Character camps

SOME of the more memorable campsites we have encountered will be listed on this page.

1. Poultons Pool, Derby-Gibb River Road, WA

THE moon is rising over the grotesque forms of the boab trees. I’m alone and a bit nervous as the sky is darkening.

A roaring waterfall is making it difficult to listen for the sound of approaching vehicles, and I must admit my imagination is getting a bit out of hand.

I’ve been left to start a “welcoming” camp fire while a couple of kilometres away my husband Paul, brother and sister-in-law are working with vehicles, snatch straps, shovels and recovery tracks to pull the Webster’s caravan out of a deep sand bog.

Above: Waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive – our little van looking “welcoming”.

Above: Looming boabs!

Despite this nerve-wracking start, we ended up spending three days in what turned out to be a magical little part of Australia.

We set up camp on a wide rock ledge alongside a waterhole fed by gushing cascades. The best part was having it all to ourselves, apart from the birds, an occasional kangaroo, and a couple of shy freshwater crocodiles.

Poulton’s Pool is listed on the Wikkicamps app – the five kilometre track in is a bit tricky to find and you’ll get no advice on it from the Derby Visitors Information Centre, as they “don’t support” free camping. Fair enough – there are a lot of commercial campgrounds out there trying to make a quid.

We kept to the rocky rapids for swimming, in case there were lurking saltwater crocs, and the fishing was occasionally promising. The boys caught some freshwater crayfish thingos (below) which were delicious butterflied on the barbie and served with lemon butter.

Can’t guarantee what this spot would be like at other times of the year. The water probably diminishes a lot as the Dry progresses, and any earlier than June, the track over black dirt plains would be quite boggy and treacherous. High clearance vehicles recommended, and only tow trailers etc suitable for off road conditions.

Oh and if you do camp here (or in any free camp, for that matter) have respect for the land and other people and TAKE YOUR RUBBISH WITH YOU!

Below: Yes, returned to the main road without a hitch!