On our latest camping trip we encountered donkey showers at Bunya Mountains National Park and Crows Nest National Park. We love using donkey showers, especially after a long walk, but were surprised that even quite experienced campers weren’t using them because they were unsure how they work.
At the Burtons Well Campground in Bunya Mountains National Park the donkey shower sits between a large woodpile and a two roomed uni-sex shower block. The woodpile is kept stocked by the Park Rangers and a large plastic container with a handle is provided to carry the water to the shower rooms.
|Donkey Shower at Burtons Well Campground, Bunya Mountains National Park|
In Crows Nest National Park the donkey shower is outside the amenities block. Here there is a shower room in the ladies end of the block and another shower room in the men’s end. The ranger had left some timber next to the donkey shower but most of it had been taken by campers to light their camp fires. Here you need to bring your own bucket to transport the hot water to the shower rooms.
|Donkey Shower at Crows Nest National Park|
To get started, ensure that the tank is full of water. Light a fire directly underneath the black tank of the donkey shower. The time it takes to get the water suitably hot varies depending on how cold the weather is and when the shower was last heated. If it is cold it could take up to 60 minutes to heat the water. A hot donkey shower will provide plenty of water for quite a few showers. It is not necessary to bring the water to a complete boil.
When the water in the large black tank is hot you let cold water in one end. At Crows Nest you turn the red lever to add cold water to the tank.
|Turn the Red Lever to Add Cold Water to the Tank|
Letting cold water into the tank forces hot water out the other end.
|Place Your Bucket Here to Catch the Hot Water|
Warning: the water can be boiling hot.
You can add cold water to your bucket to get the water to the desired temperature or you can add hot and cold water to the canvas bag in the shower room.
Lower the canvas shower bag to make it easier to add water.
|The Canvas Shower Bag in the Lowered Position|
Before adding water to the canvas bag in the shower room check that the nozzle is closed. At Bunya Mountains the nozzle was opened and closed with a lever and at Crows Nest (pictured) the nozzle was screwed up and down to open and close.
|Screw the Nozzle Up or Down to Open and Close|
To lift the bag into the showering position, untie the rope at the cleat and retie the rope when the bag is at a suitable height just above the person showering. The canvas bag can contain a lot of water and can get very heavy. It is easier to haul the bag into the showering position if it is only half to three quarters full.
|Shower Bag in Position|
There is a V-cleat in the above photo which can be used to lock the rope.I also find it best to tie the rope off in a figure eight on the lower horn cleat so that the rope does not slip under the weight of the water bag.
|Tie the Rope Off to Stop the Shower Bag Dropping|
To shower simply open the nozzle while you are standing underneath the bag. When you are finished, please close the nozzle so that water doesn't start pouring out when the next person uses it.
Next time you see a donkey shower give it a try and I’m sure you will enjoy it.
Warning: please supervise children at all times around a donkey shower. Even after the fire has gone out the tank and the water can still be very hot.