Arriving at Bashville

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

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

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

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

Our campsite

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

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

Advertisements

Big Red Bash wrap up

Well there is another trip done and dusted, 4,838 km driven across 3 states over 16 days! ….. ok so yes we know we didn’t quite keep the blogs up to date while we are away, but we will do a recap of each day now that we are home and have more time and internet connection! But in the meantime, below is a quick recap of the whole trip to get you excited!

This was one of our shorter trips, only 2 weeks away, but as usual we still managed to pack alot into that time!

The main purpose of the trip was to visit The Big Red Bash, the worlds most remote music festival … and what an awesome, fun filled couple of days that was! They say once you visit you’ll go back again and that’s so true, we are all hooked! The bands, the people, the volunteers, the atmosphere … it was all awesome. Probably by far the best run event we have ever been to.

Although the bash was our main reason for travel, we wanted to make a mini holiday out of it too. We’ve been to Birdsville before and also to most places we visited, but it was still great. We stopped in at Cameron Corner again (where the borders of NSW/SA/QLD meet) and also stopped off at Haddon Corner for the first time (where the borders of QLD/SA meet).

We got our history on visiting some of the sites connected to Burke & Wills …. Burkes grave and Dig Tree to name a couple and we finally visited the Birdsville Hotel and went inside to have a beer (we’ve previously been to Birdsville but didn’t go to the pub, who does that! 😆)

Camel Racing 🐪 yes, we finally went to a camel racing meet, and not just any old camel racing, the ‘Melbounre Cup of Camel Racing’!  We spent 3 days camping at the race course and watching the Boulia Camel Races.

We went on a sunset dinner river cruise on the Thompson River in Longreach, attended an Outback Show at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, we saw the ‘big bogan’ in Nyngan and the ‘big billy’ in Trangie. We touched a dinosaur bone fossil at Winton and visited the site of the first Qantas plane crash in Tambo. We dropped into little country towns to support and show the love and bought heaps of souvenirs we probably don’t need!

Now to our good mate Stewy, so glad we got to experience our first bash together! Many of you would know that we travel quite a bit with Stewy and his daughter, they love this as much as us! And great to have Jackson along this time aswell! Glad you all made it home safely and we will see you on Fraser Island at Christmas!

It was great to catch up at the bash with Jim & Jackie who came along with us to Cape York last year, hope you enjoyed the bash and have a safe and enjoyable remainder of your trip.

The bash was the place to be and it was great to also run into Matt from Cub Campers again too, hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip, and following along on ours! We will see you soon to arrange our new awning!

Randomly running into one of Shelly’s old high school friends at the Birdsville Hotel (and at the bash and the races!), was great into see you Virginia and meet your family, enjoy the rest of your travels.

Jay and Sallie, our camping neighbours for a couple of nights in Longreach, it was great to meet you both (pj’s and all!), may catch up again one day.

To the guy who works in Target in Longreach, you are hilarious … really bad jokes, but hilarious! And to the people at the Wyandra Post & General Store, thank you for accommodating Shelly’s request for pepper even though you were allergic to it (who knew!) and thanks for opening our eyes to Mac n Cheese Smiths Chips (again, who knew!) …. hope you found your Spaghetti Bol chips! Also great briefly chatting with the caretaker of the Gladstone Hotel in Wyandra, good to hear a little about the community and the hotel.

And lastly, to our other friends, Lauren, Liam and the kids and Leah & Brendan who were meant to be coming to the bash and both didn’t make it for various reasons, hopefully we can all do it again next year!!

All the dust, the smoke, everything smelling like a campfire, the lack of showers and toilets, the cold, the flies …. we wouldn’t trade it for the world. To sit at camp and stare up at the stars, to share a beer with friends or total strangers, to meet the locals and share stories with other travellers, the laughs, the adventure and the memories …. this is life 💕

Oh and to share it with all of you guys too, we love it and glad we could take you along on the journey!

Check out all the stats below ⬇️⬇️⬇️

THE STATS
—————-
🔸4,838 km
🔸travelled across 3 states 
🔸16 days
🔸Total Fuel $1,290
🔸most expensive fuel $1.90/L for Diesel at Innamincka

🔸$210 total accomodation 
(1 x night hotel $160, 2 x nights caravan park $30, 2 x nights low cost camps $20, rest free camping or included in BRB/Camel Races tickets)

MINOR INCIDENTS
——————————
🔸Windscreen chip
🔸Lost reflector off camper
🔸Tear in the awning off the camper
🔸Changed tyre on the camper 
🔸Kangaroo splatter incident 

WHAT WE LEARNT
—————————
🔸It’s really exciting when you initially hear and see someone whip cracking …. it gets really annoying when that’s all you hear all day and night for a few days!
🔸‘Shelly GPS’ has nearly 100% accuracy, ‘George GPS’ is crap!
🔸It’s a game of luck when driving in Longreach …. cross streets have no ‘Give Way’ or ‘Stop’ signs! Oh and to it make it even harder to navigate, the power poles are situated right in the middle of street!
🔸Baby wipes really are your best friend when showers are few and far between (well we knew this one already!)
🔸If you look at a tyre before you leave home and think ‘we really should change that before we go’ ….. you probably should!!
🔸Be very wary of all dead kangaroos on the road! 
🔸You very quickly learn to be open about your toilet trips at the bash …. more on this later, but ‘one scoop per poop’ is the saying in Bashville!💩 
🔸We already knew it, but WikiCamps is awesome! We always find the best free camps using this app … if you aren’t already using it, you really should be!

What’s your camping style?

What’s your style? Do you need the best of the best and all the creature comforts of home or are you happy with just a swag, esky and the stars above you?

It’s such a personal preference isn’t it, and of course it comes down to the type of travel you do and ultimately how much you can afford as well.

When we first met and started travelling, for a few years we were just sleeping in the back of the Prado. We’d pull out the cargo barrier, fold down the rear seats and we had a piece of wood that screwed into place to make our ‘bed’. Throw an air mattress on top and we were set! Shelly even made up curtains for us! There was certainly nothing fancy about this set up, just the 4WD, an air mattress and an esky! Pull up wherever we wanted and we were set for the night. There was this one particular car park in Port Macquarie that we stayed in quite a few times …. shhhh! It was on the top of a hill, right next to a walkway to the beach and there were public toilets there too, it was the perfect overnight spot!

After a while we purchased our Waeco fridge which gave us a little bit of luxury with cold drinks and food and not having to worry about ice all the time.  For a while there, whilst we still slept in the back of the Prado, our little Waeco got it’s own little tent to sleep in!

Next we upgraded to a little 3 man dome tent which was great and we used it for years, including our first Simpson Desert trip. We had an air mattress and sleeping bags, but later upgraded to self inflating mattresses.

Finally we decided to spend a little more money on a tent (ok significantly more money!) and we purchased our Black Wolf tent which basically goes up in a few minutes. At around the $1,000 mark, this tent wasn’t cheap, but for the quality, the extra space and the speed and ease in which we could be set up, it was totally worth every cent! We still own this tent and do still use it on occasions, like our Cape York trip last year. We now also have stretcher beds to keep us up off the ground. These tents may have quite a hefty initial outlay, but the ease of putting it up, the quality of the product and the service from the company itself far outweighs that expense if you are going to be using it a lot.

Lastly in 2016 we finally caved in and purchased our brand new Cub Camper trailer.  Now this was a big investment compared to our previous camping setups, but we are so glad we spent the money. 

We had a brand new camper built just for us and we absolutely love it! We are now spoiled with storage and accessories and we sleep on a comfy double bed with a real doona!

We have a gas stove, a real sink, running water (no more making trips to and from the tap!), a freezer and so much storage space …. which in reality just means we now take way more than we need because we obviously never had the room before and didn’t miss it!

What will be our next upgrade you ask? Well definitely for the foreseeable future we will be sticking with the camper trailer, it is perfect for our needs and because we purchased a full off-road model, it is able to go anywhere the Prado does. Who knows, one day we may settle with a caravan and a little more luxury, never say never! But for now we are more than happy with what we have. Although there have been constant talks of maybe getting a swag as well to add into the mix! It would come in handy for the local overnight stays when we’ve been out 4WDing all day.

So there you go, it just goes to show that it really doesn’t matter what you have or what you can afford, you just need to make do with whatever you have at the time. Our type of travel has never changed from sleeping in the back of the car to sleeping in a $30,000 camper trailer. We are still exploring and making memories every step of the way. What you start with now may not be what you end up with, what your friends have may not suit your needs, budget or lifestyle and that’s fine. You just need to do what you can to make it happen so that you can get out there and experience our wonderful land for yourself.

Easter camping adventures

We had a great weekend away with the dogs. Gelly & Charli spend a lot of time 4WDing in the bush with us, but this was only their 2nd ever camping trip (first one did not end well and they got taken home half way through!), but this time we were pleasantly surprised with their behaviour! We were a little concerned about the roaming cows, kangaroos and emus, but they were actually really well behaved, we doubted their ability to be so good, but they surprised us both!!

We left on Good Friday with no idea where we would stay for the next few days, George wanted to head towards Wagga or Tumut area and once there we’d find somewhere to free camp, so off we went!

We ended up heading to the small country town of Tumut, which is in the Riverina region of NSW and basically at the foot of the Snowy Mountains. We arrived around 11am and called up our trusty WikiCamps app to see what camping spots were around. We found a really great spot right on the river, but as it was still so early in the day we headed off exploring. First stop was the Blowering Dam, which is one of the biggest dams in NSW, at 1,628,000 megalitres it is three times the size of Sydney Harbour.

Blowering Dam was also the site where, in 1978, Ken Warby set the world water speed record of 317.6 miles per hour (511.1 km / hour) in his boat the Spirit of Australia.

We ended up driving to the Bago State Forest to see if we could find a place to camp for the night. Some of the views from here were beautiful so we were quite happy to set up camp in this area. After making George turn around in the middle of the track …. twice! (Remember we had the camper in tow too 😂) he was ready to find a place to set up camp!

We found a perfect spot, no one else around, right on the water and amazing scenery. As the sun went down we sat around the campfire and felt lucky that we are able to do this together.

As Gelly relaxed in front of the fire in mummy’s arms, we found that Charli is scared of campfires and wouldn’t come near us!

Next morning we realised that we didn’t quite take note of how we got in there to our campsite the day before! We then sat there hoping someone else would leave as we wondered where the hell the track out was!

After aimlessly driving around for a while we finally found the way out! (Lesson learnt, always plot entry points on the map!). We do have to thank the young guys on the motorbikes for helping out and pointing us in the right direction (even after Shelly laughed at them when they bogged their Ute and bike earlier in the morning!)

After posting some pics on our Facebook page the night before we were contacted by some of our followers (and now friends, after a chance meeting last year) who said we happened to be camped near them, so we arranged to catch up. After a quick visit at their campsite (litterally just across the water from where we were camped!) we took off exploring and looking for our next campsite.

As it turns out we didn’t find anything better so later in the arvo we rocked up back at their camp again and invited ourselves to stay! Thanks Mark & Tracey for letting us invade your campsite for the night!

We ended up having a great night with friends and the dogs loved it, Gelly in particular. Our little social butterfly couldn’t have been happier with all these new people to pat and play with her!

Sunday morning we decided to go for a quick 4WD through the bush, so the Prado and the Navara set off for a bit of a play. The tracks we found weren’t hard by any means, but they were slightly overgrown ….. actually ‘slightly’ isn’t the right word, there were trees taller than me growing in the middle of the track!

There was quite a bit of track clearing required and while George sat in the comfort of the car, Shelly walked the track and got covered in cuts and scratches as she cleared the way! Couldn’t have done it without Peter, he obviously did more than me, but let’s just pretend for a bit that I was big and tough and did it all myself! 💪 🤣

Not only was the track overgrown, we got to one point where a huge tree blocked the whole track.

The winch got a good workout removing this and we were then on our way again. Just another reminder to always carry recovery gear when off-road, a chainsaw may have been a handy little addition too!

Just another reminder to always carry recovery gear when off-road, a chainsaw may have been a handy little addition too!

So overall we had a super fun weekend. Two great campsites, campfires each night, amazing scenery, great company and a fun little 4WDing adventure.

The dogs both loved it and were totally exhausted by all the excitement and slept the whole way home and most of the next day! 🐾

We couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend our Easter break.

Holiday time!

Boxing Day saw us have an early 4am start for our drive to South Australia. Definitely glad we weren’t heading north …. we had no traffic at all in our direction!

We drove just over 1,000km and arrived in Mildura in Victoria where we decided to spend the night. After an early start, a big days driving and the 44 degree temperatures we decided to check into a hotel and make the most of some air conditioning! It was still over 40 degrees at 7pm!

The next morning we left around 7am for our drive to our first destination, Coffin Bay in South Australia. After passing through the quarantine inspection station (which we forgot about!) and saying goodbye to our tomatoes 🍅 we headed to Renmark for coffee and breakfast.

It was another big day of driving and we arrived at Coffin Bay in the late afternoon and headed out to the national park to set up camp …. and what a great campsite we had overlooking Yangie Bay.


Don’t forget to Share and Follow us on

Facebook   Instagram   YouTube   Blog    www.georgeandshelly.com

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

 

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.

IMG_2855

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

IMG_2857

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!).

IMG_2850

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!

img_2890

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!

IMG_2873

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!).

IMG_2871

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!

IMG_2875

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.

IMG_2852

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!

IMG_2858

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.

16427684_1468622796482630_7006685480844344241_n[1]

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.

fairy

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.

img_1508-1

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!

22382323_10155991938771015_8069772892951975189_o

Sandy Cape, Fraser Island

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 did  really need all that?  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 we didn’t want to be fussing around with set up and erecting poles and ropes.  It needed to be quicker and easier than what we already had.  It had 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.

IMG_6411.JPG

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 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.

IMG_3568.JPG

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 really 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 .

IMG_6379.JPG

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 in term of a bullbar, side steps, roof basket, drawers, Kaymar rear bar, plus the full roll cage inside, add to this our fridge, luggage etc 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 sits behind the Prado and just follows along, it just loves the dirt tracks, corrugations, water crossings, you barely even know it is 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.

IMG_0716.JPG

Camping on the Great Central Road, NT

Now when it comes to the awning, we didn’t even take it with us for this initial trip, but we’ve used it quite often since.  Yes it definitely adds a bit of time onto the set up process, but it’s actually quite easy.  We have found that if you get all your poles out first, lay them down on the ground and set them up in their different types, it’s quite easy to work out where everything goes.  Another little tip is to use a cable tie to hold the zip on at the end, otherwise it has a tendency to unzip slightly.

The hardest part is zipping the awning on initially (you’ll probably need a ladder for this).  For this reason, we tend to leave ours on the camper most of the time.  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.

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 really love, it comes in so handy for an extended stay.  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! The only downside is the noise from these pumps, you can always tell when there is a Cub camper nearby!  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 4WD. Does this mean that we now take double the amount as normal?  No, we were good and Shelly did initially cut down on what we took, even though it was exciting having all this spare room! 

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.

IMG_3893.JPG

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 is 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.

IMG_3871.JPG

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, during our first trip 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



 

It’s finally here!

It’s finally arrived, our new camper trailer is here!  We had been talking for years about buying one ‘one day’!  We had looked at many at various 4WD shows and probably researched every single brand during that time.  Earlier this year we finally we decided to take the leap and buy one and we both agreed to go for a Cub Camper.

IMG_3874

Picking up from Cub Campers, North Rocks

There were quite a few camper trailers we liked the look of, but we always came back to the Cub.  There are plenty on the market that are a lot cheaper than ours in price (and certainly a lot more expensive aswell), a lot of the others have more ‘things’ like hot water, showers etc,  but we didn’t need all of that.  We’ve spent years camping in a tent, so we didn’t need all the little luxuries.
IMG_3884We liked the Cub Campers because they are Australian Made, using Australian products, including 100% Aussie Bluescope steel and Aussie made canvas.  These things are built to last and handle our outback environment and that’s what we need. We liked the fact that they are made using Australian made products that we know can handle our weather and environmental conditions.

So, a few months back we took a trip to their factory in North Rocks and had a serious chat with them and decided to go ahead, we left our deposit and they started to build our little camper!  We got a ‘Brumby’ because it is a full off road version and it’s quite small and light in weight.

After a few months wait for it to be built, we finally have our little camper home with us and are enjoying packing it and making it our own, as well as practicing our setup and pack up, ready for our holiday!  Below are a few pics of the camper, inside and out.

So far, we are happy with our camper and can’t wait to go on our trip to WA together!  Stay tuned for our adventures ……..

IMG_3901

Even the dogs wanted to help play with the camper!