Sometimes the pace of city life gets to be too much - the relentless grind of the nine to five, the same habits, the same stress. If you want to get away from it all without the hassle and expense of a big trip, why not consider taking a micro adventure? The idea of micro adventures was stumbled upon by British adventurer Alastair Humphreys and the key to a good micro adventure is that it's affordable, achievable, outdoors and (hopefully) mixes up your regular routine enough to put a smile on your dial.
Canberra's nickname 'the bush capital' gives a mighty big hint that there are plenty of micro adventures to be found within close range of the city and amazingly, loads of them are completely free, including the Gunning free camp at Barbour Park rest area.
Watching the sun rise at Gunning free camp near Canberra
The Barbour Park rest area allows you to spend two nights in the great outdoors without paying a penny. The rest area is on the banks of Meadow Creek and has a serene feel with some unexpected bonuses: toilets and hot showers, a kids playground, barbecues and even a swimming pool (open seasonally). And did I mention this is all free?
A micro adventure is a brilliant way to get out and explore the beautiful towns and villages around Canberra and it can feel like you're a million miles away as you watch the sun blaze out a brilliant sunset then see the stars creep out to stud the sky minus the light pollution of the city.
Its a short walk into Gunning township from Barbour Park. Gunning is home to cafes, a garage which doubles as a convenience store, a pub and an antique shop. There's also a van selling fresh fruit and veggies most weekends. For the history buffs, you can take a self-guided tour of the town or stop off at the Pye Cottage Museum.
Free camps can be busy and a great opportunity to mingle with grey nomads, backpackers and everyone in between. There are also occasions where you get the entire place to yourself - it can be hit and miss but weather, local events and holiday periods will affect availability. With no booking system, its first in best dressed so keep that in mind when planning your trip.
Importantly, micro adventures are for everyone - singles, couples, families, friends - anyone can have a little weekend away. Gunning has the added bonus of being under an hour from Canberra making an overnighter here perfectly easy to achieve. Just roll out your swag, pitch a tent or park your van, turn off the phone and spend a weekend chilling and exploring our beautiful country.
Sunrise over the river at Gunning free camp near Canberra