Day 3 at the Big Red Bash

Day 3 of the Big Red Bash arrived and it was the day most were waiting for, it was Midnight Oil day!

Like the previous day, we loaded up all our gear and made the trek down to the plaza to claim our spot for the afternoon. The lines to enter the concert area were huge and people were lining up well before gates opened to ensure they got a good seat for the final concerts of the event. By the time Midnight Oil were on, I think nearly every person was in that concert/plaza area! It was their first headline festival appearance in more than two decades, so die-hard oils fans were ready to party!

With 10,000 people around from all over Australia, you would think you wouldn’t run into anyone you know, right? Well we did! We ran into Shelly’s old school friend at the Birdsville Hotel and numerous times at the bash, we ran into Jim & Jacky (Jacky in the pic below) who we met when they came up to Cape York with us last year) and we also ran into Matt from Cub Campers! From chats with all, it was clear that everyone was absolutely loving the experience.

The whole Big Red Bash event was delayed by a week, the dates were changed purely to accommodate Midnight Oil’s tour schedule. As Peter Garrett took the stage he said, “We were in Dusseldorf, Germany two days ago so this is unreal”. To see the oil’s play in their only Australian gig of the year was amazing.

Artists for the final day of the bash were as follows:

  • Neil Murray
  • Busby Marou
  • Steve Kilbey
  • Kasey Chambers
  • MIDNIGHT OIL!

Kasey Chambers

As the sun started to fall for the day, the dune filled with people waiting to get that perfect desert sunset shot. Among those on the dune was a group proudly waving the Australian flag. There was something about this sight that made you feel like you were somewhere special, that you were proud to be an Aussie.

Again, it was a fabulous afternoon and evening of music, the crowd was absolutely into it, the artists were rocking it and the atmosphere was awesome! Watching Midnight Oil play in the middle of the desert, while the full moon rises and lights up the night sky was something we will never experience again and something we will never ever forget.

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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!

Haddon Corner

After spending the night at The Dig Tree and waking up to a beautiful sunrise over the creek, it was time to pack up early and make our way to Birdsville …. yes we were finally making it to Birdsville!

From the Dig Tree we could have gone one of two ways to Birdsville, up Cordillo Downs Road (where you’ll find the historic Cordillo Downs Woolshed) or Arrabury Road. As much as we would have liked to visit the woolshed again (great photo opportunities here), we had done that years ago so decided to detour to Haddon Corner instead. For those that don’t know, Haddon Corner is the point at which the borders of Queensland and South Australia meet.

So, one of the things on our bucket list is to visit all the ‘corners’ of Australia. Yes they are invisible, imaginary lines on a map, but they also form a big part of history and we like that. We’ve visited Cameron Corner a few times now so when we realised we could make a slight detour and visit Haddon Corner, of course we decided to do that.

German-born South Australian surveyor Augustus Poeppel (who Poeppel Corner, SA/NT/QLD, is named after) and his assistant Lawrence Wells set off north in 1880 along the line from Cameron Corner to the northeast tip of South Australia. Augustus was responsible for surveying both Poeppel Corner and Haddon Corner.

Haddon Corner later took its name from a nearby pastoral lease, Haddon Downs.

It’s a fairly easy drive into Haddon Corner, but you do need to cross two sand dunes to get there, so if you were towing a caravan you may have issues and need to walk in. Luckily the Prado and Cub did it with no troubles!

After leaving Haddon Corner it wasn’t long before we turned onto the Birdsville Developmental Road …. and that meant traffic! After days of barely seeing another car on the roads, we were faced with all the traffic heading into Birdsville for the bash. I can comfortably say that in all the outback/dirt road travel we have done, I have never been so scared in my life!

You could clearly see that there were many drivers who had never driven on a dirt road before and had absolutely no idea what to do and this was causing a lot of confusion, frustration and safety issues. This was the one and only downside to the whole Big Red Bash experience.

Anyway, we did finally make it into Birdsville in one piece! After being met by a police block just before arriving in Birdsville, we were advised that one of the two petrol stations had run out of diesel, the wait for fuel at the other station was taking 1 1/2 hours, the town was packed with 4WDs and people and if we did want to head into town, we should unhook the camper trailer first before heading in!

Having visited Birdsville before, we knew that the town itself wasn’t too big, so we took the policeman’s advice, headed straight to the ‘town common’ (a huge area of land just outside of town where you can free camp), unhooked and set up the camper before driving into town.

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!

The most remote music concert in the world

Guess what! …. in exactly 14 days we leave home bound for The Big Red Bash! Many of you are probably asking “wtf is The Big Red Bash” …. well let us explain.

The Big Red Bash is the world’s most remote music concert. It is a unique outback experience where over 10,000 people flock to Birdsville in outback Queensland to attend a 3 day concert. Most people camp onsite for the duration of the concert (and the days before and after in some cases). The concert and camp area, known as Bashville, are located on a privately owned organic cattle station called Adria Downs.

The camping area sits on the dried-out bed of an ancient lake with the giant red sand dune, the famous “Big Red” (the highest sand dune in the Simpson Desert) as a backdrop.

The first Big Red Bash was held in 2013 and it’s grown significantly in popularity since then. It’s been on our bucket list since 2013 (well Shelly’s bucket list anyway, and finally she’s convinced George that we really do need to go!)

This year the headliners are MIDNIGHT OIL! Yes we are just a little bit excited! Shelly last saw Midnight Oil when they performed as part of the M-One concert in Sydney back in 2002, so it’s been quite a while!

This will be Midnight Oil’s first first multi day Australian music festival in over 22 years.

Over the three days, from mid afternoon each day we will be entertained by the following artists, finishing up on the last night with Midnight Oil. According to the organisers, the 40 meter high Big Red Dune will light up, and the full moon will rise up from the desert dunes during their set.

  • The Living End
  • Kasey Chambers
  • Richard Clapton
  • 1927
  • Busby Marou
  • Bjorn Again
  • Wendy Matthews
  • Mark Gable (The Choirboys)
  • Steve Kilbey (The Church)
  • Eurogliders
  • Chocolate Starfish
  • Neil Murray
  • Steve Balbi (Noiseworks)
  • The Chantoozies
  • Mark Williams (Dragon)
  • Dale Ryder (ex Boom Crash Opera)

Every year, various iconic Aussie musicians head to the bash to perform. The website states that As legendary Aussie artists fill the desert air with their classic sounds, your memories of this magical event will last a life-time. Or if you’re lucky – until the next Bash!

From what we’ve heard, once you experience your first Big Red Bash, it won’t be your last, so who knows, we could be back again next year!

So whilst we most likely won’t have reception at the concert, we will be taking plenty of photos and videos of the concert and the trip there and back to share with everyone.


Source, photo is from Outback Queensland website

Saying goodbye to ‘The Old Girl’

Many of you may know that we recently purchased a new 4WD for Shelly …. and unfortunately that meant that the old Prado needed to find a new home. We’d had this for sale for a while and we always knew that a vehicle like this would have to attract the right buyer. For a start, not everyone wants to buy a 23 year old car with nearly 300,000 km on the clock! We’d spent a lot of money on this 4WD over the years and it was in great condition for a vehicle of that age. Of course it had the odd scratch and dent, but it’s lived a fairly active off-road life, so what do you really expect!

Anyway, that right buyer did come along, a young guy and his family from the central west region of NSW. He’d done his homework, he’d seen our website and knew exactly the life this car had lived, there was now no hiding anything! They took the drive down to our house on a Thursday night to check out the Prado, George went over every single thing on the car, explained how everything worked, why we’d done what we’d done or used the parts we had, what had been replaced, what maybe needs to be looked at ….. we even gave instructions on how to pull apart the console and fix the 4WD shifter when it sometimes jumps out of place!

So after about 1 1/2 hours or so, we loaded the Prado with all it’s spare parts, the old back seats, the old stock wheels and we said goodbye and watched as she drove away with her new family.

Last photo, just before she drove away.

It was sad to see her go, she’d brought us so many years of memories. She was what started our whole 4WDing and travel adventures together. George owned the Prado when we met, it was this Prado that got George into 4WDing in the beginning. He’d researched for ages to find the perfect vehicle and this is where it all started.

When we first started travelling we slept in the back of the Prado, free camping or staying in caravan parks as we traveled around.

All of the dogs have gone 4WDing with us and love nothing more than a day in the bush, they all started off in the old girl.

Kayla, Shelly’s old dog, loved being introduced to 4WDing
Gelly & Charli have been 4WDing with us since they were pups and they absolutely love it.

The kids grew up knowing this car, Shelly learned to drive off-road in the Prado, she took us on so many amazing holidays and to places across Australia that we would never have gone to without a 4WD. We spent our 2 month honeymoon travelling in the Prado! Our first Cape York trip, we tackled the Old Tele Track by ourselves and without winching – even the new Prado needed to be winched out of Palm Creek!

Old Tele Track, Cape York
The Lions Den Hotel, FNQ
Our two Prado’s together on our New Years Eve trip to Cameron Corner

Lots of fun weekend trips with friends, getting stuck for hours in the Watagans at night! repairing the 4WD shifter in the middle of Stockton Beach!, pulling the Patrol out every time it goes near water (sorry Liam!)

At the end of the day, it was time for the Prado to go, but it was sad, a lot of memories drove away with that car. But hopefully the old girl still has a lot of life left in her and this new young family can start making memories of their own.

Interesting little fact is that this Prado was originally owned by a Doctor in Dubbo, she then came to Sydney to live 19 years of her life with us, so i guess it’s only fitting that she’s returning back to the country to live out her days.

Help Us Help The Farmers

Australian’s are no strangers to extreme weather conditions. Each year we are faced with extreme heat, floods, bush fires and of course, drought.  This past few months have been particularly bad, with all these events happening simultaneously in various locations across the country.

Unfortunately drought is part of life for many people living on the land.  As if life isn’t hard enough for some people, they are then faced with the ongoing drought and all the effects that come with that.  People are dealing with the heartbreak of watching their stock die from lack of food or water, struggling to feed themselves and sometimes being forced to make the difficult decision of selling up and moving off the land, sometimes after the family has resided there for hundreds of years.  Facing these stark realities is leading to severe depression and, unfortunately in many cases, suicide.

As most of us live in the city and don’t see the effects of the drought on a daily basis, it’s easy to block it out and pretend it isn’t happening, but believe us, this is real.

Anyone who knows us knows that we love to travel and spend a lot of time in the outback and have seen first-hand the effect this drought is having on our beautiful country and its people. During our travels we’ve spoken to those affected and it’s heartbreaking to hear stories of no rain or no feed for their stock, having to destroy, sell or give away stock and working dogs …. not to mention the impact this all has on one’s mental state of mind. Farmers are having to resort to roadside grazing their cattle on the side of public roads as they are literally starving as they have no feed available or the owners simply cannot afford to feed them. We personally have family living on the land and they too are suffering. It really is far worse than most people realise.

We personally donate to various charities, but this particular one, Rural Aid, provides a holistic support program to rural Australia. They run the “Buy a Bale” campaign, in which donations help purchase and distribute fodder, hampers and more. They also run other programs such as Farm Rescue, Weekend Warriors, The Farm Army, all of which do a great deal to help our struggling farmers.

These rural communities need our support and we all need to stick together and support each other through these tough times, so anything that you can give, whether it’s $2, $20 or $200, would be greatly appreciated. Don’t forget, any donations over $2 are tax deductible.

-CLICK HERE TO DONATE-

We have a new name!

Ok so just a quick post to let you all know that we have a new name! We are now known as ⬇️

But don’t worry, nothing else has changed, we are still the same old George and Shelly and we will still be sharing all our stories and photos of our life and travels as we always have.

Thanks to all of our family, friends and followers for your support and encouragement with all of our adventures. We love sharing our stories with you and if we inspire others to get out there and travel, then we have done our job!