Original song – “dive into you”

**WARNING** this post contains a shameless plug for my music 🎸😎🎙

I had a chance to play a bit of guitar on our trip.

Here is an original song “dive into you”. Written after our experience with the whale shark dive at Exmouth. Listen out for some guest vocals at the end.

While you are over at the dazmusic101 YouTube page have a listen to some of my other material.

I hope you enjoy the song as much as we had making the memories.

Listen here ➡️➡️➡️ dive into you. ⬅️⬅️⬅️

Our Team of Favourites

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Before we can tell you what our favourite places and experiences were, we need to give a big cheer to our kids Noah and Chloe. Without their help, opinions and enthusiasm, this trip would have been very different. Our teamwork was complimented many times by the grey nomads, especially directed at the kids when setting/packing up.

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Noah, our handsome young man, sorted the stabilisers, hammered in all the pegs, set up awnings and was always on the front box lifting or folding the canvas. We are so proud of his teamwork and initiative, but especially the kind, thoughtful person he has always been. Opening doors for strangers and contributing to any adult conversation that was had around the campfire, he has grown so much. No longer did he ask for us to get his scooter of the roof of the car, he was up there taking both of them off and strapping them up when done. Thank you Noah.

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Chloe, our inquisitive girl, can now do her jobs unprompted (well maybe just a little prompting now and then). Chloe was always on top of the trailer undoing/doing up the clips, sealing the velcro around the top and tying down the sides. She also pulls out and sets up the kitchen on arrival. All this before running off to the jumping pillow or the beach sand to play. She was also in charge of the evening wash up, collecting everything up and hauling Noah off to the camp kitchen. At every turn there was at least 5 questions about anything and everything. Never stop learning Chloe.

So, now that we are home, we are often asked the “favourites?” question, and we spent the last week on the road having a healthy debate between the four of us. It helped to pass the time and bring back some memories for the kids too. Anyway, here is the hardest blog to write!

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Darwin

Camping Spot – Big 4 Howard Springs! Thanks for the company, Karen Wilson, we just loved sharing our epic adventure with you! You coming was such a highlight for us. And our friendly neighbours, the Perry’s, bonding over shared hose connections to fill the tanks! Memorable 9 days with very special people. (Possums nearly ruined it all!)

Experience – it was hard to agree on this one, so kids voted the Darwin waterfront with the wave pool and RFDS facility and the adults went for ‘Walk Darwin’ tour. If we could add more, it would be the Territory Wildlife Park!

 

Kakadu

Camping Spot – although we really wanted to camp at Jim Jim, it was still closed (sorting out the crocs) so Cooinda was perfect for 8 nights. It was like camping in the bush, but with a pool, restaurant and facilities within reach.

Experience – it was a tie between Gunlom Falls especially the infinity pool at the top (of a 500m vertical climb!) and Ubirr rock arts/crocodile watching at Cahill Crossing.

 

Stuart Highway

Camping Spot – SA/NT border. The best free camp. Watched the stars at their brightest as there was no light pollution at all. We were all on our own there.

Experience – Mataranka thermal pools. This was Chloe’s absolute favourite place and probably pushed her swimming skills to the next level because she never got out of the water.

 

Kata Tjuta National Park

Camping Spot – Ayers Rock Campground. We just didn’t fit into the unpowered sites, Myrtle is 6 x 8m, so we were upgraded to the powered section. This was the first time we plugged in. The resort was fantastic, loved the Astronomy talk (with a huge telescope) too.

Experience – Mala walk. This free ranger guided talk took two hours at the base of Uluru and focused on the history as well as current life of the Ananou people. It also helped with our family discussion on why we should/shouldn’t climb. These were the best school days for the kids (and adults).

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Damper Peninsula

Camping spot – Gumbanan, perched on an escarpment, looking out to Curlew Bay and the Indian Ocean. We thought we’d stay for 2 nights, ended up staying 8 nights. Probably our favourite camp spot of the whole adventure.

Experience- Southern Cross Lullumb walk with Bolo. Although we explored the Damper Peninsula for 2 weeks, spending the day with Bolo and his family in Bardi Jawi country was an experience we won’t forget.

 

Ningaloo Reef

Camping Spot – Ningaloo Station, another corrugated road but worth the beach front camping! We didn’t wear any shoes for 4 days. Bonfires on the beach, swimming on the reef and fishing heaven. This was Noah’s favourite spot.

Experience – Dive with the Whale Sharks. Thanks to Ocean Eco Adventures, this was the most humbling experience to swim next these amazing animals. All four of us got to swim along side whale sharks, and turtles with the bonus of seeing humpback whales that had just given birth to their calves. They were just starting their journey back to Antarctica.

 

Shark Bay World Heritage Area

Camping Spot – Francois Peron National Park. We were completely on our own, more beach front camping, more stunning views. This was Darren’s favourite spot. We were the only ones here and the colours stunning. Red sand, white sand, brilliant blue with the setting sun.

Experience – meeting the dolphins at Monkey Mia, it was on Noah’s ‘top three’ list and he was lucky enough to be chosen to give them a little feed of fish. Darren’s favourite experience here was being recognised in the street from http://www.Smithsgowest2018.com website! Thanks Angela!

 

Gibb River Road

Camping Spot – Ellenbrae Station. A little oasis along a bumpy, dusty road. The kids fell in love with Evie the dog, we ate the best scones and showered under a semi-outdoor boab tree (hot water thanks to a wood fire stove). We also loved Kununurra – our beautiful neighbours Olivia and Matt! We sure hope to see you guys again soon.

Experience – Mitchell Falls. This was a hard place to get to. It took us 3 hours to travel 70km at one point but it was oh so worth it. The helicopter ride to the top of the falls, exploring every nook on the way back (under water falls and over rocks), it was a great slow amble back to camp. The rock art here was incredible as well.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Nullarbor Plain

Camping Spot – ‘Gravel pit past the sink hole’ on WikiCamps. 509km east of Esperance. It was a magic free camp! Totally found it by chance.

Experience – watching Noah build epic campfires each night to keep us warm. He has mastered the ‘flint & steel ignition like a true bushman. The three days traveling across was not so Nulla-boring after all!

 

Eyre Peninsula

Camping Spot – Whyalla foreshore. We were 5m from the water (again) and Noah spent half the day fishing. It was also our last time camping in Myrtle for the epic adventure.

Experience – Day at Coffin Bay. Exploring this little coastal town had us chatting to the local volunteer ambos, walking along the numerous jettys and learning all about the oyster industry from Chris at PURE Coffin Bay Oysters.

 

Coober Pedy

Camping Spot – Riba’s Underground. Rick and Barbara (RIBA) were really great hosts giving honest advice on what to do and see with kids. Everything that was recommended was tops. They also had their own mine their and did a real hands on tour. Lotsa flies here!!!

Experience – This place was also on Noah’s top three list! All of it, the shops, mines and churches. The most interesting place (maybe a little weird) was Faye’s Underground Home. This house was dug out by three women over 10 years. They made sure to have a cellar, bar and indoor pool. They sure liked a party.

 

So that is a quick answer to “what was your favourite?” We did so much more that it is extremely difficult to narrow all our experiences down to one short blog post.

In the end, we managed to do a hell of a lot together, cover many 21, 595 kms of this awesome country and had a great time doing it. Next, it’s either smithsgonorth or smithsgosouth!

Thanks for coming along with us.

Barossa Valley – wining and dining

Barossa Valley, easy to photograph, easy to drink, easy to love!

We had quite a few reasons to be so excited getting to this part of the world. Not only had we won our Discovery Parks accommodation but we were getting closer east to home.

We have many good memories of the area from previous visits as well as family we love to see in nearby Adelaide. Helen and Daryl kindly came up for a lunch with us.

They know the area so well we were able to sit back and enjoy the day knowing we were going to see and learn something new for sure. Highlights included our pub lunch and a spectacular view from Menglers Hill Lookout.

We managed to sneak into Pindarie Wines. We had been here before two years previously and love both the wines and the cellar door.

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As we usually do, we tried to go to some vineyards that we didn’t know so well. We are rarely disappointed with this tactic and found ourselves at Bethany Wines, Yalumba and Turkey Flat Wines.

Our other not so tactical tactic is to invariably buy plenty from each. So we were well loaded by the end of the day!

We decided to end our trip with one last supper. Kaz found a place only a short walk up the road called Musque Food & Wine.

From the moment we walked in we knew this would be a very special meal. The vibe was casual and friendly and the staff were very welcoming. Kaz couldn’t resist taking some foodie shots as it was so delicious.

Of course we walked there for a reason… matching wines to go with each course! What a great night. Now onwards home to reality.

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Drifta Beer Cooler Tour…

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There is a bit of a story to this post.

We went camping with some good friends way back in Easter. My mate Matt really likes the “Drifta” range of products (and might I add… they are great!).

Anyway, somehow one of his fancy Drifta beer coolers ended up in our camper drawer and it seemed to have enjoyed the trip!

Every one of these pics was sent to him just to let him know that it is traveling ok. Needless to say he really appreciated getting multiple mms spam every time we got reception!

Don’t worry mate, next camping trip you can come and grab it! … daz

Found a few more I forgot to add!

Our Barossa Park “Discovery”

picsart_09-12-11244935879.jpgWe can’t believe how lucky we have been! We have just spent the last four days of our trip at Discovery Park (Barossa Valley).

We were fortunate to win a couple nights in a “Luxury Safari Tent” through the company’s G’DAY Rewards page. These have only just been opened at the park and look fantastic!

Of course romantic, luxury tent for two means leave the kids at home, which we just couldn’t do… athough we thought about it!

Switching into a Superior 2 Bedroom Cabin was no problem for Jacky and her team. It felt like a palace as we piled in. Chloe enjoyed the thought of the bunk bed and exclaimed “we even have a toilet!”.

We have been living in our camper trailer “Myrtle” for the last 6 months. A bathroom to do our teeth in is quite a novelty.

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The staff at Discovery Park Barossa Valley were so accommodating. They helped us store not only the kids but also poor, tired Myrtle who has had a tuff few months on the road.

We were so happy to able to stay an extra night and enjoy all that the park and local region has to offer. The kids had a long list of activities they needed to do. This was without even leaving the park:

  • Water park
  • Go carts
  • Heated pool
  • Feeding the sheep
  • Watching a TV and DVD’s
  • Recreation room
  • Treasure hunt and quiz

Kaz and I had a long list as well… Yalumba Estate, Bethany Vineyard, Pindare, Turkey Flat, Penfolds etc etc. Needless to say our fuel economy might suffer on the long run home.

This stay has been a true highlight of our trip. Staying in such luxury, meeting Jacky, Bill and the rest of the Discovery Park Barossa Valley staff as well as soaking up the ‘valley vibes has been the perfect end to our epic adventure. We are now on the final run home.

Eyre (Oyster) Peninsula

 

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Only one week til home, one more week…… We’ve planned and booked the home stretch, thanks to Darren who won is a few nights stay at Barossa Valley. Although the luxury tent was tempting, it only sleeps 2, so we swapped the tent for a luxury cabin that sleeps 4.

But before the cabin luxury we indulged in the seafood luxury! We had oysters for morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Oh. Yeah. They was also the fish, the prawns and the calamari.

Streaky Bay, Coffin Bay and Boston Bay all had the goods. We sure do love exploring a good peninsula! The scenery along here is stunning, we found this little spot for lunch, would have been another great free camp, but we are starting to feel the pressure of time. That real world is fast approaching us.

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Thanks to Chris at PURE Coffin Bay Oysters, we learnt exactly why oysters are an expensive treat. Talk about labour intensive. My memory of oysters growing is they just stayed on a rock and waited for tides to come and go. We were the only ones on the tour (more oysters for us!) So we asked ask the questions. Noah also finished a last video for his homework.

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Port Lincoln was our base for us to explore the lower Eyre Peninsula. We got another waterfront spot, we have been so lucky on this trip. According to the holy grail of all truths, Wikipedia, Port Lincoln may have the most millionaires per capita in Australia as its the premier seafood Aquaculture region. Interesting. We made sure to sample as much seafood as we could, you know, just to be sure*.

On our way to Whyalla, we had a scheduled stop at Glen Forest Park and Lincoln Estate winery. It’s a family business with crops, animals and vines! It was a little tip-off from a lady in Coffin Bay.

See you soon NSW.

I am fairly certain the people SELLING the seafood are the millionares! BUYING and EATING it has not in any way resulted in any financial gain 🤣 – Ed (Daz)

Long Days… Big K’s

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The Nullabor Plains. I have been talking up how much fun driving the “Nulla-boring” Plains is. The rest of the family are “Nulla-virgins”. What a treat they have coming!

Many childhood memories of multiple crossings have made me wish I could maybe tele-port across. Lets face it… 146.6kms of “the straightest road in Australia” is going to be hard to blog!

Well, how wrong was I. We have had a great time! After our luxury stay at Esperence it was so nice to get away from civilisation again. The change in terrain as we headed north-east from the coast reminded us of our adventures in the NT.

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Our first stop was a “free-camp” about half way along the straight. It turned out to be a little gem. Lots of space, lots of good wood and not lots of wind. This made for a nice nights sleep.

WikiCamps had a sinkhole marked in the area so out came the GPS and off Chloe and I wandered for a look. It was quite deep, we enjoyed dropping a rock or two down.

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I offered to “throw her down” but she said I needed a rope 🤔

The next day was Fathers Day and the next spot was a mere 530-odd kms away. Bunda Cliffs, right on the edge of the Great Australian Bight. We had read this spot was nice but can be windy so we were praying the weather might cut us a break.

We rolled in quite late and to our surprise found no-one else there. The wind was tame and we were hungry so we deployed Myrtle, set the fire, and settled in. Noah built a corker with wood he collected from the previous camp. It was very welcome in the cool breeze.

Kaz got some great photos of the sunset over the sheer cliffs. Chloe got too close to the cliffs and freaked us out a bit. The next day was a run back over the border for stobie poles and Golden North again!

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