Each month we feature one of our most prolific Explorers, the lifeblood of the We Are Explorers community. This month we’re featuring a bushman and snake fanatic from the Sunshine State! Meet Dan Parkes.
Dan loves nothing more than seeking out stunning, remote, parts of Australia. He shares them through epic microadventures and his Facebook page Bushies Untamed.
What’s your day job?
I know I am supposed to say teaching physical education and science to the next generation of Australians. However, what I really do is try to convert as many Australian youths into following the mighty black and white army; my beloved Collingwood Magpies.
What got you involved/ inspired in the outdoors in the first place?
Snakes! Since I was a young fella I was always ecstatic when spotting a snake in the wild. When people stumble across a slippery serpent often they head off in the other direction. However, I’d be straight off, smashing through the scrub after it just to get a closer and longer glimpse. I bloody love em’.
What continues to get you out the door to explore?
Apart from looking for snakes, I get a kick out of finding secluded areas with a ripper view – lucky for me, I have Queensland’s Scenic Rim in my backyard so secluded peaks are a plenty.
I am hugely biased towards Australia and despite having travelled overseas I always find myself unimpressed with what other countries have to offer and I always wish I was back in the Aussie bush, soaking up the heat, the views and poking around for snakes.
After spending five years with the Australian Defence Force I can confidently say that the last thing I wanted to do in my spare time back then was to spend more time in the bush. Luckily, I have been discharged for a few years now and the love I had for the Aussie bush as a kid has well and truly become a huge part of my adult life. I can’t get enough of it.
What’s your essential piece of outdoor gear you never adventure without (and why?)
Figuratively speaking, I have been caught with my pants down before, so I will not venture anywhere without a bunch of compression bandages and a PLB.
In Australia, you’re barking mad for not rocking these on every adventure no matter how simple or complex it may be. It is a shame that I had to learn the hard way but, nevertheless, learn I did.
Where’s your favourite place to microadventure in Australia or NZ?
I feel like I am doing the dirty here by not naming a local area, but the most amazing trek I have ever done was out to Cape Raoul in Tasmania.
I hadn’t done a Google image search of the area beforehand (I like to keep some things as a surprise on the day) and was not expecting the jaw-dropping, stunning cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula. I am literally counting the days until I can get back there again. Simply amazing.
And what’s your favourite activity to sink your teeth into outdoors?
Ideally, I’d have a crack at most things if there is a chance of a dip afterwards. If I had to narrow it down, climbing mountains or snorkelling would have to be favourites.
You have a penchant for old school equipment, what inspires your love for the gear of yesteryear?
I’m not much of a kit monger but I do rate my Platatac backpack, I have used it for years and absolutely swear by it. Now that I have worn it in perfectly, I am dreading the day that I’ll have to trade it in for a newie.
What camera gear do you use?
I roll around with a DJI Mavic Pro and a Nikon D3100 when I am out and about. The Mavic, as you’d imagine is bloody good fun and well, the Nikon, it does the trick. I am by no means a photographer but I give it a red hot crack. I have had plenty of advice from a bunch of terrific photographers and have come across many amazing people that do amazing things behind the lens.
Have you had any disasters on any of your trips? What happened?
I have found myself in quite a few uncomfortable situations in the past, but what I have come to realise is that uncomfortable situations allow you to find and extend your limit of comfortability and you will be able to better prepare yourself for next time.
My closest brush with a disastrous situation was earlier this year when my wife received an envenomation from a highly venomous Rough-scaled snake at the crack of dawn. We were neatly seated on the summit of the Great Dividing Range, anxiously awaiting an aeromedical evacuation when I was struck with a brief moment of doom about her wellbeing. But, Amy, my wife, is a bloody trooper and was calm and collected throughout the entire ordeal and has recovered well after receiving both a brown and tiger snake antivenines (oh, and a session of reconstructive plastic surgery after the bite site turned necrotic).
Why did you get involved in the Explorer Project?
Initially I got involved because I wanted to share a bit of insight into some of the adventures I had been on. I had just returned from a trip away in Gibraltar Range National Park and was soooo stoked at the thought of sharing some info about the area with as many people as possible because it was such a stunning place to explore.
What are you most digging about the Explorer Project?
I have struck up conversations with some seriously talented photographers through the Explorer Project and they have given me advice on how to take a better photo.
The best thing though, is that I have met up with quite a few local explorers through the Explorer Project. It was always a hard sell to get my mates to come bush bashing, over long distances, in stinkin’ hot weather and for long durations of time. But here at the Explorer Project, all that just seems to be the norm – it’s great.
You have to be stranded in a tent with 2 people for 2 days – who would you choose and why? (dead or alive, real or fictional).
I can’t say I’d be keen for bunkin’ down in a tent with two other blokes but if I was just stranded, there are two legends that’d be hard to look past. The first one is great man himself, the Outback Wrangler, big Matty Wright. The bloke’s a bloody legend.
The other would be herpetologist Austin Stevens – this fella is barkin’ mad. He has been tagged by more venomous snakes then there are days in a week and he is a bit of a crack up with how he carries on when he finds the snake he is after – perhaps he could teach me a thing or two…
Dan’s been everywhere man