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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s not Australia Day without Pavlova!

2017: Our Year in Review

Ok so this year started with us sitting in the Urunga Waters Caravan Park and guess what …. we ended it in exactly the same place! Yes we are back here again over the Christmas/New Year break. We started 2017 off with us at Urunga, near Coffs Harbour on the mid north coast of NSW. We spent the Christmas/New Year period here with friends last year and celebrated New Year’s Eve with complete random strangers who had camped next to us. We invited them to our campsite to celebrate NYE and we had a great time, that’s what camping is all about.

Well now we are back here again and this time we celebrated with our friends, Lauren and Liam and their kids and niece, our mate Stewy and his daughter and other friends Michelle & Matt and their son. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the New Year than with our beautiful friends.

So again, this has been an incredibly busy year for us. It’s been a year of ups and downs in many ways, we’ve had the stress of renovating, a change of jobs, medical issues and operations and numerous other obstacles, but we’ve also had many great times as well.

Let’s look back on 2017 …..


World Record Attempt

Always ready to try something new, this year on Saturday 4th February, we took part in the world record attempt for the World’s Biggest Haka, which took place on Waitangi Day 2017.

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The Haka that we learnt and performed was the famous ‘Kamate’ as performed by the NZ All Blacks and Kiwi Rugby League Teams.

Unfortunately the record was not broken, but we had a fun day and also tried our first Māori hangi … amazing!


Little Levi turned 1

On 6th March our little nephew turned 1!  We are all in love with him and he is truly the cutest little boy around! It’s awesome watching his little personality grow and beginning to interact with us more.  He’s one headstrong boy, needs to do everything himself and he has no fear!  He loves dogs and will happily share his food with them! He loves feeding our two and they are so gentle with him (so much for big scary, dangerous staffys!)


GS2Min returned from the UK

After 2 years working in the UK as a Sous Chef, George’s daughter returned back home in August.  She’s settled back in to life in Australia (even having a job lined up before she even landed in the country!).  Not sure how long she’ll hang around for though, we have a feeling she’ll be off exploring again very soon.


Spreading the word

This year we were nominated for the Travel Blog Awards with Mr Promocode.  We didn’t win, but we were grateful just to be nominated.  We’ve gained quite a following on social media over the past years and we love sharing our adventures with everyone.  We’ve been approached by news readers and government bodies to use our photos over the past couple of years, as well as most recently by Cub Campers, so social media is certainly the way of the future for advertising and spreading the word.

We are also now in the Top 3% of TripAdviser Reviewers, making us a Level 6 Top Contributor and one of the most popular reviewers in Sydney, with over 45,000 readers.


Renovations

This was the year to knock off a few of the home renovations we had been talking about for so long.  We understand why people stress with renovations, we had lots of arguments and lots of tears, but we are both very happy with the results.

The kitchen started off as maybe just replacing cupboard doors and bench top and ended up turning into a complete rebuild. We have a huge kitchen and it’s one of the reasons Shelly wanted to buy the house, so this rebuild was important to get it right. We both love the end result, just a few little finishing touches still to go and it’s done! (yes George, the plantation shutters aren’t installed yet, apparently this is all Shelly’s fault!)

The front door has made a huge difference and we love it. It’s the first thing people see so we are getting lots of compliments about this one!  Wasn’t hard to be better than the old entrance way!

Lastly we redid the powder room and it finally matches the bathroom (only took us about 9 years!).


Celebrations

We had two new babies born this year (well one late December last year, but we will include her too!).  George’s cousin welcomed little baby Alexander and Shelly’s cousin welcome miss Chloé.

One of Shelly’s cousins turned 50 this year and all the family made the trip out to Lucknow, in the central west region of NSW, to surprise her.  It was a great get-together and a good excuse for a weekend away!  Shelly’s boss and his wife also both had their 50th birthday and we celebrated with them at their joint party,

Another cousin had their 21st birthday early in the year, and we partied away with another at his 40th.  We also joined another friend to celebrate his 40th birthday with a weekend cruise.

George’s dad turned 70 this year and the family gathered to help celebrate with a beautiful lunch.  Of course there was also Levi’s 1st birthday and a couple of weddings thrown in as well!  We also attended a 1st birthday party and naming day, which turned into a marriage proposal too!  It was certainly a day of memories and celebrations for that family!

Shelly’s sister, Kylie, and her husband, purchased their first family home this year in the Hawkesbury.  It’s a beautiful area, with the house backing onto the national park.  The whole family, including Levi and his little furry 4 legged sister, Gucci, are loving their new home.

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We also attended a few family and friends children’s birthday parties, doesn’t George make a pretty fairy princess!


Scenic Flight over Fraser Island

fdsaOver the years we’ve been on quite a few scenic flights, we’ve been on little Cessna’s (George has even flown and landed one), we’ve been on seaplanes and a helicopter, but the one thing we had never done in all our visits to Fraser Island was to take a scenic flight over the island.  This October, driving back to camp one afternoon we saw the Air Fraser Island pilots and planes on the beach and pulled over to discuss taking a joy flight.  As it turned out, they had a bit of time right then, so we handed over some money and jumped in the plane for a scenic flight over the island.  Wow, it was a great flight and amazing to see the island from above.  For years we’ve been exploring Fraser Island on foot and by 4WD, but to see it from above was a totally different experience.  Highly recommend this for your next visit to Fraser Island.


The 4WD’s & Camper Trailer

img_5886Not too many mods this year, but we did get a second battery installed in the camper trailer to give us a little extra battery life when we are free camping.  We also painted the rims black (properly this time!) and they look great.

As for the old Prado, she got a full new set of shocks and springs.

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The old Prado looks tough by itself, but next to the new one it looks like a baby!

The 150 series Prado got a new ARB Winch Bar, Brush Bars and Side steps AND a new Winch!  This is turning into one expensive little Prado!


Our Trips

Everyone always says to us ‘you two are always on holidays’! It doesn’t feel like that to us, but to be honest we did have a few this year, some were just a weekend away and others a bit longer!

  • January was our week in Urunga
  • February we spent a weekend at Forster with George’s parents
  • March we packed up the camper and headed down to Kiama for the weekend for the Red Hot Summer Tour …… John Farnham was the headline act!
  • April it was time for our annual visit to Fraser Island and this time we even fitted in a few days on Moreton Island aswell, our first ever visit.
  • May (also known as the month of Shelly!) we spent the weekend away for Shelly’s birthday.  We actually stayed in a hotel about 15min drive from home (it had been a gift) and spent the weekend drinking cocktails, going to the drive-in, checking out the markets etc.  Considering we were so close to home, we actually had a great weekend.
  • July saw us spend a weekend away with friends 4WDing on Stockton Beach and the Watagans.  We also spent a weekend at Lucknow with family celebrating Shelly’s cousin’s surprise 50th birthday party.
  • October we headed back up to Fraser Island again with friends, never get sick of that place!  October also saw us board a cruise ship for a 3 night cruise with friends to celebrate a 40th birthday.
  • And of course, December we are back here at Urunga.

So yes ok, when you put it like that I guess maybe we do have a lot of holidays!

We also had quite a few weekend 4WD trips by ourselves, with friends and with 4WD clubs.  We spent a few weekends at Stockton Beach and had a few days playing out at Lithgow.

Our regular followers will remember our night stranded in the Watagans! The Watagan State Forest is an unpredictable area and unfortunately this time it got us too and we spent hours trying to get the 3 4WD’s out, spent a lot of time backtracking and snatching that afternoon/night!


Jobs and future planning

This year also saw us in the early planning stages of us getting sorted for our trip around Australia and ultimate move to Queensland. Still a few years off yet, but we’ve started decluttering at home and planning for our life on the road. We both undertook a barista course to give us another skill to use if we need to pick up work on the road.

We started a new business selling Scentsy which is still very new but so far we are doing ok. Hopefully we can build up a customer base and spread the word while we are travelling and bring in a little extra income. Check out our website, Awaken The Scent if you are interested.

After 11 years working for Bridgestone, it was time for a change and George starts a new job in January as a Business Development Manager for Monster Lubricants. After spending majority of his working career in the tyre industry, George is excited about this new challenge.  Oh and in case you were wondering, it’s lubricants as in engine oils, coolants etc ….. not the other type of lubricants as many people have thought!


How we spent Christmas 

We put on lunch at our house on Christmas Eve for Shelly’s side of the family.  Christmas has always been a big thing and Shelly’s mum always put on the full hot Christmas Lunch every year.  After Noeline passed away, Shelly continued this tradition and always put on the big Christmas lunch …. not as traditional as far as food is concerned, but we all still gather and open presents and then have the big sit down lunch.

This year was a lot of fun as Levi was interested in opening his presents and playing with all his toys …. who knew a 20 month old would get so excited over a pair of shoes!  His face when he opened the box and smiled and said ‘shoes’ was hilarious!  He sure was one spoilt little kid …. and I’m sure that continued on Christmas Day with his presents from his other grandparents and aunty as well!

Christmas Day we both headed to George’s parents house to spend the day with George’s side of the family.  Another day with plenty of food and lots of present giving.  Our niece and nephew scored pretty good on Christmas Day as well!  Christmas really is all about the kids and we love buying them lots of presents.

Finally Boxing Day we went to see the kids and exchange presents.  We spent a lovely morning with Min and Tre and their adorable funny little dogs before continuing on our journey to Urunga for our week long camping trip.

Merry Christmas from Gelly & Charli!


What’s planned for 2018?

Australia Day this year will be spent camping locally with a group of friends.  In fact it’s a whole 29km from home!  At least we’ll be able to pop home if we forget anything!  Should be a fun weekend though.

In February we head down to Tasmania for a few days for our wedding anniversary.  Neither of us have been to Tasmania before, so this will give us an idea of what it’s like.  We would really love to go back with the 4WD at some stage and spend our time exploring.

2018 also sees us make the trek back up to Cape York again.  This time we will be joined by a few other families and 4WD’s ….. apparently as we’ve been once we are the ones to go with, so we’ll be leading our ‘George & Shelly Cape York Adventure Tour’!! haha  We are both excited to head back up there again and share the natural beauty with our friends.  This trip we are hoping to fit in an overnight stay at Roko Island which looks absolutely divine.

We’ve got more renovations planned, repainting the whole house and renovating and landscaping the backyard, plus a few other things on the list, we will get there!

Lastly, we’ve been approached by Cub Campers to see if we’d like to be part of their ‘Cub Stories’ web series.  So we will be meeting with them in the new year and filming our story, we’ll be sure to let you all know when it’s finalised!


Goodbye 2017 …. hello 2018!

What a great night we shared to bring in the new year. We all decorated the camper trailers, we set up our nibbles for the night, had fridges full of beer 🍺 and cocktails 🍹 too! There were plenty of glow sticks and sparklers too! Although we were probably the loudest group in the campsite we all struggled to make it to midnight, I think we were all in bed by 12.15am! Regardless it was such a relaxed night, just the perfect way to end a busy year.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our family, friends and followers for their support over the past year.  We absolutely love being able to share our adventures with you all, so if you know anyone who may be interested in seeing our photos and/or reading about our adventures, please tell them about us and ask them to follow our blog or follow us on Facebook or Instagram. Wishing you all a very happy, safe and adventure filled 2018 ….. and as we always say, never ever take life for granted, live your life to the fullest and live a life of no regrets.  Bring on 2018!

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Sandy Cape, Fraser Island

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. 

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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 ……. 

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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.

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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 ……..

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Even the dogs wanted to help play with the camper!