As part of my planning for the Dreaming Tour, a ride from Darwin to Perth keeping off the highways as much as possible I hunted around for books including camping books which I hoped would give me some idea as camping options and more importantly access to water. One of those books that I came across was S & S Collis, the guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA. The copy I obtained from the local library was the 5th edition published in 2010 which includes GPS co-ordinates. I am glad I found it in the library as that gave me a chance to check it out before deciding whether to buy it or not. I didn’t buy it which pretty much sums up my view of the book.
My Thoughts on the Guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA
I find it amusing that the authors claim that the guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA is “theÂ originalÂ and best since 1994!”. It may be theÂ originalÂ but I am not so sure about the best. Â What it has going for is it is a A5 sized publication and a rather thin one. On the downside that suggests less content than what could have been included.
TheÂ guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA two main features are that it provides distance maps down the side of pages which are meant to guide you from Perth to Kununurra and back again and that it provides infromation about rest stops and free camps. Â You can see these features in the sample page above.
For me, the distance maps where not that useful from a planning perspective but I could see them as being handy at times. A great feature? Not to me but could be handy if you want to plan your day or trip on distances covered.
The second aspect and the key aspect is what sort of information does theÂ guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA provide about rest areas and free campsites and how much does it miss?
Well for starters the guide book is about 83 pages long. Its main competitor in my view is Jan Holland’s title, A Guide to Priceless Campsites & Rest Areas in the North of Western Australia. Â Holland’s guide is also A5 sized but it is 213 pages. Jan Holland’s guide tends to be more verbose and detailed in its descriptions.
To give you an idea. The following are the descriptions of one of the free-camping areas on the Gibb River Road, the Hann River campsite.
TheÂ guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA description of Hann River is:
(4WD only). On the Gibb River Road 25.5 km north of site 109. Take the track on the left before the river for 100 m to find a small campsite beside the river bank. There is a second campsite 200 m past the river crossing and on the right. Follow the track for 300m to this larger, shady site.
The description fromÂ A Guide to Priceless Campsites & Rest Areas in the North of Western Australia is as follows:
There are two areas here. The first is on the northern side of the river, and is well off the road. It’s a very large, but slightly sloping , area near the river. The water is clean, and there are some shady river gums. The second site is on the south western side of the creek, and is accessed via a 4WD track. Â This area has a couple of small grassed and shady sites overlooking the creek, with some makeshift fireplaces.
The other critical aspect from my perspective as a touring cyclist is thatÂ theÂ guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA is light on with water source information. Maybe not so critical to motorists but it is to a touring cyclist, particular in the drier Pilbara region.
So for me I would make more use of Â theÂ guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA if I didn’t have a copy of Jan Holland’s title but because I do I don’t bother with this publication. It is really not value for money in my view. On the road theÂ lighterÂ theÂ guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA maybe a better option but.
If you are looking toÂ purchaseÂ a copy of the theÂ guide to Free-Camping in the North of WA, it can be ordered from http://www.free-camping-australia.com/ and theÂ ISBN is 978-0-9757805-1-0