While we were planning our trip to Australia, our Danish traveler had an idea.
After being flat-out rejected, she came back with another idea.
That’s how, several weeks later, we found ourselves driving to what seemed to be The Middle of Nowhere, Australia. This bush camp is located near Finch Hatton Gorge, a rainforested area by the coast of Queensland. After hours of driving past farmhouses, fields, and forest, we finally pulled into the camp.
The camp owner, an eccentric old man named Wazza, waved his mid-day beer in greeting. He had totally forgotten that he had guests staying that day.
He led us down a narrow, forested pathway through the rainforest. My friends and I marveled at the place, apparently built entirely by Wazza himself. Interestingly enough, Wazza didn’t always live in the bush. According to him, he actually grew up near Sydney! But I guess that, at some point, he grew disenchanted with the city, preferring a simpler life closer to nature.
While the platypus bushcamp welcomes campers, my friends and I were there for something a little more high-class. Wazza, in addition to his house, a kitchen, and a bathroom with showers, built four small, open-air huts for guests to sleep in.
The platypus bushcamp isn’t named that for nothing: platypuses really live at the camp. There’s a swimming hole in the camp…
…where platypuses actually live.
In fact, the whole area is known for being one of the only places platypuses reside. My friends and I took the chance to drive through Eungella National Park, where we tried to see if we could spot a platypus.
We also took a quick walk through the forest to see the Araluen Cascades.
We soon returned to the camp, hoping to avoid driving in the dark. Besides, we needed to cook dinner– there aren’t many restaurants in the middle of a national park, after all.
When we returned, though, we found out that we were no longer the only visitor.
One of Wazza’s friends, a wildlife photographer, had decided to randomly drop by for the first time in four years. You wouldn’t have known it, though, as Wazza greeted him like family. The two had met when the photographer was taking photos by a stream near the camp. Wazza went down to berate him, thinking the photographer was a rogue fisherman. After clearing up the misunderstanding, the two became friends. The photographer frequently stayed at Wazza’s camp.
The sun began to set, so it was time to make dinner.
The majority of Wazza’s camp does not have electricity. The bathroom is dark, the huts are dark. Only Wazza’s house and the kitchen have lighting. Unfortunately, the kitchen lights were not working while we were there, so we wielded both frying pans and flashlights that night.
Well, I guess we also had these old oil lanterns as well.
But by some miracle, we managed to cook our meatballs and boil our spaghetti…
…and even got to hear some of the photographer’s adventures.
And then it was off to bed.
The platypus bushcamp is beautiful, without a doubt. There’s nothing quite like being in the middle of that rainforest, knowing that you’re surrounded by miles and miles of the wildest forest. Of course, this means that there’s the wildest of the wildlife as well.
Despite what the brochures claim, there were creepy-crawlies around as well.
It was alright, though. Our bedsheets, damp from the rainforest humidity, was protected by a mosquito net. And besides, we had Rocky the grumpy cockatoo…
…and Wazza’s dog, “Dog”
…to keep us safe.
The next morning, Wazza saw us off.
I can’t be Wazza, I guess– once a city girl, always a city girl.
Though I can appreciate a little nature once in a while.