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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

Camping in the bush at Honeymoon Pool, Western Australia

There is something primal about a campfire. The heat it generates warms your body whilst the flickering flames are almost hypnotising. The smell of the burning wood in a campfire is comforting.

Since cavemen rubbed two sticks together and created fire, a campfire has the ability to gather people around it and socialise together. Many of the other campers and myself cooked over the flames, then sat around drinking, sharing stories and getting to know each other. This is a great part of camping, learning about others. Gelcoat Campground at Honeymoon Pools has several campfire pits near the 7 campsites. Free firewood had been delivered to the site.

Someone once said that going camping was spending a lot of money to live like a poor person. That can be true, it can be costly to set up, but compared to the cost of staying in hotels - it can work out cheaper. Rather than being confined within the four walls of a motel, you are out in nature, part of a larger group.

People are friendlier too. Each time I passed another camper they would smile and wave in greeting, sometimes stopping for a chat.

At $11 per night to stay in Gelcoat, this does not include a flush toiler or showers, just access to a long drop toilet, firewood, your tent spot and the use of water, picnic table and chairs, and the fire pits. I considered it a bargain. There is one tap for water, signposted "boil before drinking". You definitely need a car to get here, and it is easily accessed on paved roads and a short dirt track, suitable for 2WD vehicles.

What is there to do at Honeymoon Pools without electricity? I hiked, took photos, read a book, wrote some articles and relaxed. Observing other campers I saw them hiking, bush walking, admiring nature, enjoying the forest, relaxing, swimming, sitting and watching the brook, reading a book, writing, playing an instrument, spending time with family and friends, playing board games, playing cards, chatting, toasting marshmallows, taking photos.

I adore nature and there are so many shades of green here, from moss covering dead tree trunks and scattered grasses to the different leaves high in the overhead tree foliage.

The walk was so peaceful. I wish I could paint and attempt to capture the beauty of the forest. Instead, I hope my photos portray even a fraction of the majesty of the Jarrah, Marri and Yarri trees.

Birds chirp in the undergrowth, the stream trickles and babbles as it cascades over rocks, occasionally you can hear the voices of hikers chatting.

It is also the sounds that you don;t hear that make camping wonderful. The sounds of silence. There is no hurry to do things out here, no watching the clock. Let your body wake up when it wants to. Even a weekend break will make you slow down and take time out, refreshing both your body and spirit.

Just over two hours south of Perth, Honeymoon Pool is in Wellington National Park and has two camping areas, Gelcoat where I stayed, and Stones Brook. Stones Brook is $15 a night per person, and has flush toilets, no showers. They also have a bush kitchen available, and most sites have their own picnic tables and individual fire pits. Bookings need to be made online before arriving, both campsites are extremely popular, and you don't want to just turn up and find you have nowhere to stay.

The ducks here are friendly, overly so. As people feed them, they are brave, and one duck will steal a sandwich from your lap after a first, decoy duck pecks you on the leg. (Yes, that happened to me), The ducks will also hop up on the table and steal the toast you are cooking (Yes, that also happened to me). All food needs to be kept in well sealed containers. They can even break open packets (yes, also happened to me!) Photo below is pre-duck theft breakfast.

My four nights away camping left me craving a shower, but totally refreshed and feeling ready to conquer just about anything. Being out in nature grounds you.

Happy Travels!

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