Our guide to camping success
You don’t need to be an expert at camping to enjoy getting into the bush, and these tips will help you enjoy this unique accommodation, without the worry.
Walk into a camping store or glance at any camper trailer towing a 4WD and you could think going camping means gearing up to go into battle. Weapons to harpoon fish, camouflaged watercraft, jackets and tents and enough 12-volt lighting to host an evening footy match.
How much stuff do you really need to make camping comfortable?
Our camping expert guide below is going to help you be confident to strike out, pitch a tent and feed the family under the stars, without needing to spend the national defence budget of a small country.
There are a few points to consider about where you are going before deciding on gear, so let’s cover what we know.
Finding the right place
This guide is going to assume you are camping at a safe, easy to get to campsite with running water, proper flushing toilets and no rampaging elephants – pretty easy to find in Australia. Things to think about when selecting a camping ground.
Activities nearby. Some spots are great for a night but if you want to stay for a weekend or longer, what activities are nearby? The Stirling Ranges National park offers hiking and wildflower walks. Our camping accommodation near Bluff Knoll and 20-years of experience in helping campers, has led us to put this guide together.
Most caravan parks will offer powered (more on this later) and unpowered camping and caravan sites.
Camp kitchen facilities such as fridges, bbqs and cooktops mean you don’t have to bring an entire kitchen setup with you in the boot. Our’s happens to also be the home of the Bluff Knoll Ski Club Headquarters where you can relax in this indoor/outdoor camp lounge.
If you don’t have a 4WD, ensure the campsite is accessible to 2WD vehicles. You will find Mt. Trio after a sealed bitumen road all the way from Perth and a short, 1 ½ km drive on a good quality gravel driveway.
Ideally you want flat and clear sites for swags, tents, campervans, caravans, camper trailers and RVs. You need a flat spot to ensure you get a good nights sleep.
Fires are a great part of camping and althought private fires aren’t allowed at Mt Trio as its next to a National Park, there is a central communal fire pit for everyone to enjoy in winter months. You’ll find camp fires are generally not allowed during the summer season at many places in WA.
Preparing your Vehicle
Give your car a once over
- service date,
- water (radiator fluid),
- the spare tyre and
- tyre pressures.
Fill up with fuel whenever you get to half full – you never know where the next fuel station is.
Know how much gear you can take
Before writing out the full wish list of camping goodies you want to take, you need to know how much gear you can take with you.
Unless you are walking out your front door with a pack on your back, you are going to be driving to your campsite.
We get all sorts of vehicles and camp gear at Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park from bicycles, motorbikes, 2WD, 4WD with big rigs to buses.
You can park your vehicle next to your camp and that’s the same in most places
Packing your car.
Do you have roof racks?
Packing tents, tables, popup gazebos and chairs on the roof is a great option. Just always assume it might rain and anything you put on your roof will get wet. Also you need to make sure you tie down your gear properly with straps, not rope.
Do you have a tow ball for a trailer?
For families with a car full of people, taking a small trailer camping can be great to bring those larger items like eskys, bikes, gazebos and tables but keep in mind that in WA there is a 100km speed limit when driving with a trailer.
How many people are going to be in the car?
Without roof racks or a trailer and 4 people in the car, you are going to have to be minimalistic in your gear and creative in how you pack! Top tip, all sleeping bags and pillows can go on the back seat with the kids or wrap your sleeping bags up with your swags.
Plan your stops
At Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park, our closest fuel stop is 15km away, which isn’t far as long as you’re not on “empty”.
Know your drive times and spots to stop on the way.
eg. there is a great drive to the Stirling Ranges – the Horsepower Hwy tractor drive from Gnownagerup to the Stirling Ranges.
Plan your drive time so you arrive at your campsite during daylight. Most campsites have a closing time and also there is wildlife on the road during dawn and dusk which makes for very hazardous driving conditions.
Before leaving home check the coverage of your RAC roadside breakdown cover.
If you have a city policy you may only have a 20km tow available if you need rescuing.
Talk to your insurer about your options if you are venturing into the more remote areas.
Dead roos are a sad and all too common sight on the side of our roads.
As sad as it is to see, it is also a reminder that the risk of hitting one is very real on Australian roads.
Kangaroos and wildlife are most active at dawn and dusk and often feed on the new grass shoots watered from the condensation runoff from the road – or they are just on the move crossing the road in groups.
Key considerations as a driver if you do have a roo jump in front of your car – break gently but firmly, not suddenly and never never swerve.
You are better off hitting the roo than running off the road and hitting a tree or having a head on collision with oncoming traffic.
Cook and freeze meals ahead of time to take with you.
Download playlists of music and some movies for the drive.
Organise pet sitting as quite often pets aren’t allowed in campgrounds and are definitely not allowed in National Parks.
At Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park you can book online or send us an email. It’s always best to book ahead.
We’re happy to help.
Are you going to book a powered or unpowered site?
What’s the difference anyway? People with caravans usually like a powered site and even people in tents that just want to charge their torches and phones.
Just bring a normal extension lead or power board to plug into the power stalk.
Unpowered sites can still access all amenities and you can also charge your devices in the camp kithcen.
Make sure your car can get there
It’s bitumen all the way to our campground, but others may be harder to get to. Check out the road conditions and make sure you don’t need a 4WD.
The Stirling Range is a 5 hour drive from Perth. Figure out what time you need to leave to be here safely, in daylight to set up camp.
No naked flames
Many camps have camp kitchens to cook in. However, if you’d like to bring your own bbq too thats fine – just remember no naked flames.
Gas BBQ’s are fine.
In Spring, Mt Trio Guided Wildflower – Orchid Walks operate daily and are an amazing way to see the stunning orchids and spring flowers. Bookings are required.
As with most places if you can, it’s best to book in advance.
Google what the local activities are where you are going and find out how you book. Also do you need any gear for these activities?
There’s so many things you can do when you’re out camping – hiking, searching for wildflowers, are just a few.
You may also need to pay National Park fees – check it out at https://exploreparks.dbca.wa.gov.au/fees
Food and Drink
Everyone needs to have and carry their own water bottle. You can fill up your bottle with water before you leave – with sweet mountain rainwater here at Mt Trio and wherever you stay they will most likely have drinking water for daily use.
Top up your caravan water tanks at home though before you leave as in the country water is precious and limited.
What cold storage do you have?
An esky with ice? A car fridge?
How far away is the nearest shop?
You see at Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park the nearest shops are 50km away. You can always shop in Gnowangerup on the way to us but make sure that you time your journey to pass through during daylight shopping hours.
Check out to see where the nearest shops are on your camping trip.
What won’t the kids eat?
Plan each meal before you go. This may take a little thought but it means you’ll be organised and so much more relaxed on your trip. When you get asked by the kids at breakfast, “what’s for dinner” – you’ll be able to tell them!
Think ahead for each days:
Also camping is a perfect opportunity for the kids to pitch in and help. Allocate job nights for your kids to cook dinner and always rotate the washing up between the kids.
Whatever you do, if a camp fire is allowed, make sure you have marshmallows for toasting and making smores, and flour, milk and honey to make damper on a stick.
Here at Mt Trio Bush Camp the camp kitchen is fairly luxurious.
It’s the hive of activity of a night with people bbqing their chops and snags or cooking up a curry on the cooktop or sometimes just heating up their tinned spaghetti in the microwave.
Find out if your campground has a camp kitchen
If so what facilities does it have?
Are there BBQ and cooktops?
Are there fridges or do they sell ice?
Eskys, are a good choice but manage your ice and keep them under a tree in the shade.
Are open fires allowed? Usually it’s a central fireplace and only during the winter months.
Around the Campfire
For the winter you will need:
- Marshmallows for toasting
- Flour and milk for making damper on a stick
Don’t be a rubbish camper
It’s a well-known tradition amongst campers to “always leave your camp as you found it”. So, remember take your rubbish home with you.
Make sure your list includes:
- Tables and chairs
- Washing up gear, bucket to wash up in or carry dishes to the camp kitchen
- Washing detergent/sponge/tea towels x 2
- Spare containers
- Matches or gas lighter
- Pots and fry pan
- Sharp Knives/Spatula/Ladle/Whisk/Tongs/Can Opener/Bottle Opener
- Chopping board x 2
- Plates/Bowls/Cups/Camping Glasses/stubby holders
- Salad Bowl x 2
- Oil and butter
- Salt & Pepper
- Containers for leftover food and to dry food
- Tea/coffee/milo/hot chocolate and long life milk
- Alfoil/baking paper
- 15 litre water container
- Don’t forget – everyone needs their own water bottle for a days outing
- Rubbish bags
Shelter and Comfort
Whats the weather report ?
This is important, especially where we live in the Stirling Ranges near the South Coast of WA. We have all seasons.
Every week we look ahead at the weather report………. Is it going to rain, snow, its it going to be cold or hot? We plan our days and weeks around the weather.
If it’s going to be a hot one, we get up early to climb a mountain and are back by lunchtime to relax for the rest of the day.
When you arrive at your campground, do a quick weather check and have a look around at your site. To see what’s sheltered from the wind or sun. Have a think about what your needs/wants are but remember all sites are good in different ways.
Here at Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park , some sites are more sheltered from the wind; other sites have great views; there are sites that are ideal if you have little kids and want to be close to toilets; and other sites that are great for family groups.
Remember to bring:
- A ground sheet to put your tent on. This gives you an added layer of protection and stops your tent getting too dirty or wet.
- Your tents (yes sometimes people forget the obvious).
- Your tent pegs – these often get left behind.
- A rubber mallet or hammer to get the pegs securely into the ground.
- Self inflating mattress or swag.
- Sleeping bags or a warm doona.
- Pillows and alternatives. You can always improvise …..We forgot our pillows last camping trip so we rolled up our jackets and put them into our sleeping bag covers.
- Pop-up gazebos for shelter during the day.
- Little shovel in case it rains and you need to dig a little trench to divert water.
- AND YOUR TORCH.
Plan your trip ahead of time.
You might want to book a tour. For example in the Stirling Ranges we have a special app to help you enjoy your stay.
Check out stirlingrangetrails.com.au before you leave home and download it to your phone as an app, so you can then see what mountains to climb and drives to do. It will even help you get to Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park.
You can also see where the wildflower tours are in the spring.
Remember to bring:
- Torches not only for a game of spotto but also to find your way to the toilet of a night.
- A water bottle.
- Sensible clothing for the mountains. Check out the Bureau of Meterology site to see what the weather forecast is.
- In all cases you must bring:
- A jacket as it can always be colder on top of the mountain than at camp.
- Slip Slop Slap – Sunscreen/hats/long sleeve shirts/long pants/sunglasses.
- Sensible footwear – Hiking boots/good runners sensible shoes.
- Insect repellent – remember it’s Australia and you’re with nature, so you’ll probably have some flies/mosquitos and even some ants joining you.
- Phone and camera chargers.
- Luxuries – Thongs for the shower/hot water bottle.
Welcome to natures playground
Build a cubby house, explore a bush trail, ride your bikes on the gravel road.
Bush Camps usually don’t have jumpy castles – nature is the playground, kids can build cubbies, ride their bikes around, take a walk or at Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park, we often see a hotly contested table tennis challenge going on between family members.
- Bring out your games and have a great time
- There’s much laughter over a game of cards
- Board games
- Footy or a soccer ball
- Cricket bat and ball
- Colouring in for the kids – or adults!
- Bird, star, wildflower spotting books
- Maps are fun for kids and adults.
- Headphones for the phone, iPad in the car
- But don’t pack your drone – as other campers like their privacy too.
Camping is so much fun and your kids will love it.
Just like at home, use common sense and remember you can always ask your camp host or other travellers if you are not sure.
Let your family know where you are traveling to when you expect to return.
Choose a walk or hike or activity that suits your fitness level and abilities. Ask fellow campers for advice and tips.
Remember to stay on the trail at all times or if boundaries. And have fun.
On your activities always take more water than you think you’ll need and some snacks but don’t overload your pack as it will be too heavy to carry. It’s best if everyone takes their own back pack.
Always travel with a First Aid Kit and any regular medicines.
Alert2Me app – https://a2m.cloud/
And don’t forget your Sunscreen/hat/long sleeve shirt.
- Remember you may not have phone coverage all the time whilst camping/hiking.
“Be prepared” is the old campers motto and it’s so true
Your trip will be so much better if you do some research beforehand. Talk to people that have camped before and others who have travelled to the area.
Take a small overnight camping trip close to home as a trial. You’ll find out what you’re missing or if you’ve taken too much with you.
Above all though, just have fun, you’ll be making memories with your kids and loved one’s that will last forever.
If you have any questions about the sites at our campsite or the facilities, please drop us a line.
We will respond to your message as soon as possible but this may be the following day.