What happens on a Creative Camp?
The program will to some degree be determined by the needs and capabilities of the group. We do our best to cater for people at different levels of creative experience and physical ability, however we are not equipped to provide for people with physical disabilities, unfortunately. Generally we spend alternate days in and away from camp. The immediate camp environs provide plenty of inspiration with the benefits of our art working ‘infrastructure’ or the opportunity to simply relax and soak it in.
The days away from camp are spent either within walking distance from camp or by driving to special locations in the vicinity. There will usually be some gentle walking each day and extended walks are a possibility for those who would like it. For safety’s safe we do not encourage people to set out on walks on their own unless we know their direction and estimated time of return.
For those who want it Deborah offers tuition and support in a variety of media. But for those who prefer to work independently, there are plenty of opportunities to be in solitude, plus the camp offers a stimulating small group environment when you feel like it.
The type of things Deb will offer the group will again depend on participants experience and capability. Her ‘workshop sessions’ usually take place in the morning and are often in the style of creative warm up exercises designed to get you looking and loosening up. She does sessions with ink and mixed media, including locally found ochre if it’s available. She also delivers sessions on concertina book making and natural dyeing on silk using locally sourced plants when appropriate. Debs repertoire of skills is very broad and she is always willing to share her experience and opinion when invited to. Her primary focus is to help you develop whatever it is that ‘draws you in’ and to try to quiet the ever present critic.
In most cases our campsites are ‘bush’ camps, so there are no amenity blocks and consequently no buses, caravans and crowds of tourists. However Larapinta Creative Camps provides you with everything to make sure your camping experience is comfortable, safe and secure, as well as exciting and adventurous.
Our locations are chosen for their beauty and comfort. They are places that we have camped previously, so we are familiar with the lay of the land. If proximity to Alice allows we set up the basic infrastructure before the camp. There are no shops, so we take everything that we will need for the week. We don’t travel back to town during the week unless there is an emergency. We carry a satellite phone for such occasions.
Our marquee provides an ‘outdoor studio’ with large tables and storage shelves under cover. We also provide small portable tables, portable stools, comfortable chairs and a number of easels and support boards.
We sleep in the trademark of true territorian camping, a cosy ‘swag’ which is an ingenious combination of a comfy foam mattress, pillow, doona and pure cotton sheets all contained by a zippered canvas sheath that allows you to enjoy our spectacular starry skies and a good night’s sleep.
For rainy occasions or for those who want more privacy we provide 2 and 1 person tents. We can provide a limited number of camp stretchers for people who can’t manage being at ground level if we are given advance notice.
Our transport is a stretched 4WD Toyota Landcruiser with 10 comfortable forward facing seats. We tow a large off road trailer containing a cornucopia of camp infrastructure, food, drinking water, and everything else we will possibly need for the week. We provide a true camping experience where you will always feel comfortable, & well looked after.
At most campsites the toilet is a sit down ‘bush toilet’ that we dig and erect ourselves, it is clean, comfortable and private. To avoid excess damp however we encourage people to use the bush for a pee and provide a portable seat for those who have trouble squatting.
At our Mpwelarre campsite there is a toilet and an enclosed facility for a solar heated shower bag. At Palm Valley hot showers are available at the National Parks camp area about 2 kilometres away. At Ruby Gap and Running Waters there are no showers. We are always happy to provide enough warm water for a ‘bowl style’ body wash, its amazing how good that can feel, and if its sunny we can heat a solar shower bag for an outdoor shower experience. At some locations there may be water in the water holes, though often very cold, it is most refreshing.
Food and health information
We cook a variety of well balanced meals with plenty of fresh vegetables, such as pasta, curries, laksa, stir frys and grills. Included is a cold beer or soft drink at sundown and wine with dinner. We serve locally roasted coffee and a good selection of teas. Our only complaint is that the food is too good to resist seconds!
Breakfast is porridge, muesli or cereal, tea in a pot and/or real coffee. Lunch is packed, wholemeal rolls with cold meat, tomato, cheese etc with fruit, juice, and snacks.
Special dietary requirements
Please let us know in advance if you have any medical dietary requirements so we can accomodate your needs. However we do ask people with non-medical food preferences to relax them for the trip if possible, as our cooking is done on a two burner stove so providing different meals can be problematic. If you are a vegetarian your preference will mean we will all eat less meat. However there are a some meals where we can easily prepare a non-meat version. Your cooperation on this will be appreciated.
Before a camp like this its good to make sure that your body and mind are in good shape. If you have any medical conditions or potential medical issues make sure that you have seen your doctor recently and are well supplied with prescription medications. As we do quite a bit of walking on some of our trips, make sure that any corns, calluses etc. are seen to beforehand and that problem nails are trimmed, and all nails cut.
Charlie and Deb are not therapists, and the Creative Camps are not designed as ‘art therapy’ events. Emotions sometimes become heightened around the creative process – this goes with the territory – and of course we do our best to look after participants in their fragile moments. However, if you are ‘generally’ rather than ‘occasionally’ fragile, we are not equipped to respond adequately to your needs.
What to bring
We will supply campers with a comprehensive list of appropriate art materials for each climate and situation, well in advance of the camp. We supply art making ‘infrastructure’ to make sure your creative time is productive and comfortable. We also have a back-up supply of art-making essentials as well as some interesting things for you to experiment with.
There are some steep, uneven surfaces on some of our walks and some occasional ‘rock hopping’. It is essential for your safety that you can focus clearly on the ground, this means that bifocal or multifocal glasses can be unsafe so we suggest you bring some suitable single focus glasses if you require them for walking on rough ground.
Campsites are on sandy even ground but often the surface in the Macdonnell Ranges is hard and rocky. This can be tough on shoes and feet. Good solid shoes or boots are required.
We will supply campers with a comprehensive list of appropriate clothing well in advance of the camp. This list changes to reflect the average temperatures as shown below:
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Av. Max 28 23 20 20 22 26 30 Av. Min 12 8 5 4 6 10 15 Rainy Days 2 3 3 3 2 2 5
Note that these are averages only. Weather in central Australia is characterised by unpredictability and extreme variability. It can be warm in August, and cool in October. It can rain at any time of the year, but usually doesn’t.
Our camps adhere to eco tourism guidelines. By keeping our groups small (max 8 participants) we minimise our impact on the environment. We foster environmental awareness by example.
We are proud and grateful to be operating on land with such strong Aboriginal significance. We respect sacred sites and the requests of traditional owners in relation to land usage.
We are fostering a relationship with the Ngurratjuta Art Centre in Alice Springs so that sometimes when camped on the Finke River we are visited by a small group of Western Arrente women artists who enjoy painting alongside us and sharing this connection with their own country.
We recommend you check the Discover Central Australia website for local travel and accommodation information.