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Free camping in the Murrindindi Reserve

A screen-free, out-of-range, switched off weekend.

In Victoria (Australia), we recently had the Labour Day long weekend. Mr Q and I decided to take an extra day off work since the weather was meant to be absolutely beautiful and we knew that a lot of people would be heading away for the weekend. Also, leaving a day early meant we’d be more likely to get a campsite in the reserve, since booking beforehand was unavailable. So, we packed up the tent, our sleeping bags, and some food and headed into the bush.

Out of Range

I hadn’t been camping since well before the birth of my youngest (now 2.5y.o.)┬ábut was looking forward to a weekend away with nothing more to do than chill with the family and the friends we were meeting there. I’d had very little to do with the planning of this trip–I left this up to Mr Q–so I wasn’t prepared for how remote we would be. There was no mobile coverage and the nearest service station was at least a half an hour drive. There were no showers (but we did have toilets, thankfully), no water, no electricity, no shops. We had to bring everything in and then out again.

I wasn’t prepared for this. Even though Mr Q had told me there wouldn’t be any facilities, I had assumed that we’d be able to pick anything we missed up from the shops. I’m so used to living 2 minutes away from the supermarket and cafe that it just didn’t occur to me that it would be an hour round trip to the nearest proper coffee.

Did it bother me? Not at all (OK, maybe the coffee…). Mostly, I relished the fact of no mobile coverage. Even though I still brought my phone with me for photos, it was so great to not have any social media interruption. I didn’t do any writing, I didn’t do any social media, I didn’t call anyone, I wasn’t available for texts or anything else. It was liberating.

I also loved being able to leave behind the long list of things I should do (…tidy the house, clean the house, clean the car, cook meals, shop, wash, write, repeat… you know what I mean!) because I was able to leave that all behind for the weekend. Even though there was some food preparation, it wasn’t the same as at home.

What I did instead

We’ve all heard about mindfulness, the task of living in the moment and being in the moment, when we’re constantly plugged in and online. It’s very difficult to switch off, and our mobile phones are such a crutch. I really wanted some screen free time, for both myself and for the kids. Having no coverage was the perfect excuse to leave them all behind. Here’s what we did instead:

  • went down to the river to paddle and play
  • sat around and talked to each other
  • built a campfire
  • toasted marshmellows over the campfire
  • hiked (10kms with my 8y.o. – I was very proud of her)
  • gazed at the stars
  • nothing

It’s true that at times I felt a little lost about what I should be doing, before accepting that there wasn’t anything I really had to do. That fact gave me permission to slow down and appreciate the moment. It was one of the most relaxing times I’ve had in a long time and helped me recharge in a way I haven’t for ages.

I can’t wait for next time!

What do you do to switch off and recharge? I’d love to hear about it in the comments…

*Photo by Jonathan Forage from


  1. Eliza says:

    I too love to spend time in the great outdoors unplugged from all the stuff that represents life lol . I’m lucky I happen to live just minutes from my favorite campsite and in the summer we spend time there almost everyday . No cellphone used during our time on the lake ! It’s a rule and even the kids and grandkids understand when we’re camping cellphones are left at home only one will be brought and it’s the old flip phone for emergency calls only !

    1. Zara Quentin says:

      That sounds fantastic! It’s so relaxing to switch off for awhile and a great way to get together with your kids and grandkids too–thanks for sharing.

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