We have made it! The run down from Bedourie to Birdsville was an easy little 188km jaunt. A few short little sections of dirt reminded us that we need to prepare Myrtle a bit before the corrugations and dust.
We spent our night at Bedourie in the the council run campground. Cheap, a laundry, clean showers and an added bonus, the town pool right next door!
The main pool was heated to a very nice 30° but the artesian spa was dialled up to 40°! We boiled very quickly in there and was snap frozen like Birdseye peas on deaprture out of the tub! It was freezing in the wind.
The town had hosted their annual camel and pig raes only a day before so there was the added bonus of a coffee from one of the vendors in town on our depature.
We had a great time. We wished our stay wasn’t just a quick overnighter but it was on to the main event, BRB 2019.
We have got some kilometers under our belt now as we headed over the border into enemy territory.
First step out of the car onto the Queensland soil was the lovely town of St George on the Balonne River. What a beautiful town. The massive river remimded me of the Murray complete with red gums and bird life. We had a nice lunch, a coffee and a look around.
We treated ourselves to a van park stopover in Roma as we were a little damp and stinky. Although the park owner was very friendly and helpful, in his own words “there is nothing to see here in Roma… it is just a stopover”. I disagree, the warm showers were well worth it!
Out of Roma we decided to head west towards Augathella. We did have plans to try for Canarvon NP but felt that it was just a bit out of our way. We also wanted some extra days in Longreach and Winton areas.
We camped in a beatiful spot on the Barcoo River at Tambo near the site of the first Qantas crash site. The town common is a free camp area but we enjoyed it so much it was very easy to spend some $$ in the town to help support them.
The “Tambo Teddies” are a famous name in Australian craft circles (so I am told). Chloe came out the shop with Harriett under her wing and she is already much loved. In the 1990s the recessionp hit the wool industry here and the town started to make pure wool teddies, leather and all. We watched them being made and saw a fresh piece of wool/hide ready to be the next teddy.
Lunch was in Barcaldine and a political history lesson under The Tree of Knowledge. This is where the Australian Labor Party started. We turned around and counted six pubs along the same street and wondered if the late Bob Hawke had been to every one of them.
We will be in Longreach by now. Hopefully I wont be the only person drinking ‘New in the pub tonight 🤤. Go the Blues!
The day has finally come and we are back on the road. We had a leisurely run out of Orange, up to Dubbo and onwards.
The most exciting thing that happend enroute may appear minor and inconsequential but it has truly saved my sanity. I have been chasing a rattle under the dash ever since the the Gibb Rr Rd last year. I have pulled the whole dash board apart over the last 10 months looking for it with no luck.
Let me set the scene for you:
Me: I can not find this ****ing noise! It has to be right there somewhere (pointing at the dash).
Kaz: Maybe its the CD stacker?
What do you know… ejecting the 6 CDs fixed it!
We decided a little place called Cumborah would do for the night. Piling out of the car we had Myrtle up in no time and we were soon sitting around the Noah fire enjoying a drink.
We have brought away with us a little fire pit called “The Wedge”. Kaz miss-read it and hense forth it will be known as “The Weirdo”.
We had a great time feeding wood to The Weirdo, eating our snags and planning our next days drive.
Half an hour after hitting the sack the pitter-patter of rain drops sent us off to sleep. What a nice overnighter area. Cost is by donation only and we were happy to pop a few $$ in the box.
The next morning we made the short drive to the bustling metropolis that is Lightning Ridge. Lots of holes in the ground and lots of tourists as well!
We visited the local MPS to say hello as Kaz has made a few trips out here in her district role. It was a good time to drop by as they were celebrating NAIDOC Week with a delicious cake! (sorry… no pic… eating!)
It is nearly one year to the day that we packed up Myrtle the Turtle and headed off west for our big trip.
Our return back to normal lives has been pretty seemless. The kids settled straight back into school like they never left and much too our surprise, both our work places continued to function without our valuable presence (funny that!).
We catch ourselves most days having our thoughts wonder back to some beach, fishing spot or conversation we had while travelling. They are great memories!
We have re-grouped, re-assessed and re-charged our travel batteries and are looking forward to new adventures.
To that end we were lucky to get away over Easter with great friends the Watsons (Doug, Katrina and Tilly) and the Parkers (Alison, Adam and Tom). We decided a local trip to Nangar NP was a suitable location as it was less driving and more relaxing.
Now Easter camping usually means floods, rain, sleet and snow in our experience. A good deal of time was spent reminiscing our previous fateful Easter camping excursions with awful weather the common theme.
This time we were blessed with magic blue skies and not too cool nights. It was the perfect campfire-sitting environment, as well as rum drinking weather!
We had a great time with Jack joining us for the whole weekend. It was lovely having him sitting around the fire chatting about uni, his history studies and contributing to the camp life.
A “proud parenting moment” was Noah accepting a challenge with Dougie that he could start the fire with his old fashioned flint & steel in under 5 minutes. Third strike and 11 sec later the kindling was a flaming glow of red. Noah should have laid some $$ on the line! Mum and dad are so proud of his ability to set things on fire.
It was so nice to get back into Myrtle. It felt so much like home and we laid inside with happy memories flooding back.
We have a few more adventures planned for this year. July sees us head out to The Big Red Bash at Birdsville and October it is “overseas” to Tasmania for a few weeks.
We have decided to keep the blog going if you are interested in continuing to follow the “smiths go west” fun.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Feeding the sheep
Watching a TV and DVD’s
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.
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.
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.
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!