LAST POST CEREMONY

Recently we visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, which we both thoroughly enjoyed, it had been many years since our last visit so we were keen to get back there, there is so much history, you could literally spend a whole day walking around and reading everything. But this visit was different to previous ones as we experienced something we had never experienced before, we went to the Last Post Ceremony.

Neither of us knew about this until a guide at the information centre mentioned it to us, but we were definitely interested so we booked our tickets. The Last Post Ceremony is held daily in the Commemorative Courtyard at 4.45pm. You can be involved in this moving ceremony, where every night they share the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour.

We expected this to be a moving and emotional experience, but the tears started much earlier than expected, in fact before the ceremony even started! Whilst we were waiting for the ceremony to start we were speaking with one of the staff members and she told us a little about the story we were going to hear. She said that it was a special one as the family, including the deceased’s only child, was in attendance and would be watching and laying wreaths. The deceased’s 101 year old widow was also going to be watching the live stream online from home.

The ceremony started with the national anthem and was followed by a lament on the bagpipes whilst family and visitors laid wreaths. Next we were told the story of Flight Sergeant John McAulay Morrison, born in 1918 in Lismore, NSW. John applied to join the Royal Australian Airforce in April 1940 at the age of 22. He also had 5 brothers and all served during the second World War. In May 1940 John married and later welcomed a daughter. John was called up and enlisted in the air force in September 1940 as a pilot. Unfortunately, like so many others, Flight Sergeant John McAulay Morrison never made it home to his family and on 28 June 1942, at the age of 24, he was killed when the Kittyhawk he was flying crashed. His remains are buried in Grafton Cemetery.

Lastly, the ceremony ended with a reading of the Ode by Defence Force personnel and the sounding of The Last Post.

To watch a replay of this live stream, click here – https://www.facebook.com/AWMemorial/videos/808828923353086

To read about John McAulay Morrison, click here – https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1719540

This was a great experience and definitely one to do on your next trip to Canberra. It’s emotional and interesting and a great way to pay your respects to those who gave their all for us to live the life we do today.

To attend this ceremony you must have a ticket which you can arrange via their website, but there is no cost involved. The tickets allow you entry from 4.20pm and you can walk around the Commemorative Courtyard, the Pool of Reflection, the Roll of Honour halls and the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier (also amazing and something which we had never seen before). The service is streamed live every night on YouTube and Facebook and into RSL clubs.

Tailem Bend, South Australia

Tailem Bend is a small town located about an hour out of Adelaide, SA. This rural town is built on the banks of the Murray River and was once an important service centre for the South Australian Railways. It was proclaimed a town in 1887, not long after the railway line went through.

Nowadays though, Tailem Bend is more likely known as the home of Australia’s newest racetrack, ‘The Bend’. The Bend is Australia’s only track to comply with the latest FIA Grade 2 and FIM Category A standards, making it eligible to host international categories such as the World Endurance Championships, IndyCar and MotoGP. It’s also the second longest permanent circuit in the world, after the Nurburgring in Germany.

Construction started in 2016 and the first Supercar Championship race meeting at the track was held on 24–26 August 2018. The track and precinct is very impressive and it’s not even finished yet, plenty more plans in the works.

This was built on what was once Mallala Race Circuit, which for some time was also Mitsubishi’s testing facility. The track was purchased by the Peregrine Corporation, owned by the Shahin Family. This is the same family who is responsible for the OTR stores in SA (if you don’t know about this family and their story, look them up. It’s quite interesting to see where they have come from and what they’ve built). What they’ve done with the OTR stores in one thing, but this whole motorsport complex at The Bend is something else.

We will say that the one thing that we really loved about this whole story is that the Shahin family really do seem so down to earth and very involved in all aspects of their businesses. The way the staff at the hotel spoke of this family was great, you could tell they all appreciate them and have a genuine like for the family. We heard that they actually do spend a bit of time in the complex and meet and speak with the staff.

THE BEND MOTORSPORT PARK

Now we haven’t attended a race meet here or personally raced on the track, but we’ve both been to plenty of racetracks over the years (and George has raced on them) and this one stands out by far. Not only do you have the world class racing circuit, there is karting, drifting, rallycross, a 4WD adventure park, private villas, a Rydges Hotel and a Big 4 caravan park all onsite.

RYDGES PIT LANE HOTEL

You’ll find the hotel located within the main building of the pit lane complex. The hotel offers 100 guests rooms, some with private balconies and views over the racetrack and pit lane. Also the Apex Bar and Restaurant, Apex coffee lounge and obviously plenty of meeting rooms and event spaces.

The hotel has a very modern vibe and we really liked that. Our package deal came with a bottle of champagne on arrival, dinner and breakfast for 2. The food was great, we definitely couldn’t fault that! And the cocktails, yum – do yourself a favour and try a Lemon Meringue Martini! Lastly the staff were all great, ultra friendly and always happy to have a chat or a joke. We all know customer service is important, but when you have a stay like we did, it really makes you remember the place in a very positive light.

The thing that sets this hotel apart from others is the car museum in the foyer. As soon as you walk in the front doors you are greeted with millions and millions of dollars worth of rare, historical and unique Supercars and sports cars. Most are apparently part of the the owners own personal collection and some are still taken out on the race track from time to time. One of the brothers, Sam Shahin is actually quite an accomplished race car driver.

Contact Details and Location

Rydges Pit Lane Hotel

543 Dukes Highway, Tailem Bend SA 5260

Phone: (08) 8165 5730

The World’s Biggest Rocking Horse

Anyone that knows us, knows that we love to visit all the ‘big things’ across Australia and have a whole page on our website dedicated to this! Well on a recent trip to Adelaide we called in to visit The Big Rocking Horse in Gumeracha (only about 40 minutes from Adelaide).

At 18.3 metres high and weighing 25 tonnes, not only is this Australia’s Biggest Rocking Horse, it is the biggest in the world and it’s in the Guinness Book of Records to prove it!

Although it’s free to visit and take photos, for $2 you can climb the rocking horse, which has stairs inside which lead to viewing platforms in the head, on the saddle and one on the rocker near the base. You’ll also receive a certificate of achievement for climbing!

Toy Factory

Also in the complex there is a toy factory which sells some really great wooden toys which are made on site. You don’t see this type of old school workmanship too often these days. As well as the wooden toys there are plenty of other gifts and souvenirs and a range of lollies and chocolates.

The Shop is open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day) from 9am – 5pm

Wildlife Park

We can’t forget the Wildlife Park! For $2 entry per person (and an extra $2 if you want a bag of food) who could say no ….. well George could have, but Shelly wanted to go play with the animals!! Although it’s set on 7 acres, the wildlife park itself isn’t anything too exciting, but it was something to do and gave as a few laughs, and for $2 why not!

There was a range of animals including Alpacas, Sheep, Goats Kangaroos, Emus, Ducks, Cockatoos.

The Wildlife Park is open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day) from 9am – 4.30pm

CAFE

Lastly there is a cafe on site selling a wide range of food at reasonable prices. We grabbed a salad wrap and plate of chips and both were huge!

The Cafe is open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day) from 10am – 3pm

Where to find The Big Rocking Horse – 452 Torrens Valley Road, Gumeracha, South Australia.

Australian Made … the only way to buy

This is going to be quite a short post, but we just wanted to let you know that we are excited to announce that we have recently teamed up with AMD Touring, Australia’s first dedicated Australian-made 4×4, camping and caravaning store.

Many people want to buy Australian Made products, now more than ever, but finding the products that you need can be difficult. That’s where AMD Touring come in. You see, they have done all the hard work and are out there every day adding new products to their website and it’s a one-stop-shop where you can find everything for your 4WD, camping or caravanning needs. And if they don’t currently stock what you are after, hit them up and they’ll try and get that company on board or even find an alternative Australian Made version of what you already use.

The website features many products already (with more being added all the time) and it makes it super easy for you to find quality Australian made products all in the one place. So next time you need something, check out this website first!

Don’t forget to use our Promo Code 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗸 when you make your next purchase. You won’t pay any extra by purchasing via this website, but every purchase you do make will go a small way to helping us to keep travelling and doing what we love.

textile australian flag with crumples

Don’t forget that by purchasing Aussie made products, not only are you ensuring your money stays within our country, you are supporting local jobs and businesses and you have the knowledge that these products have been made and tested for use in our environment and for our standards.

Website: https://www.amdtouring.com

Roadside Membership … what you need to know

We are always asked what insurance we have and what precautions we use when travelling, well let me tell you … we would never travel without our NRMA Roadside Membership. We hear and read a lot about NRMA Roadside Membership and it appears many people don’t fully understand it, so here’s a short comparison of their various covers and what that gives you.

For example, did you know that their base cover “Classic Care” will not cover most 4WD’s or anything they are towing? Did you know that you are covered Australia wide?

Of course this particular comparison relates only to NRMA (which covers NSW/ACT), but every state has their own affiliated motoring organisation and they probably offer similar memberships.

We have both been NRMA members for years and have used our membership numerous times …….
🔧Our old Prado broke down on one of our outback trips and we were towed from the breakdown point to Condobolin, Condobolin to Dubbo, Dubbo to home, home to our mechanic – all covered by NRMA. Would have covered accommodation in Dubbo as well, but we had friends we could stay with.
🔧Shelly’s old GTi wouldn’t start and the NRMA turned up to the train station carpark to check it out, couldn’t be fixed on the spot so was towed to our auto-electrician about 30km away.
🔧Our old Prado ran out of fuel 10km from the end of the M1 freeway (George’s fault!!) NRMA turned up and towed us to the nearest petrol station.
🔧Our old Prado alternator went and was towed to our mechanic.
🔧Back in the day, Shelly may have had numerous call-outs for keys locked in cars!
🔧Our friend used his RACQ membership when he blew his engine on a Cape York trip with us, covered a significant part of the cost involved in accommodation, flights, car transport etc.

As you’ll see, your membership offers a lot more than just ‘roadside assistance if you breakdown’.

We personally wouldn’t be without our membership, it’s come in handy many times over the years and it’s a great ‘peace of mind’ when we are travelling, but it may not be right for everyone.

Note: Please do your own research and speak with NRMA directly before taking out any cover, this is our view on the situation only. All details are accurate at this point in time and are as we understand them.

Maheno Shipwreck

The Maheno shipwreck is one of those must visit places on Fraser Island. You’ll find it on 75 Mile Beach on the eastern side of the island, not far past Eli Creek.

The ship ended up beached on the island during a cyclone in 1935 and has laid there wasting away ever since.

The Maheno was built in Scotland in 1905 and was the world’s first ever triple screw steamer. She was initially built as a luxury passenger ship. During World War 1 she served as a hospital ship treating and transporting the wounded from Gallipoli and the Western Front. She was later used by a shipping company for journeys between Sydney and New Zealand.

By 1935 the ship had been declared outdated and taken out of service and was sold to a scrapping company in Japan.

On 8 July 1935, while under tow to Japan, the Maheno became caught in a cyclone and the towline broke. After drifting in rough seas, the Maheno eventually beached on Fraser Island.

The ship was unable to be re-floated and no buyers wanted her, so she was abandoned on the beach and remains there today.

It is said that the locals put the shipwreck to use in the year or so after it washed ashore by holding weddings and concerts aboard. Years later the wreck was used as bombing practice during World War 2.

She has definitely been showing her age in recent years as the constant battering of waves and the environment take their toll on her. Our photos of the Maheno from our first visit to the island 13 years ago compared to now definitely show the deterioration.

Today, the rusting hull is all that remains and this is gradually being washed away with every tide, wave and storm that hits.

Definitely still one of our favourite places to visit and photograph on the island though.

Christmas Shopping made easy

So our favourite time of year is nearly upon us …. yep that’s right, only 31 days until Christmas! 🎄 🎁

If you are looking for some awesome gifts to buy for your friends and loved ones, check out these products below. We have joined forces with some of our favourite Aussie companies who we personally use and recommend and some have agreed to offer a discount just for our followers. Note that, unless stated otherwise, there is nothing in this for us, it’s purely just to share our love of these products and give a little back to you guys!

Click on the links below to be taken directly to the websites to order. If you want to try and score yourself some of these great products for free, head over to our Facebook page and enter our Christmas giveaway competition as a few of the companies below have kindly donated products! Click here for details on how to enter this great giveaway 👉http://bit.ly/2KcYZm5


Cost Effective Maintenance

Cost Effective Maintenance provide cost effective solutions to all your engine problems, but rather than just a ‘band-aid’ fix, they work to solve your engine problems in two ways ….. 1) Corrective Maintenance and 2) Advanced Preventative Maintenance.

Not only have we been using their products in our vehicles for years, both of our vehicles are also now officially sponsored by Cost Effective Maintenance. We’ve seen a noticeable difference in the Prado and the Hilux since using a number of CEM products, so we can certainly recommend them. Check out their website or give them a call to have a chat. They offer free delivery Australia wide.

Here are some common engine problems / mechanical problems which they can help you with:

  • Overheating Diesel Engine
  • Common Rail Injector Rattle
  • White Smoke at Cold Start
  • Diesel Engine Sludge
  • Diesel Injector Rattle
  • Black Diesel Engine Oil
  • Crankcase Blow-By
  • Maximum Power – Minimum Engine Wear
  • Engine Carbon
  • Petrol Engine Sludge

At Checkout, use code “4x4OTT” for a 10% discount.


Auto Parts Co

APC is an Australian owned retailer of 4WD parts and accessories. Check them out for all your 4WDing and camping parts and accessories and you’ll be impressed with their prices. As they are able to go straight to the importers and manufacturers, they can cut out the expensive middlemen and pass those savings on to you!

Over the years we’ve gathered a lot of our products from APC and most recently we ordered all of our suspension for the Hilux and the whole process was quick and easy. Definitely worth checking them out next time you need anything for your 4WD.

At Checkout, use code “OTT4x4” for a 5% discount


Swig Cups – $24

These Swig Cups by Love Your Travels are amazing, Shelly loves hers! (she has the pretty sparkly charcoal one!). And what’s better is that if you order using our code, YOU get a 10% discount!

These Insulated Swig Cups hold 400ml, are durable and tough, perfect for day to day life and an ideal camping accessory.   They will keep your Hot & Cold Beverages at their optimum temperature for hours. These Double Walled, Stainless Steel Swig Cups are made from 304 Stainless Steel and all cups come with a BPA–Free secure push on slide lid with a silicon seal.

Check out the ‘Love Your Travels’ website for the huge colour range available.

At Checkout, use code “Offthetrack4x4” for a 10% discount


Shower Ezy – The Complete Set – $34.50

This is a product we found a few years ago and we now use them in the car and for when travelling. There are so many uses for the various handy little products that Shower Ezy have available for sale. The showpiece seller though is ‘The Complete Set’, which really is the perfect gift for any camper or traveler.

This set comes in a range of colours and includes 3 x Silicone non-drip, non-spill bottles, 5 x stainless steel D-Rings, Aluminium carabiners, 1 x detachable body loofah. This is all held on an easy to carry lanyard made from Neoprene (wetsuit) waterproof fabric, making it easy to carry around your neck, hang over the back of the shower door etc.

There are also other products available to make your camping adventures easy ….. perfect for airline travel as well as the bottles are 98ml each.


Macca’s BBQ Seasoning Rubs – $9.99

For those that know “Macca”, the host of the TV show, What’s Up Downunder …. well he’s brought out his own range of BBQ Rubs. Perfect for your next BBQ or campfire cook up, or even just at home in the oven or slow cooker.

Available in four different flavours:

  • Great Southern Lamb
  • Captain James Chook
  • Great Barrier Beef
  • That’ll Do Pig

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Scrubba Wash Bag – $69.95

The Scrubba Wash Bag is one of those great little Aussie inventions. It’s basically a little tiny washing machine …. well kinda! But for those who are travelling, free camping or living on the road, you’ll know that you can’t always be around a washing machine (or in fact, have access to a lot of water). Well that’s why you need this Scrubba bag!

The Scrubba Bag has a unique old school wash board inside, so when you add a small amount of water, your dirty clothes and a little detergent…your washing is done in minutes. Little tip, if you use wool wash instead of normal detergent you don’t need to rinse the clothes after washing so you save on even more water.

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.

Click here to see a short video of how this works.


Slide n’ Dry Pegless Clothesline – $12.95

This Aussie made product is designed and manufactured in Melbourne and it’s one of those things that every camper needs! We recently purchased one and it’s so easy and compact and no more carrying around clotheslines that get tangled up and pegs that either get lost or are bulky to store.

Each packet of Slide n’ Dry Pegless Clotheslines comes with 12 slides that have 24 points to hold your washing and 2 bungee cords to secure it, all packaged in a handy zip lock reusable bag!

The slides are made from UV protected plastic so they won’t go brittle or fade in the sun! They are compact and lightweight, which means they are perfect for caravanning, camping, cruising, backpacking, hiking, overseas adventures…or even at home!

And for those environmentally conscious people, these are made with the highest quality materials with a PET 5 rating ensuring they are recyclable!

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Winerest Camping Chair Wine Glass Holder – $16

For all you wine lovers out there, does your wine glass keep falling over? Well here’s the product you need, check this out!

This product is designed & developed in Australia so that it can cope with our harsh outdoor elements. Sun, dirt, sand, wind, water …. no worries, it is designed to deal with all of this!

This comes in a range of colours and can be used on most camping chairs and outdoor furniture. The arms of your camping chair should be thicker than 3cm and not ‘tubes’. 

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Icy Pole Holders – $10 for a 4 pack

Perfect for kids (and big kids like George – he loves them!)

Easy to pop over your icy pole to keep kiddies happy and save on using paper towel or tea towels etc. These are made from high quality neoprene, double stitched at each end and sewn and glued…making them super durable … and machine washable.

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Travel Journal – $24.95

This Australian made Travel Journal is packed with journal pages to document your daily experiences and look back on your memories in years to come. It also includes a plastic coated Checklist that can be used and re-used (simply tick the boxes with a non-permanent marker and then rub off after your trip is finished). There is also a plastic coated Address Book, as well as various Activity Pages which can be photocopied and filled in on each trip.

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Log Book – $10.95

This 2 part A5 log book includes 160 entries of Trip Information, plus over 160 entries for logging your caravan/vehicle KM’s traveled and Fuel Consumption.

The front part of the log book allows you to note down where you stayed, rate it and jot down any notes to refer back to later. The back part allows you to keep track of the km the vehicle/caravan/camper travels.

These are available from the Caravanning With Kids website. By ordering through the link below, we will earn a small commission, but this will be at no additional cost to you.


Hema 4WD Maps App & Hema Navigator

Hema are Australia’s leading GPS navigation systems for on and off-road travel. We never travel without our Hema 4WD maps app and also our paper maps.

The app is well worth the money as it offers offline 4WD maps for the whole of Australia, right there on your iPhone or iPad ….. and you don’t need an Internet connection. The app utilises offline mapping and your device’s own in-built GPS receiver to see where you on detailed Hema maps, which feature roads, 4WD tracks, topographic information and points of interest to guide your travels off the beaten track.

Check out their full range of products via the link below.


All of these are items which we use and can recommend. We love supporting our small Aussie companies and if we find a great product which works for us and makes our life a little easier, then we are more than happy to spread the word!

We love being able to give back to you guys, so we have been busy lately working with various companies to bring you some discount codes to be able to give a little back to you ….. at the end of the day, it’s a win for everyone!

So come on guys, show them some love and check out the websites …. maybe you’ll find something you love too!

Longreach, Outback Queensland

Longreach is known as the ‘Heart of the Outback’ or ‘Gateway to the Outback’. This great little town is home to approximately 3000 people and is located in the central west region of Queensland – about 700 km inland from Rockhampton.

The first pastoral lease in Longreach was granted in 1863 and was called ‘Bowen Downs’. Some may recognize that name …. only a few years later it became the site of the most infamous cattle theft in Australia. It was from here that Harry Redford (Captain Starlight) decided to steal 1,000 head of cattle and muster them down towards South Australia. We did mention a little of Captain Starlight’s story in one of our recent blog posts

Longreach was very big in the wool industry and back in the 1950’s it was a very wealthy area due to this. Nowadays, although wool producers still exist, Longreach is now heavily involved in the beef cattle industry.

The Thomson River is found just outside the town and is a great spot for camping, fishing and boating and is home to many fish and birds. Not only is this river a popular spot for Longreach locals and tourists alike, it is a pretty special river in it’s own right. You see, the Thomson River eventually meets with the Barcoo River where they join to form Cooper Creek. This is the only place in the world where two rivers meet to form a creek!

Longreach was officially gazetted in 1887 and was actually named after the founder could not believe how long the reach of the Thomson River was!

There is plenty to do in and around Longreach and below we’ve detailed a few of the places we visited during our short stop over this time.


STARLIGHT’S CRUISE EXPERIENCE (by Outback Pioneers)

This appears to be a very popular cruise and we can see why, it was great!

Our night started when we were picked up from our van park at 4.30 pm and driven by coach down to the river, along the way we were given commentary and information about the town and it’s history. After arriving you are escorted to down to the river to board the Thomson Belle Paddlewheeler (we were actually on the Thomson Princess Riverboat, which was still great. They use both boats when the groups are large).

The cruise itself goes for about 1 hour and includes nibble platters, great commentary and lots of laughs (and it’s BYO so you can enjoy a few drinks too). After watching the sunset, we then headed ashore for some bush poetry which was great. The first poem in particular, about the light horses was quite emotional. This was followed by a traditional stockman’s camp-fire dinner of beef stew and mash, followed by apple pie and custard.

After dinner we all headed back down towards the river to watch the sound and light show which explained the story and adventures of the notorious cattle thief Harry Redford, also known as ‘Captain Starlight’.

We then finished the night with billy tea and damper around the fire, raising of the flag and singing the national anthem, before being dropped off back at camp about 8.30pm.

This is one of those real outback experiences, full of great hospitality, information and yarns. It’s run by the Kinnon family, who are a local family of graziers who have moved into the tourism business as well. The pride and the passion they have for their little town and the lives they live is well and truly alive throughout the night.

Highly recommended tour and next time we are in town we will definitely be booking into their Cobb & Co Stagecoach Experience as well.

Contact
Telephone: 07 4658 1776
Email: reservations@outbackpioneers.com.au
Click Here for more information
The booking office is located next door to the Station Store in the historic ‘Welcome Home’ building at 128 Eagle Street, Longreach.

Cruise Details
Duration: 4 hours
Cost: $119 per adult (as at October 2019)
The price includes river cruise, nibbles, 2 course dinner around campfire, billy tea & damper, entertainment, Starlight’s Spectacular Sound and Light show, coach pick up and drop off from accommodation, BYO alcohol.


TROPIC OF CAPRICORN

The Tropic of Capricorn runs right through the centre of town in Longreach.

Location: Landsborough Highway, Longreach (outside the council chambers)


AUSTRALIAN STOCKMAN’S HALL OF FAME AND OUTBACK HERITAGE CENTRE

This centre was opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II. If you want to learn about outback life, our explorers and land owners and everything in between, this is the place to visit. Not only is the museum a great insight into Australia’s and outback Australia’s history, the building itself is amazing!

The Outback Stockman’s Show & Dinner also looks amazing and something we will do when we visit next …. always something else to add to the list!

Now while the museum is a must-do, the Australian Stockman’s Experience show is awesome! It’s run by a Stockman and between him and his animals we were guided through life on the land from years gone by to now. You hear his stories of life on the land first hand. It’s a fun, entertaining and informative hour long show that you cannot miss! The Australian Stockman’s Experience show is held most days at 11am.

Address: Landsborough Highway, Longreach
Phone: 07 4658 2166
Email: museum@stockmanshalloffame.com.au
Website: www.outbackheritage.com.au


QANTAS FOUNDERS OUTBACK MUSEUM

We visited the Qantas Founders Museum and did the tours during our last visit to Longreach so this time we just popped over for lunch and took a few quick pics from the car park! But this is a DEFINITE must to visit if you are in Longreach.

QANTAS (Queensland and Northern Territory Arial Service) is a name everyone knows, and even if you aren’t all that interested in planes, i’m sure you’ll find that you enjoy a visit to this place. It’s not hard to find, the big red tail of a decommissioned Boeing 747 jumbo jet can be seen from miles away and as you get up close you realise exactly how big these planes are, you are literally parking in the car park right next to a jumbo jet!

Of course entry fees apply to the museum and to undertake the different tours so make sure you arrive early or check online beforehand to work out what you want to see and do. You’ll not only learn all the history of this famous airline, but you’ll see plenty of old planes and displays, learn the secrets and obtain access to parts of the planes that you would never normally see.

Address: Sir Hudson Fysh Drive, Longreach
Phone:  (07) 4658 3737
Email: info@qfom.com.au
Website: www.qfom.com.au


Like we said, there are plenty of other things to do in the area, like a visit to the School of the Air, Powerhouse Museum, Cemetery tours, Cobb & Co Stagecoach Experience, Harry Redford Old Time Tent Show, Captain Starlight’s Lookout, station tours.

Make sure you call into the information centre on Eagle Street to grab a tourist guide or ask them questions as they know where to get the deals and save on entry fees or buy combined passes for various attractions. This is generally our first stop in any new town. They are knowledgeable, they are locals and they know the area so go in and ask them questions, ask what there is to do in the time you have. At the end of the day, that’s what they are there for!

George hanging with the locals!

Yeah it was a short visit, but we had been there before so we don’t feel like we missed out on anything. We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 night stay at the Longreach Tourist Park (a much better experience than we had camping in Longreach last visit!). As it was a relatively last minute decision to visit Longreach we obviously didn’t pre-book and as it turns out, they were quite busy! We ended up camping in the overflow area of the park and to be honest, we thought it was better as we had more room!

As with many of these outback towns, Longreach know that how much the tourists bring to their town and they really do cater for that. You’ll even find dedicated caravan day parking areas where you can park your car with caravan attached while you go exploring.

Winton, Outback Queensland

After leaving Boulia we said goodbye to Stewy and the kids as they headed back to Queensland and we also started off on our journey home. We had no plan, but we had about 6 days before we needed to be back in Sydney so we had a quick check of the maps and decided to headed off towards Winton.

After a week of no showers (thank god for baby wipes!) we decided to check into a hotel for the night and make good use of their shower and bed! We also took a night off cooking and headed to one of the local pubs, The Winton Hotel, for dinner.

The next morning we were up early to get in some exploring before the relatively short drive to Longreach, where we planned to spend 2 nights. We’ve visited both Winton and Longreach before, but it was nice to be back and spend a bit more time looking around.

If you ever find yourself in Winton, here are a few of the highlights for you to check out.

The North Gregory Hotel

Established in 1879, The North Gregory Hotel was reportedly the site of the first public performance of Australia’s unofficial national anthem, ‘Waltzing Matilda’, on 6th April 1895.

The original North Gregory Hotel was was pulled down in 1900 and rebuilt, only to burn down in 1916 and again in 1946. The building that stands now was built in 1955 and nowadays this hotel is not only a reminder of the past, but also a great place to eat, drink and sleep.

Located in the centre of town, this hotel provides hotel rooms and non-powered caravan sites.

Address: 67 Elderslie Street, Winton
Phone: 07 4657 0647


Qantas Airfield Commemorative Cairn

This location marks the site of the first landing ground of Qantas. When most people are asked where Qantas was born, they think Longreach, but it was in fact Winton. The local saying about Qantas is that it was conceived in Cloncurry, born in Winton and grew up in Longreach.

The Qantas story officially begins with it’s ‘birth’ in Winton on 16th November 1920, with the initial registration of the company. The Winton Shire Council was the first local authority in the world to support an airline, contributing financially to the purchase of the first landing field. The first Board Meeting was held at the Winton Club on 10th February 1921. There is a commemorative cairn in Elderslie St and also at the site of the landing field.

Price: Free!
Location: Located on Hughenden  Road, behind the Diamantina Heritage
Truck and Machinery Museum 


The Winton Club

On 10th February 1921 the first Qantas Board meeting was held here. We believe there is quite a range of Qantas memorabilia on display, but the club has never been open while we are there.

Location: 27 Oondooroo Street, Winton
Contact: wintonclub@hotmail.com


Jolly Swagman Statue

This statue is dedicated to Banjo Paterson, who wrote Waltzing Matilda. It’s also a tribute to the many swagmen who lie in unmarked graves across Australia.

Price: Free!
Location: Elderslie Street, Winton
(outside the pool at Barry Wilson Memorial Park) 


Musical Fence

This is a strange, yet fun!, place where you can ‘play’ musical instruments made from various everyday items. This is the worlds first musical fence!

Price: Free!
Location: Located on Hughenden  Road, behind the Diamantina Heritage
Truck and Machinery Museum 


 Banjo Paterson statue

A statue of Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, who wrote Waltzing Matilda. Note: A fire destroyed the Waltzing Matilda Centre in June 2015 but the statue of Banjo Paterson was undamaged. The new centre re-opened in 2018. 

Price: Free!
Location: Elderslie Street, Winton
(located outside the Waltzing Matilda Centre)


Waltzing Matilda Centre

This is the first museum in the world dedicated to a song! This centre tells the story of our unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda.

Unfortunately the original Waltzing Matilda Centre was completely destroyed by fire in June 2015 and very little was able to be saved from the ashes. We did visit the original centre and it was great.

Price: $30 per adult, $10 per child (age 5-11) as at September 2019
Location: Elderslie Street, Winton


The Age of Dinosaurs Museum  

If you like Dinosaurs (and lets face it, who doesn’t!) then this museum is somewhere you need to visit. This is home to the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world.

Years ago while out this way we visited Lark Quarry, the site of the world’s only known record of a dinosaur stampede, that was pretty cool! So this time we visited the The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum to learn a little more about these amazing prehistoric creatures.

We even got to touch a fossilised dinosaur bone, how awesome is that!

The tours are split into 3 sections, but we didn’t have time to see the Dinosaur Canyon, but we did join the guided tour of the Fossil Preparation Laboratory and the Collection Room. Great few hours and highly recommended to visit if in the area. If you are limited for time, just let them know when you arrive and they will happily work out which tours you can do.

The Fossil Preparation Laboratory shows you where palaeontologists expose the fossilised bones, you can actually see them working.

The Collection Room is where you’ll find the bones of ‘Banjo’ (Australovenator wintonensis). ‘Banjo’ is the most complete Australian carnivorous dinosaur ever discovered.

We didn’t visit the Dinosaur Canyon but this area is part of a dinosaur dig where bones are currently being found.

You can even book in to a ‘Dig-a-Dino’ experience where you take part in a real life dig for dinosaur bones. You live and work and learn onsite for 5 days. Definitely something we’d both be interested in taking part in at some point in the future.

Price: Prices vary depending on which tours you do. See website
Website: www.australianageofdinosaurs.com/
Location: Lot 1, Dinosaur Drive, Winton
Located about 25km from Winton. Turn off the Landsborough
Highway onto Dinosaur Drive (it’s well signposted). We were towing
the camper and there is plenty of room for parking.


There is plenty more to do around Winton, and there are some great pubs and eateries and bakeries. Another must visit (which we went to on our last visit and loved it) is the Diamantina Heritage Truck & Machinery Museum. This features many restored heritage trucks, tractors, machinery and memorabilia.

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular

We did it! We finally visited the Christmas lights at the Hunter Valley Gardens.  This is the largest Christmas light display in the Southern Hemisphere.

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The Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular is held every year from November until January (this year it closed on Australia Day, not sure if that is the case every year or not).

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If you have kids they will absolutely love it, but even the big kids (adults) will enjoy the night.

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As well as the lights display there are also rides, food and entertainment.

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The lights are set up around the gardens and are split into different displays, including the Giant Teddy, Princess Castle, Santa’s Workshop, Candyland and Fairy Garden.

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This event is held at the Hunter Valley Gardens, located at 2090 Broke Road Pokolbin, NSW 2320. 📞 02 4998 4000.  http://www.huntervalleygardens.com.au

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