We are Nutbush Record Holders!

We’ve briefly mentioned this, and those who follow our social media pages would have seen photos, but this year we participated in the Nutbush World Record Attempt.

We got so many messages and were tagged in many posts about it being on the news back home too, so you may have even seen us on there!

Both of us, and Jacquie, all went in it, but Duck was recording his radio show so missed out (that worked out well for him, can’t say he was disappointed in missing it 😂)

The previous record was 2,878 and we smashed it with 4,084 dancers!!

We all lined up in rows (we were in row 4) on the arena and danced for a full 5 1/2 minutes to Tina Turner’s hit Nutbush City Limits. You don’t realise how long that song is until you need to dance the whole time!

WE ARE RECORD HOLDERS!

All funds from the $15 per person entry fee goes straight to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This year you could also pay double to guarantee a spot in the first row. Just this event alone raised $65,000 for them.

Our days at the Big Red Bash

Whilst the concerts don’t generally start until around 12 or 1pm each day, there is still plenty to do. And this event isn’t just about music, it also raises alot of money for the Royal Flying Doctors Service. Entry into the drag race and nutbush alone raise a significant amount of money for this amazing and much needed organisation. We hope we will never require their assistance, but we do regularly donate and take comfort in the knowledge that they will be there to help if ever needed in our remote travels.

The Bashville Drags are hilarious, men (and some woman and kids) dress up in drag and funny costumes and run down big red and through the campground, before parading on stage where the winners are picked. It really is a sight to see, you’ll never see so many men fondling their boobies 😛

Each year there is a Nutbush World Record attempt which we entered this year. George was far from excited about this, but it’s all for a good cause and we all ended up having a bit of fun. Doing the nutbush for 5 1/2 min is hard work!

Whilst there was a lot of sitting back and people watching at camp, we also took a few walks around Bashville checking out the vendors and food trucks. Ran into Adele from Caravanning With Kids, who we’ve been dealing with for years so was nice to finally meet her in person. We also went for a wander round the camp ground on a Recon R2 hunting expedition! We ended up finding a few, we just wanted to see if we could chat with current owners to get the real life comments on the camper we are buying. Nothing like first hand experience.

With our media passes we were able to get backstage so that was exciting to see the concert and crowd from a different perspective.

Of course climbing Big Red is a highlight for a lot of people. We went up to watch the sunset, but plenty of people were up there for sunrise each day. There was morning yoga up there each day and throughout the day there was volleyball and sand boarding. A couple even got married up there on one of the first days!

The Australian Book of Records were right next to us and over the course of the event they had people beating records, one young girl in particular who hoola hooped nonstop for 1 hour, 31 min.

Other activities available included camel rides and helicopter flights, both of which were very popular.

George on radio!

For everyone who has been asking, here is the link to George’s segment on the Camping & Off Road Radio show from last week.

This was recorded from a free camp in Eulo as we all sat by the campfire watching and listening and for his first radio segment we think he did great!

What do you think?

Camping fun in outback QLD

After a night camped at Eulo we left to start the drive to Windorah, our home for the night.

An easy drive of about 500 km on mainly sealed roads, but the landscape is so green. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen it so green out here. Areas that were bone dry and rich red dirt during our last trip out this way are now covered in differing colours of green grasses and shrubs.

Plenty more traffic heading our way today too and everyone you speak to is heading to the bash. Every conversation starts with ‘where you headed?’ or ‘off to the bash?’

Arrived in Windorah late yesterday afternoon and headed straight to fuel up. With one fuel station in this small town, and being a major thoroughfare for a lot of the 10,000 people making their way to the bash, you can imagine the lines and wait times! Luckily we are early and didn’t need to wait too long.

We had intended on camping behind the servo as Duck knows the owner, but their pet donkey wouldn’t let us in the gate! It was hilarious watching it all unfold and we weren’t sure if he was friendly and just wanted play, whether he wanted to escape or whether he wanted to kill us 😂, plus, once we got through that gate we had a horse to deal with at the next one! There was an evil looking cow also eying us off, so guard donkey got his way and we decided to move on!

So we headed off back out of town to free camp on the banks of the Cooper Creek, but after a little rain yesterday that wasn’t an appealing site at all, so back to a rest area we headed which was on mainly gravel and far less muddy!

Ended up being a great night, even the small amount of rain didn’t worry us.

Today we are off to Betoota to camp at the pub. None of us have been before so are looking forward to checking out the iconic pub. The pub is literally the only thing in town!

Quick side note … it pays to check fuel prices as we filled up yesterday in Thargomindah at 21 cents a litre cheaper than the others! FuelCharge app is a lifesaver with outback travel.

New to 4WDing?

Ok, so you’ve just purchased your first 4WD and are ready to hit the tracks, you’ve been driving for years so what’s the difference in driving on dirt right …. WRONG!

There is so much that can and does go wrong and you need to be aware of that. This 4WDing gig can be dangerous, every time we hit the tracks we know there is the potential that things could go wrong, very wrong.

We don’t want to scare you, but you need to be aware that heading off-road without the proper recovery gear and the knowledge of what you are doing can end badly in terms of vehicle damage, injury or even death. You can take all the precautions in the world, but sometimes things just don’t go to plan.

Please take a few minutes to read through this and hopefully it will give you a few pointers on what to do and where to start. But don’t be afraid to ask questions (even if you think it’s dumb or people may laugh at you), we all started out as newbies at one point in time and no-one expects you to know everything.

Tyres

The most important thing when heading off-road is tyres.  These are the single most important thing that can make the difference between you getting past an obstacle or not.  Yes lift kits and lockers all help, but if you need just one thing, it’s tyres.  Think about where you are heading and how often.  A one-off day on a fire trail can be done on your road tyres, but if this is something you’ll be doing more often look at a good set off All-Terrain tyres (or Mud tyres depending on what you do).

Tyre pressures

Always remember, when you head off-road or onto the beach you must let the pressure down in your tyres.  It can mean the difference between getting a puncture or not, it can mean the difference between getting through or getting bogged.  Off-road it can make for a far more comfortable ride, it’s less harsh on the vehicle and it’s better for the tracks.

It takes a little trial and error to work out what works best for you, your vehicle, your tyre size and style and the terrain you are driving on … it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ type of thing, it all has an impact.

For more information, see our previous blog post here

Have a basic Recovery Kit

Before heading off-road you should at the very minimum have a snatch strap, dampener, rated shackle, (and rated recovery points on the vehicle) and a tyre gauge. Remember, you will need to let your tyres down before going off-road or on the beach, so how will you know what to let them down to without a tyre gauge?  Also keep in mind that you need to reinflate them afterwards, so if you aren’t anywhere near a servo, carry your own air compressor as well.

Most people are happy to help if you are in trouble, but if they are helping YOU, always offer to grab and use your recovery gear first.  No-one wants their gear lost or broken or have to go home and clean it when they were helping out a stranger.  It’s common courtesy to always use your own gear (or at least offer) in this situation. Check out this recovery set

Make sure you have RATED recovery points

No, we aren’t talking those little tie down points on the front of your 4WD, they are not a rated recovery point, they are simply used to tie your car down during transportation.  You may be surprised to know that most 4WD’s don’t actually come standard with any form of rated recovery point. 

You need to invest in a proper aftermarket recovery point suited to your vehicle which is suitable for snatching and winching.  Ideally you’d have one on the front and the rear of your vehicle to ensure if you are stuck you can be snatched out either way, but ONE at the very minimum is required before you even think of heading off-road.

Check out the guys at APC and they can help you with all your needs ….. If you use our code “OTT4x4” they’ll give you a 5% discount (off all items on the website, except already discounted items).

Know how to actually engage 4WD

Read your vehicle manual and learn how to actually engage High and Low range (or lock your hubs if you have manual locking hubs) and do some research into when and why you would use both of these gears. Also be aware that many of the newer vehicles have traction and/or stability control that you may need to manually override when off-road, particularly on sand.

Know what to do in a recovery situation

At some point in your 4WDing life you will get bogged, or you will need to be involved in the recovery of another bogged 4WD.  Before you even contemplate a 4WD recovery, do your research and know exactly what to do, take all the precautions and know the risks.

Recoveries are dangerous and things can and do go wrong and result in damage to vehicles, injury to persons and unfortunately death. This is serious stuff and we cannot say this enough … you really do need to know what you are doing.

Don’t go by yourself

This is particularly important when you are first starting out.  Even now, there are places we would never head into by ourselves, even if there may be other vehicles around.  You just never know what may happen (just a while back a mate got himself stuck at Lithgow and luckily managed to get enough phone reception to contact us and we were able to drive out and help him – keep in mind that this was a 1 ½ hour drive each way for us, plus the recovery.  Had he not had phone reception or had we not been available, he could have been spending the night there alone stranded in the bush). 

Another reason to go with a mate is so that you have a spotter to help you. Quite often you are on such angles that you can’t even see where your 4WD is on the track. Having a spotter on a portable handheld CB will allow them to be your eyes and guide you. 

UHF Radio

This is an important one and if you are heading out in a group or doing alot of 4WDing as it will enable you to communicate with others.  More often than not, you won’t have mobile phone reception.  They are relatively cheap to purchase and there are so many on the market. Whether you buy an in car one with antenna or a portable one is your choice. To be honest though, you’ll probably end up having both if you do get bitten by this 4WDing bug!

Of course, if you intend on longer, more remote travelling you’ll want to consider other forms of communication as well, such as Satellite Phone and/or a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger.

Don’t over commit

Even now, after all these years, there are still tracks that we look at and say ‘nope, not going up there’!  It’s ok to say no if you don’t feel comfortable or turn around if things are getting a little hairy, it’s ok to take the chicken track.   People look at some of the things we do and think we are crazy, but we now know what our vehicles are capable of and what both of our driving abilities are, it’s takes a while to gain all this knowledge so at first it’s totally fine to be afraid and err on the side of caution. Always ensure you drive to your own abilities, not other peoples.

If heading on the beach, take a shovel!

Sometimes a little bit of digging is all you need to get you going again, and if you are by yourself and no-one else around to snatch you out, you’ll be glad you had that shovel with you! If you intend to stick with 4WDing, considering investing in a set of TRED boards which are awesome on the beach, as well as the bush.

Water Crossings and Bog Holes

Everyone loves a bit of water, but 4WD’s not so much! Sometimes you have no choice but to drive through a muddy bog hole or a creek crossing, but always be careful. Walk it (if you can, think crocodiles!), measure the depth with a stick if you aren’t sure and consider a snorkel if you are going to be doing a lot of water crossings. Try your hardest not to drive through salt water (and wash your vehicle down afterwards if you do). It’s very easy and very common to write of your vehicle in water crossings or bog holes so always check them out before jump straight in!

Please don’t be a dick

Now this is an important one, one we shouldn’t have mention, but unfortunately we do. Us 4WDer’s can sometimes get a bad name and it’s always because of the minority of people thinking they are better than anyone else, doing the wrong thing and rules don’t apply to them.  The truth is though that most 4WDer’s are friendly, respectful and helpful people who respect the bush and want to do whatever we can to look after it.  Unfortunately, it’s the minority that ends up ruining it for everyone else and we have tracks closed down, tougher restrictions put in place and end up being totally locked out of certain areas.

This rule also includes rubbish and property.  Whatever you take in should be taken out with you, never leave your rubbish for someone else to clean up.  Always extinguish fires completely and do not light them at all in areas which do not allow them, or when there are fire bans.  Do not damage other people’s property and DO NOT leave your toilet paper laying around, Dig – Do – Burn – Bury ALWAYS!

We are all responsible for looking after and respecting the bush, and with so many amazing places for us to explore across Australia, why wouldn’t you want to. It’s a real privilege to be able to jump in our vehicles and go to some of these places, so please think about this before you go ahead and ruin it for everyone else.

To mod or not to mod?

There are so many 4WD accessories out there today and you could spend thousands doing up your vehicle, but it’s not always necessary.  Think about how you will be using your 4WD, where you will take it, how often you’ll be heading out, will you be hitting the hard tracks or a simple dirt road, heading to the beach, going by yourself or with others? Owning a 4WD can be expensive and you’ll realise this real quick if you start adding various accessories, so take your time and have a think about what you actually need and what you want!

Other things to keep in mind

  • Check the weather – don’t head out if you know it’s been raining a lot or if rain is anticipated. Not only is it dangerous, but if can ruin and potentially close tracks.
  • Are you allowed to be where you are? – just because your 4WD can go off-road, doesn’t mean it’s allowed to be there!  Watch out for private property signs and gates.
  • Insurance – check if your vehicle is allowed to do what you’re doing and go off-road, particularly water crossing etc.
  • Track Closures – always obey track closures signs, note that not only can you be fined, insurance will not cover you if you are found to be on a closed track.
  • Keep water and a blanket/warm jumper in the vehicle just in case you get stuck.  We’ve had one night where we didn’t get home till early hours of the morning due to being stuck on a track in the bush, so be prepared.
  • Always tell someone where you are going so emergency services have an idea of where to start looking should you fail to return home.
  • Carry a first aid kit in your vehicle at all times.

Lastly, we all need to learn somewhere and you can’t learn until you get out there and put yourself into the situation. But please don’t do it by yourself, head out with an experienced friend or join a 4WD club, many run their own private training courses for members and they have regular day/weekend/longer trips that members can join. Pick one that suits your needs and is in your area and if you contact them most will allow you to join a meeting or event as a trial to see what you think.

Alternatively (and this is what we both did when we started out), invest in a 4WD Driver Training course which will cover everything you need for off-road driving, as well as recovery.  Courses like those run by Great Divide Tours run over a weekend and include accreditation (which can be used to save on your insurance).

Just remember, we all started where you are now. It just takes time to build your confidence and your skills, so don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be embarrassed if you get bogged. Most of us 4WDer’s are friendly people who are more than happy to help and we’d rather you ask for help, than potentially damage your vehicle or yourself. There have been many times where we’ve needed to help others out of difficult situations (bogged in sand, bogged in water crossings, rollovers etc) and George has even got in and driven other’s vehicles out of the situation as they weren’t comfortable doing so themselves. So definitely don’t think you need to know it all at first and definitely don’t think that you’re the only one to have ever found yourself in that situation, we were all there once! As long as you have your own recovery gear, are willing to accept help and/or education and acknowledge when you’ve f**ked up, we will all be there to help you out!

Note that this blog post contains some links that will take you through to an external third party company.  On some occasions, if you do click through and ultimately make a purchase we will earn a small commission on the sale.  Note that, although we may receive a commission, this is at no additional cost to you.  Ie, you would pay the same amount if you went direct to the product provider.  

Travel … we love it, but why do we do it?

Let’s be real here, who doesn’t love travelling?  You get to explore new and exciting places, you spend time with family and friends and you make memories that will last you a lifetime. Why wouldn’t you want to travel?

The thing is though, traditionally a lot of people have disregarded travel within Australia, in leiu of the ‘more exciting’ overseas travel. Australia is this huge vast land with some of the most spectacular scenery and many Australian’s never even get close to seeing it all. We all travel overseas to Europe, Bali, Thailand …. but we forget about this marvelous place that is right here in our own backyard.

Camel riding at Uluru, NT

The realization of this came years ago when George met a traveler from overseas who was telling him about all the places he’d visited during his holiday to Australia ….. he asked “Have you climbed the Harbour Bridge”? … No, “Have you seen Uluru”? … No, “What about snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef”? … No. It was at the moment that George decided that it wasn’t right that foreigners have seen more of our country than he had.

Uluru, NT

Luckily we both have the same love of Australia and of camping so this was the perfect plan! Over the years we have tried to experience as much of our country as we can, making the most of every experience that is thrown our way.

We can now say that yes we have climbed the Harbour Bridge, we’ve watched the sunset at Uluru on top of a camel, we’ve snorkeled the reef, we’ve explored underground mines, flown over a pearl farm in a helicopter, watched the sunset over Cable Beach, seen the Staircase to the Moon in Broome, held a baby crocodile, played with a baby lion and Tasmanian Devils and traveled through every state and territory in Australia. We still have so much more to explore, but we are getting there bit by bit. You see, the thing we decided to do was to just get out there and do it. We didn’t want to wait, we didn’t want to lose our chance to see the country.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

This all really hit home to us when Shelly’s mum passed away quite suddenly at the age of 71. It was then that we realized just how short life can be, you never know what lay around the corner so never ever put something off. We wanted to make the most of life and experience all the weird and wonderful things that come along with that, whether it’s standing on the tip of Australia, driving a racecar around a circuit, cuddling a Tasmanian Devil or even spending nearly $2,000 for a day trip to the Horizontal Falls, we want to do it all! There may never be an ideal time to travel, you may never have enough money, and you may never have enough time …. But if you leave it too long, you might lose that chance altogether.

We met back in 2003 and now 18 years later we have so many memories and experiences we have shared together. We both still work full time, we are paying off a mortgage, we have pets and families, is this the ideal time to be travelling? Maybe, maybe not? But we make it happen, we work hard to save money for our travel and we fit it in between work. We aim to take one extended trip of around 2 months every 3 years, with many, many smaller trips in between! We don’t have all the time in the world and we certainly aren’t rich, but we make it work for us.

We need other people to realise that you can do it, you don’t have to wait, you just need to find what works for you and your family. It’s great now that we are starting to see so many young families travelling and doing the lap, the life experiences those children are going to learn just can’t be taught anywhere else. We are both very passionate about travelling Australia and want nothing more than to share our adventures and inspire others to do so as well. And now with Covid and travel restrictions in place, maybe it’s the perfect time for you to get out there and explore what Australia has to offer as well?

For this reason we have our website, blog and various social media pages where we document our 4WD adventures and share our experiences with everyone. We all like to pry into other people’s lives don’t we, well here’s your chance! Hopefully we inspire others to also follow their dreams and get out there and explore our great land. There are so many new adventures waiting to unfold. Life is too short to live with regrets ….. So go on …. get out there!

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.

The natural beauty of Fraser Island

Hands up who’s never visited Fraser Island …. if you are sitting there with your hands in the air, what’s wrong with you! You really need to get off your butt and get yourself up to this amazing part of the country!

You’ll find Fraser Island located off the east coast of Queensland, about 4 hours drive north of Brisbane. Covering an area of 184,000 hectares, it is the largest sand island in the world. But it’s more than just a bit of sand surrounded by water, it’s one of the most naturally beautiful places you’ll visit.

You’ll find some of the most beautiful lakes filled with crystal clear fresh water, ancient rainforests, long white beaches, coloured sand cliffs, shipwrecks and a splash of history thrown in.

Fun facts about Fraser Island

  • Fraser Island stretches over 123 km in length and 22 km across at it’s widest point.
  • Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world.
  • Fraser Island is World Heritage Listed.
  • The highest dunes on the island reach up to 240 meters above sea level.
  • Fraser Island is home to 40 perched dune lakes (which is half the number of perched lakes in the world!).
  • It’s said that over 350 species of birds live on Fraser Island.
  • The dingoes of Fraser Island are the most pure strain of dingoes remaining in eastern Australia.
  • Fraser Island is the only place in the world where rainforests are found growing on sand dunes at elevations of more than 200 meters.
  • 75 Mile Beach is a gazetted highway and all normal road rules apply, and police do regularly patrol.
  • 75 Mile Beach is also a runway and landing strip for light aircraft.
  • Fraser Island’s dunes have the longest and most complete age sequence of coastal dune systems in the world.
  • At 200 hectares, Lake Boomanjin is the largest perched lake in the world.
  • Fraser Island is home to half of the world’s perched lakes.

How the island formed

An island like Fraser Island doesn’t just pop up overnight, it has been forming over many hundreds of thousands of years and is still evolving to this day. Many years ago the wind and ocean currents moved sands from all around the world and it began to accumulate in one place and formed an island, therefore Fraser Island is made up completely of sand. Over the years animal matter and debris started to form a base which then allowed plants to start growing. A sand dune is considered stable when plant colonies start to take root and you can see this towards the centre of the island, where you’ll find huge trees and rainforests growing in the more sheltered parts of the island.

Closer to the beach where the dunes are subjected to the more fierce weather elements you will see that they often only have a small covering of grasses and smaller plants that have learned to live with the constant battering of sand and wind.

Fraser Island Lakes

There are over 100 freshwater lakes on the island. The only area in Australia that has a higher concentration of lakes than Fraser Island is Tasmania. There are Perched lakes, Window lakes and Barrage lakes.

Perched lakes form when organic matter builds up in a depression in the dune. Leaves, dead plants, bark etc collects over time, slowly decomposing into the top layer of the sand and eventually forming a cement like crust which stops water from filtering through the sand. With the water being trapped it will eventually form a lake. Perched lakes are dependent on rainfall to maintain the water levels.

Fraser Island’s Lake Boomanjin is the largest perched lake in the world.

Barrage lakes form when moving sand dunes block off the path of a watercourse, creek or natural spring.

Window lakes form when a depression in the dunes exposes part of the regional water table. These lakes are generally found in dune depressions where the water table is higher than the ground surface level.

Fraser Island’s Lake Wabby is actually known as both a window lake and a barrage lake.

Whilst the lakes on Fraser Island are some of the most naturally stunning sights you’ll see, many of them hold nothing but water. Because of the purity and acidity of the water, they are not home to any creatures. There are a few lakes that do have fish and turtles living in them and a particular species of frog that have adapted to survive in an acidic and nutrient deficient environment.

Fraser Island History

Captain Matthew Flinders was one of the first white men to have contact with the islanders of Fraser Island in 1802.

In 1836 the ‘Stirling Castle’ was shipwrecked and after spending weeks in a lifeboat at sea, they landed on the island. The survivors lived on the island for a few weeks before being rescued. One of these was Eliza Fraser, the wife of the Captain, James Fraser. It was after Eliza, that Europeans named the island Fraser Island.

The Butchulla people are the indigenous people of Fraser Island and their traditional name for the island is K’gari (pronounced “gurri”), which means paradise. According to Butchulla legend, Fraser Island was named K’gari after the beautiful spirit who helped
Yindingie, messenger of the great god Beeral, create the land. As a reward to K’gari for her help, Beeral changed her into an idyllic island with trees, flowers and lakes. He then added birds, animals and people onto the island to keep her company.

The island is now referred to as both “K’gari” and ‘Fraser Island” (and “Great Sandy National Park”), and whilst the Native Title rights were handed back to The Butchulla people in 2014, the day-to-day management of the island is primarily the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Heritage (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service).

Fraser Island Logging history

Logging is a huge part of the Fraser Island story. Due to the abundance of timber available and the quality of the pines, logging on Fraser Island ran for quite an extended period of time, first starting in 1863 and continuing until the end of 1991.

Logging initially started near Wanggoolba Creek by ‘Yankee Jack’ Piggott. In 1913 the first State Government Forestry Camp was set up at Bogimbah Creek, later moved to Wanggoolba Creek and in 1920 this moved to Central Station. In 1918 building began on the first and only timber mill on Fraser Island at the McKenzie’s Jetty site. McKenzie Ltd. was responsible for this mill, a jetty and a number of steam locomotives and tracks servicing its logging areas. When the Forestry Camp moved to Central Station, there were workers and their families living there and a community formed, including huts, houses and sheds, a school for the children and nurseries and vegetable gardens.

Nowadays Central Station is a camping and picnic area, but it also includes plenty of information on it’s former life as a logging camp.

Fraser Island’s WWII Connection

Many wouldn’t know, but Fraser Island played an important role in WWII.

The Fraser Commando School trained personnel for the highly secret ‘Z Force’. These personnel lived on the island and were trained to operate undercover behind enemy lines. The ruins of the training school are found on the western side of the island near Kingfisher Bay Resort.

The Maheno shipwreck, located on the eastern beach, was also used during the WWI as a target for explosives training.

Arriving at Bashville

It was a four day journey to get here, but to say we were excited by this point was an understatement! We arrived on Monday afternoon, set up camp on the town common, unhooked the camper and drove into town. The line to pick up our Big Red Bash passes and vehicle stickers wasn’t too long so we decided to get these organised and then headed over to the pub for a beer while we waited for Stewy and the kids to arrive.

Whilst standing in the beer garden of the Birdsville Hotel we ran into one of Shelly’s old high school friends! It’s amazing who you run into when travelling! Whilst they were also waiting for family to arrive, we all spent an hour or so catching up before we headed off back to camp to wait for Stewy.

Tuesday morning was officially ‘Bash day’! This was the day we’d been waiting for. We all packed up and headed back into Birdsville, George & Stewy lined up to get fuel (only a 10 min wait this time!) while Shelly took the kids to get their bash tickets and vehicle pass. We then made our way out to the bash site, about 35km out of Birdsville.

Bashville, as it’s known, is located on private property, an organic cattle station named Adria Downs. Due to the organic nature of the property, you need to be well prepared as no greywater (dish-washing, showering etc) can be emptied onto the ground, all water must be collected and taken out with you (or disposed of at the grey water disposal tanks provided at the toilet blocks). Any blackwater (toilet cassettes etc) had to be taken out of the site with you. Same with rubbish, whilst there were rubbish bins in the concert and plaza area, it was your responsibility to take all camping rubbish out with you and dispose of at the tip in Birdsville. There was also no running water on site so all water for drinking, cleaning, cooking, showers and toilets needed to be brought with you.

Our campsite

Now the way this event is run is amazing, all the volunteers have a job to do and they get it done! There are staggered event roll in and roll out times, early entry passes and early exit passes, separate areas for people camping with dogs and areas for people with big rigs. As we entered, we were guided to an area for us to set up our camp for the next few days. We ended up being in the back row of the camping, which was great as we had more room and weren’t as closed in with other campers, but it also meant a long walk to the stage and plaza area ….. particularly when carrying chairs, clothes, food and beer!

Relaxing on the first night back at camp ….. listening to the music from the concert area, cooking pizza over an open fire, under a million stars ….. this really is the life!