Do you really go bush?

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 19:32
ThreadID: 66926 Views:4068 Replies:15 FollowUps:14
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I’ve been giving a bit of thought to how we relate to the bush. Particularly the reliance on gadgets, and where we travel.

These things are wonderful (provided you know how they operate), but it also seems to me they come at a cost. More and more I’m coming across folks with no bush skills what so ever.

The inevitable result appears to be reluctance to turn the car into the bush and travel across country. Personally I think this is a shame when there is so much opportunity out there.

It’s been almost three years now since we did a significant cross country trip in Western Australia but it was achieve without gadgets (apart from two 15 YOL GPS units which were totally useless with 50 YOL maps.

If you can image three old farts constantly arguing about where the sun is going to set, why isn’t the bloody tank where it should be, your compass is full of bleep , we should be over there and not here and, you old prick, you told me you knew this country from your droving days! LOL

One of the strange things about the bush, is you get up at 5am brew the coffee, cook the bacon and eggs, watch the sun rise then plan the day ahead.

Now it could be another day going around in circles and tempers flare, but if you’re got mates who understand the bush there’s not too much to worry about.

I’ve come across roo shooters in the bush 250klms from the nearest town with no gadgets. The distinction between what they carry, compared to 4wd tourist is remarkable.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, is get a good map, compass and don’t be afraid to do it. It won't be an adventure unless some risk is taken.

Regards

Kim

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Reply By: Tenpounder - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 19:49

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 19:49
Hi there. I can identify with what you are saying.
But I must confess a GPS is nice to have as a secondary weapon. I have even managed to navigate with a GPS AND ended up where I intended!
But, I am sure you, and others, can recall two other map-and-compass experiences:
(a) "This bloody map is WRONG! - the junction is in the wrong place", and, closely related:
(b) "That hill we're looking at can't be there; it should be three miles that way!".
Oh to remember when a compass was made of brass!!
Chris (SA)
AnswerID: 354575

Reply By: Member - Tony B (Malanda FNQ) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 19:49

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 19:49
We all started and have all gone bush with very little gear. As the years go on and things happen you put a bit more on board to help you out if it happens again. Sometimes it never will, if you can afford it and know how to use it, I say take it. If it will never help you out more than likely it will help someone else who did not take anything bush!
As for roo shooters ETC. They know the country and know what they need, most know how to handle a 4 x 4. Most of them are near home or there camp. A tourist usually travels through unknown country and likewise has to be prepared.
In conclusion. Its not about being afraid it is about being prepared! Yes you can get by without a lot, but most learn from experience and take what will get them out of trouble if by chance one day it happens again. Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 354576

Reply By: Member - Lionel A (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 19:52

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 19:52
Kim, totally agree with you.

The more gadgets the less thinking one has to do.

Need to trade the 4by on a team of bullocks and a cart....lol.


Cheers.....Lionel.
AnswerID: 354578

Follow Up By: Member - BUNDY BOY (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 22:48

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 22:48
Lionel . had to say it......you may b better of ....bullocks wouldnt have gotten bogged

Sorry Bundy
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Follow Up By: Member - Lionel A (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 07:35

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 07:35
Yep, even sat in the bush waiting to rope a stray camel, hook it up to the snatch strap and hey presto.

The silly things one does when yourve go time on yer hands.

Cheers mate.

Lionel.
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Reply By: Member - Cram (Newcastle NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 19:57

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 19:57
My bush experience is limited and I agree it is about feeling prepared and comfortable. At this time I have not gone serious bush/4wdriving because I don't have the confidence to do it. No matter what gadgets I may have or not have.

What I do know is that I am slowly learning, from experience and from the knowledge of others. Several years ago I would never attempted to do some of the things I am doing, such as play around with 12 volt power.

Two years ago on Fraser Island I managed to use some gaffa tape and a stubby cooler to fix a split power steering house to get me off the Island. So I guess it's three fold confidence, prepardness and a willingness to lean. With or without gadgets you need all of these to experience our great land.
AnswerID: 354580

Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 20:01

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 20:01
G'day Kim


The electronic toys and gadgets certainly make things easier but I do have a normal Boy Scout Compass as backup. Its easy to find your way just taking into consideration the angle of the sun by day or the Southern Cross by night

Finding direction is not hard but you could become unstuck if you were one valley over to the west or the east or................

In 2006 we were looking for a particular valley to the south west of Mount Winter(100km west of Mereenie Loop Road, NT). Information was..."Its the one with the Big White Gum in the middle. We camped there". Even called the bloke in Melbourne via Satphone. "Yeah mate its 14km south west from that waterhole"

Bugga!....we crossed over 7 small valleys and found hundreds of white gums in each one. Had to give the game away by 2.30pm so that we could get back to camp some 30km from there before dark and the punctures were slowing us up!

I grew up in the bush and have pretty good sense of where I am in the deserts or open country. May get totally lost in forests, however.

Travelling through the scrub is in trackless country is always going to be a chanllenge and that is part of the adventure.

Cheers

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Follow Up By: Kim and Damn Dog - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 20:35

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 20:35
Gidday Willem

Please bear in mind there was a bit of tongue in cheek attached to my post. But the premise still remains as I’m sure you understand.

My reference to the tank mirrors your story. We finally found it, but got bushed in the process. As we did a few other times.

That's part of the adventure and risk.

Regards

Kim


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Follow Up By: Bob of KAOS - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 23:52

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 23:52
Willem,

out there August last year,Image Could Not Be Found

Bob
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Reply By: Crackles - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 20:31

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 20:31
"The inevitable result appears to be reluctance to turn the car into the bush and travel across country."
It may very well be a good thing that too many dont head cross country as with most things that get popular in the desert they will restrict/close off areas being damaged. With just occational use at least the desert has time to cover up the tracks.
Talking of gadgets it's interesting watching 4x4 beginners start with almost nothing & over time as they gain more experience, take more gear, fit more assesories. Before they know it they have 3 spares, HF, sat phone, epirb etc etc............ & the car is grossly overloaded but has everything expected today of an outback tourer.
Then over the next few years with a little more experience you see half this gear come off when they relize it's not really required at all & is just adding to their fuel consumption.
Only one thing better than driving over trackless country & that's walking a few KM's out in front of the cars each morning following the GPS. You get the full remote feeling then :-)
Cheers Craig..................
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Reply By: Member - Footloose - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 21:19

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 21:19
Personally I am in awe of good bushmen.
A minimalist camper on the move, leaving little but footprints.
Able to traverse unknown deserts by day or night, and knowing where he is and sensing the moods of the country.


A pity most of them are to be found in the history books ....present company excepted:))
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Follow Up By: Member - Lionel A (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 07:31

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 07:31
Footy, me to.
I've shifted my focus towards travelling little known, pioneering tracks and trails before they dissappear from history or over time.

Often, while camped, will marvel at the bloke who cut the track, how he did this or that, how he endured hardships, how he navigated, hunted for tucker and water etc.

After the missus has hit the tent I quitely sit by the dying fire for a while waiting for the ghost of the man to come sit beside me.

When he does, I jump out of my skin and dive straight into the tent.....lol.


Cheers.....Lionel.
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Follow Up By: Member - Footloose - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:56

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:56
Lionel, I woke up to your reply and laughed.
I've often thought "if only they could see us now what would they think."
I suspect that they'd be highly envious!
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Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 23:32

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 23:32
"I’ve come across roo shooters in the bush 250klms from the nearest town with no gadgets. The distinction between what they carry, compared to 4wd tourist is remarkable."
Personally I don't carry the weaponry that they have.
However, knowing where I am and being able to communicate has given me incredible freedom to go absolutely anywhere, limited only by fences I can't lower to drive over.

Bob
AnswerID: 354627

Follow Up By: get outmore - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 15:58

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 15:58
it wouldnt be often if ever you would find a roo shooter right out bush. theres hardly any roos out there. Most if not all roo shooters would be around the farms and stations because thats where the water infrastucture and grasslands are where roos abound . Roos are actually few and far between out bush - theres not much water or food for them
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Follow Up By: Axel [ the real one ] - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 09:25

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 09:25
Get outmore , no roos or roo shooters right out bush ?? you obviously havent been out central or western QLD recently ,,,,
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 11:55

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 11:55
Not recently but last time I was out there it was all station country
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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:31

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 08:31
G'day Kim,

I think that a lot of travellers have gone soft but not without good reason though! I would find it difficult to go mainly because the bride would not enjoy the experience and hence I would need to go alone. Also I still work so no real opportunity anyway.

There is also a large element of lost skills, simply we have adapted to the technology and have forgotten the basic skills or never knew them to start with but are now not in need of the old skills - which is a shame. I know there are a number of fellas here that do this stuff without their partners and I take my hat off to them.

We are lucky in Oz to still have places that offer this type of adventure. And I'm OK with the whole concept and the notion of the possible environmental damage as it rings hollow to me seeing as this is such a rare practice, as pointed out here, you'd have to wonder if we are not misplacing our concerns for the environment on this topic.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 354649

Reply By: Member - Wim (Qld) - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:06

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:06
Kim.

Have pondered your thoughts myself many times.
I have had the pleasure of meeting some very interesting people in my travels. The more their background is different from mine, the more interesting I find them.
In times gone by, a larger percentage of people were from a Non city backgrounds and as a consequence they developed skills their city cousins did not need.
This is not to say that given the opportunity the city slickers could not develop the same skills given the chance.
This site gives an insight into the variety of people looking to gain some of this experience.
Some on this site are very comfortable with their skill level and some acknowledge their total lack of knowledge.
For many people the bush (and their are many versions) they see is very alien to them, hence their need for some level of comfort. (gadgets)
On a recent trip, the group I was traveling with had a variety "city skills". During the trip one of the vehicles broke its sub frame.
The vehicle was going nowhere as it was. Four hours latter and after a "bush fix" the vehicle was able to be driven and made it home with that repair.
The questions you raise are valid but many yearn for their taste of the "bush" be that a different bush to others.
The main thing is that Australians continue to yearn for that bush experience and are given the chance to experience it.

Regards

Wim
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July 2012 - Hay River & Binns track
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:08

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:08
Hi Kim
There are two gadgets that we never leave home without, and have never failed us yet and they are the trusty GPS and Laptop.

True cross county travel is very hard on both vehicle and occupants, a fact that only a hand full of members here on EO can testify to.

Sure we take a hand held compass, but in the hard stuff, it is so easy to get off of course. We had made a few cross county ventures, all reasonably short compared to my 17 day/16 night cross country venture in the Upper Simpson desert.

Using Geosurvey Hill as our destination and as my main waypoint, it was a slow drag through virgin country, trying to pick the best location to get over some very large dunes. It does not take long to get off course as you would know, but the GPS always made sure how far out we were and to alter our course.

My hat goes of to Willem who did it the old fashion way, north to south with compass and sextant, they were the true cross country travellers.

The only down side with this form of travel, is the constant side wall mulga steak punctures, but that's another story.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: Axel [ the real one ] - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:11

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:11
Lots nowadays define "going bush" as staying in a caravan with all the bells and whistles 10klm away from the nearest McDonalds ,LOL.
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Reply By: HGMonaro - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:55

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 09:55
"The inevitable result appears to be reluctance to turn the car into the bush and travel across country. Personally I think this is a shame when there is so much opportunity out there"

Most people have no inclination/desire to do this.

Nige.
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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 11:08

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 11:08
Nige, you are so right - and I believe that's where the shame is! Maybe now with the economic downturn people will look to simpler forms of holidays - into their own backyard with what ever they have available at home, not having to rely on 5 star resorts catering for kids who are 'bored' so easily.
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Follow Up By: Kim and Damn Dog - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 16:44

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 16:44
Nige

That’s fair enough, and I’m not suggesting everyone should do it (for all sorts of reasons). However, I do strongly believe that it’s an opportunity lost if somebody doesn’t talk about it.

If people feel unsure about cross country travel, then I’d recommend a slow introduction. The easiest way to do this is to find a friendly cattle station and ask them if you can camp a couple of kms away from the homestead.

This will get you out in the bush with some assurance that the manager will come looking for you if something goes’ wrong. Just don’t buggar it up for the rest of us.

Regards

Kim
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Follow Up By: ob - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 18:33

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 18:33
Kim, mate, please stop suggesting ANYONE does it. It's getting crowded enough out there now. LOL (;0)))

Cheers ob
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Follow Up By:- Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 08:14

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 08:14
Well said ob. Why would you want to entice more people? One of the attractions of going bush is to escape the masses!
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Reply By: Rolly - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 12:12

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 12:12
My big eye opener was on a bush survival course when it became obvious that several of the farm boys had no idea how to light a fire without the aid of a cupful of diesel/petrol and, even worse, had no navigation skills whatever.
They could not answer even the simplest questions re. water sourcing.
AnswerID: 354693

Follow Up By: Member - Duke (TAS) - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 23:08

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 23:08
I learned my map reading and bush survival skills when i was a hired gunfighter for Bob Menzies (in the Army) in the Sixties.
Then it was off to Viet-nam and you certainly had to be spot on with the navigating. In a Section of 8 diggers 4 would be counting the paces while the section Commander studied the Compass.
If Arty or Mortars had to be called in for support you made sure when giving a Grid reference that it was spot on. No room for error there.
A GPS would have been an asset back in them days.
DUKE
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Reply By: The Explorer - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 02:15

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 02:15
Hello
Question has to be asked Kim - Do you really go bush? It’s all relative – e.g. Only way you’d get your 4WD gadget here (see below - pic from Tasmania) is by helicopter. Came across some Austrians with no gadgets but no roo shooters:)

Image Could Not Be Found

I think outdoor adventure is more about ones attitude, the people who you are with and the overall experience, doesn’t matter if you choose to use gadgets (including a 4WD), are on an established track, off a track or miles from a road up a mountain with all your food and accommodation on your back.

Main aim should be to admire, appreciate and respect the environment along with enjoying the company of your mates along with others you encounter. Turning “the car into the bush and travelling across country” is one option but it is by no means the be all and end all of “going bush” and in fact it’s not even a viable means of travelling into some of the most spectacular parts of Australia.

Cheers
Greg

PS
Could be wrong but reckon motivation for this thread has more to do with some campfire smoke blowing up Stanley’s Chasm than anything else:)..he he

I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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