Past Events

Black Cockatoo Bush Camp weekend


Black Cockatoo weekend
near Naracoorte South Australia

held over the Easter long weekend from Friday 10th to Monday 13th April

    Despite trying to book early at our regular Easter camp ground I couldn’t secure a site. With the thought of possibility hosting a group meet, the search for an alternative began. It seems that Easter always brings out the “once-a-year” camper and any places that could hold even a small group were already full up.

    After bringing up the subject on Thursday night chat, Rosie suggested we could revisit Black Cockatoo. We had a group meet there last October and despite the changable weather we’d all had a top time in a great spot. A quick phone call to Naracoorte confirmed there would be plenty of room and we’d be most welcome. With the wheels set in motion I was looking at hosting a group meet..


the camp

    Located just out of Naracoorte in South Australia, the Black Cockatoo bush camp is set within a large property of farmland, natural bush and scrub. Amongst shady gums, the huge camping area surrounds a man-made lagoon which is stocked with Perch and Yabbies.
While still maintaining the rural aspect of the area, property owners Ken and Elizabeth Yelland, have developed a fantastic bush camp complete with firepits & hotplates, drinking water, flushing toilets and solar showers.
Catering for all types of camping, at $5 per person, per night, all year round, Black Cockatoo has to be the best kept secret gong!



    Remembering the layout and using a photo Dave had taken last time we were there I’d pre-selected an area I thought would be suitable for the group.

    After a leisurely drive up the Riddoch Hwy I arrived at Black Cockatoo about 10am. The High Range 4WD club are regulars at BC and whilst driving in the gate, the first of them appeared in my rear vision mirror. When able, he roared past, obviously worried I was going to pinch “their” spot. I had the last laugh though as I cruised past and found our preferred area was virtually deserted, with just a lone Tambo already there. I parked up and checked out the deserted CT and deduced it was one of ours – good choice of spot guys!
I hadn’t even un-hitched when Dave & Rosie pulled in after a 4 hour drive from Adelaide. That morning had been the first time they’d hooked the camper to their new Pajero – lucky there were no complications!

    We set up camp, boiled the billy and sat back chatting. Presently property owner Ken came down from the main house and made us welcome, making sure we were OK for water and organized fire wood for the coming nights.
Mid afternoon saw Rosemary arrive from Belair in her “Beasty” Pajero, complete with roof top camper. Expecting cold nights and not bringing any fluffy headwear, she quickly started on knitting up a beanie.

    Sometime later, our Tambo owners (Alan, Kylie, Kate & Bonnie) arrived “home” from touring the Naracoorte Caves. They’d been at BC since Tuesday and were making the most of the school holidays.

    A suitable spot was selected for a firepit and with the area cleared and Dave on digging duties, we soon had our meeting place warmed up. With dinner over, Paul & Leanne arrived under moonlight. They must have setting up the Ultimate down to a tee as we were soon joined at the fire.

    After a few sherbets and some jovial chat it was off to bed.



    After a cool night, thick mist greeted the early risers. The fire was hastily relit and hot cross buns were the order of the day.
Late morning and newcomers Burnie & Shirley turned up with their Adventure camper in tow. Having briefly met some members at the recent Lakeside (SA) meet, they were keen to find out more about the group.

    Joy and Trent came up from Mt Gambier for lunch and afterwards tried a spot of fishing. Joy headed back home for work while Trent stayed on and looked for suitable marshmallow sticks, a pity the fish weren’t as easy to find.
David & Susan had spent the last couple of days casually touring up to BC and arrived mid-afternoon after checking out the local vineyards.

    The afternoon was filled by exploring the property, checking out each other’s CTs, or just chatting over a brew.
Heading toward tea time Ken fired up his front end loader and presented us with a good sized Mallee root for the fire. One of girls (no names of course) remarked that the High Range guys had received a bigger specimen; with that, Ken shot off in a cloud of diesel smoke and returned with a monster that filled our firepit to capacity.

    Nibbles were enjoyed while camp ovens bubbled away, cooking up the evening meal. Despite the cold, our chairs were a long way back as the big Mallee root burned into the night. Some of the group headed for bed while the hardier ones stayed on, discussing previous trips and planning for future ones.



    Another foggy morning followed by another beautiful day. Many took the short drive into Naracoorte to replenish supplies or visit the Caves.

    Rolande & Holly pulled up mid-morning, surprised to see another Pilbara already in camp. Holly was looking a little bleary eyed, finishing work just a few hours earlier. Around lunchtime, the rest of the Victorian contingent rolled in. Lindsay, Rob and Wayne, along with their respective families, had come up in convoy and were soon set up.

    Some more fishing was tried but those Perch were still very elusive – Ken swears they are in there though. Rosemary was still hard at work on that beanie..

    Beer o’clock seemed to come earlier each day and we were soon swapping stories with the growing ring around the campfire. After Ken delivered a fresh Mallee root, camp ovens appeared out of nowhere, producing mouth watering aromas.
An impromptu “show & tell” was organised, with top spot going to Lindsay who brought out a rather familiar plastic hammer – his prize? He got to take it home again!

    A lovely dinner was had around the campfire and Rosie whipped up one of her great pumpkin dampers for supper. With the fire blazing, discussions on anything and everything continued until the wee hours.



    Another cool night but the mist burned off early, signalling a warm day ahead.

    Some took an opportunity to sleep in on their last full day, but early risers would have caught a glimpse of the Easter bunnies distributing chocolate eggs to all the campsites.

    With breakfast over, sites were tidied up, dishes washed and beds made - all in preparation for Walkabout, scheduled at 11am.

    We had quite a few different styles of camper at BC and allowing each owner enough time to tell us about their preferred home on wheels meant Walkabout took a while. Luckily halfway point was at the Ultimate where we were spoiled with Dreampot scones topped with jam & cream – thanks Leanne! By then the weather was warming up and shade was at a premium for the last few CTs. It was suggested I borrow Roberts whistle next time..

    Joy and Lisa arrived after lunch, bringing Chelsea, our newly acquired Maltese, for a sleepover. Lindsay and crew went off in search of 4WD tracks.

    After a leisurely afternoon in the shade we prepared for our final night together. Another Mallee root was procured and camp ovens filled the coal trenches around the fire. Meanwhile Ken & Liz set up their Yabby Wagon in the middle of the camp ground, cooking up tasty yabby burgers for the masses.

    As darkness fell Kylie organised a torch light Easter egg hunt, keeping the younger ones busy for quite some time.

    With the full contingent of 26 members and 2 dogs gathered around the fire, Ken came down and showed us his noiseless, no petrol chainsaw, as well as his humane rabbit trap (better get a patent on that Ken). After he entertained us with jokes, stories and an interesting conundrum involving an egg and a beer barrel, we passed the hat around. The money collected paid for the fire wood and floor show and was donated to the local community hospital.

    After a supper of that now famous pumpkin damper many of the group pointed their torches for bed, leaving the regular late night bunch to see the moon reach overhead.



    Pack up day for half of us. Those that had some distance to travel said their goodbyes and headed off before lunch. By 2 o’clock I’d finally finished packing and Liz & Ken came down to sort out the paperwork and say goodbye. After fond farewells I left the remainder of the group to relax in the serenity of Black Cockatoo...



  • As host, you should be the last to bed and the first one up

  • 20% of campers are left handed

  • Girls think fire size IS important

  • 10% of CT owners are named David

  • Perch don’t like worms

  • Beanies take longer to knit than you think

  • The Easter bunny rides a quad bike

  • You can drive around a campervan with the roof up

  • Kelpies are better camp dogs than Poodles


    I’m sure most will agree that you would be hard pressed to find anything to match Black Cockatoo, a lot of the time it felt like we were the only group camping, yet there would have been four times our number spread throughout. The hospitality shown by Liz and Ken was fantastic, they couldn’t do enough for us and Ken was never short of a story or two. A common phrase heard was “We’ll be back”.

    Thanks to all of you for making my first meeting as host, a great one.

    Same time, same place, next year?

                                                                - Dirk


Dave & Rosie Campranger – rear fold Pajero
Dirk, Joy, Lisa, Trent & Chelsea the Maltese  Holspeed MkII  EF Falcon
Paul & Leanne Ultimate Navara
Rolande & Holly Adventure Pilbara BA Ute
Alan, Kylie, Kate & Bonnie the Kelpie Tambo Hilux
Lindsay & Sandra  Sunwagon Patrol
Susan & David  Pioneer Bushman Hilux
Rosemary  Maggiolina Roof Top Pajero
Burnie & Shirley Adventure Pilbara Patrol
Rob & Jenny Dingo Terrano
Wayne, Tania, Braeden & Jordon Cabin Tent & Big Blue tarp Navara



photos by Dave>>>>>










photos by Leanne>>>>>








photos by Susan>>>>>








More photos from Dave