June 2016: It was not always "Beyond the Crowds," that was more trans Africa/Asia! Nevertheless, this new addition to our website is a work in progress as we select images from hundreds to form a gallery of our most memorable wilderness campsites; to begin with, Iceland fares well in this regard.
Where else could we have camped alongside a still active lava flow other than central Iceland where it was an approach at your own risk scenario at that time; we got little sleep because the ground was so hot under our camper wheels that they started to smell and at 3am, we decided to get the hell out of there but not before we used our long camera lens to grab some extreme close ups of the still active explosive lava fissures.
Perhaps an even more reflective campsite was this one below in Sweden and remember, when I say campsite, it's never a commercial site ever; Norway and Sweden were full of such wild places; after Sweden, lets have a look at four more examples of serene campsites but this time in new Zealand, also full of such tranquil places to sleep.
Such examples as the last three are not found easily, one has to travel off the beaten track to find them but the one below made use of a carpark by Lake Matheson shown here reflecting Mt Cook & Mt. Tasman (on left)..
If we came across a geographic feature that interested us we often camped nearby to that we could hike to there the following day. You will have to look very hard to spot our tiny home(RR2) camped down in the the centre of the river bed far below; look for the white top roof. The "Clay Cliffs" are located near Omarama, Sth. Isle. N.Z. We had better access to the mauve formations shown below but it was a rough track to get there. Alberta, Canada.
Nothing like having an entire ski resort to yourself, didn't happen much but it did here on Round Hill N.Z where there was no accommodation so everyone vacated the area for the night and returned in the morning; all except us of course who simply remained in the car park & had an incredibly quiet, pitch black, fabulously starry night. On the other hand, we never had quiet nights at Les Arcs France, pictureI below and we can say the same for the many other ski resort carparks we slept in. I guess we'll never know how many thousands of dollars we saved on accommodation throughout two ski seasons by living in carparks and using the resort washrooms. True there were hardships at times but the direct access to the main cable car was a tremendous advantage we being among the first to get a ride and also, it was a few paces to our home for really cheap coffee and lunch.
Sitting in our RR2 with the kettle on for our coffee, we warm up with a hot meal of rolled oats laced with brown sugar as we watch the crush to be first up on the slopes at Canazei, Italy; by the time we have finished breakfast, we'll be able to walk right up to the gondola and with a short wait, ride in comfort; yet another example of the great time we had in Europe moving from resort to resort paying only the cost of a lift ticket. Mind you, living in carparks wasn't always fun and below in Gaschurn, Austria, we had to dig our way out to move to the next area.
It was an anything but a quiet night here either with lions calling all around and a raucous cacophony of hyenas as well; we knew there had to be a kill nearby with all the fuss so we kept the fire busy during our evening coffee. Kruger Nat. Park, Sth. Africa. We rarely used campsites in the wildlife parks, we hated being locked in at night.
Turned back from Tan-Tan by the Moroccan army, we were warned to leave the area ASAP because of current fighting there with the Polisario Front. Unaware of what will follow next we attempt to hide RR2 among strange rocky outcrops, hoping we will not be spotted before dark. On the horizon, artillery fire lit up the night as we lay awake unable to sleep, a night to remember indeed; never had we felt so isolated and alone.
Another night when we got very little sleep but this time because of constant rock fall around us, it was early in our travels and we had not yet learned the foolishness of camping in such an environment.; we climbed up onto the glacier the next day and learned an even greater lesson. During our travels, nature was often an adversary but not always as we camped under the below tree in Portugal and left with enough olives to last us six months.
Nothing really memorable about this campsite except for the fact we are camped beside a stream named after us and also, it is one of the very few photos we still have of RR2 without sign writing and additions we added later. Also in New Zealand, the pix shown below of the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre and RR2 camped alongside is memorable for the fact that we stayed there for two day; nowadays, you wouldn't have e prayer in hell of doing that, we loved our early travel years when the influx of tourism hadn't yet influenced strict controls!
There comes a time when repairs had to be done and the problem was always where and when. Our most memorable opportunity came when we made friends with Harold Bailey who owned a garage on a busy road in England. Unfortunately, he had been broken into a couple of times and when we stopped by one day for gas our conversation led to us being allowed to park there overnight for a week and use his facilities during the day for repairs, washing-showers and all; he was glad of us being there as overnight as watch dogs although we got little sleep because of traffic noise. Harold was a great old guy and we stayed in contact by mail for many years! There certainly wasn't any traffic noise as we camped by the below lakeside in Sweden to do some hubcap painting.
Half way up Mt Bre, only a short distance from the home of Bridgit Bardot, we wait for the snow to fall in the alps while enjoying an amazing view over Italy's Lake Lugano, a view that carried on into the night; a classic example indeed of a memorable campsite discovered with some effort & enjoyed for several days without being moved on.
From mountain top to sea level we would go but no Lake Lugano lights here. However, the lights of the cruise ships all lit up at night were a sight to behold. Wharves and jetties were some of our favourite haunts when it came time to settling down for the night but they were not always easy to find; here on the island of Rhodes, Greece was one of the best ever with our own swimming hole, a nearby fresh water tap and fresh fish for sale.
Just looking at this picture makes me want to be there again; what a great find it was with a clear cold mountain stream nearby for the washing and chilling of wine bought nearby in duty free Andorra. We had just driven out of the high country after crossing across the French Pyrenees and it was a real treat to descend into spring time warmth, wild flowers and and even a pile of wood nearby for a fire..
But things don't always work your way! Another great camping find after crossing the stream and having the view and stream to ourselves but the weather turned against us that night and it rained like hell so next morning we had no hope of crossing the stream! So, win some lose some, we just waited till the stream went down after a couple of very pleasant relaxing days and nights. Vive la France!
Waiting it out on mountain passes was something we had to get used to during our travels and here at Arthur's Pass, new Zealand is a good example; unable to summit the pass the night before with near zero visibility and blowing snow, we were fortunate to find a level area and spend the night well away from the road; we were not always that lucky. A clear, but cold, morning greeted us for breakfast.