By KIREN THANDI
IF the Jolly Swagman was to take a stomp around his old camping ground, what would he expect to see?
Brewing tea in a billy over a fire; swimming in a billabong; singing under the shade of a coolabah tree?
Don't count on it.
Camping expeditions are now glossy packages involving carting along all the 'mod-cons' of home, with everything up to and including the kitchen sink.
Massive camper-vans mean campers can bring the luxuries of home and all its contents and electronics with them on their camping trip.
As Park Beach Holiday Park camper Ed Wrigley, from Brisbane, said: 'Whatever size vehicle you have, you fill it up.'
Ed and his daughter, Claire, go camping several times a year, but no campervan for them.
"A big campervan requires more work to set up and pack up," Ed said.
"We just saw a group spending two-and-a-quarter hours packing up; I don't want to spend hours packing."
The pair were happy with their small tent, pounding in the pegs to secure it to the ground with their makeshift 'hammer', a sturdy chunk of firewood, the good old-fashioned way.
While many children were riding around on their bikes, or swimming in the beautiful landscaped pool at the park, other campers preferred to kick back and watch TV, listen to music, or bring out the ol' Playstation.
Just like at home.
With holiday time with the family being so precious, it's astounding to see that 'getting away from everything' means taking everything with you.
Gone are the days when you chucked your swag into the boot of your car, along with your Esky and Aeroguard.
Now it's insulated sleeping bags, portable showers, kerosene-operated fridges, climate-controlled tents complete with four bedrooms and even an ensuite, and of course, hairdryers and electric shavers.
'Roughing it' just isn't so rough anymore; you don't have to miss your favourite TV shows, can shower every day, and can find a plug for your appliances just about anywhere.
Which is great news for those preferring five-star holidays.
But it sort of takes the novelty out of camping.