In the quest to craft the ultimate authentic Australian wilderness accommodation experience, it’s hard to go past the simple pleasure of sleeping outside, with nothing between you and the spectacular star-filled night sky. In fact, in Australia, it’s tradition. Canvas ‘swag‘ bedrolls are as much a part of our pioneering and explorer history, as they are of modern jackaroo life on our vast outback stations.
“Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?”
– the 1895 ballad ‘Waltzing Matilda’ by Australian poet Banjo Patterson,(occasionally referred to as the unofficial national anthem of Australia)
The swagmen of Australia’s late 1800s and early 1900s were often itinerant farm-workers, many who walked from job to job, carrying on their backs a spare set of clothes and a ‘bluey‘ (blue bush blanket), wrapped in a canvas tarpaulin. Their ‘swag‘ often also contained a tucker bag, tucker (food) and a billy (kettle) for making tea.
At nightfall camp we’ve spent a much time considering how best to capture the magic of nights in a canvas swag, with your face open to the inky sky, watching for shooting stars, satellites, the milky way and the Southern Cross. Our core criteria is always comfort: the raw-luxe which is integral to our Queensland luxury camp wilderness experience. The result — a custom-designed, hand-built swag; a cocoon of canvas decked-out with high-quality mattress, luxury linens, feather pillows, plumped quilts and insect-screening for those who like to know they’re protected from creepy crawlies.
Throw in a hot-water bottle for cooler nights, slip between the sheets and you’re ready to experience a unique close-up perspective of our Queensland wilderness. On most nights the velvety sky overhead is dotted with a million stars. You’ll feel the gentle caress of cool breezes on your face, smell the scents of the forest and experience the unique sound of Australia’s nocturnal wildlife as it punctuates the constant tumbling of water, flowing down Christmas Creek. At dawn, a new sound-track begins, as whip-birds call to mates, glossy-black cockatoo’s fly overhead, kookaburras laugh and king parrots come in for an early breakfast.
Each nightfall wilderness accommodation experience includes this option to sleep under the stars. We’ll happily make-up a swag on your private tent deck. In case of light rain, you can pull over your swag‘s canvas flap or retreat back into the comfort of the king-sized bed inside your permanent luxury tent.
Aside from designing and sewing nightfall‘s proto-type swag, and road-testing it, sleeping beside our main fire (image at the top of this blog post), it’s been a quiet week at nightfall camp. We’re still waiting patiently for our Gold Coast hinterland hillside to dry and the moisture in the air to drop enough to let us move forward with oiling floorboards and putting up canvas walls on our private luxury tent accommodation.
July 2013 capped off with 116mm of rain – more than double last year’s 52mm for July and almost four times the 30mm which fell in July 2011. This amount of rain wouldn’t be an issue in open well-drained countryside, but our forested site, combined with cool winter days, are unfortunately keeping the ground sodden.
And so we continue to learn the art of patience, looking on the bright side, and focusing on the myriad of other details which need to be completed before our new Australian wilderness accommodation can open.