TIPS & TRICKS WE HAVE LEARNED WHILE CAMPING

During our travels over the years we’ve come to realise that not everything always goes to plan, not everything can be controlled all the time and sometimes you just need to adapt, suck it up and deal with it!  Here’s our list of what we’ve learned ……..

  • It’s inevitable that bugs, dirt and sand will become like seasoning to your meals!
  • BABY WIPES are my favourite thing, we have them everywhere! They are our daily shower, they clean our hands, they wipe down tables and clean the bench top, and they’ve even been used to wash cutlery and plates when we haven’t had water!
  • Your feet will always be dirty, you just live with it!
  • We can go days without a shower and don’t even miss it …… until you eventually have a nice hot shower and you realise what you were missing!
  • Now this one we stole from the Uncut Aussie Adventures list, but this couldn’t be more true! ……. You absolutely relish in the 30 minute bug free change over between the flies going to bed and mozzies waking up. ………. OMG, we couldn’t agree with this more, you literally go from a million flies on you to none and there is that miniscule window of time, of total bliss, where there are absolutely no bugs around at all …. But then the mozzies wake up!
  • Swimming is perfectly acceptable to class as a ‘shower’.
  • White clothing should never be taken camping!
  • If you travel the outback, be prepared to throw out your clothing upon return, as everything will end up a slightly pink/brown colour as it’s tinged with red dirt.
  • Once you’ve done one outback trip your 4WD will forever after bleed red dirt. No matter how many times you wash it or think it’s clean, it will never ever be that case again! The only way to rectify this is to sell it and buy a new one!
  • Hold back on the packing as you will always take more food and clothes than you really need.
  • We love Zip lock bags! OK well Shelly does, but she’s converted George too!
  • Always replace a beer when you take one out of the fridge, one for one every time! No-one wants to find no cold beers in the fridge!
  • Never ever leave garbage or food unattended as hungry animals are hiding everywhere! So our very first visit to Fraser Island a dingo took George’s roll within about 15 min of us arriving at camp, lesson learnt! ….. OK maybe we did have another small incident with a cow at Mt Elizabeth Station in WA, but we won’t go into that! But yes we’ve seen dingoes, cows, birds, horses, wild dogs & even emu’s breaking into people’s campsites, eating their food & spreading their rubbish around!

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Our Cub Campers Video

Earlier this year we briefly mentioned in our Year in Review blog that we had been approached by Cub Campers to be interviewed for their ‘Cub Stories’.

Late in 2017 we were approached by Cub Campers to see if we would like to feature in one of their ‘Cub Stories’, after they had seen our adventures on Instagram.  We love our Cub Brumby and the freedom it’s brought to us so we were more than happy to tell everyone all about it!

On Australia Day 2018 we headed away for a long weekend camping trip with some friends and it was here that we met up with Fiona from Cub Campers to film our story.

People who follow us on Social Media would have already seen the video, but we’ve had a few other people ask about it, so here it is!

The above video is from the Cub Campers YouTube channel and remains the property of Cub Campers.

The day we filmed was incredibly hot, we had our friends heckling from the sidelines and we had two whingeing dogs to deal with (thanks to Emma for babysitting them while we were interviewed!), but it was a lot of fun and it was great to meet Fiona and learn a little more about the Cub Campers business.

www.cubcampers.com.au

 

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.

Australia Day 2018 ….. a weekend camping trip to Percy’s Place Caravan Park at Pitt Town.

Percy’s Place is located on a 110 acre property right on the Hawkesbury River.  We couldn’t have found a more perfect relaxing place to spend a few days.  In fact, this caravan park is only 30 minutes from home, but it felt like we were a million miles away.

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We joined good friends, Emma & Jono and Lauren & Liam and their children for a fun long weekend filled with plenty of swimming and relaxing.

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The weekend started Friday morning when we met Fiona from Cub Campers at the caravan park as she had asked to film and interview us as part of their Cub Stories web series.  We spent a few hours chatting with Fiona and filming (amongst being laughed at and heckled by our fellow camping buddies!).

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It was great chatting with Fiona and learning a little more about the history of Cub Campers as it’s actually her family business.  Fiona had approached us a couple of months ago after seeing our photos and adventures on Instagram and asked if we’d be interested in taking part and we thought why not!

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This trip was also the first camping trip with the dogs.  We weren’t sure how we’d go as we knew there was another dog coming with our group so we really didn’t have high hopes of it all going to plan!  Well they surprised us and lasted longer than we thought they would, they survived the first day and night and then ruined it mid-way through Saturday.  Unfortunately as much as they enjoyed being with us and swimming and running around, they also seemed to enjoy terrorising poor Milo and so they were packed up and taken back home …. See, camping locally does have its advantages!

We will have to take them out again by themselves and maybe get their dog trainer back and have some lessons on how to be nice to other dogs!

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We had plenty of room!  That is our campsites in the background and the track to the right of the photo leads down to the water.

Our campsites had a great view and as we were camping on the last two sites, we had no-one else near us.  A small walk down the hill and we were swimming in the river, on our own private little beach (ok calling it a beach is stretching the imagination a little, but there was sand and water!).

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The river was a hive of activity all weekend, starting early in the morning and going to early evening, there were boats, jet skis and water skiers everywhere, it was like a highway out there!

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Pitt Town was originally known for its market gardens and orchards and nowadays the fertile land around the area is covered with turf farms.  Pitt Town is one of the five ‘Macquarie Towns’ established by Governor Macquarie at a dinner at Government Cottage, Windsor on 6 December 1810.  Pitt Town was named in honour of William Pitt, a member of the British parliament.

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In 1981, Pitt Town became recognised for the setting of ‘Wandin Valley’ in the long-running television series ‘A Country Practice’.  Our friend Emma did make us aware of this and showed us the church which was used in the show.  I’ve since looked in to this and found that much of the outdoor filming was done around the Pitt Town and Ebenezer areas.  Although not excited about this adventure in the slightest, George will be joining Shelly on an ‘A Country Practice’ exploration one day soon and we will be finding all the buildings which were used in the show!

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It’s not Australia Day without Pavlova!

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

Fraser Island 

We are back to one of our favourite places, Fraser Island! Absolutely love this place and here are a few pics from this trip. 

On the barge on our way to the island

Sunset from our campsite

Late afternoon stop at Eli Creek

Wanggoolba Creek at Central Station

Dingo at camp

Maheno shipwreck

The Western Beach

Turtles at Lake Allom

Sandy Cape

Sunrise on Fraser Island

Getting up early to watch the sun rise over the beach would have to be the best way to start your day.  Living in the city you don’t tend to this experience this very often, but for us (well Shelly in particular) this is one of the highlights of camping.

So peaceful this morning sitting on top of the dune watching the sunrise over the water with only the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.  Most campsites are still asleep at this time of the morning so it’s the perfect time to be up and taking in the tranquil surroundings.

Keeping a watchful eye over my shoulder for any dingos that may be loitering around, I sat on the dune and watched as the sun rose up through the clouds and a new day began.

Life really doesn’t get any better than this.

2016 Cub Brumby: our review

We had been on the camper trailer hunt for a few years, visiting shows and checking out all the campers, reading reviews, talking to owners and checking out EBay and Gumtree. It was something we had always wanted to upgrade to ‘some day’.  Having looked at so many different campers we learned what we did and didn’t like and what we did and didn’t need.  We wanted something that suited us and our style of travelling.   Sure there are plenty of trailers on the market that are really inexpensive compared to what we paid, and they are great for a lot of families, but they just wouldn’t cut it with the type of travel we do.  There are plenty more expensive than ours too and some of the features are amazing, BUT we needed to keep in mind that we were upgrading from a tent so anything was a little bit of luxury for us, we didn’t need to go over the top!

So what did we want? We both agreed that we definitely wanted a hard floor camper.  It had to be quick and easy to set up and pack down.  We were upgrading from a Black Wolf tent which took us 30 min to have our campsite fully set up (including unpacking the car, putting up the tent, bedding, gazebo, kitchen etc.), so didn’t want to be fussing around with set up and erecting poles and ropes.  It needed to be lightweight to help with ease of towing and fuel economy and lastly and most importantly, it needed to be a proper full off-road trailer that could follow us anywhere we went, it needed to be able to handle our extreme outback conditions.

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Camping on the Tanami Track, NT/WA

Cub Campers have been around since 1968 and, in our opinion that says something. There’s no denying that Cub Campers are one of the most trusted names in the camper trailer world, they’ve been doing it for a long time and they seem to be getting it right!  The one thing we really liked about Cub, compared to some of the other trailers on the market, was that they are fully made in Australia from start to finish, and made with all Australian canvas and BlueScope steel.  The fact that they are an Australian owned company, using Australian made products means that we had more of a guarantee that the end product would survive our harsh outback conditions.

So earlier this year after looking around for years, we decided to go and visit the Cub Campers showroom at North Rocks. We had always seemed to come back to the Cub and decided to go and check them out and have a serious chat with them.  This showroom is impressive, all their campers are on display for you to check out and right behind the showroom is their factory where everything is built.  We spent quite a while there that day comparing the two models we were interested in, the Daintree and Brumby, and talking to the sales rep.  We left the showroom that day very impressed with what we had seen.

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Camping on the Oodnadatta Track, SA

We then had some big decisions to make, 1) did we want to buy one now to take on our 2 month trip to Western Australia and 2) could we afford it! After a week or so of thinking about it and checking the finances, we decided to bite the bullet and go for it!  We paid our deposit and ordered our new Cub Kamparoo Brumby to be built.

As the weeks and months went by we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new camper, and at times wondered if we would even have it in time for our holiday, but the day finally arrived and we booked in for our handover. When you pick up your new Cub you have a full run through on how everything works.  You are shown how to set up and pack away your camper, you are shown every little nook and cranny and how everything opens, closes, clips or zips together, you are handed a bunch of keys and instruction manuals (which yes, we did refer back to this the first few times!) and you leave the showroom totally overwhelmed with all your new information!

So that weekend was spent playing with the new camper, seasoning the canvas, packing it full of everything we’d need for our 2 month adventure and taking it for a drive to practice our trailer reverse parking! There was no time for anything else, we’d cut it very fine with time and this meant that we picked it up on the Friday and the next Friday we left for our 2 month adventure from Sydney to Western Australia.

IMG_0860.JPGThere was no easing into things for the trailer, it was thrown straight into our style of touring! Within 4 days we had hit the Tanami Track, a remote off-road short cut between Alice Springs in the NT and Halls Creek in WA. It’s unbelievably corrugated with lots of bull dust and rocks, which makes for a fun time when you encounter the road trains!  This is unfortunately where we encountered our first problem, we lost the trailer brakes, which made for an interesting few hours’ drive into Halls Creek.  As soon as we arrived in town and got some phone reception we called Cub back in Sydney to see what could be wrong.  They instructed us to look under the camper and see if these particular wires were still intact …. well no they weren’t, they had been cut in half by stray rocks!  Cub were great though, as it was obviously still under warranty, they rang us back within 5 minutes with approval to get this fixed wherever we could, send them the bill and they’d reimburse us within 5 days.  Couldn’t ask for better service than that.  We found a great auto electrician in Halls Creek who dropped everything to fix it for us on the spot, they soldered the wires back together and we were on our way.  We did end up having the same issue again during our last week, this time on the Oodnadatta Track!  Luckily George was able to fix it this time to enable us to get home .

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So here are our comments on the Cub Brumby

TowingAs mentioned earlier, a very important issue for us was weight, we’ve already added weight to the 4WD with a bullbar, side steps, roof basket, drawers, Kaymar rear bar, plus the full roll cage inside, add to this all of our luggage and us and we’ve significantly increased the weight of the vehicle from factory standard. Of course, this all has a significant effect on fuel economy, so we wanted a relatively lightweight camper trailer as well.  Weighing only 955kg this camper suited us and our needs.

IMG_0758.JPGIt happily sat behind the Prado and just followed along, it just loved the dirt tracks, corrugations, water crossings, you barely even knew it was there! Being a full off-road model it was built for our outback tracks and we certainly tested it!

SetupThe hassle free set-up is exactly what we wanted. The Brumby comes standard with the ‘silent winch’ (ha, when this gets dusty, it’s far from silent, I’d hate to see what a non silent one sounds like!).  But in saying that, the winch system is very easy to use.  Cub even mark the point to which you should unwind the winch to when setting up, so you don’t even have to think about it.  Once you reach this point you simply start to lift up the hard floor and the gas struts will kick in to help you.  From there it’s a very quick and simple process to complete the set up.

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Camping on the Great Central Road, NT

Now when it comes to the awning, we can’t really comment. When it was set up during our handover process it didn’t look too hard, but it would definitely add a bit of time onto the set up process.  We decided that we didn’t need it and didn’t even take it away on our trip so can’t really comment.  We will say though that it’s great that you can leave it zipped onto the camper and just throw it over the roof even if you aren’t using it.  The camper still packs up fine with it on. Although we didn’t take it with us or use it, that seems like a great idea and so much easier than having to zip it on and off each time.

InsideOK, so this is where we had some of those luxury items we’d never had before! Inside the camper is a deep-cycle battery which gives power to two internal 12V outlets (and also 3 external 12V outlets) and 2 x USB chargers (great for the phones and IPads etc).  There are also 2 double power points inside the camper, which work when you are plugged into 240V mains power.  Another thing we loved was the LED light that velcros onto the overhead bar.IMG_3894.JPG

The blinds that protect the fly screen windows are a great idea as they all zip open from the inside, meaning that it’s so easy to open and close as you feel fit and so much easier than running outside to close windows in the rain! As they all open via zipper it’s easy to open up fully or just a little as an air vent.  Make sure you keep a window open a bit at night to avoid condensation.

The room on the floor is quite large considering it’s a fairly small trailer. It would certainly fit a stretcher bed or two for the kids or a small table and chairs if you need to get in out from the weather – or a dogs bed or two when we take the pups away!

IMG_3888.JPGBeddingThe double bed has a pocket spring mattress and the base lifts with the assistance of gas struts. We did buy a memory foam mattress from Clark Rubber to put over the top of the standard mattress to give a little more comfort.  The camper still closes fine with this extra topper, plus the linen and doona and pillows.

KitchenCooking for us while we are camping is no different to cooking at home, we certainly don’t live on baked beans and tin spaghetti! So room to cook and keep all our utensils was important.  The kitchen is a full stainless steel slide-out unit with lots of storage compartments.  Three pull out drawers to keep cutlery and utensils and plates/frypans/chopping boards etc.  You then have two other areas where we keep pantry items, herbs and spices, cling wrap, matches, candles, washing up equipment etc. img_3889  The bench space is adequate for us, but there is a handy little shelf you can clip on as well, which we haven’t needed to use yet.  This comes standard and just slides in under the kitchen to store it out of the way when not in use.

Then there is the stainless steel sink, nice and big and with running cold (hot is an option) water which is plumbed into an electric pump that draws water directly from the 80 litre water tank, something we’ve never had before! There is also a two-burner gas cooktop with wind shield if needed.  But one of my favourite things is the LED adjustable light that comes standard and just clips into the socket on the benchtop, how handy is that!

The kitchen is easily accessible at all times, so great for roadside stops if you just want some lunch or a coffee.

StorageOf course storage is important, but to us it was another luxury as generally everything had to be squeezed into the car. Does this mean that this time we just took double the amount as normal?  No, we were good and Shelly did cut down on what we took, even though it was exciting having all this spare room!  More room for presents and souvenirs to bring home!

There is a storage pipe that comes standard to keep all the tent poles in – or fishing rods. Storage up front for two jerry cans and two gas bottles and behind that a big checker plate storage box with cupboards on both sides, one with a fridge slide.

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The under bed storage is great, plenty of room under there for anything you don’t need to often or things you only require at night or when the camper is open. The only bad thing is that you can only access this storage area when the camper is fully open, so keep that in mind when you start storing things under there!

The Other StuffThe BlueScope Steel galvanised chassis is tough and more than capable of carrying the trailer over rough terrain. Combine this with the independent suspension and you have a trailer that will happily follow you anywhere.

George’s favourite thing about the camper was the Redarc Battery Management System which charges and maintains our battery by taking in all the power received via AC, DC or Solar and working out the best way to charge the battery to its optimal level. It also allows us to monitor our power usage and see how much longer the battery will power us for and how much is being drawn in or out of the camper.

The roof rack comes standard and this is handy, we used it to carry our camping chairs and could even open the camper up with these still connected if we only had a brief stopover.

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The Brumby comes standard with electric brakes. Our only complaint in relation to this would be that there should be some sort of bash plate or stone guard over the wires to stop the issues like what we had.  It’s an off-road model so this extra precaution would help.

We provided our own wheels and tyres to Cub so that they matched our Prado, making it easier when carrying spares.

As for dust, we only had a little getting into one of the openings and Cub replaced the seal for us under warranty while it was in for it’s first service.  Other than that we were happy with how everything sealed up.  We did encouter some strong winds and rain and the camper was fine with no leaks.  When we pack up we always cover the bed with a tarp just to make sure our bedding doesn’t get wet if we need to pack up without letting the tent fully dry – also stops any dust/dirt/sand from the floor ending up on your bed!

Summary

We took our 1 week old Brumby on the ultimate test, travelling 17,290 km from Sydney to Western Australia and back, travelling through some very remote areas.  Over a total of 8 weeks we travelled the Tanami Track, Gibb River Road, Great Central Road, Oodnadatta Track, through national parks and down the coast of Western Australia. We dragged the little Brumby through water crossings, over thousands of corrugations, through sand and mud and up and down mountains and you know what, it just followed behind and barely moved!  It absolutely loved it and was clearly made to do this.  For our first time owning or towing a camper trailer we couldn’t have been happier, there was not a single place that it struggled.  We love our new member of the family and can’t wait to get back out there and start exploring more.IMG_0766.JPG


 


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We survived our first night in the camper!

Friday 1st July was the start of our 2 month adventure to WA! We left home about 6.30am after saying our goodbyes to the dogs 😥, so sad leaving these two little girls.


We headed off and experienced a beautiful sunrise as we left Sydney …. amazing considering we ran into rain about an hour or two later! 

The camper towed very well, it was very stable and we really had no problems at all, we really didn’t even know that it was there!

We stopped in at Wagga Wagga to catch up and have lunch with George’s boyfriend, oops, I mean work mate, Corey! 😂 After a couple of hours there we headed off again towards Balranald.  We arrived in town about 5.45pm and decided to stay at the Balranald Caravan Park, nice little park and right on the highway which made for a quick and easy start this morning. 

first night in the camper trailer

By the time we checked in and all, it meant that we were setting up in the dark! Glad it was in the camper and not the tent! Our first night sleeping in the camper was good, bed was very comfy (but glad we went out last weekend and spent $300 on a memory foam topper! as the standard mattress just wouldn’t have worked!). Wasn’t too cold, George was fine, but Shelly slept in her sleeping bag under the doona and that seemed to work!

This morning we were woken by the sound of kookaburras and birds and we saw exactly how nice the surrounds were in this park, we were literally camped amongst the gum trees, basically on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. If you can block out the trucks that fly down the highway all night, this place is beautiful!

Anyway, off to Port Augusta ……. 

sunrise leaving Sydney

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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