The art of camping: If you want to truly relax, forget resorts and head outdoors

There's nothing like a camping holiday for boosting your wellbeing and recharging your batteries. Resorts create poolside indolence, overeating and dullness of mind. You wake up to cheap paintings hanging on walls and the sound of trundling cleaning carts.

Camping encourages bushwalking and swimming, self-reliance and a sense of wonder. You wake up to real landscapes, and the sound of waves or soughing of gum trees. You can enjoy the simple pleasure of a cuppa as an orange rim of sun creeps above the horizon and cockatoos wheel against cliffs, flashing their yellow crests.

If you have the time – and why rush it? – a camping holiday is a slow meander with no fixed itinerary and no need for timekeeping. With no sense of hurry, you can appreciate the electric flash of a kingfisher above a pond, the red glow of termite mounds, or the skulking of lizards over hot rocks.

Nothing is as marvellous as camping in the outback. Australia's raw beauty and enormous emptiness will uplift you. You're removed from urban busyness and the chatter of your mobile phone, and given space to ponder. If you're in the right place, you can marvel at rock art tens of thousands of years old; hard not to feel something spiritual. Your sense of vulnerability in this remoteness of space and time is both unnerving and exhilarating.

Camping means you get there before the day trippers, and stay on afterwards. You'll have waterholes and waterfalls almost to yourself. Perch on sandstone escarpments and admire sunsets over vast floodplains where herons and long-legged jabiru strut. Camp amid billabongs and weathered rock contorted by eons of time, and feel as if you're alone on a whole continent.

In the evenings, all you have to do is sling a sausage onto a grill, unfold a camp chair and gaze at the trees. Cockatoos gaze back and give you a wink. Wallabies shuffle out of the bush as the shadows lengthen. Your sausage sizzles. Trees rustle. This is a distillation of contentedness.

After dark, bats or barking owls might hunt for insects in the yellow light of your lamp. Gum trees shine in the moonlight, eerie and serene. You only need to look up to be awestruck by the gobsmacking, glittering stars of remote Australia. The universe is all yours, a vastness of star-spangled skies that emerge out of velvet blackness like a hymn to eternity.