Our History

By taking us camping as kids, my parents did something incredibly special for my sisters and I, which today has given us the most wonderful appreciation of time spent with family in nature. I have no doubt these childhood camping trips was where I gained my love for the great outdoors, – it’s clearly infectious all these years later!

In 1993 my folks decided to turn our family pastime, into a family-focused local business. Today that business, Camping Country Australia, is now owned and operated by my wife Kerri and I.

Take a little stroll down memory lane with this timeline, which showcases our camping adventures and where it all began for our family owned business Camping Country Australia.

timeline_pre_loader
1978-1979

Family Time

1978-79

Rob, Renai, Jarrod, Carlie Photo

From a young age we were taught the value of family time together. Here is Dad (Rob), my sister Renai on his knee, my cousin Carlie on the left and yours truly in the red. Kids just love to be outdoors!

My Love For Fishing

1979

My love for fishing photo

I think this is where my love of fishing came from. My cousin Damien (left) and I cleaned up on this fishing trip – I think Dad and my uncle still believe they taught us boys better fishing techniques than they did themselves!

1980-1990

Kids Will Be Kids

Mid 1980s

Hanging around the campfire photo

My sisters and I hovering around the hotplate like typical kids do. Not unusual for us to be poking the fire with a sticks (dad’s pet hate). I would say it is lamb chops, shut-up spuds/chips and maybe a snag or two on dad’s homemade hotplate.

Booloumba Creek

Early-Mid 1980s

Booloumba Creek Photo

Camping at Booloumba Creek with friends and family from our small town community of Beerwah. This camping paradise was only 45 minutes’ drive from my home. How can paddling a canoe, swimming all day and bushwalking not be healthy for kids?

Just Let Your Tyres Down

Mid-Late 1980s

Double Island Point Photo

My mother’s favourite place to be in the whole world – right on the beach at Double Island Point just north of Noosa. Every time we camped here, mum would say, “I wonder what the rich people are doing today?” And yes….. that is a two-wheel drive Ford Falcon driven by an uncle who grew up driving on a sandy farm, he could go anywhere. “Just let your tyres down,” he would say.

A Trip to Remember

1986-87

A trip to remember photo

A camping trip I remember like it was yesterday. From Beerwah in South-East Queensland, to Canarvon Gorge, to the Daintree and Cooktown and then back home to the Sunshine Coast. I guarantee my kids get the same experience!

1990-2000

Borumba Deer Park

1994

Borumba Deer Park photo

The freedom of camping by myself as a teenager at the Borumba Deer Park, based in Imbil Queensland. The desire to get on the water never leaves you.

Relocating

1995

51 Sugar Rd photo

Quickly outgrowing our first premises, my parents moved our business across the road into a bigger premises at 51 Sugar Road, Maroochydore. We joined a camping retail group and became Camping Country’s Great Outdoors Centre. Dad created a slogan that stated, “Camping Country, if you’re not at the roundabout, you’re at the wrong store!”

Creating A Great Work Environment

Mid-late 1990s

Staff camping trips photo

My parents taught me the value of creating a working environment which consisted of a great team. Many a camping trip was had with our staff, many of whom we are still great friends with today.

2002

Super Store

2002

10-camping-country-timelineMy folks decided to move Camping Country into new premises on Wises Road, Maroochydore. We became a super store…. so to speak and like the rest of Australia (and the Sunshine Coast), the boom was working wonders.

2006-2007

Global Financial Crisis

 2006-2007

14. New Shop & Name : BrandCamping Country started to realise the effects of the GFC. New corporate competition came to town in droves, the internet started revolutionizing the retail industry and The Great Outdoors retail buying group was sold. A repositioning of the business had to take place and Camping Country became Camping Country Australia.

Hands-on Learning

2007

Staff Eduactional training Photo

I started my first staff educational camping trips. With the change in the retail environment and new-found competition in town, I decided the best way to teach my staff everything I had learnt from my parents about camping – was to take them camping so they could learn first hand. The team-building, product knowledge and staff morale began to set us apart from the rest.

2008-2010

Maisie Michael

2008

Maisie Camping Photo

Kerri and I welcome our first-born Maisie Michael to the world and it isn’t long before we have her camping.

Sari Michael

2009

Sari Crawling Photo

Kerri and I welcome our second daughter to the world, Sari Michael, and just like her big sister, Sari is camping from a young age. In fact, it is on one of our many camping trips that Sari learns to walk and I capture it on camera.

Knowledge is Power

2010

I upload my very first Camping Guru piece of camping education, with a short film on “How to set up a tarp the Camping Guru way!

2014-Today

On The Roundabout

2014

Wises Rd Pack Up Photo

With the retail industry continuously changing, the family makes the decision to move Camping Country Australia into a smaller premises so it’s back to our old premises “On The Roundabout,” at 51 Sugar Road, Maroochydore.

A Minor Hiccup

2014

There is a huge hiccup with moving into our new store premises, and we find ourselves with eight weeks to kill before we can move into our new premises. With a great team of creative thinkers, we throw a marketing stunt between gigs with an outdoor camping store (literally outdoors) in the middle of Maroochydore for four weeks. Devastatingly, the first day we have cyclonic conditions, which left us pondering our decision! After the loss of a marquee initially, the sun came out and Camping Country Australia was put on the map!

Home Sweet Home

2014

18-camping-country-timelineWe receive the keys to our new store premises and the fit-out begins. It’s all hands on deck and a real family affair! We’re back home and the dream starts to come alive.

New Year's Resolution

2014

Michael Family Camping Photo

Our first year into the new premises, and Kerri and I make a New Year’s resolution to have as many camping trips with our girls as possible. Knowing we would be busy in our newly owned business, a decision was made to recharge our family’s batteries in Mother Nature as often as we could. Seven camping trips in seven months! We couldn’t have done this with out the help of my parents and our great team back at the store. Thanks everyone!

New Website!

2016

Twelve months in our new store premises and a new website is released (you’re reading it now!). As The Camping Guru, Kerri and I are constantly uploading new camping hints, tips and how to’s on our Youtube channel. The dream for Kerri and I to make camping easier for families around Australia is starting to be realised we couldn’t be happier.

Today

2016

We continue to do what we love more than anything else in the world. Camping, getting back to nature and spending time with our girls.

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