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!

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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.

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

To read the rest of our blog, please click here

All good things must come to an end :(

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Unfortunately it all must come to an end at some point, no matter how long we spend on Fraser Island, it’s never enough!

This time we managed to reach the Western Beach and spent an amazing day over there, meaning that we have now driven every section of beach possible on Fraser Island.  We had some great weather, and some not so great!, as shown in the photos below, but it didn’t spoil our holiday one bit.

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We cannot tell you how badly you all need to visit Fraser Island!  It’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve been to and the track conditions change daily, the scenery changes, it’s just amazing.  One minute you are driving along the beach and the next through a rainforest.

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Anyway, after we packed up and said our goodbye’s to our good friends, we headed off around 9.30am towards the barge.  By the time we hit hook point, the tide was still a little high so we had to wait a while before we could head around to the barge (would rather do that than take the unbelievably rough inland track!).

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Goodbye Fraser Island, you’ve been great as always…. until next time.

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Lake Allom / Maheno Shipwreck / Eli Creek

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 Lake Allom (known to us as Turtle Lake) is one of our favourite places to visit on Fraser Island.  You never have a visit there without seeing turtles, they come right up to the viewing platform.  I love turtles and these little guys are so cute, it’s awesome to be able to see them this close up.

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Lake Allom is one of the inland freshwater lakes and it’s surrounded completely by Mellaluca trees.  The water of Lake Allom is black, which is as a result of the tannin from the trees surrounding the lake.

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The pic above is just one of the examples of amazing trees you will see on Fraser Island.  This tree was down at Lake Allom and was so dead straight and so tall, amazing!  And this little boy was waiting at our car when we got back to the carpark.  There is a picnic area just up from the lake so I’m sure that’s why these guys are always hanging out there!

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SS Maheno shipwreck

This is another ‘must visit’ place on Fraser Island. The Maheno was built in Scotland in 1905 and was the world’s first ever triple screw steamer.  She was built as a luxury passenger ship. During World War 1 she served as a hospital ship and later was used by a shipping company for journeys between Sydney and New Zealand.

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

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

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

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The Maheno when she first beached on Fraser Island

On the way back to camp we called in to Eli Creek.  As usual, the water was freezing and being later in the afternoon there was no way we were swimming!  Eli Creek is the largest creek on the eastern beach and up to 4 million litres of fresh water pour into the ocean each hour.

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What a beautiful way to end the day.

Exploring the lakes

On Monday we had an early start and headed south to have a look at some of the inland lakes that we hadn’t been to for years.  The first was Lake Boomanjin, pictured below.  The colours of this lake were amazing, the red was a blood-red colour so it was a little freaky, but awesome at the same time!  This photo really does not show the true colours, but it gives you an idea.

Lake Boomanjin is the largest perched lake in the world.  Fraser Island also claims the worlds highest perched dune lake, Boomerang Lake.  Perched lakes are the most frequently occurring type on the island.  Perched lakes are separate from the influence of groundwater.  Their water levels can reduce due to evaporation during long dry periods, but then fill again during the wetter periods.

We drove over to the western side of the island to Ungowa to see the old jetty.  There is a nice little campground there with toilets, but nothing else except this amazing view!  The old wooden jetty and the boat ramp are both closed off due to deterioration, but you can still clearly see both.
 
Next on our list was Tobys Gap Airstrip, surprisingly this was fairly flat, although it didn’t look it at all, very overgrown with grass, rocky and sandy!  And yes, we may have drove down the runway, pretending to be a plane!!


We went to Lake Birrabeen for a swim, beautiful spot and no-one there.  To be honest, this lake is just a nice as Lake McKenzie, but without the millions of people there.  The sand is so white and the water crystal clear and warm, such a nice lake.

After lunch on the beach we took a drive down to Eli Creek for a while.  As usual, the water was freezing so there was no swimming there!
 
We then took the car for a photoshoot on the rocks!  Just a bit of fun for the arvo!

Ahh, Fraser Island, we are back!

So our journey began early on Saturday morning with us getting off while it was still dark.  We had a pretty good run with no traffic / roadwork hold ups which was a nice change! 

dread the Sydney – Brisbane drive, we do it so often and I’m just over it (think we need to move to Qld as we spend so much time there!).  
 
After 11 1/2 hours on the road we finally arrived at Danny & Cat’s house in Margate, QLD.  It’s been a few months since we’ve seen them and it’s always great to catch up. And of course, baby cuddles with Steph are great too!  
 
We left Margate around 9am Sunday morning to drive to Rainbow Beach, about a 2 1/2 hour drive.  Once there we topped up fuel (yes first fill for the trip, little bit different to the old Prado!) and filled the water bottles and headed down to Inskip Point to the barge.  We were one of only 2 cars on the barge so that was our first sign of how few people might be around.
 

 
A short drive later we arrived at the place we intended to camp and drove around looking for a nice campsite and set about setting up our home for the next week.  About 40 min later we had this!  Just behind the dune is the beach so we have an amazing view, yet are a little sheltered from the wind.