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Our First Bush Camping Experience | Don't Ever Look Back

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Our First Bush Camping Experience

Our First Bush Camping Experience

Don’t Ever Look Back is built around the theme of affordable luxury and although we’re always looking for ways to save money on our travels, we’re not budget travelers.

We travel with suitcases over backpacks. We prefer to stay in boutique hotels over hostel dorms. We would much rather pay to eat a delicious quality meal than choose processed tinned food or ramen noodles just to save a few dollars. You get the point.

So when we found out we were to spend a night under the stars at the picturesque Gunlom Falls, we knew that this would put us well outside of our comfort zone.

Kieron hadn’t been camping since he was in school and for Amy, this was her first ever proper camping experience.

Amy under our mosquito dome

The two of us wouldn’t have the luxury of tents – we were going to be sleeping in swags, a portable sleeping unit used primarily in the Australian bush before motor transport was common. Our only protection from the outdoors was a mosquito dome!

The two of us had an enjoyable day, relaxing in the pools at the base of Gunlom Falls which is one of the best swimming spots in all of Kakadu National Park.

As the sun set, our Adventure Tours guide Richard prepared a delicious meal of lamb stew and freshly baked bread over the campfire. We shared in good conversations with the rest of the group before saying goodnight and getting into our swags.

We made ourselves comfortable and looked up at the full moon and the stars above.

Our view - the full moon and the stars

This wasn’t so bad – our only complaints were that we were a little cramped in our mosquito dome and that the heat was still a factor but apart from that, we didn’t mind this whole bush camping thing as we drifted off to sleep.

Look out for snakes!

Richard told us earlier in the day to make sure we wore shoes at all times and tread carefully, particularly at night when snakes are most active due to the hot weather. Did you know Australia has 20 of the top 25 most venomous snakes in the world? Scary!

We woke up in the middle of the night with the need to go to the bathroom – approximately a 2-minute walk from our campsite. Despite our best efforts to get back to sleep, the urge to pee became too strong so we put on our shoes and stepped outside of the swags.

Rustling in the bushes!

Very slowly we walked to the bathroom, taking each step with caution. Kieron shone the flashlight firmly on the path ahead and we were approximately halfway to relief when we heard some movement in the bushes ahead of us.

“Oh shit!”, Amy said. We stopped dead in our tracks – could it possibly be a snake?! Or perhaps it was a dingo, a creature that one of our tour group had seen earlier in the day. We had come too far to go back and fear of the unknown had paralysed us.

Cautiously we lifted the torch up to see what was in our way..

Shadow - not actual photo!The shadow looked something like this – except it was darker and there were more of them!

There were several large shadows standing directly on the path to the bathroom and they definitely weren’t moving based on our presence. It seemed like the only way to go was through them and there was no chance in hell of us doing that!

We were already terrified when suddenly we hear the sound of loud, heavy footsteps on the dirt..


These things were coming in our direction and fast!

Kieron ducked behind a tree while Amy was long gone back towards the campsite..

When the shadows finally emerged from the darkness, they were mere meters away from us and what they were became evident.

Wild Horses - Stock PhotoNot actual photo. Photo used for dramatic purposes!

6 huge brumbies! These wild bush horses stormed past us at quite the speed and in a flash, they had disappeared into the distant bushes.

In the silence of the night, we’re pretty sure the sound of our thumping heartbeats could have woken up the entire campsite!

The Aftermath

Fearing that perhaps this was a trap and there was still a few brumbies waiting to attack us, we decided to enhance our bush experience by using nature as our bathroom.

Once finished, we quickly rushed back to the campsite and secured ourselves in our mosquito dome.

For the rest of the night, all we could hear these large horses rustling in the bushes right near where our swags were located. “Just leave us alone!” was all we could think to ourselves.

It took a while before we were able to get back to sleep but eventually we did and the next thing we knew the sun was starting to rise. Phew!

We had survived our first bush camping experience!


  1. Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like fun! I camped in the middle of the Serengeti once and heard lions roaring and huge herds of wildebeest roaming around. No way was I getting up to use the bathroom that night!!
    Arianwen recently posted..Milford Sound with Real Journeys

    • Posted October 23, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Yeah we definitely wouldn’t be leaving the tent if there were lions around haha.

  2. Posted October 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    What a great experience. At least you can see what’s coming if you only have a mosquito net above you. 🙂
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Climbing Cotopaxi – And why you shouldn’t mess with your wife when she has altitude sickness

  3. Posted November 2, 2013 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    What a cool experience! I would love to do this someday! Was it cold only have a mossie net?
    Kirsty recently posted..The London Dungeon at Haloween

  4. Posted November 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Haha wow that sounds incredible. You may have been terrified, but now you’ve had an authentic experience! 🙂
    Sally recently posted..Weird Noms: Salt & Seaweed Flavored Pringles

  5. Posted November 6, 2013 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    I love mosquito dome tents. My one has a normal cover but a mosquito dome you can put up either together or separately. Camping is a bit scary. I am trying to get more comfortable with it. That night sky pic is great.

  6. Posted December 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi there. I’ve just found your blog. I like the fact that you describe it as “affordable luxury”: Right up my street!
    I’m not a fan of camping but every now and then I travel with the American Boy Scouts, in Germany, although I’m British! Anyway, one memorable incident was when we all left our boots outdoor, and it rained. Heavily. I happen to be a very light sleeper, heard it, went out in the windy rain, brought the boots in and shifted stuff around in our sleeping bags. All in the dead of night. The result: we still had a damp tent but we were the only family with dry boots!
    Victoria recently posted..Oh, but the Highlands are bonny!

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