There were two extremes in moods in the lead up to the Bunya Mountains camping trip for Steele Rudd. Aaron (Our Social Coordinator) advertised the camp, trademarked with a bear around college. I’m not sure if he was trying to scare people with the thought that drop bears may be real, or if bears were just his first mental image of camping and wilderness. In the end, only eight of us from college went.
The biggest challenge of the camp occurred before leaving on Saturday morning- strategically packing all of the camping gear and food into two vehicles. It was at this moment of crisis that luxury items or foods lacking high protein were eliminated (MASS GAINS!!! – 7/8ths of us were males). For obvious reasons, steak got preference over the doughnuts. Don’t worry, we didn’t waste the doughnuts, we just had to carb-load before leaving.
Being the only person in our vehicle who had been to the Bunya Mountains before meant I got the front seat because I was the navigator. Little to my immediate knowledge, being the front passenger also meant I controlled the music. Luckily I had music that was pleasing to the masculine ear as we lads hit the road in Steve’s dual-cab Ute. The excitement of leaving the confines of Steele Rudd College ran through our veins and we talked about what other trips we should make through the year – If only we had the time. The back seat passengers listened in, adding comments as their minds wandered away from the engineering assignment they were attempting as we traveled. Being the farmer kid I was growing up, it was nice driving through the country side, except that there was no grass anywhere due to the drought.
Before we knew it, we were climbing the winding roads admiring the views and anticipating better ones to come. We were surprised how many people were at the Bunya Mountains but it was very good weather to be camping. Arriving at the Burtons Well Camping Ground we decided to setup the camping equipment first so that we could make the most of the afternoon. Starving by now, we sifted through the food and decided that snags on bread with barbecued onion would be perfect for our late lunch. Speaking of barbecues, the cooking equipment provided was an open fire barbecue. It had been mentioned in the risk assessment forms prior to the trip that there was a chance the national park could go up in flames. Lighting a barbecue fire straight away put us at risk of this being a reality. Don’t worry, we were responsible… well… as responsible as we could be while almost delirious from starvation. We smashed down our food and realised there were no rubbish bins so improvised and reused the bread roll bags. Take note future campers – bring bin bags!
Now about 2:45pm we figured it was early enough to do a decent bushwalk. Choosing the 9km track ended up being about 12km because we decided to do the little detours along the way to see the extra lookouts and waterfalls (some of which weren’t even running due to the dry weather). This drew our day out till almost 6pm when we headed back to camp to start the BBQ up again for dinner. Aaron stepped up as cook for the much-anticipated steak ‘n’ bacon with salad on bread rolls. We all decided that the best steak was one that wasn’t cooked almost to the point of beef jerky. However, everyone ended up with near restaurant standard blue steaks, with the actual definition of “blue” steak slightly shocking some people. Did I mention that due to the small number of campers, there were enough to have about four each? The verdict was, ‘as long as we were fine in 48 hours’ time, we know it was cooked enough.’ As it turns out no one got sick, Kudos Master Chef Aaron! Having had sufficient to eat, we returned to the campfire, where we talked and laughed for several hours. Prior to leaving college, we predicted that we would be up all night entertaining ourselves around the fire, however we were all tired from our walking and laughing and hit the hay about 10pm.
We decided we would wake up at 5am the next morning and walk up the mountain near us to watch the sunrise. When the alarm went off at 5am I felt way too buggered to get up, it seems others were the same and we all slept in until nearly 7am. When we got up we realised that the view would have been very limited anyway because there was really thick fog and the sun made the whole place a big, bright blur. After eating as much of the leftover food as we could, kicking the football around and packing away the camping gear, we ventured up the mountain for our last climb of the trip. I had been to the Bunya Mountains in the past and promised that this was the best lookout yet. It was only a short walk but there were enquiries from the back light-heartedly questioning the purpose of the climb. Once we reached the top, all doubts were erased.
The fog had cleared and everyone had learned to trust my judgment. After seeing all there was to see, we walked back down the mountain, returned to camp, connected up the Bluetooth and cranked the tunes for the trip back. Before we knew it we were back and checking ourselves for ticks. The trip was thoroughly enjoyable and we have plenty of stories to tell and laugh about.
If you read this and were there, you will relate. If you didn’t go, I hope this doesn’t make you too jealous, and for anyone else, I hope you enjoyed the journey.
Until next time,