Barney and the unfortunate injury

30th March, Tooloom Falls NSW


“Come in here and I’ll show you my pet lizard Barney…” One of the first conversations I had with the gorgeously tanned Charlie whose black hair glistened in the sunlight – she and her partner Blocka  – as he’s known – are regulars to Tooloom Falls. They visit every Easter and have become accustom to life by the falls and are semi-regulars to the small town of Urbenville just 4 kilometres up the road.

I sit here, wine in hand (of course), my flannelette pajamas wrapped around my body like a snug blanket – yes… it’s Easter and I am already rugging up like a Queenslander who loves the sun a little too much. The country tunes are going and Ben is pottering around looking busy. Second night on the road, and boy it hasn’t been easy, though it might sound it…

We always knew we would have teething problems, but we’ve had one hell of a start.

Let’s list things now shall we..:

  • Our four-burner gas stove which was meant to be our main source of cooked food just didn’t work so good old fire it was… and a trip to BCF at a later date…
  • It rained. A lot. The first day we hid inside enjoying the frivolities of life outdoors… Or Ben was. Meanwhile I was watching Netflix up in the camper ignoring the obvious question pounding the four walls of my brain… wholey hell have we made the right decision?
  • Ben got too excited about chopping up fire wood and chopped his own hand in the process, ending in a trip to the emergency room at the local hospital. Don’t worry, he’s fine – and we’ll get to that.
  • We’re both battling colds so what would probably be a great experience for most ended up instead, with both of us elbow-deep in the tissue box and popping cold and flu tablets a little too regularly for anyone’s comfort – except ours of course, especially coupled with beer and an afternoon siesta.

What they don’t tell you about travel is how much of a slave you are to the weather. We walked around in mush for the first two days feeling annoyed and sorry for ourselves after a prolonged bout of showers. When the stove broke, ben literally cooked me a warm feed by slaving over the fire, holding an umbrella for hours, just so I got a nice chicken kiev and some chippies for our first meal. God love him.

But, in the chaos of it all, came the light. That light, being the sensational view we kiss goodnight each evening and greet with a warm hello each new day, the sounds of the black cockatoos and the laughter of Easter Campers who’ve over-indulged on giggle juice.

Most of all, it’s the people. It’s always the people.

That brings us back to Charlie… “Come here and I’ll show you my pet lizard’, she said casually as I hovered outside their camp one afternoon…


I misheard her but followed anyway and I certainly was not disappointed. This scaly, weathered-looking central bearded dragon greeted me with his beady eyes. He was perched on Charlie’s forearm and she kissed him on the cheek so tenderly, the same way I would my pupper Sammy. Her pet lizard Barney goes camping all the time!  He just chills in the tent like an ornament! And she has three more lizards at home! How sensational. This love for a creature I’d usually shudder in front of was extraordinary. If only Ben’s axe loved him the same way

Yes – Good Friday wasn’t so good for us.. We spent a few hours at the local emergency room because Ben had a mishap with his beloved ‘Abigale the 2nd’. What was most hilarious was the fact that we walked into the hospital and the nurse took one look at Ben’s hand and said the following:


“Oh yes… I presume you are a Queenslander?,”
“And that’s an axe wound?”
“Don’t tell me you are from Redland Bay area…”
“Well, Emily’s parents are, and that’s where we have travelled from…”

She shook her head and chuckled – Ben happened to be the second cane toad with an axe-related injury presented to her that same day – and she wouldn’t let us forget it. Needless to say, Ben was fine after a quick patch up, and we were soon on our away again – Ben’s pride, the only thing left tattered and torn.

Tooloom Falls is such a wonderful little camp area for the average camper. No puppies allowed, but there happens to be a big camp clearing about 1km away which does allow puppies. Only prerequisite – you gotta be into motorbikes – it’s a place frequented by the two-wheeled toys and their adventurous owners. Nevertheless, a beautiful spot by the river and gorgeous little water falls.

Back to Tooloom – just a stunning little spot only 2 hours south-west of Brisbane. CRAZY! I would recommend to anyone wanting a weekend away, and the waterfall is just divine. No phone reception so enjoy the step away from technology! We stayed three nights and although it was wrought with hiccups, we had a beautiful time. Sitting in our own little spa bath at the top of a waterfall sipping our tipple of choice… Life is gooood.


Now we have this to offer you…


  1. Check all your gear and check it twice before you go away. Shit breaks. It sucks. It’s a no-brainer but clearly two bozos with no brains can still fail at it.
  2. Always bring firewood. It burns faster than a sinner’s soul and if your camp stove doesn’t work, you figure that out real quick.
  3. People love talking about their own gear camp gear, and love judging yours even more – just because yours isn’t a flash new rig that only gets used once a year at Easter time… doesn’t make it any less awesome. Enjoy what’s right for you.
  4. Don’t look down a drop-style toilet facility. Just don’t.
  5. There is nothing more relaxing than falling asleep listening to the steady hum of a waterfall. Just bliss. We are programmed to love nature. Embrace it.


enlightenmeemily View All →

A lover of the written word.

Journalist by trade, writer by hobby. Writing fuels my soul and I promised myself I’d string words together more often, so here I am.

A collection of pieces that describe the inner workings of my mind.

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