Map of Trip-2006.
Map of Trip-2008.
Map of Trip-2009.
Map of Trip-2010.
Two border crossings in two days!!!
Welcome to 2010. This marks
beginning of our 4th year on the road,
and our last for a while. The end of this year will see us back to
Bundy, back in the house and back to being normal again. Why you may
ask?? Well it is time for us to be responsible parents, as Alex will be
starting secondary school. While we could keep going for another year
or two we think it will be in his best interests to let him do his
secondary years in a school. Then the problem is that when Alex is
finished, Harry will be starting. That leaves us with 9 years to stay
put (and yes, we did threaten him with boarding school). We are often
asked how we think we will cope, and to be honest we are not sure, but
we will make the most of it. We did seriously consider relocating
somewhere new, a new house, a new town, new friends and a new job, just
to try and keep the dream alive. The reality is that within a month of
work, school and home, it would just be the same crap, only somewhere
different. We do have a nice house, great friends and we really like
Bundy, so the decision was made.
We are planning some fairly major renovations
additions to our
house in town, so that gives us something to look forward to. I was
thinking of a slight change in direction as far as my career goes, but
am not sure now if that is such a great idea. My plan is to go back to
my old job, and play it by ear. One thing I am sure of is that we won't
have the kids wanting to tag along with mum and dad for too many more
years. That means for us we want total freedom to have all the school
holidays off, every weekend and be home every night, to do things with
the kids, when we want to. That will be easy for Chris to achieve being
a teacher, but not so straight forward for me. But there is a solution
to almost every problem, and we have a solution for this one as well.
More of that down the track.
That's enough of that doom and gloom. We still have a whole year ahead
of us, more time than most people can even dream of having off, and it
won't be wasted. 2010 will be another great year of adventure and
exploration, seeing new things, learning new things and for this year
at least we will continue to live that dream.
Once again we have been seriously busy since leaving the Sunshine
Coast. A few days after new year we made our way back to Bundaberg and
stayed in Roz and Kelvin's front yard at Bargara. The weather was
with it raining every day and every night. I had a fair bit of work to
do at our house at the beach, so that kept me busy for a few days. It
was too wet for Kelvin to work, so both he and Ross helped me out
made it so much easier and a lot quicker. Thanks Guys. I did get all my
jobs and a few more finished and by Thursday we were ready to move down
the coast to Burrum Heads for our annual two weeks. On the way we
planned to spend a few nights at Woodgate at the Joiner's beach house.
They have had this place now for about 18 months but it was the first
time we had seen it. When we arrived, much to our surprise was Tom and
Audrey's van, set up in the Joiner's backyard (we met on the Gibb while
traveling in July 09 with the Joiners). We couldn't believe our eyes.
knew they were around the area and had planned to meet up, but not
here. It was great to see them again and to hear their stories and
adventures. Our boys were really excited as they also have two boys.
They are in the death throws of their trip and are starting to make
their way home to WA. We had a great time at Woodgate. We went to the
bowls club for a trivia night, which was great fun. We went yabbying,
four wheel driving along the beach and a bit of fishing. If you can't
afford a holiday house, it's great if your friends can, and I am sure
will spend many a night camped in their yard in the future. It's a
Hanging out at Woodgate
Burrum Heads 2010
We had two nights at Woodgate and then it was
Burrum. As Tom
Audrey had planned a few days at the mighty Burrum, they followed us
down and ended up staying a week. This year we had two weeks which was
probably a few days too long for me to sit still. It was great to see
the old crowd again, minus Roger who has been sailing a yacht back from
the Greek Isles with the boat's owner. All up with a bit of sightseeing
he will be away nearly 5 months with Pat battling along on her
own. As much as I love to travel I am certainly not brave enough to do
what Roger is doing. Reading their daily log makes the hairs on your
neck stand up. They have had to contend with pirates, huge seas,
breaking down (no RACQ out there), being shot at, running out of food
and fuel and I am sure much more. It takes a special (or slightly mad)
person to live that life. I now have a new respect for young
Jessica who at times must be scared out of her wits. Not for me!!
While it wasn't the same without Roger, we still managed to have a
time. Alex taught me how to ride the Rip Stik (after a number of falls
with large areas of skin off the knees), we did a few trips into Hervey
Bay and generally pottered around, getting the car ready for the year.
As per usual we probably drank too much, ate too much and told too many
yarns, but that's what it's all about. The old crew never change, and
every year its just like we see each other every second day. The
is we never see any of them throughout the year and hardly ever speak.
It's just one of those funny old timeless friendships that will go on
We left Burrum and headed back to Bundaberg, this
from the caravan back to the camper. This is a horrible process as we
always have a trillion other jobs to do as well. By the time Chris gets
here undercarriage checked out, the boobs crushed and eyes tested there
goes a day. Then there is the packing, deciding what we need and
trying to get it all to fit. Then to add insult to injury there were a
few jobs that I had to do at out house in town. We had great weather
for a change, for the past two years it has rained during this process
which made it rather more difficult. It is on so many levels such a
shame that this will be our last year travelling for a while, as we are
actually getting better at the packing process. This year we are taking
much less crap (Chris calls it necessary survival equipment), and we
actually have empty boxes (yes, totally empty) in the trailer and the
sack on the roof is also all but empty. What a lovely change. We were
finally packed, the van covered and for the last year it was backed
into the Joiner's carport (one of our plans for next year is to attach
large carport to our house for the van). The fine weather
continued and we drove out of their driveway on the Wednesday, the
day of school.
For those with a good memory, last year at
were forced to head south via Broken Hill to get to the NT due to
cyclones and floods in north and outback Qld. Back then it really
matter that much as we were only going to the centre, but this time
with us heading to the Kimberleys, going north was much more
important, not to mention a lot, lot shorter. Well bugger me, if we
in almost exactly the same situation. Another cyclone and the threat of
closed roads. TC Olga was on again, off again so we decided to head
north and take our chances. First night we made it to Emerald (staying
at Lake Maraboon) and then the next day into Longreach. So far so
We spent a
few nights in Longreach and finally got to
Qantas museum. What a ripper. We did the tour of the 747 and the new
707 and spent hours walking around the museum. It really is outstanding
and a must visit. The next day we again visited the Stockmans Hall of
Fame and pottered around town. Chris and I visited the Hall of Fame
about 25 years ago just after it first opened. It has been completely
revamped a few years back. Compared to the Qantas show across the road,
we found the 'new' Hall of Fame a bit dreary. A number of the displays
were not working, it was a bit dark and a little too proper. The
Australian Outback is simply not that proper!!!.
morning we planned the short drive to Winton to visit the
Waltzing Matilda display. Was our run of luck with the weather about to
change? Much to our horror we were told the road a few hours the other
side of Winton was going to be closed due to the rising rivers. What
they were unable to tell us was when that was likely to happen. Do you
keep going, fingers crossed, sit it out or head south. We were not
going to head south, not a hope in hell. As I am not very good at
sitting around we had no choice but to continue on. It rained all day,
non stop and heavy. We made it to Winton and continued on. The area
that they predicted would cause trouble was at Mc Kinlay, a few
hundred kms west of Winton. We arrived there around 2-00pm and the
river was (relatively) dry. Thank goodness. By 5-00pm the water was
just under the
bridge and rising. That's a big change in a few hours, and there was
more on the way. After a late lunch in Cloncurry in an absolute
downpour, we made it to Mt Isa fairly late in the arvo, but we
made it. Although it wasn't raining, it sure looked like it would so we
booked into a cabin and watched the ladies' tennis finals. The next day
we were away early arriving in Tennant Creek again late in the
afternoon in search of a caravan park with a TV so we could watch the
men's tennis finals. You have to be joking. Three parks, none with a
camp kitchen and TV. We then decided to go back to the Three Ways
as we could watch it in the bar. What a great decision. Nice camp area,
green grass everywhere and a big TV. I am glad we didnt spend $150-00
on a cabin as the game was over rather quickly.
Keep on Truckin'
Now I must mention the countryside. Travelling west after a few
cyclones is an absolute treat. From the moment we left Bundaberg the
countryside was green and lush, all the way to the Stuart Highway and
then up into the Kimberleys. It was stunning and such a quantum shift
from how we normally see it, brown and dusty. The cows on the Barkly
were standing in grass almost as tall as they were. The transformation
was amazing and it made the trip so much more interesting. Dams all
full and some areas just a flood with water. Chris even saw a Bustard
(bird) and we all saw numerous Brolgas on the side of the road.
really is ever changing and so diverse.
After leaving the Three Ways we continued and
at Katherine. We decided to stay out at the Gorge and were so glad we
did. Katherine had in the past few days been pounded by rain with the
place flooded. The road into the Gorge and the campground had only
opened a few hours prior to our arrival. We had the entire place to
ourselves, as well as the new magnificent pool. What a job they have
done. When in Katherine, this is the only place to stay. We spent 2
nights there and had some serious evening storms. The first night was
minor with the storm on our second night somewhat more intense. It
bucketed down complete with a very spectacular light show, for hours
and hours. This is the first serious rain we have had in the camper and
we did have a few minor leaks that we will attend to. All in all it
stood up to mother nature very well, and we all slept well with the
thumping of rain on the canvas. Out of there after two nights and
then on to Kununurra. We booked into the Big 4 in the middle of town as
they gave us a good deal (knock me dead with a feather- we are not big
fans of Big 4's). There were only 2 other campers in the entire park,
a few permanents. You can see why they have to charge so much as their
tourist season really is less than 6 months long, with the place almost
empty the remainder of the year. This is a huge park and they have to
maintain at least 4 staff just to keep the lawns under control. At
2-00am on our first night, down came the rain again, complete with
lightning and thunder. It rained until lunch when it cleared to a
lovely, hot, steamy humid Kimberley 'wet season' day. We shopped all
in preparation for 8 weeks in Warmun, as well as a visit to the
library. Please keep the rain away so we don't have to pack the camper
up wet! We did a few last minute sightseeing ventures, one of which
was Ivanhoe Crossing. We have driven across this a number of times over
the past few years and this was the first time we had seen it flooded
and closed. Not sure I would give it a go just at the moment!!
And now -
deeper and dirtier.
Luck was again on our
side. Pack-up day, no more
rain and we woke to a beautiful
day, complete with dry canvas. Camper packed and groceries pushed into
every nook and cranny. It is amazing how much food you can jam in a
small place. How much food you might be asking youself. Well just on
$1,500-00 worth, that's how much. We think that is our record so far.
Hope it lasts a while!!!
So that's it, time to move on. Let's get going, Warmun here we come,
bring on the house.
Until next month. Bye bye.
We are really looking forward to being in a
house again - control over the toilet paper!