A Night Solo In The Australian Bush

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Spending a night solo in the bush is the best way to surround yourself in nature, just be careful of the spiders!

I hadn’t done anything like this alone before.  Even though I was well adept at camping and being in the wilderness, I was still apprehensive of what was to come. I made sure to go during the Summer.  This would provide plenty of daylight, and temperatures would be manageable. 

Finding The Best Place To Sleep

I found a partially dried up riverbed which was the perfect place to base operations from.  When spending a night solo in the bush, you need to be aware of the dangers of the Bush; snakes and spiders! This meant that I had to be very careful if i was going anywhere barefoot, as your feet and shins are perfect snake biting territory.

I decided that the riverbed was where I was going to do all the cooking as it was a great water source, and the open space was the perfect area to build a fire. The plan was to stay here for the evening before moving slightly up the valley to put up the hammock for the night. You need to be careful as I was next to a river in the middle of Summer, which is exactly where snakes like to cool down!

The funnel-web spider is the most dangerous spider found in the bush. Photo Australian Geographic

The funnel-web spider is the most dangerous spider found in the bush. Photo Australian Geographic

To provide cover, I left the riverbed and walked around thirty meters up the valley. It is preferable to be above the ground to camp, because the bush is full of ants and other different creepy crawlies, that could make their way into your tent during the night. Finding flat land is imperative when setting up a hammock. You don’t want to fall out in the night or have your things roll away from you either!

I also checked for the following which are important when spending a night solo in bush:

  • Potentially precarious branches
  • Tree bases with the right width for a hammock (4-6 meters)

Please also make sure the hammock is not too tight, as this will not allow you to lay diagonally and stretch out. There is nothing worse than waking up with a bad back! Once attached, I then put a tarp cover over the hammock (attached with separate chords) to provide extra cover during the night. 

The Dinner Preparations 

With the hammock in place and armed with one big tooth bladed knife and one small knife, I got to work on dinner!  

My plan was to make a manual rotisserie chicken seasoned with spices and lemon.

Firstly, I needed to collect wood to make a tripod. I completely failed at tying the timber in place using the chords i had brought with me, but I managed to find two v-shaped logs and a long straight piece to go over the fire. This piece would be inserted through the chicken.

Secondly, I went about seasoning the chicken. I stuffed it with thyme, rosemary and sage, and coated it with butter and lemon juice.

Next, I attached the chicken to the long piece of wood. This needed to be tight enough to be able to spin with the wood as I turned it.

Then, I got the fire going.

Advice For Making A Fire

The Papertree’s bark is one of the most combustible materials and is readily available in the bush. I then scraped the bark back, until it was in small fibers. Then with my eGear Magnesium fire starter with a flint rod and striker, I got to work. Paper bark does have a habit of going out, so be patient with it. Finally I had the the kindling on hand to
put over the bark to get the flames going.  This also needs to be rubbed for a long time as this will provide a bigger surface area to set alight. Once this was started, I added the smaller sticks and blew into the base of the fire to get the flames going. Once the fire was strong enough to take it, I then added the medium logs and finally the bigger ones. You can easily kill fire if you put the big ones on too early.

Finally, with the fire in place, I put the branch through the chicken. I secured the chicken in place with chords, and positioned the logs in a square shape. This gave me great control over the heat of the fire, as I could move branches in and out as I wished. The chords burnt straight away, but it didn’t matter as the branch proved a stable spit from which to revolve the meat.

The chicken cooking

The chicken cooking

Four hours later, the meat was ready. First, I ate the wings, which were so incredible. Then, I cooked the meat for a while longer to make sure the breast was cooked through thoroughly. That was also excellent. All in all, it was a complete success, apart from me not being able to finish all the meat!

Heading To Bed

With the meal over, it was time for bed. I turned on my head torch and made my way up the valley to my hammock. Whilst at the same time trying to be extremely careful of snakes. Once there, I was definitely ready for bed as it had been a very long day with minimal rest.  Looking up through the branches, the stars were so striking!

Waking up the next morning, the view was amazing. With a slightly sore back, I made my way back down to the riverbed to make coffee. I made another small fire to boil the water.  Once my morning beverage was ready, I sipped it whilst gazing down the river and I wondered when would be the next time I could return?!

Spending a night solo in the bush is perfect for anyone that is fed up of the daily grind, and wants a quick getaway for a night. Just make sure you bring the essentials to see you through an evening in the Bush.

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