It was a leisurely start for the day as we left Weipa and took the Batavia Downs track towards Bramwell Station. It was during this journey that our Prado started flashing up some warning lights on the dash, it appeared that there was an issue with the 4WD system, but as we had no reception or internet service it was hard to ascertain exactly what was wrong.
We waited until we arrived at Bramwell Station and then set about trying to fix the problem, as a Prado without low range was not going to be a fun Prado to be in on the tele track! The scan tool wasn’t showing any error codes, but there was obviously something wrong so George & Liam set about trying to work it out. Eventually, after trying everything else, they decided to just ‘clear’ all error codes (even though there weren’t any!) and the lights disappeared. A few quick tests and it was confirmed that the 4WD gears were working again! Little did we know this problem was going to keep popping up during the trip, but at least for now we knew we’d have low range on the tele track.
Now if you are looking for the perfect place to stay before you tackle the Old Tele Track, then you really need to get yourself to Bramwell Station (not Bramwell Junction, but Bramwell Station). It’s the same family that own both properties, but if you want a fun-filled night, full of laughs and entertainment, then you need to stay at the station.
Bramwell Station is the most northerly cattle station in Australia, but apart from being a working cattle station, it’s a great tourist park with accommodation units and a huge camping ground.
The video below shows Matt (our self-appointed table captain) trying to get our table to sing the loudest!
We stayed here on our last trip and thought it was great, but stay here in the peak tourist season and you really see what this place has to offer. The ringing of the station’s bell signals happy hour at the bar and of course we were all there ready and waiting! But this was just the start of the night. Most of us chose to have the buffet dinner and that was money well spent. There is live entertainment at the station every night during the peak tourist season. The beers were flowing, the food was plentiful and the entertainment was great. Plenty of laughs were had this night, it was absolutely the perfect way to relax before we tackled the old tele track the next morning.
It was a relatively short drive from Laura and we arrived in Weipa around lunchtime. Everyone split up to do their own thing and met up again later in the day at the caravan park.
View from in front of our campsite …. plenty of crocs out there!
Weipa is a relatively big town …. well very, very tiny compared to say Sydney!, but for the townships on the cape, it’s a relatively large town with most facilities available. Weipa sits on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The region in and around Weipa is very rich in bauxite and this has led to Rio Tinto operating the Weipa bauxite mine for many years. They are in the process of extending their operations to another site in the area aswell. There is some big money being spent on infrastructure in the area and some big money coming out of the mines. The first thing you notice as you get closer to Weipa is that the condition of the road significantly improves! Then you see the traffic lights and the boom gates as you cross the mine access road to enter the town.
We had all booked on a sunset cruise with Western Cape Eco Tours. We had done this exact cruise when we were in Weipa 5 years ago and it was such a great night we couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Everyone took our recommendation and we booked on for a couple of hours of relaxing, history and crocodile sightings.
You’d think being a ‘sunset cruise’ I would have mentioned that we watched an amazing Weipa sunset aswell, well think again! We didn’t even come close to getting a sunset that night, very disappointing, but what can you do! At least we saw plenty of crocs.
Here’s what the sunset should have looked like! (taken on our cruise in 2013).
The cruise itself runs for about 2 hours and takes you around the Embley River to see the wildlife and of course the sunset. The price of the cruise includes beer, champagne, soft drink and yummy antipasto platters.
Western Cape Eco Tours are a small family owned company who love their town and love showcasing its natural beauty. They had only just started out when we took our first cruise with them and we are so glad business is going so well for them. If you are ever in the area, you really must look these guys up.
After all surviving our first night of camping in Laura, some headed off in the morning to visit the Split Rock Aborignal Rock Art site. We then set out for the days drive, only about 350km, but as it was the start of dirt roads it wasn’t a quick drive.
We stopped in at Hann River roadhouse to relive that day Stewy’s 4WD broke down and to visit the resident Emu, who kept us company last time when we were doing the oil change in Stewy’s 4WD!!.
Next on the list was a stop for a beer at the (S)Exchange Hotel in Coen. Legend has it that in 1976 the Exchange Hotel in Coen was renamed. Apparently a group of plumbers were in town and they put an ‘S’ up in front of the sign on the roof. Other rumors are around but all are fairly similar as to what happened. It was left there and the pub has since been known as the ‘Sexchange Hotel’!
Last night we stayed at the Archer River Roadhouse and you can’t stay here without trying one of their famous Archer Burgers! These things are HUGE!
Today we arrived in Weipa, where we will be spending the night. Weipa is a mining town and is the largest town on the Cape York Peninsula. Rio Tinto basically own the town, they mine and export bauxite, with exports of over 30 million tonnes of bauxite per year. We did a mine tour in our last visit to Weipa and it was very interesting.
Tonight we are all booked on a sunset river cruise with Western Cape Eco Tours, we did this cruise with Stewy and Kristy on our last visit to Weipa and it was amazing so we weren’t missing out on this again. I’m sure there will be plenty of photos for us to share as the sunsets up here are spectacular.
Tomorrow we head off to Bramwell Station for the night, before an early morning start the next day …….. Tackling the Tele track!
ONE – Both of my parents were both born in Egypt, but moved to Australia before I was born. I have an older sister and I also have two adult children.
TWO– I really have no desire to travel overseas as we have so much here to explore in Australia. In fact, I didn’t even leave Australia or get a passport until 2011 when Shelly wanted to take me on my first cruise.
THREE– My first car was a purple 1972 Ford Capri. My parents actually purchased it for my sister and I and it was such a cool little car. Unfortunately it didn’t last very long as it got stolen from in front of our unit. Police recovered it a week later with no interior whatsoever, no door trim, no seats, no steering wheel …. it was completely stripped out! Such a shame as it had been a great little car and in excellent condition.
FOUR– The first, and only, time I rode a motorbike I was on a Postie Bike. The bike had come into the workshop to get a service and the boys told me to jump on it and ride it into the workshop. Unfortunately I gave it a little bit too much throttle and almost lost the bike into the brick wall. In the process I damaged my left knee and had problems walking for the next six weeks! Not surprisingly I never had the desire to jump on another bike!
FIVE– I love sim racing (simulation) on the PS4. I have a full set up at home (which my beautiful Shelly even lets me keep in the loungeroom!) and I spend a lot of time racing online. I’ve always loved racing and used to own a Honda Integra which I often raced on the track or at the drags.
SIX– I haven’t been on television as much as Shelly, but I did appear on a segment of 4WD TV a few years ago, you can see the link here on our website.
SEVEN – Gelly & Charli aren’t the first staffys i’ve owned. My first was a little English Staffy pup called Zon. She escaped from our yard and the neighbours said that someone had picked her up off the street and we never saw her again 🙁 Next we got a big black staffy which I believe was a half English & half American staffy. My ex and I adopted her from the pound as a 1 year old and we fell in love with her immediately. We named her Deb, which means bear in Arabic.
EIGHT– I’ve flown a real plane! The flight actually counted towards my first flying hours. It was a little Cesna and I flew and landed unassisted (the pilot was there with controls if needed!).
NINE– Back in 1997 I attended a day out at a go-kart venue with work (for legal reasons I can’t disclose the name of the venue!). We had a great morning racing around and it came time to pull into the pits. I pulled in, jumped on the brakes and ……… NOTHING! …… no brakes ……. BANG! I crashed into a wall and broke my ankle. What started out as a fun morning out with workmates ended with being rushed to hospital in an ambulance, an operation and continual problems to this date. At the time the doctor said that I had done a one in 1 million breakage and I was lucky that I didn’t damage the cup in which the bone sat.
TEN– I have owned more than 20 cars in my lifetime. I have always been a Ford man so a lot of my cars were Fords! I’ve owned a Ford Falcon XE, XB and XY and a Ford Fairlane ZD. The one and only new car that I have ever purchased was a brand-new Suzuki Swift GTi.
ELEVEN– My dream car is a 1965 Ford Mustang GT350. A few years ago Shelly surprised me with a joy ride in a GT500 (Eleanor replica).
My dream car!
TWELVE– I have worked all my life in the automotive industry, I’ve managed mechanical workshops, performance workshops and tyre stores. I’m currently working in sales as an Account Manager selling wheels for the 4WD market.
THIRTEEN– One of my funniest moments growing up was when my friend and I jumped in the boot of a mate’s Ford Escort to go to the drive-ins, in the hope of getting in for free! Well we didn’t get in for free, we were busted and told to get out of the boot and leave the premises immediately!
FOURTEEN– I have a love for Australian history, in particular the early explorers. I also love the history of old shipwrecks. There is so much to learn and it’s amazing to see what they all endured and overcame to make their mark on history.
FIFTEEN – I love trying new things and have driven a V8 Supercar, driven WRX and V8 Holden Ute Rally cars, been in a Stunt Car, flown a plane as mentioned above, been a passenger in V8 dirt buggies, was a passenger on a hot lap with Bruce Garland (Bruce participated in multiple Dakar rallies), flown in a helicopter and seaplane and experienced flying a Boing 737 via a flight simulator (same as what the pilots train on).
During our travels over the years we’ve come to realise that not everything always goes to plan, not everything can be controlled all the time and sometimes you just need to adapt, suck it up and deal with it! Here’s our list of what we’ve learned ……..
It’s inevitable that bugs, dirt and sand will become like seasoning to your meals!
BABY WIPES are my favourite thing, we have them everywhere! They are our daily shower, they clean our hands, they wipe down tables and clean the bench top, and they’ve even been used to wash cutlery and plates when we haven’t had water!
Your feet will always be dirty, you just live with it!
We can go days without a shower and don’t even miss it …… until you eventually have a nice hot shower and you realise what you were missing!
Now this one we stole from the Uncut Aussie Adventures list, but this couldn’t be more true! ……. You absolutely relish in the 30 minute bug free change over between the flies going to bed and mozzies waking up. ………. OMG, we couldn’t agree with this more, you literally go from a million flies on you to none and there is that miniscule window of time, of total bliss, where there are absolutely no bugs around at all …. But then the mozzies wake up!
Swimming is perfectly acceptable to class as a ‘shower’.
White clothing should never be taken camping!
If you travel the outback, be prepared to throw out your clothing upon return, as everything will end up a slightly pink/brown colour as it’s tinged with red dirt.
Once you’ve done one outback trip your 4WD will forever after bleed red dirt. No matter how many times you wash it or think it’s clean, it will never ever be that case again! The only way to rectify this is to sell it and buy a new one!
Hold back on the packing as you will always take more food and clothes than you really need.
We love Zip lock bags! OK well Shelly does, but she’s converted George too!
Always replace a beer when you take one out of the fridge, one for one every time! No-one wants to find no cold beers in the fridge!
Never ever leave garbage or food unattended as hungry animals are hiding everywhere! So our very first visit to Fraser Island a dingo took George’s roll within about 15 min of us arriving at camp, lesson learnt! ….. OK maybe we did have another small incident with a cow at Mt Elizabeth Station in WA, but we won’t go into that! But yes we’ve seen dingoes, cows, birds, horses, wild dogs & even emu’s breaking into people’s campsites, eating their food & spreading their rubbish around!
ONE– My first cat was called Yoyo, because apparently that was one of the few words I could say at the time. Unfortunately she was hit by a car so mum and dad bought me a new cat and guess what, I called her Yoyo as well!
This is me with Yoyo (number 1!) and King, the dog
TWO– I LOVE hot chips, I could eat them with every meal. Chips with chicken salt, chips with gravy, chip sandwiches …… actually anything that involves potato is great! I think I actually have a chippy compartment in my stomach where it doesn’t matter how full you are, you can always fit in chips ….. I know I’m not the only person who has this! In case you were wondering, I’ve done extensive chip testing across Australia and so far the best chips I’ve found were at the Innamincka Hotel, outback SA and the best Chips and Gravy is at the Archer River Roadhouse in Cape York!
THREE– I’m allergic to bees and sandflies, but mosquitos don’t touch me. I hate big spiders and absolutely hate cockroaches, they freak me out big time!
FOUR– I’ve met lots of celebrities over the years and have an old autograph book filled with signatures. Most well-known Australian celebrities would be Danni Minogue, Johnny Young (Young Talent Time), Peter Brock, Fifi Box, Tim Freedman and The Whitlams, Mark Geyer, Simon Townsend (we were actually friends with the whole family, including Woodrow the dog!).
FIVE– I do lots of courses to learn random things, many that I’ll probably never really use in life, but I love learning new and different things! I’ve done Genealogy, 4WD Driver Training, Cake Decorating, Belly Dancing, Burlesque dancing, Jazz, Ballroom & Swing Dancing, Indigenous Studies, Arabic, Barista Course.
SIX– Years ago one McHappy Day I was at our local McDonalds with a friend when we met Mark Geyer and Jacin Sinclair and some of the other Balmain Tigers NRL players that were doing a celebrity appearance. We ended up chatting to them and they drove us back to my mate’s house and invited us to go watch them train. My dad has always been a huge Tigers fan, so I asked could they stop by my house and go and say hi to dad and they were more than happy to do so …. unfortunately for dad though, he’d popped up the shops and missed them! Looking back now, I think of how silly we were to jump in a car with a bunch of random guys we didn’t know, but I guess we did a lot of silly things when we were young, especially when you had a bunch of good-looking famous boys in front of you!
SEVEN– I name my cars! My first car was a little purple 1993 Ford Festiva called ‘Freddie’. Everyone knew Freddie and many called him by name, I loved that car! My next car was a Proton Satria GTi called ‘Sally’. I loved Sally too, even with all her squeaks and rattles. It was a special kind of love and only a Proton owner would know what I’m talking about! The 4WD’s don’t have names, well the green one is commonly known as ‘The Old Girl’ and the new one is ‘The Beast’, but that was more George than me – see what happens when he names a car, it’s not quite as personal is it!
EIGHT– I was a State and National Baton Twirling champion. I won titles at both levels as an individual and also as a team, in fact our team was undefeated National champions for many years before our retirement.
NINE– I love cemeteries! I could spend hours walking around a cemetery and looking at the old graves, the older the better. It’s a rare holiday if we don’t find at least one old cemetary to stop by.
TEN– If I could have dinner with anyone who has passed on I’d love to meet Peter Brock (well I did actually meet him once, but I’d love to spend more time with him and have a proper conversation). I’d also love to meet my great-grandmother, Elizabeth. I never met her, she died many, many years before I was born, but I’ve always felt like I’ve had a connection to her. Every day I wear her wedding ring, my grandmother’s wedding ring and my mother’s wedding ring.
And it goes without saying that of course I’d love to see my beautiful mummy one more time, I miss her every single day and wish she was still with us. Nothing can ever replace the love of your mum, there is so much she has missed out on and so much I wish I could share with her.
ELEVEN– I used to have three pet rats called Jimmy, Jayden & Slater.
TWELVE– ‘Froggy’ was given to me as a baby/toddler and he has been with me ever since and comes on every holiday with us, wherever I go, Froggy is there too!
THIRTEEN– My dream car is a Valiant Charger E49 or E38, I love my old Aussie muscle cars and hope to one day own a Charger, which of course would be parked next to my other dream car, a Lotus Elise. My love of Chargers is so great that we spent months looking for one to use as our wedding car and finally found a bright yellow one, which I absolutely loved!.
FOURTEEN– I’ve been on TV many times over the years. My TV appearances started early when I was on Romper Room with Miss Helena! Over the years I’ve been on the news a few times, as well as Young Talent Time, Simon Townsend’s Wonder World, Wombat and I’m sure there were others that I can’t remember now.
FIFTEEN– I absolutely love John Farnham and have been going to his concerts for years …. yes even his ‘last time’ concerts ….. and the subsequent ones!!! Our most recent concert was an outdoor event at Kiama which saw us sit through torrential rain, hail, thunder, lightening and gale force winds just to see the headline act of John Farnham!
……… Stay tuned for ‘Things you didn’t know about George’.
We all love to pry into other people’s lives, right?! Well here’s your chance to find out who George and Shelly really are. You read all about our travels and what we have been up to, but we thought it might be fun to get to know us a little better, so here goes ……..
SO WHO ARE WE?
Shelly is our ‘organiser’. She is responsible for majority of our trip planning, accommodation bookings and research for our trips. She is one of the most organised people you would ever meet, with lists and spreadsheets and folders available for every part of our trips! She is also our social media expert, our blog writer and photographer.
George on the other hand is responsible for everything to do with the 4WD’s and camper trailer. We never leave home without a fully serviced vehicle with only the best of everything. Ensuring that we are safe and the vehicles are mechanically safe and sound is George’s no 1 priority. George will happily spend hours, days or even longer researching new ‘things’ for our 4WD’s.
HOW DID WE MEET?
We met back in 2003 when George was managing a performance mechanical workshop and Shelly took her car in there to have some mods done …. Shelly got more than your usual amount of phone calls about her car while it was in the workshop for that week!
Funny story is that we did actually initially meet way back in 1997, George remembered meeting Shelly, but he obviously didn’t make much of an impression on her at the time as she doesn’t remember him at all! The first meeting was with Shelly’s other car, her parents paid to have her car lowered and some other work done for her 21st birthday. George was in charge of wrapping the car in a big ribbon!
Fast forward to 2003. George had just moved back to Sydney and gone back to his old job and in walks Shelly to query about getting extractors on her new car. To be honest, Shelly couldn’t have looked worse that day, she was unwell and certainly wasn’t out to make an impression at all ….. and George happily clarifies that she definitely didn’t make any impression! Our next meeting a few days later was a different story though and look at us now!
We married in 2013 in a beautiful relaxed ceremony at Richmond and a reception back at our house, it was the perfect day with family and friends and the perfect mix of fun, love and laughter.
We live in Sydney with our two dogs, our English Staffy, Gelly and American Staffy, Charli. Gelly is the most stubborn, lovable, opinionated and vocal dog you’ll ever meet, we’ve never known a dog with as much personality as Gelly! Charli on the other hand is our little problem child. She came to us with a number of problems that have taken us years to help her overcome, she destroys everything she can get her teeth or paws on (gardens, pool tables, 4WD mud flaps and trailer wiring, fences, shoes, clothing, fish pond filter) and if that wasn’t enough she also suffers severe separation anxiety and was even on puppy Xanax for a while!
Between the two of them we’ve had a broken leg (lucky us, we got the dog with a one in a million break …. what does that mean you ask? Well that means a top surgeon and a very expensive vet bill!). We’ve also had two torn cruciate ligaments, a torn meniscus and even a suspected snake bite (which turned out to be that Charli had probably choked Gelly by pulling on her collar and caused a retinal haemorrhage!) ….. let me tell you, all of this adds up to some very expensive vet work, lucky we love them.
We also have Bob (17 years old!) and Al the Cockatiels, Dodge the frog, Sam the snake and numerous fish!
We obviously love 4WDing and camping, but we also really enjoy our cruises and have done quite a few over the years. During our down time we love nothing more than spending time with the dogs, whether that’s at home or jumping in the car to go for a drive somewhere, they both love the car and love 4WDing and being in the bush.
We also love spending time with friends, a backyard BBQ or a visit to the pub is our idea of a good night. Don’t get us wrong, the odd night at a top restaurant or a weekend at the Palazzo Versace is amazing and we do this every now and then, but as a general rule we don’t need all the fancy things, as long as we are with each other, family or friends, we are happy.
We own two Toyota Prado’s, a 150 series which is our touring vehicle and tows our Cub Brumby camper trailer, and a 90 series which has retired from touring and is now Shelly’s daily driver and our weekend 4WD trips vehicle.
You all know that we love to travel and go exploring, but another thing we enjoy doing is experiencing new things together. It’s always been the one thing that we love, over the years we’ve both exposed each other to different things we love and shared many new joint experiences. This can be anything from climbing the Harbour Bridge to exploring an underground mine to flying in a Helicopter. Below are some of the great things we’ve shared together.
Hand feeding this orphaned baby in NT
Horizontal Falls, WA
RIO Tinto Mine Tour, WA
George holding his first snake ever! It was after this encounter that he agreed we could get a pet snake
Sunset camel rides at Uluru
Ice Skating at the Winter Festival at Bondi Beach!
Baby Crocodile, QLD
Indoor Skydiving, NSW
V8 Buggy rides
Indoor Skydiving, NSW
Baby Lion encounter
George’s first flying lesson
Scenic flight over Fraser Island
First helicopter ride
Sydney Harbour Bridge climb
Underground mine tour, Mt Isa
Centrepoint Tower Skywalk
Qantas Museum, Longreach
15 Random facts
Footy teams – Canterbury Bulldogs (George), Wests Tigers (Shelly).
In our wedding vows George promised to let Shelly watch Home & Away and Neighbours each night and Shelly promised not to annoy George while he’s playing Playstation!
No matter what, whether happy, sad or angry, we kiss each other good night every night.
When we travel, George does 95% of the driving, but Shelly does 95% of the singing!
Early on in our relationship we split up for a year and then got back together again, obviously we were meant to be!
Our dog Gelly was named after the two of us … George & Shelly.
In our younger years we have both been pulled over for drag racing, one of us more lucky than the other with the outcome! (obviously this was in the past with previous vehicles we’ve owned as Prado’s aren’t known for their drag racing abilities!).
George has a habit of testing the fuel economy and fuel empty light of vehicles and we once had to be towed off the F3 motorway after running out of fuel. Must tell you that we were about 2km from the end of the freeway and a service station! Not embarrassing at all to be dropped off a tow truck right at the fuel pump!
We’ve been incredibly lucky and have never ever had a flat tyre on either 4WD in all of our trips.
We used to live in a rental property that came complete with its own family of mice, it wasn’t unusual to be sitting in the lounge room and see one wander by!
We have visited every state in Australia, driven across every state border and visited the northern-most, eastern-most and western-most points of the Australian continent.
Our dream (and plan at some stage) is to travel Australia for a year or two and move to Queensland.
Earlier this year we briefly mentioned in our Year in Review blog that we had been approached by Cub Campers to be interviewed for their ‘Cub Stories’.
Late in 2017 we were approached by Cub Campers to see if we would like to feature in one of their ‘Cub Stories’, after they had seen our adventures on Instagram. We love our Cub Brumby and the freedom it’s brought to us so we were more than happy to tell everyone all about it!
On Australia Day 2018 we headed away for a long weekend camping trip with some friends and it was here that we met up with Fiona from Cub Campers to film our story.
People who follow us on Social Media would have already seen the video, but we’ve had a few other people ask about it, so here it is!
The above video is from the Cub Campers YouTube channel and remains the property of Cub Campers.
The day we filmed was incredibly hot, we had our friends heckling from the sidelines and we had two whingeing dogs to deal with (thanks to Emma for babysitting them while we were interviewed!), but it was a lot of fun and it was great to meet Fiona and learn a little more about the Cub Campers business.
Anyone who has been camping or caravanning for a while knows how important it is to keep the clutter to a minimum. You start off thinking you need everything with you or you just won’t survive a night away from home …. let alone a week or more! Over time you soon come to realise that you have too much ‘stuff’ that just doesn’t get used and takes up precious space or weight allowances. So when you find a product that saves space and makes your life a little easier, you do excited!
Every now and then a product comes along and we just think ‘wow, why didn’t we think of that’! Well this is one of those products. And guess what, this idea came about by another camper who had that exact lightbulb moment, another camper just like you and I who wanted to make life easier.
This product couldn’t be easier, everything simply clips together on your lanyard, you walk to the shower and hang it over the shower head or the hook on the door and everything is right there at your fingertips. No more leaving bottles behind after your shower, no more rummaging through bags to find what you are looking for and no more having to put things on the dirty floor.
So, before we go any further we must say that the wonderful people at Shower Ezy provided us with the Shower Ezy – ‘The Complete Set’ for free for us to review. So below we will give our honest opinion of the product. We did also purchase a few things ourselves so will review them as well.
Shower Ezy offer a range of different products including silicone bottles of 2 different sizes, toothbrush/toothpaste bag, toiletries bag, body loofas, mini LED USB torch, soap bag/holders and key fob …. they’ve got it all covered.
Their ‘Adventure Pack’ is your go-to pack which includes everything, a lanyard, silicone bottles, loofah, microfiber towel, USB torch and toothbrush/toothpaste bag, as well as a water-resistant drawstring bag to store it all in. How awesome is that!
Now these guys really have thought of everything, even the bottles are sized at 98ml to suit the carry on baggage limits of airline requirements (which is required to be 100ml or less). So many people are travelling with carry on luggage nowadays so this makes it ultra easy.
We are reviewing the products we have received.
Shower Ezy – The Complete Set – This set sells for $34.50. This set is what started the whole venture of Shower Ezy, it’s the complete set of everything you need to make shower time easier. It includes a lanyard in your choice of colours (Orange, Hot Pink, Navy BlueorTurquoise) – we chose Hot Pink (ok, ‘we’ didn’t choose Hot Pink, Shelly chose Hot Pink)!
As well as the lanyard, you receive 3 silicone bottles and a body loofa.
Mini LED Torch – USB Rechargeable– This torch sells for $4.20, doesn’t get much better than that! It’s water-resistant and rechargeable by USB which makes it super handy for us to charge either in the 4WD or the camper trailer. To be honest, for such a small torch it’s quite bright, it would be perfect to take to the toilet/shower at night or keep in the camper trailer for late night toilet calls! It’s so small and lightweight that you could even keep it in your handbag to have on hand for any occasion.
Toothbrush/Toothpaste Bag – This product sells for $4.50. This little bag is designed to hold your toothbrush/toothpaste/razor. Made from mesh, with a nylon base, it means it will dry quickly so no need to worry about putting your wet razor or toothbrush back in here. The drawstring pull keeps everything safe and secure and it’s easy to clip onto your lanyard.
Key Fob – This product sells for $3.90 and is designed to keep your keys safe and secure. The design makes it easy to clip on and off the lanyard, so no chance of losing your keys while you visit the amenities block. George has already claimed our one of these!
The bottles are designed from non-drip, non-spill, non-toxic food grade silicone and can hold whatever you like, eg shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shower gel, moisturiser, sunscreen. Each bottle features a twisting lid to display what you have inside. There is one blank display, aswell as Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap and Lotion.
Personally we are going to keep one of these in the 4WD with sunscreen, waterless handwash and aloe vera in the bottles. This way they are always on hand when we are out and about and easy to just grab the lanyard when going to the beach or for a walk.
Buy one for each of the kids and no more arguments about who is going to use the shampoo first, no more carting different bottles to the shower block and no more leaving things behind after your shower.
Whether you are into camping or not, this would be handy. Think hotels, weekends away, school camps, work conferences etc. What you use this for and how you use it is totally up to you, the options are endless, just think about what is going to work for you.
Lastly we need to say that the one thing that really stood out about this company was the personal service that we received, the personal emails to let us know our order was on its way and even the personal note with our order to say ‘thanks’. Also included is a little flyer on how to use the bottles. It’s this personal service that you don’t often receive nowadays so it was certainly a pleasant surprise.
Ordering couldn’t be easier, this is all done online via their easy to use website. There is a small shipping charge, as you would expect, and orders are posted out via Australia Post satchel, with tracking numbers.
Shower Ezy are based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.
We had been on the camper trailer hunt for a few years, visiting shows and checking out all the campers, reading reviews, talking to owners and checking out EBay and Gumtree. It was something we had always wanted to upgrade to ‘some day’. Having looked at so many different campers we learned what we did and didn’t like and what we did and didn’t need. We wanted something that suited us and our style of travelling. Sure there are plenty of trailers on the market that are really inexpensive compared to what we paid, and they are great for a lot of families, but they just wouldn’t cut it with the type of travel we do. There are plenty more expensive than ours too and some of the features are amazing, BUT we needed to keep in mind that we were upgrading from a tent so anything was a little bit of luxury for us, we didn’t need to go over the top!
So what did we want? We both agreed that we definitely wanted a hard floor camper. It had to be quick and easy to set up and pack down. We were upgrading from a Black Wolf tent which took us 30 min to have our campsite fully set up (including unpacking the car, putting up the tent, bedding, gazebo, kitchen etc.), so didn’t want to be fussing around with set up and erecting poles and ropes. It needed to be lightweight to help with ease of towing and fuel economy and lastly and most importantly, it needed to be a proper full off-road trailer that could follow us anywhere we went, it needed to be able to handle our extreme outback conditions.
Camping on the Tanami Track, NT/WA
Cub Campers have been around since 1968 and, in our opinion that says something. There’s no denying that Cub Campers are one of the most trusted names in the camper trailer world, they’ve been doing it for a long time and they seem to be getting it right! The one thing we really liked about Cub, compared to some of the other trailers on the market, was that they are fully made in Australia from start to finish, and made with all Australian canvas and BlueScope steel. The fact that they are an Australian owned company, using Australian made products means that we had more of a guarantee that the end product would survive our harsh outback conditions.
So earlier this year after looking around for years, we decided to go and visit the Cub Campers showroom at North Rocks. We had always seemed to come back to the Cub and decided to go and check them out and have a serious chat with them. This showroom is impressive, all their campers are on display for you to check out and right behind the showroom is their factory where everything is built. We spent quite a while there that day comparing the two models we were interested in, the Daintree and Brumby, and talking to the sales rep. We left the showroom that day very impressed with what we had seen.
Camping on the Oodnadatta Track, SA
We then had some big decisions to make, 1) did we want to buy one now to take on our 2 month trip to Western Australia and 2) could we afford it! After a week or so of thinking about it and checking the finances, we decided to bite the bullet and go for it! We paid our deposit and ordered our new Cub Kamparoo Brumby to be built.
As the weeks and months went by we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new camper, and at times wondered if we would even have it in time for our holiday, but the day finally arrived and we booked in for our handover. When you pick up your new Cub you have a full run through on how everything works. You are shown how to set up and pack away your camper, you are shown every little nook and cranny and how everything opens, closes, clips or zips together, you are handed a bunch of keys and instruction manuals (which yes, we did refer back to this the first few times!) and you leave the showroom totally overwhelmed with all your new information!
So that weekend was spent playing with the new camper, seasoning the canvas, packing it full of everything we’d need for our 2 month adventure and taking it for a drive to practice our trailer reverse parking! There was no time for anything else, we’d cut it very fine with time and this meant that we picked it up on the Friday and the next Friday we left for our 2 month adventure from Sydney to Western Australia.
There was no easing into things for the trailer, it was thrown straight into our style of touring! Within 4 days we had hit the Tanami Track, a remote off-road short cut between Alice Springs in the NT and Halls Creek in WA. It’s unbelievably corrugated with lots of bull dust and rocks, which makes for a fun time when you encounter the road trains! This is unfortunately where we encountered our first problem, we lost the trailer brakes, which made for an interesting few hours’ drive into Halls Creek. As soon as we arrived in town and got some phone reception we called Cub back in Sydney to see what could be wrong. They instructed us to look under the camper and see if these particular wires were still intact …. well no they weren’t, they had been cut in half by stray rocks! Cub were great though, as it was obviously still under warranty, they rang us back within 5 minutes with approval to get this fixed wherever we could, send them the bill and they’d reimburse us within 5 days. Couldn’t ask for better service than that. We found a great auto electrician in Halls Creek who dropped everything to fix it for us on the spot, they soldered the wires back together and we were on our way. We did end up having the same issue again during our last week, this time on the Oodnadatta Track! Luckily George was able to fix it this time to enable us to get home .
So here are our comments on the Cub Brumby
Towing – As mentioned earlier, a very important issue for us was weight, we’ve already added weight to the 4WD with a bullbar, side steps, roof basket, drawers, Kaymar rear bar, plus the full roll cage inside, add to this all of our luggage and us and we’ve significantly increased the weight of the vehicle from factory standard. Of course, this all has a significant effect on fuel economy, so we wanted a relatively lightweight camper trailer as well. Weighing only 955kg this camper suited us and our needs.
It happily sat behind the Prado and just followed along, it just loved the dirt tracks, corrugations, water crossings, you barely even knew it was there! Being a full off-road model it was built for our outback tracks and we certainly tested it!
Setup – The hassle free set-up is exactly what we wanted. The Brumby comes standard with the ‘silent winch’ (ha, when this gets dusty, it’s far from silent, I’d hate to see what a non silent one sounds like!). But in saying that, the winch system is very easy to use. Cub even mark the point to which you should unwind the winch to when setting up, so you don’t even have to think about it. Once you reach this point you simply start to lift up the hard floor and the gas struts will kick in to help you. From there it’s a very quick and simple process to complete the set up.
Camping on the Great Central Road, NT
Now when it comes to the awning, we can’t really comment. When it was set up during our handover process it didn’t look too hard, but it would definitely add a bit of time onto the set up process. We decided that we didn’t need it and didn’t even take it away on our trip so can’t really comment. We will say though that it’s great that you can leave it zipped onto the camper and just throw it over the roof even if you aren’t using it. The camper still packs up fine with it on. Although we didn’t take it with us or use it, that seems like a great idea and so much easier than having to zip it on and off each time.
Inside – OK, so this is where we had some of those luxury items we’d never had before! Inside the camper is a deep-cycle battery which gives power to two internal 12V outlets (and also 3 external 12V outlets) and 2 x USB chargers (great for the phones and IPads etc). There are also 2 double power points inside the camper, which work when you are plugged into 240V mains power. Another thing we loved was the LED light that velcros onto the overhead bar.
The blinds that protect the fly screen windows are a great idea as they all zip open from the inside, meaning that it’s so easy to open and close as you feel fit and so much easier than running outside to close windows in the rain! As they all open via zipper it’s easy to open up fully or just a little as an air vent. Make sure you keep a window open a bit at night to avoid condensation.
The room on the floor is quite large considering it’s a fairly small trailer. It would certainly fit a stretcher bed or two for the kids or a small table and chairs if you need to get in out from the weather – or a dogs bed or two when we take the pups away!
Bedding – The double bed has a pocket spring mattress and the base lifts with the assistance of gas struts. We did buy a memory foam mattress from Clark Rubber to put over the top of the standard mattress to give a little more comfort. The camper still closes fine with this extra topper, plus the linen and doona and pillows.
Kitchen – Cooking for us while we are camping is no different to cooking at home, we certainly don’t live on baked beans and tin spaghetti! So room to cook and keep all our utensils was important. The kitchen is a full stainless steel slide-out unit with lots of storage compartments. Three pull out drawers to keep cutlery and utensils and plates/frypans/chopping boards etc. You then have two other areas where we keep pantry items, herbs and spices, cling wrap, matches, candles, washing up equipment etc. The bench space is adequate for us, but there is a handy little shelf you can clip on as well, which we haven’t needed to use yet. This comes standard and just slides in under the kitchen to store it out of the way when not in use.
Then there is the stainless steel sink, nice and big and with running cold (hot is an option) water which is plumbed into an electric pump that draws water directly from the 80 litre water tank, something we’ve never had before! There is also a two-burner gas cooktop with wind shield if needed. But one of my favourite things is the LED adjustable light that comes standard and just clips into the socket on the benchtop, how handy is that!
The kitchen is easily accessible at all times, so great for roadside stops if you just want some lunch or a coffee.
Storage – Of course storage is important, but to us it was another luxury as generally everything had to be squeezed into the car. Does this mean that this time we just took double the amount as normal? No, we were good and Shelly did cut down on what we took, even though it was exciting having all this spare room! More room for presents and souvenirs to bring home!
There is a storage pipe that comes standard to keep all the tent poles in – or fishing rods. Storage up front for two jerry cans and two gas bottles and behind that a big checker plate storage box with cupboards on both sides, one with a fridge slide.
The under bed storage is great, plenty of room under there for anything you don’t need to often or things you only require at night or when the camper is open. The only bad thing is that you can only access this storage area when the camper is fully open, so keep that in mind when you start storing things under there!
The Other Stuff – The BlueScope Steel galvanised chassis is tough and more than capable of carrying the trailer over rough terrain. Combine this with the independent suspension and you have a trailer that will happily follow you anywhere.
George’s favourite thing about the camper was the Redarc Battery Management System which charges and maintains our battery by taking in all the power received via AC, DC or Solar and working out the best way to charge the battery to its optimal level. It also allows us to monitor our power usage and see how much longer the battery will power us for and how much is being drawn in or out of the camper.
The roof rack comes standard and this is handy, we used it to carry our camping chairs and could even open the camper up with these still connected if we only had a brief stopover.
The Brumby comes standard with electric brakes. Our only complaint in relation to this would be that there should be some sort of bash plate or stone guard over the wires to stop the issues like what we had. It’s an off-road model so this extra precaution would help.
We provided our own wheels and tyres to Cub so that they matched our Prado, making it easier when carrying spares.
As for dust, we only had a little getting into one of the openings and Cub replaced the seal for us under warranty while it was in for it’s first service. Other than that we were happy with how everything sealed up. We did encouter some strong winds and rain and the camper was fine with no leaks. When we pack up we always cover the bed with a tarp just to make sure our bedding doesn’t get wet if we need to pack up without letting the tent fully dry – also stops any dust/dirt/sand from the floor ending up on your bed!
We took our 1 week old Brumby on the ultimate test, travelling 17,290 km from Sydney to Western Australia and back, travelling through some very remote areas. Over a total of 8 weeks we travelled the Tanami Track, Gibb River Road, Great Central Road, Oodnadatta Track, through national parks and down the coast of Western Australia. We dragged the little Brumby through water crossings, over thousands of corrugations, through sand and mud and up and down mountains and you know what, it just followed behind and barely moved! It absolutely loved it and was clearly made to do this. For our first time owning or towing a camper trailer we couldn’t have been happier, there was not a single place that it struggled. We love our new member of the family and can’t wait to get back out there and start exploring more.