit one of the many Sydney parks. Scattered around the city, these vast green spaces offer the perfect place to play in the sun and relax in the shade.

Struggling to pick the best one? Well, look no further! Read on to find out about the best parks in Sydney, Australia!

The Royal Botanical Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Park

If you’re looking for somewhere to relax and learn about the country’s nature then this is the place for you.

The Royal Botanic Garden sits on the edge of Sydney’s famous harbour and boasts views of both the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It’s a great spot to get a photo with these iconic landmarks. But you might be so busy exploring the garden you might not even notice them!

This Sydney park devotes itself to Australia’s flora and fauna so it’s great for explorers of all ages. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife, from vibrant tropical birds to shrill fruit bats and even water dragons.

If all of this isn’t enough, you can also check out the Calyx horticultural area. This is home to imaginative exhibitions on all aspects of Australia’s wildlife.

You can also dive straight into Australia’s Aboriginal past on a heritage tour of the area. This explains the significance of plants to the Aboriginal culture. It even gives you the opportunity to taste some traditional food from the bush.

Hyde Park

hyde park sydney

One of the best parks in Sydney, Hyde park has a rich and interesting history.

You might not think it to look around the park but it was once the most important place in the city. It used to be swampland. This provided food and water to the Gadigal people who lived in the area for over 60,000 years.

In 1810, it was transformed into the first public park in Sydney and was named after London’s famous Hyde Park. It housed a racecourse, a cricket pitch and army barracks. It also became a place where local children came to play.

When the underground in Sydney was first installed in 1855, the park was nearly destroyed entirely. But the city restored the park in 1927 and it has remained the same ever since.

Nowadays, you’ll find it to be a vast green space in the centre of the city. It is also home to the Archibald fountain and the Anzac War Memorial.

The Centennial Parklands

The Centennial Parklands

Centennial Park is the perfect place to visit if you want to keep your kids active while on holiday. It is a sporting hub in the city.

The Centennial Park alone covers a massive 467 acres worth of land. The Grand Drive around the park is 3.6 kilometres long and the perfect place for a bike ride.

Inside this drive, the park features a breathtaking Victorian landscape design. This includes ponds, tree-lined avenues and formal gardens.

Along with these ornate features, it is also home to some of the best playgrounds in the entire city. These are perfect for all ages and are a great place to blow off some steam.

And just in case you were worried that there might not be enough room for fun and games, the Moore Sports Park spans a further 284 acres. This space houses several stadiums along with sports pitches and courts.

You can go there to play golf, tennis or netball, or simply to run some track. You might even be able to join in with some of the local community sporting events that take place there.

The Barangaroo Reserve

The Barangaroo Reserve

This park might be newer than a lot of the other spaces in Sydney but it’s a great space to spend a day with your family. It’s the perfect place to come and get a change of scene if you’re camping outside the city.

Set on the waterfront, it is surrounded almost entirely by the bay and offers stunning views across it. The sites itself used to be the site of a vacant wharf, which makes sense given the location. But you wouldn’t think it by the look of the space!

It opened in 2015 and offers an entertaining park space over multiple levels. From the highest level, you can enjoy panoramic views over the harbour. Or on a rainy day, you can enjoy exhibitions or events held in the Cutaway.

And you won’t have to leave this park for supplies either. There are usually a plethora of local food vans selling hot and cold refreshments just outside the Cutaway.

Ashfield Park

Ashfield Park sydney

If you have young kids then this is the perfect park in Sydney to come on a hot summer’s day. This broad green park is covered in stunning, leafy palms to create shade for the perfect picnic.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that it was the favourite park of P L Travers – the author of Mary Poppins. In fact, this is where she wrote large sections of this famous story. There is even an iron statue of this iconic literary figure in the park itself.

While at the park, you can enjoy shady walks and visit the Commonwealth Pavilion and War Memorial. Or if your little ones have energy to use up, let them run around the on the park’s very own soccer field.

Blue Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains National Park

If you’re looking for a park in Sydney that takes you away from the city then you can’t do better than the Blue Mountains National Park. If you thought that Centennial Park was big then this will blow your mind!

Located to the west side of Sydney, this park spans 156,000 acres of land and is a registered heritage site. It was founded in 1959 as a way of preserving breathtaking scenery near the city and now provides an amazing escape to both tourists and residents.

The mountains offer a huge range of trails and paths to explore and once you’re inside you’ll forget you’re anywhere near a city. For those who like a challenge, the highest peak is 1,215 metres above sea level. But there are park trails for people of all ages and abilities.

If you don’t feel like walking then simply ride over the treetops. The Scenic World’s Skyway and Cableway provide breathtaking views for half the effort!

As you walk through the park, you’ll witness some of Australia’s amazing natural phenomenon. You’ll find everything from swamps, to grasslands and stunning rock formations. A lot of the trees that make up this stunning landscape are extremely rare, numbering only 100 in the entire world.

It’s also home to a third of Australia’s bird population along with a plethora of frogs, reptiles and mammals. If you’re really lucky, you might even spot one of the world’s endangered species, such as the Regent Honeyeater bird or a Broad-headed snake.

To make the most of everything that this park has to offer, you might want to make a weekend trip out of it. Day trips are also fine, just make sure you get there early to squeeze everything in.

And always check the weather forecast before you go. Nothing will ruin your day like a thunderstorm. Some areas of the park will be closed after excessive rainfall.

Sydney Park

Sydney Park

Last but by no means least, we have Sydney Park! After all, you couldn’t have a list of parks in Sydney without this one, could you? This 40-hectare site offers a great day out for the whole family.

Originally the site of an old brickworks, you can still visit the old brick kilns and chimneys. But if this history won’t keep the kids entertained, never fear!

It is home to one of the city’s largest children’s playgrounds. You can also burn through their energy on the park’s special miniature cycle network.

If you don’t have your bikes with you then the Sydney Park Cycling Centre will provide everything you need. And it’ll teach your kids all about road safety when cycling.

At lunchtime, check out one of the park’s cafes or head on down to the barbecue stations and fire up them up! You can donate any leftover burger buns to the ducks down at the park’s ponds and learn all about the wetland’s wildlife while you’re there.

Get Out and Visit These Sydney Parks Today!

If you’re looking looking for Sydney parks, it won’t take you long to find one! They’re the perfect place to relax and play with your family while on holiday. Or simply use them to get that all-important fresh air!

And if you’re about to hit the road with your family, make sure you have all these essential camping supplies with you.

free camping NSW
By Kokoda Gear

Free Camping NSW: 5 Terrific Camping Sites to Visit

Did you know that Australia’s tourism industry is booming? It’s expected for the country to welcome about 10 million overseas visitors this year. But no fear, there is plenty of free camping NSW wide.

If you’re visiting Australia anytime soon, camping is a great way to spend your holidays. It’s even more fulfilling if you’re doing it with your family and loved ones. With that, you’ll need to know about your free camping NSW options.

With the right destination and reliable camping supplies, you can plan an entire camping trip that can last months or even years! In this guide, you’ll learn some of the best camping sites NSW has to offer.

1. Wingham Foreshore Recreation Reserve

Wingham Foreshore Recreation Reserve free camping nswLocated 95 kilometres south of Port Macquarie, Wingham Recreation Reserve is accessible with the use of two-wheel drive cars. Once you get to the town of Wingham, you only need to find the bitumen road and follow it. It’s a great camping site if you have tents, caravans, and camper trailers.

If you have big rigs, it’s not as ideal, but you can get cheap camping at the Wingham showgrounds. Take note, while the recreation reserve is free, it’s only available for 24-hour camping trips. If you plan to get a spot, you need to go there as early as possible since it only has 20 campsites.

As for its facilities, it has a jetty and a boat ramp. It’s perfect if you want to swim and fish in Manning River. That allows you and your loved ones to have a more natural experience, away from most amenities without inconvenience.

2. Gentleman’s Halt, Marramarra National Park

Gentlemans Halt Marramarra National Park free camping nsw
Marramarra National Park, Gentlemans Halt Campground

Are you trying to find a more remote campsite? If so, nothing can beat Gentleman’s Halt since you need to hike first before you reach it. It’s a secluded gem that you’ll encounter along Canoelands Ridge Track, as long as you’re willing to trek around 10 kilometres of the trail.

If you want something more challenging, you can also reach it by using a kayak, canoe, or a small boat. It’s a riverside campsite where you can relax and enjoy the waters. If you’re into animal watching, you can go to the surrounding scrub and see the lyrebirds and bandicoots.

The best part is that the campground has great amenities, such as toilets, barbecue facilities, and picnic tables. But if you need more, you’re welcome to bring your own.

3. Turon Crossing Reserve, Bridle Track

Turon Crossing Reserve Bridle Track free camping nswIf you want a campsite during the dry months, try the Turon Crossing Reserve. It’s a camping site broke into two sites, accessible with the use of a 2WD vehicle. You have the choice to make camp on either shaded or sunny spots.

You have suitable area to prepare a camper trailer. But take note, it’s only possible if the weather conditions will allow you to haul it down the track. Regardless, it’s a great place for fishing, swimming, and relaxation.

But this camp has a unique feature—it’s a well-known fact that the area can give up some gold. If you’re an eager fossicker, you can try your luck and use metal detectors or gold pans to look for this precious metal.

The camp still requires you to carry your supplies. With 20 million tonnes of waste filling Australia’s landfills each year, the camp encourages you to do your part in maintaining its cleanliness. That means you need to dispose your trash on your own since the camp won’t accommodate it. It’s good practice anyway when you’re experiencing all the free camping NSW has to offer.

4. Sculpture in the Scrub, Timallallie National Park

Sculpture in the Scrub Timallallie National ParkA good camp for people with artistic inclinations is the Sculptures in the Scrub. Nestled within the Pilliga Forest, this campsite is a great place for caravans, campers, and tents. It’s the perfect starting point if you want to start exploring the area.

It has a walking track with the same name—a 2-kilometre loop that showcases artworks made by a collaboration of young people and local Aboriginal elders. Each piece represents a different story depicting the region’s culture and history.

If you want to see some unique wildlife, this campsite has some of the country’s elusive fauna. As for facilities, you can expect sheltered picnic tables as well as barbecue areas, toilets, and rainwater access. It’s recommended that you boil or treat the water to ensure it’s safe to drink.

An important thing to remember is that the campground will get lots of sunlight. Make sure to stay hydrated and don’t stay under the sun for too long. You can also read this guide if you’re interested in maintaining your cleanliness on outdoor trips.

5. The Barracks, Coolah Tops Park

The Barracks Coolah Tops ParkIt’s a charming campsite situated in a private area. It only has a few sites that dot the small eucalyptus trees. The Barracks has fantastic greeneries, with a stand of grass trees aged several hundred years old.

This campsite also has a creek that you can swim in, as long as you keep safety in mind. Regardless, you need to pack a pair of walking boots and a mountain bike. That is if you plan to see the picturesque views along the Warrumbungle Range from Pinnacle Road’s end.

Like the abovementioned Sculpture in the Scrub, The Barracks has some unique fauna. For example, you might encounter a red-necked wallaby or a wombat near your tent. The wildlife is friendly, so there’s no cause for you to feel unease.

Its amenities include wood barbecues, toilets, and picnic tables. But if you’re camping here, make sure to bring a gas stove along as well. Good thing you have the option of towing a caravan into the camp’s grounds or pitch a tent and call it a day.

Why Use Free Campsites?

If you’re touring New South Wales for a while, you can extend your vacation time by using free camping. This saves you a small fortune, enabling you to save more on activities and other attractions.

But that can’t be the only reason, right? Fortunately, saving cash isn’t the only benefit to trying out free camping sites. Here are some other benefits of using free camping:

1. Improve Social Skills

People who stay at free campsites know that these places draw in a lot of friendly campers. Often, you’ll find more social chats at free camps than paid caravan parks. After you finish setting up, you can always share drinks with fellow campers and have chats about your adventures.

Engaging in conversation allows you to become more comfortable with speaking to other people. Also, you can learn some tips on what to do within the campgrounds. Some of the more seasoned campers will also share their wisdom on their experiences with the free camps they visited across the country.

2. It’s Pet-Friendly

If you’re camping in sites within national parks, it’s likely to have strict rules about your pets. But lots of free camps around NSW that could cater to your fur babies. If you plan to make a trip with your dog, make sure to do your homework and find camps that welcome them.

3. No Need to Book Ahead

When you tour around the country, you won’t know the number of kilometres you’ll cover every day. That’s what makes booking in at a caravan park the night before a risky move. After all, the distance you’ll cover depends on the weather and road conditions, as well as the places where you decide to make a stop.

If you’re making the trip during the peak period, make sure to do some research beforehand. Always have a second option to put your mind at ease. That way, you can still travel to the next campsite if the current one is full or unsuitable for your needs.

Always remember that you should reach your camp of choice before nightfall. It’s an important goal to ensure your safety. That’s why it’s always better to keep tabs on all of the camps within a certain proximity radius.

Regardless, the convenience of not having to book ahead make free camps more desirable. But you should keep in mind that camps accept on a first-come-first-served basis.

Enjoy These Free Camping NSW Choices Today!

If you’re looking for the best free camping NSW options, this list is great for beginners. Each camp has its unique features, making them worth visiting more than once. Don’t hesitate and start planning to visit them whenever you have some time for a vacation.

But to make the most out of your trip, you need to get the best camping equipment around. A good piece of equipment you should get is a hiking pole. If you’re interested in learning how hiking poles benefit your camping experience, read our guide here.

By Kokoda Gear

Glow Worm Tunnel Walking Track

One of the most unique walking tracks in Australia is in the Wollemi National Park. Located just outside of Sydney, New South Wales near Lithgow. It is a mere 400 metres in length however the walk will take 1-2km. This is due to getting in and back from the designated parking some distance away. But don’t worry it is totally worth the trip.

glow worm tunnel

Glow Worm Tunnel walking track is lit by thousands of glow worms all through the tunnel. This is what gives it its magical and ethereal feel. The tunnel was originally constructed as part of a railway line for the Newnes oil shale works. It fell into disuse and has since been abandoned.

It is located just over 30 kilometres from Lithgow or Clarence through Newnes Plateau. A lot of people combine the visit with one of the many lovely bush walks through the Wollemi National Park.

It is dark in the tunnel, so bring a torch and sturdy shoes!

The History of Glow Worm Tunnel

glow worm tunnel

Built in the early 1900s, the Newnes oil-shale manufacturing growth was a large-scale undertaking for a moment. The idea was to contstruct a standard gauge railway into the Wolgan Valley. This was to link the Newnes oil works with the closest primary railway to Sydney. It was essential for the success of shale production and transport. The resulting railway linked at Newnes Junction, about 50 km north of Newnes, with the Western Main Line.

The railway had to be constructed with low grades and strong bends to get from the Newnes Plateau, past the sandstone hills and right into the Wolgan Valley, and fit through the tight gorge of what is now known as the Tunnel Creek.

The railway launched at the end of 1906, while in the 1930s the last periodic train operated. After the move of the Newnes unit to Glen Davis, south of Newnes, the railway was demolished in 1940.

Glow Worm Tunnel in Wollemi National Park

The Glow Worm Tunnel is actually one of two tunnels that now lie abandoned, which were part of the railway. The reason it is so dark and why we recommend a torch is that it bends at 180 degrees, hence no light traverses directly through it. There’s also a stream that passes through this tunnel, a small one, so bring sturdy shoes just in case. It’s these aspects of darkness, cool and a small stream that provide optimal conditions for the glow worms to flourish in this tunnel. The glow worms are all over the blue mountains but this is easily the best place to see them, and in such a magnificent setting.

glow worm tunnel

How to get to Glow Worm Tunnel

The best way to reach Glow Worm Tunnel is to head to Lithgow first. Once you get there you should follow Inch Street and turn left onto Atkinson Street which will allow you to continue to Newnes Plateau. As you go along you’ll see some interesting rock formations but it’s important to stay on the gravel road and go past what was the afforestation camp previously.

The road here can be rough so we recommend you take it slow, there’s also an abundance of wild life, so take care not to hit a wombat or kangaroo. Absolutely avoid this place at night, as majestic as it is – it’s out in the wilderness and the odds of injuring yourself or especially wildlife is increased when it is dark – plus the tunnel is dark anyway so you may as well see it at day time when there are fewer challenges and obstacles to the visit.

Historical Significant of Wollemi National Park

For at least 12,000 years, the region that is now Wollemi National Park has been of importance to Aboriginal people. There is evidence of this association throughout the park, including ceremonial grounds, stone arrangements, grinding holes, scarred trees, and rock gravings. About 120 recognized Aboriginal locations are to be found in the park and likely many more. The individuals of Wiradjuri, Dharug, Wanaruah and Darkinjung have a powerful and continuous cultural connection to their traditional territories and seas.

Unique Geology of Wollemi National Park

Over the millennia, the landscape of Wollemi was carved into a beautiful network of towering sandstone escarpments, deep gorges and canyons, sweeping bends of the river, and stunning geology such as pagoda rock structures, basalt-capped hills and diatrems. The most comprehensive sandstone canyon scheme in eastern Australia is the dramatic Colo gorge and its tributaries. Take your camera and explore the amazing views and natural wonders that render it a treasure of the World Heritage.

Planning to camp out too? Don’t forget to pack the camping essentials.

camping in australia
By Kokoda Gear

The 10 Best Camping Spots near Sydney

Although this is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of it, but one of Sydney’s biggest selling points is the natural beauty that surrounds it and the the amazing camping spots near Sydney. Once you leave the clean, ordered streets of New South Wale’s capital, you are only minutes away from some of Australia’s most diverse and magical flora and fauna.

Pristine beaches, breathtaking mountain ranges, and endless prairies are just some of the landscapes you will encounter, and the best part is that accommodation is highly affordable. Tired of walking through the same city streets every day? If so, you should check out these 10 exciting camping locations and sleep under the clear country sky! Don’t forget to bring the right camping equipment.

1) Cockatoo Island

cockatoo island

Located just a ferry ride from Circular Quay, Cockatoo Island is a quaint location with a great view of Sydney’s harbor making one of the very popular tourist camping spots. It’s particularly popular during the fireworks in the new year’s eve celebrations! Once settled, you can tour the island’s well-preserved historical heritage, it’s a quick trip, but the added benefit is that you’ll be right in the harbor so you can catch regular ferries and sight-see around Circular Quay when you’re done.

If you want to camp out overnight on the island, there are hot showers, flush toilets, and communal fridges to be found in the island’s campsite. However, if you are looking to spend a romantic evening outdoors and experience the sights and sounds with your significant other, you can go big and try glamping.

Forget about sleeping in the hard soil when glamping, choosing the glamping pack will give you access to a spacious Safari Bow tent with a mattress, crisp linen bedding, cushions, a fridge, microwave, toiletries, and a lantern. Basically, everything you could wish to find in an outdoor hotel room!

2) Royal National Park

royal national park

A short 40-minute drive south of Sydney is all you need to reach the exuberant Royal National Park. Here visitors will find camping spots are available surrounding beautiful scenery and provides plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, swimming, fishing, bush-walking, barbecues, and picnics.

If you hate crowds and touristy areas, you will be happy to hear that the park’s two intimate campgrounds allow you to enjoy the sounds of nature without being disturbed. The campsites’ facilities are rustic (only non-flush toilets are available) yet well-suited for backpack camping.

Wood-fire is prohibited though, so if you are going to spend the night you need to bring a fuel stove. If you are looking for a truly unique experience, the North Era campground is located close to the beach and has some of the best vantage points to spot whales during their annual migration.

3) Lane Cove National Park

Lane Cove National Park camping spots

This award-winning park is a great spot for campers looking to experience the outdoors without sacrificing the comfort they are used to having at home. Some of the amenities you will find in the campsites include a pool, wireless internet, hot showers, TV sets, flush toilets, and free gas barbecues.

Lodging options for camping spots include pitching your own tent, renting a ready to use tent set up for you in advance, or sleeping inside your own car or caravan. Despite its popularity, Lane Cove still maintains a peaceful atmosphere that promotes relaxation.

Once you step away from the camp and into the wilderness, the sheer amount and diversity of wildlife available (including species like possums, owls, kookaburras, and water dragons) is enough to keep you entertained until your next meal is ready.

4) Olney State Forest

Olney State Forest

Olney’s luscious pine forest is a must-visit for anybody near Sydney. The park’s rules are pretty flexible when it comes to visitors, so you will have no problem bringing your whole family and even your dog with you, as long as you keep him under control.

There are several campsites nearby (Casuarina, Turpentine, and The Basin) which offer both privacy and well-kept bathrooms. Olney is crossed by several trails which allow visitors to explore every corner of the forest.

Although most people prefer to hike or cycle, others use dirt bikes for added excitement. Despite being far from the sea, Olney’s huge expanse and picturesque mountain sights (which are ideal for picnics) are well worth visiting.

5) Euroka Campground

Euroka CampgroundEuroka is the place to camp if you are hiking through the wild Blue Mountains. Nestled in a small valley not too far from the town of Glenbrook, Euroka’s idyllic location has camping spots that are a welcome change from the fast-paced city life.

Fire pits, picnic table, and wood for barbecues are all available on the campgrounds, although the absence of a grocery store means you will have to bring your food with you. Facilities are Spartan, so campgrounds have no running water, no electricity, and only pit toilets.

However, these conditions only give campers an extra reason to explore the beautiful surrounding. Several trails traverse Euroka, many of which are suitable for small children, and are actively visited by kangaroos and other local fauna.

6) Lake Macquarie

Lake MacquarieIf bird-watching and hiking aren’t stimulating enough for you, then you will probably find that the energizing atmosphere and endless activities available in Lake Macquarie are just what you need.

Famous for being the largest salt lake in the southern hemisphere, Lake Macquarie is a popular getaway destination where Sydney locals go to swim, fish, sail, climb rocks, ride horses, and basically do anything but getting bored.

The popularity of the lake, variety of activities, and quality of the amenities available in the park are perfect for millennial and city-dwellers who might feel out of place in more intimate campgrounds. But don’t be fooled by the animated environment, though, because there are still plenty of secluded places where you can appreciate the beautiful scenery far from the noisy crowds.

7) Coledale Beach

Coledale BeachAn hour of driving is all you will need to step out of the busy city and enjoy a relaxing weekend at the beach. Sandwiched between the sea and the rocky outcrops that protect visitors from the worst of the weather, Coledale is the perfect place to let your inner beach bum roam free.

The beach itself is a great location to surf, dive, fish, swim, or just sit back and enjoy the view with a cold drink on each hand. However, tourists aren’t the only visitors on the beach because dolphins and whales can also be spotted year-round.

Back in the Coledale Beach Camping Reserve, visitors can enjoy several amenities such as kitchens with power points, flush toilets, and plenty of room where kids and adults alike can play and relax.

8) Glenworth Valley

Glenworth ValleyFamous for being a haven for horse riders, Glenworth Valley is a simple campsite where peace and quiet are the order of the day. Campsites are spread around some 80 hectares along Popran Creek and include wood-fired barbecues, hot showers, and a variety of activities that go from horse riding to quad-biking and kayaking.

Camping options include pitching your own tent, ready set up tents for rent, or straight out glamping in one of the campsites’ fully equipped cabins. Despite having comfortable cabins, all sites lack electricity and there is a 10 pm noise curfew that visitors must respect.

9) The Basin

The BasinIf you are looking for a remote, exciting location for your next family trip, The Basin might just be the answer to your prayers. Located in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, The Basin is the only campground in the park and an ideal location for backpack camping.

Despite not being reachable by car, The Basin offers all the amenities you need to regain your strength back after a hard day of hiking. Picnic tables, barbecue, public phones, hot showers, toilets, and drinking water are just some of the amenities you will find in the campground’s amenities block.

Near the camp, you will find an inland lagoon and a sheltered beach where you can take a dip to cool off, swim, or kayak. A well-kept system of trails connects the campground to the rest of the park, so you can easily explore the site’s natural wonders on foot or bike. Local attractions include bird-watching, sightseeing, and visit the Basin aboriginal art site.

10) NRMA Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park

NRMA Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park

Located in Narrabeen Beach, the National Roads and Motorists’ Association Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park is the place where the natural beauty of Sydney’s northern beaches and glamping meet.

One of the few caravan camping locations with a beachfront, the Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park is packed with fun activities —- such as kayaking, sailing, and hiking — that the whole family can enjoy. Children’s entertainment opportunities include the water park, pedal go-karts, various playgrounds, a recreation room, as well as school holiday activities.

Campsite amenities are excellent and include camp kitchen, barbecue areas, family bathroom, free WiFi, a dump point, refuse stations, and laundries — to name a few. Although NRMA members can get discounts to many of these benefits, the park also offers special discounts and packages for families, so make sure to visit their website before you hit the road.

Summing Up

While Australia’s large landmass create endless opportunities for camping spots, Sydney is a living proof that you don’t need to go far from the city to have a unique outdoor experience. The city’s location between the Blue Mountains and the ocean means that you are never more than an hour away from taking a swim, sailing, hunting, or bush walking through the beautiful scenery.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, call your friends and family members, and pick your destination for your next weekend getaway today!

By Kokoda Gear

Which Hiking Boots Reign Supreme: Ranking These Essential Trekking Needs

Did you know that hiking is one of the best forms of exercise that you can do for your health? It’s a great way to get a full-body workout, and improve your cardio. But you’ll need the right pair of hiking boots while enjoying the beauty that mother nature has to offer.

Without the proper hiking equipment, a hike through the woods can be an absolute pain. Without question, one of the most important pieces of hiking equipment that you need to have is a good pair of hiking boots.

Hiking boots, unlike normal performance shoes, are built with a different goal in mind. Slip prevention, maximum ankle support, and overall traction are why going with a traditional gym shoe while hiking is a big no-no.

So if you’re curious to know what things you need to be on the lookout for when shopping for boots, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll tell you about a few different key elements to a good pair of hiking boots. We’ll also look at the various benefits to each kind of boot.

The Two Different Types of Hiking Boots

If you’re in the market for some new hiking boots, you’re going to want to make sure to get the perfect pair for you and your feet. Regardless of what make or brand you decide to go with, it’s important to know what exactly makes a good hiking boot just that: a good hiking boot.

First, we have to address the fact that there are two different boot options to choose from: a day hiking boot and a backpacking hiking boot.

Day hiking boots are perfect if you’re just starting out hiking, or have never purchased a hiking boot before. With day hiking boots, you’re going to have good ankle support, and excellent traction, but in a lighter boot.

Day Hiking Boots
Day Hiking Boot – note the lower cut

These boots are a bit more flexible because of the materials used, which is also what makes them lighter. They don’t offer the same kind of support as backpacking hiking boots. As long as you’re not going too far, you’re still going to have a positive experience while wearing them.

Backpacking hiking boots on the other hand, are the top-of-the-line option. They are the better choice if you plan on doing some serious off-trail hiking. These boots are a bit heavier, offer more support (and less give), and are designed with multi-day, off-trail hikes in mind.

backpack hiking boots
Backpack Hiking Boot – much taller cut

Foot and ankle support is absolutely fantastic due to the structure of the shoe. But this can also make them a little less comfortable to wear than day hiking boots, which is worth noting. With that being said, once you’ve broken them in a bit, you won’t even notice you have them on when hiking even the hardest of trails.

Hiking Shoes

If you’re more of a casual hiker or don’t plan on doing any trails that are too strenuous, hiking shoes might be a good option for you. Of course, these are shoes and not boots. So you won’t be getting the same level of foot and ankle support. If you plan on staying on somewhat level ground, that might not be as important to you as a lighter, more comfortable shoe is.

hiking shoes
Hiking Shoes – much lower cut, very similar to trainers

As we touched on a second ago, where hiking shoes get the nod over hiking boots is weight. They’re much lighter, and as a result, don’t slow you down as much as hiking boots might. But if you’re doing some serious hiking with a backpack and gear, lighter shoes aren’t all that important.

If you do decide to go with this option, pay close attention to the grip of the shoes and the way that the bottoms are constructed. Understanding what you need, and what you should avoid, is absolutely key, even if you plan on only hiking gentler trails.

Getting a Grip

Now that you have an understanding of the different shoe and boot options available, it’s time to talk a bit about lug patterns. Lug patterns are the various patterns that are printed on the bottom of your footwear. Essentially, they’re what gives your boot or shoe a good grip…or the opposite.

Hiking boots and hiking shoes offer specialized lug patterns designed with the various terrains of hiking trails in mind. But more specifically, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a shoe that has deep, thick lugs that are widely spaced apart from one another. This will allow you to have a better grip when hiking, and thus, hold traction and prevent slipping or falling.

The wide-spaced lug pattern helps prevent you from trapping too much dirt and mud in your shoes, causing them to not work as designed. This is why athletic shoes, which often have a closer-spaced lug pattern, are a bad idea when hiking.

A heel brake is an indented space between the heel and forefront of your footwear. You’re going to want to pick a shoe or boot with a bigger heel break and large heel to help prevent you from sliding while climbing up a trail.

It’s worth mentioning that proper footwear can go a long way in preventing you from getting injured while hiking, but you should always follow the recommended hiking safety tips. It’s also a good idea to pack the proper medical supplies for a hike and be careful when exploring the trails.

The Various Materials

Of course, like with any other footwear, you can find hiking boots and shoes made from a wide variety of materials. Most of which are designed with durability in mind, as well as the ability to get a bit wet, as trails often have streams or other running water throughout them. Not to mention tree cover will obviously slow down puddles drying after a rain.

Various types of leather are often found on backpacking boots, as the material is durable and friendlier to water than others, but you’ll also see shoes and boots made from polyester. Materials like polyester make a boot or shoe lighter but typically aren’t as durable or water-friendly.

Some boots come even packed with synthetic insulation to help keep your feet warmer when hiking in colder climates. Most boots have a built-in insole designed for comfort as well, but purchasing your own additionally isn’t a bad idea, either.

If leather isn’t your style, or you’re someone who’s interested in hiking boots or shoes made from vegan-friendly materials, you’ll find lots of other options available.

Finding the Proper Fit

When it comes to any kind of performance shoe, a proper fit is an absolute must. Nothing can ruin your hike faster than a hiking boot or shoe that doesn’t fit properly.

That’s why it’s a good idea to go out of your way to try on multiple pairs of boots or shoes. Don’t be afraid to walk around the store for a bit in them before deciding. Also, be sure to wear proper hiking socks when trying them on and bring any insoles you plan to use to get a true fit.

And if you’re ordering hiking boots online, make sure that the seller has a good return policy, in case you get them and aren’t happy with the fit.

Last, but not least, you’re going to want to break in your boots or shoes before adventuring out into the wild with them. So, if you can, wear them around the house or to the grocery store, so you can make them a bit more comfortable before using them on a long hike.

What to Look out for When Buying Hiking Boots

Well, there you have it! Those are a few different things you should be on the lookout for when shopping for hiking boots or shoes. As long as you keep these details in mind, you should be good to go!

Remember: if you’re serious about hiking and plan on exploring some more advanced trails, you’ll need a good boot. Be on the lookout for optimal ankle support, proper lugs, and a boot that fits well.

If you think a hiking shoe is all you need, be sure to pay close attention to the lugs, so you don’t get a shoe that increases your chances of falling or slipping while hiking.

Once you’ve got your boots or shoes, break them in if you can before going on a long hike. And don’t forget to wear the right kind of socks, so you can avoid any blisters, which can also ruin a perfectly good hike.

Planning on going hiking soon? Check out our blog post on why you need a good pair of hiking sticks to go with those boots or shoes!

By Kokoda Gear

Great Tips And Tricks For Building Your Camping Kitchen During Your Next Trip

The great Australian outdoors is calling you, and you’re ready to begin your adventure. Thinking about how to assemble a camping kitchen? Although roasting marshmallows over a bonfire is one of the ultimate camping experiences, you’re not just relegated to cooking over an open flame and eating smoke-flavored food!

Just as hiking sticks and comfortable, sturdy shoes are necessary for hiking, so is your camping kitchen gear. In fact, with the proper gear, you can comfortably prepare food as if you were in your own kitchen. Read on to learn some tips and tricks on how to build your own camping kitchen!

1. Getting Organised

Organization is one of the most important tenets of camping kitchens. Although it seems like a lot of work upfront, you’ll be saving yourself from a lot of stress later on.

Since you don’t have cabinets, drawers, and shelves, you need to come up with a system that helps you account for all your gear and avoid forgetting things at home. You also want to avoid your kitchen tools and utensils resting on dirty surfaces.

Here are some ideas to keep things organized:

  • Transparent plastic bins – Not only can you see inside and keep track of what tools are where, but they also stack comfortably in the back of cars.
  • Reusable bags – This is another option if you don’t have room for plastic bins. One idea is to organize each bag by meal.
  • Portable cutlery organizers – It can be hard to keep track of your dinnerware; these organizers give you a place for everything.
  • Foldable table – You may not have a picnic bench near your campsite, and cooking on a clean, flat surface is considerably easier than hunched on the ground.
  • Portable camp kitchens – These are a step up from foldable tables. They have dedicated spaces for your cooking supplies and utensils, though they can be considerably more expensive than a simple table.
  • Plastic egg holder – These are a must-have if you’re planning on bringing eggs along on your trip. Eggs can easily jostle and break in their regular cartons.

2. Camp Sink

kitchen sink for camping kitchen

Besides cooking, keeping your dishes clean can be a hassle. Even if you don’t have access to running water, you still have options.

Here are the items you need to set up a camping dishwashing station:

  1. Three sinks – These can be collapsible sinks, plastic bins, or regular buckets. All that matters is that they can hold water and your dishes fit inside.
  2. Sponge – You need an abrasive surface to help scrub off food particles on your dishes.
  3. Biodegradable soap – Dish detergent is harsh on the environment. Make sure to keep the soap at least 200 feet away from any natural water source, and you’ll be doing the environment a favor.
  4. Sanitiser – An alternative to bleach is Steramine. It’s gentle on your skin and more effective than bleach against viruses.
  5. Metal strainer – This removes solid food particles from your gray water.
  6. Chamois cloth – Chamois is a great material because it’s super absorbent, making dish drying faster. You don’t want to leave the dishes out and wet because they can easily accumulate dirt.
chamois cloth for camping kitchen

Once you have all these items together, washing dishes will be a breeze. To make things easier on yourself, make sure everyone is given proportions of food they’ll actually finish!

After you clean off as much food residue from your plates as possible, warm up some water and fill up your sinks. The next steps are simple:

  1. Wash sink – Mix a few drops of your biodegradable soap into this sink. Starting with the cleanest dishes, scrub them until they’re entirely clean.
  2. Rinse sink – You’ll dunk your plates into the plain warm water here till all the soap suds are gone.
  3. Sanitize sink – Mix your sanitizing agent into the water here. You’ll use either two teaspoons of bleach or one Steramine tablet per gallon of water. This ensures that your dishes are completely disinfected, especially if they’ve been in contact with raw meat.
  4. Towel dry and dispose of – Towel dries all your dishes, then consolidate your gray water into one sink. Strain out the food scraps with your metal strainer, and dispose of the gray water at your campground’s facilities. If your campground doesn’t have any drain water basins, broadcast or spray the water out over a large area, so that it absorbs into the soil quickly and reduces the environmental impact on the area.

4. Cookware, Tools, and Accessories

Now that you know how to clean your dishes, what will you be cooking with? Many of the most useful pieces of cookware are made from cast iron, as they can be used over a stove or an open fire. Cast iron also has great heat retention so that your meals stay warm after they leave the stove or fire.

  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven – This is one of the most versatile pieces of camp cookware. Its short legs and rimmed lid allow you to place coals above and below for even heat distribution, allowing you to prepare anything from stews to braised chicken.
  • Cast Iron Skillet – This pairs well with your cast iron Dutch oven. It can toast, sear, and bake.
  • Cast Iron Griddle – This gives you more space if you’re cooking for large groups.
camping kitchen kit

Purchasing dedicated camp utensils and storing them in one place is far easier than hunting around your kitchen for all the different pieces. These include:

  • Tongs
  • Can Opener
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Spatula
  • Metal Skewers
  • Collapsible Measuring Cups
  • Heat Resistant Gloves
  • Beer/Wine Bottle Opener

5. Tableware and Drinkware

Ceramic plates are too fragile, while plastic utensils are wasteful and in the long run not as cost-effective if you camp often. For plates, bowls, and silverware go with enamel, a far more durable material than ceramic.

Your drinkware depends on what you’re planning to drink! If you like coffee or tea in the morning then some insulated mugs or tumblers will keep your drink the same temperature. There are shatterproof wine glasses if you’d like a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire, and Nalgene bottles are perfect for water and juice.

camping bowls

6. Knives

Knives deserve their own section because a good set of knives will save you a lot of frustration, and are also important for your safety. For instance, you don’t want to chop an onion with a pocket knife, and dull knives make you more prone to slipping and cutting yourself.

Chef’s Knife

If you only have a budget for one knife, invest in a good chef’s knife. This is because they’re multipurpose and can do everything from peeling an apple to chopping raw meat.

Knife Set

Knife sets can be an inexpensive option if you want more versatility in your camp kitchen. Opt for knives that come with their own protective sheathes, so they don’t get dulled or hurt anyone while they’re being transported.

7. Camp Stoves

Camp stoves are necessary if you want to have easy cooking experience in the outdoors! There are many different kinds of camp stoves available, and what you choose depends on the kind of mobility you need.

Since you and your camping buddies or family will be at a campsite, a standard propane campground stove is perfect for your needs. These are durable, reliable stoves, and many of them come with two burners or even a grill.

If you’re worried about space in your car, there are also semi-portable campground stoves available. While they work just as well, they lack some of the features of standard-sized stoves.

Extra Tips

Here are some tips that are learned from experience:

  • Plan your meals – It’s easier to plan your meals and store the correct amount of ingredients rather than pack too much or too little.
  • Bring aluminum foil – Aluminum foil is a must-have. You can wrap food within it to cook over an open fire, cover your plates to avoid dirt and bugs, or simply to keep your food warm.
  • Test your camp stove – You don’t want to arrive at your campsite with no way to cook your food!
  • Chop meat and vegetables before you leave – It’s far easier to prep in your kitchen rather than the campsite.

The Best Camping Kitchen

As you can see, investing in a few pieces of equipment can make your cooking experience a pleasurable one. Without organization, simple storage solutions, an efficient way to clean your dishes, and the proper equipment, you’ll be spending more time trying to get your camping kitchen together and less time enjoying the great outdoors!

If you’re planning on camping often, putting together your camping kitchen kit will save you a lot of time in the future.

Want to read more informative articles on the best gear for camping? Check out our camping and hiking gear guides!

Euroka Campground
By Kokoda Gear

Camping Tents and Supplies: Here Are The Top 10 Items You Need For Your Next Camping Trip

Are you tired of city life and ready for adventure? Or do you simply want to de-stress and breathe in some fresh air? Looking through a catalogue for camping tents all prepared to head into the great outdoors?

As fun and relaxing as camping can be, preparing your camping supplies can be just the opposite. Even the sheer amount of camping tents, one of the main but not only pieces of necessary camping gear, can be overwhelming.

We’re here to offer some guidance. Read on for the 10 essential camping supplies for your next camping trip!

1. Camping Tents

Protection from the elements is a must, especially if you’re adventuring around Australia, and tents give you that true camping experience. Once you start searching, It’s easy to get hung up on which tent you should buy.

Here are the common tent shapes you’ll find in stores and online, and a brief description of each:

  • Ridge/A-frame – These are great at dealing with rain and bad weather, and generally simple to set-up. They can be heavy, and don’t give you a lot of headroom.
ridge camping tents
  • Dome – These are inexpensive tents that are easy to put up and take down. They also offer more headroom than A-frame tents. However, they’re unstable in the wind or bad weather.
dome camping tents
  • Tunnel (or Swag tent) – These are great for larger groups because they give you a good amount of headroom and livable space. They’re heavy, and while they can hold up to wind, heavy rain is prone to pool on top.
swag camping tents
  • Geodesic – This is much like a dome tent with added poles and much greater stability. They give you a good amount of headroom and are lightweight. They can be expensive and aren’t great for large groups.
geodesic camping tents
  • Cabin – These tents are perfect for camping with your family because you can stand up in them and even divide them into rooms with internal dividers. They’re also fairly inexpensive. However, they’re heavy and complicated to set up.
cabin camping tents
  • Pyramid – These are probably the simplest tents. They typically have a single central pole with the corners and edges staked down. If pitched well, they’re very stable in bad weather and are easy to set up. Since there are no vertical walls, your space is limited, and they don’t usually have groundsheets.
pyramid camping tents

Take into account how many people are camping with you, your location, the predicted weather, and what type of camper you are. This will greatly narrow down your options!

2. Sleeping Bags

Much like camping tents, you need to take into account all the specifics of your trip to find a sleeping bag that’s both comfortable and functional.

Temperature Rating

One of the most important features to pay attention to is the sleeping bag temperature rating. You want to choose one that has a lower temperature rating than the lowest nighttime temperature you expect when you camp.

Summer season bag types are -1 degrees Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) and higher. Three-season bags are -10 to -1 Celsius (15 to 30 Fahrenheit). Lastly, winter bags are rated -10 degrees (15 Fahrenheit) and lower.

Sleeping Bag Shapes

You want a sleeping bag that will give you enough room to stretch and move around. There are three main shapes:

  1. Rectangular – These give your arms and legs room to stretch out, and can even be unzipped all the way to use as a comforter.
  2. Semi-rectangular – This is a broad term for a variety of shapes that differ from the rectangular shape. They’re also called “modified mummy” and “barrel” shape. These make a compromise between added warmth and less space.
  3. Mummy – These bags have a very snug fit in order to keep yourself as warm as possible.

There are additional features, accessories, and insulation types to take into account, but once you narrow down your choice of sleeping bag shape, the rest of your decisions should be fairly simple!

3. Firewood

You can’t have an authentic camping trip without a cozy evening campfire. The easiest way to obtain firewood is to buy it at your location, but if this isn’t possible you’ll need to forage. Here are some rules of thumb to keep your fire burning long and bright:

  1. Look for dry wood with as little bark as possible
  2. Collect a mixture of hard and softwoods
  3. Give yourself enough time before sundown to search
  4. An armful of wood is about 45 minutes of fire – make sure you get enough!
  5. Don’t burn anything larger than an adult’s wrist

4. Water Jug

Besides bringing along a refillable canteen, it’s important that you also take some emergency precautions. Make sure you have some sturdy emergency water storage containers stowed away in case of emergencies.

Calculate how much water you think you’ll need for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Ensure that it’s made out of sturdy material, and if you’re short on space you can purchase collapsible containers.

5. Cooler

Now that water is taken care of, you need a cooler to keep your food cold. Note that coolers are also multipurpose – they can be used as a prep station or temporary bench as well! The best coolers will be long-lasting, highly insulated to keep food cold for the duration of your trip, and easy to clean.

6. Portable Stove

You’re probably not going to cook above a campfire every night, and camping stoves make it easy to prepare meals. You can also opt to use a grill on top of your fire pit with a cast-iron pan to cook in, but you don’t want to stand over a hot campfire for your entire camping trip.

There are many different options you can choose from; here’s a brief description of each:

  • Standard Propane Stove – These are durable, reliable stoves and are a great choice if you plan on feeding a lot of people. Although there are “semi-portable” versions, they’re still too bulky to backpack with.
  • Canister Backpacking Stove – Unlike standard propane stoves, these are extremely light and very portable. This makes them perfect for backpacking, kayaking, and other activities that have you moving from location to location.
  • BioLite Camp Stoves – To use these stoves, you pack them with twigs and leaves, then light them from the bottom. They also produce electricity.
  • Wood/Charcoal Ovens – Like the standard propane stove, these are great options if you need to feed a lot of people and don’t plan on changing locations. These stoves run off wood or charcoal.

7. Hot Water Heater

There are many options available, from pots of water over a camping stove to a percolator over your campfire. It’s a great way to make sure your dishes are clean, and it gives you more beverage and dining options, for instance, if you want to make coffee or oatmeal.

8. Games

Remember that camping is about disconnecting from modern life, and that means keeping your device use to a minimum. Cards and board games are a great way to keep you occupied, and help you create fun, lasting memories with loved ones.

9. Lantern

It’s important that you take flashlights along, but lanterns are even more important. Stumbling in the dark without a hiking stick is less prone to happen when your path is well lit!

From reading in your tent to lighting a dark trail, the best lanterns will give you hours of reliable light. Here are some important features to take into account:

  • Brightness – You need around 100 to 200 lumens per lantern. Larger groups will need 200 to 400.
  • Fuel Type – Electric lanterns are safe, fuel-efficient, and weigh less than fuel-burning lanterns. Solar lanterns are also a great option.
  • Durability – Your lantern needs to be rugged and durable. Waterproofing is also another important feature, especially if you’re kayaking or spending a lot of time near water.

10. Camping Chairs

Yes, you’re out in the middle of nature and away from modern life, but that doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable! Camping chairs are an absolute necessity to trade tales around the fire to relaxing by a nearby lake or river to fish.

The best camping chairs will fold up easily, but will also be able to withstand rough weather while still remaining comfortable. Of course, the camp chairs you choose also depends on whether you’re camping or backpacking.

Preparation is Key

From camping tents to camping chairs, now you know the top 10 essential items for camping. By taking into account your location, the weather, and the number of people you’re traveling with, you can make your first camping experience fun and stress-free.

Ready to read more articles to be as informed and prepared as possible before your camping trip? Continue reading our camping and hiking gear guides for informative articles.

black gum camping showers
By Kokoda Gear

The Importance Of Camping Showers: Best Ways To Maintain Cleanliness On Your Outdoor Trip

Camping showers are a tremendous invention. Over the past two years, over 11.84 million people went camping in Australia.

From spending time in a caravan to shacking up in tents, camping is a popular activity and accounts for over $7 billion in revenue each year—and that number is only increasing!

But what about proper hygiene when you’re on the road?

Although you can have great personal hygiene with simple tricks like packing multiple outfits, bringing extra water to hand wash, and using natural water for bathing, that sometimes doesn’t do the trick. Camping showers—whether at your location or self-created—are the best way to maintain cleanliness on your next camping trip.

And whether you’ve gone camping plenty of times or are just heading out on your first outdoor excursion, here’s everything you need to know about showering and staying clean while traveling.

black gum camping showers

Camping Hygiene: The Basics

Camping is all about minimalism. Although you might be tempted to pack all of your hygiene essentials—from bath soap to body lotion—it’s not feasible (or smart) when you’re on the road. You might not have space, for one. It’s also hard to find shower facilities sometimes. Which is why you need to plan ahead.

However, that doesn’t mean you should abandon personal hygiene altogether! The first step is to create a straightforward hygiene routine that relies solely on the essentials.

Create a Basic Hygiene Kit

Beyond the camping essentials—like water, map/compass, and a first aid kit—you’ll want to have your hygiene necessities, too. Here are your must-haves: toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, shampoo, clapstick, sunscreen, towels, toilet supplies and toilet paper, and any feminine hygiene products (if applicable).

Change Your Shower Habits to Be More Camping-Friendly

You might not have a shower on your camping trip. If this is the case, you’ll have to create another solution. Rather than trying to find full-on camping showers (which may or may not be available), opt for a daily rinse. This can be as simple as splashing water on your face or body with biodegradable soap, or even using camping wipes.

Bring Hand Sanitizer

For anything related to your hands, opt for hand sanitizer. Since you probably won’t find a sink anywhere and you won’t want to waste all your body/face wipes washing your hands, sanitizer is a great alternative. It’s also smart to have on hand for when you need to go to the bathroom in the woods!

Pack Extra Clothing and Undergarments

Extra clothes and undergarments are a must. If you’re really trying to be a minimalist while camping, be sure you opt for extra undergarments. But if space isn’t a serious issue, make sure you have a few changes of clothes.

After a long day in the woods, or especially if you’re going to be hiking or walking, having a new set of clothing to change into is invaluable. Even if you simply change your clothes rather than have a full shower, the new clothing will make you feel clean and refreshed.

It’s best not to bring or wear cotton since this type of fabric tends to soak up sweat the quickest. Cotton is also a type of fabric that gets dirty quickly and can cause chafing.

A tip is to opt for synthetic clothing, which is moisture-wicking and lightweight. This helps to limit bacteria and remove excess sweat, leaving you feeling refreshed (even after a grueling hike).

Other Cleanliness Tips

If you’re really trying to be conservative with packing and space, you can also use products like dry shampoo to substitute bringing shampoo, conditioner, and other hair-washing products.

Some campers recommend bringing a strong deodorant to mask any odors and eliminate the need for showers. But if you’re camping in an area that may have bears, a precaution is to actually not bring deodorant as it may attract bears and other wildlife to your campsite.

Camping Showers: The Basics

Learning tips and tricks for camping hygiene is great, but sometimes a change of clothes, a splash rinse, or even a wipe down won’t do the trick. If you’re feeling sticky and sweaty from sunscreen, bug spray, and hours in the water/sun, you’ll probably need a shower.

Sometimes you’ll get lucky and stay at a campground that offers showers. And sometimes you won’t. If you’re faced with the latter—don’t stress—you can create your own.

Here are the options and how to get started:

Option #1: The Solar Shower

solar camping showers

A solar camp shower (like it sounds) relies on the sun for warmth. To create this type of shower, all you need is a large bag that you can hang from a tree or higher post. You’ll use the sun to warm the water. And gravity will help the water flow.

Option #2: The Bucket Shower

bucket camping showers

Similar to a sponge bath in nature, a bucket shower is just that: a shower in a bucket. All you need to do is simply fill the bucket with water (warm or cold) and add biodegradable, eco-friendly soap.

Toss a washcloth in the bucket and use that to sponge off different parts of your body and rinse. You can also use the bucket to pour water over your head or other parts of your body if it’s not too heavy.

A tip with these sorts of camping showers is to be sure you have access to water or pack enough of your own. If you’re only packing cold water, keep the bucket in the sun so it can warm up before use.

Option #3: The Portable Shower

Another option for camping showers is to invest in a portable shower. This is something that you can simply purchase online or from a camping store. Similar to the solar shower that hangs, a portable shower can hang from anywhere and is heated naturally by the sun.

As opposed to a DIY bag, the portable shower has an easy-to-use, refillable interior bag that can be easily rinsed and used again and again. It also has proper spouts that allow you to change the amount of water that comes out, or even close the spout when it’s not in use.

Other Shower Tips for Camping

When it comes to showering in nature, remember that you can always rely on natural options to help you. If you’re by a waterfall, for example, take advantage of the fresh running water! As long as you invest in biodegradable, safe soap that won’t hurt the environment, you can easily use your surroundings to have a totally natural, and totally refreshing shower.

When it comes to drying off, towels can be bulky. Rather than bringing traditional towels (which are fluffy, get dirty easily and take ages to dry) or beach towels (which are bulky), use a microfiber towel.

Microfiber towels can roll or fold up to be super small, thus saving you space. They also come in different sizes for flexibility. There are various size options for use on your face, hands, or body. Compared to other towels, microfiber is one of the quickest-drying materials – a huge plus for your outdoor adventures.

Now You’re Ready to Go Camping

Camping is a load of fun. But before you head out it’s important to think about your personal hygiene. Having poor hygiene can create a miserable outdoor experience for both you and your camping partners, especially if you’re going to be in nature for more than a couple of days. Yuck!

Beyond a simple change of clothes or a wipe-down, you have to think about other hygiene methods—anything from packing a hygiene kit to creating a camping shower can help create a more pleasant experience for everyone.

And it’s infinitely better to do this before you head out! Stores to buy eco-friendly soap or microfiber towels will be scarce once you leave the city limits.

Whether you’ve been camping all your life and are browsing for some new tips, or are just starting to plan your first excursion, we hope reading this guide has given you some great ideas about personal cleanliness, camping showers, and hygiene must-haves.

If you have any other camping or hygiene-related questions, or you want to read about other awesome camping spots, trails, and hikes in Australia, feel free to browse our website or reach out to us directly. Happy camping!

By Kokoda Gear

3 Reasons Why You Should Have Hiking Poles

Hiking poles have a history of being either praised or shunned. Some people believe they are incredibly helpful while others think they are cumbersome and unnecessary. We have found that the benefits far outweigh the issues some may have with them. We are going to go over the reasons why you should take trekking poles on your next hike.

Whether they are called hiking poles, walking poles, trekking poles, Nordic walking poles, or hiking sticks, they all serve the same basic purpose. They make it easier for you to hike. Hiking can sometimes be a challenging and grueling feat, although it does not have to be that way. Here are the reasons you should get a pair of poles to make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable.

hiking poles

Check out some awesome hiking poles here.

Less Strain on Your Knees

The older you get, the more your knees hurt, especially when you are applying plenty of pressure on them. Using trekking poles allows you to redistribute your weight away from your legs and into the poles. Hiking poles and walking sticks can shift anywhere from two pounds to 10% of your weight each time you take a step. If you are going to be going up steep hills and mountains or going down large declines, you will be thanking yourself for getting walking poles.

Less Fatigue

Since you will be redistributing your weight into the walking sticks, you will be able to preserve more of your energy and reduce fatigue. You are giving your muscles and joints more rest than they would have if you decided to go on a hike without them. Going downhill is when you would really notice a difference. You will be able to put your poles out in front of you as you descend down a hill and take some of the pressure off your quads and knees. You can essentially avoid stumbling from fatigue thanks to trekking poles.

More Stability and Balance

Imagine yourself on a bike with two wheels. You have to work harder at maintaining stability and balance. This is why children learn how to ride a bike by first riding a tricycle, which has four wheels. Having four points of contact with the ground, you are able to stay more balanced. This becomes very evident whenever you are attempting to cross running water, especially where there are slippery rocks. When you are wearing a hiking pack, your center of gravity shifts from what it usually is. Having a pair of walking poles will help you stay more balanced.

Read more about the benefits of hiking poles.

Types of Hiking Poles and Walking Sticks

There are different kinds of hiking poles and walking sticks to choose from. Depending on which type you get, you will have specific kinds of features which will help you with your hike, as well as setting up your camp. All of the hiking poles you can get today are going to make your hikes easier and more enjoyable. Here are some of the most common types of poles you will find.

Adjustable Poles

There are trekking poles which can telescope out into longer poles. Depending on how tall you are and what you will be using the poles for, you can adjust your poles with a simple lever lock. When it comes to the telescoping mechanism, there are a few varieties to choose from. Some poles have two sections whereas others have three. There are also foldi wanglking sticks. These are a newcomer onto the trekking pole scene, being some of the lightest and compact hiking poles you can get.

Aluminum and Carbon Fiber

You will find hiking poles made with one of two kinds of material: aluminum or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is light and stiffer. The downside is that they are more prone to snapping if they get dented or hit really hard. Aluminum is heavier, but not by much. They can get dented and be fixed by bending them back into place. Poles made out of aluminum are more affordable than their carbon fiber cousins.

Basket Size

A basket on a trekking pole is the circular disc, usually sporting holes. The basket size will differ depending on what type of terrain and climate the hiking poles are designed to be used in. Baskets with larger diameters are generally used in snowy environments. If you try to use these out in the bush, you will get them caught on roots and bushes. There are also poles with removable baskets, so if you are planning to go hiking in different types of terrain, these would be a good type of pole to get.

Grip Material and Ergonomic Shape

There is a wide array of grip types out there when it comes to trekking poles. These grip handles are made out of either cork, rubber, or foam. Cork grips are the most favored because of how well they mold to your hands. They also stay cooler than others, which is nice when you are working up a sweat while hiking. Rubber grips are waterproof, which makes them great for wet climates and weather. For drier environments, cork and foam are the best. Foam grips are the softest of all three kinds of grips. They also keep your hands cool, so this is a great choice for hot climates. They are also the lightest material. Cork also works well in hot environments, so it makes for a nice, more natural, alternative to foam.

5 of the Best Hiking Poles and Walking Sticks

There are many hiking poles to choose from. Depending on what materials they are made of and what your intended use for them is, you will find different styles of trekking poles. Here are the best hiking poles and walking sticks you can get right now.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork

Black Diamond Alpine Carbine Cork Hiking Pole

This pair of trekking poles uses premium cork with dual-density tops. There is even a foam extension for additional non-slip support. The poles themselves are made using carbon fiber, being comprised of three sections. They also feature dual flick locks, ensuring you can easily telescope the hiking poles. These telescope anywhere from 25″ up to 51″ in length and weigh 17 ounces. The best uses for these poles are backpacking, thru-hiking, and everyday use.

Order yours today

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock

These walking poles have dual-density foam grips. They also have foam extensions for extra anti-slip support. An interesting feature of these is the included shock absorbers. These can help you have a less bumpy walk when you are out in the bush. The locks on these poles are dual flick locks as well. The pole tips are interchangeable, meaning you can sport either rubber or carbide tips depending on what type of terrain you are hiking through. These aluminum poles extend anywhere from 27″ up to 55″ in length and weight 20 ounces. These are best used for backpacking, thru-hiking, and everyday use.

Get one here

Montem Ultra Strong

Montem Strong Hiking Stick

These poles are made from 7075 aluminum, like the kind airplanes are made out of. For those on a budget, yet still seeking out good quality trekking poles, these are a great choice. The flick lock mechanisms make for an easy adjustment to your preferred pole length. These poles extend from 24″ to 53″ and weigh 19.2 ounces. The foam grips ensure you will avoid tensing up your hands. These are best used for day hikes and backpacking.

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High Stream Gear Foldable Hiking & Trekking Poles

high stream gear

If you are looking for an affordable set of folding trekking poles, then these are ones which you will want to look into getting. These are made out of airplane-quality aluminum, making them lightweight and strong. The poles fold down to 14.5″ which makes them especially compact. The trekking poles have tungsten carbide tips, although they are not interchangeable with softer ones. These are best when used for day hikes and everyday use.

Get this pole today

Hiker Hunger Collapsible Trekking Poles

hiker hunger

For a good quality set of carbon fiber trekking poles, take a look at Hiker Hunger’s poles. Since carbon fiber acts as a natural shock absorber, you can minimize the roughness of your hikes with these hiking poles. These only weigh 15.2 ounces altogether, making for some really light trekking poles. The poles can extend from 24″ up to 54″ and each section can separate into 21″ sections. Their default tips are tungsten carbide, but these poles also come with interchangeable rubber tips as well. These trekking poles are best used for day hikes, backpacking, and thru-hikes.

Get it here

Wrapping Up

Depending on what type of terrain and climate you will be hiking on, you will find trekking poles to fit your needs. There are many great options available, so you can be sure to find the style and type that will be a help and support for years to come. No matter what your budget and which poles you choose, you will be doing yourself a service by getting a pair. Save your knees and make your hikes as enjoyable as possible with a pair of hiking poles. You will be glad you did.