Anthony McEwen

My grandparents had a homestead in Katoomba, NSW, perched high on the cliffs above the Jamison Valley. The Blue Mountain’s most famous treks were literally at my front door. This is where I was lucky enough to cut my camping teeth as a young boy.

I love the mountains and the vast plains west of the divide. But my great passion is the coast. For me, camping is synonymous with fishing and 4WDriving endless untouched beaches. I’ve shared this with my family, and now I’m lucky enough to share it with readers like you.

I’m a high school history teacher with an eclectic professional background that’s taken me from building and construction to playing Hamlet in live theatres. I ran a management consultancy for 12 years until my kids demanded more attention. Somehow, I drifted into writing.

The freelance life has enabled me to travel the world. As much as I love visiting foreign shores, I could spend the rest of my days camping throughout Australia’s unique and stunning wilderness.

Anthony Recommends: Camping Apps to Cross the Bite

I was late to the party with camping apps. So, I downloaded WikiCamps Australia and did a little research. Confident this was as useful as I’d heard, my wife and I decided to make our way from Newcastle to Perth using the app alone, with very limited planning.

There’s 4000km of camping opportunity between us and our destination. That’s an astonishing distance, with much of it Aussie wilderness we’d never seen.

We found easy overnight stopovers all along the way. Places like Fowlers Bay (SA) and Quagi Beach (WA) became all-time favourites. The WikiCamps reviews and insights were very accurate. Knowing we could consult the app and stop whenever the mood took us added a new level of spontaneity to our camping adventures.

If you’re going to cross the bite via the Eyre Highway, give yourself 5 days, and use a good camping app to guide you to magic places you might otherwise have missed.

Anthony’s Favourite Australian Adventures

The eight years I spent living abroad was spectacular. Glamping in Khao Sok, Thailand, was a highlight. Fishing Romania’s Danube Delta, camped by the Black Sea another. Spectacular, yes. But nothing comes close to my favourite Australian camping adventures.

Cape York, North Queensland, 2012

Getting to Cape York via the Tele Track is an iconic 4WD challenge. Doing it right on the heels of the wet season run-off makes things a little trickier. Regardless, my family of three and my best mate’s family of three was hitched and ready. With three kids under the age of nine, what could possibly go wrong?

2 days in and, unfortunately, we’d drowned one of the 4WDs. Crock paranoia stopped us walking a dodgy-looking creek crossing - guessing the best route across this swollen creek proved a bad idea. I managed to winch out the 4WD before all was lost.

A day and a half of track-side bush mechanics and the Navara was running. The kids took it in their stride, assuming all this was normal. The traffic was non-existent, and we had the beautiful tropical wilderness to ourselves. We were the only people at the famous Fruit Bat Falls - a rare occurrence we later discovered. Safe swimming opportunities are a little rare on the Tele.

With radio rumours of worsening creek crossings, we cut the Tele and headed for Vrilya point. Access is via a log bridge over Crystal Creek, and it isn’t for the faint-hearted. The tension was worth it, as the next 4 days were tropical perfection. Stunning camping, great fishing, and no one else for hundreds of miles. And this was just the beginning of our 3 month trip of a lifetime.

Fowlers Bay, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, 2019

I’d traveled the Eyre Highway quite a few times before, but I was always on some sort of mission or deadline. Heading west, but with time on our hands, my wife and I decided to check out Fowlers Bay. It’s an old whaling station turned whale haven, a short detour off the Eyre, 650 km west of Adelaide.

Intending on a one-hour stickybeak, we didn’t leave Fowler's Bay until three days later. The local shop proprietor steered us in the direction of the sand dunes. She said there are no tracks once you’ve entered, and you’re kind of on your own – and we were. Having restocked at Port Augusta, we were well supplied and ready for anything.

The dunes were pristine and breathtaking, and the windless 27-degree days scorching. The long beaches were straight out of a postcard, as were the rugged imposing headlands. I could see the schools of fish, the water was so clear.

Over the next three days, we were joined by several curious seals and flocks of the increasingly rare Sooty Oyster Catcher. The only other people we saw for the whole time were a group of bird watchers, intrigued by the numbers of Sooties. We fell in love with the perfect peace and the pure energy of the wild southern coast. Fowlers Bay is so much more than just a detour. We stayed another three days on our return leg from the west.

Woody Head, Bunjalung National Park, Northern NSW

Woody Head campground sits on the Northern NSW coastline, 10km short of the quiet fishing village of Iluka. This is our place to wind down, reconnect with nature, and forget about life for a while. It’s a rock fisherman’s paradise we’ve returned to for as long as I can remember.

It’s a beautifully maintained campground with great facilities and limited camping spaces. While camping is so often about discovery and isolation, it is also about familiarity and community. Here we’re sharing Aussie wilderness at its best, even though the IGA is only a short drive from the park. Easy camping is great for carefree relaxation.

The roos laze by your feet and the goannas join you at your campsite. I’ve witnessed sunsets so perfect, they would look too contrived in a painting to be believable.

This will be my next destination, again.

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