For 99.9% of the time, grey nomads are lucky enough to enjoy a relatively peaceful and relatively hassle-free existence.
It’s what attracts most people to the lifestyle in the first place.
So, apart from the occasional slightly noisy neighbour or the irritating amount of litter at some campsites, it really is a case of scenery, sunsets and Happy Hours.
At least it is normally.
Every now and again, something totally out of the ordinary happens and that expectation of relative peace and calm is shattered.
Sometimes, there is a fire in a camping area, or fast-rising floodwaters, and then there is always the possibility that the poor behaviour of others will move beyond the annoying to the ‘something-has-to-be-done-about-this’.
Earlier this year, grey nomads and other campers staying at a Kimberley caravan park were criticised in some quarters for not rushing to the aid of two young women were being attacked by a group of teenagers.
The girls eventually managed to escape their attackers but say when they ran to the nearest caravan they were refused help because the elderly couple inside ‘were too scared themselves’.
The question of whether or not to intervene in certain situations can be a tricky one, but the West Australian police told the Grey Nomads at the time that it asked the public ‘to always consider personal safety above all else’.
But not taking enough action is not always the only potential problem. Sometimes there is the risk that campers might take too much action.
According to some media outlets that is what very nearly happened to the driver who allegedly run over a family sleeping in their tent at a remote Tasmanian campsite over the Christmas holidays.
According to the reports, ‘an angry lynch mob of campers’ grabbed axes and shovels and dragged the driver from his car after the incident on the banks of Lake Barrington, 40 kilometres south of Devonport.
The newspaper says the vigilantes had to be pulled off the man to save his life, before he was pinned down and held captive until police arrived.
“The lynch mob turned up with axes and shovels who wanted to make him pay,” one camper told the ABC. “The smarter people in the crowd stopped that from happening”.
The witness said the situation was de-escalated.
“We’ve removed him from his car so he couldn’t drive any further,” he said. “A couple of guys restrained him, put his hands behind his back and there was a karate guy who got him.”
The camper said more people could have been injured, or worse, had the car gone inches in either direction. Pictures from the scene showed the collapsed scaffold skeleton of a tent and a battered food container.
The family of five who had been inside the tent were initially rushed to hospital. A 10-year-old girl remains in intensive care with a fractured pelvis and ruptured spleen, while the four other family members have since been discharged.
In a statement, Tasmania Police said that they will allege that the male crashed his vehicle through a tent which contained two adults and three children sleeping inside.
“’The male then narrowly missed other camping sites and people in the area prior to colliding with a tree,” the statement says. “Tasmania Police would like to thank all members of the public that assisted with this incident, as their actions undoubtedly prevented further people from being seriously injured.”