Tackling the Tele – Laura to Weipa

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!


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Tackling the Tele … the journey begins!

This adventure starts today!

We first did this trip back in 2013 as part of our honeymoon and we are beyond excited to be back here doing it again!  This time we have a total of 6 x 4WD’s, 1 x Camper Trailer, 12 x Adults and 3 x Children and we are all absolutely pumped for the weeks ahead!  As we all came from different parts of Sydney and QLD we all made our way up to Cairns as our starting point.  After a group dinner and drinks last night for everyone to meet each other, we met up again early this morning to start our trip.

Our first stop of the morning was Port Douglas. While we were up here we figured it was a chance for everyone else to see a little more of this beautiful area.  Surrounded by palm trees, it’s not hard to realise you are in paradise.  This is the perfect place to come and chill.  The town is built for tourists, with many cafes, bars, day spas and of course shops.  It’s kind of got a bit of an upmarket Byron Bay feel about it. Far too touristy for us, but beautiful for sure.

Next it was a short drive to the small town of Mossman.  Sitting at the foot of the hills and surrounded by cane fields, Mossman is a small town in tropical North Queensland, not far north of Cairns.  It’s a pretty little town with country stores dotted along the beautiful tree-lined the Main Street.

Just out of town you’ll find the famous Mossman Gorge, which sits in the World Heritage listed Daintree National Park.  The Mossman River tumbles over huge granite boulders that line the gorge and this creates the perfect freshwater swimming hole.  The water is crystal clear and it’s cold, very cold!  I think this is our 3rd visit to Mossman Gorge and the water has been freezing on every visit …. some people call it refreshing!

It’s very much a tourist orientated place now, with plenty of money making, completely different to our previous visits. It’s still a stunning area, but it’s definitely lost a bit of its charm.

The Kuku Yalanji people are the indigenous inhabitants of this area with history dating back 50,000 years.

Our last stop of the day, and our home for the night, will be Laura, a very tiny little town with only a few buildings, of course including a pub …. the old Quinkan Pub, and this is where we are planning on camping for the night.

This area is known as Quinkan country, after the Aboriginal spirits which are depicted at the Aboriginal rock art sites in the area, Split Rock and Gu Gu Yalangi.  Another little bit of history, apparently in 1873 Archibald Macmillan was exploring in the area and named the local river, Laura, after his wife.


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The Tough Dog Tuff Truck Challenge

Last weekend we headed off to the Tuff Truck Challenge.  We hadn’t been for a few years and decided to go back this time, just for the day.

The Tuff Truck Challenge started as a relatively small event back in 2001, but it’s now grown into one of the biggest, and probably the most extreme, Australian 4WD events on the calendar.

It’s now known as The Tough Dog Tuff Truck Challenge and has something for everyone.  The event is marketed as a ‘family’ event and it certainly is, there are plenty of activities for the kids and it really is a great weekend out.   The event is held over 3 days on a private property at Milbrodale, in the NSW Hunter Valley.

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As for event itself, this is for those serious hard-core 4WD competitors and their trucks.  The event is a gruelling test for competitors and navigators as they push themselves and their vehicles to the limit over 12 stages that consist of courses full of rocks, boulders, ruts and mud, a Show n Shine, Travel Ramp and verification & engineering …… all based on a point scoring system.  The terrain is pretty full on and certainly not for your average 4WD.  Some people think what we do is full on ….. well that has nothing on what these trucks are capable of!

There is always something happening, with numerous stages running at the same time, the merchandise and exhibitors stands, as well as numerous food stalls.  Also, if you are camping there for the weekend, everything is relatively close to each other so it’s an easy walk back to camp if you want to relax.

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From a spectators point of view, the excitement not only comes when a driver successfully navigates an obstacle, but when he/she doesn’t!  When you hear the sound of metal crunching, drivetrain breaking or see a truck rolling, that’s what everyone loves!

One of the favourite events for spectators is the night mud run called ‘Mudrat’s Revenge’.  After the mud stage on the Saturday night, there is a band and party.  If you are camping there, as we did the first year we went, this is when you realise how hard some people party!

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Camping areas are available on site and are split into two groups, general camping and family camping.  We’ve only camped there once and I’d say if going with young kids, definitely opt for the ‘family camping’ area!  Going by our first experience camping there, things can get a little full on and there certainly isn’t too much peace and quiet for sleeping!  In saying that, we absolutely love the event and if you like 4WDing you’ll probably love it too!

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Although alcohol limits are pretty strict and monitored, including vehicle and bag searches as you enter the event, you can imagine that by nightfall things can at times get a little feral, and if you aren’t used to this type of event it could be a real eye-opener! In saying that, there is security and police patrolling the whole event so you are always safe and secure and nothing can get out of hand, it really is a great atmosphere for all.

 

Event Details

Welsh’s Road, Milbrodale   NSW  2330

http://tufftruck.com.au/

Day Tickets available, as well as 3 day event + camping.

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Lastly we must say a special thank you to George’s work Dynamic Wheel Co, and to Exclusive Tyre Distributors for giving us free entry into this years event.  


 

REVIEW: Shower Ezy

IMG_0765Anyone 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.


Products

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.


Our Review

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 Blue or Turquoise) 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.

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Click here to view.

*We were gifted this product for free.


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.

Click here to view.

*We purchased this product.


Body Loofa – This product sells for $3.95.  This loofa is a smaller size which is perfect for camping and it’s easy to attach and detach from the lanyard.

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Click here to view.


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.

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Click here to view.

*We were gifted this product for free.


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!IMG_0758

Click here to view.

*We were gifted this product for free.


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.IMG_0760

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

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.


Contact Details

Shower Ezy are based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

www.showerezy.com.au

showerezy@gmail.com

Search for Shower Ezy on Facebook

 

We have no affiliation with Shower Ezy and all views are our own, based on our own personal thoughts and experiences.

2017: Our Year in Review

Ok so this year started with us sitting in the Urunga Waters Caravan Park and guess what …. we ended it in exactly the same place! Yes we are back here again over the Christmas/New Year break. We started 2017 off with us at Urunga, near Coffs Harbour on the mid north coast of NSW. We spent the Christmas/New Year period here with friends last year and celebrated New Year’s Eve with complete random strangers who had camped next to us. We invited them to our campsite to celebrate NYE and we had a great time, that’s what camping is all about.

Well now we are back here again and this time we celebrated with our friends, Lauren and Liam and their kids and niece, our mate Stewy and his daughter and other friends Michelle & Matt and their son. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the New Year than with our beautiful friends.

So again, this has been an incredibly busy year for us. It’s been a year of ups and downs in many ways, we’ve had the stress of renovating, a change of jobs, medical issues and operations and numerous other obstacles, but we’ve also had many great times as well.

Let’s look back on 2017 …..


World Record Attempt

Always ready to try something new, this year on Saturday 4th February, we took part in the world record attempt for the World’s Biggest Haka, which took place on Waitangi Day 2017.

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The Haka that we learnt and performed was the famous ‘Kamate’ as performed by the NZ All Blacks and Kiwi Rugby League Teams.

Unfortunately the record was not broken, but we had a fun day and also tried our first Māori hangi … amazing!


Little Levi turned 1

On 6th March our little nephew turned 1!  We are all in love with him and he is truly the cutest little boy around! It’s awesome watching his little personality grow and beginning to interact with us more.  He’s one headstrong boy, needs to do everything himself and he has no fear!  He loves dogs and will happily share his food with them! He loves feeding our two and they are so gentle with him (so much for big scary, dangerous staffys!)


GS2Min returned from the UK

After 2 years working in the UK as a Sous Chef, George’s daughter returned back home in August.  She’s settled back in to life in Australia (even having a job lined up before she even landed in the country!).  Not sure how long she’ll hang around for though, we have a feeling she’ll be off exploring again very soon.


Spreading the word

This year we were nominated for the Travel Blog Awards with Mr Promocode.  We didn’t win, but we were grateful just to be nominated.  We’ve gained quite a following on social media over the past years and we love sharing our adventures with everyone.  We’ve been approached by news readers and government bodies to use our photos over the past couple of years, as well as most recently by Cub Campers, so social media is certainly the way of the future for advertising and spreading the word.

We are also now in the Top 3% of TripAdviser Reviewers, making us a Level 6 Top Contributor and one of the most popular reviewers in Sydney, with over 45,000 readers.


Renovations

This was the year to knock off a few of the home renovations we had been talking about for so long.  We understand why people stress with renovations, we had lots of arguments and lots of tears, but we are both very happy with the results.

The kitchen started off as maybe just replacing cupboard doors and bench top and ended up turning into a complete rebuild. We have a huge kitchen and it’s one of the reasons Shelly wanted to buy the house, so this rebuild was important to get it right. We both love the end result, just a few little finishing touches still to go and it’s done! (yes George, the plantation shutters aren’t installed yet, apparently this is all Shelly’s fault!)

The front door has made a huge difference and we love it. It’s the first thing people see so we are getting lots of compliments about this one!  Wasn’t hard to be better than the old entrance way!

Lastly we redid the powder room and it finally matches the bathroom (only took us about 9 years!).


Celebrations

We had two new babies born this year (well one late December last year, but we will include her too!).  George’s cousin welcomed little baby Alexander and Shelly’s cousin welcome miss Chloé.

One of Shelly’s cousins turned 50 this year and all the family made the trip out to Lucknow, in the central west region of NSW, to surprise her.  It was a great get-together and a good excuse for a weekend away!  Shelly’s boss and his wife also both had their 50th birthday and we celebrated with them at their joint party,

Another cousin had their 21st birthday early in the year, and we partied away with another at his 40th.  We also joined another friend to celebrate his 40th birthday with a weekend cruise.

George’s dad turned 70 this year and the family gathered to help celebrate with a beautiful lunch.  Of course there was also Levi’s 1st birthday and a couple of weddings thrown in as well!  We also attended a 1st birthday party and naming day, which turned into a marriage proposal too!  It was certainly a day of memories and celebrations for that family!

Shelly’s sister, Kylie, and her husband, purchased their first family home this year in the Hawkesbury.  It’s a beautiful area, with the house backing onto the national park.  The whole family, including Levi and his little furry 4 legged sister, Gucci, are loving their new home.

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We also attended a few family and friends children’s birthday parties, doesn’t George make a pretty fairy princess!


Scenic Flight over Fraser Island

fdsaOver the years we’ve been on quite a few scenic flights, we’ve been on little Cessna’s (George has even flown and landed one), we’ve been on seaplanes and a helicopter, but the one thing we had never done in all our visits to Fraser Island was to take a scenic flight over the island.  This October, driving back to camp one afternoon we saw the Air Fraser Island pilots and planes on the beach and pulled over to discuss taking a joy flight.  As it turned out, they had a bit of time right then, so we handed over some money and jumped in the plane for a scenic flight over the island.  Wow, it was a great flight and amazing to see the island from above.  For years we’ve been exploring Fraser Island on foot and by 4WD, but to see it from above was a totally different experience.  Highly recommend this for your next visit to Fraser Island.


The 4WD’s & Camper Trailer

img_5886Not too many mods this year, but we did get a second battery installed in the camper trailer to give us a little extra battery life when we are free camping.  We also painted the rims black (properly this time!) and they look great.

As for the old Prado, she got a full new set of shocks and springs.

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The old Prado looks tough by itself, but next to the new one it looks like a baby!

The 150 series Prado got a new ARB Winch Bar, Brush Bars and Side steps AND a new Winch!  This is turning into one expensive little Prado!


Our Trips

Everyone always says to us ‘you two are always on holidays’! It doesn’t feel like that to us, but to be honest we did have a few this year, some were just a weekend away and others a bit longer!

  • January was our week in Urunga
  • February we spent a weekend at Forster with George’s parents
  • March we packed up the camper and headed down to Kiama for the weekend for the Red Hot Summer Tour …… John Farnham was the headline act!
  • April it was time for our annual visit to Fraser Island and this time we even fitted in a few days on Moreton Island aswell, our first ever visit.
  • May (also known as the month of Shelly!) we spent the weekend away for Shelly’s birthday.  We actually stayed in a hotel about 15min drive from home (it had been a gift) and spent the weekend drinking cocktails, going to the drive-in, checking out the markets etc.  Considering we were so close to home, we actually had a great weekend.
  • July saw us spend a weekend away with friends 4WDing on Stockton Beach and the Watagans.  We also spent a weekend at Lucknow with family celebrating Shelly’s cousin’s surprise 50th birthday party.
  • October we headed back up to Fraser Island again with friends, never get sick of that place!  October also saw us board a cruise ship for a 3 night cruise with friends to celebrate a 40th birthday.
  • And of course, December we are back here at Urunga.

So yes ok, when you put it like that I guess maybe we do have a lot of holidays!

We also had quite a few weekend 4WD trips by ourselves, with friends and with 4WD clubs.  We spent a few weekends at Stockton Beach and had a few days playing out at Lithgow.

Our regular followers will remember our night stranded in the Watagans! The Watagan State Forest is an unpredictable area and unfortunately this time it got us too and we spent hours trying to get the 3 4WD’s out, spent a lot of time backtracking and snatching that afternoon/night!


Jobs and future planning

This year also saw us in the early planning stages of us getting sorted for our trip around Australia and ultimate move to Queensland. Still a few years off yet, but we’ve started decluttering at home and planning for our life on the road. We both undertook a barista course to give us another skill to use if we need to pick up work on the road.

We started a new business selling Scentsy which is still very new but so far we are doing ok. Hopefully we can build up a customer base and spread the word while we are travelling and bring in a little extra income. Check out our website, Awaken The Scent if you are interested.

After 11 years working for Bridgestone, it was time for a change and George starts a new job in January as a Business Development Manager for Monster Lubricants. After spending majority of his working career in the tyre industry, George is excited about this new challenge.  Oh and in case you were wondering, it’s lubricants as in engine oils, coolants etc ….. not the other type of lubricants as many people have thought!


How we spent Christmas 

We put on lunch at our house on Christmas Eve for Shelly’s side of the family.  Christmas has always been a big thing and Shelly’s mum always put on the full hot Christmas Lunch every year.  After Noeline passed away, Shelly continued this tradition and always put on the big Christmas lunch …. not as traditional as far as food is concerned, but we all still gather and open presents and then have the big sit down lunch.

This year was a lot of fun as Levi was interested in opening his presents and playing with all his toys …. who knew a 20 month old would get so excited over a pair of shoes!  His face when he opened the box and smiled and said ‘shoes’ was hilarious!  He sure was one spoilt little kid …. and I’m sure that continued on Christmas Day with his presents from his other grandparents and aunty as well!

Christmas Day we both headed to George’s parents house to spend the day with George’s side of the family.  Another day with plenty of food and lots of present giving.  Our niece and nephew scored pretty good on Christmas Day as well!  Christmas really is all about the kids and we love buying them lots of presents.

Finally Boxing Day we went to see the kids and exchange presents.  We spent a lovely morning with Min and Tre and their adorable funny little dogs before continuing on our journey to Urunga for our week long camping trip.

Merry Christmas from Gelly & Charli!


What’s planned for 2018?

Australia Day this year will be spent camping locally with a group of friends.  In fact it’s a whole 29km from home!  At least we’ll be able to pop home if we forget anything!  Should be a fun weekend though.

In February we head down to Tasmania for a few days for our wedding anniversary.  Neither of us have been to Tasmania before, so this will give us an idea of what it’s like.  We would really love to go back with the 4WD at some stage and spend our time exploring.

2018 also sees us make the trek back up to Cape York again.  This time we will be joined by a few other families and 4WD’s ….. apparently as we’ve been once we are the ones to go with, so we’ll be leading our ‘George & Shelly Cape York Adventure Tour’!! haha  We are both excited to head back up there again and share the natural beauty with our friends.  This trip we are hoping to fit in an overnight stay at Roko Island which looks absolutely divine.

We’ve got more renovations planned, repainting the whole house and renovating and landscaping the backyard, plus a few other things on the list, we will get there!

Lastly, we’ve been approached by Cub Campers to see if we’d like to be part of their ‘Cub Stories’ web series.  So we will be meeting with them in the new year and filming our story, we’ll be sure to let you all know when it’s finalised!


Goodbye 2017 …. hello 2018!

What a great night we shared to bring in the new year. We all decorated the camper trailers, we set up our nibbles for the night, had fridges full of beer 🍺 and cocktails 🍹 too! There were plenty of glow sticks and sparklers too! Although we were probably the loudest group in the campsite we all struggled to make it to midnight, I think we were all in bed by 12.15am! Regardless it was such a relaxed night, just the perfect way to end a busy year.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our family, friends and followers for their support over the past year.  We absolutely love being able to share our adventures with you all, so if you know anyone who may be interested in seeing our photos and/or reading about our adventures, please tell them about us and ask them to follow our blog or follow us on Facebook or Instagram. Wishing you all a very happy, safe and adventure filled 2018 ….. and as we always say, never ever take life for granted, live your life to the fullest and live a life of no regrets.  Bring on 2018!

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Sandy Cape, Fraser Island

The Rover Trail

The Rover Trail 4WD track at Coffs Harbour really is one of the must do tracks for any 4WD enthusiast visiting the area. It’s a great track that gives you a little bit of everything, including very steep hill climbs and descents and lots of very deep ruts.

With these obstacles and its clay base, this isn’t the type of track you’d want to be stuck on during wet weather.

img_8409Coffs Harbour is known for its great 4WD tracks, and with names such as Morbid Trail, Commando Trail and Widow Maker, just to name a few, that tends to give you an idea of what some of the terrain might be like!

Not really sure what we were expecting with this track, but it was definitely challenging.

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We both had more than capable vehicles and appropriate recovery equipment, including a winch on Mark’s 4WD, so we were prepared for whatever came our way.

It certainly wasn’t for the inexperienced 4WDer though and I wouldn’t head out there without at least one other vehicle with you.

We spent nearly the whole track with lockers on and it was slow going trying to manoeuvre around the obstacles and track building to help us through.

At times the hill climbs were near vertical and you could only see the sky – this is an interesting driving experience when you can’t see the track to know what’s coming up! This is where walking first and/or having a spotter outside the vehicle is required.

There were some serious leans due to the ruts and this was slightly concerning at times when you had a big drop off down one side and a rock wall on the other! The chance of some panel damage was definitely likely on this track, but luckily we both made it through unscathed.img_8421

The track itself isn’t very long, but due to the condition and needing to constantly stop to assess which line to take and having a spotter to guide the driver, it probably took us a few hours to complete it.  We didn’t have any serious issues though, but we only had two vehicles, so do be prepared and leave plenty of time to complete this track, particularly if you have more vehicles in your group to make it through.

As we were the first ones through we realised after the fact that we don’t really have any photos of our 4WD on the track, as each time we stopped to help Mark with directions and guide him through, it was his vehicle that we were taking photos and videos of!

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All up we’d describe this as a very fun, yet challenging track…highly recommended for experienced 4WD enthusiasts. A vehicle with high clearance, low range, lockers and a winch would be recommended.

 

 

 

All About Tyre Pressures

IMG_5032When you head off road, there are many things you need to think about and prepare for, but the most important thing is tyre pressures.  Whether you are out for a day on the beach, a play in the bush or dealing with mud holes or corrugated roads, ensuring you have the correct tyre pressure for your situation can mean a happier, safer and easier drive for you.

So many times we have seen others in situations that could have been avoided had they let their tyre pressures down.  It is very important to have a little know-how in this area, but do remember that you need to know what works for your vehicle.  Vehicle type, weight, tyre size and terrain will all have an effect on what tyre pressure to run.  You want to give your vehicle every chance to perform the best it can and correct tyre pressures can certainly help with this.

Factors to keep in mind when dealing with tyre pressures?

  • HeatRemember that as you drive, your tyres heat up and this in turn will increaseIMG_5752 the tyre pressure, so always keep this in mind. You may start your day at 40psi on the road, but after a while the pressure can increase to say 43psi.  In the same respect, you may have been driving and then reduced your pressures to drive on the sand to 18psi.  When you get up the next morning, your tyres are cold and you may find that the pressures are now actually a lot lower.
  • How long have you been driving for remember that tyres heat up as you are driving, and therefore, the pressure inside will go up, so always take this into account when adjusting tyre pressures.
  • Speed Generally, the quicker you drive, the hotter the air in your tyres will get, and thus the higher the pressure will go.
  • TerrainIf you are driving on rocky or corrugated roads your tyres will be flexing more than normal and this will also have an impact on them heating up quicker.
  • Weight – How heavy is your vehicle and how much extra weight have you added for this trip?  Adding more weight should be a factor in adjusting tyre pressures, but also remember that more weight will mean higher temperatures and therefore higher pressures occurring as you drive.

Why do you need to adjust tyre pressures when off road?

IMG_2031Traction is very important when driving! Losing traction (or grip) when off-road can result in sliding and losing control of your vehicle, which can be very dangerous.

Punctures are not something you want to encounter when you are driving off road. We always carry spares with us, but obviously hope we will never need to use them!  By running the correct tyre pressures for the circumstances you can lower the risk of punctures and also prolong the life of your tyres.

Floatation is important, particularly for sand driving. When driving on sand, your 4WD will want to sink and dig in to the sand, so you need to lower your tyre pressures significantly to ensure that you can ‘float’ along the top of the sand, rather than digging in and trying to push through it.  You will definitely notice the difference and it’s so much easier on your vehicle as well. This is also noticeable in mud as well and helps to preserve tracks.

Track damage is never a good thing. We all want to keep our tracks open for everyone to use and enjoy and one way to do this is by using correct tyre pressures.  If your wheels are constantly spinning because you don’t have traction, this in turn can damage the track.IMG_1957

Comfort for yourself and your passengers can be greatly improved by having correct tyre pressures. Driving on a gravel or corrugated road with road tyre pressures will result in you feeling every bump and rattle, but by reducing the pressures slightly you’ll be surprised at how much more comfortable the ride is.

How does it actually work?

When you reduce the pressures in your tyres you effectively increase the ‘foot print’ of your 4WD.  Remember that your vehicle is connected to the road purely by the four tyres, so it makes sense when you think that if you decrease the pressure, the tyre balloons out and you now have a larger area in contact with the ground …. A larger ‘foot print’.  This helps to spread the weight of your vehicle over a larger area and in turn, helps to stop it digging or sinking into the ground. The more tyre in contact with the ground surface, the more traction you should have.

IMG_3717If you think of your tyres as a balloon, you blow it up completely and put a pin to it, it will pop immediately.  If though, you only blow it up half way and do the same, it will probably take more to pop it.  This is what happens off road, if you are driving on rocky/gravel surfaces and you let a little air out of your tyres the tyre itself tends to mould or shape itself over the rock and takes a lot more to ‘pop’.

What is the right tyre pressure to run?

Well, that’s a hard one as all 4WD’s are different and many factors come into play.  It depends on your vehicle, how much weight you have on board, what size tyres you have, where you are going and what you are doing!  Personally we believe the following is a good guideline to follow.  Works for us, but may not necessarily work for everyone!

  • Road: We run our tyres at 38 psi, but you should use the tyre placard in your car as a guide for you.  Keep in mind that this will change when you have different sized tyres to standard, extra weight or load etc.
  • Beach (sand):  18 psi (you can go lower if the sand is very soft, we generally won’t go lower than 12 psi)
  • Mud:   18 psi
  • Rocks:  18 psi
  • Gravel:  28 psi  (again, depends on how rough the road is)

The above are an average of what we find works for us.  Depending on the surface we may need to go a little lower from time to time.  You will learn to read your vehicle and what works best forIMG_5044 you.  As an example, while driving on roads up around Cape York, we found that they were much more corrugated than a normal gravel road, so we found that we had the smoothest ride by running 22 psi on the front and 24 psi on the back.

Always remember

  • When your pressures are low, never brake, accelerate or turn sharply.
  • Always remember this saying, “low equals slow” ….. Meaning that the lower your tyres go down, the slower you need to drive.
  • Once you leave the track or beach always re-inflate your tyres to ‘road’ pressures as soon as you can.  Driving on the road for prolonged periods, or at high speeds, on underinflated tyres can be damaging for your tyres and can be very dangerous as well.
  • Therefore, when lowering your tyre pressures, always keep in mind that they need to be inflated again. Is there a service station close by once you leave the track? Do you have a compressor onboard?

So next time you are driving off-road, keep all of this in mind.  Knowing and having the correct tyre pressures for the terrain you are driving in is probably better than any other mod you can get, it will always get you further when driving off road, and it’s free! Not only will your passengers be more comfortable and happy, you will be safer, you will be helping to prolong the life of your vehicle and tyres and most importantly you will be protecting the tracks as well.

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Our Latest Project ….

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The latest project that we have become involved in is “Protect Cape York”.  We are so excited to be involved with such a great cause and we are getting a lot of positive feedback which is amazing.  This idea came about by a few people who have visited Cape York recently and saw the amount of rubbish left around by fellow campers and thought that something needed to be done.

IMG_1270Back in 2013 we headed to Cape York as part of our honeymoon adventure and, after seeing this first hand, we decided to jump on board and help out this great cause. Now this issue is certainly not confined to the Cape York area only, we see this quite often in our travels.   You all know the old saying, “Take nothing but photos, Leave nothing but footprints”, if all of us abided by that rule, the amount of rubbish would be significantly less.  If there isn’t a bin where you are camping, does that give you the right to leave your rubbish on the ground, NO, your responsibility is to take it with you and deposit into the next bin you find.  It’s really not that hard, but it’s a concept that so many people seem to forget about once they leave their home.

The amount of rubbish that is left behind on the tracks by fellow campers is disgraceful.  We have been sent photos of lizards IMG_1160with their heads stuck in cans, we’ve all seen photos of turtles and birds with plastic wrapped around them, not to mention the fact that no-one wants to camp next to your dirty used toilet paper and nappies!

While up at the Cape we took a drive along the beaches run and the amount of rubbish lining the beach is unbelievable.  Now in reality, a lot of this would have wash up onto the beach from offshore, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ok.  At the end of the day, it’s all still rubbish and if we can organize clean up days and educate people on where they can dispose of rubbish and how to do so safely, just maybe we can help in some small way.

ThIMG_1183e team and us have achieved so much already in such a short amount of time.  Word is spreading and the feedback and support we are receiving is amazing.  We already have some great sponsors jumping on board, including our major sponsors, TJM Cairns and The Albatross Resort, Weipa.  We are also lucky enough to have Keep Australia Beautiful on board to help promote our cause, as well as more and more places coming on board.

We have set up a website which details exactly what we are trying to achieve and how you can help to promote our cause to others http://www.protectcapeyork.com/

So who are we and what are we trying to achieve?

We are just a small group of like-minded people, everyday Australians located all over the country, but with one aim in mind ….. to protect and preserve the beauty of Cape York.  We want to clean up the area and educate people in the process.  This is the iconic tip of Australia, thousands of people make the epic journey here every year and we want future generations to be able to experience this aswell.IMG_1172

Our Goals

Our immediate goal is to be in a position to hand out 200-300 ‘Cape York packs’ in time for the 2016 tourist season.  We are hoping that by handing out these packs, people will be reminded to clean up after themselves (and others as the case may be!).  These packs will include a map of rubbish disposal areas and helpful hints, as well as rubbish bags, tongs, gloves etc.   We aim to provide campers with the tools to clean up after themselves.

There are so many ways that you can become involved, so please take the time to check out our website and contact us if you would like to become involved or if you have any comments or contacts that may be able to benefit us.

Please help us on our journey to clean up our country and educate people in the process.

……… Remember, It’s Everyone’s Backyard.

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A unique New Year’s Eve celebration

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This was something we had always wanted to do, to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Cameron Corner.  Many people may not even know where Cameron Corner is, so let me explain so that you know why this was such a unique experience.

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Our little lizard friend we tried to save from the middle of the road, he was not a happy little boy!

Cameron Corner is located at the border of NSW, SA & QLD.  This unique location means that you can celebrate New Years Eve three times due to the differing time zones, how cool is that!  So while everyone else around the country celebrated once, we welcomed in 2015 THREE times!

Our journey started on boxing day as we headed out to Dubbo and then on to White Cliffs, Broken Hill & Silverton, Tibooburra, Cameron Corner, Bourke & Lightning Ridge.  We were travelling with a group of 3 cars, 6 adults and 2 children – all of which, except us, had never done any outback travel, so everyone was excited about what lay ahead.IMG_4714

After a few days of exploring the surrounding areas, 31st December had arrived and we were off to Cameron Corner.

We left Tibooburra early for the relatively short drive to Cameron Corner, we wanted to arrive early and set up camp before it got too hot.

The roads during that part of our journey were more red and sandy than the previous days as we headed closer to the Strzlecki Desert.

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The Dog Fence

We drove through the Sturt National Park and along the dog fence, passing through the dog fence at Cameron Corner.

We arrived at Cameron Corner around 11am (but gained an hour as the store is located in Qld so it was only l0am!).

image2We arrived and went to the corner store to pay for our camping and have a quick drink at the bar.

Camping was $10 per night, with $5 of that going to the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

With the $5, they rolled it up with a tack in it and you have to throw it up for it to stick on the roof! Believe me, this is not as easy as it sounds …… although the owners make it look easy!IMG_4596

After setting up camp we went for a drive around the property and then took a drive back to Fort Grey campground and had some lunch there.  We then headed back to Cameron Corner via the Queensland side and the Fortville Gate.

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You can even play a game of golf while at Cameron Corner, as you cross over the borders in the three states!  Another pretty unique experience, but it was a little too hot for us to undertake on this visit!

It was nice to be in the air conditioning of the car as the temperatures were in the mid 40’s (it was 31 degrees at 9.30am!).  IMG_4577Yes it was hot, but the temperatures were a lot lower than what we were expecting and had prepared for.  We had been told to expect around 50 degrees at that time of year, so we were very lucky.  Also there was a slight breeze which helped, especially at night.

IMG_4590After lunch we drove through an area which was completely filled with kangaroos and lots of babies aswell. Some of these guys were huge and although we have seen so many kangaroos the last few days, we haven’t seen this many together. When we got back to camp, we were talking to the store owners and they said that there is absolutely no water around and most of these poor guys will be dead in the next few months. Guess that’s the sad reality of outback life, really made you think.

So by early afternoon we were back at camp and the area was starting to fill up, with more people still arriving.  We had camped in the non-powered side, so we were all fairly spread out, but the powered area on the opposite side of the store was pretty full.  IMG_4637

The festivities started in the early afternoon with games of horse shoe toss, mini golf etc. We took a wander around and met some of the other campers, even met some from a few suburbs away from us!

Everyone was in party mode, there was music and laughter all around, while people wandered around the camp sharing a drink and a chat with each other.

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The real party started around 10.30pm (or 11.30 pm Sydney time). Everyone started to make their way up to the ‘corner post’ where the owners had set up tables, chairs and music. We all headed up with drinks, glow sticks and sparklers!  The ground was marked with lines in the sand so we all knew which ‘state’ we had to be in!

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The first celebration was in NSW, we had the countdown and then everyone celebrated with each other as we brought in the new year!  We then waited for our next countdown!

IMG_46661/2 hour later we all walked over to South Australia and had yet another countdown and celebration!  And when I say we ‘walked to South Australia’, I mean we literally walked about 1 meter and crossed over the marked line in the sand!

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Celebrating with Fenn, the owner of the Corner Store

There was plenty of music,  singing, drinking and laughs to fill in the time in between.

Finally it was Queensland’s turn, so we all jumped over the line in the sand into Queensland for our final New Year’s Eve celebrations for 2014.

The celebration was was finished off with a small fireworks display, not quite Sydney harbour standard, but we’d never seen fireworks in the middle of the outback before!  What a fun night.  The owners sure know how to make this a fun and unique experience!

We were all in bed around 2am and up again at 6.30am to pack up camp! Not a great deal of sleep ….. the music blaring and talking, laughing and screaming all night didn’t help things either, but hey it was New Year’s Eve so what do you expect!! Must say that things were a lot quieter in the morning!

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George standing in SA and Shelly standing in NSW!

What a great night, such a unique experience and such a great bunch of people. We estimate there would have been around 70 people there.  We will definitely be back again!  It’s one of those things we are glad we could tick off our bucket list, highly recommend people experience this at least once in their lifetime!

To view our short video Click here

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The best holiday we’ve ever had!

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The Tip of Australia! Cape York

We have recently been reliving part of our trip to Cape York with our Instagram and social media followers, it was great to go back over the photos and be able to share them with others.  It was just one small part of such a great holiday we had.

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Weipa Eco sunset tour

For those that don’t know, back in 2013 we embarked on our honeymoon, a 7 week trip from Sydney to Cape York and then to the Northern Territory, South Australia and back home again.

Now 7 weeks of camping and 4WDing around Australia is probably not everyone’s idea of a great holiday, but for us it was perfect.  We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Below is a basic outline of our itinerary

  • Margate, Qld
  • Rockhampton, Qld
  • Townsville, Qld
  • Mareeba, Qld
  • Laura, Qld
  • Archer River Roadhouse, Qld
  • Weipa, Qld
  • Bramwell Station, Qld
  • Eliot Falls, Qld
  • Seisa, Qld
  • Thursday Island, Qld
  • Captain Billy Landing, Qld
  • Chili Beach, Qld
  • Musgrave  Roadhouse, Qld
  • Kalpowar Crossing, Qld
  • Cooktown, Qld
  • Lions Den  Hotel, Qld
  • Cape Tribulation, Qld
  • Cairns, Qld
  • Innot Hot Springs, Qld
  • Undarra, Qld
  • Hughenden, QLD
  • Mt Isa, QLD
  • Tennant Creek, NT
  • Wycliffe Well, NT
  • Alice Springs, NT
  • Palm Valley, NT
  • Kings Canyon, NT
  • Uluru, NT
  • Marla, SA
  • Coober Pedy, SA
  • Port Augusta, SA
  • Broken Hill, NSW

IMG_1624We had our share of drama’s though, our mates who were meant to join us on part of the trip had to pull out after their engine died in the first few days.  All that hard work and planning was gone so quickly.  Luckily we managed to meet up with them for a few days on the way back from Cape York before we headed over to NT.

We had a frantic phone call from Weipa to our mechanic back in Sydney when the 4WD wouldn’t engage in our car and he instructed us over the phone as to how to fix this.

At different times throughout the trip we also had a badly cut hand, a dislocated thumb, a bad case of heat stroke and a few episodes of car sickness!.

We had our alternator die about 400km out of Alice Springs and we limped our way there watching the voltage drop in our batteries.  We watched as the radio, lights, taco, speedo all started IMG_1147gradually shutting down one by one!  Luckily by the time we car eventually stopped, we managed to coast into a servo in Alice Springs, just 5 min from our pre-booked accommodation.  We also had a few suspension issues and this all required us to beIMG_1212 stranded in Alice Springs for a few days while repairs were done.

Even with all of this, it was a great trip and we made it and that’s all that matters!  If anything, we learned exactly what type of people live in Alice Springs, the most friendly, helpful, genuine people.  We couldn’t have been happier with the service we received there.

Here is a small extract from our previous blog posts about this amazing trip.

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Fruit Bat Falls, Cape York

So what can we say, what an amazing holiday. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend our honeymoon. We are so IMG_1566privileged to have been able to spend time in some of the places we did, it truly is a blessing to have been able to travel our great country. The people of outback Australia are some of the kindest, laid back and most genuine people you could ever meet. It really is a totally different world out there. You could not get any further from the hustle and bustle of Sydney if you tried. We met some amazing people on our travels, both in the towns and our fellow like-minded campers. To think that we set up camp and then spend the whole day out exploring, leaving to tent unattended, unlocked, suitcases and belongings inside, chairs and table outside and you come back at night and everything is how you left it. There is a mutual respect and no-one would even think to touch your belongings. Yet at home we close the windows and deadlock the door before driving to the shops for 5 minutes! It really was refreshing being able to live in a world where everyone looks out for each other and respects others and their property …. even if it was unfortunately only for 7 weeks.

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Sunset over The Olgas (Kata Tjuta), NT

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Camel rides at Uluru

Everyone is amazingly friendly, you rarely pass a car without getting a wave (even from the truckies and coppers!). We even had a truck driver stop his truck and get out to warn us about a huge pot hole on one of the dirt tracks we were travelling on. The road train drivers are equally courteous of fellow drivers, a quick chat on the CB will often let you know if its safe to overtake or warn of any upcoming traffic/road issues. It really does remind you that there are still good people in this world, unfortunately in the city many people are just too busy to worry about anyone else but themselves. Each day we would set up camp and there was always someone walking by, beer in hand, ready to have a chat! Always someone who has been where you are heading and ready to answer questions or give advice and always someone waiting to hear stories of our adventures.

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Inside a lava tunnel

We visited some wonderful places, saw some amazing things and experienced so much. We stood on the northern most point of Australia, drank beer in Australia’s most northerly pub (on Thursday Island). IMG_1756We stayed in a refurbished train carriage and went on a tour through million year old volcanic lava tubes at Undarra Volcanic Park. We stayed in an underground motel at Coober Pedy (where 80% of the population live underground), we toured the Rio Tinto bauxite mines in Weipa, learned the history of the gold mines in Tennant Creek and explored an opal mine in Coober Pedy. We saw the sunrise over Uluru and watched the sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta from on top of a camel! We travelled in the footsteps of some of our early explorers, we followed the Old Ghan Railway line and we had the chance to drive some of the 4WD tracks on every true 4WDers ‘must do’ list. We drove through bushfires (and even had one surrounding our campground), survived gale force winds and major storm at Captain Billy’s Landing and 120km winds at Port Augusta.

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Coober Pedy mine tour

We ate camel burgers at Kings Canyon and Crayfish pie at Thursday Island! We felt the magic and beauty of being at the Devils Marbles and we were overwhelmed by the sheer size and presence of Uluru. IMG_2320We saw more wildlife than you could ever imagine, birds, eagles, crocodiles, emus, camels, dingoes, lizards, cows, snakes, goats, horses, dogs, sheep, kangaroos. We even had the awesome opportunity to hold and play with a baby orphaned wallaby at Wycliffe Well.

We swam under waterfalls, bathed in the 43 degree natural springs at Innot Hot Springs and  drove through many croc infested rivers.

We were covered in red dirt, went days without a shower, toilets were few and far between at places. We encountered more flies than you could ever imagine (even one in George’s beer … nice surprise!). We got used to eating the odd bug in our dinner and having sand and dirt throughout the car, the tent, the sleeping bags and your belongings was just normal. We encountered a 2 degree night and 40 degree days, wild winds and torrential rain, had dingosIMG_2075 stalking us for our dinner and we had spiders living on our chairs. We wore the same clothes more than one day each and washing with baby wipes was the done thing. But we loved every single part of it, it is all part of the adventure! And at the end of the day, every single person you meet is in the same position as you so no one even comes close to caring! So to say that we enjoyed our time away is an understatement, we loved every minute of it and cannot wait to get back out there again.

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Palm Valley, NT

So here is a bit of a summary of our trip.

Total KM travelled 13,367 km

Total time away 49 days (7 weeks)

Total amount of money spent on petrol $4,240.20

Average overall L/100km 18.49 (combination of weight, a batch of bad fuel, low & high range off road driving, highway driving, few days of bad headwinds)

What we missed the most while away The kids, the dogs, family and friends

Best Chips n Gravy Archer River Roadhouse, QLD

Best Coffee Cobar, NSW

Best Burgers Archer River Roadhouse, with Musgrave Roadhouse a very close second

Best Pizza Outback Pioneer Kitchen, Ayers Rock Resort & Alfrescos, Broken Hill

Best meal Loyalty Beach. Not just the food, the whole package …. Food, location, atmosphere and service

Biggest surprise How much we loved Alice Springs, could totally see us living there. Also the sheer size of Uluru.

Most Scenic Flinders Ranges, SA and Finke Gorge National Park, NT (Boggy Hole in particular)

Favourite campground (remote) Bramwell Station and Chili Beach

Favourite campground (city) Cairns Big 4 Coconut Holiday Resort – amazing service and awesome caravan park.

Most expensive petrol Jardine River and Bamaga (Cape York) – $2.55 / litre for normal 91 octane unleaded petrol

Most expensive beer $56 for XXXX Gold cans in Weipa1455152_10152148549311015_337035041_n

Most expensive place in general Ayers Rock Resort

Most expensive campsite Kings Creek Station ($19 per person).

Cheapest Campsite any of the National Park camping in Queensland ($5.45 per person)

Biggest rip-off Jardine River Ferry Crossing Ticket & Permit ($129 to cross the Jardine river – about 40 meters wide)! don’t have much choice though as the crossing is too deep and dangerous to attempt, and infested with crocodiles!

Biggest Adrenalin Rush Palm Creek, Old Telegraph Track (Cape York)

Best 4WD Track Old Telegraph Track, for its diversity. With the slightly damp CREB track a close second

4WD Tracks driven Old Telegraph Track, Frenchmans Track, Battle Camp Road, CREB Track, Oodnadatta Track (in part), Ernest Giles Road, Mereenie Loop (in part).

States travelled to NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia

What exceeded our expectations Boggy Hole & Uluru

Strangest place Wycliffe Well, NT. Did enjoy our night there, but really is quite a strange little caravan park!

Where we wouldn’t go again Captain Billy’s Landing – the corrugations to get there were back breaking and the howling wind, crashing waves and pouring rain made for a not so fun night! Also the Pebbles (Kunjarra) outside of Tennant Creek – if you’ve ever been to Devils Marbles and also seen the Pebbles, you will understand!

Biggest disappointment That Stewy, Kristy and Rori couldn’t complete the Cape York portion of our trip with us, due to their car problems

What we wouldn’t take with us again The kitchen (our smaller table was sufficient and we never took the larger kitchen bench/table out at all!), the toilet/shower tent, so much food!

6806765_origBest Purchase before the trip Our satellite phone, SPOT tracker

Best 4WD modifications that have made our lives easier for off road travels Rear ARB Air Locker, custom made shelves to replace rear seats, CB radio, Raised King Springs/Bilstein Shocks on Bridgestone tyres & new touring seats.

Scariest Moment Camping at Captain Billy’s Landing – gale force winds, didn’t sleep at all! The severe weather warning of 120km/h winds while camping at Port Augusta, Palm Creek crossing on the tele track!

Nicest people Alice Springs in particular, but Northern Territory as a whole. Although while travelling we had many great encounters with people everywhere!

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The Finke River, NT

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River crossing in Cape York

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Cape York

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Chambers Pillar, NT

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Devils Marbles, NT

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Sunset over Alice Springs

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