Tozer’s bush camp started it’s life as a farm. Toze, the owner, came here as child and, along with his family, farmed the land until early this century. Apparently it was as Toze was preparing to clear more land, and was thwarted by a particularly long wet winter, followed by a spring bringing to life the myriad of wildflowers, that the light bulb moment came. If Toze could sit on his verandah and admire nature’s bounty, would other’s appreciate the opportunity to experience it too. His idea took shape, the necessary groundwork was laid, and by 2012 Tozer’s Bush Camp opened its gates to the public.
Most of the farmland surrounding the bush camp has now been sold off leaving just 730acres of natural bush. The camp itself has 48 bays set around a big, rustic camp kitchen, and ablution block.
Although there’s no power or water to any of the sites, none are far from the main building where everything you could possibly want is on hand. On cold nights the slow combustion fire inside the main building is lit for travellers to gather around, however guests dogs aren’t allowed in. Toze’s dogs go in but boss dog, Sal, doesn’t take kindly to interlopers, plus there’s been traveller’s dogs in the past who thought the support posts were an inviting pee post! So, understandably – no visitor’s dogs allowed. The kitchen is well equipped with several fridges, pots and pans, crockery, and even a gas fired pizza oven. Theres tables and chairs, sofas and a TV, so all the comforts of home.
Toze visits most days from his current residence in Bremer Bay. He tells me he has his plans drawn up for a small passive solar house to be built on site. Getting a builder to show up though is delaying the project. He’s great to have a yarn with, a real x-farmer/bushie who is proud of his bushcamp, and he has every right to be. Its a fabulous place, and spotlessly clean. When he’s living on site and campers get to know him, this place is going to know no bounds. Currently though, when Toze is absent a rather surly caretaker greets the patrons. I suspect he’s not much of a people person!
There’s plenty of walk tracks around the property, plus a small bus that will take those interested around for a tour ($30). Looking out at a distance over the Australian bush and it can look pretty ordinary….
Walking the tracks though provides a different story. Get up close and what you’ll see is a kaleidoscope of colour. Tozer’s lays claim to over 50 varieties of native orchids, most of which finished flowering in the weeks before we arrived. There were still a few to be found though:
We also saw the blue stripey Shirt Orchid, and the Rattle beak orchid, but these didn’t photograph well. Another day or two and the Leopard, and Custard Orchids would have been open too.
As well as the orchids, the wild flowers are just AMAZING! I think I saw more varieties in two days at Tozer’s than I’ve seen previously in my lifetime. Here are just a few:
As I said, there isn’t water or power to each site, however Toze has amply provided for his paying guests. At $30 a night this place has everything one could want, and much, much more. Toze with his scruffy dreadlocks, his scrubbed clean rosy cheeks, and his rich, sapphire blue, honest eyes is worth meeting. One conversation and you know you’ve come across a rough diamond with a passion for his land, a passion so great that he wants to share it with the world. He doesn’t advertise, so it’s only by word of mouth and Wiki reviews that he’s getting known. I suspect that once his house is completed and he moves onsite, that he and his place will become so popular that bookings will be essential all year, not just over the Christmas period as it is now. My advice is get in now – while you can. We throughly enjoyed our stay at Tozer’s Bush Camp, and I’m sure you will too.