I learned something interesting trying out strategies for starting the game last night. There are areas in the bluffs above the river valley that one comes to before going down to the river where there is abundant stone, wood, and fiber; abundant as in I was getting 6 stone or wood per chop. I got lots of easy XP and gathering the fiber also got me lots of bugs to eat. There were also no hazardous creatures up there so I stayed until lack of water drove me down to the river. By the time I got there I was level 5 and had a full set of stone tools and weapons, a sleeping mat, cook fire, and the makings for a small shelter so I could hide from the crocs.
I am sure that other people have already figured this out but it was news to me.
Using a pickaxe to cut trees down will net you more bark. As a newbie you are more interested in the wood, but if you have space to store stacks of bark you will only help yourself in later crafting recipes 🙂