Before I begin, please note it is an official campsite and we've kept to the rules. Please follow your area's guidelines and don't accept what I say in here as fact for every campsite. Every place has their own rules.



The specific campsite we went to is called Eungella dam. It's on top of mountain Eungella in tropical QLD. The picture above shows the gorgeous views when you finally reach the top of the mountain. You'll drive through the amazing rainforests, before reaching the more dry campgrounds. Roads turned to gravel with some potholes and many cattlegrids. Every once in a while we'd have to significantly slow down as the cattle would be standing on the road themselves. Here I saw an amazing cow tend to her young, who was curious to our vehicle. The mother used her body to physically block the calf who didn't want to do anything more than to curiously greet our vehicle. We made sure to drive at near walking speed, just in case the calf got the best of her, but the remainder of the cattle jumped into action, helping the mother keep her calf safe and get him away from the road. As someone who had never seen anything like this before, this was an amazing show of love and intelligence in nature. I watched a herd take care of each other and their young.
I was the one driving, relatively inexperienced on these type of roads. I originate from The Netherlands, where everything is smooth roads or slightly lumpy brick roads at worst. Driving over dirt roads felt similar to driving on ice - to me. It's dry seasons and we hadn't had rain in a couple of weeks. It was dusty, but luckily not muddy and slippery. Even when the wheels slip, controlling the speed of your vehicle and simply staying calm makes sure nothing happens. I've seen many others didn't take up to those tips (or were in better vehicles with better traction! I was in an old city car and we looked completely out of place between the utes and 4-wheelers) and there were remains of many popped wheels.


Eungella Dam

Once arrived, we enjoyed the gorgeous views before picking a campsite. It was rather busy at the time and we didn't want to be too far from the provided toilets (such a luxury - we were prepared by bringing a shovel otherwise). We looked for a spot with fewer people and somewhere our vehicle could reach. Many roads were too harsh for our small vehicle as they were dug out by small rain channels, creating deep grooves. Any better a vehicle could have easily reached the other side. That being said, there was still plenty of space for those of us in lesser vehicles, or carrying campers. We picked a spot on the corner of the campsite. We arrived on a Friday and our nearest neighbour was around a 100 meters away. On Saturday we got more neighbours, though still at a fair distance, until Sunday we got a group af kids about 40 meters away. Which, in all fairness, still allowed for plenty of space. In other locations they were huddled much closer together.
Depending on which side of the campsite you were, meant if you got lots of morning or evening sun. We had picked a morning sun location, meaning sun would rise for us around 6am. Whilst I am not an early bird, I do sleep very light. This meant that we knew the wildlife would wake me as soon as the sun rose either way, so we might as well have a little sunlight when I got up.


The Location

When we first picked the location and took a minute for ourselves to just enjoy the ambiance, there was a small herd nearby. These cows were quite used to people, though if you got too close they'd warn you. With any bad luck they'd likely chase you away. Other than that they were quite peaceful and if you approached gently they'd simply move out of your way and let you pass. This distance was also where we tried setting up our tent. As such we ran into our first real problem! It was rather windy that Friday and our tent nearly blew away, meaning my partner or myself had to hold on to it at all times until the pegs were in properly. That brought us our second problem! While the ground seemed a mix of grassy and sandy up on the small mound, in reality there was rock, probably 2 meters under the surface. No matter where we tried up on it, it was impossible. So we picked up our tent and walked it down under the tree you see on the left. By this time the herd had moved on to a different spot, so we didn't need to disturb them.


Our setup

We took a very basic approach to everything. We had a car, a tent and some tools. Food was kept in an esky, which we kept in the shade. It was filled with ice and some food. We didn't bring much as we were both very inexperienced and this was very muchly a trial run for all of our new equipment. As you can see, we moved the tent onto the beach/sand, rather than on the higher area above. Most of our equipment was bought from BCF, as they ran some amazing discounts. In this picture we've only set up the ground pegs, but later on the wind picked up worse and we set up the lines as well. Only reason we hadn't at that point, was because we were in dry season and we did not have any rain.
We brought some luxuries with us though; a torch, a lantern, electric pump for the air mattress and some batteries for torch and phones. Whilst there was no service up there, it was nice to have your phone charged either way. Especially as the sun went down rather early at around 7pm.
We had a large air mattress, to fit my partner and myself, but also our dog Bella. She got cold at night and wished to sleep close to us. As the temperatures were high for this time of the year, my partner and I shared a sleeping bag by unzipping it and sleeping under it. In case we got cold, we also brought warm clothing.



As you can see, we only brought a plate to put over the fire for our food. We brought a simple BBQ meat pack, just having hamburgers and sausages. We also got lucky that someone left some wood nearby, making our first night very easy! Our specific location allowed for scavenging, so long as you didn't cut down any trees. I must tell you, ironbark roasted sausages were one of the best sausages I'd ever eaten in my entire life. On top of that, as the sun sunk below us, the mountains turned a beautiful red colour. Can't deny I slept amazing that night.


So what food did we bring?

Well, in reality we didn't bring much. We weren't sure how the esky would last and didn't want to bring too much that needed to be kept cool. So really, be brought only some meat and bread in the esky. Just enough for that night itself - though seeing as we had leftovers we had a couple of sausages the day after as well. For the other days we had either noodles or some tinned hotdogs.
We kept in mind that we were in a nature reserve, and would bring mostly one-use items as well. All of our single-use items were recyclable! Our forks were made from bamboo, paper plates and paper cups! So even if the wind were to sweep anything away, or it turned night sooner than we anticipated and couldn't find everything to throw out (we brought trash bags), it would not harm the wildlife as it'd simply decompose. Luckily we didn't need that feature as we tried keeping our camp clean and safe for wildlife, but the assurance was rather nice.


The mornings

The early 5:30am morning was still quite cold as the sun hadn't made it's way over the mountains yet. I put on a pair of old jogging pants and an average t-shirt and used the coals from last night to restart our fire. Other than the first fire, we haven't actually needed our matches anymore. We simply carefully stacked some wood and leaves over the coals and with some full lungs of air we made them light up within a minute each time. In saying this... DO NOT BURY YOUR FIRE UNDER SAND. The coals will keep burning and heat up the sand significantly! On top of this, you can't recognise it as a fire anymore and anyone walking over it would burn themselves significantly. We were 2 hours away from the nearest hospital at least, so that would not have been a fun trip for the person. When time came for us to leave we doused the fire with water, making sure all the coals were no longer lit and no heat came from the spot anymore. Was this right? I certainly hope so.
Either way, as you can see I wore long pants. I wore them for a total of maybe half an hour, as the second the sun hit the area heated up immediately. And the small fire kept my feet warm.


Saturday Morning, rather misty day until sun rose.


Sunday morning, clouds left soon after the run came over the mountains.



For drinks we brought a billy (as shown above). In the early mornings once I'd woke up a little I'd fill it with water and hang it above the flames (it can also be put in coals, but this was more fun). Once the water reached it's boiling point I'd set it aside and wake my partner with a lovely cup of tea. We brought sugar and long-life milk as it doesn't necessarily need cooling (so long as you don't let it get over a certain temperature either). The mornings were rather peaceful, as everyone had the same, relaxed awakening under early sunlight and singing birds.



Our lovely dog Bella would spend the mornings with me. She greatly enjoyed the calm and had lots of fun running around and even swimming with us. The cows were quite used to dogs, though if they got too close to their young, they'd chase them off. We learned this rather quickly as our dog sprinted back to us because I forgot to hook up her leash. This was fully my mistake, but as soon as the cow saw that I grabbed my dog she stopped, huffed and walked back to her herd.
Please note that this was incredibly dumb and not advised whatsoever! Please keep your dogs leashed at all times. My dog simply went to say hi to the cows as we have two of them in our backyard back at home. The three of them are friendly around each other. Bella figured these cows were going to have the same behaviour and let her near the calves to play.

Oh wow um... I can't find my other pictures! Ouch!
Otherwise, we cleaned up our camp. Picked up trash from ourselves and others! Please do not shy away from picking up other people their trash! Yes, it's an inconvenience, but imagine the poor wildlife chocking on it! Please keep nature clean and preferably in a better way than when you arrived. Do not take its beauty for granted!