Tackling the Tele – Weipa

It was a relatively short drive from Laura and we arrived in Weipa around lunchtime.  Everyone split up to do their own thing and met up again later in the day at the caravan park.

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View from in front of our campsite …. plenty of crocs out there!

Weipa is a relatively big town …. well very, very tiny compared to say Sydney!, but for the townships on the cape, it’s a relatively large town with most facilities available.  Weipa sits on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

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The region in and around Weipa is very rich in bauxite and this has led to Rio Tinto operating the Weipa bauxite mine for many years.  They are in the process of extending their operations to another site in the area aswell.  There is some big money being spent on infrastructure in the area and some big money coming out of the mines.  The first thing you notice as you get closer to Weipa is that the condition of the road significantly improves!  Then you see the traffic lights and the boom gates as you cross the mine access road to enter the town.

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We had all booked on a sunset cruise with Western Cape Eco Tours.  We had done this exact cruise when we were in Weipa 5 years ago and it was such a great night we couldn’t recommend it highly enough.  Everyone took our recommendation and we booked on for a couple of hours of relaxing, history and crocodile sightings.

 

You’d think being a ‘sunset cruise’ I would have mentioned that we watched an amazing Weipa sunset aswell, well think again!  We didn’t even come close to getting a sunset that night, very disappointing, but what can you do!  At least we saw plenty of crocs.

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Here’s what the sunset should have looked like! (taken on our cruise in 2013).

The cruise itself runs for about 2 hours and takes you around the Embley River to see the wildlife and of course the sunset.  The price of the cruise includes beer, champagne, soft drink and yummy antipasto platters.

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Western Cape Eco Tours are a small family owned company who love their town and love showcasing its natural beauty.  They had only just started out when we took our first cruise with them and we are so glad business is going so well for them.  If you are ever in the area, you really must look these guys up.

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Contact Details

Western Cape Eco Tours

Website:  www.westerncapeecotours.com.au 

Email:  westerncapeecotours@bigpond.com

Telephone:  0447 009 044

Tours depart from Evans Landing Boat Ramp, Weipa QLD 4874


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Cape York 2018

So we’ve returned from Cape York and we had the most amazing time, but as you would have realised we didn’t do too well on the blog writing while we were away!

Anyone who follows us on Facebook & Instagram would have been kept up to date with plenty of photos, but unfortunately our blog community was a little neglected!

You see, it was just too hard this time travelling in a big group, too much time socializing and drinking! 🍻, we just didn’t find the time to write and post the blogs.

But don’t fret, we didn’t forget you all, there are plenty of photos, videos and stories coming your way …. so sit back and enjoy!

⬇️Check out the short video below of some of the 4WDing we did up the cape!

 

We will also take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful friends for an awesome trip filled with amazing memories. Also thank you to mum and dad who looked after the house and animals while we were away (and everything else you did!). Thank you both so much xx …… Gelly & Charli loved having nonna and Gedo here to stay!🐾

And lastly thank you again to our mechanic, Adam from A1 Autohaus, for getting the Prado ready for the trip, we nearly got by without an issue this time, but more on that later!

Tackling the Tele – Laura to Weipa

After all surviving our first night of camping in Laura, some headed off in the morning to visit the Split Rock Aborignal Rock Art site. We then set out for the days drive, only about 350km, but as it was the start of dirt roads it wasn’t a quick drive.

We stopped in at Hann River roadhouse to relive that day Stewy’s 4WD broke down and to visit the resident Emu, who kept us company last time when we were doing the oil change in Stewy’s 4WD!!.

Next on the list was a stop for a beer at the (S)Exchange Hotel in Coen. Legend has it that in 1976 the Exchange Hotel in Coen was renamed. Apparently a group of plumbers were in town and they put an ‘S’ up in front of the sign on the roof. Other rumors are around but all are fairly similar as to what happened. It was left there and the pub has since been known as the ‘Sexchange Hotel’!

Last night we stayed at the Archer River Roadhouse and you can’t stay here without trying one of their famous Archer Burgers! These things are HUGE!

Today we arrived in Weipa, where we will be spending the night.  Weipa is a mining town and is the largest town on the Cape York Peninsula.  Rio Tinto basically own the town, they mine and export bauxite, with exports of over 30 million tonnes of bauxite per year.  We did a mine tour in our last visit to Weipa and it was very interesting.

Tonight we are all booked on a sunset river cruise with Western Cape Eco Tours, we did this cruise with Stewy and Kristy on our last visit to Weipa and it was amazing so we weren’t missing out on this again.  I’m sure there will be plenty of photos for us to share as the sunsets up here are spectacular.

Tomorrow we head off to Bramwell Station for the night, before an early morning start the next day …….. Tackling the Tele track!


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Tackling the Tele … the journey begins!

This adventure starts today!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Goodbye Sydney!

All the preparation, trip planning, packing and last-minute hassles (nothing like getting the 4WD back from your mechanic 4 days before leaving or getting a windscreen replaced 18 hours before leaving!) has been worth it and we are finally on our way.

We left home Tuesday morning and headed north for the start of our trip. George was actually working on Tuesday and Wednesday so we visited some customers around the Port Macquarie and Kempsey areas before spending the night at a motel in Kempsey.

Wednesday morning we were up bright and early to head off further north to see more customers for the day. As we were getting out of the 4WD we met a lady in the main street of Kempsey and she asked where we were headed and we told her Cape York. Her response was ‘oh my son is heading up there this week too’. Somehow we get the feeling that we were right, this is going to be totally different to our last visit, it’s gonna be hectic up there!

Tonight we are staying with friends just north of Brisbane. Always great to catch up with this beautiful little family, lots of fun and laughs, a few drinks – and tonight to watch the State of Origin – go the blues!

Tomorrow morning we meet up with Stewy & Rori, the first of our Cape York travel mates, to start the big drive north!

Safe travels to our other Sydney based friends who are starting the drive north today.


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The countdown is on ….

We have just over 4 weeks left before we start our journey up north to Cape York.  We are both so excited to be heading back up to this amazing part of the country again.

Those of you who have been following us for a while will recall that we did this trip as part of our honeymoon back in 2013.  During that trip our friends who were meant to join us had engine trouble in the first few days and unfortunately couldn’t complete the trip so we ended up doing it alone.

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Here we are, 5 years later and we are about to embark on the amazing journey to the cape again, but this time we have another 5 4WD’s joining us (along with Stewy in his new, hopefully problem free vehicle!).

As we are all coming from different parts of Sydney and Queensland, we will all meet in Cairns on Sunday 15th July to start our epic ‘Tackling The Tele’ trip!

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Below is our itinerary

  • Cairns – Laura
  • Laura – Archer River Roadhouse
  • Archer River Roadhouse – Weipa
  • Weipa – Bramwell Station
  • Bramwell Station – Eliot Falls
  • Eliot Falls – Seisa (few days in Seisa)
  • Seisa – Captain Billy Landing
  • Captain Billy Landing – Chili Beach
  • Chili Beach – Musgrave Roadhouse
  • Musgrave Roadhouse – Elim Beach
  • Elim Beach – Lions Den Hotel
  • Lions Den Hotel – Cape Tribulation
  • Cape Tribulation – Cairns

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Of course we will be driving the famous Old Tele Track, as well as some of the other more well-known tracks up there such as Battle Camp Road, Frenchman’s Track and the CREB Track.

After what was apparently quite a ‘wet’ wet season up north, the track conditions are still quite damp and muddy and the water crossings seem fairly deep.  We have a feeling the new winch might be getting a bit of a workout!  Although a lot can change in a few weeks, so we will wait and see!

We can assure you there will be plenty of photos and videos of the trip, so stay tuned!  We will be writing blogs where possible, but most photos and videos will be posted on Instagram and Facebook so make sure you are following us on social media to keep up to date!

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Our Latest Project ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Goals

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

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

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

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

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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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