ARPA Bushwalkers camps are available only to current members.
Participants spend a week or so at a convenient base, usually within Australia. They stay in cabins, caravans, tents or lodges and do a series of day walks. Camps are also an ideal way of completing long distance trails, such as the Heysen Trail. Car pools are arranged to minimise expenses and carbon footprints. Groups often divide into two, walking in opposite directions and swapping cars for the drive back. Sometimes camps are held overseas.
The club endeavours to hold a camp each Spring and Autumn within easy reach of Adelaide (for example in the Grampians). Usually all four grades of walk are offered each day. These camps are always well attended, often with over 100 participants. Other camps throughout the year can require that campers travel much further afield. These camps may offer limited grades of walks or restrict the numbers of participants due to accommodation limitations. Long Distance Trails usually only cater for small groups for these reasons. All camps are advertised in the Newsletter and applications are treated on a strictly “first come first served” basis. The costs of camps varies considerably but organisers have proven to be very good at negotiating deals and keeping cost to a minimum.
Traditionally, all the participants gather each evening to chat, share a drink and nibbles, and be briefed for the next day’s walks. These gatherings are known as Happy Hours.
There are often communal meals and other social activities after the walks. Everyone brings meat and a salad for a shared barbecue. If there are local restaurants or pubs there will be a camp dinner, and small groups will organise their own trips to restaurants. Catered camps allow more time and opportunities for socialising.
Lay days offer a chance to explore, do the washing, or sit with a book, perhaps visit a winery, ride a steam train, swim or fish. Walking with others for days or weeks, living in close proximity, sharing adventures, evening meals and excursions, all accelerate the process of turning acquaintances into old friends.